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

Week 53 - "Whatever You Do Mom, Don't Call the Secretary!"

Well, Elder Schaff really caught us off guard by writing emails on Saturday this past week. I usually sit down after church and write to him on Sundays, so he has email to read any time on Mondays, his old preparation day. Since he is working in the Mission Office Monday - Friday now, he had preparation day on Saturday. I guess I will have to write him by Friday evening now. Anyway, this is his news this week.

  "Alright family! How are you doing! I bet I caught you off guard, yeah?
You didn't expect me to email you at 12 on a Saturday! Err.... I guess it's 3 or so there. But you get me!

  First order of business, my preparation day will be Saturdays now. But, as we know, that is some prime proselyting time to go out and teach families. Thus, we may split the time between Saturday and Monday. (For behold, President Mackay did declare unto us that we can be agents unto ourselves and do what is right.) You'll have to send your emails a bit earlier now I suppose!!!

  It's been a great week in the Mission Office. I actually really enjoy it. So there you have it. You put a nerd at a desk and give him a computer and he loves it. I'm the right Elder for the job apparently! This week I learned all of the responsibilities that are required to get missionaries in and out of the mission. I keep track of every missionary coming in and confirm their arrivals from the MTC (Missionary Training Center). I send out letters to newly assigned missionaries telling them of the CFM's (California Fresno Mission) standards and various other paperwork. I have to manage all the letters and arrangements for missionaries that will be departing as well. It's somewhat difficult to get rid of missionaries! (Haha) There is a lot that has to be done to get them where they need to be.

  Now I'm learning the auxiliary responsibilities that are going to be more long-term, like updating the mission's annual history or preparing missionary identification reports. I'm also going to have to pick up on the responsibilities unique to the CFM system like developing the Christmas card list and such. It's a lot coming in, but I really like it.

  In the great words of Elder D: "The more you work in the Mission Office, the more the Lord will bless your area." I believe it. We have received a ward to cover that is ripe to go and harvest with us. Spiritually and physically! They are excited to get out there and do some missionary work since prior to us the ward was covered by sister missionaries, but they also had 3 other wards to attend to, and there was a lot of difficulty to share the time correctly. Also, the grape harvest is coming up, thus physically, the ward will harvest with us.

  My companion is Elder Biggs. We get along great. Really, the California Fresno Mission is a great place to be. There are lots of good Elders in this valley! Elder B is proof that our call to the Mission Office was carefully planned out and inspired. He is a Hmong language missionary. For the first part of his mission he covered Hmong areas and testified of Yextus (Jesus). I'm trying to pick up a few words in free time to sound cool. I think it would be awesome to learn it, but there really isn't enough time. Elder B says it makes no sense until you get the alphabet and how to read down and then you start to make connections. Anyway, what I was getting to is that a Hmong missionary and a Spanish missionary were put together in the mission office/Mountain View area. That is a significant sacrifice of language missionaries. Spanish not so much, there are still lots of missionaries speaking Spanish, but I did break the even number of Spanish companionships. But there are only 8 or so Hmong Elders! 

  Anyway, we teach really well together and have had some good experiences already with our members.  After concluding one of the lessons, Sister L commented that what we shared was something that she really needed to hear at this point of life right now. The Spirit immediately filled the room.

  Oh yeah, and the area is super rich. I lost my camera for a time (found it again though), but Elder B got some good ones. There is one with all of these huge houses and palm trees that looks like your stereotypical California. One of the members we met had a Camero and two different types of Mercedes and some other nice car that I forgot the name of. Gated community. Big houses. But their yards will never be as big as the ones in New York! Ha ha, we have more yard space than them. 

  Ask your questions if you have them! It's been a great week, and the time is passing super quickly. So very fast! No matter how long I serve in the Mission Office I feel that it will be over before I know it. We work from 9:00 to 5:00 there and teach in the evenings. That will make your days fly by.   

  I am therefore, doing great. Whatever you do mom, don't call the Secretary!" (It's tempting, but I won't call the Mission Office and ask for the Secretary.)

--Elder Schaff

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Week 52- Big Change for Elder Schaff's One Year Mark

  I wasn't expecting to hear too much from Elder Schaff this week. Transfers are two weeks out and he and Elder D were working hard and moving things forward, then he got a phone call on Sunday night and things changed quickly. You can read about it below.
  This week mark's Elder Schaff's hump day or one year mark. He entered the MTC last summer on August 17th. One year down and one to go! To mark the occasion, I had a tee shirt sent by Amazon, it reads, "Hump Daaay! There is a camel in the middle and below the camel it says, "Guess what day it is." I also bought a hump day shirt, so if you see me in my yellow camel tee shirt, you will know why. Here is the news from Elder Schaff-

  "Alright, bear with me, because things have gotten really crazy in the last 15 hours. 

