Monday, December 16, 2013

merry christmas y'all!

Hey Family!
Well goodness, school is just getting out later and later isn't it.  Don't study too hard this week Andrew and Sarah!  And keep singing Emily!  Our ward Christmas Party is this saturday and they asked all the missionaries to sing a song for part of the program...haha aw man it's not gonna be pretty that's all I gotta say.  When we've been inviting people lately we always mention how we'll be singing so they'll feel bad and want to come.  ;)  but hey I'll take some pictures and send it to you.  We've been helping decorate all week there's snowflakes everywhere and it's gonna look awesome! 
Oh hey and here's some good news!  We get to skype for christmas!!  We've been trying to find somewhere to skype all week but no such luck.  Then last night we had dinner at the Holbrook's and they asked us what we were doing for Christmas and they said we could come use their computers!  So I have no idea what time we'll be skyping and there's no limit on time or anything just like for Mother's Day but I think we'll keep skyping to 30 minutes since we don't want to be bothering them all day and then I can call y'all later if you want.  So I guess I'll just call y'all Christmas morning sometime to give you more details?  Any time work best for y'all?  It'll be probably a little after 10 here or so I'm guessing.  But hey I have no idea what my skype username is or anything like that.  We could possibly use facetime again, but if they only have one ipad or not I'm not sure and Sister Brady already said she wants to facetime instead of skype.  Sooo sorry I'm not a big help and have no clue what's really going on but hopefully I'll let you know next monday a little more details.  These are the phone numbers to call right?  8019433421 8017928837 8018705975
I haven't received the package you sent yet but it'll probably get here today.  I want to send y'all something too so hopefully I can get that sent out today!   Remember when I told y'all about one of our investigators, Orisia?  Well this past week we went and saw her and she gave us both a Christmas present!  So sweet of her and so unexpected!  We now officially have one present under the paper christmas tree that Sister Brady's mom sent.  :)  man I just love this time of year. 
Haha mom since you asked, here's the story about the emergency transfers.  First story is mandeville and covington were going down to New Orleans to play basketball with the missionaries down there one pday.  Another set of elders showed up to go with them so then there were six guys in a five seat car.  Needless to say they drove down with someone in the trunk...president found out....and the elder driving got red dotted which means he can't drive anymore so they transferred him out.  Second story president just had been thinking of moving this elder and he decided to do it in the middle of the transfer...don't really know why he didn't wait a week longer until transfers.
That's pretty sweet what President Mendenhall said yesterday in sacrament meeting.  I think I told y'all this last week but if not I'm gonna tell it to ya again.  We've meet tons of people that hate Christmas down here.  I love just asking people what their favorite thing about Christmas is and seriously tons of people say they hate it.  When we get talking about it more they don't actually hate Christmas, they just hate all the commercial stuff.  Christ is the real meaning of the season and everything else doesn't really matter!  My favorite part about right now is being able to serve others and see how Christ brings the light into their life.  
There's this member that moved here a couple months ago and everythings been going wrong since she came.  She doesn't have lots of money and everything is going terrible so we went and visited her this week.  She was one of those ones that said she hated Christmas.  Well after we left I asked Sister Brady how she felt about getting her a little tree for her apartment because she talked about how she's the only one in her family that likes Christmas trees.  So we went to the dollar store and got a little tree, some decorations, and a few presents to put under.  Decorated it all up and made it look good and that night we left it at her front door.  Haha needless to say she knows it was us but the greatest part is just making someone day so much better.  I mean yes, our apartment doesn't look like Christmas at all and we could've just bought a tree for ourselves, but it doesn't matter because we got to bring the light of Christ into someone's home.  If only she didn't know it was us, then it would have been even better! 
As usual this week has been a super good week.  The miracle of the week was probably hearing that Jolei wants to get baptized!  Alright so here's the story.  The Asevedo's are a less active family that we see quite often.  They are seriously the sweetest!  Leah (mom) and Sarah (12) joined the church maybe three or so years ago.  They live with Leah's mom, Tonya and she's read the Book of Mormon so many times!  (She isn't a member though because she can't get baptized because her boyfriend won't marry her...but that's okay she'll get baptized eventually)  and then Jolei just turned 8.  We've mentioned baptism before but they haven't really said much.  So on monday we went and were talking about the Holy Ghost.  It was perfect timing because Leah was actually there and she immediately said that she wants Jolei to get baptized and Jolei wants to too!  We set a date to work towards for Jan 11!  Even though she's 8 and her mom's a member she's not really an investigator or will be a convert, but we're gonna teach them all the lessons before then.  Now we just gotta get them all coming back to church and we'll be set.  The family is so sweet, I love em!
I think this has become one of my new favorite scriptures, Matt 28:19-20 this is after Christ was resurrected and he was teaching his apostles.  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  Christ is always with us, always.  I'm so grateful for this knowledge and to know that the Savior lives and walks with us everywhere.  Which then makes me think of my all time favorite scripture, Isaiah 41:13 "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."  What a wonderful gift Heavenly Father gave to us! 
Also I found my favorite spot in all of Louisiana yesterday.  The tchefuncta river divides Madisonville and Mandeville and there's tons of sailboats plus some houses are right on the river.  A member lives right there too and it's so pretty!  I didn't have my camera so I couldn't take any pictures but it's beautiful, especially all of the sail on the water.  Don't worry, I'll bring y'all down here sometime soon!  Man I love Louisiana and especially the people down here.   
Anyways, I just wanted to say that I love y'all so much.  I couldn't have asked for a better family! 
Love always, Sister Schmutz

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

happy holidays!

Hey Family!
First and foremost, transfer news...I'm staying in Covington for another transfer with Sister Brady!  I'm happy to be staying especiallly with Christmas coming up in just a couple weeks.  It would definitely be hard going to a new area and not knowing anyone this time of the year.  Our district is all staying the same too which is definitely a first.  Well, then again we've had two emergency transfers in our district this transfer.  So as of now the Mandeville Elders are Elder Caina and Elder Madsen and then the Covington Elders are Elder Stewart and Elder Alred.  We're all ready to work hard this transfer so it's gonna be good.  :) hey and as far as skyping for Christmas goes I think we're just gonna be calling y'all this time.  Pretty much all the members are going out of town for the holidays and the ones we're really close to that we could feel like asking to use their computer, well they don't have computers.  Sooo don't get y'alls hopes up of seeing my face, but hey y'all will still get to hear my voice!   
Holy cow I can't believe how fast time is just flying by.  I'm already on my 8th transfer and there's only 13 transfers total!  I wonder how much longer I'll be in Covington or where I could possibly be going.  I'm begging President Wall to let me go back and reopen North BR...but I don't know if that's gonna happen.  Man I miss everyone there!   
That's awesome to hear it's been snowing a lot back home.  It's been getting pretty cold here lately as well.  It's alot like Utah day it will be up in the 70s or 80s and then the next it will be down in the 40s.  I'm just grateful we have a car!  Plus the humidity just makes it even worse...the cold just goes straight to your bones and freezes ya! 
Goodness gracious family...the missionaries came over and want to teach y'all but you said you were too busy!!  Have I not taught y'all anything?  ;)  when you say you're busy to the missionaries it makes them feel like you don't really want them coming by.  I think it'd be sweet for the missionaries to come over and teach y'all the lessons.  It will build your relationship with them, they'll have something meaningful to do, plus y'all will be learning.  So be sure to make time for them and then let me know how it goes!!
It's been a super sweet week this past week.  We got to help lots of people set of their Christmas trees and I felt right at home.  :)  there's no greater time of year than right now, especially to be on a mission because we get to talk about Christ every single day.  It's sweet we found this 12 reading days of Christmas online so with a couple of the people we see every week we've started doing it with them just to help them think more about the Savior every day.  And it's awesome because some of them have even told us that they don't like Christmas time...but they're forgetting the whole meaning of Christmas!  Y'all should do it too.  Go here and then download the whole ensign and scroll to where the 12 reading days of Christmas are. 
I'm gonna go buy a camera today because mine broke and then I'll send y'all some pictures for Christmas and I'll tell ya about some of my favorite people here.  They always give me more than I give to man I love some of the sisters here so much! 
The best part of the week was on saturday Alberto got baptized!!  The elders have been teaching him forever, and let me just say they are the cutest family ever.  His wife is a member and they have the cutest little boy.  Alberto's been coming to church forever and what not but never wanted to get baptized.  Tons and tons of missionaries have invited him and finally he decided to get baptized so it was real sweet.  I'm happy for their family.  :) 
Haha I think this might have to be the highlight from the week.  Saturday night we were driving and I made the wrong turn.  As missionaries we always have to back each other so our goal is to always find a place we can just turn around without having to back.  So I turned down a street and there was this grassy field on one side so ya know I decided to just drive in the grass a little.  Haha well....turns out it was super muddy and we got our car stuck in the mud.  I had Sister Brady get out and try to push the car out but it was stuck for good.  Let me just was real muddy.  I got out and was just walking in the mud without any shoes on and it was a big mess.  We called the Elders to see if they were nearby but they were all busy and would be for a while.  Haha man I thought we were gonna have to walk home and come try to get it out the next day.  Then this guy stopped and asked if we were stuck so we said yep and he said he'd be right back.  He went and got a rope and then he pulled us out!  Haha man it was funny and now our car is completely covered in mud.  Good times I tell ya...good times.
Since it's the Christmas season, here's a one of my favorite scriptures about Christ.  Alma 7:10-13 "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.  And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.  Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."  My favorite part is where it says he will take upon himself their weaknesses and he does all this so that he can know how to help us.  I'm so grateful for the birth of the Savior and all that he did for us while he was here on the earth, and all that he still does for us.  Without Christ it would be hard to do much because he makes everything possible.  I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves each of us!  And what a wonderful present our Heavenly Father gave to us...his Son.  
Hope y'all have a wonderful week!  Good luck with finals, Sarah and Andrew!   
Love y'all! 
Sister Schmutz

Monday, December 2, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hey Family!
Looks like y'all had quite the good time down in California for Thanksgiving!  Dinner on the beach, lots of soccer games, and exotic birds at your hotel...doesn't seem like it could get much better than that!  Aw man thanksgiving is just the best, I love this time of the year.  For thanksgiving dinner it was all six of the missionaries and then six total Conlin's at their house because a couple of their kids were away at school and what not.  The food was super good too!  The only new thing was fried turkey and it was delicious!  When you fry a turkey it makes it so it's not dry so it was just real good.
Holy cow this week has been full of miracles (little ones and real big ones), truly amazing!  So here's a couple of them for y'all:
#1  Monday: We went to the thrift store and I found this awesome skirt.  Navy blue with white polkadots plus it was only 3 dollars.  It was a little too big but nothing a safety pin can't fix.  Doesn't get much better than that!  Haha I might have worn it almost every day this week...  
#2 Tuesday: We were seeing some people down in Mandeville and we had this less active member on our list to try to see.  We've been trying to meet her for weeks and she never is home so we had no idea if she actually even lived there or what.  So we just stopped by kinda just expecting Mary not to answer because she never has before.  But low and behold she was home and even let us come in!  We got to know her and discovered she's been having a hard time lately because a couple of her relatives passed away last month and then her husband had a stroke and he isn't able to talk right now.  We didn't go into much detail because you could tell she didn't want to talk about it and she was crying a little bit.  I didn't know what to share with her because I wanted to bring comfort so bad, but then Sister Brady just started sharing the thanksgiving thought we had planned for her.  It was amazing because she said it was exactly what she needed to hear!  And then she told us how her friend invited her over tonight but she just felt like she needed to stay home so she did.  And then we came by and shared a message that was exactly what she needed.  Holy cow is all I have to was a miracle!  We have plans to see her again later this week and I'm so excited!!
#3 Wednesday: We always see one of the single sisters in our ward so this past week we stopped by like usual and all her family was home.  Pearl's daughter Vicki was home and was just sitting there while we were talking to Pearl.  (her daughter is a member but less active..she hasn't seemed too interested in the past seeing her) so it was kinda awkward because she was just doing stuff on her phone while we were talking to Pearl and we didn't know what to do so we started sharing the lesson we had planned.  I didn't even think Vicki was listening but after I said something she turned and actually talked about the gospel and was involved in the lesson!  We were able to talk with her more and actually relate to her which was so cool.  I'm hoping she'll be back next time we see her so we can start getting her more involved!
#4 Thursday: A couple weeks ago we were trying to visit some less active members that we didn't know and see how interested they are and meet them.  So there was this one sister that Sister Brady said they'd been trying to see forever but no one ever answered.  So we stopped by and her husband Dale answered..and let me just say, he's the sweetest guy I've ever met.  He told us that his wife died about seven years ago in a car accident.  And of course me being me, I didn't say anything about the plan of salvation or what not and we apologized for his loss then left.  For the next week and a half he'd been on my mind constantly.  I knew we needed to go back and somehow share the gospel with him but I just didn't know what to do.  He lives out in the middle of nowhere just by himself and he has no family children, nothing (he's probably in his 50s or 60s).  So I was thinking and President Wall asked us to be ODD missionaries, meaning observe, discern, do.  We had interviews on Wednesday and he said I've got the observe and discern part down I've just gotta do it.  So I just decided ya know what, this could be super awkward but we're gonna make him cookies and bring them to him on thanksgiving to just let him know we've been thinking about him and maybe somehow talk about the gospel.  So we made peanut butter cookies because it was the only ingredients we had and then we drove all the way out there.  He was home and super surprised to see us and it was kinda awkward.  It was cold and he invited us in but there wasn't a woman in the home so we couldn't go in.  We didn't really know what to say and I have this bad habbit of asking people how they are a billion times when I don't know what to say.  So we talked with him for a second and I asked him again and he mentioned to us how he thinks he has cancer again.  He had cancer a long time ago that prevented them from having children and then he had melanoma cancer last year and he believes he has it again.  Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how bad I wanted to just forget all the rules and go into his home and just talk with him.  I feel like meeting him is the reason I've been called to serve in Covington.  I'm learning to rely on the spirit more and more because I seriously love Dale and want to help him, but I have no idea which direction to take or what to do.  We're planning on going back out with the Elders this week and then hopefully soon we'll bring a sister with us as well.  He is the absolute sweetest guy ever!  So please keep him in your prayers.  :)
There's a lot more miracles from every single day but those were definitely the highlights from the week. 
Mom thank you so much for the're the best!  Seriously I can't believe how fast this transfer has flown by.  It's already transfers again next week!  I asked President on Wednesday what he thinks is gonna happen and he said I'm probably staying in Covington...but that's always bound to change.  I'll be letting y'all know next week though for sure. 
 Sarah..goodness Nik sent me a package the last day he was on his mission!  Man, and I thought he was slacking off at writing back.  He's a good guy.  :)  he sent a Duck Dynasty shirt and said to send you a picture and I was going to but then discovered my camera broke.  Don't worry I'm gonna go buy one at Target today.  And then I'll be sending you a picture.  It was funny because I read his letter and didn't even look at the shirt until the very end.  In his letter he said something along the lines of "your family loves you, I love ya, and my family loves you.  family first."  It's hit me lately how important family truly is and how family should always be first.  And then I opened the shirt and it said family first on it.  Be sure to tell him thank you for reminding me how much my family means to me.  :)  hmmm and for spring semester I'd move over to the new complex...or the willows! 
Well, here's a question for y'all...what do you want for Christmas?  :)  All I can think to ask for is a collage of pictures from the last year!
I love y'all so much!  Each and every one of you.  That means you Mom, Dad, Andrew, Sarah, and Emily!  Also Lucy, Tye, and Moema.  :)
Love Always, Sister Schmutz