Thursday, December 24, 2015

Week 22: FELIZ NAVIDAD! Ha nacido un Salvador! ~ December 21, 2015

Seasons greetings! (Haha. that is something they don't say here. Probably because almost everyone is christian.)

There was problem with myldsmail on Monday so we couldn't email, but never fear because you'll still get to here about how everything here is the same. Haha.

I can't believe that it's almost Christmas. Yesterday was 5 months since I left for the MTC and I remember saying with my companion "By Christmas we'll be speaking Spanish and everything will be awesome. And we'll have almost 4 months in the mission" But it seemed so far away. And now BOOM! it's Christmas. I found out that the people here love Christmas music in English (well music in English in general, but Christmas music is better because it doesn't swear) so I still get to hear a lot of Christmas music.  

As for the climate, apparently I am not the only person from the US who was under the impression that it is always warm in Mexico. Let me tell you, it is not. Right now, I would say it's colder here than it was last winter in Utah. Part of the problem is that the houses here are made of cement and so they turn into freezers, basically because the cement traps the cold and radiates it into the house. So although I am sure that with all the snow there it is colder in Utah, at least there's central heating. But we walk a lot and so we manage to keep warm.

This last week we had a posada in the church.  It's basically just a christmas party.  One of our investigators came with her 4 children. Her name is Guadalupe and her kids are 7, 6, 5 and 2.  They are the sweetest little angels although a little naughty sometimes. She is very poor.  One of the days when we visited her, her 2 year old was playing with a piece of wood wrapped in a blanket like it was her doll. The good news is that we have received a lot of support from the ward. Some of the hermanas donated dolls for her girls and clothes for her son, he is the 6 year old. And they're collecting more stuff to take to her for Christmas.  But the posada was so fun! There were more investigators there than members! (I'm not sure if that says more about the ward or the investigators) There were more than 30 investigators there between the 3 companionships in the ward.  I honestly think the missionaries enjoyed it more than anyone because we've never seen so many investigators in one place.  And it was definitely the highlight of the week because none of our investigators came to church.  

We talked a lot this week about how important the Book of Mormon is in order to help people know that the church is true.  We talked about how it starts with our own testimonies.  In Preach My Gospel it says that we as missionaries (or members) should regually... I can't think of a good word in english... test? try? apply? something like that the promise found in Moroni 10:3-5.  We should read the Book of Mormon and then pray and ask God again (it doesn't matter how many times we've already done it) if the Book of Mormon is true.  I thought about how I always thought it was more of a one and done thing, but really we always have to be studying and confirming what we learn, what we think we know, with our Heavenly Father. That's how we keep our testimonies strong.  

Well I hope all have a very merry Christmas. I don't know if you've seen the videos that the church made for this Christmas but they're very good. A neat reminder of the real reason we celebrate Christmas.

Much love,
Hermana Schmidt

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week 19: New Companion ~ November 30, 2015

Well the first week with Hermana Sanchez has been awesome! From a companion perspective.  The work is the same.  We had one investigator actually show up for church and she can't get baptized because she's only 16 and her mom won't give consent.  But it's still good that she was there.

Today someone walked up to me in the street and started speaking English. I'm not going to lie to you guys it freaked me out a little bit.  Turns out I don't speak english anymore.  We may be in Mexico but when I told him I was from Utah, he still asked me the question "So are you a Mormon?" Haha. I told him that I am and he asked me for an "English Bible" haha. I told him I didn't have anything with me in English but if he wanted we could bring him a Book of Mormon in English. At this point we were in the bus and we spent the whole bus ride talking about the book of Mormon and what we do as missionaries.  We can't teach him because he doesn't live in our area but he said that he has a friend in the US who recently joined the church and is really interested in hearing about the church.  

So maybe things aren't going great in our area but the are people here who want to hear the gospel!

Keep praying for me.  I'll keep praying for you all.
Love you!

Hermana Schmidt

Week 18: All Good Things ~ November 23, 2015


It is officially that I am not longer in training! What?!? I can hardly believe it.  And I  have my first new companion here in the field. My training left for Aguascalientes this morning and her flight leaves tomorrow for Peru! My new companion is Hermana Sanchez, she is 26 and she is from el Distrito Federal en Mexico. So far she seems really nice.  And I hope she is humble because even though she has 4 more months in the mission than I do, they have me as senior companion because I know the area.  

