Thursday, October 30, 2014

Hermana Schmidt's Week 5 Letter 10/30/14

Dear Family, Friends, Randoms who are reading this,

..... Bednar video?

............ did you look outward this week?

......................I want to know.....................................

First off, family. What is with these amazingly beautiful wonderful pictures? My heart is melted. I will take some selfies for you to get in on this family pictures stuff going on.

SECOND, 4 DAYS UNTIL THE FIELD!!! djklsafjdkslaj AH. :)

This week I surived a Guagua ride. What is that? It is like a very small bus, with no seatbelts, as many people as can cram in at a time, with NO DOOR on one side. That would (I guess) be an okayish thing if the drivers and motorists were not crazy in this country. I will get to my story later but I had to give a description for the title. :)

This week I went into EL CAMPO! (The field)

It was so much fun. I thought I'd give a brief overview on the cultural things I saw and experienced, and then more specific spiritual experiences. So on our way there in our missionary bus (with seatbelts and doors) when Elder Wood says, "This is just like frogger". So if you have ever played frogger, imagine playing frogger in a bus between real cars going really fast.... and that's exactly what the roads are like in the DR. Ay Mi Madre. I don't think we should be going perpendicular to other cars but we were. I do not know how these people survive, no joke.

Okay, and then I got my 2 companions for splits. They were so great and were awesome at spanish! I'm sad I won't be in the actual field with them. (I was doing splits in the west mission).

However, there are times when we are going slow and I actually feel 50% safe. And as we were doing that, there are a ton of people that just walk in the middle of the street holding bags of food to sell to cars through windows. Caution to those in cars here: Don't make eye contact. Or they will attack. That was an interesting cultural change and once again, not sure how they survive walking between these drivers but I guess years of practice (?)

Also, most people are 1/2 dressed, specifically the men. And they hiss at white girls (it's like whistling in america) and hit on us a lot. For example, a car rode past us and in the back was a teenager with no shirt yelling at me and my companions, "Come back my love, *hiss hiss* and take me to America!!" So there was that, and we were dying laughing. And that happened about 50 times in total that day walking around.

The buildings and houses were very sketchy, along with their stairs !!! Their stairs are on the side of their houses and they are super steep, spiraled, and realllllyyyyy old. They are so scary, I prayed everytime I had to walk up one!

And how did I feel about all of this crazy, scary, psychotic experiences? I. Loved. It. I loved every second of being in the field and teaching real people. The people are the nicest people on the planet, and one of the top places in the world where the church is growing the fastest. These people are so ready for the gospel!! I'm so grateful to be here. It was also cool to experience such a different culture, it really makes me grateful for the comfortable circumstances I was in before for sure!! It's so cool to see such poor people be SO happy... basically all the time. I feel so lucky I get to see it.

So we first talk a less active woman named Sister Milagros (sister miracles in english). All we did was share a song and a testimony. It was really short, but she could understand my whole testimony so that was a miracle!! Sister Milagros really enjoyed that and has apparently started being more active a couple of weeks ago. Que bueno!

Later we taught a whole family for their first lesson. Wow, it is wonderful to teach a whole family. Except, the husband left for a bit and came back to tell us he had made us coffee.... .... ...... ...... ...... my companion explained quickly but I have no idea what she said so if anyone knows a good response let me know.

But we taught them the plan of salvation and how we have a loving heavenly father and how families can be together forever. I had the opportunity to teach half of the lesson! And my spanish wasn't too bad because they understood it all! (one of my companions would check after I explained and have them explain back). I told the story about Dad passing out at church and how I gained my testimony of God's reality and love for us, and it was such a powerful moment. I bore my testimony that I know I will be with my Dad forever, and I gained that testimony as well that day. (don't worry I told them he was okay). But that moment was so powerful. Testifying always brings the spirit!!

Later we got ice cream and then we had to go back to the CCM. But before we got to the meeting spot of missionaries, we had to go on a Guagua again. (earlier it actually wasn't too bad because I was crammed in the back and felt much more safe. But Hermana Greenstreet and I (yes mom, one of the girls from facebook :) ) sat by each other RIGHT BY THE OPEN DOOR. There were no spots open. And the car was just swerving through other cars and literally, H. Greenstreet was holding on to the top by her fingertips and I was holding onto her, and praying the whole time. We were on there for at least 30 min. Ay. Mi. Madre. Missionaries are protected for sure because if we hadn't been on that Guagua i'm pretty sure it would have been totaled in the first five minutes.

But guess what? I'm still alive. Es un milagro.

Okay CCM stories!! First off, i'm teaching the latinas english as they teach me spanish!! I already have them saying "Harry potter is the best ever" "Hermana Schmdit is my favorite person here and in the whole world" and "peace out/hang loose". so clearly i'm just focusing on the most important aspects of english with them. :)

Also, my district started playing what are the odds. If you don't know that game i'm sorry, it would take a while to explain. But I kept losing so now I have to pack H. Triplett's clothes and I've done dishes for the elders quite a bit of times. Anyway, it keeps us entertained and laughing basically all the time. We also discovered we really really like playing hangman. Is that good or bad I don't know, but don't worry we like preaching the gospel more.

Well my email was super long today, so I won't give a big spiritual thought. But I suggest reading D&C 31 and thinking about the blessings of missionary service. Particularly my family, i'm on the missionary side and you are on the family side of that chapter. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  

So that is my challenge this week- read D&C 31!

I love you all, and I know this church is true. There is nothing more important to do in this world than missionary work, whether you have a nametag or not. I know this gospel changes lives, I've seen it in my life and in the lives of others here. I know God is aware of us and wants us to be happy every day of our lives, and he will help us to do this. En el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.


Hermana Schmidt :)

with Eileen, her friend from Provo that just arrived

with Sister Stevens, another Newbie they are training


With her district

Selfie attempt to join in the family picture taking that's been happening

Big group selfie

Her roommates

Getting ready to leave the CCM on missionary splits for the whole day

DR Skies

They seem to have fun

Her roommates and some Elders

Her prank on her roommates trying to imitate their great pinterest wall decorations

"A weird pano of their room"

More DR Skies

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Hermana Schmidt's Week 4 Letter 10/23/14

Dear family and friends,

Have you shared the Bednar video from conference yet? (I'm like the red cross people that won't stop calling for blood donations)

First of all, I am SO jealous that all of you have the chance (well most of you i'm guessing) to see Meet the Mormons. I asked if we would be able to see it as missionaries out here and there was a resounding no. Sad day. So all of you better see it 20 times for me. :) I heard it's amazing, and selling a lot of tickets!! It'll be one of those movies I get super stoked after I see it in 17 months and all of you will be like, "Uh.... that was so a year and half ago" and i'll be sad but probably talk to you all about it for a solid more 18 months.

I reached my one month mark!! At least by the day of the week. Tomorrow is my "day" one month point. NO. Time. Stop. Can't. Breath. Don't. Want. To. Ever. Not. Be. A. Missionary. That month flew by, but yet felt like an eternity. I believe only missionaries will be able to understand how that feels exactly. Oh man, I LOVE being a missionary for this church. I am so super lucky to have this great opportunity to serve the Lord and his people in the DR! Can't wait for the field in less than 2 weeks!!

So last week at the university. We got there earlier than our appointment with Antonio so we found another person to teach. However, right before we talked to someone else our teacher and others were telling us "don't be sad if he doesn't show up, Dominicans can be flaky" and such. And so actually I wasn't expecting Antonio to show up, and went to the university pumped to talk to lots of people still. Anyway, the very first person we talked to was a girl named Julie. She is our age. And... MIRACLE.... she spoke english almost perfectly!! So I got to teach her in english. Which was good because I finally felt like I could express my real feelings and not worry about the right words. Anyway we asked her what she believed and all of her beliefs were exactly the same to ours it was CRAZY. She even believed in three seperate members of the godhead, which is really rare here. The only thing she was caught up on was prophets. So we explained the role of prophets and why God calls prophets in our time. Near the end she said something like, "Why do I need to listen to the prophet when I can just listen to the Holy Spirit?" And I said, "That is a great question. Do you believe the Holy Spirit not only leads you to the right things in life, but also tells you what is true?" and she said, "Yes..." And I said, "Well our whole purpose here is not to convince you that you need to follow a prophet, or to convince you that the book of mormon is true, or that the church is restored... our whole purpose is to invite you to find out for yourself, by praying and feeling the holy spirit be the one to convince you of the truthfulness of our message. And I know, that if you pray about prophets, and the book of mormon, the Holy Ghost WILL tell you it is all true, all of it." I have not felt the spirit stronger in my whole life, and the words just seemed to come without effort! It was an amazing moment. She really felt something and agreed to do all we invited her to do and we got her number to make a referral.

In the middle of that lesson however, ANTONIO shows up!! Thankfully our teacher was there and talked to him until we were done with Julie. Antonio really just wants to know information about the church, not really interested in joining... but that's okay! Everyone starts somewhere. And he is going to meet with the missionaries in the field :) (I understood 2% of our lesson with him or else I would go into more detail)

I also saw my good friend from home Elder Tate at the CCM this week!! That was really cool and he is doing great and his spanish is flawless! It's way cool!

Another cool thing that happened this week was Hermana Triplett and I got called to be the new sister training leaders over the CCM! It's not really training though, we are just there to help, serve, and comfort all the sisters here which is super cool. It's been fun. In the DR they call greenies "pinitos" or little pine trees, so we made them little pine trees with a thought + chocolate for when they arrived here yesterday. There's about 17 total sisters here now which is a lot for here!! It's been fun talking to them and getting to know them! :)

I GOT A SHARK SHIRT. And on it, it has "Santo Domingo" which was about the most exciting moment EVER. Lies... Worldy excited moment ever :) For those of you who know me well, you can see why this would be a big deal.

So this week I go on splits for 8 hours in the field!! I'm so nervous, excited, can't believe it, AH. I finally get an "in the field" experience and I can't wait!!

Okay to finish off I have a thought for you all. So we watched a Devotional from Elder Bednar this week about the character of Christ. Oh my lanta, the best devotinal I have EVER heard, or at least right up there with Uchtdorf's that I talked about 2 weeks ago. He shared a story.

He was in the stake presidency over a stake that was in distance, really spread out. He got a frantic call from one of the ward's relief society president (a single mom) that she needed his help. She said that there were 3 girls from the stake who had been in a car accident and she needed him (because he was close) to go Identify which ones were dead and which ones were living. As she was talking to him, he could tell she was also talking to the hospital, and over the phone he heard the nurse say, "Your daughter is the one who is dead." So Elder Bednar heard this woman find out her only child had died, and immediately she says, "we need to update the other moms". In that moment, she turned outward. He related this to christ on the cross and when he looks down and worries about his mother rather than his own pain. She turned outwards when most of us would turn inwards. So continuing the story, the day of her daughters funeral she gets a call from a woman in her ward who didn't know of the passing. This other woman called saying, "are you kidding me I have had a cold for over a week and not one person has brought me a meal" and just chewed her out, THE DAY OF THE FUNERAL. This whining woman clearly had no idea about the Relief Society presidents daughter. But this RS president was so christlike that on her way to the funeral she brought this woman a meal.

This touched my heart and inspired me. I want to make that my mission goal. To become a person who looks more outward rather than inward. That in my hard moments, I look to help others. I truly believe that if we ask for God's help, he can change us to become a more outward person. Alma 5:7-9. He can change our hearts so that our souls expand. I truly have a testimony of that.

My missionary challenge to all of you this week is in your hard moments, try your best to find someone to serve. I would love to hear your experiences. I will accept my own challenge and try it out as well. :)

I love you all. This is the most important work in the WORLD. God loves us and he wants us to find joy, and peace in this life. I know this church is true.

Hurrah for Israel!

Hermana Schmidt :) 
Companion, Roommates and Friends

Selfie in honor of Jordan Bradford

The shark shirt from her letter

Newbie gifts for the sisters arriving

Not sure what they are doing here

Santo Domingo Skies

Purple Lightning behind the clouds an Elder took

Elder Kline Tate from Orem came by to say hi!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hermana Schmidt's Week 3 Letter 10/16/14

Hola Familia and Amigos!!

Did you complete my challenge I gave to you all? To share the Bednar talk from conference? If not, it's okay. we have this wonderful thing called repentance, where we can try again! ;) (es un chiste) but I hope you all did the challenge!

First of all, THANKS FOR THE PACKAGE. I may have shed a tear or two, because it was like everything I could ask for in that moment. I sure do have a great family!! My roommates also say thank you :) one day I will send my package to you guys when the DR Stamps get here... hopefully that's before I leave the CCM! Luc, it has your birthday stuff in it- so i'm really sorry if it gets there way later than your birthday. But I will be thinking about you on your birthday :) Also tell Mckenna, Hermana Echard from Utah State says congrats on her mission call! Also LEXI I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU. You are going to be a great missionary!! A mission is the best decision you could ever make, no joke!

Wow this week was SO amazing! I wish I could type out every detail of the awesome experiences we had but I don't have time, but I will do my best.

Starting with last friday at the university-

So we only got 5 Book of Mormons to hand out but we had a ton of pamphlets of the restoration and the plan of salvation as well. We started off and literally... every single person we talked to either accepted a pamphlet or a book of mormon!! They all seemed pretty interested. Later in the time there, a man came up to us and started praying for us. His name is Antonio. He is catholic but interested in learning about different religions. He seemed so interested after I repeated the first vision to him!! When you share the first vision, especially memorized and slowly (as the Lindley's taught us - shout out to them), there is so much spirit in the conversation and it just floods in! After that he got the mission info, and he is actually meeting us tomorrow at the university so that we can teach him the second lesson!! Our teacher Hermana Diaz is helping us out, because it's like... real. I'm teaching a real investigator tomorrow---- AH. I'm so excited!! After that it started pouring rain, and I mean pouring. Utah rain is fluff fluff, in the DR we get real rain!  After that we went around and I had an idea that we should go sing around this huge group of students. Mostly we just got weird looks but hey because we did that we actually gave out our last 2 books and the rest of the pamphlets! So all though we laughed about how silly the whole situation was, it ended up being a good choice :) Plus, Hermana Triplett is a super great singer so she impressed people I believe.

So yeah, THAT WAS AMAZING. People here are so nice! Every time we said hi to people (mostly) they smiled and talked to us. It was great. Oh, we also talked to a girl named amada who was just so ready I think to hear the word. She gladly accepted the Book of Mormon and hopefully will follow through on her committment to meet with the missionaries!

We had a great broadcast devotional with Elder Bednar and his wife. In part of it they talked about faith and power. He said, "Power does not come until after action, and fear is the absence of action". That can not be more true for us right now! Our mouths won't be filled before we open our mouths, only after! We have to be brave and just attempt to talk in spanish if we want the power behind it. And fear is what holds us back, in my most terrified moments here I remember that and think, Okay Hermana Schmidt - have you shown your faith and done something so that the Lord can help you with His power? And it has made a huge difference, especially in perhaps the most powerful experience since arriving here. Also, they talked about how every missionary should have their family pray every day specifically for their missionary to receive the gift of tongues. I was so excited to extend that invitation to my family, but you guys are so inspired and wonderful you already accepted the challenge before I invited you to do it! And this week, I needed it. I felt your prayers, so thank you so much.

A couple of nights ago, our teacher let us go to a nearby park and talk to people about the book of mormon and the church. Hermana Triplett and  I said a prayer for help, that we would be lead to those willing to listen and ready to listen, and that our mouths would be filled. So we walk down the side road of the park until the very end. Before we get there, I kept thinking there's the end and we still haven't found anyone, maybe we should turn back. But as soon as I thought that, the Holy Ghost so powerfully in my heart helped me to know that there were people ahead who WE needed to talk to. Only about 10 seconds later, we ran into a huge group of workers... these people were very poor but so humble and kind. We started talking to some (about 3) and 2 of them left pretty quickly but one was truly interested. As we began talking about Joseph Smith and the first vision, suddenly 2 or 3 more workers came over and listened. In less than 15 minutes we had 10 at a time around us, (actually talking to about 5 at a time) and we had to take seperate groups! There were probably more than 15-20 people during our time there that read the pamphlet who we didn't get to talk to because of other conversations. I felt like we were Alma and Amulek in alma 32.... that was seriously us. The scriptures came alive for me. These people in the DR are ready, humble, and willing, and when we become like the people in this country- then the Lord will show miracles in our lives. That's when the Lord can change us. That is when we can recognize that the Lord loves us. I especially thought of verse 6- read it. It was the coolest experience of my (whole life) mission so far.

That night I got 22 mosquito bites, (we didn't have time to put on repellent my teacher said), and oh boy it has been painful and horrible and I can't sleep--- However, it was 100% worth it. A mission is 100% worth every pain, ache, stressful moment, hard nights... It is SO worth it. Seeing those people so excited and just see light come into their lives just a little bit was life changing. I'm so grateful I could witness such an amazing scene. I am truly so fortunate to be here!!!

Now on a more funny note my class built a "tower of bible" this week with our scritpures. Hopefully I will have the pics to send. It was great! Also Elder Wood, probably one of the most funny people I have ever met, taught us a lesson on redneck spanish words like: Abierto- as he pronounced it "Ab-ur-toe" (instead of ab-ee-air-toe) and said it means a work out between your abs and toes. So there is that! Another person this week said, "This foodo is no goodo for me estomacho" so there is also that. I also got yelled out by the lady we visit teach in the CCM because in my broken spanish, she thought I was telling her false doctrines... whoops good thing I have Hermana Triplett to help me out! (and I thought she  might kill me so i'm grateful I survived) There are a bunch of native missoinaries here who are secretly cracking up at all the wrong spanish words we say- but it makes for comic relief right? :)

I just want to let you all know that this choice to serve a mission was the best choice I have ever made. I'm so grateful to be here and be an instrument of the Lord. I love you all, but more importantly I know the Lord loves you all a million times more than I ever could. His heart is big enough for all of us :) Trust in the Lord, trust in his timing, and trust in his promptings. He will never lead you astray.

The church is true, The book is blue, CTR when a choice is placed before you!

Love you all, but not with more love than a missionary should give,

Hermana Schmidt :)

Also we ran out of books for everyone at the park and all of them wanted to meet with missionaries!! :) 

Elder wood being himself with my glasses.... thought you would laugh haha


tower of bibles

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Hermana Schmidt's Week 2 Letter 10/9/14

First things first. Congratulations to McKenna on her mission call!!! Which mission in Argentina? And I've heard from my old roomie Kelby that she loves serving there. She will be a fantastic missionary. Also.... I heard about the game. I'm not really allowed to think about sports here (at least I shouldn't) but I thought about Dad and was praying he wasn't in a coma because of it... and that's okay right? :)

I will talk about how great conference was later in this email I promise.

So last week was our last lesson with "Mario Lopez" and he did committ to baptism. The last night, our district was all talking and said, "well because it's the last night with this investigator, let's just baptize him.. but where?" and an elder said, "There's a font in the temple!" and another said, "But that's for the dead!" And without hesitating, Elder Wood says, "Kill him." Maybe you are reading this and not laughing, but i'm laughing typing it because it was so great. Missionary humor for the win!

This week Hermana Triplett and I were fake investigators for another class practicing teaching the law of chastity. The elders teaching me said, "What do you think about it?" and I said, "It's hard because I live with my boyfriend" and one of the elders then went on to ask really specific questions... needless to say I had to stop his questions and explain it is not necessary to know exactly what the investigator is doing, because they are already not living the law if they aren't married and living together. It was hilarious and awkward and hilarious... and awkward. :)

I have a new teacher. No one knows where Hermana De Los Santos went.... but now we have Hermana Diaz!! Who just returned from her mission 3 weeks ago from ENGLAND (Shout out to Sarah, cause I thought of her). She is SO GREAT. I can't even explain my laugh for her because she's funny, bubbly, and also an excellent teacher. She loves Hermana Triplett and I and I feel like she treats us like her favorite daughters or something... it is wonderful.

We have two new "investigators" (Can I stop putting quotation marks yet?) and one is Ramon and one is Curtis (a girl). And those are really our two teachers Brother Ramirez and Sister Diaz. We had a great lesson with Curtis about God's love for her yesterday. She said she hasn't seen her daughter in years because her crazy divorced husband took her away from her and how she no longer believes in God anymore. As she was telling us, I just felt the spirit so strong to share my testimony that God lives and loves us! And that praying can help us know he loves us. I was tearing up because it was such a spiritual moment for Hermana Triplett and I to teach her and testify of God's love for  his children. And then there is Ramon.... Who is a bible basher and doesn't like us and tells us to leave when we walk in, but his heart is softened by the end of lessons. So we are rooting to find ways to connect with him so he doesn't feel the need to fight against us.

I MET PRESIDENT CORBITT. Which was so great!!! He was a very cool person. He said, "The Lord is performing miracles here and we get to be a part of it!" He was way nice to us. And I asked if he knows Rose Jorgensen from his old stake and he said "Yes!" So shoutout to her as well.

This week we had a little bit of freedom from the CCM. We got to go to the store about a mile away!! My very first real encounter with someone here was a little boy begging us for food outside of the store... It was really humbling and eye opening. As missionaries we can't give people money or food, but I just wanted to squeeze him and tell him that God loves him and that the hardships in life will all be made right one day, but 1. Can't hold children and 2. We were in a huge rush. It was so sad. But I will think of him when I think of this country, and how fortunate I am to have grown up in a great situation. It was very, very humbling.

So my companion and I were sick with colds this week but we fasted and we were healed to go to the temple!!! It was truly a miracle. I'm grateful for a companion who fasts and prays with me. I'm so lucky to have someone who is so easy going and fun to work with!!

TOMORROW I GO TO THE UNIVERSITY AND TEACH PEOPLE FOR REAL. WHAT. I am so nervous because my spanish es.... mas o menos. But I am learning and I KNOW that the Lord helps his missionaries.

In prep for that we watched a devotional by Elder Uchtdorf that he gave this Easter on missionary work and the meaning of Easter. It. Was. Amazing. He talked about how the Lord can change us from fearful servants to bold missionaries!!! That he really can change us. He gave an example of a missionary who looked into the mirror every morning and said, "I fear NO MAN" And gave his all to missionary work. I made it a goal to do the same. I want to talk to everyone because everyone needs this gospel!! So.... basically.... Hermana Triplett and I are PUMPED for the University! Please keep us in your thoughts.

So conference is the missionary super bowl because whenever certain speakers (uchtdorf, monson, holland) get up you hear a bunch of "yes's". And everyone is writing like maniacs saying, "did you get that!? Did you get that!?" Kinda like the superbowl when your favorite team scores and everyone says touchdown or does something amazing and everyone's like "YOU SAW THAT RIGHT!?" That missionary life.

Missionaries are literal representatives of the living Jesus Christ. I have a unique calling, and with that, I believe, sometimes we receive certain revelations to specifically help others. As I listened to Bednars talk, I was impressed to write in my email and challenge everyone to share that video or talk with a nonmember friend or family member. So this is my challenge to you. It was the last talk in the last session of conference. Share it, go go go! The Lord needs people to thrust in the sickle and bring his children to him! :) Us missionaries can't do it all alone- we need you!

The rest of conference was amazing. I loved every talk and watching it as a missionary was the coolest thing ever. I'm really sad that I don't have enough time to write you every thing I loved, but know that I have loads of notes I can show you all after my mission if you would like, deal? :)

I am so lucky to be here and be a missionary. I have never felt closer to God. If you are feeling distant from Him like he isn't helping you in your trials, read: D&C 121:7-8, D&C 122, or Mosiah 23:23-22. Good stuff!!! Oh man. I wish I could just see every one who is reading this, give you a big hug, and let you know that you DO have a Heavenly Father who loves you! Who is watching over you!! I'm tearing up writing this because I have discovered God's love for his children in the past two weeks more than I have in my entire life. He loves you. He loves all.

Hurrah for Israel!!!

With Love,

Hermana Schmidt  

"Saying goodbye to the Haitian Elders! :("

"My sweet roommates, Love these sisters.  Hermana Echard, Hermana Monks, Hermana Triplett and I"

"Haitian Sisters, Adios!"

"Some sweet sisters that have been here two weeks longer than us!  Hermana Twiner and Hermana Brimley"

District Helaman

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Hermana Schmidt's First Letter 10/2/14 Yippee!

I am so grateful for children that like to write, this letter made my week! :) ~her mom

Dear Mi Familia y Mis Amigos,

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM. I know this is late, and I know you were sick, but I hope you still got Diet coke, sushi, and lots of gifts.

AND THANK YOU FOR THE PACKAGE. Words can not describe my joy eating goldfish (aka american normal food that doesn't make me feel like i'm going to contract some weird disease).

Oh my goodness, when they say you have no time to write in the MTC--THEY ARE RIGHT.

There is so much to tell you.

First of all, I LOVE IT HERE. I love it here so much. It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my whole life (yes that includes American Heritage) but it is so amazing!!

so I have my journal with me and I will try and get through as much as possible.

So mom and dad you already know how the first plane ride went but I will let you know about the second now. The second plane ride I had Elder Daniels on my right and a Dominican Woman on my left. I felt impressed to speak with her, and I panicked because she spoke 0.01% english. But I tried, and it was the coolest thing ever!!! I totally communicated with her for about three hours. I let her know what I do as a missionary, and gave her an El Libro de Mormon and she accepted!! She said she would read it with her husband and get in touch with missionaries if she wanted to know more. So that was such a great way to start off my mission. It may not have been so much for her, but it was for sure a tender mercy for me.

After the plane we got on a tiny bus (I will send a picture if it works, I hope it does!) and crammed like 40 missionaries on it. Hermana Jensen and I sat by each other right in the front row and talked to the driver in spanglish. Because our spanish was struggling....and Dominican spanish is crazy nonetheless. But we almost hit like 5 BIKERS. It was so scary! I am not kidding. The drivers, bikers, everyone is crazy on the roads. It made me so grateful that I am not going to be allowed on the roads anyway.... Ay mi madre. (A dominican term similar to us saying oh my goodness). It was dark so I could barely see the city but what I could see was really cool. The people are all shapes and colors, but mostly I just saw all smiles!! I can not wait to serve them.

I'm guessing the first thing you want to know about is my companion! My companion is Hermana Triplett from California. She is 20 and studied at BYU (mathematics and engineering double major). She is way cool, and basically fluent in spanish. So I feel like I have a native companion even though she is for sure american haha. She helps me all the time with my spanish and that's been a lot of help, even though I'm way behind her it motivates me rather than discourages me- because she is SO nice!! We get along great.

There are only 11 sisters here in total. My district is me and H. Triplett, and 6 Elders. They are all really funny. I'm pretty sure we are in some sort of advanced class because they are challenging us to do way harder things than the other classes. But that is okay. :) It is helping me learn so it is a blessing!! The hard things we are asked to do are always blessings!!

So the CCM-- We study spanish all day, and we were are not studying spanish we are eating (and still really studying spanish) or 1 hour exercise time (but still studying spanish unofficially) and then at night we teach fake investigators that are really our teachers. They use our lessons to tell us how to be better teachers of the gospel. I can not wait to tell you about those experiences this week- because there were some really funny moments and spiritual.

Our first two lessons with "Mario Lopez" (really our teacher Hermano Ramirez) went so bad. And when I say so bad I mean out of the 15 min. we talked to him, we only talked for 1 or 2 of them. There were awkward silences because we didn't know what to say. H. Triplett knows spanish but she didn't really know how to teach, and I know how to teach but not spanish so we were stuck saying nothing. It was no bueno. But it could have been worse. Elders in my district told him "somos novios" meaning we are boyfriends, instead of "somos hermanos" (we are brothers). I was dying when they told us that. We are all just trying to learn spanish.

But we prayed and fasted and really really focused and prepared for the next couple and taught him about God, the restoration, and the plan of happiness. And guess what!?! HE IS GOING TO GET BAPTIZED. (If only it were real life though). But I told him about when I thought I lost my earthly father and how that's when I knew Heavenly Father lives and loves me. The spirit was just so powerful and we were all tearing up. But... he has to commit to the law of chastity first and he has "four girlfriends" so um.... we are trying to figure out exactly how to teach him why he can't have four girlfriends and stay at their houses all the time.... I am so awkward at that so i'm just praying the spirit will help me.

On sunday they called on people to bear their testimonies in front of all of the missionaries so no one knew if they would do it- and they called on me! I was freaking out but said a quick prayer and was totally helped to remember all that I wanted to say in spanish. It was really a good experience. There are always haitian missionaries here that only speak french and they are so humble and full of love, and all volunteered to bear testimony. Even though I couldn't understand french, the spirit bore witness that they were telling the truth. That's the cool thing about the spirit, it will always bear witness of the truth no matter the language!!

The pictures you will get (hopefully) are from sunday. the best day here!! We got PIZZA AND ICECREAM. Was I freaking out and tearing up a little bit? The answer is yes. It was so nice. Because I was sick of the rice, beans, chicken, and mystery meat with huge bones sticking out of it. We got to walk around the temple so there are pictures from that too.

Okay so some funny/cool things this week....

I told Mario Lopez that we pray to thomas s. monson (meant to say listen) and he was so confused. My companion just burst out laughing and explained to him that no we listen (oír) to The prophet not pray (orar) to him. I also said "HOLO MARIO" Instead of "HOLA MARIO" at the beginning. Such a gringo.

Elder Page and Elder Milward were teaching a lesson downstairs, when a real woman staying here at the hotel heard and thought our teacher was a real investigator and we were really doing a lesson. She thought the elders were terrible at spanish so she jumped in and taught the whole lesson for them (lol). Thankfully she didn't do that with us too last night!!

So I got really sick two days ago with a cold/cough/sore throat. It's a thing going around the CCM right now, so H. Triplett and I couldn't go to the temple :'(. But that is okay, it was a good morning with personal study for hours instead. Worms is also going around the CCM so I am just praying I don't get them!!! I will die!!! (not really, but ya... die).

Okay so quick thought. My MTC president said this:

Faith is the power,
Obedience is the price,
Love is the motive,
Spirit is the key,
Jesus Christ is the reason.

I loved that and it really stuck out ot me. That is why I am here, and that is how I will live every moment of my mission.

There is so much more, but I am out of time basically. I love you all so so so so so so so so so much. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. I love the opportunity to be here.

The church is true. I can feel it even more than ever before. It is so important that we live the gospel, so important. I know that is true. I know it.

Church is true, book is blue, ctr when a choice is placed before you.

With love,

Hermana Schmidt :)

p.s. if there are spelling or grammar mistakes i'm sorry I have to type SO fast. Ayyyyy Mi Madre.

Oh, and on p-days we wear peach.

And the group pictures at the temple is my district in the next email AH.