Wednesday, September 7, 2016

WEEK 61 SAN RAFAEL  2nd Ward

Family and Friends,

What a strange feeling it is to be emailing you once again. It seems
that my weeks are beginning to be shorter and shorter. As though I
never would wish, the days seem to be getting shorter and shorter as
well. I find myself throughout the week very troubled and struggling
with finding enough time in our days to accomplish all that is needed
and scheduled. One of my greatest frustrations in the mission is not
feeling as if I was completely and entirely successful in "exhorting
the people [of our area] to believe in God unto repentance" [Ether
12:3]. Very seldom are we able to visit and teach everybody we set
out for each day, but I know that Heavenly Father makes up for these
things. He is a merciful God. I know this to be true as we watched
this unfold before our very eyes in seeing all that happened with the
small amounts of lessons we actually did teach.

Door knocking and sufficient amounts of walking to make one person
satisfied for the next ten years of their life took a great portion of
all that went on. We walked. A lot. We knocked. A lot. With lack of
miles on the car, and many canceled lessons, this was all there was
left to do. As I'm sure you'd guess, most people pleasantly declined
our offers of salvation. Fortunately, it provided for some hilarious
experiences with those that reside here in California and it allowed
my companion Elder Magee to get some great practice with contacting
people. As he should be (for only being out 3-4 weeks now), Elder
Magee is a little apprehensive about talking to people. As it took
some rough conversations and very detailed explaining to get the ball
rolling - he finally got the hang of it and actually asked somebody to
be baptized. It was so great! I've never seen him so happy before & it
made me genuinely happy to such progress in my companion. I do love
him dearly. Please pray specifically for my companion that he might
continue to see small successes and 'fruits' from the labors we
perform each day. I know this will be a great blessing to him.

As random as this might seem, I had the privilege this week of working
some of the Spanish vocabulary that I learned--a few years ago--from
my Sophomore year of High School. A part member family invited us into
their home this last Monday & the wife didn't speak a lick of English.
As soon as we entered into the home, the wife was very interested in
who we were. She asked all about us, where we were from, our "real
names" and what we were doing as missionaries. In the broken Spanish I
know - I desperately tried to give her my most accurate depiction of
my story and life. As if it wasn't enough for her, she asked that we
come sit in her living room and teach her the first missionary
discussion. Can you imagine the look on my face? I literally struggled
throughout the whole lesson, and fought my way through with all that I
knew. I basically just bore my testimony over & over & over again. It
obviously wasn't the best lesson I've ever taught in my life (because
it was in Spanish), but this sweet lady seemed to be touched. It
brought her to tears & quite honestly I felt like letting a few tears
fall for how horrible I thought the lesson had gone. Thankfully, The
Lord compensated and worked through the little Spanish I did know.
This isn't the first time that this is happened to me on my mission,
but each time I walk away absolutely amazed at how God spoke
vicariously through me. It was such an amazing experience. Please pray
that this sweet lady will soon meet with the SPANISH elders and allow
them to teach her more.

As my precious companion and I had discussed the situation with, and
the circumstances that currently beset the Espocito family - we came
to the conclusion that we needed to lay off a bit & give them a bit of
a break. It's been almost four weeks since we've last seen them, and
oddly enough, I received such a strong impression this past week to go
see them. I knew the drive out would be long & chances are they
wouldn't be there, but I knew that Heavenly Father wanted us there.
So, we made the trip out to Fairfax. Pulling up around 7:30 at night,
something seemed different about the home. It had such a dark and
heavy presence there. Something that I've never felt before.
Disregarding my gut-feelings and the initial impressions I had, we
knocked on the door in hopes to get in and see them. As soon as the
door opened, we were greeted by the nine year old daughter and she
invited us in. As she ran up the crickety old stairs to find her mom,
we took a seat in the living room. Shortly thereafter, the stereo
system turned on & started blasting static noises. Pictures on the
walls started falling and the heaviness in the room increased. There
was a darkness of spirit in that home & Heavenly Father had put us
there to change that. There was a spirit in that home that clearly
didn't want us there. We offered a house blessing, gave Sister
Espocito a blessing, and then shared a message about keeping the
adversary out of our lives. They've recently been through a lot lately
& I know God put us there for a reason. Please pray that this family
will soon again find The Lord and turn to Him in these tough times.

A lot happened this week & I'm thankful for the work and service we
were able to render. It brings me joy to know I'm playing a role in
building The Lords kingdom here on earth. Above all else, I learned a
great deal about trials this week and why they come. I learned how to
truly exercise faith in the midst of rough days and rough weeks. I
know that without prayer & without the Savior - I probably wouldn't
have been able to get through these next couple weeks of the transfer.
I'm grateful for the Atonement of Jesus Christ and His sacrifice for
me. His sacrifice so that I can be comforted in tough times. His
sacrifice so that I can be led to understand and comply to Heavenly
Fathers will. I know without a shadow of a doubt - that He is waiting
to change us. It's whether or not we're willing to reach out for that
change to come about.

The Lord is my strength. I love this great cause in which I'm engaged
in. I know it is true.

-Elder Schaefer

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