Monday, January 7, 2013

Family Home Evening

The latest email and photos are below.  Also a link to a cool video.

Dear Mom, Dad, family, friends, everyone,

I would just like to start out this letter by saying thank you all so much for your love and support, the letters, the packages, prayers, and everything.  Even though I'm thousands of miles away, I can still feel your love very strongly.  It's good to hear that Andrew and Phil made it to their destinations safely, and now everyone is happily back in their routines.  Oh, and thanks for the photos, Dad.  I absoluely love, love, love getting photos from you guys.  It makes me laugh and smile, and it's great.

Guess what?  A year ago this month, I GOT MY MISSION CALL!!!!!  How weird is that?  It has been a whole year since I was sitting on the floor in my dorm at BYU, worried as all get out, opening my call.  Wow, the time flies....SO FAST.  This week went by well as usual.  It was a little harder because everyone is still out of town for vacations (remember, it's summer here....), so it has been a little harder to find lessons, but Elder Garcia and I aren't getting too down on ourselves.  We are trying to stay as positive as possible.  Monday, right after I finished my last email to you guys, we went to the Pino House to celebrate the New Year.  We had a really nice dinner and sang and talked and it was a good time, but Elder Garcia and I had to leave at 10:20 to be in the pension at 10:30 -- mission rules.  So, back at our place, we stayed up until midnight, did the countdown, said happy New Years, and then went to bed.  Pretty exciting stuff, but it was a little hard to go to sleep though because I'm pretty sure they were having a block party on my street....SO LOUD! 

Dinner on New Year's Eve
 Tuesday was good.  We had the regular weekly district class, and Elder Garcia ALWAYS does a really good job teaching those.  I got a REALLY COOL package from Michelle McNamara, full of candy and toys and a really sweet letter, so that was really cool :D  Oh, and then after district class Elder Garcia and I had to carry a huge box of copies of the Book of Mormon three miles to the Sister missionaries' new apartment..... after that, I was pretty much dead!  Tuesday was rough because nobody was at home, but at 8pm we decided to try to visit the Bishop´s house (he had just gotten in a car accident with his family, and their car got totaled, and they got injured, and it was all bad). They were home, and we stayed and talked with them pretty much the whole night, which was really, really cool for us because our relationship with the bishop was honestly really weak before that visit, but now I feel ike we have definitely broken the ice.  We plan to be visiting them and serving them a lot more in the future, which is amazing because Preach My Gospel even says that they key to missionary success in the ward is through working with the bishop. 
 Wednesday was a really really good day for us, because of one visit that we had.  We went to visit Hma. Edith and her son Daniel (I'm not sure if you remember him, but he is the one who almost died and is now coming back to church, and preparing for a mission).  Well, we visited them, and when we walked in their door, they were all upset, so they each asked for a blessing of comfort.  I'm not going to go into too many details, but it pretty much ended up being one of the most spiritual experiences of my whole mission, and now they are both doing a lot better. 
 Thursday was a good day.  Hmo. Jara (the member of the bishopbric that is stoked for missionary work) invited us to have a family home evening at his house and it went super, super well.  Eduardo came, and he brought his member friend/girlfriend.  A less active family came, and the son from the less active family brought his non-member girlfriend, and it really couldn't have gone any better.  Elder Garcia and i gave the lesson and shared the Mormon Message video "My New Life", which is SUPER GOOD.  Dad, you should put a link to it on my blog, please :D   We played games, and had a really cool spiritual discussion, and there was food, and it just could not have gone more perfectly.

Family Home Evening

Saturday, I went on splits with Elder Covarrubias, who is from Arizona, and is in his 3rd change.  It was a lot of fun.  Our companions had to go to a special District Leader Missionary Hotshot Meeting, so Elder Covarrubias and I did our studies and went to almuerzo together.  He's a good kid,   but then after almuerzo with Elder Covarrubias, I had almuerzo with Elder Garcia, and every house that we entered throughout the day, gave us more and more food.  I thought I was going to explode by the time I got to the pension at 10:30........ one lady gave us each half of a watermelon....... seriously.....
A miracle happened on Sunday -- Hma. Julia CAME TO CHURCH!  After 5 years of being inactive, she finally decided to go!  It was so, so, so, cool to see her in the chapel.  I almost couldn't beleive it. We did service at her house today, and she told us that it was a really good experience for her and that she saw a lot of old faces that she missed, and that she plans on going again!  So awesome!  We had almuerzo at the Barrientos house on Sunday (the family tht speaks English), and that is always a really good time -- they gave us root beer floats!  I was very relieved to spend some time with them, because normally by Sunday my brain is DEAD, but being able to speak some English with them helped a lot.
Annnnnd today, Elder Garcia and I woke up, and did the usual morning routine, then went to walmart (but it called Lider here because walmart is too hard to pronounce....).  Then we did some service for Hma. Julia -- we painted her living room with her son Rashid, and then had lunch with them.  Later we sent some letters, and now I'm writing you all!

Lunch with Hermana Julia and her son Rashid
Thank you all so much for your love and support.  I know the Church is true and that our Heavenly Father knows us each individually, that he cares for us, knows our needs and desires, and wants the very best for us.  Keep being amazing, until next week!

With lots of love,
Elder Nathaniel Schwartz

A Christmas picture

With Elder Garcia

Super Napping

Random Bathroom

Our Kitchen

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