Wednesday, March 1, 2017

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

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