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.

Changes, Changes

Hello Family!
Well, transfers were this week and I knew that something was going to change because Sister Toala is going home. So, I got a call on Saturday morning asking if I would train a new missionary. So, I am training again! Needless to say, I am nervous about it. I woke up a little early this morning with butterflies in my stomach for all the things ahead. I am also very excited though. There is such a wonderful Spirit that comes with new missionaries and I am glad that I will be able to work with another new sister. I have a meeting today at 2:00 and then I'll find out tonight who my companion is going to be. Sister Fankhauser is also training, so I get to see her today too! :) 
This past week was a really good week. We had 5 new investigators, and one of them came to church this week! He came and went to classes with the youth and said he really liked it! It is pretty amazing because we had come to originally just teach his brother, but then his sister and he also sat in. When we invited them all to church, Victor was the only one who said he'd come. And he did! We look forward to meeting with him and his brother and sister this week.  
We also have been teaching an older man, named Brother Solter. He is one that hates computers, cell phones, and wears his clothes until they have fallen apart. He reminds me of Dad and of Grandpa Schillemat in those aspects. :) I wish you both could meet him and tell him that he needs the gospel in his life. He is stubborn as all get out and just isn't wanting to give up those cigarettes of his, even though he is 81 years old and he knows how much they are hurting him. Dad, if you could send me your testimony of the gospel for this man, that would be great! I think that would really be good for him. Maybe Grandpa too. :)
So last week Peder wrote me and then I shared it with President Smart. This was President Smart's reply to me:
"I like the thought your brother shared with you. I would add to that one additional point. When we are faced with a challenge, as indicated by your brother, we have something to learn. I also think it indicates that God is telling us that it is time for us to grow and expand our capability/capacity/skills/talents/gifts. It is a sign of love from our creator who knows us best, I think, and his masterful hand knows how to stretch us in the most productive (and sometime difficult) way."
Heavenly Father loves us so much, he knows when to stretch us and help us grow. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow so much on my mission. I am thankful for the many challenges that the mission brings because it makes the joys even greater. :) I love being a missionary!
Well, I look forward to hearing from all of you and hope you are happy and well. This is the Lord's work. This is a great work! I love you all and hope you had a HAPPY LABOR DAY!
Love, Sister Gretchen Schillemat
The Senior Sisters, Sister Nelson and George took us out to Denny's as a farewell for Sister Toala. That was our p-day breakfast yesterday. :)

The Mora family that we are teaching! :)