Monday, April 15, 2013

no email? just kiddin

Hey Family!!
When I first got on and saw there was no email from y'all my first reaction was to write back to ya "what? no email.  guess you won't hear back from me either. haha just kidding."  But then I waited around a bit and saw your email come in so all is good.  Don't worry I still love you guys and I will always email y'all.  :) even when you don't have time to email me...*mm Emily mm* just kidding but seriously I want to hear from you. 
Thank you for calling the office after Grandpa passed away and letting President know.  He called me friday afternoon to inform me of grandpa's passing.  He just said that he had some bad news and that grandpa had passed away last night.  Asked me if we were very close, I said yes.  Asked if I would be okay, I said yes.  And yeah.  And he actually gave me permission to call home to find out funeral arrangment and what not but I chose not to because I don't think it would've made the situation any easier.  Plus there's less than a month until mothers day!  I was gonna call Big Grandma but I ended up not because I didn't know what to say to her at the time and I know that next week will be harder on her.  Let her know though that I'm praying for her and think about her often.  I said a special prayer after we stopped driving for grandma and the spirit was really strong.  So instead of calling I wanted to write to her.  Here's some things I wanted to share with her that I was thinking about the rest of the day so if you could let her know that would be great.  
When someone knows they're about to die, the last words they always say are cherished and remembered, right?  Knowing this, in Enos 1:27 it says, "And I soon go to the place of my rest, which is with my Redeemer; for I know that in him I shall rest.  And I rejoice in the day when my mortal shall put on immortality, and shall stand before him; then shall I see his face with pleasure, and he will say unto me: Come unto me, ye blessed, there is a place prepared for you in the mansions of my Father.  Amen."  These were the last words Enos wrote before he passed away and I love them.  Heavenly Father has a place prepared for each of us and he's waiting for us to come back home.  It's no easy task losing a loved one, but it makes the loss a little bit easier knowing that He is waiting for us and is there ready to greet us.  And then in Alma 40:11-12 "Now, concerning the state of the soul between death and the resurrection-Behold, it has been made known unto me by an angel, that the spirits of all men, as soon as they are departed from this mortal body, yea, the spirits of all men, whether they be good or evil, are taken home to that God who gave them life.  And then shall it come to pass, that the spirits of thos who are righteous are received into a state of happiness, which is called paradise, a state of rest, a state of peace, where they shall rest from all their troubles and from all care, and sorrow." I know that death isn't the end, it's the beginning.  At this time Grandpa is really beginning his life and he's free from everything on the earth.  Know that you are never alone and that you've been promised angels to bear and lift you up in hard times.  And I can assure you that Grandpa is one of those angels surrounding you.  I love you Grandma.          
Sarah you're leaving back to Rexburg this Saturday!!!  Boy does time sure fly or what.  Haha and you'll be surprised to know this but I already knew Amanda was gonna be your roommate.  She wrote me a letter earlier this week and told me you were one of her roommates.  Now she gets to live with me once and you...lucky duck.  Be sure to tell Dee and Amanda I say hi and love them.  Are you excited for the new semester to begin?  Oh hey and take my fan for those hot summer days.  I feel like all the missionaries here go to BYU-I so just be warned if some random person comes up to you saying hi they could've possible served in Louisiana.  I miss you Sarah and don't worry about writing back as soon as you can.  I'm sure things are crazy with the start of school and moving.  
Haha Dad, my emails are all so positive because I'm serving in one of the best wards in Louisiana!  I mean I've never been anywhere else, but I hear stories of bishops down in other cities hating the missionaries because they think they aren't doing any work when really they are.  So basically no ward support which makes missionary work quite impossible.  But we've got the best ward around.  Our stake president likes to call our ward united nations because there's so many different cultures and races.  It's great.  :) plus it helps when you've got an awesome companion and district.  I did receive the GPS on Friday.  Thank you so so so so much!!!  Seriously it's a life saver and without it we would be so lost.  Well, actually it's possible to go without it, but it makes us use our time more effectively and as you know, time is the most precious thing we have.  Oh and just fyi if you're ever thinking of buying another GPS I would definitely recommend Garmin, it's way easier to use.    
Mom maybe since you guys will basically be empty nesters once again you and Dad could start volunteering at the temple or something.  Who knows though...just an idea.  :)  I hope all is going well at work and home though.  Oh and hey before I forget.  If you have some extra time would you mind finding me some more shirts to send to me?  We really have no time to go shopping here and I would love more colorful pattern shirts that are lose and don't show all your sweat ask Emily about colors that don't show your sweat as much (summers coming) if you don't know what I'm talking about.  You can take some money out of my account to buy them with.  No rush though...maybe just think of it as an early birthday present.  Thanks mom, you're the greatest and I love you dearly.  :)
Here's just a couple miracles to start off this week:
numero uno: Alexis is officially progressing!!!  I'm not sure exactly what I told y'all before about her so I'll just say it all now.  Her grandparents are active members in our ward and her mom is less active.  She's eleveen right now and has been coming to church basically on and off her whole life.  I'm not entirely sure why she wasn't baptized when she turned eight.  Anyways, the yw president asked us to teach her and it took us about a month to get in contact with her.  I randomly called her to come to the yw broadcast and she came!  Sister LaPorte asked her if she wants to be baptized and she said yes so we've been teaching her ever since.  Basically she already knows everything so it's awesome teaching her and she's even been keeping all the commitments.  She stayed for all three hours of church yesterday despite the fact that her mom left after first hour.  And she's so excited to get baptized.  So if things keep progressing as they are her baptism date is set for April 27th.  We're so excited for her and her family!!  Even her mom is so supportive and listens in on all the lessons.  The hardest part is getting her to come to activities and church because they live out in the boonies and yeah.  
numero dos:  We went over and visited Barney Cutchen this past week and seriously he's the sweetest guy!  Be sure to tell Sister Crowley that I stopped by and that he talks very highly of her.  :)  While there he even let us come to lunch with him and it was delicious.  According to him he's been attending 2nd ward and working with the bishop on preparing to enter the temple.  He recently moved into our ward though so we're gonna try and get him to come to church sometime soon.  Everyone down here has word of wisdom problems so he said he's trying to quit drinking coffee but it's hard, also he needs to stop drinking tea.  But he's a great guy and so sweet with great stories.  
numero tres:  we survived saturday after riding our bikes literally the whole day.  We were running low on miles for the month so we decided to make it a bike day.  (the last one we had was with Sister Calderwood and that only lasted probably 30 mins) but Sister LaPorte was super excited to go biking so we planned out who we should see and planned different roads to avoid.  Anyways, we were literally on our bikes for four or five hours straight because no one was home.  We went way far away from home too and our legs and were burning we seriously couldn't go any further.  Haha and to make it worse we were fasting.  Eventually we decided to break our fast and eat dinner and we called the tiger bend sisters to come pick us up.  It was quite the experience to say the least.  But hey at least it makes us way more thankful for our cars.  And we randomly asked a family where the closest gas station was to use the bathroom and they just let us into their home.  We talked about what missionaries do and this week we're gonna take them by a thank you card and a Book of Mormon.  
So to say the least it's been an interesting week but a very exciting one.   What crazy new stories have there been from back home?  I miss y'all but I love ya so much more!!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz
p.s. here's a great lesson I've learn...never cancel any plans with the missionaries.  It's seriously the worst news we can receive because it messes everything up.  Also invite them over for dinner on Sunday's.  I don't know why but Sundays are always the hardest days and members never invite us over for dinner then.  Y'all are the best!! 

Monday, April 8, 2013


Hey Family!!
First off, Happy Birthday to Andrew and Annie this week!  I hope it's a good one for y'all and know that I'm thinking of you both.  Be sure to give Annie a hug for me okay.  Enjoy some cake or something and have fun!

To say the least this week has been a great one.  Here's a couple miracles just to start off with:
numero uno: we taught 21 lessons this week!!  Our mission goal is to teach at least 20 lessons everyweek and for the past couple weeks we've been teaching maybe around 10 or so.  But we just planned a head this week and went without a few meals and were able to fit tons of lessons in.  Seriously it's the best feeling reaching a goal you're working so hard toward.  We ate with our stake president, President Riggs on Saturday as well and he talked alot about teaching more lessons and how we all need to work harder.  And then President Wall also mentioned it yesterday right after conference.  Pretty sweet.  :)  we have a goal to teach 20 lessons every week for the rest of the transfer as well.
numero dos:  Sister Anderson.  Inbetween sessions of conference on Saturday we were trying to visit some less actives in our ward that lived in the area.  Either no one was home or we couldn't find their home (with no GPS it's difficult because the streets here will randomly cut in half by another street and continue going without us even knowing...anyways it's confusing).  We were about to give up finding this one home when we miraculously found it.  She was home and we got talking with her and what not.  Turns out she hasn't been to church in a while and yeah but right before we came over she was praying and then knocked on her door.  We were an answer to her prayers and she was an answer to ours.  She even came to conference the next morning as well!  And she's got a sweet strong testimony.
numero tres:  I ALMOST hit someone while driving...don't worry though, I didn't.  :)  It's a long story but we were picking up the LSU Sisters at the institute building on campus and we were late for an appointment.  There was a runner and I was turning right and literally didn't see him.  So I kinda started pulling out when all of a sudden he was infront of the car.  No worries though, I stopped and all was well.  Well, except for the fact that he was super pissed and came around to hit the window and yell at me.  I think his face will forever be engraved in my memory...but I just drove away.  Sister LaPorte and I just laugh about it because here we are going around saving souls and yet almost took one out in the meantime.  Also the LSU Sisters probably think we're crazy.  Oh the things you experience while serving a mission.
I love seeing all the pictures of you guys back home and all over.  The temple looks so pretty down there.  It's crazy over here, so many members don't even know there's a temple in Baton Rouge.  But seriously the temple is so important...we need to get them all there!  I bet Arizona was nice and warm for you guys.  The weather here is kinda like Utah.  One morning it will be super cold and then burning hot in the afternoon.  By the end of the transfer though it should be real hot outside.  
Dad thanks for sending the package with music and whatnot, hopefully I'll get it today and if not I'll get it by tomorrow for sure.  Y'all can still send letters and packages to my apartment because I'll be here for at least another five weeks.  Oh and while I'm mentioning it did ya get my letter to Sarah about the GPS?  We currently don't have one and we're going old school with a map but a GPS would be so helpful at the moment.  So if you're cool with it can ya please send it asap.  We would appreciate it so much!!  And as for pictures go feel free to send a little picture book or just plain regular pictures.  Either one would be great.  :) 
Emily how was school in the new building today?  It's so weird to think that Olympus is in a completely new building now and it's giant.  What else did y'all do in Arizona over spring break?  Did you guys do anything fun for easter?  School starts in just a couple short weeks for you Sarah!  Are you getting excited to move back to Rexburg...I miss that place. Andrew, you lucky duck getting to back to France in a couple weeks.  I miss you all so much but there's no place I'd rather be than right here right now.  I love Sister LaPorte and all the people we get to serve with in our ward so much.   
Okay and here's some of the pictures within the past weeks.  Sorry they're so late and most of them are from last tuesday at the swamp tour.  Enjoy!
Oh hey and I have a challenge for y'all.  Our stake has some goals for this year and I think it would be sweet if y'all worked on it as well.  Here's the list:
-daily personal and family scripture study
-daily personal and family prayer
-weekly family home evening
-monthly temple attendance
-missionary discussion taught in your home this year
-strive for physical and spiritual self-reliance
-make the sabbath day holy
I promise that as you do these little things to strengthen your own testimony it will bless you all in your daily life.  It's taking the time out of the little things we do that don't really matter and replacing them with something meaningful and worthwhile.  My favorite talk from conference was President Monsons because really that's what a mission is all about, obedience.  We were talking after and it really hit me, obedience isn't just not doing what you aren't supposed to.  Obedience is doing what you know you're supposed to be doing.  So like in personal study you aren't being obedient when you take the time out to study your scriptures unless you are actually pondering and learning, not just falling asleep and reading something here and there.  It's just something cool to think about...what do you need to be doing that you know you aren't?  All these people say that Christ just wants them living a good life, but really that's not enough.  There's specific things he has asked us to do that we need to do in order to return to live with Heavenly Father again.  
The gospel is so amazing and true!!  There's also another goal I have for y'all before the end of this year.  As missionaries if we're tracting to find people we're failing at our job.  The members role is to help invite others to listen to the message the missionaries can share.  And really the only way we can teach investigators is through referrals.  So here's your challenge...invite someone over for dinner while the missionaries are there and talk about the gospel.  I promise it's not as scary as you think it is.  And think of it this way, after you die would you rather have someone come up to you saying sorry they wouldn't listen or asking why you didn't share the message about the restored gospel to them when you were right there.  Become everyday missionaries!
I love y'all so much.  Let me know if there's anything I can do for ya!
Love Always,  Sister Schmutz

Wednesday, April 3, 2013


Hey Family!!
First off I want to apologize for not hearing from me yesterday.  I just barely found out this past weekend, but the week of transfers we have p-day on tuesdays because on monday we find out if we're being transfered or not.  So be aware of that for next transfers ahead.  So here's the news....I'm staying in Baton Rouge with Sister LaPorte!  Haha I know, real shocker but we kinda already knew we were gonna stay.  Plus I'm super glad we're staying because I love it here along with all the people here.  Imagine staying in one city your whole mission...I'd be okay with that.  :) 
I hope y'all had a great Easter this past sunday.  Lots of members invited us over for lunch and dinner so we were busy eating all day, it was great.  But really I felt right at home so it's all good.  There was a crazy storm on easter too and the power was out for a couple hours.  It was pretty sick.  I wonder if that's what it will be like during hurricane season.  Oh my and thank you for the packages!  Three packages in one week while on my mission.  Definitely a new record...there was so much candy I never even want to look at it again.  But it was all delicious so thank you much!  Also, Sarah is the oil already consecrated? 
Since it's easter time and all I figured I'd share some scriptures with y'all about Christ and the Atonement that I've learned to love.  One of the greatest things I've learned is how Christ easily forgave everyone no matter what they did.  It's truly an amazing attribute because it's hard to forgive others, but he did it with such ease.  Beginning in 1 Nephi 19:9 "And the world, because of their iniquity, shall judge him to be a thing of naught; wherefore they scourge him, and he suffereth it; and they smite him, and he suffereth it.  Yea, they spit upon him, and he suffereth it, because of his loving kindness and his long-suffering towards the children of men."  After all these things the people did to him, he still suffered the atonement for them and forgave them.  And then the amazing thing is in Luke 23:34 "Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."  The people hated him and yet he stood up for them.  Christ continually does so much for us that often times we don't can't even begin to comprehend or understand.  It's wonderful.  And then here's one of my all time favorite lines in the scriptures, Mosiah 2:34 "ye are eternally indebted to your heavenly Father, to render to him all that you have and are" Sister Calderwood had it written on the wall and I always read it wondering what exactly it's trying to say.  It didn't hit me until after how important it is.  It's so true how we have to give everything we have and are to Heavenly Father and the gospel because it's through our sacrifices that we show him we love him as well.  Just something cool to think about.   
I was planning on sending home some pictures today except I forgot the be looking forward to some next week.  Probably the most exciting part of the week was today.  This morning we got to go on a swamp tour/walk thing.  It's actually right next to the temple and I believe it's called the Bluebonnet Swamp so you can check it out online.  To say the least it felt like we were back in the sacred grove except it was a swamp version.  Imagine lots of water, snakes, turtles, and trees.  Man I love everything down here though.  It's crazy how fast the forrests grow down here.  Oh yeah I forgot to mention, there's these flowers down here and you can eat them!  They taste like a bitter apple, it's interesting.   
This week we got to focus on tons of less active members which was great.  The hardest thing down here is actually getting everyone to come to church.  They know they should be at church and they say they want to come, but when Sunday comes around they're never there.  It's just a work in progress though. 
Here's some miracles from this week:
numero uno: Alexis.  She's a young women that's been attending church basically her whole life except she's never been baptized.  We've been trying to contact her for weeks but no such luck.  On Saturday I randomly called her to invite her to the yw broadcast and she finally answered and came!  We talked with her after and she wants us to teach her so she can get baptized!  Seriously it's a miracle.  :)
numero dos:  We aren't being transferred!! 
numero tres:  We got to meet with lots of people this week that we've been trying to meet with for weeks.  Also life is good.  :) 
Sorry time is so short, we're super busy.  And I wrote Sister Calderwood way too long of an email before you that's why I'll attach it right now, just so you guys don't feel so left out of what's going on here in good old Lousiana.  I think about you always and pray that everything is going well.  Enjoy Arizona for me this week...we've been getting plenty of sunshine here.  :) 
I love you all so much and thank you for all y'all do for me.  You're the greatest family out there!!
Love Always,  Sister Schmutz
p.s. Dad could you send me my family fan?  It's the genealogy page that's a big looking fan. 
p.p.s. Sarah I'm super behind on writing letters and we've still gotta go shopping so I'll try writing as many letters as I can today.  Also thank you for visiting Sister Calderwood.  Isn't she just the best?  In a couple months you'll have to go see Sister LaPorte as well.   
The chalk festival looked epic, I loved your guys pictures.  Feel free to send more pictures that are printed out so I can show them to others. 
Ahh I gotta go.  Love you guys!!