Monday, October 29, 2012

Power back on.....

Latest letter from Elder Schwartz is below:

Dear Family and Friends,

Its great to hear that the Giants did it again -- world series champs!  I just can't believe that a whole season of baseball has gone by.   I feel like it was just a few weeks ago when we were all in Arizona watching spring ball!   Wow, the time flies!  Its great to hear that everyone is keeping busy with the usual stuff. work, callings, exercise etc.  It's great to hear that the work in the Martinez ward is starting to pick up too.  It sounds like the baptism was a really special event, and Teddy Wells (actually, Oliver) spoke?  That's so cool!

I finally got your package this week and it came at the absolute perfect timing.  In this email that you just sent me, you said that I need to take care of myself or else I'm going to get sick.  Well, guess what, I got sick.  Thursday and Friday were both really rough days for me physically.  It turns out that I had a fever and I spent a good portion of those days in bed.  It feels so bad being a missionary laying in bed when you know that you should be outside saving souls, but fortunately the sickness passed quickly and I feel 100% now!  But thank you so much for the package; I absolutely loved it, and I'm going to try to send you my memory card for my camera next Monday if I can.  

This past week went by really really fast and I'm not totally sure why, but a lot of really neat stuff happened.  Last Monday right after I finished my email to President Wright and to you guys, Elder Garcia and I went on companion exchanges.  He went to our neighboring sector and I stayed here with Elder Anderson, a gringo who has been out her for 2 changes.  So, in total, he and I have 5 months in Chile between the two of us.  It was a little nerve wracking leading the sector at first, but Elder Anderson and I ended up having a really good time and visited with a lot of people, including Ramon.  On Wednesday morning we finally got our electricity fixed, after living a whole week without it.  Later, we had a really good lesson with Marjorie, who is going through a tough time.  She got hit by a bus, and although she didn't get injured super badly and didn't brake anything, but she was still suffering.  Fortunately she is feeling a whole lot better now.  I had the opportunity to confirm Marjorie a member this past Sunday in sacrament meeting, and that was quite the experience.  I was a little (actually a lot) nervous, but the confirmation went super well actually.  Before my mission whenever I thought about myself serving, I never thought about things like confirming people in spanish during sacrament meetings.  I sure am learning a lot of things down here in Chile. On Friday, we had interviews with President Wright, and that was hands down the highlight of my week.  That man is inspired.  During the interview, he challenged me to dedicate some of my personal study time to searching out "trials of faith" that I think that I might face when I get home from my mission, to identify those things and then find scriptures, or conference talks that help overcome those trials. Then I need to make a personal commitment right now, so that when I reach that trial of faith, I will be prepared and know how to get past it.  I thought that was a really, really good idea and I invite whoever is reading this to do the same!!!!!  Yesterday (Sunday) was a really special day too, and not only because of Marjorie´s confirmation, but for other miracles that happened.  On Tuesday when I was with Elder Anderson on splits, we visited this lady named Hermana Edith Garcia and she wanted to meet with us to talk to her about her 22 year old son who is really inactive,and hasn't been to church since he was 16.  It turned out that her son had just kind of gone through this near death experience where he collapsed in the street one night, and it just so happened that an ambulance driving by saw him and picked him up and saved him.  If the ambulance didn't drive by, he most probably would have died.  Long story short, he came to church alone on Sunday and I sat with him and talked with him.  At the tail ed of the meeting his Mom showed up, without knowing that her son was there, and I will never forget the look that she had on her face when she saw her son sitting there next to me in the chapel.  As she sat down next to us and she started to sob and her son put his arm around her to comfort her, it was an amazing sight for everyone who saw it.  So last night Elder Garcia and I visited with them and apparently right after church he set an appointment with the bishop to find out what he needs to do to get his patriarchal blessing and start his mission papers.  I'm writing really fast because I'm running out of time, so I hope that all made sense. If not, just ask for the story when we talk at Christmas and I'll be able to explain it a little better.  It's really amazing to see the ways that the Lord works.  I know that we have a Heavenly Father who loves us more than we can imagine.  I know that we each have a specific purpose in this life, and that God has a plan for each one of us.  I know that the true Church of God and of Christ is restored on the earth today, along with His power, and I am so thankful for the opportunity that I have to share the blessings of this True Gospel with the people here.  There are a lot of people out there who have no idea how much they are loved.  Thank you all so much for your prayers and your love and your support.  I love you and miss you all, and I'm praying for you too.

