Monday, August 31, 2015

Hermana Schmidt Week 49 Letter 08/31/15 (Her Birthday)

From: Nicole Schmidt [] 
Sent: 08/31/2015 10:07 AM
Subject: Derika 2015 (a combination of storm Danny and storm Erika)! And I'm officially an old woman.

Hola a todos! :) 

Happy birthdays to my cousin Jacob and my good friend Elder Davis serving in Bolivia! :) I hope they are wonderful! 

Thank you so so much for all of the birthday wishes!!! You are all so amazing!!! :) And thanks mom for having me. Good work. (lol)  

So this week was CRAZY, and CRAZY WONDERFUL. Every week I just look back and think, ''If I didn't have a testimony before, I for sure do now!!'' Every week is just getting better and better and better, no joke. The Lord is just pouring blessings down on us, and I just feel so, so lucky to be here just thinking ''I don't know how I'm qualified at all to be your servant, really i'm not. But thanks for giving me this opportunity to just see you work wonders in the lives of these people.'' It's unreal. It's seriously the greatest. 

To start off with the spiritual news, I can't wait to share!! Brendi is just progressing and progressing and we've had some super powerful lessons this week with her. She finally was able to come to church (she's had to go see her uncle each weekend after a big accident he got into) and she couldn't stay the whole time due to her needed visit to help him, but she came and loved it!! We set a firm baptismal date with her for the 12th and she is so excited!

The other great news we have is Diana and Victor and their daughter. We had an FHE with them a while back, and since then haven't been able to really find them tons. But the Lord has worked miracles and we've been able to see them tons this week and TOGETHER. Which is a huge miracle because when one works, the other stays, and they switch off and are only together late at nights. Victor and their daughter came to church (Diana couldn't because of the storm and had to fix some things around home) but it was WONDERFUL. We had a super powerful lesson with them last night on the restoration and it was so, so special.

As I testified of Joseph Smith, it was as if my own testimony went up 5000%. I just know he saw our Heavenly Father and our Savior!! And they appeared to him, not because they loved him more than everyone else, but because they loved US. It was all for us. I'm so grateful for the knowledge of the reality of the restoration of the gospel. 

I asked them, ''So what do you think this all means for you? What should you do with what you have heard?'' Victor said, ''Show i'm grateful by attending church and keeping my committments.'' Diana said, ''Well I don't know it's true. So I just need to pray and I really think the Lord can give me an answer.''

I'm so grateful for such a prepared, wonderful family. I know the Lord will answer them! 

So my companion got her stint removed this week and while we were away from home in the hospital we got the wonderful news that the storm Erika was coming and that the country was under Red Alert. We had to take a taxi home right by the ocean after she got her stint out, and the ocean looked pretty threatening. I don't think i've ever prayed harder in my life!!! But I felt so much comfort and knew everything would be fine. We went and stayed with the other sisters in the zone in their house which was fun. 

The storm was really small where we were at. However, the power did go out, and we saw a tree fall. So that was exciting. We are contemplating buying ''We survived Derika 2015'' Shirts, after the 2 storms, however... Erika was apparently really bad in other areas of the country so it took away the funny-ness. Sigh. But It was fun to be with them and we felt super protected!! 

Well friends, I am just on cloud nine. This is truly the BEST life!! 

Hurrah for Israel!! :) 

-Hermana Schmidt 

Hermanas Curtis, Collins, Nazaire, Tam, Jackson and Schmidt watching the storm

Hermana Schmidt and the Big Foot t-shirt I sent her

Happy 20th Birthday!

She says she feels like she is in happyland

Another of happyland

Monday, August 24, 2015

Hermana Schmidt Week 48 Letter 08/24/15

It’s her birthday next Monday, August 31 so if you have a chance, send her a Happy Birthday email : )

From: Nicole Schmidt []
Sent: 08/24/2015 10:25 AM
Subject: I Couldn't Be Happier! :)

Hola a todos!! 

Happy birthdays to my uncle paul and my cousin Jarom! I hope you have great birthdays and eat lots of cake! :) 

Can I just say that I LOVE being a missionary? I am so so so grateful to be a missionary! It is the good life, that is for sure. :) 

So transfers are this week and Sister Jackson and I are staying together in my hogar! :) I will be here for 4 transfers!! I am so happy! :) This has been such an incredible opportunity to serve in this ward, and i'm so thankful to the Lord that he is giving me at least another 6 weeks here! :) 

So this week we worked harder than I have in my whole life! (I'm trying to make that my goal, work harder and harder each week!) There is nothing like being able to spend every hour completely dedicated to preaching the gospel! And that's truly when the miracles happen. 

One miracle was with Brendi, who finally accepted a firm baptismal date for the middle of September! At first she was super nervous and didn't know if she could make that committment, but she kept reading the Book of Mormon and the next time she came over she said, ''I've never been more sure that this is right!'' 

This week for me was full of Growing and learning moments. We were in a lesson with a less-active member named Reina. she is the wife of our bishop and hasn't come to church in years. Every time we go over it seems we always try and bring up the importance of church attendance and encouraging her to come, which is good to do. However, as I was sitting there getting ready to (once again) call her to repentance basically and come to church a thought flooded over me. ''You are just as much as a sinner as she is.'' Which is not the most comforting thought you could get from the Lord but it really hit me hard. Instead of correcting her and telling her she just needs to come to church, all I could do was truly testify to her that the Savior lives to clean us and help us, and that he loved her so very much. I've learned it's important to be bold with people (with love) but it's also important to see them how God sees them and follow the spirit on how to help them. There were no dry eyes in that lesson. 

Another POWERFUL lesson was with an older woman named Justina. She lives alone in a little cement shack. We felt impressed to go and see her and it truly was guided by the spirit because when we got there she just broke down and started  venting to us saying ''I'm so lonely and so hungry. All I have is lunch sometimes from the catholic church and that's the only visits I really get. My house stinks and I can barely shower myself let alone clean the house.'' She can barely walk either and she said, ''I used to beg for years for food, and now I can't even walk to a street where I could beg.'' As tears spilt down her face, I couldn't hold mine back either. She had recently showered and missed completely rincing off her feet so we took off her shoes and helped dry and clean her feet as she cried. In that moment she burst out in prayer to God for gratitude for all she had and forgiveneness for her imperfections. It was so, SO humbling to see someone with so very little, thanking God for the ''MANY'' blessings she enjoyed and begging him for her imperfections. I will never forget that in my life.

On a lighter note, it's Carnaval time in the DR so it means lots of random marching bands and parades around the city. We saw a big one that walked right past the church and it was full of crazy instruments and costumes. I just love this county. 

So you may have heard or not but there is a storm comin' our way! I just know that we will be protected and the mission has so very much prepared us for natural disasters. I know the Lord will help us! Woot woot! You can tell God how big your storm is, or your storm how big GOD is! :) 

Love you all so much and Hurrah for Israel!! :) 

-Hermana Schmidt 

Carnival Time
Hermana Schmidt and Justina

Photo I found on facebook

Another photo I found on facebook

Hermana Schmidt and Hermana Jackson

Hermana Schmidt and Yisset

Yisset and Missionaries

Justina and Hermanas

Another with Justina


Justina's humble home

Previous district

Monday, August 17, 2015

Hermana Schmidt Week 47 Letter 08/17/15

From: Nicole Schmidt []
Sent: 08/17/2015 11:00 AM
Subject: Miracles Upon Miracles!

Hola a todos! 

Happy birthdays to my second cousins Katherine and Andrew, and to my cousin Lauren Joy :) 

So this may or may not be a shorter email because I can't change the keyboard settings to english today! Sigh. 

But I have GREAT news! The last little surgery that I had to get went swell. It was fast, easy, and basically painless! I am finally feeling 100% back to normal! (Missionary normal, as in tired, hot, and sweaty, but I don't think i'll ever even think to complain about being hot or tired again!!! It's just so worth it to work!!)

But the super cool thing about my whole process was that my companion had to get the same exact surgery I had to get. Needless to say, I am so so grateful the Lord put me through a trial so that I could know how to help and comfort my companion!! Our trials really just aren't about us sometimes. I love what it says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. That's totally how I have felt!! My companion is doing a lot better. The STLS came over a lot this week to help us out, so that means I could go out and work Hallelujah!! I am just so grateful!! 

So we went and saw Brendi. She is 22 and we have been teaching her for about 2 months now. She always says she has a testimony from her prayers and study of the Book of Mormon, but she isn't really committing nor coming to church. It's been stressful at times, but I've just realized that's how the Lord feels when we know something is right but we just don't fully put our hearts into it! I've come to realize just how much the Lord comes to know us. Well we went and saw her, and we had planned to teach her about tithing and just thinking about ''What do we have left on the teaching record to teach her?'' sometimes I think we are so focused on just 'getting it done' so to speak, that we don't really come to love and understand our investigators and their needs. Well, I thought it was a good plan and just trying to 'get it done' and when we walked in Brendi just looked so sad. We started talking with her and she told us her uncle had gotten into a huge motorcycle accident and was getting emergency surgery. I realized that QUESTIONS are ESSENTIAL, because she was not going to tell us that without us really asking her how she was and how we could help her. I testified to her of the reality of God's plan and that his plan really is perfect! That's what i've gained this transfer, a firm testimony and conviction that god's plan is so much better than my own. Brendi really opened up and it was one of the most powerful spiritual moments of my life. 

We also taught Diana and Mariana (we had pics with them at a FHE with cookies a couple of weeks ago) who we have not been able to find since the FHE. The Lord totally prompted us to go try them one more time, even though we had been convinced they weren't going to continue meeting with us. We got there, and the spirit is truly the director of this grand work because they were THERE! :) We taught them more about the fall and Mariana, though 8 years old, knew I swear more than I did about the fall! We taught about the importance of our decisions and for the first time I saw Diana really start realizing how this message can bless HER life and HER family. I love it when they can feel that because I pray so hard for our investigators to feel my love and see me with pure motives to truly help and serve them! It was a clicking moment for them and I am just so excited for her and their family. Victor, her husband, has tons of LDS family and is super interested so we have just been waiting for Diana to show that same energy and interest and ah! I'm just so so grateful! 

We taught Haidi, the mother of Pedro and Jorge, with pedro and jorge actually teaching! We pretended we were the investigators with their mom (their mom actually is) and pedro and jorge were the missionaries teaching the restoration from the pamphlet. They loved it. There was something so so special about that appointement because just like Diana and her family, Haidi has been the one holding back in her own family because pedro and jorge got baptized and her husband has shown a much stronger desire to learn. There was something that just clicked for her as she watched her sons teach the gospel. She really started to show real intent, and interest. 

Hermana Jackson and I started a free piano class for an hour every week for our ward. Yesterday we had our first class and they loved it! It was my first time ever really teaching a piano lesson and I LOVED it! Service can be so simple, and always so so wonderful. 

Our area is going fantastic. The Lord has truly looked out for our investigators as we've had a couple of setbacks with our health. Needless to say we are so so excited to back to working and giving our all. This week to come, as this week was, will truly be another AMAZING week full of miracles in the work of the Lord. Even in the hard times, I don't think I haven't seen a week without the Hand of the Lord so clearly and wonderfully playing his part in my life. I'm so grateful! Being a missionary truly is the best, most rewarding decision I think anyone could ever make! 

Thank you all for all of your support. Words can't express how much I love you all and am so grateful for you and your prayers!! You all have carried me many times when it was hard on this mission. 


-Hermana Schmidt 

Hermana Schmidt and Hermana Jackson in the hospital

Nikki post surgery and her companion pre surgery

Post surgery face for mom

While Hermana Jackson was getting an IV, she stole her bed 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Hermana Schmidt Week 46 Letter 08/10/15

From: Nicole Schmidt []
Sent: 08/10/2015 9:41 AM
Subject: Learning Patience

Hola a todos! 

Happy birthdays to my cousins stephanie and Madison, and my 2nd cousin madison! I hope they are fantastic! :) 

So as we were recovering, my companion fell into tons of pain and very sick, so it was another round of lots of doctors and lots of tests. But, we found that she still has a HUGE kidney stone in her system (she had it ever since a couple months ago!) so that's what's been causing all over the problems. So it was another week in the house. 

Of course, we always want to get frustrated. Any person would. We are here, sacrificing our homes and families and everything normal to us, just to be in the house. At least... That's what the temptation is. The temptation is to get angry and to be sad and be frustrated and embarrassed by your lack of work. But that is for sure NOT the recipe to happiness, nor success in the mission.

Some people go through their missions and are 100% healthy and serve every ounce of their might and get to joy in there successes. But some people (unfortunately like me, and some of my companions and friends) are faced with a lot of health struggles that truly test our faith. TRULY test our decision to serve a mission, and truly test our willingness to keep going- if it be according to the will of the Lord. 

I've learned that the way of happiness isn't your ability to leave every day with no problems. The way of happiness is to accept the will of the Lord, plead for his help, and always try to be a better person. I've learned that my darkest moments have shined the most celestial light into my life. I've learned, and really learned, that God LOVES us. His plan is much grander and much better than the plan we prepare for ourselves. The best thing we can do is accept the will of the Lord and trust in his power and might to purify us and change us through our trials. 

I read a story this week of Brigham Young and his mission companion during one of his missions. It said they were so sick they had to be wheeled out of their houses on wagons in order to leave for the missions. All the while they were leaving very sick families behind. As they were reaching a hill close to their home upon leaving,  the companion of Brigham Young thought to turn around with Brigham and yell out to their houses ''HURRAH, HURRAH, HURRAH FOR ISRAEL!'' And their wives, miraculously could stand up and yell ''God bless you!''

I've thought about that experience a lot this week as we are undergoing our own health struggles and as i'm prepping to go into part 2 of my surgery. All I can hope for in this world is my family and friends seeing me as the type of missionary who (sometimes in a ''wagon'') is still yelling Hurrah For Israel! And giving it all i've got. Because it really is ''The Kindom of God or nothing!''

My new motto is found in Acts 20:24. I fully intend to continue on my course with joy, with trust in the lord, and with all energy and intention of heart to serve and teach God's children. Even in the hard times.. well... Better said, Especially in the hard times. 

I love you all and may we forever have the spirit of :

Hurrah for Israel!  

-Hermana Schmidt 

A dessert made by her 2nd counselor and wife to let them know they were loved

Monday, August 3, 2015

Hermana Schmidt Week 45 Letter 08/03/15

From: Nicole Schmidt [] 
Sent: 08/03/2015 12:42 PM
Subject: What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger! (Unless you don't have water, that could kill you!)

Hola a todos! 

Happy Happy Happy Birthday to my cute niece JACKI, my brother in law James, my 2nd cousin Sophia, and my grandpa schmidt! I hope you all have AWESOME Birthdays! :) 

So we finally get our health together, and the HOUSE FALLS APART. But, I will get to that because I have to tell you all that we saw HUGE miracles this week! Wonderful, wonderful miracles. 

We've been teaching Fidel, Jose Miguel's brother (PS Jose Miguel passed the sacrament yesterday for his first time and was just so happy and glowing! That is the best!), and he has been progressing but not really progressing for a while now. We always have powerhouse spiritual lessons with him, and he loves them, but he just wouldn't come to church and wouldn't make any solid committments to progress. Well, we taught him about the Book of Mormon this week and talked about the blessings we receive from reading the Book of Mormon, and how it really is all the evidence that the restoration happened. And how It's a powerful tool to feel God's love for us. It was a super strong lesson and then I felt impressed to invite him to be baptized, and he said, in his words, ''No. I will not be baptized. I was raised catholic and I won't change. But I will gladly come to the Mormon church for the rest of my life, but I can't be baptized.'' And I was Shocked! But those answers always require Heavenly Help which makes them super special moments in life! I started asking him about his own experiences and the potencial he thinks that God has in store for him. We talked about how it all revolves around the Book of Mormon, and how he really can recieve an answer. Once again we invited him saying, ''It's not about being baptized tomorrow, or the next day. It's about you feeling the spirit, and if the spirit tells you this is true and is the Church with god's power and authority, will you follow that answer and be baptized?'' He thought for a moment and said, ''You know what, I will if God helps me to feel that.'' It was AMAZING. It just comes to show we NEED the spirit to guide the lessons in order for us to help these people come to christ! I love being a missionary! Hoozah! And the best part!? HE CAME TO CHURCH YESTERDAY!! I am just so super extremely happy. 

Okay here goes to the crazy, dramatic week. You ready? 

So on Wednesday we ran out of water in the house, which isn't TOO weird for here. Normally it's not gone for much time, sometimes a couple of hours but normally not more than that. Personally, it's only lasted more than that one time for me when I was in Los Frailes. But we figured, no big deal, and went working with a huge sink of dishes from lunch and no water to wash it. Well, still nothing that night and we were like... blah.... we want to shower. We are gross. But, we couldn't, so we had faith and prayed and in the morning.... No water! What happened! 

So thursday passed and still no water happened and we were trying to use random things to be our dishes and to cook with. All while calling the owner of the building to help us, (he didn't), and having a stressful, but hopeful day without water. That night, we run into the house, full of faith and hope and excitement, to find no water. And a big cockroach dead on the floor. And all of you who know me, know that I can not handle bugs. Let alone big cockroaches. 

But, my companion served me and threw it away for me. :) --sorry dad, still haven't gotten over that prob. But I did kill a little spider on the wall this week so I am progressing!

So then comes friday. Day 3 with no water. It was smelly. It was ugly. And we couldn't use our bathroom so we had to find random bathrooms to use. One of which being in a small grocery store in our area, in the back area, in the most sketchy bathroom I have literally ever seen in my entire life. I felt that by this point I could definitely last for more than a day on Survivor. 

We then went to a colmado to see if they could get a hold of someone to deliver water because no one was doing anything in our building. We bought popsicles while we were asking their help, and the colmado boy (sorry colmados are like gas stations) asked for a bite of my popsicle. It was one of the VERY few moments I wished I wasn't representing the Lord because I had to say yes. And it was weird. 

Then our neighbors got mad we called without telling them (we had tried multiple times and couldn't go another day without water!) so they banished us to our apartment and told us we couldn't leave until they figured it out. So we were banished by a lot of dominicans, which I think is pretty cool and rare, and we went up and I made us cherry juice while we just kept asking ourselves, did we really get put in time out by our neighbors? It was great. but finally the WATER CAME. And we were only banished for like an hour! 

And then came the Shower.

And then the peace. 

Everything was going good after Friday, we were clean, the sun was shining (typical), the birds chirping, and the lessons great. And then Sunday decides to have a HUGE rainstorm. We were working in seriously sheets of rain with a new convert in the ward, Leiri, talking to everyone and anyone about the gospel, and it was fantastic (and actually, cold! Never thought that'd happen here) Well at the end of the day, we saw a big puddle and I said, ''Well! We gotta just run super fast through it because there's no other option!'' In a voice like ''For Narnia!'' I yelled, ''For Israel!!'' And since it was my idea, I ran into the puddle first. Little do I know, there's a big ditch in this puddle and my foot gets caught and I literally fly in the area and land on my face in the street. In the pouring rain. There was a big ''Woah!'' by all the dominicans nereby, and then my companion was so startled she ran in after me and then too fell right after me. It was like watching tackle football for the dominicans and they cheered for us. What a blessing. We were dying laughing and crying from laughter. We were quite a sight. Dirty, completely wet, and scraped up, but happy because it didn´t matter! We were both just so happy for a wonderful day and the lessons we had. We just laughed and talked about how we had to at least have one ´´bear the shame of the world´´ moments on the mission. J

So yes, there were hard moments but there were MIRACLES. And I am willing to fall on my face, panic from lack of water, be put in time out, and really anything, to have this wonderful, truly incredible experience! It really is all worth it to see the Lord touch lives and be able to feel his spirit this strong. I just love it!

Hurrah for Israel ! J

-Hermana Schmidt

Cherry Juice

Mariella and Family

Cherry Juice

Day 3 with no water

Drinking Juice

All they could find to eat toast on

Making cookies with Mariella

Mariella and Family making cookies