Tuesday, December 29, 2015










WEEK 26- Rohnert 3rd Ward
Found these sweet records at a members home. Hope you like those, Dad.
2. Christmas morning opening presents. Kinda look awful, but that's okay.
3. Caroling with our Zone on Christmas morning.
4. FaceTiming family on Christmas Day (Ani was in bed by this time).
5. Fell asleep while weekly planning. Oops.
6. Had to copy Elder Nielsen that is out in Lubbock right now.

Mom add: The picture of a stocking a ward member made for Elder Schaefer. (Lebron)



Family and Friends,
Twas the night before Christmas, and all throughout the house - not a
sleeping Elder to be found, nor even a sleeping mouse. For all the
Elders could think about - were their families at home - and the
festivities that they were missing out. We tossed and we turned - in
hoping that this sacrifice would be worth it no doubt. We then arose -
at 6:30 AM - knowing that in some little time - we will see them once
again.
This was the little poem I wrote this past week on Christmas Day. I
honestly had no intention on putting this in my weekly letter, but I
thought... "Why not?!" People might get a chuckle out of this.
Hahahaha. Now, with much anticipation building up in your hearts, I'll
give the latest news on how things have been here in Ro-Po.

Monday: P-Day. Nothing too special. We did our shopping and then
proceeded to make our way to the church for the regular emailing,
basketball, and hanging out. I had literally no motivation to email
today because I knew I was going to be FaceTiming my family in just a
short amount of time. Following our P-Day activities, we headed out to
dinner with one of our favorite families in the ward. Brother Harumi &
Sister Harumi are from New Zealand & they feed us most wonderfully.
With regular dinner discussions, off on some tangent, Brother Harumi
and I got talking about fitness. We sat and probably talked for an
hour and a half. Oops. But it's alright. I explained to him my whole
story with John Madsen and all the training I've done in my life and
how it's truly my passion. I was able to give him some pointers and
give advice to help him achieve his goals. It was very refreshing to
have had this conversation with him and it made me so happy.
#TenderMercy. After dinner we headed out to find some people and
that's how the night pretty much ended.

Tuesday: By far the most spiritual day of the week. We had district
meeting today and it was such a blessing in many more ways than just
one. I had been earnestly praying recently to know what I could share
in my meeting that would help and benefit our district. I decided that
I needed to be teaching from the talk "Mountains to Climb" by
President Eyring. It turned out to be absolutely amazing. We all
walked out BAWLING because of the intensity of the spirit. I was so
relieved to know that the revelation I received was exactly what my
district needed. My testimony was strengthened to know that Heavenly
Father certainly does give revelation that pertains to how we can help
those around us. After district meeting, we had a day full of canceled
appointments which meant we were left with not much to do. Later that
night, we went and visited the Garcia family (recent converts) and
read the story of The Saviors birth with them. Very much so a sweet
experience as well.

Wednesday: Elder Sombke and I argued a lot today. That kinda sucked,
but we made it through. I think the both of us woke up on the wrong
side of the bed - which meant we couldn't come to an agreement ON
ANYTHING with one another. We went to teach an inactive member in
which we read The Book of Mormon with in every one of our visits.
During our visit with him, I was admiring his music collection and it
reminded me greatly of my dad. He had the same sorts of tastes in
music as my dad, and I insisted on going through his music collection.
Found some pretty cool records. So that was fun. For dinner we had a
member drop of Burger King for us. I'm gonna leave this up to you to
determine how "delicious" this meal was. Following our delight of a
meal, we headed out to the streets in search of those that The Lord
had prepared for us. Not much success, but we did give our efforts.

