Tuesday, July 29, 2014

dying missionaries

Hey!! Thought you'd like to see this one! 

Apparently we're "dying" missionaries. This is our "hot seat" tradition. Where after our last zone meetings all the missionaries are allowed to ask the departing missionaries whatever questions they like! Usually starts goofy and funny and then ends spiritually and we get to share testimony.   This was today, all three of us are going home.


And part of our "departing trip" yesterday! We went to the statue of liberty and Ellis Island!! and the Russian teardrop memorial! 


Also, one of THE BEST zone pictures I have ever seen. Taken by one of our Zone leaders! 


Climbing the statue of liberty... a few stairs.. The mission presidents daughter Emily is taking the picture.


That's all!! Love you!

Hermana SChwendiman 

Monday, July 21, 2014

pictures

This weeks email is going to be more of a series of pictures...
1.Our poorly taken timed photo after an exchange


2. We took the train to a meeting in another town.. took too long and our meter was going to expire. This would be the result of asking elders to help us out! Well.. we "hung" in there! 


3. By far one of the best letters any of my companions have gotten from their younger brother..


4. Our departing missionary temple trip! This was only about half of the group.


The best p-day activity today!!! We went golfing!!


Well I know pictures speak more than words.. so I hope you enjoyed :)
Con mucho carino,
Hermana Schwendiman

Monday, July 14, 2014

#sameteam

My letter this week is going to be focused around the disguised ways that the Lord uses us to do his work. This week has been a challenging one for me.. It's a complete contradiction. All I want to do is work, but my health right now is forcing me to slow down. We've had to take a step back because I keep hitting points of pure exhaustion.. I think my body is a little worn out! At the same time.. there is no better feeling knowing that I have worn my body out serving the Lord.
Our new mission president, President Taggart, has thrown a little twist in my prayers. We had a meeting with him a few weeks ago and he talked about how great it is that we are praying to find the ready people. He then started to share a scripture in Alma 16:16 about how the Lord is continually preparing people to receive the gospel. In every single on of our areas.. there are prepared people!! We are spending so much time TRYING to find them... why aren't we praying for THEM to contact and find US?? 
That was his question for us, so.. we've been praying for it. The next day we were walking down the street and we waved to an Indian man who was standing on his porch across the street. We waved and said hi and he waved back and started to walk off of his porch and towards us, so we went and met him at the end of his drive way. He just started to talk to us! HE started to talk to US! It was so odd.. and he loved everything we said and told us he had been studying religions. So we asked him if the English missionaries could stop by and bring him an English copy of the Book of Mormon. "Absolutely!" he said. "I would love that" 
Well we ran into the sisters in our church building yesterday and they said they had met with him. He is a solid investigator and loves the gospel!
Example two. We were at thursday night volleyball night with the English ward and Spanish branch. There was a cute 24 year old girl there from Columbia.. Daniela. One of the members yelled out "sister missionaries!!" as we walked in. After a game, I was sitting on the side watching and she came and sat down right next to me. She was curious about what the member had said about us being missionaries. SO I started to talk to her, get to know her, explained our purpose as being missionaries, and told her why I was doing it. I notices for a brief moment that I was kind of staring off in the distance as I was thinking and sharing and as I turned to look back at her, her eyes were red and full of tears. She told me that she couldn't believe that there were people like that. Good people. We instantly became friends and I told her that she needed to go to the YSA activities and that she should have the missionaries over to her house. When I told her that, she almost insisted. I gave her info to the missionaries in her area.
See.. it really isn't about numbers. It's about doing what we are asked to do. Praying for the right things, having the right desires, and being in the right places. I may never see those two people again, Lary and Daniela, but I'm confident that we were able to give them the first piece to their unsolved puzzle. This gospel is the most true thing on the earth. Those of us that have it, and know it... are lucky. It's time we share that happiness with even more of our siblings.
con mucho amor, 
Hermana Schwendiman

Okay this pictures are not to be judged. We were secretly passed some "do-rags" as part of a zone goal. They came with a few funny and new things that we had to "do" with them. Then, every companionship is supposed to take pictures with them on... but we obviously we a little confused ;) 
And yes... we did take advantage of 7-11!!
We love NJMM and the mission office.. 






Monday, July 7, 2014

third world

Well this week, through out living conditions, I really felt like I was able to live and work in another country.
We moved into an apartment a few months ago and with the increase in weather temperatures.. we didn't realize that we had no air conditioning. The mission does not provide air conditioning units and so we have been enjoying the beauty of 103 degree weather in our lovely steam room of an apartment... then our breaker broke. I'm not sure how accurate that statement really is.. but nonetheless.. we have no electricity! Not sure how that one happened.. Maybe it was part of Hurricane Arthur that came through. Wasn't much more than a major thunder storm for us but it was pretty intense. Our spider infestation has continued and I am now proud to announce that I have overcome most of my spider fear! And then.. you have the missionaries who underestimate their own grocery shopping (that would be us last week) and we suddenly realized we had no food. TO say the least, we really did enjoy our own living conditions this week!
This was a fun week for us because we were able to meet the new mission president and his wife, President and Sister Taggart! We had a mission leader council and it was an incredible experience to see a mission president with the greenie spirit. To watch the mission already changing and to see there there is not one right way to work. It is a big change, but change is a good thing!
We had fourth of July celebrations too! Even though none of our members or investigators understood what they were really celebrating, they brought the Hispanic festive spirit and we celebrated our nations Independence day! We were able to stay out and meet with all the other missionaries in our zone and watch fireworks. The only day in the year where we get to stay out past out curfew, and watching the fireworks was so much fun!
We saw a fun miracle this week. We saw  a lot of miracles but I want to share one in specific. We suddenly felt the urge to park our car at our house and walk to our next appointment. We have been trying to find a lot more people to teach and so we were hoping that we could meet some on the street. Just about 10 minutes later we walk up to a woman and started a conversation with a simple question. "Do you think that God loves you?" (It's a random approach that we wanted to try out once during the day!) Anyway, this woman started to tell us that she had just been praying while she was walking home and had just got off the phone with her mom, tell her that she didn't have any friends in this country, she wanted to learn english, and that she wanted to start going to church more. It's just a simple experience to show that God works through us. He answers prayers, and we have a return appointment with her for later this week!
God answers prayers!! 
His work continues to move forward. 
Onward and upward!
Hermana Schwendiman
PS We were able to go up to Ellis Island again this week! That's the new york picture. The other two are from the night of the fourth!! 




