Monday, November 19, 2012

Elder Garcia -- Old and New

Elder Schwartz seems to be loving Chile and the people and his companions.  His address, latest email home, and some photos are below:

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

Dear Mom, Dad, and the rest of the fam, and everyone else,

Thanksgiving!  Yay!  It is sad to hear that mom is not feeling well, and I hope that she gets better soon (she is better now -- just a stomach flu) ; she works too much.  I think a little time of rest will be really good for her.  Its good to hear that youre still exercizing pops.  From the photos, you look younger than me!  I think im gaining all of the weight that you lost.  The food here is too good! (except pan de pasqua, which is fruit cake, and EVERYONE eats it here during this time of the year, and it's SO nasty)  But be proud, I havent turned down one dish yet.  Elder Schwartz, the picky eater is conquering his fears of food!  Speaking of food -- back to Thanksgiving.  What is your plan for thanksgiving?  Andrew told me that he is going back to MTZ so are you all having thanksgivng at the house.... errrr what?  I'm not sure if I'm going to have a Thanksgiving out here..... I'll let you know how it turns out though.

Well, this was a very busy week for Elder Garcia and me.  We spent a majority of it with the members, both active and less active, helping him to get to know the ward.  My oh my, Preach my Gospel chapter 9 is right, that if a missionary wants success in his sector, the best way is through the members, working with the members, helping the members.  MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH HAVE SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN MISSIONARY WORK!  HELP YOUR MISSIONARIES!!!!  HAVE LESSONS IN YOUR HOUSE!  SPREAD THE WORD WITH YOUR FRIENDS AT WORK!  Elder Garcia and I have a full schedule this week of things to do and people to see: family home evenings, service, meetings with investigators and members of the Elders Quorum that are going out with us, Priest going out with us; it's going to be a very good week.  

This letter isnt going to be super long, as I don't have too much time, but I am very excited to hear that Andrew;s papers are in.  MY LITTLE BROTHER IS GOING TO BE A MISSIONARY!  That's basically all that I tell people.  Uhmmmmm, let's see what else happenned this week...... Oh!  Monday night after I said my personal prayers, I pulled over my covers to jump in bed and there was an envelope there waiting for me.  I was a little confused when I first saw it, and my first thought was the tooth fairy, but it was even better than that -- it was actually a really, really nice letter fromy my old Elder Garcia and his Peru Tie -- I just about cried.  I learned a lot more than just Spanish from my first Elder Garcia and I was very lucky to be his companion.  He taught me very early on in my mission that loving and serving the people that you teach is the key to this work.  Even after he left the sector, he suprised me with how great of a companion he was.

The Old Elder Garcia

This new Elder Garcia is equally as great.  He is from the south of Spain, and is from a family of five, similar to us:  both his older brother and his older sister served missions, his dad is bald, and he has been a member his whole life.  His Spanish is really, really good; he pronounces everything so clearly, and is very easy to understand.  I included that because typically Chileans don't speak real Spanish, they speak chileno.  If a word ends with the letter "s", they don't pronounce it so when they speak, it really just sounds like one big, long word, and they use a lot of modismos too.  That makes it a little harder that what they are saying literally doesnt make sense, but it makes sense to them because it's slang.  SO, I am very happy to be with this Elder Garcia.  He is helping me out a ton with my Spanish, and he's just an all-around really, really good guy.  Like I said before, he's not as loud and open and talkative and as much of a jokester as the other Elder Garcia, but we are still having a lot of fun.  He's very smart, and very clever, very witty, and very musical as well.  He can sing and play the piano really, really, really well and that has been a lot of fun.

Our investigators are doing well.  The Javiers are still progressing and so is Mario.  We meet with all three of them twice a week, and this week we are going to do more service with Javier.  He's really really interested in the book of Mormon, and he wants to find out if its true, but he wants to know that it's true before he gets baptized.  He wants to know it better, so we are helping him with that.  I sent a photo from a basptism that we had yesterday from a less active family, the family Barraza-Salas, and they are great.  They are relatively new to the ward, having just moved here in May, and so its been kind of hard for them to transition into this ward from their old one.  Elder Garcia and I are trying our best to help with that because really this family is so so dulce.  

With New Elder Garcia at a baptism

I know that this Church is true.  I know that Heavenly Father has a reason for me being down here.  I know that he has prepared people for Elder Garcia and me to help, all we have to do is find them.  I know that Christ is our Savior, and that without His love and Atoning sacrifice, we wouldnt be able to experience the happiness that we do every day in this life.  I know that Heavenly Father has a plan for all of us, and that all we have to do is trust in Him and in His plan.

I love you all so much.  I'm praying for you and rooting for you.  Stay busy and stay awesome, and have a great Thanksgiving.  Until next week!

con amor,
Elder Schwartz

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