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). :)
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 Nephi19:21 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. :)
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!
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.
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. :)
Gretchen arrived safely in California yesterday, October 4. We heard from her before she flew out of Salt Lake City. She sounds super-excited and she bore a lovely testimony to me before she had to get on the plane.
Her mission has a blog! Check it out: the address is Riversidecaliforniamission.blogspot.com. No pictures of Gretchen yet, but take a look within the next few days and there should be some.
Gretchen's Preparation day is Monday, so send her lots of mail and email. She'll be looking for it. Also, send all mail and packages to the mission home address and they will see that she gets them.