Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Week 57 - "This week was as normal as a plain bagel"

  The thing that I am beginning to notice with Elder Schaff in the mission office is that he doesn't write as much. In the past, he was always updating us on people he was teaching and he was out and about all day long. The office is a great opportunity, and he enjoys it, but he doesn't have much to report. Here is his email to me this week, he is commenting on a sewing project that I had been working on, making mallet bags for marching band, in the opening line. Then sympathizes with me about sore muscles after working out. His sister is running cross country this fall, and that was Hayden's sport in high school, so he is interested in that.

  "That's some impressive sewing work mom! Way to go on those bags, they look good.

  As for exercise, I can sympathize! Elder Biggs has work-out videos called "Insanity." The longest one is 42 minutes, so he checked with President Mackay since it's a bit over the exercise time, and he said we could if we finish by 7:00. So we did. The first day was Monday. It was hard but I felt accomplished after doing it. The reality didn't strike until the next day. As I shot up out of bed and stood up I almost fell over because my calves nearly failed out on me. I'm not sure if my calf muscles have ever been so sore even with all the running I've done. Elder Biggs and I were walking funny on Tuesday and occasionally waddling on Wednesday, but we've finally recovered. We didn't do "Insanity" on Tuesday or Wednesday, but we did on Thursday and Friday. I like it, it's a good way to increase our fitness and still do it with balance.

  I'm excited to hear how Maura does with Cross-country! I gave her my advice to always get a practice in, except for Sundays, if possible! I wish I would have run more/better during the summers, it would have helped a lot!

  Sounds like all is well at home for a Schaff home! There's always something that needs to be done, but that's how life is dealt to us. Keep being a great mom, you do so much for the family and keep us together!

  I described my week to Joel (friend also on a mission) like this:  "This week was as normal as a plain bagel. It was good and filling, but really nothing to discuss." We visited more of our members and ran things in the Mission Office. Sometimes missionary work is very humble and uneventful; all part of the Lord's plan.

  Tell the family I love them all."

--Elder Schaff 

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Week 56 - Pictures!

Here come all the pictures!

Working in the Lord's Vineyard of the Lord's Vineyard! Grape Harvest! Jacob 5 to the max! (Because the California Fresno Mission is the Lord's Vineyard. [I know that Jacob 5 is olives, not vines, but it says vineyard.])

The computer we are using really uploads the photos quickly! convenient.

Elder Schaff working in the vineyard with his "Instant Relief Cooling Towel" wrapped on his head.  

And from last week: we said good-bye to the Gunderson's and Elder Lillywhite. All of them are now at home. The time passes quickly!

Elder Schaff with the Gunderson's

The Gunderson's and Elder Lillywhite

Elders Biggs, Lillywhite and Schaff

Brother H. loves fly fishing! We used some of our time today to make a fly! Can you believe it takes an hour to make that sucker? (Well, at least for us since it was our very first attempt.)

A brief excerpt from another letter about how that happened:
This week we've been working with that less-active member, Brother H., he invited us in on Labor Day to spare us from the heat, then invited us to have a meal with him one day, proceeded to take us to dinner Friday, and we went over today in our preparation day time and learned how to tie flies for fly-fishing. He really doesn't affiliate himself with the church anymore, but based on his comments I know there's a hope for him, and that he is aware of God's hand in things. We just have to bypass his walls.
I believe we can make great things happen, and I am happy in my service. I think there will always be a challenge to conquer working both the office and Mountain View, but I always like a good challenge. Each one we conquer builds our wisdom.

Week 56 - "I work 40 hours a week at a desk job now, so I'm pretty much an experienced adult."

  The great thing about Saturday being Elder Schaff's preparation day is that I'm so busy, that by the time I remember to look for his email, it has hit my inbox! It's always great to hear from him. This is his current news-
  "Well, I agree with the Book of Mormon prophets. I guess this is the point in my life where it all begins. The days blend seamlessly together now, except for the 30 minutes of exercise time, that does not blend! It wakes me up! I say I agree with the prophets based on this line: "saying that the time passed away with us, and also our lives passed away like as it were unto us a dream" Can you find that phrase? It's a new non-doctrinal favorite of mine.