Tuesday, July 1, 2014

changes

We were sitting in PEC this Sunday and my new companion was introducing herself and where she was from, "Cottonwood heights, Utah" she shared. And then the first counselor asked us how close we lived to each other. "Eh, about 5 or 10 minutes.. but she lives in a different city." Then he responded.. "ooo rival high schools!" Then it clicked.. We DID go to rival high schools! Luckily my mom went to Brighton as well and so I had a pre-prepared soft spot for it! She's is pretty awesome though. 
Well you wouldn't realize it, but the World Cup effects our work more than other other thing that has every happened out here, in my opinion. Then again.. I wasn't quite out here for the hurricane two years ago.. but the World Cup would come in close second. Not only are we working with hispanics.. but we are working with every hispanic country in the world. I have been more updated about the World Cup in the past few weeks than probably most of you at home. Unless soccer is bigger than I every realized it was in Utah. 
Two of the major evidences of this was;
1. Our first councilor to the Branch President somehow got away with wearing his country's jersey underneath his suit. Go Mexico! 
2. We were coming out of a lesson last night and got to the car and all of a sudden we heard a group of people yelling in their house.. and then many different houses seemed to have the same problem. Costa Rica won.. and we were in a Costa Rican neighborhood. I think the best part was that there was one house that was really delayed.. and then about 10 seconds after the commotion, one more house added in! Their satellite must have been a little slow. And then they all ended out on the street. 
Well that's about all I have for the week. It was busy and we found two potential families! Gotta love this work.
Onward and Upward
Hermana Schwendiman

New Jersey Green... it's ALL green!

Mexico!


Monday, June 23, 2014

mauricio's dunked!

As I was reading a talk this past week a line stood out to me... Elder Niel A. Maxwell shared a little bit about his feelings about serving God and I wanted to share it with you because as he shared it, I felt like it came from my own heart. He said (with my own little added change), "I pledge that my little footnote on the page of 'the New Jersey Morristown Mission’s' history will read clearly that I wore out my life in helping to spread Jesus’ gospel.

And I would gladly give up my energy, health, sleep, anything... if it means that people like Mauricio can enter into the waters of baptism!!
HE WAS DUNKED!! Go Mauricio. I wish every single one of you could have been there but it was the most simple, smooth, quick, and by far the most powerful baptism I have had on my mission. The moment he entered the water you could feel a power boom out into the whole room. As if Satan no long had power on him and that every sin or trial or problem he ever had.. left his body in one instance!
That was easily a mission highlight for me.
Also, transfers are tomorrow!! I am so excited and also sad because it's also President Jeppsons departing meeting. And also a few of my best mission friends. A little bitter sweet. We are all very excited to meet our new President Taggart.
Well have a great week!! I love you all!   Onward and upward! 
Hermana Schwendiman

Pictures are from the baptism. 
Maurico... he's really happy even though he doesn't look like it in one of the pictures. We usually have to hold hispanics down, tickle them, tell them a joke, give them food, ANYTHING to get them to smile in a picture.. I'm working on my tactics. Bribing seems to do the trick!
and then the cutest kids. They belong to our branch president and I love them! 
And then Mauricio brought two of his roommates to the baptism and they are on my potentials list. They came to all 3 hours of church. Stayed for the baptism. Then even came to the ward activity that we had after. They are pretty much apart of the branch already!!


Mauricio's baptism (he's in the white shirt)


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

a little pathetic

Well I hate to say it but this weeks email is going to be a little pathetic. Sometimes I wish I could just have a camera man secretly follow me around and then at the end of the week, take out the highlights and send them home to you! But it's not quite like that, and I am even more tired than I was last week! I love this mission!! I did include a couple pictures though.. Both are from the all mission conference that we had this week. New Jersey is know for a few things, one of them being "Carlo's Bakery" and so we had another cake competition and I just sent the funniest one! If you notice the faces in the photo, it's our mission President and his wife! And then a picture of our zone.. We were all assigned a color to our zone, and we somehow ended with brown.. but that's my fantastic zone!! 
The weather is great!! It feels like Utah weather right now, the humidity hit for a couple weeks but this past week it disappeared!! It's been awesome!! 
I also grew in my appreciation this week for my father. If any of you know my dad you know how incredible he is and I am one lucky girl to have him. He has made me who I am today and I owe everything to him!! I have also grown in my appreciation for my Father in heaven. I feel especially grateful that I feel that I can compare my relationship with my earthy father with my Heavenly Father. That's a lot of love and I am one lucky sister missionary!! 

Short and sweet!! I hope you all have an incredible week!! 

Hermana Schwendiman

PS Mauricio is incredible!! He came to ward activities and service projects this week!! He's getting baptized next week!! Wooo!! 



Monday, June 9, 2014

how 'bout that?

Well this week I'm going to do this a little bit differently. I somehow ended up with my journal in my backpack and seeing that I am to the point of exhaustion where my cleverness has seeped away, I'm just going to be quoting myself throughout the week.
 
"It is so much fun to have Jaime with us on the streets, and he loves it too! I am seeing a side of the work that I have never seen before.... He asked us if he could come out more and if they were even close enough to bike to he would be there.... it's like we are in a trio!"

