Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Elder Schwartz in La Florida area of Santiago

Here is a photo (sort of) sent by Elder Schwartz of the elders in his apartment taken at a member's casa.  We're not sure which is Elder Garcia and which are the other elders from the U.S.  We guess Elder Garcia is on the right, and Elders Mitchell and Clyde in the middle.

 Elder Schwartz' e-mail arrived late yesterday:

¡Hola Familia!  ¿Que pasa calabasas?
I honestly cannot believe that it been a whole week since I last emailed you all!  I feel like I JUST sent my last one, but I´m thinking that it's a good thing that the time is flying.  Like last week, this week was super busy; lots happened.  But first, let me tell you all a little more about my fantastic companion, Elder Garcia. He is from Lima Peru.  He´s a convert of 6 years(amazing), and he lives with his mom, little sister and little brother.  His sister is active and his little brother is too young to be baptized.  His mom is not yet a member but in her last email to him she told him that she wants to be baptized!!!!! This kid is a stud and a half.  He´s been out for a year today; today was his 1 year mark; he´s half way done.  He doesn´t speak a lot of english, and I don´t speak a lot of spanish but we make it work.  I´m learning a lot from him and he´s a ton of fun to be around, very funny and very easy to get along with.  I´m definitely blessed to have him as my "father" out here in the field.
A ton of stuff happenned this week.  This Wednesday I went on my first exchanges which was quite the experience.  I got to spend a day and a half in an apartment of only latino missionaries(2 from peru and 1 from argentina). It was a ton of fun.  They loved to talk and sing and dance, but when it was time to work they were working hard.  They live on 14th floor of a high rise with an amazing view of Santiago and the apartment is new and gorgeous.  There was just one problem... they didn´t have warm water!  I had to heat up water with a coffee pot, poor it in 3 liter coke bottles, and then take those into the shower and shower with that- I´m definitely not going to forget that experience anytime soon.  I was very blessed to grow up with a water heater.  The apartment of my exchange was amazing, but the sector was a little more on the flaite side of Santiago (flaite means ghetto).  That being said, the spanish of the people in that sector was way way way way harder to understand.  I could hardly catch anything.  That was kind of frustrating, but I tried not to let it get me down.  The ward in that sector was amazing though; very supportive and very warm.  I´m probably going to go back on exchanges there again this week so I´m excited for a second crack at talking to the people and trying to help them to the best of my ability.
This week we had a new missionaries meeting with President Wright and Sister Wright.  That man is amazing!  The meeting really wasn´t for us new missionaries, but more for our trainers and how important of a role they play in our missions.  You could just tell by the way he talked that that man already cares so much about his missionaries and their comfort and their potential and their success.  I know that he´s my mission president for a reason.  At the meeting I was able to reunite with the rest of the district from the MTC and talk to all of them about how amazing/crazy it has been so far living in Santiago; how great the food is, and how fast the people speak -- all of that stuff.  Elder Miller and I are very fortunate to be in the position that we are in right now; the rest of our district are in completely separate parts of the mission, but we have each other in the same barrio and apartment to help each other out.
Earlier this week Elder Garcia hurt his heel so we have been limping around for the past few days.  So we spent the day today traveling to the temple and the church office in Santiago, so the misison doctor could check it out.  And it turns out that the doctor is just as new as I am and couldn´t speak any spanish, so I got to help out translating a little bit.  The doctor and his wife were so sweet and we spent a while talking about our lives and our families and Chile and how different it was.  It was really nice to talk to some people in the same boat as me and they were really kind and supportive.  We had the opportunity to have lunch in the Chilean MTC with Elder Garcia´s teacher from the MTC and that was way cool.  He said that I was going to learn really well from a native companion and that Elder Garcia is one of the best (but i already knew that), aha.  Oh and the food from the Chilean MTC is about a million times better than the food from the MTC in Provo.
Yes, I use my sleeping bag every night.  Thank heavens that we bought it.  It is so cold here in the mornings with no central heating.  We do all of our studies in the same room huddled around a wall heater, but apparently its supposed to heat up here in Santiago soon.
The best moment that I had this week was when Elders Clyde, Miller, Garcia and I all went to the house of this member family where the mother of the family had suffered from a brain tumor, and because of that she is bedridden.  When she speaks, she can really only mumble random syllables, but you can tell what she is trying to say by her voice inflections and her facial expressions. Elder Clyde had the idea to go over to their house and sing hymns for her (in spanish of course).  So, that´s exactly what we did.  We all stood around her bed and sang hymns to her, and it was amazing to see how happy just doing that simple act made her; how excited she got, the light in her eyes.  There was a point where she even started crying, the spirit was so amazingly strong.  I realized two really awesome things through that experience: 1) That just by doing the smallest acts of kindness, people can make huge difference in the lives of others.  All we did was take 30 minutes out of our busy day to sing to this lady and it made her so so happy.  Her husband probably thanked us 12 times, and when we left the house we all felt so good; and 2) Heavenly Father has an amazing love for all of his children, no mattter what position they are in, no matter what they have been through and no matter how far away they are from his Gospel; we are all still his children and he loves us all so so much.
The massacre that happenned in Denver is all over the news.  When I first heard about it, it really started to hurt my stomach.  I hope that every one at home is okay. Its so sad that things like that happen.  I´m praying for the families of everyone invloved.
Thank you so much for all of your love and support! I miss you all and I´m praying for you all.  Keep being amazing! The church is true!
Elder Schwartz

Here is Elder Schwartz' mailing address:

Elder Nate Schwartz
Pedro De Valdivia 1423
29 Santiago, Region Metropolitana

Please send him a letter.  He loves mail from home!

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