Friday, July 7, 2017

Week 46 - Birthday, Baptism and Tough Goodbyes

  This is what Elder Schaff wrote about all that was happening the final week in June. He celebrated his birthday, they had a baptism and they said goodbye to President and Sister Clark and welcomed a new mission president and wife to the California Fresno Mission.

  "Birthday Lunch at Denny's with the Elders, as well as the senior missionary couple. They wanted to have a birthday dinner and it was nice to unify our little district a bit more."

  "The end of the Clarks was a good day, but all was fulfilled. There were many tears, laughs, and uplifting spiritual counsel in those moments. President and Sister Clark each gave their deepest, and most powerful training yet.

President Clark trained on the Eternal Learning process. Knowledge==>Understanding==>Intelligence.

Sister Clark taught "The Ladder of Motivation," basically, what is the reason for why we do things? The greatest reason is to be out of Christ-like love and Charity, and the reasons in order of decreasing value are: faith, duty, reward/punishment, fear, force. Stay with the first 3!

President Clark, Elder Schaff and Sister Clark

  "So that takes us up to Zone Conference. We said good-bye to president Clark, and that was that. He presided over the mission until June 29th, and then left. Quite the birthday present, my Mission President left me! Nonetheless he said he would always be one of my Mission Presidents and my friend, and I believe him! That is so valuable to me!  (I've still got that medallion with me as well, not going to lose it!)

Medallion that was given to Elder Schaff by President Clark previously
  This week was full of crazy events. The main people of focus have been: "M", "E", and by surprise, "L"! "M" did get baptized on Friday. There really wasn't any worry with that. He has been reading a lot in the Book of Mormon and feels that everything is true. He even bore his testimony in sacrament meeting on Sunday! Way to hit the ground running! Moments after receiving the Holy Ghost in confirmation he was acting upon it to bear his testimony.

  "M" did give a little resistance getting baptized though, (haha) he didn't bend his knees and the first time let go of my arm with both hands to plug his nose with both hands, so it was a baptism to be remembered for sure. Needless to say we got it the 2nd time and all was well.

    "E" has been a tough cookie recently. He has had a lot of doubts about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, but it all came back together yesterday. We have reached the conclusion that he is literally on the battlefield of faith, like a tug-of-war between the Spirit and Satan's influences."

  "E" had a strange experience that he related to us about Wednesday I think, where he said that his son came to him at 2 in the morning crying and he felt that something was wrong. He attributed it to the Book of Mormon, and removed it from his room and stopped reading it. We happened to have a member at that lesson, who challenged him that it was Satan trying to stop him from receiving the blessings of the Book. "E" actually decided to begin reading again, which was a surprise. I thought that was going to be the horrible ending.

  We had some lessons, but on Sunday a noticeable change occurred. he had read 2 Nephi chapters 2-8, and suddenly he felt like the Book of Mormon could be true, that Joseph Smith was possibly a prophet, and he also noted he felt he needed to be baptized. So if he turns to worldly knowledge he turns away. If he reads the Book of Mormon he feels at peace and feels like he is receiving answers. We'll see where it goes. At least for now we don't have that sinking feeling!

  AND "L"! To be honest, my birthday was a pretty tough day. Everything was normal, except every missionary had on his mind or in the back of it the fact that President Clark was indeed going home. The end had come. We visited "M" and a less-active member at the hours of 12 and 1pm, and for the rest of the day we were out on our bikes trying to talk to people. It wore me out. In the midst of all of this, we went to a appointment with a man named "F", who is really awesome. But apparently he forgot the appointment so we went back empty-handed. (We visited him on Sunday though, don't worry.) I saw "L"'s parents coming home, and I thought we might as well say hi and see how they and "L" are doing. Much to my surprise, "L" had returned from Washington! I'll take that as a birthday gift! We caught up with him and set a time to return. He came to church this week and wants to be baptized this Sunday. We'll see what happens! He does meet the requirements, so it may happen. It's exciting to see him again. 

  We did get a lot of potential investigators and had a lot of things to prepare for the baptism and records to update as well, so by the time I finished all those chores it was about 10:30pm onThursday. I opened up "The Birthday Box," and I broke a smile with a gleaming eye as I did so. I really felt your love family!!! Unfortunately I was so very drained I got to the card and saw what I had received, and all I could do was cry. For the love of my family, and also the realization that my Mission President had probably changed. I was moved with gratitude. It was not an easy birthday, but as I sat there that night, I decided the greatest gift of all was the man I had and have become thanks to the influence of all these great people. The gift of knowledge and understanding (and perhaps love) is as good as it gets in reality. It's all you can bring to the eternities!

  I did enjoy the birthday box much more through out the week, and finally got around to making cake in a mug on Sunday night. I intended to do it Saturday, but I realized I had started a fast, so I waited. The cake was pretty good Sydney, thanks for asking. Maybe I'll throw some fruit or chocolate into the next attempts.

"Birthday in a Box" package that was sent from home

  Also! My testimony of fasting increased a ton, we had many blessings Sunday, but I'm out of time, so that's a story for another day!

Love you all, bye!"

--Elder Schaff

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