Friday, June 30, 2017

Leadership Council Meetings June 30, 2017

These pictures are from Sister McArthur. (I love her)
This is Jakobs old companion Elder Garcia as a trainer with a brand new missionary!

Now everyone be silly..... see how much Jakob breaks out his silly?

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Pictures from the President

Here are some pictures that were shared from Sister McArthur:

Tuesday, June 27, 2017


   June 27th, 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

Monday, June 26, 2017

Last time on The Office.....

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.

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.
We also had a few meetings this week with President McArthur and the office staff. It's exciting because we have two people switching spots: I'm replacing Elder Liddle as Materials Secretary, and President is also changing one of his assistants, so the office has been rather busy. The Bakers (a senior couple working in the office) invited the office over to their house after the meeting for ice cream. Naturally, the Bakers are everyone's best friends. They're awesome. They are like mission grandparents.

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 Schramm

Elder Jakob Schramm

Life in the office and Monterrey

As one can imagine, this week has been different. The new missionaries just left for an hour to do some contacting, so I have a little bit of time to write.

This week has been filled of trying to make a transition between Elder Liddle and me as Materials Secretary. We're also switching one of the President's assistants. This is both blessing and curse, because about a third of us in the office have no idea what we're doing, but we have two extra people on hand to help with stuff. I think everything will go well, though.

Fun fact: during changes/transfers is not a good time for a computer to fail. The hard drive on financial secretary Elder Baker's computer failed, so we have been down a vital computer during these busy times. His computer has all the financial records, missionary debit card numbers, programs to buy bus tickets, and a whole bunch of other really important stuff, especially during transfers. The mission tech guy said that it would be a week before a new hard drive comes. Ugh. We have since decided to look into a computer backup system after that whole ordeal.

I'm just going to talk about a couple of small random things this week, to reflect the chaotic life of an office worker. Where do I start?

I'll try to go in order here. A week ago, Monday night, we went to my first dinner appointment. We did a family home evening with a member in the ward, and they brought an investigator friend. We talked about the importance of prophets. Anyway, the family is super awesome:
Tuesday, I had my first district meeting. It was a little odd because it was the meeting for Week 6 of the transfer, so everyone was preparing to possibly be transferred. Here is my district-for-a-week:
Left to Right: Hermanas Lopez and Salcido, and Elders Liddle, Schramm, Lopez, Thompson, and Covington.
We also took photos of the BEAUTIFUL Monterrey Temple (because our stake center is the chapel that shares property with the temple). I took advantage of the opportunity.

I like pretty temples. Also, our stake center is remarkably more like American chapels than the Nuevo Laredo buildings. Except it's surrounded by palm trees and everything is in Spanish.
I will have to divide this email in two parts because the computer won't let me add more photos.

To Be Continued . . . .

Elder Jakob Schramm

Monday, June 19, 2017

The president called, but the plane crashed and everyone died.

This week was crazier than normal, I promise.

I suppose I should explain the subject line.

All the events of the past week have been swallowed up in two major events.

First, I got a call from the mission president on Wednesday night. I have been called to be the Materials Secretary of the mission. Basically my job will be to coordinate all the Books of Mormon, the pamphlets, cards, and other things that the missionaries use and get them to their proper zones. I will also be handling all the things like dishes, fans, and phones for all the missionaries. I'll also be helping the president and the assistants to check all the houses in the mission and make sure that they have everything they need. Basically, everyone wants to be my friend now. Also, it means that I get to use Excel. :) (I need to rearrange my priorities).

Anyway, I was supposed to leave Nuevo Laredo for Monterrey Thursday morning so that the current secretary could train me before he left (because the transfer doesn't end until next week), but I had a commitment for Saturday (see the other Major Event of the Week), so I had to wait until this morning to come down. I'm now writing this email from the mission office computer, about 6 hours after arriving in Monterrey.
(Note from Camille....  here is a picture Sister Bottomley sent. Her son is in the grey t-shirt.) Driving to Monterrey from Nuevo Larado....
I'm also moved from the edge of a small, Tex-Mex desert border town to the super rich center of a large, modern city. It's a bit of a change. We don't have bikes anymore, but the city has a lot of buses and taxis, and everything is close together now. For example, the church is about one block from our house instead of 9 kilometers. We're also a very short bus ride from the temple (which is where our stake center is located), so we will be able to go to the temple, for which I'm very glad because it's been almost 6 months without stepping inside one.

So Elder Garcia stayed behind in a trio with Elders Aguilar and Bottomley, the other elders in the ward, and they will be in that trio sharing areas until Garcia gets a new companion in 8 days. I'll also be in a trio with Elder Liddle (the current Materials Secretary) and my official new companion Elder Lopez (Executive Secretary) so that Liddle can train me until he leaves in 8 days as well.

Here we are in the office:

I would send more pictures of Monterrey, but I haven't had my camera on me for most of the day. Sorry, Mom.

Anyway, I had better tell you of the other major event this week: we went to Hawaii.

Just kidding. What really happened is that the ward (we're back in Nuevo Laredo for a moment) and the missionaries pulled off an activity called "Trip to Hawaii". Basically, we brought as many investigators as we could into the chapel and pretended like we were on a plane to Hawaii. Sounds pretty fun, right?

What happens is that we show a video in which the plane takes off, but crashes before reaching Hawaii and everyone consequently dies. If you are interested in the video, search YouTube for "Viaje a Hawaii SUD" and there are a bunch of videos that come up (apparently this is a popular activity to do here in Mexico). The one we used was a little over 7 minutes long. Don't worry, the audio is in English (it just has Spanish subtitles).

Anyway, after the video ended, various angels dressed in white (played by the ward mission leader and Elders Garcia and Aguilar) announced to everyone that they had all died and welcomed them to the Spirit World. We then showed everybody three rooms in the church representing the three Kingdoms of Glory: the Telestial Kingdom (decorated and populated by the Elders Quorum, which tells you something about the Elders Quorum), the Terrestrial Kingdom (by the youth), and the Celestial Kingdom (by the Relief Society, of course). For each kingdom, one of the angel guides gave a brief explanation of who was in each kingdom and what they are like (according to D&C 76). Since Yours Truly was playing the piano for a celestial choir, I only ever got to see the Celestial Kingdom (which tells you something about me (; ). Two very musically inclined families (who are actually all cousins) along with Elder Bottomley of the other area in the ward sang "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" while I played the piano. It was very celestial. :)

We ended up getting more than 50 investigators to come, which was great. We also had a baptismal service right afterwards, so that was good, too.

Anyway, so I'm in Monterrey now, working in the offices. This will be interesting.

I'm basically out of time now, so I'll have to end.

Keep things crazy!

Lots of love from Monterrey again,

Elder Jakob Schramm 

FROM CAMILLE: A member sent me all of the pictures of the "celestial world".  Jakob also sent a separate email with a few families he was able to say good bye to in Nuevo Larado. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Hey all!

Hey, all!
The major happening this week was that we went to Monterrey for a mission conference with Elder Rafael Pino of the Mexico Area Presidency. Like the Nuevo Laredo missionaries do every time we go there, we left Wednesday night on a very fancy bus (at least it's fancier than the Nuevo Laredo city buses) and stayed the night at a house that the mission owns. We had the 20 missionaries from N. Laredo and about 10 more from Linares plus the assistants to the president and the secretaries. When you cram 35+ missionaries into one house, things get crazy. But it was fun. There were campechanas (I'm feeling to lazy to describe them to you right now. Google it. Just know that they are basically extremely large deep-fried tacos).

The conference was about how important obedience is to be able to be a successful missionary. Also, Elder Pino described the difference between the pre-mission life and now. There are some things (going to the beach, watching a movie, or interacting with the opposite sex) that are perfectly fine for mermbers of the Church, but if any missionary did those things, he/she would likely get sent home. The expecations as a missionary are to live probably the highest level of consecration to the Lord that can be found in the world today. It's a big sacrifice, but we as missionaries can receive some of the greatest blessings as a result. Sorry, but I had to throw in a mission-bragging moment.

Another really quick bragging moment: I think I've become the official mission pianist, because I got assigned to play prelude music, the hymns, and a special musical number. Thank you, Jan Grow, Betsy Fox, and Shari Aston for putting up with me and teaching me piano for all these years.

So after the conference, we went home in another fancy bus. The bus was so fancy that it let me sleep a little.

Not long after we got back, a less-active member called us and invited us over for a fish grill. He apparently goes fishing on the Río Bravo almost every Sunday (that's why he's less active) and he likes to grill fish. I'm going to be one of those annoying people on Facebook who posts pictures about what they ate:

Annoying Facebook Person Moment over.

Another random food note: we at a Veracruzan member's house one day and she and Elder Garcia got into a very lively discussion about all the different fruits that they had growing up and all the awesome stuff you can make with them, like deep-fried green bananas. Apparently the climates and cuisines of Veracruz and the Dominican Republic are very similar. She pulled up pictures on her phone of an interesting fruit called la guanabana (it's really fun to say) and asked if we had tried it. My comp said that he loves it and had it all the time in the DR but hasn't had it since. I said that I had no idea what it was, and they both looked at me kinda funny and sadly as I told them that we don't have exotic tropical fruits in Utah. The funny thing is that the next day, we went to eat lunch at another Veracruzan member's house, and she also told us that we needed to try a guanabana. She said she actually had a couple in the house that she wanted to give us, but she couldn't bear to have uneaten guanabanas in the house, so she ate them. :) Anyway, a few days later, she brought us some. I didn't take pictures for some reason, but basically they look like the fruit from the Tree of Life in 1 Nephi 8 (at least on the inside without the seeds). It also tastes like the fruit from the tree of life, too. It's my new favorite fruit: its name is fun to say (GUANABANA!!), it's featured in the scriptures, and it's super yummy. I'll be lazy again and tell you to Google it for pictures and stuff. The whole thing was a rather awesome Mexican experience.

I suppose that I should talk a little bit about the work here, too. Monterrey and amazing food have kinda distracted me.

We stopped by Daniel's house to check up on him, and he's doing great. The bishop gave him a triple combination a couple weeks ago, and he's cruising along. He hasn't had a lot of schooling and reading is difficult for him, so we were a little concerned about how he would handle reading the scriptures, but he's doing great. He's almost done with 1 Nephi. He actually told us that "I'm a little frustrated because I can only read about 2 or 3 hours a day. I hope that's all right." We told him the 2-3 hours was awesome and that he's doing great. He also got interviewed to receive the Aaronic Priesthood! He's super excited! He could be administering the Sacrament in a couple of weeks! The only reason he hasn't been ordained yet is because the mission hasn't finished processing his papers yet, so he isn't on the books. We bugged the mission about that and reminded them to hurry up and they said that it would be done this week, so he will probably get ordained on Sunday. It was a great moment for everyone!

A random interesting note: most people here don't speak any English (which is kinda interesting because we're in a border town and a lot of people work in Texas), but when someone has lived in the States for a while, married an American, or worked there for a long time, they tend to speak pretty good English. This week, we have met a few people who have learned a lot of English. It's kinda funny because most of these people learned Texas English, so they have pretty Southern Southern accents. I have a feeling that when I get home, I'm either not going to be able to speak English, I'll speak it with a heavy Mexican accent, or I'll speak with a Southern accent. It's impossible for me to think in Utah English now. It's either Spanish, Spanglish, Mexican English, or Southern English. It's purty fun. :)

Anyway, not too much else ahs happened, so I guess I'll end. Thanks for putting up with this long email! Lots of love from the Deep, Deep South!

P.S. A photo of one of our favorite colonias. It just looked rather pretty the other day.
Inline image 3

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mission Tour with President and Hermana Pino of the Mexico Area Presidency

Here are some pictures from Sister McArthur from the meetings with the Mexico Area Presidency: JUNE 8th, 2017 Meetings.
Where is he? 

Look in the center.