Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Week 53 - Selma Collection Photos

  "This here is what we call "The Selma Collection."

  Elder Schaff had to say goodbye to the Selma missionaries so that he could report up to the Mission Office. He has loved serving with Elders Derbidge, Lopez and Nielsen these past few months. 

"And my, my, Elder D looks pretty sweet to finish it off!"

Week 53 Pictures

"Picture update: Sports activity on Monday, August 14th. Somehow I packed enough and we pulled that off and said goodbye to the Zone. The rest are good-byes that we could coordinate. There weren't many that we could do, since we only had Monday, and we had 3 teaching appointments that night. Miguel was out of town, but I caught Leo, Hermano P, and Kevin, our investigator that was/(hopefully is) doing well there."

Sports Activity on Preparation Day

Week 53 - "Whatever You Do Mom, Don't Call the Secretary!"

Well, Elder Schaff really caught us off guard by writing emails on Saturday this past week. I usually sit down after church and write to him on Sundays, so he has email to read any time on Mondays, his old preparation day. Since he is working in the Mission Office Monday - Friday now, he had preparation day on Saturday. I guess I will have to write him by Friday evening now. Anyway, this is his news this week.

  "Alright family! How are you doing! I bet I caught you off guard, yeah?
You didn't expect me to email you at 12 on a Saturday! Err.... I guess it's 3 or so there. But you get me!

  First order of business, my preparation day will be Saturdays now. But, as we know, that is some prime proselyting time to go out and teach families. Thus, we may split the time between Saturday and Monday. (For behold, President Mackay did declare unto us that we can be agents unto ourselves and do what is right.) You'll have to send your emails a bit earlier now I suppose!!!

  It's been a great week in the Mission Office. I actually really enjoy it. So there you have it. You put a nerd at a desk and give him a computer and he loves it. I'm the right Elder for the job apparently! This week I learned all of the responsibilities that are required to get missionaries in and out of the mission. I keep track of every missionary coming in and confirm their arrivals from the MTC (Missionary Training Center). I send out letters to newly assigned missionaries telling them of the CFM's (California Fresno Mission) standards and various other paperwork. I have to manage all the letters and arrangements for missionaries that will be departing as well. It's somewhat difficult to get rid of missionaries! (Haha) There is a lot that has to be done to get them where they need to be.

  Now I'm learning the auxiliary responsibilities that are going to be more long-term, like updating the mission's annual history or preparing missionary identification reports. I'm also going to have to pick up on the responsibilities unique to the CFM system like developing the Christmas card list and such. It's a lot coming in, but I really like it.

  In the great words of Elder D: "The more you work in the Mission Office, the more the Lord will bless your area." I believe it. We have received a ward to cover that is ripe to go and harvest with us. Spiritually and physically! They are excited to get out there and do some missionary work since prior to us the ward was covered by sister missionaries, but they also had 3 other wards to attend to, and there was a lot of difficulty to share the time correctly. Also, the grape harvest is coming up, thus physically, the ward will harvest with us.

  My companion is Elder Biggs. We get along great. Really, the California Fresno Mission is a great place to be. There are lots of good Elders in this valley! Elder B is proof that our call to the Mission Office was carefully planned out and inspired. He is a Hmong language missionary. For the first part of his mission he covered Hmong areas and testified of Yextus (Jesus). I'm trying to pick up a few words in free time to sound cool. I think it would be awesome to learn it, but there really isn't enough time. Elder B says it makes no sense until you get the alphabet and how to read down and then you start to make connections. Anyway, what I was getting to is that a Hmong missionary and a Spanish missionary were put together in the mission office/Mountain View area. That is a significant sacrifice of language missionaries. Spanish not so much, there are still lots of missionaries speaking Spanish, but I did break the even number of Spanish companionships. But there are only 8 or so Hmong Elders! 

  Anyway, we teach really well together and have had some good experiences already with our members.  After concluding one of the lessons, Sister L commented that what we shared was something that she really needed to hear at this point of life right now. The Spirit immediately filled the room.

  Oh yeah, and the area is super rich. I lost my camera for a time (found it again though), but Elder B got some good ones. There is one with all of these huge houses and palm trees that looks like your stereotypical California. One of the members we met had a Camero and two different types of Mercedes and some other nice car that I forgot the name of. Gated community. Big houses. But their yards will never be as big as the ones in New York! Ha ha, we have more yard space than them. 

  Ask your questions if you have them! It's been a great week, and the time is passing super quickly. So very fast! No matter how long I serve in the Mission Office I feel that it will be over before I know it. We work from 9:00 to 5:00 there and teach in the evenings. That will make your days fly by.   

  I am therefore, doing great. Whatever you do mom, don't call the Secretary!" (It's tempting, but I won't call the Mission Office and ask for the Secretary.)

--Elder Schaff

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Week 52- Big Change for Elder Schaff's One Year Mark

  I wasn't expecting to hear too much from Elder Schaff this week. Transfers are two weeks out and he and Elder D were working hard and moving things forward, then he got a phone call on Sunday night and things changed quickly. You can read about it below.
  This week mark's Elder Schaff's hump day or one year mark. He entered the MTC last summer on August 17th. One year down and one to go! To mark the occasion, I had a tee shirt sent by Amazon, it reads, "Hump Daaay! There is a camel in the middle and below the camel it says, "Guess what day it is." I also bought a hump day shirt, so if you see me in my yellow camel tee shirt, you will know why. Here is the news from Elder Schaff-

  "Alright, bear with me, because things have gotten really crazy in the last 15 hours. 

  Last night at 10:21 pm I was writing in my journal. The phone rang. I looked at it and it said: "***President Mackay," and then I knew something crazy was about to happen. You see, any missionary knows that when his mission President calls him late at night the following may have happened: 
1) Somebody the missionary knew died. 
2) President has received revelation and wants to do something to/with you and your companion like: 
 a) assign a leadership position
 b) transfer a missionary based on some occasion.
 c) go on a team-up with you because you have important investigators! Yay!

  He then told me he intended to speak with me privately. I switched the phone off speaker and prepared for what he was going to tell me! And the result was I'm leaving Parlier/Selma tomorrow morning!!!

  I have been called to be the Mission Secretary for a time. President Mackay has decided that he wants to have youth missionaries fulfill some of the Mission Office roles instead of senior couples and see what happens as a result. I and my new companion, that I will soon meet, will be the first missionaries to do so in the CFM. (Some other missions have done this I guess.) I will be a secretary by day and a proselyting missionary by night, working some area in Fresno. 

  I really don't know what to think! Transfers are in two weeks, but because I need to be trained for 12 days to do this properly, I have to leave now! Thus, after I put the phone down last night, chaos erupted. I began packing up my things. I had to tell Elder D the news and that was really sad because our companionship will come to an end. It has been a wonderful 10 weeks that we've had together, and I've come out of it with a true friend. Until the end of the transfer, Elder D will be in a "tri-panionship" with Elders N and L until transfers come. We will get new missionaries then and there will be enough to fill the areas. 

  So that's how I'm faring. Never mind the week we had! It was pretty boring anyway. Nothing notable happened until last night.

  Elder D hit the brakes on his bike to talk to someone, but only hit the front brakes, and pulled off half of a wicked front flip. Somehow he caught himself, but a few parts flew off his chain and it's not tight anymore. A bike is no good without the chain to move the gears and then the wheels! The Zone Leaders needed us to teach an interlude at a baptism they had at 6 anyway, so we got the bikes onto the car and went to the church and gave that teaching. We returned to Parlier and continued to have the day's plans and appointments fall through. The day was getting long at that point, but Elder D and I both agreed that it had to be happening for a wise purpose of God.

  That was just it! I felt inspired to knock the door of a potential from last transfer. There didn't appear to be anyone home, but we went for it. The children of the house answered the door, but the parents were not there. A minute later, the dad arrived! He invited us in and we taught the dad and his two kids. The Holy Ghost was strong in that lesson, and we ended an arduous week with a family to teach. It was a miracle of personal revelation. The son of the family, a 13-year-old named "E", said that he was going to spend all of today reading the Book of Mormon we gave him because he wants to know if it is true. School starts tomorrowTuesday, for him, so that's a big sacrifice. Spending the last day of summer reading the Book of Mormon! (That's how you do it!)

  So life is good. I feel like I'm using a lot of "!"s because I have a lot of energy with the whole advent of being transferred. The Zone is also holding a sports day before our district meetings today, and we're heading over to that, maybe I'll calm down a bit there. It reminds me, the last time we did that we were playing Ultimate Frisbee and I threw the disc at the ground to serve it. It ended up being the perfect toss because it bounced up and glided right into the basketball hoop. 3 pointer!

  All is well in the California Fresno Mission. I'll tell you what Secretary training is like next week!

Pack the bags...it's back to Fresnoooooooooooooooooooooooooo!

Elder Schaff  


Hanford Zone, Introduction to President and Sister Mackay in July 2017.

Elder D and Elder Schaff with a member leaving for his mission, he had already been a great member missionary and they were excited for him.

An exchange with the assistants in August. 

Elder D opening up a gift.

Elder D gave Hayden a tie. This blue tee shirt is something that our family sent to him to mark his hump day or half way point on his mission. One year down and one to go!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Week 51 - "And Thus the Work Sails On"

  Well, it is week 51, so we are just one week away from the one year mark! Elder Schaff entered the Provo MTC last summer on August 17th. It's hard for me to believe that so much time has passed. It was hot in Utah when we took him to the MTC, and it is still very hot in his area, but the highs are hovering around 99/100 instead of 105 plus. I hope it starts cooling down quickly. It's difficult to work hard in the heat, but he and Elder D are getting it done. Here is this week's update-

  "Well, news for my week:

  I felt like surely many things have happened this week, and that is indeed true, but I don't have much time to describe it to you today world!

  We spent 40 hours "In the Water," or doing missionary work in Parlier itself. (Which would exclude studies and other non-proselyting activities.) That's literally a full-time job, right?

  We did a lot of finding this week, again. We had a tidy sum of appointments and teachings as well, but in the mission you really always find yourself finding, because God's children are always out there waiting to receive the blessings of heaven! Speaking of such, we found 4 people interested in the message and perhaps touched by the Holy Ghost this week, and thus the cycle continues. Our numbers of people we have found to teach have been up and down the last 4 weeks. But hey, finding trends never really coordinate with time spent working.

  The most notable news: Leo and Miguel are still doing really well. Yesterday there were 100 people at Sacrament meeting in the Branch. 15 were visitors, but still, 85 is exciting! During my first week here I think there were about 15 people!

  "S" and "K" are doing better. They are investigators we found 2 weeks ago. (Can't remember if I wrote about them yet.) They hadn't been as receptive until the end of the week, and then we taught the Plan of Salvation and the Holy Ghost touched them. "S" came to church and had a good experience. 

  And thus the work sails on! 

  Our fellow missionaries, known as Selma Spanish, had two families attend church yesterday, so there may soon be 5 baptisms in the Branch. Exciting times in Zion!

-Elder Schaff

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Week 50 - Perfectionism, Pokemon and Priesthood

  Elder Schaff seems tired and a bit dissatisfied this week, which is unfortunate, because he and Elder D are working hard and placed 35 Book of Mormons last week!! Wow. They are doing great, but Hayden expects a lot of himself and as he puts it, "my perfectionism has been showing."

  "This was a very spiritual week. It has been a lot of bike riding and opening our mouths in efforts to find people. We had the exchange with the assistants as well as with Selma Spanish. I learned a lot from those exchanges. Something happened Monday night where I found myself unsatisfied with my personal efforts. It might have taken a serious (and unnecessary) toll on my hope!

  Fortunately, in the exchange with the assistants, Elder Q advised me to be more positive in my speech, promising that I could have more optimism, more joy, and less doubt. I felt the Spirit when he gave me that counsel. I knew it was true.

  With that I was uplifted and later had an exchange with our district leader. (Selma Spanish) Elder N talked to me about not letting perfectionism overcome me. He invited me to focus on the Atonement and explained that Christ makes us perfect as we look to him. Little did he know, I had already got the answer I needed, but the focusing on the Atonement comment was nice. I guess my perfectionism has been showing recently!
  We are helping "S and K" progress, they are new investigators from last week. "K" is doing really well and came to church. He got to see the Priesthood in action.

  Sunday was a big day for the Selma 2nd Branch. "L" received the Holy Ghost and was confirmed a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Two others were baptized (investigators of Selma Spanish), and "M" and "R" received the Aaronic Priesthood. Additionally, all 4 of us Elders spoke in sacrament meeting, as it was the 5th Sunday. I spoke on why God has given us the scriptures and how we can become converted by using them. I was well pleased with how it went.

  "K" saw all of that happen. Quite the week for the first time at church. He was desirous to receive the Aaronic Priesthood as well, but it was explained to him he needs to be baptized first. He seemed pretty motivated after that, so we'll see what happens. 

  We gave people 35 Book of Mormons this week in our contacting. It was an uplifting experience to do so. Many people were quite excited to receive a copy and have this opportunity to learn about the truths of God and see what we believe. We have appointments set up for this coming week, so we'll see who did their reading and felt the Holy Ghost and who didn't!

  I learned several personal lessons and worked out improving in Christ-like attributes. Elder D and I have been getting closer and more unified. We have high hopes and great faith for our area! We've been discussing more how we can improve, and in the evenings spend time together watching "The District," listening to powerful talks from various church leaders, or just talking. One talk taught us about why the Atonement was necessary in the nature of what Jesus Christ suffered. (Essentially, why did He have to suffer so much.) It was a talk by someone surnamed Skousen I believe. It may not be a beginner-level learning experience, but it's worth checking out. I felt like I learned a lot. One night somehow Elder D started talking about Pok√©mon while we wrote in our journals and I just went with it. We finished writing and we'd been at it for 30 minutes. We laughed because we were nerds, but also felt a bit of remorse because that was not perhaps the most ideal missionary conversation. So needless to say, we'll stick with talking about the work.

  On Sunday we attempted to visit Kingsburg, but got rejected by almost everybody.  It was bad. We had multiple people tell us to stop talking to them and they refused to take a picture of Jesus Christ. One guy just said no to everything we said and wasn't really listening and then after 20 seconds just went blank and said "get off the driveway!"**  

  The Selma Spanish missionaries are having more success there, so we may leave them to Kingsburg and try to tackle one of the other cities nearby us, like Fowler. We'll see what we accomplish! (Sorry mom! I saw the Tea-pot water tower but I didn't have my camera!)

**How do I put this? I honestly haven't talked with very many white, English speaking people recently. In Kingsburg we ran into a lot of them again. It was rather disappointing to see how bitter our American culture is. We really seek to have minimal contact with strangers and feel very inconvenienced when someone wishes to talk with us. The people we talked with were rather rude, and it was a sad sight to see. "Wo unto the proud for they shall be humbled." Sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I was an English-speaking missionary, and I feel like it would be difficult! I'm grateful for the Spanish culture and the patience they have with us as missionaries. Sure, not everybody agrees with, nor wants to hear what we have to say, but English-speakers, do you have to be so sharp, brash, and rude? I guess that's just modern society for you. So make the world a bit brighter and greet a stranger sometime, just for fun. See what happens!

  Nonetheless, it was an enjoyable week and I've had a smile on my face for the most of it. The Spirit was present in our work and lifted us up. I am feeling more tired than ever before, so hopefully I can resolve that because I disdain feeling tired! It's hard to want to ride a bike and talk to people if you feel like you could take a nap in the moment, trust me.

  As I was studying the scriptures, I was reading through 2 Nephi 31. Nephi elaborates greatly on how baptism is necessary to our salvation, and he proceeds to explain the doctrine of Christ, or in other words, what Christ would have us do to use His Atoning sacrifice. I was rather touched by an insignificant part of a verse. (Maybe 16 or 17?) Which said that: (paraphrasing:) these things were written that ye may know the way by which ye should enter. Nephi was shown many visions and revelations of what would come. After all, this was a man who lived before Christ's time. And Nephi saw what Christ would do and what His role would be on the Earth. Additionally, he saw these last-days and many other great things. But this was not shown to him only to teach him, Nephi. Those things were revealed so that his people, the Nephites, and eventually us, could receive this knowledge of the way! ----The scriptures were written for us!

As always, it feels like these are great days to be a missionary!

My love to those that care for it,

-Elder Schaff