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

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