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