Monday, June 24, 2013

welcome to joysee ...

This has been the week of communication. I never realized how much I suffered in that attribute in my pre-mission life. I am still very much me.. and still have to work on it but I think it's funny how the Lord will put us in situations where we are backed into a corner and the only way out is to work on our Christlike attributes. Especially with goal setting. I have found that as I set my goal every night for the next day, that next day I am put into a situation where I have to practice that goal. Funny how that happens. Our goal in life is to become like Christ.. perfect. So in our lovely instruction manuel.. or rather known as the scriptures, and it's "easy to use guide" (preach my gospel), I have been making a list of Christlike attributes and putting my focus on on a day. At first it made me a little nervous, because they say that once you start praying for patience (or anything else) the Lord is just going to put you into a situation where you are going to REALLY need to apply it. And that is just what has happened. I am learning to just take the bull by the horns, bite the bullet, and change! Because any change that we are making towards becoming like Christ.. will never be a bad change!
OH remember that talk that I was giving yesterday? The one on D&C 133:3? Well I sat down in sacrament meeting and opened the.. (the word in english isn't coming to me but white paper that says the schedule of the meeting.. that!) and the scripture right inside was D&C 33:3. See the difference? 133:3, 33:3? Oops.. That was another point where the lack of the spanish language helped me grow. The Edlers and my comp were cracking up becuase the other funny part was that the other speaker spoke 400 words per minute and my 10 minute talk on D&C133;3 became a 20 minute talk on D&C 33:3! Well luckily I don't have a problem talking.. I'm really glad this branch had just taken me and sister Millward under their wings as theird little children. For that reason and when Sister Millward was playing the organ for sacrament meeting from the english hymn book and we were all singing from spanish (me still fulfilling my calling as the director). The only difference is that the spanish hymn book had an extra verse. Organ stopped.. but the few strong voices left in the congregation awkwardly sang the next few words.. nobody could compose themselves for that final verse. Even after Sister Millward started again on half of the wrong notes. Oh it was bad.. ha ha but NIna gave the closing prayer! Last week too! She is just awesome. We couldn't get her membership record in time last week for her to find names and go with us.. but she said that she doesn't want to go without us her first time. So this week is finding the name and next week is the temple!! So we get to go back! Yes go back..
I, Hermana Schwendiman, went to New York!! Every six months or so the mission gets to go the the temple and this was our month to do it. First of all I love New York!! Second of all.. I love the temple!! It was so incredible. We went with three other companionships and the best part was.. there were so many other missionaries there for the session! It was a little miracle because some of our good friends out here were there. Next closest thing to family that we have out here! I can't tell you have great that was. Just felt like home. Ok I hate to admit this but Sister Millward and I got a little lost. We had an appointment to get back to and the other Sisters we were with were going to be a while longer. So we went with ALL of the other missionaries back to the station. Harmless, right? Walked through time square, which was awesome, and got to the station. The bus station. Not the metro station. Here we are just following these missionaries with googly eyes on the city and we went all the way to the bus station. Well at least we got to see the city! It took us a little bit longer to get back to the metro station to take the train back to New Jersey... but we made it!! I am really anxious to go back with Nina. There's no place like home!
This is the week we also had to break into our apartment.. We both had assumed that the others had grabbed the keys and when we got to the car, we found out quickly that we didn't have them. So I got to apply a little bit of my rock climbing skills and climb up to our window and snatch the keys.. Oh the adventures of a missionary. Those adventures do not even compare to teaching though. To be able to stand back and watch someones life change. We are still working really hard with our investigators.. It's amazing that if you allow the spirit to guide you completely, in everything you say, that sometimes you can be just as shocked at the person you are teaching. I aboslutely love when we don't realize what in the world we are saying until we've said it and then all of a sudden something clicks in their head. You can see in in their face. Their eyebrows raise and their mouth drops. It's because it's true. All of it. Every single little peice. Its all part of His plan. This work is amazing. I love it!! I wish I had more time to write but I love all of you!
Hermana Schwendiman


