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

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