Friday, May 31, 2013

Pocatellllllllllllllllooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!



Brazil will be postponed for a while as Elder Schwartz waits for that darn visa!
Dear Family and Friends,
 
So, I'm sure it's old news by now, but I got my temporary reassignment until I get my visa. I get the opportunity to serve the people in the POCATELLO IDAHO MISSION!!! I am way excited for that! I already know that I'm supposed to be there, because someone out there needs to hear the message I'm bringing!  Everyone in my district got reassigned, except Elder Ross, who got his visa.  I guess he is needed in Brazil right now, while the rest of us are needed elsewhere, which is AWESOME.  My companion Elder Bond and Elder Johnson and Elder Despain from my district got reassigned to serve in the Mesa Arizona mission.  Elder Smith got reassigned to his home mission in Tennessee (what?!?), and the Sisters got reassigned to Iowa, Colorado, and Michigan.  So, I'm the only one going to Idaho from my district. There is another sister, in another district who is also going to Pocatello, so at least I'll know someone going there.
 
This week has been amazing, as every week is. There were a few downsides, though.  Our district actually didn't get to Skype with the Brasileiros this week, so that was kind of a let down. On Sunday we had a fantastic devotional given by the head of the Missionary Department.  It was amazing. He had prepared a message, but then changed it as the Spirit directed him, and it ended up really uplifting to me, and I'm sure to everyone else here in the MTC.  That night, we got to watch Sister Monson's funeral service.  It was a beautiful service with many great people giving us details of what a wonderful person she was.  On Tuesday, we had another devotional given by Elder Zwick of the Seventy.  He instructed us how we can have better Christ-like attributes.  It was phenomenal!  So uplifting!  On Wednesday, I got the opportunity to be a host for the new missionaries coming in.  It was sweet to see the families drop them off and how much love they had for their missionaries. Even though my drop off was better (right Devin and Cindy?), I liked being the one to introduce the new missionaries to the MTC life and being their guide for a short time. 



Thursday kinda went up and down.  The ups were infield orientation and getting my reassignent.  Infield orientation was a blast.  It was all day, but I learned so much!  Even one of the missionaries from "the district" led some of our breakout classes.  The down of that day was that our room got vandalized by some missionaries on our floor.  I felt sad for the missionaries that did it because they were'nt really being missionaries.  Everything's fine, they just made a huge mess, but we got it all taken care of. Today has been awesome so far.  I just got the package that Nate sent for me and I loved it. It's seriously the best thing to happen besides my reassignment.  He gave me so many neat shirts, talks, and food -- I love it!  Our district also had a nice little picnic and we had a bottle of Martinelli's and we toasted our reassignments.  It was great. And later today I get to go to the temple!  I love P-days!

District Picnic

Guess who found me at the temple?...........It's cousin Cindy -- Awesome!

Thanks everyone for all the letters, packages, dear elders, and emails!  They all really help and make things better for me here at the MTC.  It's good to hear that everyone is doing well in their lives and that everyone is happy.  I know that this Church is true.  I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he saw the Father and the Son.  I know that through Him, Joseph Smith translated the sacred records into the Book of Mormon.  I invite all who are reading what I write to know that this is what I believe, and if they have any questions, just write me a letter or email and I will gladly respond.  

I love you all!
 
-Elder Schwartz

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Area....And Some Goodbye Photos From Geronimo


Elder Schwartz mentions a package home in his email message below.  He included a couple of memory cards from his camera.  Many of the photos on the cards are ones included already on the blog, but there are also more (many more, in fact)! If you have some time and want to see some pics, here is the link to them:  


We have had a hard time getting packages to him in Chile, but his package came to us quickly.  He confirms that the correct address for him for letters and packages is:

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

For email his address is:  nathaniel.schwartz@myldsmail.net


Here is his latest message home (farewell photos from Geronimo at end):

