Monday, November 25, 2013

happy thanksgiving!

Hey Family!
You are very welcome for the birthday card Mom!  It was definitely hard coming up with 29 memories I could write down in a sentence for you.  I'm glad you thought they were funny too because while I was writing it I didn't think you'd think any were funny!  Thank you for all the memories Mom, I think you're wonderful!  Also thank you for accepting the challenge I gave to y'all last week...I didn't think anyone actually did anything I asked!  Mom always listens.  :)
Sarah, aw man I love you!  Thank you for always emailing me and sending those pictures.  Man you got to see Sister LaPorte, Sister Andrade, and Sister Olden!  I love those three so stinkin much.  Goodness I can't believe all three of them are going home this week.  I don't know where all the time keeps flying by to.  I've already hit the halfway mark of my mission and it keeps going by faster and faster, I hate it!  How was Nik's homecoming?  Haha mom didn't say much about it because she said you would, but then you didn't say much about it either.  Are you going down to California with the fam for thanksgiving as well?  Have I mentioned lately that you're amazing? Because you are!!  Hmm and I'm gonna say just leave the box for now, if you feel inspired to take it over then do it, but otherwise don't. 
Congrats on being accepted to Utah State, Em!  Mom says you feel like you won't be accepted to BYU which I just have to say is completely wrong.  I believe you'll totally get in!  (after all you're a genius..:)) And hey don't forget to apply to BYU-I, you can always come party up there with me and Sarah.  My best advice is to just pray about it and do what you feel is right, don't just follow everyone else because it's the easy thing.  In high school BYU-I was the last school I wanted to go to and honestly I wanted to go to any school but there, but when we were up there after that road trip I just knew immediately that it was where I needed to be.  I loved it there because of the standards everyone has and the small town feel in the middle of nowhere, and lots of other reasons...  You'll do great wherever you decide to go.  :)
So are y'all gonna have thanksgiving dinner on the beach like we did last year?  You'll have to send me some pictures and tell me how your trip turns out to be.  :)  We're gonna be going up to Bush and eating with the Conlins.  I'm super excited for thanksgiving, there's going to be tons of people and we're gonna be out in the middle of nowhere.  I wonder if thanksgiving dinner will be a lot different down here than the traditional ones.  I hear lots of people fry their turkey!  I'll tell y'all next week how our thanksgiving feast turns out! 
Since it's thanksgiving this week we've just been sharing lots of thanksgiving messages with everyone and a question I love asking everyone is, if I ask what you're grateful for what's the first thing that comes to mind?  I was thinking about that a lot throughout the week and focusing on gratitude in my prayers and honestly one of the first things that comes to mind lately is the Book of Mormon (don't worry, I'm super grateful for y'all too ;))  I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon because of the power that it contains and the peace that comes from reading everyday.  Of course there's days when I just don't want to read at all and I'm tired of reading all the war chapters, but somehow it relates to life.  If we just keep pressing on and keep going everything gets better.  The greatest blessing from reading is how all my problems seems to just vanish.  My trials and troubles disappear and I'm just happy.  I don't even know how to explain it, but the Book of Mormon is amazing.  The messages it contains are inspired and truly we can come closer to Christ by reading from it daily. 
We got to go on exchanges this week as well so I went up to Amite with Sister Maxfield and I learned so much from her.  She came out the same time I did and she's been serving in the same area the whole time she's been here.  It's just a small little town too.  We learned how to cut a hole in the wall to put windows in and just got to see tons of little miracles.  On exchanges we always come up with goals to work on during the exchange and her goal was to make it happen!  And that's kinda just become my goal lately...make it happen...and if I lead others will follow.  I feel like I've got to step up to my plate more and become more diligent.   
I love everyone here in Covington, especially the single sisters we get to visit weekly.  Seriously they are all the absolute sweetest and I think I'm learning more from them everyday then I'm teaching them.  I love being able to learn to love others and step in Christ's footsteps even if only for a little bit, to see things from his eyes.
Here's a quick scripture y'all can think about this week.  It's just a little part of Alma 7:15 "show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him."  It reminded me of a relief society lesson we had back in BR.  Somehow we were talking about all the different love languages (touch, words of affirmation, quality time, etc.) I can't remember all of them.  But someone mentioned how Heavenly Father has a love language as well.  And the scritpure shows it perfectly.  He doesn't want us to tell him that we love him, he wants us to SHOW him we love Him.  And we show hime we love him by our actions.  So in other words, keeping the commandments, going to church, reading the scriptures, all the physical things we need to do.  So here's the real question to think are you showing God you love him?
My dear family, I think y'all are amazing!  Be safe in you holiday travels and don't forget to thank the Lord.  Oh hey and before I forget, the word thanksgiving is defined as thanks go God.  I thought that was pretty cool.  So here's a challenge for y'all, to live in thanksgiving daily! 
well, I LOVE y'all!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz    

Monday, November 18, 2013

happy birthday mamacita!

Mom!  It's your birthday this Saturday and you didn't even remind me like you did for Emily's birthday, what were you thinking?  ;)  I guess it was the real test of whether I'd actually remember your birthday or not.  Luckily I was looking at a calendar the other day and it hit me that I need to tell you happy birthday today otherwise it will be too late!  So, my dear mother, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  Thank you for being the wonderful example you are to me and for all the sacrifices you put up with for me personally.  I love you bunches.  :)  I'll try to get a card to arrive exactly on Saturday so be sure to check the mail! 
Sarah, I must say that I love your skirt in the picture you sent!  Haha and your boots...:)  the blog looks sweet so thanks and you're welcome to do anything you want with it.  Holy cow and Lucy is getting so big, she won't even be a puppy by the time I get home.  Where even is the dog shelter up in Rexburg?  So how's school and classes all going?  Before you know it the semester will already be done!  I wrote Andrew a letter the other week and since he's postponing the isys program for a year to do premed then that means he graduates the same year as you, right?  That's so weird to think about!  I have no idea what I want to do as far as a career goes but luckily I still got a little time.  ;) something I've learned on my mission though is I absolutely love old people.  They're hilarious and share the same stories over and over again but they're the sweetest!  So who knows, maybe I'll find something to do with them.  Be sure to tell Nik I say hey to him!  Hey and asked him why he stopped writing to me.  We were sharing some cool mission experiences with eachother and then he just stopped responding...or maybe I forgot to respond.
Dad I will definitely find the time to narrate the photos like Andrew did so y'all can see and know some of the awesome people I've met down here.  Hey and while I'm thinking about it, transfers is on Dec 11 and I know Christmas is coming up so please don't send anything before then and wait until I tell you if I'm being transferred because if I am I won't have enough room to take everything with me that y'all send.  thank you!!
Emily and Andrew, don't stay too busy with school!  I love y'all.  :)
This week has been real good.  We were able to teach the most lessons we've ever taught here in Covington and do tons of service as well so it was really sweet.  It's been a while since I've wrote a couple miracles so here's some for y'all.
miracle numero uno: We helped Sister Tapia practically the majority of the day wednesday set up tons of decorations for the eagle court of honor that evening.  Holy cow let's just say the cultural hall looked amazing!  I should've taken pictures so y'all could see but unfortunately I didn't.  We always get to help Sister Tapia with little things she needs help with and I love the opportunity to serve her because she's so grateful!   
miracle numero dos:  Way back forever ago President Wall really emphasized using pamphlets in every teaching appointment.  Of course we've studied them and found different ways to use them and it's been cool using them, but this week it was a miracle using them.  We wanted to teach Pearl about repentance and let's just say Pearl could talk for hours and hours on end.  She's one of the single sisters we get to visit and I love her so much!!  Haha she always tells the same stories over and over again and has such a negative outlook on life but she's so funny.  We've tried everything to get her to pay attention but nothings seemed to work.  She talks right through the mormon messages, won't pay attention when we just read a scripture, and with scripture stories she keeps on talking.  So this past week we decided to read just the part of repentance from the pamphlet.  She read it and didn't get distracted (well she still did but not as bad), and then we asked her to read it again and strive to repent daily.  When we saw her on Sunday she said she's read it a couple times and loves it!!  It's a miracle I tell ya. 
miracle numero tres:  Yesterday we went up to Folsom because we had a dinner appointment way up there so we decided to see some less actives up there as well.  In the whole time I've been here we've only been up to Bush once, but never to Folsom.  (Those two are the two small towns way out on the edge of our ward boundary) all I can say is the people are so nice up there!  Every single person we met was so friendly and let us come in, it was the absolute best!  It was gorgeous up there too.  If I wanted to live out in the country I'd definitely move there.  The whole town of Folsom only has two stop lights too, so crazy!! 
miracle numero cuatro: Since the Covington Elders are on bikes it's our job to visit the less active members that they can't reach.  So we've been going through all the members with an address in Covington or Abita and visiting them even if they're single guys, because usually we just go for the single ladies.  Well we met this one guy this week and he was super nice.  Said he stopped going to church back in college, his wife isn't a member and they have one little girl and another on the way.  They asked us if we wanted to share a lesson so of course we said yes and pulled out a quick scripture.  (first of all that never happens!  usually people just want us to leave)  And then they asked us when we can come back!  I can see real potential with Jeremy coming back to church and potentially Sarah joining the church as well.  So excited! 
I absolutely love it here in Louisiana and love the people here.  We always joke that all the crazy ones somehow end up in Louisiana, but hey that means we're crazy as well because we're here!  I love seeing how the gospel completely changes people and how the simple steps of showing someone you care about them will change everything.  Of course we have our hard days, but those days are what makes the good days so much better. 
Also here's a challenge for y'all.  In Preach My Gospel it says, "As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase."  I was thinking a lot about that and how it can relate to member missionary work.  The first thing that came to mind was the story of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah.  Of course we all know their conversion story where they went about persecuting the church and then an angel appeared unto them and told them to stop, they repented, and completely changed.  Of this experience Alma says, "My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity.  I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God.  My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more." (Mosiah 27:29)  he was able to truly understand the atonement because he had to use it.  And then it goes on to say, " Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, they took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites- That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God." (Mosiah 28:1-2)  When Alma and the sons of Mosiah understood the atonement better they wanted to share it with everyone and that's exactly what they did!  So I just encourage y'all to study, pray, and apply the atonement to your life so y'all can have this great desire to share it with everyone.   
Thank you for all y'all do!  I look up to each of your examples.  And guess what?!  I love y'all.  :) 
Love Always, Sister Schmutz     

Monday, November 11, 2013

families are forever!

Hey Family!
Mom, holy cow I can't believe you're the new mia maids advisor!  I was just thinking about that the other day and how you've practically never had a calling in young womens.  And now here ya got one!  You're gonna love it and the girls so much so cherish every moment.  My favorite people to work with back in Baton Rouge were the young women.  One thing I learned from them was to be sure to go to girls camp and all the activities because some of their leaders didn't go and they hated it because of that.  Just love them like you do and of course they'll love you back!  We haven't really worked much with the young women here but we've been invited to their activity this wednesday and I'm super excited. 
I'm glad you liked the random photo of Sister Brady and I as well!  On friday we had ZTM in Hammond (just a meeting we have with the whole zone once a month) and Sister Matkins, one of the senior couples was just taking pictures with her ipad and asked if we wanted to send it to anyone so of course I gave her your email.      
Emily!  How was your birthday?  Haha I hear you liked the card I sent to you.  It was fun to make and write the random 18 memories!  Were you able to remember all of the memories?  Aw man thanks for being such an amazing sister.  I love you!! 

Dad that's a sweet idea of inviting the missionaries to come into your homes and teach the active members all missionary lessons as if you are investigators.  And then the promise that when you receive the lessons names will come into your mind of people with which you can share the gospel.  Maybe we'll have to try the same thing!  With less actives a lot of the time we ask them if we can just teach them the missionary lessons for "practice" and of course they always say yes.  That would be awesome to do with active members as well so we can have more appointments and see more people.  It's hard being out in winter because no one answers their door and we don't have much to do in the last hours of the evening.  My favorite talk from conference was Elder Ballard and how he encouraged everyone to reach out to one person before Christmas.  He didn't ask us to reach out and share the gospel of invite them to hear the missionaries, he invited everyone to reach out and love them which is where everything begins! 
Sarah!  Don't worry about the blog...I'm not sure if anyone even reads it so you probably don't even need to take much time putting anything on it.  Sounds like you've had quite the eventful weekends.  How's Whitney and Dee doing?  Be sure to send em my love!  You'll have to send me some pictures when you go to the animal shelter!  Haha I don't know what it is but all dogs love me down here.  We see this one old lady named Virginia usually about once a week or so and she has these two really old dogs.  So of course I always pet them when we come over and as soon as I stop they both go fall asleep and sleep for hours.  She says it never happens unless I pet them.  Haha it's the weirdest thing!  So Nik comes home real soon, like next week!  Are you excited?  I told Sister Andrade that I told you to go find her with Nik so she said she'll be looking for someone that looks like me.  :)  hey and I have something for you to try.  Go to walmart and to the hispanic section (usually by the asian section ;) and there's this drink in a tall rectangular green plastic bottle called aloe something or other.  Buy it and put it in the fridge (only drink when me) and tell me what you think.  It's really interesting with chunks of slimy aloe or something but it's so good!   
And Andrew..keep up the good work with school!  I send ya a letter last week, were you able to get it?  Love you!

This week was a really good week.  I've seen the hand of the Lord in everything that we do and I'm so grateful for this gospel.  I wanted to share an experience with y'all from this past week that's close to my heart but has helped me learn so much and I'm so so grateful for it.  Last month Jed came home from his mission so of course I wrote to him and I was so excited to hear back from him.  Week after week went by and I didn't hear anything so I finally just emailed him and asked what was up.  Last week he emailed me and long story short he said he's dating a girl and we should move on.  I kinda knew it was gonna happen but I was so stinkin mad.  He didn't even give me a chance to explain anything and didn't know anything about my past two years while he's been gone.  I was filled with so much anger, denial, and frustration.  I didn't know what to do because if only I was home none of this would have happened.  While reflecting back during the week I got on my knees and prayed to know what to do, because after all, sometimes Heavenly Father's the only one that will listen.  I told Heavenly Father the desires of my heart and told him how I felt about everything.  And then it hit me that if it's supposed to be, then it will be.  I've never trusted so much in the Lord than at this point and I know for a fact that he has a definite plan for me.  Heavenly Father just listened to all my anger and frustration, but of course, he turned that anger into love and appreciation.  Because of Christ's atonement he was able to take away that anger and fill me with peace, truly an undescribably experience.  Then later in the week I discovered the new mormon message Wrong Roads which made everything make more sense.  I absolutely love that video and have watched it probably thirty times since it's come out.  :)  Heavenly Father lets us go down the roads we sometimes feel is right so that he can show us the way that we need to be going.  He teaches us through everything we go through and that's why we must go through so much.  I started reading more of the New Testament to better understand Christ this week too and he's amazing!  Matt 8:17 "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."  He takes everything upon himself.  I don't regret any of my relationship with Jed because of how much I've learned from him and the experiences we've had.  I'm so grateful for him and will always look to him as a great friend and I'm glad we ended as friends.  I don't know what the future has in store for the both of us but I do know that I'm exactly where I need to be right now.  I'm so grateful for the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves and he loves us so incredibly much.  We truly are never alone. 

Anyways, here's some funny things from the week.  There's this one road we tend to drive down and the dog that lives on that road pretty much lives in the middle of the street.  Haha for real he's always sitting right there in the middle, I don't know how he hasn't been run over yet!  The next is Sister Brady and I have a curse of people falling asleep on us while we're visiting them.  It's happened twice now!  Maybe it's because neither of us like waking people up so we always try to sneak out but then they wake up and it's just awkward.  And then one of our investigators told us the other day that she once fasted for 30 days.  Holy cow and she's dead serious too, I think she's insane.  When we told the elders that they said, "Does she think she's Jesus?"  Goodness, I can't even imagine. 

And as always, here's a scripture for y'all to think about.  This is when the Lamanite women were taken and the Lamanites thought it was the people of Limhi so they went to war.  Mosiah 20:11 "And it came to pass that the people of Limhi began to drive the Lamanites before them; yet they were not half so numerous as the Lamanites.  But they fought for their lives, and for their wives, and for their children; therefore they exerted themselves and like dragons did they fight."  Even though they were about half in size they did fight strong because of their motives and were able to succeed.  It's something to really think about..what are your motives? 
Thank you for being such an amazing family.  I love y'all so stinkin much!    
Love Always, Sister Schmutz
p.s. I figured it's about time I take a picture!  Sister Brady and I had a picnic down at the lakefront the other day (sorry it's a terrible picture).  It always makes me think of the ocean! 
And the other is all the sisters in our zone.   

Monday, November 4, 2013


Holy cow, that's a crazy story you had yesterday Dad!  Seriously it made my day hearing that you walked into the visitor center on temple square to find the elders you dropped off and Sister Andrade was right there and then just a second later Sister LaPorte was there taking y'all on a tour.  And they actually recognized you from the family picture I have.  Those two are truly wonderful and amazing!  Man I miss and love them both so much!!
This week has been oh so good!  There's been tons of little miracles I just don't even know where to begin.  Haha here's a funny story I'll tell y'all before I forget...just to make you laugh.  So the Mandeville Elders told us this story that happened to them earlier in the week.  Here they are just sleeping and the one night they forget to lock their apartment door in walks this girl at 2am.  She turns on their lights to wake them up, she's probably high or something because she was super mad and was looking for someone named Kelli.  I guess Kelli stole something from her so she was way mad and what not.  Haha just imagine it...two elders asleep and some random girl just walks in and wakes them up and she's real angry.  Finally she just left and I think Kelli lived upstairs because they heard her up there afterwards...and that's really all of the story.  Haha I would've been freaked out but it's all good!
The real miracle of the week was so many less actives came to church yesterday!  Seriously, Sunday is always the best day or the worst day of the week because they have to choose to come to church, it doesn't matter what we say to them because it's still their decision...but there were so many there yesterday.  I'll just start off naming some of the people: Pearl, Joy, Bettie, Carol, the Goffs, Elizabeth, Brittany...and so many more!  Even some members mentioned how there were tons of less actives there!  Aw man I just love being a missionary.  :)  holy cow and here's a crazy story.  So on Saturday we were trying to find a couple people on the ward roster that we didn't know so we came across this one lady named Elizabeth.  We stopped by and right when we were walking up she pulled up in her car.  We introduced ourselves and what not but her dogs were barking and she was in the middle of getting dinner ready and she said she hadn't been to church since she moved here and she didn't even know where it was so we breifly described the whereabouts, but it was super confusing.  We left real quick and just made plans to come back to see her since it wasn't a good time.  And then here we are standing at church yesterday and guess who walked in the door...Elizabeth did!  She even got up and shared her testimony, it was truly amazing!  You can see that the Lord has his hand in all the work that we do. 
Here's something cool I learned in my Book of Mormon study this week.  In Mosiah 9 I related everything to missionaries and what we're doing, Zeniff (missionary) goes to a new land and began to build buildings and repair the walls of the city (ward where we serve).  They started planting all kinds of seeds (investigators, less actives, actives, everyone!), and nourishing them.  It took about twelve years (long time to see progress) before the city became strong.  And then the king wanted to start a war (temptations, discouragement, etc) because he saw the city was becoming strong and he didn't want it out of his power.  So the people came running back to Zeniff (missionaries) for protection (what we teach) and he gave them bows, arrows, and all kinds of weapons (scriptures, church, prophet, etc.) and they fought back with the Lord (we're never alone).  As missionaries we're providing everyone with protection by what we teach.  And that's why it's so important that they keep the commitments that we extend to them because the commitments lead to action and the action leads to practice.  Therefore, when the wars will come, they'll be ready to fight with what they have.  We've been given all these amazing and powerful weapons, so we better know how we can use them! 
I hope y'all had an awesome Halloween!  On Wednesday and Thursday we had to bike all day long because the Elders had our car for one day and the next we didn't have any miles left.  It's pretty nice biking in Covington though because you can bike on the trace all the way over to Abita and down to Mandeville which is super nice because you don't have to bike along the side of the highway.  Holy cow though my legs were burning by the end of the two days...I don't know how the Elders do it everyday!  For Halloween we just did our weekly planning at night since we didn't want to be out while everyone was trick or treating.  It started pouring right after we got inside though so it was perfect timing! 
I've been thinking a lot about y'all and just wanted to let ya know I love you so much!  Keep up the amazing work and becoming who God wants you to be.  Y'all are wonderful and I wouldn't want to have any other family but you!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz