Tuesday, May 28, 2013

nina's baptism

The baptism was amazing!! NIna's baptism was such an incredible experience. They day started off with a panicked start.. chaotic to say the least. But everything about the baptisimal service was perfect. Steven had come to church, which was a miracle. He is super shy and doesn't open up, but I found out how to do it. Just a little conversation that led into video games. I resorted back to my more tomboyish stages of life and we had a really good conversation about halo. Who would have guessed.. so this is going to be interesting because Nina called us last night and we are going to start teaching him this week!! It was his first time at church, AND he saw his mom get baptized so it was a little bit of an overload for him.. but the fact that he is going to let us teach him is a huge miracle. The actual baptism went really well. I gave my first baptisimal talk, with only a little bit of pressure that our mission president, stake president, branch president, AP's, DL's, and the whole branch was there. Piece of cake.. The actually baptism was amazing. They were in the font and Elder Christensen, our DL, started the baptisim and Nina just started to cry. It was a really special moment to me becuase she looked so happy. She was aware of what she was doing, and she could feel the importance of it. After the baptism, I was the first person that she walked up the stairs to. If you have ever been in this position you can understand what I mean when you get to be there immediately after. She just burried her face in her towel and cried. No words can describe people directly after they are baptized. I have had that happen one time before just right before my mission. My friend Nicole was baptized in Feburary and I got to be there to help her after she was baptized. The overwhelming happiness and relief they feel. Its incredible. You almost want to just hold them and hope that their complete perfection will somehow rub off on you. Not exactly how it works.. We had a really cool experience with Nina earlier this week, we were teaching her about the sabbath day and it was something that she was really having a hard time with. I had the thought come to my head that we should pray. So I suggested the we kneel down, in the middle of our lesson, and say a prayer. She was a little confused and didn't quite understand the concept of recieving and answer. But she trusted us and we all knelt down and she said the most sincere, heartfelt prayer I have every heard. It really taught me how to talk to my Father in heaven. And how I can talk to him about anything. I have never felt the spirit like that in a prayer. The member we had with us was bawling and I was just in astonishment. After she ended her prayer she just sat back and tears filled her eyes and she grabber her heart. She said she had this burning feeling and just felt so at peace. I can do it, were the words that came out of her mouth. He will help me... MAN!! How cool is that?? I wish I had more time to write but we have another lesson with Nina. About family history. The announcement was made this week that if we got a newly baptized member to the temple within 6 weeks of their baptism with one of their own family names that we could go with them! Talk about motivation! New York, here we come!! Sorry no pictures this week.. I'll make sure I get them next week! Caio!

Monday, May 20, 2013

watermelon carving

Once again, another incredible week! It sounds like it has been at home too! It started off with watermelon carving. We, being the creative two that we are, decided to carve President Jeppson... and it went somewhat like halloween carving. My ideas overbear my talents! Somehow though, it kind of does look like him.. if you squint and look real close.

 I find that the learning curve never get reached on a mission. Which is really good because it keeps it really entertaining. For example, this week we did a little bit more tracting and we were knocking on a few doors and ran into a couple interesting people. One man, said that he saw Jesus as something kind of like a cartoon character, like tigger or goofy. That one stumped me.. and then just a couple houses down we got the priveledge of having someone threaten us to call the cops! That was a first. Oh missionary work.. sometimes that's just what it is. But other times, people are placed in our path that are more than ready for the gospel. Being able to find the people that have been prepared is the tricky part, but is also the most rewarding. Last week the english sisters refered us to a lady named Nina, from Puerto Rico. So we called her on saturday and invited her to church. AND...She came! and brought her five year old son Diego. She loved it! So we met with her the next day, last monday, and taught her an incredible lesson. She talked about how great she felt at church and how comfortable she was and that she wanted more. The greatest thing is to watch someone come to church and to watch the members take her under their wing. I can imagin it would be like watching your child go to school for the firsr time and watching the other kids befriend them. So, Nina asked us for more.  And more we gave her! Wednesday we met with her again, and then Friday. Well.. long story short, Nina is getting baptized this sunday the 26th!! She is our little miracle. We have had a couple experiences with her that are going to effect the rest of my mission and the rest of my life. For instance, last night all of a sudden ALL of our plans fell through. So we took a second to figure out what we were going to do next and the phone rang. Nina. She was having such a hard night and just in a panick. Well, it just so happened that we were free (I wonder who made that one possible ha ha) so we hurried over there. I got to share with Nina something that my mom told me before my mission that i'm pretty sure she doesn't remember but has changed my life. I had been struggling with actually coming on the mission and there were a lot of idea and plans that I had  that would make it awfully easy to stay home and I remember my mom telling me that she could not believe how hard Satan was working on me because he knew the effect I was going to have on a mission. That Satan will work his hardest when he sees the potential we have to ruin his plan. It was the same for Nina. He knows the effect that this is going to have on Nina and her two boys. The role model she is going to be to them and the changes that she is going to experience in her life. After sharing this with Nina she started to get really emotional and grabbed the bible that we had given her the lesson before. She turned to Matthew 20:18  "For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them." She turned to us and said I KNOW this is true. I know that He is here right now and that I am not alone. That moment right there, made any difficulty I had getting on the mission, or any challenge I have faced on the mission, all worth it. She has changed my life and I know she is going to be amazing. Her older son, Stevenson, had promised her that he is going to come to church next week!
It's interesting to see the work being done from a missionaries point of view. To realize what matters most in our lives the backwards way. By seeing what we have, that others don't. Well what I do know is that the only way to go is onward and upward. And that the church is true, the book is blue, and Jesus was a Mormon! ,

