Sunday, May 4, 2014

Happy Easter!

Elder Andrew loves Easter!

Dear Everyone!

Wow! I can't believe that you guys are in Chile with Elder Nate! That is so strange for me. I hope that you guys are having fun over here in the south side of the Americas and that you guys are staying safe as well. Make sure to take a lot of pictures for me! But it's good to hear that you guys are enjoying your time so far seeing the Dolls and going with Elder Nate to church. 

This past week for us was really good. Antonio and his family are doing really good. They came to church again yesterday and we have family home evening with them tonight. We also marked to go with them to the registry to get the marriage all set up this Thursday. They are such an amazing family. They are getting well integrated and we are going to continue working with them. Transfers are next week so I may not be here for the wedding and the baptism but I'm so thankful for the opportunity to get to know them and work with them. 

This week we are using this new approach to find more people to teach that Elder Barreto has been implementing, and has so far been bringing good results.  We got ourselves a copy of the entire ward list and whenever one of our appointments fall through, we just find the members that live on the street, being active or inactive and visit them.  That way, if we visit an active member, we strengthen them and help them with the family missionary work, but if it is a less active family, we work on reactivation and helping that person come unto Christ.  And usually with the less actives there are always some kids that haven't been baptized.  Some have been inactive for years and have married, had kids, etc. so it has been a good approach so we don't waste time just knocking on doors of people who we don't know and who don't know us.  Later in the week we had district meeting as usual, but we had a nice breakfast with the zone.  Then the next day we had inspections for the zone and interviews with President Tanner.  Our Zone passed and now our whole zone won pizza that we are going to buy for the next district/zone meeting.   

This week we did a division with the office elders and I worked in Cidade Vargas with Elder Batalla. The office elders have limited work time so they have some difficulty finding people to teach, so we worked a lot on finding new investigators, and teaching people in the streets.  I felt kind of bad for Elder Batalla because all of the plans for the day fell through, so we spent a good time on the streets and not really in the homes of people.  As we were walking in front of the chapel, though, I was prompted to talk to this man that was sitting on a park bench on the other side of the road. We started talking and it turned out that he was a member from another stake, and was working around in the area.  I don't know if he was active or not, because he seemed like a members with a bit of a grudge against the general church member culture, but he shared with us some amazing experiences that he had from when he served a mission and he gave us some great advice.  He basically told us to not knock doors because it doesn't bring the best results, but if we want results to be different, we have to do things differently and let the Lord lead the way.  It was really good and the whole time he was talking it made me feel that this new way of finding that Elder Barreto and I are implementing is going to really help Cidade Leonor grow. 

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to serve a mission. It's such a wonderful blessing! I'm being converted daily of the importance of this work and this gospel.  I know that it's true and changes lives and brings lasting happiness.  Here, everyone seems only to think about the easter eggs and getting a lot of chocolate -- not the true meaning of Easter.  It's something that made me a little sad to see -- that people don't really understand the true meaning of Easter with Christ's Atonement and Resurrection, and are more focused on the worldly celebrations.  I'm thankful for the knowledge I have of the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how much it has helped me grow and will continue to make me a better man.  I love you all and be safe!

Elder Schwartz

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