Saturday, December 13, 2014

November, December in Maua

Sunset in Maua


Closest Elder Schwartz can get to a World Series Celebration in Brazil
November 3, 2014

All I have to say is....GO GIANTS!!!! I didn't hear about the results until I read your email because no one here pays attention to american baseball. BUT WOOOHOOOO!!!! That's so excitning to hear. Does that mean Giants' presents for Christmas from Grandma again? hahaha. 

That's cool that you guys had a little visit from Nate this weekend. By the way is he married yet? I want neices and nephews......

So the week here went really good. I guess the most exciting news happened right after I emailed you guys last week. We got a phone call from a member family that invited us to a family home evening. And at the family home evening they invited a girl and her family. So it turns out that this girl, Nicholy, has been investigating the church for almost a whole year, and she has decided to be baptized a long time ago but her parents didn't give permission. And about a month and a half ago she got hospitalized and the family passed through a lot of difficulties. There were a lot of prayers and fasting for this family and finally she got out and last Monday I finally got to meet them because Elder Beers already knew the situation. So the parents are now letting her be baptized and they are now starting to investigate the church. How cool is that?

Let's see this week we also had our interviews with President Broadbent, which went really well. He talked to me about what he expects me to do in training this new missionary and how I'm going to help him adjust to a new mission and things like that.  So the official date my new missionary comes will be the 11th of November.  So Happy Birthday Mom and Dad, I'm having a son (missionary speak for new missionary)...hahaha! He also talked about the possibility my group having the opportunity to extend our missions beyond March 31st, but he said that it isn't a sure thing yet, so I'll keep you guys updated. 

As for our other investigators, Demetrius is doing good. We had a really really really good lesson with him about the plan of salvation and he had a lot of good questions and really has a desire to learn more.

That is pretty much everything. I'm loving the ward here. OH, I remember now, we actually got a super good referral from a member. A guy who is going to help us out with the Mormon Helping Hands project that we are going to have this Saturday. His name is Osmar and he is a Mason (whoa!) and he is basically the King Lamoni of the area. He's into politics here, he even ran for City Council and amost won his first time running. Anyways we got to meet him this week as we gave him invitations to pass out for the Mormon Helping Hands activity and this week we're going to see him again to give him more invites and share a message with him. If everything works out. We got ourselves the conversion of the Lamanite people here in Mauá -- hahah.

I love you guys. I miss you all. Keep firm, keep the faith. Keep smiling and be happy. I learned another lesson this week. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has all the resources and tools that are necessary for God's children to apply the fullness of Jesus Christ's Atonement. What a blessing to be apart of and to share this with others. I love you. Until next week!

November 10, 2014

Well firstly I wanna tell you guys that I made my decision. So the extension thing is not a sure thing yet, but if I'm asked to, I'm going to do it. I've prayed and meditated and gave a lot of thought to it and I feel that it would be best for me to extend if I am actually asked to do so. I figure that I only get one chance to be a full-time missionary, one chance to focus 100% on the things that matter most, so why not? So I'm not really sure if it is going to happen, but if it does, I'm going to extend. (It will be extending from March 31 until possibly mid-May, if it happens).

Let's see, so this week was really good for us here. We saw a lot of good progress and we had some awesome fruits as we had six investigators at church this Sunday. What a blessing right?!? It's awesome, because half of them came from what is going to be my area. So me and my son (new missionary) are going to be hitting the ground running. This week we actually worked a little more in my area than we have been so I got to know it a little better and started establishing a better teaching pool. 

So you liked the little messages I posted on Family Search? haha! Well, the whole story with that was that we were in the Stake Center and Elder Beers was doing a baptismal interview for the sisters in our district and there was a brother that was head of the family history center of the stake there so he asked me if I wanted to check out my family tree. That's when I started looking at the pictures (of Grandpa Schwartz and Uncle Charlie, and pops and your brothers and grandpa) and other memories of ancestors and things like that so I decided to make a little comment ahahah. It was cool to look at the tree. I tried to see how far back I could get with known ancestors. I got all the way to an ancestor born in 1510 but I don't know if that's the farthest yet. It was a pretty cool expereice.

Also this week we had that Mormon Helping Hands activity that I told you guys about. So we particpated with that on Saturday. Elder Beers and I helped out teaching in the English class that was being offered. It was a cool expereince, a lot of the students were people that normally go to the English classes offered, with a few other new people. It seems that it was a good sucess and we even got a few investigators to go and check out what the church offers. 

English Class

So tomorrow on your guy's birthday, my new missionary comes and I'm super excited to show him all the wonderful things that Brazil has to offer. It will be a good experience. This upcoming week we are also going to have zone conference which will be a good experience to hear from President Broadbent and see what direction we will be taking here in the best mission in the world....haha. 

Well, thanks so much for the update on everything and the prayers and the love that you guys send me. I'm grateful for you guys and all that you do to support me. I'm grateful for the priviledge to serve the Lord here. I know that he is helping my constantly and that he really loves me too. Thanks for everything that you guys do for me!!! Have a great week and know that I love and miss you all!!

November 17, 2014

P-day in Paranapiacaba

So my time is really short today becuase we went on a cool p-day trip to a place in the mission called Paranapiacaba which is like a small tourist village that has some cool hiking places.  Elder Beers and I and our two companions went there for their first P-day in our area here in Sao Paulo.  So I guess you guys want to know about my new comp. Well, his name is Elder Maits. He's from Arkansas and he was serving in the Ogden Utah Mission for 14 months before getting his visa. I'm just so lucky I didn't have to wait that long, it must be really hard to start over again in a new mission. But he's adapting really well and his Portugese is at a good level. He's understanding a lot better than I did when I got here and he's already teaching really well. We're just gonna work with the language because he's already a really good missionary and knows why he's out here.

Nicholy's Baptism.  Elder Maits is at the far right.

So this week was really good for us, given that now the area is split between the two companionships, and Elder Beers and his new companion Elder Gillming are now in the half that has basically all of our investigators that we were teaching. So we basically are opening the area and the Lord is already blessing us for our dilligent efforts. We have a good teaching group going. For example, Vanda, who went to church last week out of the blue, we started to teach. She's got a lot of difficulties in her life right now so we are trying to help her out and also answer all of her questions about the church. She didn't go to church this week because her daughter was sick. Actually we had only one investigator at church, which I personally have never taught. Her name is Sabrina, and she's the bishop's second cousin. She was supposed to be baptized before I got here but it turns out her mom, who is an inactive member, didn't allow her to be baptized. This week we're going to teach her for the first time and finally talk with her mom. And we have many others that we are teaching and we are going to find many more this week. We also had Nicholy's baptism yesterday. The baptism counted for Elder Beers and his area because his area was the one that was teaching her before I got here but Elder Maits and I are going to be doing the follow up lessons with her, and we'll start teaching her parents. So the work is going well and it's going to get even better. I'm really excited for the upcoming weeks because we are going to really have success here. I can feel it!

Anyways, thanks for all the love and prayers from you guys. The Church is true and this is His work. Until next week my family! There will be pictures!!!

November 24, 2014

Dear Family and Friends!!!

Thanks for the email, and also it was good to talk to you guys on Saturday. I'm still a little shocked about what happened. For me, it really came out of nowhere. Make sure to give my love to Anthony's Family and that I'm praying for them. I did get a chance to talk with President Broadbent and he gave me some really good counsel that has been helping me understand a little more.  Anyways, it was good to talk to you guys though and hear your voices and hear that you guys are okay.  

As for me, we had a good week here. Unfortunately, we didn't have any investigators go to church this week :( and on two days, all of our appointments fell through, but besides all of this, many good things happened. We found a lot of new investigators this week, three different families both on Saturday and Sunday which is really exciting. We also had a lot of good member involvement this week as a few of the young men of the ward went out with us to do some visits. And it turned out to be a success because this coming week we not only marked with young men to do visits with us, but a lot of the older men from the ward, too, which is really exciting. This week our ward also called a ward mission leader (we haven't had one since I got here) and he was a former counselor in the bishopric in the ward where he lived, so I feel like we are about to be getting a lot of progress here in Jardim Pilar. 

As for our investigators, Sabrina is doing awesome. We FINALLY got to teach her and her Mom who is a less active.  We had a good lesson with them, we talked about the requirements of baptism and also our motivations in doing what is right, for other people or the Lord. We formed a good relationship but it seems like the authorization to baptize is going to take a while.

Just two more things, then I need to conclude.  We got our transfer calls yesterday morning and everyone is staying and I got called to be a district leader once again. It will be cool because now I have the whole vision because I've been pretty much everything on the mission except sister or assistant, so I feel like it will be a fun opportunity to serve other missionaries again.  Also, they announced that President Jairo Mazzagardi of the Area Presidency is going to do a mission tour here in two weeks. So I'm pretty stoked for that. I love it when general authorities come. 

Anyway my family. Just know that I love you guys and I hope that you guys have a great Thanksgiving week with Phil, Nate, missionaries and others. Send them all my love and support. I know that God loves us and has a plan for us. I'm grateful to have the opportunity to share that message with others and I'm loving this work. Until next week!

December 1, 2014

Hey Family!!!

This week you guys will be happy with me. I totally got pictures now of all the adventures I've been having for the last month or so. I'm glad that you guys all had a great Thanksgiving. I'm jealous of the turkey covered in bacon. But then again Brazil already made me fat, so that's ok.

Above referred to "bacon covered turkey" -- pre cooking

"bacon covered turkey" -- post cooking

Everything's going good here with Elder Maits and me here in Mauá. Lots of heat and lots of rain. But it was good because we got a lot of really good work done here.  As for Sabrina, she went out of town this week. Christmas time is coming so everyone loves to go traveling :(. 

But this week we managed to get an investigator to church named Mauricio. He's a simple guy. He really likes us because we're Americans. He's also going through a bit of a hard time with his family so he's living by himself in a house that he is remodeling. He really wants to change his life and develop stronger faith. So we started teaching him and he came to church this week and loved it. I don't think anyone I've ever met here has said that they didn't like church when they visited. So Mauricio is now in the focus group and we're going to start working better with the ward to help him progress to baptism. 

And also we are going to start working with the family of our recent convert, Nicholy. Her mom came to church yesterday because she got confirmed and we are going to teach them today which we're really excited for.

Let's see, also this week we had a training for all the district leaders in the mission with President Broadbent and the assistants. It was really good, there was a lot of emphasis on the importance of our role in changing the mission and making it better. We talked about a lot of things, such as district meetings, and interviews, and overall leadership. They also presented to us the new initiative that the missionary department is doing this Christmas season about helping others recognize the true meaning of Christmas and how we are going to be participating. If you guys wanna make you missionary really happy, go check out and start sharing it on social media because I know you guys are hip and cool now. :)

So I bet you guys are wondering how my Thanksgiving was? Well, ever since Elder Maits, got here, he has been dying for some chinese food. So for Thanksgiving we went to a place called China in Box and we got some take out. It's not the same as we get back home, but it wasn't that bad -- ahah. It's probably the most random Thanksgiving in the world:  Chinese food, in Brazil, but it was a good memory.  Anyways, Family, I'm glad you guys had a great week and that everyone is doing well. I hope that you guys are getting ready, only 24 more days until we Skype again :) I know that this work is truly God's work and that he is preparing the path for us to have sucess here. Thanks for all the love and support!

Zone Picture -- Elder Schwartz, partially hidden.

December 8, 2014

Thanks for the sweet letter! It sounds like everyone is getting really excited for Christmas! Everyone over here is getting really excited too. Especially Elder Maits and I cuz we're gonna talk to our beloved families! 

