Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from high above the LA valley

Como estan?? It’s been such a long time since we last talked! Ha-ha since Thursday... but man it was so good to talk and see you all! You all look great and I can’t believe how much the grandkids have changed in these past 10.5 months!! I forgot to thank you all for the amazing Christmas you gave me here in CA with all the gifts and dulces you sent me!! It was a huge blessing and really helped me to feel more and more at home even when I’m not. This first Christmas away was hard for me but it was also a very good one! I can’t image how I could have spent it differently rather than here. Yeah the gifts and sweets, etc. are great, but I have truly grown to love serving people and helping them to find the pure love of Christ which is service and charity!

Best Christmas Present 
I already told you a little bit on Skype about what our Christmas plans were like but I wanted to tell the story again. So, the 23rd 24th and 25th were our caroling days!! It was all full of singing to members, less actives, investigators or anybody in the streets who wanted to be sung too.  Ha-ha. We had such a great time doing it! We have been practicing a lot of the songs since before Halloween so that we would sound like a really good singing group or something. Ha-ha and it was well worth the practice! We really helped people to feel the spirit of the Lord in their homes by singing Christmas carols and we could see how it helped them appreciate all that they have in life!

Candy and the Christmas toothbrush!!
One particular family was the R** family who didn't have anything for Christmas.  They didn't have a tree, no gifts or anything. So we decided to go to her house on the 24th to sing and even better a couple of missionaries had a small tree with ornaments and lights and also a couple of stockings full of candy and other small prizes. We arrived at her house completely to her surprise, and her reaction to us bring these small little gifts was something I will remember for the rest of my life. It was pure joy! We could tell that as a single mother with two girls she was depressed that she couldn't give them a better Christmas.  One thing I have learned since being out here is that Christmas isn't about all the material items or the music etc, it’s about being with family and friends and realizing all that we do have rather than what we don't have. Well as we sang a couple songs to her she just started to cry and man I can’t describe how good it felt, but it was one of the top moments of my mission and maybe even my life. I have always been a selfish guy, but I have realized that there is so much more to life than our own passions, desires, and needs and that is focusing on others.

Well, that's how we spent our Christmas mostly! Other than singing we just played basketball and just hung out and played games as a zone at the church which was alright, but nothing too exciting.  It was a good holiday season for sure even despite all the hard times and unsuccessful times I have been having with the work at this time.  It all turned out great!

Kobe Bryant burger from MVP Restaurant!  Yes, he is still a fan!
We have a lot of work to do here and it’s very fitting that the year is coming to an end so we can start off fresh and work on our new personal goals for the upcoming year!

On Saturday, Elders T** and P** had a baptism that we went to and it was great!! I haven’t been to a baptism or seen one in over 3 months so it was nice.  The branch is doing good and it’s slowly progressing. It’s hard work out here especially having to ask members to do their home teaching!! We have soooo many less actives in the branch because they don't feel "loved" or welcome so it’s a tug-o-war trying to get the members to step up and get others to church. However it is moving along.

Well that's pretty much about it for me this week! Not a whole lot happened since Christmas, but hope all is well back home and everybody has a great week! Thanks for everything!

Love, Elder Woffinden

Whose idea was it to wear this Santa hat?  Hmm. sounds like a mother thing!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Christmas Box Arrived!

Hey, what’s up family and friends? How’s everything going? What are everyone’s plans for Christmas? Thanks for the email today, I really enjoyed hearing from all of you. This month has been flying by for me! It’s already the December 22nd, wow! A lot has happened here.

