Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Week 24 - A Visit from Elder Russell M Nelson

  We had a lot of emails going back and forth this week as the family was covering a lot of topics with Elder Schaff. Sydney was writing him and asking advise on what classes to register for as she fills her schedule for junior year. Michael and Hayden have been writing back and forth about recipes and doctrinal questions, and I was desperate to know if Hayden was being transferred and how it was to have a visit from one of the 12 apostles in the California Fresno Mission.

  So, let's get to it. Hayden told us that he is NOT being transferred this go around. He and Elder Lopez will continue to work and serve in their Echo area. Even though he has been in this same area since he arrived in CA at the end of September, he is happy to stay, as they have been teaching many people and they are hoping that Azucena will set a baptism date in February. They have worked hard to build up their teaching pool and he has relationships with those they are teaching and serving, so they will continue to press forward.

  Hayden also said that he was very excited with the changes to the missionary daily schedule that were announced in the worldwide broadcast last Wednesday. There will be more flexibility in their schedules and they have an expanded preparation day schedule, which of course, we hope equates to more time to communicate with family, but we shall see how that plays out. The situation every single week seems to be, 'I am running short on time!"

  In December, Hayden had told me that he and his first companion had had a GPS and that it had been very helpful to navigate in the Fresno area, especially since he has been the assigned driver since arriving in the mission field. However, when his first companion transferred to a new area, he took it with him, and so, Hayden did not have one anymore. Michael and I decided to send him one that he could have with him going forward. He asked me to send it just before this next transfer, so I mailed it last week. I was glad to hear that he had received it this week.

  I had to laugh though, because before his mission, I had bought Hayden a few pairs of Book of Mormon socks. They are screen printed with people from the Book of Mormon, such as Nephi, Captain Moroni, etc. We had a new pair sitting in our room for some reason, and Michael was not going to use them, so I tossed them into the GPS package last week. Well wouldn't you know it, but just last week, the mission president asked his missionaries to only wear dark, solid color socks- no stripes, no diamonds, no patterns, no nothing!! Hayden admitted that he murmured a little, but I was proud of him, because he told me that in the end, he decided to let it go, and to be obedient. So, he went and bought a few more pair of solid colors socks. Bad timing for me to send the screen printed pair, but oh well. He says he can wear them in the apartment and to bed.

  Hayden loved being in the MTC last fall just before General Conference, as many of the church leaders were returning to Utah to attend the sessions. That provided the opportunity for many leaders to visit the Provo MTC and I think he sat in devotionals with 3 of the 12 apostles. This week, another one of the 12, Elder Russell M Nelson, and his wife, and two other leaders and their wives, came to the California Fresno mission. It was a wonderful, uplifting and spiritual experience and Hayden wrote down many things that he thought were powerful, but then in light of a few things that have been happening at home, these words suddenly became extremely helpful and comforting promises.

  This is probably the best portion of his email home to share this week-

  "This week was wonderful and full of blessings, with the missionary broadcast, President Nelson's visit, and a good week of work. We're on a spiritual energy high and ready to live our missionary purpose as we serve the Lord.  I can't cover it all, but everything from these meetings is well documented and in my Journal, so I will be able to continue to draw from it as we proceed. We have a ton of investigators right now, but many don't have a solid schedule, so it is rough, because it feels like we have no investigators! Without appointments we go find more people! Hopefully, even just a few of these souls can accept our message.

  Azucena needs to come to church! She's back from Mexico and we need to get her to church so she can be baptized! (G) came to church, but didn't get an answer to her prayer to be baptized yet. (Ana) and (J).......he got drunk Tuesday and said he was going to leave the family and go to Tennessee when we were teaching only him. We saw him the next day though and realized he forgot everything. We had a good lesson with them and Hermano P. and we are praying that they will be able to come to church and improve their situation.

  Ok, so the meeting with an Apostle. He opted to take a picture with the mission and to shake all of our hands. It was like having an interview with the Lord for that second and a half. I felt the Holy Ghost so strongly right then. Elder Dorius and his wife, Elder Cook and his wife, and Elder Nelson and his wife all spoke to us. All the counsel was great, but Elder and Sister Nelson were absolutely amazing. They gave us some counsel of how we can create even more miracles in this mission. We were commended for our obedience and spirituality.

  Sister Nelson told us that we should remember this is a church of angels, and that our ancestors as well as those of investigators can help us. We can pray FOR their help, but not TO them. Always pray to Heavenly Father. She also asked us to "Learn the Hymns of Zion" and that by singing them we can bring the Holy Ghost in teaching situations or wherever else. I'm out of time though, so this discussion will be continued!!!!

Family, I love you so much!!!!!"

--Elder Schaff 

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