Dear Family, Friends, Everyone,

Its great to hear that everyone is keeping so busy and that you guys got the package that I sent home, and I'm glad that you saw the video of the birthday cake; I'm still trying to get some of the chocolate frosting out of my nose.......
This week went by really well, and really fast.  Firstly, I would just like you all to know that it is POURING rain right now.  It is POURING, and Chile doesn't have drainage systems...... the streets turn into rivers.  So, enjoy your California spring sunshine. 
Yes, this sector is a big change from the last one.  The ward is called Chiloé, but the part of the city is called El Volcán, and the majority of the sector is made up of of three story apartment buildings that are identical to one another, and I think were all built by the government -- so big contrast!  The ward here is SO COOL!  Over the past week I have been able to meet a lot of the members and they are so much fun, and so funny, and so loving.  It is awesome!  The work here is moving really well.  And yes, we have a lot of recent converts, and a few investigators moving rapidly towards baptism.  In fact, we have one planned for next Sunday, if everything works out well.  Elder Packer has been doing a great job.  He has been out on the mission for the same amount of time as Elder Sanchez (so like 3 months), but he speaks and understands very well for someone with little time in the mission.  The zone leaders who I live with are Elder Smith from Idaho Falls, (it's his last 6 weeks of the mission right now) and he is awesome, and the other zone leader is named Elder Schade (pronounced Skatty), and he and I hit it off really well.  He is from Linden Utah, and he is actually a friend of one of my college roommates (Scott Cooper).  Since we know some of the same people and have been to a lot of the same places, we have gotten along really well so far, and it was his birthday yesterday.  My district is awesome -- it is me and my companion and the zone leaders and a trio of sister missionaries and another companionship from Barrio Cordillera, and they are all awesome.  There are nine of us in the district, and everyone is really easy to get along with and a lot of fun.  I really recieved a tender mercy from the Lord receiving such studs of missionaries in my district.  On Friday we had a capacitation (training) meeting for all of the District Leaders with President Wright, and that helped me out a TON.  Everything is going along really well in this sector, aside from the weather, and I am really excited for this change.  I know that I am going to be learning a lot.  I love you all so much; you're in my prayers.  The church is true!   
Until next week!
xox,
Elder Schwartz

Goodbye Pictures from Geronimo area.....

Goodbye District!

Goodbye Geronimo!

Goodbye Hijito (Son)!

Goodbye Jovenes (youth)!

Goodbye La Florida Zone!

Goodbye Rodrigo!

Goodbye Familia Orellana!

Friday, May 24, 2013

MTC Meditations....






Dear Family and Friends!
I'm so glad that you guys got the pictures!  Everything seems to be going well with everyone with work and other things.  That's great!   Elder Nate moved to a new sector?  Finally!  It's great that he got to be in one place for so long, but it was about time for a change.  How is my other sweet brother Phil in the Americorp?  I haven't heard from him in a while.  How are things in MTZ?  Or the rest of the world?  We don't get much news access here in the MTC.  Grandma Moffit sent me a nice package yesterday with all sorts of goodies. I loved it.   My district has so much food now because some of the other Elders are getting packages too.

Some of the plentitude of food that we have 
So almost everyone that has been in my branch (all called to Brazil) thus far has been reassigned (to missions in the US awaiting their visas) except for maybe two missionaries that got their visas. I only have two weeks left here so next week I am probably going to get my reassignment to somewhere in the US, but I am way excited for that. I get to say I have two different mission assignments!  How awesome is that?!?!  I hope I get to go somewhere on the east coast, but I'll go where the Lord needs me.


 
This week has been great as always. I haven't been keeping up with speaking only Portuguese as I should have been, but starting Monday, Elder Bond and I are only going to speak Portuguese for the rest of our time here at the MTC.  It will be a challenge but we can do it!  Our investigators are going really well.  We haven't been able to teach as much this week because our district has started being investigators for each other.  It's so good to be able to put on the shoes of the investigator and learn ways in which I can teach more effectively.  The Elders in our district still play volleyball every gym time and we have been getting the new districts to play with us, so we have been having some really good games.
 
