Wednesday, April 26, 2017

WEEK 79 Eureka, McKinleyville Ward & Humboldt YSA Ward 

Family and Friends, 

I feel so fortunate to be a missionary for this church. Weeks like this make me realize how happy I am in the Gospel. This had to have been one of the hardest weeks I've ever worked on my mission and in return one of the happiest weeks I've ever had on my mission. Heavenly Father really just carried us along in all that we did and filled our mouths with the things to say every time we met with someone. Surely there was a mighty missionary spirit and power within our companionship that drove us day by day as we walked the cold, damp streets of McKinleyville. 

I felt like we took a walk through the eternities this week. We walked everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE. We took it upon ourselves to omit any activities that would detract our attention from fulfilling our purpose and this provided for a lot of tracting. In this pursuit of using our time most effectively and talking to the greatest amount of people that we possibly could - we inevitably came upon some very interesting and almost dangerous conversations. I'll just put it very simply. The people of Humboldt County were not too happy that The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sung at Donald Trump's Inauguration. Hahaha yeah, we took a lot of heat for that one. Regardless, we made the best possible situations with what we were given, testified of what we knew, and invited people to learn more. Not many people were too interested in learning more rather than debating, but we were able to find some really great potential families to teach. We will be following up with them this coming week! 

Elder Hawkins and I also had such a fun time at a Less Active Members home doing service on Thursday. In our proselyting clothes (white shirts and ties) we made it to the back yard with Axe's in hand and had our way with the wood out there. Man, it felt so good to swing that thing around and get some good work done for Sister Jackson. We caught quite a few splinters while doing it but that seemed to be not too big of a problem. We thoroughly enjoyed doing this and laughed a lot while we were out there. Needless to say, it took me some time to figure it out, but with my dear companions help - we got some good wood chopped up. 

On top of all our proselyting and service efforts, we had an extensive amount of meetings this past week that provided for a lot of revelatory experiences. Zone Conference with President and Sister Wright was nothing short of amazing. They are--without a doubt--the best mission president companionship that ever walked the earth. They're just outstanding. Following our Zone Conference with them, I felt such a renewed and great desire to go out and bring others unto Christ. They truly are inspired and I know that I was to be serving in the mission at the same time they were. I feel that so strongly about that. 

With some missionaries in the Zone struggling with overall motivations and work habits, we were advised to hold a "personal progress interview"--of sorts--and counsel with the missionaries as to some things that would help them. At first I was a bit nervous to do so, but we found a lot of successes come from this. Both of the missionaries were so wonderful and really opened up to us. They told us of some personal battles that they were currently struggling with and we set some meaningful goals that would help them overcome their struggles. As Elder Hawkins and I invited them to work on some things, we committed ourselves to doing the exact same. What a miracle this has been as we've taken part of this. We have seen so many blessings associated with these "sacrifices" so to speak. Missionary work is the cats pajamas, man. 

We also had the privilege of a General Authority coming to visit the Eureka Stake for Stake Conference this past weekend. What a treat this was. Elder Kapishka (in his broken English and German accent) delivered such wonderful messages about hope and faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. He counseled us as a body of the church to have more confidence in The Lord and trust more fully in all that He asks us to do. I thought it was quite interesting as to how he tied in our hope (in The Lord) being strengthened as we were more obedient to the commandments. I had never thought about it in such a way and it motivated me to continue to be as obedient as I can as a missionary. Not to mention, at our Stake Conferences, we had a combined total of 7 Less Active Members show up. I couldn't stop smiling when I saw each one of them walk in the door to that Chapel. 

Overall, the greatest thing that happened this week took place immediately after our Stake Conference. A member in the Arcata Ward came up to us this Sunday and told us of a client of his that had expressed some interest in meeting with the missionaries. As we learned more, it turned out that Brother Fjerstead had been praying for and meeting with this man for the past seven years. Slowly, here and there, Brother Fjerstead had offered his testimony, given out a Book of Mormon, spent countless hours on his knees in prayer, and being a wonderful example to this man - Randy Williamson has made the decision to be baptized a member of the church. Seven years later after ALL that Brother Fjerstead had done, Randy finally invited us over to his home and told us he knew this was the true church. What a blessing and an answer to many prayers this was. I know that The Lord was preparing this man. Even if it took a whole lifetime, he is now ready and humble enough to accept the Gospel in his life. How thankful I am for Randy and more importantly for Brother Fjerstead. Truly - "a member missionary". 

We feel, as a companionship, a great deal of accomplishment from all the great lengths we went to to get the work done this week. We feel that The Lord really blessed us with some miracles and growing opportunities as well. We are so excited for Randy and will continue to work with him and our other new Investigators this week. There is a lot that Heavenly Father has in store for us these next couple weeks of the transfer. 

I feel blessed to be a part of something so special. I love this work with all my heart. The world will never be the same because of the message we share. 

I love you all. I'll see you soon. GodSpeed.

-Elder Schaefer

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