Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Time in California

This is going to be a quick email because today we don't have as much time and guess what? I just talked to you two days ago! :)
The story I wanted to tell was about a woman who called us crying yesterday. As I spoke with her on the phone, she wanted me to say a prayer with her. I prayed with her on the phone and then said that we could come over and visit for a little. As we prepared to get ready to go, I told Sister Jones that I was thinking about Alma 7:11-12 about Jesus Christ's Atonement to share with her. Sister Jones said she was thinking about the same one. Then we went over to her house and we shared that scripture and Alma 36:3 (Really good one about trust and support in trials). We told her to turn to the scriptures often through out this hard time. Then I asked Sister Jones what chapter she thought we should leave and she said Ether 12, which was exactly what I had been thinking. I knew that the Spirit was telling us both the right thing for her to read. We left her home and then got a phone call from her later that day saying that she had been reading Ether 12 and it spoke a lot about faith. I know that Heavenly Father needed her to read that yesterday. I know that as we put our trust in God, we will be supported in our trials. I know that the scriptures can bring us peace and solace in times of trial. And I know that the Spirit is the key in missionary work and we are just the tools through which the Spirit works.
I also wanted to include some pictures today. Enjoy! Most are Christmas morning pictures. The one where we are actually missionary looking is Sister Jones and I with our mini missionary, Sister Pula, from Moreno Valley. She was so sweet and nice. And she worked so hard! We loved her!
I know this church is true and I loved talking with you all on Christmas. I am so blessed to have an amazing family that is sealed together by the priesthood of God. Thank you for being the wonderful example that I need to stay strong. I love you all so much!
Sister Schillemat

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Pictures from Gretchen

The Christmas Tree from the Keene Ward Young Single Adults with Sisters Jones, Schillemat, and Robinette
 One the Third Day of Christmas: Three Curly Haired Sister Missionaries
A "Greenie Dinner" in honor of Sister Jones and Sister Schillemat.  A greenie is a new missionary.  Technically, Gretchen is no longer a greenie since she has been through one transfer, but it's still fun to celebrate her relative newness compared to Sister Robinette who is finished with her mission and home now.
The Young Single Adults Christmas Tree in all its glory.  Thank you, Keene Ward YSAs!  

It's Christmas Time--And we get to Skype with Gretchen!

I want to attach some pictures before I forget!
The first one is the Christmas Tree that the YSA sent me! It is so cute. :) I loved it and we moved it from my room to the main room, so that everyone could put theit presents underneath it.
The next picture is a GREENIE picture. The Smarts, a family in the ward, found out that Sister Jones and I are both greenies (I am almost not one anymore) and decided to make us a greenie dinner. There was chicken alfredo dyed green and mashed potatoes as well. Plus greenie goodie bags! It was a lot of fun! :)
The last two are pictures we took of the Christmas tree when it was in our room. And we all had curly hair that day, so we had to document that. ;) I hope you enjoy!
Before I forget, I NEED PEDER'S ADDRESS! I wanted him to send it to be before he left, but I never got it! How am I supposed to send him a Christmas card if I don't have his address? hahahs
Next, Skyping! I will be able to skype for 30-40 minutes on Sunday. We have set it up for the afternoon because we have church at 11:00 that morning and I don't think we could do it before then (Sorry Kirstin and Jimmy!). We are going to the Zuniga's house at 2:00 that day. So since we are 3 hours behind you, that will be around 5:00 that day. I realized that you are probably having a Christmas dinner that day, but I hope that you are doing it earlier. We won't be able to call beforehand, I guess, so I hope this works for you. Sorry. I wish I could just call a couple days before, like they did in the past, but they said we can't. So plan for around 5:00pm YOUR TIME on Sunday. Also, could Poul be logged onto his skype because his name will be easy to find. I don't know if I am going to use my name, or the Zuniga's but either way, I am going to call Poul. Thanks!
Well, back to missionary work! This week was a good week! It has been getting cold, but we have still be out tracting. Answer to Poul's question: we try to tract for about an horu a day, but sometimes that doesn't happen. Sometimes we have 2 hours to tract in a day, but rarely do we get that much time with appointments and all the study that we have. (I don't know if I told you all, but we have lots of study at the beginning of our missions. For the first 2 transfers, while we are training, we have two hours of companion study on top of the hour of personal. So we have at least 3 hours of study every day except planning days and p-days.) Anyway, back to tracting. As we were tracting this week, we were talking to one girl for a while and just as we were about to leave, we heard a voice from the back say, "I have a question." We were invited in a the girl's mom asked us what the different was between Christians and the Latter-day Saints. As we began to explain that we are Christians, and about prophets, we ended up having a lesson with her. We then came back the next day and taught her the whole Restoration lesson. The next appt that we had, she wasn't home, but It was still a cool experience that doesn't happen often from tracting. She didn't come to church this Sunday, but she said she really wanted a good church for her daughters. We are hoping to meet with her again soon.
We had a good last week for Sister Robinette. But it is really hard to have her gone now. I miss her a lot and wish she was still here, but she is home with her family, which is wonderful! Yesterday was pretty stressful because I am now the "oldest" missionary in the companionship. We saw the Smarts on Saturday and Brother Smart asked, "So who is the senior greenie?" It made us laugh, but it was true. There are two greenies together for this week. Plus, I didn't mention that we have a mini-missionary, Sister Pula, from Moreno Valley, CA. She is 16 and very sweet. But we have three very young missionaries. I was just feeling overwhelmed yesterday. I am just hard on myself and things weren't going perfectly, starting with paper getting jammed in the photo copier, to not having someone to lead us (Sister Robinette), but everything worked out just fine. It makes me realize how much I need to remember my Savior, Jesus Christ. I shared a spiritual thought at dinner last night and I feel like it was for me more that anyone else. I read Alma 7:10-13 about the Atonement. The Atonement is real and Jesus Christ suffered for everything that we have gone through. Our pains, afflictions, temptations, and our sins. He went through all my stress, all my overwhelming feelings, and knows how I feel...So I can just depend on him. He is always there for me. I know that the Savior lives. I know that Heavenly Father send his son because he loves us (John 3:16-17). It was a very humbling day, but turned out just fine. I know that I am loved and that this change is when I am going to grow the most. :)
Well, I love you all and missionary work is great! I am so excited to talk with you all and "see" you on Christmas Day. Merry Christmas! I love you! Remember the "reason for the season". :)
Love you,
Sister Schillemat

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!

