Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ward Conference and a Visit from Eduardo

A visit from Eduardo!

Dear Family,

Wow!  It sounds like you all had a really nice and busy week.

We had a pretty busy one here too, seeing how it was ward conference out here in Tobalaba, which was actually a huge success for everyone!  Elder Guerrero and I got to give a presentation at a fireside on Tuedsay night about how we can all be more effective at sharing the gospel with our neighbors and loved ones.  It was a success, I feel.
Elder Guerrero and I have been working a lot these past couple of weeks trying to win over the trust of the leaders, especially the Bishop, and I feel like ward conference helped us out a lot in doing that.  As part of ward conference, there were activites in the Chapel every night of the week, so we brought as many investigators and less active members as we could.  Elder Guerrero and I actually met a whole bunch of less active members this week.  We have been recieving lots of references from members, and that has helped us out a lot.  
We were able to meet up again with the family that we found last week -- they are doing well.  We are doing what we can to help get the members of the ward involved to take them under their wings.
It really was kind of a miraculous week because a lot of new people just kind of fell into our laps.  We are now teaching the little sister of a less active member that we have been teaching for several months now, so we are excited about that.  Nevertheless, I feel like we are struggling in helping these people recieve the blessings that are waiting for them in the chapel on Sunday, so Elder Guerrero and I are working on what we can do better to help them get there on Sunday.  
Something really cool that happened this week is that Eduardo, thats right, Eduardo from La Florida came to church HERE in Tobalaba on Sunday to give me a surprise visit -- THAT WAS AWESOME!  It made my day, seriously.  It had been forever since I had last seen him, so I was really happy.  And on Sunday we had a big ward lunch after our church meetings to finish off the week of ward conference.

I am sorry that this email is kind of short and scatterbrained -- there is just a TON of stuff going on that needs to be taken care of right now.

Anyways, I just want you all to know that I love you, and that I am very thankful for your love and support -- I can feel it, I really can.  I hope that you all have an excellent week.  Say your prayers and read your scriptures!

with love,
Elder Schwartz

Transfers : (

Elder Watt (on right) will be leaving for another area.  We'll miss him
Hey Family! 

Soooooooo we got transfer news..... Elder Watt is leaving me to be a ZL (zone leader) in another area :( but at least I get to stay, right?  I get to train a new zone leader, so that will be a fun experience.  I'm happy that I'm staying, though, because I love this area so much. 

Sorry I haven't really been too detailed in my letters in the past, so let me give you guys the rundown on my area, Cidade Leonor.  So this area that I'm in is one the first areas that the Church was established here in Brazil.  So the church has a good strong presence here.  Our area is pretty mixed when it comes to social/economic class.  We have a good sized favela (which is just like a dense community of houses built upon each other with tight walkways and drug deals going down).  We also have your normal middle class neighborhoods, and then we have the closed apartment buildings like when I was in São Caetano. We are working more right now around the favela/in the favela, but we have a few references for people that live in the apartments so we are going to be visting those as well. 

The members here are really good!  They help when they can with the work and we have a lunch provided almost everyday, but sometimes we'll do it at home. But as with members in most areas of the church, it's hard to get good solid references (referral of friends to teach).  (By the way, how are the references going for the sisters back in Martinez Ward?)  It's a struggle for a lot of church member here, because they have work, families, other activites, and they are not spending every moment on missionary work like we are. 

It's been starting to cool down here for the past few days. We usually have days where it is super sunny in the morning and then rains a little throughout the day that gives that kind of muggy humid feeling, but for right now it's cooling down. 

For  P-day we do a variety of things.  We usually get our normal preparation done.  In this area we live in a house in the back of an Irmã's house, and she does our laundry for us (she's an angel). Then we will usually relax at home, nap, or if we planned the night before, we go to this place called "25 de Março" which is the best place to buy things super cheap.  This last P-day though, we had a sweet activity with our zone where we played ping-pong, ate hot dogs, and designed zone shirts.