Until next week

With love,
Elder Schwartz
Nice to have clean shirts!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Elder Bednar's Visit

Hi Everyone, 
Elder Nate Schwartz wants us all to know that if you add Chile Santiago East Mission to his address, that he will get his mail/packages sooner.  Thanks!

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

Here is his latest e-mail:

Dear Family, Friends, Everyone,

WOW!  What a roller coaster of a week it has been; a lot of lows, matched with a lot of highs, and the highs definitely outweigh the lows.  Its great to hear that you are all keeping busy and that my teams are all doing well.  I still am having trouble grasping the idea that Mom is a termite inspector though... But when Mom sets her mind to it, she really can do anything.  If I could get a photo of mom on the job, that would be much appreciated :).  Its really cool to see that Dakota and Ana were on homecoming court and that Dakota won king!  That's so exciting.  The church really is well represented at Alhambra High; keep it up MTZ youth!  The youth mission prep conference sounds like it was a good success and it couldn't have been at a better time. PLEASE keep me posted on Andrew's progress and his decision!

Well, I really don't know where to begin.... Well to start out, Elder Garcia and I did a ton of service this week; one project almost every day, so I've been really sore this past week: cutting trees, painting, helping families move, setting up fences; you name it, we did it.  We did service for the Pardo family, service for the Pino family, a huge service activity with about half of our zone, service service service.  We had two really good lessons with Javier this week, and he is getting closer and closer to being ready for baptism.  He`s reading the scriptures, he`s feeling the spirit, but we just need to help him to quit smoking!  He really is a great guy and he came with us to a special stake conference yesterday (I'll talk about that later).

This worst low of the week happened on Thursday night at about 11pm when our electricity went out, and we are still without electricity today..... that's made it kind of hard for Elder Garcia and me to get by... we are unable to cook, to wash our clothes, to study at night.  Basically we can't do anything.  We've been running to church members' houses at night to iron our shirts and shave and do all of that necessary stuff.  It's been a real hassle, but THANKFULLY, the water heater still works, so poor Elder Schwartz can still take his warm showers, even if they are in the dark......the water heater still working really was a tender mercy of the Lord.  I wouldn't be able to function without a warm shower.  We called the office elders and the Assistants and they are trying to figure things out, but this power outage has kind of been a blessing too. It just so happens that one of our investigators, Ramon, (his girlfriend is less active, with 4 kids... they are the family we went on the temple tour with) is an electrician and has come over and has been trying to work things out.  We have gotten to know him better and we talked to him more and have gotten more comfortable around him and are finding out what he thinks of us and religion and that has been really cool.

