Monday, November 25, 2013

bigger picture

This week I can say that I have seen, more than ever, the hand of the Lord in my mission. 
It all kind of started Thursday morning. And Thursday morning started on my knees. And that prayer started because of a thought. I had been thinking about the last week of training that we were in. Just wrapping it up and I was able to think back on the past twelve weeks (It felt like two weeks maybe). 

I really felt the need to have a conversation with my Father in heaven and talk a few things over. Asking him forgiveness for my faults as a trainer, my weaknesses that kept her from growing even more than she has. Then I asked him to bless her. To be able to learn the things that I wasn't able to teach her. And then I asked Him if I had done enough. I was blessed this transfer with the gift of guilt. (It IS a gift, I promise) At this moment when I knelt down I did feel guilty. Feeling as if I hadn't done enough. But that's the power of prayer.. and phone calls... Yes phone calls. 
I ended my prayer, sat down and began to study for the morning when I received a phone call from President Jeppson. 
"Sister Schwendiman, I am pleased to be calling you today on behalf of the Lord, to extend to you the calling to train... AGAIN!" 
I felt like a blabbering fool. I was much less calm than the first trainers call I received, I was in shock! My companion just laughed at me and told me after that it sounded like I was saying yes to a marriage proposal! 
"President I can't even, I don't even know what to say! I just, it's just... YES!" 
Soooooo smoooth..... 
I just sat back after that and just started to cry. My doubts about my training were just swept away. He saw the work I did with Sister Schaefer and trusted me to do it again. Either that or I didn't learn my lesson! Ha ha

 And I am staying here in the U.C! Three more months baby!!  It's fine because going to a new place means that people would have to learn to say my last name again.. and that is just too hard for some people. I am now know here as Hermana Sandwich.. SO proud!

Later that day we went to the temple with Diego. It was SO chaotic getting there and we didn't know if we were going to make it, but the moment when Diego entered to water, it made everything good again. The best part is that when the man said the baptismal prayer for his grandpa and he opened his eyes right after they said his grandfathers name, looked up at us, and his face just lit up with this huge smile! 

Then... it was all kind of a mess after that. He wouldn't plug his nose and he was about twice the size of the man baptizing him. It looked more like he was trying to drown him at first.. and then Diego would come springing out of the water like he had been holding his breath for a couple minutes.. 
But on plus side.. he didn't drown and he made it to church on Sunday and blessed the sacrament for the first time!

Well that's about all I have for this week. Lots of changes coming up. Nevertheless, onward and upward!

Hermana Schwendiman

Serrano and Hector… ja ja
Sis. Schaffer (my trainee), me, and my trainer, Sis. Millward
At the temple with Diego 

Monday, November 18, 2013

baptisms and temples

I have realized, the longer I spend on my mission, the importance of the temple. We were sitting with Diego in the family history center this week and as we found his grandpa, printed the paper, and told him that next week he was going to be baptized for his grandpa, tears filled his eyes. His grandpa was one of his best friends and he past away a couple years ago. He has told us endless stories of his grandpa and how much it changed his life when he passed away.. and now he is going to be baptized for him!
Sometimes I feel a little guilty when my own selfish desire is what is pushing me to go to the temple.. I miss it! Sometimes my own desire to go seems to take control of the importance of getting members to the temple. I am glad, though, that in this mission, we have the rule that we are able to go to the temple with our recent converts if it is within six weeks of their baptism and if they have a name. They understand that we, as missionaries, really want to go! And in return we get to have an experience of a lifetime and be able to provide an even bigger one for our recent converts. And then we have an experience like this one with Diego. It throws me right back into perspective. 
There is a simple formula that we have learned about conversion. 


Diana's number one spark about the church was the temple. With the ward temple trip coming up and her (as an 11 yr old girl) seeing a picture of the temple, she wanted to go! Two weeks ago was her first day at church, and she told us she wanted to go to the temple. Well, we had to inform her that she needed to be baptized first, and then she quickly replied if she could get baptized in the next week so that she could go to the temple. Unfortunately, we can't. But what we can do IS... you can get baptized and then we can again. And then you can go WHENEVER you want for the rest of your life. 
Two weeks full of teaching and she was baptized. The temple is the place. There's a reason we are so attracted to it. Not just because it looks like a beautiful castle but because it is the house of God. 

