Monday, December 16, 2013

Temple Visit and Ward Christmas Party

In front of the Sao Paulo Temple with Elder Despain from the MTC 
Address and Email -- send a Christmas Greeting to Elder Andrew Schwartz:

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

Dear Everyone!

Thanks so much for the great letter!  I'm really excitied to talk to you guys this next week! I'm glad that everyone is doing well and staying busy. So the package that you guys sent has arrived, but unfortunately it got taken away by the government, and I'm gonna have to go to the mission office and fill out some paper work and pay a fee. (Dad says, "Oops!")  I'm just happy to know that at least it got here, because some of the other missionaries haven't been so lucky.

So this past week has been filled with so many activities, and it has gone by so fast that I can't believe that it's already Monday!  Like I mentioned last week, we got a chance to go to the temple this week, (we go every 3 months) and it was amazing as always.  It was good because I got to see a lot of old friends that are serving in other zones.  It was a really good way to start off the week.  Another cool thing that we did this week, was that the Sisters in São Caetano 2 set up a little sports night activity, and we went to help out and organize.  It turned out to be a really good and successful activity.  We are planning on doing another one this upcoming week, and everyone that went said they were going to bring all of their friends, so hopefully it will start to grow and we will be able to contact many new people to teach. 

This week we worked a lot with Diego's family and we worked a lot with Paula and Johnny.  We had a lot of really good lessons with each of them. We also went around this week and tried to invite everyone we could to our ward Christmas party. On Saturday we had English Class, and we also invited all of the students to the ward party, and they all showed up!  It was really sweet to see them all there.  When the party actually happened, it was a really good success. It was not only really fun, but it was also really spiritual. Some of the men from the ward gave an awesome presentation dressed up as sheperds from the time of Christ's birth, and gave a powerful message. 

Students from English class came to the ward Christmas party

Ward member dresses up as shepherds giving a Christmas message

Food, Glorious Food!

Well, I'm sorry that this letter is so short and I'm running out of time but I just want you all to know that I love you all and I know that the work that Nate and I are doing is the Lord's work.  Next week, I won't be able to email you guys because I'll be talking to you guys on Christmas and I am super excited!!!  Until the 25th!

Elder Schwartz   

La Reina -- Greatest Zone Ever

Zone Jerseys
Elder Nate Schwartz -- send him a Christmas Greeting by email or snail mail

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


Dear Family!

This week was really good!  Very busy!  We had a zone conference on Wednesday, a meeting from about 9am to 4pm,and our zone did the musical number `"Creo en Cristo" (I beleive in Christ).  I think we did a pretty good job -- we seriously have the coolest zone ever.  The zone conference was a blast -- I learned A TON from President and Hna Wright.  I always do at those conferences -- they're like spiritual boosts that we get.  On Sunday we did two really cool things:  First, we did a zone choir and sang at the metro station -- it was a big success, and the zone loved it.  But more importantly, so did the public -- lots of people stayed and watched and listened -- we took turns contacting the people, talking to them, passing out pass-along cards and such.  It was a nice time, even though it was really, really hot.  Second, in the evening we went to a special choir performance at the temple, with special musical guest Elder David Archuelta.  We went with Mercedez, and she really seemed to enjoy it.  The place was JAM PACKED, but we were actually able to find her a seat, and we stood in the back, still with a really good view of the show, though.

See a video clip of Elder David Archuleta singing at Christmas Show

On Saturday we had to do the pension (apartment) inspections.  Elder Sercovich and I spent the morning touring the zone and seeing if the missionaries' apartments were neat and tidy.  Of course, the sister missionaries did a much better job than the elders, as you can probably imagine.   We also made zone jerseys so we gave those out to everyone, and they really liked them.  I'll be sure to send you a photo of Elder Sercovich and me in our jerseys.

We found Claudio again this week, and I'll be sure to fill you guys in on his story in a little more detail during our Christmas call.  We are working a lot with less actives and just trying our best to get the members involved in the work.  We are seeing really good results.  The members have lots of power in missionary work, and I think that many of them don't even recognize it.  

Oh, also, at the temple on Sunday, I ran into Edith and Daniel from Geronimo (my first area), and that was SO SO SO SO SO SO AWESOME.  That was probably the greatest reunion ever, and they actually know Elder Sercovich too.  I'll fill you guys in on that too during the Christmas call.  As you can see, I'm really excited to talk to you guys.

I am passing a very happy, very warm Christmas here with Elder Sercovich -- just trying our best to spread Christmas cheer with everyone here in La Reina, and help them to understand the true meaning of Christmas.  I love Christmas season in the mission because I feel like as a missionary, as a representative of Jesus Christ, during the Christmas season we are closer to Him than ever.  It's like all starting to click in my head, what Christmas is really all about.  I hope that we can all enjoy this Christmas in the way that our Savior would like us to.  Thank you all for your love and support and I can't wait to hear from you again soon. Feliz Navidad.

With much love,
Elder Schwartz

Mote con Huesillo

cool zone jersey -- everyone in the zone gets one!



