Friday, January 29, 2016

Week 27: Instruments ~ January 25, 2016

Hola everybody! 

Well it's hard to believe that another week has already come and gone.  It feels like the time is starting to pass so rapidly. Maria came to church again this week so we're still headed towards the 13th of February for her baptism.  Another investigator also came to church. Her names is Jesica and she lives with a less active member of the church.  She would also have a baptismal date but we can never meet with her because she's always working. But the good thing is that she still comes to church. 

We also exchanges this week with the sister training leaders. It a little odd because now both my companion and I went to their area and we spent 24 hours there the 4 of us.  But we learned a lot and I'm excited to apply it all this week.

Lately I've been thinking about the opportunity that we have to be instruments in the hands of the Lord.  It started when the bishop here was talking about how before the hurricane all the members here were asked to fast so that mexico would be protected from the hurricane and at the end of the day almost nothing happened here.  I was thinking a lot about that. Because I'm sure there were a lot of people who both did and did not fast.  So is there some sort of a threshold that God has and if enough people are obedient they receive the blessings? That did not really meant sense to me.  Then this week when we were teaching Maria I was thinking "I'm so grateful that I'm here serving a mission, because if not she might never have been able to learn all this" But just as soon as I thought that I realized that is not at all true.  When it comes to what happens to, or the blessings received by others we have absolutely no control over what happens.  She isn't learning the gospel because I'm here. She's learning the gospel because she was prepared and accepted the invitation.  If I wasn't here there would be other another missionary.  The only thing that changed is the blessing that I received.  And I think it's the same with the fast. Those who participated received a stronger testimony of the fast, those who did not missed the opportunity.  God always provides us opportunities to be instruments in His hands. If we don't take them others aren't really going to suffer, the opportunity to serve just passes to someone else.  This also made me think about the friends I've had who've joined the church.  The majority of them joined without any help from me.  Had I be bold enough to share the gospel with them I could've been a part of the miracle of their conversion, but I didn't take the opportunity. They are still receiving the blessings of church membership, it was me who missed out on the blessings. I don't know if that all makes sense but it's what's been on my mind this week.  

I hope you all have a great last week of January and I'll write again in February. :) 

Love you!
Hermana Schmidt

Week 26: 6 Months! ~ January 18, 2016

Well another week has come and gone. I can't believe how quickly the time is passing.   This week will be six months since I left home for the MTC. Crazy. 
This was kind of an odd week because all of the indicators that we use to track our work as missionaries were really low, but Maria came to church again and she is really excited to get baptized in February. She told her boss this week that she won't be working Sundays anymore because she's Mormon and she has to go to church. Haha. I love it! We are really excited about the progress she's making.
Well... That's about all I have to report for this week. We still don't have a new house, but I know the Lord will provide. Keep praying for me and that we'll be able to find new people to teach this week.

Con mucho amor,
Hermana Schmidt 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week 25: Peace ~ January 11, 2016

Well my first full week in a different area. It was so weird not to know my way around again, but I feel like I am learning much faster this time. It took me almost two full transfers to know my way around my last area and after a week I know (more or less) the neighborhood were we live and the one where the majority of our investigators live.  

I think I forgot to write about my new companion. Her name is Hermana Barzola. She's from Argentina and so she is the first person I've met here who has a notable accent (apart from the other missionaries from the US).  She's 19 and she just finished her first 2 transfers, so combined we have less than 9 months in the mission field. It feels a little bit like when you were a little kid and you looked up and couldn't see your parents.  It's a little empowered and also pretty nerve wracking.  But she has a great attitude and a lot of love for the work so I'm sure everything else will work out.  

The area here is really different from my last area. Primarily because there are no hills here! I feel like I could walk for days! Also the other companionship in our ward are 2 missionaries from the US and they're always speaking English. It is the oddest thing. 4 months of no English and now almost daily.  I'm not going to lie, I don't love it.  But I don't really speak English to them and so they're starting to speak more Spanish. 
This area has it's own unique challenges. One is that we have to find a cheaper house. Our apartment where we live now costs almost 1000 pesos more than the mission limit and the problem is that almost all the "safe" neighborhoods are really expensive, but I have faith that the Lord will provide something for us. 

Also the last few missionaries here have not been very good at following up with their investigators and so there are more than 50 teaching records in our apartment of "investigators" but many haven't been visited in quite some time so we're going to try and visit them all to see who might really be interested.  
We had 2 invistigators at church this Sunday! One is named Jessica and she is living with her boyfriend who is a less active member of the church.  We're working with them so they can get married and she can get baptized.  The other is named Mari and she... well she's a little odd but very excited about the church..  She's an older lady (60's) and she lives alone. Hopefully things keep going well with her.  

