Monday, September 30, 2013

i spy a little blue book

So this week we were walking the streets of Union City, New York skyline at our back and nothing stopping us. You know, that missionary stride, we were determined. For what? I don't remember exactly but we were determined. I realized as I was coming up to a crosswalk that I put my Book of Mormon in my bag during the last lesson and was only carrying my planner. I quickly grabbed the book out of my bag as I was walking. We walked another block and were getting ready to cross another street, people crossing on both sides of us and all of a sudden I suddenly stopped and turned around as my companion continued into the crosswalk. My body had reacted faster than my mind could process what just happened. I found myself looking at a man who had just passed me, he had stopped and turned around too. And there we were. Just two strangers looking at each other, (sounds like a cheesy song)  and the words came spilling out of my mouth, "What do you mean you have this book?" I realized that as this man passed me, he said to himself, as if he didn't even mean to out loud, "I have that book..." My companion quickly realized she didn't have her side kick and quickly turned around and joined us. Carlos. He told us that a man that he sees about twice a year at his work gave him that book a long time ago.. but he had read some of it and still had it on his bookshelf that he passed by every day. Well we set an appointment for the next day, in which he accepted the invitation to be baptized on the 20th of October! Carlos, because some stranger gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon one day, came to church and is now quickly progressing towards baptism! Sometimes it's easy to think that our actions and efforts are a waste of time because we don't see the results of our efforts.. but if that one man hadn't given this stranger a copy of the Book of Mormon, who knows if he would have ever had the opportunity to completely throw off a sister missionary in the streets of Union City. 
We were also able to see Diego this week. One lesson in particular, the word of wisdom. First of all Diego is incredible but had heard something in church the week before about not drinking coffee.. so he asked us about it last week in our lesson. In this lesson with Diego this week we talked about how precious our bodies are the things that we have been told not to do, a few of  which he grew up with. Coffee being a doozer for him. Coffee with every meal and a few more in the day to keep him moving. He told us something very cool though.. He said for some reason, about two weeks ago (when we first met him) he started to replace his coffee with hot chocolate and he still had enough energy through the day.. he said because he had been doing that, that it would be a lot easier to just stop. And then he asked US if he could offer the closing prayer! #neverhappens
 It's interesting for me to see that the most sacred experiences I've had on my mission haven't been when I have recited the most glorious scripture, or knocked the most doors, but rather when I have been able to see very clearly the hand of the Lord in preparing people for this gospel. Diego who was placed in our path because I had my companion lead the area and we got helplessly lost and I just decided to kept my mouth shut, the appointment that we had completely juked us which led us to walk out of the building at the split second that he turned to walk in. Another testimony for me that we will receive a testimony only after the trial of our faith, or navigation skills, and that there are people ready for  this gospel!! MAN!!! The church is true!! It's so awesome! 
Still nothing tops the moments like when the Dominican lady on the corner threatens to call the cops when she thought a guy on the street was bugging us. Told us not to worry because "Oh I call da caps! He be sleepin real well tonight in jail!" 
or when the random Dominican man contacted ME when my comp was on the phone and told me that he hopes that one day I can find a nice man that gives me lots of kisses and will always hug me tight..
or when I finally had enough of seeing the 2013 swimsuit edition calendar #thatsgross next to Ramons door that we grabbed the nature one #beachesinsteadofbikinis that he had over his desk, replaced all of the appointments and took that dirty ol' calendar with us! What's the 85 year old cuban man doing with that calendar anyway? Not okay! Is it still repentance if it's forced? Well he did tell us the next time that he really has enjoyed looking at the beautiful nature.... I guess it does! 

Well I hope you all have such a great week. Remember the church is true, the book is blue! 

Onward and Upward, 
Hermana Schwendiman 

Day of service last week with our beautiful yellow vests. All the missionaries sang a song at the end and random people across the street clapped for us.
The best and only zone 2 picture we have!
That dirty ol' magazine right before we tore it up and threw it out.

Monday, September 23, 2013

our week in a minute

Diego is getting baptized!! He had a date for the 6th but we were dingnuts and forgot that it was conference sunday!! So he's getting baptized the next week. It was amazing. We were sitting on his porch and he had watched the restoration video the night before. He said "I have the same question that Joseph Smith had!!" Which church is true! So we asked him if he took the advice from the video and prayed. He said no. So of course, we invited him to pray right there and right then. So he did. After the prayer he was silent. He just looked at us. Then the words flowed out. "Diego, will you follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by somebody who has the priesthood authority of God?"  He still just looked at us and slowly started to nod his head. The nod got bigger and bigger and then the smile came on his face. YES!! He is so excited to be baptized and we are just so grateful that he is a social little butterfly and has done all his own fellowshipping himself. Some people are just so ready for the gospel!! He comes to all the activities that he can and he is now friends with everyone in the ward. 
He came to church this sunday and LOVED IT! We also got a call from Ramon on our way to church. He said he wanted to come! I sat with Ramon, that little 85 yr old cuban man, and Sister Schaefer sat with Diego. Talk about opposites.. they both loved church though. Ramon even thanked me for bringing him to church and when I asked him if he was going to come to class he said "I'll guess I'll do whatever you tell me to do!" Well.. in that case we are filling up the font right now!! ha ha we're almost over the challenge that he has already been baptized before! 
All in all it was a great week! Pictures next week. We'll try to snap one with Ramon and Diego!
Just like my grandpa says it,  "ONWARD AND UPWARD!!" 

Sister Schwendiman

Monday, September 16, 2013


430- up and at em!! We had an early start on saturday because Veronica found a family name (seven in fact) and we were able to go with the whole ward to the temple to do baptisms! It really has been a huge blessing to see converts in the temples and even better than that, is when Veronica told us, with tears in her eyes, that she thought those baptisms were even better than here own!! That was a last minute surprise trip for us and Hermana Jane was able to come back up and go with us!! 
The rest of the day followed pretty normal until our lesson with Ramon. Our 85 yr old investigator that we street contacted a few weeks ago. Well he ended up calling us and so off we went to teach him! Miracle lesson. He knows the bible like the back of his hand and at the start kept going off on his little bible tangents and then we told him if he wanted us to teach him then we didn't have time for little distractions like that. He put a smile on his face, sat up straight and listened very well. Sometimes being bold is just what people need. Well we taught the Restoration of the Gospel and he was astonished. He kept saying, "That's exactly what is says in the Bible," or "Thats just like when Christ was on the earth!" He does really well for his age, and promised us that he is going to come to church next week. 
Then the next miracle of the day was Diego. Diego is someone we bumped into walking out of a juked appointments house. He was walking right back from work, ten seconds early or late, we would have missed him. We sat down right there (monday) and taught him. He came to FHE activity the next night, and then institute the next night where they talked about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith. So naturally when we taught him again on saturday we taught the restoration. There is nothing like seeing a persons eyes get big and have them fall back into their seat when you tell them the first vision. The spirit was incredible and he told us, "I believed about 50% when they were talking about it at institute and then I read his testimony in the front of the book and after this, I believe about 95%" We walked out of the lesson at the church and on the wall was a picture of Joseph Smith and the Thomas S Monson. He pointed them out to us and told us that that's him. Wow this 20 yr old who has been in the country for 4 months, came by himself with nothing but the shirt on his back, has been placed in our hands. Diego also promised us that he would come to church next sunday too!
We have been blessed here in Union City, there is no doubt about it!! 

Onward and Upward,
Hermana Schwendiman 

Veronica with her family names to take to the temple! 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

pics during the past week... sent by Marisol (a girl in Hilary's ward) thank you!

