Monday, August 17, 2015

WEEK 7- Fairfield 2nd Ward

Family and Friends,

Hi guys. Today marks 40 days of being out in the mission field. Feels like it's kinda been an eternity, yet it has kinda flown by as well. I can't begin to describe how grateful I am to be out here and the lessons I've learned in just these short 40 days. You come to know whom you really are. You come to know how vulnerable you are out here without mom and dad. You learn to appreciate everything that was “given” to you back home. (Especially the convenience of walking downstairs and slowly making your way closer to mom, signaling you want a back scratch. You really can't do that here. Your companion would beat the crap out of you if you tried to pull something like that.) So yeah, you could say it's not easy being a missionary. It's tough sometimes. ;) In all seriousness, you've really just got to forget yourself and begin to look “outward rather than inward”. It's a harsh lesson to learn, but I've found it to be one of the things I value most. It's truly a christ-like attribute that epitomizes the “purpose” of us missionaries. Our purpose is one of selflessness and love for our fellow man. There is no way by any means that we can fulfill our purpose if we are constantly looking inward. Nor can we be truly happy. This message applies to those not on missions as well. I'm not going to preach much to you guys this week, but I invite you to think about your efforts in looking outward rather than inward. Trying to find ways to make others lives easier and being willing to “comfort those that stand in need of comfort” (Mosiah 18:9). I promise as you look for opportunities to serve others, you will become happier as a direct result of it. Whatever way you can do this, I invite you to try. That's my challenge for you this week.
Aside from the spiritual messages, I've had a pretty awesome week. I've been fed the ABSOLUTE best meals this week than I've had while being out. We've had everything from Mong food, to Filipino food, and the traditional Roast and Potatoes that we Americans often times call “comfort food”. It's definitely served as that and has provided us with happy stomachs.
We've also taught more lessons this week than ever before. Our efforts have been successful in trying to get into peoples homes. That really is the hardest part out here. People are so reluctant to let us into their homes. They often times have preconceived notions about missionaries and don't understand what we are here for. But, once in the home, the spirit takes off and the families want more and more of what we have to share. It's so cool to see that transition and the desire they have to get more of our lessons. I think the most rewarding part of missionary work is teaching a lesson, sharing a challenge with the investigators (to read the scriptures, say prayers, or whatever it might be) and seeing them fulfill their challenge. You then know as a missionary that the spirit of The Lord has worked through them as a result of what you've shared. You've inspired them enough to take your challenge and run with it. It's not very often that this happens, but when it does... ITS AN AMAZING FEELING.
My favorite part of this week was on Monday night. We went out to dinner at a Mongolian grill (No, not the same as Mong food) with a couple in our ward. They told us they were from Utah and both attended Hunter High School some number of years ago. She was a year younger than him. They both dated before he left on his mission, and she waited all two years for him. He came home, they dated, and eventually tied the knot. Sounds like quite the story, huh?! ;) But the coolest part of dinner was when they were telling me about their days at Hunter High. I was super excited because my football trainers graduated from Hunter, and then later played in the NFL. They were quick to tell me they both knew John Madsen and Brayden Loertscher. Both Braden and John trained me for football during my Sophomore, Junior, and Senior year of high school. They were super good friends with Brayden during school and texted him a picture of me.  I'm sure Elder Achal was sitting there bored out of his mind, but it brought me so much comfort. It was so fun to meet them and eat some awesome food at the same time.
Basically this week was pretty freakin awesome. I am really getting these lessons in Preach My Gospel down, memorizing scriptures, and relying on the Savior to do the rest. It has been a pleasure serving out here in Fairfield, California. It isn't the prettiest sight in the world, but there certainly are amazing people that live here. I believe I'll be staying here another transfer, but we will get that information in a couple weeks. I really hope they keep me here.
I hope all is well back home. I'm sure nothing has changed dramatically since I've left. And nothing probably will in the two years I'm gone.
 Keep saying your prayers. Keep reading your scriptures. Keep going to church.

I love you all very much. I'll see you soon. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

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