Well not a lot to update about the work here. We had 0 investigators at church again so... that was too bad.  But it's a new transfer, a new week and I know we're going to see miracles this next six weeks!

Pray for us!
Con much amor,

Hermana Schmidt

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Week 17: Hard Work ~ November 16, 2015


Well we have had quite the week here. Wednesday our mission president came to give us a training.  Turns out we are the worst zone in the mission! Who knew? (Probably everyone else who has been in another zone.) I guess the people here are the hardest to work with, the wards are the smallest and in a few of the areas (like the one I'm in) are geographically very challenging as well.  But Presidente gave us a great training in how we can improve and I'm very hopefully that things will get better.

We had two great lessons with Rigoberta and his life-partner Eva. They are progressing, but didn't come to church yesterday. We're not sure why. The family Chavez came to church! I'm not sure if I've written about them. It's a mom and her two sons an they are very poor and have a lot of problems with the ex-husband of the mom (not the father of the two boys.) But we had a lesson with the bishop and he gave them each a blessing. It was really helpful for the mom especially. She said she felt as if all the weight of her problems just disappeared after the blessing. I'm really hopefully we'll get to see their baptism in December. Abraham didn't come to church because he had to work but he is still progressing. 

Well. That's what's happening here. Hope all is well at home.

Love you all!

Hermana Schmidt

Week 16: Primero Dios ~ November 9, 2015

Hola Everybody!

Another lovely week here in Zacatecas. We had one investigator at church again.  Abraham came to church for the second week in a row and is really starting to get excited for his baptism in December.  We're really hoping that everything will keep going well.  When we went for our second visit of the week with Rigoberto, he had been drinking.  Eva (his "wife" to whom he is not married) was very upset and I don't think he realizes that he actually has a problema when it comes to alcohol and that he is hurting her with his actions. But we're going to keep working with them both.  Eva is very firm that she is not going to change religions but... I don't know. I just have a feeling about her.  But either way, pray for them all. 
I've been thinking about some of the sayings that they use here.  One of the most interesting is when people say "Primero Dios." What's interesting about it is the difference in the way the members use it and they way everyone else uses it.  When everyone else uses it what it really means is "I'm going to do whatever I want and if there is time left over I'll read my scriptures or pray or go to church" Usually we hear it when we invite people to come to church.  And then no one ever comes. But when the members use it, it means that it might be difficult or maybe it's something that they don't really want to do, but they know it's some that God has asked them to do and so they are going to do it.  I prefer the way the members use it. Haha. 
I've learned a lot about the reasons that God asks us to do certain things.  I always viewed obedience as how we got into heaven.  If we were could, we could come in, if not we couldn't.   But as I have learned more about God, about His plan for us and our purpose in this life I think I've found the real reason that God asks us to be obedient and gives us commandments.  It's not some type of arbitrary set of rules that He uses to test how badly we want to "get in to Heaven." It's because this life is a time of preparation.  When we can progress and become more like our Father in Heaven so that when we have to stand face to face with our God we will be ready for what He has planned for us.  It's not a matter of loving us enough to let us into Heaven, even if we weren't perfect.  It's a matter of whether or not we will be prepared to handle to responsibility.  It's like if there was a person who started medical school and never showed up for class.  It doesn't matter how good of a person they were or how much the teacher loved that student who never showed up for class, come graduation day they wouldn't be ready to be a doctor.  I think it's the same with us and being ready to be in the presence of God.
All my love!
Hermana Schmidt
PS there is a talk by Tad Callister called "Man and What He May Become" Look it up. :)

Friday, November 6, 2015

Week 13: Answers to Prayers ~ October 19, 2015

Wow. Sorry I made everyone read my list of complaints last week. How boring that must of been for everyone. Rest assured that these past week has been much better. Well... Not from a missionary work perspective so much as from a personal perspective.