Nothing like Christmas Pringles and deodorant.
Ooops. Sorry mom, I forgot the Santa hat!
To start, Elder A and I had a pretty good and eventful week here in LB. I already told you about the visiting General Authority on Monday and Tuesday which was great!  As a district we have really found ways to have fun together! Half of my district goes home on January 13th, so they are all pretty trunky and are really excited and nervous about going home, so we have been doing all sorts of fun things together for their "lasts" of everything. On P-day this past week we decided to invent a new game, haha. So we were at the church playing sports and decided to do something different for a change. A couple of missionaries had Nerf guns and a random flashlight for some reason, so we decided to play Zombie tag. haha! It was the funniest and most fun thing I have ever done! It was so crazy and was actually scary, haha. There were times when Elder C and I were the only humans left alive, everyone else was a zombie and we were hiding. It was a blast! Don’t worry, the chapel was off limits so we weren't too crazy, and we cleaned up so it was all good! But, we were trying to have some fun and blow off some steam because we’re all really stressed about our areas and investigators right now, so it was a good break for us. 
I love getting stuff from home.
This week we had a lot of good lessons and success! We actually also had a miracle story that happened on Saturday night. There is a family in our area that is super inactive, and honestly, the whole 4 months I have been here, I haven’t even seen them one time, except their son! They have ALWAYS ignored us. It wasn’t until we didn’t have anything to do Saturday night while we were walking that we received a call from the hermana saying, “I need you to come to my house right now!” We were stunned, but we visited the family and it turns out she wants to come back to church. She has really been having a hard time in life. Her husband decided to chase after his ex-girlfriend and just grabbed his things and left her and her kids, so sadly she is in a mess. But, we talked to her and helped the best we could and she even came to church! Whoo!!
Loving the 12 Days of Christmas!

Also this week we had a really crazy lesson with a girl named C on Friday. We were in the middle of a lesson on the Plan of Salvation when we heard a load thumping on the door. She got up to answer the door when all of a sudden; these cops came into the house looking for her roommate for some reason! I don't know why they were there, but the police stayed for like 40 minutes and so did we. haha. We just looked like fools sitting on the couch, not knowing whether we should leave or stay. Personally, I wanted to stay to see what happened, haha. Long story short, the lesson was a disaster, but hopefully we will get a second chance to teach her! 

Presents from the "Sisterhood." Scriptures are required to guess what it is.
As for investigators, Elder A and I have been doing a lot of thinking about the area and our investigators and we decided if nobody came to church last Sunday after doing all we could to get them there, we would just drop everyone and start fresh. AND.... that's exactly what happened. We went by everyone’s house Sunday morning, and even missed the second hour of church waiting at the bus stop for an investigator who never showed up, so sadly, we dropped them all and now we don't really have anything set to do anymore. However, this is good because we can now focus on finding! Since we don't have anyone, I'm positive God will see we are in need of people to teach and will provide us with success. 

This last Sunday at church all the missionaries sang "Noche de Luz" during Sacrament Meeting, and it was amazing! We have been working on it for like two months to make it "barbershop quartet" quality, haha. The members loved it! 

Elder C's going home. I'm going to miss this guy.
Well, that pretty much sums up my week. But, as for Christmas, I am so excited to see you all! I am going to Skype home sometime between 1:00-3:00 pm. I will call first to let you know to be ready. I hope it works and goes well. I can’t wait to hear and see you all!! Love you!! Have a great week!


Elder Woffinden 

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas is Around the Corner!

Merry Christmas from the Mission

What’s up family!!! Hey wow I received the packages this past week they were awesome!! Thanks so much for all the hard work and time put into them! I love them. It was funny because some Elders were all like "man you get mail every week! Ha-ha so thank you!  But I’m glad you received my Christmas card! I still need to send out a lot because I don’t have addresses so I might send them home and then have you mail them. I made that at Walgreens! Super easy took like 5 min since that’s all the time I had, but I’m glad you liked it.  Tell Janell and the Berry family that they are in my prayers and the prayers of the LB missionaries.  Our love and prayers go out to them.

Also to Elder Pecht or "Bubba" now! Ha-ha I am sorry I couldn’t make it to your departure fireside on Sunday!  I did all that I could to get an investigator to come but it just didn’t happen. But I love ya and I am going to miss you here in LB!! It was amazing to serve with you here in the same zone! Until next year!!

Rain, rain go away!
Okay well another week down.  It is crazy how Christmas is next week I can’t believe it!  Ha-ha I will admit it is nice not having to worry about gifts or wrapping anything. It’s a good break. But receiving the package from y’all was awesome it has made every morning or night really fun and exciting looking through scriptures and guessing what it is.  Ha-ha.  This past week has been a really good one!! We had a lot of great things happen this week. I just pray I can remember them all or at least explain it well.  To start, it has been really cold here! I know not like back home, but I have turned into the biggest wuss out here being used to 80s all the time so the slightest cold wind or rain just rocks me and we have been getting pounded with rain this week. A couple nights ago we had what I thought was a hurricane outside at like 3 am it was coming down harder than I have ever experienced.  The palm trees were snapping and things were flying all over the place so we both decided to just stay up and study from 3 am -6:30 since we both couldn’t fall back asleep.

