Monday, April 30, 2012

Gretchen Has Been Transferred to Riverside!

Hello Family!
Guess what?! I am leaving Highland today. Insane! I can't believe it. Well, I expected the change sometime, but time is going so fast. I didn't feel like another transfer is already over.  I am going to Riverside and am going to be in the Arlington Ward (just in case you wanted to know. :)). My new companion will be Sister Toala, from Samoa (I just realized that I have NO idea how to spell that...). I will be living with the ASL Sisters as well so I am going to come home knowing English, Spanish, ASL, and Samoan! ;)
Change is always good because that is when we grow the most, but I feel like I am leaving a new family behind. Kaylyn, who was baptized in February, cried so hard and she got me crying so hard after sacrament meeting. I was pretty composed until she came up to me. But for the most part, the Lord has helped me be peaceful and calm about the change. I will truly miss the people in Highland, but I know the Lord needs me in Riverside. Sister Birrell is going to be with Sister Griffes, from Michigan! They are going to do great things!
This last week was really wonderful! We did Mormon Helping Hands and I painted some of a house! It was a lot of fun! We did some weeding and planting as well, so it was a very fun morning. :) We then had a Barbeque in Redlands. That was great fun as well!
As for Highlights of the week, the first one that comes to mind is Alan and Aldo, the twin 10 year old boys. We taught them the Word of Wisdom last week and they just loved it. Alan said that he drank coffee sometimes, but he would never drink it again. We were talking about how we shouldn't be addicted to anything either and Alan said, "Well, I'm addicted to the Book of Mormon." Then his brother replied, "True that!" We explained that that was okay. :) Then at the end of the lesson, they both prayed individually to know if the Word of Wisdom is true. Alan said that he felt something in his heart! It was just such a special lesson! Alan is already in Jacob in the Book of Mromon and Aldo is in 1 Nephi 8 or so. They both are doing so well!
Another highlight was Kaylyn's house. We had a lesson on enduring to the end and a couple of other topics, and we talked to her about making the temple her goal. She said that already was her goal! And she whipped out the WOW pamphlet that has a goals and plans page in the back and had all these goals about going to temple and paying tithing and fast offerings and how she would do that! It was just so amazing to see her faith in action. She is such a strong member!
Oh my! How could I forget this one?! Brother Coleman, whose wife is a member, but he's not, prayed yesterday because I was leaving! We went to his house last night just to hear him pray! He is progressing so much. We have been praying and fasting with him and he has been going to church the past two weeks! I told him yesterday that I will be back for his baptism. He said, "If there is one." I told him, "There will be!" He is an amazing man, and the Lord is blessing him!
Miracle: Brother Coleman has to often work in Temecula on Sundays, but this week Temecula was scheduled for Saturday instead! It was a miracle!
Life is good as a missionary! This Church is true. Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration. Jesus Christ lives. Prayers work! This is a marvelous work!
Next week I will fill you in on Riverside. :)
I love you all! Have a great week!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat

Monday, April 23, 2012

Last week of another transfer!

Hello Family!
First before I forget: HAPPY BIRTHDAY PEDER and HAPPY BIRTHDAY GEOFFREY! I can't believe how old we are all getting! I hope you all have an amazing day and keep staying strong!
Also, Mom, Dad, and Geoff, those letters were so amazing from you! Geoffrey, I can see your growth so much just from reading your letters. Thank you so much for taking the time to sent it to your older sister. It means so much to me to hear about your testimony growing. You are going to be a strong full-time missionary, and I bet you are already being a great missionary now. Thanks little brother! Mom, thank you for your testimony. It always brings the Spirit into my heart when I read or hear someone's testimony, so thank you! Dad, thanks for the update on the work in the ward! Keep working hard and tell me the progress with the members. ps. I saw a picture without your beard. :) 
So, we had a really great week! We see MIRACLES! This is the last week of the transfer, so it is going to be another great week!
One of the highlights was a less-active member who struggles with the Word of Wisdom and the Law of Chastity, so we have been going over those quite a bit. This last lesson we had with her, she came out with a cup of coffee because she ran out of hot chocolate, which she has been trying to drink. As we read with her from Alma 41, we talked about the restoration "from that which is good to that which is good". We asked her what she could do to improve her life. She mentioned quite a few things and we pointed at the coffee as well. She kept saying that it was only because she was out of hot chocolate and she needed something to wake her up. She said it cost money and she didn't want to waste money. As we testified that she would receive strength from dumping it out, she seemed really distracted, so we didn't think she was really listening. But then! All of the sudden, she picked up her cup of coffee and dumped it on the ground! (we were meeting outside.) It was so amazing! I can't tell you how quickly that brought the Spirit. She just DUMPED IT ALL OUT! The Spirit was so strong! It was an example fo true faith in action. I know that when we have faith and act on that faith, the Lord will truly strengthen us! It was a very amazing moment for Sister Birrell and me. :) After she dumped it out, she just started laughing because our faces were in shock, and she said she wished we could have taken a picture! She is really great!
Another highlight is that we had 5 investigators at church on Sunday! Red, the 80 year old man, Alan, the 10 year old, Jim Coleman, the husband of a member, Anthony, an employee of a ward member, and Martha, another investigator's grandma! It was a great Sabbath day and we had a lesson with a 16 year old, who is now on date for baptism! We were greatly blessed this week. :)
I really love this work! Although I sometimes get discouraged, this is a great work! I read a talk yesterday called the "Fourth Missionary" (you should look it up!). It is about 4 different types of missionaries. The fourth missionary is the type of missionary that we want to be. It is one that serves with all his (/her) might, mind, heart, and strength, where the third missionary only serves with his/her might and strength and doesn't give his heart and mind to the Lord. It was a really powerful talk, which made me think a lot about how much I still have yet to grow. I feel like I have grown a lot, but I still need to give all my heart and mind to the work. Sometimes I wake up distracted or tired, etc., and I realize how much time I am wasting. THIS IS THE LORD'S TIME! I cannot waste it! It is a hard thing to do to give ALL my might, mind, heart. and strength, but that is one of my goals to work on! 
Another thing this talk explained was how some missionaries are always waiting to find happiness. They say, "I'll be happy when I am home or on p-day or when I am in school or when I am married, etc." but they are never happy while they are serving. If we are always waiting to be happy, then we never will be. We have to be Happy NOW! This is the time to be happy. Again, something for me to continue to work on. I have to be happy NOW! This is the greatest work in the world! I must give the Lord my all and find the JOY in this work, even when times get hard. It is time for me to focus on the present, not the past or the future. As I do that I know that I will be truly happy. :) 
Anyway, those are somethings that I am trying to improve on. Great talk! Read it! :) 
I want to leave with my testimony of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that my Savior lives and loves us all with an infinite love. I know that his Atonement is real and that we can access the Atonement for all parts of our lives. I know that our Heavenly Father loves us so deeply that he sent His son to die for us. Jesus Christ did the will of the Father and that is what I must do as a missionary. I must give my will to Heavenly Father. Joseph Smith is prophet of the Restoration. He did see God, the Father, and His Son, Jesus Christ. He translated the Book of Mormon through the power of God. This is Jesus Christ's Church and as one of our investigator's said yesterday, "You must be really proud to be a member of Christ's Church?" And I am! I am so thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ that has blessed our family! I am so thankful that we are an eternal family and will live forever together! I love you all and pray for you often! 
Thank you for all your prayers and support! I love you!
Sister Schillemat 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter Week In Riverside

Hello Family!

Happy Easter! :) How was your Easter? Maybe that's why I didn't hear
from anyone because you were busy, but how was it?
I went to a Easter party on Saturday that a member was having. She
told us to invite a non-member family, so we invited these two twin
boys we are teaching! They are so great! The party was quite fun as
well. :) Everyone had fun and there was lots of great food, a blow up
jumper, a bunny-hop, and an egg hunt. Sadly, we couldn't stay too
long, but we hear that the festivities were quite fun.

Did you hear about the Church's facebook campaign for Easter? The
church was doing a campaign where everyone posts their testimony of
Jesus Christ. We didn't get to see too much about it or see it because
it was on facebook, but I am wondering if you encountered it. Let me
know! :)

This past week went really well! We had another mini-missionary,
Sister Dickerman, who is preparing for her mission! She was great and
we loved having her with us! We were so blessed to have another
companion for a week, full of new insights! We loved her very much and
she said she received her answer that she needed to serve a mission,
so that is great!
It was actually really funny because we had one day where EVERYTHING
fell through. (A couple things didn't, but a lot of them did!) It
turned out that we still got a couple of lessons, but it was just a
frustratin day. The next mornign as we were exercising, we asked
SIster Dickerman what her favorite part of the week was and she said
when everything fell through because she saw the Lord's hand most in
the work. She saw how we were able to meet and teach other people that
we didn't plan because of everything falling through. She was just
great! We were so glad to have her optimism, and she truly helped us
see even more of the miracles. :)

So I was reading in Preach My Gospel this past week and it said to ask
your family about a specific commandment that they have kept and been
blessed. I wanted to ask you! With either tithing, word of wisdom,
fasting, etc, how have you been blessed? That would be great to hear
from you! :)

We are teaching this amazing family, the Simontons! We taught them
twice last week and they are just wonderful. The second lesson we
taught the Plan of Salvation and while we asked all of them what they
thought of when they heard Jesus Christ's name. It was a really
special moment because they all shared their testimonies of the
Savior. It started with 10 year old Matthew who said, "I think of
someone I can always count on when I feel alone." Then Joseph and
Jack, two other sons answered. Then Brother Simonton said, "He is like
a beacon of light that will always give us direction," and Sister
Simonton,"Jesus Christ was my first love." It was a really powerful
moment for us and we hope for the family. They are just wonderful and
we are excited to continue teaching them. :)
They have two twin girls that turn 1 year old today! Sister Simonton
wanted me to ask you Mom, when it gets easier with twins. Does it
ever? ;)

I just want to end with my testimony of the Savior. I know that Jesus
Christ lives. I know that the Atonement is real and that it truly
heals us spiritually and physically. I know that Jesus Christ
literally saved us from death, and allowed us to return to live with
Heavenly Father again. I am thankful that I can always call on my
Savior. I, like Matthew, know that "he is someone that I can count on
whenever I feel alone." This is His Church. Missionary work is His
work. He is the source of truth and light that helps others change. I
love Him!
And I love you! Have a great week! You're in my prayers!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat

Monday, April 2, 2012

Conference, Conversion and Hiking

Gretchen with her companion, Sister Birrell, and their mini-mission companion.

 Picking Tangerines--it must be California!

Hello Family!

It was another wonderful week in California! Conference was wonderful
and we just loved listening to all the talks!
Before I forget, as you know the Relief Society General Presidency was
reorganized. The second counselor in the RS was Sister Reeves, who was
the previous California, Riverside Mission President's WIFE! How cool
is that?! It was really funny durin conference because all of the
Elders that knew her were SO excited and couldn't believe it! Very

Conference was great! It is cool listening to conference with
investigators in mind. I really liked Elder Holland's talk as well
Mama. One line stood out with regards to Red, an investigator.
paraphrasing: "If you've made covenants, keep them. If you haven't
made them, make them." Red is still not committing to baptism, even
though he is so close. I just thought about how much that applies to
him. He needs baptism, and it is never too late. Pray for him.

We have a new investigator, named John, who is great! We taught him
twice and he came to both sessions of conference on Sunday! He is
reading the Book of Mormon and he asked, "Is it weird that I just
can't put the book down?" As a missionary, that is like a miracle
statement! We were very excited and he is on date for April 28th.
Problem is that he is in between houses, so he may not be in our area.
We're hoping that all works out, but we will see. Everything will work
out I guess, but we might not be able to teach him much longer. Time
will tell. It is all in the Lord's hands. I am so grateful for that.

We have another two investigators, Lisa and Karena, who are both
wonderful! Lisa has really been drawn to the church and it is amazing
to see. She loves being in the church and can feel the love of others.
She told us last week that it was like we had a aura around us and she
likes spending time with us. It was really wonderful to see how
excited they are about church. They are financially struggling, but
last week when we showed up, Lisa said she had to show us something.
She comes out with a new dress and skirt for her and her daughter! She
was so excited! It was just amazing to see because that was a
sacrifice for them to buy the clothes, but they wanted to. The Lord is
sending us so many tender mercies. I love being a missionary.

I loved how conference has themes. We had just taught John the Plan of
Salvation last week, so when we watched the Sunday morning session, it
was like he was taught it over again. It was really all about the Plan
of Salvation. Then there was a theme on families. I love family! I
love you all so much! I am grateful for the time that we spend
together and being a part of an amazing eternal family. Thank you for
all you do!

Well, semi-missionary related: We went hiking this morning for p-day!
It was a great hike and Sister Birrell was in heaven. I really enjoyed
being outside and it felt like a mix between Utah, New England, and
Arizona, which was great! There were trees like New England! It was
really nice to just be outside. :)

Missionary work is going really well. I love serving the Lord and know
that I am always watched over. I know that the Book of Mormon is true.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I know that President Monson
is the Lord's mouthpiece and prophet on the earth today and I am so
grateful for him.
The Church is true! Jesus Christ lives!

Thanks for all your love and support! Happy Easter! :)

Sister Gretchen Schillemat

ps. Sister Birrell and I FINALLY found a connection between us. It is
Jared Cline! He served in Sister Birrell's home ward for his last
area. And Sister Birrell's dad is the Bishop, so Jared was at their
house for Christmas 2010. Crazy, huh? :)

pss. We have another mini-missionary with us! Sister Dickerman is from
Indio and is working on her mission papers! Very cool for us!