Monday, December 19, 2011

December 19, 2011 E-Mail

We had a really good week. This transfer was sort of weird because it was only 5 weeks instead of 6. Usually the last week of the transfers is a little tough for all the missionaries. But this past week was great! The bad news with transfers it that I will be going to Moses Lake. It's a mixed emotion thing. I've come so close to so many people here. But I'm excited for the change as well. I will be doing all english work now. But it's in a place where there are a lot of hispanics. So I will still speak it while tracting and doing baptismal interviews and stuff. But I won't attend the spanish ward or teach spanish people. My companion only speaks english as well. His name is Elder Soderberg. He is on his last transfer so I will send him home then most likely end my mission in Moses Lake. Or as big D would say, the prophets puddle. I've heard a ton of good things about serving there.
Honestly I can't think of much that happened this week. We had one day where all of our set appointments went through. I don't think that has ever happened before. We have some investigators that are doing really well. We also found a couple of new ones. Jennyfer is still doing amazing. They are trying to get there divorces taken care of so they can get married and baptized on December 31st. I'm sad I won't be here for that one. But it's ok. She has come to church like the last 5 weeks in a row and is just soaking it all up. We watched the big long Joseph Smith movie with her and her boyfriend this week because it shows all of the trials that Joseph Smith goes through and what he does to deal with them. They were both able to relate to him. We also read Doctrine and Covenants section 121 with them. It's a great section as it talks about the prayer that Joseph offers while in Liberty Jail.
My testimony this week has just really been strengthened in the restoration of the gospel. As we watched that movie, or taught the restoration to various people I really felt the truth of this church. Then yesterday in church they talked a lot about the Book of Mormon. It has to be true! I know it is. Because that, I know that Christ is our Savior and that we have a modern day prophet. I'm so grateful for that. I love you all and hope you have a great week and a very Merry Christmas!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

PS. My new address is:
10821 Grace Lane NE
Moses Lake, WA 98837

December 12, 2011 E-Mail

We had a great week! Last Monday right after our p-day was over we went and had family home evening with some members and also our investigator Jennyfer who is dating the less-active Victor. They are doing really well and we actually saw them quite a few times this week. They both are currently living the word of wisdom which is a huge step for them. It was awesome because they threw out all of the cigarettes and also the coffee so that they wouldn't even have the temptation. They also will be able to live the law of chastity before her baptism date. They should be able to at least. They are both waiting for divorces to go through before they can get married. Well they should both be taken care of by like the 27th. As of right now they are planning on getting married then her getting baptized. It's been so great to see the changes and the happiness come from living the gospel of Jesus Christ. It's a happiness that anyone can experience regardless of where you're at in life. They have had some ups and downs between all of the trials they are having as well as the withdrawls from the smoking and drinking coffee. But over all, the quality of their lives has improved a bunch.
Tuesday morning we went to Spokane for our zone leader council. That's always a great experience to be uplifted by our mission president. It's sort of tough on us though because we are the furthest away from Spokane. Which means we have to get up at about 3:30 on those mornings. I think it really slows us down sometimes for the next few days. But we're doing well now! We talked a lot about patience. That really stuck out to me. I feel like I have become a little more patient throughout the mission. But I still have a long ways to go!
I had another experience that I've never had before. The sister missionaries called and said that a member of their ward needed help giving a blessing. Well it turns out it was to a guy with terminal cancer and he didn't have much time left. They caught it to late. Well I was the one who got to give the blessing. It was interesting because in a situation like that you pretty much either heal the person or let them know they are leaving this world. As I was giving the blessing I was not receiving any promptings that the guy was going to live. His whole family was there as well and I'm not sure if any of them are even members of the church. So I didn't want to say what I was prompted to say but knew I had to. As I told him he would be in peace and comfort as he shortly passes from this world the whole familly started to sniffle a lot harder. But I got a very warm feeling letting me know that's what needed to be said. It was an interesting experience.
And I think that was pretty much the highlights of our week. I know this church is true. I know that this is the true and restored gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ here on the earth. I know that by living this gospel that we will simply be happier. Thank you so much for everything! I hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

December 5, 2012 E-Mail

We had a great week but it was a tough one for teaching. It seems like every door we knock on after four they just tell us it's late and cold and to leave. It's starting to get dark pretty early and it has been really cold but no snow. I find it funny that people complain about how cold it is but then they don't let us in. It's also funny when people tell us it's late so we tell them it's only 5 then they don't really have anymore excuses. But the truth will always be rejected. It has been since the beginning of time.
We had a great week starting last p-day actually. We went on a crazy hike up to this giant cross on top of the mountain that lights up at night. Well we didn't take a trail, we just went straight up. It was intense. After we got down we got a call from a less active that we have been working with and his son was in the er and he wanted us to go give him a blessing. We changed our clothes and got up there as fast as we could. It turns out he was in a bunch of trouble and the cop was there waiting for him to be released so he could take him to jail. The cop waited for us to get there and give him a blessing so that was cool. He had gotten into some trouble earlier that day and the cops were looking for him. Then he got in a car wreck so it was pretty easy for the cops to find him. His two friends just ran from the scene. Well he had a concussion and wanted a blessing. We gave him a blessing then took off and they saw immediate results on his recovery. We are also teaching the less actives girlfriend and she was there and that really helped her know that the church is true. The next day we went over to there house to teach them and it was a very powerful lesson. I was on exchanges so Elder Kurtz wasn't able to be there with me. Before I left I gave both of them a blessing of comfort because of the hard times they are going through. It was one of the most spiritual times on my mission that I can remember. It was so good to be an instrument in the Lord's hands to help others feel His comfort. Then on Saturday we went with Victor, the less-active, to the jail to visit his son. That was an experience that I have never had. It was good to see him and to see him feel so much better. He understands he is in a bunch of trouble but is trying to make the best of a bad situation. Victor and Jennyfer both came to church yesterday and Jennyfer loved it. That's like her third time coming in a row. Victor struggled during church because all of the topics were things that he is currently struggling with. But he completely understands that it's going to be that way to help him improve. Last Friday he told us he couldn't quit smoking yet and he didn't know when he would. Then last night he told us that he feels in order to really progress that he needs to quit smoking today. It's such an amazing experience to see the spirit work with people like that. That was by far the highlight of the week.
We also had zone conference which is always good. It was here in Wenatchee which was nice because then we didn't have to travel. We learned all about the Doctrine of Christ. That is a very popular topic for us in zone conferences. I love it though because that's truly how we help others have happiness in there lives. We help strengthen there faith so that they can repent and be baptized and receive the give of the holy ghost to be a constant guide in our lives. The gospel is the best thing! I'm so grateful to be a missionary. I'm grateful to help others come unto Christ. I know that this church is true. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he restored the church through the power of God. I know that the true evidence of that is the Book of Mormon. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

November 28, 2011 E-Mail

We had a great week. But with the Thanksgiving holiday everything sort of just went by to fast. And as usual, I can't remember much of what happened. The coolest part of the week was that we had a baptism! John got baptized into the young single adult branch here. It was awesome. It happened on Wednesday night and was a great service. We were a little worried that not many people would show up since it was the holidays. But we had a great turn out. He had one of his really good friends baptize him. He was already practically a member. It was great to see how the branch fellowshipped him. The only bad part about the baptism was that while they were changing we watched the first vision. When they came out my companion got up to shut off the tv and some random guy there started to boo. That really killed the spirit. But over all it was great. I ended up giving one of the talks because the kid that made the program called us about a half hour before the baptism and said, "Hey Elder Schvaneveldt I asked you if you could give a talk on the Holy Ghost right?" He didn't, but that meant I had to. It went well.
Our turkey day went great as well. We had to do a lot of planning and paper work and that was a good day to do it since we couldn't really go out and knock doors. It was still a proselyting day, just not knocking. After all of our paper work and things we went and had dinner at the Pedersen's. As usual, that was really good. Then we decided to go to the hospital to see an investigator we have up there. We spent some time with him and shared a good lesson. After about an hour we decided to leave. As we were leaving a lady from behind us yelled, "Are you mormons?" We turned around and she could clearly see that we are mormons. He dad had just been admitted in the hospital and she was looking for someone that could give him a blessing but they are from Moses Lake so she didn't know anyone from up here. That was a good opportunity to be in the right place at the right time.
We have one investigator that is doing really well right now. Her name is Jennifer. I talked about her last week a little bit. Her boyfriend is a less active who I have been working with for a while. The both of them have come to church the last two weeks and really enjoyed it. Last night we had a lesson and as we were testifying of the atonement, the both of them got some watery eyes. The spirit was really strong. She wants to be baptized but they have a lot of changes that need to be made. But through the gospel of Jesus Christ they can do it.
That's about it for this past week. My back is doing a lot better this week. It helped after getting cracked back into shape by that chiropracter. I'm so grateful to be on a mission and to experience everything that I have. I know that we all have trials, members of the church, and non members. But through Jesus Christ we can overcome any trial or temptation that is thrown in our path. I love the scriptures and the teachings that they contain. Thank you for all you do for me! Have a great week!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

November 21, 2011 E-Mail

Our week started off great. Last p-day we had a church tour scheduled that went really well. Her name is Tabitha. I can't remember if I talked about her or not last week. Well she really enjoyed it and plans on coming to church. She wasn't able to make it yesterday because she went to a baptism at a different church for a friend of hers. We also gave a few more church tours. I love giving them because the majority of the time the spirit is really strong. Another one was to a young couple named Stefanny and Rodrigo. She is 17 and he is 18. They just barely had a baby about 2 weeks ago. Stefanny is a member and somehow the bishop got there number and passed it onto us. So we got in contact with them and started to teach them. Stefanny wants to come back and Rodrigo seems some what interested but you can see the fear he has of what his family might say because they are all catholic. They also were going to come to church yesterday but they hate going out in the cold with the brand new baby. And the weather the last few days hasn't been the best. It finally snowed! There is a guy here named Victor and he is a less active. I have been visiting him since I got to the area and trying to help him return to activity in the church. Well he has picked up some bad habits and gone through a lot of things and feels bad about coming back. So we went to see him the other night and he has a girlfriend living with him and he told us that she was interested in the church. We took them on a church tour as well and they came to church yesterday and seemed to really enjoy it. She wants to be baptized but has some things they need to take care of first. Then another church tour we had was with two girls and both of there names are Olivia. We had talked to one of there moms a long time ago and felt like we should go back to the house. Saturday night we went back and met Olivia and set up a church tour for last night. She said her whole family would be there. So we went to the house on Sunday to have them follow us to the church, I had very little faith that it was actually going to go through. Well the girl was there and said that her family had actually gone out of town but she wanted to come and her friend Olivia wanted to as well. We were glad to finally find some young single adults. That has been something that we have been struggling with since we were put to work in that branch as well. They might not come to church this week because of the holiday weekend. But they did want to come another time.
We should be having a baptism this week as well. I think I told you about John. Well he is a really cool 21 year old. He has now read all of the Book of Mormon and the Doctrine and Covenants. He is planning on being baptized the day before Thanksgiving. He should have been baptized a long time ago!
Now for the crazy story of the week. The sisters had met this guy and invited him on a church tour but they didn't really feel comfortable around him. So we took him on the tour. He came to the church and the sisters introduced us to him and then they left. We took him over to start the tour and we always ask the people why they come on tours. Well his reply was one I had never heard of before. He told us it was because one of the sisters was so beautiful and how that was his dream girl. This dude was like in his 40's or 50's. Pretty creepy. Well we continued with the tour and didn't even get done because there was a stake dance going on and the music was really distracting. Anyways he said he would come to there church services Sunday morning. So we had to go to the sisters sacrament meeting and tell them to go to a different one. He came in late and had his coffee and we were in the foyer because it was during the sacrament. I was really hoping he just wouldn't come. We waited out in the foyer and the guy was making some rude comments about some disabled children in the foyer then the deacon came out and offered him the water and in return he offered the deacon some coffee.... So we went in after the sacrament and about half way through the talk he got up and went out. We followed him out and he said it just wasn't for him. He told us his intentions of coming were to make that sister his wife... So I had to un invite him to church. That's a first. We just told him he was welcome there to learn more of Christ. But that was not appropriate if he was coming to see the sister and then asked him not to come back if that was his intentions. So I don't think he will be back.
Saturday morning we were moving firewood for a family that I moved firewood for last year. Well I was carrying the first box and it didn't weigh much at all. Maybe like 30 pounds. Well I set it down and threw out my back. It hurt like heck. I couldn't even bend over at all. It still hurts pretty bad but I went to a chiropracter last night and he adjusted me. We will see if that makes a difference over the next couple of days. I sure hope it does. And right after we moved the wood the sisters called and asked us to come help and move an investigator. So that didn't help out at all. But other than that it was a great week! Dad asked if we find out about transfers early as zone leaders. We find out on Saturday night usually and everyone else finds out on Sunday night.
I'm so grateful for this gospel in my life and for all of you. I'm grateful for all the blessings that God has given me. I'm so grateful for His plan that He has for every single one of us. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving!! Hopefully this gets to Jared because I wanted to tell him happy birthday! Have a great week!

November 14, 2011 E-Mail

Another crazy week is gone. I don't have a ton to write about because I just wrote on Wednesday. I guess I'll start off with transfer information. I'm sure Sister Pedersen already told you. But I'll be staying here again with my same companion. I'm really excited about that. We are able to work really well together.
We've had a couple of good things and a couple of bad things happen this week. I guess I'll start with one of the bad. It was probably the worst lesson I have been in my whole mission. It was with a couple who believes only in the bible. Well we thought we had been making a lot of progress with them helping them understand that if they want to know if we are right then they need to read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Well we went over with the stake president and we had planned to read a talk about the Book of Mormon with them. It would have answered a lot of the questions that they had about it. From the start there was a little bit of a different feeling than our other visits. And he mentioned a few times that all they needed was the bible. Well we began to read the talk and he got really upset. He began to raise his voice and totally reject everything we had been teaching. I think he got into some more anti material about the church. It sucks how much there is of that. But I had the worst feeling I have had my whole mission in that house that day. And it's because the spirit was not there at all. He began to reject truth and the spirit just took off. It was horrible! After he had been talking for a while my companion and I were just speechless. We teach by the spirit, so it was very very hard to say anything when the spirit was not there. The guy recognized that and offered to say a prayer. After the prayer the stake president said a few things then they invited us back next week.... I can't really figure that out but we will go and see what happens. It's sad because they just don't understand the happiness that we have received through living the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I know we can't force anything on them, and I know that they are happy people who have a lot of faith. There is no doubt in my mind about that. But they just can't see that we are offering more and that we are doing that because we love them. So that was discouraging. I don't think I have prayed so much for my investigators.
But on the bright side we did see a miracle this week. There is a lady in our area who has a friend who is a member of the church who lives in a different area. Well he invited her to a bbq and she went and really enjoyed it and met the missionaries there. She invited them down to her place for dinner. They went and explained how we work in different areas and that they would give the information to us. It turns out that this lady lives really close to where we live. Well she called us and asked for a priesthood blessing. Our first lesson started off great and the spirit was felt. Then the second lesson was a tour of the church and she really enjoyed that. She has been to tons of different churches and actually is the reason why the orthodox church is here in Wenatchee. But she is really open to us. She told us that she has recognized that God has been putting mormons in her path for a reason and she wants to know why. I guess over the last 6 months she has had a lot of contact with the church and that has stuck out to her.
Another sad/funny story. We met a new spanish family this past week and taught them a couple of times. Well on Saturday we taught just the guy. He seemed to really enjoy what we were teaching. We told him we would come by on Sunday and that he could follow us to church. We went by and found a note on the door saying thanks for bringing the word of God to there home but they were not interested in any other church than the catholic one. That is like the first written out note that me and my companion have gotten.
I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to have the experiences that I've had. I know that faith precedes the miracle. We have seen that over the last couple of weeks as our investigators have dropped us but we have been led to more. I know this church is true and that Jesus Christ is truly the head of it and that He is our Savior. Thank you so much for all of your love and support. Have a great week!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

November 9, 2011 E-Mail

Sorry I am so behind!

It seemed to be a good week but I can't remember much. I apologize I'm e-mailing today. We went to the temple so we had to change our p-day. It's about 5 pm here and we have been up since a little before 3. It was good going to the temple though. I miss going. It was also good because we got to meet Elders Garcia and Peterson there. We spent part of the day with them in Spokane then we just got back into Wenatchee.
It was sort of a tough week because I was sick a few of the days but still got out and worked everyday. Last week we were up before 6:30 almost day. One day at around 3:30 because we had to go to Spokane for zone leader council. So between the lack of sleep, weather changes, and just not feeling well I got a really bad fever and started to get pretty dizzy and had a really bad head ache. But Brother Pedersen and my companion gave me a blessing and I'm feeling quite a bit better this week. I'm trying to blame my fever on those new socks you sent me mom. Those things are nuts, I'm pretty sure they do raise my body temp. So thanks for those.
Our investigator in the wheelchair was the only one who was able to make it to church this week. A lot of our investigators have dropped us or sort of disappeared. We are going to be focusing on finding. We know that as we continue through the trial that we will be blessed to find those who the Lord has prepared for His gospel at this time.
Sorry this is so short! I love you all so much and thanks for everything. I'm so grateful for temples and the chance to go and get away from the world and feel of the spirit so strong. I know this church is true!! Have a great week!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Monday, November 7, 2011

