This week was another one of those weeks where it was a little rough, but I learned a ton. It started off tough because we hardly did anything. We barely tracted and barely taught lessons. We were also still having a hard time with the ward. Like I love the members, they are so nice and loving; they just don't do that much missionary work, we were hardly getting any referrals from members. And it was like this all up until Thursday.
On Thursday our whole zone drove up to this Missionary conference thing In Billings (I got to drive which was nice). And it had half of the missionaries from the mission there. It started at 9 and we heard from President and Sister Wadsworth and then had a member from the 70 and his wife there. Their name was Elder and Sister Martino. I loved both of their talks. Sister Martino talked about companionship relationships and about serving others and I learned so much from it. But the best was Elder Martinos talk. He gave about a 3 hour talk. He talked a bunch about members and about where we can find the most success. He just taught us all about working with the ward and with the leaders in it and serving them and how to better get referrals from them. I am really starting to see the importance of how much a ward means to the missionaries. When I come to church I just love being with the members and I feel so much more appreciation for those faithful members. But it's not just their love I feel, I'm starting to get this sense that there is very little that is different between them and us missionaries. We are all on the same journey, we all have challenges, and we all depend on each other. Are we all not beggars and do we not all depend on the same God? Are we not all commanded to do the same? I don't look at them as tools anymore but as fellow followers of our Savior. This new view I see of them has really shown me that the only difference between me and them is age and a name tag. And if I feel like they may need a little push to get the work going then I just have to think of myself a little less and put myself in their shoes and appreciate them for what they do do.
Criticism and chastisement rarely leads to growth. Encouragement, forgiveness, and patience is the only way that someone can really get the most progress achieved. It's easier said than done, but it's the best way to go. Learning to think of myself less is really the hardest part. Because when two people are suffering, how often do those two people tend and care for the other person before they think about them self? It is very rare to find that attribute in someone. I'm trying my best to get there. It takes a lot of faith, patience, and humility for me. But it never fails to be rewarding. Sometimes someone else's smile is more important than mine, and if I give up my wants to meet their needs it does so much better for both me and that person. And honestly, sometimes it's nice to just forget about myself. I too often get caught up in pitying myself and I just want to yell at myself to grow up! So the change is happening, just very slowly haha. And it's impossible to be completely selfless but I can sure try my best! This attitude has really helped me with teaching too. In one of Dads emails, he told me just seize upon the good in people and wish them well, no matter how rude or grumpy they may be. That has truly helped me a lot. Because there is something good in every person you meet. It may be hard to see with some people, but it's there. And when I find it, I'm going to bring it out of them and help them see it. Ever since I've been making this effort I notice that I'm happier with everything. I start to appreciate my surroundings. I start to appreciate the neighbors and the sky and all sorts of silly stuff haha. But it's wonderful, I wish I had this point of view all growing up.
I think the work will really start booming in my area if me and my companion both keep working towards positive change. I have already seen some success from our efforts. We have a lady on date for baptism and we have an investigating family that looks really promising. We met with them on Saturday night and they say that their family has seen positive changes since they came to church. They felt as though something was missing in their family and this is helping them a lot. It was an amazing thing to see. I can't wait to see where it goes. I may get transferred and not be able to see them anymore but it's very unlikely. Either way would be cool. Winter is coming soon and I'm trying to brace myself for it. It's starting to cool off pretty good in the nights now and before I know it there will be snow on the ground! The summer was amazing, It's beautiful in the summer here. It doesn't last long but it's nice while it does last. I hope you guys aren't too hot down there, just make it till winter. I don't know if there is much more to say. But I love and miss you guys! I hope you all are happy and settling down. I'm keeping you in my prayers!
-Love, Elder Schneider
To All Who Read This,
Yet another week has passed! It's so hard to type up these E-mails because I can hardly remember all of the things I did this week! But I'll try my best to remember the important stuff. So what can I say? Maybe I'll just start with who I'm teaching right now. So we have about 3 solid investigators. The first one, named Jennifer, is on date for baptism and gets baptized in 2 weeks. She is so ready, she told us she is excited to get baptized, so we are super pumped about that. So today we taught Jennifer again and she wants me to baptize her! So I thought that was cool and I wanted to tell you guys that. So she will be my first, I'm super excited!! And then there is this lady named Susan. She is on this "journey" to coming back to Christ. So she is looking for something and we just have to show her were to look. I think she will come around. And then there is this guy named Cody who is doing really well too. He is doing everything we ask of him and has a real interest. He's reading the Book of Mormon so we are hoping that will really help him make the decision. So yeah, that's them.
So here is my miracle of the week. So about 2 weeks ago we tracted this guy named Justin. He seemed interested but he was in the process of moving out so he couldn't talk and he didn't know where he was moving so we couldn't set up a return appointment. So we were just like, that sucks, and then we moved on. And then about 3 days ago we tracted into this girl named Cassie. She also seemed interested so we set up a return appointment. So we go to the return appointment and she wasn't there.... So we just swing by the next day to say hey, and guess who who answers the door! It was Justin! We tracted into his new house and the girl that we had answered the first time was his GF. So that wasn't just by chance. That was meant to be, because there is no way we could have found them. So we are excited about that, we just have to find a good time when we can talk to them. I also went on my first exchange this week. The elder I was with was Elder Jaques. He was Elder McMahons old.Transfers are only two weeks away so maybe I'll get transferred or something, because Belgrade can get boring sometimes. It's like Snowflake, it just likes to stay the same and to stay quiet, and they could care less about Mormons haha. Even the ward is pretty stagnant. But we are working to get the work moving in the ward and through the town. We can do it, we just need time.
Ok my last thing I have to tell. So on Saturday the town of Manhatten had a little festival. It was called the Potato Festival. So we set up a little booth and had our little Mormon stand haha. It was a good experience! I have never talked to so many people in one day. We just walked around and taught little messages and gave out pamphlets, it was awesome. It made me improve my people skills, which I need help with. I can't stay shy forever! So I don't have much else to say, but I do have a challenge for you guys! And that is to be involved in missionary work and to do as much for the missionaries as you can, because we hardly get fed and we hardly get referrals. It makes the life of a missionary twice as easy and effective if the ward helps and is active in the work. So feed the missionaries and give them referrals! Keep them busy and make them feel loved because they can only do so much without you guys. I promise it's true. So just keep that in mind and look out for them ok? Thanks guys! I miss you all and love you all! I want to keep hearing from all of you! Send me some pictures of you guys! I want to show all of my buddies how cool my family is! Well, until next week, goodbye!
Month 1 down!
Wow it feels like it's been forever but it flew by at the same time. Nothing really crazy this week like last week. But there were some pretty cool experiences still. I got to help some people out in some pretty inspired ways. The week actually started off really slow and unproductive because Monday is preparation day so we don't do much teaching on that day. Tuesday was good though, we got some decent work done on that day. And then Wednesday we drove up to Bozeman and had district meeting and I had some interviews. We were there pretty much all day, so I hardly got anything done that day either. Then, on Wednesday night Elder McMahon got sick so we couldn't go out, so we did nothing Wednesday night. So I'm thinking that I'm useless and 'Im not working enough. So then Elder McMahon wants a blessing, so I gave him one. The blessing was a great experience for me. I said, what felt like, were some inspired things. I mentioned how the Lord would heal him so the sickness wouldn't hinder the work and that he would only be healed if he had faith and if he had a desire to work. So basically he had to have real intent behind it. And I said some other things that were good too. So the next day he's still sick. So I'm like, well my blessing didn't help... But then he was like, no it helped, you said something that was in my patriarchal blessing. That made me feel soooo much better about my blessing I gave him and it strengthened my testimony on revelation and the priesthood power. Even though he wasn't healed physically at the moment, I helped him somehow spiritually. So he was still sick all Thursday which sucked, but my blessing came true on Friday. He woke up and was like, let's get to work! And I was pumped that not only I could actually get back to work but that my blessing had now taken effect. He was healed and now that he was healed he went to work. And that's what we did. We drove around all day and contacted as many people as we could and set up as many appointments as we could and we came up with some ideas and lots of other stuff too. It was such a good day. So I can say that Priesthood power is real. It does take some faith on your part, but the power is real, I can promise you that!
Saturday was a little less busy but still a good day and there is not much to tell about that. But Sunday was awesome. I always love Sundays because I get to go to church and be around loving people and get uplifted. Then we get a little study time after or whatever we want to do, so It's like my happy day haha. And I can see the blessings coming to us more often now. For example, this random family comes to church and were like who are these people? Let's go talk to them. We assumed they were members because they looked like them. But we find out that they weren't! These random people who have lived here for a year just decided to come to our church today! These people were literally sent into our doors. Those little things just strengthen my testimony so much.
My Testimony on revelation grew this week even more from another experience I had. So on Friday I got a call from the zone leaders. They called to just check in and give us some info. Then one of the zone leaders asks to talk to me. Im like oh what did I do? So Elder Kennedy (one of the zone leaders) was like, Elder Schneider Im having a hard time staying pumped about the work and having a hard time to keep that excited optimistic attitude that new missionaries have, what is your advice? And I'm thinking, why is he asking me? I hardly know anything!! But somehow and somewhere, an answer just popped into my head. I was like, well Elder, I think the best thing to help with that is goals. Like little tiny specific every day goals. Just for everything you do, pray to God to help you accomplish your little goal you have. So that way you have something to work for and a drive for everything you do, and it can be personal this way too. So I said that to him, just thinking not much of it. And then he was like I think that's an answer to my prayers! I was like whoah, that's awesome! So this happened on Friday right? So Sunday night we get another check up call from the zone leaders and they had a couple more announcements. And then Elder Kennedy asks to speak to me again. He asks me how I'm doing and stuff and then is like, "So I took in what you said to me about goals and I did what you said. Me and my companion were out tracting and then we decided our little goal was to hand out one Book of Mormon to a random person and to teach them right then and there. So we saw a random guy and walked up to him and gave him the Book of Mormon and started teaching him and we got into his home and taught him the whole first lesson. The lesson went great and we committed him to baptism. All of this done from our little goal we set." (that was a very summed up version of it) So I'm like what?! No way that's so cool! That is so rare! And that's awesome that my advice helped!
So… My testimony on personal revelation to help others has been strengthened so much this week. It felt good to help people in inspired ways and to listen to the spirit. That's all I have for this week. I'm writing you all letters too so those will come to you guys in not too long. Probably like a week and a half. But thank you guys for the letters you sent me, I really appreciated them! I love and miss you all so much! I hope you all are doing good and that you are all settled into your new life style now. Just know that I miss you and that you guys are in my prayers. Stay awesome and don't forget about me ;) Farewell until next week!!
Well guys, this week was tough. It was extreme in its ups and downs. It started off slow and unsuccessful. It seemed like we hardly did anything at all. I don't know what it was but it seemed as though we were just failing as missionaries. So it was like this all week. But today is Sunday, so it's the end of the week. And today was the exact opposite. It started off good. We had a solid hour to study so I was like, ok, I'm not cool with being confused anymore. So I said a quick prayer and got myself ready to read from the Book of Mormon. This time I decided not to just read it and mark the stuff that stood out to me, but I was going to break it down line by line and understand it. So I did that. And it worked! I finally understood what the heck was going on and what was being taught! So I was like Yes! Some progress! So then we went to church and had an investigator come so I was like even more Yes! She enjoyed it and learned a lot so that was good progress; I'm feeling pretty good about the day right? We then get home from church and did more study, and I did the same thing as in the morning and it was great again. I'm on a spiritual high by now. So we go to dinner, a member family fed us and we gave a great lesson, and I said lots of good stuff and they just enjoyed it and we did everything right so it was awesome. So by then I'm thinking I'm doing pretty good.
So, we go tracting. And you can already see where this is gonna go. So the first lady we talk to was cool but she said we could come back and teach her another time, so that's better than nothing. Then we just keep going and we knock on this guys door. I can't remember his name, but he was a Baptist. So we just asked him what he believes in and stuff and we told him similar stuff we believe in and then he just was like no, we don't believe the same things at all. He then goes on basically telling us what we believe. And there is nothing we can do to make this guy believe different, we tried telling him that's not true and how that person must have been from a different church and yada yada yada. And he was like, no, this man goes to your temple. And I was like, that's impossible, only worthy people enter the temple, you must be confused. Or maybe this guy is a member but obviously is fallen away or something like that. So we testify to him what we know, and we just stand up to what we know to be true. It was so hard I wanted to cry. So I'm just getting cooled off and then we come to this other person’s house. We start teaching them and then, you guessed it, another one. He tells us there was no apostasy and that the bible is the only word of God and that Joseph Smith is false. So we just bear our testimony. Which is about all we can do, is bear testimony and invite them to pray about it haha. But that was the hardest part. They literally bore testimony with tears in their eyes of our falseness. And then all we can do is give our testimony back. Wow, like that is hard. You have to step back and think when that happens. Everything about us seems false ya know? Two young guys teaching about a man who saw God and handing out another book that adds to the Bible. So I can see why they think that way. It really shook me up. So we came home and me and my comp went immediately to prayer and just read from the book of Mormon. And immediately I knew it was true. I just felt so at peace after my prayer. So I know that God answers prayers. I now know that we are blessed when we stand strong to our faith.
I'm sure each of you will have an experience like this or have already had one, so remember that we are tested in this life but we will always be rewarded for standing up in what we believe in, haha, wow I'm turning into a missionary, I'm preaching to you guys now haha. But seriously, it’s true! I know that for sure now. And I'm twice as strong now as I was just two hours ago out on the street. All of this stuff makes me miss you guys like crazy! I'm learning to be strong and just be a man when I have a hard day. This gospel we teach is designed exactly for that. To be strenghtened through it. We teach truth and we stick to it forever. Ok that's all. Thank you all for being a good example to me, I love and miss you all! Stay in touch and let me know how you are all doing! You guys are the best!
|Reunited in MT with Elders from the MTC|
|Elder Brock from Mesa Grandview 2nd ward with Elder Schneider|
Such awesome missionary parents out there!! I received this e-mail this week:
"I met you a few weeks ago in sacrament meeting before your son left for the MTC. My son is serving in Montana too, and I wrote to him to keep his eye out for your son since he was from our ward. Well, Ryder (Elder Brock) kept his eye out and found him! Here is a picture of the two of them that Ryder sent me today. Elder Schneider looks great! I hope he is doing well, and you too."
We got to eat in an airplane hanger this week! It was sooo cool!Tthis guy was a WW2 vet and had an old WW2 plane that he built.
I know you like planes Dad, so here's some pictures to make you jealous, haha.
Elder Schneider & Elder McMahon