This past week for us was a fight.  We weren't able to catch sensei this week but when we do, I'll be sure to let you guys know.  We have been teaching a quite a bit, though, and we have been having some really awesome and spiritual lessons.  And our work payed off because we were able to bring a few investigators to church with us, and a few more that we taught in the past came without us knowing beforehand.  We also brought a girl who has been inactive for 13 years of her life, back to church for the first time.  It was so good to see our investigators at church and it seemed like they all really liked it.  

I'm glad to hear that you guys are staying busy and everything is going great at home. I'm still freaking out that Elder Nate goes home soon.  So trunky.  Anyways,
I can't wait to hear from you all next week!

Elder Schwartz

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Almoço Em Casa

Lunch at Home

Dear Family!

Man, it sounds like you guys are still staying busy!  That's good to hear.  Hey not to be trunky, but Nate only has one month left!  THAT IS SO CRAZY!  It seemed like it was yesterday when that kid left and now he's coming home a man.  So weird.  But good thing I still have a lot of time left to serve!  I don't want it to end! 

This past week was really great!  The investigators are doing well.  We found a lot of really good people this week.  For example, a member was found by a less-active girl and she said that she wants to come back to church and bring her family.  So that was an awesome miracle.  Unfortunately, they didn't go to church because of a medical emergency, but they promised us for next week. We're really excited for them.  Another really sweet experience that we had this past week was we got invited by a Karate Sensei to come to his dojo, and he said that if we went and trained with him for a session, he would come to our church.  So of course we took the challenge and went. It was pretty sweet.  He taught us some basic defense techniques and a few other things.  Then there was the teaching moment.  Sensei made us and his students sit in a circle so we could talk about religion. He said he invited us to teach his students to have an open mind and to search the truths of all things.  Then he started talking about all the apostasy around here in Brazil with religions.  So here there's the two main Christian beliefs: Roman Catholic and Evangelical (Protestants).  So, Sensei says he was born Catholic but doesn't really practice, so he just started bashing the Catholic churches and all the other chuches here in Brazil that are just pastors getting paid in "tithing".  He then started asking us about our church and we answered his questions and it just made us sound really good, and he then started telling all of his students to go to our church and telling them how he promised us that he was going to go.  It was really sweet, and he says he wants us to come back to talk to more of his students. We have developed a really good relationship now, and we're going to go there this next week and find new investigators.

Also this week, I got the chance to do another division with Elder Teixera who is another one of the office elders.  It was a really good division.  It was good to see how their area was doing and to see how other missionaries work.  Then that night we had a really sweet activity.  It was a Pre-Ward Conference event where the members put on a little show for everyone.  It was amazing!  And the best part was that there was a lot of friends that came.  And then the next day we had our ward conference which was so powerful.  I learned so much from the talks that were given and the Spirit that was there.  But I think the biggest lesson that I learned was from the High Counselor over missionary work.  He was talking to us for a little bit and he talked to us about the principle of faith.  He said that if we focus our minds on something and just visualize it for the whole day on it, then the miracles happen.  For example, If I were to leave in the morning and visualize and focus and have 100% certainty that I will find one of the Lord's elect, I will find one.  It's something I feel like I have been lacking, just really setting my mind on the miracles to happen and truly believing that they will.  I usually just focus on the million things that we have to do, but if I just set my mind on that one thing, I know it will happen. 

Well I'm about out of time, but I love you all and thank you all so much for the support you are giving me! Until next week!


Elder Schwartz

Last Zone Conference

Saw Elder Henderson at Zone Conference
Dear Family!

It sounds like you all had an excellent week -- very busy, but that's how we Schwartz's are, so it's okay!

Elder Guerrero and I hit it off really well -- we had a really good and also busy week.  We found some new people to teach, and that is always a huge plus.  We were also able to visit the family that we met in the street last Monday and we will be visiting them again this week too.  There are actually lots of new people moving into the ward, so it has been fun helping them make the transition into Tobalaba -- it's a good ward to be in.  

