Saturday, April 26, 2014

February 17, 2014 - Last few days

Well Mom, this is my last P-Day.  I said what I wanted to say last week, but here's a follow up on how the week went.  It was the weirdest week of my whole mission! I felt like God was saying, "You better have pushed yourself this whole transfer and not just relied on this last week cuz Imma send a snow storm to keep you inside for a day and a half."  And I can reply, "I did." I have been at peace for these last weeks.  I feel like I have really been ok with the concept of "going home."  It will be hard and I'm gonna cry, probably a lot. (#realmencry) But it'll be ok.  God has me in His hands and I trust Him. #Proverbs3:5-6
This ward has blessed me so much.  I cannot tell how how great each and every one of my areas has been.  I have never had a ward or branch that I wanted to get out of.  I feel that these past two years will be as Grandpa Jarvis says, "the best two years for your life."  I'm glad that I followed Grandma Jarvis's advice, "a little hard work never hurt anyone."  I'm glad that Grandpa Schoemig has been with me a lot of the time, guiding me and helping me.  I love my family.

I hope your time here in Merlind has been good so far.  It's kinda snowy and cold but hey it's February.  This is all so surreal to me.  Is this real life?  Have I even left the MTC? Have I even gone to the MTC?  I am now thinking of "Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche, "relax child you were there..."  That brings me some comfort haha.  

I bear my testimony of the power of a mission that has helped me feel the divine love of God, the mercy and justice of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, and the truthfulness of the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ and His Church.  I share that I have defended the divine origin of the Book of Mormon and the sanctity of the marriage covenant.  I have sung the song of redeeming love and the melody of mourning.  I cannot thank my Heavenly Father enough for this.  If I could sing His praise forever I would still be in His debt.  I am humbled by the two years of man-making that I have enjoyed and endured.  I have done what I came to do.

Well this is more like a see you soon than anything else.  I LOVE YOU TO THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE!

Here at the edge, Elder Schoemig

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 10, 2014 - Closer to the edge, Mosiah 20:10-11

"Now I'm closer to the edge"
Can't believe this is it.  Last full week.  Make it count. 
I stepped into this world of diligence and love two years and two days ago.  I have fought as it describes in Mosiah 20:10-11, "as a lion... and for their lives... and like dragons." This is my pinnacle, my shining moment, my masterpiece, and all glory be to God.  I will work this week as I've never known myself to work, I will serve this week as I've never known myself to serve, and I will love this week as I've never known myself to love.  This isn't about me however.  This is all about Him. 
I have seen Him here in DC.  I saw Him in the eyes of the first deaf Ethiopians I taught here.  I saw Him in the brothers and sisters that faithfully attend church every Sunday despite living paycheck to paycheck, and in neighborhoods where I never would have dreamed of living before my mission.  I saw Him in the laughing and crying children every week in church, at the park, on the streets.  Most recently I have seen him as my dear friend, Z A, got dressed in white and was baptized.  I have seen Jesus Christ all around me.  I hope others see Him in me.
Am I ready to come home?  I have found peace with it.  It is OK.  It was meant to be an ending so that I could experience the joy of a beginning again.  The Lord wants us to love things so deeply and so tenderly and then to give them to Him just as we give Him the things that we don't love about ourselves: our sins, trials, and pains.  The total commitment that is consecration comes in gifts great and small that we give to the Savior. 
I know I have been and will continue to be engaged in the greatest work that has ever been.  I know that the Lord and Savior of whom we speak and seek is this Jesus Christ, of whom the Bible and Book of Mormon testify.  I know that Jesus Christ restored His church and worked through a man, Joseph Smith.  I know Joseph saw what he said he saw.  I know that the temple is the House of God on the earth, and I love to see the temple.  I know that the family is so important that the appointment as the fundamental unit of society was not only given to us by God, it is part of what makes God.  God is our Heavenly Father.  He love us and wants us to be with him.  He gives us mountains to climb, hills to sled down, valleys to walk, and rivers to cross so that we can come closer to Him both in the journey and desination.
Man's extremity is God's opportunity.  Now I'm closer to the edge.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Learning how to use Ipad

Elder Schoemig's mission area are one of the few that get to learn how to use Ipad and here is the picture as he is learning how to use it.  :)

Elder Schoemig - bottom left corner

February 3, 2014 - IT'S OK! and a shout out to his father...

Hey Mom! The title of my post this week is, "It's OK."  That was something I learned to say last Saturday night, but I'll get into that a little later.

First of all, Z A is getting baptized this Friday!!! Woooo hooooo! It'll probably be the last baptism I have while I'm a full time missionary, barring some unexpected miracle, and it tastes so sweet! He is so ready and we've been able to meet with him a ton these past few weeks.  He had a really busy holiday schedule with family but that's all done now so we're in the clear! It's cool because it'll be the two year mark of when I got set apart by President Carpenter. 

I need to send a shout out to Dad, you know what day it is today. I learned many lessons that night, and I don't know why it happened, but it's OK.  I know that if you had stayed or if the Lord had decided to take you home it would've been in our best interest as an eternal family. I love you Dad!

So the past few weeks have been just a *little stressin with knowing that the iPad's were coming (yes we have them, no I don't particularly like them, guess I'm too "old school," but they are nice for certain things), and that my days left as a missionary are dropping like the temperature did a week ago (we had highs of 14 degrees, not too bad, I know Sister Lewis had -19 in Chicago at one point, but still cold).  Anyway, one of the recent converts and women that've I've learned to love and trust because of her amazing insight into what I'm feeling, sat me right down and gave me a 45 minute talk on how I've touched so many people's lives, and I've become the best missionary I can be, so why am I stressin?, and just enjoy the ride.  She made me count to ten and take a breath, after which I said, "You're right.  These past two years I've worked so hard for this.  I've done everything that I can, and I'm gonna enjoy the last two weeks, but still work hard.  I've done what I came here to do.  And I'm gonna miss it." (cue the tears) And then she said, "And?..." And I said, "And it's OK." I've been told by a lot of people lately that it's ok to cry, it's ok to miss the mission, it's ok to be starin down the barrel of a shotgun called "Going Home", that it's ok to this, that and the other, but I finally realized that it is OK.  You'd expect that when the greatest force for good in the entire universe, the Atonement, comes and drapes itself upon you that you'd feel heavier right? Wrong, you feel lighter because that force is the love of God, which takes our pain, sorrow, and grief away.  

I love you to the EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE! I'm closer to the edge, Elder Schoemig

Monday, January 27, 2014

January 27, 2014 - Getting closer....3 weeks this Wednesday

"Gooooooooooooood afternoon Silver Spring Zone!" is how I normally greet the zone when we send mass voice messages that we call fittingly, "call-outs."  And that is how I choose to greet you today Mom, with a great, big, guttural "goooooooood afternoon!"  Anyway... I really appreciated the email this week, it makes me very excited to hear about what good basketball players Dakota and Carson are, but I think I can still take 'em :) It's great you got a smart phone! I would like to get one eventually as well, hopefully sooner than later ;) (That's a really BIG wink by the way)  The ASL temple session sounds like tons of fun! I know I've really enjoyed it all the times I've been.  It really helps to discover some more of the emotion behind the Plan of Salvation, however I haven't seen or even know if they have a translation for the new film yet.
Well this past week was a big week for the ASL program out here, as you know from my message to you.  I didn't get to go to the meeting on Saturday, but I did type up a proposal that I sent to President that hopefully was well-articulated and able to drive home some important points.  It was, at the very least, a base from which we can continue to gather ideas and make informed decisions with.  President Cooke informed me that the meeting went well, and that Elder Gerrard was very supportive in making things happen. We met with the ASL branch leaders, President Cooke, and Stake President Windley on Sunday morning to make sure we are of one heart and one mind.  The big part was, "how do the members feel like the ASL missionaries can be used most effectively?"  We decided that strenghening the core, the branch, before reaching out to other groups that have started up, is most important.  One of the main ways that missionaries will be most successful in strenthening, retaining, and baptizing in the ASL program is to have STRONG language fluency.  I personally wish I would have not had that time when I was not interested in signing, but I wish I would have worked hard to be more fluent and able to communicate.  One way that the branch wants to see the ASL missionaries continue to improve language fluency is to have them stay in the area for a lot longer, and to have them cover different areas, and to transfer them between each area.  The ASL branch and the two Presidents agreed on regular meetings to continue the effort and to get the ball rolling in where the branch wants and needs to be headed.  I am very excited and supportive of this effort, and know it will yield great results.

Ok wow... enough about that!  We did some other things this week too.  We taught Brother A two lessons and we decided to have his baptismal a little farther out, actually right before I come home, so that we can make sure we meet with him and have all the lessons and everything.  He is really excited, turns out for the past few weeks he had a lot of family members in town and was very busy entertaining them.  Darn family members getting in the way of a baptism ;) We had a snow day on Tuesday where we got about 5-6 inches and stayed in all day.  We planned and studied and cleaned and when we got bored we played in the snow!  It was really fun. We are busy getting ready for... iPads this week!  We are excited to see how they will help us out in our preselyting efforts and to create new ways in which they can be used.  We are also busy preparing for Zone Activity next week where we will be playing dodgeball and eating pupusas.  This morning we actually had a dodgeball fight in our apartment..... as you can imagine 6 Elders+15 dodgeballs= 1 messy missionary apartment! But we cleaned up don't worry.

Well, what can I say?  I've been very emotional lately.  I'm like one of the many pregnant women in our ward.  Super happy one minute to be "livin the dream" and the next just super sad and dreading the day when the badge comes off, permanently.  It's helped that our transfer motto has been "cry if you need to."  I am doing very well and positively for the most part though.  I think that I would rather go out working hard with all guns blazing and crying and being-torn-up-inside-because-I'm-gonna-miss-this-so-much than ANY OTHER WAY.  I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, and the end was never easy, but it was also never the end.  I am closer to the edge. 


Monday, January 20, 2014

January 20, 2014 - Armor of God: Victorious!

Goooooooood afternoon Schoemig Mom!  (can you hear me impersonating Ty from Extreme Makeover:Home Edition?)  This morning I woke up at 5 am to go down to the Lincoln Memorial for sunrise pictures, probably for the last time, and played football and ultimate frisbee.  Walking on the National Mall used to give me chills, now it feels like home.  We also went to the famous Ben's Chili Bowl on U Street, I'm an official Washingtonian now!  It is the home of Bill Cosby's favorite half-smoke chili dog.  I know Grandpa Jarvis is gonna be proud of me, and I think we should go there when you're here.  It was delicious, however after eating it I felt like I walked like Bill Cosby does now... niiiiice and slooooooooooow.  hahahahaha.
I was so psyched to see the picture of Jamieson and you all on Facebook!  He is one of my favorite companions, and I know you felt the same love for him that I did.  I spent 6 straight months by his side, doing the work of the Lord in the ASL program, so we grew pretty tight.  

That's good news about the ASL program and the church!  I'm very excited for that, and hopefully I can be involved back home.  And it was good to hear about all the kid's success, I pray for them every day.

This last week was a hard fought week in the battle for righteousness, and those wearing the Armor of God came out victorious.  I felt really, truly alive and awake last week as we talked to everyone we could and invited them all to learn more.  As a result, we have lots of potential for this week, and our whole zone was blessed to find 53 new investigators last week!  For this mission, that is a TON!  Everyone was just letting their knees hit the floor and their shoes hit the pavement as we worked our tails off to be obedient and #findandbaptize!  It was sweet!  Now we turn those new investigators into investigators who are fellowshipped by ward members, come to church, set a baptismal date and be baptized and confirmed!  This work is exciting!

Ok, there's nothing I need... BUT don't plan anything for the night of Thursday February 20th, because we'll be going down to Calvert to eat dinner with some of my very favorite people on the mission.  I'll try to set up some other meal appointments for us!

LOVE YOU TO THE EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE AND BACK AGAIN! closer to the edge... Elder Schoemig

Monday, January 13, 2014

January 13, 2014 - Mom stressed? Nah...more like can't wait to get to hold her son! ;)

Heyyyyyy yooouuuuuu guuuuuuuuuyyys! And by "you guys" I mean Mom.  How
ya been?  Holding up?  It's probably been stressful for you knowing
that your son is out on a mission in one of the most... interesting...
cities in 'Merica.  I just wanted to say, don't worry, just relax and
take the rest of the time that he is gone to not stress, cuz your son
will be doing the workload of the both of you while he finishes his
call to serve.  And he couldn't be more energetic, engaged, and
emotional than he has ever been!  This past week we had transfers as
you know and Elder Schoemig got a great new companion named Elder Adam
Ron Arnett IV, or just Elder Arnett, from Gilbert Arizona.  Elder
Arnett is a super hard worker and also a super fun guy so we've just
had lots of good workin and fun at the same time.

We picked up new investigator named E from Kenya on Saturday,
we're really excited about him.  His wife comes back from Kansas this
week so we're looking forward to working with him and her.  Their son
is 3.

Thanks for all the updates on everyone, they mean a lot.  I feel like
I'm gonna have a lot harder time to win at basketball with all my
little brothers growin up!  I'm glad Erik got home, he is the man.
I'm looking forward to getting to know him more.  Sounds good with the
whole Mt. Vernon thing.  I'd like you to meet some of the great people
I have met out here, as well as visit the sites in DC.

I love you so much!  to the EDGE of the UNIVERSE!!! closer to the
edge, Elder Schoemig