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, so that is a great missionary tool! Spread the word! Look at it yourself. It is pretty cool. :)

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