"I can't even express the love that I have for my family..."

"#growing #ihopenotphysically"

"We met with on of our less actives, Melania, and as we read in Alma 13:27 about not procrastinating repentance she just started to cry and told us she needed to be at church this sunday."

"Exchanges are the best! They just seem to get better and better too! We contacted a man today who shared with us about starwarsism. That even by saying "May the force be with you," it was just like saying, "May God be with you." With Darth Vador as Satan...."

"I think that today was the first time in my life that I walked up to a complete stranger and gave her a hug." (street contact that had been crying. She ended up being super drunk but we were able to walk with her to her aunts house.. crossing busy streets... glad we helped!)

"The best part of the day was when we went to volleyball and saw Mauricio. He looked so stinkin happy. He told on of the members that quiting smoking was so hard to do but that he was doing it. He doesn't even look the same. A completely different person.. The members are starting to get excited about missionary work and are starting to ask us more and more about our investigators.. This has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with Mauricio and changing this branch. They deserve it. They work hard." 

"We got to teach Mauricio tonight at teh Bernals. Watched the restoration cideo.. He is incredible. Went from a pack of cigarettes a day (20) to only 5 today. You can tell he's not used to people listening to him. He LOVES to talk" 

"....stake womans conference. I don't know how we did it but without ANY preparation (that wasn't our fault... it was super late notice) we taught two 45 minute classes on how to use Preach My Gospel in our every day life." It's a good thing I've read it... ha ha 

"But then came the best part of the night. I call these next couple hours 'musical chairs." We go to teach Mauricio and Jaime came! He has a huge testimony and it was good to have him there. But after, he had to leave, and at the same time our less-active, Jose, walked over (we were outside and they live in the same house just different floors). We had an appointment with him but Mauricio stayed. We talked about the Book of Mormon. Then just as we wrapped up.. In walks Rollings, Mauricio's friend. And then had another whole lesson. Rollings told us that Mauricio is always sitting at the table reading 'the book.' Made me laugh when he was wanting Mauricio to talk to him and give him attention but his nose was in his book and kept telling him to hold on. But also, Mauricio showed his book mark to Rollings, the temple, and told him that that's where he was going to get married."

"There he was. No hat. No earrings. Huge smile. "He saw me and same to sit right next to me. And then as if that didn't make me happy enough, I look over and Serafin walked in the door. No way. Back to Morristown we go (He was a less-active I worked with in Morristown while I was there) He finally came. ( He moved into our branch.. elders area...) He sat down right next to Mauricio. So happy. And if THAT weren't enough.. Jaime was there and came and sat on my other side. Less-active, investigator, missionary, recent convert. How's that for an odd group? It was so incredible how full the chapel was today. A darling family (of 5) moved into the branch.."  (it may have just been the family of 5 that we have been praying for. Super strong members and darling kids :) ) 

"today during sacrament meeting they sustained Jaime for receiving the priesthood. He stood up and as everybody showed that they were willing to support him he sat down and in shock just said, 'Woa...' " 

"There are no words to describe how much I love this work. This is my life. My duty. My calling. There are fewer experiences that even compare to when your investigator says, 'I KNOW  it's true!' or when they come to church or even say 'it's weird to call people Hermano or Hermana because I've never had that before.." 


Just a little side note.. The picture where I'm wearing two skirts... Yea... I was on an exchange and we stopped by Jaime's to walk with him to our appointment and a soccer ball fell out of the car and I just went to flip it in the car with my foot... RRRRRRRRRRRIP! I don't think I've ever seem Jaime laugh that hard and I'm sure my face was priceless. Luckliy there was nobody behing me.. That I knew of! 

Oh.. and we invented a game. Since our apartment is full of spiders.. sister boudesocque and I have been forced to overcome our fear of them.. we have a little hacky sack and a tally board. We now kill spiders with hacky sacks.. Unless they are running across the floor.. we have a designated shoe for that or on the ceiling.. then we cast lots! 

Well that's my week. I love you all and hope that the rain over here doesn't spread over there! or the spiders.. Onward and Upward :) 

Con mucho amor 
Hermana Schwendiman 




Monday, June 2, 2014

roller coaster week

This really has been on roller coaster of a week! But what would a mission be if all things ran smoothly.. or life in general? 
We did have a lot of smooth sailing though.. rough seas.. droughts.. and here we are again for another P-day. That's one thing I've learned, time passes! Soak in the good moments.. be patient through the trials! 
Highlights for the week:
1. Tuesday I had an incredible exchange with the most stereotypical sister from Hawaii. The stereotype is to Hawaii.. not the sister missionary side. She was super "chill," happy, loved good food.. it was a blast and we both learned a ton. 
2. A couple weeks ago I wrote about a man named Mauricio.. well Mauricio is getting baptized on the 22nd of June! I have never taught anyone in my mission that has been as excited as he has! Most of the people we teach already have a relationship with God, believe in Christ, and go to church. Mauricio has had to turn is life around.. His life in Costa Rica was not easy. His life in general has been a rather big train wreck.. but he has the biggest heart. Every time we have an appointment with him, he cannot wait to share with us what he has learned in the Book of Mormon, we don't even have to ask him! He said that he felt like he wanted to go talk to the whole world and go meet everyone, and he doesn't really even like talking to people! He is changing and you can see it in his face. He was so happy that it made me happy, I noticed my cheeks hurting by the end of the lesson. The most amazing thing about Mauricio is that he commits himself to do anything before we have to. We discuss something and he commits himself to do it. He makes any valley or trial worth it. 
3. Jaime came out to teach with us. Multiple times actually! He just walks next to us down the streets, hugging his Book of Mormon. If the appointment isn't home, he's the first to say, "Okay where to next?" He loves being a missionary! 
4. I had my interview with President Jeppson that we do every three months! The most incredible interview that I have had on my mission! but unfortunately it was my last one as well. He finishes his mission in just a few weeks. Its sad but also very exciting! 

