Monday, March 28, 2016

WEEK 38 Rohnert Park 3rd Ward/Rohnert Park Spanish Branch-  

Family and Friends,

I know with all the fullness of my heart that this week was a true
testament and lesson that The Lord was trying to instill upon me,
regarding the persistent efforts of work that are required to "achieve
the purpose" in which us missionaries have been tasked with. I don't
know if I could describe the amount of personal revelation and
promptings I received this past week, pertaining to the very simple
aspect of this calling. Work. I found very quickly that the antidote
to all sorts of pains, frustrations, and doubts are cured by that very
small four letter word that each and everyone of us often times hate
doing. Work was instituted from the very beginning of time as the
means by which we as children of God are to fulfill this earthly
stewardship. Work has been and always will be our divine heritage as
missionaries. With that being said - I couldn't be more grateful for
the example that has been set by the missionaries before me.

With a combined total of fifteen lessons this week, it's quite obvious
that the work here in Rohnert Park is progressing. Gloria from the
Spanish Branch has set a baptismal date for next Sunday. We've been
working closely with her and helping her progress. It's been so great
to see the rapid change in Gloria over these past couple months as
she's completely immersed herself in The Gospel. She knows it to be
true and her testimony of this church is unwavering.

On the flip side of this, Diane hasn't been doing so well. We went
over on Tuesday to visit with her and teach her the commandments, but
she was quick to turn us away. Her life has been absolutely hectic
lately and the adversary is making every possible means for our visits
to clash with her busy schedule. It really hurts me to see this slow
downhill fall that she's making. Reading the Book of Mormon is
becoming more of a hassle to her and she's having hard time making it
to church. As well, her husband is starting to interfere and that's
not an easy barrier to break. Unfortunately, we've come to a cross
road and are having to make the decision as to whether or not we are
going to have to drop her. More updates coming next week.

Our English Classes with Danny, Maritza and Floralba are still as
wonderful as ever. They've made it very apparent to us that they
aren't--in anyway shape or form-- interested in the church. This kinda
stinks as we thought it would be a perfect teaching opportunity, but
we can't go against their wishes. Who's to say that we can't watch
Mormon Messages with them though?! Hahaha that's been fun as we've
tried to sneak these videos into our lessons.

The majority of our week was spent doing service. Boy oh boy, was it a
learning process for me. I think it might be safe to say that I can
now fully manage, run, and raise a farm. Brother & Sister Ray have got
us hard at work in the mornings at their farm. I would be lying if I
said I didn't love it though. It's the most peaceful work in the
world. I love being out there on the farm! Along with serving these
two wonderful people, we spent the other half of our week setting up
for the ward activity titled "A Night in Venice". Twas the night where
all members of the ward came fancied up and prepared for a snazzy
night. From hanging lights, to setting up tables, and cooking food -
you might just want to hire us missionaries out for your next big
event?! :)

I also was privileged this week to have spoken in sacrament. Bishop
Cottrell gave me a weeks notice and asked that I might share some
thoughts on "Putting on the armour of God". I drew a ton of parallels
and told some stories about the amazing experiences I've had while
playing football. It made it quite easy to speak about, but I learned
a substantial amount regarding the preparations necessary (for us in
these latter days) to withstand the "fiery darts of the wicked".
[Ephesians 6:13-17]. Quite a good read. I would certainly recommend it
to those looking for further knowledge on preparing for these last
days thatve been foretold for thousands of years.

Goodness gracious we were slammed with work this week, but I wouldn't
have it be any different. We lay our heads down at night on our
pillows, and don't move until 6:30 AM the next morning. I guess
Heavenly Father has seen it fit to give us a couple weeks worth of
good nights rest. I couldn't be more thankful.

The Lord is marvelous. The Gospel is true. I love each and every one of you.


-Elder Schaefer

Monday, March 21, 2016

WEEK 37 Rohnert Park 3rd Ward/Rohnert Park Spanish Branch-  

#1: Free Pancake Day at iHop. Of course we jumped on the opportunity.
#2: The food that Maritza, Floralba, and Danny prepared for us. I had
never tried Columbian food, but it was delicious.
#3: Lunch with the sweet Columbian family.
#4 & #5: You know it's a good day when...👍🏼

**This email is from last week. I didn't quite get the opportunity to
send this email out due to one of my companions accidentally giving
himself a slight tear of the hamstring. Elder Perez is fine now, but
he needed some medical attention, which meant we were no longer in
range with Wifi. So, without further description... Week 37: Elder

Family and Friends,

I don't have much to share this week other than something that I feel
is the most delicate and promising lesson a person can learn. It
certainly wrought a miracle upon me even though I feel as if I've
barely even scratched the surface of such a deep matter. By no means
was it special, or out of the ordinary, but my experiences this week
provided as a teaching that will last a lifetime and guide me
throughout the rest of my mission.

Our dependency on The Lord is one of the most important things that we
can master throughout this mortal journey of discipleship. We can in
no way completely learn from, and grow in our experiences here on
earth without the presence and spirit of The Lord by our side. For
something that money can't buy, a businessman couldn't sell you, nor
could a person give to you - carrying the mantle of the spirit is a
blessing from God. He has promised that--with its companionship--it
will carry us to the destinations that we have only dreamt about and
it will put is in places that we never could've gotten to on our own.
I know and can testify that these spiritual heights are of far more
worth than any tangible item, calling, or personal achievement that is
attainable in this life.

Now, we can widdle our way through. We can struggle, go through
hardships, and constantly be in a very different state of what some
people call "happiness". We may also be somewhat successful in terms
of worldly matters, but until we completely turn all of our thoughts
and deeds unto the eternal deity - we will never fully utilize what
The Lord has intended for us.

This life is a stage of growth, change and development. I'm so
thankful for the blessing it is to be growing, changing and developing
in The Lords service. This has been the greatest and most rich
blessing I've ever received. I'd invite you to reach your full
potential through the blessing of being able to fully depend on our
savior Jesus Christ and loving Heavenly Father.

I love each of you. I'll see you soon. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

WEEK 36 Rohnert Park 3rd Ward/Rohnert Park Spanish Branch-  

Family and Friends,

Another week, comes and goes - just. like. that. What an amazing week
this was. An emotional roller coaster filled with twists, turns, and
big ol' loopdie-loos. We were absolutely slammed with work this past
week and it seemed that only about 13% of it actually worked out. No,
that's not a correct percentage but that's kinda what it felt like. We
got canceled on a whole ton. We didn't have any investigators or less
active members show up to church. To add on top of it all, the Spanish
Branch has recently been dealing with a whole lotta pointless drama.
But, regardless of all this other "87%" that went completely wrong, I
think the 13% certainly made up for it. Quite funny how that works
sometimes. Aren't we always living and waiting for those defining
moments in life that make all the bad days worth it? Here's my 13% of
the week:

While at a church activity a couple nights ago, a family of Columbian
people wandered into our building. We quickly greeted them and asked
if we could help in any way. Very humbly and graciously they explained
to my companions (who actually understood what they were saying) that
they were looking for "la clasè de Ingles." Apparently they heard
about some LDS churches offering English Classes to those that were
seeking for it. As missionaries, we jumped on this opportunity and
told them that we'd be more than happy to help. Fortunately we're now
teaching them in English, and I can help in some sort of way. We plan
to start mixing in The Gospel into some of our lessons as it is a
prime time to teach these people. I know that Heavenly Father placed
this sweet family in our path and has provided opportunities for us to
teach them. Coincidence that I'm with now serving with two Spanish
companions? I think not.

As it was the first Thursday of the month (this past week), we had
another successful "Splits-Blitz" event. With us being in
congregations of both the Spanish Branch and the Rohnert Park 3rd
Ward, this night of splits has been advertised to almost the whole
Rohnert Park area. We had a ton of people show up for this and people
absolutely ate it up. The Spanish members were due to much of our
success, but I couldn't have been more genuinely happy to see this
event continually growing.

We've received large amounts of rain the last while and it's caused
some wrinkles in our visits with Diane. She doesn't like us coming
into her home because she's self conscious about it. But thankfully,
with weather permitting circumstances, we stopped in for a quick visit
at Diane's home. We had a good ol' long talk with her. Diane was
expressing to us her great concerns and feelings of really needing to
wait on her baptism. She has been stressed out with a lot on her plate
and her nephew is currently going through multiple rounds of
chemotherapy. It's taken a toll on her family, but mostly Diane, as
she is the main care giver. After hearing about all of this, we made
an effort to envelop her with the most love and care that we could
give. In coming to a conclusion for what would be best for Diane, she
asked that we often times check in on her and make quick "drop bys" to
share short spiritual messages of encouragement. She's ready. She
knows it. It's only a matter of time.

We did a little bit more Less-Active member work this week. Our
lessons were wonderful and it seemed that we might've sparked a little
flame of re-activation, but our hopes and dreams came to a quick halt
when none of them decided to show for church. But that's okay. It just
means more visits for us this week.

One of my most favorite things that has happened thus far out on my
mission happened on Saturday Night. It was sort of unexpected, but
President and Sister Wright invited us missionaries (my companions and
I) over for dinner at their home. We got to drive down to the mission
home in Santa Rosa and eat with their family. It was seriously so much
fun! They cooked some of the best food I've ever had, and they were
such a joy to be around. Elder Torres, Elder Perez and I had prepared
a little game and spiritual message to leave with them upon finishing
our meal. It ended up being probably one of the best dinner messages
I've ever been a part of. The spirit in that home was undeniably
strong. I was so appreciative to have even been invited into their
home to eat dinner, but I was even more so grateful for the worthiness
that President and Sister Wright uphold to have such a sweet spirit
radiating from their very being. I love my Mission President and his

Might I just add that I love my mission. I love my Heavenly Father. I
love my life. I don't want to be anywhere else other than where I'm at
right now. This church is true. I know it. I live it. I love it.

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

-Elder Schaefer