Monday, October 31, 2016

California: Sun or Rain?

Hola from California! Where in cali- Hemet!
So Hemet is like the biggest area in my mission. Part of it includes the mountains but only the elders really go up there. I am in the Ramona Ward (a Spanish ward! fiesta!) and live near florida and new chicago ave. (for you mom).
So on Tuesday I woke up at 3AM to get ready and go to the airport. Luckily I slept a little on the plane but it was less than a 2 hour flight. I felt tired most of the day but the kind of tired where you don't ever fall asleep.

​Elder Paiva- working hard or hardly working?

We went to the mission office/stake center and ate and had orientation most of the day. Just mission rules, interviews, etc. That night we had a testimony and got assigned our areas/trainers! My trainer is Hermana Jensen from Wyoming! She went to BYU studying dietetics. She leaves in January, so these next 2 transfers are her last ones training me. We are in a trio w/ Hermana Tobler who has been her for about 1 year and is an STL. She is from Utah. So I'm in good hands! They both speak beautiful spanish so they give me hope haha. 

With Hermana Jensen

One thing we do here in the Riverside mission is we don't knock on doors. We have "seeking with faith" time where we go to areas (neighborhoods so far) and look for people who are outside and try talking to them and see if we could come teach them in the future. We also always ask everyone is they know anyone who could use our message. 

Happy Halloween! Today is an eternal p-day! So we have a normal p-day, a meal with members (we always eat dinner with members), then we aren't supposed to be outside since danger in general plus Hemet (my comps told me the first night that we live in the hood. I would say we live near a hood but where we live seems safe to me, even at night). So tonight we are having a zone activity at the stake center and wearing sports clothes and that's all I know.

Lovin' the cali sunsets and palm trees!

It's been kind of rainy this past week. Yesterday was like drizzly all day it seemed!

My biggest struggle right now is obviously Spanish but more specifically understanding what people are saying! Sometimes I can understand a word or two here and there and other times nothing at all. Pro of having 2 other comps is they can talk and understand. But yeah no matter how much I know how to say, it doesn't super matter if I can't understand people and follow the conversation. Some people talk very clear and decently slow, but then there are others who talk so quickly and everything just kind of slurs all together. 

This week hasn't been terribly successful but definitely not unsuccessful! We "paused" a lot of people (in riverside we "pause" from teaching people for at least 6 months if they aren't keeping up w/ their committments and aren't progressing), but we have 2 progressing investigators, both children of a member. The mother is not a member and isn't married to the father who is a member and apparently didn't want her kids to get baptized and wouldn't even accept a pamphlet. We went there and taught the parents about baptism and why it's important for kids 8+ (the kids are 9 and 11) and the mom agreed that the kids can be baptized and we even got her to say a prayer. Pretty cool lesson.

We haven't had a lot of other teaching opportunities. People here love to talk so it's hard to start/finish lessons. 
Church was good, a little different haha. I love singing in spanish though. A lot of the members are awesome. They are super nice, feed us, and go on team ups with us.
In my first night after my assignment, I heard both "hemet is heaven" and that hemet is a weird area and I won't really understand that until I get transferred. 

On friday we had a ward fiesta which was dinner and a halloween party but we only really stayed for the dinner. Tacos. real tacos yum.

Oh yeah! I'm doing well with the food which is a miracle. Even ate fish last night and it tasted good.
So this computer takes forever to upload photos so I might not do it every week.
That's all the time I got!

Hermana Schooff

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hermana Schooff arrives in California

Hermana Schooff left the MTC yesterday morning and is now in the HEMET zone on the far eastern side of the Riverside, CA mission. Her companion/trainer is Sister Camilla Jensen. Her p-days will be on Mondays, so look for updates on her blog then (or the day after if her sister is slow posting them). Just a reminder, her contact information is on the right hand side of her blog.

Hermana Schooff and her companion, Hermana Jensen
Hermana Schooff with the Mullens, her mission president and his wife
Hermana Schooff and the Elder's Quarm President from her parents' ward. They were on the same flight from SLC to Ontario, CA. 

Until Monday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

It's the final countdown!

Ah! Only 5 more full days left in the MTC!