And I just have one funny curve that we took on our roller coaster ride...
We got locked out of our apartment this week! Our phone died at 8:30, we were home at nine just to find out that our keys were locked inside. All windows locked.. neighbors didn't answer.. so we ended up at Jaime's calling the assistants because it was the only number that we had with us and then played a tini prank on the english sisters.. before they let us sleep on their floor! It's a good thing they actually let us!! :) 

Love you all so much! May your roller coasters be as fun as mine!

Onward and upward! 
Hermana Schwendiman 
     
PS Pictures coming next week. Sorry.. I know it's no fun without pictures! 

Monday, May 19, 2014

teacher-student

The unofficial stereotype of the student-teacher relationship has no place in the world of the church. I was reflecting on a lesson that we had with a man named Mauricio this past Saturday and as I did that I replayed the lesson in my head but I chose to watch it from the view of a more narrow minded, perhaps naive point of view. 
There were two young girls sitting across the kitchen table from a dark hair middle aged man. The apartment was small and the flowers on the table were wilting away but they were consumed in a deep conversation. I couldn't help but ask myself what in the world this rough looking man and these two young girls could be talking about so intensely. He did had a rough look but open eyes, surely his life had been drug through a rocky path. You could notice it by his clothes and the worn out look on his face. One of the most strange things that I noticed was that the girls were the teachers.. it was obvious that they weren't nearly as old as this man, maybe close to half his age but he listened to them as if he were a young boy sitting at his grandfathers feet and intently paying attention to the stories of his past. Eager to learn. The longer they talked the brighter grew the room until the point where it was almost seeping out of the small kitchen window into the dark evening. Then something even more miraculous happened, they each had a  blue book open in front of them on the glassy kitchen table it was clear that one of the girls had just read a part of it. She rested her hand on the book as if it were something that gave her power and as she talked tears swelled up in the mans eyes. He followed her comments by saying that he knew the book was true. What was this book? The very moment I thought they had finished their discussion I was once again flustered that they were not standing up to leave, yet they were merely standing to be able to kneel down on the cold hard floor. Were they praying? Yes. As they lowered they heads down the words started to flow out of the mans mouth...  

To teach you don't have to be older, wiser, more experienced, have a title. It''s not the worlds view on it but it's the right view. Sometimes it doesn't make sense.. but that's okay!! It's not supposed to make sense all of the time because faith then wouldn't be considered an essential factor.

Onward and upward friends and family!! I love you all!

Hermana Schwendiman 

Monday, May 12, 2014

trials like fruit

Well the humidity dropped in about 4 days ago. We were outside the other day and one of the missionaries in training said.. "I feel like I'm walking through steam." The comment was made back, "WELCOME TO THE JERS!!"
Sometimes it still feels surreal to me that I am in New Jersey. That I am a missionary. That now I'm one of the "older" missionaries. As they call us.I don't feel it. I remember hearing when missionary would say that they had been out for a year, 13 months, and 14 months and just being thrown back at how long they had been out on a mission, it first hit me a couple weeks ago when a newer missionary asked me how long I had been out and her response was, "Woa.......!!" 
Well transfers have come and gone and Sister Boudesocque and I are still her in Short Hills. I will be with her for 6 more weeks! We have a lot of work to do here... 
Jaime!! He is our number one right now and incredible. He quit smoking two weeks ago cold turkey. He isn't the same person that he was when we met him, not even close. 
One thing that we see over and over again in life, our lives, the lives of others, lives in the Book of Mormon, any life.. is the trial of faith. It's odd to say, but it was really neat to see Jaimes trials come. To watch from a really personal perspective Gods pattern of faith. The moment he accepted everything.. he was fired from his job because he didn't speak english well enough..  Jaime has clung on to every teaching that we give him, even the word of wisdom. Which is hilarious because he still HATES fruits and vegetables and really anything healthy.. SO this last week when we went over there to teach him he bought a huge bowl of fruit.. but the only way he would eat it was if he layered it with sweetened condensed milk... but it's progress! 
There is something so unique about being able to watch somebody become familiar with God. I think one of the only other times you are able to witness this is as a parent. Which brings me to another point. MY MOM!!! 
Mothers Day. Did you know that this was the 100th official mothers day since it became an official holiday? Neither did I until yesterday. Something that I have loved and learned and loved to learn is how blessed I am to have the parents that I do. If any of you know them, you can't help but agree.. but that's something that I never fully appreciated and realize that I probably never will be able to fully appreciate. I have incredible parents who have raised me in the church, taught me right from wrong, have let me make my own decisions (mistakes), and have loved me through every phase of my life. The world and their views on family are changing. No, changing isn't the right word because that doesn't imply the negative and incorrect overview of the decreasing pride that the world has on the family. It's not simply changing, but increasingly disintegrating. What  a shame. Anyways, I loved talking with my parents! And my dog.. ha ha 
Life is good here in New Jersey. It feels that this IS my life. It always had been and always will be. I thought about how funny it would be if this was how it was forever and if we had to always have permission to talk to our families for the rest of our lives. Well i am glad that is not the case but for now... it makes me super happy!! 

Onward and upward family and friends!!

Hermana Schwendiman 

Jaime with his bowl of fruit
Sister and President Jeppson... I sure love them!

