Tuesday, July 16, 2013

High on the Mountain Top... (Well, Hill Top, Anyways)

Hill Above Chiloe

Dear Mom and Dad and Everyone,
It's great to hear that the family reunion was a success, and thank you so much for the photos.  It's way cool to hear that Andrew got to visit James and Stacy!  What a treat!  Great to hear that Mama is feeling better and that things are in their normal busy routine. 
Well, this week went by really fast, but it was a super good week.  In fact, it was probably the best week that Elder Packer and I have had so far together -- lots and lots and lots of lessons, which is a missionary's dream.  Basically, we have every day filled with teaching appointments, and we have a couple of baptisms lined up for the end of this transfer.  I am going to try to hit this week's highlights as best I can.
Wednesday was a really cool day because in the morning we had a District Leader meeting with President Wright.  That really helped me out a lot, because I am still really new to this whole District Leader thing.  More than anything it was a capacitation (training) meeting to help us understand our role as leaders and how we should be spending our time during the district classes each week.  ALSO, I HAVE SOME REALLY COOL NEWS FOR YOU GUYS.  It is not 100% certain yet, but I had a conversation with President Wright a couple of nights ago, and he told me that Elder and Sister Doll are likely going to be IN MY DISTRICT!  How crazy is that?  They'll go to my weekly district class, and I'll be calling them and stuff.  Isn't that crazy?!?!?!  Ahahaha, I almost died when he told me that. 
On Thursday, we visited Alex and Caroline, and their 3 year old daughter Columba had just gotten really sick.  She was crying uncontrollably and was really warm, and she just looked really really bad.  SO, Alex asked us to give her a blessing, and so we did, and then we left right after.  Well, the next day Alex come running up to us in the streets, and he's like "Elders, Elders, youre not going to beleive this but 45 minutes after you gave the blessing, Columba was as good as new!"  We were shocked and excited and thankful, and it was really cool to see that little miracle this week.  I feel like it really did help out Alex and his family.
On Sunday, the Ibarras came to church, the whole family.  Elder Packer and I then watched the coolest thing happen, as a member family literally took The Ibarras from us and sat down with them and introduced them to other members, and explained things to them, and helped them feel comfortable.  It was so cool to watch!  The Ibarras left church that day with smiles on their faces, and about eight copies of the Liahona in their hands, and Elder Packer and I didn't really do anything.  IT WAS PERFECT.  That's what the First Presidency wants; it was so cool to see those members jump on the opportunity and to do some missionary work.  This is an integrated work, and I know that the more time the members and missionaries spend working together, the faster and the stronger this work will move forward.
ALSO, on Sunday, during the opening hymn, a bishopric member gets up and whispers something to Elder Schade, then Elder Schade gets up and whispers something to Elder Nuñez, and then comes over and whispers to me, "Well Elder Schwartz, you, me and Elder Nuñez are all giving talks today..." WHAT!  It was the opening hymn, and I had to give a talk!  I literally had less time to prepare the talk than I had to give the talk!  I ended up talking about the Plan of Salvation, and how it gives us purpose and a foundation in this life.  I think it went pretty well for a talk prepared in only 10 minutes. 
Also, fun fact:  for lunch on Sunday I ate raw fish (a peruvian dish called seviche), and now it's Monday afternoon and I am still not dead, so I am feeling pretty thankful right about now.
And that's really all that happened this week.  I know that this church is true, and thank you all so much for your prayers and support and emails and letters and thoughts and everything -- I really can feel the love from out here.

Until next week,

With much love,

Elder Schwartz

Some more pictures from P-day:

Puente Alto


Rappelling down the hill

Barrio Chiloe -- Can you spot the chapel?

Elder Packer and binoculars

Big Coca Cola factory

Cell Towers

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