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

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