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.
HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!! :)
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|
|Getting ready to leave the CCM on missionary splits for the whole day|
|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|