Saturday of course was the day that I have been waiting all week for, THE MEETING WITH ELDER BEDNAR!  Elder Garcia and I woke up at five, took our dark showers, and then got ready (with flashlights) and then left.  We got to the chapel at around 6:30am and landed amazing seats.  We were actually the first group there (we went with the hermanas (sister missionaries), oh yeah my district is made up of Elder Garcia and I, and 5 hermanas, how weird is that?)  Anyways so that was really cool.  The meeting started at 8am and there were 400 missionaries there!  And it was amazing, the meeting lasted 4 hours and was basically just a question and answer session with Elder Bednar and two other members of the Seventy, Elder Hallstrom and a Hispanic member of the Seventy whose name I can't remember right now). ANYWAYS, it was SO SO cool, the main focus of the meeting was learning through the Spirit.  The questions from the missionaries were inspired and so were the answers, Elder Bednar and his wife and the members of the Seventy shared amazing stories and gave amazing advice, and the whole event was so strengthening.  My favorite advice from Sister Bednar was ``Be the missionary that your mom thinks you are"  She said that every mother of every missionary thinks that their missionary is the best and that some would be disappointed at times of their missionary.  I thought that was really good advice to hear especially early on in my mission.  Don't worry mom, I'm trying my best to be the missionary that you expect that I am :)  Elder Bednar gave the amazing advice that when it comes to goal setting, there exists an illusion that we are in control, but that's definitely not the case.  We set goals, but Heavenly Father has plans for us and when those things, those events pop up in our lives, we need to be able to follow those, even when it is not in our original plan.  He shared the story of his unexpected decision to be the Dean of Ricks College.  Then he taught that we need to have faith in the plan that Heavenly Father has for us, to take that leap of faith and know that He is there to help us and lift us up, especially in times of challenges, like getting a calling that you don't feel ready for, or like talking to your friend about the gospel.  If you know that it's the Lord's will, just do it.  He will take care of you.  That really stuck with me especially as a missionary, but also for my life after the mission too.  I think that I need to push myself a little harder to be a little better.  He closed the meeting with an Apostolic blessing.

OF COURSE I SAW DUSTY AND COUSIN CINDY and I sent some photos.  It was sad that I only got to see each of them for only 5 or 10 minutes (we all had things to do), but it was a treat to see them nonetheless, and they are both doing really well.  Dusty the studly young missionary that he is and Cindy is on her last leg of her mission!  You better go to her homecoming mom and dad.

Yesterday we had a special stake conference with President Hallstrom from the Presidency of the Seventy and President and Hma. Wright too.  Javier LOVED IT.  It was an amazing experience for him; he got to meet President Hallstrom and thank him and he just loved it.  I also got to talk to President Hallstrom for a little while too, and he knew where Martinez California is!  That's always nice to hear and a little surprising, because it's just a little nook in the Bay Area.  Anyways, it was a really good event for everyone who went.  Elder Garcia and I spent the rest of our Sunday planning and setting up a baptism for the son of a young, inactive mother in the ward.  We were scared that things weren't going to work out, but Elder Garcia and I managed to fill the font, set up the chairs, organize the meeting, call the bishop, and get the white clothing.  It turned out to be a really amazing baptismal service, even though it was raining and that the only people that attended were the boy's family members (immediate and extended) and the families of our bishopric.  It had a special and strong spirit to it, and I know that the boy felt it, and in my opinion that's whats most important.

Today we had a zone activity where we went and played soccer on a turf field.  I couldn't help but think of high school football.  So it turns out that when I am playing soccer with other gringos, I'm not nearly as bad of a player as I am when I am playing with only latinos.... whowouldathunk.... afterwards we went to the nearby mall and got some ice cream, sent some letters, and then went back to the pension to try to work on the electricity......which still isn't working!!!!.......and that's about it!

I love you all so much. I  KNOW that this is the living church, that the priesthood is the real power of God on the Earth today, and that God has called a true Prophet and true Apostles to guide His children today.  I am thankful for the peace that this knowledge brings into my life.  Thank you all so much for all of your love and support.  I'm praying for you.  Keep busy and keep strong!

until next week,
con amor,

Elder Schwartz

P.S. When people write me letters, if they include ``Chile Santiago East Mission`` in the mailing address, it eliminates a step and gets to me 1 or 2 weeks quicker. :)

P.P.S. If you want to change my facebook picture to one of me and dusty in the field.... I'm totally cool with that.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Marjorie's Baptism

Elder Schwartz sent an email and some pictures this past week.  Most of the pics are at the end of this post. Thanks for all your support and for letters you send to him....

Here is his address if you need it:

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

And his email:

Dear Family¡

In this email I'm going to be using the upside down exclamation point because the button for the right side up one is broken..... how lame.....  It's good to hear that everyone is keeping busy and that my Giants are still in the hunt for the World Series title.  Too bad BYU football is slacking this year though...... and I am VERY excited for Andrew that he may be starting his (missionary application) papers.  I really do feel like that boy is ready to go and do.

