Sunday, July 29, 2012

Riverside Pictures

Still in Riverside after transfers

Hello Family!
Well, we had transfer calls this past Saturday and I am still not going anywhere. :) The changes are: Sister Jones is going home tomorrow and Sister Fankhauser is being transferred to Moreno Valley. So I am companions with Sister Toala again! :) My time in Riverside has gone full circle with companions. :) I started with Sister Toala, then Sister Jones, then add in Sister Fankhauser, and back to Sister Toala. haha It will be a good transfer! We have a lot of good things happening here and I am excited to be staying. This is Sister Toala's last transfer, so we will make it a great one! :) (Every transfer is a good one!) Time sure is flying by quickly. I feel like Sister Fankhauser just got here and she is already leaving! I am sad about her leaving, but I know that Sister Toala is meant to stay here and finish up her mission here. And I will be able to learn some Samoan! Sister Toala is great!
Thanks for all the emails this week! It was so good to hear from all of you! I hope Roland is recovering well and Liam isn't jumping into too many pools without his floaties. :) I hope Dad is feeling better as well. You are all in my prayers every day. I love you so much!
So, this past week was a great week! Between the two companionships in Arlington Ward, we had 14 member-present lessons, which was the most we have ever had. It was really great to see. We all spoke in Sacrament meeting yesterday as well. TWICE. We spoke in the Arlington Ward and then in the Deaf Branch as well. Our topic was on Family History because of Pioneer Day tomorrow. All of us were really scared to have that as our topic, but it went well. I feel very inadequate to speak on that topic, but it was great for me to study more on it. The second time I gave the talk, it went much better than the first time, so that was good as well.
One quotation I really like is: "Family History is not about completing your family tree, it is about finding your family." Our ancestors are individuals who need our help!
Before I forget, Happy Birthday to Grandma, Poul, and Andrea! Happy Anniversary (next week) Mom and Dad! Happy Birthday to the many others who had or will have birthdays as well!
I am grateful for my opportunity to be a missionary. I love serving a mission and it brings so much joy into my life. I have been so happy and I know it is because I am doing what the Lord would have me do. I know that Book of Mormon is truth and it is the words of God. It beings so much peace into my life. It is often the first thing I read in study because I don't want to run out of personal study time and have not read the Book of Mormon. I love the gospel! I know that Jesus Christ performed the Atonement for us because he loves us. He knows us individually and is aware of our struggles. He has felt our pain. 
I love life! Heavenly Father is so good to me. :) 
I hope and pray all is going well with you all! Love you!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Another great week

Hola Family!
How have you been? Have you all been really busy because my emails are getting sparse...? I only heard from Peder this week.
We had a confirmation yesterday for Maddie! It was really wonderful to see that. She said she felt really good yesterday afternoon. We gave her a journal for her to write down her experience. :)
Also, Mike blessed the sacrament for the first time yesterday and he did so well! We knew he was really nervous, but he didn't show it at all. It was so good! I love seeing recent converts progress in the gospel. Mike and Kody have been growing so much in the gospel. That brings so much joy! :)
Last week we taught two new investigators! It was really amazing how it happened. Let me tell you. :)
     So, Sister Jones was on splits and met the mother before she went into a lesson. The woman took the card and then that was about it. Then Sister Jones, Sister Fankhauser, and I were in the same area a couple of days later and we talked with her again and her daughter. We were able to give her daughter a card as well and we didn't think much of it.
     Then we received a referral this past Tuesday. As we were driving to it, we both realized who it was. It was those two ladies we met! We went into their home, and the daughter said, "So right after you left that day, I thought that you could come and pray with me and my mother." So, she went out to find us! (Which is kind of odd because she should have had our number, but oh well) She went to the church and the family history center happened to be open. She went in there and told them that she wanted the sister missionaries to come back. The FHC then called the mission home and we got the information. This woman really wanted us to come back! It was really amazing to see how the Lord works. We ended up seeing them twice and because of it, we have two new people to teach!
This work is so amazing, I just love it!
So I want to share something from a talk yesterday given in Sacrament meeting. This brother from the stake started off talking about Joseph Smith's first vision and then shared six personal insights that we can learn from this. I thought they were really good and I wrote them down:
1. Have we ever had hard decisions? Just like Joseph Smith trying to decide which church was true, we often have hard decisions, where we don't know where to turn for direction. We can easily relate to his state of confusion.
2. What should we do? Go to the scriptures! Joseph Smith had been taught to go to the scriptures and study them to find the answer. He knew that the scriptures contained truth and could guide him. That is the same with us. We can go to the scriptures and find answers, or find direction in what to do.
3. Once we have read the scriptures, we have to Go and Do. Joseph Smith didn't just read James 1:5 and say, "That was nice." He decided to act on that scripture. Just like him, we must go and do!
4. When we know what to do we may often become discouraged, have doubts, or fears, but we have to remember how we felt. We have to remember that the adversary is against our progress and the more discouragement we face, the more of a threat we are to Satan. We just have to remember that Satan is a punk! :)
5. And we have to remember that there is opposition in all things. When that doubt comes, we have to remember our determination to go and do and remember that opposition is real. But there is a bright hope!
6. We have to resolve and commit to the Lord. Joseph Smith didn't commit when the opposition came, he resolved to receive an answer and commit to never deny what he saw. He could not deny what he had seen that day and a resolved to live true to his testimony. We must do that too. We must stay firm to our testimony of truth. We Must resolve and commit.
There  is so much we can learn from the scriptures and from others who came before us. I know that Joseph Smith was a man of God. His experiences can be related to our lives. There is much to learn from that man.
I love this work! Things are going well! I love my companion!
Hope you all are doing well! Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks for your letter Mama. :) I also got my first letter from Peder this week! I was soo excited to get that! :) I am pretty sure that the one I sent was lost... But I finally got yours Peder!
Love you a million!
Sister Schillemat
ps. We hiked Mt. Rubidioux this morning! It was lovely! It was a lot cooler than last week. We hit a couple of days over 100 last week and some major humidity for California. But today was great!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Baptism Photos

Another week, another baptism!

Hello Family!
How are you doing this week? How is everything going?
I was thinking yesterday about how the missionary work is going in Keene. Have there been any baptisms there recently? Are there investigators coming to church?
This past week was good! We had little Maddie's baptism yesterdya and it was great! There was a very strong Spirit there. Maddie was crying, along with many others in the room. The four sister missionaries serving in Arlington Ward right now sang, "When I am baptized." This is the 3rd baptism that I have sung that song. That is a record! :) Maddie's dad bore his testimony of the gospel, which was wonderful and it was just a special day. :)
A random miracle yesterday: We got a contact from the Spanish Elders in our ward for a guy named Marcus. The other sisters checked the address and came home and said that it didn't exist. Then we decided to call the phone number that came with it. Well, again it was not Marcus. He gave all fake information (Which happens...), but a guy named Martin answered the phone. We explained who we were and he was really confused because he had not talked to any guys on bikes in white shirt and ties, but then we asked if he wanted to hear more. And he said yes! We got his information and now there are missionaries going to his home! Heavenly Father works in mysterious ways! We received incorrect information and because of it, we have contacted another person who is interested. Very cool!
At the beginning of this week, Sister Fankhauser and I taught an 80 year old lady. I have been teaching her since I have been in Riverside. The first time I met her I talked about baptism (because that is what we are supposed to do...) and she said she was feeling too pressured. So, we backed off on baptism for awhile. But this last week, Sister Fankhauser beautifully invited her to be baptized for August 19th and she accepted! This is huge! She feels like she doesn't know enough, but we know that she can be ready. :)
We invited another man to be baptized on August 12th and he accepted as well! :)
We also taught a member's son, named Vic. He says he's very skeptical, but slowly and surely, he is becoming more open. The first lesson, he would not commit to pray, but this last week, he said he would CONSIDER praying. That is a HUGE step! We are getting there... :) He is very kind and we can see that he is opening up more and more to the gospel. He has a wonderful mother and sister who are great examples to him. We shall see...
I don't want to forget, so
HAPPY BIRTHDAY RYAN! (His is late, but tell him that I say Happy Birthday)
I hope you all have wonderful birthdays! Celebrate! :)
How was everyone's fourth of July? We had a fun ward breakfast in the morning with some baseball that I happened to join in on (yes, in a skirt). :) It was with most of the primary kids though and a couple of adults. Great fun! Then, we didn't have a lot of teaching appointments, so we taught two homeless people outside the library. It worked out great! And they were very open to the message! :) We had a BBQ dinner with a family in the ward and then played volleyball that evening with many missionaries. It was a good day. :)
Things are going well! We are pretty much in a 4 person companionship right now, so I love all my companions! I love being a missionary. This work is so great! I know this Church is true! I know that Jesus Christ lives and He loves us! I know that the Book of Mormon is true and I love reading it! Joseph Smith is the prophet of the Restoration.
I love you all so much! Thanks for wanting to be with me for eternity!
Sister Gretchen Schillemat

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The only constant is Change!

First off, it was so good to hear from all of you!
Kirstin, that is exciting that you are teaching temple prep. The temple is such a wonderful blessing and I am so thankful for it. I get to go to the temple next week. :)
Poul, it is good to finally hear from you Brother! I hope all is going well at home!
Mom, When is Jacob getting married? Is that soon?
Dad, Good to hear from you! How is Great-Grandma? I sent her a card, so I hope she is doing well. :)
Peder, Always good to hear from my missionary brother. You are such a great example! :)
So, another change happened just last night (and today). We got a call last night that Sister Toala is coming back to Riverside and is now Sister Jones' companion. Sister Fankhauser and I are still companions too. So we were a trio for just 3 short weeks and it is back to two. What is really crazy is that when Sister Toala left, Sister Jones and I had to merge two companionships into one. Now we are back to two companionships, so we won't be as busy. (Which isn't my favorite) But we know this is what the Lord wants and that the work will get busier. This way we will be able to find more investigators to teach and the Arlington Ward will get bigger and bigger! It is going to be different without Sister Jones :(, but again this is what the Lord wants. I am reminded every day how much this is Heavenly Father's work, not ours. He is directing this work, and He has a plan.
So we had a really great week! Maddie is all ready for her baptismal interview on Saturday and then baptism on Sunday of next weekend. We are all very excited! We also had some wonderful lessons with Susan, another investigator, who is preparing to be baptized on July 21st. :)
This week one of our investigators who has been taught for almost 16 years, asked for a priesthood blessing, which is a miracle. His wife was sick and received a blessing and right after she received a blessing, he asked for one as well. We are praying that he will soon be baptized, so that he and his wife can progress. We'll pray hard. :)
Miracle of the week for me.
We had been really struggling getting our OYMs for the week. By Wednesday, we only had 29 OYMs and we were far below our goal. That night as I prayed, I asked Heavenly Father to help us reach our goals of talking to people. As I prayed, I promised that I would talk to everyone that passed and the Spirit told me that He would provide people to talk to if I did my part. So, that day, I knew that I needed to talk to EVERYONE. I thought I was pretty good at that, but sometimes in the parking lots, etc., I let people pass if they are "too far" away. So that day, I knew that Heavenly Father would provide people for us to talk to, depending on if we talked to everyone that passed by or we could see. And guess what? We had 58 OYMs that day! And were over on our goal!
It was a testimony to me of an answer to prayer and that we need to do all we can on our part to be blessed. I knew that if I just asked Heavenly Father to give us 50 people to talk to without giving it our best effort, that is was unlikely to happen. As we talked to EVERYONE that day, miracles happened. :) I am so grateful for prayer and the Spirit.
Another miracle this week was after many of our appointments cancelled on Wednesday, we went to a potential investigators' house and had a lesson. He accepted a baptismal date as well. Heavenly Father knew that we needed to meet with him that day and if our other lessons had gone through, we wouldn't have been there.
Overall, it was a great week. :) I am happy! And all is well. I love this work sooo much!
Fourth of July is this week! Happy Fourth of July!
Not much else to report! California is hot, but great!
Love you much, Sister Gretchen Schillemat
                        The Sister Missionaries in Riverside
                                                  Early morning study time
Bowling with her companions.