This week we had Elder Nash of the Quorum of the Seventy talk to us about the Doctrine of Christ, and through listening to him, I have been gaining some insights of my own.  Cousin Cindy challenged me to start a "Miracle Journal," so I did that, but I have been adding thoughts and insights to it as well.  It's small so I carry it with me because I can recieve miracles or inspiration at any moment. Tomorrow our distirct is going to do something that I think is pretty cool. We're going to be having a 40 minute Skype session with members in Brazil and teach them a short lesson.  I'm so excited because all of the Brazillians that I have talked to here are really nice and I have only heard good things about the people in Brazil. What a blessing!
 
Well those are pretty much the highlights of the week. Elder Schwartz is doing great and working hard.  Keep sending me emails and Dear Elders because I love to hear how everyone is doing and what's going on in people's lives!  The church is true!
 
Amo voces!
Elder Schwartz
 
P.S. One of the Elders in my district is into holistics and meditation and stuff so he taught me how to meditate!  How cool is that?!

The view of my room from my bed

Monday, May 20, 2013

Transferred....to Puente Alto

Map of Puente Alto area of Santiago Chile

Dear Family!
 
Thank you so much for the package and the emails and the love and everything; love it, love it, love it!  It's so great to hear that everyone is busy and that mom is now famous.  Hey, you haven't sent me any pictures from the whole ´´The Price is Right´´ thing, or if you did, I can't see them :(  Anyways, thank you so much.  (I actually did send some pictures of it; he must not have gotten them).
 
Yes, it finally happened! Elder Schwartz finally left his home sector of Geronimo de Alderete, and yes, it was very hard for him to say goodbye.  The bishopric gave me some time during sacrament meeting to say my goodbyes, and that was really sweet.  So right now, I am emailing you guys from a different computer in a different sector.  Right now, I am in a zone called Cordillera, which is in a part of Santiago called Puente Alto, and it is in a more... humble part of the city.  My ward is called Chiloé and apparently the work down here is moving really fast.  My new companion is named Elder Packer; yes, he is related to the Apostle (he is like his great uncle or something) and he has been here in Chile for about 3 months.  He is my first companion that is a gringo like me, so it should be a really interesting time.  He´s from Brigham City, Utah, and he likes to hunt.  We live in a house with our zone leaders Elder Smith and Elder Schade, and I really haven't had the time to get to know them yet, but I am sure that they are excellent guys.  Oh, and I am a district leader down here too.  SO, that should be a lot of fun.  My whole mission world just got completely turned upsidedown, and I know that its going to be hard, but it should be a lot of fun, too.  Pray for me. 
 
The last week in Geronimo went by really well.  We got to visit a lot of people.  Yes, we saw the man and his 90-year old mother who sang to us.  We brought them the sacrament after church yesterday with three of the youth from our ward and that was cool.  Actually, I left my Book of Mormon in his house.  We came by that night to pick it up, and today I found a really nice note in it from the guy where he shared one of his favorite scriptures and then thanked us for coming to visit them.  That was really sweet.  We had a really good visit with Rodrigo and I am certain that the man is going to be a member, and he it is going to be awesome.  He has grown A TON.  It was hard saying goodbye to Edith and Daniel, but I know that I will see them again before I leave, but we all cried and it was a really bittersweet meeting.  I think that i would feel sad if I felt like they wouldn't be okay on their own without me, but I seriously know that all of them are going to be okay; Elder Sanchez and Elder Henderson are going to do a great job in Geronimo with their new companions.  Elder Garcia is probably on a plane right now going home......... it was really hard to say goodbye to Elder Garcia, seeings how we were together for 6 months, but it is his time to go home.
 
I just want you guys to know that I love you, and I am very excited for this upcoming change in this new sector, with this new companion.  It's going to be a whole new experience for me, and a whole new adventure.  Dad told me in an email a couple of weeks ago that a lot of really cool things are in store for me in this upcoming year out here in the field, and I know for a fact that those really cool things are going to happen here.  It's so awesome to know that Heavenly Father has a reason for me being here, in this place, with this companion, and I am eager to find out why.  I love you all so much.  Hold to the rod; the church is true, and I´ll give you all of the sweet details about this sector in next week's email!
 
with love,
Elder Schwartz

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Feliz Aniversario, Elder Schwartz!