Marjorie's Baptism

This email is going to be one of my shorter ones, if not the shortest one, because I'm running out of time on the computer, and Elder Garcia and I have service to do¡¡¡¡  The highlights of the week, or the highlight of the week was Marjorie's baptism, and the whole event went so, so well for her and for everyone that attended.  Her mom actually came to the baptism and came to church, and even though she won't admit it, I think she had a really good time; I have a feeling we might start teaching her soon.....  The changes in Marjorie's life are just so evident; she is so much happier; she's doing better in school, and at work.  Across the board she is just doing better and her mom has noticed that more than anyone.  Tuesday we had the funeral of the Abuelita of the Pardo family and the service went really well.  Church funerals are just so different than the funerals of the world.  I remember walking at the cemetery and seeing the pain and the stress of the people attending other services, but as we stood around her grave site and the people there bore testimony of how great of a woman this abuelita was and IS, and that they know that this step is not the end, we felt a very strong sense of peace for everyone there, a peace that I don't think is present at other services.  The Pardo's came to church this Sunday, and we had family home evening with them last night, and they are all in good spirits.  Sadly, Javier wasn't able to come to church yesterday, and that was particularly sad because Elder Clyde and Miller came out to visit for the baptism and they really wanted to see him.. *They were the elders that found him and started teaching him*

Weather warming up a bit
Its heating up down here and I am loving it.  I packed away my sleeping bag and stored it under my bed because at night it is still HOT.  It looks like I'll be wearing short sleeves for the next several months, but I'm a Cali Guy; I can dig it.  I've also just been so gosh dang tired all the time.  Elder Garcia and I have been doing a lot of service this past week and it has just taken the energy out of me.  I havent fallen asleep during a lesson though..... yet.  Oh, and this morning I went to Cataldo, the guy who makes the suits custom and mine should be ready by the end of the month.  His suits are really, really nice by the way.  The other big news:  I'll be seeing Dusty (Elder Bonkmeyer) and Cindy (cousin) this Saturday, so get ready for those photos¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ Our meeting with Elder Bednar is going to be so cool for so many reasons¡¡¡¡¡ I got an email today saying that he is going to be doing a Q and A session after his discourse, SO READY.

I got a few letters this week, really amazing ones from Dan Lynch and from Marissa, so if mom wants to facebook them and tell them thank you and that a response is coming soon, that would be sweet :D. I'll keep my eyes peeled for letters from the stake and for your package.  I love you all.  The Church is true, and we have a true Prophet of God in these days, and we are so incredibly fortunate to have this Gospel in our lives, I read a really good little message from this months Liahona magazine by President Uchtdorf about forgiveness; if you have time, READ IT, its super good.  I glued it in my journal, that's how good it was.
Thank you all so much for all that you are doing for me.  I wish you the best in all of your endeavors and I am praying for you¡¡¡¡¡
until next week,
con amor,

Elder Schwartz

Haircut from Hermana Pardo

Cooking Potato balls
Eating Potato balls
Eating something yummy!
Our Zone of Missionaries

Monday, October 8, 2012

General Conference!!!

Our Elder shares the Love.......

Latest message home from Elder Nate:

Did you all love conference or what?  Big things happenned!  It's so great to hear that you all had such an eventfull week, with trips, and with work and meetings, and activities.  Sounds very tiring, but very fun nonetheless.  It's great to hear that all of my teams are doing well too, (except for the Dogs.... but its all right. There's always next year; same goes for your fantasy football team, too, pops).

