Thursday, September 29, 2016

WEEK 64 Eureka, McKinleyville Ward & Humboldt YSA Ward  

Family and Friends, 

What a week this was. My first impressions and feelings regarding this transfer are all but negative. Hearing stories and opinions from other missionaries, the area that I'm now in has often been called "the promised land". Not many people have ill or bad memories coming from this place due to the members, geographical surroundings, and amounts of people that earnestly are searching for the answers to life. After having only been here a short six days - I can certainly attest and confirm all of these things to be valid. Unfortunately through the time span of these last six days, we've spent a large portion of our time--16&1/2 hours to be exact--in a car driving to & from meetings in Santa Rosa. It presented a lot of opportunities for Elder Adamson and I to catch up and reminisce past memories from our previous area, but I'll leave our boring car conversation to be told another day. Here's the highlights of all that has gone down. 

Tuesday: The first night I got into town, we arrived at the apartment and I immediately started to get unpacked. This short and speedy process only took a bit of time and left a good couple hours for us to get out into the area and do some work. We made haste (as time required us to) over to a family's home that are currently recent converts to our Ward. Being the amazing members that they are, they had invited over one of their close friends to receive the missionary discussions and learn more about The Gospel. This happened to be the first time we had ever met Frank, and regardless of having just become acquainted, we delve right into the first discussion. A great portion of our discussion was about Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. How great it was for my companion and I to have seen the spirit work on Frank in such a way that everything we explained had made perfect sense to him. Brother & Sister Lynch also played a great role in testifying and sharing their story of conversion. To be short and sweet - my first night in the area set some high expectations for this upcoming transfer. 

Wednesday: We woke up, had some wonderful personal studies and quickly began to discuss a Zone Vision for the missionaries here within the Eureka Zone. Elder Adamson and I got pretty creative to say the least. After studies were over, we left the house and went to pound the pavement. We walked and talked to a ton of people this morning in hopes to finding some new investigators and people to teach. Our efforts weren't as successful as we had hoped in contacting people, so we decided to visit a couple potential investigators within the area. As the Lord guided us to Annamarie's home, we found ourselves in a great conversation about The Gospel and invited her out to institute the following week, but also to meet with us within the coming days. Our morning and afternoon turned out to be so great! The latter part of our day was just as wonderful as we met with church leaders in our Ward and discussed some new potential families to find and teach. A lesson with Chester (a Less Active YSA member) followed our meetings and we taught him about keeping The Commandments. I came home tonight feeling so content with the amounts of work we got done! 

Thursday: As Tuesday morning wasn't available due to transfers, District Meeting took place today and we as missionaries were addressed on becoming better teachers and teaching with greater purpose. I greatly appreciated the messages that were shared this morning and I was touched by the spirit. Following District Meeting, we had lunch with all the Elders in our District and played a couple 'get to know you games'. This was so much fun! I'm grateful for the missionaries that I am privileged to serve around. They've all got so many cool things about themselves. Elder Adamson and I spent the entire rest of our day packing, and loading up the car for a mission leadership conference that was to be held the next morning. Being prepared and ready to go, we started again on the long haul back down to Santa Rosa. With a great amount of delay in our travels (due to traffic) we didn't get to the AP's house until 11:00 at night. Today was a long day, but it ended so well as we got to spend the night with Elder Achal and Elder Hatch in their apartment. 

Friday: With four Elders in our apartment and only one shower, we didn't get to exercise this morning because of lack of time to get ready for our Mission Conference that was to be held from 8:30AM-4:30PM. Boy oh boy. This was one of the longest meetings of my life, but thankfully we were greatly uplifted and blessed with the privilege of being taught by President Wright and Sister Wright. We counseled on a lot of topics regarding mission culture, mission performance, humility, being unified as companionships, etc. Again - it was a long meeting. A really long meeting. But I was able to take away some little nuggets from each section that was presented to us. As circumstance permitted and after our meeting, we again made the trek back to return to our proselyting area. Without question, this took the remainder of our night. A long drive, beautiful scenery, good conversations, and listening to a whole lot of BYU Vocal Point made the drive all worth it though. 

Saturday: Being given the opportunity to get out of our proselyting clothes for a couple hours and going to perform some service for a Less Active member in our Ward, provided as a great way for us to strengthen a relationship and potentially return to teach about church attendance in the coming weeks. We worked in the beautiful, sunny weather at trying to fix up the home of this member and provide some finishing touches as he is soon to be selling this home. How great it felt to be doing some dirty work and not having to be wearing slacks and a white shirt. We really did take as much advantage of that situation as we possibly could've! Returning from our service project at about mid-day, we took advantage of the weekend (people usually being home) and went finding. We knocked a lot of doors and found a lot of success in this! We found a new family to teach, and also found a couple people that we turned over to some other missionaries in our zone. Hopefully all works well with these new families! Elder Adamson and I were pretty pumped. We had dinner tonight at the local Subway and that put us in a good position to teach Frank another awesome lesson. We shared the message of The Plan of Salvation and it answered a ton of questions that Frank had. He was so inclined and so touched with our message that he committed to being at church the next day. #BestNightEver

Sunday: Single handedly the best day of the entire week. The area seventy that presides over our Eureka Stake was in attendance at both of our Sacrament Meetings today. He bore such a powerful testimony and witness of the Savior and it strengthened my testimony a great amount. I'm so thankful for inspired leaders of the church and their willingness to serve in the many capacities that they do. Being missionaries assigned in the McKinleyville Ward and also covering the Humboldt YSA Ward, we are required to attend both wards and all meetings. Again, another long day but so spiritual as we attended great meetings. I'm so thankful for Sunday's. Another highlight of our day was the weekly skype call with the AP's & Mission President and discussing our weekly Key Indicators. I was so happy to again see Elder Achal and Elder Hatch. 

I can't even begin to describe how thankful I am for this new area and the new opportunities that have been presented to Elder Adamson & I in the past six days we've been together. I love my companion so much and am so thankful for the opportunity to serve with him again. I am more optimistic about this transfer than I ever have been before. Here we go, baby. Here's to another week. 

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

-Elder Schaefer

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