October 31, 2011 E-Mail

So far this transfer has gone by faster than any other transfer. Although we still have a couple of weeks left but it feels like it just barely got started. Last Tuesday I spent the day in Spokane. We drove out early on Tuesday morning and got back really late on Tuesday night. That's the first time I have done exchanges with the assistants. We should do move, but we are just so far away from them that it's hard. But it was a really good day. We taught some really good lessons. I haven't really taught anyone without somewhat of a christian background and we taught one girl who was buddhist. That was really neat. Especially to watch her say one of her first prayers ever to God. I love watching baptisms and things, but there is nothing to me as spiritual as watching someone say a sincere prayer for the first time ever. On our way back to Wenatchee, Elder Eardley took me by one of the billboards in Spokane. I told him he would have to point it out to me and all he told me was that no he wouldn't have to. We came around the corner and there it was just huge. It definately sticks out more than anything else. And the crazy part is that it has a special light about it. There are many other billboards by it with lights on them and everything, but they do not light up like that one. It was awesome to see that. Then on Wednesday morning we got to go do some service. I think I already talked about the member who had open heart surgery and can't do much so we have been going by to help her. Well her husband is a none member and we got to help him some more on building his shed. He has met with the missionaries tons of times and has never really progressed. But his home teacher had a very loving and bold conversation with him the other day and told him that he just needs to make a decision because he basically already knows that the church is true. We will see what comes of that. But it was really fun getting to help him. Then on Thursday we got to help a lady move. I love doing actual physical labor every once in a while.
Yesterday was a great day at church. Jeff, the guy in the wheelchair, finally made it and loved it. But man, were we stressing. His ride was having vehicle problems and was about 40 minutes late. So we were sitting in sacrament meeting just waiting and waiting. Sundays as a missionary are not days of rest. They finally showed up and he stayed for all three meeting and loved it and wants to come back. It felt really good to finally be able to help him get to church. We also had another investigator there named John who will be baptized within the next couple of weeks. We were teaching him for a while and lost contact for about a month. He had moved and things. He is 21 and goes to the young single adult branch. Well we called him the other day and got to go back and see him. He has read all of doctrine and convenants and is in 4th nephi of the Book of Mormon. A month ago he wasn't ready to be baptized. But after reading that much he changed his mind. We are just waiting for him to get his work schedule to actually set a date. He is an awesome guy. The sad news it that Chris didn't come to church yesterday so he can't be baptized on the 12th anymore. But we had an awesome lesson with him last night and his date got changed to Thanksgiving day. So all is still going well here. You might not get an e-mail next week. And if you do, it will probably be on Wednesday. We are going to the temple so our p-day is going to be changed.
I'm so grateful to be a missionary and to help other's come unto Christ. We have really tried to raise the bar a little bit the last couple weeks and have been working so hard. It's been so great to see the changes that others are making in there lives. I know that the Spirit is real and that it is everything in this work. I know that it leads and guides us to the places that we need to be. I love you all and thanks for everything!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Monday, October 24, 2011

October 24, 2011 E-Mail

We had a great week this week and we are finally seeing some progression.  Yesterday was another tough Sunday.  Jeff, the guy who has been paralyzed and really wants to come to church, almost made it yesterday!  We had a ride to go get him and everything.  Well he was a little to big for the van that we had to go pick him up.  So he didn't quite make it again.  But we are going to try again next week.  We did have some great lessons this week.  One of them was with a lady named Idalia.  We met her a while ago tracting and went back to see her.  It was a really spiritual lesson about the restoration of the gospel.  She really enjoyed what we were teaching and she actually understood it.  She accepted a date to be baptized but that might be changed because she is working in the harvest right now picking apples.  That makes it really hard for people to get to church.  A guy in another area asked his boss for a Sunday off so he could be baptized and confirmed.  His boss almost fired him on the spot.  But the harvest should shortly be coming to an end.  Another great lesson was with Chad and Melissa.  They have found a lot of anti material and when we were there they pulled out the computer and brought up a website that said, "50 questions to ask a mormon."  The things were so untrue but they had no idea.  Anyways, the spirit was not real strong while we were talking about those things.  Then we had them go to instead and look up a video.  As soon as they did, the spirit came in the room so strong.  It was awesome.  Then again that is the job of the spirit, to testify of truth.  And it for sure did that as we watched a clip on that website.  Speaking of that, my profile has finally been accepted.  Those were probably the two main lessons.  We got to do some service too.  A lady in the ward had a heart attack so we went and cleaned out her chicken coops for her and also helped her husband rip down an old shed.  That was pretty fun.  He's a crazy old guy and I thought he was going to kill himself.
Sounds like things back home have been pretty crazy.  Dad being in Japan, Seth and Sierra trying to get into there house, all the dogs since Sis and Justin were in Barbados, then Ty and Bree being in Arizona.  Maybe things will calm down soon.  I couldn't believe that story you sent about the neighbors.  That's to bad the girl wasn't living when they found her.  I'm curious to hear more about that.  This week I decided to have my messed up toe nail taken off.  It wasn't really bothering me, but every so often I would have to basically do my own surgery on it and that wasn't to fun.  And there is a pediatrist here in one of the wards so he just ripped it off and killed the cells.  It didn't really hurt much but he did it on Saturday evening so he didn't want me working anymore that night.  We had a great church tour set up, so I went to the Pedersen's and watched church movies with Bro. Pedersen and my companion went and did the church tour with another member.  I'm excited to meet the guy because Elder Kurtz said he is really cool.  This transfer is going by so fast it's nuts.  I think in a couple of weeks we are going to go to the temple.  I'm excited because it will only be my second time my whole mission.  I miss it.  I'm also going to Spokane tomorrow.  Because we are Zone Leaders we go on exchanges with the Assistants.  They are coming out tomorrow and then I'm going back with on of them for the day.  It's a pretty far drive just to be there and work the area for the day, but I'm excited.  Considering I was called to the Spokane mission and haven't been near there my whole mission.  But I know the Lord puts us in the areas we need to be in for a reason.  At our dinner last night we were talking to the member about that.  It just made me really think about how there is no such thing as a coincidence.  God knows what He's doing.  That's something that my testimony has been strengthened in.  I love this work and I love this gospel.  I know this is the only true church.  Thanks for everything!!  Have a great week.
Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Monday, October 17, 2011

October 17, 2011 E-Mail

Well the exciting news for this week is that we had a baptism. I can't remember if I told you anything about this one previously. His name is Andraez. He is an 8 year old boy and has been coming to church pretty much his whole life with his Grandma and Uncle. But neither of his parents are members. Which makes it a convert baptism. It was really cool. And his uncle was the one who got to baptize him. That was the coolest part. His uncle is only like 16. It was a great experience for all of them. Although it was one of the most stressful baptisms I've had. You would think that with an 8 year old it wouldn't be that big of a deal. Well about 45 minutes before it started the branch presidency informed us that none of them would be able to make it to preside over the meeting. So we had to call a member of the stake presidency at the last minute to come over. We also had a very hard time finding people that could help with the program, such as talks, prayers, etc. The harvest time right now is just killing the spanish branch. Hopefully it will shortly be over. The attendance on Sundays is really bad during the harvest season.
I think I told you about our investigator who is in the wheelchair who was paralyzed from the chest down. Well he was supposed to come to church yesterday but he had some health complications and wasn't able to make it. But is planning on coming next week. It was a tough day yesterday with investigators at church. We had many people give us a definite yes that they would be there and none of them made it. It's horrible to see the stumbling blocks that are put into someones life when they are only trying to do what is right. I appreciated the talk in conference about how satan is real. It's true. I see it everyday that he just tears people down as far as he can. Luckily God is way more powerful and through faith we can overcome anything that satan puts in the way. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way that we can receive true happiness in this life.
Another cool thing that happened this week is that we got a legit media referral. My companion nor myself had ever received one that the person actually wanted us to come over. Usually different people just send them in for family and friends. Which is great. But when we get them we go over to the house within 24 hours and then we have to call in and update them. I have never had a positive update. Well we received the text telling us to take a together forever dvd to this ladies house. So later that afternoon we went over. Her husband answered the door and told us to come in. They were actually the ones who wanted us to come over!! It was a miracle. His wife was actually gone, but he said she was expecting us. Through playing phone tag for a couple of days we finally made an appointment. The problem is that they are going out of town for a while. But as soon as they get back we are going over. It turned out that she went to Hawaii to visit her aunt who is a member. They went to the temple and things and she wanted a together forever dvd. But they were out. So through the missionaries there we got the referral. We heard that she had been reading in the Book of Mormon and everything. Her next door neighbor is a strong member so they had talked about it before we even went over there. We are very excited to see what comes of it.
Well all is going great here. I know the church is true. We watched Elder Hollands talk the other night, "safety for the soul" and it just made me reflect on the beauty of the Book of Mormon. I know it is the word of God. I know that it is true. And I know that it is the keystone of our religion. I'm so grateful for the prophet Joseph Smith and the faith and endurance he had. I love doing what I'm doing. Have a great week!!!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

October 10, 2011 E-Mail

So my new companion and I get along great. His name is Elder Kurtz from Prescott Arizona. But it seems like we haven't got a whole lot of work done this week because of our different meetings and transfers and things. On Thursday we had to go to Spokane for our zone leader council. That always takes up about a whole day. We are up at about 3:45 and get back to Wenatchee at about 7:00. But we learned a lot on how to improve the things in our zones.
The campaign has been really cool. They started showing the commercials and things on October 3rd and we had quite a few people tell us they saw them. Members and non-members. One lady was not interested in listening to us at all. But after seeing a commercial she at least promised that she would check out the website. So if you haven't made profiles yet, do it! It doesn't take very much time at all. I made one, but I'm not sure if it's up yet or not. Tons of people are making them so it takes awhile for them to get approved.
Our investigator Chris accepted a date to be baptized for November 12th. He's the one who has a girlfriend who is a member. We got there and he told us how he wanted to wait like a year to get baptized. So my companion and I taught him a lot about how that is not something you want to wait for. By the time we were done he said yeah, I think I'll wait. I was pretty frustrated. We had a team teacher with us who bore his testimony and then talked about receiving the priesthood and stuff. Then after, Chris was like oh yeah I agree I get what you're saying. Maybe I shouldn't wait. Then he set the goal of November 12th.
We are also working with a couple who the missionaries were working with in the past. They just have some problems with the word of wisdom that they don't want to give up. They are really nice good hearted people though. They came to watch a baptism this week. That was really cool. I know this is pretty short but things are going great. Sometimes things aren't quite as exciting as Jared who is a branch president, or Weston who has to deal with typhoons. But I love my mission. I know the church is true! I love the Book of Mormon and the Bible. I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior and Redeemer. Through him, we can live with God again. I love you all! Thanks for everything.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

October 3, 2011 E-Mail

This e-mail probably won't be to long because nothing crazy happened this week. No weddings or anything stressful like that. So I'll start out with transfer information. I will be staying here again. My companion, Elder Jones, will be leaving. He is going to Othello to be with my MTC companion. And an Elder named Elder Kurtz will be coming to be my companion. I'm really excited. I've served around him a little bit, in fact he was my zone leader when I was in Mattawa, and I really enjoyed him. He has only been out 6 weeks longer than me.
Basically the highlight of this week as you all know was General Conference. I really enjoyed it and I was even able to stay awake this time! I need to review my notes again to remember it all, but the one talk that really stuck out to me was that one yesterday morning about the Book of Mormon. That talk was sweet. The whole time I was just thinking about some investigators that we have that won't read in the Book of Mormon. If they could have just heard that talk! I loved how he said that it's either of God, or of satan. There are no inbetweens at all. As we read it, if it makes us feel better and closer to God, which it does, then it is of God. If it makes us feel closer to satan then it's of him. But it clearly won't do that. I love how he quoted a few scriptures. It testifies of Jesus Christ and brings us so much closer to Him. And it's the keystone of our religion. If it's true, then the rest of it is. I can't wait to get that talk printed off and read it with a few people we have been working with lately.
I just thought of this awesome guy named Jeff that we met this past week. He is paralyzed from the chest down and has been since last May. He had a 19 year old son that had passed away and they were at the funeral home getting his funeral set up. Well on there way home his wife fell asleep driving and rolled the car and it paralyzed him. This was all out in Iowa and due to finances he had to move out here to live with his mom. He had the most positive attitude for all that he had been through it was amazing. He is stuck to his wheelchair and wants to come to church but has no transportation because they can't afford a wheelchair accesible van yet. We are working on finding a way for him to get to church. He is a really cool guy.
Jesus and Desiree are still doing really well. Jesus has been really busy working because it's right in the middle of apples and pears up here. So a bunch of the hispanics are really busy. Hopefully as the fruit season dies down, our work will pick up. Alma is also doing great. She came to conference yesterday and all she could say was, "awesome!".
I love the gospel and I know it's true. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a true prophet of God. I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know the church is true! Have a great week. I love you all!
Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Saturday, October 1, 2011

September 26, 2011 E-Mail and Pictures!

What a crazy week!!! The first really cool thing that happened was that we had a visit from a seventy, Elder Lynn G. Robbins. It was awesome. He didn't just focus on things here in the mission, but things for life. It was all about how we have 100% agency for all we do, which means we also have 100% responsibility of all of our actions. He talked to us about being good parents and stuff, that part was sort of weird. It was really cool though because we got to be with him almost all day. Because all of the zone leaders and district leaders met with him for a few hours before the rest of the missionaries did. We have been really blessed to be in the presence of general authorities recently. It has been awesome! I think it has lifted the mission quite a bit.
Now for some more exciting news, we had a wedding this week! And a baptism! It was crazy and I'm never going to plan another wedding as long as I live. The fun started last Monday night when they went to get there marriage license and they showed up about 10 minutes to late. Well in Washington there is a three day waiting period between the time you get the license and the wedding. The day they were going to get married was Friday. So that meant the only day they could get there license was on Tuesday or else it was to late. But Jesus works about 40 minutes away and stays up there all week long because he can't afford gas to come down to Wenatchee. And Desiree is currently out of a car and she lives about 20 minutes from the courthouse where you get the marriage license. Thank goodness for awesome church members!!! We were able to make it all happen. Sister Olson, an awesome Sister of the ward went and picked up Desiree and the kids and took her to the courthouse. Then the one and amazing Brother Pedersen saved the day again. He drove my companion and I up to where Jesus was working and we picked him up then brought him back to Wenatchee then Brother Pedersen drove him back up after. He also saves us I swear. Well we were at the courthouse waiting for Sister Olson and Desiree to get there. They told us that they had to be there by 4:30 and they showed up at like 4:31. It was a close one, but they got the license and all went well. God had his hand in everything we did this week. So Monday night they had there baptismal interviews and all was well, Tuesday they got the license. So we thought we had jumped the main hurdles. We were wrong. Thursday night we were setting up for the wedding and it was getting late and we needed to get home. We had a member there helping us, but we didn't just want to leave her hanging on her own. It just happened to be that a bunch of young single adults were there who could help set up. So we were able to leave and they set it all up. Friday we had everything planned out. We had a lady going down to pick up Desiree at 4:30 then go to the church to do her hair and do all that girl stuff. Well at 4:35 we were in a meeting with our bishop and we got a text saying she couldn't do it. So 2 hours before the wedding we had to find someone that could do her hair and go get her. We were freaking out and didn't really know what to do. And Desiree was also starting to have like a nervous break down. We were calling everyone and it just wasn't working out. Then we drove by the church and saw a ladies car there who we thought could do it. We drove up and she wasn't even there, but it turns out that another guy was there and he was like oh just call my wife she could do it. So she came straight to the church. Now we just needed a ride for Desiree. She had asked a member to get her some shoes and bring them to the church. Well the member just felt prompted at that exact time to go and take the shoes to Desiree. She got there right as Desiree was starting to worry and not know what to do. She also surprised her with a sweet wedding dress and she drove her to the church. That was Sister Olson again saving the day. Then we got a call saying that Jesus needed a ride from there house to the wedding. So we called everyone we could think of and no one could do that. Right as we hung up with the last person, a couple showed up to the wedding about 45 minutes early. They had gone and got dinner and felt for some reason that they should just go to the church and eat it. Well the guy was able to take us to pick up Jesus. We went down and took him the tux that someone let us borrow and then we came back. By the time we got back there were tons of people just helping Desiree and taking care of her kids and everything. Everything worked out!!! It was amazing it all came together. Without the spirit working in members lives, it wouldn't have happened. Then they were baptized on Saturday, and confirmed on Sunday. This week wore me out more than any other week I think! But it all happened and it was all because of the great members here. We had members from all of the wards helping. And that was our week!
I love the mission! And I love the people, including members and investigators. I'm so grateful for this gospel and for repentance. It has been great seeing people's lives change, including my own. I know that Christ is our Savior and that through him we can be cleansed. Through reading the Book of Mormon we can come so close to him. I love you all so much and thanks for everything! Have a great week!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

September 19, 2011 E-Mail

It has been another one of those crazy weeks that has just flown by. Thank you so much for all the birthday wishes and the testimonies you sent me. I had a great birthday last week thanks to you all. It's pretty weird turning 21. Especially as a mormon. Because nothing changes! I guess that's a good thing! It sounds like you all had a great time at the family reunion too.
On Friday we had something pretty cool happen. We had been at the church pretty much all day between our meetings we had and planning and things. So it was driving us nuts just being there so we took off to do some work. Well we went to the trailer park where we had planned to tract and neither of us really felt like that was the place to be. So we talked about it for a minute and we decided that we would go to a different place where we had been tracting the day before. We went there and the first door we knocked on a lady answered and was really nice. Her name is Maribel. She told us how her husband had talked to missionaries in the past but that he was busy at the moment. We asked if we could come back in 15 minutes and she said sure. So we went back and he invited us right in. It was another one of those situations where I thought it was going to be a bash but he was the nicest most sincere guy. His name is Selvin. We talked for a while and it turns out he even went to church once but because of his work schedule he couldn't keep attending. Since then his schedule has changed. On Saturday they came to the church and did a church tour then they stayed for an activity that took place. It was awesome. They were trying to make it to church yesterday but couldn't make it. I'm pretty excited to see what comes of it.
The spanish branch is the one who put on the activity but they invited the whole stake. I think they said like 300 people came. It was basically a multicultural celebration thing. So there was a lot of food and some talents. Right when it started we were told that all of the missionaries would be singing called to serve in spanish. It went well. And the food was awesome! The day before they had gone and killed a couple of pigs. One of them they cooked in a hole in the ground however they do that. They other I'm not sure how they cooked it. Spanish branch activities are always the best.
Jesus and Desiree are still doing well. They are going to get there marriage license today and will be having a baptismal interview tonight also. Satan is really trying to make things hard on them. He will do anything he can to destroy a family. Yesterday they got in a really big fight. We showed up at just the right time and had the perfect team teacher with us to help the situation. It's funny how the Lord works like that. Then while my companion was teaching Jesus in Spanish I was able to just talk to Desiree in english and really help her out. She was telling me how her mind was telling her not to go through with it, but her heart was. So I was able to teach her about the spirit and how it communicates with us. Both of them have changed so much and just want to come closer to God and do what God wants them to do. My companion and I have been doing a lot of praying for them.
I know that God is our Heavenly Father and that He is well aware of everything that is going on in our lives. Through prayer we can communicate with Him and He can help us. He listens and He answers. I know this gospel is true. Thank you so much for all you do!!!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

September 12, 2011 E-Mail

Yesterday was pretty much the most exciting day of the week. It was stake conference. Well we were waiting outside for our investigators to show up(Jesus and Desiree). Well they weren't coming so we were getting a little sad and then went in to listen to the meeting because it was being broadcast from Salt Lake. So we went in and about a half hour later a spanish investigator came in from the Sisters area. So we took her and showed her where the room was where it was all translated into spanish. Then we were walking back to the english room and saw another spanish lady coming in so we decided to wait for her to show her where to go. And in the mean time, Jesus and Desiree came walking in. And it was at the perfect timing because a lady was walking out of the bathroom and it turns out that she used to teach Desiree in like kindergarten. Well Jesus and Desiree are planning on getting married on the 23rd and Desiree was worrying a little bit about it because they don't have any money or any plans or anything at all. But she mentioned to Sister Lacy that they were going to get married. Sister Lacy was so excited and told her that she would take care of a lot of it and she has a lot of the stuff to decorate for weddings. It was awesome! So Jesus and Desiree are still doing awesome and progressing so well. They fed us dinner a couple of times this past week and it was great. I'm really excited for them and the changings that they are making in there lives and the blessings that they are receiving.

The other night we were with a team teacher and he was taking us back to the church to get our car. It was pretty late and completely dark. Well we saw a duplex that was completely engulfed in flames. And the fire department wasn't even there. So my companion called 911. It was crazy. While he was on the phone with 911 something in the house blew up and flames went everywhere. It was pretty cool looking. Luckily no one was hurt other than a pet bird.
Last Tuesday we had a training. It was really cool. I think I mentioned it last week, but the ad campaign they are doing is going to be sweet. There are going to be tons of commercials on tv and also the internet and some billboards. I know they are doing it where Sis and Justin live too. I know she was trained on it. They told us to make some profiles so I should be making mine this upcoming week. I think the campaign is going to work miracles. They said last time they did it in different missions that the members and missionaries just weren't prepared and it wasn't very effective. That's why they are training all of us and the members so it becomes a great experience.
That's really about it for the week. Sounds like the family reunion will be fun. Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes and the love and support. I know this church is true. I know it was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that the Book of Mormon is true. And I also know that when we are obedient we are blessed. I love you all so much! Have a great week!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Saturday, September 10, 2011

September 6, 2011 E-Mail

It was a great week. But once again I can't really remember much that happened. I'm sure you are sic of me saying that to you guys. I've been sick this past week and I'm just getting over it. Just a really bad cold. But we still got out everyday and worked. Jesus and Desiree are doing so great. They came to church again on Sunday for all three hours and they loved it. They told us that they feel so much better after they go to church. They invited us over last night for dinner and it was great. We taught them the law of chastity. I taught him in spanish while my companion taught her in english. They really seem like they want to get married and change there lives around. They know that through God it is possible but there is no other way. And they are already seeing some of the blessings and happiness from keeping the commandments and living the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are such a great couple and family.
That other guy I talked about, Chris, is doing awesome too. He is the one who's girlfriend is a member. Well him and the girlfriend sort of broke up and he's still investigating. So we know that he is doing it all for himself and not for her. We have had some great lessons with him and he's even reading in the Book of Mormon. He told us that this is something he has been seeking for, he just didn't know it until it came to him. Preach my gospel mentions how there are many people who are seeking for the gospel, they just don't know where to find it. He says he wants to be baptized he's just not quite sure on a date yet. He was going to come to church on Sunday but had to go to the doctor. He was refilling a lighter and got lighter fluid on his hand then lit the lighter and burned himself.
I think I also mentioned teaching Corina. She is a great lady who we met tracting and she just opened up about her whole life story with us. Well we have taught her a couple of times and she is came on a church tour and really enjoyed it. They church tours are awesome because everyone that come's on a church tour then feels comfortable to come to church.
It's going to be another busy week. Within our mission they are doing a ad campaign. So throughout the mission there will be billboards and stuff advertising I think they said only 9 missions in the United States get this opportunity right now. Tomorrow someone from Salt Lake is coming to train us on how to effectively us the ad campaign. It should be a great training and we should see great things come from this.
Well I know that this church is true and I know that Jesus Christ is our Savior. We met a guy yesterday who was sort of arguing about being saved by grace and not works, well anyways it just really made me think of our Savior. I know that He died for us. And I know that he will make up for our short comes. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. It's been a great experience. I love you all!! Thanks for all of your prayers, love, and support. Have a great week!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Sunday, September 4, 2011

August 29, 2011 E-Mail

It was a good week but not to much happened. It can't compare to the week before. This whole week we had our mini missionary. His name was Jared and he was from Spokane. He was a really cool kid and had a hard time leaving he loved it so much. He was 17 so still has a couple of years before he goes. You might remind me talking about Jesus and Desiree when I first got here to this area. Well they sort of fell off the charts for awhile because he was working so much. We made contact with them the other day and he isn't as busy. They came to a church tour the other day. They loved it. After they stayed to watch a baptism. Then the next day they were at church for all 3 hours and loved that too. They are doing really well. I lost hope and faith in them before because they never did anything. But now my hopes are high again!

Yesterday we did get some upsetting news. It was pretty hard on us. Our investigator that was supposed to get baptized next Saturday decided she didn't want to. She sent us a big huge text message basically dropping us. It's tough because if anyone knows that the Book of Mormon is true it's her. I believe she will come around and be baptized. But it's not going to be this next Saturday.
With that, we did a lot of finding this past week. And on Saturday we had a great day. We decided to go and try to see a potential investigator who is really awesome. She really wants to find out if these things are true, but her husband feels comfortable where they are. But we taught about the Book of Mormon and committed her to read it and she agreed. Her 9 year old daughter was also very excited to read it. Then we decided to go and knock some doors. We tracted into this guy who said his girlfriend was a member and that she would be at his house in about an hour. He invited us back. I sort of just thought it was a brush off. So we went back and he was there. Him and his girlfriend are supposed to come on a church tour tonight. I'm looking forward to that one.
We have started a little group here of recent converts. Every Monday night we meet at one of there houses and watch a little church video and then eat ice cream. It's really cool to be around them all and feel of there fire and strong testimonies. There are a lot of great recent converts here who have stayed active and will be going to the temple within the year.
That is honestly about all that happened this week. At least as far as I can remember. I've really enjoyed reading in the ensigns lately. I'm so grateful that we have a living Prophet who talks to God and tells us what God wants us to know. I'm also very grateful for the opportunity that we have to listen to the Prophet and apostles in general conference coming up. I know this church is true without a doubt. I also know that the Book of Mormon is true without a doubt. I love you all so much. Thanks for your support and prayers! Have a great week!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

August 22 E-Mail

This week has probably been one of the best weeks of my mission. It started out on Tuesday when we went to Spokane to listen to L. Tom Perry. That was way awesome. He went through and taught us the restoration in detail. He also had Elder L. Whitney Clayton and he taught us about the Book of Mormon and prayer. The coolest part of all of it was that we got to shake Elder Perry's hand! We introduced ourselves and he told me he thought I was from Logan when he heard my name. So somewhere down the road he know's some Schvaneveldt's. The spirit was very strong as we sat and listened to them speak. It only lasted a couple of hours. I wish it could have been more. Then on our way home from Spokane Alma texted us and told us she had her tithing all ready to pay to the bishop. That never happens from people who aren't baptized yet! And she was baptized on Saturday. It was great. I was given the opportunity to baptize her and it was awesome. She was so prepared. As I have said before I have never seen someone so prepared. We set a baptismal date for her on our second visit and she went through with that date. And she gave up stuff and made some big changes. And she is doing great. I can't wait to see her with a calling. She is a great addition for the ward here.
Right after her baptism yesterday we had another great opportunity that a lot of missionaries dream of. The Sisters in the area next to us are teaching a spanish guy named Oscar. Well he is a radio show host and basically famous around here. Everyone mexican knows him. Well he was doing a grand opening for a restaurant and invited the Sisters and they invited us because they were a little bit worried about there spanish. So we got there and go to introduce ourselves on the radio. Then he took us in and bought us lunch and we thought that was it. Then he called us back over to where he was hosting the radio station and gave us the mic and turned the time over to us. So we were able to invite everyone on the radio to church and also on a church tour. It was sweet! We are hoping to see things from that.
Then immediately after that we went and picked up a kid in another ward to go team teaching with us. Well we had planned to do all spanish work but he didn't speak any spanish. I told my companion we should go and try to see Angela since she speaks english. She is the one who fell off the charts forever and we have seen a few miracles with. Well we went over and she let us right in. She dumped all of her concerns on us again and then she said but it doesn't even matter. The night before a kid had showed her some anti stuff about the church and she found herself defending the church. She told us that helped her realize that the church is true. And that the book of mormon is true. And she set a baptismal date for the 3rd of September. It was amazing! Then she came to church on Sunday and of course Alma was confirmed.
This has been one of the best transfers for sure. I have seen tons of miracles and worked my butt off. We did get our transfer information last night and Elder Jones and I will be staying together. But we have been given a little more responsibility. We will do some work in the singles branch here too. So that is pretty exciting. We are also getting a priest this week from Spokane and he will be with us all week. There young mens wanted to do a mini mission thing for a week. So the stake president got with the mission president and put it all together. We pick him up tomorrow and he will be with us until next Monday. I love this gospel and I know it's true! I'm so grateful to have a living Prophet and look forward to general conference that is coming up. I hope you all have a great week!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

August 15, 2011 E-Mail

We had a great week. We did end up moving last Tuesday. We are in a lot smaller of a place. We were really spoiled before. But it works out well. Our house is about 8 miles away at least from most of our work so we don't spend anytime there because we don't have the miles to be able to go back and forth for meals.

Everything is looking good with Alma to be baptized this Saturday. We saw a huge miracle with her last Tuesday. We went and visited her Monday evening and she had smoked 7 cigarettes that day. She was really discouraged because she hadn't been able to quit. Well we taught her about fasting and had planned to fast with her on Wednesday so that she would be able to quit. She had also read a part in the bible where it talked about fasting and prayer to overcome those types of things. Well Tuesday morning we were doing some service and when we finished we had a voicemail from her asking us to call her. The majority of the time that is not the best sign. So I called her back and she said you're never going to believe it, but I woke up and they're gone. So I said awesome! Don't go buy anymore. And she said no, I still have the cigarettes but the desire to smoke them is completely gone. She said she woke up and was praying and just felt the Holy Ghost touch her and the desire to smoke leave her. So she went outside because she didn't really believe what was happening. She grabbed a cigarette went out to light it and she never lit it. She hasn't smoked since Monday!! For the past 30 years she has been trying to quit and not been able to do it. Then she put all of her trust in the Lord, and she did it!! It's gotta be one of the craziest things I have seen my entire mission. We found her about 4-5 weeks ago. Within those weeks she has completely changed and gained a testimony of the restored gospel. She is by far the most prepared person I have seen. And she will be baptized on Saturday. We are very excited about that!! She is going to be an amazing addition to the ward. Last night when we were visiting her she told us that she didn't see Ms. Bonnie at church today, who is a recent convert also. But anyways she told us that she was going to go over and check up on her to make sure she was okay. She will be awesome in the relief society!!
I also had my testimony strengthened in prayer. We went to go see an investigator who was doing really well and preparing for baptism but then about 3 months ago she fell off the charts. We have tried to see her and talked to her a few times but never been able to teach her. Well last Friday we felt prompted to go and see her. We parked in front of her house and I said to my companion that we should say a prayer. So I prayed that we would be able to teach her and discover all of her concerns. Everything worked out perfectly. We got to the door and knocked and a visitor was leaving at the same time. So they had no excuses to not answer the door. Then she was right on the other side. So she came out and started talking to us. We hardly said anythig at all and she just unloaded all of her concerns about the church and everything on us. Then I felt really prompted to share a scripture with her. I turned to it and my companion looked at me and started to smile. He then said the exact scripture popped to his mind. We read it and she just said wow. And we have an appointment set up this week. So that's very exciting!
We also taught the lady who we gave the Book of Mormon to. The one who said she had been praying for that. We had a decent lesson with them. I feel that she is very prepared but her husband might cause some stumbling blocks. He is a great guy just doesn't really understand the restoration of the gospel.
Yesterday I spoke in sacrament about following the example of our Savior. I focused on the attributes. It just really reminded me how perfect he really is. And also how it's a commandment to become like him. We are so fortunate to have the restored gospel to help us along our journey to become more like him. To be able to be baptized by the proper authority then to go to church and partake of the sacrament that is blessed by the proper authority all so we can become more clean and become more like him. I love this gospel and I love you all! Thanks for everything!

Monday, August 8, 2011

August 8, 2011 E-Mail

It's been a good week but a crazy one.  I'm sort of worn out.  The day after we finished up with our 80 hour finding week we had to go to Spokane for a zone leader council meeting and I had to drive.  So I was up at 4 in the morning.  And as a missionary you never have time to catch up on the lack of sleep you get through out the week.  But it was a really good meeting with the mission president and all of the zone leaders in the mission.  I can't remember if I told you or not, but next Tuesday we get to go back to Spokane again.  And that's because Elder L. Tom Perry is coming to our mission and will be speaking to us on the 16th.  I'm pretty excited about that.  I think a 70 is coming with him but I'm not sure who.  Also in September we will have another 70 coming to tour the mission.  It should be a great blessing and an uplifting experience to hear them speak to us.
Our investigator Alma is still doing great.  She has a ton of faith and the greatest desire to quit the habits that she has so that she can be baptized.  Yesterday I was fasting that she would come to church and she didn't show up.  I was sitting on one of the benches sort of murmuring to myself since she wasn't there and I looked up and the bishop was pointing to the back of the room.  She came late.  Lesson learned, not to murmur and just to continue on with faith!  Anyways she stayed for all three hours and just loved it.  She felt the spirit so strong that she just cried the whole time she was there.  It's so awesome to see investigators that fulfill there commitments and receive testimonies on there own.
On our 80 hour week the first three days were tough.  They were about 13 hour days each day and we walked a ton because we tried to stay on foot so we could talk to everyone.  We faced a ton of rejection and not many people wanted to talk to us.  On either the third or fourth day, one of the first doors we knocked on we met a lady named Melissa.  I told you a little about her last week.  She said she had been praying that if God wanted her to read the Book of Mormon he would have it delivered to her door.  And then we knocked on the door.  She was working two jobs so we haven't gone back yet, but we have an appointment today.  We also met a really cool hispanic lady named Myra.  She's a young single mom.  We were going to her house to try and see her dad but he wasn't there and we met her.  She has faced a lot of trials in her life and sort of got away from religion but she's ready to come back.  Then one night we met this lady who is really cool.  She has 4 large dogs on the other side of the fence so as we walked by they started to bark and the lady came out.  It turns out that her grandparents were members of the church and that her family is looking for a church here in East Wenatchee.  We are trying to get a church tour set up with her but she also works a lot.  Then we met a lot of crazy people.  One kid we met I'm pretty sure is the brother of Napoleon Dynamite.  He was nuts.  He's a jew of some sort so he wasn't to excited to be talking to us.  And a lot more happened but I think my brain got fried from the heat and the sun.  So my memory is not doing to well.
This past week just made me realize that it doesn't matter how much rejection we face.  This message is still true.  It just reaffirmed my testimony that this church is true, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God, and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God.  Thank you for all that you do for me!  I love you all!  Oh yeah, we are moving houses tomorrow and I think my new address will be....
2965 Jamaica St.
Malaga, WA 98828
Have a great week!!!!

Monday, August 1, 2011

August 1, 2011 E-Mail

The 80 hours is going great.  Right now we are at about 74 so we have at least 6 more to do today.  It's been crazy but we have seen some miracles.  The main one that sticks out is that we knocked on a ladies door and she acted like she was going to bash with us.  Well I lifted up the Book of Mormon and she said that she had prayed earlier that morning and told God that if He wanted her to read that book that He would send it to her that day.  And at about 9:30 AM we showed up.  We are going back next week to teach her.  We did a lot of walking, had a lot of rejection, saw miracles, saw the power of prayer, and some good sun-burns.  It was definately a hard working week.  We haven't taken a dinner or lunch since last week.  It's been awesome.  I even got a little sun burned through my shirt.  But all is well and I should have some more time to write tomorrow.  We are going to Spokane tomorrow for Zone Leader Council so that will give us a little break then we will be right back at it.  Hopefully you get the flooded basement cleaned up and all is well.  I love you all!!  Thanks for everything!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

July 25, 2011 E-Mail

Another great week has gone by. The sad part is that I can't seem to remember much of what happened. It seemed like I was just barely here e-mailing yesterday. The highlight of our week is our awesome investigator that we have Alma. She is doing very well. We went and visited her with the bishop the other day and we taught her the word of wisdom. It was a very bold lesson and the bishop did most of the teaching. She was afraid she wasn't going to get the money to be able to put gas in her car to come to church on Sunday. So the bishop very lovingly told her if she didn't buy cigarettes she would be able to put gas in her car. Then we left and he gave us ten dollars and told us to go back on Saturday and give it to her if she hadn't come up with gas money. Anyways we went back and she told us she still hadn't gotten the money but she would be there on Sunday. So we didn't give her the money that bishop had given us. We wanted it to be like a test. Well sure enough she showed up to sacrament meeting yesterday. It was so awesome!!! She was crying during the meeting and everything. Then after she told us that she was studying from the word of wisdom pamphlet we gave her and she opened up the book of mormon and it wasn't to the right place but she started to read and it just hit her and she knew it was true. She was so happy. We are going back to see her tonight.

Last night we also had a great experience with a church tour. Mom you asked about it and the way it works is we start out in the foyer showing them a picture of Christ and explaining that are church is founded on His doctrine. Then after we take them into the chapel and explain about the meeting and the sacrament then we ask them where they would like to sit on Sunday then commit them to come to church. Then the last stop is the baptismal font room. We explain how Christ was baptized and the importance of being baptized. Then we invite them to be baptized. Some recent converts invited one of there employees and her family on a tour last night. It was really powerful because in the chapel we invite the members to bear there testimony about the sacrament. So the member was bearing her testimony and got very emotional. So then the non-member girl also felt the spirit so strong and was getting very emotional. The family doesn't live in our area, but hopefully they will come to church. They are having some family issues and the best cure for that is the gospel of Jesus Christ.
That's about all I can remember from this week. Starting tomorrow we are going to begin our 80 hour tracting week. We just really need to find new investigators and that's our plan to do it. Hopefully we will see some miracles. I know that this church is true. I'm so grateful for the guidance it has given me in my life and the guidance it can give to anyone if they accept it. I love you all!!! Have a great week!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

July 18, 2011 E-Mail

Things are going great here in the new area. My new companion is Elder Jones and he's from Mesa Arizona. He's an awesome missionary and we get along great! I really enjoy working with him. We have been doing a lot of finding. Before I got here they had a few really good people who were so close to being baptized then they just fell off the face of the earth. One of them they haven't seen for two months. Well we tried to go by her house on Saturday because they have tried going by every other week or so. Well her daughter told us she was inside sleeping. So we found there lawnmower and cut there grass for them. Then yesterday morning at church we were outside waiting for another investigator to come to church and I saw that ladies car pull up. Elder Jones was so excited it was crazy. So they haven't seen her for about 2 months then she just shows up. She has a strong testimony already. She told us that she knew she needs to be at church and that this is the right church. I'm pretty excited to see what happens with her. She is a very cool lady. We also found a few other new investigators this week who are doing pretty well. One of them is a single mother. Here in this zone we do church tours. It's a program approved by the first presidency and it's really cool. It helps people realize that we are focused and founded on our Savior Jesus Christ, then we talk about the importance of the sacrament and also baptism. Well we met that single mother on Thursday then invited her on a church tour on Friday. She came and loved it. She also accepted a baptismal date. We are praying a lot for her. She has a daughter who is about 17 and her daughter has tons of friends that come over. Yesterday we taught her daughter and some friends and we have another church tour with her them tonight. The church tours are a great program. They just started not to long ago so this is the first time I have been able to do it. The spirit is so strong during them. The first people I met since I have been back in this area are also a really great couple. Elder Jones met them a while ago and felt prompted to go back and see them. We have had a few great lessons with them. We are seeing things picking up here. Elder Jones and I have a crazy goal that we are going to do this transfer. We are going to do an 80 hour tracting week... It's something that Elder Jones' dad did on his mission. The following transfer they had 11 baptisms. And his dad is always rubbing it in to Elder Jones. So we also are going to do it! It's going to be crazy but I'm excited. It means we will have to get up a couple hours early so that we can still get our studies in.

It was really weird coming back to the area. Many people just told me welcome home. I saw lots of people that I knew at the funeral of Sister Critchell on Thursday. It was a really good funeral. And I was also given the opportunity to be a pallbearer. That was a good experience. It was sort of sad but she's a lot better off now. Yesterday the speaker in our sacrament meeting spent a lot of time with Sister Critchell. Well about two weeks ago Sister Critchell told this lady the things that she would say if she spoke in church. So that was pretty much the talk that the speaker gave. It was really good.
I really don't have much to say because we have spent so much time trying to find new investigators lately. And we also have spent quite a bit of time just doing paperwork. But things are great and I love the area. We live in a really good place too. It's just a little tiny house behind a members house. There house is for sale though so we will see how long that lasts. I love this church and I'm so grateful to have it in my life. I'm so grateful to have the word of God in the bible and the book of mormon and also through our living prophet. I know this church is true and I love sharing that message! I love you all! Have a great week.

July 11, 2011 E-Mail

I'm behind again.... sorry to those who read this!

Saturday night I got a phone call from Sister Pedersen in East Wenatchee telling me that the lady I had lived with, Sister Critchell was passing away. So I got to say goodbye to her. Then on Sunday morning Brother Pedersen called me and said he got permission from the Mission President for me to come to the funeral even though it's not in my zone. I was really excited about that and excited that I was going to get to go back for a day. Then last night I found out that I will be transferred back to East Wenatchee. So then I was really surprised. When I was there before I covered two wards, there are only three wards on that side of the river and now I will be working in the third ward. And that's transfers! I was also called to be a zone leader with and Elder named Elder Jones. He is a really good missionary and I'm excited to serve with him. But at the same time I'm sad I have to leave Mattawa. I can't felt like I would be leaving, I was just really surprised about where I'm going again. I've truly grown to love the people here and the hispanic culture since this whole place is basically spanish. I've also developed great relationships here with the people. So it will be hard to say goodbye to everyone and everything. But that's the way things work!

Really not that much happened this week. I spent quite a bit of time in Royal City. I went up there Tuesday night for an exchange and I was planning on coming back on Wednesday night. In order to be in our houses by 9:30 Wednesday night we would have had to leave Royal City at like 8:00. Well we got caught in a really rough lesson with some guys that just wanted to bash and we kept telling them we had to leave and the guy just kept going on and on and on. And by the time we got out it was like 9:00. So I ended up just spending the night in Royal City again. Then I went back up there on Friday to do our district meeting and I also had to do a baptismal interview. It was a really neat experience to see how prepared there investigator was. She is originally from Royal City but she moved to Texas after she graduated. Her boyfriend is from Royal and is now on a mission. Well in Texas someone sent the missionaries to visit her. She said she was to busy but she would call them when she was ready. 99.9% of the time you never receive a phone call in that situation. But about two months later she called them back. Then she decided she wanted to come back here for the summer and get baptized here since her boyfriends family is from here and also her family. So the missionaries have only been teaching her for like a week and she will be baptized next Saturday. She already has a strong testimony. So that was a neat experience.
We spent a lot of time in our own area trying to find new investigators. It was a little tough. We tried working with members and also knocking a lot of doors. It was just tough finding people. Right now is the busiest time for the hispanics to work because they are picking cherries and also thinning apples. But Saturday we were blessed to find a few new investigators who were really nice. We will see what comes of that. One of our investigators was going to Seattle this week to get his mexican ID so he could get a marriage license and get married. Well he got robbed and they took his birth certificate and all his paperwork that was needed to get the ID. It's going to be a big stumbling block for him.
That was our week. I'm so grateful for the gospel and the opportunity we have to live together as families with our Heavenly Father after this life. I'm so grateful for the scriptures and the teachings that have been given to us to help us progress. I know the church is true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I also know that Thomas S. Monson is a living prophet of God. Thank you for all of your support! Have a great week.

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Friday, July 8, 2011

July 5, 2011 E-Mail

It was a great 4th of July weekend. Because of the holiday yesterday was a proselyting day and today is p-day. Unfortunately, the orchards don't close down on holidays and all of the hispanics still work. So yesterday was not a very successful day at all. If anything most people left this little town to go to some bigger events. But we got out and still worked. It was the same on Saturday too. We spent pretty much the whole day knocking on doors and we went to a place called Desert Aire. It's basically just a place full of weekend homes and it's right down on the river. So there was a ton of people there this weekend vacationing. The bad part it, when people are vacationing they definately don't want to talk to us! But we did meet some really nice people and enjoyed the weekend.

Saturday evening Ruben was baptized. He didn't make up his mind until Friday morning. And when we got there he was actually saying no. But we had the zone leaders with us because they do the interviews. It was really nice to have two more people who speak good spanish because the three of us were able to bear powerful testimony and promise him blessings. So he had his interview and decided to get baptized. It was a great service and he even brought his wife and his daughter who are farely active in the catholic church. His daughter is actually preparing for her confirmation in the catholic church. But hopefully we can show her the truth and she will start coming with his dad. Sunday in church I was worn out. Ruben couldn't make it to the spanish meeting so he came to english. So I had to translate from english to spanish for him. And testimony meetings are the worst to translate. Because there is a lot of crazy stories and crying. Then in the spanish branch I had to translate from spanish to english for people. And it really is an exhausting thing to do. Especially when you're fasting. But it's one of the best ways to improve with a language.
Last night we went to the Christensen's for a little bit. That was fun other than we couldn't do anything that they were doing. But it was fun to watch. People were swimming then shooting guns. And we had to be in our house before they did any fireworks. So we didn't get to watch those. And from how many were set up it was probably better than most city fireworks back home. It was crazy. They also have a cannon that was pretty cool to see shoot stuff off. When you live out in the middle of nowhere you can do whatever you want. But it shot peanut can's that were full of concrete and it was shoot them clear up in the air to where all you could see was a little speckle. Then they have all types of guns that they were shooting and some sort of explosive stuff that when you shoot it just blows up. It was pretty entertaining.
For the most part that was our week. We tried to do a lot of finding but didn't see much success. We are progressing with a few investigators. Abel and Irma and also Isabel. It would be great if you would pray for them. They have baptismal dates for the 30th of July. This week it really hit me how powerful other's testimonies are. Between testimony meeting then seeing Ruben change because of testimonies. And I'm so grateful for the testimony that I have. I'm so grateful for this opportunity I have had to strengthen my testimony, but also to see other's either develop or strengthen there testimonies. I know that this church is true. I know that God is the Father and that Christ is His son. I know that He paid the price for our sins and I know that this church is true. Thank you for all you do. I love you so much!!!!

June 27, 2011 E-Mail

It was a good week this week! We had a family get baptized on Saturday. And that is the first full family I have taught and seen baptized. It was sort of interesting because the dad didn't want anyone to come to the baptism. He was pretty nervous. So at the baptism was the family, me and my companion, the branch president and his wife. And that was it. But the spirit was still strong. It was neat because I got to baptize the dad, my companion baptized the little girl, then the branch president baptized the mom. It's so amazing to see the immediate change in someone after they are baptized and to see how they feel. Yesterday they got confirmed and the girl and the mom both asked the branch president to confirm them. Then one of the counselors from the mission presidency was there and he confirmed the dad. Well as soon as the little girl sat down, the branch president looked at me and asked me to do it. I hate talking in front of people in english, but in spanish it's even worse. But I didn't really have time to get nervous so it was okay. It's a great opportunity to have the priesthood power of God and to perfom His ordinances. I can't really remember a word I said when I confirmed her. It's just crazy to see how God and the spirit work.
I also gained a stronger testimony in fasting this week. Last Monday night a 14 year old girl from the ward came up missing. No one knew where she was or anything. So Friday we got a text that said there was going to be a special fast for her on Saturday. So I decided I would fast for her. Then last night we got a text that said she was back and that was it. It just made me realize that the cops were doing all they could and the community and she couldn't be found. But once you put things in the hands of God, they get taken care of.
We had our zone conference this past week and the mission introduced something they are doing in July. It's called "come to zion." The first week of July we are going to focus on finding people who have been prepared for baptism on July 30th. And we will start by fasting next Sunday for that. Then the second week we will focus on inviting them all to be baptized. Then the third week we will get them to activities for the 24th of July and also into members homes for lessons. Then the fourth week it is planned that every companionship in the mission will have at least one baptism. Then in August we will have a fast of gratitude. I'm really excited to see all the miracles that happen. Yesterday I got up in the ward and the branch to invite all of the members to also fast next Sunday for opportunities to share the gospel and to help us find the people who have been prepared for July 30th. Then last night we went and saw a couple who came to church yesterday and I invited them to be baptized on July 30th. I'm almost sure they will be. There names are Abel and Irma. They have come to church a couple of times now. We are also still working with Ruben to be baptized this next Saturday. I have the faith he will be. If not, it will be shortly after.
We have been seeing great things happen here. Transfers are in a couple of weeks and I really hope I get to stay here. I can finally communicate with the spanish people and I love it. But whatever God wants is what will happen!! I think today is the day that Joseph Smith was killed. I know he was a true prophet of God and that he restored the church. I know that by the power of God he translated the book of mormon and I know it is the word of God. He suffered so much so that we could have the true church here on the earth. I know that this is the true church. Thanks for all you do!! I love you all!

June 20, 2011 E-Mail

I'm so sorry I am so behind on these, time to get caught up!

 This is how they cook there fish here.  That's a fried tilapia.  It's the entire fish, not gutted or anything, just fried.  Then you pick off the meat with your fingers.  That was father's day lunch.

I don't have a whole lot to report on for this week. Nothing to crazy happened. And if it did, I can't remember about it. We had quite a few of our investigators at church this past week so hopefully we will be able to have a baptism this next weekend. Ruben was able to make it to church so he is good to be baptized, he just needs his interview. And he is sort of having a hard time with a few commandments. So hopefully he can change, I have been praying a lot for him. Also the other people that should be baptized really soon are Luis, Roselia, and Jennifer. They are a family that I have been working with for a few months now. They are awesome and really have the desire to be baptized. They too are just waiting on there interviews. And they should be getting them on Tuesday. So pray that everything will go good there!!!
We found another family that seems to be doing really well. They are very active in the catholic church, and I met the husband a long time ago and he would always let us in but he just wasn't doing anything to progress. So we just quit going over there. Then one day we were around his house and all of our appointments had fallen through so we went by and saw them. Well we got to meet his wife and she has some really good questioins. They live right next door to a strong member too so hopefully we will be able to get the member involved and help get them to church.
Other than that I honestly can't think of anything that happened. It sounds like everyone is doing great back home and that everyone had a good Father's Day. It was just another day here! In the hispanic culture they celebrate it on th 16th of June every year. So yesterday was just another ordinary day. It was a good week, time is just going by so fast that I can't really remember anything. This week should be a good one too. Tomorrow we get to go to Moses Lake for a zone conference. But our car is getting inspected so we have to clean it really well today and wax it.
I love this church and I love the gospel. Yesterday we had a dinner appointment and I shared the D&C 78:17-19 I think it is. And it talks about how we are little children and that if we trust in the Lord he will carry us along to all the many blessings he has for us. I know that's true. If we truly trust in him, he will take care of us and lead and guide us to all the many blessings he has for us. I hope you all have a good week!
Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

June 13, 2011 E-Mail

Finally some pictures!  I think this is Rodi's baptism.

My mind isn't functioning to well so I can't really think of everything that happened this week. First off, we went to visit Anabel and she told us how she had received an answer to her prayers.  That was really cool.  She had been praying that her son-in-law would find work. So he went out and started to look. Then then the next day he came home and told her he had found work. And he has gone a long time without work. We are still working with her husband Juan, he just has some bad addictions that control his life. But we have had a few really good lessons with him and he is thinking about being baptized. So please be praying for him!
Rodi was baptized this past Saturday. It was awesome. Then he was confirmed yesterday. I was able to baptize him and the Branch President confirmed him. In his confirmation it talked a lot about serving a mission if he has the desire. He acts like we wants to, and he will be receiving the priesthood next week. He is such an awesome kid. I'm really grateful for the opportunity that I had to meet him and to work with him.  He will continue to strengthen his testimony and be a super strong member.  I can't remember if I have mentioned Ruben or not, but his son is a member of the church just not very active right now. Well we have been teaching Ruben and he wants to get baptized. He was supposed to get baptized next Saturday but wasn't able to come to church yeseterday. So we gave him the goal to be baptized on July 2nd. But he too will need a lot of prayers. So please pray for him!!! So many great things are happening in our area. And little by little I see my spanish improving. I still have so far to go but I've had a few people lately tell me that they thought spanish was my first language.  That made me feel pretty good. Then I'm immediately humbled when I try to say something and I can't. But I have really seen God's help with the language. It has been great.
Every Thursday morning we go to the bishops house for breakfast and correlation. This past Thursday we pulled up and his dog was going insane. I'm not sure what kind she is but she's a little smaller than Kimber.  Well what happened was she was eating a round bone and she forced it up around her bottom jaw and over her teeth and she couldn't get it off. Her whole jaw had swollen. So the bishop tried ripping it off but couldn't.  Well he also has another dog who is a great dane who probably is about my size. He looks like a pony. And the problem is that the big dog will kill any other dog when they are in pain just to put them out of there misery. So my job was to control the big guy. It was very interesting. He tried to eat me a couple of time but we had some good bonding time and I found his sweet spot right by his back leg. I had to do that while the bishop zip tied the legs together and the jaw on the little dog and ground the bone off with a grinder. It was one heck of an experience.  Other than that not much happened. I had a district leader training in Moses Lake on Tuesday then we had another training there on Wednesday for new missionaries and trainers. So we really didn't spend a ton of time in our own area. But the Lord still blessed us.
I'm so grateful for the gospel. Yesterday I was translating a talk and the lady was saying how we are here in this world, but as members of the church we are different than the world, well at least we should be. We should hold ourselves at a higher standard. And as we do so we are blessed. I've really been thinking about commandments and rules and stuff like that. They are only there to help us be better people. I'm so grateful for the Book of Mormon and the teachings that it contains. I love you all so much and thanks for all you do!!

Elder Schvaneveldt