Monday, April 28, 2014

l. tom perry, jaime, games

Just to start of for the week... Having Elder Perry here in the mission was awesome!! I was able to shake his hand and as I did I felt like my head had to be tilted all the way back to be able to see into his eyes. He is one tall, and very personable man. As I shook his hand he said to me,"Schwendiman. Schwendiman? Let me think about how I know that name..." Well he knows my great grandfather. It was fun to listen to him speak as he would talk about the other apostles and said that Richard G Scott was incredible and he couldn't live like he does because he goes to bed at 8 o'clock and gets up at 4 every day. "... and I can't go to bed without checking up on the red sox before I go to bed."
It was fun to be able to hear from him. His testimony of the savior was incredible. I didn't know this before but apparently President Jeppson, with the help of his sister, lined up Elder Perry and his wife! And Elder Perry wanted to make it out here before President Jeppson goes home (July). So we were able to reap the rewards!! 
Then the week continued as usual, exchanges.. Sister Schaefer, my child of inheritance, came here to short hills with me! That was weird... but awesome too! We saw Jaime quite a few times this week and we had an incredible experience with him. He has been playing soccer with the ward members and they mentioned to us that he said that he's going to have to quite smoking because he's having a hard time playing soccer. So we knew we had to battle that lesson asap. We taught him on Wednesday and as as our lesson was wrapping up he told us that he had quit smoking two days earlier. This is something that he has been doing since he was 8 years old because of the way the culture is where he came from but has been sober from everything else other than smoking since he came to this country. That's over 5 months and now has been smoke free for a week now! Our one catch is that he hates fruits. He hates them so much and so me and my companion have been scheming ways to have him eat fruits and vegies. 
One of the proudest moments of the week was at zone conference. I thought my competitive nature had simmered down but I was proven wrong this Friday. A few zone had gathered together, as we do every three months, and after we eat lunch, it's tradition that we play a game. This one should be mission illegal but it's the most fun!! It's called the bouncy ball game... Every person grabs a bouncy ball and president gathers them all together in the middle... we circle up around him as five are taking out... up go the bouncy balls and crazy go the missionaries. Round after round, missionaries pushing missionaries, bouncy balls go bouncing.. and eventually the numbers start to dwindle. I have reiterate... we have many competitive missionaries in this mission, and not just elders.. well the picture below demonstrates the final three. Even though it may look like I have a clear shot to one of the last bouncy balls.. It was swiped out of my hand, a little pushing was involved.. and I lost.. But President was proud!! Ha ha ha The best is the faces of the people on the side! 
Ah well the work goes on and life's not boring!! I love this work and my calling!! 

Onward and upward!
Hermana Schwendiman 

the final three!
let the games begin... many competitive missionaries and not all are Elders.  ha ha

Monday, April 21, 2014

go, do!

Last night as we slid out of our car after a beautiful Easter afternoon, I glanced up the street and saw a gentleman walking down the sidewalk in our direction. We walked straight up to him and continued to "contact" him. After that there were two more people walking from the opposite direction, we talked to them as well. We then went and attempted to knock down the door of a referral, without success.  We turned to walked down the steps and noticed that a car had pulled up. As we walked down the path, she started to creep her window down. We talked to her. The moment we stepped back from the car I turned and noticed a girl sitting on her porch. She had seemed to be looking right at us and the moment after I asked my companion, "
What about her?" the girl posted on her porch yelled over to us, "Ya.. You can come over!!" We did. As if she had heard what I had said. 
I wanted to share this story to be able to relate the feelings that I had as we headed towards our car to go home. I had a few thoughts come to my mind, one of them was realizing to me how natural it had become to contact people. Not necessarily the actual contact, but something that I had recognized is that there was no thought process before those contacts. It was just go and do. Also something to notice is that all of those people were simply put in our path for that time. I find an urgency to talk to everyone. I notice people when we are driving down busy roads and it bugs me that I cannot talk to them. The blessings that have come from this select standard has changed me more that I can even express. 

Our investigators are doing great. Jaime called us this week and had some bad news. The people he lived with were mad because we occupied the kitchen when we came over and now are not allowed to meet there. The most amazing thing happened though, he did not just leave it at that. He desperately tried to invite himself to lessons that we were going to have with a member he knows or any member that lived near or if we could even meet outside. The faith of this man is going to take him so far. 
Also... I went on an exchange this week.... BACK TO MORRISTOWN!!! It was so odd and so awesome! Saw members, and even an investigator that me and my companion had found that had just got their divorce papers in so that they could marry their current "other half" of thirty years. I saw Neeeeeeeena!! 
Our email time this week was cut in half due to Elder Perry.. I think I'm okay with that! :) So those of you who didn't get a personal email, next week! Love you all 
Onward and Upward 

Hermana Schwendiman 

Friday, April 18, 2014

elder perry is coming

When I got on emails this morning, I opened our mission presidents weekly letter and this is one of the first things it said, 
"Last Monday I got a call from Elder L. Tom Perry, advising me that he and Sister Perry would like 
to visit our mission Monday afternoon, April 21. Needless to say, I accepted the offer. So, we 
will be having an All-Mission Conference Monday afternoon, April 21, at the Morristown 
Chapel."
 "As most of you know, Elder Perry is second in line to become the next 
President of the Church, after President Boyd Packer. His health appears to be very good…he’s 
92 years old. I am so excited for him to meet our missionaries and to feel the power of all of us 
combined."
SO needless to say, we are really excited! Also just a little update.. in the mission right now we have a standard that every companionship should be contacting at least 10 people a day.. This obviously have brought so many miracles. As of numbers 8,749 contacts for the week and Our total since March 1st is 39,823. It's incredible that as we set our own standard and goals... the blessing come and come, they do!! 
This week we found two people that are so special!! They both, I believe, have come as a direct blessing of following and pushing the mission standards.
1. Jaime. (Hi-May) Jaime is incredible and I seriously love this boy so much already. We found him when we were visiting a potential investigator and he wanted nothing to do with us so we asked him where the latinos lived around the area. His next door neighbor. We found Jaime!! He is 24 and from Chile. Just moved here 5 months ago and reminds me so much of Diego!! He is getting baptized on the 11 of May and came to church this week!! 