Thursday: Hard day. Really, really hard day. I was more homesick today
than I've ever been. I wanted to go home, and hangout with my family.
I felt alone, lost, and very frustrated. We couldn't find success in
working, so I resorted to eating In n Out Burger for lunch. That made
the feelings subside for a bit while I sunk my teeth into a Double
Double, but the feelings continued once I finished that masterpiece.
We decided to brighten our spirits and no longer sit in somber
feelings. I insisted that we go caroling and sing songs to members in
our ward. It ended up being SUPER FUN. I think it might've even
sounded a bit like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?! Or maybe I was just
thinking this while trying to make my tone deaf voice sound better. I
don't remember. But it's alright. It was Christmas Eve, and I wasn't
gonna let a bad voice hold me back. While returning home from
Caroling, a storm kicked in. And when I say storm, I mean raindrops
the size of ice cubes. It was CRAZY. But without hesitation, Elder
Sombke and I quickly pulled over the car, zipped up our jackets, and
helped a random guy at his home finish raking up the leaves in his
front yard. We came home SOAKED from head to toe, but we knew what we
had done was good. We dried off our shoes, white shirts, pants, and
socks - and headed out to dinner. This night for dinner we went over
to the Piombo household (another one of our favorite families) and
hung out there for the rest of the night. We talked, laughed, shared
stories, and even played a couple games. It felt very "at home" for
me, and brought some peace.

Friday: CHRISTMAS!!!!! YAHHHOOOOO! Today was the best day I've had in
a while. We woke up Christmas morning, opened presents with all the
Elders in our apartment, and then quickly got ready to head out for
some more Caroling. We headed to an old folks home and walked the
halls while singing songs of praise to our Savior Jesus Christ. What a
sweet and tender experience this was to see all the older folk tear up
as we walked passed, shook their hands, offered warm remarks, and
wished them a Merry Christmas. I LOVED THIS. But the best part of the
whole day was indeed the time in which I was given to FaceTime my
family. AHHHHH! This was the best thing on the entire planet. I ended
up being pretty emotional and couldn't keep myself together. I guess I
just never realized how much I missed them. After hanging up with
them, I felt some sadness, but then was quickly distracted by the
needs of the people around us. Thankfully, we were able to go give a
blessing, and help a family in our ward. What a wonderful day this
was.

Saturday: Woke up with a little bit of a "FaceTime hangover." All I
wanted to do was get back in contact with my family and talk some
more. It wasn't too bad, though. We had interviews today with
President Wright. I can't begin to express my feelings of love for
that dear man. He's really the most jolly, and happy man in the world.
I absolutely adore him and his wife. Don't even get me started on
Sister Wright. She's beyond amazing. I literally look forward to
talking with her every other transfer. She's so great. After
interviews, we had a weekly planning session and planned for this
upcoming week. I got Chipotle for lunch, so that was BOMB as usual.
But other than that, It was boring and I kinda felt sick so I fell
asleep for a bit. Oops. We had dinner this night with the sweet Smith
family in our ward, and they so graciously made us our favorite
"Christmas deserts" that our families made us while back home. It was
such an amazing thing to cap off the day with a Peppermint Milkshake,
and a lesson with this family. They're AWESOME!

Sunday: Had our Ward Council Meeting and also had church today. This
is now beginning to be my favorite day of the week. I'm so thankful
each week to partake of the Sacrament and become clean from all my
sins and infirmities. I feel that I'm literally living from Sunday to
Sunday... JUST SO THAT I CAN TAKE THE SACRAMENT. I love Sacrament
Meeting. It's just so amazing! We also did some more finding today,
got in contact with a less active member, and also set up some
appointments with our investigators. It was such a great day in terms
of missionary work.

In conclusion - It was a pretty good week. Nothing huge happened, but
I certainly believe that all these small and tender mercies from The
Lord can make such a difference. I invite you to look for The Lords
hand in your life more often. Think about the times in which you've
felt furthest from him. Think about all that's been troubling you
lately. But don't forget to think about where He was. How He helped &
how He made things better. EVEN IF IT SEEMED THAT HE WASN'T ALONG YOUR
SIDE.

I testify to you that He always is. He always will be there for us. He
takes us through things and gives us trials because He knows that we
can only grow from hard things. Life wasn't meant to be easy. "No
Gall, No Glory."

I love you all dearly. I hope Christmas was amazing and this New Year
brings you great joy. I'll catch you on the flip side.

