Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Weddings and Baptisms....and Service

Beautiful Wedding, followed by...

Beautiful Baptism

Dear Family!!!

Wow!!! I can't believe it. Doug actually did it. Who would've thunk?  Hahah, just kidding. Send him and Jessica my best wishes.

(I was totally there on the first date). That's awesome that you guys had a fun little getaway in Vegas. That's cool to hear too that Doug's dad did the sealing. It was cool to hear about the inspiration you received while you were in the temple.  When we went to the temple last week I had the opportunity to do a lot of reflection and think about how I could be a better missionary and a better zone leader. I love that we get the chance to go to the temple every three months. When I get home, I'm making a goal to go to the temple as often as possible.

So Elder Vargas has a year and six months on the mission. He's a stud of a missionary and he's freaking hilarious. He speaks pretty good English, but he's trying to get to a better fluency so I'm helping him with a few things.  Before the mission he was working as an internet cafe manager and he worked as a churrasqueiro (barbecuer).  The other two in our apartment are both hispanics; Elder Ramirez from the Dominican Republic, and Elder Ballestero from Columbia. Elder Ramirez is training Elder Ballestero, so he's learning Portuguese, but he has it pretty much down by now.  We all live together and it's a great time for all of us.  Seriously, I love living in a group of four.  Wayyyy better than living in just two. 

So this week was the wedding of Antonio and Vanilde, and the baptism of Vanilde and  their daughter Camila.  It was such a special experience and a sweet spirit was felt by all who attended.  There was a really good support from the ward and there were many visitors too.  I'm so grateful to have been able to take part in such a moment in the lives of this family.  I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ truly can change lives and make people deeply happy.  It was definitely a landmark experience of my mission and a family that I'm never going to forget. 

Unfortunately,  Fernanda wasn't quite ready for baptism, but we're going to keep working with her and we set a goal with her to be ready to be baptized here in two weeks.  This week we also got a lot of good references of people who attended the wedding and expressed interest in the message,so we are going to be working with them these upcoming weeks.  Also, we got the chance to do a little service project for one of the sisters in the ward and help her paint her house. I'll send some pics along. 

Today we had a P-day with all the zone together, and we played some volleyball, and some ping-pong, and the sister brought a lot of food so we got a little fat too.  It was some good zone bonding and a pump up for the week ahead of us. OH, and we got word today that we get to watch the Brazil World Cup game today (Monday June 23rd)!  And our ward has been putting the games on a big screen at the chapel, so we're going to be cheering on the home team with our ward today, but then we have to go directly home afterwards because of the potential danger.  So basically, this P-day is an actual whole day today. WOOHOO!

This Friday, President and Sister Broadbent arrive and assume their new position as mission president.  Everyone has been saying that a lot of things are going to change. Whatever it will be, I'm excited to be able to work with our new mission president.  I'm sad that President and Sister Tanner are leaving though.  They are such amazing people and they have helped me and this mission so much.  I'm so grateful for all the things that they have done for us as missionaries and especially for me personally.  They have helped me to become a better person, and I will really miss them.  Nevertheless, I wish them the best with their new calling -- General Sunday School presidency -- how cool is that!

Well, I love you all and I hope that you all have a good week.  I'll be sure to give you guys the update on President Broadbent and the week went!  I know that this is the Lord's work and that this is His church.  I know that he lives and loves each and every one of us and knows each and every one of us personally. I know that miracles are real and that if we have faith, we can truly work miracles.

Elder Schwartz

Service Pics

More Wedding and Baptism Pics

Yes, A New Companion....Elder Vargas

With Elder Vargas in front of the Temple
My beloved Family and Friends,

First off, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, DAD!!!!! I hope that your father's day was awesome and that you had a lot of wonderful memories!  Unfortunately, Father's day doesn't get the same treatment as Mother's day here in the mission, so the Skype sesh, will have to wait until Christmas.  But I'm glad that you guys had a good week, and that everyone is staying busy with your various activities and such.  It sounds like Nate is staying busy in the MTZ which is good to hear.  RM's gotta stay busy. 

So I guess that you guys want to know what happened at transfers.  Elder Barreto got transferred to another zone here in São Paulo and he's a zone leader there. My new companion's name is Elder Vargas and he's from Goiania, Goias and he's a freaking boss, and I freaking love him.  Our house also changed up a little bit.  Elder Camarena left and Elder Ramirez is training a new missionary named Elder Ballestero that's from Columbia. The zone changed up a little bit too, but I'm super excited about this upcoming transfer. Vanilde and Antonio's wedding is this Thursday and the baptism of Camilla and Vanilde will be right after the wedding.  They had their interviews yesterday and they are super prepared.

We also had a really cool ward activity this week. It was a "festa junina" which is a type of cultural party that they have with diffrent little activities and food and such.  A lot of our investigators and less active members were there.  Paulo even brought a lot of family members and friends.  In our lesson with him this week he asked what he needed to do to be able to baptize people.  We told him that he needed the priesthood first and for that he needed to have an interview with the Bishop. He wants to baptize everyone on the street so we got him marked (scheduled) with Bishop for an interview this week to recieve the Aaronic priesthood. (Oh, and I told Paulo that you guys would most likely come to pick me up, so he already marked for us to all have lunch together on that Sunday. He also said if you guys need a place to stay, you can stay at his place).

So here it's been both crazy and normal for the World Cup. During the days where Brazil is playing, we have to go home at about the time of the game and we can't leave that night, but for the rest of the games we are working normally.  I'm stoked that my teams are doing good. USA (of course), Brazil, and Germany. If any one of them wins I'll be happy. I tell everyone here that I'm cheering for the United States to win it all just to mess with everyone, cuz it probably won't happen, but hey, who knows what could happen.  

Anyways, I'm going to have to sign off here, but just know that I'm stoked to still be in this ward. I know that I'm here for a reason and that there is someone out here who needs me and I'm going to do my best to fufill my purpose here. I know that this is Christ's true Church and H
e is the one that leads it. I know that we have a living prophet today and that he receive's revelation directly from Him. I know that this is His work and that He loves each and everyone of us. I love you guys and I'll talk to you guys next week!

Elder Schwartz

Town decorated for World Cup

Elder Vargas and Elder Schwartz

Elder Ballestero, Elder Vargas, Elder Schwartz and Elder Ramirez
Our Focus

Sunday, June 15, 2014


One more transfer in Cidade Leonor!

Dearest Family!!!!
Thanks for the update and this pics. I feel like everything is SO different back at home. Seriously, the first thing that blew me away is how big Cole is.  Is he taller than Hannah? So weeeiiirrrd..... BUT HEY, so we got our transfer calls today and you guys are not going to believe what happened. So, I'm staying here, and Elder Barreto is getting transferred. This is going to be my fifth transfer in this area. SO MUCH TIME.  Obviously, the there is something that I need to do here, or someone that I am supposed to help come unto Christ that I haven't found yet. So I'm stoked that I get to stay one more here because I like this area, and I get to see Antonio and Vanilde's wedding all the way through!  And see the baptism!  So cool!
Let's see, soo this week was a really good week for us.  Paulo is doing really well. He's already being a member missionary!  He's inviting everyone he knows to go to this ward activity we are going to have on Saturday night.  Antonio and his fam are doing well, also. They all went to stake conference with us yesterday and seemed to really enjoy it.  This week we found a lot of new people that have huge potential.  For example we found a girl who is dating a returned missionary and lives in our area so we are going to try to get in contact with that returned missionary to get him to take her to church here.
So the stake conference that we had this past weekend was amazing.  Everything  on Saturday was about member missionary work and we got a live satellite transmission from Salt Lake City for the Sunday Session.  On Saturday, I gave my talk, which I hope went well.  It was about how members and missionaries can work together in the work of reactivation and I cited that book The Power of the Everyday Missionary.  However, the Temple President came and gave a talk at that session that was amazing!  It was so good and so spiritual and he gave lots of fun and practical ideas for the members to get involved in missionary work.  And for the Sunday session, the Brazil Area Presidency spoke, as well as a members of the relief society presidency, and Elder Richard G. Scott (who gave his talk in really good portuguese, I was surprised) and Elder Ballard.  Elder Scott talked a lot about prayer and the blessings we recieve as we are in communication with our Heavenly Father.  Elder Ballard talked about three things that are really hurting the saints, not just in Brazil but everywhere. He talked about the use of technology (texting, social media, etc) while members are attending church, and basically burned everyone. He talked about the perils of pornography, and he spoke about defending the family and the doctrine of the family. They were amazing talks and I was really spiritually uplifted.
Well family, my time is running out and I can't send pictures today from my camera  because we're using an internet cafe today but I'll send some that a member sent me today.  I know that this is truly the Lord's work, and that He directs it through revelation.  I know that I'm here for a reason and I'm going to work with all my energy to help as many as my brothers and sisters here in Cidade Leonor as I can.
Love you all!
Elder Schwartz

With Elder Baretto and Friend


Sunday, June 8, 2014

President and Sister Tanner's Last Zone Conference

President and Sister Tanner will be released at the end of June.  Elder Schwartz will miss them....
Dear Family!!!!! 

Wow you guys are looking goood!  I'm diggin the beard pops!  The only one that's left is Nate -- hahaha!  It's good to hear that you guys had a good Memorial day and had a nice little vespa adventure.  That little scripture that you shared with me about the garner representing the temple was something that Elder Evans shared with us when we had a devotional with him.  Inspired and sooo true that the more people that have been to the temple will be better safeguarded. We actually were trained this week at zone conference talking exactly about what I said last week.  Since we didn't get a chance to hear from Elder Anderson, President Tanner did get a chance to hear from Elder Nelson, and he just passed on to us what Elder Nelson taught.  It was really good stuff.  There was a lot about working with members to strengthen and reinvigorate them.  We're now authorized to do 50% proselyting and 50% re-activation.  We also focused on how we can strengthen our new converts through helping them have a focus on the temple, that they need to "endure to the endowment."  Lot's of good stuff!  It's been a lot of the same stuff that we and the stake presidency have been trying to focus on here in our stake, and we're going to keep on doing it.

This week was actually a really good week for us because we found two really good part-member families who we are going to be strengthening, and helping to complete the family in the church. In one family, the daughter, Natialia, is active but the mom, Taís, is not and the step-dad, Roberto, isn't a member.  They were really excited to see us and Taís was especially excited and wants to go back to church.  In the other family also, there are two kids active, one that isn't a member, Fernanda, and the mom is inactive.  Both are really good families and we are super excited to start working with them and inviting the members to participate. It will be good because this is an excellent opportunity to make miracles happen and experiences that I can share at stake conference.  The work is going really good here.  Antonio and his family are doing really good. Paulo went to church this week and is starting to share the gospel with his friends and neighbors like a boss.  Regiane also came to church this last week and we are working with a member family to work on integrating her back into activity.  We also have two more investigators that are going to church now that I've actually only taught once because of the divisions; Mirtes (I think that's how you spell her name) and Sonia. This week we're going to have to coordinate really well with all of these people to help them get to the stake center for conference, but it will all turn out ok. 

Like I mentioned, this week I got to go on a few divisions.  I went on one with Elder Camarena (who lives with me) and took him to work with me in our area.  It was a really good division and I learned a lot from him.  He's got about 8 months on the mission and 4 months here in the country but he's already doing super well. The other division I went on was with one of the assistants, Elder Myers.  I got the chance to work with him in his area and do a few baptism interviews for them.  He's a powerhouse missionary and I learned so so so much from that division.  The kid truly follows the section in Preach My Gospel: "Talk with everyone," because we talked with so many people and taught a lot of lessons in the streets.  It's something that I have been slacking on a bit lately, so this next week Elder Barreto and I are gonna work the crap out of this area. Transfers is this coming week, so if I get transferred, I want to say I held nothing back.

Today we spent the morning with a member, Richard (eu sei que você está lendo isso fubeca!), who is a member in our ward who just got off of his mission, and he took us around São Paulo and showed us some sites.  We went up a skyscraper and got to see the whole city of São Paulo and we also went to Parque de Iberapuera which is this super big park in São Paulo.  And that was pretty much my week, family.  I'm stoked for this upcoming week. We have a lot of awesome people that we are going to visit and Heavenly Father is going to keep putting the elect in our path as we continue to do our best and work diligently.  I know that He loves me and each and every one of his children. I know that His gospel changes lives!

Til next week!
Elder Schwartz

At a churrascaría with Elder Camarena
So full afterwards....

Elder Bond (companion from MTC) finally made it to Brazil

On divisions with Elder Myers....

...eating Toddy and peanut butter

Corinthian's Stadium

Sao Paulo from above