Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Staying in Geronimo...but with a new companion...

Below is Elder Schwartz's most recent email home.  He is still in the same area, but will have a new companion.  He finds out who it is this week.  Thanks for all your support.

Dear Family and Friends,

You're not going to beleive it, but Elder Garcia and I are once again STAYING in Geronimo de Alderete.  This is going to be my 7th change here in this sector and that is absolutely unheard of.  Yes, Elder Garcia and I are both staying here in Geronimo, but sadly, we are no longer companions, just like we expected.  We are both going to be training new missionaries together!  Yes, I'm going to be a trainer!  Pretty exciting stuff.  I am kinda really nervous about it, but then at the same time I also have this peaceful feeling that it's all going to turn out okay.  I am going to train in the same sector that I got trained in, how weird is that?  I am really excited though.  It's going to be a TON of fun.  I heard from a semi-reliable source that my new companion is going to be a latin elder, but I guess we will find that out tomorrow!  

Highlights of the week:

Eduardo was made a priest yesterday!  Oh my goodness, it was so cool to watch him get ordained and become a priesthood holder!  Really, the feeling was indescribable, to know that just three months ago this man really didn't have the slightest idea of the Church, but now he is a priest, and a home teacher, and AGH THE MISSION IS SO COOL!  All of you kids out there reading this, SERVE A MISSION!  It is 100 X worth it.  I promise.

This morning we had a "training for the trainers" meeting.  There are thirty of us who will be training new missionaries, and wow, that was amazing.  The missionary world is changing, growing, evolving and it is such a blessing to be a part of it.  I got news on the Santiago South (new mission being created) thing, and they are not taking ANY stakes from Santiago East, so we are not going to be affected.

Claudia came to church! And she loved it!  It was so cool.  We ran into her and her mom when we were walking back to the pension on Saturday night, so we reminded her about it and she came!

All in all, I am really excited to be here in Geronimo for another change.  It's going to be a lot of fun training with Elder Garcia.  Odds are that I'll learn more than the missionary who I am going to be training.  I will probably spend both my birthday and my 1-year-mark here in Geronimo.  How funny, how awesome!

Thank you so much for your love and your prayers and your letters and your thoughts and everything!  I love you all and miss you, but don't worry too much about me, because Chile is amazing, Santiago is wonderful, and Geronimo is the greatest sector in the world (tied with Martinez, of course).  Keep in touch, hold to the rod, and I'll look forward to hearing from you all next week!

With much love,
Elder Schwartz

Elder Schwartz in an older photo a member in Santiago posted on Facebook

Monday, February 18, 2013

Watermelons in Chile...


Here is Elder Nate's address.  He would love to hear from you!

Elder Nathaniel Schwartz
Chile Santiago EAST Mission
Cristobal Colón 6824
Las Condes, Casilla 27.144
Santiago, Región Metropolitana

And here is his latest email home:

Dear Family!

Well, the weeks are still flying!  Like I mentioned earlier, this change is a little weird because it's only three weeks long, so technically, this is the lasy P-Day of the change!  Maybe next week I'll be in another sector, but I doubt it......  We had our interviews with the President this past Thursday, and it sounds like what's going to happen is that Elder Garcia and I are both going to stay, but we will divide the sector and have different companions.  My bets are that Elder Garcia is going to be training because he only has two changes left.
It sounds like you all had a really successful week....always lots to do!  It's so weird to see the picture of Andrew and Cindy together because I feel like she was just here!  I was just talking to her the other day!  I absolutely love getting your pictures;  I feel like it helps to keep me updated on what's going on outside of the missionary world.  Mom passed her test!  Congratulations!  I'm sure that she's going to be one awesome termite inspector.  I absolutely love explaining to people what you two do for a living.  "Yeah, my dad is a dentist, and my mom...... well...... she crawls under houses and looks for corrosive insects...."  They all get a kick out of that.  Oh, and I still havent gotten the package yet....... I'm pretty sure that it has something to do with the address change.  I actually haven't gotten any mail since the address change....