Monday, June 17, 2013

nutha week, nutha dolla

Well it is another week but not another dollar.. we prefer souls. Missionary work is amazing. We are given so many little gifts to help people. Little promptings. Just part of the plan. Like today, Sister Millward and I were out getting frozen yogurt and enjoying a beautiful New Jersey day on a street that would remind you of a the most busy street in a small town. We were just sitting there talking and a man walked buy holding maybe four or five grocery bags in each arm and before I realized what I was saying, I said to him, " Hey do you need help carrying your groceries? We have time and would love to help!" He resembled someone a little like popeye but just look so tattered. Just so exhausted. He was shocked at first and said he was a little flattered and had a short conversation with us and left with a nice smile. Just a harmless offer but he rejected kindly. Anyways we went throughout the day and ended up doing a couple things out of our normal P-day order and ended up at the library. We sat down at the computers and Sister Millward leaned over to me and said, "Look who it is" Right next to us.. Popeye. We said hi to him and started talking. He almost immediately said that he wanted to give us his address. We said that we don't believe that it is chance that we ran into him twice and he was astonished at it. He knew. He wanted our message. He said he called the helpline a couple days ago and asked the lady to pray for him to help him and he said that this is not by chance. We got to talk to him for quite a while.. sometihng that I've started to do differently that I haven't done ever in my life is that when people start talking and confessing their lives and problems (Everybody thinks that because we are missionaries that we need to hear ALL of them..) that every time one is said, I can think of a part of the gospel or a lesson to teach that applies.. This missionary mind of mind! It's very fun tough sometimes. Kind of like a little game. Which answer would be best for that problem?
I think that something I have learned about this week is to be in the here and now. As humans we always put off our happiness for the future. For a more convenient time to be happy. A more convenient time to spend the energy that we don't have to worry about making things right. But that's so backwards. There is never going to be a time in our lives where every single little thing is perfect and right where and how you want it. So, being happy and making the most of here and now is what i've been focussing on. Especially when the first councilor of the branch presidency asks me when we got to church yesterday if I wouldn't mind giving a ten minute talk on D&C 133:3.. and then told me when sacrament meeting was starting that he was only kidding. He'll just have me speak next week.. ha ha here and now!
I love the things that people say to us. Like the old man that just came and gave me and my comp a piece of candy and said to keep smiling and doing good work because its hard to be away from home and then asked us what state it is that the J.A.'s are from. Oh sir, we are not Jahovas witnesses. We're mormons. Or the lady in the grocery store whose response to our introduction was, " That's like one step below Amish, Right?" Well close.. other than the president of our church uses an I-pad..
But the work is going good! I love being a missionary! We had a lot of meetings this week and one of the things that I really took from them was how to be bold and loving. BOLD AND LOVING! So this week we have been working on trying to find the medium between there. It's easy to be bold and easy to be loving but that medium.. that's where we aim for! One of our members had a brother come into town for a month and a half and.. we have him on date! For the 30th! His name is Gemayorlay.. (hem-eye-or-lie-) So we have been working really hard on him, Frank, and Steven. There are also two other families, Julio's kids, and Mariana's grandkids that we are really trying to work on becuase Julio and Mariana are less active but want their family baptized.. so we'll be working double time on them! We just want them to realize how important the gospel is. We aren't doing this for ourselves. We are here to make them realize that the only reazon that they are here on the earth is to return and live with their Faither in heaven and we know exactly how to get there. In the that beautiful blue book. Like our little road map!
Nina is now a proud holder of a temple recommend and she is planning on going to the temple with the whole branch on their temple day this saturday. We are really hoping that we can get her membership record and that name before then so we can go with them! Even if we can't.. we couldn't be more happy for her! She is incredible and has officially set the standard to how every convert should be. And it all started with the members. It was all them and now she is apart of their family.
Well I love you all and hope that you have a great week. Onward and upward!
Hermana Schwendiman!