Other than finding new people and teaching sweet lessons, Elder Guerrero and I were really busy with other fun stuff too!  On Friday we had our zone conference -- I had to conduct it -- that was cool/kind of weird.  The worst part was when Elder Schade and I had to get up and give our farewell testimonies, because we both go home at the end of this transfer.  During my whole mission so far, I have watched missionaries walk to the podium to bear their testimonies, but I never thought that one day it would end up being my turn.  It was such a strange and bitter feeling looking out into the congregation at all of these awesome, great missionaries -- it was weird; I didnt like it. The meeting was really good though, and it helped me to understand that I still have a LONG ways to go to become the missionary that I want to be.  We had a meeting on Sunday morning with President Wright, and our stake President, President Guiffra, and the high councilman who is in charge of missionary work.  It was at 8am, so we had to wake up at 6am, but it was a really good meeting though.  I have been really blessed to be able to see excellent leaders in action down here in Chile.  And on Sunday evening we had a fireside with President and Hna Wright, and all of the missionaries in the stake -- we all brought less active members, recent converts and/or investigators, and the meeting was EXCELLENT.  We brought a convert family that has kind of been inactive, and they were able to meet up with and talk to President and Hna Wright for a while and it made them really happy, so that was nice.  I feel like it was a good first step in helping them back into activity.  

This upcoming Tuesday Elder Guerrero and I have to speak in a fireside about how the members can work hand in hand with the missionaries, so we are getting ready for that.  Today was a really relaxing p-day -- I got to take a nap, so I feel great right now -- less tired than usual.

Anyways, I love you all so much.  I hope that you have an EXCELLENT week.  Keep being great examples for all of the people around you.

with love,

ELder Schwartz

Bryan is a recent convert and this must be how they celebrate birthdays in Chile -- cake in the face

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Goodbye, Elder Sercovich! Welcome, Elder Guerrero!

Goodbye, Elder Sercovich!

Welcome, Elder Guerrero!

Dear Mom, Dad, and Everyone,

Thank you so much for the email and all the photos -- I love seeing all your smiling faces, and our hill looks so nice when it's green!
It's good to hear that you are all keeping busy -- I think we all are -- Phil in Utah, Andre in Brazil, you guys in California, and me here in Chile.  Yes, I did get to see Elder Doll yesterday.  It is always SO COOL seeing them -- we ran into each other at the Temple, at Elder Sercovich´s farewell.  Here in the Santiago East misison they do that -- we have a little gathiering for all of the departing missionaries at the temple so everyone (members in the area) can say their final goodbyes -- that's a big bonus of being in a small mission.  SO, this last Sunday was Elder Sercovich´s turn -- it was a kind of sad experience, but happy at the same time.  I got to see a few people from Chiloe, my last sector, so that made me really happy.

This past week has been really busy with a bunch of things that Elder Sercovih had to get prepared for his departure.  We taught some good lessons, but the preparation stuff really took up the majority of the time.  It was hard saying goodbye to Serki -- he was a really, really good companion -- I learned a lot from that guy.  BUT, I GOT MY NEW COMPANION TODAY!  His name is Elder Guerrero, and he is from Mexico, and I am super stoked to be his companion.  He has eight months in the mission, and he is awesome!  We have only been together for a few hours so far, but I know that we are going to be a good companionship.  There is lots of work to be done here, so we are excited for that.  The cool experience of the week was on Saturday -- Elder Sercovich and I were walking down the street and within five minutes we got stopped by two different less active member families, and theys asked us to come and visit them.  We will be visiting one of them tonight, and one later in the week, but it was just a cool little experience that helped me to understand that if we are obedient and do what the Lord asks us to do, He will put us where we need to be, when we need to be there.  That's exactly what happened Saturday afternoon.

Sorry thas this is a short email...I am running out of time, and I still need to send you all a few photos.  I just want to end this by telling you all that I love you, and that I know that Heavenly Father loves you too.  He knows us perfectly, and that ultimately, what He wants for us, is that we are happy, truly happy.  Thank you so much for your love and support.  Have a great week!

with love,
Elder Schwartz

Few more pics...

Canadian Side

Peruvian Food

Radical Elder Sercovich

With Elder Sanchez....

On the Metro in Sao Paulo

On the Metro

Dearest Family!

It's good to hear that Youth Conference was a success for you guys and that you all are staying busy with the regular routine.  I LOVED the picture with Elder Nate and Elder Lima (Elder from Andrew's former ward in Brazil)!  That's so crazy that they saw each other! That makes me happy. This past week for us was really good.  Don't worry Mom and Dad, nothing too bad happened here during Carnaval.  I'm still worthy to be serving a mission. I just had to have a nice interview with President. jk :).  But really nothing happened here. It was a little bit harder for us (to do missionary work) because everyone went to the beach so a lot of our appointments fell through but nothing really out of the ordinary happened. 

So this week for us was really really good. We are continuing to work with Marcelo and Keila.  We went to their house almost everyday this past week to strengthen them spiritually and teach them about the importance of marriage.  They both know all that they need to do to get baptized and get into the temple and everything.  They just have to actually do it.  We are trying to do everything to prepare them to get married, but the problem is that they have been arguing more lately, and Keila has been thinking about separation because of a lack of compromise in the relationship.  There are a lot of complicated little things, but we are trying to help them both change their attitudes and change some habits, so they will both be able to enter into the waters of baptism. Unfortunately, we only talked to Patricia this week and we weren't able to talk to the husband.  She lives deep in our favela, so it is hard to bring a member there or to catch them both at a good time to sit down and talk with them.  It is somewhat hard, but we're going to keep working with them. 

This past week I got to do two divisions, one with Elder Camarena, who lives with in our house and just got here this past transfer, and another with Elder Batalla, who is an argentino that works in the mission office.  I took Elder Camerena to work with me (on Carnival) in our area. Unfortunately a lot of our appointments fell through, but I was still able to help him work on the things that he feels he needs to improve at.  He's a really good missionary, and he speaks really well for the little time that he has here in Brazil.  I got to spend Saturday, however, with Elder Batalla in his area. The office Elders have a bit of a rough time because they hardly get any time to proselyte, but they do take advantage of the time that they have.  We had a few really good lessons and I got to meet some of their investigators that are going to be baptized here soon.  Elder Batalla taught me a lot and he explains things so well in the lessons that I was blown away because he seems to be kind of a quiet guy.  I was really happy with the divisions this week and how our zone is really progressing.

Also this week we had Zone Conference again and I feel that this one was the best one yet.  President and Sister Tanner and the Assistants gave awesome trainings.  Sister Tanner gave a training about how we need to be like the people of Ammon and bury our "swords of relbellion" so she gave us all little pieces of paper that we used to write something bad or rebellious that we were doing that we wanted to give up and we put them in a box to "bury" them forever.  Then she told us that we needed to replace what we gave up with a Christlike attribute so we could fill ourselves with more good things as we take out the bad.  Then we did a training based on what Elder Evans told us a few weeks ago. We had a type of council, where all the leaders who were present at the meeting with Elder Evans got to share about what we learned and share it with the rest of the missionaries. It was kind of like what we did in our Zone training but with a few other zones present. Then, President gave a training on marriage and helping to prepare our investigators for marriage, which was exactly what we needed.  I can honestly say that I learned a lot at that Zone Conference.

Well, my time is almost out. Thanks so much for all the love and support that you guys give me. I know that this Church is true and that this work is His work.  I love you all!

Elder Schwartz

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Zone Class and Brazilian Breakfast

Zone Class and Breakfast

Dear Family!!!

Man, I can't believe how fast that time is flying by here!  It's so weird to think that I already have been on the mission for 10 months. So crazy!  It's good to hear that you guys are still on the same rhythm with work, exercise, callings, etc., and that you guys are busy and happy.  I would be jealous that the youth get to see the general YW president and Steve Young (actually I am jealous about Steve Young), but my mission mom (Sister Tanner) was already general YW president, so I'm not that jealous. 

This past week for us has been really good (but really every week is really good on the mission). Elder Watt and I gave the training for our zone this week. We had a traditional brazillian breakfast with bread, ham and cheese with everyone in the zone to kick it off. For the training, however, we basically turned it into a type of council.  Those of us that were at the meeting with Elder Evans shared what we learned with the rest of the zone and we all discussed these topics and how we can incorporate these into our areas and missions.  It was a really good council and I think that it helped a lot.

In our area we have been working really hard.  Augusto is doing awesome.  Even though he doesn't live in our area, we are still teaching him everything and prepping him to be baptized in the ward he lives in.  This week we finally got some of our other investigators to church. Their names are Patrícia and Da Paz and thanks to a nice little family crisis (which I won't talk about because it's kind of personal) they finally came to church with us.  Even though the microphone broke during sacrament meeting, they loved it a lot and I know that they were truly edified there. Unfortunately they both are in a situation where they are living with their "husbands" but aren't really married.  We are planning to talk with the husbands this week, so we'll see how they take the idea of marriage -- we are hopeful.  Also this week, we had a mini-miracle.  Yesterday we finally caught Marcelo at home.  He told us that we was about to leave but something told him that he should stay and then we showed up.  He came to us telling us about how he's kind of fallen off the track a little bit, but how he has a really strong desire to get back on track and to be a changed man, so that he can marry his wife legally and that he can be baptized.  We talked about the reality of the atonement and how infinite it is and how we all can change our lives through faith and repentance.  He had told us that he went back to drinking, but he decided that he wanted to stop now.  So, with his consent, we took the beer that he had in his fridge and disposed of it all, so that he could get away from the temptation to drink again.  It was such an uplifting experience and we have decided that we are gonna visit him for 10-15 minutes daily so that we can continue to help strengthen him. 

That was pretty much all the highlights of the week.  Yes, it is Carnival (Mardi Gras) right now.  No, nothing crazy has happened. We haven't even changed proselyting hours or anything because it's pretty calm where we're at.  But if anything crazy happens, I'll be sure not to tell you guys until I get home ;). I love you all, and I hope you all have a great week!  Until next Monday!

Elder Schwartz

Book Of Mormon Cake

Goofy Elders pretending to be thugs

Elder Andrew's Friend From Brazil, Elder Lima, Is Now in Chile!

Elder Lima from a ward where Elder Andrew Schwartz was serving in Brazil last fall, has arrived in Chile
and has met with the other Elder Schwartz, brother Nate.
Dear Family,

It's good to hear that everyone is keeping busy -- zumba, workouts, meetings -- you´ll be seeing Steve Young (at youth conference), how cool!  And it makes me really happy to hear that you guys were doing some service too.  That is excellent.

Speaking of excellent -- Elder Sercovich and I had an AWESOME week!  This past week went by really well for Elder Sercovich and me in some ways, and in other ways we learned a few things that we need to improve on in our teaching methods.  Elder Sercovich has been a really good example for me especially during this past transfer (which is the last transfer of his mission).  He is dedicated and working hard, and I think that´s what i love most about him -- he is soaking up every last drop of the mission.  His great energy gives me energy.  This week we went on divisions again -- I was able to spend the day with Elder Bushman in his area, and we had a good time together.  I learned a lot of good lessons from that guy.  It has seriously been a major blessing having him in the zone (Todd's cousin).  It was a rough day for Elder Bushman.  I could tell that he was a little stressed out.  We had five "really awesome" lessons planned throughout the day, but sadly, one by one as the day progressed, they got cancelled.  We tried everything to fill our time -- the list, contacting, trying to visit old investigators, but nothing worked.  The first and only house that we entered that day was at 9:40PM -- it was the home of a new investigator, and we were able to have a really good lesson with him, his wife and a family friend -- we sang a hymn together, and it was the first time that I had done that in a lesson in a long, long time.  What I learned from Elder Bushman that day, was the importance of being dedicated to serve the Lord.  I think that it would have been really easy for him to get upset, frustrated, depressed, or want to quit, especially in the late hours of the day.  I was thinking that at 9:30 pm he would probably be thinking about throwing in the towel for the day, but he was persistant, and that late evening lesson was a huge success.  We were able to come back to the apartment that night, happy and filled with the Spirit, instead of upset and down -- the effort and persistance paid off.  Elder Bushman is a very dedicated missionary, and I will be teaching the zone class with him on Wednesday because Elder Sercovich has a "job preparation seminar".