This week went by well; it went by fast!  Faster than normal.  I was a little under the weather on Thursday and Friday, nothing too bad, but now I feel a lot better.  Recently, we have been spending a lot of our time with a less active family, the Rivera´s.  They are amazing people.  They are very humble people, and their house is probably the most humble that I have entered in all of my time here in Chile.  They live behind another house, in a shack, that's usually used for storage, but they've converted it into a little home.  They're having problems with their son David, who recently turned 19, and is kind of acting out, fighting with his parents, leaving until really really late, etc.  So we are trying our best we can to help him out, since his parents are really really worried for him.  So we had a really good Family home evening with them last night, where we watched the restoration video and then just talked afterwards.  The conversation started out being about the blessings the Restoration brings into our lives, but with time we were able to talk about family struggles, and how to overcome them.  I am very much looking forward to continuing to work with this family.  Eduardo is doing well.  He doesn't have his calling yet, but he has his interview later this week!  And probably the biggest news of the week is that Hno Hector Pino got called as our new ward mission leader!!!!!!!!!!!! Oh man, when I heard that announcement, I almost screamed!  Hector Pino is a stud and a half, and he is going to be an amazing mission leader (I went to his sealing in the temple).

Claudia and Familia Salgado are both doing great.  We have family home evenings planned with the both of them for later this week.  They haven't been able to make their way to church yet, but I'm confident that Elder Garcia and I will be able to help them to get there.

Another cool thing that Elder Garcia and I just started doing is a major remodel on the pension that we live in.  Earlier this week we had a nice visit by the senior missionary who is in charge of the pensions in the mission and he kindly requested for us to paint the pension.  So, we have been having some fun doing that in the mornings.  We finished up the front of the pension this morning, so I'll be sure to send you some pictures of it next week.

Whelp, I'd love to include some more, but my time is running short.  I love and am praying for you all!  Keep being amazing!  The Church is true! 
with love, your son/friend/brother/neighbor,

Elder Schwartz

This pic below is from a zone BBQ we had today.....

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cookin' Summer in Chile

Cookin with Elder Garcia and Fabian

Final Product:  Spanish dish, Tortilla de Papas

Dear Family!

Ahahaha!  Thank you so much for all of the pìctures -- they made Andrew look like a superstar -- ahahaha!  The house looks beautiful with the hills all green, and what exactly is Phil doing out in Maryland?  Lumberjacking? 

(below are some of the pics mentioned in Elder Nate's email)

Andrew performing in Mr. Heritage Halls competition

Early spring in hills of Martinez

Lumberjack Phil....?

I wish Phil would write me.......................  It's good to hear that Mormon Prom was a hit, and that youth activity (to visit temples in CA) sounds amazing!  Visiting all of the temples in California -- we are really so blessed to have so many temples close to us, and I don't think that I realized how much of a blessing it is, until I got here to Chile.  On the temple grounds here in Santiago there is a hotel-like place for the people from southern Chile to stay in when they come to the temple.  Some people only have enough money to visit the temple one time in their whole lives!  Wow!

Well, this week was really nice.  The highlight of it was definitely yesterday when I had the opportunity to confirm Eduardo as a member of this church; what a blessing!   I didn't know that I was going to do it until about five minutes before the confirmation, but it all went smoothly.  Definitely, it was a moment of my mission that I am not going to forget any time soon.  We had ward council after the meetings, and we discussed potential callings for Eduardo to help him to integrate into the ward as best he can, as soon as possible.  All of this ward involvement started happenning when Hermano Jara joined the bishopric.  He has helped us out a TON!  

This week was a really good week for Elder Garcia and I, because on Wednesday we found a whole family that we are starting to teach!!!!  We found them from the list of old investigators in our area book, and they are so cool!  Missionaries stopped visiting them about 2 years ago because the Mom and the Dad in the family aren't married, but when we came to visit them, they told us that they have plans set to get married a little later this year!  The parents names are Mauricio and Isabelle, and their kids are Filipe (13) and Ronald (12) and they are all great.  On Saturday night I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to give the Isabelle a blessing of healing, and that was a really good experience for me, and hopefully for her too.  We have a Noche de Hogar (Family Home evening activity) planned with them later in the week.

Also, we are continuing to teach Claudia, the girlfriend of Mattias.  She was out of town this week, but she is really excited to go to church for the first time this Sunday.  We heard that her mom is reading the pamphlets that we give to Claudia, so we are going to try to start teaching her too.  Basically, what I am learning right now in this sector, is that the people who have friends or close relationships with people that are members, it's a lot easier for them to progress in learning the gospel.  It's a lot more comfortable to teach them, and they are more likely to join the church and to stay in the church.  That is why members working with missionaries is so, so important!  Go help your missionaries!  

On the 9th of February, I completed my 9th month here in the mission......WHAT THE HECK?  Nine months?!?  That scares me; that number scares me.  The time is going by way way fast -- I still feel like I just got here!  The time flies....before I know it, Andrew will be in Brazil, and Phil will be married (I think he is just kidding on this one)......