Monday, June 10, 2013

the rain

Transfers came and went and Sister Millward and I are stuck together! We go together like peanut butter and jelly and are so exctied to stay together in this area! We are, on the other hand, losing our zone leader, district leader, and two of our roommates. It's been so fun to live with five of us in the apartment. Five of us and one bathroom! It's not as tricky as it sounds.. unless showers get started late and you end up getting in ten minutes before studies are supposed to start! Speaking of showers.. it poured this week! So once a week everyone that drives gets to take a day and get a little taste of what it's like to be a walking missionary. It's usually on a thursday but we had a couple appointments that we needed to have and for some reason couldn't get moved around. So we planned it for Friday. We were a little naive of the weather though, becuase as wek left that day it was bright and sunny. Beautiful day in New Jersey. But as we walked out of an appartment building after an appointment we were unaware that the forecast was rain... all day.. by the time we got around the corner we were dripping from head to toe. Complete downpour. We got home, ate a little and were a little more clever and thought to grab our umbrellas this time. Brand new dry clothes and off we went. We stayed relatively dry until after our last appointment. The rain just got harder and those umrellas were useless. That was such a fun day. We do not have rain like that in Utah. 
On other news I full on stiff-armed a stranger on the street! We had been walking back to our car this friday and I saw a latino man just a couple yards aways. Perfect. We shared a short message with him and he was SO excited to talk to us. We started to wind up our lesson and he bolted at me. With arms wide open to give me a hug. This had not happened yet. Usually you can stick out your hand quick enough to just leave it with that.. but he was just a super enthusiastic little latino man and my first instinct was a stiff arm.. he had basically gotten both of his arms around me as I stood there trying to keep that distance between us! I went straight into panick mode. Watch out everyone, I'm a missionary!
I never realized what it was really like to be a missionary. I had heard all growing up about what it meant to love the people, forget yourself and go to work, how hard it was, how rewarding it was, the points where you realize why you are there, and the points that you realize you have no idea why you are there. I have learned more that I thought was possible.. but I think that one of the things I have learned the most is that it's not about me. In any situation. It's not about me. I have been learning that as I learn to really love and care for my companion, and to realize how many people there are that don't have the gospel in their lives, and to realize that they (everyone else) are more important. I have also realized that if we really focuss on others, we will be taken care of. I think that is a lesson that I will continue to work on learning my whole life. It's hard though. But the things that seem most important to us, are the things that did not come easy.
Frank. Frank is from Costa Rica, 27, and has the personality of my oldest brother! Every time we talk to him he reminds me of my brother. The way he acts and talks! We had met with Frank a couple times over the past couple of weeks and he is just hungry and doesn't know it. Every time we get there he always starts with, "What do you have for me today?" He took a huge step, and came to church yesterday!! Something that we have been focussing on is the power of prayer. One of my favorite things to experience is listening to someone pray for the first time or the first time in a very long time. They seem to be the most honest and sincere prayers becuase they have to realize that they are actually talking to their Father in heaven. The power of prayer is huge. I think I forget sometimes how lucky we are to know that at any point in time, we can have a conversation with our Father in heaven. So many people don't know this. They don't know how much He loves them and is just ready to answer their prayers and bless them. He is just waiting on us to act. Frank accepted a baptisimal date yesterday!! The 30th of this month! How lucky are we as missionaries to watch people change their lives.
Nina is SO incredible! She has been working on her family history like crazy! We were at her house this week and her sister called her with the date of her grandfathers death. It was so cool to watch her get taught in the Family History center and just watch her jaw drop and her face go into pure shock when she started to find her relatives. Once we get her membership record number, she will be good to go. We have a temple recommend interview set up for her and once we find a name, we can all go together! I love watching her get so excited about temple work. She is just part of the ward. These new missionaries coming into our ward are going to think she's been a member her whole life. She is so passionate about it. And about missionary work. She is always asking us if we have found anyone else to baptize. 
Love you all so much! Onward and Upward!
Hermana Schwendiman

