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