Tuesday, July 5, 2016

WEEK 52 SAN RAFAEL  2nd Ward-

Family and Friends,

With the exciting news that came in on Saturday night, it looks to be
that The Lord wants Elder Cawley and I to be together for another
transfer in this San Rafael Area. When we received the transfer
information, we both were overly excited to be entrusted with this
area and to continue with the amazing things that are currently taking
place. It's been a while since I've updated you all on our
investigators, and the overall missionary work as a whole. We've truly
relied on The Lord a lot and he has manifested Himself in many more
ways than one. Here's a couple highlights of my week.

One of the biggest and happiest miracles of the week was the Espocito
Family actually showing up for church. They ended up coming for the
wrong hour of church, but it's okay. Sometimes we mix up 9:00 and
11:00, right? It happens to the best of us, I guess. :) We had gone
over to their home a couple times this week and had gotten into some
pretty heavy conversation regarding the church. For one of our
lessons, we brought Sister Stephens (Bishop Stephens Wife) and it was
utterly astonishing how influential members can be in lessons. This
family opened up to us and eventually shared their interests in
becoming baptized. I'm sure you can imagine the amounts of excitement
that was flowing through our veins. This family is being changed and
The Gospel is helping them in every aspect of their lives.

To our amazement, Tarun also committed to baptism this past week and
wants to be baptized the day after I hit my one year mark in the
mission. He is constantly and always reminding us of how "we're going
to go out and party after his baptism and in celebration for my one
year mark." In the most Mormon and appropriate type of way, of course.
We've tried to explain to him multiple times that we can go out and
party, but he always explains that whatever the mission president
doesn't know about - can't hurt him. It's quite hilarious. He's also
offered the keys to his Maserati to us a handful of times but
unfortunately we've had to turn those down as well. We just love him.
He's so great.

Working with the less actives of the Ward is always a treat. As of
late, we've been paying frequent visits to a sweet elderly lady named
Diane. Sometimes for quick spiritual messages, sometimes for little
ice cream dates, and other times for deep doctrinal conversation.
Either way, she's started praying again and has been entertaining the
thought of coming to church within the next couple weeks. Renewing
those long lost feelings of spirituality can have a great impact on
these baptized members of the church. I love seeing the look on
people's faces when it all finally comes together again for them. The
spirit of God truly does have an enlightening power.

Each Sunday, Elder Cawley and I get the chance to spend the majority
of our afternoon visiting people in their homes and bringing the
Sacrament to them. What a testimony fortifying experience this always
turns out to be. Wonderful and ever so strong is the faith of these
people whom we bring this sacred ordinance to and request to renew
their covenants weekly. It would be an understatement to say that I'm
just only appreciative of the experiences we share with these dear
people as we exercise our Priesthood. God has given us the privilege
of serving others for a short time on these missions, but holding the
Priesthood is forever a privilege of serving people for eternity.

For District Meeting on Tuesday, we had an "end of transfer testimony
meeting". It took some courage and encouragement for people to get up
and share their testimonies, but what a sweet spirit overcame me as I
shared my experiences and dear stories of this two year journey I
started only eleven months ago. I basically bawled my eyes out the
whole time while standing in front of everybody, but I just felt so
much love from the Savior and so much gratitude for everything that
has transpired thus far.

Elder Cawley and I have worked so much better as a companionship this
week than ever before. I don't feel like I've ever been cared for so
much in my life and I don't feel like I've ever cared more for a
companion of mine. Upon first entering this area, I had preconceived
ideas that I was just here to babysit another missionary. This past
transfer has turned out to be so much more than that and I've learned
more than I ever thought I would. I feel like I've grown such a
profound and great love for the people here in this area. Without my
dear companion, I don't believe I would've found this. He has taken me
by the hand, taught me, and showed me the correct ways of loving
people just as our Heavenly Father does. It has been a tremendous
blessing to try and develop a more loving personality. In every way
has it made me feel closer to The Savior and has made this work easier
as I've tried to epitomize His very characteristics.

My days are brighter. My days are happier. My life is better than it's
ever been - because I'm trying to be more like Him. I love The Lord
with all my heart and I know that this is His work. He is my simple

Until next week, my friends.

-Elder Schaefer

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