This week we had a mission wide change so that instead of planning lessons for every hour, we now plan for every half an hour. This has been really difficult in our area specifically because it can take us 10 or 15 minutes to walk between appointments, not because they are far apart but because of the hills.  But we had more lessons this week then we've had since I've been here and it was the most my companion has had in here whole mission.  We're not seeing a lot of reward for our efforts yet. We had another week with no investigators at church and none who seem to be progressing.  We have a couple with a baptismal date for this Saturday but they still haven't gotten married and don't have a plan to get married this week so... Probably there will not be a baptism.  But you never know. 
We started teaching 11 new investigators last week and almost every one had a lot of potential! One investigator named Rigoberto was someone we were excited about. In our first lesson he went and got a Book of Mormon that we had given to his step son a few weeks before and said "I haven't been able to read very much, but it's really interesting." And he was in 1 Nefi 10! I couldn't believe it. WE have investigators who take three weeks to read the introduction and he had ready 10 chapters before our first lesson. But then he didn't come to church, we even went to his house so he could come with us but he didn't answer the door. Everyone misses our next appointments, or aren't keeping there commitments. I just want to shake them sometimes. But it's still a big improvement and we're hoping that we're going to see some miracles here in the next few week

I've been thinking a lot about a talk by Elder Holland that we heard in the MTC. One of the things he said is that "You are God's investigator. Everything that you want for your investigators He wants for you. If you want them to pray a little more, He wants you to pray a little more, etc." I was thinking about how frustrated I've been that we are offering all these things to our investigators that we know can bless their lives and they won't use them. Then I started thinking about all the things God offered me that I never used.  I started to wonder how many times someone has prayed for comfort or for strength for the marriage or help in their family or something like this and then felt like God didn't give it to them.  And God is in heaven saying "I told you to read your scriptures" "I gave you family home evening" "I asked you to serve others" or things like this. That we are asking for blessing that He has already offered to us, if we would just do the things He has asked us to do.  

Anyway. That's my thought for this week. Also here are some articles I read in the Liahona this week that I thought I would share.

Love you all!
Hermana Schmidt 
And another about blessing your children by strengthening your marriage. It's in the September 2015 but I can't find it. Look it up. Read it. Change your life.

Week 15: Feliz Día de los Muertos ~ November 2, 2015


Well today is Día de los Muertos (well today and yesterday.) I think yesterday was technically another holiday but people still were out and about in costume so... I'm going to count it as the same.  Here there isn't quite so much variance in costume like we have at home.  Most people dress up as "the dead" but sometimes a dead ninja turtle or spider man or something  like that.  And they don't say "trick or treat" they sing a song where the dead asks for sweets.  It's very interesting but makes for an evening of poor missionary work because no one wants us to come in. Haha.
This week we had another investigator at church.  (Rigoberto was out of town for Día de los Muertos) His name is Abraham and so far he is keeping all of his commitments and should be ready to be baptized on the 5th of December. (You have to go to church for 5 weeks before you can be baptized. Mission rule) Pray for him!
We taught the law of chastity with Rigoberto and his "esposa" (they are not actually married). Actually I taught the law of chastity, which is an important difference because if you think it's awkward to talk about sexual purity, try doing it in a different language. Haha. Anyways. We knew that he and his lady love were not married and so afterwards we were asking them what they could change in the lives in order to invite the blessing of living the law of chastity and they kept telling me things like "be faithful" or "have clean thoughts" and so eventually I just said "Are you married?" and then we finally started talking about that. Turns out that not only are they not married, but Rigoberto is still legally married to his first wife so they have to get divorced before he can even think about getting married to his current "esposa". So we have a long road ahead, but I know he has a desire and I think Eva (his esposa) does as well.  
Well. I was going to write about what I learned about why its important to know that we are children of God but I'll have to save it for next week because I'm out of time.  
But remember that you are children of God, and just like every baby has the potential to because an adult, every child of God has the potential to become like his Father. 

Love you!

Hermana Schmidt 

Week 14: Line upon line ~ October 26, 2015

This week we had ONE investigator in the church. I never thought I would be so happy to see a person at church but I seriously almost cried.  His name is Rigoberto and so far he has been reading and praying and he came to church.  He still says he doesn't feel like God has answered his prayers but it so much more than almost all of our other investigators. We have one other investigator who is progressing, but he couldn't come to church because of work.  

We had to tell the couple that was supposed to be baptized last week that we were going to stop visiting them.  It was really sad because I like them a lot but they just aren't keeping any of their commitments any more.  It was also frustrating because I felt like I couldn't communicate again, but like everything about being a missionary I'm learning line upon line. And I'm progressing with the language. 

