Tuesday, October 29, 2013

happy halloween!

Hey Family!
Mom, before I forget, the memory card for my camera is just an SD card, the same as the camera we have at home.  And the size is SB (small B) for carinessa. 
Well, the news for transfers is that I'm staying in Covington with Sister Brady for another transfer!  I'm happy and ready to work hard to get the work going in the ward here.  Bishop Elmer is really pushing for missionary work in the ward with members and the ward missionaries are gonna start coming to our weekly meetings, and I think as soon as things start picking up a little it will be smooth sailing.  I think it'll just take some time before the members really start doing their part and realizing how important their role is in missionary work, and that's really what Bishop is striving for.  I finally can remember some people names too so it shall be a good transfer.  I'm already looking forward to Thanksgiving too!  We usually only get fed maybe once or if we're lucky twice a week here, but the Conlins signed up to feed us on thanksgiving and they're an awesome family!! 
Since I told y'all about Celina a couple weeks ago I figured I might give ya a little update, haha and since ya asked about her.  Haha well, this is kinda why I stopped writing to y'all about specific people because as soon as we have an awesome investigator that I think will be great, I tell y'all about them and then they always drop off the face of the planet.  So after we met with Celina the time I told you about we called her but she didn't answer.  She said her phone was broken though so we decided to just stop by.  Here we are driving down her road, and low and behold she pulls up right behind us.  Of course she saw us getting out of the car but she hurried and ran inside and then wouldn't answer the door even though she saw us.  Who knows, maybe it was just bad timing or something.  Haha some people just make me laugh though.  One second I feel like Celina never wants to talk to us, the next she's open, and the next she hates us.  We're still planning on going back though so I'll keep y'all updated.  That's a typical missionary story for y'all!
Mom it's wonderful to hear that the Primary Program went well and is over for you now!  I bet it was real cute.  :) 
Emily my best advice for applying and deciding which college to go to is to take a campus tour and pray about it.  For real, I never wanted to go to BYU-Idaho...but as soon as we went on the tour I knew it was where I needed to be!  So apply everywhere before December and then have mom and dad take you on some campus tours.  Goodness I can't believe you're gonna be graduating this year!!  Also, nice picture from monster mash..  ;)   
Haha and holy cow, I can't believe y'all were sick within the past week too.  Sarah, we must be twins or something!  When you said, "Have you been sick in the last week or two?  That'd be crazy if you were too!" I couldn't stop from laughing because I was sick last week too!  For a couple days it just turned super cold so I caught a little cold, but luckily I was able to bundle up in sweatshirts and a couple blankets for a few nights to roast myself and now I'm all better.  I hope you're able to catch up with all your schoolwork.  Good luck with midterms too! I've been across the causeway once and it's pretty cool.  I'll take you across it one day!  So for transfers on monday evening the zone leaders call us if we're being transferred and if we aren't we don't get a phone call.  Later in the evening they send a message with everyone being transferred as well.  And then since tuesday is pday you have the day to pack up and get ready to go to your new area on wednesday, and that's basically how transfers work!  It's crazy, this transfer no sisters in our entire zone are being transferred.  I'll kinda explain this too incase you don't know.  We have districts, which is basically just a couple sets of missionaries in your area, we meet once a week for district meeting.  And then a zone is a couple districts close by and we meet together maybe once a month for zone conference and training.  So in simple terms your district is like your ward and the zone is like your stake, but in missionary terms.  The Mandeville Elders are both staying, and then one Covington Elder, Elder Willis is being transferred tomorrow so we'll only have one new missionary in our district.  They have to take our car to transfers tomorrow because they don't have one so we're gonna be biking all day tomorrow...it's gonna be great!            
Well this week has been an awesome one!  I hope y'alls week has been a good one too.  We got to go on exchanges for a couple days so Sister Tiller came down here to be with me and honestly it was the best exchange I've ever been on.  I used to hate exchanges but now I'm learning to love them so much because there's tons we can learn from each other.  I just had a really fun time with her and we did lots of work too, so it was a good couple of days.
Let's see, here's a miracle from the week for y'all.  We go and visit this member named Bettie every week.  She's a super sweet lady, and holy cow she's one of the most stubborn ladies I've ever met, but I love her so much.  Bettie's taught me a lot about caring for other people.  She lives by herself and yes, she is super stubborn and won't take no for an answer, but she's always thinking of other ladies that live by her.  So when we were there she called up Fran, a less active lady.  Fran didn't really want us to go see her, but of course Bettie was able to convince her to let us all come over.  We were able to visit with them and talk about the atonement and hope and it was really good.  The miracle is seeing how much pure love can change any situation.  Bettie does everything because of her love for others, and ultimately that's what it always comes back down to...love. 
Anyways here's a quick scripture for y'all to think about throughout the week, Mosiah 2:41 "And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.  For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of neverending happiness.  O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it."  It's as simple as that.  If we keep the commandments and do what we're supposed to we can be happy, be blessed in all things, and receive neverending happiness.  It reminded me of this video, http://www.mormonchannel.org/mormon-channel-daily/196?v=2221439363001 doing the right thing isn't always the easiest, but it is the better thing to do. 
Ya'll got any plans for Halloween?  Better get some good candy for the little trick or treaters comin around!  I hear that we have to be home on the evening of Halloween, but who knows what we'll be doing, or if that's even true.  Don't eat too much candy now.  :) 
Hey and guess what?  I LOVE Y'ALL! 
Love Always, Sister Schmutz 

Monday, October 21, 2013

weakness into strength

Hey Family!
How are y'all doing?  I heard that it's snowed a couple times back in Utah..it's getting cold here as well!  Don't worry about the email not coming through last week, I was able to receive it saturday in the mail.  Thank you for sending it!  I hope y'all are feeling better and having a wonderful week.
Sarah, I loved the pictures Dee took of you!  Covington is probably thirty minutes away from New Orleans I'd guess.  You just have to cross the causeway which is the bridge that connects the north shore of lake ponchrtrain to the south shore, and I hear that it's twenty five miles long.  Look up pictures of the causeway, it's so crazy to drive across because at some point all you can see is water around you!  On the northshore our ward covers lots of different cities including Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville, Abita Springs, Folsom, and Bush.  Hey and Sister Andrade is back at temple square now so y'all need to go find her before she goes home the end of November!           
In answer to your questions Mom, buying food isn't too tight if we use our money wisely.  I'm sure it depends on your mission but here we get I think $157 a month which is a ton compared to what I used regularly back in school.  I'm not really sure why the member here gives all the missionaries money every month, but hey I'm not gonna complain!  The only thing I wish is to give it to someone in need.  I knew so many people back in Baton Rouge that need it so bad, but the gift card is to a local grocery store that isn't back there otherwise I would totally send it to them. 
I knew you'd be asking soon what y'all could send so I came up with a couple things...but these are for a Christmas package or something and these are just the essentials (so don't send them until you're sending something for Christmas or something :), I don't need anything else: a member card for my camera (I lost my second one (don't worry it was blank) but the first is nearly full), a couple pairs of the carinessa SB bottoms, and these shoes I found at Famous Footwear that are kinda like canvas and the brand is Rocketdog color is gray they're the same as in some of the pictures I sent y'all (yes I'm weird and wear the same pair of shoes everyday and I'm asking for another pair just like them) but hey don't worry about sending much else that's about all!
And my adivce to help the missionaries serving in the home ward would be to just invite them over to get to know them and have them share a messages with y'all.  One of the hardest things about being in Covington is there's so many active members that we hardly know any of them.  And I'm sure serving in Utah is way different, but working with members is always the hardest.  A year or two ago they took Sisters out of Covington because I guess they were becoming big burdens to the ward, and it's super hard gaining the members trust back.  Whenever we stop by no one ever seems happy that we're there.  So get to know the missionaries, pray for them by name, and pray for opportunities you have to share the gospel with those around you!  And be kind to them...teaching members is always the hardest and most intimidating so talk a lot with them and become their friends! 
It's been a good week for us here, to say the least.  We've been going through the roster meeting more and more members and visiting more people.  Seriously, I'm not gonna lie though the hardest thing about being in Covington is teaching when there's a man there.  Haha the whole time I was in Baton Rouge pretty much the only contact we had with men were at church and meetings, plus the elders don't count because they're basically little kids at heart.  It's intimidating sharing a message with a family because most of the men here served missions and know everything we're doing wrong.  Let's just say this, I love all the single ladies we get to visit.  :) just like in Baton Rouge we have a couple that we get to visit on a weekly basis and I love it because we get to strengthen their testimonies, give them someone to talk to, and learn to discern what we can share with them that will best help. 
The miracle of the week was a referral we received from a member.  We actually received it before I got here but we were finally able to contact Celina this past week.  Well, here's the original story.  We called her and asked if we could come by two weeks ago she said yes at so and so time.  We called the day before to make sure it was still good and she said yes.  So we show up and obviously someone's home because you can hear them but they won't answer the door and didn't answer our phone call.  Man I was thinking we got stood up, big time.  About a week later we were in the area so we decided to just stop by.  She let us come in and kinda explained why she didn't answer the door last time.  She explained a little of her situation and holy cow she's been going through a lot, I felt weighed down just hearing about all her burdens.  I guess she was meeting with the missionaries in New Orleans a little bit ago and was attending church there and really liked it but never was baptized or anything.  She's a single mom and wants to find a church to take her daughter to so she's been going to all these random ones here and knows for sure she doesn't want to go to a couple.  So our goal is to teach her everything again and bring the spirit back.  I asked her what she liked about going to church down in New Orleans and she said it just felt good.  She felt the spirit and so now we just gotta help her understand!  I'm so excited to get to know her better and see how the gospel can change her life! 
Here's some scripture for y'all to ponder about. 
Jacob 4:7 "Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things." 
Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."
The Lord gives us weaknesses so that we can become humble.  When we become humble we remember that without the Lord nothing would be possible.  And therefore when we're humbled, the Lord can build us back up the way he wants us to be.  He has the eternal perspective of everything and ultimately knows what's best for us.  Our weaknesses can be turned into strengths if we rely on the Lord.     
Well, transfers is next week so I'll write to y'all on tuesday.  Thank you for all y'all do for me.  I love you!!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz  

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Hey Family!
Sorry I didn't get to email y'all yesterday.  All the libraries in our parish were closed for staff training.  And I only got an email from Sarah too so I hope everything is going well back home, and maybe you just forgot to press send or something.  This week has been oh so good, I don't even know where to begin.  Well first, thank you for the package.  Y'all know me too well.  ;)
So earlier in the week the North BR Elders called and said Tania was going through the temple this friday.  I asked President if we could go and he asked if we had a ride.  So for a couple days we asked tons of people from our ward if they would be going to the temple but unforuntately no one was.  My hope was down and I thought for sure we weren't gonna be able to go.  But then we ended up having zone conference all the way over in Denham Springs which is right next to Baton Rouge on thursday.  The North Elders came up with the idea to come to Baton Rouge after the meeting since we'd already have to drive there and then work up in 1st ward area for the night and friday during the day and then go to the temple friday night with Tania.  Even though President really wanted to say no, he said yes!  Haha and here's the crazy part we didn't have anything with us but we called up the LSU sisters, since I knew Sister Andrade would be going to the temple as well and they said we could stay with them for two nights.  They let us borrow their clothes and everything!   
And aw man I loved being back in 1st ward.  We got to see tons of people, and it softened my heart knowing the elders have been visiting some of the people we asked.  The best part was every ones reaction.  They were so confused why I was there and thought I was back.  President put Elders in our spot and the ward definitely misses the Sisters so much, hopefully he'll be putting sisters back in at the end of the transfer!  We got to stop by and see the Wleh's, Kiwanna, Sister Mills, Sister Coleman, Sister Williams, Sister Easley, Sister Eackles, Natasha, the McCartney's, and Chandra.  Aw man I just love them all so much.  For the most part the elders have been visiting everyone, but for some reason none of them called or have stopped by to see Chandra and her family!  I was so frustrated!!  I really hope they'll be able to go see them because their family is awesome!  The temple was amazing and Tania was so happy to see us as well.  :)  I miss everyone there so much but I know they're in good hands and the Lord is watching over them. 
I think the greatest thing about going back was the peace that came from knowing that everyone is doing well.  I learned that every ward has their own challenges, just like everyone has their own unique challenges and it inspired me to become more motivated here in Covington.  I decided my two main goals for Covington is to talk with everyone and get the members to open up and trust us.  I don't know what it is about over here but everyone is so in their shells and don't open up.  Haha it' definitely not like Baton Rouge where you can get every ones life story on their front porch before they even let you in.  It will take some time and effort but of course, anything that is worth having is hard work.  Despite the fact that I love Baton Rouge so much, there's a little opening for Covington to take place as well.  The people here are awesome and I'm excited to start working with them some more.  We even get paid an extra fifty dollars a month from a member to buy food! 
So what's new with y'all?  Geez time just keeps flying by, I can't even believe October is nearly half over!  I miss you guys! Haha Sarah your email sent me three of the same email...so maybe it just sent it to me the whole time.  Lucy is getting so big, she definitely won't be a puppy when I get home!  That's awesome that you got your patriarchal blessing on sunday. 
Here's something y'all can think about.  I was reading in the Book of Mormon this week and this scripture stood out to me.  2 Nephi 25:17 "And the Lord will set his hand again the second time to restore his people from their lost and fallen state.  Wherefore, he will proceed to do a marvelous work and a wonder among the children of men."  It reminded me of this scripture in 1 Nephi 10:16 " Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer."  Everyone is in a lost and fallen state, but the atonement of Jesus Christ saves us from this state.  Whenever I think of the atonement I think of an anology I like to refer to as the shower analogy.  Here we go throughout our day getting dirty and just living life.  We must shower everyday in order to get clean.  And we must shower practically everyday.  In the shower it's our responsibility to turn the water on, otherwise nothing will happen.  The water is always in the pipes ready to come out (we'll just say everyone bills are automatically paid, so the waters always there), and the water represents the atonement of Jesus Christ.  It's always there but we have to do our part to access it.  The power of the atonement is unreal, and it really takes us to use it to understand it.  So I want y'all to think, how has the atonement affected and changed your life? 
For me the atonement is everything.  It's the knowledge that no matter how many mistakes we make, or how many things we constantly repeat, our Savior, Jesus Christ allows us to be forgiven of everything as long as we turn to him.  I've noticed that so much here in Covington.  As soon as we walk away from talking to someone, there's almost always something I think of that I should have said.  And that's the amazing thing, Heavenly Father could easily do this work without us but he's chosen us to do His work.  It's incredible how patient He is with us day in and day out.  And I'm so grateful for the time we have to be here to learn and grow from our mistakes on earth so that we can become like our Father in Heaven.  He loves us in ways we can't begin to comprehend, and Christ loves us just as much. 
Well I hope y'all have a good week.  Remember to "doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith."  I love y'all!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz 

Monday, October 7, 2013


Hey Family!!
Conference was so good, wasn't it!  Goodness I just love what the prophet and apostles always have to say, and they're always so inspired!  For conference this year we just watched it at the church.  Haha when we got to the church I was kinda just expecting it to be set up in the chapel on the projector because it was last conference but we got to the church and nothing was set up.  We couldn't find the projector or anything but luckily we had a key to the library so we got one of the tvs and plugged it into the wall thingy and were able to watch conference!  It was a close call though because if we didn't have the key we wouldn't have been able to watch it!  The only ones there were us, the Mandeville Elders, and Sister Walkup. I guess the Covington Elders were at a members house the whole weekend, but it was still fun with just the five of us.  Sister Walkup brought food so we got to eat lots and enjoy conference.  What were y'all favorite talks?  I think the repeated themes that kept sticking out to me where true conversion, covenants, priorities, and love. 
By far the best news from this week was hearing that Alasia was baptized last Sunday!!  I've emailed Amanda but she hasn't emailed me back but since Sister Andrade is serving down at LSU she sees some of 1st ward members at stake conference and what not, and Miranda goes to the singles ward every other week so she's keeping us updated on a couple things back there.  Man I miss everyone in 1st ward so much.  I'll just say it as Sister Andrade put it, " But yeah, I know what you mean...I feel like there is no other place like 1st ward my friend... good ol' 1st ward!"
It's so crazy to think that Aaron is coming home this week!  If y'all talk to him tell him I say hey and congratulations on honorably completing his mission.  Oh hey and by the way I believe Jed should be coming home sometime soon, not sure exactly when but I'm gonna send him a letter today and tell him to come get the box of things I have for him.  So be looking out for him soon! 
So Sister Brady is from Pleasant Grove, Utah.  My first companion that isn't a temple square sister and also my first companion from Utah!  It's definitely weird but good.  She's quiet just like me so it's been a struggle but we're both learning to talk more.  Haha the first thing President Wall said after he anounced we'd be together at transfer conference was, "I wonder which one will talk first."  It's definitely hard but I've learned that we can only grow when we're pushed out of our comfort zone. 
This week has been a pretty good one to say the least.  We were hoping we'd get a 'hurrication'  from the storm that was coming up, but turns out it died down a lot before it even got close.  I'm sure y'all were probably watching the news and saw all that.  It's still taking some time adjusting to all the differences here but I'm learning to love the people.  One of my favorites is this lady named Pearl that we go see every week.  She's a member, but a single sister so we go just to visit and bring her some company.  Haha and seriously every single time she tells us the same stories but somehow they always change.  She's hilarious to say the least.     
Emily you better take the job at Red Hanger!  Seriously it's the best and you'll love, dude and you know she keeps calling you because she knows you'll be a hard worker just like me.  ;)  so you better live up to that example!  When is homecoming this year?  Goodness and the soccer season is already done...where does time seem to go? You better still be reading the Book of Mormon! 
Thank you for the picture Sarah, I love it!!  Haha I love my three coolest cubes in the freezer.  ;)  Haha and that's awesome that you found those seasoning at the grocery store.  I'm sending you the best of luck for teaching your class soon, you're gonna do great! 
So what's new with y'all?  If y'all are bored you can go watch a video of Sister Andrade here  http://www.ldsphilanthropies.org/missionary/#topOfPage that's my companion for ya!  Hey and she's going back to temple square October 16 and will be going home the end of November so y'all need to hurry and go find her!
Here's something I learned from the scriptures the past week.  This scripture really stuck out to me, "And it came to pass that we lived after the manner of happiness." (2 Nephi 5:27)  I think that's everyones true desire, to live after the manner of happiness.  I mean, in reality who doesn't want to be happy?  I couldn't help but think, what brings them this happiness?  While reading through I discovered exactly that!  It was at this point where they had just arrived in the promised land and Nephi decides to leave Laman and Lemuel and take anyone with him that wants to follow.  Once they were separated Nephi taught his people (v.15) built a temple (v.16) and had his people labor with their hands (v.17).  Ultimately the people were happy because they were working hard and doing what was right.  The Lamanites weren't living in this happy state because they became idle (v.24).  So the lesson learned is if you want to be happy, then you must work for it! 
My dear family, always remember who you and how important you are to Heavenly Father!  I love y'all so much and keep y'all constantly in my prayers.  Thank you for the example you are to me.  Hope y'all have a happy week.  :)
Love Always, Sister Schmutz