We got a nice message from Elder Andrew yesterday, and yes, he was able to attach some great photos of himself, and his companion, and district, and more.....

Ola Familia!
Tudo Bem?

From the Kelley tweet!
So you got the pic from cousin Kelley?  Haha it was nice to see a familiar face.  I think that picture is with Elder Johnson in the back, I'm not sure.  He's another Elder from my district going to Sao Paulo. 

Don't worry, Elder Schwartz had a great birthday.  I got three packages that day so I was the envy of my district. Shouts out to Big Bwudda Phil for the pie, Stacy for the cupcakes, and Natalia for the cookies!  They were all delicious! 

Translation from Portugese:  Happy Birthday!

Blowing out the 19 Candles....
Some sisters in my district decorated my desk with post-its and made me a "cake" out of post-its with candles drawn on them and some of my books.  It was awesome!  Yes, I also got sung to by my district and teacher in Portuguese, so no need to worry about that!  Sorry I couldn't call home on Mother's day, but you know there are 4000 missionaries and only three phones here... but I hope that Mom still had a wonderful day!  I'm jealous that you guys got to talk to Elder Nate but I guess we'll all get the chance to talk on Christmas.  The language is coming along well.  Two days ago our district signed a contract with our teacher that we would only speak Portuguese save a few exceptions.  So for the past two days I have only been speaking Portuguese with very limited English. It's really tough, but I love it because I know it's for the best! 

Elder Schwartz and Elder Bond
 Elder Bond is doing well.  He is having a bit of trouble with the language, so I've been helping him with his Portuguese, and I make him talk more during our lessons, because I tend to do most of the talking.  He's been progressing so much since we started doing that, and I'm really glad I could help him out.  

Elder Smith, Elder Ross, Elder Johnson, Elder Despain, Elder Bond, and Elder Schwartz

Elders in our District with the sisters:  Sister Campell, Sister Gonzales, Sister Schooly,
Sister Dabelko, Sister Duncan 
So we got a new district in our branch this week, but two districts are leaving next week meaning that our district is the oldest district in our branch already!  It's seems like yesterday we were the youngest, but things move quick in the MTC!  For Tuesday devotional we had a special guest come speak to us -- Elder Russell M. Nelson from the Quorum of the Twelve came and spoke to us, and it was AMAZING!!!  He gave us so many new insights on how to be more effective missionaries which will greatly help us when we're in the field.  Elder Bond and I are currently teaching two investigators (not really investigators, just teachers).  I know that even though they aren't real lessons, but every time that we teach it is just an awesome experience!  One of our investigators is progressing really well, while the other is having some huge trials in his life that we are trying to help him overcome.  It is so cool to be able prepare for the things that I might have to help others with in their lives.  So the lessons are basically the exciting parts of the day.  Other than that we have either study sessions, classes, or meals.  All of it is awesome, as I am learning so much and getting better at teaching every day.  It's so nice to hear from everyone through Dear Elders and Emails and to hear everyone is doing well!  Keep them coming!  I'll try to write everyone back but we can only write and send letters and emails on P-day.  Well, I love you all, and I pray for all of you! I can't wait to hear back!
 
Amo Voces!
Elder Schwartz

Few more pics....

Elder Schwartz with Elder Mitchell Wilson, before he left for San Antonio

With the bikes

Picture Sister Campbell drew for my birthday

I can sing?  Nope!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Mother's Day Video Call.....


This photo just came in, so I added it.  Elder Schwartz mentions that many families in Santiago have this type of photo hanging in prominent places in their homes.  He and his fellow missionaries wanted to have one of them.....

Elders Garcia, Henderson, Schwartz, and Sanchez -- all ready to set sail...

