Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Praying for the Missionaries

My dearest Elders and Sisters, As many of you know, Sister Schmutz and I have been blessed this Christmas season with a visit from our children. First our son, Ian, arrived from his mission in Brazil. I think most of you have met him at our conferences. It has been such a blessing to have him in our home for more than a month. Then about a week and a half ago, our three older sons arrived with their wives, Mason and Ashley, Colin and Marissa, and Cameron and Rachel. They brought our two little grandsons Bennett (Mason's boy) and Cooper (Colin's boy). Only our eldest daughter, Lindsey and her husband Jake and their four little apo are not with us. So we have been playing parents to our children and it has been a rich blessing and a joyous time for us. We have taken some time away from the Mission home and visited Bohol and some points in Cebu Island. Our children love the Cebu Mission. They will be here until Friday. I hope you will all understand that we will be your parents in the mission for 18 months or 24 months, and you are so very special to our hearts all our lives. We will also be parents to our children forever and for the short time they are here, we want to spend time with them. We returned to Cebu Tuesday afternoon. Because we have been away I have not had access to the internet and have not been able to write letters. So please forgive me that for the last two weeks you have not received any personal letters. I am trying to write back to a few of you that have had special questions or needs, but the rest of you are receiving only this letter. I hope you understand and know that I love you all. Next week, I will start back writing to all of you. Please write to me this week and let me know how you are doing and the experiences you are having this last week. I hope you are all working with your hearts and minds to bring to pass the work we have been given, to rescue the inactive members in our areas -- to find the lost sheep and bring them back to the fold. I have been thinking about the power of our testimonies. Strengthen your testimonies through study and the prayer of faith, and share your testimonies as often as you have the opportunity. The bearing of testimony by the servants of the Lord is a great blessing to those who share their testimonies "for the testimony which ye have borne is recorded in heaven for the angels to look upon; and they rejoice over you, and your sins are forgiven you." (D&C 62:3). It is also a great blessing to those who hear, especially the inactive members because sometimes there is "no way that [we] might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure testimony". (Alma 4:19). I want each of you to know that I kneel down multiple times each day and thank the Lord that Sister Schmutz and I have been blessed to receive this call to preside over such wonderful young men and women. Truly we love you as our children. I see such goodness in you, such willingness to sacrifice, such desire to do the right thing for your God. We feel that we are blessed mightily of the Lord. We feel that of all Mission Presidents in the world, we have the richest blessings. And it is because of you. So, I want you to know that your President desires your happiness and joy, your safety from harm, and your protection against the Adversary. That is why I pray for you all the time and think about you in my daily thoughts continuously. Be good. All my love, President Schmutz

Overflowing Font

Dear Family, This week as you all know was Christmas and I have yet to receive that package, but they go to the post office tomorrow so I am hoping to see it then. Its about the thought that counts Thank you all!! My area is Cebu 5th. The temple is my area, and we spend a minute or two in the mission office chatting with the missionaries if we happen to be at the complex. I am back to being informed about everything happening with the other missionaries. But you know me I would rather be in the middle of no where climbing a mountain than in the city. This week was an adjustment getting used to training an American! Sister Taylor! Sister Williams my "trainer" was American but she was Samoan, and this is the first time while I have been on the mission that two white American sisters are together. They say that its because I know the language well. I think it just happen to be destiny. :) Well I thought I would like it which I do, but its a major adjustment. I thought I was training last transfer, but this is really a challenge. I now have to speak English which I have decided I dont like to do now. It hurts my head. I have discovered though it is no longer about me progressing, but rather trying to make history with my greenie! It turns out though that Sister Williams is Sister Taylor's MTC teacher what a small world right! I guess I was mentioned in a couple of classes. One of the greenies that came into the batch with Sister Taylor said that she read my blog. Interesting. Maybe I should try to be more witty or something... well if I had time :) You know You Know never enough time.... So at the baptism of Sister Salve Vismanos the ward mission leader wasn't paying attention to the font, and during the lesson of Sister Monarez the font over flowed! The water swept across the floor and Sister continued her talk. When she was finished Bishop Thelmo and Brother Dover mopped up the floor. After we had a successful baptism. When they said amen all Sister Salve had to do is bend her knees and she was under the water. They hardly needed to put her under the water was so high. For Christmas I got the news that Gen had a baby! Wow was I ever shocked. I guess when you are on the mission your family just kind of forgets about you and assume someone else told you the news!! Can you all send me pictures please! Yey its a boy!! I am so excited to see him when I come home, and Chiara got so big!! She talks now. I love you all, Sister Bruno

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Rat As Big as a Cat

Dear Fams, How are you all?!? I am good still haven't gotten the package but I'm not worried. I'm expecting to get it probably in a month I will let you know. We have transfers again tomorrow and I will be training again. This time for real. I'm not sure who I will train but the odds are I will be training a American! We shall see! I'll let you know next week. This week has been rough in terms of our investigators. Our investigator who was supposed to get baptized this coming Saturday told us that his girlfriend is Prego!! But he is getting married in January so he will at least still be able to get baptized. Its just sad because his girlfriend is a member and they really wanted to get married in the temple. Now they will just have to work things out to be sealed in the temple. its just sad is all. At least we have hope for them since they are getting married and they want to stay close to the church. We shall see what happens. One of our inactive members opened up to us and told us that her step father is a peeping tom and that he threatens her life, but she wont open up to anyone else about it. they tried before to go to the barangay but nothing was done. I just suggested that she talk with bishop, but for now she wont even go to church. We will continue to help her resolve this. CAN YALL SEND ME SOME MUSIC LIKE LDS ROCK OR CHURCH MUSIC... you can probably just send it through an attachment in an email!! Thank you in advance. We have Sister Salve's baptism this Saturday at 10AM I am excited for her! I saw a rat yesterday as big as a cat it freaked me out!! YUCKS! Every companionship in my district will be training this transfer its kind of interesting! Im excited to see what will happen tomorrow!! I love you all See you on SKYPE!! I think maybe Monday morning we will skype but be on Sunday my time just in case either christmas eve or Christmas day DONT FORGET!! Love you Sister Bruno

Mission President Instructions for Training Missionaries

Dear Elders and Sisters, This is an unusual week. We are completing transfers two days early and changing the preparation day. The reason for these changes is that the Missionary Department of the Church moved dates in order that travel didn't conflict with Christmas. There are 16 new missionaries coming into the mission tomorrow. We are at the highest level of missionaries we have seen since I arrived on the mission. With this transfer we are reopening four new areas for missionaries. If we include the last three batches of missionaries, we have more than 45 new missionaries either being trained or who will complete their training tomorrow. That means about 75% of our missionaries are involved in training right now. I am told by the Area Presidency that we should expect further growth from new missionaries. This means that we NEED each one of you who is willing and desires to be prepared for training, prepared to raise a righteous generation of missionaries. I am grateful for your willingness to be diligent and set a good example for your companion and for the other missionaries in the mission. the only way we can accomplish the purposes the Lord has for this mission is for the entire force of missionaries in Cebu Mission, each one of you, to set a new standard of obedience and enthusiasm for the work. I sincerely hope you have made that decision and commitment in this work. I recently wrote a letter to one of our missionaries to explain my feelings about the importance of training a new missionary and the qualifications needed. I am pasting a portion of that letter here so you can see my feelings. Please ponder this as you perform your missionary labors. Thanks. Here it is: "I believe with all my heart that we have a sacred responsibility to train new missionaries in the Lord's way, so that they will have an example of faith, great diligence, strict obedience and love. Training a new missionary is the most important calling in the mission. The way a missionary is trained will have eternal consequences. In this mission, in the past, I think there has been a false attitude that a new missionary fresh from the great spirit of the MTC needs to learn that it is different in the field and we don't need to be strictly obedient to the white handbook rules or the morning schedule. Unfortunately, this attitude is a deception of the devil and it can destroy the spirit of a new missionary. The brethren have given us a 12 week training program to be used with all new missionaries. That program requires the trainer to be very diligent and hard working. He must carry out a two hour per day companionship study that thoroughly teaches the new missionary how to teach PMG by the Spirit. It is necessary that the program be faithfully followed. It is very hard work. A trainer cannot be trunky even in the least because it takes away the ability to train by example. I know that many missionaries have a great desire to train, so they can have an son in the mission. It is a way to leave a legacy in your son or daughter. But the opportunity to train is not for the benefit of the trainer. It is for the benefit of the new missionary. Too many times, we have had poor trainers leave a very bad legacy in their anak. When a new missionary is told that he or she doesn't really have to be obedient in everything and diligent and hard working every day, then the missionary becomes deceived, confused and often depressed. Too many times the new missionary, decides that the PNC (Pwede Na Current) is okay, and it can ruin his or her opportunity to become a missionary that truly pleases the Lord through faithful obedience all the days of his mission. The missionary that lives according to the higher law of strict obedience and standards of excellence, is happy and is led by the Spirit. Missionaries who are willing to set aside the personal desires and personal laziness, and who are willing to serve God with an eye single to his glory -- TRULY -- are missionaries that will do anything and everything He has asked them to do through his servants. These missionaries are the ones that are converted for life, permanently, these are the ones who receive and carry the Spirit with them at all times. Disobedience at any level, even in small things, deprives the missionary of the constant companionship of the Spirit. Training is a GREAT HONOR and privilege, but great honors and privilege go to those who are greatly faithful, greatly obedient and diligent and who are willing to sacrifice. So, if you really desire to TRAIN, and not just to have a son or daughter in the mission, you must prayerfully ponder upon the following questions: 1. Are you willing to obey EVERY RULE of the white hand book to the best of your ability? 2. Are you willing to arise at 6 am EVERY morning with no exceptions? 3. Are you willing to show by example that disobedience will not be tolerated? 4. Are you willing to follow the study program, every day for the full time, without exception? 5. Are you willing to live to the higher standards.? 6 Are you willing to repent of any disobedience in the past? I hope you will also ponder these thoughts and feelings and use or incorporate any part of this into your missionary life. Thanks again for all you do. All my love, President Schmutz

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Training a Short-term Missionary

Dear Family, It seems another transfer is past and gone. Transfer call comes again this coming Monday. Its clear that I will have a new companion, and most likely train again. Same area. I hope though that I have one last area before I come home. I still have 3 transfers after this December. Christmas is coming again and I plan to Skype on Sunday around 7-8AM my time or if not Monday 7-8AM my time. See you all on Skype then huh. So get on all of you and we will figure out everything!! My companion Sister Pangue is super cool. She is only with me for one transfer but she is hard working. She is still learning like any greenie. I wish I had the chance for a short term mission before the mission its an awesome opportunity. She is now prepared to train hehe. We finally got our rice cooker. I have been learning how to cook rice on the stove. Many new skills for when i come home... Except I will probably just use the rice cooker hehe you know American still. We had a zone activity today and we did a play/ dance act. It was fun we played a game you have to blow the flower out of the cup to get the Peso at the bottom... Pictures to come. Brother Alpitche came back to Church this past Sunday his whole family is active now!! All 8 of them its like we just had a new baptism a whole family, but its a better feeling to reactivate members, because I want them to get sealed in the temple!! We will work on it until I get transferred! This past Sunday I was asked last minute to give a talk about the blessings of tithing. I accepted the challenge and then gave a very clear talk. Guided by the spirit! We had many investigators attending church and its a hard topic especially when I know there are many people in the ward not paying their tithing. I am glad that the spirit guided me through the talk and hope that it inspired some to pay their tithing. Last Thursday Dec 8 we had a Christmas devotional. it was way cute. We had some people giving the narration of the Christmas story then we all sung Christmas songs. Our district gave a special musical number. I played the piano... Well I tried hehe We also had a CSP at the High School we taught about 25 students in one class then 25-30 students in another class. We taught about Law of Chastity and Word of Wisdom. We committed them to follow the WOW and LOC. It was way fun. That's a recap of our week. Hope you are all doing good. Love Sister Bruno

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Philippines Cebu Christmas Letter

Dear Elders and Sisters, Sister Schmutz and I want to wish you all a merry merry Christmas. We hope and pray that you will feel the joy of Christmas in your hearts and feel the Savior's love for yourselves and for all the precious children of God that are here in our mission. We are so blessed to have revealedknowledge about our Savior and his atonement, the reason for his birth. Even though we are far away from the snow of Christmas that whitens the fields and rooftops of our home, we have received a marvelous blessing of joy to enjoy this first Christmas in the heat of Cebu. Even though we are far from our home and family, we feel as if we have our family all around with the many many sons and daughters that we have found in the mission. Thank you for your love to us, and your prayers in our behalf. We really feel it. Two Thousand Years ago, an angel announced to Mary that she would be blessed to be the mortal mother of God's own son. Her heart leapt with joy at that great news. When the time came that she was with holy child and knew that the Savior of the World was growing in her womb, she needed to share her joy with another person and so she traveled to share her joy with her cousin Elisabeth, who was also carrying a godly child, John the Baptist. When the two women greeted one another, and Mary saluted Elisabeth, the babe who was John "leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost." Mary exclaimed, "MY soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior." (Luke 1:46-47) The two women rejoiced together at the wonderful experience they were sharing. I think in some ways it is the same today. When we greet others with the news of Jesus Christ, those who are prepared will be filled with the Holy Ghost and filled with joy as was Elisabeth. And we rejoice together in the news that the Lord has restored his church and brought revelation back to the earth. This is his gospel. We love sharing it. At this time of year, i want to express my great love for Jesus Christ, who so long ago came to earth as a holy infant in swaddling clothes. He brought joy and the hope and promise of resurrection and eternal life. How special it is to know that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, so that all who might believe in him and keep his commandments can have life enternal in his righteous kingdom. I feel that He is smiling down upon our mission now, a resurrected perfect God. He has accomplished his work, and his work continues to roll forth. This mission is a part of his vineyard. I feel blessed to declare his word and bring his love to those in need. All our love to each of you in this Christmas season. We are so excited to see you for the Christmas program. Until then, All our love, President and Sister Schmutz

Going Home from a Mission

HAHAH Mom told me of the Christmas BOX!!! THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH I LOVE YOU ALL. I will let you know if it comes in the next month hahah it always takes FOREVER!!! The mission is great. We just found out that one of the Elders in my batch going home will be going home soon because of a heart problem. I have been talking to my companions about what it would feel like to have to go home early. Most have said they would be okay with that hahah!! Well I definitely would not be okay with that. I would only hope that I serve the fullest here on the mission with no regrets and until the end. I would hate to miss the going away parties haha!! We had district activity today, and bought a cake for Sister Gumayao's birthday which ended up in a small cake fight. We are children I know but it wasn't out of control so i feel that its okay :) Shhh dont tell President in case thats not okay. I have realized on the mission it's about personal worthiness. We have agency. If we used the agency wisely the mission is an amazing adventure. If we use our agency incorrectly the mission is full of guilt and regret. I am glad I am having a blast on the mission. I am starting to adjust to the city, but hope that i will have one last area before coming home. The time is far spent you KNOW!! The elders in my going home Batch are counting down the days and the time is soon approaching, but don't worry you still have some time to make some coming home posters and plan my PARTY...!! Speaking of party its soon CHRISTMAS!! THAT MEANS SKYPE!! I plan to skype on the 25 DEC but Im not exactly sure yet. But plan it to be 25 DEC. It might be 26 DEC whatever I will let you know next week probably. We have a baptism coming up soon. We postponed it for his family to attend. Brother Jeff is what I like to call a Golden Investigator. He has so many awesome questions is amazing how great his faith and testimony is. i feel that rather than us teaching him he is teaching us far more. I like to use his comments in lessons when I teach. He makes everything so clear. I am excited for the transfer. It will be on 21 DEC. It's early this month so it wont be so close to Christmas. I will be getting a full time companion, and will train for two transfers so I will most likely have one more area my last transfer!! I love you all for your sacrifice for me to be on the mission. Keep enduring and living your covenants. Love Sister Bruno PS PLEASE UPDATE ME WITH ALL OF YOUR LIVES!!

Interesting Questions from Investigators

Dear President Schmutz, I continue to have a positive experience with Sister Pangue. She is willing to work hard even though she is not a full time missionary with no training. I feel this has not only been productive for the mission, but it has also helped her to be ready for her mission. Brother Jeff has decided to move his baptismal date until the first couple weeks of January so that his parents can attend. I feel this is the best decision for him. I believe that he is ready to be baptized, but I am glad we have more time to prepare him for the covenant he is about to make. He has many great questions, and we are sometimes shocked at his knowledge of the gospel and his testimony. Sister Salve is starting to open up. She is not yet ready for her baptism so we will move the date back. At least we see her progression. Sister Neil Jean Alpitche has a great desire to be baptized. her parents are inactive, but are slowly coming back to church. We feel that she should not be baptized until she has support from her parents. Although she is not a convert baptism she is still someone we have been focusing on. We are teaching her father on the weekends when he is home. They are excited for our family home evening this Saturday at 7PM. If you are available President and would like to attend just let us know. We are happy that Sister Alpitche came to church last sunday although brother did not come with her. She took the leap of faith, and brought her six children with her. She walked with six kids two of them being small children. I feel that brother is soon to follow to come back. We taught the Banono family. The father has been inactive for a long time. He has a problem with drinking and smoking, but we feel this will easily be given up once he once again gains a testimony. It will take time and effort, but we can't let his family try to go alone. I am grateful for the new program it has changed my outlook on the work. I can tell the increase of knowledge. I am grateful for the new questions and concerns of inactive members. I feel this will only strengthen me for when I go home not to become inactive!! I am excited for what next transfer will bring with the new companion. I have enjoyed the time with Sister Pangue training. I will continue to help the work progress here in the Cebu 5th area. Although we had very low stats president this week we really did try our hardest. It takes much more time trying to convince inactive members to let us teach them. I find sometimes we are only getting one or two lessons, because we don't feel it would be appropriate to teach. We have been trying to build trust of the inactive members to open their hearts. We though will not force them to listen to a message if the situation does not warrant. For example we visited the Banono house and brother was passed out drunk. We talked to sister, but we did not teach a lesson. Things like that where there will be no spirit. It also seems we get punted a lot more lately, but it does not frustrate us we just continue. Thank you President for your testimony of the Savior. I have a great hope for my future not only tomorrow or after the mission, but in the life to come all because I know that without a shadow of doubt that Christ lives. He is our advocate at the judgement. Sister Bruno