Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Week 32- A Good Week, Maybe Even Great

  I was happy to hear from Elder Schaff last night, but he kept us waiting, his blog email did not come through until nearly 9:00 pm here at home. It's too bad that he is always trying to write us at the very end of his preparation day because he is always running out of time. However, he was more positive and upbeat this week, and it appears that all is going well in the CFM. (California Fresno Mission)

  "Alright, this week was good. It was maybe even great. We're trying to get to amazing. 

  So interesting things first, right? Because I think I've written a lot of emails more like talks the last few weeks! 
  We had a good Sunday. It was a small miracle: Matilde came to church for the first time in about 3 months now! What a blessing! It's not over yet for my recent convert! What's more, we brought Hermano and Hermana Martinez with us to visit her and talked about the temple. When she heard their testimonies and realized that she could not go to the temple without attending church, she said right then that she wants to get to church every week. (This was on Thursday) I didn't know if that was a valid goal or if she just felt that was a good thing to say, but she made a good start by going this week and loved it. She stayed all 3 hours and the Relief Society women remembered who she was and are trying to help her more. The Lord's hand is always waiting to bless us.

  Yesterday we visited Matilde, and she gave us some fruits I had never seen nor tried before. The first is a "Nanche" or "Nance" depending on which country you are in. I didn't like it though, it was a yellow berry with a weird flavor. I was eating a berry, but it tasted like a weird cheese or something. Look it up I guess and find out what I ate! Ha!  The second fruit was a "Coyole." It's a small nut from some type of a palm tree, and there is a fleshy part on the outside that you can eat if you chew it off. The nut is super hard, so after you chew the fruit off you whack 'em with something hard and if you successfully break it something similar to coconut is your reward in the center. Look it up again... I'd never seen these things before! So that was kinda fun.

Nance Fruit

Maybe he is referring to the Cohune palm tree and it's nuts? I could not find anything the way that Hayden spelled it.

  On Saturday we had a great day. For me it was also very spiritual and uplifting.  We had 2 set appointments out of 9 hours of proselyting time available. The appointments were the last 2 hours of the day, and the first one of those ended up falling through!

  However, the story goes as follows: We began proselyting and tried to follow through with our plans to work in the area and follow up on some potentials. Well, we got one potential to open the door, she said she would like to listen, but really isn't ever home unless it is Saturday, in the which she will be found doing household chores and be too busy. We offered to help do chores next week so that we might teach her and her family, and she said maybe. We'll see what happens, but that is not the focus of this tale. We did not successfully contact anyone else that hour save for a man that was not religious. As he said, "I don't mind if you're Jehovah, Buddhist, Muslim, or Polytheistic, I'm not convinced." At that point I did not have very high hopes for the day. I imagined that the next 6 hours would probably pass like this one, wandering in neighborhoods and knocking silent doors.

    That was not the case! We visited our investigator "L", who has usually not been home, and taught her the Restoration. She liked the doctrines, and is excited to read the Book of Mormon and learn more. Then we went to our former investigators: "D" and "R" and had an excellent lesson with them. They think they need to keep listening to our message! The rest of the day was filled with a visit every hour, including a visit to a less active member that has been avoiding the church members because he doesn't want to talk with them. (Even though we had our ward mission leader with us, who is a member.) He shared an experience of his mission, promising a random Peruvian man that he would find a job the next day. The man hadn't had a job for 2 years. This was the first day of his mission. Interesting. 

  Well at that point, that evening I felt that I had been given a tender mercy of the Lord because in my heart, leaving that first hour of wandering I did not have any expectations for success, nor much enthusiasm, yet I was given this mercy of having a good day. Truly, though we are tried along this path of life, we are never forgotten by the Lord when things get rough.

  We also had a nice blessing on Friday when we knocked on the door of a potential, and a man came out that we hadn't talked to. He invited us in and we taught him The Gospel of Jesus Christ. He was glad to receive us and loved the lesson. He wanted us to return.

  This was only the 2nd time in my entire mission that we were let into a home on an initial contact. It really doesn't happen that much! (And I know that lots of people think that's missionary work!)

  This might make you laugh- we had one of the assistants with us for 3 hours because his companion got hurt so he decided to spend some time with missionaries in the zone and follow up with President Clark. We knocked the door of another potential with him, and our potential, Maria, was not there, but some English-speaking bum that storms out of the door saying "who the **** **** **** are you little ********!?!" and many swears after that. Elder Perkins, the assistant, says we're missionaries, and the guy says "get off my property, I know more about God than you stupid kids!" We stand there in shock, too shocked to move, and he swears at us some more. We leave, and he salutes the car and flips us off as we drive away. Some people just don't like God....... Heh heh.

--Elder Schaff

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Week 31 - Would You Like to Hear More About the Book of Mormon?

  We didn't hear much from Elder Schaff yesterday. Just one of those days when he wasn't feeling like writing much. Sometimes I feel that way too. Some weeks I type up long letters and feel that I can't get it all down fast enough, other weeks I am not sure what to write or share with him, so it's only fair that he feels the same. Here are a few things that he did share with us though-

  "Ok, so I wanted to start the blog today like:

Táó máhkyéen Pa'kampi Mórmón, bóa? (That is: Would you like to learn more about the Book of Mormon? In Lao[tion])

  We gave out a Book of Mormon in Lao using that. A man named "Uncle Tom" taught me that a few weeks ago. Apparently it was correct, because the contacted person took it with a smile and excitement. So that's the fun story of the week. If you look at Lao, it does not look discernible though, it looks like Arabic! I wrote the sounds phonetically.

  I woke up this morning anxious to write, but I'm really not feeling in the mood right now. I was going to write a letter addressed to the blog...we'll see about that.

  I'm feeling tired. My hip suddenly started hurting, beginning on Wednesday. Pain comes in random flashes, usually doing actions like standing up or picking up my bag. It started off doing the motion of picking up my bag from the car, while standing on the curb of some street, and swinging the bag on my shoulder. Not sure if that puts pressure on the hip, but it hurt. Now that pain is spreading to other motions. So, I got a physical damper this week. (Hayden has an old hip flexer injury from cross country, I'm sure it is just flaring up again.)

  I don't know, sometimes you're really excited to email, other times it's more like a chore. Preparation day keeps getting crammed with chores and I don't like it. We don't do anything fun! In his defense, Elder Lopez doesn't like this lifestyle either, but we always have something to do. This week it's getting an investigator's mail and a required oil change on our car. So you win some, you lose some.

   I received a depressing letter from a friend.... I don't know, I'm not feeling it this email session.

  Yes Mom, I did get the package, and the shirt. Thank you! I liked getting those things from you! (I had sent a small package with a shirt I had bought him in San Juan, a small Mickey Mouse, and some candy and treats.)

  Echo 2 is doing alright, but people are progressing slowly. I'm really not sure how to describe it. I think it's just one of those, time will tell things.  Everyone that has baptismal dates didn't come to church, and people that came to church don't have baptismal dates. 

  So I am a little bogged down, but I'll be back up this week, don't worry!

  I was working on a summary of all our investigators, and listed all the people I've personally taught in my journal. (Including all the recent converts, Less-actives, and former investigators.) It was about 90 people. 

  There really just wasn't anything to write about this week. We taught some lessons to help people move along in their progress, but all of the people we have our eyes on (to be baptized) didn't meet with us this week. We didn't find any new investigators either, a bummer. The only saving grace was "Ana," her two kids, and another investigator, Adrián, at church yesterday.

I feel like I'm saying the same thing over and over again here....

Hoping to have all the enthusiasm back next week."

--Elder Schaff

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Week 30 - No Transfer for This Companionship

  I was anxious to read Elder Schaff's email and find out if he was transferred, he has been in his first area since September 28th. However, there were no changes made for he or Elder Lopez, so they will continue to serve together in Echo 2. After another six weeks go by, he will end up being there for a minimum of 7 calendar months! Kind of unusual, but the Lord must know where they are needed, so we will pray that they can find more people to teach and be able to build up their teaching pool again, as many people had moved or had stopped meeting for appointments. Hayden did not write much to my email address this week, so I will try to find some lines that he sent to his Dad. This is all that I received-

  "I was not transferred!!! Echo 2 for the 5th transfer!!! Apparently my work is not yet finished, so I'm going to be working harder than ever before now!"

  "I'm going to figure out the photos and expect to send some either next week or the week after that. I have been taking them, but not a ton, because recently 2 missionaries got robbed and their cameras and wallets were stolen.... so I've kept the camera in the apartment, not the car. I am still with Elder Lopez, so we're going to try to really take it to Echo this transfer. Elder Del Carmen got transferred though, so we will have one new Elder in Echo as a result!"

  "Use most of the email I sent to dad as the weekly blog post. The picture that hopefully gets to you, forwarded from Elder Lopez, is our "special-opps-missionary" companion. Basically, the Fresno North Stake did an activity in which the Stake President received permission to ordain a bunch of youth to be full-time missionaries for the weekend. Everyone in Fresno Zone had one of these youth with them for the weekend. We taught him what we knew and worked some wonders!!!!

Elder Schaff, Special Ops Youth Missionary, and Elder Lopez

See ya next week! Good luck my family!"

--Elder Schaff  

This is some of what he sent to his Dad's email address, apparently, they were having a discussion about, why is life so hard at times and why do we have so many trials? This was a topic that had come up at a Stake Youth Discussion the night before and Michael was telling Hayden about it. Hayden responded with-

  "I also found a similar scripture, Doctrine & Covenants 136:31. If we do not have trials, how will we ever decide to build the character to become like Christ as we strive to follow His example? I have learned very many spiritual things this week. I now sympathize with Mormon or Jarom when they would write things like, "not even an hundreth part of all the teachings can be written in this book." (The Book of Mormon) When you have time pressure it's hard to get it all down! Fortunately, I have everything down in notebooks and journals.
  This week President Clark had us read a talk from President Ezra Taft Benson. It was called "Beware of Pride." And well, I thought it might be expedient that all the members of the family read that talk. It will benefit everyone (maybe not Maura if she doesn't comprehend it....) But seriously, will you do that? I promise it will bless you.

  President just sent to us that we need to "let the mission go through us, not let ourselves go through the mission," meaning that we have to be learning from this, not just doing the motions and rejoicing when we go home because we can do whatever we want to do again. Well that really hit me, because I really do love this, but sometimes those thoughts of taking naps or playing video games enter my mind. It simply isn't the time.

  So now I'm trying to become more. I'm trying to be more disciplined. I'm trying to be more humble. And the blessings are indeed coming. And it's miraculous. I'm becoming transformed. The other day I sang "I Stand All Amazed" in the car when it came on and broke down crying. The gospel is astounding, and sometimes we don't use it and life overcomes us. I think that was something that was always lacking in my personal piece of the family life before the mission. It wasn't anyone else's fault but mine, but I simply didn't understand my purpose of becoming more like Christ and preparing for exaltation. I didn't really apply the gospel. I just let it make me different from the kids in high school doing drugs and failing classes. But now it's so much more, and it's something jaw-dropping, immense, and incomprehensible, that the thing that was always a part of us can suddenly become so much more.

  And then I think of all the people that don't serve missions or haven't served yet. Where do they gain this kind of knowledge? When does the gospel hit them hard like this? I only mention that hoping that we realize that the gospel has a higher plane many neglect, but all have to learn to jump there one way or another. For me it's this mission. For others it's probably some other experience... but here I am writing with all the awe I feel this week.

  So that's what's going through me Dad! We found 6 investigators this week, and we're reactivating some less-actives. Hopefully we'll get some of our investigators to baptism, because we have about 7 that are set for baptism in April!

  I'd also like to...trademark? How do you say...oh, I think the word is "coin" a phrase? "To rejoice is a choice!"
Learned from Proverbs 15:13,15.

  Please know I always look up to you Dad and I'm always very grateful for the foundation you have laid for my life.

--Elder Schaff

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Week 29 - Ready for a Change

  This last weekend was very busy for all of us, so I wrote a long email updating Elder Schaff on all of the events. His sister, Sydney, was able to sit in the audience during the Face to Face youth event in Palmyra, NY with President Eyring and Elder Holland. It was a live worldwide broadcast for the youth of our church, and many of the youth in our ward and stake, that Hayden knows personally, were able to participate. His opening line this week is referring to this event. I also asked about his next possible transfer date since he has been serving in Echo for over five months now.

  "Wow, that must have been an incredible experience for those youth to go to that face to face event. The next transfer date is the 14th of March. We get the transfer call on Saturday night. I am honestly hoping for a change, as I am feeling a little burned out. This week was a tough week, it ended well, but Tues - Thurs were bitter and painful. Nonetheless, we helped some people progress, and by the end of the week we were alright. It seems that every week we have people that are looking good and then, something happens. Familia "L" are moving, so that's unfortunate. I counted it up, if things had gone better this transfer, we could have been set for 9 baptisms. But it's just been looking really good for the future, and faded further into the distance, repeat, repeat.

   I still have faith that we can work some magic here, but that pressing question of, when will the baptisms come, is the dilemma. I've learned a lot of spiritual lessons here, so maybe this is all a warm-up for the bigger show. President says I have great potential and just need to press forward. My prayer is that I live up to that potential! Unless we meet someone who has already gone to church twice this week and is living the commandments, we won't be baptizing in this area this transfer. So, all I can do is make it better. I've worked really hard on the area book....

  This letter seems a bit depressing, but fear not! I'm feeling very determined still! The Holy Ghost was teaching me this weekend!

--Elder Schaff 

 ( At this point, I wrote him a few lines of encouragement, and reminded him that his cousin had difficult times while serving in Brazil, but years later is still hearing about the people progressing that he taught at one time, to this, Hayden responded...)

  "I know, like I said, I just couldn't get the letter to turn out positive- ha ha. But I have seen this area progress significantly, so I believe I've done what I was supposed to do so far. This week, Azucena decided she is going to try to do everything she can to get a job that is Mon - Fri. That was another big shock because we thought she was just going to sit and give up because she had work on Sunday. I have in fact, remembered many times cousin David's words as I've made 50+ teaching records that have my name all over them. Most of them are now former investigators, but those are the footprints of my work. It's going to be a good week upcoming!

  We had a few investigators call us last week and say "Don't come back, you're wasting my time," so that was why it was challenging. But that's part of the experience. I wrote a lot in my journal about what I learned from it. I just don't have time to record it all here. I've got to write a letter to Maura now! I promised her."

--Elder Schaff

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Photos from Russell M Nelson's Visit in January

  The California Fresno Mission was visited by Russell M. Nelson, the President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and his wife in January 2017. Elder Cook and Elder Dorius, of the Quorum of the Seventy, and their wives, also spoke to the missionaries. These are some photos that President and Sister Clark shared on the mission blog.

Elder Schaff is standing in the second row down from the top, sixth in from the right.

President and Sister Clark hosted President and Sister Nelson, Elder Cook and Dorius and their wives for lunch in the Mission Home in January.

Russell M Nelson and Sister Bonnie Clark

Missionary Interviews, February 2017

  The mission presidents have been asked to interview their missionaries every 6 weeks instead of once per quarter, so President Clark set up interviews with each zone in February. This is a photo of Elder Schaff's district in the Fresno North Zone.

Elder Schaff is third from the left. Recently he got a bad haircut, a tight buzz cut that he dislikes, but it will grow out soon enough! He hasn't sent home any photos since the haircut, so I was glad to see this one. 
Here are the names of the other missionaries in the photo- Elder Del Carmen, Elder I. Lopez, Elder Schaff, Elder Wilson, Elder Medero, Elder Rushton, Elder Perkins, Elder Carnahan & Sister Clark

Week 28- Zone Conference and Service

  Monday, February 27th, 2017- It's week 28 for Elder Schaff and he had very little time to write home this week, after a service opportunity that took longer than scheduled, but that's okay. He is busy and happily serving in California and that is really all that this missionary momma needs to know.

  "Wow! Glad the last email came off well Mom, because I have a solid 13 minutes to write this one!
  A ward member called and wanted us to do service; Elder Lopez accepted. I said that we'd go for it, but sometimes that's a risky move! And the service took way too long because we needed to move things, but the ward member didn't have everything in order, so we just waited for an hour and then did the service for an hour. It was brutal. We got to emailing with 30 minutes remaining, I wrote my letter to President, said some quick three-liners to Joel (Elder Christopherson) and Nathaniel (Elder Burnard), and here I am!

  This week we had a fantastic zone conference! President Clark, the assistants, and our zone leaders all trained us in making sacrifices to become greater and more effective missionaries. So, I'll count that service as one of our sacrifices. I'm smiling through this because I know I can have a blessed week if I want it to be, and it all starts here.

  President Clark's summary of Zone Conference- (no time to edit!)

It was such a great pleasure to be with you in Zone Conference this last week and I again express my gratitude for your great preparation allowing you to receive revelation and Press Forward in greater faith, diligence, obedience, and sacrifice. I am grateful to all who taught and instructed as well as the great input and questions from so many of you. We are all in this together and I am glad we are all together in this! I see you as "Big Jars" (meant in the nicest and 'Complete Missionary' complimentary way)! Work to add as many "Complete Missionary" components (rocks) as you can. You'll need to Sacrifice in order to do this in a meaningful way and time period. 

I've been around and involved in a little bit of construction throughout my days. One thing I have observed from experiences I have in construction is that you can't do anything until you have the footings and foundation in and if you don't do this right, according to plan, and with great quality, the rest of the project will struggle. Another observation is that until this is done, you really can only have the footings and foundation contractor on site. Once done however, you can start to have multiple contractors on site and start to make some real progress. But you can't shortcut, leap frog, or minimize the footings and foundation of a building. They are paramount to a great building and yet, often go unnoticed since about as soon as they are complete, they are backfilled and it is the building that everyone notices, not the foundation. But make no mistake, without a great footing and foundation, no building will ever stand the test of time. As Christ admonished, we must build the construct of our service to Him by "[digging] deep, and [laying] the foundation on a rock" - Him. And our footings and foundation to a Christ Centered life is Exact Obedience!

Exact Obedience is also the footings and foundation to a successful, productive mission. It has to be done right and has to be done first or you really can't progress to a higher level, such as sacrifice. If you spend too much of your time building this foundation, you'll note the neighbors' projects are soaring and looking really nice while you are still "stuck in the mud" of foundation building. It is only upon the bedrock foundation of Exact Obedience that a Missionary and a Mission can move forward to Sacrifice. 

When each of you arrived in this mission you had a short interview with me. One of the main things I asked you is if you would be exactly obedient. All of you said "Yes"! I then admonished you to follow the Savior's beckon call to "lose yourself for [His] sake" with His promise that "you will find yourself." To this I then added and do again here; "you will really like who you find." And further, in the words of Elder D Todd Christofferson, "The more we serve our fellow men in appropriate ways, the more substance there is to our souls. We become more substantive as we serve others, indeed, it is easier to find ourselves because there's so much more of us to find."

I believe this mission is on fire in the way Missionaries live their Missionary Purpose. I believe you have put in the bedrock foundation of Exact Obedience and are uniquely suited to build upon this with your Sacrifice. This comes at a perfect time when the Brethren are asking you to be Agents unto Yourselves and better manage your time to be more productive, more effective, and more faithful in living your Purpose. I am so well pleased with each of you and the mission as a whole. Remember, the foundation never goes away. It may not be as noticed but it must be there, fully in place and built to last. But now you get to enjoy the fruits of those labors and Press Forward to build a magnificent mansion based on Sacrifice of self - truly losing yourself for His sake. As you do, I promise you will like who you find!

  OK, so we're building off our foundation of exact obedience! Now we've been invited to make sacrifices to improve even further if we are able to maintain exact obedience, it's a hefty call!

  This week Familia "L" kinda flaked out on us. We visited and as we taught the commandments discovered that they are not married, and Liz filled out a Visa as unmarried, that won't come in for 3 years, so she doesn't want to get married until then! They are still interested and listening to our message, but I went out the door that night with a few bitter tears, knowing that without a miracle, they will not receive the gospel fully in my time here. We're still going to teach them with all we've got to pass a good baton to other missionaries.

  We had a drought of a week. Few lessons with investigators, picked up a sea of potential investigators, (I think we have like 30 people that said "yeah, another day") but a lot of good less-active work. We've almost successfully reactivated "R". He has come to church these last few weeks and has almost quit smoking. He is paying tithing and doing everything he can to straighten up his life and get to the Temple. His son is listening to the other Echo Elders. So although I'm not getting pneumonia from baptizing non-stop, I'm rescuing the lost sheep.
   And that's Echo 2 this week. We'll see what happens next week! Like and subscribe! (haha! XD)

With much love,

--Elder Schaff

Week 27- Six Months and Going Strong

  In New York, our school district takes a winter break the week of President's Day. It is a good time to take a trip and escape the winter weather, so we planned a vacation to Florida with our girls. This was the first trip that we took as a family without Elder Schaff and it was strange. I won't lie, I felt a little guilty. He has joined us on several winter break trips in the past though, and didn't comment much about us traveling and was able to keep his focus on the mission, which was good. This is what he wrote home on Monday, February 20th.
  Also, since Elder Schaff entered the Provo MTC on August 17th, he has now reached his 6 month mark of service!! It is hard to believe that 25% of his mission has already passed by. I am so happy that he is doing well and working hard in Fresno.

  "Hello family!  All is well this week. It was a bit difficult in the beginning, because all we were doing was finding potentials, and appointments were crashing again, but I felt confident that we were doing good in trying to serve. As Preach My Gospel states, a successful missionary is measured by his commitment to find, teach, baptize, and confirm people so that they can become active members for the rest of their life. Regardless of results, missionary success is measured by action.

  Nonetheless this week was fantastic for Elder Lopez and I, it was full of lots of challenges but ended with a blessed Sabbath Day. I prayed and served with all my might the first few days of the week and just started anew. The troubles of last week faded away. To be honest, not much happened until Sunday. We had interviews with President Clark on Friday, and it was a good boost for everyone, because he did a mini-training as well. During the interview he told me that he was proud of me for being a diligent and determined missionary, and he knew that I was a missionary he could trust. He told me he expected great things would accompany my service as I proceed.

  On Sunday we had Stake Conference. Familia "L" didn't make it, but "Ana" said she wanted to come. She didn't have gas money, so we ended up meeting at her apartment and walking with her and her five kids to Stake Conference. Then, their was a baptism of Y. Castillo, taught by the Echo 3 Sisters. She is a 9-year-old that wasn't baptized yet. It was a nice baptism. We invited "Ana" to come to the baptism, and her husband "J" had just gotten back from work, so he came and all 5 kids came (ages 10,9,7,6,1). At the end of it, the kids came to us and asked if they could be baptized next week. "Ana" asked what she needed to do to be baptized and we explained that they need to continue to go to church and hear the rest of the lessons, "J" would need to stop drinking (alcohol). Everyone but "J" is very determined to be baptized now, so hopefully the family working together will bless them in progressing. It was fantastic for them to have that kind of interest!

  The problem is they can't pay their rent, and are being kicked out of their apartment. That will be an adventure....We've had bad luck with people moving, so we pray they stay in our boundaries. A less-active we are teaching and her spouse, a non-member, moved out of our boundaries this week. Gloria had something happen in her house, and has decided to move to Selma. So that was sad... but we continue on, finding people to teach. Hopefully Gloria can listen to the missionaries in Selma once she actually moves. We have our supposed last lesson next Saturday.

  We found a great investigator last night, M. Alvarez. She was a referral, and had a lot of questions that could be solved by the gospel. She was very interested in the message and was anxious to have us come back and help answer more questions. We taught the Restoration and promised her that her life would change if she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it to know that it is true.

  Familia "L" had accepted a date for March 5th, and were super excited to get baptized, but as I said, they need to have consistent church attendance. They really, sincerely want it. I'm certain they'll be baptized once they can get to church. Hopefully soon, so that date for baptism can be before I transfer.

  Sister Windham has finished her mission! She told us on Wednesday that her mission would conclude Friday. All of Echo was surprised! So Sister Malpica went off to Ventura for 3 days and is then going to Lemoore. Echo 3 will be dissolved. So just Elders in Echo now. We got all of the Echo 3 investigators and recent converts. Here we go!!! 
  Non-gospel news: Spring is beginning it's rise here in Fresno. Everyone's favorite, ha ha, the white-blossom-dead-fish-smelling trees are in full bloom. Someone unwisely planted 5 of these trees in front of the Echo church building, so I found out what those trees have been this whole time. The smell of dead fish or whatever the flower is hits you as soon as you step out of the car. (Note- we had trees like this in the parkway of our Utah home, beautiful spring blossoms, but horrible smell on the flowering pear trees)

  This is old news, but I ate "Agua Chile" a while ago, and I've decided that they are the worst thing I've been served here. I couldn't make that decision until this week because I found out exactly what it was this week. "Agua Chile" is a shrimp that the Hispanic people like to use. "M" served it to me, it was a plate of the Agua Chiles, onions, and peppers. Everything was in a foggy-water. Soggy food is a struggle for me. But I found out that the real problem is hispanos always serve Agua Chile raw. I was eating raw shrimp, and it was so watery and juicy, I didn't like it. It's weeeeird. Cook your food! 
  A few weeks ago I had read a quote from President Hinckley along the lines of: A foundation built of cynicism and pessimism will do nothing for progress. We must build upon positivity!

   Our ward mission leader quoted this: "All you've got to do is endure to the end." -so when the day is hard just remember eternal life is at stake if you endure.

  Finally, "His grace is sufficient if we'll just humble ourselves" (to accept His Atonement and repent.) I'm feeling very determined to serve this week, it was an ecstatic Sunday!

  Last of all, I was talking with the assistants about doing a Buffalo Wild Wings challenge and they said "why not today?" So we did. Some Elders came and were going to do it, but they decided they didn't want to this time. So I did it with everyone watching and cleared it in 5 minutes 10 seconds. I didn't break a sweat, didn't cry, just got really messy. Everybody was going nuts watching me take it with no suffering. I left and everybody is calling me a legend, it was funny.

  I'm pumped to serve! People are ready to progress, and Elder and Lopez and I are ready to help them! It's been a spiritual week, and I really can't describe it without clichés. Let's do this thing! I'm building a legacy!!!! Even when things are hard in the mission they kick right back up. I'm loving life!

PS family: I can't believe Alexandra Hughlett got engaged!

PPS: Elder Mendez was at the baptism, because "Y" wanted him to baptize her. He taught her before. He pulled me aside before it started, and said that he was as hard as he could possibly be on me during my training because he wanted me to be strong, and was sure I would be. That made all the difference to me. I felt peaceful after all those trials I had had with him. I really couldn't believe it. It was crazy. I am feeling unbelievably great!

--Elder Schaff