For me personally, the highlight of the week was the devotional with Elder Evans.  On Thursday night we got a call from the assistants telling us that all four of the santiago missions would be meeting in a chapel in the north mission on Saturday to have a special devotional with Elder Evans of the Seventy (Church leader from headquarters).  It was totally short notice, but absolutely amazing.  We left our apartment at 6:30 AM and the meeting started at 9, we probably got thtere a little before 8 but the place was totally full, almost 1000 missionaries in the same chapel -- INSANE!   We had the devotional from 9am to 1pm.  Elder Evans had a lot to say -- he is the Seventy that oversees missionary work, so it makes sense.  The really cool thing was that we had ANOTHER meeting with him from 2:30 to 5:30pm for just the zone leaders and sister missionary leaders and assistants, and that meeting was one of the best meeting i have ever attended, EVER!  We got a way better seat, and it was just, amazing.  I also ran into him in the bathroom during our lunch break between meetings -- kind of awkward, right?  But we had a really nice conversation -- he actually grew up in Lafayette, so he knew about Martinez -- his sisters went to Acalanes High School, and he was just there in the Bay Area a couple weeks ago.  So, we got to bond a little as we dried our hands there, kind of cool ahaha.  Elder Evans talked a lot about our missionary purpose of helping the church become established through real growth, and that too many missionaries just go out to try to baptize as many people as possible, and shortly after those people get lost and go inactive.  He talked to us a lot about how we need to help people become truly converted to Christ and His gospel, not just get dressed in white and get wet -- that there is a big difference.  And in the second meeting, he talked a lot about the doctrine of the family.  He made it sound like things are getting really bad out there in the states (as far as society's value of importance of the family), well it was bad when I left, but it sounds worse.... wow!   He told us that it is our job to teach the doctrine of the family, and put it into practice when we return home.  ALSO, I met Elder Lima at the devotional.  I only talked to him for 30 seconds, but we took a photo, and of COURSE i saw Elder Dusty and Hna. Jennings, too.  

Today we had a little zone get together at one of the chapels in the stake -- we played soccer and basketball and had a sweet barbecue -- it was a really good time.  It was kind of a goodbye party for Elder Sercovich and Elder Surmik.   

Anyways, I love you all.  The Church is true, and keep being great -- have an awesome week.  Go make someone smile.

with love,
Elder Schwartz

(ALSO, Dad it would be awesome if you put an attachment of "The Family A proclamation to the world" on the blog, Elder Evans cited it like 341230753475 times)

Some additional pics.....

Yummy BBQ

These elders know how to cook...and eat

Over 900 missionaries strong

Elder Schwartz with Elder Dusty and Hermana Jennings, both friends from BYU

Great Fun at Mission Conference

Noche de Hogar (Family Home Evening)

Some additional pics from Noche de Hogar....

From Activity about the Atonement with push-ups (and a tattoo?)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Divisions With Elder Osbon

I am sorry that these past few emails have been so dang short...... Elder Sercovich is in his final days here in the mission, so our ´´to-do list´´ on p-days has been really long lately..... hopefully, you don't mind too much.

Elder Sercovich is doing great -- he is not trunky (overly ready to go home) at all actually.  He is a really good example for me -- I want to end my mission the way that Elder Sercovich is ending his.  Karolina is doing well.  She wasn't able to go to church on Sunday :/ but we were able to visit with her during the week with one of her member friends, and the Alfaro family too.  It's good to hear that everyone is staying busy, and I am so excited to hear about Ana's mission call -- I know that she is going to be doing great things back east, and that she is very prepared to be a successful missionary.  

This week was very nice -- we had some service activities.  We helped a family move houses, and we are helping a less active member remodel her house, so we spent two mornings this week doing that.  We were able to teach a good number of lessons, and we had district class, which was great.  We have been leaving a lot and doing divisions with youth in the ward, and this week is the last week of their summer vacation, so we need to use them as much as we can before school starts up again!  Elder Sercovich and I ate a ton this week, but I am sure that you noticed that from the photos -- they are feeding us so much here, but you know me, I'm not one to complain.  MY highlight of the week was the opportunity that I had to go on divisions with Elder Osbon, one of the newer Elders in the zone.  It was so cool going on divisions with him because:  1. He started out his mission in Geronimo....that's right, THE Geronimo, the same sector that I started the mission in.  So we talked and talked and talked about Geronimo days -- the people, the food, everything, and that was really cool, and 2. Elder Osbon is just an awesome missionary in general and we got along really well.  He has about 6 months in the mission and he is from Michigan, but he is a great teacher and speaks really well.  He is a well rounded guy and he is trying to improve every day, and he had a really nice energy about him, and that energy helped me out a lot.  I learned a lot from Elder Osbon, and I am really happy that we got to do divs and that he is in this zone.  