Don't worry about the hurricane. We're all safe here. 
Love you!

Hermana Schmidt

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 12: Verdadera Intenciones ~ October 12, 2015

Well my loved ones, I'm not going to lie to you. This was week was the hardest week I have had as a missionary. Maybe one of the hardest weeks I've had ever. It started last Monday. I wasn't feeling very well (I was really tired and achy) but I figured it was because I wasn't totally adjusted to the schedule yet and it would go away after a good night's sleep. Well that night I did not sleep much (I won't share all the gory details) but let's just say I was sick. In case anyone is counting, that makes three times in the last 3 months. I don't remember a lot of what happened but a doctora from the ward came and gave me a shot of something so that I could eat. My distrito lider and his companion were there and they gave me a blessing. I slept for a while and then showered and tried to make it to some of our appointments. We made it to two houses but I just didn't have the strength to climb the hills here. 

So we went back to the house and I slept for most of the day. The next day I still felt terrible but I stopped throwing up about night and we were able to work all day.  My compaion ended up getting a little sick as well but not as much as me. By Saturday, I still was barely eating (just at our daily comidas with the members and some bread or crackers to take the medicine the doctor gave me.) my throat hurt and my ears were killing. Every time I ate anything it made me really nauseous. I remember one time when I had a sinus infection and it made my throat hurt and me not want to eat. With my ears hurting I figured maybe it was an ear infection and we had comida with the doctora en the bario. So I asked her if she could check but she just brought me some antibiotics and told me to take them. As of today I finally have a little bit of a desire to eat and have eaten two meals today! 

To make matters worse, last week was the worst week we've had in this area. We had two times where we had members with us and our investigators weren't home and we couldn't find someone else to visit. We were only finding about one or two lessons every day (usually it's more like 5 or 6 investigators) and about half of those were members.  Then we did not have a single investigator at church. 

By last night I was definitely feeling discourage. But it is the oddest thing but now I feel as good, probably the best, that I have felt my whole mission. I have no idea why. Maybe it's because I got to think so much last week about why I'm here. And if this is really how I want to spend the next 16 months of my life. I really had to decide that this is where I should be. And now I feel great. Or maybe it's what the prophet Joseph says in the restauracion movie "Sometimes God brings you low, so that He can lift you higher."
I love you all! Have an incredible week.

Mucho amor,
Hermana Schmidt

District- Last Sunday
Con el distrito...ultimo domingo


Farewell for Elder Fuentes

Farewell for Elder Fuentes

Sisters Eating at KFC
con las hermanas de Zacatecas en KFC

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Week 11: Conferencia General ~ October 5, 2015

There is never enough time here. The work is good. The investigators still don't keep there commitments and I'm not sure if we'll see a baptism in October, but it is in the Lord's hands. We're going to keep working hard.

Conference was this week and it was, like everything, in Spanish. There was supposed to be another English speaking sister here so we could watch the conference in the secretaries office in English but she ended up staying in her area. So I got 4 sessions in Spanish.  I understood very little but the Spirit speaks English and Spanish. So it was still nice. And three new apostles! 

Love you all!
Hermana Schmidt

Not sure what bit her but here are some photos she took:

Week 10: Gratitude ~ September 28, 2015

I am almost out of time, but I want to talk about Sunday.

I got to live my dream of speaking English and it was terrible.  There was a wedding in our ward this week. (A former missionary and a girl from the ward. It is pretty scandalous) and his family came down for the wedding. None of them speak a word of Spanish so they ask if I could translate for his mom in RS and when I said hello she looked and me and said "Do you speak English?" Which is hilarious because I'm so guera that I clearly speak English. Haha. But it was so bad. I could hardly translate anything. 

But Sacrament was the highlight of my week. Maybe of my mission. I was sitting on the stand during sacrament (because I play the piano and they don't wait for me to get back to my seat before they start) and I was looking out at our THREE investigators who came to church this week, and at Cruz who was baptized the day before and confirmed just a few minutes before, together with his mom who was just called as the second counselor in the RS presidency even though she had been inactive before we got to the area and then I started thinking about how different my life would be now if I had made different choices.  How much happiness I have now, even when everything about being here is so difficult, and how easy it  would be for things to be different.  