Hermana Schwendiman

Monday, May 6, 2013


Oh the missionary life.. there once were two Sister Missionaries contacting a random gentleman on the streets of Madison New Jersey. The three of them were standing next to a shop and having a pleasant conversation about some gospel related topics, the spirit was there and all was going well and then all of a sudden, BAM! A bird flew right next to the two Sister missionaries and right into the shop window.. dropped to the ground, fluttered around for a little and then flew away! Okay it really was quite funny. Hermana Millward screamed so loud that I think it scared the man we were talking to more than the actual bird did. Little did we know were were actually in the set of a windex commercial
Man, this has been a great week. Most definitely a week of miracles. We were in Madison earlier that day stopping by to visit a previous investigator. We walked up the stairs to his apartment and knocked on the door. He came to the door, but it wasn't him. So we ended up talking to him, Fankie, for quite a while. Amazing experience, got a return appointment, and asked him if he knew where our guy lived. He said maybe the floor down. So down we went, knocked on the door and a lady came to the door. Also had no idea who we were talking about. So.. naturally we taught her. She let us in and we taught about the restoration of the gospel. I think sometimes we talk about the first vision so much that is becomes something so normal to us. But when we were telling her Josephs first vision, at the point when he said, "and he spoke unto me, calling me by name, and said pointing to the other, this is my Beloved son, hear him!" Her face was of pure astonishment. Almost the face you make when you hear a glass plate hit the ground behind you! It really is incredible. That was a really special lesson to me. So real. I cannot believe the help we get from the spirit. Sometimes my companion will look at me and I know that's my que to speak and I will just start talking. Spanish comes out but a lot of the times I have to ask Sister Millward what I said during a lesson becuase I will speak with nothing going through my head translating it! But we made another apointment with her too and then asked her if she knew anyone else that would need a message about Jesus Christ. She told us that she thought maybe the door across from her and the one across from Frankie. Up we went. Knocked, well, in short, another guy answered the door, we talked to him, and we also have an appointment to come back and teach him and four other guys he lives with. (that should be interesting) All of this happened from a prompting to visit our lost previous investigator the night before. I wish I had time to sit and write all of the things that happen from little promptings but that would take far to long. So I have had the solution to just hire a camera crew. That'll be fine right? 
Okay how great are companionships! We are up laughing every night in tears because of some of the things that happen to us during the day. One of them being when we were at a members house and getting to know her and her daughter, my companion had  to run up to the bathroom so I got to know the family while she was gone. (p.s. I'm sharing this story with permission) A bit of time had passed and she came back down and starting to share a message with them. At one point in the lesson the Sister left the room to grab her phone from her daughter to get a contact number for us. My companion turned to me and whispers, "I dropped my ring in the toilet!" I started to laugh so hard my eyes were watering. Do you realize how hard it is to be laughing that hard and to make sure that someone in the other room doesn't hear you? Sister Millward sucessfuly retreived the ring though, and spent a lot of time scrubbing her hands, hence the longer bathroom break.
I had my first real trial yesterday.. Fast sunday and we had three appointments back to back after church. All with members. That usually means food. Which was great, we were hungry. So the first apartment we got to we were sitting at the table while she finished making our meal. I was watching her shred carrots and put them in a bowl, get out a box of raisins and mix them together. Then, she got out mayo.. thats fine. I can handle that wopping spoonfull of mayo she just put in. But then, she put in another, and another, and another. I'm pretty sure she used 1/3 of her jar of mayo with two shredded carrots. I'm not exactly the biggest fan of mayo. She served a huge spoonful of it on our plates and then added two huge chicken legs. First of all the chicken was fabulous. The problem that we had, is that we know in the latino cultures, if you don't finish whats on the table it means you didn't like it. My comp had a huge serving of noodles on her plate and I didn't because I'm allergic. But that meant that those carrots had to be eaten... So I did. She never stopped cooking. We ate and she cooked. She made us this thick corn tortilla with ham and butter. Im nauseous at this point. SO FULL. We finish that and two bowls of fruit are put in front of us. Finished em, like a champ! We left with smiles on our faces and stomachs beyond full. The most daunting part.. was that we had two more appointments left and I was already so full I thought I was going to throw up. This was easily the weakest part of my week.. It still makes me laugh that the most overwhelmed I have been here is when we were fed too much.. That's one of those strange lessons on gratitude that I have had. I said a small prayer in my heart that my stomach would be empty (and not by throwing up) for the next lessons so we could show them that we loved their cooking as well! Somehow it was! Little blessings.
What a great week! So many good memories and even more spiritual experiences! Love you all so much!
H. Schwendiman

