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:

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Week 3: Not Enough Time ~ August 16, 2015

Well I ran out of time.  I'll send and extra long one next week.
Things are great love you all! Hermana Schmidt ps mom will you forward
this (I can't get to my list for some reason)

But she did send a bunch of photos!  I think most of them are from a trip they went on to see the newly renovated Mexico City Temple.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Week 2: A Labor of the Spirit

Buenas tardes everybody!
It is another beautiful day here at the CCM en México.  Seriously though, everything about this place is so beautiful.  The weather is hardly ever anything other than pleasant, even when it rains in the evenings it's a nice rain and we're inside for class anyway.  The CCM campus is like this oasis in the middle of one of the craziest cities in the world.  There is beautiful grass and trees everywhere.  My favorite part is these little green parrots that are always flying around or playing in the grass. 
It's hard to know what to write about because every day here is basically the same.  We get up at 630 and get ready.  Breakfast is at 715 and then we have personal study from 745-845.  Then our first teacher comes in a usually we have Spanish class, then Book of Mormon, then we practicing teaching him.  Then we have 30 more minutes of study and then we have lunch.  After lunch we go to the computer lab to work with TALL (a computer program that helps us learn Spanish) and the we go back to the class room for more language study.  Then we have gym and more studying before dinner and after dinner we have more classes and teach other teacher.  We only have an official language class 1-2 times a day but every class feels like a language class because it's all in Spanish.  But it probably helps us to learn faster.  
Every lesson we teach to our "investigators" who are actually our teachers get better and better.  The last few we've gone in with just a scriptures, where as before we wrote ourselves out scripts in spanish and took in all our little phrase books and such.  So there is definitely improvement there. 
We also had our first TRC this week. TRC is where they get actually people (from beyond the CCM fence) to come in and meet with us, and our job is just to help them feel closer to Christ.  Most of them are members but some are less active or nonmembers.  Our volunteer this week was Ambrosa (we thought and then our teacher told us that is not a name and we must have mis heard her), but she has been a member of the church for 3 years but her family hasn't been able to be sealed yet.  We tried taking her through the first lesson but it just didn't feel right so I finally just asked if her family prays together as a family.  She said that they don't.  I told her that I know it can be difficult to work out everyones schedules and find the time to pray together but if she will make the effort I know her family will be blessed and it will help get them closer to their goal of being sealed together.  Then my compañera shared an awesome scripture from third Nephi and we just ended with our testimonies.  Even though I've never felt less confident in my abilities, it's also the only time when I've felt like being here made a difference.  I hope she understood at least a little bit about what we were trying to tell her.  It was so hard for us to understand her and probably just as difficult for her to understand us, but the Spirit was there and that makes all the difference.  
I also got to meet with the area medical advisor this week.  It seems like everything is on track for me to be trained as a mission nurse specialist.  I should be doing that here in the next few weeks. (Its just a couple of hours of class on a pday). And the Area Medical Advisor and his wife are from Holladay and Papa used to be their stake president.  Funny how things works out.  
Well we only have three and a half weeks left here but if I can learn as much in the next few weeks as I have these past few, I might actually be able to get through a day of proselyting without breaking down into tears.  
Love you all.  Keep sending your prayers. 
Hermana Schmidt

Oh. I forgot to relate my subject.  We were talking about the chapter in the BoM where Alma the Younger meets up with the sons of Mosiah and they rejoice because they are still "brothers in the Lord."  It says in that chapter that they did "labor in spirit" and it just made me think about working labor and delivery back at home. (The poor elders in my district have heard more about the birthing process than they ever planned.) Anyways. My thought was that labor is about change.  That's how we know when a patient is really in labor, things change.  And labor is exhausting and long and difficult but at the end you get a new life.  I think that's what a labor of the spirit is.  So just remember that when things are hard spiritually, thats how things change.  And if you follow the Lord's path, at the end you'll get something incredible! 

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Week 1: Humilty

I promise I'm not counting days.  But we got to go to the visitor's center at the temple this morning (The temple is closed) and I had a lot of time to think and I was thinking about everything I've learned this week and I thought it would fun to theme each week with a principle I learned a lot about.

Well... I guess to start of norovirus has come to the CCM (Spanish version of the MTC). I was one of the first ones lucky enough to be visited by what the missionaries are calling el dragón double. I woke up at about 3am Sunday morning and I thought it was just really hot because the Hermanas in my room like to sleep with the windows closed on the weekends so they can't hear the music coming from the clubs outside the CCM.  I got up and opened then window and then spent the next hour and half rotating between being sick in the bathroom and crying on the floor.  I tried to take a few different medications but nothing stayed down long enough to work. Around 430 I woke up my companion and told her we need to call and see if I could get a blessing.  The guy and the desk didn't speak much English (and I was probably rather hard to understand because I was still crying) so he ended up having the doctor call me.  The doctor said he'd be by to see me in the morning.  My cute companion told me she would sleep out on the couch with me because it was the only place I felt comfortable enough to sleep.  When Hermana Gill (the nurse, who is also the doctor's wife) she told me there were 4 other missionaries who were sick.  She brought me some kind of magical nausea pill and tylenol and was able to rest a little better after that. My district leader and his companion came over with the doctor a little bit after that to give me a blessing.  It was a very nice blessing. I was basically out of commission all of Sunday. I made it the last devotional of the day but almost passed out on the walk back to our casa. By Monday morning I was at like 80% and able to go to everything.  I was just weak. But I'm slowly getting back to normal.  By mondaymorning there were 40 sick missionaries and Tuesday morning there were almost 100. But I talk to Hermana and Presidente Gill today and they said they haven't had any new cases in 12 hours which is awesome. 

Well that was the big news of the week. But I guess I'll do the rest in chronological order.

The plane ride to México city was not too bad.  I sat next to Elder Hill (who is from Lehi) and Elder Pendrod (who is from Nephi.  I could not make that up.) They had both never flown before so it was fun to experience flying with someone for the first time.  

When we got through Immigration and showed our immigration cards to the guy from the MTC there were about 5 of us who had ours marked wrong so we go to take the monorail up to the immigration office to get everything sorted out.  Whoops. But it all worked out.

Once we got to the CCM my first stop was to chat with the medical guy to make sure all my immunizations were done and he looked at my name and told me "We heard you were coming" to which I thought "Well I hope you were planning on most of us."  But then he said "You're the nurse, right?" and I realized he meant I had to do something different. Haha. So he then told me that he was my Branch President (Presidente Gill) and that they wanted to see if I would be ok if that got permission to have me trained as a mission nurse specialist.  I told him that was fine.  He got permission from the Area Medical Authority, but last I heard he was still waiting to hear back from Salt Lake. But he says it should all be approved and I can start my training in a few weeks.  He also said that because my mission president wasn't planning on me it will probably be easy for me to talk him into letting me have of a few months of light nurse-duty, heavy-proselyting until I get adjusted to everything. So that's exciting!

Then we got to go through a TON of orientation.  I met my companion.  Her name is Hermana Labrum.  She's from Smithfield, UT. She's 19 and she's awesome.  She has been so patient with me as I've been sick and we have had an awesome bond from the first second.  She's going Aguascalientes as well so we actually got a picture together in the airport before we even knew we were going to be companions. I absolutely adore her. 

We went back to our casa.  The casa sleep four to a room, there are 5 rooms and each room shares a bathroom.  Then there is a livingroom and kitchen, that are basically where we put our suitcases because we're not allowed to study in our casas.  And there's a laundry room that we can only use on p-days. They are very nice.  

The next day I met are district and at first we didn't all get along very well and I was VERY worried when they called our district leader (barely graduated, rich kid from Logan. He just seemed REAL stuck up and entitled) But that was my first lesson in humility because we all get along great and he's doing a pretty good job.  He good do a better job of making sure everyone stays on task but he's young and he's learning. 

Our Spanish teacher is named Hermano Sanchez (I called him Hermano Hernandez for two days and was pretty embarrassed when I realized it was not his name.) He is awesome.  He taught himself English by watching movies and it is about 1 million times better than my spanish so I am very impressed. 

On Friday we taught our first lesson with our "investigator" (we heard that he will be our teacher next week) Ricardo.  It had to be all in Spanish and mi compañera and I straight read to him.  It was not very good but it also could have been worse.  And we had to go a little off script when he told us he didn't know how to pray but it worked out. In our third lesson with him on Monday we tried just using bullet points and that went... Well we didn't say as much but at least we got to look at his face for part of the lesson.  Haha. It's so frustrating to know exactly what you want to say and just not have the spanish words to say it. Every workshop we've had about teaching they say "teach by the Spirit" and I'm sitting in my lessons like "As soon as the Spirit starts speaking to me in Spanish, I will be HAPPY to." Haha. 

I guess I shouldn't be too frustrated with my Spanish.  I, more or less, can get through a lesson (with a few hours preparation) and I can get through a basic meet and greet.  I can also give simple prayers and bear a brief testimony.  That's pretty incredible for one week! Hermano Sanchez had us get to know two of the latina missionaries and they asked how long we'd been in the MTC they were very impressed with our Spanish. Haha. And we had to do a service project and the lady we were working with only spoke Spanish.  She also said it was a very impressive conversation after 6 days.  So I guess something must be going right.  

I'm all out of time but I love you guys and I'll write you next week.

Much love!
Hermana Schmidt

The Airport

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
The Airport - Off to the Mexico MTC

We Arrive~

The ticket.

 First bag barely under..

Second bag 52 pounds!  But thanks to the nice ticket agent, it went through for free!!!

Airport group- besides mom behind the camera. 

So proud of you!

 Maybe Mara will miss her after all!

Last family photo for 18 months.