-Elder Schaefer

Tuesday, December 22, 2015




WEEK 25 Rohnert 3rd Ward-

Family and Friends,

Much like all the other missionary emails I get from friends around
the world, I certainly admire the "day to day" reports as to how
things are going in each others areas. Most of the emails and letters
I send home consist of random thoughts, ideas, and spiritual moments
all packed together like a snowball. I must apologize to those whom
have been reading these outrageous pieces of literature. It will soon
be changed into something more interesting and worthwhile. Without
further adieus, here's a quick rundown of all things Elder Schaefer.

Monday - 'Twas a pretty boring P Day to say the least. Most of our
zone was split up and busy attending to other things. We basically sat
at the church, talking, emailing and playing basketball with our Zone
Leaders (Elder Frodcham & Elder Wilson). We then had dinner with the
Piombo family later that night. They're honestly one of the coolest
families I've ever met. They LOVE feeding us and having us over. For
the better part of our evening, we talked about the new Star Wars
movie, and discussed our predictions for the movie. Unfortunately
it'll be another 18 months before I can see that movie, but we still
made our best guesses. Following our dinner appointment, we went to
visit a family that is soon moving out of our ward.

Tuesday - Such an awesome day. We had district meeting today and it
was so great. Elder Beeston & I decided to combine our districts and
to share a video about The Atonement. It was one of the most powerful
videos I've ever seen. Although, not church produced... It brought a
special spirit into our meeting. I loved that! After district meeting,
I went on an exchange with our Zone Leader (Elder Wilson). He happens
to be a Spanish speaking Elder, and we were heading into his area - so
I anticipated that I wouldn't be doing much talking. Later that
evening, we were out knocking doors and I approached a man that looked
to be Latino. From the 3 years of Spanish classes I've taken
throughout High School, I decided to just throw myself out there and
try to have a conversation with this man. Now, my Spanish was very
broken, but to my much surprise, I received a witness of the gift of
tongues that very night. I stood there and had a full conversation
with the man, and I felt The Lord putting words into my mind as I
explained our purpose, and what our basic beliefs were. Soon after my
conversation with him, we walked away, and Elder Wilson and I just
BUSTED out laughing. We were so blown away at what had just happened,
that we couldn't even believe it. It seemed almost comical to me that
The Lord provided me with such a sweet experience.

Wednesday - Exchanged back to our regular companionships, and headed
out to a FULL day of service. We started with helping a sister (in our
ward) move out of her storage units. We moved the NASTIEST, OLDEST,
AND DUSTIEST furniture I've ever seen in my life. We had spider webs,
cob webs, and dried up rat feces all over us after this service
project. With smiling faces, we kindly thanked her for allowing us to
serve her & then returned home for a very lengthy shower. We then had
Waffles & Costco bacon for dinner & did more finding for the rest of
the night. Nothing too eventful.

Thursday - We had our Mission Christmas devotional today! What a
spiritual, fun, exciting, and hilarious experience this was. Each zone
from the mission was asked to rehearse a "Christmas skit" & perform it
in front of the mission. We danced to a remix song of "Once There Was
A Snowman" and made ourselves look ridiculous. But that's alright. We
had fun. It was so great to see all my friends from the mission and
talk with them for a bit. For our devotional, President Wright asked
that every missionary memorize a verse of scripture as a gift to our
Savior this Christmas. We then all stood up in unison and shared our
verse. It was so cool. After our devotional, we drove home, had
another four course meal with The sweet Ray family, and then followed
a lesson with Brianna & Sili (our investigators). We had a lesson with
this couple and tried to commit them to baptism. They have been
meeting with missionaries for a couple months now, and we decided it
was time. The husband committed to a baptismal date, but the wife is
still holding back. She's having problems making this decision because
of her families strong disliking of our faith. Briana knows that she
will be cut off from her family if she makes this decision, so we are
patiently waiting for her to muster up enough courage in taking this
step.

Friday - Basically just planned for our upcoming week and got ready
for our baptism on Saturday. We went over to Alexandria & Xavier's
home with a list of things they need to remember to bring in
preparation for their baptism. (We forgot to remind our investigator a
couple weeks ago about bringing extra underwear & a towel to dry off
with after her baptism. In forgetting this, I'm sure you can imagine
the sticky situation we were in a couple weeks before). We didn't want
to let them forget any of the "essentials" and being that they were
kids - we HAD to make sure their mother was aware of these things. We
then went over to an investigators home, and was canceled on. Might I
mention... We have been canceled on three weeks in a row. I think we
might have to drop this one.

Saturday - Wow. I haven't felt the spirit so strongly ever in my life.
Today was the day of Alexandria & Xavier's baptism. Elder Sombke & I
were privileged enough to have been chosen in performing this
ordinance for these adorable kids. The Spirit of The Lord has never
pierced my heart as deeply as it did this day. I had a "fiery burning
in my heart" with the knowledge that Xavier & Alexandria had just
entered into a sacred covenant with their Heavenly Father. Thankfully,
I was there to assist them in making this happen. I know and can
testify of the Saviors presence at baptisms. There's no doubt in my
mind that he was there, sitting in attendance. I felt him ever near. I
was also thankful to have given a talk at the baptism on the subject
of receiving the gift of The Holy Ghost. All in all, we had an amazing
day. Elder Sombke & I had permanent smiles on for the rest of the day.
I have never felt so full of joy and happiness before in my life. It
was a feeling in which is truly unexplainable. I was so blessed with
this opportunity and I knelt down in fervent prayer that night
THANKING my Heavenly Father for putting them in my path.

Sunday - Today happened to be our ward Christmas Program. What a crazy
day this was. We combined with the Spanish Branch and it was a Dual
Lingo Sacrament meeting. For the most of the talks that were going on,
I couldn't maintain focus. It was a little frustrating, but this
frustration subsided after partaking of the sacrament. This holy
emblem is one of great importance to me and the sanctification it
brings is one of the greatest gifts from my Heavenly Father. I so
appreciate the blessings that we obtain from taking this week to week.
After church, we then had a "linger longer" in which all people from
the wards stay together and enjoy food with one another. Again,
another Dual Lingo activity that didn't make much sense. But we
enjoyed it for what it was worth. Elder Sombke had a full night out in
the rain this day and came home SOAKED from head to toe. In a more
literal sense, we didn't need to take a shower that night after
returning home - because we were so wet. But, it felt good to get out
and work despite the elements we were facing. I guess Satan just knew
how much I hate getting wet, so he made it POUR this day.

In conclusion, one must know that this week was one of success. With
two baptisms, a baptismal date set, and another potential baptismal
candidate - I think it's safe to say that this area is POPPIN'.
Heavenly Father has blessed us so richly. I'm thankful for the
blessings in which we have the opportunity to claim from serving a
full time mission. I hope all of you reading this are feeling of the
Saviors love and feeling a greater conviction of what he will do for
those that serve him. The blessings are for all. (Not just for those
that carry the name tag). I invite you to seek out and partake of the
blessings that we are able to obtain if only through obedience.

I hope and wish you all a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS. I'll see some of you
on Christmas, but for the others... I'll see you in a couple more
months. Who's really counting though? ;)

Love you all much. GodSpeed.
-Elder Schaefer

Tuesday, December 15, 2015






WEEK 24 Rohnert 3rd Ward

Family and Friends,
Wow. Only eleven more days until Christmas?! I can't even believe it.
This month of December has completely FLOWN by. It almost feels as if
Halloween was just a couple weeks ago? Right? I don't know. I guess
I'm again just going to throw out that clichè quote that all
missionaries say. I think it just might distinguish my complete
thoughts on this subject - "Days really do turn into weeks, and weeks
really do turn into days." It blows my mind. It feels as if time is
moving too fast out here & it's beginning to be more bitter than sweet
for me. I've had a week full of reminiscing from the little amount of
time that I've been out here. With that being said, I must add that
it's been also very emotional for me. It might just be the whole
Christmas season, & the homesickness... Or maybe even the combination
of both, but I'm feeling so thankful for all that our Savior once
provided for us. I'm also thankful that we all get to celebrate his
happenings around this time of year.

Our Ward had its Christmas Party this past week and it was a BLAST.
The Ward here in Rohnert Park really takes advantage in using the
missionaries to serve in all sorts of different capacities. It's
pretty cool. We got the opportunity to serve as "Santa's Elves" and
pass toys along to all the children that came to see Santa. The glow
and light in their eyes made the whole experience well worth it.
Children are the most tender and sweetest things on the whole planet.
I grew a deeper love for the little ones after being able to serve
them during our party. Such a great time! The Christmas Spirit is
something that is so very real & I testify of the truthfulness of
that. It has the power to impact the hearts of all.

Elder Sombke and I have recently had some really cool experiences
sharing the new Christmas Initiative that the church put out this past
month. The initiative is centered around "A Savior is Born" and it's
provided a lot of relief for all those that we come in contact with.
Getting people to talk out here in California is a very challenging
task. Normally we aren't able to spark up conversations with those out
on the street, but I really believe that during the Christmas season
everybody is willing to hear a message centered about Christ. It puts
a warmth in my heart knowing that regardless of religious belief,
faith, or denomination - there remains a constant variable throughout
all of this. Our Savior. Without his birth, we would be lost. Without
his birth, we would have no hope in life after this. Without his
birth, we wouldn't have this gospel that brings each and every one of
us joy. This single, significant, and sacred event that took place
some many years ago has had more of an impact on this world, than any
other event in the history of time. He was born, so that we can be
born again. He lived, so that we can live again. He suffered, so that
we can have happiness for the rest of eternity. This is a gift that
trumps anything we could ever ask for around this Christmas time. It's
my invitation to you that you think about Him amidst the seasonal
rush. Remember who he was, what he's done, what he can NOW do for you
- Because he lived. A Savior is Born.

My most spiritual part of the whole week was the task in which we (as
missionaries) were assigned to teach Relief Society on Sunday. We were
given this assignment only a day prior to our actual lesson, so I must
add that we were very overwhelmed. I did feel more than privileged to
be teaching on Missionary Work, but I was also nervous while preparing
to teach. I went in with little knowledge on the curriculum, but I had
a lot of confidence that I was going to be able to motivate these
women to "share the light" in which we have.
Upon starting my segment of the lesson, I stood up and began
organizing my thoughts that I had put together some few hours before.
In doing this, I looked up from my notes, and immediately a feeling
overcame me. It felt as time stopped for a minute and I was the only
one that felt this. I was able to look deep into the eyes of each one
of these women. I thought of the words in which I had prepared, but
the words weren't coming out of my mouth. I couldn't speak. I couldn't
say anything. My heart was full of so much love and my eyes began to
fill with water. I was overcome with The Spirit of The Lord and I felt
so much love and compassion for the amazing roles that women play in
our church. I felt so much love and compassion for the roles that
women have played in my life & the dear ladies that have provided me
with so much. But the one that came most clear to my mind was my mom.
The only thing I could do in this very moment was just smile and carry
on with what we had to share. With alligator tears streaming down my
face, I expressed my deep appreciation for the opportunity that I had
to address these women; but more importantly - how thankful I am for
the sacred blessing we have of women in our lives and especially in my
life. Now, the lesson went very well and our message was very clear.
We taught what we needed, but that's certainly not the message that
carried deep into my heart for the remainder of that day. And the
remainder of this week. And will continue to carry in my heart for the
rest of my life. I'm so thankful for my mom. I'm so thankful for all
she has provided me with and the anchor she has been to my family. She
is my everything. She is our everything. I'm thankful for her
willingness and loving heart that she has had in bringing me to where
I am today. For showing me the way. For showing me this gospel. For
showing me all that she has. I love you mom. I really do. & I need to
make mention that I love all women that are continuing to be the
amazing people they are. Again, I just need to say... Mom, I love you.
I'm out here today as a direct result of your faithfulness in becoming
active again in the church some many years ago. What you've done has
changed my life.

I'm thankful for all. I'm thankful for this life and everybody whom
I've ever met. Thanks for being so great to me. I wish that in some
way I could return the favor. You've all made an imprint on my heart.
I'll see you all again soon.