 In reality, not much else has happened besides the things I described. I could list off all the office work I've done, but that would be rather boring. I like doing it, but it's nothing to write home about at the end of the day, so I won't! (HAha)

  There was an emergency transfer that took place in the Mission, so two of our nights for proselyting were shot as we helped with the errands of delivering cars and other items. Other than that, we visited some members and set appointments with some former investigators, but they fell through. Besides my training period, this is probably the slowest the missionary work has gone for me. It's a huge shift from being in an area where our finding mainly came from our own efforts to being here where the conditions make it ripe for member referrals, and barren for much else. Elder B and I continue to visit the members we don't know in order to be of service to the Ward. Great things are happening within the Ward actually, we've helped a few people along the way. I feel successful, just not on fire...yet. 

  There will always be great prospects in the area we are assigned. I'm curious to see if the work done in the Mission Office is proportional to the success we have in the field though, haha. 

  That's all I've got! I work 40 hours a week at a desk job now, so I'm pretty much an experienced adult. I ask my companion how the job went, then he asks me about my day, then we have dinner, and work for the salvation of souls in the evening. You could say we know about life more than most missionaries. We're also a typical church-going family minus the "saving souls" at night part, that's a more rare profession these days."

--Elder Schaff

Monday, September 4, 2017

Week 55 - Working in the Grape Vineyard

  Saturday was a busy day in the California Fresno Mission. Many of the missionaries were able to go and help with the grape harvest at the church owned vineyards in Madera. They pick the grapes and lay them out on paper to dry in the sun, so they can turn to raisins. I was hoping that Elder Schaff would have the opportunity to take part in the harvest, and apparently he did, so that is great. He had problems uploading photos, so I am hoping to see some from the vineyard next week. Here is his current news from the CFM. He was running short on time to type to me, but came up with a creative letter, which reads like scripture verses. Enjoy!

"Forgive me mother,

1 For it came to pass that I only have 9 minutes left to write my email.
2 For behold, I did email many other people this day.
3 Yea, and also my camera cannot connect to the computer I am using, so I cannot provide photos of these happenings either.
4 Nevertheless I shall write somewhat about my experiences this week.
5 And it came to pass on the twenty and eighth day of the eighth month in the land of Zion the Mission President did have transfers. And I, Elder Schaff, did help with those transfers, organizing all manner of missionaries into all manner of lines, yea exceedingly long lines, and telling them where to go. And also, I did go to, and help them move their luggage.
6. And after transfers we viewed the fruits of our labors and rejoiced, but were also far spent.
7. And on the next day of the eighth month we did process the incoming missionaries. And their number was twenty and two souls. And behold, the work was exceedingly great in the Mission office that day.
8. But lo, the new missionaries appear to be of great stature, not of the physical (save it were a few,) but of the spiritual.
9. And on the thirtieth day of the eighth month we did give the new missionaries their trainers. And again the work was also exceedingly great.
10. And now I, Elder Schaff, make some concluding remarks. For we did go to the Vineyard owned by the people of Zion in the land of Madera. And I, and my companion, and many others of the Saints, did labor there this morn. And much I did learn harvesting the grapes of the vineyard. 
11. I would speak unto you my brethren, that I have learned much in these days, and my faith in Christ is firmer. And also that there is much to do in the mission office of the land of Zion.

Alright. Other things I did this week was discover that my friend Dylan wrote a song for the 2017 Ask album. That was a surprise to turn on in our car and see his name. I also redesigned the California Fresno Mission logo this week and it was approved by the Mackays. (They asked me to change it.) I programmed a giant spread sheet with all the lists of supplies for missionaries, and had quite the time doing all the work to seal the deal with those arrivals. 

Also, we had one Elder LillyWhite with us this week, Mon-Fri, because his flight to Texas was cancelled until this morning due to the flooding. It was interesting to be a tri-panionship for a week!

I input the rest of the CFM's baptisms for August as well. We had 40 baptisms in August. Not too shabby. But we know we can do more. In a leadership meeting on Friday, President Mackay discussed this and we set a new goal, which ended up being 127 baptisms for September. It seems absurd, but is best described by: "The Spirit was dancing around the room when that was set." --Elder Gray 

So the upcoming week is going to be legendary. 

And if it wasn't made clear, pictures will come next week of us working in the Vineyard.

Love you everyone!"

--Elder Schaff

Week 54 - New Responsibilities

  Hello everyone. It's been a busy couple of weeks as we wrap up summer and prepare for another school year. I realized that I never added to the mission blog last week, my apologies. Generally, Elder Schaff will send his main email to me, especially anything that he types up specifically for the blog, but for this week, everything was sent to his Dad, and I am finally tracking it down to copy and paste. Sounds like he is doing well at the Mission Office and learning what is required of him in that role. He sent a few photos too. Here is his news-

  "Alright, so as the Secretary I am mainly in charge of all the organization involved with coordinating different events. My responsibilities include:
  • Managing all the mail. (Sister Bradshaw, the Secretary before me and when I entered the mission, set up a pretty much perfect system, so this is easy.)
  • Overseeing all the paper work and files for missionaries
  • Ensuring the successful arrival and departure of the missionaries (which includes mailing the paperwork to their families, confirming flights, checking for up-to-date IDs, etc)
  • Inputting all baptismal records
  • Managing the Mission Calendar for President Mackay
  • Planning events like Zone Conferences--President Mackay picks the day, location, and trainings and such, and I plan for the lunch and building reservations.
  • Constantly Compiling an annual history for the mission
  • Doing things the Mackays ask for--I ordered Pizza and Subs for Tuesday and Wednesday for the whole mission office for lunch since they were doing transfer boards. (Making the transfers)
  • Coordinating Temple trips.
That's really the majority of it. The rest is miscellaneous tasks here and there, but I've actually gotten a sample of just about everything we do there in the Mission Office. I really like it and feel good about the work I do! Most of all the things Sister B. left me are super organized, so that's made things easy. I improved the computer organization though.

Also, if it was unclear, the Bradshaws left in July, and a new senior couple, the Ruschs, have been tending to these secretary positions. But they are training Elder Biggs and I, and will begin a proselyting area on Tuesday. We are excited for them and they are excited to exit the mission office. (Especially Sister R, because she doesn't like computers much, haha!)

Yeah, my companion and I are the only two in the mission with a Saturday Preparation day. It's different. President Mackay said we could split it between Monday and Saturday to do activities with our Zone if needed. Going off of the "be an agent unto yourself" concept. He trusts us. It's fun, I see President about everyday now. I'm actually friends with my Mission President!  It's nice to see him in environments other than Zone Conferences and Interviews.  I will be serving in this role until President decides to transfer me. I'll be notified and will have to start training a new missionary to do everything I've learned, whenever that happens. I honestly hope that doesn't happen for a while. I like the office, but I really love our area!

We work in an English Ward called Mountain View. The leaders there are on top of things, and there are a lot of strong members and youth. We have been working closely with them to bless all the ward members. They had Sister Missionaries before, but they were covering 4 wards, so the Mountain View Ward is just lighting up and accelerating the work as they've realized we are their personal missionaries. It's been great and full of blessed, spiritual experiences.

That answers your questions I think!

--Elder Schaff

PS- I am now in the Fresno North Zone. We are living with the assistants for now, but will move to the Gunderson's apartment on Wednesday. They are a senior couple working housing and finances, but they will return home in a week. They are awesome too!

We helped them move out this morning, which I attempted to capture in these pictures.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Week 53 - Selma Collection Photos

  "This here is what we call "The Selma Collection."

  Elder Schaff had to say goodbye to the Selma missionaries so that he could report up to the Mission Office. He has loved serving with Elders Derbidge, Lopez and Nielsen these past few months. 

"And my, my, Elder D looks pretty sweet to finish it off!"

Week 53 Pictures

"Picture update: Sports activity on Monday, August 14th. Somehow I packed enough and we pulled that off and said goodbye to the Zone. The rest are good-byes that we could coordinate. There weren't many that we could do, since we only had Monday, and we had 3 teaching appointments that night. Miguel was out of town, but I caught Leo, Hermano P, and Kevin, our investigator that was/(hopefully is) doing well there."

Sports Activity on Preparation Day