Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Week 23 - Bank Cards, Birthdays and Broadcasts

  I had to laugh because the first email to arrive in my inbox this week said, "Mom, I forgot the PIN number to my debit card, do you know what it is?!" That is something that I did not write down, even though I made a photo copy of the front and back of his card. Oh well. I called his bank and they said he would have to go into a branch in person to change it, so maybe next Monday. He can always use it as a credit card until then, so I'm not too worried. Just a life lesson for him.
  Anyway, he seems to be doing well and had a productive week. There is a worldwide missionary broadcast on Wednesday, January 25th, so anticipation is building for that, as "changes" to the missionary schedule will be announced. One of the twelve apostles will be visiting his mission this coming Saturday, which is incredible. Here is some of what he wrote to the family before we get to the blog email.

  "Well family. it's been another great week. It went quite fast, but when I look back it feels like it was so long ago that I sent last week's email. Mission time is strange.

  Before anything though, SYDNEY! Happy (belated) birthday! I'm so excited for you, growing up and doing awesome things. I hope driving goes well for you, you should be fine. I mean, you didn't ever quite master rainbow road on Mario Kart but you were getting there. (Ha!) This is a great time of life. Make sure you have fun! You can really enjoy those days in high school, so seriously make every hour count! Make sure you get in a daily scripture study! You'll be really receptive to understanding the church more fully right now, and it's an important time to have a strong testimony. I know you'll go about doing much good, because you always used your time wisely! (At least more than I did most days!) Make that opportunity to go on dates a good experience. Be creative, because guys aren't always creative. That's how it is. I'm not there to "get" someone being dumb on a date, so I can't play the traditional "big brother role," but I can call the ministering of angels....haha everything will be fine! This is the time to set your life up! What else can I say... Just be smart, all of your decisions at this time really will amount to your potential! In the church, in careers, whatever, you set it all up now! Go and get it done! Love ya!
  So yeah, this week there is the missionary broadcast on Wednesday. That's exciting. Then, Elder Russel M. Nelson will be visiting the mission on Saturday, and we will be privileged to hear from him that day! It's going to be quite the week!

  Apparently the schedule for missionaries is changing. Joel seems to have already received the schedule, but it hasn't happened here yet. It has a greater focus on being out proselyting. It should be good, but we lose time for studies....so that is kind of sad. Because I really like learning every morning! Sometimes when people aren't progressing I'm just grateful that I'm progressing.

   (Also, President Clark sent us all the information about the new mission President last week. He seems good, but I think it will take adjusting when the time comes in July. President Clark is very spiritual, and does the work among us (teaching and such.) Then he gives us training based on how he is seeing our teaching go. That is all experience, that comes with time. He is sad his time is almost up!!!)"

This is the beginning of his email for the blog:

"This week didn't have much news concerning our more constant investigators. All the names you may have been following such as (A), (G), (Ana) and (J), etc, we didn't really see them this week. So there isn't much to say there. I had some time to read from my own journal today and as I reviewed what I wrote this week it was funny to see my reactions day by day. We very much live day by day, so sometimes when we had hard days I left a more pessimistic entry, and on the good days I was all excited. Reading that was like reading mood swings. That's missionary life!

  What did happen was: I was concerned for (M) at the beginning of the week, she hasn't been coming to church, identified herself as a Catholic in front of one of her friends, and hasn't been able to read the scriptures since she has been busy watching her kids. We talked a bit about how she was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints now, and she finally put together that she is no longer Catholic. That was interesting!

  On Wednesday we had an excellent training with President concerning teaching faith, repentance, and baptism. He shared with us 1 Nephi 7:12 (Faith), Alma 34:15-17 (Repentance), and 3 Nephi 27:13-16 (Baptism). You can read the scriptures, but the way President taught us to teach was amazing. The Spirit was burning in that meeting. It was as if I could reach out and grab a bunch of Spiritual energy in the air in front of me. I was astonished. He taught us to apply the scriptural language in commitments, such as 1 Nephi 7:12, asking someone "how can YOU exercise your faith?"

  He taught 3 Nephi 27:13-16 with so much power. He explained everything up to verse 16, and then paused. He said: "Now let's paint a picture. If I were to paint this scripture, I would put God, on His throne, with Jesus at His side, and all the world around them. Because that was Jesus's purpose. To get all the world to the presence of God. And do you want to know what you need to do to stay there? Read verse 16." With that, Elder Nesom read verse 16, and choked a few times from the tears welling up in his eyes. Everyone was feeling the Holy Ghost. There was power in that teaching. Try it out yourself! President shared Doctrine &Covenants 45:3-5 as well, and had us imagine those words from Christ, but replacing "brethren" for our own name. That's powerful as well! 

  On Friday we followed the Holy Ghost and gave a blessing to a member in great need of one! We were about to go home because it was late, and then suddenly felt prompted to visit this member. He was suffering from an anxiety attack and couldn't sleep at all. He was very stressed out. We gave him a blessing and he was relieved, and said he hoped he could go teaching with us sometime. Follow the Spirit!

  Saturday I murmured about exact obedience concerning socks. Apparently, having any socks that aren't a solid color are banned. I have some formal socks with a few blue lines and such, and it was a bit annoying to be told you'll kill the Spirit by wearing socks with lines instead of solid colors... But I bought some new solid colored socks and all is good. Living "exact obedience" to get the miracles!

  Sunday: (M) was doing better: We started reading some key passages of scripture with her, like Ether 12, instead of continuing to plow through the Book of Mormon chronologically. (She was at 1 Nephi 21) by doing so she has improved her desire to read the scriptures and is learning more from them! She really wants to come to church but wasn't able to yesterday, and felt really bad. I had a distinct feeling that everything would be alright with her as long as we were trying our best to keep her active. Keeping that first convert alive is tough! Satan really never gives up.

  Yesterday, we found 3 new investigators, so that was fantastic! We'll see if that works out! We've been teaching a woman, "Rita", that is super timid, and it has been tough! She doesn't react much at all! Hopefully we can figure out how to connect with her!

  So yeah that was my week, till next time everyone!

  Email me if you are reading this blog! Missionaries love hearing from the outer world! Thanks much! 
Keep the Faith!

--Elder Schaff 

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