Here I am, in the rain pulling the sympathy card.
Working in the rain has turned into something I love to do!  It’s a ton of fun and I just like trying to pull the sympathy card on people to try to get new investigators! Sadly... doesn’t work!

As for our investigators, this week was a hard one. We had to drop V** on Friday night. We hadn’t seen him all week and so we decided that we needed to go see if he was home.  We walked to his house and sure enough his gate was locked like always, but two minutes later we see these two hammered drunk guys walking down the street towards us.  I was all "ugh that’s V**, I know it" and sure enough it was him.  There was beer all over him and three more beers in his hoodie so we stopped him and asked him what was going on. Long story short, and a small feud between his JW friend and we told him we couldn’t come by anymore and he agreed sadly. It was really hard for me because I really love his family! They are all so awesome!  Temptations and friends sometimes can change people to where they won’t take the steps necessary to change.  Hopefully, he will in the future.
Feeling the holiday spirit decorating a member's tree. 

Our own Charlie Brown Christmas tree.
D** is doing awesome! Of course she didn’t wake up for church last Sunday even when we were begging her mom to wake her up at the door.  So her baptism isn’t going to happen for Elder A** and I before the end of the year.  I am very disappointed, and we were really set on reaching this goal!  I guess it wasn’t my "lot" to get one this year. I know that numbers shouldn’t count, but it’s hard when we get attached to people and to the goals you set and pray for, and when you don’t achieve them it’s very hard to cope with. But we’re alright now just need to move on and keep working towards their progression! We have had some small little blessings this week with finding people to teach when we didn’t have a lot going on so I have a lot to be grateful for!

Our halls are decked!
Yesterday we had the privilege to have a member from the 70 come and speak to us along with President Tew! It was Elder David Baxter from SCOTLAND!!!! (I said that in my accent and I have gotten real good at) ha-ha. It was so good! First off he is hilarious! He was cracking jokes left and right and was just a really good speaker. We had the meeting go from 10-4 so it was really long but wow the spirit was indescribable! I have no doubt in my mind that President Ryan M. Tew will be either a 70 or an Apostle someday! Just watch and see! His testimony and knowledge of the Gospel and love for the Savior is out of this world! I love that man. But anyways it was awesome!

Well that sums up my week! Christmas is next week and I am so excited to see and talk to you all!! I hope you have a great holiday season and may God bless all of you and know that I am grateful for your love and support in my life!

Hasta Luego!!

Mucho Carino,

Elder Woffinden
Merry Christmas from, the Great Pumpkin (?)

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Tough Week, But a Good Ending

Singing a hymn after our Thanksgiving feast.
Hey family!! How’s it going!? Wow, your email was great. It sounds like you had a great time in Ireland! (I said it with an accent as I wrote it, haha.) I’m super jealous because I have always wanted to go there! When I have my millions of dollars down the road I will, haha.

This week was a tough one. For starters, on Monday and Tuesday it absolutely poured rain here! Man Long Beach cannot handle rainstorms—everything was flooded! The streets were filled with water and everybody's yards were miniature lakes, haha. Of course, me being the nice guy that I am, haha, gave my umbrella to Elder T because he didn't have one. I figured it was just going to sprinkle, but once 11:00 am hit, it pounded and I was soaked all day! I thought people would be nice and let us in, especially since I looked like I just took a dip in the Pacific, but nope, they just slammed their doors or ignored us completely, haha.  Oh well, I’ll send pics next week.

