Monday, July 15, 2013

adrenaline rush

SO if you knew me before my mission, you would know that I had a little bit of a craving for adrenaline.. I haven't changed much in that catergory.. (don't worry mom, nothing happened) but I have used that to be able to be a little more daring in the mission. The little adrenaline rush right before you ask someone to be baptized, the rush before walking up to a complete stranger on the streets to introduce them into the gospel ( even if they do listen to your whole lesson and then the moment  you mention Joseph Smith they grab your shoulder and look you straight in the eyes and then say "I knew It!! YA'LLS Jahovas!!!" and then storm off.. um, excuse me sir.. we're actually called Mormons..) The adrenaline rush you get when you look at the program (always the most exciting time of the week) and see that the special musical number is a duet with your companion that you were going to prepare for the next week.. (Yes Sister Millward and I stood in front of this humble little congregation and sang "nearer my God to thee" acapela, and in spanish.. First time I have sung in public since I was in high school!! BUT looking out into the congregation, there were two less actives that we have been working really hard with, that were there for the first time in a long time and they both had tears streaming down their cheeks. There's always a reason for everything. The Lord knew that there needed to be a miscommunication and that we needed to sing yesterday instead of next week. Always a reason for everything)
This week is really going to be about Vicent y Elsa. They are a couple of the "I only believe in the Bible" ers.. But complete miracles have happened!! So how i'm going to explain this to you is by copy and pasting what my companion wrote to her family.. It's not a laziness thing.. Maybe it is.. But one thing that I have learned as a missionary is to use your resources!! It's a little bit long but it's a great story if you care to read. If not.. Just know.. He has a plan for us and nothing happens by chance!
Not by chance, about 7 weeks ago we were walking the streets of Boonton and found a cute little old Guatemalan lady who told us about how strong her faith was in God. Not by chance, we made an appointment to visit with her. We knew she had breast cancer, and that she had a family. And not by chance, we decided to teach her The Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ (imagine that).
She sent us away, telling us she only believed in the Bible to be the word of God, knowing for a surety that though we were nice girls, and we did good things, we had nothing to offer her except maybe some warm and fuzzy feelings for a minute, before we started talking about The Book of Mormon and a modern day prophet.
Not by chance, 2 weeks ago we got a referral from the Assistants, who work our area but in English, leading us towards "Elsa and Vicente. Guatemalan. She's fiesty- Sister Millward should get along well with her."
Not by chance, we ended up contacting that referral. As we searched for the given address, our jaws dropped as we came up to the same house as the little Guatemalan lady we had seen so many weeks ago. We knocked; she laughed, and invited us in.
Her hair had grown some- she was going through chemo when we met her first- and she had just gotten a mastectomy. Tears filled her eyes as she spoke of the pain that she felt, and the sadness at not feeling very beautiful anymore. We listened, knowing that God had directed us to her, and then the Elders to her, not by chance. Still though, she would not accept the Book of Mormon.
I have never prayed for anyone before the way I have prayed for her. We had several appointments, all filled with hardly any success, it seemed. We became better friends, and she began to confide more in us as we strove to listen to the spirit and know what she needed. This month in our mission the focus is the Book of Mormon- not by chance, that was what every single one of our lessons was focused on. As she learned about our intentions, and the reasons we were there were all for her benefit, she slowly seemed to soften. It was interesting when she asked, "If I don't read this, will you stop coming?" We knew we had to respond honestly, that our purpose as missionaries was to bring people closer to Christ as we taught them about the Book of Mormon, and that there were more people out there that needed the message we share if they would not accept it. The next appointment, she finally said she would read.
We arrived at 7:45 pm a few nights later, with all the faith we had that they had read and prayed. She had read- and she had liked it. And then her husband stepped in, and asked about the Plan of Salvation pamphlet we had left a few visits ago. We began to teach about where we came from, why we are here, and where we are going- and as we did, their daughter in law and son and grandchildren walked in. It surprised us to learn that the 5 year old girl who runs away from us knows our names, and that they seemed to be talking about us when we weren't there.
Then Elsa began to cry. She had been confiding in us more and more, and she suddenly said, "I know God sent you to me. I thought nothing of you that day on the street when we met for the first time. But as I have gone through surgery, and my daughter in law has been in and out of the hospital, the pastor from my church has never called. We have received no visits from members of my church. But you two have never stopped coming, and you always bring us the word of God when you come. I know God has sent you."
I know that it is not by chance that God opened a way for her to accept us. Although she and her husband are still learning and have not said yes to baptism yet, we know that God needs them to lead their family as we help them follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone holding the Priesthood Authority of God.
God's hand is in this work; God guides this work. Of that I have no doubt. I am happy, but more importantly I am so grateful and honored to be the Lord's servant, bring others to him in this beautiful area of Morristown New Jersey. Ain't no place bettah!
Well I love ya all so very much! Have a great week!  Onward and Upward!!
Hermana Schwendiman

Serafin and the painting that he gave to me. A less active who we have worked so hard with and is now getting ready to try and go back to the temple!! He has been out of work and took a lot of time but said that he noticed the way that I stared at it whenever I came over and he knew they were my favorite flower and he said that he love us so much and we have changed his life so much that he wanted to give us something that meant SO much to him. We were all just in tears. The one in the top corner of the goose is Sister Millwards. (Her favorite animal, nothing happens by chance)
And a distict lunch!! Our crazy little district..
And a jug of really yucky juice that we have now finished twice.. Serafins eyes just light up when we ask for more.. So.. We do!! Just like good little latino serving missionaries. They just put their heart into their food and love feeding missionaries!! Yum...


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