2. Eva also came to church and is ALSO getting baptized on the 11 of May!! She is the cutest 14 year old girl from Guatemala and she already has made best friends with a cool 12 year old girl at church. She's not a member either but her dad was just baptized two weeks ago!! 

Well short letter this week but I love you all so much and will organize my time better next week to write you a longer one :)

Onward and Upward 

Hermana Schwenidman 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

life is good

Tuesday after transfer conference we make it back to my new home. The place where I was going to be able to unpack and settle in. We walk in the door and I scoot my back to our bedroom and my companion turns to me and says, "Oh yea, we have to move in a month.." I just couldn't help but laugh!!! I think I laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes.. but our lease ends at the end of the month. And also we are in a four-man apartment and they are trying to get rid of all of them. Luckily we found an apartment already and will be out by the first of next month. If I've done the math correctly that will have put me in 7 apartments within 12 weeks. I think it's fair to say I have developed the talent of quick and efficient moving!! 
SO my new compa! I don't know where my words have gone for this one, but she is the best!!! Her name is Hermana Boudesocque (buddah-sock).. and YES, it is nearly impossible for Hispanics to even care to learn our names. What they usually do is look at my last name and realize that they don't want to even try and find my companions name and stick with that one... but this just leaves people careless. Other than the members here... because I found another Schwendiman. I believe the only other Schwendimans in the state of New Jersey.. and I met Brother Schwendiman yesterday. We figured out (well he figured out) that we are something like second cousins once removed.. but they are in the English ward here so ALL the Hispanics already call me by name! 
Well more on my companion. She is the best! I don't understand why we were put together because we have both wanted this since we were both born into the mission, and it usually just doesn't work like that! We entered the MTC on the same day but she already knew Spanish. Little smarty pants. But we also go home the same day and for some reason have just clicked since the beginning, and now we are finally together. 
We had a really awesome miracle last night. We had an appointment with a man who basically eavesdropped an entire discussion we had on the street. So we show up and he wasn't home. The next phone call he told us that he had left work too late and wouldn't be home for another half hour. Outside of his house though were two of our other investigators, they were smoking. But we talked to them and at the end we felt like we should ask them for a referral, and something not very common happened... they gave us one!! Pablo said that he had a friend that lived just down the street that we should visit and we took off down the street to track him down!! Well we got to the end of the street and were going to turn right but looked left and saw down the street a muchacho that we wanted to contact.. as we got closer we realized it was yet ANOTHER one of our investigators. (They all live in one house.. it's incredible). There are 6 or 7 apartments in this one house and well.. he sat down on his front steps and we ended up having an incredible lesson with him. To his side he had put his grocery bag full of work cloths and water and another... a 6 pack that he had just bought. One of the beautiful things is the change of weather. Beautiful early summer nights make it much easier for people to slow down and take some time to talk to us. 
Well he started to tell us that one of his friends came into his apartment the other day and he was sitting at the kitchen table reading in first Nephi.. I don't know quite how to explain the joy that comes from a response like that but it's incredible!! Then he continued.. later on he said that he really wanted to come to church today and was planning on it but he had to go into work at 12.. that was when conference starts over here and thought he was going to be able to come to our 9:00 service.. he then said that he was going to plan on being there next week. Another one of those amazing things to hear.. and then... the best part was when we were wrapping up, we were talking to him about that beer that he just bought and how that's not going to help him and he said.. "You know what.. I'm going to go give it to my friends and I think i'm going to stick to water tonight!" I felt like I had just won a championship game, or gotten 100% on a final. 

Life is good. Gerardo is a blessing. More like a miracle. Conference was incredible. This mission is my life. Onward and upward! 

Hermana Schwendiman 

Fishing last week

Monday, March 31, 2014

transferred and a new calling

This is going to be a rather short email this week.. well because we're going fishing!!! Ha Yes... I said we are going fishing. and No.. it's not the same as going up to Strawberry with my dad and throwing a line in the water and catching up on life but... we have a full tackle box in the trunk and somehow ended up with four poles. (we owe some people some fish..)  It has been dumping rain (welcome to spring) for the past 48 hours straight but as of about 3 hours ago.. cleared up and blue skies are overhead. The members here are so awesome! This ward reminds me of Union City.. but I have been jipped the same amount of time. That's right.. getting transferred. 
The Lord saw me fit to extend me another calling.. 
This is how it happened.. 
We get a phone call and Sister Haddock answered and Presdient Jeppson was asking her about her health and checking up on how she was doing. We had been sitting on the couch and talking about it right before and as he wrapped up the conversation he asked Sister Haddock if he could talk to her companion.. My thought was that he wanted to ask me a couple questions about her and he asked me how I was doing.. 
"I'm doing very well President. How are you doing?"
"Well I am doing really good right now because I am able to call you on behalf of the Lord to extend a calling to you to be a Sister Training Leader!'
"Are you allowed to do that?" (Yes that was my actual response. My filter seemed to have been shut off for the moment and I was so thrown off by the change of topic that the words just came out..)
The best part about that all is the next morning at Leadership council with all the Zone leaders and Sister Training leaders... President talked about how its always entertaining extending callings to sisters because you can usually hear snickering in the background of the occasional companion that says "I called it" and then there are OTHERS! He just stopped after that and looked and me and laughed.. smooth Sister Schwendiman.. smooth... 
So for those of you that aren't aware what a Sister Training Leader is... I don't know either so.. wish me luck!! Just kidding.. We do not take the position of Zone leaders and not district leaders but we do everything they cannot do for the sisters.. for example exchanges. They tend to frown upon Elders going on exchanges with sisters.. hmmm.. but then we can be as personal and ooey gooey and sappy and sad and all that fun stuff that we sisters have to deal with. So we are assigned to anywhere from 16-22 sisters and we go on exchanges with em all!!! Woo we all know how well my last exchange went.. 
I also am SO sad to leave THE BRUNS (New Brunswick). It was amazing to me to see how much I stinking love these people in just 6 short weeks. I had to see a lot of tears yesterday and I felt a lot of love!! I also am SO sad to leave my companion but I have sworn promises from our district leader, the sister training leaders, the assistants and the mission nurse that they will all watch over my compa. Man it's amazing how 6 weeks ago we had hardly heard each others names before and now she is one of my best friends for the rest of my life!! 
This mission is the greatest and I love God! 
Onward and upward! 

