Saturday, May 19, 2012

Week Two...Settling In

This week's email from Elder Schwartz: Wow this week has been busy!  But I guess I better be getting used to it because thats going to be my life for the next 2 years!     My companion is great, his name is Elder Matthews and he is from Wisconsin. He's great, very strong spirit and easy to get along with, and we complement each other well while teaching discussions too!  We share a room with 2 other elders in our district, Elder Nelson and Elder Peterson.  Elder Nelson is going to the Guatemala, Guatemala City Central Mission, and he leaves for the MTC down there in a week. Elder Nelson, Matthews and I were in a 3 way companionship for a little while before Elder Peterson came into the picture.  Elder Peterson was my Zone Leader when I first arrived at the MTC, and I looked up to him instantly. He has a way cool spirit about him and is just an awesome person in general.  He was supposed to be leaving for the field with the rest of his district on Monday of this week, BUT he has to get surgery so he was delayed for 3 more weeks. Yes that news got him down because he was so excited to leave but it really was a blessing for our district and me, because now he is in all of our classes and he is my new roommate!  So it has been amazing having him around, we have learned so much from him and it has only been a few days.  Our district is growing so close together, and it has only been 1 week. We really are just like a good group of friends, when it's time to play, we play, and when it's time to get down to business, we work.  I am really blessed with the district I was placed in, and the zone too.  Our zone does this thing where every night before we go to bed we go room to room and give each other hugs, and it has been really nice feeling so welcome, so fast.  Even our branch presidency does it too!  After every meeting our branch presidency goes around the room and gives all of the Elders hugs.  I remember after my first interview with President Steward, our brach president, we stood up and I put my arm out to shake his hand and he said, "Elder Schwartz, we don't shake hands in this branch... In this branch we hug." and gave me a big ol' bear hug.   I have seen so many people that i know here and it's been awesome!  On Tuesday I got to see Kelley working security for the devotional and that was so nice!  I got to give her a big old hug, all of the other missionaries were way jealous, and on Wednesday I ran into Matt Bell in the Cafeteria!  Sadly I didn't have my camera with me, but next time I'll be sure to get pictures with both of them!  Almost every day I run into someone who instantly knows that I'm Phil's little brother and they throw their arms around me and ask me how it's going. That's been really nice.  A lot of Phil's friends work at the MTC apparently, and I love it.  And i've been running into friends from BYU around almost every corner, I got to see Elder Rice (Chase) on Wednesday and talk to him for a little bit, and Elder Smith (Declan) lives in the room directly below me!  Todd lives in my building too so I see him multiple times a day!  It's hard for us to call each other Elder Schwartz and Elder Baer, but we're getting used to it. The spanish is going well, I'm starting to be able to piece together a few sentences, but I've got a long ways to go!  I don't know if i told you about my investigator, Fernando, in my last letter, but Elder Matthews and I have been teaching him for the past week and have really been struggling to communicate (8 days of spanish), but he is way awesome and warm and funny and just a cool guy.  Hermano Brown and Hermana McGuire are awesome teachers and l have just kinda clicked with them instantly, which is really nice seeings how we are in and out of our classroom 16 hours a day!   On Tuesday we had our first devotional, and Elder Hunt (My district leader) and I waited outside in line for like 30 minutes to get a good seat, and the wait was well worth it for multiple reasons!  The first being, Kelly was there to greet me at the door and the second being, THE SPEAKER WAS L. TOM PERRY.  It was so cool being able to learn from him.,  he spoke on the priesthood being restored (Because May 15th is the anniversary of the priesthood being restored) and bore an amazing testimony at the end of his talk. The spirit couldn't have been any stronger.  After the devotional, we had a district meeting with a member of our branch presidency immediatly after the meeting that turned into a testimony meeting and that was an awesome way to end the night.   I want to thank you all for the letters and packages that you send me and the prayers that you have, it really does make all of the difference knowing that I have so many people supporting me back at home,  I love you all, I'm praying for you every night, and I wish you all the best!  I know that I am in the right place and that Heavenly Father has a specific purpose for putting me in this district, in this zone, and in this mission.  Thank you and I can't wait to hear from you all next week!   Love, xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxox,   -Elder Schwartz  

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