Well my spiritual thought for the week come from "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Howard W. Hunter"   Chapter 2 “My Peace I Give unto You”.  It is so easy to worry here. Worry about my family and friends at home, what I'm going to do with my life, our investigators, my companion, the way I teach, the way I talk to people in the street, the fact that I still hardly speak the language, and a million other things.  But I loved this lesson from President Hunter. There will always be a million and one things to worry about, but we'll be alright as long as we know in whom we have trusted.
“… in the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
I love you!
Hermana Schmidt

Sunday, January 10, 2016

December 24 & 25 Photos

Week 24: Judgment Day 2016 ~ January 4, 2016


Well we had transfers this week and now I'm in Aguascalientes!  After 4 months in Zacatecas the time has come for me to learn a new area. I was sad to leave my previous ward in Zacatecas and am nervous to have to learn a whole new place, but I'm excited to get to meet new people and keep expanding my horizons.
My last week in Zacatecas was pretty great. Still very hard because... well it's Zacatecas and it was also new years, but there were a lot of miracles.  The first was when we we were teaching a couple that are members of the church.  The husband has been a member for more than 30 years but was inactive for almost all of that. The wife got baptized a little over a year ago and is honestly one of the kindest, most loving people I have ever met. Many times during our lesson with this family I wonder why she ever married him.  They started dating when they were older and got married the day before the hermana was baptized.  Although she is very sweet he is... very critical.  I don't think I've ever heard him say a nice thing about anyone other than himself.  It was very hard for us to visit this family and listen to the unkind things this hermano said to his sweet wife.  Tuesday we went to share a message with them and we were teaching one thing and suddenly we started talking about charity and about how it has to be reflected, not only in our actions, but also in our thoughts and our words.  I honestly don't think this hermano heard a single word that we said, but at the end of the lesson the hermana had tears in her eyes and told us that the lesson was an answer to her prayers.  I've never had someone tell me that something I did was an answer to their prayers and it was so special to feel like I was fulfilling my purpose as an instrument in the hands of the Lord.

After that we went to a lesson with a family of investigators. We were in the living room talking with the son of the family when his sister and the dad came out with a cake and they were singing and there was presents. The whole nine yards! It was so sweet that they remember my birthday and wanted to celebrate with me.  

New Years Eve and New Years day were a little slow because there was almost no one in the streets and we could only visit members.  If I thought Christmas day was a hard day for missionary work it was only because I'd never been a missionary on New Years Day. Most of the people celebrated until the very early morning and so they we're asleep until well into the afternoon.  

Sunday, not one of our investigators came to church, but it was still a very special day.  First because there were more people there than have been the whole time I've been in that ward. Almost 100 people.  There were a lot of people who have a lot of time outside the church and it was exciting to see them there.  The other thing that happened is on Saturday, the elders talked to someone in the street and invited him to church.  The elders gave us his number because he lives in our area, and guess what! HE CAME TO CHURCH! Never had even one lesson with the missionaries and he came to church. Not only that but he got up and bore his testimony! Well.. More explained why he came to church. He doesn't really have a testimony to share but it was still and awesome thing.  And because there is someone who is genuinely interested, of course I was transferred to another area and won't be able to teach him.  But that's OK.  I just have to start looking for people who are as prepared as he is here in my new area.  

This week I was ready in Gospel Principles about Judgment Day, and I really like something that it said there.  It says "In reality, every day is a day of judgment. We speak, think, and act according to celestial, terrestrial, or telestial law. Our faith in Jesus Christ, as shown by our daily actions, determines which kingdom we will inherit." I love that! It really makes you think about the choices that you're making and which type of law they follow.  

Well I love you all! Have a great year!! 

Hermana Schmidt

Week 23: I don't know about you, but I'm feeling 22! ~ December 28, 2015

Haha. Just kidding. I feel no different now that I'm 22. We were going to throw me a callejoneada (which is a birthday party that is traditional to Zacatecas. There is a band and a donkey with barrells of any drinkable liquid and they walk/dance through the streets of downtown.) but it turns out that renting a donkey is rather expensive and we also are not allowed to throw parties as missionaries. Haha. 

Well Christmas is a pretty boring time to be a missionary. No one wants us to visit them so we have a lot of activities. Which is sort of fun and sort of crummy because it makes you feel like you're not fulfilling your purpose. But that's ok.  We still had a good week and a good Christmas.  I made a lot of tamales. Tamales are the traditional Christmas fare here in Zacatecas so we helped a lot of people make tamales for there Christmas parties and now we have a fridge full.  

No one came to church again. Maybe I'll just stop writing that no one came to church and you all can just assume that unless I say that someone came, nobody came. But almost no one in the ward was there either. Everyone went traveling for the holidays.  But as always, new week, new start.  

Keep praying for me and for Zacatecas! Love you!

Hermana Schmidt

Week 21: Una Casa del Senor ~ December 14, 2015


This week was super terrible numbers wise again.  Turns out December is a terrible month for missionary work here, because everyone is super busy with holiday stuff.  But it's all good because we're still working hard. And the miracles are coming, I'm sure of it. Maybe it will be for the next missionaries in this area but they're coming. 

The awesome part about this week is that we got to see the dedication of the new temple in Tijuana!! It was especially awesome because we don't have a temple here in our mission so that is as close to the temple as I'm going to get in this next year or so.  President Uchtdorf y Elder Oaks were at the dedication and it was awesome to hear them, and the new temple presidency speak. I hope you all appreciate and take advantage of the plethora of temples there.  

Well I love you all and I appreciate your prayers and your support.  
Until next week. 

Hermana Schmidt