Friday, September 20, 2013

Independence Week in Santiago

Dear Family,

Well, I made the promise last week that I was going to write to my family first and save all of the other emails for later.  Thank you so much for the pictures, it sure looks like everyone is having a good time and that Phil especially is enjoying my clothing while im gone ;P (see below photo -- yes , It is Elder Nate's shirt).......  Everyone looks great!  It sounds like the past week was really eventful, awesome to hear.  But, mom got in a fender bender?  Uh-oh, but both Mom and the "Price is Right" car are okay, right?  And I read Andrew´s email -- a kid in his ward is going to my mission?  What the heck!  I'll be sure to keep my eyes open for a brazilian.

Bearded Phil (in Nate's shirt) with lovely Grandma

Welllllllllllll, this week was a really good week.  It went by crazy fast.  Oh, firstly, I am sorry that I wasn't able to write you yesterday.  I got my p-day switched on me, and I forgot to warn you last week.  So, sorry if I left you guys nervous.

Lets see, lets see...... The first really cool thing that happened this week was on Tuesday when I went on divisions (splits) with Elder McGetrick, the AP (assistant to the mission president).  I got to go to his sector and work in the office for a day which was really cool.  I got to spend some time with my old buddy Elder Miller, too. (Not sure if you all remember him, but we started the mission living in a house together in La Florida.  He is working as an office elder now).  It was way fun doing divisions with an AP, especially Elder McGetrick.  The man is a stud and a half -- a very good missionary, and an awesome example.  OH MOM, GUESS WHAT,  I found your friend Raquel Call (Zumba instructor who moved to Chile).  Well.... I haven't met her, YET, but I know what ward she is in, so next time I go up to Las Condes, I'll be sure to find her.  She is in the ward that the Assistants work in.  

Another really cool part of the week was the ward activity that we did on Saturday, September 18th. Here in Chile that is their independence day.  It's a really big, really important day here -- bigger than Christmas.  So, on Saturday we had a ward activity with music and dancing, and a huge barbeque, and games, and people were dressed up as cowboys -- it was a big hit.  Lots and lots of people came even though it was overcast and really chilly, so it was fun being there for a little while.  It helped me get to know a lot of the members better, and the barbeque was WAY good!

Saturday morning we had interviews with President Wright and that was amazing.  He helped me out a lot.  I have been kinda stressed out over the past few weeks and he helped me a lot in being able to refocus and calm my nerves and see what things are really important.  Tomorrow we have a big zone conference with Elder Zeballos of the Seventy (church leader), from 8am to 5pm, so that will be a lot of fun.  I am really looking forward to that, and our whole week's schedule was changed because of the conference and that's why I have p-day today and not yesterday.

Probably the coolest part of the week happened on Sunday when Elder Sandoval (who is recovering very well from his illness) and I were sitting in Gospel Principles class in Sunday School and the ward secretary came out and told us that someone was outside looking for us.  Much to our suprise the man waiting for us outside was Claudio, a man that we met contacting several weeks ago, and he and his mother came to church to talk with us.  They told us that they both had a long conversation and they felt like they needed spiritual help from Elder Sandoval and me.  So we took them into a room in the chapel, answered their questions, got to know them a little better, and set a date to visit them during the week.  So, we went to their house last night, and they are SO COOL!  It is so amazing to see the ways that the Lord has prepared them to receive the gospel and that it's something that they feel like they really need.  It's a lot of fun teaching them because they lived in Miami for over 30 years so they speak "Spanglish", but I am so excited to keep teaching them and help them receive the copious amout of blessings that this gospel has to offer.

In a nutshell, that was my week.  I know that this church is true and that testimony is growing stronger and stronger with every passing day.  I am so thankful to have the knowledge of this gospel in my life and the comfort that goes with it.  I love you all so much.  Thank you for your love and support, and I am really looking forward to hearing from you all again soon!  Keep being amazing!

Until next week, with much love,

Elder Schwartz 

More photos below....

BBQ a few weeks back

With Alex and Elder Sandoval at Johnny Rockets

La Cocina (kitchen)

Living Room

Me and Juanito 

The Desk

Pancakes with Pineda

Mine is the top bunk

 Elder Nate Schwartz was the recipient of a nice visit from Cousin Cindy Stephens, who finished her mission in an adjoining mission last year.  She was able to make a visit to Santiago to visit friends and while there, was able to see our missionary there....

With Cousin Cindy

Had some yummy lunch together...

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