Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas is coming!

Hello Family!
I am so excited to be able to see you next week! :) I am going to skype at about noon here, so it will be 3:00 pm there. I hope that works with you! I am excited to see you! :)
We had a good week last week! Lots more lessons and lots of people to talk to! It was wonderful as well because there are so many sisters that are willing and want to go out with us! On one day we had 3 different team-ups which was wonderful! We take out several sisters who are preparing for missions, which is great for us and them! We love having people with us and they enjoy it too. :)

Last night was one of my highlights. On Saturday we were out talking to people and we saw a man cleaning the rims of his car. We walked up to him and asked if we could leave a blessing with him and his family. He said that he had recently lost his family and was living with his mom, but we could come over and leave the blessing with him.
So we went over last night and gave a Harvesting Blessing. The Spirit was wonderful and we invited him to be baptized on January 12th. He accepted! We are meeting with him tonight at 7:30. His girlfriend, who was also there, lives in Long Beach and wants the missionaries to come visit her there. It was such a wonderful way to end the week!
We also have Randy, a former investigator that we started meeting with again, on date for January 6th. We are excited for him! Our WML already made out the program for him and we are excited! He is really a great man and we are excited to see him continue to progress.
So funny story of the week: We had the RS Christmas Party on Thursday night. There was a white elephant exchange. One of the first gifts that was picked and opened were these really cute dish towels. I was excited because we really needed dish towels, so I was hoping I could some how get them. Well, they were getting passed all around and finally it was my turn. Well, I was able to pick from anyone and I went straight to Sister Graham, who had them. I took them, sat down, and looked closer. They weren't dish towels! They were Baby Burp Clothes! I was soo bummed, but everyone got a good laugh! (I did end up keeping them since I was towards the end of choosing...)
Well them the next day, Sister Herbert gave us a call and said she had something for us. Well, we stop by and she says, "Heres your Christmas present!" We open it and it is full of dish towels! What I have always wanted! ;)
It was a really good week! We also were able to help out at a community Christmas party at a local high school. We were able to pass out blankets and presents for over 500 children in the area. It was so fun! We had our whole zone there and it was just wonderful!
Well, the work is going well and I love it! Christmas is right around the corner and I can't believe it! I am excited to see you all! I love this work! I am so thankful to be a missionary. I know this is exactly where I am supposed to be. I know that I was called to California, Riverside Mission to meet all the wonderful people I have met! I love it. :)
Sister Fia continues to be amazing! I love her!
I know Jesus Christ lives. I know that He loves us all. He is the reason for this season. I love my Savior, Jesus Christ.
And I love you!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat 
PS. This is the cutest boy I have ever met! Little Marcus! Marcus and his sister made us that welcome sign!
We also were able to help decorate a tree yesterday! It was just like home. :)

Miracles in the Doctor's Office

Let me tell you about the miracle of the doctors appt!
So, I went into the doctors at 10:30 for a 10:45 appt. I told them I was a new patient, so they gave me paper work. They asked for my insurance and I said I was just going to pay the $100 for the visit. Well, I started filling out the paper work and they called me up again. They asked what I was there for. I told them a prescription. Well, the doctor happened to be right there and she said, "I am not worth $100 for just a prescription." She asked what it was for and I explained the insurance thing. She said, well, I'll just fill it out. And that's what she did. I was in and out in less than 10 minutes and I didn't have to pay anything! It was a miracle! I talked to Sister VanVleet and she said she has never heard of that happening before! I knew Heavenly Father was answering prayers. :)
Things are going well! I hope that 3:00pm your time works for you on Christmas! I am excited to see and talk with you!
Love you lots Mama!
Sister Schillemat

Monday, December 10, 2012

It's Christmas Time!

Gretchen with the Williams the night before she left Riverside.  The Williams joined the Church in  June.

Sisters Schillemat and Fia with Hailey, a new convert.  

Ward Members taking down decorations after the Ward Christmas party.  Yes, this is  positioned the right way. 

Hello Family!
Oh how wonderful is this time of year! I just love it so much and I love being a missionary during this time!
My highlight for the week was our Ward Christmas Party. It was one of the best I have seen! We had over 200 people there and many non-members! There at least 5 part-member families there and then several other non-member friends. It was soo wonderful to be there. The Primary did a nativity play and it was perfect. They would do a little bit and then we would all sing a Christmas song relating to the part of the play. Then they would say a little more and then we would sing. It was perfect length, a wonderful Spirit, and we just loved it! Plus, the ward members and everyone loved it. :)
Sister Fia and I have had a busy week, which we love, but didn't teach as much as we would have liked. This week should be better! We will be teaching a lot more, hopefully, and we are pretty excited about it. We have so many part-member families that we are hoping to teach. It is certainly a wonderful thing. :)
I feel like there isn't much else to talk about today, but I am just so thankful to be here on a mission. I am thankful for the privilege it is to wear a name-tag that has the Savior's name on it. I am thankful for all that Jesus Christ has done for me personally and for the world. I know that He is my Redeemer and Savior. I know He lives. And I love this work that is His!
I haven't done little notes in awhile, so here I go:
Dad, I would love to see a picture of you as a wiseman! I hope you are happy and healthy and all is good at work!
Mom, Thank you for your weekly emails! I truly look forward to them and to hear what is happening at home and with the family and ward. Keep being wonder-woman, Mom!
Kirstin, Jimmy, and Lucy, How are you all doing? When are you home for the holidays? And what time to I need to skype, so that I can see Lucy awake? :)
Poul, What have you been up to? Work? Are you going to school right now?
Andrea, Roland, Liam, and Landon, Those pictures are too funny! Little Landon is a peanut! I can't wait to see those boys all grown up! :)
Johanna, How's school going for you? How long off do you have for Christmas break? Hope you are well!  
Peder, You are amazing Peder! I tell everyone that I have a younger brother on a mission and that you are in an exotic part of the world. :) Keep working hard! When do you skype with the family?
Geoff, How is senior year going? I can't believe my "baby" brother is so old! What happened? Can't wait to see you on Christmas

I love you all! This Church is true! Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. Thank you for being such an amazing family! And wonderful support! I love you!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat

ps. I forgot! I had interviews with President Smart this week and I found out that I am coming home a week earlier than expected because of the missionary age change. Well, the MTC time is getting cut by a third, so the English missionaries will be only there for 2 weeks instead of 3. So that means that they will be here a week earlier. And this is taking place my last transfer. last transfer will only be 5 weeks long and I will be coming home March 26th instead of April 2nd. Easter will be the first Sunday that I am home. :) 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Wonderful week in Jurupa

Dear Family,
Well what a wonderful week we have had here in a new area. First let me tell you about my wonderful companion! Sister Fia is from Tonga and is just wonderful! It is only her, her mom, and younger sister that are members of the Church. Her dad and other siblings are not. She is a convert and was baptized when she was 17 years old. She has such an amazing testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and just loves to serve a mission. I feel sooo blessed to be her companion. I think of the huge sacrifices that she has made to be on a mission and how her family is excited, but not completely supportive, and I am so humbled. She tells people that she has two missions: the one the Lord called her to here in Riverside and her family back home. I am just so thankful to be with her. She makes me smile!
Well, the work is moving right along here in Jurupa. We came into a ward that has already had 13 baptisms this year. It is one of the highest baptizing in the whole mission and it is because of the wonderful members here. The Ward Mission Leader is just amazing and willing to serve. The Bishop and Stake President are also so wonderful and we are already seeing referrals come from the leaders and members. We feel so welcomed!
It is really cool because there are two people in the ward you told us that we are an answer to their prayers. First is Sister Scott. She is planning on serving a senior mission in about 5 years. She set goals and plans to achieve that, and one of the goals was to go out with the sister missionaries. Well there were no sisters in Jurupa Stake...And so, she still hadn't been able to go out with sisters. And then last week, we called her and she came out with us. She told us how grateful she was to be out and she bore her testimony yesterday about it being an answer to prayer. The other sister is about to serve a mission! She is 21 and leaves in about a month. She has been praying for help to prepare and now that we are in the ward, she is excited to go out with us! It is reinforces my testimony of this work. This is the Lord's work and he puts you exactly where you need to go. I am so thankful!
One of the cool experiences that we had the other day was with a woman, who grew up Jewish. The Elders told us to visit her because she didn't believe that there are sister missionaries. Well, we went by on and she opened up to us right away. She told us the struggles she has been having with the death of her oldest son. She has been going through a really dark time. We all just sat there crying for the whole lesson. We testified that God knows her and that Jesus Christ is the Savior. The Spirit was there and we just felt God's love for her. It was truly amazing. Again another testimony to me that I am supposed to be here. :)
So How are you doing? How is the weather? We have been getting some rain which makes for a sick Sister Schillemat... I always get a cold when the weather changes, so my voice is currently not there. I sound awful, but luckily feel okay today. Yesterday was hard, but I am feeling better today. :)
That's all to report for today I think, but I love you all and am so thankful to be serving a mission. I know this is where the Lord wants and needs me to be. I know this is the true Church and I just love it so much! I know the gospel blesses families and I am excited to see miracles continue to happen.
Life is so good! Jesus Christ lives and loves us all so much!
And I do too!
Ofa Atu! (I love you in Tongan)
Gretchen and her new companion, Sister Fia from Tonga

Monday, November 26, 2012

Am I Staying or going? Well....

Hello Family!
Well, I am getting transferred! Crazy! It was actually kind of a crazy surprise for me because on Saturday night when they do normal calls, they told me that I was staying in Riverside. I was shocked, but excited to be staying here for the Holidays. I didn't say good-bye becuase I was told I was staying!
Well, this morning, I got a call from President Smart and was asked to train again. My new companion will be from Tonga and I am really excited to meet her tomorrow! What I am most scared about is that I am training and being doubled-into a new area. I have never done that before. Thankfully Jurupa, where I am going, is really close to Riverside, so I will be able to still see the Riverside zone often. Plus the Jurupa zone seems great. I need lots of prayers this week though! Lots and lots. New companion. New area. Training. Ahhh... Little scary, but I know that I will be okay with Heavenly Father's help. I know that with Him, we can do all things. And I certainly know that I will need His help these upcoming weeks. Lots to do and lots to learn. .
Well, this week in Arlington was reaslly good. We had Damarrius, who was baptized two weeks ago, pass the sacrament yesterday for the first time. We also had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We had two meals that day. One was with a family in the ward and the other was with Sister George, Sister Nelson, and Elder and Sister Price, all senior missionaries. That was really a great time to be able to just sit down and chat with all the missionaries. I love them so much and will miss them a lot.
We met this amazing family last Sunday night and went back and visited them on Tuesday night. We started talking with them and the father was pretty hestitant because he is very involved in his Christian church. Well, we kept talking with him and his three children, who are young adults and we taught the Restoration. It really made them think. They were asking questions and then would say, "That makes sense. God would speak to all of His children." At the end, we committed them to read from the Book of Mormon and the father said they only needed one Book of Mormon. We told them we had more, but he siad only one was enough. Then one daughter said, "I want one." And the son said, "Yeah, I'll take one too." So we ended up getting four for all of them to have their own. It was really a wonderful Spirit and they kids were more receptive. I think with time, the father will come around. We are just excited for that family!
We had good lessons this week with lots of people, despite the holidays. :) 
I love serving a mission. I love being here in Riverside, California and meeting all the people that I do. I know that I was called here for many reasons and I am just so happy to be here. I know this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that Thomas S. Monson is God's prophet on earth today. 
I love you all and am thankful for this wonderful Gospel that blesses our family so much! 
Love, Sister Schillemat
ps. Mom, my straightener broke a couple of months ago but have had companions with one. But now...I think I will need one. You could either put money in my account or buy one...It might be easier to just put money in my account or something...Just let me know!
Also, any stationary or letter writing stuff is good! 
pss. Also to add to the excitement today, as we were driving to email, someone bumped into the back of our car. It didn't do any damage, but it was not my favorite part of the day. Worst part was that the guy didn't even pull over. He hit us, and we pulled into a parking lot very close by and he didn't follow, but went straight through the light...That was the most frustrating part of it all...
But I am happy! I love being a missionary! There is always excitement and surprises! 
Love you!  
psss. Pictures: Tim Tams! Sister Gilmer's first experience. :)
Out District :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Former Missionary returns for a visit

Sister Jones comes back for a visit

Hello, week six of the transfer....

Hello Family!
This is the last week of this transfer...Next week may bring change for Sister Schillemat...
But, what a great week it was! We had the 3 boys confirmed yesterday and Damarrius received the Aaronic Priesthood and was ordained a Deacon. Things are going well with them and they are very happy! It is wonderful to see the blessings that come from living the Gospel.
Yesterday was a particularly good day! We met two new families and prayed specifically for their needs. We have return appointments with both of them on Tuesday. :) The father of one of the families said, "You came at the right time. I am now separated from my wife for a time." The son in the family said, "Please pray that my family will stay together." It was a wonderful experience. The Spirit was very strong as we met together last night. We are praying that all will continue to go well as we meet with them on Tuesday. The other family, we met on Friday and set up a return appointment. I had actually met one of the daughters, probably six months ago, with Sister Toala. We both remembered our encounter and it was amazing to see how we were able to meet again. Heavenly Father leads us to specific people and puts us in their paths.
We are excited for Tuesday! :) We have one other family that the Elders referred to us that we are meeting that day as well. :)
One investigator Luis is doing well! We had a good lesson with him this past week and he came to Church. He is progressing well. :)
This Gospel truly blesses families. I have seen how happy and blessed families are when they live the Gospel. And on the other end, I have seen how tough things can become when we begin to lack faith and disobey. I hate to see that happen. I feel so blessed and happy from the Gospel, and sometimes I wish that I could just tell everyone that! I know that obedience brings blessing and if we would just obey, life would be much better. Even though trials still come, we would know that we will make it through. I know that Living the Gospel is the only way to be truly blessed in all aspects of our life and to have never-ending happiness in the eternities.
I love this work and I am so thankful for the blessings that I receive everyday. I am so thankful to be able to say, "We are representatives of Jesus Christ." That is an amazing honor and privilege. I know that this time that we have been given as missioonaries is so short, and that we have to remember that this whole year and a half is the Lord's time. P-day, lunch, dinner, every minute is the Lord's time. I know that blessings come when we lose ourselves in the work and remember who's work this is.
Happy Thanksgiving my dear family! I am so thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ and for his love for me. I am thankful that I can repent and be forgiven. I am thankful for you! A wonderful, supportive, and comforting family that is always there for me, as a missionary, a daughter, a sister. I am thankful for the blessing of serving a mission and seeing the joy that the Gospel brings to families. I am thankful for the blessings that come through prayer. I am thankful that I have a testimony that sustains me through trials. I am thankful for my loving Heavenly Father. I know He lives. I know He loves us and knows us individually.
Thank you for being wonderful! I am thankful for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I know that it true!
Love you siempre,
Sister Gretchen Schillemat 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wow, what a great week!

Hello Family!

We have had some couple of crazy days including today! Sorry for the late email. With Veterans' Day, we didn't email until today and with a crazy afternoon, we didn't get to the library until after 4:30. What a great thing to be busy though!
So first off, we had the baptism of the boys! They are so wonderful and the baptism went well! We had many of the ward members there, which is such a wonderful part of the baptisms here in Riverside. I just love how supportive the ward is. All the boys were excited to be baptized and a little scared, but it went well. Damarrius, the older, is kind of scared of water. He went first and he looked nervous, so Sister Gilmer and I were saying silent prayers while he was getting baptized. But it went well and his two younger twin brothers followed right after. It was a wonderful Spirit. Their great uncle, who is a member, bore his testimony and told about their younger brother Donovan, who is 7. Donovan asked, "Uncle Sherman, am I going to recognize them after they are baptized?" Uncle Sherman replied, "Of course!" Brother Sherman White had told the boys that they would be different and new people after they were baptized and Donovan thought they would look different as well. :) It was so cute to hear about Donovan's questions. He will be 8 in February, so we are excited for him to be baptized as well!
We also had an investigator, Louis, at the baptism of the boys. We had invited him to be baptized, and he siad he would have to pray about it. But we also invited him to come to the baptism for the boys. He really enjoyed the Spirit there. He also went to the Veteran's program that our ward did that evening. We didn't go, but Louis told someone that he felt like he was home while he was there with the ward. Louis is a Veteran, so he was also recognized along with others with the ward. We are meeting with Louis tomorrow and are excited for that!
Victor, who was baptized last month, passed the sacrament for the first time this Sunday. It was great to see him use the Priesthood. He will probably bless the sacrament next week, I imagine. He is only two months older than you, Geoff. :)
Last week we had a wonderful multi-zone with a new approach for finding. It is about using our sacred calling as missionaries and representatives of Jesus Christ to bless (in the form of a prayer for us sisters, but using the Priesthood for Elders) others' homes. It has been really amazing to see then miracles that come from it and we are excited to see the success that comes from this in the future! 
Things are just going really well here in Riverside! I love this work and love being a missionary. I know that the Lord is preparing many to hear this great message and we have to just open our mouths! I am so glad to be a part of this great work. I love it! :) 
Here are messages for you all:
Mom, Kaysville? That is where Christa Schank is from (The girl who stayed with us during Sarah's wedding). That's cool! Christa's family has six kids too... :) I would definitaly know if it were her family though. :) Very cool pictures as well!
Dad, How hsa work been? I haven't heard from you lately. I love you!
Kirstin, How is the semester going? How's Jimmy and Lucy?
Poul, How is work? Are you in school right now?
Andrea, I loved those pictures you sent! You all look so good!
Jo, Are you excited for Thanksgiving break? Are you coming home?
Peder, Keep working hard and being great! I love you!
Geoff, Congratulations on contacts! They are a life saver. :) How is everything going with school?
I love you all so much! I pray for you often and just love you with all my heart. Being on a missionary and being away for so long, makes me more grateful for you all! 
Love you lots! The Church is true!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat 
Picture: Deiontae, Darian, Uncle Sherman, Damarrius, and Donovan at the baptism!

 Me with Elder and Sister Haygood! They are the senior couple in our ward. Sister Haygood had to go home for surgery, so this was the day they were driving home last week. I love them!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Hello from Sunny California!

Hello Family!

It is good to hear that you are safe and sound! Everyone was talking about the storm over here on the west coast, so it is good to hear you were all right. 

Things have been going well out here! We have 3 boys preparing for baptism this Sunday and they are pretty excited! (We are too!) They love Church and are excited for this! I'll send some pictures next week. :)

Also, on Saturday night we got a call from a former investigator and he wanted to come to Church! We hadn't heard from him for the back two or three months, so this was great! Our ward mission leader went to pick him up and he also brought his neighbor. It was great! Then there was another man that lives across the street from the Church that just moved in and he just showed up to Church. He really enjoyed it. While in Gospel Principles, someone asked him if he was a member and he said, "Well, I guess I am now..." We will have to teach him about how he really can be an official member of the Church, but he was a great member of the class yesterday. :) 

Last night we stopped in at a woman in our wards' home. We were looking at her family pictures and as I looked at all her brothers and sisters, I was like, "I know her!" Her younger sister was in my BYU ward freshmen year! It is such a small world in the LDS Church. 

I feel at a lost today for what to say. The computers are down at the library, so we are at the Mission Office. I think I am just not in my normal spot, so my brain isn't working too well. But things are going well! I love this work! Peder is right. There is a  limitless amount of people out there for us to help and to share the Gospel with. 

I love you all so much and can't wait to hear from you next week! Love you! The Church is true!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat

PS. We were at a less-actives home on Friday and for some reason the pumpkin festival came up and they watched the show about the two cities battling. They knew about Keene's Pumpkin Festival! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

I love you all!

I feel so uplifted by your emails. Thank you so much for your support and prayers. Andrea, wonderful job on your marathon! I was about to cry as I read that Liam ran with you. That is so wonderful and would have most certainly cried if I had been you. :) Mom, that sounded like an amazing conversation with Geoff. I am so thankful for his faith and am so excited for what the Lord has in store for Geoffrey's two years as a missionary. He is going to be a powerful servant of the Lord. Poul, good to hear from you as well! Mom told me about the Pumpkin Festival as well. That must have been a busy weekend for Keene. :) Peder, another transfer? I am still in only my 2nd area... You have a lot of people's lives to change in a lot of areas! Keep being wonderful!
Well, thank you so much for your emails. It truly uplifts me to hear about how you all are doing well. :) Things are going well out here. We have been talking to many more people who are interested in the Gospel, which is a blessing. We finally taught some new investigators, so things are going very well. Victor is just amazing and is such a strength to the ward. He really is doing well.
Let me tell you about a new family that we are teaching! They are truly amazing. They have so much faith! So they are not from this country and don't speak a lot of English, but have amazing Spirits. So this family lives a couple of apartments down from us. They came to our door one night and asked if we could meet with them. We don't actually live in our boundaries, so we contacted the Mt. Rubidioux Elders and they came with us. The first lesson was great! The Spirit was there even though there was a little bit of a language barrier. But they asked all kinds of questions and wanted to know about baptism. Then we met with them the next day. Again another great lesson. Then we met with them again on Thursday. One of the Elders asked if we could sing a hymn. We sang, "I am a Child of God." They all bowed their heads and just sat silently listening. One of them said their hairs on their arms were standing up. Everyone said they felt it in their hearts. It was an amazing Spirit! Just amazing. They asked us to sing it again and again it was an amazing experience. We taught them again on Friday, then they came to Stake Conference yesterday and are now committed to baptism on November 11th! Also, this started out as one family, but they invited friends, so now it is a family of 4 (3 will be baptized), a couple, and another friend! It is truly amazing.
Yesterday at Stake Conference, President Smart spoke and talked about how some people have "believing blood". When I think of this family, I know that is what they have! They have such amazing faith and just want to follow Jesus Christ. They truly know that this will bless their families. They have been prepared to accept the Restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Life is good over here in Riverside. I know this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. I know that people are prepared for this Gospel and are searching for it, but we have to do all we can to find them. I know that miracles happen all the time and that with our Savior, all things are possible. I love this work! This is the best work in the world! :)
I love you all so much and am so grateful for a loving and supportive family! I am so thankful for eternal families!
Have a wonderful week!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Pictures, pictures, pictures

Victor's Baptism
Gretchen's District-seriously

Gretchen's District-not so seriously

Victor's Family

Lots of Changes but Not for Us!

Well this week is transfer week and most of our Zone is getting new companionships. Sister Gilmer and I, plus two Chinese-speaking Elders, are the only two companionships that didn't change! Crazy! Sister Boyd and Sister Moea'i, who live with us, are getting doubled-out and we are so sad! I will miss them dearly, but the Lord needs them in other parts of His vineyard, so it will be okay. We know that lots of great things will happen for them. But changes all around for the Riverside Zone!
I almost forgot, Elder Linzey from our stake, is the new Assistant to the President. Very cool!
VICTOR WAS BAPTIZED! Victor was baptized yesterday and it was wonderful! We had so many of the ward members there, it was wonderful! He was baptized and confirmed by two of the YM leaders, which was amazing. Victor is 17 and is already excited for a mission. He came out from his baptismal interview and was talking with Elder Opeda, our District Leader, about being a missionary. At the baptism yesterday he said, "Next is the Priesthood, then a mission." It is amazing and he was most definitely prepared by the Lord. Most of his immediate family, his aunt, and his grandma came to the baptism! While Victor was changing, there was time for bearing testimonies. His Sunday School teacher stood up and told how the Spirit was very strong in class that day. She couldn't understand why. Then at the end of the class Victor told them that he was fasting for his baptism. His teacher knew why. He had brought such an amazing Spirit to the class and was preparing through fasting. We didn't even mention fasting that day, but Victor had felt impressed to do that. He is a miracle for us as missionaries. He is going to be a great missionary!
We also had four younger boys at the baptism and they are just so excited to be baptized. Some of them were scared about the water, but after seeing it done, they aren't nervous anymore. Three of them are old enough to be baptized, but one will be 8 in February. We are so excited for them! We talked to their mom, who is not a member, and explained that baptism is a commitment and covenant with God, so we don't know exactly when they will be baptized, but we are hoping and praying for next month!
Things are going very well here in Riverside. We didn't teach as many lessons as we would have liked, but we were able to talk to many people this week! We had 6 investigators at church and things are going well. We have a lot of finding to do right now, but that is part of this great work!
I have been thinking about the importance of a positive attitude today. Missionary work is not easy, we all know that, but even when things are going well, we must be positive. Satan wants nothing more than to get us discouraged and disappointed. We can choose to be positive in this work, and then great things will happen. I know that we need to always strive to smile and be happy. Again, I know that is not always possible, but even when we are sad, we can be positive. A positive attitude brings blessings. And those blessings are often miracles.
I love this work so much. I love serving a mission. This is the greatest experience that I have had. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know this is His Church. This is a work that will continue to go forth. We can either be with it or against it, but no matter what it will move forward. I am honored and privileged to be with the Lord in this great work. I am so thankful to have been called to this wonderful mission and be blessed with wonderful companions, roommates, leaders, and people to serve. I love it!
And I love you! Have a wonderful week!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat
Picture: Victor's baptism!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Couple Pictures from Riverside

Hello Family from Sister Schillemat

Hello Family!
This past week was a good week, especially with General Conference at the end! Wow, what an amazing revelation for the Church. I am so excited for all the future missionaries. This is going to be a wonderful thing for the whole world. As he announced this on Saturday morning, I thought about how these are truly the last days and Heavenly Father needs many missionaries. Plus there will be more areas opening for the Church to continue to grow. I am especially excited for the Sisters and know that this will be a great blessing! Reflect on the age, I am grateful that I am here when I am. I know that I was supposed to come when I was 21 and am so very grateful for the experiences and opportunities that prepared me for this time in my life. I wouldn't trade it! But I am excited to see this great work move forward and more young men and young women join the "ranks" of missionary work.
Riverside is a happy place right now! It is cooling down and there are many more people outside for us to contact. We are really searching for those who are prepared and willing to hear our message and come unto Christ. We know that with God everything is possible and we must put our trust in Him. Matthew 19:26 and Mark 9:23. This is an urgent work and we have to take it seriously every day. I am so blessed to be a part of this wonderful work! There are many people prepared, and we need to find, teach, and baptize those people. :)
One of my miracles of this week is called: Gray-haired man. Since I have been in Riverside, I have seen this one man who walks in the mornings. We would often see him on Sunday mornings, since Church starts at 9:00am. Well, I would see him quite often, but we would be driving and on our way somewhere. Well over the past couple of weeks, everytime we would see him, I would tell Sister Gilmer that we need to talk to him. We tried once and we pulled over, but he walked past the street already... (Lame excuse...) Then we would see him and be in a hurry... (Another excuse...) Well, this Sunday we were leaving for General Conference and I really hoped we would see him walking. I told Sister Gilmer, no matter what, We are going to talk to the gray-haired man today. Well, right before we turned left on California Ave, we saw him walking! And after legally pulling a U-turn or two, we were able to be in a position to meet him! We explained who we are and although, he didn't accept any cards or pamphlets, I felt so good! I knew that it was set up by the Lord for us to talk to him. Had we left a minute or two later, he would have been past the intersection for California Ave, and we wouldn't have seen him. I know that when we have righteous desires, the Lord blesses us. Although, he didn't seem interested, it was planting the seed. :) I love this work!
Sorry for the long story, but I love how many miracles occur if we are just looking for them. We are doing the Lord's work and following the Spirit, there will be miracles all around us.
Well, Victor is still preparing for this Sunday and we are excited for his baptism! He has truly been prepared from the Lord, so we are excited for that day.
I just loved General Conference and was so excited to hear from our Living Prophet, President Monsons, and the First Presidency and 12 Apostles and other General Authorities. It was a wonderful weekend. I loved Elder Holland's talk: "Do you love me?" and President Uchtdorf's talk about having no regrets. Mom, you mentioned Elder Bednar's talk as well, which I loved about testimony and converson. It was all wonderful!
Well, the work is moving forward and I am excited for the miracles ahead! Mom, Dad, Andrea, Roland, Liam, and Landon, it sounds like you had a fun week! I would love to see pictures. :) Geoff, what do you think about the age changing for missionaries? 
I love you all and am so grateful to be a part of this work! This is a marvelour work! Jesus Christ lives and loves us. Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers. "God is in the details of our lives." -President Thomas S. Monson. 
Love you all! 
Sister Schillemat 
We had a Sisters' Gathering yesterday. :) Most of the Sisters in the Riverside Mission
Sister Gilmer and I really enjoyed this doorbell. :) (I hope you can read it. :) )

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Some more pictures from Gretchen in Sunny Riverside

Last week's News a Little Late

Hola Family!
What a great week it has been! We had some great lessons and we had four investigators at church yesterday. Sister Gilmer and I are really focusing on finding those who are prepared, so that is also exciting for these upcoming weeks.
My highlight of the week was Victor, who has come to church for the past four weeks. Yesterday in Young Men's, he prayed and mentioned being baptized as well! He is really progressing well and enjoys church. We are very excited for him and his progress! He is on date for baptism on October 14th!
Mikey also got a calling yesterday! Mikey is the 2nd counselor in the Sunday School. Amanda has a calling on the RS activities committee and Kody, their son, is 1st counselor in the Deacon's quorum. They are doing so well! I love that family dearly and love to see their amazing progress as members of the true Church. :)
Last week, we stopped in at an elderly lady's home, who lives in the same complex as a couple of members of our ward. When I first got into this area, she actually had come to church, but when we were about to start teaching her back then, she cancelled and stopped coming to church. Well, we stopped in last week and shared about the Restoration. She just went through some really difficult things and she felt like her relationship with Heavenly Father was a little strained. We asked her if we could teach her more and she kept saying she needed to work things out herself. Then Sister Gilmer (I love her!) bore really powerful testimony of the Gospel. Right after that, the lady said, "I can see it in your eyes and I believe you. I think you can help me." So we set up another appointment! Testifying is the key. That was a miracle.
Then the following day she called us, thanking us for blessing her with a visit the day before. It was again another tender mercy of the Lord.
So, Mom and Dad, you are going to Dallas? That is going to be so fun! I want to see lots of pictures!
Geoff, Good job on your games! Keep up the hard work!
Poul, What have you been up to this week? Still sore from the race last weekend?
Jo, Where have you been? I haven't heard from you in forever!
Andrea, You get Mom and Dad to visit! I want to visit you when I get home. Deal? ;)
Kirstin, How is teaching and school going? How's little Lucy?
Peder, I love you so much! Keep being an amazing missionary!
The Church is true and I love this work. It is hard, but worth every minute. I love it! And I love you all! Have an amazing week! Keep being member missionaries!
Love you,
Sister Gretchen Schillemat
ps. I love Doctrine and Covenants 33 about opening our mouths. We are promised if we open our mouths, we will be like Nephi! Very cool!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Great Week!

Hello Family!
This past week was wonderful! On Friday, we went to a half-mission conference where Elder Paul B. Pieper and his wife spoke to us. It was exactly what I needed to hear. He spoke of finding those who are really prepared and if people aren't willing to commit, going out and finding those who are. He said there are people in every area, who are ready, but we have to work hard to find them. That was what Sister Gilmer and I needed because we have a lot of investigators that havent been progressing and aren't ready to commit to baptism. It takes a lot of faith for us to leave them a standing invitation and move on, but we have already seen great blessings from it. We have three young boys that have a great uncle who is a member, that want to be baptized. As well as our other investigator, still on date for baptism on October 14th. Things are just going to well! We had 6 investigators at church, which was the most we have had in  a long time. We look forward to what else is in store for this upcoming weeks ahead. We have many potential investigators, so we will see what happens this week!
Mom, you are right. Time has flown by. I have been out a year and I can't believe how quickly time has gone. I know that I have to keep working hard until the very end. There are many who are still waiting for the gospel and who need it and we need to be our seeking them everywhere.
Sorry for the short email, my mind is not in the mindset it normally is for writing, but I want you to know how much I love you all. I miss you so much and pray for you often. I loved the pictures of the Keene to Run team and it made me miss you all so much! You are a great example of righteousness to me. I love that I have been blessed with such a wonderful family. You are amazing! This Church is true and I love you all! Geoff, you are getting so old. I didn't recognize you holding Poul. I thought it was someone much older holding him until I zoomed in. I can't believe it.  
I love you all and hope and pray you have a wonderful week! Life is good! And Heavenly Father is too good to us. :) He blesses us more than we know!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat
Pictures: We have a joke with Amanda and Mikey that I am always checking the time...So for Mikey's birthday we made this clock... :)

Tom, Maddie, and the Haygoods. :) (And me and Sister Gilmer. ;) )

Monday, September 10, 2012

What a wonderful week it's been!

Hello Family!
It has been a wonderful week! We had lots of miracles happen and I am so glad to be a part of this work. Well, first off, my companion is Sister Gilmer from Yukon, Oklahoma, and she is amazing! She is one of the sweetest people I have ever met and is very humble. She is always striving for the Spirit to guide her and us. She is truly amazing and I am so grateful for her decision to go on a mission. She is wonderful! :)
For this week, we just had some amazing lessons. One of the lessons was with two young men Victor and Jose. We started the lesson with a prayer from Victor and he asked, "Please help me to know that Joseph Smith saw Moroni. I really want to believe it is true because I have faith that it is." It was one of the most sincere prayers that I have ever heard. In Moroni's promise that says with "sincere and real intent", Victor was doing exactly that. It was so amazing. Then we committed him and Jose to be baptized on October 14th and Victor said yes! He said that he really likes the church and he really wants to know. Jose wasn't as open to baptism, but they both are very receptive. Victor then came to church tomorrow as well!
Then we had a lesson with a lesson-active man and 4 of his great-nephews, who are all not members. We taught the Plan of Salvation and they really enjoyed it. Then they all came to church yesterday as well!
Lastly, we had a lesson with the older man that I talked about last week. It was a great lesson, absolutely directed by the Spirit. We testified how through Jesus Christ's Atonement, he can resist temptation. It was amazing. We read some scriptures in 3 Nephi 18 about praying always to resist temptation. It was a powerful lesson and he is really thinking about what he needs to do. He reads the Book of Mormon more than he ever had and is really open to the Restored Gospel. We also extented a baptismal invite for October 21st, but he didn't commit, but agreed to pray about it. We know with the Lord, he will be able to reach that goal.
Last week was a great week for studies as well. I love when Heavenly Father helps us to use the things we've studied in our lessons. Especially in Victor and Jose's lesson, we found that we were using scriptures that we didn't think we would use, but came across during study. The Spirit absolutely guides and directs us in every aspect of missionary work. 
Well, that's about all for this week! We are having Elder Paul B. Pieper and Sister Pieper come at the end of this week to our mission, so we are excited to have a General Authority come and teach us. Things are going very well and I love the work! I am so thankful for the wonderful sisters that I am able to serve with. Sister Gilmer is a wonderful blessing and I just love her so much!
Thank you for your many prayers and love! I am so blessed to have a supportive and loving family! This work is wonderful! It is directed by the Spirit and is truly divine. I am so glad to be a part of it. I have been so blessed and happy! :)
I love you all! The Church is true!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat

 A praying mantis on Gretchen and her companion's car.
Gilmer and Gretchen at the mission home on Tuesday.
Then, the beautiful sky last night. :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A few more pictures from Gretchen

My District! It is now all changed because of transfers, but this was my district for the last two transfers!
Sister Toala was taken out for a farewell dinner at PF Changs this past Saturday. We eat out way toooo much here! But it was delicious. :)
Group of missionaries yesterday, transfer day.