Monday, December 9, 2013

100 degrees at Christmas Time!?!

Visiting the Temple in Santiago -- It is warm summer time there!
Dear Family,

Wow, I´m sorry to hear that Uncle Neal (Stacy Moffitt's dad Neal Hopkins) passed away, but it makes me happy to hear that everoyne is peaceful and in comforted spirits about it.  It sounds like you guys all had a really evenful week, and its good to hear that Phil is helping out with wrestling too -- I know that he loves doing that.

This week was actually a really really good week for Elder Sercovich and me.  We were very busy, and we taught a few more lessons than last week.  And it is SO HOT HERE!  It's kind of hard to celebrate Christmas in 100 degree heat, but oh well -- we need to make the best with what we have, I guess.  All of the houses are decorated with Christmas lights and plastic snowflakes, anyways.  Let's see.....  Elder Sercovich and I had a leadership meeting on Tuesday with President and all of the zone leaders -- those are always fun.  And then, we taught a class to the zone on Thursday, and those are always a lot of fun -- I really love those, as well.  And I think the reason why I love them so much is because I have the coolest zone in the whole world -- they are all really hard workers and Elder Sercovich and I are seeing lots and lots of progress in them.  We also got permission to form a zone chior and we will be performing at zone conference on Wednesday, and then we are going to a metro station on Sunday to sing christmas carols.  That should be a lot of fun -- they are all really excited for that.  Elder Sercovich and I have been finding new families and people to teach and that has been really cool.  We are trying our best to work with names given to us from the ward and to work with references from the members, and it has been working really well actually.

Mercedez is still doing really well, Claudio too.  We have been teaching Mercedez and Walter in members' homes for the past several visits, and we have been seeing the fruits of that when Mercedez goes to church -- she has friends there now, and people to sit with and talk to, and that helps a lot.  I think that the miracle of the week happened on Sunday as well.  For the past several weeks we have been teaching a less active family, the Pavez family, and they have not been coming to church for about 10 years.  They were a referral given to us from a neighboring member family.  Well, long story short, they came to church yesterday and it was awesome.  They had a greally good time -- lots of members recognized them and chatted with them, but they key to getting them to come back was simply bringing a member to the lesson the night before.  We visited Hna Pavez and her daughter with our ward mission leader and a ward missionary and they hit it off really really well.  The ward missionary (Hna Salas) did a really good job, too.  I feel like I keep learning the same lesson over and over again -- that if someone wants to be a successful missionary he or she NEEDS to work with the members -- there is no other way to do it.  

Dad, I am happy to hear that you are reading Everyday Missionaries.  President Wright was actually just talking about that book the other day.  I'll be sure to read it when i get back.  Oh, also, we went on a temple tour with Mercedez this week and that was a really good time. 

Anyways, i just want you all to know that I love you very much.  Thank you for your great examples, and for your love and for your support.  Keep on being amazing people and guiding lights for those around you. 

 Until next week, with love,

Elder Schwartz

Elder Schwartz sleeping...
Delicious Chilean Fast Food
Elder Sercovich and Elder Schwartz
Celebrating Elder Sercovich's Birthday at Hard Rock
Painting a house for service with Elder Sercovich
With Elder Schade 

Baptism of Nisi and Leticia

Nisi and Leticia's Baptismal Service.  Pres. and Sister Tanner were able to attend.
Dear Family!

Man, this week has been pretty rushed, but it was also very blessed. I'm sorry to hear about Uncle Neal (Stacy Moffitt's dad Neal Hopkins passed away this last week). He was always such a bright spirit and a kind man. I'm happy to know about the plan that God has for us, and the knowledge that we have that this life isn't the end, but that we all have the blessing to live with our families forever.  It's good to hear that you guys are staying busy, and that you guys are happy.

This week, like I said, has been pretty rushed. I got the chance to do a division with Elder Steil because we both had to go to a training for the district leaders, and I got a chance to do a division with Elder Dogget and work a little bit in their area. It's been pretty crazy, but I have learned SO MUCH this week.  I forgot how good of a missionary Elder Steil is, because when we were together, I could feel the power. It was also good because we already know how to teach with each other, and we're already good friends.  But what was really amazing was the training that we got from President Tanner and the Assistants.  I learned so so so much and I realized I have to repent and be a way better district leader.  It's not that I think I'm a terrible district leader but there's just so many things that I'm going to work on to help our district be the best district in the mission!

So, this week we focused a lot on preparing Nisi and Leticia for baptism so they would be super ready.  We had their baptism on Saturday, and it was probably one of the best experiences I've had on the mission.  Like all baptisms, it seemed like everything was going to go wrong.  We were late to fill up the font, and while we were having our baptism, the other ward was having a christmas party so we couldn't use the sacrament room. But as with all baptisms, everything also seemed to work out perfectly.  We had all the members help and pitch in as we started to fill up buckets with water and toss it in the font and we got a hose to help fill up the font faster.  All in all, everything went fantastic. President and Sister Tanner even showed up to our baptism and stayed there for the whole meeting.  It was an amazing experience and probably not one that I'm going to ever forget. 

