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

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