Elder Maits is doing good. He's getting better at the language and I'm letting him take more control of the lessons and contacts and even letting him out to dry (not sure what this means -- maybe "hanging out to dry"), which is always my favorite part of training -- hehe. Well we had a really good week this week. The weather has been a little crazy. Heavy rains and then the hot sun. Today is especially hot, but it looks like it's going to rain every day this week. But all in all, we had many good experiences. Mauricio is doing great. He absolutely loved church. He also loved the Gospel Principles manual. He can't really read that well because he's getting old, but he said that he read the first four chapters before our lesson and he loved it. He said that he wants to start studying seriously so he can prepare to be baptized. However, he also got a new job as security so his work hours are going to make teaching him difficult, but we are going to find time. 

As for Nicholy's familly, we had a good Christmas lesson, talking about the initiative that the church is doing and how they can discover "The Gift" for themselves. It was pretty well recieved but we didn't even have time to get a good discussion with them. We are going to keep working with them. 
So this week we found a lot of great investigators. I got to do a division with Elder Frost, who was one of my district leaders when I was first a zone leader, and now I'm one of his district leaders and he's my zone leader. It was a good division. We found lots of people and we taught good lessons. It's funny, in this area, we seem to be finding a lot more families. It's interesting because we have set a high goal for baptisms for the next two months and the lord is really blessing us. 

This week we had stake conference which was excellent. There was a great focus on member missionary work. President and Sister Broadbent spoke at both sessions of the conference. We had some investigators at both sessions too. One that we started teaching named Francisco, who is one of our english class students. He's crazy, but he's cool. And Maxwell, who we have been teaching for a while, came to a session as well. 

So a cool finding experience we had this week was when we did a contact with a kid, about 14 years old, named Jefferson. He said we could come by another day, so we showed up and the family was there, and it turns out, that Jefferson's mom is a member. She was baptized at 8 and went less-active at 16. She got really excited talking about all of the wonderful things she learned when she was little and she was telling us how she wants Jefferson to be baptized. And it seems like a good part of that family is less-active so there is going to be a great re-activation. And the best part is that another part of the family is very active in the church, so we are going to bring the members there this week and teach.

So you guys are making a family Christmas album again? I'll do what I can to get a recording to you guys. Can I do it on a camera and send you guys a video? you might need to open some sort of Dropbox for me or something so I can send it, cuz the emails don't hold much memory. Just tell me which songs everyone is doing so I can make sure not to copy anyone. And if anything I'll be doing something that's in the Portuguese Hymn book. 

Anyways, my family, I love you guys! Thanks for the weekly update. I know that this Christmas season is going to be a great one as we remember what is the real purpose of Christmas. I know we have the knowledge of this Gift our Heavenly Father gave us and we need to discover it, embrace it and most importantly SHARE it with everyone. Have a great week!

Elder Schwartz 

Bus Trip to P-day Village

Cool looking church in P-day Village

Looking for an altar...

Wow!  There actually is some jungle near Sao Paulo.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Botanical Gardens, October, and Transfers...

From Mission-wide Activity in Botanical Gardens of Sao Paulo

October 13, 2014


First off, for the big news...TRANSFERS!!! So we got told about transfers Saturday night, which is a little earlier than usual, and both Elder Lago and I are getting transferred out, and we both are going to open areas and train (by open area I mean that they took out the companionship that was there and they put two new missionaries in) I'm actually going to get a companion temporarily for 3 weeks because I'm going to be training a new american missionary that waited for his visa for awhile and finally got it and got sent to the Brazil MTC for a language refresher. I'm kind of sad that I have to leave this area and Elder Lago, because this really came as a surprise for us, but the Lord has another plan for us, and now I have  a new opportunity to do some good and to help others that need me. 

So let me give you guys the update of the week. So this past Tuesday we had the mission-wide p-day activity at the botanical gardens and it was amazing! It was a really pretty place to walk around and a good opportunity to see everyone that I have gotten to know earlier in the mission. So, there were a few activities that were zone versus zone put on, such as tug of war (our zone won one and lost the other), and other fun activities. We had hamburgers and hotdogs for lunch. There was also a sort of talent show where a few missionaries sang and played instruments and did other fun performances. And to close it, President gave a few words about how hard the adversary is working to impede the Lord's work and how we need to do our best to prevent him from disrupting our efforts to bless the lives of our brothers and sisters here in Brazil. 


More Games...

Best Zone Ever!

So on that note, we did our best to help Mylena get baptized and everything worked out. She was baptized yesterday and it was a really beautiful service. Johnson and his family went and the Spirit was really strong there. I know that the missionaries that come to replace us in this area are going to have a lot of success with this family now. 

Mylena's Baptism

Today for P-day, we had a little get together with the district we are part of and had a little brunch and said our goodbyes and everything. I am so grateful for the chance I had to be in this area and with Elder Lago -- I really learned a lot. I'm really excited for this new opportunity and new area and companion. I'll be sure to tell you guys everything this next week. I know that this is truly the Lord's work and I know that when we do our part, he blesses us. Thanks so much for the updates/support/love/everything. Have a great week!!!

Elder Schwartz

Good Bye District....

October 20, 2014

Well that's exciting news to hear about the Giants making it to the world series. Just know that there is at least one Giants fan here in São Paulo, Brazil. 

SO FIRST OFF, here's what happened with me at transfers. So I got transferred to a city called Mauá, which is farther from the city of São Paulo than São Bernardo. I'm serving in the ward, Jardim Pilar, and my companion for these three weeks is Elder Beers from Washington.  He has the same time on the mission as me and the same time in Brazil as well.  In fact, we were in the MTC together, just in different districts. He's really cool. He's the district leader here. So he'll be with me for these three weeks until we get our new american "greenies" (in the sense that they'll be new to Brazil, not the mission). 

So basically I'm really loving this area and working with Elder Beers. The ward here isn't big but we have a good amount of members. But the chapel we have is the smallest I've ever seen in's a little more cosy but I like it. The members here are pretty sweet too. It seems like they have had some problems with leadership in this ward in the past. So what my plan is, is to basically make the ward happy. And what makes a ward happy? BAPTISMS. So the plan is to baptize everyone here in Mauá. Good plan, right?

So this first week here was good. Since Elder Beers was already here and had investigators, we spent most of the time in his part of the area. We did get to spend a little time in what is going to be my part, but we mostly focused on helping the investigators that we have to start progressing. We did have some really good first lessons with new investigators as well, but none were able to come to church :(. The only investigator we had at church is a 9 year old son of a member family.  He is going to be baptized when his dad gets home from a long work trip :D. There's an investigator named Demetrius,that we have who seems to be progressing well and preparing himself for baptism. He's a man about 50 years old, with an 18 year old son, Thiago. Demetruis has an interesting background, just like the man that you met when you went out with the missionaries, dad. He had a past with drugs and alcohol and never really believed in God, but now he is in a search for the truth, believes in God, and he seems to have been well prepared by the Lord. We're working with him now to help him quit smoking, and getting him prepared for baptism. He's a great guy!

So a cool little thing that happened this week was that I called to give a 10 minute talk basically on the spot for sacrament meeting. They asked me to speak about missionary work (of course). It was shocking, but I really am grateful for the Lord's help, because I talked about all the things that I had learned on the mission in respect of doing to Lord's work. I'm grateful for all the learning experiences the Lord has given me that I was able to share in the talk. I felt the Spirit really strong and I hope that the things I said had some sort of impact on the members of this ward to help move the Lord's work forward here in Jardim Pilar.  After sacrament meeting a lot of the members came up to me and Elder Beers, telling us how they needed our help to share the gospel with someone or bringing someone back to church. So it seems we are really starting to gain the trust of the ward members. Pray for us that we will have success in our efforts. Thanks for the sweet update on everything dad. Just know that I love you guys and I pray for you all. I miss you guys!!! HAVE A GREAT WEEK!!!

With Love,
Elder Schwartz 

Selfie with Elder Beers

October 27, 2014

Man thanks for the exciting Giant's update. That's really good to hear that we're on top. It's also good to hear that everything is going good with everyone and that everyone is happy with life and things. So to answer your questions:  Mauá is way smaller than São Bernardo but there are still a lot of people. It's definitely a lot greener here and a lot colder.  For example, this week was pretty foggy and it even rained on Sunday. It's weird though because today is super hot, but that's the weather of São Paulo -- hahah!  And, yes, we are working in both the areas of the ward, actually we have been spending a little bit more time in the area that Elder Beers has been working in, but we are managing to find people in what is going to be my area here in a little bit. Yes, I've gotten to know the ward leadership here, and a lot of really good members.  At the moment we don't have a Ward Mission Leader, but in the Priesthood Executive Meeting, Bishop said he is going to be calling one here shortly, which will be really helpful to us.  

Well, family, this week was a good week for us. It was a little rough on the finding new investigator, in part, because this week we had a huge service project that the whole zone was involved in, and we also had a meeting with the stake president and the whole zone. But at least we kept up with those that we found last week :). So, for the activity we all went to a home for the elderly and mentally ill and we took out a bunch of old furniture that they didn't want and we did a little bit of maintenance and clean up in the area. It was pretty fun and there was a good spirit of service as we worked. Then the next day we had that meeting with the stake president at his house (he lives in our ward which is nice), and we talked a lot about how we need to be working in unity as a stake and a zone, and how we can work better together with our ward leaders and how the stake president can help us. It was a good meeting and I'm happy to be serving here this stake because we have good support from our stake president. 

We also had a ward activity this week put on by the young women's organization for the whole ward. There was food and drinks and dancing (don't worry, I didn't dance), but there was also a neat presentation about the history of this ward and how some of the current members of the ward were here when it was originally organized years ago. How cool is that? It was a good activity and we had some investigators there. 

So as for the investigators I was talking about last week:  I talked about Samuel, who is the 9 year old son of a member that we are going to baptize when his dad comes home from work. He's doing good. He's firm and learning well. He's pretty much ready but His mom wants to wait for his dad to come back to perform the ordinance, which won't be until the end of November.  As for Demetrius and his son, we couldn't catch him at home this week so we havn't been able to help him out like we wanted. But there are a few other cool families that we are helping out. For example there is a young couple, Rudolfo and Vivian that we met my first week that have been really receptive and really interested in our message that we are teaching. And also a young single mom named Rafaella that also we taught this last week that has been really receptive and really showed interest for the Book of Mormon. And of course there are other people that we are teaching but if you guys could, please pray for these people. 

Well my time is running out. But thanks for the update on everything, It's good to hear that everything is going good with everyone. Have a great week and I'll talk to you guys next monday. THE CHURCH IS TRUE!

Elder Schwartz

More Photos.....

Our great group!

Mylena's Baptism

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lead up to General Conference


Dear Family!!!

It looks like the fiesta that you guys had went well too! That's cool that you guys visited with the Brazilian couple as well! Definitely take advantage of their offer for a real Brazilian bbq. It's the best.... we actually had ourselves a house bbq this week for lunch...SO GOOD! I love the bbq here. 

It really is good!

Everyone here is doing good. Elder Lago is doing great. We're working hard and having fun doing it. Our investigators are also doing really well. Jessica brought her mom, Fatima, to church this week and she absolutely loved it. Next week the whole family is going to go! Woohoo! We had a really good lesson with Johnson yesterday. He's a really good man. It's just some difficulties with the family that they are having that's impeding him from getting married but we are giving our counsel and support to him. I feel like this week things are going to change for the family. As for Milena. Pretty much the same thing. We talked to her yesterday and we marked a baptismal interview for this week. Seriously she is so ready. Even in the lesson yesterday, Johnson was asking her why she hasn't been baptized yet. She couldn't come up with an answer. So we are going to do the interview this week. The plan is to baptize her this Sunday if God gives us this miracle.

We are going to go to the temple tomorrow and we are going to have zone conference which is always exciting. Oh and other news is that here in a little bit, there's going to be a Mission P-day in the Botanical Garden of São Paulo which we're also really excited for.

But other than that the week has been pretty normal. I'm doing my best out here. I'm so happy for the opportunity I have to serve my brothers and sisters here in São Paulo. This next week is going to be amazing, I can feel it. Give my love to all the family and friends. I know that this is the Lord's church. I know that this is his work. I know that the Gospel of Jesus Christ truly blesses lives and that Heavenly Father has many blessings prepared to give us when we are obedient to him. I love you!
Until next week!


It's good to hear that you're going out visiting with the missionaries. Keep helping them! You will be greatly blessed and that ward will really grow! Keep up the good work!

So I guess a highlight of the week was I got surgery on my toe this past Friday. So the toenail was ingrown on both sides of the toe so they shot me up with some anestesia and they cut on both sides of the toenail and took out the sides. Then they put in some stitches to hold it together. It was weird because I was watching the whole time but I wasn't feeling the pain. It kind of freaked me out a little bit but it's all good now. The doctor said I have to stay in and recover for 4-5 days so this weekend I had to stay in while we did divisions with the other elders of the house so that our area wouldn't go unworked. But this week I'll be able to start working again. 

So this week we also had zone conference, which is basically just a big conference with about 4 zones and that is directed by President. The zone leaders don't really have a special part in the zone conference, but there was a good amount of participation from the missionaries. Usually what has happened in the past is that President and the assistants would give trainings to the missionaries but this conference included a few missionaries giving talks on various subjects of the work. It was a good and uplifting experience and I learned a lot. 

Our District
As for our investigators, we had an interview for Milena this week and she passed and we set a firm date for the 11th of October. She's super excited and is already telling everyone.

This week we also went to the temple which was a huge blessing. I love going to the temple here!  It's far away from where I'm serving right now but the trip is worth it. It's such a great opportunity to feel peace.  So good. It's something that the people here of São Paulo here really need, because everyone here is always in such a rush. But that's why I'm here :) to help them out with that.


So how about General Conference!!! WOW!!! I was blown away. It was sosososssososososo GOOD! I absolutely loved it!  All of the talks were so inspired and the spirit was so strong. Now it's just up to us to apply the things that we learned and move forward. I'm glad that you guys had a good conference experience as well  -- sometimes, even from the comfort of your bed, hahaha. I watched conference in English with Elder Buenrostro in the ward secretary's office on the computer. It was just us two there. But I did, however, watch Elder Godoy (from Sao Paulo) when he spoke in Portugese because I wanted to hear him in his native toungue. I think that's an amazing feature to conference today, that the speakers are all speaking in their own language. 

As for a favorite talk.... that's a really hard one. I loved Elder Bednar's because at that session we had investigators there which made it way better. But for me, I personally liked the talk Elder Robbins gave talking about where we are facing, and I also loved President Uchtdorf talking about the truth. A lot of the talks I feel spoke to me personally in some sort of way.  As part of a preparation for conference I took a piece of paper, and divided it on two sides. One side titled, "what the lord expects of me for these last 6 months of my mission" and the other side titled "How I'm going to do it" and I'm happy to say that I got a lot of inspiration from the Lord that I know will help me as I'm on the final stretch of my time here in Brazil.  It's going to be a great 6 months. 

So as for the investigators. We are preparing for Milena's baptism this week which is going to be this Saturday. We're going to work out the details this week with her and follow up with her to make sure everything goes right and that the adversary doesn't mess this up for us. Jessica is doing good. This week we haven't gotten a good follow up with her because of various meetings, mission council, and some hospital appointments (I got my stitches out <349.gif>) so for that we weren't able to get her to conference :(. OH and I forgot to tell you guys that here in Brazil it's election season, and political system here in Brazil is kind of crazy. There's not only two main parties and candidates like we have in the US, but rather there are many politcal parties and many candidates, so everyone here is kind of revolted with that too, because they are forced to vote. So voting day was also the day of conference on Sunday. Even Elder Lago had to go to declare he couldn't vote because he wasn't home. But we did get a new investigator, Douglas, to go to conference and he absolutely loved it. I'll give you guys his story next week. 

Anyways today actually isn't P-day, but we are doing emails because tomorrow is going to be a Mission wide P-day Activity in the Botanical Garden of São Paulo. So we're pretty stoked for that. Anyways I just want you guys to know that I love you all and that I'm praying for you all. Thanks so much for the love, support and prayers for me. I'm so grateful for the privelege I have to be a missionary here in São Paulo. I'm so grateful for the Prophets and Apostles and the fact that today we have the opportunity to listen to messages from God's living messengers. I hope you have a good week!

Elder Schwartz 

With Elder Amon

Saturday, September 20, 2014

August and September in Sao Paulo

Apartment before transfers...Good bye Elder Provoste!


So this week we had a special zone leader training with President Broadbent where we got a chance to talk about some of the problems that the mission is having and how we as leaders are going to lift this mission up through our example. He wants us basically to do everything better than we are already doing. It was weird because a few of the missionaries there including myself, were thinking that we are teaching the best we have ever taught on our mission and that we are working our hardest. But the Lord requires more and we are going to give more. I'm raising the bar for myself, and Elder Provoste and I are going to bring Rudge Ramos to a whole other level of excellence. 

As for miracles this week: we had an amazing one with our investigators, Jair and Aureni. I think I already talked about Jair who is an elderly man that has been coming to church and Aureni is his girlfriend. They don't live together and they're living the commandments so they can be baptized. So this week we had a lesson with them and Aureni started asking about qualifications for baptism and things like that. Until that moment, she had been more resistant to baptism than Jair was and wasn't really sure if it was what she wanted. We started to explain about the qualifications and she began to tell us about she had been praying and reflecting really hard about baptism and she felt in her heart that this was what she needed to do. We invited her and Jair for August 31st, this coming Sunday and they accepted. So this week we are going to have the interview and if everything goes as planned, they are going to be baptized. I'm so grateful that Heavenly Father had comforted Aureni's heart about this decision.  I know that this wasn't something that we did, but what He did. It's truly His work and His vineyard and we missionaries are just the tools that He uses to bring people back to His presence. I'm so happy for this great opportunity I have to see these miracles and to be here serving the people of Brazil I know that this church is Christ's true church and the path we need to become perfected in Him. 

It truly was a special week, As well I got to do a division with Elder Buenrostro who is already doing super awesome work for the short time he's here. I learned a lot from him and he helped me become a better person. And as for this coming week, it's the last week of the transfer. I'm hoping that Elder Provoste will stay with me for one more transfer because it's probable that he might leave since the next one would be his 4th transfer. I'll be make sure to update you guys on what happens. But that's all for now! Until next week!


transfers came..........

So My dear Chilean companion Elder Provoste got transferred :( and I'm going to stay here in São Bernardo :) and get another Zone Leader. I'm sad that Elder Provoste is leaving me because we got a long really well and we worked really well together too. He taught me a lot too and I wanted to stay one more transfer, but it's all part of the mission. So next week I'll be sure to send pics with my new comp. 

But it sounds like you guys had a good week. Thanks for all the pics of the golfing trip Pops. It's been so long since I golfed. Father-son golfing when I get home? hahah but it's good to hear that you guys made it to Provo safe and sound. And Dakota sent his papers in? Tell me where he's going when you guys know. Oh and Mom, I know you would love to hear that our ward is starting to offer Zumba in the chapel every Tuesday and we have some investigators that are going to go. Haha.

So I'm short of time, and I won't have pictures this week, but I do have great news! Aureni and Jair got baptized this Sunday! It was such a marvelous service.  Aureni's son is a member in another stake, so he performed the oridinance for her as the rest of the family came and watched and a young man from the ward who has been visiting Jair and Aureni with us performed the ordinance for Jair. And these two bapisms were truly a miracle. When they arrived at the chapel that morning Aureni was set to be baptized, but Jair said that He wasn't going to be baptized. So we went through Sacrament meeting and Gospel priciples and Elder's quorum and just before the baptism started we sat down with Jair alone in a room just to ask what happened?  It turns out that he didn't want to be baptized because he didn't understand about temple baptisms, and it really worried him.  So we sat down and explained the doctrine, and he understood everything perfectly.  We asked him if he believed that the church was true. He said he didn't have a doubt in his mind that it is. We then re-invited him to be baptized and he accepted. Truly a miracle. It was such a wonderful service.  I'm out of time, family but next week I'll give updates on the mish, my new comp and our investigators. Sorry for the rush. I love you all and the Church is true! 


So I guess you guys wanna know what happened to Elder Provoste and know a little bit about my new companion, huh?  Well, Elder Provoste got transferred to São Paulo to open a new area and train at the same time (WOW), which, by experience I know isn't easy to do.  So that's what happened to him.  As for my new companion, his name is Elder Lago, he's Brazillian, from the Bahia (the same state as Elder Barreto) but he has been living in Manaus, which is close to the Amazons over there. He has a year and 9 months so he has only two transfers left, so probably, as we say here in mission terms, I'm going to "kill" him. Which will be cool, I've never "killed" a missionary before. So that means I'll probably be in this area for probably a total of 6 months, which I'm excited for, because I really love this area and the people here. 

Soooooo for us here in São Bernardo here, everything is going good. We had two really powerful lessons with two investigators that we have been working with. One was with Jessica (the one that went to Zumba class), and for Jessica, she has started to really read the Book of Mormon, and she is really enjoying it.  She has been telling us how she has been seeing changes in her life, that she has been happier and has been feeling a lot closer to God. We testified that it truly was God testifying to her that these things are true. We invited her to baptism for the 21st this month and she said that she's going to really think and pray about it.  And we had a really similar lesson with a lady called Sandra. She also has been seeing differences in her life, since we started to visit her and as she has been keeping the commitments that we extend to her.  Pray for our investigators that all will go well with them and that we can get past some of the little barriers and challenges they are having. Seriously, we have a lot of investigators that are so close to baptism, but just have one little barrier, such as marriage, or other things that impede them from being baptized. We are going to work to get passed these difficulties and reach our goals! 

I'm so grateful to be a part of this work. It's truly gratifying and rewarding. Other than the minor difficulties that we are having with some that we are teaching, I'm seeing lots of wonderful blessings. For example, the progress that Jair and Aureni are making. They were confirmed this week and are doing awesome. Aureni especially is really on fire and she has a really strong testimony. I love this gospel and the joy and happiness it brings to me and to all people that accept it. Thanks so much for all your love and support! I love you guys and I'll talk to you next week

Elder Lago and Elder Schwartz


Man what a week! Seriously the mission is flying by wayyyy too fast for me. I feel like there is so much to do and so little time.

Its good to hear that your week went by well. I'm glad that everything went all right with working in the spanish ward. I'm also really happy to hear about Mom's new calling in the Primary, I'm sure she'll do great. But most off all I'm stoked that you are going out visiting with the Elders and helping them out. Members really do make the difference! So keep it up and you'll really be a blessing to those peoples' lives! 

As for me and Elder Lago, we are doing well. Yes, Lago also means lake in portuguese as it does in italian haha. This week was pretty rushed for us. We are spending our time focusing on those who are progressing and have potential and getting our investigators to church. It has been a tiring week but I'm keeping a smile on my face and moving foreward. Jessica is doing well. She came to church this week and even brought a friend from her old church to see "the mormons". As for baptism she said that she wanted to wait a little longer :( but she is totally recongnizing the spirit and changes that are being made in her life. We are going to keep following up with her and helping her progress.

As for another adventure of this week. We went to the hospital. Don't worry I'm fine. I just have an ingrown toenail that started to get pretty ugly. I was doing what the mission told me to do to take care of it with soaking in water and with cotton and whatnot, but it wasn't improving, so we told the secretaries to mark an appointment for me but I guess they forgot or something because they never marked anything, so this week we took it into our own hands to go to the hospital. So when we got there they wanted to do surgery that moment, but my toe was so inflamed that anesthesia wouldn't work, so they told me to take anti-inflammatory pills and they are going to do the surgery this Friday. But I'll be ok. They told me to start wearing sandals instead of shoes, so I had to go out and buy some. And I'm not going to lie, I'm diggin the sandals. It's way better to walk in. My feet feel so free hahahah. 

Well my family, that is pretty much the update of the week. I know that this is the Lord's work. I'm out here to help others to come unto Christ, because I know there is nothing else that will truly bring lasting happiness. I'm so happy to be out here. I love you guys and I pray always for you guys! Until next week!


Elder Schwartz

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Winter in Brazil....(Or Catching up Over the Last Two Months)

Here is Elder Andrew Schwartz's snail mail address:

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


I have been a bit behind on keeping the blog updated with Elder Andrew's emails home.  Here is a summary (short excerpts) from the last couple of months:


So let me give the update of my week. So I guess the first big news is that President and Sister Tanner left and we got to meet President and Sister Broadbent this week. They are amazing! They are such a great couple for this mission and I'm super excited to work with them. I could tell that they are really loving and that they are really humble. They seemed a little nervous about their portuguese but they both actually speak really well.

Elder Schwartz with President and Sister Broadbent

We have been teaching this family where the daughter is actually dating a returned missionary and she and her sister came to church this week. Their names are Jenifer and Beatriz. They were really well recieved at church by the young women and they even went to an activity with them that night. We're going to be following up with them this week and try to get the whole family to church this next Sunday.

Other than that, everything is going well. I am so glad I decided to serve a mission. I know that this is truly Christ's church restored in these latter days. I know that this gospel is a gosple that changes lives. Probably the most special moment this week was during the passing of the sacrament and after I partook of the bread I looked up and I saw Antonio take the sacrament for the first time in 13 years. I recieved a spiritual witness of the importance of this work and how there are many who are still suffering because they don't have the fullness of the gospel in their lives. I love this work.


If you were wondering, we totally celebrated the 4th of July here. Well, at least I did by wearing my american tie. And we called all the missionaries that are americans in our zone and sang the national anthem to them. AMERICA! but it was weird being here in Brazil for the 4th of July, and of all things I did the most brazillian thing I could Brazil beat Colombia in soccer. 

Brazil beats Colombia in World Cup

So this past week we had our first mission council with President Broadbent. It was amazing. It was an opportunity for all of the leaders of the mission to vocalize our opinions about how we can help the mission become better and how we could better help the missionaries. We talked about some changes in the mission and with the culture of our mission.

Jenifer and Beatriz are doing really really well. We had a super sweet lesson with them where we were able to bring the Young Women's President and her husband to meet their mom.  This lesson was a great opportunity for the mom to get to know some of the members who are helping to take care of her daughters.


We had a zone p-day at a park called Parque de Iberapueira that ate up pretty much all of P-day so here in a little bit we are going out to work. 

At the Park

So this week was really good for us. Well, I know I say that every week. But on the mission every week is a good week. And it was good in the sense of that we got to go out and do missionary work and help people, and not in the sense that Brazil totally got destroyed by Germany in the world cup and everyone here is really upset and embarrassed that they lost 7 to 1. Seriously, everyone is devastated. Not to an extent of starting a riot but everyone was pretty bummed out. Everywhere we went people were talking about it. It was a really exciting time here during the world cup, but I'm glad that it's all over so the work will go back to normal. 

Brazil loses to Germany 7-1 in the Coppa Mundial
I'm doing fine. This week is the last week before transfers so I'm going all out. I literally have no idea if I'm going to stay or go. But whatever the Lord wants, I'm going to do it.  I know that the God lives and that this is truly his work. I'm so grateful for the opportunity I have to serve the Lord and the people of São Paulo. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ truly blesses those that are willing to do His will.


SO it came! The dreaded transfers finally came. So the word is finally out on me.... I'm getting TRANSFERRED. I'm getting transferred to another area and I'm staying as a zone leader. I'm not sure if I'm sad or happy. I'm sad because I love this area so much and I love all the members and the area and the people and everything. but on the other hand I have been here waayyyyyyyy too long and I need a change so I can find other people that I can connect with.  I learned so much being here in Cidade Leonor and with all the companions I had. I'm gonna miss Elder Vargas. He's a really good missionary and he taught me a lot. But that's how it is on the mission, you get transferred and you keep giving your best and learning more each day. 

Good Bye Elder Vargas and Zona Sul 
Mmmmmm!  Tapioca makes saying good bye easier....
Our investigators are well. This week we had seven investigators go to church and 3 Less-actives. It was a miracle. Jenifer and Beatriz went and also this investigator that we have been working with named Alba and she brought her friends and neighbors and all of them loved it and said that they are going to come back next week. Oh, another update! This week Camilla went to the temple on a youth temple trip to perform temple baptisms  and her dad, Antonio was called as the 2nd Counselor in the Young Mens presidency of the ward. They are such an awesome family and I'm really going to miss them. 

 I'm excited for this upcoming week. New transfer, new companion, new area, new zone. It's gonna be sweet. Wherever I go, I'm going to do my best. I know that this work is His and I'm just an instrument.


So let me tell you all about what happened with me at transfers. SO, I left Cidade Leonor and Zona Sul and I got transferred to Zona Rudge Ramos again! So I'm in the same stake that I was in before Zona Sul but i'm in São Bernardo 3rd Ward which is the Zone Leader área. So I'm in the city of São Bernardo do Campo again and the coolest part is that I get to do divisions in both Planalto (my first área) and São Caetano (my second área) and I'm super stoked to be here again. So my companion's name is Elder Provoste and he is from Chile! He super funny and he's an amazing missionary. I already love the guy! I'm really excited to be able to work with him.He's got a year and 5 months in the mission, so just a little bit more time than me and he's been in this are for 3 months already So this ward has three sets of missionaries and we live in a house that should have 4 missionaries. I say "should" because actually we are working in a trio for right now. My other companion is Elder Amon and he is from Curitiba which is the Southern part of Brazil. He's got done being trained and he is our district leader and he is going to be training here in a few weeks. So the reason we are in a trio is because the american missionaries that waited a long time to get their visa are now going to the MTC here in Brazil for three weeks to get retrained on portuguese. So Elder Amon will be getting his companion here in a few weeks but for now, we are taking care of both of the areas. So we live actually in a members house but there are like 3 different houses. So the whole house is owned by one member but he lives in the downstairs part with his Family and upstairs is house where another member lives and then there is our house. It's weird because there's not a lot of that missionary privacy, but its cool.

Elder Provoste, Elder Schwartz, and Elder Amon

New Trio at Ward Party

So this week I got to meet a lot of people. They have a really good teaching pool here.  It was really cool to meet all the different people but we had to walk a lot to go from area to area. But this week was really good. One of the highlights that we had this week was a Ward party that we had on Saturday. In brazil they have a tradition here to have a Festa Caipira or "Redneck Party" where they have a lot of food made of corn, they play a certain type of music, and they wear plaid with cowboy or straw hats and the ladies wear dresses and do pigtails. And there was dancing and lot's of good food. We had a few investigators come and members brought their friends and it was a really good time. Then Church the next day was really good. The Ward is really big so there were a lot of people there. We also had 6 investigators at church, one Family of 4 and two other investigators.  I'll fill you in more next week....


This week I got to do a division in my old stomping grounds of Planalto. It was awesome because I got to see a lot of people from the time I was there. I worked with Elder V Ferreira who is a missionary from the North of Brazil who just got done with his training. It was good working with him and learning from him. This week we also had our zone conference and I got to see a lot of old comps like Elder Steil and Elder Vargas and I learned so much too. President Broadbent is getting a lot more comfortable now that he's been here for a little more than a month and he gave a lot of good counsel for us to help our investigators become better prepared for baptism so that they can stay firm. It was a really good conference and I learned a lot. 


Lion King......

That's so cool to hear about your new calling! I'm super super excited for you guys. I know that both of you will do an excellent job and help so many people. I'm so grateful for the example that both of you have given me in always accepting a calling from the Lord and being so great in magnifying your callings. That's why I always try to do my best in the callings that the Lord gives me, no matter how hard it may be. Thank you so much for being amazing parents! I love you!!!!


We had our mission council with Pres. Broadbent and it was probably the longest council in the history of mission councils. Although it was long, I enjoyed it because we got the chance to address the problems that the mission is having and work together as a council to solve them. President is making a lot of changes but I know that these changes are what the mission needs right now because he's the one with the keys.

Zone Activity

Our Zona....

So this week was the last week we had to work in a trio, Elder Amon's comp gets here tomorrow. But it was good while it lasted. It was definitly harder to take care of both areas but I feel we just got used to teaching in a trio that it's gonna be weird to start teaching in two again. But our investigators are doing well. Johnson and his daughter Milena came to church again this week, as well as Jair. We had a really good lesson with Milena this week. It's been hard to be able to teach the two of them so we had to teach her at mutual at the chapel.Today we have a zone activity so I'll be sure to get lots of pictures for you guys and of a bunch of other things too. I love you all and I know that this is truly the Lord's work. Something I'm perceiving more and more is how fundamental it is to follow the Spirit. I've seen in various lessons and other occasions where I have been inspired to say something or do something that has truly had an impact on someone. I know the Lord is guiding us in this work and I'm doing my best to be worthy and prepared to have His Spirit guiding me. I hope that you guys have a good week and good luck with your new callings mom and dad!


So this week we recieved our new missionary. His name is Elder Buenrostro, from Texas. If you guys wanna hear something crazy, Elder Buenrostro has the same amount of time as me on the mission, he waited a year and 4 months to get his visa. I bet that has to be super difficult. But he's loving it here and he actually speaks really well already because he speaks spanish too. But since he arrived, Elder Provoste and I are now working in our area and are now able to focus on just our investigators. So the week overall was good. It started with Monday, where we had a Zone P-day and we had a barbeque at one of the chapels with the whole zone. It was really really fun and after P-day ended we had our zone training where Elder Provoste and I gave a training about better preparing our investigators for baptism, preparing from the first contact on the street. It was a good training, I felt, and it really helped get the missionaries excited. This week we also got a chance to do a division with the Assistants. I got to stay here and work in our area with Elder Myers again. It was good and I learned a lot. 

Elder Buenrostro, Elder Schwartz, Elder Amon, and Elder Provoste

Captain America and Thor

I wanted to share a cool finding miracle that we had yesterday night. So Provoste and I went to an appointment with an old investigator that told us to pass by his old house (he since had moved to another area) so as we called for him, a man that lived in the back told us he moved so then we decided to start to talk to him. He told us that the night before he said a prayer which he hadn't done in years asking for some sort of direction and then the next day we showed up. It was an amazing and spiritual conversation we had, and he was really interested in our message.