Tuesday, May 31, 2016

WEEK 49 SAN RAFAEL  2nd Ward

Family and Friends,

Wowwwwieeee. What a grand week this was. It wasn't one full of crazy
miracles, nor do I have an amazing story of divine, spiritual
experience. We basically just worked a whole ton and we walked even
more. What a blessing it has been to be "out and about" the San Rafael
area and interacting with the people that live here. We've been all
around the area from the trailer parks and apartment complexes and
even in the homes of multi millionaires. It would be well for me to
reiterate exactly what I said last week. We get a large amount of
diverse people in both the social, economical, political and cultural

Elder Cawley and I again worked a great amount with the less active
members of the Ward. I think I'm starting to understand and get a hold
of how to manage conversing with these people. I don't necessarily
always understand their negativity and wrong-proving personalities,
but I imagine this is some sort of the way that Alma the Younger felt
when Nehor was going around falsely identifying the Word of God. We
find that a lot here. Many a times have we come about people, started
a conversation with them, and have been led to provide some great
explanation as to how skewed the information about our church is.
We've really been working as a companionship on going back to the
fundamentals and teaching pure, simple doctrine. So far, it's been
more successful than trying to negotiate how people have been mislead
with information.

Inevitably, we don't have a ton of investigators in this area. We only
have about one investigator that seems to be progressing and really
actually want to progress. Elder Cawley seems to be really attached to
these "eternal investigators" we have, but we've been discussing some
potential ways of finding out if they're really ready for The Gospel
or not. We don't want to drop all of our investigators, but trying to
weed out those whom we regularly visit and they just "appreciate our
visits" are probably going to be more of "drop-bys" just to say hello
when we're in the area.

Along with the great amounts of finding efforts we strenuously took
part in this week, it meant that we didn't have a ton of lessons. It's
definitely been a hard adjustment coming from an area in which we were
teaching 2-3 lessons a day - to teaching maybe 5-6 per week. Service
definitely plays a great majority in our schedule, and a lot of it has
been really beneficial and gives us great opportunities for us to get
ourselves out into the community. I absolutely love going out and
helping those that are in need. It's such a fulfilling feeling and I
love the spirit that resides the remainder of our day upon finishing a
good long morning of service.

Finding more investigators is going to be the focus of this next week.
Faith, obedience, and work will hopefully pay dividends in this

The highlight of my week might seem a bit weird, but it was the
blessing and opportunity I had to speak this Sunday in Sacrament
Meeting. I was asked to talk on "The Parables of Christ" and exactly
why he uses parables to deliver powerful messages. I chose to expound
and share some of my thoughts on the Parable of the Sower. I can't
even begin to describe how overcome I was by the spirit, and how I
quite literally felt The Lord speaking through me in this talk. I
didn't really intently prepare and study for this talk, but The Lord
fulfilled his promise that we find in The Doctrine and Covenants. [D&C

For the blessing of the spirit, the love of God, and the knowledge of
this Restored Gospel - I am beyond grateful. I've found my treasure. I
know what matters most in this life and it is of great importance to
me. I love my mission.

I'll see you soon. Keep the faith. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer
WEEK 48 SAN RAFAEL  2nd Ward

Family and Friends,

Concluding a week of being told many times as to how idiotic,
ridiculous, uneducated and misguided we are as missionaries - you
could say it wasn't exactly the warmest welcome to the area my first
couple days here. My testimony has been shaken and tested a great
amount. We've definitely come home with weary, saddened hearts a
couple nights this week, but regardless of all the negativity and
hardship that was placed before us, Heavenly Father gave in return a
greater abundance of blessings than we could've ever both hoped for
and imagined.

Having literally only been in the San Rafael Area for five days now, I
can already say that this was an easily adaptable change. These are my
type of people. You'll find a great range and variety out here. Almost
everything from fashionistas, to athletes, to nerds, to businessmen,
and even farmers. Despite the occupational choices of these people,
it's needless to say that they've got money. And lots of it. With
money, comes a lot of wonderful things. But there seems to be a
constant variable that most people are lacking - and that being The
Gospel. Racking up a total of 962 total in-active members in our Ward,
it'd be safe to say that most have become complacent with their money
and have fallen away from what matters most. It brings me a lot of
discomfort to see these many people in which Satan has a great hold
upon their hearts and have become so lost in . On the contrary, it
gladdens me to see the prophecies fulfilled that were foretold in The
Book of Mormon regarding becoming too caught up in the "materialistic"
matters of life. What an interesting conversation it has been to knock
doors and hear members (who were at one time very active in the
church) explain to us that they don't "need God anymore". Goodness
gracious, I pray and yearn for each and every one of these people.

The majority of the work in our area is done with Less-Active finding
and reactivation. Elder Cawley and I had a neat experience this week
as we visited a member in our Ward who hadn't been seen at church in
almost three and a half years. Sister Mulligan is a single mother
living here in San Rafael with three kids and one who happens to be
autistic. These kids are filled to the brim with energy and
enthusiasm. I'm not 100% sure why?... But maybe it was the coffee
their mother was letting them drink while we were there?! Maybe. Just
maybe. Elder Cawley kept the kids busy for a good thirty or so
minutes, while Sister Mulligan and I had an amazing conversation
regarding her conversion and what first made her want to join the
church. In talking about this, it made her extremely emotional and
feelings of the past had overcome her. In every way shape and form,
she was overcome with the spirit - or the Love of God. [Galatians
5:22] Following our visit with Sister Mulligan, we extended an
invitation to her to act on these feelings and exercise her faith in
The Lord. You wouldn't believe who was at church this past Sunday.
Sister Mulligan and the whole clan. What joy and happiness filled my
heart in seeing that a little recollection of stories, could bring
such power to our lives.

I know and can testify for myself, with all truthfulness of heart,
that The Lord can comfort us in times of need. He can lift us when
feeble. He can bless us with his love and compassion. He will watch
over and protect us in the darkest of times and deliver us from all
the many different circumstances we face. He lives. He is real. I have
witnessed his mercy and long suffering for "a soul so rebellious, and
proud as mine". I'm forever grateful for The Gospel of Jesus Christ
and the change it can bring to our lives. I know it. I live it. I love

I'm more than excited for this upcoming week and seeing first hand,
The Lord so graciously extending his care towards us as His
missionaries. This is His work. It's certainly not the easiest work in
the world, but it is the greatest work that there ever will be.

Until next week. Be safe. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

WEEK 47 Rohnert Park 3rd Ward-

Family and Friends,

Please forgive me for not writing a weekly email this last P-Day.
Elder Everett and I had a service opportunity to help a couple
non-member families with a big project they had previously designed
for us to assist them in. Upon deciding to forego all regular
preparation day activities, it meant that it also wasn't likely for us
to get the chance to write our emails home and talk with all of you.
Seeing that it has happened this way, I must apologize, but also share
a bit of the astounding week we had. As any other week goes - some bad
news, some good news, some sad news, and some happy news. I'll get
over all the heart wrenching stuff first and then end on a bit of a
happier note.

After having been in this Rohnert Park 3rd Ward for a long six months,
The Lord has seen it fit for me to be heading out and getting
transferred. I can't even begin to describe the overflow of emotions
that I felt when receiving this information. My heart burst with
sadness as I knew I would be leaving this--quite literal--"new found
family" of mine. This Ward and area has been my home for 1/4 of my
mission. I almost felt a bit cheated. I don't want to leave yet. I'm
not ready to leave these people! Soon after these negative feelings
glazed over me, I began to feel a bit different. I tried to think on
the contrary and about every blessing, lesson and development of
growth that came from the privilege of serving in this area. I began
to think about all the wonderful people I've been able to meet and
serve in these past couple transfers. I began to think about the
friendships and lifelong relationships I've built with some of the
missionaries I've been companions with. These people know who they
are. For these many tender mercies, I'll be forever thankful.

We had some slow, but great progress with our investigators this week
as The Lord provided us to share the gospel in many different aspects
of the work. Along with this, the most noticeable success we had, came
from the many people in attendance at our Ward Luau. My companion and
I really pushed hard this week to get people as many people out to
this. We've quite literally been planning this event for past couple
months now, and thankfully it turned out to be better than we ever
could've expected. More less active members showed up for this single
Luau than any other event that's been put on in the past year. It was
such a neat chance for Elder Everett and I to meet some new faces, but
also see some familiar faces that have been inactive for quite some
time. I firmly believe more good came out of this than we'll ever
fully understand. Thankfully, Elder Everett will be here another
transfer and will be updating me on all things going on.

It's been an eventful and extravagant amount of time here in this
area. I'm more than sad to go, but happy to one day return. I love
this work more than anything else in this world. The joy that it
brings to my heart is indescribable and I never want these feelings to
end. I know it's true. I know it can bless the lives of anyone that
applies the teachings of The Gospel. I can't wait to share this humble
message with the people of Marin County.

Until next week. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

WEEK 46 Rohnert Park 3rd Ward-

Pics only this week.  :)
 #1 & #2: Stopped in for a quick visit with Holly. She's so awesome.
Also, thanks Sister Piombo for the free & fresh cuts.
#3: Dropping my new album.
#4: #LordsTeam
#5 & #6: Pre-Temple Pics.
#7 & #8: Post Temple Pics.
#9: Elder Everett and I out walkin the streets. Had to pose for a quick selfie.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

WEEK 44 Rohnert Park 3rd Ward-

Family and Friends,

From late night trips to the Hospital, popped blood vessels and broken
fingers, finally getting in contact with a less active family and
bringing a whole lot of attention to our - you could say this was, in
sorts, a pretty successful week. I don't necessarily quite know the
extent of our effectiveness, but we certainly tried a couple new ways
to find people to teach. But before I go on, let me first clear the
air and tell you everything is alright. Yes mom, we are in one piece.
A bit tattered and torn, but nothing too severe. Our pride might be
little more hurt more than our bodies.

On a bit funnier side ofIt was Friday night, and Elder Everett and I
were leaving our dinner appointment from the Piombo home. While
walking out, we came across a large amount of people gathered together
at a local park. And when I say a large amount of people, I mean A
LARGE amount of people. They were circled around eachother and
watching, as something very important was going on in the midst of all
of them. It was almost something that you would've seen in a movie. We
quickly pulled over the car and went to check it out. To our surprise,
there was a full 5-on-5 basketball game going on. Not just any
basketball game, but there were some real ballers there. I felt like I
was no longer serving in California, but rather in Detroit Michigan.
(If you know what I mean.) Seeing all of this going on, I immediately
got on the phone and called up the other Elders that live with us in
our apartment. In just minutes they were right by our side and
watching in amazement with us. These dudes were good. Moments later, I
don't quite know what was going through my mind, but I posed a simple
"Hey, when can we get on the court next?" I said.
Everybody looked at us and laughed. They giggled, teased, and thought
it was a joke that we were asking. But somehow - we ended up on that
court that night. I was scared half to death. It didn't help that
people were laughing at us, but all of us missionaries ended up on
that court to play the team that had previously won four games in a
row. You could say our chances were slim. For the first five or so
minutes, we held our own. We didn't get absolutely killed, but we
didn't necessarily do well for ourselves. Unfortunately a few minutes
into the game, Elder Perez walked away with a broken finger and I
walked away with a couple popped blood vessels in my eye. We had to
leave early. Worth it? Not sure. But definitely something to remember.
And for everybody else in attendance at that game to remember.

I guess The Lord didn't see it fit for us to be playing basketball, so
for the rest of the week we stayed as far away from the court as we
could. We did get some good work done, though. Through some recent
trails, there hasn't been a whole lot of progress from our
investigators this week. A bit disheartening, indeed. With that being
said, we had some finding to do. My companion and I discussed the
needs of our area and came to a conclusion that our teaching pool
needs to be replenished. There's not much more to it. Inevitably,
Elder Everett and I got a lot of doors shut in our face. We faced a
great amount of frustrated people that didn't want a thing to do with
us. But just like many famous mission stories go - the "last door" we
tried made it all worth it. The door we knocked happened to be a less
active family in our Ward that hasn't been to church in years. This
particular family hadn't been seen by anyone for months, either. It
was truly a miracle that we were able to come in contact with them and
be in that area at that exact time. We've set up a return appointment
to come and share a spiritual thought this coming week.

Coming up on almost six months of being in this area, I've heard a lot
of names. I've met a lot of people. I've seen a lot of people. A name
that has always stayed in the back of my mind is a man who goes by
Hiapo. Hiapo might literally be "the most interesting man in the
world". He owns three homes within a mile of eachother and is always
absent from every single one of them. He's never home. I've never met
the guy, nor seen him in my life. But this week, that all changed. We
decided to go visit him around 8:30 PM. It's a bit later than we
usually like to go out knocking doors, but I was convinced we were
going to find him. With a bit of lacking faith, we went to his home
for what seems like the twenty third time we've been there. After a
bit of a dramatic pause, he answered the door. He welcomed us right in
and immediately opened up to us. It was absolutely amazing. We were
blessed to have been able to talk to him about his struggles and
concerns. He truly knows and loves The Gospel, but is having such a
hard time with his life. I felt so much love and compassion for this
man as he explained and told us his story of conversion. The spirit
was unexplainably strong and I felt the presence of The Lord in his
home that night. The greatest part of it all was Hiapo's family was
there with us. They all contributed to our message this night and felt
of the wonderful spirit in that room. We left them with a commitment
to coming to church this week. I can't wait to see if they actually
follow through with it!

Although a bit different from the weeks we normally have, I'm grateful
for the corky, silly, funny, yet spiritual things that happen. I'm
also grateful for the constant support, love, and care each one of you
show to me. I couldn't have a greater group of people beside me and
helping me on this journey. I love and miss you all dearly. Talk to
you next week!

I'll see you soon. Be safe. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

Monday, May 2, 2016

WEEK 43 Rohnert Park 3rd Ward-

Family and Friends,

Is the whole "cloud-nine" thing a figure of speech, or is it real? I
think it might have to be. This past week was and had to have been a
literal definition in every essence of the word. There's no other
answer to it because, we've been on it. We've landed and found
ourselves a nice place on that soft, billowy cloud. Figuratively, of

Elder Everett and I have been seeing so much success. We've been so
richly blessed and the work here is continuing to be blessed by our
Heavenly Father. We come home with full hearts and stand amazed at the
tender mercies that are bestowed upon us each time we walk out our
front door. I have felt so loved and genuinely cared for as The Lord
has openly rewarded us for the diligence and efforts in which we've
given our best. Although we are nowhere near perfect and face all
sorts of adversity, and personal frailty, I would probably best
compare it to a scripture in The Book of Mormon. [Alma 26:12] reads -
"Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore
I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his
strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we
have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever."
This verse couldn't ring more true to us as a companionship. It
especially hits me to the very core of my heart and means a lot as my
feelings are such. God is good. I know that He watches over us. He is
at the helm of this very special work. He is why we're seeing so many
great blessings here in Rohnert Park.

Molly's baptism was beautiful. It couldn't have gone better. Molly is
personally very afraid of water and doesn't like getting her face wet.
This was a huge concern of hers throughout the process of getting her
ready for baptism. As soon as she set foot in that water, the spirit
enveloped her whole body and worked a miracle. She was baptized by
immersion and soon after was confirmed a member. What a special day.

By far the coolest thing that happened this week was on Saturday when
Elder Bednar (Quorum of the 12 Apostles) came to visit our mission. In
hearing the announcement and being told that this special man would be
addressing our mission as a whole - we began to guess and throw around
ideas as to what he might share. We laid in bed at night and counseled
with one another and both prepared mentally and spiritually for this
marvelous day. Preparing for what was to come, Elder Bednar asked that
we read four of his previous conference talks and be ready to share
some insight while we were together. In just the short amount of time
we had, Elder Bednar did indeed go over and highlight the most
important parts of his talks. He later opened up the rest of his time
for conversation and asked what we might've learned and taken away
from the conference talks. The spirit taught me so much and I was more
than thankful for what I learned. But the event that followed was of
more importance to me than any word that was spoken in those four

Closing his remarks and explaining that he had more meetings to
attend, he insisted that every missionary come to shake his hand
before leaving the building. With all one hundred and eighty six of us
- we made our way around the chapel and eventually came to the
opportunity of shaking hands with whom we (as members of the church)
believe to be a special witness and Apostle of Jesus Christ. When I
reached out to grab this mans hand, I felt something like never
before. I saw something that I've never seen before. It was quite
literally a shock-wave of emotions that overcame me. Peace, happiness,
comfort, and love all filled my whole entire being. It felt familiar.
It felt like something I had known before and felt before. It felt as
if I wasn't even attached to this world, in those very few seconds
that I had firmly been in contact with him. Right then and there - I
knew. There was no denial. Elder Bednar was and is on The Lords
errand. He is representing The Lord in the high and holy calling in
which he was appointed. I know this. I know that each and every one of
The Lords representatives are doing the same.

I affirm my witness that God lives. He has called Prophets and
Apostles to lead and guide this church. He knew I needed this
experience with Elder Bednar and he granted it unto me. It wouldn't
surprise me if every other missionary in that room felt the same
thing. Thankfully, through the restored Priesthood Authority and our
Priesthood leaders, we have hope. We can one day return and live in
the presence of our supreme creator. Until that day, I know whom I
will serve. I would encourage you to do the same. For at the end of
the day, we've all got on the same jersey united under one cause.
#LordsTeam [Moses 1:39]

See you soon. GodSpeed.
-Elder Schaefer