Monday, June 3, 2013

JaJaJa vut a veek

First of all I have the pictures of Ninas baptism. She is awesome and got confirmed yesterday. She walked past us right after and grabbed her heart and just said, I can already feel it! She sent us a text later that day saying "I love you! My heart is full of joy and my love for Jesus Christ is unbreakable!' So basically Nina was the perfect investigator.
The life of a missioary is hilarious! We are constantly put into situations that make our work so interesting. For instance, last week Sister Millward was called right before church and asked to give a talk. Speaking of church, I now lead the music in sacrament. Something I learned how to do once I think.. Luckily our precious little branch averages about 30-40 people a meeting and they just sit there and chuckle at me because they can see I have no idea what I am doing.. but I'm almost to the professional level. I was thinking of maybe getting a job leading music when I got home. I mean last week I was leading a song that I had no idea what we were singing. I was turned to the wrong page and was just mouthing spanish words and hoping to tempo was correct. Another one was yesterday as we got to church the relief society president called us and asked us if we could give the lesson. Of course we can!! Those phone calls are hilarious because we always are SO HAPPY to do the work and when we hang up we just look at each other and laugh because we have no idea what we are doing! Fake it till you make it right?
The language is coming along great too! That one is a little harder to fake... but sometime if you mumble and talk really fast they might understand what you are trying to say. I've been working on my latino accent this week. My goal is to have somebody ask me what country I'm from! I might be able to pull it off one day! I have been working so hard on it that its becoming a little bit of a challenge to speak in english without sounding a little latino... Especially if the person doesn't look white. My brain automatically thinks "speak spanish" but sometimes the switch from spanish to english doesn't happen as quickly. This week we knocked a door and a little latino man came out and the conversation went a little like this,
"ALO!"-Sister Millward
"Hola"- Him
"How are you?" (Added in a STRONG accent for that one!) - Me!
Oh he looked so confused.. and apparently I did too. Sister Millward was telling me that right after I said that I made this face as if I was so confused as to what just came out of my mouth! I was! 
Oh the life of a missionary. We were in the library to look up something on and this man waved us over. This generally does not happen unless they really know who we are, usually members. So we went over and this man, probably in his 50's started to talk to us. First of all.. he was loco! We had no idea what he was saying because he was talking in three different languages and none of them made any sense. The spanish didn't and especially the english. He started to tell us how beautiful we were and starting singing some good ol' John Lennon to us. (spell?) We quickly closed the conversation and he turned to Sister millward and said "Hermana, I have fallen in love with you!! Are you married?" My jaw dropped. The best part was Sister Millwards reaction. " THAT..... is NOT okay" ha ha and then he said, " Oh, not in this context?" " No not ever" she said! and then he asked us if we could still give him a card and come over to his house! THERES NO WAY! ha ha Sometimes those things just happen!
The most dramatic thing that happened to us this week is this. With a new month, comes a new baptisimal goal! So.. we knelt down and prayed about what our goal should be. Four came to my mind. FOUR! The best part is after saying a prayer like that or feeling like you got an answer like that, especially when you have zero investigators!!!! is that you just look at each other hoping that the other person says what they thought first, and that it's the same number! Four is what we both got.. ha ha with zero, absolutely zero investigators. So we were at our zone meeting and everyone generaly set a goal for one or two.. and in walks President.. and its almost our turn to say our goal. Four... seriously. Its just funny sometimes. But we know for some reason or another we need to be concentrated on getting four this month wether we actually get them or not. We have made our focus really strong on finding those, like NIna, who have been prepared. Its almost a waste of our time our here to try and convince and drag people to be baptized. We need four more Nina's. One of the most amazing things that happened the following couple days we taught two people, Frank and Steven, and that said at a couple points during the lesson, " I think I already know that it's true" It will almost throw you off your seat when someone tells you that. They said that they would prepare for baptism but these two men are really going to need some extra help. Lots of prayers.
Something I am really grateful for is that I am teaching the latino people. They are some of the most humble and generous people. Generally willing to listen to a message about Christ and help us in any way that they can. This week we learned how to make Papusas, and to eat them really well. (generally with your fingers. Its super lady like!) We had a couple great dinners with some of the best people this week! Can't wait to come home and cook for everyone!
Two more things. There is this bug that comes around every 17 years.. I have no idea what they are called. Can't remember. But they are discusting! They stay in the ground for the whole time and them come up to reproduce and shed their skin. When they fly around its sounds like you are in the middle of a swarm of crickets. and their dead skin just stays where they left it. Little creepy! They are harmless though!
And the last thing, Did you know its illegal to fill up your own gas here? I haven't gotten out of the car to fill up in months! Weird at first but now I'm thinking that Utah should adopt that too!
Love you all!
Hermana Schwendiman

Nina's baptism