Wow!  What a rainy week it has been, (and that goes for every aspect of the work, not just the weather).  It was a rough one, but hey, that happens sometimes.  But my research so far has proved to me that the only remedy for bad weeks is working hard, praying hard and hoping that things pick up.  It has been raining basically all week and just that alone makes the work harder than usual.  But all in all Elder Garcia and I are tending to the people of Geronimo well and we are still getting along fine living alone.  The pension is a little quieter, but nothing really to complain about.  We are finding more time to read and do all of the necessary stuff that we never have time to do during the week.  It's not as bad as I thought it was going to be, only speaking in Spanish all day, every day.  Wednesday was English class and that went well, now that I am heading the class alone.  But, it's fine, I actually really like teaching and the time flies.  Thursday was a rough day, not that anything bad really happened.  It was just kind of a waste of a day,  I had to wake up at 5:00 in the morning to go to the mission office, and I spent the whole day waiting in a series of lines to get my visa taken care of.  But the time didn't go horribly slow, and I got to reunite with my friends from my district from the MTC for the day.  That was nice, and I used the spare time in the lines to write out a few letters.  Friday was really slow until the evening when we had a really nice lesson with Javier.  He is an investigator that Elder Clyde and Miller were teaching and now we are teaching him.  The lesson went really well until we watched the Joseph Smith video and the video BROKE literally 10 seconds before the part of the first vision, but that didn't faze us because Elder Garcia had a backup disc.  But, guess what?  When we put in that disc, and it BROKE, but this time 5 seconds before the part of the first vision....... you have got to be kidding me..... but even though that lame turn of events happened, Javier came to conference on Saturday and LOVED IT!  He smokes and drinks, but we set a baptismal date for him on Saturday night for the last Sunday of this change, November 11th.  So, hopefully, we will be celebrating Veterans Day and Mom and Dad's birthday here with a nice baptismal service.
Saturday, we spent the whole day at the stake center watching conference, and that was a really cool day for us.  The sessions werew from 1 to 3pm, from 5 to 7pm, and then priesthood was from 9 to 11pm in the night. The way we did it here was that us gringo missionaries had a room to ourselves in the stake center where we were able to watch all of the sessions in English.  We all went to the super market right before and stocked up on snack food and candy, and just watched and absorbed the words of the Prophet and Apostles.  It was quite the experience!  And wow! What big news there was!  18 YEAR OLDS SERVING MISSIONS!  How awesome is that?  In all honesty, I am very thankful for my year berfore my mission to kind of find myself and figure things out, but there are definitely a lot of 18 year old men and 19 year old women out there ready for the work, and I am very much looking forward to working with them.  (I know this announcement put Andrew in a peculiar situation, and I gave him my tidbit of advice in a separate email).  Sunday was a little hard, because the satellite at our stake center broke, so the whole stake had to watch the conference via the internet with really bad quality.  We gringos were unable to enjoy the conference in English.  The Sunday sessions were great (at least from what I got out of them), but it was different in Spanish.  I am very much looking forward to next month when I can get the conference edition of the Liahona and pick up on all of the things that I missed.
Sunday night was a rough night for Elder Garcia and me.  After the closing session, we had a lesson with Marjorie (She's the girl who is being baptized this Sunday and is living with a member family).  We had a very long conversation with her mother who does not support her decision to be baptized in the slightest.  Her reasoning behind it was just so ugly; she feels that the rules of the church are too strict and that it impedes people from being free and having fun.  She said all this as she gulped down her booze, and all I could do was shake my head and pray that she could see how completely wrong and backwards her thinking is.  The highlight of that night was when Marjorie bore her simple testimony of how her decision has been made; she knows what she is learning is true and she is going to be baptized.  It was a very powerful moment for me to see.  Last night ended with a short visit to the house of one of my favorite families, the Pardos.  When we showed up at their house, there were a lot of cars in front, and nine or ten other people there.  The grandmother of the family was in a really, really bad condition, and members of their family came to visit her.  Before we left, Elder Garcia and I had the opportunity to see her for a minute, and never in my life have I seen someone in the condition she was in.  I am not going to go into detail about it.  All that anyone could do was wait, and she finally passed away at 4:30 this morning.  Elder Garcia and I received the news when we woke up, so this morning we have been at the chapel setting up for the service that is going to happen tonight. Then tomorrow we are going to go with them to the cemetery for the burial service.  It was a strange end and start of my week.  It is sad to see my favorite family so sad, but I know, and they know that they are going to be reunited after this life, and with that knowledge, everyone that this death has affected can be given peace.
And that's basically where I am at right now,  I love you all so much.  Thank you for the letters, the prayers, the emails, the pictures, and the love.  Thank you all for everything that you do for me.

