Monday, July 24, 2017

Running Through Cancun!

Wow, what a week! The transfer is flying by, and I am so excited to say that we have 11 (ELEVEN!) people with baptism dates!! Of course, that doesn´t mean that all of them will necessarily be baptized, but it´s very exciting nevertheless! Our district leader challenged us to put baptism dates in the first visits with EVERYONE, and at first we were a little terrified, tbh. But it turned out so cool and we had some awesome experiences! It´s an amazing way to see who is actually interested and who isn´t.

Hands down the coolest experience was that we got to have a lesson with Max, Monica´s husband. We talked about the Plan of Salvation and he just ate it up. He was just like, "I´ve never heard anything about this in my life, but it´s amazing." We told him about the steps we need to take in this life to reach the celestial kingdom, including baptism, and we invited him to be baptized. And he said YES!!! People, he´s basically an atheist! But he said he would do everything possible to gain a testimony and be baptized. We left the lesson with a fist pump and just giggling because we were so happy and the spirit was so strong. It was also 9:30 and we were supposed to be in our house at 9:00, so we LITERALLY ran back to our house. Our bugspray and sunscreen and all that good stuff kept falling out and we were sweating so much, but we got back safe and just said a prayer of gratitude. 

It´s gonna be hard work to get Max baptized, it might even take a miracle (Princess bride reference...ish, haha!) But I know it´s possible! 

I´m so grateful for the people the lord permits us to know, to teach, and to learn from. Thank you all for all your support, great emails, and prayers! And just for being part of my life. 

My time is up but I´ll be writing again on Saturday for transfers!
Have a wonderful week! Try and serve someone! 

Love you all!!!
Hermana Schwartz

Thursday, July 20, 2017

5 Months Out Already!

Hola everyone!

How´s everthing going? Cancún is beautiful, super hot and humid, and everyone says it´s just gonna keep getting hotter. I´m starting to wish we could maybe just pass by the beach....just to see it! I haven´t seen the ocean in my whole time here. I completed 5 months on Friday! The time is just flying by and I can´t quite believe it, especially when I hear about all of these other people leaving on missions and getting back! 

We had intercambios this week and I got to go work for one day in the area next to us, it´s called Nichupte. It looks exactly the same so it wasn´t anything too shocking. But it was fun to work with the capacitadora (sister training leader,) because she talks to EVERYONE! It really pushed me to open up and just start inviting people. It was fun because she also showed me a super cool activity to do with investigators. You take 3 cups (tazas) and 3 forks, and you have to get all the forks to touch in the middle. It´s pretty challenging, but there´s a trick. Once you get them connected ,you can put a ton of weight on it---it can hold scriptures! We did it with this one lady, and her face was just filled with awe! It was so cute, haha. The three cups represent prayer, scripture study, and church attendance. With these three things we can build a solid foundation for our lives. :) We also did it with a family with young kids, and their youngest son Marco offered to sit on it to see how strong it reallllly was. Jaja. :)

I´m absolutely too tall to live here in Mexico, I´ve decided. I hit my head on a gate and everyone laughed at me. One time I wore a black shirt to church and a lady commented that I looked like the Grim Reaper because I´m so tall and wore black....gracias. But it´s good!! It´s a fun way to stand out and it´s helping me develop my sense of humor in spanish! I learned the word for "high heels" and told everyone I´m going to wear them next week. ;)

We ate some delicious choco-flan, it´s flan with chocolate cake underneath! The members here are amazing and they always give us food. We also got free carne asada yesterday. I love that stuff. Another new food that we tried were "flautas." Flauta means flute, and they´re basically just fried taquitos. But with crema, guacamole, and tomate? It´s a musical experience. Wow that was a bad pun, sorry everyone. 

In terms of investigators, we finally got this one couple to commit to baptism!! Andres and Izzel are amazing! They´re only problem is they aren´t married, and they keep pushing back the date for their wedding. I suggested to them that maybe they could just get the official paperwork done, get baptized, and then have a big wedding with their family. They were just like, "oh...that´s an option? Sweet, we´ll do it!" I hope they can meet their goal and be baptized in August!! 