I love you guys most. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

P.S. We picked up a couple new investigators this week. We're teaching
them & im committed to dunking them before this transfer ends. Expect
to see some pictures of me in a white jump suit VERY, VERY soon my
friends.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015








WEEK 23- Rohnert Park 3rd Ward
 
Family and Friends,
Crazy week. Crazy, crazy week my loved ones. Heavenly Father couldn't
have blessed us with any more miracles then he did. Some of the things
that happened almost didn't even seem real. I think this one goes down
in the books as being the most successful and spiritual week that I've
had. Elder Sombke and I had lots of struggles but despite these
mishaps, the area seemed to continue steadily. Some of our
investigators here have been so "on the fence" lately (concerning
baptism) that is often times very frustrating. We've been encouraging
them to pray about what we are teaching and to attend church.
Unfortunately these things that seem so fundamental - are hard
concepts to grasp for those we teach. But then again, on the other
side of the coin, some of our investigators are so ready for the
gospel that it almost seems too good to be true.

One of the biggest highlights of our week was the opportunity in which
we had to see our sweet investigator Megan be baptized this Saturday.
It was a very tender moment filled with much emotion and spiritual
truths being testified to all those that were in attendance. I was so
happy for Megan and her decision to show her faith in her Savior Jesus
Christ and be baptized a member of His church. But, not only did she
find the true church of God, she also received the Gift of The Holy
Ghost. I was so privileged to have seen this amazing ordinance take
place and I will forever remember it.

In the spirit of baptisms, we were also able to commit a less-active
families children to baptism this week. Alexandria & Xavier are their
names. These kids are some of the sweetest, kind hearted, and most
loving people on the face of the planet. I've never met siblings that
have a bond as they do. They're so adorable one with another. Every
lesson we give, they insist on offering the opening & closing prayers
and it always leaves me with such a renewed testimony as to how true
this Gospel really is. This Gospel has changed their lives around and
they are so willing to accept it. In their prayers, they pray for us
Elders and they ALWAYS thank Heavenly Father that he sent us to their
home. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear those words coming
from deep in the heart of those children. We set baptismal dates for
these amazing people on December the 19th. The children also insisted
that Elder Sombke and I are the ones that will perform their baptism.
In knowing that these kids would ask US, to baptize them means the
world to me. They will be the first baptism ordinance in which I've
ever taken part in. I'm beyond excited for this opportunity. These two
kids have touched my heart in a way that isn't able to put into words.
I love them so.

While visiting a less active family this week, I had a spiritual
experience that will also never be forgotten. As soon as we entered
the home, I knew something was different. I knew that we had entered a
home that needed The Spirit and it had a very negative vibe. We began
talking with the family, and they seemed significantly interested as
to what we had to say. It almost seemed as if they were waiting for us
to say something that would determine the outcome of their whole
mortal ministry. I knew that The Lord had put us in their home for a
reason. As our lesson with them had ended, I felt that there were
deeper needs that needed to addressed. I then asked if we could do
anything for this sweet family and the wife immediately asked for us
to give her a blessing. She asked for a blessing of comfort, and
healing for the emotional and physical trials in which she's faced
most recently. In placing my hands upon her head that night I felt the
Savior right beside me with his hands upon mine. He spoke through me
and the words that I needed to say came right through my mouth. I
didn't even feel as if I was the one giving the blessing. My whole
body seemed as if it wasn't even there, but I was just the one
speaking. After the blessing was closed, this sweet lady turned around
to me, with tears in her eyes, and gave me the biggest hug in the
world. She began to express to us how hard her life had been recently
and how genuinely scared she was with how her body was working and
operating. She told us that our blessing was indeed EXACTLY what she
needed to hear, and it couldn't have been more perfect for her
circumstances. I later left this home knowing that the priesthood
authority in which I am privileged to use is truly the authority of
God. One does not have experiences such as this that may come as
"coincidences". This is not self inspired. This is not proposed by
man. This ordinance was and is ordained of God.