Me and the BIRD window 
A packet we got from the ward mission leader with info
Mi apartmento

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

day 2

Well hello fam!
I know I just wrote you but luckily our schedule got flipped around a little bit and my companion still needs to write letters to President Jeppson and home so I get to as well! Well the good news it that I am in Morristown.. that is good news because it's the only city I know the name of! SO I have been assigned to Morristown but they have just split the area and we are basically starting out fresh. Let me back up a second to yesterday. First morning in the mission and almost all of the Elders and Sisters coming in were able to fit in the mission home. That is 31 missionaries that they had to house and feed. Eight of them are waiting on visa's to go to Brazil or Peru but it was a full house! I don't think many people got good sleep that night or sleep at all, there were eight people in our room and everyone looked as if they had been up for days. I even scared myself when I looked in the mirror. Anyway after all of our orientation meeting we were finally all standing in the auditorium. Standing red rover style. And then they would call out a trainer and then new missionary. They called out Sister Millward and I turned to the sister next to me and said, thats my companion. Sure enough. My trainer is Sister Millward from idaho. She is awesome!! She is so aweseome in fact, that they have her training after only being in the mission for ten weeks! She was also my street mom. what that means is that right after they pick us up from the airport they drop us off at a street corner in Newark and we all grab a missionary who was already here. We started by singing a song, "called to serve" and the minute you all sing "Onward" All of the missionaries bolted every which way! EVERY! So half of us, the newbies, are standing there looking at each other in panic, until someone yelled "get your companion." So 60 some odd missionaries literally sprinting down the streets of Newark and  our purpose was contacting. Still running and talking to people on the street, I talked to two people before I met Silva and her son Zion. And ended up talking with them for quite a while and cool enough she wanted to look up the missionaries. So we gave her a card because somehow we ended up without a pen to get her information. First lesson, always have a pen! So back to today. We actually had zone conference this morning. Really great and really spiritual. But guess who got called on first to teach in front of everyone.. Me and Sister Milward! Awesome! Bring on the pressure, but then we split into groups and did some more role playing. It feels so bizarre to be a missionary. Before I had left I had assumed in my head what it was going to be and feel like to be a missionary and now that I am here, it almost throws me off a little bit that I am still me. I didn't magically transform into a missionary. Quite odd.. but anyway we got to meet with the branch missoin leader and his wife last night but since it's new we didn't have any appointments set up. Oh man, you should see our apartment. Its a two bedroom apartment, but there are two companionships in there that each need a study room. In result of that we have four beds in the living room! And our area is incredibly beautiful. We live in a forrest. I felt like snow white calling all of the animals this morning when we went on a run. Bunnies and birds and geese everywhere with the tallest green trees down every street. So I am super lucky. Aparently all of New Jersey isn't this green but here, it is!! Well love you all very  much!
Hna. Schwendiman