I know are choices are so important, and if we want to be happy, really and eternally happy, we have to work for it. And make the right choices and change when we don't make those choices.  And I know this is God's plan for every single one of us.  To find this happiness that comes when we make the right choices, even though the wrong choices are usually easier.  

I love you all. Thank you for your love and prayers.
Hermana Schmidt

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Week 9: In the Lord's Time ~ September 21, 2015


What a crazy week we had this week.  On Monday when we went to see our investigator to prepare him for his baptism on Saturday, he told us that he didn't want us to visit him anymore because catolico is the original tradition and he can't be baptized again.  So... That was a super start to the week.  Then Jackeline, the sweet 16 year old who had been making great progress told us that she can't be baptized either because she was already baptized.  Then we had a lesson with her SUPER catolico mom and we're pretty certain we know where those feelings came from.  

I'm not going to lie, I was feeling pretty discouraged at the point.  By Thursday when all of our appointments weren't at home, and we couldn't find any else I was about ready to suggest that we go home for a siesta.  But after that, and for the rest of the week we found a lot of people who were very receptive.  Two people even came up to us and asked us to visit them.  How crazy? We still haven't seen a lot of progress with any of them but it just reminded me why we're here. 

Sunday we came to church and none of our investigators came.  (Which was not as surprising as it should have been. The streets are basically empty until 11 here and church is at 9) But one of the less active families we have been teaching was there (for the second week in a row) and their son, who is 10, told us that he wants to be baptized on Saturday, so we're going to have a baptism! We're really excited.

Well I'm all out of time but I love you guys. Thank you for all your prayers and support!

Mucho amor
Hermana Schmidt

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Week 8: 2 Nefi 7 ~ September 14, 2015

Hola everyone,

Another week has come and gone and I am very wet, but safe and happy.  It has basically been raining for 3 days and as it turns out our casa is not very water proof.  But at least our bedroom doesn't get wet.  
We have been very busy this week. We have 5 new investigators and 6 (hopefully 7 after tonight, but is actually not that impressive because only one of them has come to church in my two weeks here) investigators with baptismal dates.  Between that and the dedication of the Mexico City temple (which took up our Saturday night and almost all of our Sunday) we have hardly had a minute to think.  

They do a lot of focus on contacting here which is a bit crazy to me because we hardly have time to teach all the investigators we have, let alone new ones, but they've been here longer than I have.  
Besides the constant struggle to communicate, my big struggle this week is that I haven't been feeling a lot of enthusiasm from our investigators.  Sometimes they seem to me like they think they're doing us a huge favor by letting us teach them.  Which is so frustrating because it really doesn't effect me if you have the gospel or not.  This is your salvation we're talking about and I can't be excited about it for you.  But they keep letting us come back so... I guess it could be worse.  

One family that is particularly interesting is a family who the "husband" is actually legally married to another woman, but has been with his "wife" for 19 years and they have a 16 year old.  The husband always starts out by telling us he is a catholic but they keep inviting us back.  When we went yesterday he had all his religious images and such out and when we walked in he told us "We are Catholics and we have religious images" Later we found out they had a run in with some testigos (Which I believe are the same thing as Jehovah's Witnesses in the US, based on the things they said, but who knows) who told him that it is a sin to have those types of things and he needs to get rid of them or he is going to go to hell.  It didn't help that he is a carpenter who made most the images.  I think when we told him we don't have the desire or authority to tell anyone they're going to hell he warmed up to us a little bit.  He was very intrigued when we told him we believe we have a profeta in this day.  And after our lesson he asked us to stay for refreshments.  So he seems to be warming up to us a bit.
The other investigator I loved from this week is one of our new ones.  His name is Delfo and he is basically the Méxican, borderline atheist version of Grandpa Jerold.  Right down to his canned food and his 6 bookshelves of books.  All he needed was the rubber bands, haha.  He's in his 80's and we saw him struggling to carry his groceries home and offered to help.  When we got to his house he invited us to share our message with him.  He has some wild ideas, but I think he has the most potential of any of our investigators because he has a real thirst for the truth.  

I was studying 2 Nefi 7 en my personal study this week and I really liked this chapter because it talks about how the Lord always keeps His promises.  He doesn't promise us an easy way, but he does promise us His help along the way.  Nothing about being here is easy but I know I have the Lord's help and I can see myself getting better every day. 

I love you all!
Hermana Schmidt

PS sorry about the spelling.  The spellcheck here is in Spanish and so it says everything is spelled wrong and I'm sure I can't remember how to spell anything. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Week 7: Not Enough Time ~ September 7, 2015

We went to el centro de Zacatecas with the sister training leaders and have like zero time, but here's a quick update.

Things are overall pretty great here. We have a lot of people to teach and 6 of our investigators have baptismal dates. Too bad no one comes to church.  Speaking of church, turns out I'm the only person in the ward who plays the piano. How great. It was a train-wreck this last week. But they seemed grateful to have music, so there's that.
My Spanish is so bad it's genuinely funny some times. My poor compañera and I basically communicate via charades. But she is awesome and I feel so blessed to have her.

Two cool experiences this week:
We went to contact a reference we had received and she was NOT happy to see us. But she let us and we had an really good lesson with her and her daughter.  I actually did about 45% of the talking out of our companionship which never happens.  Usually it's more like 10% me 90% my companion.  They both accepted baptismal dates. It was awesome.  

The other was our only investigator that routinely comes to church says he has a testimony but doesn't think he needs to be baptized again, because he was baptized as a baby.  He had been refusing to ask God if he needed to be baptized again.  So last night we had a lesson with him about prayer and then we knelt down on his porch and had him pray and ask God if he needed to be baptized again.  After the prayer he (finally) accepted a baptismal date!! We are very excited.  

Sorry for the very short update.  Hope all is well on the home front. Love you!
Hermana Schmidt

Presidente y Hermana Villarreal

Meghan and her first companion in the field:
Hermana Rodriguez from Peru

New missionaries on the right.
The first companions on the left.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Week 6: Tengo Fe ~ September 1, 2015

Hola from Aguascaliented (actually Zacatecas),

I arrived in the field yesterday around 7:30 am.  I spent the day in orientation and met my new compañera.  Her name is Hermana Rodriguez, she is from Peru.  She has been in the mission for about 14 months and her English is about as good as my Spanish.  But she has been so kind and patient with my terrible Spanish and general not knowing anything.  I feel very blessed to have her as a trainer. 

Hermana Villareal (the mission mom) said that for the most part all I will do here as a nurse is help within my district and occasionally zone and then help give flu shots in the wards during flu season.  Which works out because I really can't even communicate with people right now, let alone give them medical advice. 

Remember how excited I was because my mission was super flat so I wouldn't have to spend all day walking hills? Turns out there is one area in the mission that is not like that and it is Zacatecas.  This city is basically built into the side of a mountain and it is ALL hills.  That being said it is BEAUTIFUL! I think it is about one million times more beautiful than México City and it actually reminds me a lot of Salt Lake (if the houses there were all made of cement, the stores all had iron bars and the hills were steeper). But I really like it. They said that if I end up here in the winter, I may see some snow.  That would be... actually terrible but it would definitely make it more like Christmas at home.

My apartment is so cute. Its painted all different colors and we have an extra room that they turned into a sort of closet/storage room so I actually have way more closet space than I did at home. Haha. When my compañera and I were coming from Aguascalientes to Zacatecas, I had my three bags and she had one little carry-on sized bag. I kept thinking "she must think I am such a pack rat" and then we got to Zacatecas. Turns out she left all her stuff here, because she was in this area before.  She actually has even more stuff than I do. Haha. 

I really like Zacatecas so far. Even though pretty much the only think I've been able to understand is last night when our taxi driver told us he was having an affair and his mistress was pregnant and he wasn't sure what to do.  My compañera told him "Our companions who live in your area can help you" I can't wait to hear how that goes. 
Riding the bus or in a taxi is such an interesting experience.  Most people don't really speak any English and they don't have any rules about what kind of songs they can play so I have heard a lot of cussing coming from radios. The first few times I gave my compañera some panicked looks and then I realized she didn't understand what they were saying either.  So I stopped because it just worried her and I can't really explain what's going on.  On our bus ride from Aguascalientes to Zacatecas they played 22 Jump Street. I could not believe it.  I don't know how they translated it but my compañera didn't believe me when I told her it was a movie they won't let you see in theaters in the US unless you're 17. Also, riding the bus is the craziest experience here. The drivers hardly even stop and they never close the doors.  They start driving again as soon as the passengers are on the bus, regardless of whether or not they´re up the stairs; let alone in a seat.  Then they just count out change and talk on the phone and stuff as they drive.  If the person getting on or off is like a youngish guy, sometimes they don't stop at all. They just slow down! It is so crazy.  