Once again this will be a randomly organized e-mail b/c there is never time for organization.

TRAVEL PLANS!!!! We got them Friday and life hasn't been the same since! I leave the 25th (so this tuesday). I report to the travel office to board the bus around 3:50 AM (fiesta) and I have a direct flight from Salt Lake to Ontario, CA. So when I read that at first I thought they did something wrong and my flight was to Canada! But we looked it up (on, not like google, b/c I'm a good missionary) and Ontario, California is a place! It's between Riverside and LA. My flight leaves at 8:52am utah time and I arrive at 9:47 cali time. Delta air lines flight 3525.

So for exercise time, most of my district and our bff district play volleyball. And if the weather is nice we'll go outside and play beach volleyball. We decided one day that the next morning we'd go outside for beach volleyball. Well it was decently cold out and the sand was like freezing! Haha but we persevered w/ cold feet.
It's fall! And on our temple walk, we (and lots of other districts) were covering people in leaves... as seen in the next picture of Elder Dunkley

So this week after we moved I met a couple people going to Riverside (all english speaking). Apparently there is one more Hermana coming with us on Tuesday, but Spanish is her native language so of course we aren't in the same district. 

here's what the construction looks like! right outside our new residence

One day there were some elders playing volleyball at the court next to us and some of them were wearing husker shirts. I was going to go talk to them and see if they were from nebraska (not likely) but they seemed really weird and obnoxious and decided otherwise. But the same day We took a picture of a district who was leaving and at least 2 elders were going to Omaha. Haha poor guys (not really, but kind of). 

I remembered on Friday that the parents were here in Provo, so that was kind of weird but most of the time I forgot. The elders were asking me if you were going to try and find me at the sunday temple walk and I just laughed. Haha, we aren't a family of rule breakers!

We are kind of trying to speak only Spanish this last week, but today has kind of been rough since it's p-day. We'll see how good this goes. But starting like Wednesday my life will probably be 100% spanish from here on out. Fiesta.
Last Friday I think it was, was our last time teaching our TRC investigator Julio. We took some pics together. It's hard to tell in this pic, but we are all on our tippy toes b/c he started to be on his when we were taking pictures and I was like hey I can do that too.

Mom, the MTC is really quick at delivering dear elders. Idk their exact hours, but usually our district leader picks them up right after lunch and dinner. 

More answers to question: Idk what I like best about the MTC. I guess just learning spanish with our district. We make it fun most of the time. Also one of my favorite things in general but especially at the MTC/as a missionary: LAUNDRY! At the mtc, there are like 2 entrances to the laundry room and one is a ramp and the door is always open so I love walking by that door and smelling the good laundry smells and feeling the warm air from it. Also having clean clothes is pretty great. And now I will stop weirding out over my love for laundry.

What was most unexpected for me at the MTC was how little we focus on learning spanish. I thought everyday would be like 100% studying and learning spanish, but a very selective amount of our study/class time is spent only on spanish- the rest is on doctrine or the gift of tongues or how to be better teachers, etc. Even when we learn things like grammar, we are leaning it in the context of like a gospel topic.
cool quote one of our teachers wrote on the board

I'll have to think about my favorite mtc memory. There are a lot and they all kind of blur together haha. 

Advice for future missionaries: jump all the way in right away! Use your time wisely, focus, do everything you can (including things like choir even if you don't enjoy singing like me). meet as many people you can and get to know your teachers and investigators!

All of my roommates and I were highly disappointed when I read to them that graham canyon ice cream is not your favorite. The idea of disowning was mentioned.... haha
of course I had to take a pic of the Y lit up on the mountain for homecoming

I loved reading that rebecca lyman is going cali spanish speaking! My old roommate Melina (from guatemala) I heard also just got her call to bakersfield, ca spanish speaking. Yay cali spanish missions! 

Our musical number sunday went very well. I will say though that I very much prefer my own flute. But this one worked so that was good.

