Monday, April 15, 2013

Feliz Cumpleanos......Elder Schwartz!!!!!!

Dear Everyone!

It's so great to hear that everyone is doing so well.  But it is kinda freaking me out how fast the time is going.  Andrew and Mitchell really just had their open house this sunday?!?!?!?!  They grow up so fast!  I honestly cannot believe how fast the time is flying by.  Yes, yes, I am still in Geronimo and still in very good spirits about it.  Elder Sanchez and I are really happy about it, but I am not looking forward to the upcoming changes next month, because I know what my fate will be.  It has been a really good time here in Geronimo, and I know that it's going to come to an end, but i am just trying my best not to think about it and stay focused.  Elder Sanchez is helping me with that; he is a good missionary.

To be dead honest, as far as the lessons go, it was a really rough week. Elder Sanchez and I spent the grand majority of our time in the streets trying to contact old investigators, and pretty much anyone else we could find.  We really didn't have too much success, but 'tis a new week and a new opportunity; things can change.  We met with Rodrigo, and he is doing great -- reading a lot, which is wonderful.  We were able to meet with some leaders this week too, which I think was key.  We really want to get a ward activity going this month, and at this point we are just looking for someone who will support us in the cause.  We have a meeting with Hno Jara tonight and I am really confident that he will help us.

Yes, it was my birthday this week, and that was AWESOME!  To be totally honest, I really was not looking forward to it.  I thought that I was just going to kind of be sad and homesick all day, and it was going to be kind of lame, but it was the OPPOSITE!  Much to my surprise, Elder Garcia and Sanchez and Henderson pulled a lot of strings and did some amazing stuff.  On the night of the 12th and the 13th and the 14th they set up family home evenings with some really close families in the ward and it was amazing! SO MUCH CAKE!  TOO MUCH CAKE!  But it was so, so, so, so good!  

Familia di Hma Paulina

With Familia Julia

Familia Julia

Familia Julia


Saturday night, we had a lil' family night with the Gonzalez family and Eduardo, and they bought me this HUGE cake and then tricked me, and shoved my face into it....... I have it on video, but the file is too big to send over email..... Dad how can I make the file smaller, so i can send it to you guys? 
They all sang and it was a great time.  The same with Sunday night in Hna Julia's house, they ALSO sang, and gave me another cake, and it was equally as amazing.  The love here in Geronimo is really strong; it's going to be SO HARD to leave!!  Elder Schwartz had a very fun, very happy birthday, so no need to worry (Mom).

Familia Jara, Familia Gonzalez, Ivon, Eduardo and us

The highlights of the week have nothing to do with my birthday though...... there are just 2 this week.

I am not sure if I included last week the story of the man in our ward who is bedridden and dying of cancer, Hermano Rojas.  Last week, we went to his house with the deacons quorum presidency and they asked me to offer a kneeling prayer with his family around his bed, and it was amazingly spiritual.  Well, this week, we went to his house on Saturday, because it was the celebration of their 60th wedding anniversary.  Basically, what happenned was that a month ago he went to the hospital and they told him that there is nothing they can do to save him, and basically all we can do is wait.  So, he has been fighting over the past month to stay alive to spend his 60th wedding anniversary with his wife, which he was able to do.  On Saturday, his entire family came to their house and they invited Elder Sanchez and me to come also.  I remember walking into their house and just feeling a difference in the atmospehre, like you walked through the door and the love hit you like a brick wall.  We were the only people there that weren't immediate family, but they made us feel like we were.  We took pictures, and we talked, and one of the sons toasted Elder Sanchez and me and it was SO AMAZING!  I remember just sitting there on the couch and looking around and thinking of the life hereafter, and how amazing of an experience that's going to be.  Hno and Hna Rojas and the whole family just looked and seemed so genuinely happy together, and I KNOW that they reason why their family is so strong and united and full of love is because they let the gospel direct their lives.  It is likely that we are going to have to say goodbye to Hno Rojas sometime this month, but I, along with his family are well aware that it is in no way a "Goodbye", it's a "See you later."

The other highlight of the week was last night as we were visiting our High Priest Group Leader to talk to him about our wards home teaching system (but that's a completely different problem).  We stayed and talked with him and his wife for a while, and as we were preparing to leave, I asked the Hna if there was anything that Elder Sanchez and I could do to help her family, and then she broke down and started to cry, and then her husband started to tear up too.  They confessed to us that their family is going through some huge problems right now; their 16 year old daughter ran away from home after a fight that she had with her mother, and that it had been a week and a half since they had seen her.  She found her way to her sister's house on the other side of Santiago, and she is safe, but the separation was causing the mother and father a lot of pain.  And then it just kind of clicked for me.  I think that being a teenager, we really can't see the the perspective of the parents really well.  We argue and get upset about things, but I think that we fail to see that the reason why the parents do what they do is because they love us.  That love is the source of EVERYTHING that a parent does for their child.  The same with our Heavenly Father and us.  They asked us what they should do, and that was one of the MANY times so far in the mission where I felt, "How the HECK am I qualified to give any form of advice to these people?"  But, I assured them that their daughter is going to come back and that they should just try to help her see the reasons WHY they ask so much of her, and why they seem to be so strict with her, and protective of her.  Looking back on my childhood, I think I failed to recognize the reasons why my parents were asking so much of me, and were being so strict with me.  Being here in the mission, I can look back on it, and to be totally honest, im thankful for it.  And our relationship with our Heavenly Father is the EXACT SAME THING.

Whelp everyone, I am out of time, but I love you all and I miss you all.  Thank you so much for your birthday wishes, your thought, letters, prayers....everything.  I can feel your support here in Chile and i LOVE it.  Stay amazing, stay safe!  I love you all.  The church is true.


Elder Schwartz

Celebration in the pensione

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