Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weeks Flying By.....

Que pasa Familia?
I am getting so stoked to go to Chile!  It's right around the corner!  It has been a really busy week (But what else is new, right?)  Yes my district is finally the oldest in the zone and it's been amazing!  Elder Matthews and I moved rooms, again, and now we are rooming with 2 brand new elders in our zone.  They've been at the MTC for 3 whole days!  It really does feel like I was in that situation yesterday.  They have a lot of questions and concerns and Elder Matthews and I are just doing the best that we can to make them as comfortable as they can be.  Early wednesday morning before they arrived, Elder Matthews and I decorated the room with sticky notes and candy and we made their beds and stuff and they really liked that we did that.  I know that having new elders as roommates is going to be an awesome experience.
Our devotionals this week were from Sister Sheri Dew and Elder Robbins of the Seventy, and they were both AWESOME.  Every devotional is awesome, but these two were fantastic.  Sister Dew talked about the blessings of the spirit and its role in our lives as missionaries, and Elder Robbins gave a killer devotional about receiving revelation and recognizing that revelation.  This week I had the opprotunity to watch a video of a talk that Elder Bednar gave here at the MTC about receiving revelation.  He told this story about being in the mission field and having to take Elder Packer to a train station and receiving revelation about that situation.  If you can, look it up.  Both President Packer and Elder Bednar have given talks about that same story and it's an amazing one. 
The espanol is coming along suprisingly well.  This was a big week of growth for me in the spanish language and a lot of things just clicked for some reason.  This week we learned about this tense called "subjunctive" and a lot of missionaries get stressed out about it, but for some reason it made a lot of sense to me right off that bat.  My pronunciation is getting a lot better, I've been reading out loud a lot more and that has been helping me out.  For the past week or so, when Elder Matthews and I go to teach our progressive investigators, I just take my scriptures in spanish, a little sheet of paper with scripture references on it, and thats it.  The language barrier is slowly but surely crumbling, and it's a great feeling.  The fact that I don't have to put so much of a focus on the spanish just gives me more time and opportunity to focus on the investigator, and his needs and how we can better invite him to come closer to Christ and that has really been showing in our lessons recently.  Hermano Brown, the best teacher in the world, has pulled Elder Matthews aside on multiple occations to thank us for our lessons and how much he enjoys them and  how he can see the spirit guiding us in them.  He told us that he loved being taught by us because he can feel the realness of our intentions and how much work we put into them.  That was amazing for Elder Matthews and I to hear and it really made our week.  It's hard to get feedback from our progressive investigators, so when we heard that we were ecstatic.  It's great to know and see that changes in our investigators and how much the gospel has blessed them in such a short period of time.  Hermano Brown's investigator, Rodrigo, is awesome and last night we set a date for him to be baptized.  The MTC is so cool!!! 
Our new teacher Hermano McAllister is a stud too.  He's way smart, way funny, and he and I just kinda clicked right from the beginning.  We've only had class with him twice, but he has been doing an awesome job and i've already learned a lot from him.  The MTC does an amazing job hiring teachers.  Every single teacher that I've had, I've been able to get along with really well and it's been a great experience for me.
For gym, they have a little track that I run on with a couple guys from the zone.  I try to run 2 miles then do the P90X ab workout thing with some of the guys and then with the spare time after that I play 4-square or volleyball (depending on how tired I am).  You're technically not supposed to keep score, but things get pretty dang competitive in that gym.  A bunch of guys in ym zone played rugby before their missions and they're trying to get me to play when I get home.  I might look into it!
The food here is great!  I was very suprised actually that its a very high quality cafeteria with all you can eat.  I'm loving it... maybe a little too much.
My entire district is going to Santiago East, all 8 of us.   Hma. McGuire said that we will be a "whole generation of that mission".  I'm not really sure what that means but I'm assuming that it means that we are the only eight going to Santiago in that transfer.
I get to meet my mission president TOMORROW! (He is here for the new mission presidents seminar.) I'm so excited, I'll take a ton of pictures and tell you all about it next week!
Sadly I am all of of time for this week, thank you all for your love and your support.  It's amazing to already be seeing the blessings of this mission.  I know that I am doing the Lord's work and he is helping me 100% of the way.  I know that this is the true gospel, and I know that it changes lives; it's changing mine every day.  I can't wait to land in Santiago and I can't wait to hear from y'all next week.  I love you all so much!
Elder Schwartz

Some fun pics with Elder Schwartz (or his facsimile) from Andrew's grad party......

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