The rest of my MTC stay will be pretty weird. Tomorrow we have "in field training" all day. so that'll be a lot of classes about various topics and practicing different skills I think but all in english. Then friday and saturday and sunday should be pretty normal. On monday I think like all our elders fly out to their missions so Hna Monk and I will have a lot of studying time, packing time, and two on one time with our teachers. I'm not sure when I'll be able to email next so don't freak out. Oh! But I can buy a calling card here for the airport. I think nebraska time is an hour ahead of utah, so I'll be sure to call either mom's cell and/or try to call after she'd be home from seminary. You can dear elder specifics if you want, but be prepped for a weird number calling tuesday morning. 

So I've been kind of looking back at my mtc experience and like man, the gift of tongues is a real thing that I never understood until I got here. I remember feeling like the worst spanish speaker in my district when I got here. Now I'm no way one of the best, but the transformation is unreal. What is amazing to me, as I kind of mentioned earlier, is that it's not like we spent every waking moment learning spanish. You have 1 hour of language study a day, and usually 2 hours of a teacher teaching a spanish language concept a day. So roughly 3 hours a day of solid spanish learning (yes the other hours your teachers are speaking only spanish, but still). So if you do the math, 3 hours of spanish a day x 6 days a week (no class on sundays) x 6 weeks is 108 hours of spanish learning. At high school, your class is 5 days a week for one hour, so like 108 days of school, which is roughly a semester. So by Tuesday I would've spend the equivalent of a semester learning spanish. But our progress is way more than what any high school student learns in 1 semester of spanish. I'm learning things I don't even think I learned in german 4. Not that we are even close to mastering any or all of these concepts, but we know them and can work on mastering them in the field. This past week we learned subjunctive, a grammar concept that does not exist in english. It is kind of rough to say the least and very common in spanish. I don't have it mastered, but in the 3 hours we spent on it one day (that was a odd day to spend all the time with one teacher on grammar) I understand it (I think). 

There's an awesome video I can't find on but I think it's on youtube. So look up "missionary work and the atonement" on youtube. It gives portions of talks by holland and eyring I think. It is seriously so awesome and applies to everyone since everyone is a missionary! (Click this link to see the video: "Missionary Work and the Atonement")

Sorry this email is so random and a decent amount of it will have to be taken out for the blog.

That's all for today! My next email will probably be from CALIFORNIA!!! 

Hermana Schooff 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

mujer mujer mujer (week 4)


It's been a little bit of a rough week- not sure why. But it has also been really awesome! haha so is missionary life.
HOW ON EARTH HAVE I BEEN HERE FOR 1 MONTH?!?! Wow time flies. Only 2 weeks left til Cali! I'm super excited to go to Riverside but I also know I really need to work hard these last 2 weeks here at the MTC. I think 6 weeks is the perfect amount of time to be here. You need more than 3 weeks in my opinion, but once you get over 6 I think you're done with the MTC. 

So today was moving day! Oh yeah I forgot to mention that in my last week's email. So the building I originally moved into (13M) is normally for guys. But one of the big residences for sisters had bat issues before I came here so they moved girls into 13m. Well now we "moved back" into the sisters building 17m. It's a lot nicer and a littler bigger I think. So that took up a lot of our pday but that's ok. We're loving it already! We have different roommates, all from our zone. So the 2 stl's who are in our bff district (the district in our zone who came in the same week as us) and 2 sisters who came the week after us. It'll be a fiesta, but we'll miss our old roommates who are now in a different building.

Hermana Schooff and Monk with their "bff Hermanas"
Hermana Schooff, Hermana Monk, and their "bff"s Hermana Maglinchy and Sister Pfeil

Old roomates (left to right): Hermana Deakin, Wheelwright, Maclachlan, Rolfson, Monk, and Schooff
Moving into our new room

Oh- sad news. Last week I told how one of the elders in my district received the news that his mom will pass away in a couple weeks from cancer. Well the same day I emailed you, she died. She died like 2 days after they told him (he already guessed she'd die while he was on a mission, just not this soon). So he left yesterday to go to the funeral and gets back tomorrow night I think. 

This sunday us 4 hermanas that came in this sunday are going to do a musical number for our sacrament meeting. Piano, me on flute, and 2 singing Where can I turn for peace. 

It's weird, I should get my travel plans on saturday I think. Ah!

A question: do matt and amber know the baby's gender yet?

Brian- one of my elders in my district is from Temecula. I asked him if people call it T-mec and he said only the weirdos. haha. His name is Elder Harris (but he's white so you probably didn't meet him). 

Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving and one of my now old roommates is canadian! So we had a feast of like pumpkin bread and random stuff we got from the vending machine. We sang the canadian national anthem (I only knew like the first line haha) and feasted.
Our Canadian Thanksgiving feast!

Yesterday we got to skype a native Spanish speaker who is a member and do a 30 minute lesson. Our member was this lady from Nicaragua! It was way cool, not that I could understand everything but how she could understand us pretty well and we could understand her.

Big excitement of the MTC stay (can you guess): an apostle spoke at our devotional last night! Yay I was getting worried I'd miss out! Elder Bednar and his wife came and spoke about one way they study general conference talks. So they reread the talks and look for the doctrine, invitations, and promised blessings. He said we have to dive deep and these talks should be our walk and talk for the next 6 months (at least). He and his wife are super cute FYI.

Yesterday we were outside studying and this one member we've taught before (like how we taught the lady from nicaragua but we taught this guy in person) came up and talked to us. his name is brother molina (He speaks english but spanish is his native language. I think he's from Ecuador). But it was so cool- he always teaches us more than we could ever teach him. But yesterday he was talking about how the latino people who are in the states have given up so much to be here, expecting america to but like the best place other than heaven. But they get here and have left their family, work long hard hours, live in poor conditions, and have no friends. He basically told us to make sure we become friends with these people. I'm not good at explaining it but it was so great and makes me so excited to get to Cali. 

Funny story from this week (I'm terrible at remembering funny stories): These 2 elders in our district were teaching our teacher as a pretend investigator. And I think they were teaching about faith. One elder tried to say faith can make us better (mejor) but accidentally said faith can make us woman (mujer). Hahaha that'll never get old. He literally said mujer like 3 times in a row and did like hand motions of progressing upwards.
Our district before the elder at the bottom (Elder Garcez) changed into the advanced class. Note: don't stand behind a tall girl. Back left to right: Elders Foote, Soto, Astin, Paiva, Dunkley, Harris. Front left to right: Knowles (we say it Ka-No-les because Spanish [He's the one at the funeral for his mom]) Stover, Fernandez. Garcez is in the very front.

This is Juanito, our class squirrel. One sister who is now in the field got it from her mom, so when she left we adopted him, but other districts like to steal him. But we assert our dominance and seniority.

Dad asked about like the weirdest culture thing I've learned. We don't really learn about culture unless we ask our teachers about some of their experiences, so I can't really think of anything. I think they don't really teach us culture since we're all going to such different places. 

Fav MTC food here we go! If we're talking desserts is has to be graham canyon ice cream or if I'm in a chocolate mood then BYU mint brownies. But my fav meal so far as probably been chicken alfredo. Yum. The least favorite food was probably this Saturday (so we're talking the pre fast sunday meal) and literally like all they were serving were these weird enchaladas I think. It was rough.

Dad asked if Hna Monk was a person from the scriptures who would she be- I can't decide on like 1 person but someone with like a ton of faith. Like a ton. 

One of our teachers, Hermano Moore is like super versed in the scriptures. Like if someone asks him a spiritually question but it's off topic and we don't have time to discuss it, literally in like 1 minute he writes down like 3+ scriptures (like not the common scripture mastery type ones either) that are literally so perfect in answering the question. It's quite a gift.

Ha that reminds me of a funny story from like our first week. We kept on pestering Hermano Moore to show us a picture of his wife, so one elder is trying to say I want to see your wife or something like that, but instead he said in spanish "I want your wife." haha and our teacher was just like, "no she's mine!"

I think our district's catchphrase is "10/10 (like 10 out of 10), superbien!" haha we are such gringos. Another word we say a lot is savaje (savage). It's funny as the elders slowly get to know me they realize I can be "savaje" or maybe a bit sassy is a better word and not just quite and serious. Haha it's fun to surprise them.
Cool (rough) quote from our devotional sunday (Richard Heaton, the mtc administrative director): missionaries get a front row seat to see miracles (talking about repentance of investigators). 

I keep forgetting to take a pic with my name tag on. I don't care, you can either wait for me to take one eventually, try and use one I already sent and crop it or something, or just use like a pic of me from our family photos from christmas.

Ok I think that's it from me. Maybe I'll get Hna Monk to send me her pics from her camera, but we have dinner in 10 minutes so we'll see.

Thanks for all the mail and emails! Until next week, aka my last pday at the mtc!

Hermana Schooff

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

I'm Halfway There


I'm always surprised how quickly email time passes. Just a warning, we just napped before this and I'm pretty sure I woke up more tired than I originally was so if parts of this email don't make sense that's why. I feel like missionaries are always tired but are still able to get everything done (for the most part). Haha Julio always jokes with us b/c we say we're tired but he always thinks we have a ton of energy- so we say we're tired with animated faces.

I'll talk about the things I wrote down to say then I'll try to answer people's questions. 

Week 3.... where to begin?!
I think it was on Thursday we were in our classroom with the door open and I saw Melina (my roommate from byu from guatemala) walk by! But we had a teacher so I couldn't leave to say hi. Luckily as we were walking to dinner I saw her. She is working as MTC grounds crew 3 days a week. hopefully I'll get to see her again!

Ok so TRC and Julio. We teach tuesday, thursday, and fridays. So last thursday I was kind of disappointed because I really couldn't understand what Julio was saying. The language barrier was just so prominent. I couldn't understand his answers to our questions, so I didn't know his needs and opinions and how to respond to what he said. It was kind of rough. BUT on friday I totally just understood probably not everything he was saying but I understood enough to know his needs. So when we taught him again yesterday it was a killer lesson. It went so well. I think he's really a member b/c his change since friday was too perfect. All of a sudden on tuesday he was like, "oh yeah i got an answer to my prayer and I felt good. And yeah I want to change my life and I understand why I have bad experiences in my life." which is great but to my it's a sign he's a member. Oh well doesn't matter. Also he works for mtc custodial so when we did servicefriday morning he was there, haha. 

Friday night walking home I heard the BYU football game. All I could really hear was like music and adds from the big speakers, so no band. But it put me in football mood which was fun haha. I'd love to hear the scores of games, or just if we won or lost and what our record is.

So our district- wow. Thursday night we had a long district discussion about how we all need to be better at being on time, using our time wisely, and treating others better. I think it was quite a wake up call for some. But our district has been doing so much better since then. We're not perfect haha and we still have fun time, but we are doing a lot better.

I can't believe I'm halfway done with the MTC! It's been 3 quick weeks and it's about to be 3 even faster weeks! Then CALI!

 2 pics of me in my mission shirt. at the mtc store you can order a mission shirt in 4 different styles. i chose the map style, the most popular one i think.

BYU mint brownies are life, but not quite as good as BYU graham canyon ice cream. There aren't words good enough for that ice cream. When you're in provo you have to try it. It's a game changer, as Hna Monk likes to say.
There have been a ton of senior couple missionaries here the past couple weeks. We've eaten dinner next to some of them and it's a lot of fun. Haha sometimes I think I get along better with older people than people my age (also temple workers are seriously just some of the best people out there.)

So sad news. There's an elder in my district who I know has a little bit of a hard past with family but I don't know the details. And he is really struggling with Spanish. He found out Monday night that his mom has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and will die in roughly 2 weeks-1 month. He seems to be handling it pretty well (apparently they don't have like a super strong relationship or anything) and plans to stay here and maybe just go home for a day for the funeral. I can't even imagine what he's going through. So yeah our district mood is a little bit sorrowful the past few days.

On a happier note- conference! yay! so we watched conference in the gym. They pull out bleachers and set up chairs on the floor. Every missionary could fit in there. The MTC choir did such an amazing job! We're all super proud of them and felt that they represented us fantastically! It was fun, when they begin announcing the session and said the music will be provided by the mtc choir, the whole gym sort of reverently gave little cheers. There was such an energy in the room while they sang. 
I don't know if I have a favorite talk. I loved all the missionary work talks and all the talks that we basically one of the lessons. I think I was just really amazed on Saturday that literally every single talk related to me somehow: related to me as Hermana Schooff the missionary, Jenna the person, or was perfect answers to questions our investigators have. It was sweet. Saturday conference was so amazing, and of course sunday too. I loved nelson's talk on joy, elder ballard's talk, bednar's, oaks'- ah they were all so good.

