Sunday, July 17, 2016

WEEK 54 SAN RAFAEL  2nd Ward-

Family and Friends,

Looking back and thinking about all that have taken place over the
short amount of time since I last wrote you, I must say that this has
quite honestly been one of the best weeks of my mission. For multiple
reasons of course, but mostly because of the "fruits" that came due to
our intensive labors. As a missionary, it's so rewarding seeing the
results and outcomes from our work day in and day out. Laboring in San
Rafael isn't what I would expect to be referred to as "normal
missionary work", as this whole county seems to sort of have a mind of
its own. This here, is different. The work is different, the
conversion is different, and the process in which conversion comes is

There aren't a lot of humble hearts here in the Marin area. In fact,
it's almost taboo and frowned upon for someone to value a relationship
with a deity, more than their fancy cars, extravagant homes, or
prestigious careers. We had something happen this past week that was
quite profound. Some odd number of weeks ago, Elder Cawley and I found
an inactive family who haven't been to church in almost thirty years.
We've been paying frequent visits weekly and our meetings often times
have turned into a "bible bash" of sorts. They've found a new religion
that they're comfortable in and haven't wanted to really listen to
what we had to share. I can't say that they have necessarily been
wasted appointments, but this past week we experienced something like
never before. We shared the message of The Restoration with them and I
have never felt or seen a change in one persons attitude quite like
theirs was this night. The spirit of The Lord completely overcame them
and the power of The Holy Ghost manifested the truth of what we had to
share. It was truly magnificent. Brother & Sister Koch underwent the
real "change of heart" that is described throughout the scriptures.

These defining moments spent in their home brings me to a conclusion
and understanding that most people aren't converted by missionaries.
It wouldn't have been the "eloquent tongue" or the experiences that a
missionary has had in their life that would change the feelings of a
person - but rather something greater. And a whole lot better. The
Holy Ghost and spirit of God is and will always be the converter for
those who hear The Gospel. I love that thought. I love knowing that
Heavenly Father loves his children so much, and cares for us so very
much, that He would give us something to discern the reality and
divinity of things pertaining to salvation. It is real.

I'm always so thankful for opportunities like these to see Heavenly
Father working miracles upon people. It testifies to me and certainly
strengthens my testimony to understand that what I'm taking part in is
guided by The Lord. I'm thankful to have seen things like this and
many other circumstances that I've taken part in this past year. I
honestly can't believe how fast it has come and gone.

I never thought I'd be saying this - but I don't ever want this to
end. I hope this second year goes much slower than the first. I've
been doing a lot of thinking and reflecting on the experiences that
I've had thus far and contemplating the ones that are potentially
awaiting me in the future. I can't find words or an accurate depiction
that could even do justice the feelings of my heart. I will forever
cherish, remember, love, find solace in, and hold dear the memories
I've made, the people I've met, and the blessings of The Lord that
have shown themselves in this great service. God knew exactly what he
was doing sending me here to the California, Santa Rosa Mission. This
will forever be home to me. This will be the place in which I will
recall the shedding of a lot of tears, feelings, and testimony. From
my companions, to the members in our wards, to the thousands of doors
I've knocked, to the people we meet on the street - they have made a
substantial impact on where I am today. With the fondness in my heart
and all the joy that has come from my mission, I am most grateful for
my conversion. Regardless of anything that has happened up until this
point, that is what I hold of the upmost importance. I have been
changed. I have seen God and Jesus Christ in my life. I have witnessed
their reality. Had I not dedicated my time and efforts to them, I
don't know where I'd be today. Here's to a good year. Well wishes and
hopes for a better one ahead.

I love my mission. I wouldn't rather be anywhere else. We'll talk more
next week.

-Elder Schaefer

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