Monday, October 28, 2013

How is it Monday already??

Yep, this week was crazy fast. Tuesday was quick because I was on trade-offs with Elder Gledhill. We knocked on lots of doors and found a few people that were really excited to meet us. We gave out lots of copies of the Book of Mormon. Elder Gledhill is an amazing doorstep teacher and I learned a ton from him. Wednesday was interviews with the mission president and district meeting. My interview lasted a total of two minutes- I told him that things were good and he sent me on my way. District meeting was nice as well. Thursday was all about contacting potential investigators. We have talked to a lot of people on the doorstep that wanted to meet with us again but we haven't talked with them since. It's somewhat frustrating, but I'm not letting myself get discouraged. We taught the Ongerts and had a really good talk with them. They're great and I love them to death. Friday we went and saw Trevor again. He is a sweet guy and really hilarious. His sister Lauren was with us during the lesson. Elder Reheis taught Lauren and her family in Battle Creek and their members. It means a lot to them now that Trevor is listening to the missionaries. Anyway, Trevor is awesome and he owns lots of guns. We went over principles we previously taught and answered questions. It was a great lesson and lots of fun, too. Saturday was the ward Trunk or Treat/chili cook off. That was lots of fun. I was a little disappointed because we invited all of our potential investigators and they said they would be there then didn't show up. The members invited friends though, and mostly we got to have a friendly, good time with the ward and other people that showed up. After the ward trunk or treat, we went and contacted a referral we got from Elder/Sister Harris. We met Ryan and Jasmine, who invited us in and we talked for a while. Ryan served a mission in Provo and we're now teaching his wife. They are both great and really fun. Ryan's favorite band is 311 so we get along great (heh). Sunday was a wonderful Sabbath day. Church was great, we knocked on doors and taught Kilian. He is progressing beautifully and will be baptized November 16th by Hamish. Woo! Usually I bring my journal so I can remember all the stuff that happened but I forgot to this week. Sorry.This week zoomed by and we're so blessed to have such wonderful people in our lives. The members are fantastic and we are blessed to meet more and more wonderful people every day, whether or not they're interested in the Gospel. Heavenly Father is truly in the work and he is watching over me and all of us. I love the Gospel and I know it's true. I love you all! Thank you for your emails. We're working hard and loving it out in Spring Lake. I pray for all of you every day and I think about you lots. Keep being great. -Elder Schmutz I've been talking about the beautiful fall and haven't sent a picture yet. This one is right outside our window at our apartment. Elder Reheis found this picture in Battle Creek in his desk. When I first saw it, I laughed for 5 minutes straight and almost threw up because I couldn't breathe. I think there's something wrong with me. Then again, I think you all already knew that

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Jacobs' Baptism

Dana Bignall and her two kids Madison and Hamish Jacobs got baptized and confirmed this weekend! I got to baptize and confirm Dana which was a really cool experience for me.
The ward in Spring Lake has been responding amazingly to the people that we've been bringing to church. Everyone has been really supportive of the Jacobs. Mission work is great!
This Thursday, we met the Jacobs at the Ensigns for dinner and for a spiritual thought. After that, our zone leaders came and did baptismal interviews. At one point, everyone was sitting in the living room chatting while the zone leaders were interviewing Dana and Hamish. I took the opportunity to talk to Kilian about the Book of Mormon and what we believe. I expressed that we were impressed with his decision to wait until he was ready for baptism and knew it was the right thing. When Dana was done with her interview and sat in the living room, a few minutes later Kilian made an announcement. "Mom, I want to be baptized!" This news was celebrated in shocked silence. Eventually we got talking and set a baptismal date forNovember 16th.
We set the date for the 16th because the week before, Hamish will be ordained a Priest and will be able to baptize Kilian. What an amazing experience that will be! I'm so excited and the Lord has blessed me and Elder Reheis to be a part of this family's conversion.
What else happened this week? I did a trade-off with the new Holland Elder, Elder Donofrio. We had a great time knocking on doors and contacting potential and former investigators. He's from Arizona and we get along great because we're both huge video game nerds.
This Sunday was the confirmation which went really well. We had two surprise people show up to Sacrament: A girl named Alicia who is taking a Worlds Religion class and decided to come and investigate the church, and Trevor, the medicinal marijuana grower. His sister Lauren (a member from Battle Creek, Elder Reheis taught her and her family) came with him. That was a lot of fun, and lots of guys from the Elders Quorum made friends with him quickly talking about guns. Heh.
That's about it for me! This has definitely been a long week but also a very rewarding one. The Jacobs are fantastic and I love them to death. I love you all, too! It's great to hear from you all. I keep all of you in my prayers and I think about you all the time. Pray that we can find some more people to teach- we need to grow our pool of investigators!
-Elder Schmutz

Monday, October 14, 2013

Put Your Trust in the Lord

What an amazing week! I have learned that I need to trust the Lord because this is His work and he is with us. I just need to put my trust in the Lord and everything will fall into place.
I haven't told you much about the Ongerts, but I will now. Kathy Ongert got baptized and confirmed this weekend by her husband Steve Ongert. Their story is amazing and I'm going to try and tell it as best and as accurately as possible with the time I have.
Brother Ongert joined the church about 40 years ago and after a few years became inactive. He eventually met up with Kathy and they were married. They studied law together (in Texas if I remember right) and eventually they paired up and become the most fearsome divorce attorneys in the state of Texas. I believe their conversion all started when Brother Collard (counselor in the bishopric in Spring Lake) went and visited Steve. Through this, Kathy started coming to church because she felt a need to get closer to God.
One week at church, it was announced that two BYU women's rugby players need a place to stay while they attended a tournament in Michigan. The Ongerts decided to volunteer their home to keep these female rugby players. Jenny Lewis and Kayla Richardson stayed with them for a few weeks, and during that time, the Ongerts fell in love with them. Jenny and Kayla had a profound effect on Sister Ongert, and eventually she agreed to meet with missionaries.

Keep in mind, Sister Ongert is a fierce lawyer and made it clear that the missionaries that came to teach her had better come prepared and ready to teach her everything. She originally planned to investigate the church for a full two years with her first set of missionaries who she assumed would be staying with her throughout her whole investigation. She was somewhat annoyed when she found we missionaries shuffle around and leave every few transfers. Kathy was about ready to quit meeting with missionaries and study on her own when Elder Reheis (my companion) came around. When Elder Reheis mentioned he was from Gilbert Arizona, Sister Ongert asked if he knew Jenny Lewis (she's from there!) and he said he did. In fact, they grew up together and went to school together.
I guess that lead us to where we are now. Sister Ongert is baptized and a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She is truly converted and has and will continue to build up the church and others around her. Her conversion truly was a miracle; so many key things happened just at the right moment. The Lord is in control!
If the baptism this weekend wasn't enough, we're baptizing Dana Bignel and her children Madison and Hamish this Saturday! They're amazing and are fully committed to baptism. They're awesome! Be on the lookout for pictures of them next week. :)
Stake conference here was awesome! The Grand Rapids stake is pushing member missionary work like crazy and the members are responding already. Are you all looking to improve as member missionaries?

Woah, I thought I have been blessed in the field so far but Heavenly Father is blessing us SO much to allow us to be a part of the baptism of wonderful people. Regardless of what happens in the future, I know that the Lord truly is in this work. Whether I'm a part of another baptism or not, I can know that I've been successful as long as I work hard with diligence and obedience and feel the Holy Ghost work through me to the hearts of others.
This makes me think of a personal study activity I did in Preach My Gospel recently. Compare the story of Abinadi and Alma; Abinadi cried repentence to the people and was brought in chains before the wicked King Noah. He did as the Lord commanded and preached of the commandments and the wickedness of the people before the King. After his message had been delivered, Abinadi was burned to the stake. I don't know if Abinadi knew of the effect he had on Alma, and he may have died thinking he had no success. However, we know that his words lead Alma to repentance and through him and his son Alma the younger, NATIONS were baptized. Both Abinadi and Alma did the work of the Lord and did as God commanded them. Abinadi saw little success and was murdered. Alma baptized thousands. Both were faithful servants of the Lord and did their part.
Well, that's about it my friends. Pray always and study your scriptures. Keep being you. I love you all so much.
-Elder Schmutz

here's a picture of me, the Ongerts, and Elder Reheis on the day of the baptism. I don't know what Elder Reheis's deal is with not looking at the camera.

Elder Schmutz's "I Love Warheads" Face

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Gen Conf, etc. etc.

Woah, what an amazing week. It's been a very fun but busy P-day so far. We were completely out of Books of Mormon (Book of Mormons, Book ofs Mormon...Wherever the "s" goes) so we had to travel to Holland and get some.
General Conference was amazing. I've never appreciated it so much in my life until now. A primary focus in many talks was hastening the work by bringing missionaries and members together. That is super exciting. I had two personal favorite talks though: Pres. Uchtdorf on Saturday Morning and Elder Holland's talk. Like Elder Christensen, I was brought to tears by only one talk: Elder Holland's. I didn't just cry though, I sobbed. Loudly and embarrassingly.
First of all, I love President Uchtdorf. I feel I know him personally even though I've never met him face to face. His talk was incredible- the Gospel is true and this is Christ's church. However, God works through imperfect people and mistakes have been made and no matter who you are this church has a place for you. How profound and touching. I'm not going to try and explain Elder Holland's talk, because I only know how I felt at the time and that it brought me to sobs. You should watch it/ listen to it if you didn't get a chance. That man speaks with a profound and unique power that cannot be duplicated by anyone.

Other than GenConf weekend, our proselyting week was amazing too. The most outstanding thing was our lesson with the Jacobs in the Ensign's home. Since the Jacobs have been coming consistently to church, the members have been asking us for fellowshipping opportunities. Last Sunday, we set up a dinner/teaching appointment within the home of the Coulsons on ThursdayOn Thursday morning, Sister Coulson called to cancel; she was very sick. We frantically called other members to hopefully find someone who would invite the Jacobs for dinner and a discussion on short notice. The Ensigns accepted without hesitation. Dinner was fantastic; everyone got to know each other better and it became a very friendly and loving environment. We taught a lesson on the Gospel of Jesus Christ; Brother Ensign studies Preach My Gospel and was able to help us teach, and Sister Ensign added beautiful testimony. As a result, we commited Dana Bignel and her younger son Cillian Jacobs (12) to baptism. Our goal is to get Sister Bignel and her three children baptized on October 19th!
This week, Sister Ongert's getting baptized. She's awesome and will (and already does) contribute to the ward and the work as she endures to the end. She has been investigating the church for 8+ months now, and she is converted. I love the Ongerts.
On a somewhat funny note, I've come to find that people we barely meet volunteer very personal information before we can tell them that it's the last thing we want to hear. I wish that I could spray my brain with Lysol and disinfect some of the confessions I heard this week. Haha (but seriously).
I love all of you like crazy. I must admit, General Conference weekend was a little home-sickening but as I continue to try and improve and work hard the Spirit comforts me. I love the Gospel, and I know it's true. 

-Elder Schmutz

I have included a picture of my first MLM district. Believe it or not, this is the best picture out of the 4 or 5 that we took.

In the front is Elder Gledhill and myself. I'm such a goober.
From left to right middle line: Peterson, Benitez (both leaving), S. Braun and S. Pierce, S. Wiberg (leaving), S. Procopio, and S. Young.
The two blurries are Elders English and Reheis.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Today is September 30th.

Like my dear friend Elder Christensen, I'm tired of thinking up clever subject lines for my emails. This way I'll have more time to just jump into my emails.
It was a great week, a blur mostly. We've been super busy and everything is going really well. All of you have asked about the weather: Yes, it is getting somewhat cold but it's very pleasant. Mid 60's-low 70's. The most amazing part is the TREES. They are changing colors and they're so beautiful and they're EVERYWHERE. I'll get a good picture one of these days to show y'all. Also, someone asked how we get around in Spring Lake (on-foot, car, bikes, rollerblades) and the answer is car. We have a full-time care in Spring Lake. It's boss and I'm way thankful for that. In Wyoming they are on car swaps or whatever so for 2 weeks they have a car then for a week they don't. That's why I got to ride a bike last week.
Anyways. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty.

Earlier in the week I did a trade-off with Elder English. He's a very nice, sort-of short missionary from Texas. We got along fantastically because we both love missionary work.
Side-note: I've been told by several people that I have a slight southern accent. I'm freaking out. Is this true? Did I ever have a southern accent? People frequently guess that I'm from Texas before I tell them from Provo, Utah.
District meeting was great this week- Elder Reheis does a fantastic job leading the discussions. Our Zone Leader Elder Leavitt and one of the AP's, Elder Larsen were at Disctrict meeting. I practice-taught with Elder Larsen and I received a lot of personal revelation on teaching the importance of prayer to investigators. No one can be converted without prayer, and it's especially powerful when we as missionaries can help others understand our relationship with our Heavenly Father before we ask them to pray to Him for answers. Man, I have so much respect for the missionaries with Leadership callings. They're all so unique and have different talents and abilities that I can learn from.
Madison and Hamish and their Mom Dana Bignel have come to church 3 weeks now. They are fantastic! Madison and Hamish keep commitments and are getting more and more excited for their baptism. Their mom is super nice and way friendly and is thinking about baptism as well (we've invited her a few times now). She loves church but is still looking for a firm confirmation that it's the right thing to do. Madison and her Mom went to the Relief Society broadcast last Saturday and the ward is doing great with fellowshipping this wonderful family. Also, they stayed and saw the baptism of 8-year old Lance Mabrito after church and that was a great experience for them.
I don't think I've mentioned Sister Ongert before in my emails, but she's a wonderful woman who has been investigating the church for the past 7-8 months. She's a lawyer and very smart and has been very thorough in her investigation. She is being baptized by her husband Steve Ongert on October 12th. Way exciting! I'm way lucky to see her be baptized because she and her husband have had a long journey in the past few months (Steve has been a member since he was 20 and had been inactive for a few decades). They are so wonderful and so kind and they are a great contribution to the ward.
Okay, last big news. Elder Reheis and I felt very much impressed to teach Corey and Kelle the law of chastity last week. We taught by the Spirit and did it all with love for them. They responded somewhat indifferently so I thought that we must not have made a big impression on them. However, on Saturday they called us and told us they wanted to get married! They are working towards marriage in October now. This came as a huge shock to us. I don't even know if what we taught made an impression but I'm just so happy to know two wonderful people like Corey and Kelle.
Thank you for all of the wonderful emails. I make it a point to read all of them and I love them and appreciate them like crazy. You are all great and I love you lots.
Man, I love missionary work. I'm so blessed to be a part of this work in the best mission in the world. Michigan is so cool.
-Elder Schmutz

Elder Schmutz'es "Not Quite Ready for Comp Study" Face.
Keepin' it Real in Grand Haven.