Elder Nate Schwartz "Skyped" his family on Sunday (Mother's day).  As a gift to his mom, he sang a children's Mother's Day song in Spanish (I Often Go Walking).  Click on link below:


Dear Family,

Just like your letter this week was a little bit shorter, mine is going to be a little bit shorter too, or a lot shorter......  It was really great being able to see (on Skype) you guys yesterday.  It was so sweet being able to hear all of your sweet voices after such a long time.  It looks and sounds like everyone is doing really well, and it sounds like Andrew is doing well in the MTC, too.  I really don't know what to write seeings how we were just talking last night.  Today we went up to Las Condes (nice, big mall in fancy part of town) and we ate at the Hard Rock cafe just like I said, and then we went bowling.  It was a really good time.  Eduardo came with us to celebrate Elder Garcias last P-Day.  It's really hard for me to think that in one week from now Elder Garcia isn't going to be here with me anymore...... I've spent over the last 6 months living with him so that's going to be kind of hard for me.  It's really probable that next Monday I will be emailing you guys from a different location with a different companion.  At least I feel like that is what's going to happen.

The highlight of the week for me hands-down was having the opportunity to work the baptistry at the CVC (this was a mini visitors center that was being set up at each ward chapel).  It was an experience that I won't ever forget.  Seriously, the CVC is such a great idea!!!!!   I am going to try to talk my home ward into doing it when I get home.  It was so much fun and I feel like it was a really good turn out.  I personally feel like Lo Cañas is going to have more than one baptism in the near future because of the CVC on Saturday night.  Another really cool thing happened on Sunday before we spoke with our families.  About 3 months ago, our Elders Quorum President received an email from a guy outside of Santiago who wanted someone from our ward to go visit and bless his brother's home.  So our Elders quorum president gave us the address and we took off to go visit the home.  We must have passed by that house a good 13 times without getting a response from anyone.  I started to think that we got the address wrong, and that the home was abandoned, so we stopped passing by for a while. Well 2 weeks ago, we had a ward activity where the stake presidency and high council and all of the priesthood in our ward got together on a Sunday night to do visits.  They made companionships out of all of the members, handed them a slip of paper, and then they took off.  Well, the paper that Elder Sanchez and I received had the exact same address that we received from our Elders quarum president months earlier.  So we went to visit them, and we encountered them!  They invited us to come to their house the following Sunday (yesterday), and we got into their house.  We were able to meet a wonderful middle aged man who is taking care of his 90 year old Mother, alone. His mother has Alzhiemer's and she can never be left alone.  We visited them for a while, then Elder Sanchez blessed the home, and afterwards the Hermano asked us to give his mother a blessing of health.  I gave her a simple blessing, and then the most amazing thing happened; after the blessing concluded, the 90 year old woman burst out into song, and she sang all three verses of "How Great Thou Art," solo.  It was such a warming and spiritual experience and I was so happy to have been the missionary lucky enough to partake in such a moving event. This next Sunday we are going to go to their house with the Deacons quorum presidency to bring them the sacrament.

I will be sure to write you guys a more detailed letter next week.  Sorry that this one is so short.....  I know that the church is true, that our Heavenly Father loves us, and that he wants the best for us.  He knows all of us individually; He knows our strengths and our weaknesses, our victories, and our shortcomings, and that He wants us to return and live with Him.  If that is our goal, He will help us and bless us.

Until next week,
with much love,

Elder Schwartz

He can email now -- nathaniel.schwartz@myldsmail.net


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

MTC Time Warp


Elder Andrew Schwartz's most recent email home (from 4/10/13):
Sorry, no pics this time...oops!  Cousin Kelley (who works at the MTC) tweeted this recent sighting of our beloved missionary (in his P-day attire).  Don't know the details, but might assume that is Elder Bond behind him....



Hey All!
Man, time is so strange here at the MTC. It's like the days feel super long while your in class, studying, teaching, etc., but whatever happened a week ago feels like it just happened yesterday. It's so weird, but that's how I can best describe it.  So we have a mix of both language lessons and teaching lessons here.  We usually have two 3 hour block classes a day filled with a lot of study all throughout the day.  At the beginning of each lesson we recite: Our Purpose, The Baptismal prayer, the First Vision, James 1:5, Dilligence in Preach My Gospel, and D&C 4, all in Portuguese.  And I already have four of them memorized!!!  The Portuguese is coming along really well! I'm able to understand the majority of what my teachers/"investigators" say.  I can also come up with responses and, I can pretty much go a whole day speaking Portuguese. Those days I don't talk that much, though.  Elder Bond is doing well! We make a pretty good team because he knows every single scripture reference that can apply to any situation, and I am good enough at Portuguese where I am able to understand what the investigator is saying and adapt our lesson to apply it to them on the spot!  We have two "investigators" (our teachers) now, so we have been teaching almost twice a day. Our district is getting along great!  I got them all into volleyball, so that's what we do pretty much every gym time.  And I can at least handle myself when I play, which I should probably thank Pops for that!
Thanks for all the food and for the birthdayl package!!! I got it on Wednesday!  I enjoyed all the little gifts and goodies that you guys put in there!  We already put them into good use!!!  Also thanks for the cookies and cinnamon rolls!!  It's nice to have a treat and to get away from the MTC food.  Like today we went to the temple in the morning and had breakfast there, and it was DIVINE!!!  It's not that the food is bad here (in MTC), it's just that it isn't very high quality.....or nutritious.
It sounds like the campout you guys had was fun and was a good spiritual experience for the youth that went!  Also you started bike riding again?!?!  That's so cool!  Cousin Cole is already 12?!?!  Man he's gonna be so big when I get home.  It seems life is going great for everyone and that makes me glad!  It's also good to hear that the bay area is killing it in sports!  Keep me updated!!!
I want to finish this letter with my testimony in portuguese!!!!
Eu sei que a Igreja de Jesus Cristo é verdade e que José Smith é um profeta de Deus. Jesus Cristo expiou por nossos pecados. Eu sei que estou servindo o missão de Deus e estou fazendo Seu trabalho!
Amo vocês, 

Elder Schwartz

P.S.  Elder Schwartz loves mail -- via DearElder.com, via email andrew.schwartz@myldsmail.net, or via snail mail:

Elder Andrew Schwartz
MTC Box 127
BRA-SPS 0603
2005 N. 900 E.
Provo, UT  84604

Since no photos are available to post, we have to use some oldies -- Elder Andrew's uncles from their MTC days.....


Cousin Carrie, Uncle "Elder James", and Kurt circa 1982

Uncle "Elder Steve" circa 1979

Monday, May 6, 2013

Testimony Meeting


Here is Elder Nate Schwartz's weekly email home.  Sorry, no pictures sent this week.  Thanks for all your support of our boys....

Dear Everyone!

Thank you so much for the pictures!  I love pictures.  It is so great to hear that everyone is doing well, Phil in NYC, Elder Andrew in the MTC, and Mom and Dad in MTZ.  Thank you for attaching Andrew's weekly email.  If you could do that for me every week, that would be great.  It's great to hear that everyone is staying busy with work and church and family events and everything.  

This week was a busy one, and it went by super, super fast!  We did two service assignments this week, and normally for service we almost always do yard work or painting, but this week we got to cut down some trees, so that was a lot of fun.  I thought about Phil a lot while doing it because the great majority of pictures that I have seen of him are of him cutting down trees.

We had a lot of visits this week, which was a nice change of pace.  Less time in the street, more time in houses.  We were able to do a couple visits with Seba Pizarro which was really nice.  We had a couple lessons with Mauricio and Patricia and Isidora, and we were able visit Fernando Cabello this week too which was a real treat for Elder Sanchez and I, as we were missing him a lot.

On Sunday, Rodrigo came to church again, which was really sweet.  He has been progressing a lot over the last few days, and he finally found a job!  He has been unemployed since we started visiting him way back in like my third change.

There was a ward baptism on Saturday that Elder Sanchez and I had to put together.  The water heater in our chapel is broken, and its starting to get cold here.  I felt so bad for that little eight year old boy who had to get baptized in that freezing water..... it was so cold that he started to cry...... BUT aside from the freezing cold water, it was a really good meeting, and once the boy warmed up and stopped crying, he was really happy.

Sunday was the highlight of the week.  I love fast and testimony meetings, and this one was really special.  Both Hna Edith and her son Daniel got up and bore their testimonies and it was amazing.  The room was absolutely silent.  They both thanked Elder Garcia and I for deciding to go on missions, and coming to this ward, and visiting them.  That was something really rewarding to hear.  Little Marco (Paulina´s son) got up and bore his testimony too, and said that he loves when the missionaries come over, ahaha.  Sunday night, Elder Sanchez and I decided to work with the ward list, and we actualy met three new inactive families that we are going to continue teaching.  That was a blessing.

The twelve week training program for new missionaries is coming to a close for Elder Sanchez.  We are in week eleven now, so for this next week, Elder Sanchez is going to be my senior companion, leading all of the planning sessions and lessons.  He is a little nervous, but i know he is going to do a great job at it.  He is a really smart kid.

Thank you for your thoughts and letters and prayers; i can feel them.  The church is true.  If we keep the Lord's commandments, He will bless us in ways that we cannot imagine.  Miracles continue to happen on the earth today; I know that's true because I have seen too many to count.

love you all,
until next week,
Elder Schwartz


Sunday, May 5, 2013

MTC P-Day, Finally....


An e-mail from Elder Andrew Schwartz was finally received.  Why it took so long is explained in his note below.  He can be contacted by snail mail, DearElder.com, or e-mail (info below):

Elder Andrew Schwartz
MTC Box 127
BRA-SPS 0603
2005 N.  900 E.
Provo, UT  84604

Info for DearElder.com
Box 127
Departure date:  June 3, 2013
Brazil Sao Paolo South Misson

E-mail:  andrew.schwartz@myldsmail.net


Here is his first e-mail home:


Ola familia!
Como vai?
 
I AM SO SORRY THAT I WROTE THAT MY P-DAY WAS ON TUESDAY!!!! So, our branch president told us to write home telling you all that I made it to the MTC.  When I wrote it, our schedule said that our P-day was on Tuesday, but then on Monday there was a schedule change for our branch and our P-day got moved from Tuesday to Friday.  Our district has been here for over a week and we FINALLY have our P-day, so I'm sorry if you thought that I purposely didn't write you guys on Tuesday.  Everything went perfect getting to the MTC.  Devin picked me up, we got food, met up with people, and he and Cindy dropped me off as my surrogate parents.  So I'm sure you guys all want to know about my companierho. His name is Elder Bond and he's from Houston, Texas.  He was homeschooled, and was a swimmer, and he is a great companion.  He and everyone else in my district are all going to Sao Paulo South, except one companionship is going Sao Paulo Interlagos mission.  My district is awesome!  I just love them!  So Brother Willardson (Phil's friend, Tay) is not my teacher, but I have seen him a few times around here.  I have two teachers, Irmao Dodge and Irmao Hodson.  They are great teachers!!!  Irmao Hodson wasn't our teacher at the beginning though.  On the first Friday we were here, we had our first lesson in Portuguese and Irmao Hodson was our investigator.  We taught him almost everyday until yesterday, and now he is finally our teacher.  It was weird at first because we only knew him as "Goberto" and we never heard him speak English before, but he is a phenomenal teacher.  We knew that he was gonna be our teacher while he was our investigator, so it wasn't a huge surprise.
I've seen so many people I know here it's weird.  Elder Mehl (roommate from BYU) is in my branch, so I see him pretty much every day.  I saw Elder (Mitchell) Wilson a couple times before he left (for San Antonio), so I have a few pictures that I'll try to figure out how to send.  I've seen Elder Nawahine (other roommate from BYU), Elder Johnson (friend from EFY), and I saw Matt Bell too!!! I've been looking for cousin Kelly but I don't know if she still works security here or not.
 
It sounds like everything is going well at home. I loved the cookies that I got from Mamacita and the Dear Elders I've been getting. I just want to give a shout out to cousin Cindy!  Everyday I've been here I've either gotten one or more letter from her and she always gives me some little thought or scripture to help me with my day!  BEST COUSIN AWARD!!!  I just love getting dear elders (hint, hint) even if it is just a simple message. Hmm what else? So apparently there's this line of thinking within our branch (all missionaries going to Brazil) that none of us are going to get our visas and that we're going to all be reassigned to a stateside mission until we get them, but I have a feeling that mine is coming around the corner, and I'll be in Brazil in no time!!!  Well, I'm running out of time but I just want you all to know that I love and miss you guys, and you are all in my thoughts and prayers!!!
 
Til next Friday,
Elder Schwartz
 
P.S. MY BRANCH PRESIDENT SAID THAT EVERYONE CAN EMAIL ME!!! FRIENDS AND FAMILY!!!! SO SEND ME A MESSAGE!!! andrew.schwartz@myldsmail.net


 


Wednesday, May 1, 2013

A Letter....Finally!



It has been one week today that Elder Andrew Schwartz left home and flew to Utah to enter the Missionary Training Center in preparation for going to Brazil.  We posted the pictures in the last post of his that show him with his escorts in front of the MTC.  We assume he entered....  We sent him messages via email and DearElder.com and patiently waited for his P-day (preparation day) to get an email from him to hear that he was in there, and doing fine.  Friday and Saturday passed, and no email. Monday and Tuesday passed with no email.  I was sure we would hear something.  We thought, maybe  his P-day is Wednesday and for sure we will hear from him today.....we checked email every twenty minutes today, certain that it was finally coming today, one week after he entered.   By six this evening, still nothing.....

Well, guess what?  I checked the mailbox on my way home from work and there it was....a regular letter, handwritten by Elder Schwartz.  Whew!  Finally we hear from him...

We want to share his short letter:

Dear Family,

I made it!  Are you proud of me?!?  Your third son is a missionary, wow!  I honestly am thankful that you guys raised me right and that I have the opportunity to do the Lord's work.  So, Devin picked me up from the airport and everything went well.    He took me to his apartment, I said goodbye to some people, we went out to eat at Tucano's with family and friends, and he took me to the MTC with cousin Cindy.  They were my "surrogate parent," you can say.

The MTC is fantastic.  It's so cool to be surrounded by other elders and sisters!  When you first arrive, you have an orange sticker on your tag so everyone know it's your first day and they are all super friendly, and say, "Welcome to the MTC" in their different languages.  It's awesome!  So, I'm already in a district and a companionship.  My companion's name is......Bond......Elder Bond (Sorry, but I had to make that joke), and he's from Texas.  He was home schooled and went to BYU-Idaho for a semester before coming on his mission.  Even though is just the second day here, I'm already pretty close with my companion and my district.  I'm writing this letter because my branch president, President Brough, knows how much families worry about their kids, and I know that you guys especially worry! Ugh!  I want to write more, but it is lights out, and I'll write you guys Tuesday because that's when I have P-day!  Let everyone know, because I can write anyone, not just family!

I love you and I can't wait to write you on Tuesday with all the details of my experience here.  The Church is true; I know it!  Our Heavenly Father loves us and has a plan for us!  I love you.

Love,

Elder Schwartz

P.S.  I saw Elder Wilson.  We'll get a picture soon!


From Elder Schwartz's letter, I'm not sure if he is doing email or not, but here is his snail mail address at the MTC:


Elder Andrew Schwartz
MTC Box 127
BRA-SPS 0603
2005 N.  900 E.
Provo, UT
84604


Write him if you get a chance, or send him a message thru DearElder.com (it's free!).