Aside from the spiritual and emotional aspects of our week, another
great event that happened was my birthday. You know the tune - "One
year older and wiser too, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!" The cute primary
kids in our ward sang this to me on my birthday and it made me so very
happy. Some more events that brought me such joy was being taken out
to dinner with our dear family friend John Winchester. Taken out to
lunch with sweet Sister Petersen. Receiving a call from President
Wright and hearing him sing me happy birthday. Coming to see our car
ALL DECORATED with balloons, posters, candies, confetti and other
sorts of stuff from the cute sister missionaries in my district. A
member baked me a birthday cake. And then to top it all off - We had a
literal five course meal for dinner. We only get fed once a week, so
this was really a miracle for us. Hahahaha

In conclusion, I had the best week ever. It just couldn't have been
better. I wish that I could film everything that happened, and I could
send it home for you all to watch. Even though I want very
differently, my words aren't able to depict the special events that
happen here. I want to take everybody on this journey with me, but the
stories will make for great conversation when I get back home. ;)

I miss you all dearly. Holidays and birthdays are hard being away, but
I know the blessings that will come are of far more worth than I can
even comprehend.

Be safe while I'm gone. I'll see you soon. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

WEEK 22- Rohnert Park 3rd Ward

Family and Friends,
Due to the lack of letter that I was able to share this past week,
I've certainly got something to make up for. I'm sorry that it's been
so crazy around here, but I do have some super great things to tell
you about. I've been blessed beyond words and I'm very thankful for
all that happened to me in Fairfield California. Fortunately, The Lord
saw me able to serve some other wonderful people and share this
astounding message that I have of the Gospel. The new area in which
I've been assigned to serve is in San Rafael California. It's a
smaller town in San Rafael known by missionaries as "Ro-Po". Or in
more of geographical terms - Rohnert Park. This isn't the prettiest
place on the whole planet, but I really walked into a miracle of an
area.

The very first day I got here, I was assigned my new companion Elder
Sombke. Elder Sombke is barely fresh out on the mission and we are
both new to this Rohnert Park area. He's from Virginia, & has been
around the world and back about five times. He's an awesome missionary
with a lot of motivation, and he's VERY knowledgable about The Gospel.
I was so very excited that I was getting the opportunity to serve with
him - until we got into the car after transfer meeting. The very first
thing he shared with me was... "Elder Schaefer, I don't know how you
do things around here, but don't plan on getting close with me or
emotionally attached as companions. I'm not like that and we aren't
going to be like that." Hahahahaha I didn't even really know what to
say. I was very confused and to be honest I still very much am. He's
an interesting kid to say the least, but we're trying to work out our
differences. I have all the faith in my heart that The Lord will make
all things right after a couple weeks of being together.

But aside from this companionship drama, the work here is POPPIN'. We
have an investigator on schedule for a baptism this coming Saturday,
and four other people taking steps to entering into the waters. (I
feel like it's kind of an early birthday present for me considering
that my birthday is on Sunday & our baptism is the day before.) These
people are so ready to begin steps of returning to their Heavenly
Father. Each of their countenances reflect a sense of gospel light and
I'm so excited that I get to be a part of their journey to
discipleship. I've already grown such a love for the special people of
Rohnert Park and the missionaries in my zone. I am feeling greatly
blessed with the special circumstances here that come from being
called to serve in this area. I have a duty to fulfill and I'm
confident that with The Lord on my side, "all things will work out for
our benefit."