Hermana Schwendiman 
Our last district meeting and the district leader whacked me in the face right before that... go team!
All this sisters before we divided and conquered for the STL's to go to a meeting and compa's to go together.  Stinkin' beautiful sisters is what they are!
Scariest car ride of my life... it's still weird that elders and sisters can ride together...

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

YAY for adventures

I am tired. Sometimes that is just what has to be said. This has been a really weird week for us but God does answer prayers... and He works in mysterious ways. That being said, remember last week when I was complaining about not being able to just stay at our apartment.. well This is what happened. Monday night.. after a busy P-day.. my companion was not looking so hot. We took a logical course of action and decided to go home and let her lay down. We got home and I walked into the bedroom to grab something and THUD!! My companion had passed out. That led to a long night in the hospital.. but don't worry.. the work goes on!! We taught a full lesson on the book of mormon to our nurse and he said he wanted to read the intro during his break and that he also wanted the missionaries to come over.. That's Mike. Well they stuffed her full of fluids until she felt stable enough to walk to the car and they they gave us the boot. So we wandered out of the hospital around two or three in the morning and made it back to our apartment.
The next morning Sister Haddock was still shaking but we made it to district meeting and zone lunch but that was it. The mission nurse confined us to our apartment. (this is the part that I mean, God works in mysterious ways) .We were feeling a little out of place.. so he made us stay somewhere.. for 48 hours. Yes, our one day consignment led to two. So that was Tuesday and Wednesday. Wednesday night we get a text... "Sisters, you're moving on friday. Get everything ready so that we can be there at 10am to move you out."
Thursday rolls around.. and we have to pick up another sister at the chapel at 745 yhat morning and she was the lucky winner that was able to help us pack. Then we dropped her back off at the chapel and then pushed onward to go teach that night. A really cool aspect of a companionship is that you know each other SO well.. you know when the other is not being themselves. Her shaking had not stopped but we followed doctors orders and had her on tylenol and were told that the shaking would stop. 
Friday.. shaking did not stop. But we had to clear out our apartment. Picked up the other sister again (her companions were at a meeting) and then.. we moved!! Probably not the best idea.. because being the good missionary that she is, Sister Haddock pushed herself. She was TIRED!! Woo wee.. 
Then we were in our new place.... The "cave" it was pretty awesome. And yes I mean was. What happened next made our weekend a little more crazy. And I know it's going to sound like something crazy happened but I'm letting you know now... nothing did... But we were emergency moved out of our apartment on Sunday. We're safe!! I PROMISE! But it was a little hectic and we're glad we're out. So back to the Sister training leaders apartment. Sunday night and last night we stayed there and will be in a new apartment today. Just what sister Haddock needs.. a little more chaos! It's a good thing we are good friends with the Sister that we have basically been living with!!
Okay but here comes the highlight of the week.. 
MY BIRTHDAY! 
Starts off at 530.. Driving to the other side of New Jersey to see the Doctor for Sister Haddock. This actually helped me a lot.. they are concerned. Don't think i'm weird for being happy that they are worried about my companion but it just... calms me down that we actually have people working with her now and are following up on us. They checked her heart and the ran some blood tests and he wants us back in there on friday and if they can't find anything.. we have a plan of action. So after our roadtrip (with the other sisters of course) we head to the all-sister conference! How about best birthday ever! Ever single one of the New Jersey Morristown sisters were there AND President and Sister Jeppson. It was a blast. After that.. we had time to rush home and shower real quick and RUN out the door. We had an appointment which turned out to be more of a party (by the way I have the best mom in the world). I had set appointments for the night and my scheming companion and creative mother turned them both into parties. Well the first was hilarious. One of the Elders we work with down here, is birthday is the 18th so we did a little bit of a double celebration. Everything was green and we looked super cool in all of the green festivities my mom sent us. Plus I had cake!!! The glueten-free kind.. thanks to my mom again and then we were off. I was blind-folded, yet again, and walked into this house just to be surprised again! This was awesome because it ended on a spiritual note, our district leader, who planned this whole surprise party with my comp, had prepared a really cool lesson as well.. Well then we sang happy birthday.. again... the spanish way.. that ends with your face in the cake.. I even knew it was coming and dodged it the first time but I was laughing and my disctrict leader shoved the cake up as my comp shoved my face down and I didn't even see round 2 coming. 

I wish I had so much more to tell you about investigators and the area and less actives and members but what I do have to tell you this week is that God trusts me. I have been able to see his hand in my life and watched him be able to work through me to help his children. I've seen it over and over again and I can't even express the love that he has for me and the role I have right now. Never underestimate his great power. I ALSO want you to know that I am happy and healthy and that is the truth. It's easy to want to cover up problems as a missionary.. well as a human in general because we think that if we have problems that we are weak. That is not true and I have been able to continually learn through my trials. Hey just one suggestion.. Maybe start praying for my next companions.. ha ha just playing... kind of!

Well I love you all. 
Onward and Upward. 

Hermann Schwendiman

Happy 22nd birthday to me!!
a St. Patty's surprise party... 
A little cake in the face...  with Sis. Haddock
The new apartment... for two days anyway!
Sister Gilbert, Me, and Sister Henrickson at the all sister conference


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

what a week....

Well this is going to be a little bit of a different letter this week.. Some strange things happened. 

The first of which (sometimes it just happens) was on an exchange. We started Friday morning, my companion and I, and she asked me if I had had any crazy exchange stories.. I really hadn't had any super crazy, one-for-the-books, gets around the mission kind of story and so that ended up being a rather short conversation. Well we get back to the apartment that night (now on exchanges) and it turns out the the apartment downstairs had actually done something with all that ruckus they have been making during our personal and companionship studies for the past week and decided to throw on five layers of paint and redo the floors... Well all of these things (well fumes rather) creeped up into our apartment and decided to hang out there for the day.. make that going four days strong now. We made it through nightly planning and about an hour being home realized we were NOT going to be able to make it through the night. We threw open the windows and started making calls to our leaders to see if there was any way that we would be able to sleep somewhere else. We ended up staying that night at the Sister Training Leaders apartment.. Woo wee.. 
After that exchange Sister Haddock and I headed back to see if the apartment had aired out enough so that we could go back. Our apartment was so cold.  About a half hour in, we both had major head aches. That resulted in night two at the Sister Training Leaders apartments. Sunday after church... well... I found the good ol' family business!! Who new... The first picture... looks like its actually spelled right. But the second one shows a little more clearly that the painter messed up a little. BUT HEY!!! The Schwendiman Taxidermy business!! I knew I had been in the wrong career field... But after that, back to the apartment, starving!! Clever little me (picture 3) turned up the heat!! Ate lunch by the fireplace... well since the apartment downstairs took the weekend off and never vented the apartment it ended up in a third night at the Sisters apartment. It's been a little rough. I remember being frustrated yesterday because I feel like I haven't been very stable. Moving around a lot and feeling like I just wanted to be able to stay somewhere for a little. And then we are moving at the end of this week.. BUT we were able to go see our apartment. The us and the senor couple have nicknamed it "the cave" and it is... a cave!! But the coolest feature is the all-pink bathroom! So excited. You'll get pictures of that this week. But later last night (moving on to the more spiritual points) we met with a member family. 
The Sarabias. First of all, we walk in and there are at least 100 tamales sitting on the table just waiting for us.. and while we ate they shared how they met, which led to how they were converted to the gospel by a member referal, and then eventually sealed in the temple, and now they have a boy on a mission. It was really neat to hear Hermano Sarabia share is thoughts about how when they were married by a Catholic priest.. the words "till death do you part" had always haunted him. The moment he started to nurture his "seed of faith" was when the missionaries shared with him about eternal marriage. He said, "That is when I knew that this HAD to be the right church!" Well we shared with them that we wanted to commit them to be able to share the gospel with others.. or more specifically, be the member that referred them to the missionaries. We gave them a book of mormon and the moment we said that Hermano Sarabia said, "well there's a neighbor that just came into my mind..." and then he was interrupted by his wife.. "NO WAY!!! YOU HAD THE SAME PERSON COME TO YOU??"
Well we formed an "attack plan" with them. It's really interesting to see that if you really are willing... the Lord with give you missionary experiences! He has so many people ready.. he's just waiting for us to put in our request to be his tools. 
This church is true. Families can be eternal. There are people ready. 
One thing that change my way of thinking this week was from on of our Zone Leaders. " Every person on this earth chose to come her to qualify for celestial glory. How many people do we walk by every day that has forgotten that. The people who are looking for "something more" (or other words that goal of celestial glory) but have no idea where to find it. Well that changed out mindset this week.. We contacted 61 more people than we did last week... they are out there. It's our job!
Go get em!
Hermana Schwendiman 




Monday, March 3, 2014

weekly email.. i'm a slacker!

Dearest family and friends, 
I have officially been slacking at weekly emails! But just a quick update.
Things are great!!

Love,
Hermana Schwendiman 

Ok I will make up for my lack of writing, with pictures!! They are more fun anyway! 

The famous Workout World that has "Jersey Strong" magnets.  One of the girls at the front desk saw that we were Mormon and called us "her people" and just gave us a whole stack!
Some of the missionaries that work in our ward with us.  We are still missing 3 elders though.
Tindara... our cat lady.  It started out with my holding one baby kitten and then she kept bringing them and bringing them.  I'm not even positive how many cats I'm holding at that point but I am positive that I have 3 chins.  That's true character right there!!!

We are doing awesome in New Jersey! We are happy. We are healthy. And the work is moving forward!! Love you all!  Hermana Schwendiman

Thursday, February 27, 2014

onward and upward

We were on our way to an appointment and ended up arriving about 15 minutes early.  As we were driving into his neighborhood I started looking at the roofs of the houses and saw one with two satellites. It's not that we can't knock any door but it came to my head that we should look for satellites and so we did! (Two satellites generally indicates Spanish channels) We knocked the door a few times and nobody came down and we started to head back to the car and just go a few minutes early to the appointment... BUT I got the impression that we needed to keep knocking and stop being lazy so we headed towards the house next door. As we were walking down the dark road I suddenly turned and pointed to an empty looking old farm house on a scarce lot.. I said to my companion. "THAT HOUSE!" and the moment I said it, the light on the side of the house turned on! 
We swapped a couple of "Did you see that?" and "Yes!! Did YOU see that?" and then just stared at each other for a moment before we rushed to the front porch. We knocked and a woman came to the front door, we introduced ourselves.. trying to sound as less awkward and casual as we could and ended up just telling her what happened! As we did her eyes got pretty big, and we continued to share who we were and why we were there. Well we have a returning appointment with them tonight. Her, her husband, and their five children! Finding families..

Oh.. and we found another family of 5 the Alex Boye way.. we are meeting with them on Tuesday!! 

So things are going really well here in New Brunswick. It reminds me so much of my first two transfers in Morristown because I am back in a car and the areas look a lot a like! Things are going really well here and this mission is a blast! 

Onward and Upward!

Hermana Schwendiman