Thank you all for your love and support and prayers and everything.  I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior, that He knows each of us perfectly and loves us all individually  There is a really cool scripture in Matthew (ch. 11) that I read this week;  it's really well known, but I want to share it anyways because it helped me out during a little rough patch that I went through this past week. 

28 aCome unto me, all ye that blabour and are heavy laden, and I will give you crest.
 29 Take my ayoke upon you, and blearn of me; for I am cmeekand dlowly in eheart: and ye shall find frest unto your souls.
 30 For my yoke is aeasy, and my burden is light. 
I love you all so much, Have an excellent week!


Elder Schwartz
Blurry Kitty


Dinner and Correlation Meeting


Elder Sercovich going "Gangsta"

More Yummy Food...

Pizza with Ivan

Look at those "Guns"

Elder Evans Visit

Posing for a Photo.  Doesn't look like a missionary issue "Cat" shirt

Dear Family!

Well, it sounds like we all had a great week!  Dad, I'm still blown away at how skinny you got!  I definitely picked up what you lost, because, man, have I gained some weight.  But I'm glad that you guys had fun with all the family at Schwartz Manor.  I can't believe how big everyone's getting and how kind of different everything is.  But that's exciting to hear about Ana getting her call to New Jersey.  She's gonna love it, because serving a mission is the best!

I learned SO much this week.  I guess what made this past week so good was the meeting that we had with Elder Evans.  It was a huge meeting with all the Leadership Councils of five missions in São Paulo.  No one had any idea what he was going to talk about, but we were all expecting some sort of huge announcement about using facebook or iPads or something like that.  But Elder Evans was sent by the First Presidency of the Church to come and speak to us about completely different topics.  Primarily, he taught us about our purpose as missionaries.  Every missionary can recite our purpose: "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end."  He said that we need to have a balance in fufilling our purpose, and that sometimes we focus too much on baptism, and forget that the real purpose is to help people do all the things necessary to return to our Heavenly Father, which include the ordinances performed in the temple.  He told us that we have now been authorized by President Monson to be involved in all aspects of the work of salvation -- missionary work, reactivation, retention, temple and family history work.  We are to focus on helping those we work with to get all the ordinances necessary to receive exaltation. He then began teaching about the family and taught us the doctrine of the family as found in "The Family: a Proclamation to the World".  He told us the importance of teaching the doctrine of the Family and that in the future, it will be our belief in the importance of the family that will separate the Church from everyone else.  It will be this belief that will attract many, many people to the Church.  It's so awesome to be a part of this church. It's so true because today we see that people are all putting off marriage and that the definition of a family is being all mixed up.  I'm so glad that I get to be a part of this historic moment in Church history and that the Lord is so concerned about marriage and families.   It's weird to think that Elder Evans was sent by the Prophet to have a meeting with the leadership of five missions to emphasize marriage and families. It's obviously very important to the Lord.  It had a very positive impact on Elder Watt and I because the next day,we taught a few different people for the first time, and we started off immediately talking about Eternal Families and Temple Marriage

That was the big highlight of the week, but we actually met a lot of cool people this past week as well.  We are still doing our best to keep in contact with the people that we have found in the past week and continuing to find the Lord's elect.  I got the chance to do a division this week with Elder Arévalo again, one of the assistants.  He is a powerhouse missionary and I learned so much from the division that I did with him. This week we also had a sweet ward activity. This ward does an integration activity once a month and this month they had a series of games. The ward was divided into three teams and each team had a representative that competed in each game. We didn't have any investigators but we did have a good amount of less active members who we are going to be visiting this week to help strengthen them. 

Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures of what happened this week but to please you all I'll send you my model shot. 

I hope you all have a good week next week and I'll talk to you guys next Monday!

Elder Schwartz

Not sure if these are mission issue socks either....