Monday, March 28, 2011

March 28, 2011 E-Mail

I was pretty shocked to hear that I was an uncle. I wasn't quite expecting it this early. That will probably be the biggest change from when I get home. I got like 6 pictures of him. He is a cute little guy and looks like he's in perfect shape. So congratulations to Ty and Bree for there first baby. I was looking at my calendar the other day and realized that I had no birthdays or anything to worry about it March. I guess that just changed!!

Things here are going pretty good. We've been staying really busy. Dad asked if the people we live with ever cook for us. No. We usually just cook lunch on our own then we don't take a dinner. We usually just hope for food on the street. We probably get fed 4 out of 7 days so it's not to bad. And it's usually good authentic mexican food. Dad also asked about what we do for service. Well we go work in the food bank every other week. And they are also building a new food bank building here, so we help out building that. This last week we were also able to help some people out in there yards. Now that it's spring everyone is cleaning up. For shopping on p-days we usually just go to little markets in the town. But today we are actually in Othello. We do have a car full time in Mattawa, But before I got here there was a really bad storm of like 100mph winds and my companion opened the door on the car and he wasn't holding on to it and it blew open and into the fender. So it messed up the door. So we had to bring the car here today to get it fixed. And it will be here until like Thursday I think. But tomorrow we have zone conference in Moses Lake. So we will be there most of the time.

We have done a lot of teaching this last week. We have met a lot of really good people but still haven't had anyone in church. Most of the hispanics work 6 days a week. So on Sundays they all take off to Tri Cities to do there shopping and get lunch and stuff. So on Sundays, not many people are around. It's sort of the same as in Warden. I'm sure you can remember me talking about that.

We do have one couple that is doing pretty well with keeping their commitments. They just aren't coming to church. But they have read a little bit. We are going to see them tonight so we will be able to find out why they didn't come to church. Some friends of a member have come to church the last two weeks but it's sort of a hard situation. They have been taught in the past but don't want to be taught right now. They just want to come to church. They are the type of people that if you push them just a little bit, it will push them way far away. So we are hoping that some time shortly we can start to teach them.

I don't remember if I told you how about a week or two ago this member called us to help her move. She was living with a guy who is married but his wife is in California. Well the guy went to get his wife to bring her back. So the lady needed help moving out. So she called us to help her. So we went and helped her move some stuff then we left. Well this past week the guy called us and asked us to come over and see him. So we went and visited him. Well it turns out that she took everything that he had. She got rid of his horse and everything. Then she took all of his clothes and boots and stuff outside and burned it. So we are trying to help him a little bit right now to get new clothes and beds and stuff. Because he is now back in Mattawa with his wife and two kids. And all they have are some blankets and that's about it. So I guess that's my crazy story for the day. Not much is going on, time is just going by so fast that I can't remember anything. So, you will hear from me next week!! I'm so grateful for where I am and all that I have learned. I love my Savior and all that he did for me and all of us. I know that he died for us. Through him we can all live together for eternity!!

Have a good week!!!! Love you all!!!!!

Monday, March 21, 2011

March 21, 2011 E-Mail

It was another great week here in Mattawa. It just went by way to fast. It seems just like yesterday that I was here writing an e-mail. To answer a few of your questions, Dad asked if I work in Royal City and where we shop at here. Royal City has it's own companionship but it is part of the district. So my district only has four missionaries in it, me and my companion, then the companionship in Royal. So I will get to go there on exchanges but it's not my area. My area covers Mattawa, Desert Aire, Beverly and Shawana. They are all very small places though. But it's been good. It was nice to have day light savings because that makes it easier for missionaries to work at night. So that has been a good change. It's hard waking up in the morning when it's still dark, but it's nice having the light a lot later.  You said that they are going to close the Ogden Temple soon. Are they just remodeling the inside or is it going to be completely different on the outside too? Have they started on Brigham City yet?

This week we had sort of a miracle find. Late one night we went to try and see a kid who had been taught in the past named Edgar. Well he wasn't there, but another kid answered the door so we asked him if we could come in. He let us in and we were talking to him and his Mom. There names are Raul and Juana. Well anyways, when we first meet someone we usually always try to find out there relationship with God and there beliefs that they have. So we were sort of talking about prophets and I asked them if they new what a prophet was. The kid replied yes, and then answered "Joseph Smith." It pretty much just caught us off guard because a good majority of the people don't even know what a prophet is and this kid was exactly right! Well it turns out that they had been taught a little bit in the past too, and the kid had been left with some sort of a pamphlet and had read through it a lot. So then we asked them if they believed it all and they said yes. So we invited them to be baptized and they said yes. So that's the miracle of the week. Now we just have to make sure they stay on date. It's hard with the spanish people because a lot of times they just tell us what we want to here. But then they are never willing to come to church or anything. So we will keep praying for them and working with them to hopefully get them baptized soon.

Friday night we had a branch activity and a lot of people came. Most of them were members, but quite a few none members came too. So I started talking to everyone and there was this one guy who comes to church every Sunday but he's not a member. He believes everything and really wants to be baptized but he can't be because of a marriage situation. So we are going to start working with him too. Hopefully we can get something worked out so he can get married. So along with that branch activity and just people in general, I think I ate authentic mexican food like 4 nights this week. That's pretty good!

Friday the branch President called me and asked if I would be willing to talk in church on Sunday. So I agreed. Then he told me for like 15-20 minutes. Well I'm horrible at speaking in english let alone in spanish. But I told him I would. So I pretty much only had Saturday to prepare. And he didn't give me a topic either. He just said one of the missionary lessons. So I ended up talking about the restoration. It actually went pretty well. I thought it was only going to be about 10 minutes long, but it went about 20.

I don't know if you remember me talking about the Farias family from East Wenatchee. Well Elder Garcia my last companion called me the other day and told me that Hermana Farias was in the ICU and they were going to have to pull the plug. I'm not really sure what happened. But when I first got to the area they weren't active at all. By the time I left they were pretty much going every week. We were able to teach them a lot, and a lot about the plan of salvation. I hope it was something that comforted her as she passed away. I remember teaching it to her and then her telling us that she wasn't scared to die. It just sort of made me sad to know that she had died.

I think that's it for this week! I finished up Doctrine and Covenants this last week. It was really making me think about Joseph Smith and all that he did. There is no way someone would go through as much as he did for something that wasn't true. We all need to follow his example and show that much faith in our beliefs. I know that through him we have the true church and we have the priesthood authority here again. I'm so grateful for the gospel and all the many blessings I have received through it.

I hope you all have a great week!!! I love you!!!!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 14, 2011 E-Mail

My first week here in Mattawa has been a pretty good one. I found out that the translation of Mattawa in Indian literally means "the middle of nowhere." This place is just a desert full of spanish speaking people. So far all it has done is blown wind really hard. It's a really small place. It's been good though. I've already noticed a significant difference with my spanish. I use it so much more. We do work in the english ward, and then the spanish branch. But the ward is pretty strong. Like 80% of the members are active which is a ton. So at first it was really weird coming here because the place is so small. It's like Warden again. So after being in a bigger city for the past 7 months then coming here was little bit of a shocker.
As far as work goes, when I first got here there were like 40-50 teaching records in the area book under the investigators. Well none of them are progressing. It's just sort of been an area where a ton of lessons have been taught but pretty much no one has even been to church. So a lot of time has been spent on teaching those who just want to be friends rather than finding those that the Lord has prepared to hear the gospel. So we are going to be working a lot on trying to find those that the Lord has prepared at this time.
We live with members again. We live in a double wide trailer and we are provided one room which is 10x10 at the biggest. And that is where we keep all of our stuff, sleep, and do our studies. So that is a big change from my last area. I guess you could pretty much say that this area is complete opposite of the last area. I'm getting used to it though and starting to like it. We don't really work with the ward very much because they are already really strong like I said above. The branc needs a lot of work. So one of my focuses while here I think will be trying and strengthening the branch with new members and also with in active members.
The other night all of our stuff fell through and we didn't eat dinner so we decided we were going to go and grab something to eat. Well our options here aren't to many. So we went to the taco truck. But the taco truck only accepts cash and we only had our cards. So we were walking over to a different place and this drunk guy came up to us and was asking for money. Well my companion didn't understand anything he was saying so he started making agreements with him and stuff. Anyways we got it all worked out and I told the guy we didn't have any money. So my companion just invited him to come to dinner with us. So we walked across the street and went into this other restaurant where we had dinner with this drunk guy. He told us how he had been out of work for about 2 weeks and was living on the streets. He asked if he could come live with us. But considering our living conditions we didn't really have room. And we wouldn't really do that anyways. But yeah, he was a really good guy. I was hoping we would get to see him again and try to teach him. But we haven't seen him since, and I think that was on Wednesday.
The language is still tough for me, and I don't understand everything, but it's coming fast. I have really seen the Lord's hand in the work these last few days. It has been a great blessing to feel the help of the Lord and to see the things he can do to help the progression of his work.
I know that this church is true and I'm so grateful to be a member of it. I know that the gifts of the spirit are real. I have been studying a little lately from the New Testament and have learned a lot about the life of our Savior. I know that he atoned for our sins and that he died for us. The Atonement is just not to make bad people good. But also to make good people better. As we exercise our faith in Christ, great things can come to pass. I love you all so much and am so grateful for all you do for me. Have a great week!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

March 7, 2011 E-Mail

Shelly and Kyia got baptized on Saturday! It was an awesome service. I got to baptize Kyia, then former Elder Mudrow baptized Shelly. Elder Mudrow is the one who found Shelly and Kyia back in October. A member of that ward gave them a referral of a new move in so they went and visited her. Well his 2 years were up so he went home about 6 weeks ago. But he drove back up for the baptism and got to baptize Shelly then confirm them both on Sunday. It was a really good service. Right before he left he told me that if I baptized Shelly while I was still here that he would come back and that he would bring me cafe rio. I didn't think it would really happen. But it did. And yes, he brought me a cafe rio burrito. So that was very delicious. I haven't had one for a year and trust me, it hit the spot! So that was the highlight if this past week. It was actually a pretty good week other than it flew by. Week 6 of the transfer can always be tough to stay focused. But we did really well. We even found a couple new investigators.

The other big news is that I will be transferred tomorrow. My time here in East Wenatchee is done for now. I'm a little bummed because I love it here. But I'm also really excited. I have been told that I'm going to "little Mexico" which is a little town called Mattawa. It is right in the southwest corner of the mission. It's a very small place. That's just about all I know about it. I will be district leader there, and second training. Which means my companion will be a greenie on his second transfer. And he is not native. So my spanish will really get worked over. And that's all about my new area. So I will have to tell you more about it next week. I sort of knew I was going to be transferred. Yesterday I was sitting in sacrament and just felt that I better get up and bear my testimony because it would be my last Sunday in that ward. So I put off the prompting, then I got it again. So I got up.

I think that's it for this week. Maybe it will be a little longer next week because of the new area. We'll see! I just want to share my testimony of prayer and that it's real and that it works!!! Prayer is the greatest thing we have. We can have direct communication with our Father in Heaven. And yes, he listens!

Have a great week! I love you all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Love Elder Schvaneveldt

Thursday, March 3, 2011

February 28, 2011 E-Mail

This week sort of seemed like a blur. Time really is just flying by, and also because p-day was last Tuesday, this was a short week. Time just seems to all be slurred together now. It's pretty crazy. We did have a pretty good week and we were able to find a few new investigators which is big for us right now. We do a lot of tracting but don't see a bunch of success from it. One thing we have been trying to do more often is introduce the book of mormon at the door step. It really has made a huge difference. The other day we were tracting and I had given away all of my give away books of mormon. It was weird because the doors after that I just felt naked not having one in my hands to introduce it to people at the door. Another thing I realized the last couple days is that regardless of who we are or what we are going through, the gospel of Jesus Christ is where we can always find peace and happiness. I'm not really sure what made me think of that. We can search everything for peace and happiness or answers to lifes questions, but where we truly will find it all is in the gospel. I think often times people are in-active and they are scared to go back because of what people might say or think about them. But really everyone is just so grateful to see people come into church who aren't always there. That makes me think about what Linda Gubler told me, we could be 5 miles away from the Savior and be facing him, or we could be 2 feet away from him with our backs to him, and we are still better off at the 5 miles facing him. That's just sort of my random insight for the week. That it's never to late to go back! And also, the gospel is where we will find all that we are seeking after!

The good news is that Shelly and Kyia came to church again yesterday!!! So things are still looking great for there baptism on Saturday. They are so awesome. Shelly has the greatest desire to do all that our Father in Heaven wants her to. It's really been a testimony builder to me to see her come closer to our Savior by having us in her home and sharing the missionary lessons. It's pretty awesome to see someone take that step of faith and pay there tithing. That is one of the hardest commandments I think for people to live. Especially with the way the economy is. It's amazing to see those that pay their tithing before anything else, always have enough for the rest of the month regardless of the conditions. The Lord promises us that as we pay our tithing we are blessed. And it's just so great to see people put there faith in Him and pay. And in the end they truly are always blessed.

This past week our dinner calendar got changed up a little bit. We used to eat with members on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. Then through out the week we would do drop off dinners or dinners with a non-member present. Well they changed it to where we can only eat with members on Saturday and Sunday. So we get a little bit more money now so we can buy our dinners for the extra days. The members love feeding us so some of them were a little bummed but it will be okay. I think it's just so we can get out and really use our time effectively. And also to help people participate more in missionary work. A lot of people think that if they feed the missionaries then that's it. But as members we all have the calling to be missionaries and to share the gospel. And that isn't done just by feeding the missionaries. So I think that is the reason why that change was made. That's about it for this past week. I really do have a hard time thinking of what has happened because everything just seems crunched together. So sorry if this is a little short. I know that this Church is true. I know that Jesus Christ is the Savior and Redeemer of the world and that He died for us. I'm so grateful for the atonement in my life. Without it, none of us could be cleansed. And we know that no unclean thing can enter the kingdom of God. Have a great week!! I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!