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.