Monday, March 4, 2013

New Companions!

Elders Garcia, Henderson, Sanchez and me.....
Elder Schwartz loves to get mail:  

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

Here is his latest message home:

Dear Family!

So, like I said in the last letter, a lot of big changes have happened this past week, but I am happy to report that everything went very smoothly.  I am now with my 3rd companion, Elder Sanchez from Lima, Peru (My second Peruvian companion).  He is 19, and a convert to the church.  He has been a member for a little more than eight years, and all of his family are members except for his older brother who is 21.  He has three siblings:  an older brother, a younger brother, and a younger sister.  He is the first missionary in his family, and he does not speak a lick of English.  But that's fine; I'm not having too many problems with my Spanish anymore.  Yes, I am still living with Elder Garcia, and he is training Elder Henderson from Atlanta, Georgia, a gringo!  I am actually really happy that he is training a gringo, because it's going to help Elder Garcia a lot with his English, and Elder Henderson a lot with his Spanish.  I am very thankful that I was trained by a latin; it helped me to learn and grow very quickly.  So, life in the pension is a little louder, and messier, but for the most part it has been really fun having two more people to share it with.  Plus, Elder Garcia is helping me out a lot with how to be a good trainer.

With new missionary companion, Elder Sanchez

Yes, we had to divide the sector; Elder Sanchez and I with one half, and Elders Garcia and Henderson with the other.  It's actually something really hard for me personally, because I have spent the last six changes working in the whole sector, and now I am unable to visit a lot of people that I am very close to. :(  But it's what the Lord wants, so we are going to do it.  Elder Garcia and I tried to make the division as fair as possible, but it didn't come out exactly perfect 50-50.  I'll be okay though, Elder Sanchez and I are going to have a lot of work to do over these next several weeks, a lot of searching, and a lot of time going down the ward list.  That's basically what we have to do (all four of us missionaries); that is, to develop teaching opportunities for four missionaries in an area where there were only two of us for a long time.  It's going to be rough at first, but I'm not too worried about it.

Elders Sanchez and Henderson arrived Tuesday morning with 28 other missionaries, and we all met at a big meeting in the Apoquindo chapel in Las Condes.  Since Elder Garcia and I aren't familiar with that area, we got lost... :)  but we made it to the chapel eventually!  And that's where we met our new companions, and much to my surprise, I also got to see Hermana Jennings!  (We were in the same ward at BYU together.)  So, that was really cool; seeing a familiar face is always nice.

With Sister Jennings, from same BYU ward

Basically, Elder Garcia and I spent the majority of the week helping the new missionaries get to know the members of the ward, especially the ward leaders.  We spent about half of our time together, and half of our time apart, but starting tonight, the great split goes into effect and we´re on our own.  I am really happy with Elder Sanchez.  He is a little timid and nervous, but he's a good missionary.  He has great intentions and a very strong testimony.  I know that we are going to have a really good time together.  He is really funny too, and having a companion with a sense of humor makes the work a lot more enjoyable.

All in all, it was a good week.  I'm in a good place with a great companion.  Yeah, I can feel the weight of the responsibility a little heavier, but I think I'm going to be fine.  I know that this is the true church.  I know that our Heavenly Father knows us each individually, our weekness, our strengths, and our desires, and that He always wants whats best for us; and maybe what is best for us isn't always what we THINK is best for us.  But I know that if we trust in Him and His plan, we will be happy.  And that's the reason why we are here, right? be happy!

Thank you all for your love and your support and your concerns and your prayers and letters and thoughts and love.  I really can feel it.  I love you and miss you all!  Keep in touch!

Until next week, with love,

Elder Schwartz

P.S. Make sure to remind Andrew and Phil to write me! I love you!  And, Dad, the mission picture was PERFECT!  Elder Garcia says that we are like twins, but my hair is a little thicker ;)  (see below for pic that pops sent to Elder Nate)

Elders Schwartz, Chambers, and Kay from 1981

With Sonic the Hedgehog?

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