After the baptism. We got to help out with the Christmas party for the other ward and we got to eat some really great brazillian barbeque.  Then on Sunday, it seemed like everything was going to go wrong again because Nisi wasn't there when the meeting started.  I got really nervous and started praying really hard until I got this calm, peaceful feeling that everything would be alright.  My prayers were answered as our Ward Mission Leader directed us to go out back and help Nisi into the sacrament room.  Nisi and Leticia were able to be confirmed and received the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Well, my time is running out, but I just want all of you to know that I know that this Church is true, and I love it out here, serving the people of Brazil. Tomorrow we get to go to the temple and I am super excited!   So, next week, expect some pictures.  I love you all and I hope everyone has a great week!

Elder Schwartz

Ward member helping to fill the baptismal font


Elder Fernandes and Barbeque

Elder Schwartz and some great brazilian food

Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving Pizza

Young Brazilian, Caique, who is called to serve in Santiago Chile East mission (where Elder Nate is)

Dear Family!

It's so good to hear that Mom and Phil made it home safe and sound. It sounds like everyone had a busy week and a lot of fun!  Thanks for all the pictures of family and everything.  I'm a little jealous that I missed out on a good ol' Thanksgiving dinner, but, Elder Fernandes and I had our own Thanksgiving party and bought ourselves a pizza. 

So this past week has been really busy and we have been working really hard. It's the start of a new transfer and Elder Fernandes and I have cracked down and wrote down a few names that we are really gonna focus on and help to prepare for baptism this transfer.  I'm really excited and I think we're gonna work miracles in this area.  I guess the biggest highlight of this past week was we had stake conference which had a big focus on missionary work.  The sessions were held in the stake center, which happens to be in Planalto, so I got the chance to go back to my first area and see a lot of the members and people that I worked with before.  The stake president invited us to go to all sessions and in these sessions he introduced some ways to get all of the members involved in missionary work.  One suggestion he made was giving out a paper that the members fill out with names and addresses of friends, neighbors, and aquaintances and the members are to pray about this list and focus on two or three families that they can invite over for a dinner and introduce them to the missionaries.  It was a really inspiring conference and I hope that it got all of the members excited and ready to do some missionary work.

We are still continuing to work with Nisi and Leticia. We have an interview set for them on Friday, so if everything goes right, they will both be baptized on Saturday. We had a really good lesson with Nisi this past week where we talked about the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  She understands the doctrine really well and she definitely has been prepared by the Lord wayyyyy before we started to teach her. 

We also got the chance to talk to Barbara's mom about letting us teach her and she said that if Barbara goes to church and feels good about it and that she really wants to commit to it, then she can be baptized.  So we are going to continue to work with her. Not only Barbara, but we also started teaching Diego's older sister, Larissa. We were able to teach her about the Restoration and she agreed to study and pray about what we have been teaching her.  We are really excited to work with both of them and help them come closer unto Christ.

Sorry this letter is a little short but I'm running out of time and I still have to write President Tanner.   I just want all of you to know that I'm loving it out here in Brazil and there is nothing I would rather be doing with my life than what I'm doing right now.  I love you all and I hope everyone has a great week next week! 

Elder Schwartz

With previous companion, Elder Steil

Thanksgiving Feast -- Chilean Style!

Thanksgiving Feast
Looks pretty yummy! 
Dear Family and Friends.....

I know you arent going to like this, but this is going to be a really really short email...... We tried out this new cyber cafe closer to our apartment, and it closes in 10 minutes........ Just my luck!

This past week was excellent, and it seems like yours was too.  Yes, we DID celebrate our Thanksgiving here -- a member of the bishobric and our ward mission leader got together and made us a feast in the chapel on Friday night to celebrate a late Thanksgiving, and it really was an amazing experience for all of us there.  We showed those Chileans how we do it up there in the States.  I'll be sure to attach a few photos.

This past week was a really stressful one for Elder Sercovich and me.  We had a lots of lessons failing, lots of time walking in the sun, contacting, everything.  We had a few really great lessons, and little daily miracles, though.  What I love about Elder Sercovich is that no matter what the circumstance is, he never gets down, he`s always walking with a smile and a joke, and that really helps me out a lot as a missionary -- not to get down either.

This upcoming week is going to be a very very busy one, and I am really excited for that.  Lots of meetings to attend and classes to teach, and I will be sure to give you all a much more detailed update on it this next week.

Its great to hear that Phil and Mom made it home safely, and thank you so much for the photos, i really love those.

Sorry for the shortness of the email, i just want you all to know that I love you, and that I know that the church is true, and that if we draw closer to the Lord through prayer and scripture study, He will draw closer to us as well.  I felt very thankful this Thanksgiving as i sat in the chapel thousands of miles away from home but still surrounded by people who love me and care for me.  I hope that you all have a great week.  

I love you all!

Elder Schwartz

Not all familiar fare, but looks awesome