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.
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,
until next week,
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.