Monday, January 27, 2014

home sweet home

Hey Family!
The miracle from the week is that despite God always hears us complain in our prayers and try to tell him we know what's best, he still likes to make us happy even when we can be really annoying.  ;)  so yes, I'm back in North Baton Rouge!  Goodness, I just love it here so much.  I can't even begin to describe my feelings.  :)  it's definitely a lot different than before, but it's good.  We're living with the spanish sisters now too which is so weird after living with just my companion for the past year or so.  It's a lot of fun though and they're really sweet sisters.  My companion is Sister Wolf and she's been out on her mission just a transfer less than I have.  She's great!
Holy cow and did y'all hear?  It snowed here!!  Well, let's just say it was more ice than snow, but still it was pretty sweet.  The funny thing is it's not even cold in Baton Rouge compared to was freezing there!  But friday it was raining all day and everything turned to ice.  Haha the elders were riding their bikes and the chain froze and wouldn't move so they had to go back inside and defrost.  When we went to get in the car there was maybe like an inch or so of ice all over the car.  We had to scrape it off with gift cards we had in our wallets, and we got to help lots of our neighbors too which was sweet.  Goodness all the highways were closed too and basically everything.  It's funny what happens down here when there's ice compared to back home.  President Wall just emailed us too and said tomorrow is supposed to be worse and no one is allowed to drive!  Pretty crazy weather down here I tell's the weather back home? 
It's been kinda an interesting week here though because no one really knew we were here and we got a new phone so no one has our number either.  Plus it was stake conference this yesterday and hardly anyone from the ward came to it.  But we did get to see a couple people.  The best was Sister Banks reaction...we stopped by and she was in the other room but her friend let us in and just told her that the missionaries were here.  She walked out and was so surprised and happy.  She came over and gave us a big hug!  Man I love Sister Banks!  I think this scripture pretty much sums it all up with her.  This is when Alma and the sons of Mosiah had been converted and then they went on their missions.  They ran into each other later in time and this is what happened, "Now these sons of Mosiah were with Alma at the time the angel first appeared unto him; therefore Alma did rejoice exceedingly to see his brethren; and what added more to his joy, they were still his brethren in the Lord; yea, and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God." (Alma 17:2)  That's exactly how I feel right now.  There's no greater joy than to see that the people we'd been working with are still coming to church and progressing.  Aw man, God is good.  :)  We haven't seen the McCartney's yet either but Bishop Smith said they've been coming out regularly too which is amazing!  Oh, but Alexis was at the yw activity on wednesday!  She never came out back when we were here before so that's really sweet too.  :)  I'm so excited to see the miracles that can happen in this area. 
We stopped by and saw Chandra too and recommitted her to take the lessons and she's super excited!  The elders only saw them a couple times because she was really busy and kept cancelling appointments but we taught her the restoration again and she really has the desire to know if the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  She went to church down in New Orleans in November and she said they all loved it too.  So now they've just gotta come here and they'll love it!  That family, man I tell ya they're the greatest!  Keep Chandra, Geneva, and Johnathan in y'alls prayers please! 
Hmm let's see, that's about all the exciting stuff that's happened this week.  Oh hey I finally filled up one of my memory cards!  I know, it only took me forever, but it's good.  :)  I'll have to send y'all some pictures of people we love in Covington.  Man I miss them too, especially Joy and Bettie.  Those two ladies are wonderful people. 
Anyways, please let me know if I can do anything for y'all.  I think you're pretty amazing.  And I love you oh so very much.  :) 
Love Always, Sister Schmutz
p.s. Miranda's going to South Dakota Rapid City! 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

transfer number 9

Hey Family!
I know you're dying to find out what's happening with here it is...I'm being transferred!  I'm sad to be leaving but excited for the change and new things that are in store ahead.  Plus I have a pretty good idea of where I'm going.  :)  and that's all I'm gonna say about that!  Not to mention, thank you for all of your prayers. ;)  now the part I'm just worried about is whether I'll have a car in my new area or not.  On the positive side I think it'd be sweet to be in a bike area, but then at the same time I think I might die.  I'll keep y'all posted next week. 
This week has been so amazing, from zone conference to stake conference the spirit was so strong and taught me exactly what I needed to hear.  I feel like its been forever since I'd seen President Wall and we got to see him three days this past week at every conference meeting and also hear him speak.  Man, he's an amazing mission president.  I just love him so much!  Haha the best part was during the saturday night session of stake conference.  President Wall was talking and he said, "If you're skinny in Louisiana it means you got no friends."  Everyone always invites ya over for dinner and feeds you nonstop, it's so true.  Elder Perkins was really good too.  :)  I loved hearing everything they had to say!  Goodness I just love everyone here so much.  And it was so good to learn so much during the weekend, we've got some good goals we have set to work on now.  I would tell ya more about all the conferences but my notes are in my old planner packed away in my suitcase so if I remember I'll write y'all next week.
That's so excited to hear Ashley got her mission call!  Tell her that I'm so happy for her and think she'll do amazing.  If she's got any questions y'all can ask me!  Some exciting news from down here is that Miranda's mission papers are finally in!  She emailed me a couple days ago and said she's still waiting for the letter...only problem is her phone is being cut off and they moved back to Denham so I probably won't hear for a while where she'll be going.  But anyways, she'll do wonders, I tell ya I love her so much! 
I did get the package, thank you so much mom!  And I haven't gotten sick yet!  Oh yeah and for the stuff for my ear I haven't taken any of it yet.  You know me and medicine...I don't like to take it until I'm dying.  So I plan on taking it when I can't hear out of my ear again.  Is that cool?  Here's the update on my fits!  I've been wearing it every night and it's not too tight anymore, actually it probably needs to be tightened but it's all good.  Alright so it's kinda cheesy but I related it to repentance because President Wall has asked us to study repentance lately.  It's been a couple years since I got my braces off so I figured I'd be good to not wear it...that's the beginning of all sin, excuses!  Low and behold then my teeth started to move and when I tried to put my retainer back in it was way too tight.  I couldn't even wear it for thirty minutes without it hurting and have to take it out.  It was really hard at first but I set goals to do what I could each and everyday and eventually over time my teeth have moved back and it fits without hurting.  It's the exact same way with repentance...we may think we'll be good to go without, but in reality we won't.  Then it gets hard and it's really hard in the beginning.  But then we just gotta get up and do it and it becomes easier from there.  And when we look back it wasn't that bad.  Repentance is sweet I tell ya.  Anyways, enough of the cheesy story. 
The pictures were all perfect too.  And man, I agree with Emily we got a pretty cute family!  Don't worry, I'll be taking lots of pictures today of people I love here in Covington so y'all can see who I've been talking about.  Dad, the camera from walmart is working pretty good.  This morning I turned it on and it already says low battery so we're gonna have to go buy some batteries before we go say goodbye.  Pretty classy camera if I do say so myself, I mean there's not many cameras now a days that still use real batteries.  It's pretty priceless if I do say so myself..haha but it's all good! 
Oh yeah, Dad I have the answer for your question last week!  I didn't respond because I wasn't really sure what to say but I been thinking about it and here's what I have to say.  This week we visited Brittany.  Her husband Alberto was baptized last month and he'd been taught by the missionaries forever but just never wanted to get baptized.  Finally he just said yes and he did it.  But here's the thing she said that she asked him how he felt the day of his baptism and he just felt normal, nothing too excited.  There wasn't some big miraculous change that made him want to join the church or anything.  And even after he was pretty much the same.  But everything changed when he received the priesthood!  She said now he's reading the Book of Mormon more than she does and is super excited to go to church and eventually the temple.  So I guess sometimes we just do things because we just feel it's right but don't really feel the big difference, but it's just like it says in John 7:17 "If any man will do his will, he shall nowof the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."  And eventually when we keep doing these things then we'll know for ourselves that it's true.  So I guess a question you could ask him is what would it mean to you to have the priesthood?  Or maybe even why not get baptized?  Let me know how it goes!
Sarah!  haha tell Nik I say hey too.  Sorry I've been such a slacker at writing both of you.  Oh my, you two kill me!  Tell him to quit thinking about people to set me up with!  I'm a missionary for goodness sake!  How's work been going?  You should go down to Presitge and talk to Ryan or Sikander and see if they've got anything you could do. 
Anyways I gotta get going so we can say goodbye to some people.  Just wanted to let y'all know that I love you!  I love the people in Louisiana, I love President and Sister Wall, and I especially love the Savior.  He's everything to me!  One quick story before I go.  No one can ever remember my name here...seriously no one!  I was thinking the other day and it's so frustrating because it's not that hard to say and no one will remember me when I leave.  But ya know what, I'm not doing this to be recognized.  I'm doing it for Christ.  So it doesn't matter if everyone calls me the wrong name, if no one remembers anything I did, nothing about me matters because I do it all for my Savior.  
Love Always, Sister Schmutz  

Monday, January 13, 2014

family first

Hey Family!
How are y'all doing?  Thank you for always writing, Mom and Dad!  Hey and before I forget to answer your question...I've been wearing my retainer every night so we'll see what ends up happening there.  So nah, I don't think I need to go see the orthodontist down here, I'll just wait until I get home.  Thank you for trying to figure everything out! 
Dude, Emily went to mission prep last night!  That's so exciting!  Not that my opinion counts or anything...but a mission is definitely worth it.  So think about it.  :)  it's amazing to say the least.  Who's teaching it by the way? 
And Andrew's flying down to New Zealand this weekend.  Goodness you're just traveling all over the world lately.  Lucky you!
Hey Sarah while I was thinking about it with my deferment from school it said I have to do something a couple months before I get back but I can't remember what that is.  So could ya go on and try to figure that out when you got a little time?  Thank you so much!
Oh yeah, did y'all hear?  They called the new mission president that will be coming in July.  This is what President Wall sent to us: 
"Some of you may have already heard from friends or family that the Church News listed the newly called mission presidents and their wives over the weekend. For those of our missionaries that have not heard, Reed Hansen and his wife Mary Anne, from Boise, Idaho have been called to preside over the Louisiana Baton Rouge Mission, beginning July 1st of this year. Sister Wall and I had the pleasure of talking with soon-to-be-President Hansen and sharing with him the great blessing he will have in serving with each of you. We could tell from our conversation that he has a wonderful spirit and desire to love and work along side you.

We thought you might like to read a comment that was on the web site where the announcement was listed.

"Baton Rouge, Louisiana Mission: You are about to get outstanding leadership in Reed & Mary Anne Hansen. Reed was our Bishop in Boise a few years ago. He and his wife are such loving, kind, and wonderful leaders and friends. We were so excited when we heard about this call. Mary Anne is from the South and will feel right at home in their new setting. Lucky missionaries; lucky people in Louisiana mission!""
Sounds pretty exciting huh?  Man it's a bummer though that I'll have one transfer left after President and Sister Wall go home.  I'm gonna miss them so much!

To describe this week in one word I would say freezing!  Mom you were right when you said you got these feelings that I was gonna need warm clothes.  For a couple days it got down in the 20s and the high was in the 30s but with the humidity the cold just goes straight to your bones.  Luckily the weather's getting back up there and it's in the 60s again. 
There's been so many tender mercies from this past week I don't even know where to begin!  
I guess the first was monday evening.  We were trying to find this less active that someone asked us to see.  Well this lady answered the door and we asked if so and so lived there and she said no...she moved away.  But it was freezing cold out so she quickly invited us in!  Well, the less active we were looking for is her daughter.  But long story short Blanche, the lady that let us in is super nice!  Her daughter and her husband are members of the church so when she visits them she goes to church with them.  Her son in law taught her all about the church but she's one of those born catholic die catholic people.  We asked her if it'd be alright if we came and taught her again even though she doesn't want to convert and she said yes.  So we're going over tomorrow!  She's just a super sweet lady...offered for us to come over whenever we wanted to and she said she'd do anything..take care of us when we're sick, feed us, everything.  She's basically like our mission grandma.  Man, she's just the sweetest and I'm super excited!
Another little tender mercy was we got to rake Bettie's leaves with all the Elders.  And let's just say she's got a billion leaves, but for real.  I think it would've taken probably around a hundred bags to bag them up so we just piled them up on the road and burned them.  It was a lot of fun and she was super grateful.  Now as soon as it quits raining we're gonna have to go back over and finish up the rest of her yard. 
Our investigator Ama came to church yesterday too!  The sisters have been teaching her since around June but she's a born and raised catholic that doesn't want to change.  She's pregnant and due in march though and I think it'll just be a matter of time before she joins the church.  She's from Venezula and is the sweetest lady.  Everyone loves her!
This week is gonna be a crazy one!  Elder Perkins of the Seventy is coming down for a mission tour so on thursday we got to go to zone conference in Baton Rouge.  I think it's gonna be more like a mission reunion because the whole mission will be there except the New Orleans and New Orleans Spanish Zones.  I'm excited to hear what he'll instruct us on.  And then Saturday and Sunday we have stake conference down in New Orleans and he'll be speaking down there as well.  So we'll be getting to drive all over down here this week. 
Transfers are next week too.  I kinda feel like I'm leaving but not sure...what do y'all think? 
A scripture I wanted to share with y'all this week is 1 John 4:16 "God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him."  That is what everything is all about, love.  The love God has for us is so unbelievably much and he always will love us, that's the amazing thing.  While serving on my mission I've met some amazing people, completely amazing.  I think the amazing people are the ones that you can immediately feel their love radiating around you.  I can instantly name just a couple of them and those include Dale and Blanche.  Those two I've only talked to both of them for maybe fifteen minutes at the most.  But you could just feel this love and concern radiating off of them.  We visited Blanche on one of the freezing cold nights and I just had a little jacket on because I didn't think it'd be that cold.  Haha here's the experience...she tells me she'll be right back.  She goes and grabs twenty bucks and hands it to me telling me to go buy a hat.  I try to convince her that I do have one and can't take her money but she won't take no for an answer.  In the meantime my eye just starts burning so then it looks like I'm crying.  Yes, my eyes are just'd do it all the time back at work and it will burn until I go put water in it.  Walking away from that experience I truly felt like someone really loved me here, and that was God's way of showing that he's watching out for me.  I guess what I'm trying to say is God shows us that he loves us through the people he puts in our lives.  And I'm so grateful for that. 
I just want to say that I love y'all so much.  Truly, I do.
Love Always, Sister Schmutz 
p.s. it's kinda a terrible picture but these are live oak trees.  I'll try to get a better one soon!       

Monday, January 6, 2014

new year brings new fortunes

Hey Family!
First I just want to say that 2014 has already been an amazing year so's definitely going to be a good year.  Here's a crazy little tender mercy we were able to experience on saturday that explains why this year has already been so good.  :)  so we just got back from exchanges.  I was up in Amite with Sister Tiller and Sister Brady was here with Sister Paulson.  So I asked Sister Brady what the plans were for the day and she said we were gonna go up to this neighborhood near Lake Ramsey to try some less actives.  Let me just say we've been up there a billion times and no one ever answers their door.  So I was just thinkin to myself...alright if ya say one will answer though.  Low and behold the first less active, Dixie actually answered her door!  We didn't even get the chance to ask her if it was her, the first thing she said was come on in.  And then she straight up told us her concerns and why she's not coming to church.  Plus she said we could come back and visit more often.  Miracle I tell ya, miracle.  Then we go to the second less active, Michele and the exact same thing happened.  She opened her door and the first thing she said was come on in.  She told us her whole life story basically and all her concerns too and said we were welcome to come back.  It was definitely a good day!  Man, haha I couldn't believe we finally met them...I just walked away saying to myself what just happened!
Despite the fact that everyone and their dog is sick (literally, we went over to Joy's yesterday and her dog was throwing up all over the place).  I'm not sick yet though!  It's been a great start to the new year.  Family! I'm so happy the missionaries get to come over and teach y'all!  Mom, way to go to just get it can always just get anything done.  It'll be real sweet to have the spirit from the missionaries in the home.  :)
Let's see...other than that nothing too new has really happened this week.  We decided to go through the ward directory and meet every single person on it so that's what we've really been working on lately.  There's lots that aren't interested in letting us come in but that's okay, maybe it's just not their time right now.  But hey we're finding tons of sweet less actives that are willing to let us in and we're starting to build good relationships with them!  Plus we're finding more people to teach and visit.  After all, less actives don't hang out with active it's true that we can find tons of people surrounded by our less active members.
Hmm I'm not sure what else to really say, sorry this email is so boring!  We were gonna go to New Orleans with Orisia today but she had to cancel yesterday because she has to take care of her patients with the cold weather since everyones getting sick.  Transfers is coming up pretty soon which is kinda crazy.  Time just keeps flying by. 
Oh hey here's a scripture I really like from my studies. In Alma 42 it talks alot about justice and mercy which I think isn amazing principle of the gospel.  God is just meaning that when we do something then we have to deal with the consequences.  "according to justice, the plan of redemption could not be brought about, only on conditions of repentance." (Alma 42:13)  If we had just the law of justice by itself it would be physically impossible because we can't repent of all our sins completely by ourselves.  But the key is God is also merciful.  He's merciful because he sent his son, Jesus Christ to the earth to accomplish the atonement so that we can be forgiven of our sins and we don't have to completely suffer alone.  "the plan of mercy could not be brought about except an atonement should be made; therefore God himself atoneth for the sins of the world, to bring about the plan of mercy, to appease the demands of justice." (Alma 42:15)  Justice and mercy work hand in hand and because of each other we are able to have to pay the consequences for our sins, but we also can receive the gift of mercy from the Savior.  It's simply amazing how Heavenly Father has an exact perfect plan for us and how he loves us so unbelievably much.
I love y'all oh so very much!  Not to mention I think you're pretty amazing.  :)
The computer keeps retyping over all my words and it's driving me crazy!  So I'll write y'all next week.
Love Always, Sister Schmutz