Hello Family!
Wow! It has been 3 months since I left and Peder is about to enter the MTC! I can't believe how fast time has gone. Being a missionary is a great thing! I love it. :)
So, before I forget. I can skype you on Christmas day! Expect a phone call probably next week letting you know when I will be calling, or should I skype! :) I am so excited to see all your faces and talk with you. It is certainly going to be the highlight of my Christmas Day! Also, could you let me know whose skype account I should search for on that day! Gracias!
Well, we had another baptism! It was a great service for Yvonne Rivera. She is a wonderful woman in her early 30's and she is so excited about the gospel. Yesterday, her 11 year old son starting taking the lessons with the Elders, and I guess Yvonne bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon to her son. It was wonderful to hear! We are excited to have another wonderful person in our ward! (How many times can I say wonderful in one sentence? ;) )
Yesterday night we were finishing up our night and we realized that we had 9 OYMs (Open Your Mouths) to get so that we would reach our goal of 140. We had about an hour to get them, but it is hard when it is dark outside and we can't go tracting. So, we drove to an investigator's home and she counted as an OYM, plus there were 3 guys near her house that we talked to! Then we drove to our apartment and still needed 5 more! Two people were getting out of their car at the same time. We talked to them. We searched the parking lot with a prayer in our heart that we would find some people to talk to. We found 2 more, then we walked around some more and we had only a couple minutes left. Sister Robinette jokingly said, "You all better be praying!" And then we saw two more people park on the side of the road and we talked to them! We reached our goal. It was a miracle!
After we sent in our numbers, we received a text a while later from our zone leaders saying, "Good Job everyone! Every companionship in the zone got over 140 OYMs this week." I then turned to Sister Robinette and said, "It is a good thing we got those last 9 OYMs!"
It truly is a miracle that we reached that goal last night, but I know as we try our hardest, Heavenly Father will put people in our paths. I know that is true with all my heart.
So tell me more about Christmas! Are you doing the 12 days of Christmas this year? We were just talking about it and we might! There is an older woman, who lives by herself that we may do it to. :)
When does everyone get home? You said Andrea gets home Wednesday, but what about everyone else? Kirstin? Johanna?
So this week is going to be very bitter-sweet. Sister Robinette leaves on Friday! And then flies home on Saturday! We are excited for her to see her family, but I am going to miss that girl so much. She has become one of my best friends. She is truly an amazing missionary and an amazing friend. She is an example of perserverence and love. Heavenly Father knew that I would need Sister Robinette as my companion. He knows who I need! Sister Jones has come out of her shell quite a bit too! The three of us have a lot of fun together and work well. Sister Jones and I are going to be a VERY young companionship, but I am excited. :)
I have been reading in Mosiah this week and I love it. It is an amazing part of the Book of Mormon. One scripture that I really liked from what I was reading:
Mosiah 16:9 "He [Christ] is the light and the life od the world;yea a light that is endless, that can never be darkened;yea, and also a life which is endless, that there can be no more death." I love the phrase,"He is a light that can never be darkened." He truly is the light of the world. As we focus on him, we will have the joy! We will be happy and always be in the light. There is no darkness in Christ!
I know that The Church of Jesus Christ is true. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and yours. I know that now is the season to celebrate the miraculous birth and life of Jesus Christ and focus on what matters most. And you matter most to me! I love you all! It is going to be hard to be away from you, but it makes me appreciate the wonderful family I have even more. And I am able to focus on Jesus Christ more than I ever have before. I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and it is only through the power of God that the Book of Mormon was translated. I know that book truly is the word of God. I know that there is power in The Book of Mormon as we read it every day.
Thank you for being the more wonderful family! I miss you all, but I am so glad to be here!
I am so excited for Peder and the work that he is about to start. Be strong Peder! Depend on Jesus Christ. "Let us labor diligently" (Moroni 9:6) and "Be faithful in Christ"  (Moroni 9:25)! I love you Peder! You are going to be a great missionary!
I love you all and pray for you often. Thank you for all you do!
Le quiero, (I love you...I think that is what it means... ;) )
Sister Schillemat
Tell the YSA that I loved the Christmas tree and chocolate they sent me! I put it up during my lunch that day with my companions and it makes me smile so much everytime I see it!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Baptism and more photos