Marisol who lives in the ward

Marisol meeting up to give Hermana Hilary a copy of a talk and
chocolate before leaving for BYU Idaho

the blind leading the blind

Wow, being a trainer really is a different world. Sometimes I feel like I am running around with my head cut off. (I mean I literally ran after our investigator, in a really dignified and missionary-like kind of way, after sacrament meeting to get him to come to Gospel Principles class.) It has been really interesting for me to be in this position and to realize even more what my purpose is here as a missionary. To invite others to come unto Christ, that especially means my companion. Everything has its time and place and I have realized very quickly some of the lessons that I have needed to learn as I have been training. 
I was really excited to train. One of the things I was excited for was to be able to do everything the way I wanted to. To be able to have control on what we do, how we do it, and when we do it. I was really lucky to observe a missionary in training back when I was in Morristown. I remember being shocked at the progress the trainee had.. So of course, I asked what he was doing. He told me one thing. "The responsibility of the trainer is the trainee. The responsibility of the trainee is the area." So as I started training with both of the ideas that I was going to be doing everything the way I wanted to, and that I will give complete control of the area to my trainee.. there was a pretty obvious conflict. So... I took his challenge and have turned over the whole area to Sister Schaefer. I still think it might be my pride, but I am determined that by the end of her training, Sister Schaefer is going to be the most experienced just out of training missionary in the New Jersey Morristown Mission. 
We have had some really fun experiences together. Oh I remember very well being trained, the good ol' days.. I have been able to think A LOT about my trainer through this, and a lot about my mom. Their examples for me and the love that I have seen as I have been growing up. At home and here in the mission. What I have found is that it's hard to watch somebody learn. It's like the baby chick. You don't want to see them struggle, but you know that you are making them even more weak if you break that shell for them. It has been a really humbling experience for me to be able to put ALL of my focus on my companion. As I do that, I have found that my prayers and desires for out investigators have become stronger because I want Sister Schaefer to have incredible experiences. (She invited Miguel to be baptized this week. He set the date for Oct 27which is incredible!! He has been investigating the church for SO long. Another internigator!! And we have been able to work with him a lot over the past week.) My love for Christ has grown as I try and follow in His footsteps and realize what "perfect" actually means and how far away I am from it. I have learned that the more that I focus on others, my problems either dissolve or don't seem to matter any more. 
It is AWESOME to be on the other end of training with somebody who doesn't know a lick of spanish. #istilldontknowit I have been able to laugh so hard at some of the things that come out of my companions mouth. It reminds me of some of the completely backwards and sometimes inappropriate things I would say because I understood enough to know what people were talking about but not enough to know the details. One situation we were in, we were talking to this man and he told us about the story of when he came to new jersey and some "things" happened and so then he got married and never went home and my companion told him that she was probably going to have the same things happen to her! #oops Or when she asked us who almuerzo (lunch) was that we had scheduled in! But the thing I am looking forward to the most is for her to experience the most incredible revelation in her life. Being a new missionary I was desperate for the spirit and for revelation because I had NO clue what was going on. I strive to be at that place constantly. To be desperate for the spirit. Man, I love being a missionary. Even though some times I feel that it really is the blind leading the blind... It's all about trust in the Lord, right? If we are doing what's right, and following the spirit, we are doing what He needs us to. Onward and upward!!

 I love you all!! 

Hermanan Schwendiman 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

i'm a momma now!

Well family and friends... I have some news.... IM A MOMMA! And my her name is Hermana Schaefer. This is absolutely a new world... being a trainer. I remember getting in to the mission and looking at the "old" missionaries and idolizing them. They had already been out here SO long and knew so much..  Well now I'm on the other side of that and realizing how much I still don't know... Well isn't that the story of our lives.
These new missionaries that are coming in are incredible though!! Hermana Schaefer was the first group to come in from the Mexico MTC and it is just so easy to tell that the Lord has been preparing them to come on a mission. That is how my trainee is. She is making it really easy on me so far to be a trainer. Okay shortest weekly letter in the world but all is going well here on the Husdon Front! 
The work is moving forward that is for sure. Onward and Upward!

Hermana Schwendiman 

Hermana Sierra Schaefer (Fresno, CA), Me, and Elder Noxon 
Pres and Sis. Jeppson and Elder and Sis Mortensen
(Mom and I met the Mortensens at the San Diego temple last Jan.)
All the sisters in the mission