  Last night at 10:21 pm I was writing in my journal. The phone rang. I looked at it and it said: "***President Mackay," and then I knew something crazy was about to happen. You see, any missionary knows that when his mission President calls him late at night the following may have happened: 
1) Somebody the missionary knew died. 
2) President has received revelation and wants to do something to/with you and your companion like: 
 a) assign a leadership position
 b) transfer a missionary based on some occasion.
 c) go on a team-up with you because you have important investigators! Yay!

  He then told me he intended to speak with me privately. I switched the phone off speaker and prepared for what he was going to tell me! And the result was I'm leaving Parlier/Selma tomorrow morning!!!

  I have been called to be the Mission Secretary for a time. President Mackay has decided that he wants to have youth missionaries fulfill some of the Mission Office roles instead of senior couples and see what happens as a result. I and my new companion, that I will soon meet, will be the first missionaries to do so in the CFM. (Some other missions have done this I guess.) I will be a secretary by day and a proselyting missionary by night, working some area in Fresno. 

  I really don't know what to think! Transfers are in two weeks, but because I need to be trained for 12 days to do this properly, I have to leave now! Thus, after I put the phone down last night, chaos erupted. I began packing up my things. I had to tell Elder D the news and that was really sad because our companionship will come to an end. It has been a wonderful 10 weeks that we've had together, and I've come out of it with a true friend. Until the end of the transfer, Elder D will be in a "tri-panionship" with Elders N and L until transfers come. We will get new missionaries then and there will be enough to fill the areas. 

  So that's how I'm faring. Never mind the week we had! It was pretty boring anyway. Nothing notable happened until last night.

  Elder D hit the brakes on his bike to talk to someone, but only hit the front brakes, and pulled off half of a wicked front flip. Somehow he caught himself, but a few parts flew off his chain and it's not tight anymore. A bike is no good without the chain to move the gears and then the wheels! The Zone Leaders needed us to teach an interlude at a baptism they had at 6 anyway, so we got the bikes onto the car and went to the church and gave that teaching. We returned to Parlier and continued to have the day's plans and appointments fall through. The day was getting long at that point, but Elder D and I both agreed that it had to be happening for a wise purpose of God.

  That was just it! I felt inspired to knock the door of a potential from last transfer. There didn't appear to be anyone home, but we went for it. The children of the house answered the door, but the parents were not there. A minute later, the dad arrived! He invited us in and we taught the dad and his two kids. The Holy Ghost was strong in that lesson, and we ended an arduous week with a family to teach. It was a miracle of personal revelation. The son of the family, a 13-year-old named "E", said that he was going to spend all of today reading the Book of Mormon we gave him because he wants to know if it is true. School starts tomorrowTuesday, for him, so that's a big sacrifice. Spending the last day of summer reading the Book of Mormon! (That's how you do it!)

  So life is good. I feel like I'm using a lot of "!"s because I have a lot of energy with the whole advent of being transferred. The Zone is also holding a sports day before our district meetings today, and we're heading over to that, maybe I'll calm down a bit there. It reminds me, the last time we did that we were playing Ultimate Frisbee and I threw the disc at the ground to serve it. It ended up being the perfect toss because it bounced up and glided right into the basketball hoop. 3 pointer!

  All is well in the California Fresno Mission. I'll tell you what Secretary training is like next week!

Pack the's back to Fresnoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Elder Schaff  


Hanford Zone, Introduction to President and Sister Mackay in July 2017.

Elder D and Elder Schaff with a member leaving for his mission, he had already been a great member missionary and they were excited for him.

An exchange with the assistants in August. 

Elder D opening up a gift.

Elder D gave Hayden a tie. This blue tee shirt is something that our family sent to him to mark his hump day or half way point on his mission. One year down and one to go!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Week 51 - "And Thus the Work Sails On"

  Well, it is week 51, so we are just one week away from the one year mark! Elder Schaff entered the Provo MTC last summer on August 17th. It's hard for me to believe that so much time has passed. It was hot in Utah when we took him to the MTC, and it is still very hot in his area, but the highs are hovering around 99/100 instead of 105 plus. I hope it starts cooling down quickly. It's difficult to work hard in the heat, but he and Elder D are getting it done. Here is this week's update-

  "Well, news for my week:

  I felt like surely many things have happened this week, and that is indeed true, but I don't have much time to describe it to you today world!

