Monday, August 19, 2013

Wedding and Baptism

Erica and Carlos' Wedding Day

Dear all my favorite people!

It sounds like everyone had an awesome week last week and that makes me glad! Thank you everyone for all the updates on what's going on back home! I love you all! 

This past week was really exciting for me and Elder Watt, so I'll give you all the details.  Sadly, two of our baptisms didn't happen because Joivani had to move to São Paulo and Joel had some struggles with the Word of Wisdom.  We talked to Joel, though, and we will likely hold a baptism for him this Saturday!  On Wednesday we had Zone Conference, and we got great training about the importance of the Book of Mormon from President and Sister Tanner. They are a POWERHOUSE couple!  They are fantastic, and they have taught me so much for the short time that I've been here. Sister Tanner doesn't speak much Portuguese, so she gave her training in English and one of the Assistants translated for her.  The Portuguese is still coming along for me.  I can understand about 80% of what people say to me, but I can speak pretty well.  On Thursday we weren't able to hold the soccer tournament because it has been pretty cold and rainy this past week, but we were able to get a few good lessons in.  

Erica and Carlos' Baptism with Guilherme

Saturday and Sunday were pretty big for us.  Erica and Carlos got married in the chapel on Saturday by the Bishop of our ward, and the next day they were baptized by our Ward Mission Leader Guilherme.  Such an amazing weekend!  It was so great to be able to see two people whose lives have been changed by living the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  I'm so grateful to have been able to be a part of it.  This work is amazing.  I can't wait until a year from now when Erica and Carlos will be sealed in the temple for time and eternity -- one of the greatest gifts this gospel has to offer.  I know that this church is true.  I know that this work that Nate and I are doing is God's work.  I know that this gospel changes lives and brings REAL happiness.  I know this  beacause I have seen it in my life and I have seen it in the lives of others through this work.  

I love you all! 

Until next week!
Elder Schwartz

Elder Andrew Schwartz's snail mail address is:

Elder Andrew Schwartz
Rua Dr. Luiz da Rocha Miranda
159, 8 Andar
Parque Jaabaquara
04344 - 010
São Paulo - SP;Brazil 

Email address:

Send him a note if you get a chance....

At Zone Conference with Elder Schwartz's trainer, Elder Watt, and Elder Watt's trainer, Elder Woodruff

La Reina!

Snail Mail address for Elder Nate Schwartz is:

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

Email address for him is:

Send him a note if you get a chance.....

Here is his email home for the week.......

Buenas tardes from La Reina!

Wow, it sounds like it was a busy week for the Schwartz Family back at home, which is what I love to hear.  Send everyone my love and congratulations!  Hopefully, you made it home safely from the airport in SLC, Pops! (I did -- just a long delay.) 

Well, I am writing this letter a little late, so its not going to be a long one.  Elder Sandoval and I have lots of places to go, and people to share blessings with.  WELL.  This week was fantastic.  Its so weird having to start all over again, in the sense of getting to know a new companion, a new area, a new calling, new chapel, new investigators, new ward members, but it's part of the mission, and even though it's weird, I love it.  Firstly, let me tell you guys about my new best friend, Elder Sandoval, who is 20, and from a city about 2 hours south of Mexico City.  Sadly, he only has about 2 months left in the mission, and the guy is a FIREBALL.  He's a stud -- he's a mexican version of Hercules.  Seriously though, I have learned SO MUCH from him in a really short period of time.  He is an amazing teacher, and he does a really really good job at taking complex things and explaining them so they are easy to understand.  I'm really excited for these next several weeks that we are going to be spending together, because we get along super well -- we just kinda clicked.  

Like I said in my last email, this sector is really different in comparison with Chiloè.  La Reina is a really, really nice part of Santiago.  I am in an upper class part of the city now, so its been a really strange adjustment.  There are a lot more cars here, fancy restaurants, malls, and all that jazz.  But even though my surroundings are so different than they were two weeks ago, what I LOVE is that when I walked into the chapel yesterday, the warm homey feeling within the chapel walls was the SAME feeling as Chiloè or Gerònimo or back home.  I felt so comfortable there, even though it was only my first day.  I had the opportunity to introduce myself to the ward.  There are lots of great people here, and the ward is definitely clued in to the importance of missionary work.  Elder Sandoval and I spend a little bit more time walking than I did in Chiloè, but the work is still moving at a great pace -- there are lots of recent converts here, as the past missionaries did an amazing job.  Oh, fun fact, and I am not sure if I included this in my last email, but Elder Sandoval was also in Chiloè before I got there, so we have that in common and we have taught a lot of the same people and know all of the ward members down there, so thats been a really cool thing for us to talk and bond about.  

Fun/Cool spiritual experience of the week:  Elder Sandoval and I met this guy from Haiti and we taught him last night.  He has been here in Chile for 2 years, but he is still kind of struggling with the language.  He ended the lesson with a prayer in French and it was SO COOL, even though I could only understand like five words.  You could still tell that it was a prayer from the heart, and could still feel the Spirit, so that was really cool. 

Anyways, I love you all so much.  Sorry that I don't have any photos from this week, and that the email was so short.  I promise you photos for next week!  This church IS true.  God is our Heavenly Father, and He does love us and He wants to bless us, but its our choice if we want those blessings or not through the decisions that we make.

Much love, until next week,
Elder Schwartz!

Picture posted on facebook from family in Chile.....

Monday, August 12, 2013

Soccer Tournament and New Home

Elder Schwartz in the new place with his favorite soda, "Guarana"

Dear Everyone!
It´s good to hear that everything is going well and that you guys had an exciting week.  We had a great week here in Planalto -- a lot of good stuff happened, but I don´t have much time, so I´ll try to give you all of the highlights.
First, we weren´t able to have a baptism this week as planned, but if everything goes well, we will have four baptisms this next week! We plan to baptize Joivani (I think that´s how it´s spelled) Joel, and for sure we will be baptizing Erica and Carlos, who are getting married in the chapel this Saturday and baptized on Sunday.  This week some pretty cool stuff happened.  Elder Watt and I had been planning a soccer tournament that we held last Thursday at our chapel for all in the area who wanted to play.  We have been trying to get the chapel more open for people who aren´t members, and this tournament was perfect for that.  We had 25 kids show up and they all loved it.  A family even came to watch their kids play, and we had a fantastic discussion with them about the gospel, and they gave us their phone number so we can talk with them more.  We are planning to hold another tournament this Thursday and we´re expecting to have more people there.  We´re trying to make this thing HUGE!
I guess the other big news from this week was that we moved!  We got kicked out of our last apartment because the owners changed, and the new owner didn´t want us there.  I guess he wants a business there instead.  We got help from a few members of the ward, and we were able to move into our new house. I`ll be sure to put in some pictures.
Sorry this letter´s kind of short, but I´m running out of time.  I love all you guys!  Thanks for all of your love and support.  I know that this work that Nate and I are doing is the Lord´s work.  I know that this gospel blesses lives and brings pure and everlasting happiness.  I know that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His church on the Earth, with His authority.  I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that Joseph Smith was truly called to be a prophet.  I love you all! 

Until next week! 
Elder Schwartz

New Home

Love the floor

Home, Sweet, Brazilian Home!


New Area.....

Elder Schwartz with "Nacho"

Dear Todos, 

Firstly, it is wonderful to hear that everyone is so busy with work and school and exercising and callings and service and weddings and everything.  Sounds like a really eventful week!

Well, changes (transfers) happened, and youre not going to beleive it, but I DID get changed... pretty crazy huh? I was only in Chiloé for like 3 months!  Elder Packer is staying there and training, and I got moved to a part of santiago called "La Reina," which literally translates to "the queen."  Actually, it's one of the more wealthy parts of Santiago, so it was a 100% change for me.  Right now my companion is Elder Sandoval, from Mexico, and we are Zone Leaders together.  I am really excited and kind of nervous to serve as a zone leader, but I found this scripture in the Pearl of Great Price this past week that really stuck out to me, and helped me to get over my shakiness.  Here it is:

31 And when Enoch had heard these words, he bowed himself to the earth, before the Lord, and spake before the Lord, saying:  Why is it that I have found favor in thy sight, and am but a lad, and all the people hate me; for I am slow of speech; wherefore am I thy servant?
 32 And the Lord said unto Enoch: Go forth and do as I have commanded thee, and no man shall pierce thee. Open thy mouth, and it shall be filled, and I will give thee utterance, for all flesh is in my hands, and I will do as seemeth me good.
 33 Say unto this people: Choose ye this day, to serve the Lord God who made you.
 34 Behold my Spirit is upon you, wherefore all thy words will I justify; and the mountains shall flee before you, and the rivers shall turn from their course; and thou shalt abide in me, and I in you; therefore walk with me.