With it being thanksgiving this past week, we had a hilarious
experience with the sweet family that brought us into their home to
feed us. It was nothing like my mom's home cooking, but I was at least
able to laugh a little bit about our situation.
On Tuesday morning, we received a call from a member in our ward. This
sweet sister explained to us that she was feeding us for thanksgiving
dinner and we needed to be at her home PROMPTLY at 5:00. Not a minute
later. Not a minute before. So, we made our best efforts in showing up
exactly at the time she asked. We knocked on the door. No answer. We
knocked again, and after a great amount of time, a young teenaged
Samoan girl answered the door. Very confusingly she asked... "Oh,
hello. Is there anything I can do for you?" We responded with "Oh hi,
ummm yeah, uhhhh we are the missionaries, and we were uhhh told that
we were eating thanksgiving dinner here at this home tonight?!... I
think?" Shrugging her shoulders, this cute girl opened the door and
invited us in. She told us that they had already eaten, but there was
some leftovers that we could grab if we wanted. Hahahaha Elder Sombke
and I looked at each other and slowly walked into the home. To our
immediate surprise a very large Samoan family greeted us with hugs and
lots of kisses. Real kisses. Not little face kisses. Real ones. Hahaha
they all invited us into the kitchen and they began to fix us up the
little scraplings of what was left from their feast only a few hours
before. So, needless to say... I ended up with a plate of fruit,
caesar salad, four brownies, a cookie, and a few pieces of turkey with
gravy all over top. Hahahahahahah it was the funniest thing in the
world, but I was so thankful that this family was so willing to give
us what they had left. Oh and did I mention that we didn't end up
meeting the sister that actually invited us over to her home until we
were actually walking out the door? Hahahaha it was a little awkward,
but we made the best of it that we could. I guess that's what
thanksgiving is like out on the mission? Maybe I'm wrong?

I was also able to teach my first district meeting this past Friday as
well. What an experience that was. We played Jeopardy and I centered
the questions mostly to Gospel related subjects. In this effort, I
tried to make strides in bringing together some unity between us
missionaries. It ended up being so much fun, and our district did
absolutely awesome. But Holy Moly. I learned so much about myself and
how imperfect that I am as a person in general. I really have a lot to
improve on as both a missionary and a person. I'm going to try my very
best in all that I do, but just hope that The Lord picks up for my
short comings. Prayers are very much appreciated.

This seemed as a very scatterbrained weekly letter, but I hope that
you were all able to get some sort of idea as to how crazy this past
week has been. Regardless of all these things that went on, I was
especially grateful for the chance to reflect on my life and think
about all the things we have so graciously been blessed with. This
week was awfully full of thanksgiving for myself and I'm so grateful
for all of you and the wonderful people you are in my life. I'm beyond
thankful for the lessons learned, the love shared, and the acceptance
given. I could never begin to describe how much you all mean to me and
how deeply my love is for each and every one of you.

I love you all so much. Do me a favor and play in the snow for me.
I'll see you soon.❤️

-Elder Schaefer









WEEK 21- Fairfield 2nd Ward

Family and Friends,
Hello loved ones. Unfortunately due to the lack of time in which I
have to email, this one is going to be a bit short. This week was not
much out of the ordinary, but nothing short of amazing. We saw tons of
miracles, but these ones I'm gonna have to tell you all about upon my
arrival sometime in July 2017. ;) But with that being said, I've gotta
break the sad news some how. I can't keep beating around the bush
anymore. The truth is the truth, and that truth is that The Lord needs
me elsewhere. Which means, my time here in Fairfield California is
over.

This was an emotional week to say the least. Other than the day I
entered the Missionary Training Center (MTC) I have never been so sad
to leave a group of people in my life. These people here in the
Fairfield 2nd Ward have made an imprint on my heart. They will forever
be engraved in my memory and I'm so thankful for the opportunity The
Lord has provided me with in serving here. I feel like the luckiest
missionary on the face of the planet. Because of the lack in which I
have with writing, I'm not able to throw all my emotions down on paper
and describe the genuine love I have grown for each and every person
within this wonderful place. I truly have come to know that they've
made a bigger impact on me, than I EVER could've had on them. There's
no doubt in my mind that I will one day be returning to come and visit
these sweet people. Now, I don't know if this will be throughout the
duration of the rest of my mission, but if not - I will have no
problem coming here shortly after. These are my people.

I've never had a greater testimony of my mission call and being called
to serve in a land that has blessed me beyond my own comprehension.
I've learned so much from these past 4 &1/2 months and I can't wait to
see what awaits me in my next area. The Lord truly sent me here for a
reason. I know this with a surety.

I'm so sorry that I'm not able to write much this week, but I've gotta
start getting ready for transfers. Lots to get done around here, and
lots of people I need to share my last goodbyes with.

I love you all. Hope all is well at home. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer