Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March 24, 2014

Last weekend was transfer calls! I am staying in Midland for another transfer as I expected. I'll be greenie-busting my own boy. Stoked about it. I called it with transfer predictions though, Elder Derricott is going Zone leader in Lansing. Our new district leader is Elder Anderson who is a nice guy, I met him when we were picking up our trainees. 

Well, I don't even know about this week. It was pretty awesome except Nick decided he didn't want to be baptized. We really don't know what happened...Last weekend he was stoked to be baptized and we were all prepped for his baptism for last Saturday but on Friday Heather called us and said he didn't want to be baptized anymore. I think the only explanation is that his super anti aunt said something that scared him which is still a surprise because we had to work through the anti before even really teaching him.  

This is going to end up being a good thing, I think. The good news is that this aunt is moving to Florida in a few weeks and it is very unlikely that Nick will be going with her. If that is the case, I think he'll come around. 

“The works, and the designs, and the purposes of God cannot be frustrated neither can they come to naught…remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated but, the work of men.”  D&C 3:2,3.

Let's get on to the awesome things about this week! Elder Graves and I just had the best time door knocking. We found three or four potential families that were genuinely interested in the message when we talked to them on the doorstep. We also talked to a man named Imtiaz Hussain, he was pretty legit. He wasn't interested but he talked at us about Islam for like 40 minutes. I need to develop my "ending conversation" skills. It was actually really interesting.

Do any of you remember my first day out in the mission field? We PC'ed on MSU campus and one person I talked to was a baptist minister. I was sorta shook up because he told us we were heretics that were going to burn, etc. etc. WELL we door knocked into another one of those. It was actually a really positive experience for me, weird-sounding enough. As this lady recited a memorized presentation of how Mormonism is a cult I just smiled because in that moment I recognized that I've grown a lot in the past 6 months. The spirit has testified to me over and over again that this Gospel and the work is 100% true. As this lady finished her spiel she ended by saying, "I want you to be saved and go to heaven, I really do." I responded with a beaming smile, and said, "That's sweet of you". I bore testimony of the Savior and felt the Spirit as I did so. She cast everything I said aside, and turned to Elder Graves and said, "It's too late for HIM (referring to me) but YOU can be saved. Don't listen to HIM." I grinned even bigger as she closed the door.

Oh man. Another great thing - earlier today we went to DOW Gardens. They have a butterfly exhibit where butterflies from all around the world just flutter about and you can take pictures of them and they land on you and everything. Pictures included for sure.

Love you all! It's good to hear from you. I appreciate your prayers, I really do feel so much support from all of yous. I pray for you every day too! I hope you know that. 


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day! (March 17, 2014)

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. I'm wearing a beautiful silk, green tie that Vaughn and Margaret sent me to avoid being pinched. Really, who thought it would be cool to have a national holiday where people have the excuse to pinch you if you don't have green on? Lame.

Everything is going well here in good 'ole Midland. We didn't find any new investigators but we found like, four potential families that I'm stoked to start teaching hopefully. 

We saw Nick again for the first time in a few weeks. He was out of town in Florida for a while but now he's back and is excited to get baptized this next Saturday!

The highlight of this week was Half-mission training on Thursday. It was one of the best trainings I've been to so far on my mission. We traveled an hour west to Mt. Pleasant where CMU is. I went to half-mission wondering how I could get things going in Midland 2. President Hess started by talking about the power of faith and believing in the work. He also talked a lot about prayer, then did something new and just shared personal experiences from his mission. It was very touching and powerful. Elder Bertilson follow-up taught about master teaching and focused on using the scriptures and staying within doctrine. Elder Patterson follow-up taught on finding with the gold mine map and showed us how to use the Book of Mormon in finding and teaching. Way good stuff. Elder Graves and I have been focusing on bearing testimony of the Book of Mormon on the doorstep since and although we haven't seen much of a change in results, we feel a huge difference in ourselves. The Book of Mormon is true and the Spirit bears witness of it!

That's about it for the week. Next Friday is transfer calls. I think I could either stay in Midland with Graves for another transfer or I could be shipped off. We'll see. 

So the picture is the 5-generation lineage of Patterson. From Right to left is: Elder Patterson, Richardson, Reheis, Schmutz, and Graves. It was cool that we were all in the same half-side of the mission. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March 10, 2014

Hello family and friends and all that I love!

This week was just full of ups and downs. Where do I even start? I'll just go day by day I suppose.
Tuesday was ROUGH because we had three sweet appointments planned and they all fell through. We got shined hard and cancelled on which was a total bummer. It turned out okay because we had a bunch of back-up finding activities and knocked into some sweet people, including the lady that we found this week. You'll hear about her in the "Saturday" section.

Wednesday was district meeting which is always great. We had Panera Bread for lunch. That's about all I remember for Wednesday

On Thursday I was in Midland 1 with Elder Derricott. We found all day long and had a great time doing so. We found a lot of sweet potentials and set a return appointment with an older Pentecostal lady that's been to Utah before and loves the Mormons. It was a really sweet finding day. As much as I love training a new missionary, it was super refreshing to get some new ideas from someone who's been finding longer than I have. Elder Derricott and I just gel together in testifying and teaching. It would be sweet if I get to serve with him or around him another time in the mission. OH MAN, we also had the best dinner ever with a family in the 1st ward - the Joneses. Tender pork loin over a bed of coconut rice topped with a home-made mango pico de gaillo. There was also a delicious fruit salad involving mint, ginger, and honey. MAN. Seriously best meal I've had in Michigan to date. 

Friday - don't remember what even happened. We DK'ed and contacted some less-active/part members that we're hopefully going to start teaching.

Saturday needs a quick back-story. A few weeks ago we had zone conference where one of the assistants, Elder Patterson, taught us how to make "Gold-mine maps" for our area. It sounds so obvious but it is brilliant - we got a map of Midland and tacked where our investigators, potentials, less-actives, and part-members are. We take it to members and they can just place a pin on where their friends are that we can contact. Referrals all day long! It helps us plan our day also by where everyone is so we can use miles and have our line in the water longer. Totally sweet, I know. Well, on Saturday, the assistants came to Midland to work with us and see how we use our gold mine maps and how we can improve them. WELL. My great-grandfather Elder Patterson worked with us in our area and E. Bertilson worked with the M1 elders. It worked out perfectly - we got to display how to contact referrals, less-actives and potentials all in the three hours we were with him. We stopped by Mary, the potential we found Tuesday. We ended up teaching her an awesome lesson and she accepted a return appointment. She was actually taught by the missionaries years ago but loves us and loves her Mormon friends. She calls herself a dry Mormon - how golden. She swears she'll never join the church because she loves Midland Nazarene so much but I am confident in the converting power of the Gospel. 

Sunday - Midland 2 got a new bishopric. Bishop Place was released after serving for just under 5 years as Bishop and was replaced by his first councilor, Bishop Sasha Savage. Man, two amazing Bishops in a row. Bishop Savage is a well-known doctor in Midland and is a spiritual powerhouse. Super into mission work, too. His councilors are super young- Brother Smith and Brother Gilbert, both great priesthood holders with very young families. As these good men made their way to the stand, I watched as Bro. Gilbert gave Sis. Gilbert a sweet kiss and Bro. Smith embraced his wife. When they took their place on the stand, I locked eyes with Lyndi Smith for just a second, and in her eyes I saw great support and quite a bit of sadness. I cried quietly for the rest of the meeting while the old and new bishopric bore testimony. In that meeting the Spirit taught me very strongly that the Lord is aware of His work and his children, and he has called these men to hasten that great work. 

I've been thinking a lot about the Stake theme for this year, which is Omni 1:26.

 26 And now, my beloved brethren, I would that ye should acomeunto Christ, who is the Holy One of Israel, and partake of his salvation, and the power of his redemption. Yea, come unto him, and boffer your whole souls as an coffering unto him, and continue in dfasting and praying, and endure to the end; and as the Lord liveth ye will be saved.

I know this is God's work and we are all a part of it. He calls all of us to come unto Christ, and he does not command that anyone should not partake of his salvation. His plan is perfect and I am so grateful for this Gospel. Work hard. Support each other and support the work.

Love you all! Have a good week.

-Elder K. Schmutz

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

March 3, 2014

Well hey everyone!

This week was a miraculous finding week. We found three new awesome investigators!

The first is Kyle Gandy, a former that had a Restoration discussion more than a year ago then the missionaries lost contact with him. When we first knocked on his door he didn't seem very interested but we got his number and set up a time with him anyway. When we got there, he threw open the door and gave us a tour of his house and fed us snacks and water. We talked with him a lot about his religious background and gave him a Book of Mormon. I was on trade-offs with Elder Krebs in Midland 1 when they met with him again and they set a baptismal date with him. He is stoked about the message and is excited to learn more. Woo!

The other two investigators we found are the sweetest, older ladies ever. The first is Barb, the wife of Paul Len, one of our investigators that we haven't met with for a long time. We mostly listened to her. She talked about how her religion had failed her and she was looking for direction and a church. She asked for literature, and we introduced the Book of Mormon and gave her a Restoration pamphlet. Before we even asked, she told us who she knew that we could go and visit. She also sent us on our way with home-made raspberry jam. Barb. Sweetest lady.

The other lady we found is Judie. She's a devout Lutheran lady that is open to our message. She cried when we talked about God's love and the first vision. She is just the best! 

Other than finding miracles, this week was pretty interesting. We found out that Nick, our investigator on date, broke his arm snowboarding. We're going to find out if someone can get baptized with a cast on because if you can't, his date will be bumped back for another 6 weeks. 

It has been freezing!!!! I was on trade-offs on Thursday without a car. That was the day it was apparently -18 degrees. It felt like it. We walked everywhere and my face almost fell off/exploded. It was a good day though. Apparently it's the coldest Michigan winter ever recorded. It's pretty funny - I think people just don't come to their door when we knock because they don't want to open it. OR they stand at their window and shoo us away. Those are hilarious. For how much time we spend finding, we don't talk to many people. THAT'S OK THO because the Lord's work has not been frustrated by extreme cold temperatures. We find prepared people and I am just feeling so blessed!

Other fun story - our car broke down on Friday. Out in the country. Luckily we got it going and made it back to town. 

Love you all. We're out of time.