I love you all.  I'm praying for you all.

until next week,
with love,
Elder Schwartz

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Independence Day in Chile

Thanks for all your love and support.  Elder Nate Schwartz is very grateful for all letters and packages that have been sent to him.  You all are great...

His address is:

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

Share your love with him.......

Last two weeks' emails are below, starting with two weeks ago:

Dear Family,

I am going to apologize right now for how lame this letter is going to be.  Elder Garcia and I are out of our sector right now, because he had to do some passport stuff.   I don't have my journal or my camera, so I'm going to try to recap the week by memory.  I know Im going to forget some stuff, but Ill try my best to hit everything.  

It was a VERY, VERY successful week for Elder Garcia and me.  We taught a lot of lessons, met a few new investigators, and we set baptismal dates with two of our investigators.  Early on in the week it was a little difficult to find people to teach with all of the (Independence Day) celebrating going on.  All of the stores were closed and all of the streets were empty!  The ward activity was on Saturday (right after I sent my last letter) and it was a big success.  There was a great turnout of people -- active members, less actives and investigators too.  Yes, there was music and games and dancing and SO MUCH FOOD.  Let me tell yah, the Chileans know how to have a Barbeque!  That was a lot of fun.  Our Ward Mission Leader sang for everyone (thats the guy that I sent the MP3 home of) and everyone loved that.  The following day, Sunday, we had really nice church meetings.  I got to pass the sacrament which was nice, and a lot more people came than usual (I think the activity helped that out a little).  Monday was P-Day and we did service at the Barrientos house. (Thats the house with the Chilean dad, and the Japanese Mom and they met in Utah so they speak English).  That was a lot of fun, and they fed us really well afterwards.  We just talked about the States, and they say that they're probably going to move back in a few years because the education in the US is better for their kids.  Tuesday was the 18th (actual Independence day), and oh my goodness there was a ton of food.  We had lunch at the house of the former bishop of our ward and he BBQed so much meat, you name it, he cooked it:  Steak, Pork, Chicken, Sausage, Empanadas.  I'm still full from that meal and it was a week ago.  The Chileans celebtrate their independance by eating a RIDICULOUS amount of food.  That night we taught Margery, who lives in the house of some ward members, and we set a baptismal date with her.  She is really really excited, but it's going to be hard because she's going to have to quit drinking and smoking.  I know that she really wants this, and that desire will help her out a ton.  It's interesting how my understanding of Spanish works.  There are some people that I can understand almost perfectly.  I can pretty much get everything they are saying.  Then, there are others that I can't understand a single word that is coming out of their mouths.  It totally depends on the person.  That's where I'm at right now with Spanish.  I am trying to figure out ways to understand the people that I can't understand.  My speaking is getting better.  I still can't roll my R's, but my accent is getting a lot better.  I just need to know more words, but I'm working on that. 

On Thursday we had a zone conference with President Arnold of the Seventy, and with President Wright,  The Chile Santiagho East Mission is the lowest baptizing mission in all of South America (its also the richest).  The main point of the conference was that when missionaries work with the local church members, that is the best was to find investigators.  80% of the baptisms of conversts are through members, but missionaries spend 80% of their time street contacting.  We really need to spent more time in the houses of members than on the street.  Good point!  Elder Garcia and I are going to visit active members more now, and help them find people in their lives to share the gospel with.

Elders with Javier
I'm running out of time, so I'm going to wrap this up.  Yesterday was the first baptismal service I have attended in Chile.  Elder Clyde baptized a girl that the sister missionaries were teaching in the other ward that shares our chapel........ I hope that made sense.  Anyway, so Elder Garcia and I went to the baptism.  We invited investigators to come, and only one showed up, but he loved it!  His name is Javier, and he has insomnia.  He's kinda really jittery, but the Gospel is clicking so well for him.  President and Hma. Wright went to the service.  President Wright spoke and did an amazing job like he always does.  He talked about how he is the product of a woman´s decision to join the church, and how that decision has influenced him, and his children, and his children's children.  It really is a blessing to be born in this Gospel, and I think I take that for granted sometimes.   Oh, and last night in a lesson, I said that I can't sing the number of blessings that this gospel has given me..... Cantar is to sing, Contar is to count.... good to know.....

I know this is the only true Gospel.  I know Heavenly Father gave it to us to be happy, and I know Christ is our Savior and only through Him can we experience true happiness in this life, and more importantly, the life to come.  I love you all.  Thank you so much foir your support and prayers!
Until next week,
Elder Schwartz

Here is the most recent email from Monday October 1st:

Dear Family,
Mom sent me the email that lot and lots of people are reading the mission blog.  That's pretty amazing.  I'm glad that you're all doing a good job getting the word out through facebook and twitter and all of that stuff.  My comp from the MTC, Elder Matthews had a newspaper article about his mission in his local newspaper and because of that article a woman in his hometown is now taking the missionary discussions.  How cool is that?  So maybe if we´re lucky something like that can happen in Martinez ;)

Elders Clyde and Miller saying goodbye to members

Wow, this was a big week......CHANGES HAPPENNED......and I am very happy to say that I will be staying in Geronimo for at least 6 more weeks!  But, some major changes have happenned.  Both Elders Miller and Clyde have left for other parts of the mission, and Elder Garcia and I are not getting replacements for them in our pension (apartment/house).  Our ward is now only going to have two missionaries.  Elder Garcia and I will now have double the work and double the people to visit, but I´m excited and I know Heavenly Father has it all planned out for us.  It's going to be weird with just Elder Garcia and I living in our house.  I'm going to miss Elders Clyde and Miller, but we are all going to be fine.  Now that it's just me and Elder Garcia, it's all Spanish, all the time.  I'm going to have very little opprotunity to speak English, which is actually a blessing for me.  Right now I feel like I can understand pretty much everything people say, but my speaking has a lot of room to improve.  So, this is the perfect opportunity for me.  Elder Clyde and Miller had some awesome investigators that they have passed over to us that we know from church and english class.  We are going to go and meet the rest of them throughout this week.  I really couldn't be happier with my situation.  I love my ward, I love my comp, and I love my pension.

Our pension (house/apartment)
Geronimo really is the perfect place for me to spend my first transfers in the field, and the odds are that I'll be staying her next transfer too, so I'm really excited.
Oh!  I talked to Cindy (cousin Cindy in Santiago North mission) on the phone this week!  She went to the mission office THE DAY AFTER I WAS THERE.  How lame is that!  But it was so nice to hear from her and talk to her for a little bit.  I'll be seeing her and Dusty (BYU roomate also in Santiago North mission) in a few weeks (at a multiple mission conference).  This week was very, very busy with work, which is just the way I like it.  Cita (lesson) after cita after cita, and the investigators are progressing, and it is amazing. 

Part of family we've been teaching
We have been teaching this family with an inactive mother of four boys, and her boyfriend who is not a member.  They are changing.  We took them on a temple tour on Tuesday and they loved it.  We had family home evening with them, and then yesterday one of the sons were baptized.  The boyfriend is really really interested.  These next six weeks are going to be really busy for Elder Garcia and me.  A lot of big things are going to happen.

Baptisms of two young ones
Like I mentioned, this last Sunday was the baptism for a boy from the family we went on the tour with, and also the daughter of an active family that we have lunch at basically every week.  It was such a cool experience.  We didn´t do any of the baptizing, but we brought two of our investigators, Javier and Margery, and they loved it.  I could tell that the service really touched them.  All of us elders had the opportunity to stand in on the confirmation of both of the kids, and that was really special. 
I love you all, I pray for you daily.  Thank you so much for all you have done and are doing for me!  Keep busy!
Elder Schwartz

Our Zone of missionaries

Pizza box tower
Celebrating with our pizza box Christmas Tree