We got an email from Elder Schwartz today and shortly after this photo showed up on my phone. Big brother Phil ran into our Elder Schwartz near the Provo Temple. We are super happy to see these two fun brothers get a chance to see each other before our elder leaves for Chile.
Here is some of his latest message:
Thank you all so much for your love and support! This week was equally as amazing as the past three. I can't believe that I have been here for almost 4 weeks! The time is flying, it really does feel like Phil just dropped me off a few days ago. In a little more than a month I'll be in CHILE! The spanish is coming along really well! I still have tons to learn but I am picking up the grammatical concepts really quickly and am not at all overwhelmed or stressed about the language.
A lot has happenned this week. On Tuesday we had a devotional from Elder Zwick of the Seventy. It was inspired. He talked to us about the importance of the Book of Mormon in not only our purpose of missionaries, but in our own personal lives as well. It really hit me. After every devotional we have a district meeting with a member of our Branch presidency to discuss what we learned, this meeting usually always turns into a testimony meeting and one of the most powerful hours of the week. This past week in our district meeting, Elder Peterson spoke first. Elder Peterson has been in the MTC for 13 weeks, he was supposed to leave for Carlsbad three an a half weeks ago but because he got surgery, he had to stay in the MTC for some extra time. He's really wise and is an awesome example and addition to our district (he was our Zone Leader when I first arrived). The guy is a total stud. Anyways, he stood up and told our district that he had grown up around the Book of Mormon his whole life but he had never read it all the way through by himself before entering the MTC. He just finished the Book of Mormon a few nights ago and bore a testimony of its truthfulness like I have never heard before. One by one each member of our district stood up and said that they haven't read through the book completely and that they need to do so to fulfill our missionary purpose. We set a district goal that night to have everyone finish the Book of Mormon before leaving the MTC, I set a personal goal so finish it in 2 weeks, Right now im on 2nd Nephi 22, trying to read 50 pages a day. At the close of that district meeting Brother Barker of our branch presidency stood up with tears in his eyes proclaiming the strength of our district and how unique we are compared to any district he has instructed before. He told us that the spirit that we brought the the zone was so strong and that he know that we are going to do great things in Chile. It was an amazing experience.
Last Sunday Elder Matthews and I had the opprotunity to bless the Sacrament, in spanish! It was way cool. Sundays here at the MTC are the best! After Sacrament meeting we get to walk around the temple grounds and enjoy the surroundings and talk and sit in the grass and take pictures. Its really pleasant, and then Sunday nights we have awesome devotionals too. This past Sunday we had a devotional from Brother Allen, head of the missionaries, or some crazy title like that. He gave a way cool talk, very different than normal. It was very interactive, lots of questions and answers, asking people to stand up if they have been in certain situations. It was really cool.
This week I got a letter from Dan Lynch, and Phil also wrote me this week, a very nice long letter to lift my already good mood. I love hearing from you guys throughout the week! The support really does mean a lot to me so please keep the letters comin'! I saw Kelly driving around in a security kart yesterday morning and I got to talk to her for a while which was great! She told me all about the going to California for Ben and Caitlyn's wedding. Sounds like a blast! When you all see her, please thank her for me, He really has enhanced my experience here at the MTC a ton. It's really reinforcing to see someone you know so well every week, and not too many missionaries get that luxury. I also saw Matty Bell yesterday, and yes I took a picture with him so be sure to send me a memory card for my camera so I can send the one that I have now home to you!
I have been extremely blessed with my teachers here at the MTC. I have team teachers (similar to Mom and Sister Bell in seminary), Hermano Brown and Hermana McGuire, they are both amazing. I feel like they are not only my teachers, but my friends too. I personally feel like I have a close personal connection with both of them, like I have had with some teachers in high school but CLOSER, and that has made all the difference. Every week we have individual coaching sessions with one of the teachers and mine are always the longest because we just talk and talk and talk, I love it. Brother Brown served his mission with the Justin Moses from PH2 ward, so if by chance you run into him, tell him "Joel Brown says whats up".
I know that Heavenly Father has put me in this district, in this class, in this zone, and in the Chile Santiago East mission for a reason, just like President Score said in my setting apart. I am growing so much in this gospel in such a short amount of time; my testimony is getting stronger and stronger with every passing day. Yo se que este evangelio es verdidera y Jose Smith es un profeta de Dios. Yo se que El Libro de Mormon es verdidero tombien. El Libro de Mormon puede bendecir nos vidas. El Libro de Mormon es el clave de nos religion, y estoy muy agradecido por el role in mi vida. Les amo! I can't wait to hear from you all soon! Thank you so much for all of your letters and support!
Love, Elder Schwartz.