Monday, December 17, 2012

Staying in Geronimo!

Elder Nate's address, latest e-mail and some photos:

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

Dear Mom, Dad, family, friends,

Firstly, and MOST importantly, changes just happened this Saturday and guess what!?!?! I'M STAYING HERE IN GERONIMO!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Elder Garcia and I get to stay here, and I am very, VERY happy about that.  Geronimo is my home here in Chile, and I am very lucky to have the opportunity to be spending a 3rd of my mission here!!!!!!!!!  There are rumors going around the mission right now that this upcoming change is going to be 10 weeks instead of the normal 6 weeks because of all of ther changes going on in the MTC and training time being shortened, and all of that.  I'm not sure if the rumor is true or not... but I hope it is.  Elder Garcia and I are getting along really well, and there is work to be done here in this sector.  That's the greatest feeling for a missionary -- having a full schedule every day -- love it, love it, love it.

WOW!  IS IT REALLY JUST A WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS?!?!  It really does not feel like a whole year has passed since last Christmas.  Time is going so SO fast, it's incredible.  It's good to hear that the brothers made it home safely (from BYU).  Be sure to send them my love.  I am really looking forwards to talking to you all soon!  ABOUT THAT!  Here is the deal:  we have two options of doing this..... we can do it just like a normal phone call, but what a majority of the missionaries are planning to do is Skype.  SOoooooooo, if that interests you at all we can do that :) .  Elder Garcia and I already have our Christmas day schedule set up with several families here in the ward who have invited us (bless their hearts), and we have a mission activity on the 24th, too.  Make sure that Dad brings his laptop or Andrew's Macbook, or Ipad, or whatever so we can do Skype, if thats what you guys want.

This was a pretty good week.  Nothing too extraordinary happened, but it was great nonetheless.  It went by really really fast for some reason.  We spent a lot of time this week doing service for the members.  We painted Hermana Julia Diaz´s ceiling, as she told us stories from when her husband was mission president in Antofogasta and they spent three years up there, and that was really cool.  We painted The Gonzalez Family's fence while Paola Gonzalez told me all about Sao Paulo Brazil.  She's from the mission where Andrew is going to be serving..... I just wish that he emailed me so I could tell him all of the amazing things that I learned about his mission ;)...... From everything that she told me, Andrew is going to be very happy where he is going.  His mission is a lot bigger than mine.  He has the temple in his mission, and the church is really strong there and growing.  He's going to eat a lot of black beans and rice.  It's really humid and hot, so he's going to be wet for two straight years.  Just like everywhere else in the world, there are both rich areas and poor areas, but nothing too dangerous.  The one problem is that because its so hot and humid, people basically don't wear clothes there, or very little clothing, soooooooo........ yeah.  

I did interchanges this week again with my buddy Elder Anderson, but this time I went to his sector.  It was the first time I left my sector in like almost 4 months, so that was nice.  It was nice being with a gringo for a little bit of time, but I missed my Elder Garcia.   

Elder Garcia and I have been spending all of our free time (which is like 1 hour each day) making Christmas cards and baking m&m cookies for the ward members and investigators here in this sector.  It is Elder Garcia's idea, and it is turning out super, super well.  Mom, I can make a batch of cookies all by myself -- you taught me well.  We are going to try to give them to the members every night this week by doing a doorbell ditch kind of thing, but it's a lot harder to do that in Chile because every house has a big ol' fence..... Oh well, we will see what happens.

On Friday, Elder Garcia and I did some deep cleaning and totally rearranged the pension.  It has a much more homey feel to it now, which I like a lot, because before it kind of felt like i was in the military or something, but we put up a bunch of pictures and changed around the furniture and stuff, and now coming back to the pension after a long day is really, pleasant.  Also, on Friday, I heard about the tragedy in Conneticut, and I am praying for all of the families that were affected by it.  It is so, so sad that things like that happen.  It gave me a stomach ache for a while.  I hope everyone back home is okay.  Friday night, Elder Garcia and I taught a lesson to a new investigator named Patricio, and it was such an INCREDIBLE lesson.  At first, we were kind of nervous to teach him because it seemed to us like he just wanted to bible bash and debate gospel points, but when we entered his house and just sat down and started talking and asking him about his beliefs, things just went amazingly.  As he talked about what he believed and felt, I couldnt help but crack as smile because EVERYTHING that he said was doctrine.  He basically recited to us the thirteen Articles of Faith, that God is a god of love, that we are His children, that our bodies are the most precious gifts that we have, that we shouldn't worship the virgin mary, that after the apostles died so did God´s authority, that God has a plan for us, that there was a pre-existance, and that all the things around us testify that there is a God.  WE DIDN'T SAY ANY OF THAT, he did!  It was such a cool lesson and I am looking forward to teaching him again.  Rodrigo and Javier are both doing well.  Javier has a baptismal date, but he's still having little issues quitting smoking, and Rodrigo is still reading, but it's been hard to teach him because I'm pretty dang sure that he and his wife are about to get divorced..... Eduardo is still progressing really well and on Friday night he asked us about baptism.  He's going to be a member (of the Church) before the end of this change.  I am very grateful for all of these people that I have the opportunity to share the Gospel with, and it is such an amazing blessing that I have to be able to see their lives change right before my eyes, and if that change isn't a testament that this church is true, then I don't know what is.

Thank you so much for your weekly letters, and your love and support.  I am vey much looking forward to talking to you on the 25th, and I hope that youre all having a great time during this Christmas break!  The Church is true!  Keep being amazing!  I love and am praying for all of you!

Until next week!
Elder Schwartz

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