Monday, December 30, 2013


Hey Family!

It was so good to see y'all on Christmas too.  Y'all definitely made my day and I loved seeing your bright and shining faces.  :)  thank you for being such an awesome family.  And I'm glad y'all liked the package I sent home.  Haha Mom, I'm glad I only have one Christmas away too.  I'm not gonna lie, I loved the days leading up to Christmas and getting to share so many messages about Christ with everyone but then after Christmas was over I just had no desire to do anything.  It didn't help that it rained practically all weekend and all I wanted to do was go home and crawl back in bed.  But hey the desire to keep going is back and I'm ready to work hard during this year.

Goodness gracious the craziest thing from the past week was yesterday.  During the 3rd hour of church Bishop Elmer had a combined lesson and he talked.  Seriously he's talked the last couple fifth sundays and in sacrament meeting a couple times on missionary work so the members are probably sick of it.  But yesterday he said that for 2014 our ward is gonna have a goal of 25 baptisms.  As far as I know we've only had two baptisms this whole year...but in 2011 they had 23 baptisms.  At first I was just thinkin man this is never gonna happen.  But ya know, when you trust in Heavenly Father he can make anything happen.  He challenged every person to invite someone to listen to the missionaries and he's constantly focusing on inviting others.  Covington Ward is part of the New Orleans Stake so our goal is to make a stake up here so we don't have to drive all the way across the causeway.  I think our bishop is inspired and knows what he's doing so it's pretty sweet to see how he's pushing to hasten the work of the Lord.  Now the members are just gonna have to step up so we have tons of people to teach!

But going along with that I think the true miracle from the week was yesterday we got to share the restoration with our investigator Orisia.  Let's just say we've been visiting her about every single week since I first got here but she talks a ton and we never get a chance to share a lesson before she kicks us out.  It was definitely a sweet experience because she already knew most of the restoration and about the Book of Mormon but we were able to clear up some questions she had and the spirit was definitely there.  We're going down to New Orleans with her next monday to go to some thrift stores...haha she's the one that got us hooked on shopping at the thrift stores.  Goodness I just love her!  She's a chinese medicine doctor and kinda crazy, but hey I love crazy people.  :)

Mom, don't worry I don't need a coat or anything.  Thank you for thinking about me!  Haha and I wish I could've heard your talk yesterday.  I bet ya did great!  I'm sure y'all are glad I didn't call you at 5:30 in the morning like McKenzie did.  I remember she did that last year too and I was really considering doing it to wake y'all up but then decided to opt out.

The week was a pretty good week overall, here's just a couple of the highlights:

Monday- Pulled our couch outside and played Life with the Covington Elders in the driveway of our apartment.  Haha our neighbors thought we were crazy and it was freezing but it was fun!

Tuesday- Made tons of cookies at Joy's house and then went caroling with the Elders and gave them to some people we knew and some random people with wrapped copies of the Book of Mormon.  Plus we found out Dale passed away...his niece said that on the way to the hospital he asked her to grab the peanut butter cookies we made to bring them!  Goodness he was the sweetest guy.  :)  She mentioned how he always talked about us!  Don't know if she was just being nice of if that's really true considering the fact we'd only met him twice and talked on his porch for maybe 5 minutes total.  But hey I know he's probably already found the missionaries in the spirit world and is listening to them right now.  I'm looking forward to the day when I'll get to see him again.  :)

Wednesday- Got to see y'all!!  Other than that we got to play checkers with the Tapia's and make some cookies.  And then helped the Holbrook's with a puzzle they got for Christmas.  Definitely a good Christmas....I'm thinking a puzzle every Christmas should be a new tradition.  Remember when we'd always go to Little Grandma's and she's be working on puzzles?  By the way be sure to tell her thank you so much for the blanket!  It keeps me warm everynight.  :)

Thursday- Here's a funny story for you.  It didn't happen this week but it happened at the Goff's and we visited them on thursday.  Maria asked us if we wanted an altoid but we told her no thank you we were good.  So this is what she says, "You sure?  These are special altoids...see right here it says they're made with real peppermint oil and the dreams of pregnant mermaids."  Haha I thought it really said that!

Friday- We updated our map since everyones names have fallen off...and we didn't know what else to do!

Saturday- All our plans fell through and we didn't know what else to do.  Perfect timing Sister McMullen called and asked if we could come clean up her house so we got to serve her!  That was just a little tender mercy of the Lord for providing us with something useful to do with our time.  Plus she's the sweetest lady.  Plus we met a new less active family that is willing to let us come back and see them!

Sunday- We finally taught Orisia!! 

Oh yeah and here's one scripture for y'all.  Alma 33:23, "your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son."  Christ has already suffered for each of us, and he wants us to use the atonement so we can be forgiven!  It makes him happy when we turn to him and he can help us.  And what a blessing that is, that he can lift our burdens and take everything away...all because he loves us.    

Well family, I hope y'all have a good rest of the holidays break.  Enjoy the movie y'all are gonna see today and skiing later.  Thank you for all your prayers! 

Guess what?!   I LOVE YOU!  (I hope that makes you think of Jo:)

Love Always, Sister Schmutz    

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

winter party that is!

Hey Family!
Are you counting down the hours yet until we get to talk?  Haha I'm so excited to see y'all!! 
Alright so here's the plan, sorry it's different than what I told y'all last week.  I hope it's not messing up any plans y'all already had.  The Holbrook's invited us over so we're gonna be there around 4 (that's the time for here).  I hope y'all know someones skype information because they're letting me use their skype account.  So can one of y'all please log on and go add Laurie.holbrook1 before Christmas?  Thank you!  The Holbrook's also invited us for Christmas dinner since we'll already gonna be there so they said we're free to skype until then.  I hope that gives y'all enough time for us to talk!  I'll give y'all a call when we get to their house so you can know when to get on the computer.  I hope that works for y'all...I'm excited to hear and see you!!
I got all your packages!  Thank you so much for sending all of them.  I must say that the tree was the coolest idea ever!  Also the toothbrush y'all sent is the sweetest toothbrush I've ever seen.  Thank you so much for all you do!  Did y'all get the package I sent home?  If not hopefully it'll get there today...and I forgot to write don't open it until Christmas! If you did already that's okay though.  :)   
This past week was a really good week.  For the first time since I've been here we taught 20 lessons which was a real success!  All of them were less active/active members though so now we're gonna start working on finding more investigators and really focusing on the investigators that we do have.  The work is kinda slow here right now but that just means that there's more work for us to do. 
Maybe since there's no snow on the ground, or the fact that it was up in the 80s last week, but it just does not feel like Christmas here!  It's so weird!  Maybe that's why I don't miss home so much right now...  No one invited us over for Christmas eve so during the day we're gonna make cookies and then during the evening we're gonna go caroling and hand out cookies, dvds, and Book of Mormons.  It'll be pretty sweet!  Plus we get to watch Christmas movies!  President Wall said specifically we can watch A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life but he also said if we're at someone's home and they put on a movie we can use our judgment to watch it.  The Tapia's invited us over Christmas day so hopefully they'll put on Elf or something....that's a good wholesome movie, right?  ;)   
The highlight of the week was our ward Christmas party.  I took a couple pictures but they really don't do any was beautiful!  The only down part was we invited tons of people, and I mean tons of people and not one of them showed up.  But hey it was still a good evening.  We had dinner, read the Cajun Night Before Christmas, Santa was there, and then we had a live nativity.  It was a really good night.  :) 
President Wall has been focusing on helping our mission become a spirit led mission and I found a cool scripture that related to it I wanted to share with y'all.  Aaron was one of the sons of Mosiah and he was a missionary.  But just like every missionary he was going through a little rough patch in his service.  No one would listen to him, he was cast into prison, people rejected him and all sorts of things.  And then it says this, "And they went forth withersoever they were led by the Spirit of the Lord."(Alma 21:16) so they just decided to listen to the spirit and go with it.  Then, "the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth." (Alma 21:17) Success doesn't come until we fully trust in the Lord and know that he will guide us to where we need to be.  Pretty cool don't ya think? 
Anyways there isn't much more for me to say...since I'll be talking to y'all on Christmas!  I love y'all!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz 
p.s. if my memory is right it's Whitney's birthday today!  Sarah be sure to wish her warm wishes from me.  :)

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