The temple is the place.
Conversion=Onward and Upward. 

Hermana Schwendiman 

Diego with his grandfather's name for the temple!
Happy Diego
Diana before her baptism

Monday, November 11, 2013

winter is coming...

Winter is around the corner. We've started to get out our tights and beanies! I'm not going to lie.. I'm really excited for winter on the east coast.. Bring on the cold!! 
This week has been awesome though.. I feel like the craziest things that happen during the week happen from saturday to sunday morning.
One of my favorite things to do is (after we have made our rounds picking everybody up for church) is to watch our investigators and recent converts walk into the chapel. Yesterday was fun. We went and picked up Diana and her brother Gabriel and then swung by to pick up a less active Ariana. They are 11, 12, and 13 and Diana and Ariana have become best friends!! It's really fun to be teaching them because I forgot a little bit about what it was like to be that age. What matters. Whats fun. What make sense and what doesn't. So we walked with them to church, got up to the building and Nestor walked up at the same time. The miracle that we met last week on our way to go pick up the kids. We all walked in the church together and they and Sister all went and sat down together. Then in walks Carlos (investigator), and Veronica (recent convert), Olivia (less active) with her non member daughter that we have been working with, Marylin. Diego walked in, first week with his white shirt and tie, all ready to receive the priesthood that day! I looked up and Eddy (less active) waved to me from the front right bench, ready to pass the sacrament instead of playing in his soccer game that day. Jairo (investigator) and the sisters we are working with Andrea and Angela came! 
It's an overwhelming feeling. Last week in Sunday school the teacher asked me what the biggest blessing about serving a mission was.. my response was that we were able to see people change their lives. There is no other experience than watching somebody completely change the path their life is on. 
The best comment I heard yesterday came from Diego. He went to go give Emily a hug (his last one before she was getting set apart to be a missionary) and he started to joke around with me about if he served a mission in Madagascar. We were laughing about that and how crazy the mission would be and then I told him it was actually a real misison. I knew two people that served there, and then one of the members asked him if he was preparing to serve a mission and he just got his little smile on his face and said, yea I think so!! 
Every time he talks about going on a mission I just can't contain my excitement. Every time Diana talks about how excited she is for her baptism I just can't believe what a little miracle she is. These people change and teach me more than they know!!
Well it's onward and upward from here!
Hermana Schwendiman 

Baptism of the Elders.  Our little gang of young single adults. 4 of the 5 have been baptized in the past year.  It's all about the friends we have!
We were at Veronica's and all of a sudden Gabriel was GONE!!  This is where we found him. 
After one of our lessons with Diana (left) and Ariana (right).  We have so much fun with them!!  and we're all photogenic… ha ha

Monday, November 4, 2013

liberty island church news article

Hilary and her companion are in an article in the Church News about sister missionaries volunteering on Liberty Island!! I'm one proud missionary mama:)

Booth on Liberty Island benefits from sister missionaries

it works

So transfers are 2 days before thankgiving.. ha ha the 26th.. Ah I can't tell you how much I love this mission. Sorry I didn't have time to write a weekly letter.. we have lots to do still!! But I do love it here! Wouldn't trade this for anything!! We have a couple new miracle investigators who already have dates. Diana an 11 year old and Nestor.. old man from peru! Diana is getting baptized on the 17 turns 12 on the 19 and then she really wants to go to the temple as soon as she can. Her super less active mom of like 35 years of inactivity now wants to go to the temple with her too and her brother is meeting with us now and the dad told her that I look like a doll... ha ha so we are making progress. And we met Nestor because we were running down the street and I yelled at him that church started in a half hour and he should be there. HE CAME! and then he came to the elders baptism last night and turned to me after and told me that we could come over and teach him WHENEVER we wanted. He's coming to an activity on tuesday too! We are SO blessed. I fasted this week to find the elect and the ready. And that all happened during my fast. 

It works!!  Onward and Upward