Well, we had a great week last week, which ended with a baptism! Savannah Urena was baptized and it was wonderful. I think one of my favorite parts is that her mom was crying when Savannah was beign baptized and Joyce, her mom, said, "I feel like I am being baptized again." Joyce and Savannah are both so wonderful and it was a great day. Sunday was her confirmation and again that was a very special sacrament meeting. We are now just praying that Nicholas, Savannah's 12 year old brother, will follow soon. :)
I think my favorite experience of the week was Joe LaPorta. We had been teaching Joe pretty early on in my first transfer, but he got really busy and stopped meeting with us. Sister Hench had been praying about him a lot one week and he called her. It was amazing! Then he came to church last week and we hoped to meet with him, but we didn't hear from him for a while. One day last week, I decided that I really needed to pray for Joe as well, and that was the day that he called the Hench's. Pray works. It always does. I know that to be true. But prayer needs faith. With faith, prayer is amazing. So Joe called the Hench's and came to church yesterday. He also came to the Christmas Devotional. At the devotional, he was able to see the living prophet, which was perfect. Then President Strong, the Redlands Stake President, introduced himself to Joe and bore an amazing testimony to Joe. He asked him, "So when is your baptism?" Joe answered that we were trying to figure that out. President Strong continued to bear testimony and say some amazing things to Joe and then said that he would love to come to Joe's baptism. It was perect. It really couldn't have been better for Joe to hear that. President Strong was just great! Joe wants to be baptized before his birthday on January 1st, so we are thinking about December 23rd. It would be a wonderful Christmas present for him. :) Plus he will be baptized on Joseph Smith's birthday! The only downside to that date is that Sister Robinette will be gone, but we don't know if we can make it any earlier. But we will see! Pray for Joseph LaPorta. :)
So Peder is heading out sooo soon! I can't believe it! It does seem like just a little while ago that you sent me off to Provo, but it is almost 3 months! Peder, you will be great! Missionary work is the best. It really is. :)
Tell the Badten's that I am praying for them.  That is so sad that Addie-Kay passed away just after her brother Woody. I wish I could be there for her, but let her know that I am thinking of her and their family.
Well, let me tell you about another cool thing that happened. Yvonne, the one preparing for baptism this Saturday, said a beautiful prayer yesterday. She said that she was thankful for the wonderful peace that she feels while she is at church. She said she hopes that her family will come to realize that this is the true church, just as she knows. She said a beautiful prayer that was so sincere and loving. I can learn from her example.
Well, some scriptures and quotations:
"The Lord is more interested in changing you, than changing your circumstances."-Brother Purcell in the Highland 1st Ward. 
Mosiah 5:15
Mosiah 5:2
Mosiah 2:41 (My favorite scripture!)
Can you tell where I have been in my scripture reading? ;)
Highland of email this week: Hearing from Dad! Thank you Dad for the email. It means a lot to me to hear from you. Thank you for your love and support!
Mom, How are you? I hope that you have had a wonderful week! Love you!
Dad, Thank you again! 
Kirstin, Thanks for the emails! Give Lucy a hug for me. :)
Andrea, Thank you for the picture!
Poul, You're the best! Are you going to Utah? You still didn't answer that question. 
Jo, How are you doing? Thanks for your letters! I need your email.
Peder, I am so excited and proud of you! Look for Christa! She just got there last Wednesday. 
Geoff, How are you little brother? How is school going?
Well, I love you all and miss you lots!
The church is true. Jesus Christ loves you and so do I. Pray, faith, and obedience will bring miracles!
Love you!
 Sister Schillemat and her newest convert, Savannah!
Savannah before her baptism!
The Sister Missionaries, Savannah, her mom, and the missionary couple.
Sister Schillemat, Sister Robinette, Savannah, and Sister Jones. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The latest pictures

 Gretchen, Sister Robinette, Sister Jones, and President and Sister Smart

 Gretchen's first baptism, Mark--the tall one in the center.

Helping their investigator family decorate for Christmas.

Thanksgiving and thanks for Baptism!

Hello everyone!
This week was a good week! We had Thanksgiving, plus a baptism!
So our baptism was for Mark Trzcinski. He is a 41 year old man, who is so excited about the gospel. We are so excited for him. The baptism was wonderful. I gave the opening prayer, and then we had a wonderful talk by Sister Hench, one of the senior missionaries in the ward. Then Elder Hench, Sister Hench's husband (of course :) ) baptized Mark. Mark is a tall man, so it was a little hard to get him all the way under, but Elder Hench did it well. :) Then we had some welcomes to the ward. Mark was confirmed a member of the church and received the gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday by Elder Hench. That was an amazing blessing and Mark was crying by the end. It was wonderful to see how happy he was!
After Mark's baptism, Savannah, the 10 year old girl, had her baptismal interview! She is ready to go for this Saturday. Sister Robinette sneakily volunteered me to do a talk for that baptism. I will be speaking on baptism for Savannah... It doesn't have to be long, so hopefully it will be okay. :)
Miracle of the week: We taught Joyce, Savannah's mother, about Tithing last week and she said that she wasn't sure if she could pay it. We told her that she would be able to and she would be blessed for it. So, the next time we taught her, she was filling out her tithing slip as we were there! It was one of the greatest testimonies of faith that I have seen on my mission thus far. Whenever we tell Joyce about a commandment, she does it. That same day, we taught about the Word of Wisdom. Joyce has been drinking coffee and she didn't even know it was bad. As soon as we explained it to her she said, "Drinking coffee is a sin? I didn't even know." She said she just bought a new package of coffee and she was going to take it back to the store. She said she would start weaning off and that she would stop. There were no questions asked! She just said she would do it!
Then the best part is the next day at the baptism, she leans over to me and says,"I only drank a little bit of coffee this morning, and it didn't even taste good! I didn't even want to drink it." It was amazing. As I type it to you, I feel the spirit. I know that Heavenly Father is blessing her so much as she is coming back to church and trying to live the commandments. She can see the difference. More importantly, she can FEEL the difference. When we were explaining to her and Savannah about the gift of the Holy Ghost, Joyce asked us if the reason she was feeling so much better now and could feel those "good feelings" from the Spirit was because she was doing the right thing now and before she could feel that because she wasn't always doing the right. We told her that was exactly right! The Holy Ghost is coming back into her life and she can feel the difference. She is an amazing woman!
So I am going to attach some pictures from the baptism! And maybe a couple of more. :)
The baptism one is Sister Robinette, Sister Hench, Mark Trzcinski, Elder Hench, Me, and Sister Jones.
The next one is Joyce, Nicholas, Savannah, and the three of us. We helped decorate their home for Christmas! :)
Then there is one of us at the mission home when we picked up Sister Jones. :)
So Mom asked about Thanksgiving. Not going to lie, but holidays are pretty boring on the mission. We aren't allowed to teach lessons or do anything really except our studies and then have dinner and hang out with our zone. We did play some volleyball with some other sister missionaries, played some games with our zone, and then had a very nice dinner at our Ward mission leaders' home, BrotherMontgomery, but other days are better than holidays. :) It was semi-relaxing, but I like getting out and teaching more! If we aren't busy, I think about home too much. ;)
Life is great here is Highland! I miss you all lots though. You are the best part of holidays, so that makes it a little hard, but I am glad I am here! Next holiday I get to talk to all of you (hopefully skype!)!
I am most thankful for you all! I love you so much and hope and pray you are all doing well. :)
Missionary work is the best! The Church is true! Jesus Christ lives and we are children of God. :)
Mom, Thank you for the package! It was wonderful! :)
Love you all siempre,
Sister Schillemat 
I said a prayer in Spanish today! The prayer consisted of "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for my family. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen." It was short, but it was in Spanish! :)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Big Changes, Miracles and Good News

