Tuesday, February 20, 2018

firsts and lasts

Hola todos!

Here is what happened this past week:

Last Monday for our zone activity we played our own version of "the newlywed game" but like the new companionship game. So we saw how much we really knew about our companions. Haha we didn't do too hot, but not too bad either. but it was super fun and funny!

We are stopping by a lot of less active families that we are discovering are also part member families! So we have a lot families we are working with to try and teach some people for the first time but also help reactivate other people. 

We had some new investigators this week. One was Jose! He is an older man w/ some LDS grandkids. He lives on this property with like 40 goats (a lot of cute baby ones) and turkeys, etc. it was a little different, especially for Hermana Peters. Southern California is a lot more ranchy than either of us expected! haha!

This week we found this really cool investigator, Edith! She has a lot of potential. How we ended up finding her is a pretty cool story! It all starts last transfer on my exchange with Sister Reagan. We had 10 extra minutes so we pulled over to a nearby street and sought with faith. From there we met a man name Juan who told us we could come by another time. We did, but met Yaritza instead (in that same house). She became a new investigator and we set up another appointment. Well Yaritza wasn't there for that next appointment (now in this transfer with Hermana Peters), so we did some unplanned finding and met Javier. We set up a appointment with him for the next day. Well Javier also wasn't there for his appointment so we did some more unplanned finding (all of these seeking with faith and unplanned finding moments take place on the same 2 streets) and met Juan and Elizabeth who told us we could stop by a different morning. So a different morning we stopped by their house, but it turns out they don't live there. Instead we met Edith (finally!) who immediately told us we could see her the next day. We stopped by the next day, but she wasn't there (yet again). So we did aun mas unplanned finding, and by the time we got back to our car, there was a car in Edith's driveway. So we knocked again and she was there and let us teach her! 
Hopefully that wasn't too confusing. Either way, it took a lot of small little moments to be lead to Edith. It reminds me of chapter 9 of Preach My Gospel when it explains that people around our investigator/potentials are being prepared also to receive the gospel. It took us a lot of time in that neighborhood to finally be lead to Edith, but we found her (and many other potentials along the way). She is really cool! She was raised catholic but knows it is not true and it is just the tradition of her family. She wants to come to church and read El Libro de Mormon. We are super excited to keep working with her!

This is DAVID!!! What a great man!

Wednesday we saw David! It was valentine's day and also his birthday! Hermana Peters had a cupcake mix her mom sent her so we made it and gave cupcakes to David! We also brought the most BOMB team-up ever, Hermano Perez. Super cool- he and David basically have the same life story. Both grew up in Compton, both had a lot of Word of Wisdom struggles and consequences, both want changes in their lives. Basically we just let them talk and Hermano Perez perform magic. It was awesome! David told us he was going to go to Compton on Thursday to try and get his old job back. So that might have been our last lesson with him, but maybe not. He is still down there and will see if he gets a job. But in that lesson I saw a HUGE change in David. He was happy again, hopeful, and had faith in his future. Seriously, a huge change from the past few weeks. He truly wants to change his life and enter into the path of the Lord. He is super pumped, and even if he ends up moving to Compton, he wants to keep learning with the missionaries down there. No matter what happens- I feel peace and hope for him.

Thursday we gave service at a local cemetery. It was the day after valentine's day and they wanted us to throw away EVERYTHING- all the flowers, decorations, etc. It was a little depressing. But to lighten the mood, one person's gravestone said: "BRB out to lunch with Jesus". Haha!

Friday and Saturday we had exchanges with the sisters in Sun City! I took both sisters to Spanish land, so Hermana Peters got to go to English land for two days (and gained a greater appreciation for Spanish land, haha!) It was my third exchange with Sister Davies! It was super fun since we already know each other pretty well! The night we saw the recent convert family and talked about temples! They want to be sealed this August, which means Hermano needs to get the Priesthood. So they are all slowly making progress- we just really need to help Hermano get there! But they are such an awesome family! 
We went on exchanges and ended up matching! (her skirt looks more red in person)

Sadly, the husband of the daughter-in-law paused us again. He told his wife to tell us he doesn't want to continue right now. I have faith that he'll keep learning and one day be ready for the gospel.
Saturday I was with Sister Wilson. We served together my last transfer in Hemet, which was her first transfer. Super fun to get to know her better. She is like the sweetest person ever, no joke! We had a good day together! We had an appointment w/ this referral we had in their area, but once we started teaching she said she preferred English for her family. So it was perfect because Sister Wilson was there to teach her new investigator!
Lol that day on the blitz there was this mom and 2 daughters trying to close their garage door to go to a soccer game, but the garage door wasn't working. So I showed them the trick- that you have to create a shadow on the garage door camera to make the door go down all the way (because the sun messes with it). And it worked!!! Haha, thanks mom! Lol, they weren't interested, but they learned something new from a Mormon missionary! :)

Haha, Sunday for our dinner lesson we were talking about peace. Then the family started talking about hippies, and this cute little Hermana from Chile held up 2 peace signs and pointed them towards her husband and said, "la ppppaaaaazzzzzzzzz!" hahaha too funny

Had to say goodbye to Hermana Buitrago :'(

Yesterday we had a multi-zone activity! With the southern half (better half) of the mission! Mostly is was social hour(s) for me! Fun to see a lot of sisters, hermanas, and elders I have served around from the last... 11 transfers. Sadly had to say some goodbyes (but we still have multi-zones and MLC up ahead, so not goodbye to everyone yet!), including to Hermana Buitrago :(

At the zone activity they announced 2 major changes for the mission in the upcoming months. First, in April the mission will get ~TECHNOLOGY~!!!!! Yep, smartphones. Lol, barely missed it. I remember even in MY training hearing all the hype about when we'd get technology. And then they'll get it my first transfer home. But I'm not mad though, really. I'll enjoy feeling old school saying we had a paper area book and used paper planners. Super old school!
Also in the next few transfers our mission will be downsizing. We have about 170 missionaries now, and they want us to have about 130. So they will be sending some English elders to other (I assume neighboring) missions (and still have new ones come in so there isn't a dry period). So that'll be weird. The whole mission is changing, but I won't be there for it! ~weird~

Yesterday since we had to end our pday early since we couldn't email until today, we stopped by this potential, Ana. Hermana Peters and I had visited her our first night together, but couldn't teach a real lesson b/c her granddaughter had a fit. Well Ana read the restoration pamphlet since then and said it was "different". We started to teach her, explained how God has always worked through prophets in the past, and since He is the same yesterday, today, and forever, then He should have prophets today! Then she told us it was all a little weird to her and confusing compared to how she has grown up in the Catholic church and politely paused us during the first lesson, haha. No biggie- it is MUCH better when people tell us right off if they aren't interested. But as we were leaving an elote van pulled up and she asked if we wanted elotes. 
We ate our first elotes!!! (lol, in her first transfer and my last) y nos enchilaron!

Now, I know many of you must be thinking, What are elotes? Elotes are corn on the cob with mayonaise, parmeasan cheese, and this chile/spicy sauce. Elotes are super famous in Spanish land. Now I have been out for 17 months and have not had an elote because EVERYTIME I have seen an elote man it has been either right before or right after a dinner. And for that reason alone, I have never eaten an elote on my mission. Well I told Hermana Peters earlier that it is my goal this transfer to eat an elote. Well the opportunity came to us, it was right before our dinner, but WE TOOK IT! Haha, so we both had our first elotes together! It wasn't as bad as it sounds. Actually was ok, except a bit spicy! Maybe I'd get another one in the future, if it was less spicy.

Then we went to stop by a part member family/less active family. The daughter, the non member, wasn't there, but the Hermana finally was! We had a really good time with her! She is really happy her daughter has met with us and I think it is giving her motivation to come back to church. We'll see what happens!

Well out of time! We got a busy week ahead of us!
Hermana Schooff

But forgot the spiritual part! From my email to President:
And finally, during My Plan this week I loved what one of the returned missionaries said in a video. He roughly said, "The genius of the mission is taking people at the most selfish stage of their life and ask them to not think about themselves. That is why it is the best time of your life- because you are focused on others and serving them." I super loved this! That is one of the reasons I came out on a mission- to forget about myself. Reflecting and seeing the change that has occurred in me because of this focused and dedicated time is truly incredible. I will always be grateful for this consecrated time I have had to forget myself, focus on others, fight the natural man, serve like the Savior, and be molded in His hands while doing His work. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

the week before valentine's day


You know you're a missionary when you totally forget about all holidays. Yep.
So I emailed friday, but here is the update from all of last week!

This past week life was finally more normal! The only abnormal things we had were interviews with President Hammon (yikes, I had my exit interview!) and the temple trip! So throughout the week we were able to do a lot of studies, try by a lot of people, and do a lot of "unplanned finding" (walking around the people you plan for and find EVEN MORE people to teach). That is seeming the most successful for us- especially when we are working a lot in our hispanic areas and basically anyone in the area can become a potential! We have a lot of appointments set up for this week from unplanned finding! But it has been so nice to have a more normal week!
"Half Mustache"

Lol, for zone intros last week the zone leaders wanted each companionship to make up a rap group name, a rap album name, and a short preview of a rap. So we were super prepared and came up with it all like 3 minutes before. INTRODUCING: Las Gringitas. 1st album: Ritmos Enfermos (lol us trying to say sick beats in Spanish, since at that point we were both a tiny bit sick). Here's how our rap went (there's an english and then a spanish part): "yo we're a little sick, but we don't quit, we're not tannish, but we speak Spanish!" "Somos hermanitas, estamos enfermitas, no gustan las gatitas, y 'rapamos' perfectitas!" Yep, it was a hit no doubt!

This week we saw David twice! He is struggling a little bit and is a bit depressed with how his life is right now. He kind of lacks drive to do a lot of things, including our commitments. Where his life is at right now isn't letting him focusing on more spiritual things. We talked a lot about forgiveness and then prayer this week. We have an awesome team up for our lesson with him tomorrow, an hermano who also went through something similar. Hopefully we can help him at this point in his life!

So I had my second to last interview w/ President Hammon, AKA the dreaded exit interview. It actually was super sweet! We talked a lot about my goals for post mission and President gave lots of good advice! One piece of advice was this (which applies to missions and normal life): Be 100% in whatever situation you are currently in. So if I'm in a teaching situation, be 100% in that moment. Same with doing myplan. Same with training Hermana Peters, etc. I really liked it and think it'll help me these last few weeks!


The next day we were able to go to the Redlands temple! I love that place! We got there a little early and got to walk outside a little bit. It was a super beautiful day! I thought it was funny that there are orange trees behind the temple. It was super nice to be in the temple again. Luckily I get to go one more time in about 1 month! Looking forward to it! 
Haha us from far away

Hermana Peters is legit killing it as a missionary! This past week she did her first Spanish contact, first baptismal invite, first few Spanish phone calls, etc. It has been great! She is doing an amazing job and sometimes I forget she has only been in the field for 2 weeks now!
"Make a cold face!" It is 50 degrees and we are freezing!!! :0

On Sunday we had a lesson with a recent convert who last transfers brought up a ton of concerns with us! He didn't know if the Book of Mormon was true and thought we didn't use the Bible enough, etc. He has come a long way! Sunday we reviewed the Restoration with him and basically he testified to US the entire time about the restoration, how this is the true church, and what a blessing the Book of Mormon is. It was so cool to see the change in him! 

This week during our blitz this guy told us to talk to his grandpa who was working in the yard. So we start talking to him (in spanish) and he super politely just says, "no thank you, I'm satanic." Oh... sweet.... Haha it was just super weird but he was super nice about it

Ward Valentine's Day dinner

Our ward on Saturday had a Valentine's Day dinner and dance! So obviously we only stayed for the dinner. Super fun to spend more time with the members. And of course we took some pics :)

That night we had an appointment with a less active hermana, but she wasn't there. But her adult daughter in her 20's was there and she let us in to teach her! It was super awesome! The lesson was in English, and I think Hermana Peters realized how weird it is for us to teach in English, haha. But it was a really good lesson! At first it seemed like she was just being nice to us, but as we continued teaching the Restoration she became more and more interested. In the end she accepted a baptismal date (Hermana Peters' first invite! Yay! Accepted!) and she is super excited to read the Book of Mormon! She has a lot of potential and always just smiles! We stopped by Sunday night to give her an English BoM and she legit smiled the whole time!
Haha we came home after that lesson and Hermana Peters was so happy! Haha we took a picture to celebrate the moment (just realized I forgot to send that picture though). 

Sunday was interesting! For sacrament meeting it was more like a testimony meeting with the theme of love (last week we did have testimony meeting so it was our second in a row). So that was a little interesting as many people talked about their marriages, etc.

This coming week we'll have exchanges with the English Sisters so that'll be fun!
We are staying busy- which is the best!

Finally I'll end with a scripture I found in my study this past week:
D&C 112: 13
And after their temptations, and much tribulation, behold, I, the Lord, will feel after them, and if they harden not their hearts, and stiffen not their necks against me, they shall be converted, and I will heal them. 
Here's what I told President about this verse:
When I read this I thought immediately about missionary life! After all our tribulations and trials as missionaries, the Lord will always extend his hand towards us. If we are humble and not hard-hearted, we can become converted, healed, strengthened, and more like the people the Lord wants us to become. Those trials and tribulations are what shape us and convert us. I loved this verse and reflecting on how I've seen it to be true throughout my mission. From these experiences I have had I have become more and more converted each day and have grown and been strengthened through all the challenges I have had. It is a beautiful moment to be able to reflect and have this perspective.

Hope you all have a great week!
Hermana Schooff