Pray for me
Love you all.
Hermana Schmidt

Last District photo from CCM:

(note attached to photo)
Elders and Hermanas,
It has been a pleasure to serve with you.  Thank you for your examples of dedication to the Lord and for the service you are about to give.  We send our love and prayers with you as you begin this most important part of your life.  
We love you,
Hermana Call

Mission Mom in the middle

New missionaries in Aguascalientes.
Pres and Sis Villareal in the middle.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Week 5.5: Teaching By the Spirit ~ August 29, 2015


Because they moved our p-day they gave us a little extra time to email today.   Which is good because I have two awesome things to update everyone on!

First thing: Elder Christofferson came on Wednesday.  It was so incredible to hear from an apostle of the Lord, but even more incredible was realizing that he is just a regular person who used his agency wisely the majority of the time. One of the best parts was when his wife talked about charity (and she quoted my plaque scripture) and then Elder Christofferson continued talking about it and it felt like they were thinking about me when they wrote this because charity has basically been the theme of the CCM for me and probably my whole mission. 
Then today we were teaching in TRC and the volunteer told us that he hadn't been to church in over two years.  So we started talking about why we have church and then we shared Moroni 6:4-6 with him and when I asked him what he thought he picked out the part about how they gathered to "speak together concerning the welfare of their souls" WHICH WAS EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED HIM TO GET FROM IT!!! Then he started crying and said that he never thought of church as a place to go to get support but that really was it's purpose.  Then my companion and I both bore our testimonies about church attendance and how it's not a place you go when you're being perfect, but someone where people get together to work together for a common goal.  And pretty soon we were all crying and we asked him if he would go to church tomorrow and he said YES! Then we asked him to pray and he was really hesitant but he did and it was awesome.  I'm so sad I won't be able to follow up with him but it was great.  And it was all in Spanish! Just the experience I need to get me excited to leave on Monday.

Well, I love you all.  Keep up the good fight on the home front.
Hermana Schmidt

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Week 5: Agency ~ August 26, 2015


Another lovely week here at the CCM. As you can see our preparation day has changed again. Not that it particularly matters as this will be my last one here. I will be leaving the CCM at 2:30 amon Monday morning to head for Aguascalientes.

The big news around here is that Elder Christoffersen is coming today.  Everyone is excited to get to hear a live talk by an apostle instead of just a recording of them speaking at the Provo MTC.  

The biggest thing for me this week was that I spoke in church on Sunday.  Every week we have to have a five minute talk prepared and then when we get to sacrament they choose who will be speaking and just announce it from the pulpit.  I don't know why but I was pretty sure I wouldn't be speaking this week so I only had a couple of quotes and a scripture or two written down.  When the announced my name to speak I honestly think I blacked out for a second due to sheer panic.  But I got through at least five minutes and everyone gave me a lot of compliments so either they are very nice or it wasn't so bad.  

The next day we were talking about agency in small groups and the teacher came to sit with myself and another elder while we were talking and I said something and the teacher just smiled at me. I thought I had said something super wrong until he looked at the other elder with us and said something about how much potential I had.  The other elder (who is generally kind of a grump) got so excited and started telling him about how awesome my talk was and how I can secretly speak really good spanish.  None of which is really true as far as I see it, but it makes me feel better.

I feel like I have been blessed with a lot of little experiences this week to remind me how I want to be a missionary and to really get me excited about the work.  I worry that's because in a bout 5 days it'll be all I can do not to pack my stuff up and go home, but I'm trying not to stress too badly over it.  I know the Lord will take good care of me.  
We had to pack up our stuff today so we could weigh our suitcases.  They have to be under 50 lbs and our carry-on can't be more than 22lbs. Both of my suitcases were under but my carry-on weighed 32 (that's where I put all my books) so I'll have to figure out some way to make it work.  It was so weird to be packing again.  Some days it feels like I've been here 12 years and other times it feels like we just got here yesterday.  

