Monday, December 29, 2014

Merry (Days After) Christmas!

Hey family and friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas, ours was pretty great! As far as the work, things were pretty slow but we had fun nonetheless.

 On Christmas eve we went to the Williamsen's in Kalamazoo 1st ward and had a tasty traditional Christmas dinner. On Christmas day we had breakfast with the same family and played this card game that took 4 hours but was way fun. We also had a sword fight (a for real-life LARP) at the Stevens home. We had dinner later at the Griswold's (he is 1st counselor at KUB) and played some more games. Basically our day was full of eating and playing games.

Kirstin is doing super well. She came on Monday to FHE and made some good friends, especially with Mary Salisbury. We taught her Saturday and she had already read all the way to Alma 26. She knows that the Book of Mormon is true and is loving what we're teaching her. Satan is working really hard to keep her from coming to church though because she had to work yesterday. She is so solid though!

The Ongerts were sealed on the 27th! I thought about them all day and it made me very happy. I am so happy for them and I wish I could have been at the SLC temple with them! I can't believe it was well over a year ago I was teaching Sister Ongert with Elder Reheis in Spring Lake. At the time I really had no idea what was going on, but as I look back I am so grateful that God allowed me to meet such incredible people. 

In other news, me and Elder Mac are getting split up for the next two weeks since a sizable group of people are leaving two weeks before the transfer ends for school. We'll be split up finishing the training of new missionaries. We are somewhat depressed because we'll be separated for New years AND it is likely we won't be companions next transfer. I'm still hoping though! 

Love you all. Have a happy new year!

-Elder Schmutz

Picture: Me and Elder Mac now have comp joggers. They are super comfortable and super legit. 


Companion Gift Exchange. Christmas Day at the Williamsen's - We both
bought each other cologne.

The Aftermath of Our Swordfight at the Steven's. 

Pictionary at the Griswold's (Priesthood vs. Relief Society)



Here's a picture of my trainer, his mom, and his (possibly) new girlfriend with the Ongerts. If you don't remember, Kathy Ongert was the first person's baptism I had a part in back in Spring Lake. The Ongerts were sealed on the 27th. Part of me wishes I had been there, but important work is going on in Kalamazoo. 

I have forgotten to tell you week after week, but in November a former investigator of mine, Valerie Padgette got baptized! She was good friends with some members in Midland, and she was very close to baptism when we were teaching her but decided she wasn't ready to make certain life changes. She found me on Facebook and told me she was getting baptized! It was very exciting and I almost was able to go back for her baptism. 


Monday, December 22, 2014

It's a Christmas Miracle!

Hey everyone!

This week contained one of the coolest miracles of my mission to date. Do you remember Kirstin who I briefly mentioned in my last email? Well, we picked her up as a new investigator on and she's incredible. I organized my email by days; sorry it's a novella.

Monday night we doorknocked until it was time for trade-offs with the assistants. I went to MSU for the third time in a row, this time with the new AP Elder Rhodes. He's legit and we had a good time together all Tuesday. We taught one of their recent converts, Derek, who I taught 6 weeks ago for his Restoration lesson. He's way cool. The rest of the day we PC'ed on MSU which was deserted (campus break life). Meanwhile, our companions taught Kirstin for the first time and had a sweet Restoration lesson with her. Committed her to come to church, read, pray, and be baptized as we strive to do in the first lesson.

Wednesday we did trade-offs with Allegan. Nothing super exciting happened, but I talked with Elder Finlayson about music during our whole trade-offs. We also scored a bunch of Bruce R. McConkie devotional talks from them. On Thursday me and Elder Mac were back together for half the day. We taught some sweet new people that immediately after our lesson left for home...That night we started trade-offs with Kalamazoo 2. 

Friday, I did lots of finding and teaching with Elder Paulson's trainee, Elder Olsen. He is doing awesome for 8 weeks out. At the end of the evening we went to our return appointment with Kirstin. Unfortunately our male member fell through on us so we could only chat with her on her doorstep. She reported that after her first lesson, she read the Book of Mormon that night until she fell asleep. She posted on facebook that she met with mormon missionaries and got blown up with positive remarks about it. That never happens here! In fact, one of her friends from back home who joined the church this year called her and they talked for three hours. She read mormon.org, read about the word of wisdom and decided to quit caffeine which is a big deal because she loves and lives on coffee. Her dad is a non-denominational pastor in Chicago and he's supportive too! Her mom is the only person that isn't against her meeting with us. It's truly incredible.

Saturday, we walked everywhere and doorknocked a ton. We were supposed to teach Kirstin in the evening but she ended up having to work a 14-hour shift. She was still excited to come to chruch though.

Sunday. We waited for Kirstin to show up. Waited. Waited some more. She never showed up. She didn't respond to our texts. I was freaking out. Church was really good though- gospel principles was all about the Millenium and everyone speculated hard since there were no investigators there. After church we went to the K-zoo public library to use a computer for FB since campus had been shut down for a couple days due to the break. No luck, all of the computers were full. The thought crossed both mine and Elder Mac's mind, "the only thing that could have kept Kirstin from coming to church was her being hospitalized". Neither of us vocalized it at the time, but I was considering going to the hospital to ask if she was there. I shrugged off the thought and we went home for key indicators. 

At the end of key indicators, Kirstin texted us and told us she had been hospitalized since the previous night and was very disappointed she didn't get to church. I had a sort-of President Monson moment where I promised myself I wouldn't miss a spiritual prompting. We offered her a blessing and we accepted. When we went over with a member from the K2 family ward, she sat us down and told us what happened. After her 14-hour shift, her coworker offered to buy her a drink. She made a point to tell us that she loves alcohol and it's her one concern with the "Mormon church" so far. She accepted the offer and went to the bar. After one drink, she passed out, hit her head, and was rushed to the ER. As a result of a difficult hospital stay, she found out she had an ulcer and can no longer consume alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine. Ever. 

That takes care of her word of wisdom concern.

We gave her a blessing and the Spirit was incredibly strong. So yeah, that was the week. I am simply blown away by how perfect our Heavenly Father's plan is. He knows all of His children, and is aware of the fall of every sparrow. There is only one answer to why anyone would change their life so drastically in such a short amount of time: this is God's truth. 

Merry Christmas everyone!
-Elder Schmutz

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Hey - 12/15/14

Sorry, no time.

This was an interesting week. We had a lot of meetings this week (MLC, Interviews, Stake P.E.C.) so we had significantly less proselyting time. I attached a cool Christmas picture of the Elders at MLC though, we feel pretty fancy.

Did trade-offs with Marshall this week, I was with a trainee 7 weeks out that's super stellar. We had lots of fun and picked up a part-member family that is way cool. 

I see time and time again the power of setting specific goals, praying, then acting. On Friday we had about an hour to doorknock. We prayed that we would be let in to teach someone. We finished a building we previously started and at the last  door, a girl named Kirsten let us in and we talked to her for 3 minutes and set a return appointment (we should be teaching her tonight). As we exited we realized our prayer was answered but we hadn't been specific enough. Before the next building I said a prayer asking that we would be let in to teach a Restoration within the 45 remaining minutes we had. Again, at the very last door of the building, we met Kevin who let us in almost immediately. We taught him a Restoration and set a goal for a baptismal date. He really wants to read the Book of Mormon. Our prayers can and will be answered when action fulfills prayer and when we are full of faith. Sometimes He answers in ways we don't see or in His timetable, but He does answer.

Love you all!

-EKS


Monday, December 8, 2014

Because It's Christmas Time

Hey everyone! Not much time today. Things are really good here though!

I am surprised at the success we had this week. It was the week before finals so everyone was super stressed out on campus but we still found lots of investigators and taught a lot of really great lessons. Some of the people we picked up can't meet until next semester though...We'll see how that goes. Practically my approach boiled down to, "If you meet with us, you'll feel the Spirit and the Spirit will help you with your finals." Manipulative, maybe? I'm not sure. (2 Nephi 32:5)
Good way to start the transfer anyway. Most of our goals involve not eating sweets, including Insomnia Cookie and Den-pops (cheap fountain drinks on campus). We also have plans to utilize #ShareTheGift. Again, if you haven't seen it, watch it. Share it!

We got an investigator Sierra to church yesterday which was super exciting. One of her main concerns so far is that she's looked into many churches but their Sunday worship confuses and/or scares her. She really liked fast/testimony meeting and stayed all three hours AND for break the fast. It was really great! Other funny fact: Sister Ford (who passed out during her talk last week) came and was totally chill about the whole thing. She told me her favorite part of my talk is when I quoted 2 Nephi 32:7 (I think) telling us we should "pray always and not faint". I used the scripture without realizing that someone had literally fainted not 5 minutes earlier. I wondered why everyone thought that part of my talk was so funny.

That's about it. This week is going to be full of meetings for us so not as much time for exciting missionary work. The Christmas Devotional was incredible so if you didn't see it I'd recommend you watch it! Elder Christoffersen is a genius.

Love you all!

Elder Schmutz

P.S. What is the price of gas where you're all at? It is $2.35 here and still working it's way down. It doesn't really affect us at this point since we're missionaries but still, it's been pretty crazy to keep track of it. 


Picture: Enjoying Insomnia cookie for the last time (Elder Sauer was with us that night for transfers). 


Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Week After T-Giving!

Hey everyone! Glad to hear you had a good Thanksgiving. Ours was pretty incredible too!

This week was kind of a slow one since no one was on campus. Everything was shut down for the break and everyone left for home. We have three other missionaries with us for transfers so everything's pretty hectic today. I should have more time next week to tell you everything that's going on!

We did do a lot of doorknocking and had good contacts for people that answered the door. We picked up Edwin last week, and this week we taught him again and his girlfriend and set baptismal dates with both of them. Otherwise, the only super exciting thing about proselyting this week is the Share the Gift initiative. Have all of you seen it? If you haven't go to christmas.mormon.org. It's incredible! We started using it on Friday and I'm super stoked to see how it goes throughout the world. I anticipate that missionaries throughout the MLM will pick up many new investigators out of it this Christmas season.

Thanksgiving was really fun. The sisters held a Thanksgiving dinner at the KUB and we had a decent turn-out. We ended up helping them cook for a while, I made some super good mashed potatoes (we only had a whisk for a masher so my arms got pretty tired). We had two other meals; one with a part-member family in the Kalamazoo 1 ward, and another with Long Chen (Korean BBQ). I'm still recovering from all the food I ate!

So yesterday was pretty sweet. Our sacrament meeting was based on Gratitude since Thanksgiving was just this week. The first speaker, an RM sister who just came home from Ukraine, reviewed Elder Uchtdorf's talk on how we should be thankful in our circumstances. Right at the end before she bore her testimony in Russian, she passed out. Fainted hard-core. Everyone rushed to her aid and she got a priesthood blessing on the spot. She ended up being okay, thank goodness. It was a tough act to follow; I had to give a talk right after her.

That's about it. Not a lot is changing in the zone, we are staying together another transfer. I'm super happy about that! 

Thank you Amy and Clark for the decorations! I take great pride in my Christmas tree, even though I have no clue who any of the people are (except you). I'm excited to meet the ward members when I return. Mom and Dad, thanks for the package! I got everything.

Love you all!

-Elder Schmutz

#DiscoverTheGift
#EmbraceTheGift
#ShareTheGift

Me and my brother Elder Sauer said goodbye to our mission dad today since he "dies" Wednesday.
The MLM won't be the same without him!



 My Decorations
Me and My Decorations

In the cockpit of a Blue Angel

ALSO

We went to the Kalamazoo air-zoo last P-day after emailing. 
It was incredible! We did flight simulators and saw lots of cool planes.

This is a picture of me and Elder Strong right before the flight simulators. We ignored the other planes and just did barrel rolls the whole time. Elder Strong is also known as Ralphie by the mission president and his wife since he looks like the kid from Christmas Story.


Monday, November 24, 2014

November 24, 2014

Hey everyone!

This was a good week. I don't have much time because I have a lot of time because we're going to the Kalamazoo air-zoo later today! I also need to go do my laundry for more trade-offs! We do a total of 6 in the transfer so if we're not busy enough in our own area we're driving around to others.

Last Monday evening we drove to St. Joe for trade-offs in the middle of a severe winter storm, so that was pretty cool. The next day, campus was closed so myself and Elder Giar had to reschedule our day since no one was on campus. We still taught a lot and contacted some sweet people! We also went to Olive Garden since it was Elder Giar's birthday. I think everyone in the restaurant thought we were on a date...

Wednesday was incredible. We had a joint-zone conference with Meridian. Elder Nash unfortunately was called away on an emergency assignment from the brethren so we had a non-G.A. conference. It was super super good, and we were pumped to go out afterwards! We didn't get back to our area until around 7:30 but when we got back to K-zoo we skipped dinner and went out to find. We picked up two new investigators that evening.

Thursday and Friday were also good days. Did a lot of finding in between our appointments. We have seen a big change with our investigator Jeremy. His heart is being softened by the Spirit for sure. He came to the Saturday and Sunday session of stake conference and enjoyed both. He is seriously considering being baptized on December 13 which is just unreal to think about if you had been to our first meetings. At first he seemed to have no real intent, possibly just wanted to investigate to prove LDS doctrine wrong. I don't think that's the case anymore. 

Saturday. Walked everywhere. Talked to everyone. Had some more hilarious contacts. The usual day in the life of Elder Schmutz. Before the Saturday session of conference our mission president put it on myself and Elder Mac to put together a flash-mob. In the middle of his talk we stood up, hummed the tune "Called to Serve" as we made our way to the front, then all burst into singing once all the missionaries were in place. It went over surprisingly well! The humming was totally sketch but the singing was good. 

That's about it for the week! Have a great Thanksgiving. I'm so so grateful for each of you and for the impact you have had on my life. 

-Elder Schmutz

Monday, November 17, 2014

17 November 2014

Hey everyone!

Things are still going well here. It is getting pretty cold though; it makes for a fun challenge to try and stop kids on campus to talk to them about the Gospel. :)

We had a sick finding miracle this week! I told you last week about the new rule change, we don't drive cars anymore on Saturday. Well, the first day we went to campus to do our regular thing not realizing that NO ONE would be there. In the past we've doorknocked on Saturday to mix it up. It seemed campus was dead for finding opportunities. After walking around for a good half-hour, we saw one girl walking somewhat in our direction. We basically stalked her and stopped her to talk. After talking for a couple minutes, she said she was willing to hear our message. We taught her last Friday and she accepted the invitation to church, pray, read, and be baptized. It was pretty sweet. We've only taught her once, but she is already reading the Book of Mormon and enjoys it. Her name is Kya, pray for her that she will stay super solid! She admitted she was super weirded out when we stopped her (we were too), but it was a tender mercy nonetheless. 

Other than finding Kya, this was sort of a rough week. We got dropped by some of our top progressing investigators and we dropped/got dropped by all of our investigators marked for baptism. On the bright side, we set a date with Jeremy Evans even though he is still skeptical of the things we've taught him. We are working hard to help him lean less on physical evidence and more of spiritual evidence. As Elder Anderson said last conference, "Spiritual questions deserve Spiritual answers." 

I think God thought it would be really entertaining to put me on campus because I do some pretty weird stuff just about daily. I was on trade-offs the other day and in two separate instances I ran into people I thought were current investigators. I basically yelled at this girl, "HEY! How've you been?! Don't remind me, I remember your name....." I paused for a solid 4 seconds until she was like, "I've never met you before, I'm Claire". It made for a super good contact (not). We were in the library not 10 minutes later when I thought I saw Connor, a now former investigator. I clapped at him to get his attention since he had headphones on, but when I got closer I saw it was definitely not Connor. I disappointedly said, "Oh, you're not Connor." He replied, "I could pretend to be Connor  if you wanted me to." I walked off full of shame.

Love you all! Keep being great member missionaries as I hear you are and as I know you are!

-Elder Schmutz

Monday, November 3, 2014

November 3, 2014

I can't believe it's November already. The end of the year is just around the corner, and once Halloween was over we brought out the Christmas music. 

This week was good! Some people said I didn't send an email last week, and I don't remember and can't find one from "Sent Mail" so I'll update you on the past two weeks. 

Since the beginning of the transfer, we've been working on building up our teaching pool. We personal contact on campus a lot and hand out questionnaires. We have seen a lot of success and have found many new people to teach. Many have committed to be baptized- we will see who continues to progress as the next weeks go on.

Earlier in the week we did trade-offs with the assistants and I went to MSU again, this time with the new assistant, Elder Green. He's way sweet! If I got a picture I'll send it. We also did trade-offs with Elder Paulson and his trainee (I replaced him here at WMU). He got to come back and we had a great day full of teaching. We also got taken to Coldstone's by Long Chen.

Marquiese and Jim are still doing well, they were set apart in callings last Sunday. Marquiese is a ward missionary and goes out teaching with us just about every day and Jim is the official branch greeter. They'll do a good job. 

Not much time this week, sorry. Things are well here. Love you all! 

-Elder Schmutz

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Western and Transfers, etc.

Hey everyone! 

Marquiese and Jim are still doing well, Marquiese has become another recent convert that goes out teaching whenever he can. It's so awesome! I'm excited to go out and find more prepared people. 

Elder Villaneda is being transferred away to Meridian (Lansing area) to be a zone leader there. We've really enjoyed our transfer together and I'm a bit surprised we didn't stay another transfer. My new companion will be Elder McMurtrey. I'm very excited! We got to work together (plus Elder Derricott) before we picked up our first trainees. The zone is getting changed up a lot and I'm way pumped. A lot of experienced leadership is coming to the zone to train again before they go home.

This week for us was way good! We found a super cool dude named Cornelius doorknocking. We taught him once and he accepted a date and is excited to learn more! We also got a hold of Ebony again. We're supposed to see her tonight and I'm praying we do because she was super cool. We have been blessed with a lot of success in the past six weeks. We're seeing more and more miracles as we are in our rebuilding stage for the area.

So remember about the zone goal I told you about last week? As a zone we set a goal to get 20 new baptismal dates set by the end of the transfer. When I emailed you last we were at 4 of 20. It came down to the wire, but we hit our goal of 20 new baptismal dates! It was incredible. On Wednesday alone, 9 new dates were set. We were sending texts to the zone every hour (or more) it seemed. On Saturday evening (last night of the transfer) we were at 18. Elder Villaneda and I sat in our truck marveling at how well the zone had done and even more how much Heavenly Father had blessed us. We were a little sad that we had come so close but wouldn't reach the goal. At 9:18 p.m. we got a call from Sturgis telling us that they had set two more people on date that day! We screamed like little girls when they told us. 

I have seen it time after time on my mission. I know that Heavenly Father answers righteous prayers if we have faith in Him. 

"And whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, which is right, believing that ye shalreceive, behold it shall be given unto you." (3 Nephi 18:20)

So yeah, that's mission life! I love you all, I need to close because Elder Villaneda needs to pack and we need to clean! 

-Elder Schmutz

I picked up some West Coast slang in my time with Elder Villaneda. 

"We out here"

Monday, October 13, 2014

Jim and Marquiese's Baptism

Hey everyone! 

This week was incredible. It ended with Jim and Marquiese getting baptized and confirmed. Wow. It was so wonderful. I'm going to send a bunch of pictures so you can finally know who all these people are. I see more and more how God prepares all of His children to accept the Gospel. As I said before, basically the whole branch consists of recent converts, each with amazing conversion stories. This is God's work and I want to teach the Gospel forever.

It's always the people you don't expect that get baptized. I wasn't there, but Jim during his first lesson basically bashed the whole time. He read the Book of Mormon though, and his heart was softened. His fellowshipper Chris Bates did a great job, too. I got here the day we taught his second lesson and he was ready to accept everything. Marquiese was doorknocked into and sort of forgotten for a month or so but he also loved and accepted everything we taught. He has changed a lot during the short time we've taught him. Both of them got up and bore their testimony yesterday and it was powerful. Marquiese said he has come to know the Book of Mormon is true in a way he cannot deny. So solid! I just love them so much!
So, cool thing. As a zone we set a goal to set 20 new baptismal dates by the end of the transfer (this week). The Elders and Sisters are excited and we've already set 4 of 20. We set a date with Adrianna and Eugene. Adrianna is the only non-member of her family and has been taught before but has not accepted a baptismal invitation before. We taught a powerful restoration that clicked with Eugene and both of them accepted baptismal dates. Unfortunately one of their sons puked right as we teaching about the Book of Mormon...Now all of them are sick with the flu...Hopefully they better really quick so we can start teaching them all of the time. :)

As far as other things in our area, it was a slow week. We were driving everywhere so we basically taught whenever we weren't in the car somewhere. We had MLC Tuesday which took all day and on Wednesday I was in Coldwater on trade-offs. Thursday was Jim's interview day and then we had to drive down to Sturgis to do a couple baptismal interviews. Longest drive. Then Friday night we had to drive to South Haven to do another interview. We had 5 baptisms within the zone this weekend! Exciting but means lots of work for us. Our zone is pretty large, there are 34 total (biggest in the mission since Lansing got split last transfer). 

Conference was unbelievable. All of my questions and concerns I wrote down were addressed. In general my favorites (in no specific order) were Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Elder D. Todd Christofferson, Elder Jörg Klebingat...I basically loved all of them.

Alrighty. I love you all! I think that was about it for this week. I love you all! Have a good week!

-Elder Schmutz


Me, Chris Bates, Jim and Elder Villaneda

Men of K.U.B.
Me, Elder Paulson (visited from Lansing for the baptisms), Marquiese,
Adam French, Jim, Elder Villaneda, Chris Bates, and Long Chen. 

Me and Brother Bates. He's ripped and comes teaching with 
us all of the time. He was baptized in January as well and is 
going to be turning in his mission papers really soon.

I'm wearing Elder Villaneda's glasses because they look 
better on me anyway.

Sister Salisbury, myself, Adam French in the back, and Sister Page.

Sister Salisbury has been a member 6 months
Adam was baptized 1.5 years ago
Sister Page was baptized like 5 months ago

Me and Long Chen. Long is from China and was found over
Facebook (we use FB on campus).
He was baptized in January.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Hey

Time is short this week! I love you all and I'll update you more next week.

General conference is amazing. So so good. 

Our zone training went well and was successful. After our training the mission president and assistants came and showed us "Meet the Mormons". It was amazing. I encourage all of you to watch it when it comes to theaters or whenever you have a chance. It was very inspiring, I laughed too much and almost cried a bunch of times.

Marquiese and Jim came to every single session of conference and loved it. They will be baptized this weekend. So excited! Kyle and Sharrae are still doing well, but we're having hold-ups with them getting married. They're ready to be baptized once they're living the law of chastity in full.

Things are still going well here. We are busy teaching investigators and recent converts almost all of the time, but in the time in between that we find, we talk to awesome, prepared college students. 

Added a picture of me by a Western sign. 

Love you all! I'll hopefully have more time next week to write you!

-Elder Schmutz



Monday, September 29, 2014

WMU Continued

Hello to the people I love!

I'm still doing great here in Kalamazoo! The K.U.B. is simply the best. Kyle, Sharrae, Jim, and Marquiese are progressing beautifully towards their baptism in two weeks. 

Ebony is struggling and we haven't seen her for a couple of days. She wants to make friends and come to church but she is so shy!! She has a hard time connecting with people. I appreciate all of the prayers for myself and my investigators but if you could especially send a prayer out for Ebony it would be much appreciated!

So what happened this week...I've forgotten what's gone on. The time just flies by here, it's unbelievable. We found two new investigators from a referral from a family in K-zoo. I didn't teach them because I was on trade-offs, but Adriana and Eugene are way cool. Adriana is just about the only non-member in her immediate family. She's met with Elders and Sisters for a first lesson many times but they never made much of a connection like we have.

I went on trade-offs with Elder Derricott on MSU campus and it was pretty crazy (awesome). There are lots of students there. We found two new investigators and personal contacted on campus most of the day. One of the people we found that day is one of their top investigators. In their second lesson, they basically taught the plan of salvation + exaltation and he loved it. Haha. 

I'm listening to the Women's broadcast while I type. You should all listen to it if you didn't yesterday! It's been very good so far. Hey, it's General Conference Weekend and I'm so excited! I'm equipped with Pop-tarts so I'm ready to go.

Other cool thing coming up this week: zone training. We're training on some really good topics that will help the zone out a lot. I'm way pumped for it. Afterwards, we're going to watch "Meet the Mormons" and that will be way cool. If you haven't heard about that yet you should look it up.

Love you all! Have a sweet week. Choose the right!

-Elder Schmutz


No I didn't take this picture while I was driving. 

Rollin' through downtown K-zoo


Monday, September 22, 2014

So Yeah

This week was way good! I'm still loving it here on Western.

Sharrae got her license so she and Kyle are getting married this next Sunday so they can get baptized on October 11th! They're way cool. Kyle also has a son named Khalil and he was so funny but he made me miss my nephew Khalil. Jim came to church again yesterday and he's doing well. He is progressing towards the 11th as well. Marquiese came to church the first time yesterday and LOVED IT. He is way cool. I should have got a picture with him because he came to church looking way snazzy. Also progressing towards the 11th of October

Our other investigator Ebony is still doing well, working for the same date. We taught her the Law of Chastity last week and it went well other than I started laughing during the lesson. Humiliating. I've taught the law of chastity a bunch of times but for some reason I just couldn't handle teaching it to a college student. Once I giggled everyone else started laughing. It was bad news. I ended up getting sent to another table to sit by myself while Elder Villaneda finished the lesson. My uncontrollable laughter has got me into trouble on my mission. It's something I'll have to overcome through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, seriously. 

I did trade-offs with my trainer Elder Reheis this week and it was probably illegal how much fun we had. We doorknocked all day since he and his trainee are whitewashing the area they're in. South Haven is probably the nicest stretch of Lake Michigan. Pictures included.

Heavenly Father has been blessing us tremendously. The Spirit is being poured out upon Western campus for sure. We had a pretty amazing experience Saturday. We had another 90 minutes until the end of evening so went to campus to talk to people. We prayed that we would be lead to those that God wanted us to talk to at that time. The second we got out of the truck (we drive a truck which is cool) two freshman girls approached us and one asked, "Where is the church at?" She continued and told us that she was a member from Nigeria and hadn't been for a long time but wanted to come. Her friend was from Uganda and not a member. We talked for a while and invited them both to church and her friend to learn more (she accepted and is way interested). After getting hit on by a really drunk girl for way too long we felt prompted to go to the Bernhard center. We ran into another less-active member there. Both came to church yesterday. I have seen it many times before, but I know that God answers righteous prayers that are full of faith (3Ne18:19-20). Ask and ye shall receive!

Well I love you all and you're great. I'm sorry if I tend to ramble, I just get so excited when it comes to missionary work!! Stay strong. I pray for you all the time! Thanks for all of your support and love and prayers.

-EKS


This is me, Elder Reheis and my only brother (as far as mission genealogy goes) Elder Sauer 



Sunset over Lake Michigan

Monday, September 15, 2014

Western Dreamland



Hey family and friends!

This was my first week at WMU and it's the best! I love Elder Villaneda to death (I already knew that) and the work is on fire. The majority of the Kalamazoo University Branch (KUB) are recent converts, and they go out teaching with us all of the time! The member support is incredible. 

I'll tell you about some of our top investigators. Kyle and Sharrae are super prepared and have been taught everything three times over. They're basically members at this point. They are waiting to get an I.D. in the mail so they can get married so they can get baptized! Way solid. We're also teaching this really cool girl named Ebony, she's really shy though. Ebony came to church yesterday for the first time and loved it! We have many others that have accepted dates and are progressing well. Jim is a friend of Chris Bates, a recent convert that does the most teaching with us. He also came to church for the first time yesterday and was telling everyone he was marked for baptism next month. 

It's way fun to talk to college kids. We find lots of people by stopping them as they walk to class and teaching them about covenants or the nature of God. We also distribute questionnaires that create many potential investigators. Campus proselyting is awesome, but it's very different. I feel that I'm learning to be a missionary all over again!

I'll have to get some pictures with the members so you know who I'm talking about when I talk about them in the future. I attached a picture of myself and Elder Villaneda. We are just so busy all of the time. We don't even take time to eat, usually. The Lord takes care of our needs though and we are given strength, like Alma the Younger (Alma 31:38). 

I love you all a lot! Mom and Dad, I hope your packing and moving goes well. You're in my thoughts and prayers, as well as the rest of you. Be faithful, do what is right, trust in God. 

-Elder Schmutz


Monday, September 8, 2014

Transfers, WMU, etc.

Hey family and friends!
 
I thought I'd have more time to update you this week but it turns out I'm getting transferred! I felt that I would have another six weeks in Holland, but I'm actually going to Western Michigan University to proselyte on campus. My new companion will be Elder Villaneda and I'm so excited! He was my district leader when I first came to Holland. Now we'll be leading the Kalamazoo zone together.
 
So, Octavio and Santos are still doing well and want to learn, except they want to learn in Spanish so...Either the Grand Rapids Elders will teach them or someone in the Holland ward who speaks Spanish will teach them while the Elders listen.
 
Other updates: we saw our Catholic friend Bob, who fills his time by taking care of butterflies. We met at a sandwich shop (he treated us) and we discussed the Book of Mormon and priesthood authority. In the middle of our discussion he pulled some living monarch butterflies out of his pocket and started handling them so we were just like, alright. He has no intention of converting (yet) but he is reading the Book of Mormon so only time will tell :). Other than that, a few promising appointments fell through but we found lots of potential investigators door knocking.
 
The week 6 goal as a district went well, and although we didn't hit our goal people went out and worked hard! It was inspiring to see, I really have loved my district (picture included). I've loved my 12 short weeks with Elder Hudson but he will do a great job navigating the area. We celebrated our last 12 week companionship study by indulging in a Coke.
 
 
Well, I sure love you all. I'm excited for things to come. I couldn't do it without all of you love, prayers and support. I am so grateful for  Jesus Christ who enables me to become better day by day. His power is so real, it's undeniable. I know that this is His church restored to the earth through a Prophet of God. I know that by the power of the Spirit, and that's undeniable too.
 
Have a good week!
 
-Elder Schmutz
 
If you have some time, read or listen to "His Grace is Sufficient", a BYU devotional by Brad Wilcox. You can also read the abbreviated version from the September 2013 Ensign.


Celebratory Coke Friends

Also: This Chess Set in Downtown Holland

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hey There

So I don't have much time, we get to do quick emailing since our library was closed. Things are going super well! We had a miracle on Sunday- a member's room mates wanted to be taught the gospel and one wanted to receive a blessing. We taught a simple, powerful Restoration and concluded with a blessing. We picked both of them up and one of them quickly accepted a baptismal invitation. He's way solid and his name is Octavio. Santos is a little weary since he's been baptized before but wants to learn more.
 
This is week 6 of the transfer so transfer calls are Friday! I could stay or go since Elder Hudson will be done with his training. To encourage us to work hard all week our district set a goal to set 6 new dates and find 6 new investigators collectively. We're super excited and Octavio was the first new date set! We have a lot of other exciting things to come, I'll have to tell you about them next week.
 
Love you all, gotta go.
 
-EKS