So this is when Enoch was called to be a prophet, and we all know how his story ends, that he was such a good prophet that his city got lifted up to heaven.  Well, I think that a lot of us feel like Enoch sometimes, like we are weak, not good speakers, that people don't like us, that we can't do what we are asked to.  But the marvelous news is that the Lord knows us better than we know ourselves.  He doesn't see us for what we are now, He sees us for the potential that we have.  And in this passage of scripture he gives Enoch great adivce, advice that I really needed to hear.  When we are called to do something hard, we never walk alone, and if we take the step of faith, the Lord will give us the strength and the power that we need to push forward.  So, I am trying the best I can to apply the message of this scripture into my situation right now.  I have been asked to do hard things before, and the Lord helped me get through those, so I know that I will be able to take on the task of being a zone leader, because I am not doing it by myself.

Anyways, this last week with Elder Packer was really good.  We taught lots of lessons.   Juana and Oscar are doing great, progressing well.  I taught them for the last time last night.  It was really weird saying goodbye to everyone.  I feel like I was just getting to know them.  The two and a half months in Chiloe passed by SO FAST.  I was able to do divisions (splits) twice this week, once with Elder Bills and once with Elder Hernandez, and it was a really good time with the both of them.  I was able to do two baptismal interviews this week too, and they're going to be really awesome members.  On Sunday I got to confirm Felipe as a member of the Church, and that was way awesome.  He is going to be the world's greatest missionary.  Anyways, I am sorry this email was so vague compared to the rest.  I'll be sure to fill my next one with lots more details.  

I love you all so much.  I know that this is the Lord's church, and I know that He wants us to be happy, and that's why I am out here in the mission -- it's because I want the same thing, and I know how people can find that happiness.  Thank you all so much for your love and support and prayers, and I'm looking forward to hearing from y'all again next week, 

With Much Love,
Elder Schwartz

P.S.   Chile's mail service went on strike 2 or 3 weeks ago, SO I haven't received ANY letters.  SO if you wrote me a letter and are expecting a response and have not gotten one yet, that's why.... I have sent responses to every letter that I have received so far.  Just an FYI.

Saying Goodbye to Alex and Carol

With Elder Clyde and his parents

With Elder Paxman

Monday, August 5, 2013

Felipe's Baptism

Hey everyone!

Well it sounds like everyone is doing really well; everyone is staying busy.  Mom is doing work with the missionaries, how cool!  And I will be sure to send the Dolls your hello's.  Yes, I see them every week, and they are in my district, so technically I need to call them twice a week to see how things are going in their sector.  They also go to my district class every week, which is awesome because they have the best insights ever.  They are such great people!

Elder Packer and I are doing really well.  We are staying very busy, and lots of things are going on down here in Puente Alto.  We have been teaching lots of lessons to lots of investigators, and lots of less active members.   Really, this sector is full of people to teach, and I LOVE IT.  We are working really hard with this family, I dont know their last name, but the mother and the father are named Juana and Oscar, and Juanas life has changed 100% since the gospel has entered her life.  I am pretty sure that she has gone to church every Sunday since I have been here.  She understands the doctrine, she loves going to church, and she wants be be baptized.... but there is one thing holding her (and about 75% of our other investigators).... She is not married to Oscar, and this is something really common here in this part of Santiago.  The grand majority of the families that we are teaching are not married....... and it's not very easy for them to get married either.  They have to do it through the government, and there is like a waiting list backed up until mid 2014 for anyone to get married in Puente Alto.  That is the biggest challenge for us as missionaries down here in Puente Alto.  ANYWAYS, so this week we went with Juana and her family to do a temple tour and it was amazing!  They loved it, and I have a feeling that this whole marriage thing is going to work its way out soon.  Also, at the temple, I ran into Sister Jennings (from my ward at BYU), and I got to talk to her for a while, so that was pretty cool too.

The district is doing really well.  I am actually very proud of them, because the goal of the mission for each companionship is to get 1 baptism each month, and in my disctrict all of the companionships met that goal for the month of July!  How great is that!  I really do have the coolest district ever, and sadly this is the last week of the transfer so we might be seeing some changes next week... :(  (but as far as transfers goes... I am pretty darn sure that I am going to be here in Chiloe for a little while longer).

This Sunday was awesome because my main man Felipe got baptized!!!!!!!!  I'll be sure to send pictures, and it was such a cool service!  Elder Packer baptized him, but Felipe is the coolest 11 year old in the world and he knows the gospel so well and he is going to be an awesome missionary.  Filipe lives just with his mom and his older sister, and his mom is the only member in the family, but she is kind of really less active.  Filipe goes to church by himself every Sunday, and the ward has 100% fallen in love with him.  He is getting lots of love and support from all of the leaders which is exactly what the boy needs.  He turns twelve next month, and he is really excited to get the priesthood.

Today was a really nice P-Day.  We went to mall 14 in La Florida and went bowling... that brought back some very sweet memories, and we ran into Elder Sanchez and Elder Henderson, my old companion and roommate!  So we got lunch together, and talked for a really long time and it was wayyy cool to see them -- it sounds like Geronimo de Alderete is doing great, but i always knew that they would do an awesome job taking care of my first Chilean home.  


With Elders Sanchez and Henderson

Anyways, I am about out of time.  I love you all -- keep the faith.  Keep being the amazing people that you are.  I love the support -- I really can feel it.  The church is true and i´ll be sure to fill you all in with all of the Chiloé updates next week!

with mcuh love,
Elder Schwartz

P.S. Yes i did buy new shoes.  I actually bought 2 pairs (it was buy one, get one 60% off, so I couldn't really help it..... I have that bargain shopper blood in me... thanks mom)  But my feet feel SO GOOD NOW, so thank you so much!

Shadow Elders...

Life In Brazil

Elder Schwartz's Corinthian Blanket on the left

Dear Everyone!

Another great week!  I'm glad to hear that everything is going well with everyone, and that all is well at home.  It sounds like my brothers are doing big things!  Nate had a baptism and Phil on the cover of an Americorp magazine!  I'm diggin the headband Phil! 

I know, I know, I'm the worst because I've been leaving out all of the sweet details of Brazil and my daily life.  So, this week I'll give it to you.  Firstly, Elder Watt and I live in a small apartment building in a pretty nice middle class neighborhood.  Our area has a range of income classes; we have a part of our area that is a favela (slum), and a part of our area that is pretty much like the USA, but with vigilantes instead of police, because the police don't really do much.  We walk everywhere in our area, and we usually only take the bus and metro when we are going to a district meeting, or the mission office, or somewhere else.  Fun Fact:  My mission is the second smallest mission in the world besides temple square, (which personally I don't think is a mission because they don't proselyte, but that's just me).  Our ward has a good share of active members; we have an awesome ward mission leader, and an awesome bishopric!  We also have members feed us for lunch almost every day, so I get a good authentic brazillian meal every day.  In Brazil, lunch is the biggest meal of the day.  Usually for breakfast, we have bread or something small, and they don't usually have dinner until 8 or 9 at night.  Every meal, it is usuallly rice, beans, and some sort of meat, and maybe a salad.  That's pretty much what we have every day and I love it!  I don't think I'll get sick of it for these next two years!  The people of Brazil are all so awesome!  They are so friendly and hospitable, and so many people are willing to hear our message.  I love the Brazillians!

I don't have much more time but I will try to give an update on the work here.  We unfortunately didn't have a baptism this week as we had planned with Alan, because his dad wouldn't let him be baptized.  We plan on talking to his dad this week and hopefully will be able to set a date for this Saturday.  We are also planning on Joel this Saturday and if everything goes right, we might be baptizing a woman named Ana this weekend as well.  Erica and Carlos are going to be getting married on the 17th, so we planned with them to have a baptism the next day.  That's pretty much the significant progress this week.  It was kind of a weird week because on Tuesday we had to go the Policia Federal and become officially legal to be in Brazil, and that took up the whole day.  And on Wednesday I got to go on Divisions (splits) with one of our Zone Leaders, Elder Dutson, and work with him in his area.  It was awesome, he leaves at the end of this month and he helped me out and taught me how important it is to stay consistent with everything I do:  the language, scripture study, practicing, because we can always improve and always get better. 

Well that's it for this week! Until next time!

Elder Schwartz

Here's the mission office address where people can send letters/packages:

Elder Andrew Schwartz
Rua Dr. Luiz da Rocha Miranda
159, 8 Andar
Parque Jaabaquara
04344 - 010
São Paulo - SP;Brazil  

If you send a package, here's a few requests (Put on stickers of the Virgin Mary on the outside of the package for safety). Hi-Chews, Jolly Ranchers, Swedish Fish, and Twisslers are candy that are hard to come by here in Brazil.  Also they don't have peanut butter so that would be nice to send. 

Phil with the headband.....