During our class discussion about agency our teacher asked us "How has agency helped you get to where you are now?" I thought about that a lot and I thought about what I would be doing if I just did what other people told me to do all the time. I thought about it a lot, specifically in relation to my mission.  If I had just done what other people told me, I wouldn't be here.  I would probably be doing other good things, but I wouldn't be here and this is where I'm supposed to be.  I am so nervous to have to speak Spanish all of the time in just a few days and to be meeting real people who need to hear what I have to tell them when I sometimes feel like it's all I can do to form one full sentence.  But I know that the Lord knows me.  He is aware of my needs and my desires and He is going to take care of me. 

Thank you all for your support over the last 5 weeks.  I love you!
Hermana Schmidt

Friday, August 21, 2015

Week 4: He Knows My Name ~ August 21, 2015

Hola everybody,
Its been another beautiful week here at the CCM.  Time is starting to move pretty fast.  We've been here longer than almost anybody else. That is so crazy to me. 
Sorry for no email last week.  I was sending pictures to my mom and then gmail locked me out of my email for sending so many emails to one person. So I was really flustered and eventually got back in but it threw off my whole emailing.  The coolest thing about last week is that my companion and I got to go on a driving tour of México city! Two weeks ago we were supposed to go to the office of immigration to get our residency approved, but because we got transferred from zone 9 to zone 6 they forgot to tell us.  We ended up having to go last week, just my companion and I.  But afterwards our sweet driver took the long way home and stopped at six or seven different monuments in México City and took our pictures at every one! It was so incredible.  
Another cool experience was when we were teaching in TRC (which is when they have real people from the outside world, usually members, come and let us practice teaching on them.) We were teaching this really nice lady named Mary who has been a member for 9 years but her husband has no interest in joining the church.  My companion and I were trying to teach her and it was not going very well.  Both of us were having a hard time speaking and we both totally forgot the scripture we planned on using (and because our scriptures are in spanish we cant just look things up) and we couldn't think of another one, so finally I just started asking her questions and then I bore my testimony to her at the end and it was so special. I spoke for like 5 straight minutes in Spanish, it was awesome.
One really special experience we had this week is that we had an elder in our district who was really struggling with spanish.  So as a district we decided that we were going to fast for him.  We took turns fasting as companionships, even our teachers participated and then this elder and his companion were the last two who fasted.  The progress he has made in his spanish is seriously a miracle.  He has learned more in the past 12 days than I learned in my first 3 weeks here. It has been so incredible to see. 
Today we had the opportunity to go to the México City Templo open house.  It was so beautiful! I really wish it had been open for ordinances but the open house was beautiful and the have some really special artwork which we got to see.
There has been a lot of excitement around the CCM because Elder Christoffersen is coming next week! He'll be here on Wednesday and we are very excited.  
I was pretty overwhelmed with Spanish last week and this week were learning a lot of different ways to conjugate verbs and they were all mixing together in my head and I was getting pretty frustrated.  Then on Tuesday night we had a devotional and it was Elder Bednar talking about the Character of Christ.  Towards the end of the talk he is teaching about how we first have to demonstrate and then we receive a witness.  He gave the example of Éter 3 (I can't remember what that is in English, It's so weird) and the Brother of Jared and how the Lord touched the stones one by one.  He said it was necessary that the stones be touched one by one because the first one was a trial of his faith but by the 8th or 9th it wasn't a matter of faith anymore because he had tried his faith so many times that he knew that the Lord would light the stone.  And eventually so much of his faith became knowledge that was how Brother of Jared was able to see Christ.  I thought about my own life and how I have seen the hand of God in my life so many times and experienced the power of the atonement, that I can tell an investigator that God cares about them and the they can be healed through the Atonement and KNOW that it is true.  Because for me it's not a matter of faith anymore.  It's something I know.
I love you all!
Hermana Schmidt 
Here our district at the templo open house. 

This was a painting at the templo open house that I thought was incredible!

From our tour of México City last week:

Mission map y around the CCM: