Monday, March 18, 2013

Miracles for Gretchen's Last few Days of Her Mission

This is the last blog post for Gretchen's mission.  Next week, she will be returning home on Tuesday, March 26.  I hope that you have all enjoyed her letters and that her experiences have been inspiring and  uplifting to you.   Thanks for sharing this experience with all of us.

Hello family!
It sounds like a wonderful week for you! First, Congratulations to Danielle! I am so excited for her and for all that is ahead. This is just the beginning of living the beautiful Gospel. I love this Gospel so much and I know that this is what brings happiness now and for eternity!
Let me tell you about our miracle yesterday!
Yesterday was wonderful! There is a part member family, the Kintighs. Brother Kintigh is not a member, is 92 or so years old, and is very supportive of his wife, who is a member. A couple of weeks ago we went to leave a blessing in their house. There was a beautiful Spirit there. He was about to go to the doctors that week and we asked if he would like a Priesthood blessing and he accepted. He was given a blessing and just a couple weeks ago, his hometeacher came up to us and said Brother Kintigh seemed to be more open since the two blessings. He has cancer right now and is undergoing radiation and chemo.
Well, we went by yesterday and invited him to be baptized this upcoming Sunday. At first he said, "I'll think about it."  Then we testified that we are here to represent Jesus Christ and we wouldn't want to wait if the Savior invited us to be baptized. He then asked, "Can I say the Lord's Prayer?" He recited the Lord's Prayer and you can tell the Spirit was working in his heart. We invited him again and he said, "I think I will." The Spirit was so strong and we can see how our Heavenly Father has prepared this man for baptism. The Spirit of the Harvesting Blessing and Priesthood Blessing softened his heart.
That was absolutely a miracle! We told our Bishop, his hometeacher and our WML right after and they were all shocked and excited! He will be baptized on March 24th. :)
Also, there is a man that we have talked to many times. He is out running a lot and we have seen him maybe 3 or 4 times. Well, everytime we see him, he says he'll come to church. And yesterday, he did! And he brought 3 other family members! They stayed for sacrament and gospel principles and we are just so excited!  We are going to teach them this week. They said they really enjoyed church. :)
Yesterday was such a crazy Sunday, but great! Sister Boyd and I spoke in sacrament because it was a missionary farewell. The young man goes into the MTCon March 27th for Washington, Kennewick Mission. :) I was asked to speak on Enduring to the End. Andrea, I used your email from when you ran a marathon! It was perfect for the talk. I spoke last, so I didn't have too much time, so your email was certainly a highlight for the talk. :) 
Then we went to the Kintighs home and invited him to be baptized. Then we went to a baptism for a little girl that we taught. Sister Boyd and I sang "When I am Baptized" for that baptism.
Busy, but wonderful day! The week was pretty busy as well. I got the 24 flu Wednesday night through Thursday, but will team-ups, it all worked out! I felt pretty much normal on Friday morning, so I am good now. :) I think it was pretty funny how I have dodged getting sick for almost all my mission and then it hit me now...haha
I love this work sooo much! I know that this is the work of the Lord. There is no greater work. I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ restored through the prophet, Joseph Smith. I know that we have a living prophet here on earth that leads and guides us. I know that the Priesthood is God's power on earth and I am thankful to be a receipiant of that. I received two blessings this week, one for health, one for comfort, and I am just so thankful for that power here on earth. I know this is Jesus Christ's Church! 
I love you alll so much! This is my last email to you, so I will see you soon! Love you soo much! 
Love, Sister Gretchen Schillemat  

Friday, March 15, 2013

Countdown to Gretchen's Return-but Don't Tell Her That.

This week was filled with miracles. I am going to just write what I wrote in my journal this past week about a couple of them.
1) First, about a month ago or so, Sister Fia and I talked to a man who went by the name Superman. We asked Supoerman who else he knew that was in need of a blessing. He told us about his neice, Melissa. Well, we tryied to go by once or twice with no luck. But Thursday when I was with Sister Dominguez, a 19 year old team-up, we went over and Melissa was home. She allowed us to come in. Her uncle who referred us to her actually past awaywithin the last couple of weeks. Heavenly Father had a plan.
We gave Melissa a blessing and invited her to be baptized. Before we finished inviting her she said, "When?" We invited her to be baptized on March 31st and she accepted. We gave her a Book of Mormon and left her with the Introduction. She is a new investigator! I am just so grateful we asked her uncle Brett (Superman) who he knew that need a blessing. Ask everyone for referrals!
2) Sister Boyd and I sometimes go oym at the gas station. Well, that ius where we were and talked to a young man named Andrea. He wasn't interesting in a blessing but we asked him who he knew or if he knew anyone else who need a blessing. He told us his dad could probably use one and gave us the address, which was thankfully in our area. 
We tried the house once, no answer. But we went back on Thursday. George answered the door, Andrew's dad. We explained who we are and he let us in. His wife and two younger daughters were there as well. Letty, who just turned 5 in February, suffers from Tuberculosis. She has been suffering with this since she was 12 months old. This family truly needed a blessing. We left a blessing and invited them to baptsim, George said he didnt know enough, but he agreed to missionaries coming back. The Spanish Elders will be taking over. :)  
3) We had another referral from a man on the street. We were driving and just pulled over to talk to him. He gave us his phone number and we asked if he knew anyone else who needed a blessing. He said his sister, Sheila, We went on Friday we went to his sisters house and miracle after miracle happened. We knocked. No answer. Then we tracted in the neighborhood for a little while. We went to a house and we left a blessing. Then we came out and there were people outside Sheila's house. It wasn't her but she came to meet us and let us in. When we asked what she was in need of, she said she wanted to get closer to God and a couple of other things. We left the blessing. We invited her to be baptized and she realized that was what was missing in her life! She committed toApril 6th! :) Her friend was also there and we are meeting with them both again tomorrow.
4) We were oyming on Friday and a woman named Linda came up asking for a quarter. We talked to her for a while and found out that she has been struggling a lot. She was drinking right before talking to us and has addictions. We asked if we could meet with her again the next day and she said yes. she kept asking if we were really coming and we reassured her we would be there. Well, we met at her apartment complex and she was there. We taught her a lesson about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Then we set us another time and a ride for church. Sunday morning came around and Sister Boyd and I went to make sure Sheila was ready. We came to the complex and she was all dressed and ready to go early! She was so excited to see us! We told her her ride was coming soon. :) She said for all of church and then also came back for a baptism last night. She is making huge steps in her life! She is truly using the Atonement of Jesus Christ in her life to overcome her struggles and challenges. She is preparing for baptism on April 14th.
5) We had a baptism yesterday! It was the Montiel family! I just love them sooo much! Hilda and Izaiah were baptized by Omar, husband and father. It was  a great turn out from the ward. And a wonderful Spirit!
6) Amy was confirmed as well! She is just soaking in everything she can and doing so well!
Life is so good as a missionary! I just love being here and I feel so blessed. Miracles are happening everyday and I know that the Lord is blessing us all as we are obedient. I love serving the Lord and being here!
Sister Boyd is such a huge blessing in my life! I love her soooo much! She has taught me to be more bold and compassionate. She loves to work hard and we are just having fun working hard together!
I love you and am so grateful for all your support and love. I am excited for you to see and hear Elder Ballard. :) Also Danielle, Congratulations! I am so excited for you. It is the best decision that you can make in your life and in the eternities. Send me pictures please!
I love you all and talk to you soon!
Sister Schillemat
Montiel Family! :)
Yes, that is a giraffe. :)


Friday, March 8, 2013

Miracles in Jurupa

This past week was wonderful and we saw miracles happen! First of all, we had a baptism yesterday for Amy! She is the most solid investigator that I have taught. We met with her three times last week and she was just so ready for her baptism. We only met her about 3 and a half weeks ago..I think...maybe a little more, but she was just great from the start. Her baptism was wonderful and her mom said a beautiful prayer at the end. Her mom is coming back to church after being less-active for a long time, so it was just wonderful. Amy was about to have both her grandmother and grandfather on her mom"s side there. It was a wonderful day!
Then we had a miracle happen! We have been fasting and praying for new investigators because our teaching pool is pretty slim right now. Well, yesterday we were leaving Gospel Principles and a member asked if we were free that night. We said yes, and we went to teach her boyfriend that evening. He had already come to church with her twice and started reading the Book of Mormon. We taught home part of the Restoration and left him with 3 Nephi 11 to read. He has been Muslim for the past 4 years, so teaching about Jesus Christ and who he is, is going to be a focus for the next couple of lessons. We invited him to be baptized on Easter Sunday and he said, "Yeah, I think that would be good." :) He is ready and really is eager to learn. We are excited for him and meet with him again tomorrow. He was an answer to our prayers for new investigators. We are so excited to keep teaching him.
Peder, Congratulations on your baptism! You are so happy and I do love it!
Well, thank you for all the Birthday wishes! It was a great birthday. The Chandler family fed us on Tuesday and threw a birthday party for me! It was with decorations and cake and ice cream... :) Then on Thursday we had some ice cream cake for my birthday. Overall it was wonderful and I loved your card Mom! Thank you! I have received wonderful letters over the past week, so thank you everyone! :) I can't believe how old I am...23?! ;) Time is going tooo fast!
Well, I love you all soooo much and this is the Lord's work. We have another baptism for this Sunday for Hilda and her son Izaiah! We are so excited for this family. Omar, the father and husband, is baptizing them both, so we are so excited! :) I know that this family is going to one day be sealed in the Temple of the Lord. More pictures to come next week! 
I love this work and am so happy to be here! I know that missionary work is directed by the Lord's work and he is aware of all of us! Danielle, keep being strong. Baptism is the gate to so many blessings from the Lord. :) 
Have a wonderful week! Love you!
Sister Schillemat
picture of the baptism!   

Gretchen's Birthday Cake.

This is me and Israel, who were birthday buddies! He turned 6 on the 28th. His mom Hilda and his brother Izaiah are getting baptized this upcoming Sunday. :)

What's wrong with this picture.  It took Gretchen and her companion a couple of  days to see it.  

I don't know where they got the snakes but isn't this cool? !     

Amy's Baptism

Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Good week in Jurupa

This week was a great week in Jurupa! Sister Boyd and I were able to teach 20 lessons and have 7 of them with a member-present. OVerall things are going well and life is good!
Well, on Friday, President Smart emailed us and told us that California, Redlands  and Rancho Cucamonga are going to becoming a new mission and that in July that will affect us as a mission. There are 58 new missions that were announced throughout the whole world! That is just amazing! I am so excited for this great work! That will definitely change our boundaries quite a bit with these two missions, plus the Carlsbad mission. I will send you President Smart's email and you should check out the website. It is such an amazing time to be a part of this great work. The Lord truly is hastening his work!
Amy is progressing so well! WE taught her Saturday, yesterday, and we are teaching her tonight and tomorrow. She is on date for baptism for this Sunday! We are so excited and she is too. She was prepared to hear this message and accept it in her life. On Saturday, she asked, "What way do I  have to be living? I have been doing things and wondering if that is wrong." She was so concerned that she was making mistakes and she is just eager to learn. We went over the baptismal interview questions right there even though we hadn't taught most of lessons yet, but she was put at ease. I really love teaching Amy because she is just so eager to learn and the Spirit is guiding the lessons through her questions. She just wants to know everything she can and it has been wonderful for us to be a part of. We showed up at Church yesterday at 8:30 and Amy was already there because she wanted to get a good spot for 9:00 church. :)
I love this work and I feel so blessed. Sister Boyd has been a huge blessing and teacher to me over this past week. She is full of energy and we work hard, while having fun. I love it!
This is a great work! I love you all!
SIster Gretchen Schillemat

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Staying put but with a new companion

