Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Hump Day! Three Weeks Down and Three To Go- September 7th

  This is Elder Schaff's email that he sent for me to post to the blog this week. All in all, he sounds good. He has been having fun with another Elder writing some song parodies. Of course, the first song they changed up was, the Pokemon theme song, now they are working on a few Disney tunes. I am glad to hear that he is having a little fun because the MTC schedule is demanding and there is not much down time. It sounds like he is keeping very busy, and has had many teaching opportunities this third week. On a more serious note, one of the 12 apostles came to visit the missionaries during their Tuesday devotional, bet none of the rest of us can claim that privilege! Enjoy-

"Alright! Week 3 is done! The previous P-day was a big challenge, as my companion and the other two elders we're always with, and I didn't plan the day very well. Today is going much better! Since last week I've taught 7 lessons and a Priesthood lesson on Sunday, and we were visited by Chad Lewis for a Sunday devotional, followed by none other than D. Todd Christofferson for the Tuesday Devotional! Wow! I'm not sure what needs to be said for the day to day happenings, it's a lot of studying and learning, and it's hard to write it all down! Fortunately I have most of the important stuff down in my journal. I have selected the best pieces to share from that today. The only interesting note is that my comedic nature has resulted in a running quote board of interesting and funny things I say, which was opened up to things anyone says. (But 5/8 quotes listed are by me!) I'll get those sometime for everyone.
  The first recurring and grand lesson of the week was the necessity of the Atonement in everyone's lives. I've learned that this is the way we turn to God and maintain an inner peace with ourselves more consistently. One of the visiting leaders on Sunday had my companion and I give him a door approach at the end of the Sunday interview. He remarked that we did well, but that what was most important to remember was that when we teach about the Atonement, we have to remember that it not only takes away our sins, but also our pains we feel from bad choices day to day. Why wouldn't someone want to hear what we have to say then? That was touching, and it's true. Soon I'm going to be walking around with a message of peace and happiness for everybody. Who wouldn't want that? Only those that can't comprehend the value of such!
   The next experience was my companion and I were teaching our teacher (Hermano Jake) who was pretending to be an investigator named Inocencilo. He said this was a real person he taught in Mexico on his mission. At this point in the lessons, Inocencilo had just lost his job and was worried about life and his family. He hadn't kept our commitments to read or pray about the Book of Mormon. So as we talked with him we promised he could know that God was there for him in his life if he would pray. We then invited him to pray right there in the middle of the lesson. After a long pause he said yes and said the prayer. The Spirit was so strong in this moment I knew he must have felt it too. Inocencilo said that he felt something too, and we explained this to him to be the Holy Ghost. It was a powerful lesson. Afterwards, Hermano Jake informed us that the investigators the teachers pose as are people that did not accept the gospel at that time; thus they feel that they can act more like an investigator, and that in turn, the prayers we say for these lessons do actually call someone by name and help them. I thought that was pretty inspiring.
   The third lesson I learned this week was that we should seek to do good for the right reasons. There is this some-what long story called the parable of the oranges to go with it, but I don't have the time to type that all this week. The lesson, however, was that sometimes we set our minds too much on the rewards of achieving things, and become robotic and less human-being in this process. The parable taught of a young man working studiously in college to get a high-paying job, and then working excessively to get a promotion (which he does not get because he is only concerned for himself!). It was a more complex lesson of serving others because we truly care about them, not because we feel it benefits ourselves. 
  Hermano Jake taught us something else very valuable this week as well. It was concerning commitments and incentives to those we teach. He said that teaching is like trying to entice a 5-year old to do something you know is good for them, but they don't want to do. How do you motivate a 5-year old? You give them a sucker. Well, let's say we're teaching about prayer and that God loves everyone so he wants to hear from everyone. We can promise the person they will start to find God in their life by doing so, which would be a reward we'll call a Grape sucker. Well what if this person doesn't like Grape suckers? Maybe they just want to feel more peace in their life, which prayer can also bring. Well then we need to promise them peace, or what we'll call a Watermelon sucker, this investigator's favorite flavor. Now they are going to follow up with that commitment; there is something that they need that they can get from doing the commitment! 
  The lesson is to find people's Watermelon suckers. If we offer them what they need most in life, they will be able to see how this gospel will bless there life! Teaching is uplifting and simple right?"

-Cya, Elder Schaff

A late addition to this week's email-

"We were teaching members of the the church in the TRC center which has investigators and members to build confidence with teaching. One of the members we taught was Chilean, and he taught me and my companion a valuable lesson. He said the people we have been teaching have left their countries they loved for some reason and likely don't like it here. They have received promises from the law, and they have not been kept and fulfilled. They will be able to discern this from you. Their hearts are hardened. You must prove you really care about them as individuals, as I know you will, to soften their hearts. Only then will they listen and they will be most grateful for you and what you have taught. 
     If there is something more powerful than that when it comes to teaching, tell me! I know that's true. If we teach with love, people will see this message is about them, and that we really care about them. I hope I can show everyone I teach that.
   You'll hear from me next week!"

--Elder Schaff

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