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. :) )