Hello Family!
So it was transfers this last week and I didn't leave! YAY! But sadly, Sister Fia left, but my new companion is Sister BOYD! She is from Maryland and I lived with her when I was in Riverside. I probably told you all about her and she is amazing! I never thought we would have the chance to be companions, but I am soooo excited! She is a hard worker and she is just a ball of energy and love. We are excited for the work that is going on in the area and know that miracles with continue. I was really sad to see Sister Fia leave, but I know that she will be great with SIster Larsen, who was my MTC companion. :) Sister Fia and Sister Larsen are going to do wonderful things in Corona! Hopefully Sister Fia will be able to come back to some of the baptisms coming up as well!
Life in Jurupa is going well. :) We are seeing lots of miracles and we are excited for all that is in store. Sister Fia and I had three mini-missionaries are Saturday for the day. Let me tell you about one miracle that we saw. I was out with one sister  and we didn't have much success getting in anywhere, but we had a referral to contact. Well this referral was (get ready for this one): Our homeshare's (Monica) daughter's (Alisha) husband's (Brandon) parents. Anyway, we went to the house and it turned out that Alisha and Brandon were actually there, which was perfect! Absolutely a miracle! Brandon is not a member and Alisha is. Brandon has investigated the Church on and off for years. We offered to leave a Harvesting Blessing with them and they accepted. We left a blessing with them and I knew that it was for Brandon, just as much for his parents. We invited Brandon to be baptized and he declined, but it was a good visit nonetheless. It was a miracle that we were there. We went back to our homeshares right after that and told her about it. She talked to her daughter and found out that she was already back home and that they were only there for a short time. It was absolutely the Lord's timing.
We have been so blessed as missionaries. I love this work sooo much! I am excited for all that is ahead.
We have an investigator named Amy, who is on date for March 3rd and she is progressing well. She came to Church again this past week and we are so excited for her. :) Hilda is on date for March 10th and Hannah as well. We are just going to keep working hard!
Congratulations Geoff on BYU-I! Amber's home! I am excited for her!
I know this is the Lord's work! I am so blessed to be a part of it. We talked about Christ-like attributes today in our District Meeting and I am excited to focus on a different attribute of my Savior, Jesus Christ for these next weeks. I have grown in my knowledge and testimony of my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives and loves us so much. He is aware of our lives and all that we are doing. I know that He can heal us spiritually, emotional, physically. 
I love you all! Have an amazing week! Talk to you soon!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat
This is a picture of Sister Boyd and I four or five months ago at the temple. :)

Gretchen and Sister Gonzales, who often comes along with the sister missionaries.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Life is good!

So excited for Danielle! That is definitely an amazing blessing! I can't wait to see pictures of the baptism. :) I will keep her in my prayers as she continues to take the lessons.
This week was a good week. We taught 20 lessons, which was sooo exciting! Finally. I feel like we are trying to all we can and are more on top of it than in other areas, but it has been a atruggle to get our lessons. It was really exciting to teach so much last week.
We met with a new family this last week. It is three generations in one house. The daughter, Amy, mom, Charlene, and grandma, Pat living together. Well Charlene and Pat are both members of the Church but have been less active for a long time. Amy is not a member, but is so excited about the gospel. We met on Wednesday and Amy was just so excited to be learning. She told us she wants to come to church and she was there on Sunday, for all three hours. She seemed to really enjoy it as well. We are teaching her again on Wednesday and are excited for her.
Life is good as a missionary! I am happy. :)
One thing that I was reading this morning was in Helaman 12. It talks about not setting at naught the guidance and counsel of the Lord. How often in life, do we think that we know what is best for us? Or we want certain things and don't seek the guidance of the Lord? I know that as we seek the Lord's guidance and truly follow it, we are blessed in all things. I know that His plan for us will always bless us, where our plan for ourselves is not guaranteed. I know that the Lord lives and loves us.
Thanks for all you do and all your love. Happy Valentine's Day. :)
Love you,
Sister Gretchen Schillemat

Monday, February 4, 2013

Ether 12:27

Hello Family,
This past week was an interesting one. We had a not so good week for lessons, but here is the highlights.
We are teaching Hannah, the girlfriend of a member. She is doing soo well! She is on date for February 17th and came to all of Church yesterday. We are really excited for her!
We also continued to teach a family of four this week. We gave them a harvesting blessing a little over a week ago and we had a really good lesson with them. They all could feel the Spirit and were grateful for our visit. We are excited for what is to come.
I loved Peder's email today. That was just what I needed to hear. Sometimes we do feel like we are always failing and that we are kind of alone. But we are never alone. We always have the Savior, Jesus Christ, our loving Father in Heaven, and the Holy Ghost. I am so thankful for that. This past week we had one lesson that didn't go as we, I should say, as I, expected. We were on splits that night, so after the lesson I felt like I had really failed. That whole night and the following day it was really bothering me. And I think this was an opportunity for me to learn and to grow. I didn't depend on the Spirit like I should have. I didn't prepare for that lesson like I should have. Although, I wish it didn't have to go that way, I am grateful for that experience because it was an opportunity for me to really change what I am doing to be more prepared in lessons. It was an opportunity for me to see my weaknesses and depend of the Lord more, so that they can become strengths. I am hoping and praying that the next lesson with that family will be more filled with the Spirit and that I will be a better conduit for the Spirit.
Missions are hard. But they are the best time of our lives. I am so thankful to be serving a mission. I am so thankful for the people that I meet and the people that I come in contact with. I love this work. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ. This is His work.
Thank you for your love and support! I love you all! Geoff, Congratulations on being an eagle scout!
Love you all!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat