Thursday, August 4, 2016

WEEK 57 SAN RAFAEL  2nd Ward-

Family and Friends,

Having come off a rough week and not seeing much success because of
the complacency my companion and I have recently had - you could say
that there was a bit of a chip on our shoulder concerning some drastic
changes we wanted to see in our area. With almost anything and
everything you could possibly imagine weighing against us, we made do
with the situations that presented themselves and went to work. No
miles on the car and only bikes to ride, an extraordinary amount of
drama going on in the Ward with us being left to mend the hurt
feelings, and, having to give guidance to those that asked for their
names to be completely removed from the church... Clearly, Satan did
not want Elder Cawley and I doing all that we did. Thankfully,
Heavenly Father had different plans for us. We had the most successful
week that I've had in my whole entire mission.

Wonderful opportunities and blessings from The Lord came in many
shapes and sizes this week as we labored diligently and to the best of
our ability. There wasn't a night we came home in which we weren't
completely exhausted and quite frankly there wasn't a morning that we
woke up in which we weren't still, completely and utterly exhausted.
Yet, despite the tired minds, hearts, and bodies, The Lord carried us.
There were multiple times throughout this week that I felt myself
receive sudden bursts of increased spirit, charisma, and motivation to
just try to see a couple more people. I felt The Lord guide my words,
thoughts and actions as he placed us in homes, apartments, and street
side conversations that were divinely inspired and absolutely
necessitated by those whom we paid our visits to. I felt the
importance and actual heavenly power that comes with this sacred
calling that The Lord has entitled me with in serving as a missionary
for the church, but also being a literal conduit of the spirit for the
people here in California. I have never been so thankful to be taking
part in helping others come nearer to God, because I decided to give
ALL of what Heavenly Father has asked of me.

At church this Sunday, nine people in total showed up for sacrament
meeting. Let me repeat myself. Nine. NINE. Less Active members that
we've been working with, investigators of the church that we've been
working with, and completely inactive members of the church that we've
been working with - all decided to show up for church after the
spiritual visits we paid them this week. I was entirely amazed at
how touched people were with our meetings and discussions. The spirit
of The Lord had worked on them so greatly, and motivated them so
greatly, they decided to show up for (what we know to be) the most
important hour in their whole week. As we left the church building
that day, I was filled with so much compassion and gratitude for the
miracles that Heavenly Father had blessed us with and His assistance
in all that we did. In no way could Elder Cawley and I have done this
on our own. I know He was there with us each step of the way as we
realigned our efforts to what He would have us be doing.

I know God lives. This is His work. I am a witness of the truthfulness
of this church and the Gospel that Christ taught while He was on the
earth. I know this to be true. I feel it in my heart, just as much as
I've seen it with my eyes. I am blessed and privileged with the
opportunity of sharing and enlightening people to this humble message
each day.

I'd invite you this week to think about a couple ways you could better
serve The Lord. I'd invite you to think about how you could
potentially brighten someone's day, make someone smile, or share a
genuine gesture of gratitude. I promise and testify that if you do,
Heavenly Father will unfold marvelous things before your eyes, as He
did for us this past week. This is an eternal truth. [Mosiah 2:18]

I love you all. I hope you partake and come to enjoy the Gospel of
Jesus Christ as I have. It is the best thing that has ever happened to

I'll see you soon. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

WEEK 56 SAN RAFAEL  2nd Ward-

Family and Friends,

Different. This week was one of the more random and unusual weeks that
I've had on my mission. It varied from extraordinary service
opportunities in ridiculous amounts of sun, a slight case of bed bugs,
a wonderful baptismal service, & an extensive amount of apparent
"miscommunications" between us and investigators. Looking back on it
all, there were some wonderful things that happened, but there was a
lot more that could've potentially happened as well.

The work in our area has plateaued. I'm not going to lie and make up
grand email or make excuses as to what has happened, but Elder Cawley
and I did not had the sense of urgency we normally should have. Our
weekly planning session this week wasn't as good as it should've been
and it manifested itself in the amounts of success we had in our area.
In every way shape and form, I hate this feeling. I hate it, I hate
it, I hate it. I don't like having to look back on our week and feel
regrets for what I could've or should've done. I don't like knowing
that there was someone in San Rafael that needed us, and we weren't
there. It's frustrating to me and I feel that I let The Lord down. I
would almost compare it to the feeling of after a Friday Night
Football game and the awful silence that fills the air in the locker
room after a tough loss. It's the feeling of knowing you missed a
couple assignments, dropped a pass or two, missed an open field block,
or even fumbled the ball in a crucial time of the game. It's the
feeling of knowing that only a little more effort coming out of you
could've produced a lot more. It's knowing that because of these
small, minor and often times minute errors, the outcome of your team
greatly suffered and struggled.

I feel that this week was a learning experience for me (just like any
other week would be). I face some regret and disappointment in myself.
I face the reality of knowing that what I did cannot be undone. But,
because of a merciful God whom gives us second chances, I'm looking
forward to a clean slate and a fresh start this week. I promise to be
better. I have to be better. This "game" we're currently playing in,
is of much more importance to me than for me to be making foolish
mistakes as I did this past week.

I find great comfort and peace knowing that the Savior suffered for
me, and for my mistakes. For my short comings & for my errors. He
suffered and died so that I can have second chances. He died so that
when I slip-up, I can be forgiven. What a merciful, kind and loving
God we all have to give us means by which we can learn from situations
and experiences, but become better because of what has happened.

I hope and pray that we all continue to learn from our specific life
experiences. We aren't perfect. We are nowhere near it. Where we want
& need to be in this life, can only come from Jesus Christ. He truly
is "the way, the truth and the life". [John 14:6] I know this to be

I hope you all have an amazing week. "Be great and take care of the
people around you."

-Elder Schaefer