Before the first session of conference. hermana pfiel, hermana wheelwright (roommate), me, hna monk, sister freer (my fhe sister's companion, and behind her not visible is sister cuary (my fhe sis)

So one thing I think I've learned this week is that (especially as a missionary) there are no coincidences. Here's some of the stories that helped me learn this:
I was just of bummed at first that I wasn't in the conference choir. Not that I really enjoy singing, but was an opportunity! But I really need to be able to listen to all of saturday's conference (the choir couldn't watch the morning session, couldn't write notes in the afternoon session). That was no coincidence. Also, so Saturday was weird with splits. We did double splits, so Hna Monk and I were also companions with Hna Pfiel (in our neighbor district, came in the same time as us) and Hna Wheelwright (one of our roommates). Through some crazy events I went with Hna Wheelwright because she had an interview with a leader in the MTC. So while she was in her interview for a decent amount of time, I got to talk to the man's wife. So we were talking about conference, missions, etc. And she gave a lot of good advice and cool info haha that I can't remember anymore but was really helpful. One cool thing I do remember she said: she and her husband were in a training meeting for mission presidents (they served in tenessee) and whoever the apostle was there said that in Jacob 5 the allegory of the vineyard, near the end when the servant of the lord asks to call other servants, the apostle said President Monson was that servant at the time and that scripture was fulfilled with the age change and the surge of new missionaries. So you know, I'm just casually fulfilling scripture. Just kidding, but still it was super cool. So it was no coincidence I didn't get to go to conference so I could listen to all these awesome talks and talk to this lady. 
Another example: A lot of the elders in my district were supposed to go to the mexico mtc. But didn't b/c of visas and such. We've talked about a lot how it is no coincidence they are here in provo and we are all together in 1 district. I'm learning a lot from everyone.
Another example was that it was no coincidence my branch president asked me to say the prayer at sunday's devotional. So at the end of conference they told us we will have a special devotional. So we walked in, got to have front row seats (prayer givers usually sit on the stand, but the stand was turned into more of a stage (hint hint)). Turns out the special surprise was... Vocal Point!!! So I'm sitting in my seat before the devotional starts, and all of a sudden I see Sister Page/Lemperle! I got to talk to her more after the devotional. If I wasn't giving the prayer, we probably both wouldn't have seen each other- so another no coincidence. It was so awesome to see her again! (oh and the prayer was in english) The music devotional was so awesome. It was obviously all more spiritual songs and they all took turns sharing experiences based off 1 word of their choice. They're all RMs so a lot of them shared mission stories. 

Kristin Lemperle and Hermana Schooff. Kristin wrote, "I got to go to the MTC devotional tonight and guess who gave the closing prayer? :) Sister Jenna Schooff is an incredible, happy missionary. It made my day to see her. It also reminded me of the wonderful six months that I got to spend in your family's wonderful home."

Mom- you get a sticker on your name tag the first day you arrive. But after you're first day you can take it off and you get no more stickers. One of our stl's at the time recommended that we put our sticker on the back and write the date we arrived, so I did that. 

So like 700 missionaries left the past 3 days. In our zone, we and our neighbor/BFF district are now the "oldest" people in our zone. So that feels weird haha. 

 One of our STLs who left this week is going to Cali oakland/san fran speaking spanish, so I told her to look out for Emily Nelson. 

I'll try and remember to take a pic for my plaque this week. 

Funny story Hna Monk just reminded me of. We went to the copy center in the MTC and the guy working there saw my name tag and was like, do you have a cousin named jayson schooff? And I was like yeah. Then he said, "oh." literally did not say anything other than that. So i was waiting for him to say more, which he wasn't going to do, so Hna Monk had to be the one to be like, "oh how do you know him?" haha it was so awkward. 

Ok that's about it I think. haha that was a long email- but it was a great week!

Hermana Schooff