At the very strong request of the Stake President and the Bishop, Jakob gave his mission report in Sacrament meeting today. He spoke a great deal about how Heavenly Father has a plan for us and we need to trust that plan. We need to listen to and seek council from our church leaders and be willing to be humble and obey their council. He encouraged us to trust Heavenly Father and to seek personal revelation and know what each of us needs to do on our own journey here on earth. After our church meetings, we came back to our house for lunch. We are so grateful to the MANY friends and family that have offered so many prayers and words of love for our family and for Jakob.
We had a great day filled with amazing people. I am grateful for those that have supported us and supported Jakob. I have a renewed faith in the power of prayer and I have been impressed with those that take on the responsibility of "bearing one anothers burdens." So many of you have been amazing examples of love to me. Thank you.
This will be my last post on this blog. For those of you in Mexico, you will always have a special place in our hearts. Our family loves you. We look forward to the day we can hug each of you.
Saturday, August 12, 2017
It is with many mixed emotions I write this post today. Jakob came home early from his mission last night because of some issues with depression and anxiety. First, I would like to say that as a family we will always be grateful for and we love President and Sister McArthur. I look forward to the day I can personally give them a hug for loving Jakob as they have. We will always be in their debt for their care and concern.
It was so good to see Jakob!
Yes, Kate got to him before I did. No one is surprised by that. I decided it probably wasn't a good time to shove the 5 year old to the ground.
It does feel very good to have everyone back together.... even if it is a little earlier than we planned.
I am also very grateful for an inspired stake president and bishop. The bishop came to our house to greet Jakob and give him a hug after we had been home for only 15 minutes or so. Not long after the stake president came and stayed for an hour visiting with Jakob and us. I wanted to share some of the thoughts the stake president shared with us. First, Jakob returned with an honorable release. The stake president requested Jakob report to the high council and also give a report in sacrament meeting. Then, he shared a few scriptures with us.
Jacob 4:10: "Wherefore, brethren, seek not to counsel the Lord, but to take counsel from his hand. For behold, ye yourselves know that he counseleth in wisdom, and in justice, and in great mercy, over all his works."
Only the Lord knows why Jakob needed to come home at this time. As devastating as this is for Jakob, we trust the Lord and Heavenly Fathers plan. We are so grateful for all of the good friends and family that have expressed love and concern for our family and especially for Jakob. Your prayers are appreciated and have been felt. There is much power in calling down the angels of heaven to support us in our trials.
Posted by Schramm Family at 1:57 PM
Monday, July 31, 2017
Buenísimas tardes, todos!
Sorry, I normally don't start letters like that. I get overly excited about little random things lately.
This week was full of a bunch of little crazy things. First, President went to Nuevo Laredo this week and brought back packages for all the American missionaries. We ended up getting 48 packages, and he went up there only 3 weeks ago! All the packages go through me to get to their areas, so we had a bit of work to do. There's almost no space in our mail room for all the packages we got. It was crazy.
The three empty shelves are for Nuevo Laredo (President had just taken everything up there, so they were left with nothing) and the Roma and Linares zones, which were having their interviews with the President, so I left those packages out in the main room so that President could take them. They wouldn't have fit, anyway.
I got a shipment of Book of Mormons this week, but they kinda messed up:
Just kidding, they didn't mess up. A companionship here asked for these Books because they say that they have an investigator who speaks Maya and another who speaks Portuguese, so I got them. It was cool to be able to handle them for a moment, though. Especially with the Maya book, I felt a special spirit with it. The Mayans are probably a huge part of the remnants of the Lamanites, and it's really awesome to see the Gospel being preached to them in their own tongue. I imagine that Maya is related to the languages that were spoken by the Lehites in the Book of Mormon. It's what is super awesome about Mexico, that the Book of Mormon took place here, and that when we preach to the people here, we can say that their ancestors wrote this book and it is directed primarily to them because they are of the House of Israel. It's awesome seeing prophecies being fulfilled. It's also a testimony of the truthfulness of the Church and that God is really behind it, because who strives to translate a work into so many obscure languages like Maya? The fact that the Book of Mormon has been translated into so many languages is a small evidence to me that God is behind this work and that He truly loves all of His children, no matter where they are or what language they speak, and that the message this book contains is really meant for everyone.
So I found out a few days ago that Elder Lopez would be moving this transfer, so his replacement (and my new companion) arrived Saturday to start training. His name is Elder Figueroa, and he's from Cuautla, Morelos, Mexico. We went on divisions with a member (Elder Lopez went with a young elder who just got his mission call to the Puebla South mission, and Elder Figueroa and I went to follow up on some contacts we made over the last couple of days). I have only been here for a few weeks, and I have spent most of that time in the office, so I didn't really get the chance to learn the area very well, so we may have gotten lost a couple of times. We gave out pass along cards to the people who gave us directions, so it wasn't completely lost time. :) Here we are resting at the top of hill we suddenly found ourselves on:
The only other interesting thing that happened this week is that the district went to Calle Morelos today as a district activity. Calle Morelos is basically the Monterrey equivalent of City Creek, or basically a great big outdoor mall. The Mexicans ended up buying American shoes and the Americans bought various Mexican things, so it was a productive day.
My email is freaking out with all the pictures I'm attaching, so I'll end them now and include them in another email. (FROM CAMILLE: I'LL ADD THEM HERE)
Hermana Baker and I sorting packages.
Hermana Baker and I sorting packages.
Also, one last random note. Sunday before yesterday, the ward pianist was out of town, and she was the only person in the ward who plays the piano well enough to play in Sacrament meeting, and so the chapel felt kinda empty and sad without prelude music. I finally asked the bishop if I could play a little bit of prelude (because I didn't know the regular pianist was completely gone from Monterrey), and he said yes, and if I could play the normal hymns, too, they would appreciate it. So I did. After Sacrament meeting, the Primary president came up to me and asked if I could play for the Primary because they haven't had a pianist in a long time. So I did, and it was really awesome getting to sit behind a piano for an hour and play while a bunch of cute Latino kids sang Primary songs at the top of their lungs in the way only a Primary can do.
I guess I didn't mess up badly, because Saturday night, the bishop called and asked if I could play the piano in Sacrament meeting and in Primary again, because the normal pianist was still out of town. That was fun. By the time I stop, I will have relearned all of those Primary songs in Spanish and I will have forgotten all of them in English. Oh, well.
Anyway, this week was crazy, but awesome!
Have fun, wherever you all are! Love you all!
Posted by Schramm Family at 5:16 PM
Monday, July 24, 2017
Buenas tardes, todos!
Anyway, I love you all. Keep up the good work in the Homeland!
Elder Jakob Schramm
So I'm not entirely sure what happened last week. I swear I sent an email last week. I think that the Internet demons ate it, because it's not in my drafts folder. Ugh. So I guess I'll just have to remember what happened last week, too, and sum up.
Things in the offices are getting crazy. All the days and all the weeks are blending together, and we never know what day it is. It's just busy. We are getting ready for new missionaries to come in a couple of weeks. We are receiving 6 new missionaries, but 13 are going home at the same time, so we will have to close three areas. That means that once the missionaries leave the house, I have to go there and get all the furniture and things owed by the mission, so that will be fun.
We also received a temporary missionary today. Sister Espinosa lives in Monterrey and her mission is in Barcelona, Spain, but she hasn't gotten her visa yet, so she'll be here until it arrives. It's kinda funny because she was in the MTC in Mexico for three weeks and she just got back to her home city. Also, it's kinda complicated because the transfers in Spain are happening right now, but we are still in the middle of one here, so she came by herself to the mission. It was kind of weird welcoming a new missionary in Week 5 of the transfer. Basically, she is going to hang out with the sisters here in a trio until she gets her visa.
The only other thing I can remember this week was that we had an activity with half of the mission on Friday. The assistants put together a series of activities designed to elevate the spirits of the missionaries and also teach them team-building exercises. It turned out to be a really great activity, and it was really memorable, but for the wrong reasons. You see, as the activity was wrapping up, we all heard a great big crash. We went running towards where the brand-new fountain was installed and arrived at a pile of rubble and a missionary lying in the fountain.
We're still not entirely sure what happened, but the missionary had knocked over the fountain. Miraculously, he wasn't hurt, but it all still scared us. President was naturally not very happy, but the people who installed the fountain said not to worry about it, and that they could install another one.
Other than that, things have just been kinda crazy here. I don't remember much of what happened this week, but it was busy.
Watch this. I'm going to suddenly remember everything that happened this week as soon as I send this email.
Elder Jakob Schramm
FROM CAMILLE: These are some pictures posted by Sister McArthur from the activity Jakob referred to so I'll share them here.
Posted by Schramm Family at 4:16 PM
Tuesday, July 11, 2017
First off, I'd like to wish everyone a Muy Feliz Día de la Independencia Americana. We had to celebrate the Fourth of July, mostly because 2/3 of the office and the mission president and his family are all American. I told you last week about the early Fourth of July BBQ. On Tuesday, we didn't do anything particularly interesting (apparently Mexico doesn't celebrate a US national holiday), but when we were finishing up our work in the office Tuesday night, Elder Harmon and I (the two young American missionaries in the office; the Bakers had already gone home that night) put on the Mormon Channel, which was broadcasting all of the Tabernacle Choir's patriotic music, and we sang the national anthem at the top of our lungs with our good friends in MoTab while we waved around the little American flags we have in the office next to the Mexican ones. Poor Elders Lopez and Enciso kinda had to suffer through our patriotism. Do I feel bad? Nope, (cue music) 'cause I'm Proud to Be an American . . .
The major development of the week is that, as I said in my last email, we had zone conferences all week. Basically I have been trying to get all the pamphlets, books, and other things that each zone needs, get it all packed in boxes, and make sure that each of the 8 zones that had conferences gets their stuff and that I don't mix anything up. It's kinda been taking over this whole week. Luckily, the chaos is over and we'll have a few weeks of peace until we have to start worrying about preparing for the missionaries that are going to come in about 4 weeks.
Today we had a zone activity for P-day. We ended up getting permission from President to watch Moana. It was cool because I and the majority of the missionaries there left for the mission field before it was released so we never had a chance to see it until now. I liked it, especially because it was in Spanish. When I return home and watch it again, it will be like watching it for the first time because it will be in English. Anyway, here is Roma zone in El Cine de las Oficinas (the Office Theater):
We also had a BBQ, because it's BBQ season. A Mexican thing to do with hamburgers is to grill pineapple and add it to the burger. Piña burgers are really good. I dare you all to try it sometime.
The only other thing is that we have been having the What to Name the Room Formerly Known as the Liddle Bunker Naming Contest. I have received numerous suggestions, and they actually all were the same. So, without further ado, I'd like to present the Room Now Known as the Schramm Cram. It is tradition to place a sign on the door with its official name. It's also really fun having people say, "Hey, can you run to the Cram and get this thing for me?"
Anyway, I think that that's about all for this week. Here's to a great (and hopefully less crazy) next week!
P.S. I included this picture because Cerro de la Silla is super awesome. It reminds me of Lone Peak back at home. There's even a temple at the foot of this iconic mountain! It's just like Draper. I'm so glad I have mountains again.
Elder Jakob Schramm
Posted by Schramm Family at 7:24 AM
Monday, July 3, 2017
So we finally finished all the stuff for transfers. That was crazy.
Love you all!
Elder Jakob Schramm
We got our five new missionaries their trainers. We knew that Elder Garcia would be training but we didn't find out who until Tuesday morning. Once we found out who he was, we were all excited. I feel like an uncle now or something. :) I'd like you all to meet Elder Mondragón, who will be taking my place in Nuevo Laredo. We're all excited for everyone!
The rest of the week was filled with updating things and getting ready for zone conferences next week, so I've been busy tracking down all the zone leaders and asking them what their zones need in materials. I also attended my first leadership meeting on Friday. All of the zone leaders got together in the chapel by the offices and we discussed mission things. It was a little intimidating because I've never been a leader before-- not even senior companion or anything. And now all of a sudden all of the zone leaders are looking to me for direction. I didn't really know what to expect! It was a little scary, but I don't think I messed up too badly.
We also closed two houses. This generation, 8 people went home, but only 5 new missionaries came in to replace them, so we had more houses than companionships. Elder Lopez and I went with the Bakers in a mission van and gathered up all of the materials that the missionaries had left behind. The fridge and the washing machine were particularly fun to carry. We basically just loaded as much stuff in this Honda minivan, collected the deposit, dropped off the keys, then dumped everything in the warehouse where we store all of the big mission furniture. It was a fun day. It reminded me of all the days I helped the elders' quorum move people in and out of houses. The assistants went with a member to close another house.
We ended up with three boxes of loose materials (pamphlets, pass-along cards, and other little things outside of their packages). We will probably just give them out to random missionaries that pass by the office, or we may use them in our own area. All I know is that we aren't going to run out of cards for a little while.
The big stuff like the furniture and the bulk of the materials that we order are kept in a warehouse on the side of the offices. We call it the Bodega (because "bodega" is Spanish for "warehouse". Clever, I know). There is a door behind my desk that leads to a little room where we keep some of the materials. In Elder Liddle's days, it was called the Liddle Bunker. In the days of Elder Lyon, the secretary before him, it was called the Lyon's Den. Since I have to continue the tradition, and because my name doesn't easily play into any clever puns, I'm kinda in a pickle. If any of you have any super clever names for a storage room that ties into "Schramm", I am anxious to hear them.
Anyway, the purpose of all that ranting was to show a picture of the Room Formerly Known As the Liddle Bunker. Please note the three boxes of loose materials that are cluttering the otherwise nicely organized space. There's also a rather large package for a missionary that can't fit on our little mail shelf. When I have a little time (ha!) I'll organize things a little.
Right now I'm busy getting all the materials ready for zone conferences this week. Eight of the ten zones in the mission are going to have conferences over the next four days, and I have to get them all their materials ready for when President goes there. We're also going to return to Nuevo Laredo on Friday to help one of the companionships move into a different house, so this next week is going to be chaotic--I mean fun.
The only other thing that happened this week was that we had an early Forth of July celebration with the office staff and President and Sister McArthur. We made American food (ribs, potato salad, and deviled eggs), which was very well received by everyone, including the Mexicans, Elders Enciso and Lopez. We should eat American food more often. We also celebrated Elder Enciso's and Sister Baker's birthdays, which will be tomorrow. Sadly, it's against mission rules to shoot fireworks, so this may be a rather dull Forth of July. I'll still find a way to celebrate it, even all the way down here in México.
Anyway, that's all for this week. Thanks for everything: the love, prayers, letters, and support in many other ways. I truly feel your love all the way out here.
Elder Jakob Schramm
Posted by Schramm Family at 7:25 PM
Friday, June 30, 2017
Wednesday, June 28, 2017
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
Dear Schramm Family:
It is my pleasure to inform you of an important assignment given to your son, Elder Schramm. He has been called to serve as the materials secretary for the Mexico Monterrey West Mission. Elder Schramm has a strong testimony of his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and has demonstrated great leadership qualities, gaining the respect of the other missionaries. He is a very responsible and intelligent young man, and has already made a great contribution to the Lords work here in Mexico.
The materials secretary is responsible for the contracts, supplies, furniture, and maintenance of over 100 mission houses. He also manages the supplies for the office, and all of the proselyting materials needed by the missionaries. A conscientious and organized physical facilities secretary has an immense impact on the entire mission. The office missionaries still do “regular” missionary work every day and are assigned an area in which to proselyte.
The ability Elder Schramm has to speak both English and Spanish is also a real blessing to us in the mission, and makes him an invaluable missionary. He will learn many new things during his time in the office, which will be of great benefit to him in the future.
Sister McArthur and I appreciate his service, and we express our gratitude to you for having raised such a fine young man, who loves the gospel, loves the Lord, and serves him with all of his heart, might, mind and strength. It has been my pleasure to know him and to work with him in this great and important work of the latter days.
May the Lord bless you while your son is away serving in this marvelous work.
President Daniel D McArthur
Mexico Monterrey West Mission
Posted by Schramm Family at 3:48 PM
Monday, June 26, 2017
So we got to see the rich part of town. Most of our new area is actually in the poor part of town, in all the houses that have kinda been pushed up the mountain on the other side of the valley. They have almost a better view in my opinion than the rich people do.
Elder Jakob Schramm
On Sunday, we went to church. The layout of their building is very different, and I've seen a lot of different layouts. The chapel, gym, kitchen, and primary rooms are all together, but then all the other classrooms are in another part of the building that can only be accessed by going outside. There is literally a kind of courtyard type thing with concrete benches where people can wait in between classes. Also, the outdoor basketball/soccer court doubles as a parking lot. It was all rather . . . interesting.
The cool part was after church when we went to lunch. We ate with the patriarch of the Roma stake, and he and his wife are super awesome people. It's even more awesome because he's famous. Those who have studied Preach My Gospel may have noticed a conversion story about a taxi driver in Monterrey that got baptized. Guess who that is. Yup. Patriarch Cabrera! His story is on pages 157-158 or in the August 2001 Ensign (pages 60-61) if you want to read it. Since Elder Liddle was leaving, he brought his Preach My Gospel and had him sign it next to his story. I would have done the same except I didn't have mine on me. I guess I know what to do next time we eat with them. Anyway, he asked us if we talked to the taxi driver who took us to his house, and we were proud to say yes.
Left to Right: Elder Liddle (outgoing Materials Secretary), me (incoming Mat Sec), Elder Harmon (Assistant to the President), Sister Baker (Records Secretary), Elder Baker (Financial Secretary), Elder Tlatchi (outgoing Assistant), Elder Enciso (incoming Assistant), and Elder Lopez (Executive Secretary). We are like one big happy family.
My trio: Me, Elder Liddle, and Elder Lopez:
The only other real major happening this week was that the new missionaries arrived today. We found out last night that Elder Garcia is going to train someone, so one of the two elders that just came will go to Nuevo Laredo in my old ward! We won't find out which one until tomorrow when all the trainers come, so you won't find out until next week. :)
I also found out that Nuevo Laredo is super awesome. During this transfer, Nuevo Laredo completely destroyed the baptismal goal that we had: we had a goal of 20 baptisms this transfer, and we ended up getting 27! Way to go, Nuevo Laredo! They were the only zone in the mission to have reached the goal. I'm so proud of them! Also, the mission reached the really high goal that we set: 104 of 103 baptisms! Everyone in the offices was super happy and animated last night. It was great. I'm super proud of my zone!
Bragging moment over. I couldn't help myself.
So the last thing is that we have played host to the five new missionaries. Here they are writing letters home:
During this time, they started breaking out into spontaneous hymn-singing. These new missionaries and everyone in the office has some experience singing, so it sounded pretty good. We got some harmonizing and everything. This was the spontaneous rendition of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" with the Spanish words to "Joseph Smith's First Prayer". It wasn't until the last verse that I had the thought to grab my camera and attempt to capture it. (Sorry if you have trouble accessing the video. Because of it's size, it could only be included as a Google Drive link).
I also, I have a photo of Sierra de la Silla. This is the view I get every day from the office.
Anyway, things are going pretty great. We just sent the newbiews to the house to rest. They will meet their trainers tomorrow. Hopefully things will be a little less crazy once they are all taken care of.
Thanks for everything, including the emails and prayers. Continue being awesome!!
Lots of love from an air-conditioned office in Monterrey,
Elder Jakob Schramm
Posted by Schramm Family at 6:00 PM