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