I just want to share something cool l learned from the scriptures this week before I sign off! In the book of Alma, there´s this crazy king named Amalakiah. He convinced the Lamanite leader to come down off the hill and then he poisoned him. It´s a bit intense, but I know that´s how Satan works in our lives! He tries to convince us to lower our standards, just a little bit, until we can´t escape. If we never lower our standards, he can´t touch us. In the chapters before this story, Captain Moroni raises the standard of Liberty! That´s how we should be. Wave your standards high and never, ever lower them for anything! If we do this we will be protected and have peace! 

I love you all and hope that you have an excellent week! Email me and tell me about your lives! :)

Mucho amor,
Hermana Schwartz

1. 5 month mark!
2. With hermana Christensen
3. Our giant life time supply of pancake mix!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

He Will Hear You

Hola everyone!

This was a week of little miracles! We ran around a ton trying to work on our goal to be more punctual, and just ended up being more tired. But the area is huge and so we´re trying our best! We´re trying to petition our mission president for better transport...we don´t want a car, maybe just like a golf cart or something. Taxis get expensive after a while!

It was super cool in one of our lessons with a less active member, Monica. I was saying the opening prayer and I just felt this impression to pray for her husband by name. He isn´t a member and he never joined us in the lessons or anything. But when I opened my eyes, her husband Max was sitting there on the couch praying with us!! And he stayed for the whole lesson AND he went to church on Sunday!! He´s not an Atheist, but he´s definitely a realist. Our lessons have to be very specific and we´re trying to teach him about what it means to have faith. But he´s reading the Book of Mormon and he wants to know! This is a huge change and we´re so excited! I was so grateful that I had the impression to pray for him.

We´re just super grateful because a bunch of investigators just kind of fell into our paths this week. One investigador brought his friends to the lesson and they all participated! Another just found us by our house and asked us to start teaching him. I know that these little blessings are because we´re trying to be more obedient. investigator is super crazy. His name is Bryan. I honestly don´t know what to do with him. He showed up at the church wearing these outrageously tight workout clothes and mirrored sunglasses. He tells us that he doesn´t have a job. He just goes to the gym. And we gave him a Book of Mormon, but then he locked in a box and couldn´t get it out. We gave him another one, and guess where he put it? the same box. He´s crazy. But he really does seem like he wants to learn, so we´ll see what happens!

We got to destress a little bit and play with puppies! Our neighbors are members and their dog had four puppies that they let us play with! They are super cute and very mischievious.

We also had an awesome conference with 3 zones where we got a super cool way to get references. It reminds me of a challenge that the missionaries in my home ward did...we have to think of people and pray specifically for them for 10 days in a row, and read the scriptures as a family. If we think of these people, the Lord will prepare a way for them to receive a little bit of the gospel.

I repaired another toilet today. I think it´s maybe a sign that I need to be a plumber after the mission. I had a handkerchief in my back pocket and everything! The piece we bought came with a bunch of stickers that you´re supposed to put on the toilet...don´t ask me why....but we put them in our agendas so we don´t forget this momentous occasion.

Anywayyy....I hope you all have a wonderful week! Remember that God is our loving Heavenly Father and that the things that are important to us are important to him. He will listen and bless you if you come to him in prayer. (Alma 33:8) I think the English translation says "he will hear you!" I know that he really will!

Love you all!! :)
Hermana Schwartz

The photos are me in front of the super fancy Mexican Walmart, playing with puppies, and this really crazy house that has Greek statues all over it!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

I met a Xoloitzcuintli

Hola everyone! Hope you all had an excellent week! Happy fourth of July, tomorrow! I have big plans to wear red, white and blue and just have a little bit of American pride in the middle of Cancún!

There are people here from all of the world, it´s actually super interesting! I met the coolest lady ever, she´s a member from RUSSIA that speaks Russian, Spanish and English basically perfectly. We went over to visit her and her family yesterday and they all just casually changed languages like it was nothing. They are such a sweet couple with such strong testimonies! Olga was converted here after growing up without a christian background, and now she and her husband are married in the temple. It´s so cool just to be able to meet so many different people and hear about their stories! 

Speaking about interesting people....we found this amazing family! They´ve been inactive for years but now they want to come back to church and their daughter Milka wants to get baptized! She´s absolutely amazing, super bright, super excited and she read the entire Restauracion pamphlet that we left and explained it perfectly to us! (Tears of joy! Haha!) She´s 10 years old and super adorable. Her family also always gives us chocolate, orange juice, or just random treats. And their dog is....drumroll please....a Xoloitzciuintli!!! It´s pronounced like "churro squinkly." It´s a giant, bald, Aztec dog named Huerco! He is so mischievious and crazy! They took him outside because he was climbing all over us and then suddenly found a way back in through the window. Please google a picture so you can see how bizarre he looks. At first it was mildly terrifying to have such a big, bald dog sniffing my stuff but he´s super sweet and intelligent. The best part is that they have Churro Squinklys in the zoo in my old area, but I never got to see them. So it made my day to finally figure out what they are. 

Another crazy experience was that we went to eat lunch with a member, Hermana Paty Viveros. She didn´t have time to cook so she bought us 2 Little Caesars pizzas, crazy bread, and soda just for my compañera and me. We managed to finish off one pizza between us, but we were SO FULL! Luckily the next day was fast Sunday, so we were able to really prepare before our fast. Her son showed us his $250 american dollar headphones and crazy expensive speaker. He just started rambling on about how good the quality is and we were just like....."!" 

We had a lot of noches de hogar this week, or little family night visits where we teach a small lesson and then play games. We talked about courage with one family, and then about family history work with another. I love it because they really remind me about the blessings of living the gospel. There is so much to keep learning and keep discovering, even after we have our basic testimonies solid. 

It´s been a little interesting because we are House Hunting!! The landlords are going to sell our house and we need to find a new one before the end of the month! It´s a little sad because we´re pretty happy there with the tree on the wall and so much space. But it´ll be good. We´ve got lots of members that are helping us look, and we´re praying that we can find something in our budget in a safe neighborhood. It feels like real life! I took a picture of our wall that has the "Our Recipe" on it. It says cute little things like, 2 cups of hugs, 3 cups of service. Muchos besos! Etc.  It was just like that when we got here, but it´s very cute. 

The small challenge is that we share this area with some Elders. They´re good and they usually mind their own business and work hard, but lately they´ve been showing up to the same people that we´re visiting! Sometimes at the same time! We just want to tell them, "Stop following us, Por Favor!!!" But it´s kind of funny and it just shows how the work is going forward. If the Lord is sending four missionaries to visit one person, it just shows how much they need the visits!

I love the people here, I love learning to work hard, and I especially love the scriptures. 
Alma 26 helped me so much today!! Alma is glorying in the Lord, and it talks about WHY he had success. If we repent, have faith, and good works, we will make an impact, and our joy will be full. Read this chapter if you get a chance, it´s amazing! :)

The other random thing that made me laugh so hard was my companion picked up the phone and totally spaced it and said, "Buenas dias tardes noches habla Hermana Christensen. When in doubt if it´s dias, tardes, or noches, just say all three! Haha, never gonna let her live that one down.

Thank you all for all that you do! I´m praying for you and I know that God is aware of you all and protecting you! Christ is our Savior, brother, and friend. Let him be part of your life this week! :)

Mucho amor, 
Hermana Schwartz

Mayan Book of Mormon
Hermana Schwartz y Hermana Christensen
 Image result for Xoloitzcuintli

Am I in Utah??

Hola everybody!!! 

I´ve been transferred to Kulkucán barrio in Cancún! And it´s crazzzyyy amazing! The biggest difference is that the ward is HUGE. In Tizimin, we had maybe 50 active members. Here there are over 200 and we´ve got a list of about 700 less active members. There´s a lot of work to do! They are all super willing to help us out and it´s so nice! They give us food, rides, and want to come with us to lessons! They´re the best!! The primary kids ran up to us after church and gave us the cutest letters ever, it was adorable. The investigators are also super "potente!" A lot of people here are looking for a change in their lives or just a little bit of peace and so they´re usually very willing to hear us. They ask good questions, they understand the doctrine, and I am so excited to see if they´ll start progressing in the gospel! 

Our house is adorable because it has a tree painted on one of the walls, and it has 2 floors and 2 bathrooms! Even better, it has a giant stash of Reeses peanut butter cups in the fridge. 
This area is like the headquarters of the mission, so when other missionaries come to visit they usually stay in our giant house. The night I got here we had a sleepover with 8 other girls that were all travelling for various transfers. It was a party! My new companion is Hermana Christensen and we speak a solid mix of Spanish and english in the house. She´s been out a little longer than I have, and between us we can usually understand everyone and communicate pretty well. It´s just funny when we´re on the phone, because one lady asked if we could pass the phone to a Latina companion, and it was like, "Too bad, we´re both gringas!" 

It is way hotter here and also super humid! My hair basically never dries completely after I shower, but it´s all good. My companion cut it a little bit shorter because my layers were doing weird things. It was super wavy on top and almost completely straight underneath, so we just chopped a little more off. Humidity is definitely an adjustment, but I don´t mind it too much. The crazy thing is when it rains! The first few days a tropical storm passed by and we were absolutely soaked! We were just walking around trying to find a house and it felt like we were swimming in the street! It´s also crazy because the area is way bigger, so we usually travel by taxi or combi. Combis are these small vans that just cram in as many people possible and drive super fast along one street. It´s fun to hail them down. I tried to talk to a lady and share a pass along card, but it was just a little awkward because we were smushed so close together. 

I met the funniest lady that speaks English and spanish and she was so sassy with her kids that we were just dying laughing. She was trying to teach them 2 plus 2 equals 4 and they said six. She was just like, "Do you SEE my fingers? Count them!! It´s so simple!" Hermana Paulita in the barrio is teaching us Maya, and she´s also hilarious! She just tells us random stories and we have to write down the words that she uses in maya. Hopefully by the end of the transfer I can give my testimony in Maya! 

In this week here I have felt the spirit so strongly. We had some amazing lessons and words and scriptures came to my mind that I know are not my own. Even in the practices in district meetings! We did a practice teaching experience and I shared a verse in Mosiah. An elder told me the after I shared a scripture, he just felt super strongly about some things he needed to improve to teach better. He thanked me for sharing the verse that I did. I didn´t know why he needed to hear that, but I just think it´s amazing the difference it can make if we listen to the spirit. 

Little miracles that happened: 
1. Monica is a less active member that just wants her nonmember husband to be baptized. He showed up to church for the first time after years of her asking him to go!! 
2. We contacted Rafael and Eva, and they are so READY to hear the gospel!! But they live outside our area...noooo! The other hermanas started teaching them and they are going to do amazing things. 
3. This one guy on the street said "Elders?" when we passed by. We told him, "close, we´re the hermanas!" He almost got baptized 6 years ago but had problems with tithing. We´re going to start teaching him and I´m so excited! I hope that now is his time. 

Anyway, I love the members here so much and I´m just starting to get to know them!  I´m so happy to be serving here. I know that living the gospel brings true joy! The angel who converted Alma visited him while he was discouraged on his mission in Ammoniah. He told him to lift up his head and rejoice, and be grateful for his many blessings, and get to work! (Alma 8:16) I loved this verse and I know that the counsel is true! We have so many little reasons to be happy. :)

Thank you all for your prayers and support! I´ll try and have some funny stories for next week. 
Mucho amor!
Hermana Schwartz

Me and Hermana Eva before I left Tizimn
Last selfie with Hermana Medrano
Hermana Christensen in the new casa in Kukulcan
Blurry selfie with the TREE and my shorter hair