Monday, June 19, 2017

Week 44 - Everything is Fantastic

  I was in a rush this morning and went to get my haircut. I had Hayden's sister in tow and asked her to email her brother while I was getting my haircut. My plan was to drive home, eat lunch and then write to him, but when I opened my email to write, he had already written and was gone! I can't believe I missed him this week. Good thing his sister wrote to him. He generally emails around 5:00 pm in California, which is 8:00 pm here, so I thought I had plenty of time this afternoon. So, I guess I better do what I used to do, and make sure I write before I go to bed on Sunday nights. Sometimes it is frustrating when we miss each other because he needs a new pair of pants and I need his pant size! That will have to just wait another week.

  President and Sister Clark are almost done with their 3 years of service and will be leaving around June 30th, then he will have a new mission president and wife until the end of his mission next summer. That is why he is referring to their last interview and mentions the Jeopardy game being an "end to it all." Here is his email-

  "Okay, everything is fantastic. It really is, but we are losing 40 minutes of our email time, because we can't pause it, and we have an appointment at 11:00am. It would have been fine, but the Selma Elders don't have a car and we have to chauffeur them across town and they apparently need us right now, so we have to leave soon and lose that email time. Oh well! That's how it goes....

  Elder D and I are doing great. He wakes me up at 6:00 on preparation day and I prefer sleeping until 6:15 on preparation day, but it's ok, I'll get over it. That's not so bad. But when we email, he types like 140 words per minute,  so he finishes in 30 minutes and wants to go do other things and I'm sitting here like: please let me use my whole hour and 30 minutes! But nay. Can't win everything.

  Our teaching is superb. Everyone in the area is progressing along very nicely. "E" came to church for the 4th time in a row this Sunday and, to our surprise, brought his family along with him! "M" also came. Elder Ennis and I met "M" in a park one day and he said we could come over the next day. Ever since then he has been preparing for baptism. "M" and "E" have set baptism dates for the end of the month. It should be exciting!

  Last week I couldn't write because there was not much time and we had to send an email to President Clark for our concluding interviews. I had that interview on Friday. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. President gave me some wonderful, personal counsel and an amazing promise. He told me he was "well pleased" with my efforts, which filled my heart with joy, because sometimes I've wondered how well I'm doing! I knew then that the Lord knew of my sacrifices and what I am seeking to accomplish.

  Sorry I couldn't send anything for Father's Day. I began writing a letter, but was informed that it is against the rules to write letters on any day other than preparation day. I love following all the rules, and now I don't have a choice because Elder D likes them too, and enforces them. So I wrote no letter. I didn't know that rule! Love you Dad! Obedience isn't always easy! Hopefully the card I was able to send for his birthday was enough!

  I'm placing a request for a scaled map of North and South America. I want to see if I can work a bit of relative geography as I read the Book of Mormon and get an idea of where all these places are.

  Other than that, I got some pictures of what we did at interviews this week. I'll try to send them.... normally we do a training with Sister Clark, but since it's our last one, we played Jeopardy with Missionary style questions. (Preach My Gospel, Scriptures, Missionary Handbook, etc.) It was fun! A good experience to "end" it all. (The official end is Zone conference.)

  I hope I can write a better letter next week!!!! But sacrifice brings forth the blessings of heaven..."

--Elder Schaff

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Week 43 - Not Much to Report

  Unfortunately, Hayden didn't write much this week. This is all that we got, plus some ACT testing advice for his sister, which we which she had before she took the exam-

"Well, we had a special assignment to write President about some things we have learned from the mission. Unfortunately, we started email late and I have to go. Next week!

I thought of one last thing I may need- one more pair of dress pants that aren't attached to a suit!"
Love the family, bye

The ACT test isn't hard, it's all about time management.

English was the only one that I felt required significant skill.

Math you have to move fast because the last 10 questions take way longer than the rest. Can't second-guess the easy ones.

Reading there is always a passage you have to read and always one you need to skim. You have to look at the questions you have to answer in that section to know what you are trying to read for. All the times I did it there was a poem or a short story that just asked for literary techniques in the passage--you didn't even have to read it. Interesting tip.

Science you just have to know how to use a graph and a few formulas. Practice makes perfect.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Week 42 - Transfers and a New Companion

  Elder Schaff has only been in his new area for 6 weeks, so I didn't expect him to be transferred this week, and he wasn't, but almost everyone else in their area was. Unfortunately, his fun loving, yet hard working companion, Elder Ennis, was transferred to a new area. Hayden says that his new companion will be Elder Derbidge. They know of each other, as they were in the MTC at the same time and flew to California on the same day, but they have been in different areas the entire time, so now they will have the opportunity to catch up and serve together in Selma. It was getting late in the day, and an email had not come through, so I finally typed, 'are you there, doesn't your preparation day end soon?' This is how he answered-

  "We have had a lot of goodbyes to say. Normally preparation days end at 5:00 in this mission, but with transfers we get until 6:00."

  "Elder Ennis is being transferred. Elder Del Carmen is being transferred. Both the sisters serving here are also affected. Both the Elders that serve in both the English ward and the Spanish branch are affected. There are no survivors except for me and Elder Del Carmen's companion, Elder Nielsen.

Our Selma Gang
  So I haven't written about it, but in our district we have the faithful Elders S and J covering Reedly/Dinuba. They serve in both English and Spanish. Last week Elder S mysteriously had a "heart infection" that began Thursday. The entire mission prayed for him and he recovered on Monday, but was told to take it slowly. President Clark advised him to return home and rest and return to the mission when he knows there will be no risks. (Talk about serving with all your heart!)

  Why is this important? Their area is actually getting closed down because of a lack of Elders. So none other than the Parlier Elders and the Selma Spanish Elders will rise to the call!!!!  Elder Nielsen and I will get it done!

  Elder Nielsen's new companion will be Elder Lopez, but there are 4 Elder Lopez's in the mission currently. (My previous companion will return home now, so 3.) My new companion is Elder Derbidge. I was in the MTC with him and haven't heard much of him since! I imagine he is doing good and we will have a good transfer ahead of us!

  It's going to be crazy and we will have a lot ahead of us! "L" is looking like he will be baptized at the end of June. He came to all 3 hours of church and loved it. "E" also came to all 3 hours of church. He went to gospel doctrine this time and had a better experience. We invited him to also be baptized at the end of June. He said he would pray for an answer or a vision to make sure. That may seem a little out there, but the man prayed for a vision to know if the Book of Mormon is true or not. He proceeded to get one, and has read a good chunk of it. I doubt nothing now!

  Reedly/Dinuba had 14 people with baptismal dates in June. So that may involve even more work to do! I'm excited, but the pressure is on.

  Additional notes: I'm sad Elder Ennis is leaving because I felt like I had more to learn from him about finding/street contacting and I felt like we were doing good together. Also, we won't be able to sing any more songs..... Filming in progress today.

  The rendition of the hymn, "Have I Done Any Good?" on Mormon Channel gets me pumped up every preparation day! Check it out!

  I think I can, I think I can, I think I can! We're going to light Selma/Kingsburg/Parlier on fire! Let the Spirit burn in the hearts of men!

  I wish I could share some more spiritual insights, but there is lots to tend to, not much time to scan through notes. Hopefully this will suffice!

  Shout out to the young men of Orchard Park, New York: tell me how you're doing my friends! I want to hear from ya before you go all your different directions!!!

--Elder Schaff

"Old Time Religion" Video Clip

  This is the first video that Elder Schaff has sent us while he has been serving. I think it is so hilarious. His companion, Elder Ennis, obviously knows this Mormon Tabernacle Choir's version of "Old Time Religion" well. His facial expressions at the end are very funny. I am so happy to see these two hard working missionaries having fun together.