Whelp, sorry if this email was a little shorter than the rest -- I wasnt very good at writing in my journal this week.  I love and miss you all.  I'm praying for you, and I look forward to hearing from you again next week.  Keep being amazing.  The Church is true!  

With lots of love,

Elder Schwartz

Cutting Onions.....

Monday, February 4, 2013

So You're Not Going to Believe This.....

Am I leaving Elder Garcia....
......and the Geronimo Ward
....and this great sector.......????
.....I DIDN´T get transferred!!!!!!!! Muahahahahaha!  Elder Schwartz is spending the first SIX changes of his mission in the same sector! It was a little surprising, but I'm good with it.  This transfer that just started today is only three weeks long though, so, by the end of February, I WILL be in another sector.  Elder Garcia is still my companion, which is what I wanted, and we are still living in our apartment and sector ALONE, which is also what I wanted.  Dividing one sector between two companionships can be really hard sometimes, so Elder Garcia and I are happy that we don't have to share yet. 

see Phil's head, just to the right of Natalie Morales....
Wow Phil!  What ISN'T he doing out there in Maryland?  He met the Vice President, he was on the Today Show....... what's it going to be next week?  Andrew only has three weeks left of school? WOW, hopefully he´ll keep busy when he´s at home, working at Chairs for Affairs, maybe?  Congratulations Mom!  You're officially a termite inspector!  ¡Que genial!  Proud of you!  And no, I haven't gotten your package yet...... but my fingers are crossed for this week.  And congratulations Ashley on her baptism!  The trip looked like a really good time!  Yes, sadly I heard that the 49er's lost....... I wasn't able to see any of it, but a member from my ward called me this morning and explained the whole thing (he's a Ravens fan too.....:( ...) but he plays football in a league down here which is rather unusual.  He told me that it was an amazing game.  Whelp, better luck next year Niners!  We´ll win the superbowl eventually....probably next year!
Wow, what a great week it was!  We were hit a little by the vacations storm, but not nearly as bad as the past several weeks.  Families are slowly but surely coming back from the beach and going back to work and the regular routine, which is great because now we are able to have more lessons in memebers houses, and lessons in the homes of members is the key ingredient to ´´Citas Celestiales´´ or Celestial Lessons...... its a little more catchy in spanish.....  Monday night, we had a really good lesson with in Hna. Chechi's house, with Javier and Chechi's neighbor who is a psychiatrist, so that was WAY cool!  The Psychiatrist/Neighbor is a member who is reactivating and she helped Javier out a lot.  Tuesday I got a letter from the Legendary Marissa Getts.  Watch out Africa!  It was cool hearing form her and how she's preparing to go to the MTC.  It's so cool how many people are leaving for the mission!!!!!  I had the chance to talk to President Wright and Hna. Wright on Sunday.  They came to Eduardo's baptism, and they are both really excited for all of the changes that are happening.  They get a list of new missionaries who recently got their call to the mission EVERY WEEK.  Every week this mission is growing and growing in numbers! SO STOKED!
So the highlight of the week was Sunday, Eduardos baptism!  It went SO, SO, so, so, so, so well.  Elder Garcia and I have both talked, and we don't feel like this was our baptism, or that we were the ones who helped Eduardo get to this point.  We feel that it really is the ward´s baptism; they deserve all of the credit, because they took in Eduardo and befriended him and helped him in amazing ways, and I am so proud of them.  After the baptism, we gave Eduardo a journal full of entries from members of the ward congratulating him and welcoming him into the ward.  It was such a good idea, and he absolutely loved it.  Elder Garcia and I printed out photos and glued them in the journal too, so cool.  President Wright came and spoke.  He´s amazing, but you all already know that.  After the baptism, we had Lunch at Eduardo's apartment with the member family that helped introduce him to the church.  It was such a sweet experience, and at the lunch, I got caught up thinking of the transformation process that has happenned in Eduardos life over the past several months, and I am so fortunate to have been able to be a part of it, and to have been able to watch it happen. 

Members at Eduardo's Baptism

Today for P-Day, we did a district activity where we cooked chicken Cordon Bleu, and played soccer, and sang at our chapel, and it was a really good time.  Only one companionship got changed out of our zone this transfer; basically our entire zone has been together for three changes, so we are all really close.

Our District
Sadly, I'm running out of time.  I'll try to attach some photos from the baptism and the past week.  I love you all so much.  Thank you for your love, your letters, your prayers, your support, and your thoughts.  I really can feel it out here.  The church is true!  Keep being you, stay safe, and until next week!
with love,
Elder Schwartz