Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Week 33 - April General Conference

  Twice a year, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds a general conference, the first weekend in April and October. There are four general sessions in which we hear wonderful talks from church leaders and beautiful, inspiring music. It is hard to believe that Elder Schaff's very first weekend in Fresno was 6 months ago, he arrived just in time for the October conference. Now, he and his companion just listened to the April sessions. This is how Hayden responded when I asked him if he had a favorite talk from conference-

  "Joaquin E. Costa. The new legend of church leaders adored by missionaries all across the world right now. Every missionary in my Zone was devastated when we realized that none of our investigators had decided to join us for that session, but that's how it goes. (Hayden is referring to an address by Elder Joaquin E Costa titled, "To the Friends and Investigators of the Church" here is a link, https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2017/04/to-the-friends-and-investigators-of-the-church?lang=eng

Elder Joaquin E. Costa
General Authority Seventy
  If you were in a normal mission, you probably watched all of conference, but President Clark sent a call-out to the entire mission saying that we would not be attending the morning and afternoon sessions of Saturday. We simply could not lose 4 hours of precious finding time on a Saturday! We were thus commissioned to go and find people to teach, and watch or download Saturday conference today.

  I thought that was crazy, but it made the light of the Sunday sessions shine even brighter. Several talks were invaluable to missionaries. So although that was a test of faith, it was a good purpose.

to be continued.... 

  "Alright, let's do this. First off, there was no time last week to mention it, but we moved apartments! The Echo sister missionaries will not be returning for a long time apparently, so the mission decided they would rather keep that apartment than the one that we had. Thus, we emptied out that apartment completely!!! That consumed a lot of our time last week. But if you think that Sister Missionaries get better privileges and apartments just "because they are girls" or because "they aren't as tough," YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT! Their main room and kitchen are bigger than our entire apartment before! Plus, there are two more rooms and a bathroom, and walk-in closets. So what do you think of that!!!

  Well, this week was honestly a bit difficult for me because I got hit by a wave of doubt/faithlessness on Wednesday. Our investigators are all really struggling, and I felt I just didn't have enough faith to help them. The miracles that they need aren't going to come into their lives because they aren't really doing anything but acknowledging that they feel good when we come visit. But I was saved by a spiritually strong mission President when we had interviews on Thursday. He did not ask me my needs, but as we talked gave me advice of how he felt that the gospel sometimes is hard to accept; sometimes it's hard to take action. Because it's true, *This is not President'st words in the bracket* [and it isn't what some other people might preach saying that everyone is going to make it if they say they love Jesus (or whatever it is, you get the picture.)]  and because it's true it requires sacrifice to accept.

  He then said that he believes it is hard like that because if they accept it in the end, they are much more likely to have that firm testimony and keep the faith. The life changing effects of the gospel will mean more to them because they personally acted to gain those blessings. I liked that.

  In the priesthood session, I felt the Holy Ghost rather strongly testifying of giving all we can and then seeking to go and do more. I was also praying about how to be a more effective missionary, because sometimes Elder Lopez and I have had long discussions about what we should do with certain hours of the day, trying to choose the better of two good options, which is always particularly hard to do. The hardest decisions are between two really good things.

  I felt impressed upon that there is no one and only method to do missionary work. There isn't a "Ricciardi way," or a "loving way," or a "finding way," or any other ideology a missionary might feel leads him to consistent success. There is only the Lord's way. And the way to consistently execute that way, that will (if you will) of the Father, is to be seeking personal revelation each day concerning what we ought to be doing each day. 
  Alright, with that being said, honestly regardless of if the days are good or bad they fly by so quickly... I've reached the point where missionary work is just a joy. I've been a little sad sometimes when we don't stop to talk to groups of people because they speak English and we're the Spanish missionaries. That's a little bit of a chain stopping me there. I hope some day I'm serving in a "zebra" or dual language area, because I want to be free to talk with everyone! But the work in Spanish is good too. If everyone I talked to spoke Spanish, I'd be in. But I'm still in the United States, thus not so. I just think it's awkward to say : "We can't come back later, but other missionaries can, how does that sound?"

  Anyway, the week went by so fast I completely forgot that we rode bikes on Tuesday. We were low on miles. We get 1,600 miles in this area each month (to drive) and we were getting really close to the end of the miles, and wanted to be exactly obedient, so we biked for a day to save miles. We had 14 miles to spare, which was wonderful. Many missionaries went over their miles this month.
  I don't have much time to rehearse what I learned during conference, but my favorites were President Monson on Sunday, Ronald A. Rasband, D. Todd Christofferson, and Joaquin E.Costa was amazing!!!! I liked this quote: "I testify that Jesus Christ is the light that we must reflect," from Elder Benjamin De Hoyos talk, and the talk from Quentin L. Cook.

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints
April 2017 General Conference
  (This is a link to access any talk of the April 2017 General Conference, just click on a talk and read or listen, they are all very inspiring.)

  I also love singing the 7th verse "How Firm a Foundation"  That also invigorates my soul. Out of time, ask questions if you have 'em.


--Elder Schaff

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