Wednesday, September 25, 2013

What's A Seventh Day Adventist??

Hello dear family and friends! 

I seriously can't believe it's Monday again already. This week was crazy busy and super hard but so much FUN. Whoa, we've been so blessed this week.

Last Tuesday I was in Wyoming for trade-offs (Ive been in Wyoming three weeks in a row now). I was with Elder Gledhill, a solid, awesome missionary, and we had bikes that day. We got a lot done, did some door-knocking, saw investigators and less-actives. Good day. My thighs and lungs were tired though, and my butt hurt a ton. I couldn't sit right for a couple days after. 

Wednesday was half-mission training in Grand Rapids. Half-mission training was great- we got to hear the wise words of President and Sister Hess, and the Assistants Elder Snow and Larsen. It was a great day. 

Thursday was amazing. We started the day by going to an appointment that the senior missionaries (the Harris's) set up for us. We went and taught Jake St. Amor, who was in our ward directory but has never been baptized and told us he had only been to our church once or twice in California. Weird. We taught him the Restoration and he really enjoyed it. We're teaching him again this week. 
After that, we went and contacted former investigators. The first house we went to we found that the former no longer lived there, but we talked with the young woman that answered the door. At first she wasn't really interested, but when she mentioned that she had just given birth to a daugher a few weeks ago Elder Reheis jumped right into the Plan of Salvation and she wanted to learn more. We have a return appointment with her later this week.
The next house we knocked, no one answered. As we walked back to our car, two women in a black mustang yelled at us "Are you 7th day adventists?" and we replied, "No, we're the Mormons!" To my surprise, they pulled over to talk to us. The woman driving explained to us that her daugher in Grand Rapids had been "studying" us and really liked us but for whatever reason the missionaries stopped coming. She also said that she wanted to study us as well, because the missionaries had changed her daughter's attitude so drastically about church. So out of this chance encounter, we got a referral for Grand Rapids and we will be teaching two other people, or rather, they will be studying us. Man, what a blessing from Heavenly Father. By looking through the area book and looking for former investigators we found three new investigators within twenty minutes. 

We met with Corey and Kelle twice this week. They are taking their time with the Book of Mormon. They love the discussions of the Gospel that we teach, and they've invited cousins, friends, and parents to come. I think they have already felt that what we teach is true and we're trying really hard not to force it upon them. They are great and I love meeting with them. I'll try getting a picture of them. They call us their best friends and I feel the same way about them. They really like meeting with us and I love meeting with them.

You know how last week I said that everyone in Michigan has Faith in Christ, a dog, and a gun? Almost always true. Corey and Kelle have three beautiful pit bulls, a chihuahua, and a cat. I love them. I want a dog so bad when I get back. 

Funny side note, and I think I might have mentioned this last week: I have been asked twice if I know Mitt Romney. Like, of course, I'm a Mormon so I must know Mitt Romney personally. People love Mitt out here.

Sunday was great, church was very uplifting. Even better, we had seven investigators come to Sacrament meeting. The Jacobs and their mom and brother, Corey, Kelle, and Maijia. It rocked. After church I got a bad headache and so I took a rest while Elder Reheis did numbers. After my rest, we went to the Cardons for dinner. They are a wonderful young couple with two boys and a baby girl. We got along swell because we started talking about Arrested Development when I mentioned I was the "Buster" of my family. Anyway, they were great and we shared a really good message with them after dinner. 

I really love the members out here. Each time we meet with the members I'm reminded of my family in some way. It's really comforting and a big blessing. I love my family.

That's about it, friends and family. I love you all and I've been blessed so tremendously this week. I hope you all are doing well, I love to hear from you in the little snippets you send to me. Read your scriptures and say your prayers, ok? 

-Elder Schmutz

Monday, September 16, 2013

Greetings From Lake Michigan!

Hey Family and Friends! It's been a wonderful week in Michigan. Just an hour or so ago Elder Reheis and I went to Lake Michigan and took some pictures so those are coming your way. I love Michigan. It is so green, lush, and beautiful. The people are pretty great too. I've come to learn something. Just about everyone in Michigan has all of the following: A dog, a gun, and some kind of faith in Jesus Christ. I mean, what else do you need? (Other than the fulness of the Gospel of Christ) This week went by FAST. Right after I finished emailing last week, I headed straight to a members house to do service. Elder Reheis and I felled a 40-50 foot tree like a boss. Bad news: the tree fell toward their house BUT HEY, nothing was too damaged. I did trade-offs again in Wyoming. This week I was with Elder Patterson, my Zone Leader and Great-Grandfather (he trained Elder Richardson who trained Elder Reheis who is training me). We taught three really powerful lessons to investigators and a less-active chap. The really cool thing about the Wyoming area is the Pawsons. Sister Pawson is a convert to the church (4-5 years) and her sons (Doug, 25) (Andrew, 22) are recent converts. Doug is actually on a mission right now in Alaska, he entered the MTC a week after I did. Andrew is getting is papers in this week I think. What's cool about the Pawsons is that they attend every single lesson that the Zone leaders teach. It really makes a big difference. Their whole lives are dedicated to supporting the missionaries. They are really fantastic. Sister Pawson is about the nicest lady I've every met, too. So, the funniest thing that happened this week was our lesson with Trevor (the pot dealer). His girlfriend wasn't home so we only taught him. At the beginning of our visit, Trevor talked to us about marijuana science and his theory on the world ending in 2017. He believes we are in for an EMP and the whole country is going to collapse. He also thinks that a Zombie apocalypse is very possible as long as a polio strand gets with, like, a rabies strand or something (in his words). Pretty cool stuff. Anyway, this transitioned beautifully into the Restoration and prophets. Best lesson ever. On a more serious note, I'll tell you about the Jacobs. Elder Reheis and Elder Leavitt ran into Madison (17) and Hamish (15) Jacobs while I was on trade-offs with Elder Patterson. They taught them a lesson and they committed to baptism. I met them later this week and we had a really good discussion on the Plan of Salvation. They have been reading the Book of Mormon, praying, and they came to church yesterday. They even enjoyed church. The Jacobs are a miracle find. Golden. Love them to death. Later in the evening, we went and taught them again and their mom sat in. We're going to be teaching all of them now. Seriously, what a blessing! God is great. That's all I have for this week. I love you all, thank you SO much for all of the emails this week. I loved them and read them all and I'm going to try and reply to each of you with the rest of my time. -Elder Schmutz

Monday, September 9, 2013

Spring Lake - Week 4

Hey there family and friends. I didn't send you my address last time because I didn't have it. 
Here it is:

15054 Lukas Ct. #220
Grand Haven, MI

So yeah. That's the best place to send me mail for at least the next 4 weeks, almost definitely longer. The mission office's address is this:

1400 Abbot rd. Suite 310
East Lansing, MI

Preferably send mail to the first one, because it will go directly to me.

I'm going to start this email with where I left off. Last Thursday after Zone teaching Elder Reheis and I went and contacted a referral named Trevor. Elder Reheis taught Trevor's family in Battle Creek and baptized them. Anywho, Trevor was there and we let us in. Trevor's girlfriend Allie was there as well, and both of them seemed interested in the Gospel. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they committed to praying about the Book of Mormon, etc. 

Here's the thing about Trevor: He's a licensed medical marijuana grower. After we taught them a really powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation Trevor showed us his farm that was 10 feet away from us the whole time we taught him and Allie. Trevor reminds me a lot of James Franco. 

Moving on.

Friday was a good day. Our afternoon consisted of finding and less-active contacting. Later in the day we went to Brett's house, a less-active, and helped him with the clubhouse he's making for his daughters. We're now going to start teaching Brett, his wife and two daughters (none of them are members except him). Woo!

I'm copying and pasting from the letter I sent to President Hess to tell you about Saturday andSunday.

Saturday was an alright day, Elder Reheis was miserably sick so we didn't leave the apartment. I got lots of studying time. I read all of "Our Search for Happiness" that day and wrote my talk that I gave on Sunday AND started reading the Old Testament along with my daily Book of Mormon study. It was a really relaxing day. After about 5 hours of studying I took a nap and cleaned the apartment up. I don't know what the rules are on days that your companion is sick, but I think I had a really productive day.

Sunday was really good. I gave a talk in Sacrament meeting on the Plan of Salvation. It was a huge blessing for me to get to plan that talk and learn more about the Plan of Salvation myself. After Sacrament, a young man named Parza (pronounced Paza) came up and talked to me and Elder Reheis. He's a foreign exchange student from Germany and was really interested in what I and the other speakers had to say on the Plan of Salvation. Parza wants to have more discussions with us. What a tremendous blessing. He lives with a famiy in the ward, I forget their names but they're great and will be able to help us out a lot in teaching Parza. 

After church, we went over to the Dehogue family's home for lunch. They fed us and we taught them a powerful lesson on the Plan of Salvation. We had a very enjoyable and Spiritual time with them. We asked them for referrals afterwards and even though they didn't have any at the time they committed to praying together and keeping their minds open for referrals to give to us. 

After the Dehouge's we saw our investigators Corey and Kelle, they didn't come to church because Kelle was sick. We had a good talk with them, and they had lots of questions on the Plan of Salvation. We answered them and also taught them the Word of Wisdom. I almost forgot: Kelle's cousin Maysia sat in on our lesson and is willing to hear more about the Gospel. 

So that's what's happened since last time I e-mailed. I love you all tons and tons! I know that I have been comforted and blessed beyond my comprehension because of all of the prayers that are coming my way. In addition, I recognize the Holy Spirit more and more in my life and he comforts me and directs me more than I know as well. Missionary work is hard and I miss you all quite a lot but the miracles I've seen and the feelings that I've had would not be possible without God's love, the Spirit, and all of your prayers. Again, I LOVE YOU.

The Gospel is true. God is our loving, Heavenly Father and he cares for us tremendously. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior, Redeemer,  and greatest friend. I know that he lives! Joseph Smith saw God the Father and the Son, he is a Prophet, and  the Book of Mormon is true. Jesus Christ guides His church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, through a living Prophet. What blessings this knowledge gives! That's why I'm here; I want everyone to hear the message that has blessed my life beyond reckoning. 

Keep writing/e-mailing me! I love hearing from all of you.

-Elder Schmutz


Vaughn/Mags: Mom tells me that Lucy is crawling. Is this true? It can't be. 
Mom/Dad: I'm glad to hear that you are sub-settled into your new place. I hope everything else goes well. I hope that Khalil leaving won't leave you terribly traumatized. He's such a sweet guy. I miss him like crazy. 
Annie: THANKS FOR THE POSTCARD, I LOVE IT. In the MTC I was eating fruits and veggies like crazy but now I'm in Michigan, not so much. Thanks for the reminder, I'm working on that. 
Clark: Thanks for that lovely email. I'll keep you in my prayers concerning Med School. Amy, I love you. 
Celia/Benson: Mom told me about your big news! Wow! ;)
Celia: Will you forward this email to Natalie and tell her to email/write me? Is she like, engaged or something? Dang.
Missionary Friends: You're all great! Thanks for the emails, I read them entirely.
Elder Yu, U ROCK.


This is a picture of my lovely MTC district in front of the Provo Temple being cool.

This is of me and Elder Reheis, a picture I took an hour ago to show you what we look like
This is a picture of the Elders in my MTC district. We were a pretty tight bunch. Such nerds, too.
This is a picture of Elder Safley, my first companion ever, and myself in front of the Provo Temple.

Spring Lake - Week 3 1/2

Hey family and friends! I'm alive!
I haven't got to email until now because Monday was labor day and then Monday night I started a trade-off that ended up lasting until this morning. Crazy. Longest trade-off ever to occur I've been told. So yeah.
Let me start from the beginning. Last Wednesday (the 28th) I and my district headed to the SLC airport at like 4 in the morning. The airport was a funny experience; it was my first time being in the "real world" since I've put the mission tag on. It was hilarious to see half of the people smiling and greeting me and my companion and the other half avoiding all eye-contact with the us. We got to the gate 90 minutes early, and for the first hour I talked to a nice member lady who was sitting by us. For the other 30 minutes I talked to a nice lady named Delores from Tennessee. I talked to her a bit about the Gospel and ended up giving her a pass-along card.
I'll fast-forward through all the travel, because there's nothing special about it. We landed in Lansing around 5 or so and we met Sister and President Hess and the A.P's. Elder Snow and Larsen were very kind and excited to see us. It was a nice little reception we had in the tiny Lansing airport.
Anywho, we went to the mission home and had dinner and socialized for a while. Not soon after, we all piled into a van and headed to MSU campus. We did some personal contacting. It was a good learning experience, I'll say that. The first person I talked to was an older man who complimented my tie and seemed interested in what I had to say, so I bore my testimony to him. After that, he told us that he was a Baptist minister, called us heretics to our faces and told us to burn in hell. So yeah, that was pretty great. Personal contacting is sweet. I laughed about it later but at the time I was stunned and wanted to cry a little.
The next day I got to meet my trainer, Elder Reheis. He's from Arizona (Von, what mission did you serve in?) and he likes aviation. We get a long really well because he's pretty much the coolest dude in the whole world. We've had lots of success already and I'm learning so much from him.
Let me tell you about Tony Lee. Tony Lee is a member who lives in Muskegon and was baptized 5-ish years ago. He's probably the happiest, most dedicated person to the Gospel that I've ever met. He's had to face lots of challenges in his life but everything he does is for other people. He is so genuinely kind and the Spirit is so strong with him. Whenever I get discouraged, I think about how the Gospel has blessed Tony's life and that the Gospel can help people in the same way.
Now let me tell you about Corey and Kelle. They are 20 and 18, boyfriend and girlfriend, and Kelle is pregnant. They are investigators who were found by a miraculous tracting experience. They are way interested in the Gospel, and the first time I met them Elder Reheis, Tony and I taught them the Plan of Salvation. At the end of the lesson, Tony brought up priesthood blessings and Kelle asked for one. Tony gave her one of the most inspired blessings I've ever heard, and it brought most of us to tears. They felt the Spirit in abundance and have committed to baptism. They are now thinking about getting married and Corey is trying to stop smoking. Pretty amazing.
I've seen many other miracles so far, but that is all I have time to share for now. I'll tell you briefly about my super long trade-off. I went to Wyoming and was companions with Elder Benitez for the past 2 days. He's also from Arizona. He was really good for me because we ended up tracting for many hours each day which I need to work on having a good attitude about. We had a good time and worked hard.
OH MAN. I forgot to tell you- lots of the elders in my mission are into a card trading game called Magic: The Gathering. Elder Reheis is trying really hard to get me into it, and I must confess it's pretty fun but also pretty dang nerdy. Elder Benitez plays as well, and a bunch of other elders do too and they're trying to get me into it.
K, I'm out of time.
Mom: Yes I got my bedding, thank you. Thanks for all of the notes/emails, etc. You're the best. It's good to hear that the move went okay. I hope settling in goes okay as well. What Michigan cities did you grow up in, Mom? I met a brother Schmutz last night in Wyoming.Dad, you're great. Thanks for the candy I got in the MTC. Are you familiar with a Howard Schmutz who was a rancher or something? I wish I was better at knowing about my family, etc. I must be related to this Brother Schmutz in Michigan somehow.
Von: Where did you serve again?
Jae: How's the MTC bud? Can you believe I'm learning to play Magic? I'm somewhat embarrassed.
Annie: Thanks for the email. Keep me posted on things. 
All of you other people: I LOVE YOU. The Church is true. Amen.
-Elder Schmutz