  We spent 40 hours "In the Water," or doing missionary work in Parlier itself. (Which would exclude studies and other non-proselyting activities.) That's literally a full-time job, right?

  We did a lot of finding this week, again. We had a tidy sum of appointments and teachings as well, but in the mission you really always find yourself finding, because God's children are always out there waiting to receive the blessings of heaven! Speaking of such, we found 4 people interested in the message and perhaps touched by the Holy Ghost this week, and thus the cycle continues. Our numbers of people we have found to teach have been up and down the last 4 weeks. But hey, finding trends never really coordinate with time spent working.

  The most notable news: Leo and Miguel are still doing really well. Yesterday there were 100 people at Sacrament meeting in the Branch. 15 were visitors, but still, 85 is exciting! During my first week here I think there were about 15 people!

  "S" and "K" are doing better. They are investigators we found 2 weeks ago. (Can't remember if I wrote about them yet.) They hadn't been as receptive until the end of the week, and then we taught the Plan of Salvation and the Holy Ghost touched them. "S" came to church and had a good experience. 

  And thus the work sails on! 

  Our fellow missionaries, known as Selma Spanish, had two families attend church yesterday, so there may soon be 5 baptisms in the Branch. Exciting times in Zion!

-Elder Schaff

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Week 50 - Perfectionism, Pokemon and Priesthood

  Elder Schaff seems tired and a bit dissatisfied this week, which is unfortunate, because he and Elder D are working hard and placed 35 Book of Mormons last week!! Wow. They are doing great, but Hayden expects a lot of himself and as he puts it, "my perfectionism has been showing."

  "This was a very spiritual week. It has been a lot of bike riding and opening our mouths in efforts to find people. We had the exchange with the assistants as well as with Selma Spanish. I learned a lot from those exchanges. Something happened Monday night where I found myself unsatisfied with my personal efforts. It might have taken a serious (and unnecessary) toll on my hope!

  Fortunately, in the exchange with the assistants, Elder Q advised me to be more positive in my speech, promising that I could have more optimism, more joy, and less doubt. I felt the Spirit when he gave me that counsel. I knew it was true.

  With that I was uplifted and later had an exchange with our district leader. (Selma Spanish) Elder N talked to me about not letting perfectionism overcome me. He invited me to focus on the Atonement and explained that Christ makes us perfect as we look to him. Little did he know, I had already got the answer I needed, but the focusing on the Atonement comment was nice. I guess my perfectionism has been showing recently!
  We are helping "S and K" progress, they are new investigators from last week. "K" is doing really well and came to church. He got to see the Priesthood in action.

  Sunday was a big day for the Selma 2nd Branch. "L" received the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Two others were baptized (investigators of Selma Spanish), and "M" and "R" received the Aaronic Priesthood. Additionally, all 4 of us Elders spoke in sacrament meeting, as it was the 5th Sunday. I spoke on why God has given us the scriptures and how we can become converted by using them. I was well pleased with how it went.

  "K" saw all of that happen. Quite the week for the first time at church. He was desirous to receive the Aaronic Priesthood as well, but it was explained to him he needs to be baptized first. He seemed pretty motivated after that, so we'll see what happens. 

  We gave people 35 Book of Mormons this week in our contacting. It was an uplifting experience to do so. Many people were quite excited to receive a copy and have this opportunity to learn about the truths of God and see what we believe. We have appointments set up for this coming week, so we'll see who did their reading and felt the Holy Ghost and who didn't!

  I learned several personal lessons and worked out improving in Christ-like attributes. Elder D and I have been getting closer and more unified. We have high hopes and great faith for our area! We've been discussing more how we can improve, and in the evenings spend time together watching "The District," listening to powerful talks from various church leaders, or just talking. One talk taught us about why the Atonement was necessary in the nature of what Jesus Christ suffered. (Essentially, why did He have to suffer so much.) It was a talk by someone surnamed Skousen I believe. It may not be a beginner-level learning experience, but it's worth checking out. I felt like I learned a lot. One night somehow Elder D started talking about Pok√©mon while we wrote in our journals and I just went with it. We finished writing and we'd been at it for 30 minutes. We laughed because we were nerds, but also felt a bit of remorse because that was not perhaps the most ideal missionary conversation. So needless to say, we'll stick with talking about the work.

  On Sunday we attempted to visit Kingsburg, but got rejected by almost everybody.  It was bad. We had multiple people tell us to stop talking to them and they refused to take a picture of Jesus Christ. One guy just said no to everything we said and wasn't really listening and then after 20 seconds just went blank and said "get off the driveway!"**  

  The Selma Spanish missionaries are having more success there, so we may leave them to Kingsburg and try to tackle one of the other cities nearby us, like Fowler. We'll see what we accomplish! (Sorry mom! I saw the Tea-pot water tower but I didn't have my camera!)

**How do I put this? I honestly haven't talked with very many white, English speaking people recently. In Kingsburg we ran into a lot of them again. It was rather disappointing to see how bitter our American culture is. We really seek to have minimal contact with strangers and feel very inconvenienced when someone wishes to talk with us. The people we talked with were rather rude, and it was a sad sight to see. "Wo unto the proud for they shall be humbled." Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I was an English-speaking missionary, and I feel like it would be difficult! I'm grateful for the Spanish culture and the patience they have with us as missionaries. Sure, not everybody agrees with, nor wants to hear what we have to say, but English-speakers, do you have to be so sharp, brash, and rude? I guess that's just modern society for you. So make the world a bit brighter and greet a stranger sometime, just for fun. See what happens!

  Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable week and I've had a smile on my face for the most of it. The Spirit was present in our work and lifted us up. I am feeling more tired than ever before, so hopefully I can resolve that because I disdain feeling tired! It's hard to want to ride a bike and talk to people if you feel like you could take a nap in the moment, trust me.

  As I was studying the scriptures, I was reading through 2 Nephi 31. Nephi elaborates greatly on how baptism is necessary to our salvation, and he proceeds to explain the doctrine of Christ, or in other words, what Christ would have us do to use His Atoning sacrifice. I was rather touched by an insignificant part of a verse. (Maybe 16 or 17?) Which said that: (paraphrasing:) these things were written that ye may know the way by which ye should enter. Nephi was shown many visions and revelations of what would come. After all, this was a man who lived before Christ's time. And Nephi saw what Christ would do and what His role would be on the Earth. Additionally, he saw these last-days and many other great things. But this was not shown to him only to teach him, Nephi. Those things were revealed so that his people, the Nephites, and eventually us, could receive this knowledge of the way! ----The scriptures were written for us!

As always, it feels like these are great days to be a missionary!

My love to those that care for it,

-Elder Schaff

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Week 49 - Baptism in the Selma Spanish Branch

  Elder Schaff was excited this week because their investigator was baptized on Sunday. He initially began teaching Leo with Elder Ennis, and then with Elder Derbidge. Elder Ennis was able to come and attend the baptism, which was great. Everything seems to be going well and the work is progressing in Selma/Parlier. 

Elder Ennis, Leo and Elder Schaff

Elders Derbidge and Schaff, Leo and Elder Ennis
  "Time goes by fast! Well, this was a bad email period because I was very distracted by the other Elders playing and downloading music. President Mackay just changed the music rules to allow anything on Let me tell you there are some good things on there. There is a lot more music than you'd expect. Which means that the other missionaries searching for "new" and inspiring music in the collections is really distracting.

This week we found 5 new investigators. Finally broke out of the drought of not finding too well! 

Notable events-

Leo was baptized! So Leo does look like a gangster a bit in the first photo. He has to wear his hat except for prayers and the sacrament in the building because they put the air conditioning on so high it hurts him. (He has a metal plate in his head that hurts a lot when it gets cold!.) It was an unforgettable baptism.

We found an older woman that is 87 years old, named "M". She began investigating! That's going to be the oldest person I've taught. I was surprised because she has no health problems and understood clearly what we said. 
(I think Elder Schaff was just surprised because he has taught many elderly people who have had serious health problems and have a hard time advancing with the discussions.)

On Thursday we got into a Bible bash with an angry Pentecostal. We lost the Spirit, but prayed and got it back later that night. It turned out we had to learn that lesson so that on Saturday we could teach "E" effectively and answer his questions without bashing.

On Sunday Leo was forgiven of his sins and made clean in the waters of baptism. Many members attended and it united the Branch a bit. Perhaps things will start picking up around here!

Hope to write more next week!!!

--Love you all!

--Elder Schaff