Hello Family!
So I laughed last week after I found out that we were getting a new companion and I had told you that nothing was going to change really! Sister Jones, from Baton Rouge, LA, is our newest companion. She is straight from the MTC, just like me! It makes it an interesting situation because I am still in the training process, but the last six weeks of it, and Sister Jones is brand new, so we are kind of starting all over. I am not the trainer, but I am kind of the side-kick to Sister Robinette... hehe The reason for the trio is because Sister Robinette and all the other missionaries going home are leaving a week early because of Christmas. So...I needed a companion for the last week of this transfer. So I will be a trainer for at least a week! :) Then we don't really know what will happen, but we are excited for this transfer! Great things are already happening... Ready for them? Here you go...
We have a baptism this Saturday, November 26th! And December 3rd! And December 10th! All of them are looking pretty good so far. Mark is being baptized this Saturday and he just had his interview this morning, so we are pretty much good to go on that one. He is so excited! He is the guy that showed up three weeks ago and just said he wanted to be baptized. I could tell from the very beginning how much he wanted to take this step in his life and we are so excited! It is amazing to see how much he has repented and used the repentance process in his life. He hasn't told us much about his past, but he told us last week that he was in tears on his bed, asking for repentance. He truly understands and is sorry for what he is done. I still struggle to fully understand repentance, but Mark is a wonderful example. 
On December 3rdSavannah, a 10 year old girl, is planning to be baptism. MIRACLE OF THE WEEK! Savannah's dad said she could get baptized! On one condition: That he would get a picture! We can totally do that. :) Savannah's dad is not really in the picture and is not a very nice man from what we have heard, and Joyce, Savannah's mom, was worried about getting permission, but he said it was okay. :) It was amazing and truly a miracle. 
Last, but certainly not least, Yvonne Rivera is a referral we received from the ward. We think that she just called the ward building for more information and then we received her contact information, but that is not important...  We met with her last Friday. She said that she grew up Catholic and her mother never let her explore other religions. Yvonne said she's been drawn to the Mormon church for a while and is now dating a member. She loves how family oriented it is and was just excited to learn. At the end of the lesson, she said, "I know this is where I belong. I just have a warm feeling and am getting emotional." We testified that it was the Spirit testifying of the truth of the message. She came to church yesterday and brought her two children. She committed to be baptized on December 10thand we just received a call from her this morning, asking if we could meet more often so that she would be prepared. Also, she has some cousins that are members and they are going to attend and were wondering if they could bring refreshments! How great is that?! We are just so excited for her. She is so prepared and I know that the Lord is blessing us in this area.
One of my favorite Miracles of the week (I try to look for miracles every day and I write them down at the end of the day...I would try doing that! There are so many miracles.): We were at Frances Baggerman's home and she told us to sit down. She said she had lost her cell phone and was searching for it when we showed up. After we sat down, she continued searching for it. Five minutes went by... (probably) and she still hadn't found it. We didn't really know how to help, but I said a prayer in my mind that she would find it. I started looking around a little as I sat in the couch. I looked behind me at a shelve and then I thought about how everything is ALWAYS in the couch. If you lose it, that is where you should check. So, I looked at the side of the couch, thought a saw something, and reached down, and it was the phone! Literally a minute after I had said the quick prayer. I knew that Heavenly Father had answered that prayer. Frances said she had already looked in the couch, but hadn't seen it, but there it was! Heavenly Father never fails. I have done that so many times and I always find what I am missing. And this time was no different. It strengthened my testimony that prayer really works. He is listening. I know that is true!
So Thanksgiving is this week and I will definitely get plenty to eat! I am excited for turkey, mashed potatoes, and gravy. :)
There are way too many things I am grateful for, but here are a few:
All of you. My family. Being on a mission is wonderful, but I miss you all so much. We are so blessed to have our family. We have been extremely blessed, especially spiritually. Poul mentioned how all of us who are old enough to have gone to the temple have gone, and I have releized how blessed we are. To have six out of seven children already endowed is a huge blessed and privilege that our family has. Mama and Papa, thank you for all that you have done! You raised some good kids and it was because you always loved and respected us that we are the way we are. Thank you! I love you so much Kirstin, Poul, Andrea, Johanna, Peder, and Geoffrey. You are my best friends. :)
The gospel. We would not be the family that we are without the gospel. I know that is true. I am so grateful that I was taught about faith, repentance, baptism, the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end so early in life. I know that truly is a blessing.
My mission. I am so glad that I am here. I am glad to be serving the people in California at this time. This is truly rewarding and helps me see how blessed I have always been. I love being here.
An education. I love my gospel education and math education. :) The gospel one is sooo important here on the mission, but I have been able to help people with math as well. :)
A loving Heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ. Without my Savior, I would be nothing. I love that we are given the opportunity to repent and use the Savior's Atonement everyday to become better. One thing I love is: repentance is all about love; our love for our Savior, Jesus Christ and His love for us.
There are so many more: scriptures, in particular The Book of Mormon, church leaders, chocolate... Lots and lots!
But most especially it is all of you. I love you so much! Have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I miss you! I know that God lives and that Jesus Christ is my Savior. The Church is so true!
Lots of Love,
Sister Schillemat
Challenge for the week: Look for at least one miracle a day and write it down. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Transfer #2 begins

This past week has been a good one! I have made it successfully through another transfer so that is great! Plus our whole district is staying the same since 3 of us came from the MTC together, so there won't be many changes this transfer. But Sister Robinette is going home after this transfer! I am scared...Really scared... ;) But it will be okay! I know it will, but it will be different. She really is amazing. I love her so much and we get along so well! :)
Well, we have an exciting investigator! His name is Mark. He came to church by himself last week and we met him. He said he wanted to be baptized! So we met with him twice last week and this morning and he is set for baptism on Nov. 26th! We are so excited and he is excited. Yesterday while at church, Mark's arm was hurting him badly. He had told us that it was hurting earlier that week, but it was really bad during sacrament. After sacrament, Elder Hench (a senior missionary in our ward) and Bishop Denkers gave him a blessing and his arm didn't hurt him anymore. Mark now has a strong testimony of the priesthood. I know that the priesthood is the authority of God on earth. I know that priesthood blessings are from our Heavenly Father and that miracles come from faith and blessings. I am so grateful for you, Dad, and Poul, and  so many others who have given me priesthood blessings. I know that I have been blessed from on high. Thank you for worthily holding the priesthood.
We are all excited for Mark! He is very excited and we are too. :) Pray that he will continue to have that strong desire to be baptized.
We had another experience with priesthood blessings last week. I told you about Joyce (Mom), Nicholas(12 year old son), and Savannah(10 year old daughter). We went to their house on Wednesday and things were not going well. Everyone was upset with each other. It was just not good. Sister Robinette asked everyone what was one thing that they wanted the other two to do to help them. Sorry that's a little confusing, but for example, Nicholas wanted Savannah to stop screaming in his ear. We started by asking them at and then we just talked with them. Joyce was having a really hard time, and I ended up talking with her for awhile, while Sister talked with Nicholas and Savannah. Joyce has a lot on her plate and she knows that her family needs to be more unified. I kept testifying of Jesus Christ's Atonement and how the Savior knows what we are going through. Then I asked her if she would like a blessing. She said that would be really nice. So two days later, the Hench's (The senior missionary couple...They are amazing by the way!) came and gave all three of them blessings. It was what they needed. Nicholas, who has ADHD, has a hard time focusing, and it was promised in his blessing that he would be baptized and that after receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, he would be more calm and teachable. That is an answer to Joyce's prayers. I know those blessings came from Heavenly Father!
The priesthood is amazing! I just love how much it has blessed my life and out family. We have been so blessed to always have the priesthood in our home. Thank you Dad, Poul, Peder, and Geoffrey. Thank you so much!
One Miracle of the week: Jeffrey Campos, a less active 13 (or 14) year old boy, read 10 chapters of The Book of Mormon last week and remembered a lot of what he read! It was amazing! He prayed as well. :) It truly was a miracle because he doesn't remember a lot about the church, but we hope and pray that he continues reading and learning!
Well, this week is looking good! We have dinner and two more appointments tonight, so we are very excited! (I am  always worried to tell you how many appointments are coming up because they often fall through, which is disappointing...But we just confirmed all of these appointments for this evening, so hopefully! Pray for us. :))
Life is good over here in California! I love hearing from all of you. I miss you all so much!
Mom, Good job at inviting people to church! That is amazing! Coming to church is so important, so keep asking. :)
Dad, How is work going? How are the high priests doing?
Kirstin, Jimmy, and Lucy, How are you all doing? How was Halloween? I would love to see pictures. :)
Poul, thanks for the email! It is good to hear from you. The living room must look pretty great because you, Mom, and Peder mentioned it! Send me pictures of that too. :)
Andrea, Roland, Liam, and Landon, Thanks for the pictures! They are sooo cute! I miss you all! Keep sending me emails. :)
Jo, How are you? I haven't heard from you recently. Fill me in!
Peder, I am so excited for you! Are you really in the MTC for 12 weeks? I thought it was just 9! That is a long time! I don't know if we are going to be able to talk on Christmas, but we'll keep emailing. Before you know it though, I will be able to talk to you, so don't worry about it too much. :)
Geoff, Thank you for the letter this week! I love hearing from you. How was your soccer banquet? How is school?
I love you all! Keep working hard. :)
Scripture of the week: 2 Nephi 33: 6. I glory in my Jesus. I really do. I know that he is my Savior and that he performed the Atonement for me personally. I love Jesus Christ and I am so blessed to be a witness of him. It is a privilege to be a missionary!
Have a great week! I am thankful for you all! I am thankful for the gospel! I am thankful for the restoration of the church! I am most thankful for Jesus Christ!
Sister Schillemat

Monday, November 7, 2011

The End of the First Transfer

Can you believe that? I am in the last week of the end of my first transfer! Although 6 weeks isn't very long in the scheme of my whole mission, it still has gone very fast!
This past week was a little more rough than normal. We went from having 21 lessons to 14 lessons. We had a lot cancel on us, but such as life. I think it was Saturday that we had 6 or 7 appointments set up and only 2 went through. It was just another phone call or text after another saying they were cancelling, but it was okay. It makes me appreciate all the times we have lessons go through! :)
So cool experience of the week: (There are a lot of them, but this is the one that I am thinking about right now... :) )
There was a former investigator Connie Smith who we stopped into the other week. We were able to teach her this week and at first she told us that she just wanted to learn, but not convert. We thought, okay that's fine, but we can at least teach her. The Spirit will touch her and we'll see what happens. We began teaching her about the Restoration and it was going well. She had already been taught most of the information because she had met with the missionaries before. We then talked about the example Jesus Christ set for us in 2 Nephi 31. I love verse 5 that says if Jesus Christ needs to be baptized and he is perfect, how much more do we need to be baptized! We shared that with Connie and then invited her to be baptized. Before I was even finished with the invitation, she was nodding her head, yes! It was wonderful! She told us that she had been dating a member before and had felt pressure to join the church, but wanted to do it for herself and not for him. That was the reason she stopped meeting with the missionaries. No that the "guy is out of the picture", she feels good about it. :) Her baptism date is November 27th. :)
Another family we are teaching is Joyce Salazar and her two children Nicholas and Savannah. We have been meeting with them for the past couple of weeks and they are a lot of fun. They LOVE having us over. It is always, "The sisters are here! The sisters are here!" Joyce is a less active member, who really doesn't remember anything about the church. She was baptized when she was a teenager and is now 50 and doesn't remember anything. She has been living in Highland for 10 years and it wasn't until the sisters tracted into her that her records were in the ward! Her son is 12 and Savannah is 10. Savannah is so excited about being baptized! She is set for December 3rd and is just so enthusiatic. We still have a lot to teach, but it is refreshing to see someone so excited to take that step. We are still working on Nicholas. He hasn't quite decided whether he wants to be baptized, but he has been praying, so we hope he will want to soon. :)
One thing that I have noticed since I have been here is how important a smile is. We have people commenting on how much we smile and how happy we look and I know it is because we have the gospel. We know about the great plan of salvation that Heavenly Father has provided for us. This brings so much hope and happiness to me. I know where I am going and what my ultimate goal is. There have been several people tell us that we have a "glow" and I know that is also from the gospel. I don't always understand exactly what that glow is, but I know that I am happy because I am sharing this wonderful message about Jesus Christ. :) I am helping others come unto Christ and find the joy from repentance. So remember to always SMILE and people will notice your glow. :)
Everything is going well out here! There are a lot of fun people out here and I really like the ward. :) I miss you all though. A lot sometimes, but I know that I am supposed to be here. I know that I am meant to be here. I read, "Cast not away therefore your confidence" by Elder Holland recently and I really love that talk. As we put our trust in the revelation or answer from Heavenly Father, we should not fear or flee from the inspiration that we have received. It is a great talk and you all should read it!
Yesterday I was able to bear my testimony in church. It is always so nice to do that! I really love bearing my testimony. I know that it is true that as we share our testimonies, they will grow!
Scripture for the week:
2 Nephi 28:30 "line upon line, precept upon precept...for unto him that receiveth I will give more"
I love this scripture because I know that is how I have learned through out my life. I have been taught since I was very little about the gospel, but I haven't received all the knowledge at once. We are baptized when we are 8 and make certain covenants. We continue to learn, receive our patriarchal blessing, and remain worthy so that we can do baptisms in the temple. Then as we continue to learn precept on precept and keep the commandments and remain pure, we can enter the temple and make more covenants and are given more knowledge. As we follow the Lord, he will be given more knowledge for our lives. We don't get it all at once because it would be too much and we would understand it at a young age, so we get it line upon line at the right time in our lives.
For Andrea, specifically, but everyone:
Today in companionship study, Sister Robinette talked about Alma 27 that she studied in personal study. Verse 16-18 reminded me of this summer. When I saw you at the airport, I was so excited. I still can't explain that feeling exactly. It was the greatest surprise that I have ever had and I felt so much joy that day. In this scripture, Ammon and Alma meet each other and it was a "joyful meeting"! That is what I felt this summer and it meant so much to me and the whole family that you came to visit. Thank you Andrea! I love you.! :) Sometimes I think about when I get home and how wonderful that will be. I am glad to be here, but I do miss you all and can't wait to see you soon. :)
Life is so good! I love you all so much and think of you often. I am so excited for your Peder and I will be thinking of you on November 19th. How blessed we are that there will be 6 out of 7 of the children through the temple already! That truly is amazing!
Love you all! Jesus Christ is the only way to be happy. The Church is true.
Love siempre,
Sister Schillemat
For Kirstin and Jimmy: Paz afuera and Que en el mundo?  :)
They are English Phrases translated into Spanish that I was taught by Hermana Christensen, one of the other sisters in our apartment... The first one is my favorite. ;)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Redlands Temple

Sunset in Highland,  California

Sister Robinette and Sister Schillemat:  Twins!

Week Four in Highland, California

This week has been great! I have had a lot of fun and had 21 lessons last week! It was wonderful! I love teaching of the good news of the gospel. :)
Crazy snow! That is insane! It makes me glad that I am here where it is in the 80s and 90s. :)
I have a short story and then pictures for this week:
Yesterday we stopped in at a former investigator's house. Her name is Carmel. We came up and she was with her mother, Martha, and her boyfriend, Anthony. We started talking with her and asked if she was interested to which she relied, "No, not really." We asked if we could share a scripture with her. We shared Helaman 5:12 and all of them really liked it. Anthony actually grew up in the church but hasn't been active for 15 years. We talked about prophets and Martha mentioned how people often rejected the prophets. Then I brought up how it is wonderful that we have the right to choose to follow the prophet and that as we do we will be blessed. Carmel said that she wasn't sure about a prophet, but hasn't really taken the time to search things out. She says she often just thinks it is easier to stay where she is and not search out the truth. We invited her to read the Book of Mormon and to take Moroni's challenge. All 3 of them agreed. Carmel also said, "I think there was a reason that you came here today." She agreed to have us back! It was really a cool experience. We talked about how everything happens for a reason. She is dating Anthony for a reason. They were home that day for a reason and we stopped by for a reason. I know that I am here in California for a reason. Often, I don't know why yet, but I will find that out throughout my mission. :)
I love you all!  Happy Halloween!
The Church is true and the Book of Mormon is too! Even Jesus Christ testifies that The Book of Mormon is true (Doctrine and Covenants 17:6). :)
Love you,
Sister Schillemat

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Some Pictures From the Mission Field

 Sister Schillemat with other sister missionaries.
I believe that this was taken at the Missionary Training Center.
 This is Gretchen with her companion and her mission president, President Smart and his wife.
The view from California!

Week Three in the Mission Field

I have made it successfully through one half of a transfer! It has been a great couple of weeks. I really do like it out here and I am learning a lot. There is sooo much in the scriptures. I often wish I had a lot more time to just study the scriptures and that I could know so much more, but teaching is important and I love that too. :)
So this week I want to talk about Frances Baggerman. I can't remember if I told you about her and all that she is going through. Her dad past away recently, her dog was stolen and then ran away, and then her cousin beat her up and she lost two teeth because of it. She has been through so much, but she has the sweetest spirit. She has been reading from the Book of Mormon and she came to church yesterday! That was so exciting! She looked so cute too. She doesn't have a lot of nice clothes, but the Sisters before me went out and bought her some clothes for church. She was just happy yesterday and you could see it as she was sitting there in church. I loved it! She truly is amazing. She still has a lot to learn and needs to work on her smoking problem, but the great thing is that she knows that it is a problem. She knows that it is a waste of money and that it is bad for her. That is a big part of stopping. Sister Hench, a senior missionary, is a convert to the church and had to stop smoking. She came with us to talk to Frances and it was great to have her there. She said that the key to overcoming temptations is to lay everything down before Jesus Christ. Ask for help from Heavenly Father, but make sure that you do everything in the name of the Savior. I know that is true. We can overcome every challenge that we have if we lay it at the feet of the Savior, Jesus Christ. I have so much to learn and temptations, challenges, and trials to overcome and it is only through Jesus Christ that I can overcome those things. I think it really helped Frances. She is doing great. We still are praying a lot for her, but she is scheduled for baptism on November 26th! :)
One thing I love about missionary work is how much we pray. Prayer is so essential to missionary work. We must "pray always" and our righteous desires will be answered. I have been really working on prayer lately. We always teach people to pray from their heart and to tell Heavenly Father the desires of their hearts. If I am going to tell people to do that, I have to as well! :) I really experienced that last night as I prayed. There are things that I want to learn and improve on and I think for a while I was just embarrassed to even ask Heavenly Father for help. But last night, I just laid it out to him. I told him very specifically what my desires were and today as been wonderful. I know that Heavenly Father is listening. I know that as we pray specifically, Heavenly Father will answer our prayers. I love praying in lessons as well and realizing that Heavenly Father is watching over us as we pray and he will really help those we pray for. Prayer is amazing! Thank you Mom and Dad for having family prayers. I know that our family has been strengthened beacuse of that. Keep praying! Thank you all for the prayers you have sent my way. I know that Heavenly Father is blessing me because of your prayers.
Well, this week should be another good one! Thank you so much to all the High Priests for the letter they sent! That was soo wonderful and unexpected. My favorite part was Grandpa's part where he started by saying, "Hello Amber" and then crossed it out and put Gretchen. :) Thank you all!
Dad, I want to hear from you! :)
Poul, You owe me a letter soon mister... ;)
Kirstin, Thank you for the letter. I loved Lucy;'s scribble. Thank you Jimmy as well!
Andrea, Thanks for the emails every week. I love you!
Jo, I need to hear from you soon too! How are you doing?
Peder, Keep doing what you're doing! You are going to be a great missionary!
Geoff, I hope soccer is going well and I want to hear more from you. I am thinking of sharing 2 Nephi 19:21 for a dinner thought today because I was thinking of you. Thanks for sharing that with me this summer. Keep reading your scriptures!
Mom, Thank you for all the updates! I really appreciate it. You are wonderful Mama!
Thank you all for your love and support! You are amazing and I pray for you often. Your daughter and sister over in California misses you all, but is glad to be here. Love you!
Commitment of the week: Find a scripture that means a lot to you and that you can recall often when you need a spiritual boost. Sister Robinette's is Helaman 5:12 and it has become one of my favorites as well. We share it will so many people. Mine is probably my missionary plague: Mosiah 2:41beacuse it talks about happiness and that is what life on earth and eternal life is all abaout. I really love 2 Nephi 31:20 as well. We should have a steadfastness in Christ and a perfect brightness of hope. I love that! Perfect Brightness of Hope! When I hear that I just think about how we should hope for exaltation. It is absolutely attainable! We are going to be an eternal family! How wonderful is that! I would love to hear what your scriptures are. Email or write me and let me know. :)
Love you all! Keep praying for me. I need it. :)
The Church is true and Jesus Christ lives. I love prayer and the power it brings. The Book of Mormon brings power into our lives.
Love you siempre (always in Spanish!),
Sister Gretchen Schillemat
"It is not just that the Book of Mormon teaches us truth,. though it indeed does that. It is not just that the Book of Mormon bears record of Christ, though it indeed does that, too. But there is something more. There is a power in the book which will begin to flow into your lives the moment you begin a serious study of the book." - President Ezra Taft Benson.
I love that quotation. It is very true. There is a power that will flow into our lives! Keep reading. :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another good week

It is great to hear from you all! That is exciting that Poul got a new car. Congratulations Poul!
This week has been going well! We have been teaching a lot, which is great. We had one investigator that said right off the bat that he wanted to be baptized. Joseph LaPorta is his name. He came to church yesterday and we are meeting with him again. We are really excited to continue to meet with him. He really wants to have the happiness and peace that comes from the gospel.
We are also meeting with a woman named Frances Baggerman, who has been struggling lately. She had her car stolen, her dogs wer stolen, and many other things. She said she would come to church, which she didn't, but we are hoping that next week she will come. She really could use the gospel in her life.
It really has been a great last week. We had 18 lessons last week (investigators, less-active, and active ward members) and the goal is to have 20 so we were really close. I was able to go to sacrament meeting this past week, which was a huge blessing. We had general conference and then stake conference, so I was really excited for regular church this week. I know that taking the sacrament each week is truly a strength. I also introduced myself in the ward and everyone is pretty excited that I am from NH. :)
Well, I am hoping to get some pictures on here this week, so enjoy! Sister Robinette will be the one with short (ish) brown hair in front of the Redlands Temple. :) I am still trying to get some pictures on there, but I am going to send this just in case.
Scripture for the week: 2 Nephi 3. I read this chapter this morning and I love how it talks about the Book of Mormon and the Bible working together. Verse 12 was one of my favorites. The Book of Mormon with the Bible really do make the doctrine so clear. verse 24 is also a good one. Here is my commitment to you: read that chapter for family scripture study. :)
Love you all! The Church is true. I am so glad to be serving a mission. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and that Joseph Smith is a prophet. I love missionary work!
Sister Schillemat

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gretchen's First Week in the Mission Field

Hello Family!
I am in California! It is so wonderful out here and really beautiful. I love the state so much already and look forward to seeing more of the area later on in my mission.
So yesterday was a holiday, so that is why you are getting this email a day late. My p-day is Monday though, so look for emails then (except for random holidays... ;))
Well, I have made it a week in California. We flew in on Tuesday and met the mission president and his wife. They are so sweet and I love them already. We have driving tests, interviews, and orientations for the beginning of the day. I passed the driving test! ;) The interview with the President was also really good. He is such a great man and I am excited that he will be my mission president throughout my whole mission. The only question he really asked in the interview was, "Can I trust you?" I answers, yes! :) I hope that I can always keep that trust there because it will make his life so much easier. I will definitely to my best...You know me. ;)
So random story before I forget. On the first day when we were driving with the mission president, Sister Smart said to me, "So Sister Schillemat, you are a math person aren't you?" I replied yes, but I didn't know how she knew that. Then she said that I had talked with President Smart before on the phone. I was really confused at that point because I didn't know what she was talking about. I couldnt remember ever talking to him on the phone. But sure enough, I had! This past April or May, President Smart (before he was President) called me about tutoring his 17 year old son for the ACT. It was right before I was going home for spring, so I couldn't do it, but I guess I was recommended by one of my professors. After they mentioned that to me, I remembered that conversation. I do remember wishing that I could help, but unfortunely, I wasn't going to be around. Isn't it a small world?
So after all that orientation stuff, we went to the mission home and had a testimony meeting. It was a wonderful experience. All of the new missionaries bore their testimonies and it was so amazing. Then President Smart told us the new companionships. My companion is Sister Robinette, from Hyrum, UT. She is so great. Out personalities are actually pretty similar, which works so well for teaching. She is teaching me so much, so quickly, and she is truly a blessing. She has been out for 16 months, so I will most likely be her last companion! She is a wonderful missionary and we get along well. I am so blessed!
(Michael Linzey, from the Littleton Ward, is also a trainer and I saw him that first night. He is training Elder Alo, who was from my MTC district. They are going to do great things!)
So we headed home after the mission home to a nice apartment in Highland, CA. My area borders the San Bernandino Mission. If we go too far on Highland Ave, we are outside our mission. It is kind of crazy. We live with a set of Spanish sisters! It is so much fun in our apartment and I am learning a little Spanish. :) Somos missionarias de La Iglesia de Jesuchristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias. I know a couple other words and phrases, and we have a "Sister Schillemat's word/phrase of the day" board in our apartment. I have realized how blessed I am to be speaking English! I am sooo bad at Spanish! It is good to know a little bit though. :)
Well, teaching is my favorite part. In my first lesson, I was able to commit someone to be baptized for November 5th! His girlfriend is also set to be baptized on the same day! We still have a lot to teach them, but it is exciting. Rose, the woman being baptized, doesn't know how to read, but we are getting the Book of Mormon on CDs so hopefully she can start to listen to that.
Yesterday we taught an older woman named Frances. She is living in a residential home. I don't know exactly what it is called, but people take care of her and other elderly people in that home. Marco, a member, takes care of her. It was a good lesson yesterday and she said she feels drawn to the church, which is the Spirit testifying to her. We will have to visit her often because she has mild dementia, so we forgets things unless there is repetition, but we are excited to continue to teach her.
Teaching really is great! I love testify of this Church and how Jesus Christ is our Savior. I still have LOTS of improvement in my teaching, but it is my favorite part of the mission. We have quite a few lessons this week, so that is exciting!
I was able to go to the Redlands temple last week as well. It is sooo beautiful. I really love going to the temple. Congratulations Johanna! I am soo excited for you. It is such a blessing that we have a temple in our area. Jo, you are wonderful! I thought of you while I was in the temple last Thursday.
Mom, before I forget! I need family pictures! If you could send a couple of the ones that we took earlier that would be great. :) Also, the list is getting longer for my package, but if you can send it this week if you'd like. Could you also send with it:
1. white/gray hooded winterish jacket (in my closet)
2. Any other blouses that I might have
3. Pictures (like I just mentioned :))
4. Amber's address
5. The other things I told you
6. Anything else you may feel like sending  :)
Thank you sooo much! I appreciate it. Also, send it using the post office because then the mission office can forward it to me. If you send it any other way (UPS or FeDex) than we would have to pick it up. I know you will probably send it USPS anyway, but just to let you know. Send everything to the mission home address. (5900 Grand Ave...) They just forward everything to us. Thanks!
So everything is going well! Missionary work is hard though. I am always really tired. But it is good. Yesterday was a little rough for me, but then I woke up this morning and all I could think of was "Forget yourself and go to work". That is really what is important. If I forget myself and just work for the people here, then everything will be great. It deosn't mean that disappointments won't come, but I know that I am doing the work of Jesus Christ. I know that if I give him all that I can by serving people in California, then miracles will happen.
Well, have a wonderful week! This was a long email...Sorry! I love you all! Keep praying for me. I need it! :)
The church is true! Jesus Christ is my Savior and yours.
Love you!
Sister Schillemat
ps. We have received two referrals from mormon.org, so that is a great missionary tool! Spread the word! Look at it yourself. It is pretty cool. :)