Monday, September 17, 2012

Temple Visit

Teachin' English
Don't forget to write a letter if you get a chance.  Elder Schwartz loves mail.....

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

Elder Schwartz send an email this week.  Here's what he had to share:

Dear Fam, 

You all sound so busy, as usual, but it sounds like it's alot with your church callings, which is awesome.  It's something that we are struggling with here. A lot of people don't have their church callings at all on their priority list, but we are trying to help that out.  Also, the package that you sent/are sending, it should get here in about a week and a half after you send it.  Pacakges come faster than letters.  Speaking of letters, I got two very great letters this week, one from mi prima up north, CINDY.  It sounds like she is doing great, and I get to see her and Elder Bonkemeyer in a couple weeks! AH! So excited!  The other leter was from Connie!!!, with a nice article from the Gazette about how much Alhambra KILLED College park this year.  That's always nice to hear :)

This week was great.  They always are, and, yes, we had the opportunity to do service, some yard work for the Hermana that we went to stake conference with last week.  It's always nice to do a little manual labor.  But what made this week so special in particular was last night, Elders Clyde and Garcia and I had the opportunity to attend a temple sealing of a recent convert family in our ward, the Pinos.  At first I was a little hesitant if I wanted to attend or not because I only get one opportunity to attend for the rest of 2012 (and that's why Elder Miller didn't go), but I am really glad that I went.  The session was amazing.  It is true that a language barrier does NOT block the Spirit from being present in a room at all.  And we went through an endowment session, in Spanish, and I got through the end part without messing up! (with help of course; the veilworker was SO NICE; he came up to me afterwards and gave me a big hug and said that my accent was great and that I'll be speaking like a Chilean in no time.  Even if he was just being nice, it was really nice to hear :)).  The sealing was beautiful and the pure joy that was so evident on the faces of those members of that family made the whole experience worth it.  It gave me something to aim for; it gave me fuel to work.  I want to be able to teach people so that they can experience the same joy that Hector, Astrid, and Laura (the daughter) Pino experienced last night, and that that joy will carry over with them as a family unit into the next life.  That's what this work is all about. The photo that I attached with all of the other elders in it, was from last night with them. 

 A ton of families from our ward were there and it was so cool to meet with all of them and talk to all of them and see all of them inside the temple walls.  It is very different inside those walls, and I love it.  I only get to attend one time per year, but I figure that I won't have another opportunity before 2013, since it's coming up so fast.  Oh, and we drove home from the temple with the bishop and his wife and they took us out for ----- brace yourselves, this not a swear word in this context.  They took us out for "ass" last night, which is a food here.  It's basically a giant hotdog bun filled with thin sliced steak and guacamole and tomatoes and aji and mayo and it is amazing!  That's what I am eating in that picture, and it was HUGE, and I'm addicted.  The food here is TOO good!

The familia Manriquez is great.  We are teaching Maryori tonight, and if it's right, we are going to ask her to be baptized.  Very exciting stuff.  

Today we have a huge, all day activity at the chapel for the 18th, which is Chile`s Independance day.  There will be games and a ton of food, and it is supposed to be a blast.  We went over to the chapel early this morning to help set up.  There are supposed to be a lot of people coming, so I am excited.  Three of our investigators said they would come :)  

Anyways, thats basically what happenned this week.  I'll send another email, not this Monday, but NEXT Monday.  Get my brothers to write me back.  I love you all.  I know this church is true; I am witnessing first hand the way that it changes people's lives.  You can't experience a greater joy than the joy that this gospel gives us; that's WHY Heavenly Father made it; that's why Christ came to earth.  It's all because Heavenly Father wants his childrent to be happy and have success!  I love you all so much.  Thank you for all of your time and prayers.  Until next week...

Elder Schwartz

P.S. Since I'm not going to be home when the Niners win the Superbowl and the Giants win the world series, you should buy me the shirts for their championships and put them in a box for me for when I get home ;)  Because it pretty much sounds like we have this year in the bag.


Making cookies with Elder Clyde

Monday, September 10, 2012


Write a note to Elder Schwartz in Santiago! He is saying, "Please" (por favor in Spanish)!   Here is his address: 

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

The latest email from Elder Schwartz came today:

Dear Family,

Wow, another week has flown by! 

Lots of success this week.  Elder Garcia and I are both very thankful.  There is one familia here that Elder Garcia and I just kind of clicked with.  They are two older sisters that live in two different houses in our sector, but they live with all of their kids and their grandkids.  Their name is Familia Manriquez, and last Monday night (right after emails), we went over to one of the Manriquez houses and we had Onze with the whole family. (Onze is the small meal that chileans have at night, usually bread or little sandwiches or something). Anyways, we shared this article from the Area Authority Seventy called Permanaced with them, and we each took turns and passed the paper around the table reading paragraphs as Elder Garcia and I talked about it. The article is about the importance of the Holy Ghost as a companion in our lives nd that we can only have it if we are consistent, active members of the church.  It's a really good article.  Anyways, it was a stellar lesson and from sharing that lesson we got two new investigators. We are now teaching the "wife" of the member of the family, and her "husband" who is an inactive church member, and we are teaching both of them and it is awesome.  We have only had one lesson with them so far and it was really good.  The hard thing
about them is that they aren't legally married, but we are teaching them about
the law of chastity this week.   I'll keep you posted on how it turns out.  And then there is another girl in her 20's that isn't a member of the Manriquez family but lives in their house, and we just taught her the first discussion, and it was amazing.  She is super excited to learnmore, super excited to read.  Everything is just working out awesome with her, and she even came to stake conference with us this past Sunday.  Oh yeah, stake conference was this weekend.  Elder Garcia and I brought this inactive girl, Carolina, to the Saturday night session where President Wright spoke and it was awesome.  I understand his Spanish better than anyone else's for some reason. He told awesome stories about his childhood and the importance of family unity in this Gospel.  I agree with him 100% and I think that you guys did a pretty dang good job raising a united family.

This week was also a big week for service.  Elder Garcia and I did two service projects this week.  Firstly, we finished the swingset, see the pictures, and secondly we washed windows at this elderly couples house, WITH WATER AND NEWSPAPER. Only water and newspaper....... it's not the 1910`s...... It was super hard, but I guess that's how they do it here, and they actually ended up looking kind of clean.  The wife made this amazing pizza for us afterwards, but next time they call us to do that, I'm bringing windex.

English class is super good.  One of our investigators, Juan, who is 17 years old comes consistently. But the problem we had with Juan is that we have
only taught him outside of his house, and we dont know why; we don't know if his parents don't want him to or what.  BUT this week we had a lesson with him right before the english class and a church tour, and then about 30 minutes into the lesson, this older woman showed up.  Longstory short, it was HIS MOM and she loved the class and she loves us and now we are teaching both of them this week :)

Also, we were walking down the street on Wednesday and this old cop called me from across the street at the police station.  In all honesty I was frightened, but we crossed the street and I was bracing myself to get chewed out for doing whatever socially incorrect thing that we gringos do.  It turned out that he just really wanted to talk to me, and we had a really nice long conversation with him about the church, about families, about Mitt Romney, and he wants us to stop by sometime this week at the police station to talk to him more.  He's the Head Cop guy of La Florida, so its pretty cool.

Anyways, thats all that I have time for this week.  Keep being busy, keep being amazing, I love you all!  I know Heavenly Father iswatching over our family, and I know that He has a plan for all of us, andI know that I am doing His work. I'm thankful for the blessings that this Gospel has brought into my life, and I am thankful for the opportunity that I have to spread that love and those blessings with the people of this sector. I'm praying for you all and I can't wait to hear from you next week!

Love, Elder Schwartz

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Two Letters -- One Post

Here are the two most recent letters sent home by Elder Nate.  The one from two weeks ago is first, then the newer one.  Some recent pics are included after the second letter.

Dear Fam!
Thank you so much for the letters and the pictures.  I absolutely love them!  
This was a good week for Elder Garcia and I, but it was a little more rough for me because I've been sick for the last 4 or five days, but nothing serious.  I've just had a sore throat and have been really congested.  It's not easy for me to communicate with my normal voice, so it was even more taxing to try to communicate with a stuffed nose and a sore throat.  Elder Miller goes to the mission headquarters every Wednesday, so I went with him this week to talk to the doctor, and he gave me some decongestant pills, and told me to call back in a week if I'm not better.  Today I feel much much better than I did last week.
Last night our zone did this thing called a ´´Sector Slam´´ which is where all the missionaries in our zone came to our sector and knocked doors for 2 hours to help us out and give us some names and referrals.  Apparently, I'm starting out in a rather dead sector (as far as missionary work goes), but I didnt know that until another missionary told me!  No sector is a dead sector when Elder Schwartz is there!  Elder Garcia and I are meeting with 4 people regularly who are progressing and interested and are reading and praying, but none of them come to church!  Its really hard to get people to come because Church starts at 9am, so a good portion of our active members dont even show up until 9:30 or 10.  9am is really early in Chile.  I told you that our hours are different right?  Instead of waking up at 6:30am and retiring at 1030pm, we wake up at 7:30a, and retire at 1130pm. I guess Chileans are just slower to start their days!
On Saturday we had a ward activity, a ward family home evening. It was a lot of fun, as there was a great turnout.  Elder Garcia and Clyde and Miller and I brought some inactive members and it was a blast.  The bishopbric shared and talked about some awesome scriptures, and the importance of the Book of Mormon.  Then we played Charades with movie titles, and my team won ;)
It was raining like crazy earlier this week,mainly Monday and Tuesday.  They really dont have a good drainage system here, so the streets and sidewalks were absolutely flooded.  Walking around with water up to my ankles in some places, it was quite the experience.  I felt kind of bad walking into peoples homes drenched, but they were all really nice about it.
Contacting!  Basically, what we usually do is just go door to door and introduce ourselves, tell them a little about the Gospel, and ask if they would like to know more.  I usually do the contacting, because I'm a gringo and they like talking to me more than Elder Garcia because Im different.  Elder Miller and I call this our Gingo charm.  Most times, even if they arent interested, they still like talking to me.  I love talking to people about families, because In my life, thats the biggest blessing that I have felt from the gospel.  I take pictures of our family wherever I go and I love to show them to people, and they love too see them, and often ask questions. I talk to them about their families, why they are important, how they feel about families, and how the gospel can help them and their families.  It really is an amazing thing.  I usually dont even feel like im really doing any ´´Contacting´´.  I'm just talking to people about their families, my family, and the gospel.
Church on Sunday was Ward Conference, so the stake presidency was here and an Area Seventy )regional church leaders).  There was a really good attendance, and we had combined meetings for both of the hour blocks after sacrament meeting, so they could talk with us.  They were really really good speakers, and Elder Miller and I sat in the front, so they liked to pick on us to read, which was good because we both need the practice.  I decided to Join the ward choir, so Elder Miller and I go to Church a half hour early to go to the practices.  We did our first performance on sunday -- "Did you think to pray".  It was wonderful.  I'm a tenor with Eric Pena, my stake mission leader.  He has an awesome voice, so I just kind of follow along, but its so much fun!  I like the hymns in Spanish a lot more than in English......
Today was Pday, and we just washed clothes, wrote letters, and played basketball at the Capilla.  It was really relaxing and a lot of fun.  I'm horrible at basketball, but I'm a lot better at basketball than I am at soccer.
I love you all so much.  The Church is true!  Keep busy and keep being amazing!  I hope you send all of the family my love!
Elder Schwartz
Next is the most recent letter from this past Monday:
Dear Fam,
This week had its rough patches, but overall it went by really well.   Now that I feel better, Elder Garcia went and decided to get himself sick.  I think its my fault...... but since he hasn't really been able to speak, I've had to do a lot more talking than I am used to..... which is a good thing.  The highlight of the week, hands down, was the meeting that we had with President and Hermana Wright on Friday.  We had a similar meeting 6 weeks ago, and again, it was only for the new missionaries *meaning those on their first two changes* and their trainers.  I had the opportunity to say the opening prayer, which ended up to be a great blessing because we were able to show up early and talk with President and Hermana Wright for a while.  I was able to send a few letters and everything was great. President Wright spoke about conquering doubts, which was an amazing blessing too, because that was the exact thing that I needed to hear.  On Thursday night at our last meeting of the night, Elder Garcia and I visited one of our favorite families ever, the Pardos, who are less active.  Elder Garcia shared the scripture and everything was great, up until it was my turn to talk; and then the kids went crazy, the phone rang, everyone was yelling and making noise, and no one was paying attention to what poor Elder Schwartz had to say.  And basically the night ended that way, so I was a little down on myself after that, but President Wright's discourse was the exact remedy that I needed to pick me right back up.  Also: He mentioned that my Spanish is getting way way better in his discourse, which was nice, because I have been worrying about that a little too.

On Tuesday Elder Garcia and I had the opportunity to perform some service for this older woman in our ward. In her back yard she has this old rusty metal swing set so Elder Garcia and I spent a couple of hours chipping the paint off of it and sanding it down so she can get it repainted.  Also, Tuesday was the first day of spring here, so it was HOT outside.  But really, it was a nice change of pace to be in a pair of jeans under the sun doing some labor for a little while.

On Wednesday night we had English class at the chapel, and one of our investigators came!!!!!!!!!  His name is  Juan.  He is seventeen and is a stud.  He says that everything is just kind of clicking for him.  He didnt come to church on Sunday, but we are teaching him in the chapel this week on Thursday, I think.  English class is a big success.  A lot of people here are really interested in learning english so we had a good turnout this last week, and there should be more this next week.  The coolest part is that the class is being taught by an investigator of Elder Clyde and Elder Miller.  His name is Raul and lived in NYC for years, so he speaks perfect english and he is a great teacher.  Elder Clyde says that Raul has been an investigator for a long time, but he hasnt really been committing to anything, until elder Miller and I showed up.  Now he comes to church every Sunday, stays the whole three hours, and is changing his whole life.  This Sunday in priesthood I caught him in the back straightening up his hair, and then about five minutes after church he came up to me and asked me for another Book of Mormon, because he just gave the one he had to someone that he met in the street.  It is amazing to see how quickly this work and this gospel can change people.  English class is great because it gets people inside the chapel, and this week after class we are going to offer to give a tour for the people who want to learn more.

None of our investigators came to church this Sunday :/.  It was rough, but almost all of the less active families that we visited came, which was a great blessing.  Elder Garcia and I have been pushing the father of the Mardonez family to come to church for a while and this Sunday he finally came.  Then last night, we watched this AWESOME talk by President Monson called School Thy Feelings from Oct 2009, and it hit Hermano Manriquez hard.  Right afterwards, he told us that he knows that he needs to clean his life up, which is great because this was the first time he came to church since I've been here.  I know it really means a lot to his family, so its really cool to see that he knows that he needs to change his life and that he is going to take action to do it.

This week I gave my first blessing in Spanish.  It was really amazing how it all panned out.  We visited probably the poorest family in our sector, the familia Ribera.  The mother of the family was really sick, and we know this family rather well as we have visited them 4 or 5 times before.  When we stood up to give her the blessing, she told me to give it, with a grin on her face.  I almost froze, but after a couple seconds, I regained my composure and gave the blessing.  It was a very calm and peaceful experience.  I felt like my nervousness was just kind of lifted from me.  She called us the next day to tell us that she was feeling a lot better and decided to go back to work.

Anyways, I'm running short on time.  Thank you all so much for everything.  Sorry that this letter was kind of everywhere. I know that this work is the Lord's work, that he is watching over all of us, and that if we show the faith that we have in Him through our works, He will always pull through, 100 percent.  I love you all.  Thank you for your letter and prayers.

Until next week...

Love, Elder Schwartz



Elder Bustamante

Good Food!

Haircut from ward mission leader

Match game

Singing in the rain!

Ward ndh

White house!?!