It was kind of a tough week.
So Elder A and I have three people who are supposed to be baptized if they come to church this week! If they don’t there is no chance that they will make it by the end of the year. So last Saturday Elder A and I were walking down a street and we both had the impression to go visit an investigator that we had dropped a month before because she wasn't interested. So we did and had a great lesson with her! Then 3 more bomb ones with her this past week, and on Saturday we went by and asked if she was going to come to church and she said yes! So sweet, we were pumped because she has a date for December 30th. We told her we would have a member pick her up for church. Then Sunday comes around and ALL the members cancelled on her—nobody could take her which was soooo annoying! So at 9:30 am Elder A and I decided to walk to her house (which is like a 2.5 mile walk one way) and take her personally to church. We arrived at her house and knocked on the door for what seemed like days and even tried calling her many times and nothing. We could hear people inside and Elder A thought he heard D’s voice which was sad because we were clearly being ignored. So, to make a long story short, none of our investigators came to church and man it had a bad effect on me.  Later, we found that the reason A, our other investigator, didn't come was because he had a seizure late Saturday night and was now in the hospital. It’s crazy how all this happened within 12 hours! I personally am very passionate on meeting our baptismal goal and on helping these people change their lives, so this just set me into a rage. I didn't want to talk to anybody; I kept thinking to myself, how could this have happened to us? Why?? I have been praying for a baptism and for our investigators to come to church and they just won’t do it, or something always happens to them. I was DONE. But, after a very long day of church, I finally cooled off and sorted out my mind with Elder C (our District Leader), He is awesome! He really helped me out a lot. So, after venting to y’all, haha, this is a new week and hopefully we will receive success from all the trials we have been having. I haven’t given up; it’s just another step in the path I need to take, so it’s all good.

Anyway, Christmas is coming, wooohoooo!! I’m so excited, haha. We, along with Elder T and Elder C bought a Christmas tree. Our apartments are now all decorated with lights and a 5-foot tree! We tied it to the Toyota Camry we have and drove it home last Thursday, haha. It’s awesome, and I’m looking forward to talking to you all on Christmas. It should be sweet!

My District before being split up.
Oh I almost forgot!! The Ximeno Branch here is AWESOME!!! It may be super small, but I love everybody here. Yesterday at church we had a really powerful testimony meeting and I was surprised by how much love the members have for the missionaries! It was pretty humbling for me personally. All but two of us missionaries bore our testimony on how we can spend Christmas together as families and how reading and praying will bring a better spirit in their homes. Wow, the spirit was super strong yesterday! After church we received a bag of red paisley and striped ties from a member and also cookies from another, haha. Sweet! I just wanted to mention that because it was pretty cool, especially with me having a not so good day.

I hope you all have a great week! Things are good here and I hope they are back home as well!

Love y’all!!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, November 24, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cool biker guy who bought us dinner
Hola!! Que tal!? How is everyone doing this week?? Thanks for the email!  I have seen the weather that is always playing in the Spanish Laundromat every Monday morning and man it is cold back home!! ha-ha  It is in the 80s here!  Yes I got the package and it was awesome!! ha-ha I loved the turkey it was so funny!

"Turkey" package from home!
Well this week was pretty good. Yes, Elder A** is better now and we have been back to work. I got sick again.  I was sick from Monday till Saturday with a deathly cough that would keep me up all night! I’m better now so no worries. Man I can’t believe Thanksgiving is this week! So crazy! We have dinner planned to eat at a member’s house. Elder A** said last year he had to eat four dinners ha-ha so I am not excited for that if that’s the case!! I will die!! ha-ha. On Friday night we had our branch Thanksgiving dinner at the Ximeno church building. It was awesome! I was shocked at how much fun it was! We may have a really small branch here, but all the members are super close and really know how to have a great time. The missionaries served all the food which was turkey and ham, etc.  I was giving out the gravy and Jalapenos. ha-ha so it was still a Latino meal for sure. There was dancing afterwards and all the members were going crazy! Not to mention the music they were playing was making me beyond trunkie!! All the teenage girls connected their phones to the speakers so I was dying.  We weren’t aware that all the members were watching every move we made.  When all 9 of us missionaries were chilling in one spot, a couple of us started to dance amongst ourselves since we can’t dance with the members.  We then heard this super high pitched shrieking sound coming from behind us.   All the women ages 12-90 were begging us to come dance with them. ha-ha It was super funny!  Sadly we had to decline and they were not happy at all.... oops.  We had our investigator M** and her nine year old son come to the dinner! It was great and the branch was bomb at making her feel welcome. M** is the golden investigator we have right now and our most solid investigator! So please pray for her to have a desire to be baptized because she is so close!

Great family - fed us dinner.
Besides the party, this week was interesting. We did drop a lot of investigators this week.  We just decided it was the best thing to do.  V** keeps slipping with drinking and doesn’t have a testimony of Joseph Smith so we now have to go back and start at square one with him which is really hard.  On Saturday evening, I went to the office to get yet again another bike... the ones I keep getting are pure trash.  ha-ha   We got back at 4:45 and dinner was at 5.  We didn’t want to sit and wait for our ride so we went into an alley and said a prayer that hopefully we could find someone to talk to.   We found two!  They are super cool, and a true miracle given by God. T** is a really old Hispanic woman who was out sweeping leaves with a broom in the street. We have return appointments with both this week.

On Saturday morning, I had an interview with President Tew.  It was an interview to see how missionaries are progressing and to check on the goals we have made for our mission. Mine is to be more "spiritually" minded and less "carnally" minded. (2 Ne 9: 39)  President had some great advice for me and for some of the trials I have. Sadly, missionaries are going home due to stress or other reasons and it’s hard to be positive at all times.

Well this is the last week of the transfer! It’s either I stay with A** or I train.... please pray for stay!! ha-ha. There are like 30 Spanish greenies coming in because 35 missionaries go home next transfer! The majority are Spanish.  I am ready for whatever.  If I do train I’m just going to pretend I don’t know Spanish and have my greenie begin to teach a lesson (Plan of Salvation).  I’ll just look at him and be like...all you man!!  ha-ha (jk)

But that’s it for me!! Hope ya’ll have a great week!! Love you and thanks for all the support and love!!

Mucho Carino!!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, November 17, 2014

Grateful for Promptings!

Missionary work is like riding a turtle.  Slow but Steady!

What’s up familia!! Hey thanks again for the email! Sounds like everyone is doing well and I’m glad that all the winter sickness is starting to end. We have been battling it as well even here in sunny CA.  Elder A** is sick again and actually lost his voice for like two days so I had to do ALL the talking.  It wasn't too bad, but really quiet when at home. Ha-ha.

Okay well this week where do I begin...  I will start with the bad news.  None of our investigators came to church this week after all confirmed 'yes' they would come.  We had some awesome lessons on Friday and Saturday, too.  So sad to say, but we may have to drop them.  It’s not final, but it needs to happen. We need to find people who actually want to take the steps necessary to change their lives. So we really aren’t having much success with our investigators.  To make up for it, we have put our focus on our dying little branch and the existing members here. There were only 61 members at church yesterday.  So we are in overtime mode trying to reactivate members and get people coming back to church!

Also this week we had a really good training given by President Tew and some of the Zone Leaders throughout the mission. It was really inspiring and really helped me personally to get my head back on the straight path and focus on my priorities here.

On Friday I went on exchanges with DL Elder C** and it was great! I love Elder C**.   He is awesome and we had a bomb day.  An experience I really want to share was when we were walking to dinner. (We were working in my area.)  As we were walking, I told Elder C** that I felt that we needed to go visit J**.  I felt a strong prompting to talk to him. So that’s what we did. (J** is an investigator we are planning on passing off to the English missionaries next week).   When we got to the gate, it was unlocked which is rare!   Also, he was home and he was a mess. He told us how his life has come crashing down on him and how he doesn’t know what to do to help his problems. We then had an awesome lesson on prayer and having faith during the trials that come into our lives.   We can know we are on the right path when hard times come because the devil wants to knock us off the path.  The lesson was great and we taught him the simple steps of prayer and how he can be strengthened by it.  We followed up the next day and he said he felt so much more at peace!  Wow, pretty cool how God helped us help him just by a quick thought.

Elder A and Ja.  Go UTES!
Also while on exchanges on Saturday night, Elder C** and I were walking down this street to an investigators home when a guy on a bullet bike (which had the Texas state flag decals all over it) stopped and waved us over to talk to him. We were thinking what the heck??  Do we go?? Ha-ha   So we did, and it turned out to be the best decision ever!   He was visiting from Texas and said he wanted to take us to dinner right then.... we were shocked because we hadn’t had dinner that night and now a random dude wants to take us out! We are just so used to people yelling at us or having people scream "SATAN!!" every time they drive by.  Ha-ha  He was the coolest dude ever! I grabbed a photo of him which I will send next week!

The rest of the week was pretty hard with no real solid success.  I am worried that we won’t be able to contribute to meeting our goal of one baptism per companionship before the end of the year. Could you please pray for our investigators?  Thanks!

 I’m doing good and the Spanish is always improving.  Hope ya’ll have a bomb week!! Love you all!

Hasta Luego,
Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Service Surprise!

Elder A and Jason at the temple
Hola familia!! Que tal??

Wow crazy that another week has come and gone.  It seems like whenever I turn the corner p-day is here again.  This past week was great! To answer your question about our service project on Saturday… yes we saw Elder A**’s brother.  We were in line getting our t-shirts and volunteer badges when his brother came up from behind and surprised him. Ha-ha. He was shocked and didn’t really know what to do… it was hilarious. He was "trunkie" for the rest of the time there because of it.  The service was good, it was for some band performances and we were in charge of checking people’s stamps to allow them into the event.  We sat in the sun for 5 hours checking stamps and my face got fried which I don't mind because it was some much needed sun! ha ha It was fun and we got to see some of the performances which were pretty good.  It just made me super “trunkie” for college football.  Also, that night nurse Adams took us five missionaries to Buffalo Wild Wings!! My favorite!  I ate WAY too many wings.  It was fantastic! Not to mention the tender mercies of the college football games playing on the TV while we ate. Ha ha   So... Saturday was awesome.

Ja and Elder C
As for the rest of the week we had some good success with some of the investigators we have. D** and M** are doing awesome! They are reading in the B of M and M** even came to church yesterday without us having to tell her! Okay maybe it was because of the "Sabbath Day" throw-down lesson we did on Thursday that made her come.  We were just happy she did!  It’s pretty hard teaching D** and S** who are both 16 years old. We have to work around their high school routine which is hard especially since they both have bap dates for the beginning of December. We were able to teach them a couple of times this week and they have made some great progress.

On Thursday, Elder A** and I gave a 30 min training on accountability during our zone meeting.  I was pretty nervous to do it!   I felt they chose the most unaccountable missionary to do it. (jk) But after many days of working on our lesson and practicing it turned out really well and we gave a bomb training!  I think I taught myself more on how to be more accountable for myself and my investigators from the training than teaching others which I’m pretty happy about.

This week we didn’t really have a whole lot of success finding any new people to teach sadly. However, we did find one named Y** and she truly was a miracle find! On Friday, we had been walking around Long Beach all morning and we had zero success. My back was killing me and we were both not too happy about what was going on so we just stopped and sat on a curb to rest. After about 10 minutes, we just decided to pray to see if maybe God had someone in mind for us. After praying honestly I still had no idea what to do, but we just stood up and decided to walk a mile or so up the road. Once we got there we had an impression to go by P** (who is a potential investigator). She has shown no signs of wanting to talk to us so it didn’t really make sense to knock on her door, but we did anyways. Lo and behold we found her daughter Y**!  She is super cool and was really grateful for the message we shared. She loves to talk about God and said we could come by some more to talk next week!  Pretty cool.  We had all our less active families except for one come to church and one investigator so it was a good Sunday!

Fun at the Halloween branch party!
As for me this week, it was a tough language week.  I feel like everybody stepped up there Spanish and kicked it up a few notches. Everybody was speaking faster and with words I had never heard of before and it was just dominating me during lessons, etc.  It took a huge toll on my confidence and abilities to communicate which I have been battling with. I’m hoping that I can improve and catch up. I just need to have more faith I guess and just trust in God. Even when things get rough the best thing to do is never give up!

Well that’s it for me. I hope you all have a great week!

Love you and miss you thanks again!!

Mucho cariño! Elder Woffinden
Elder A and Ja buying food at Target

This picture was taken by a sister in the Long Beach 10th ward.  She also gave them $50 to help pay for groceries. Both boys were out of money in their missionary debit card so it was truly a blessing.  We are thankful to the CA members for taking care of our missionary sons.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Preachin' in the Ghetto

Preachin' in the Ghetto
Hey!! What’s up!! I hope all is going well for everybody, and again thanks for the emails.  Well, for me, this week was great! We have been getting baptismal dates set with more of our potential investigators. We are having problems with them not coming to church however.  Every week they don’t come, we have to push their baptismal date back which is frustrating beyond belief, but I guess we just need to be patient and rely on the Lord and in his timing of things.

P-day this week was super fun!  We combined as two zones for a giant "nerf" gun war in the stake center gym. It was way fun! We had set up all the tables and chair racks as bases and objects to hide behind while we just went all out on each other with the guns we had.  It was awesome!

This is what "Macho Missionary Models" look like.
This week we also did something called a "blitz" here in our zone. We all met at the church then went to each other's areas in search of new investigators. It was great and very successful. We found new investigators in every area we went into because there was about nine of us in the area at one time.  Elder A** and I found a way solid lady named G** from Honduras in Elder T** and P**’s area.  I spotted her from down a street in her garage moving boxes so we decided to walk all the way down to contact her.  At first she was not having it at all.  She was sort of ignoring us and packing, but something switched and made her sit down and actually talk to us. After talking for a while, we found out that she is and has been mad at God for many years because she feels that he only answers others prayers and not her own.  Wow, just like that her doubt smacked us in the face and we knew exactly what to do!  We then had a great short lesson and passed her off to Elders T** and P** to teach!
Thanks mom for the Halloween treats!

Always a Utes fan!
Angry Birds Costume for the Branch Party.
HALLOWEEN NIGHT!!!! was super lame. Haha We just stayed inside and cleaned. However, thanks to everyone who sent me Halloween packages!! They were awesome and I have sooo much candy.  It’s unreal.  I was praying for trick or treaters to come by my house, but no.. so I will just get fat off of it.

We picked up some new investigators this week including an old former investigator.  We set a BAP date with her on Dec 7th!  We are so excited to work with these awesome people and hopefully help them reach the goal of baptism! Also, other good news is that all the less actives we have been teaching the family V**, and H** are now fully active!! They have come to church for well over a month now and Hno H** even blessed the sacrament yesterday which was sweet!

This week I read a book called, “The Peace Giver”. It was awesome! I read it in less than a day which is unheard of for me!  It really teaches some good lessons about the Atonement of Jesus Christ and about forgiveness and becoming free from the chains of the adversary. I highly recommend reading it! It’s about 200 pages, but super good.  I received a ton of great insight and revelation from it!

Well, I can’t really think of a whole lot more to talk about. Elder A** and I are killin' it here (at least we think so) haha and our investigators are great! My Spanish has improved a ton! People in the branch have said I sound Mexicano, so I guess that’s a good thing! We had a huge rain storm here also and I really loved finally being able to work in the rain and get out of the hot weather of S. CA. I hope everyone has a great week!! Thanks for all you do.  Love you guys!

Hasta Luego,
Elder Woffinden

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Long Beach Halloween!

Elder A and Jason
Hey!! What’s up everyone! Thanks for the email and for all you guys do!! I'm doing awesome here in LB.  This past week was great and we had some good success and a couple of branch Halloween parties which were off the wall! I was shocked how good they were.  I was not expecting it.  Ha-ha.

Elder P's last day! - Nos Vemos Amigo
To start with our teaching… we have been doing great with our investigators.   D** and L** and their mom M**.  We set a baptismal date for the 16th!  So pray for them please!   They are awesome and always keep their commitments of reading in the B of M and seem to understand the lessons pretty well.. So I'm super stoked about that.  Yesterday at church we realized that nobody had showed up to church! Since we have class first then Sacrament meeting, last Elder A** and I left church and literally went to their house and dragged them to church. Ha-ha it worked! They really liked it too even though all the speakers were English speakers with a missionary translator at the stand.  It made it very hard to feel the spirit, etc.  (Please pray that I never get called to translate..super hard stuff.) V** our other solid investigator has been struggling with his drinking lately and disappeared for like a weekend so we have no idea what happened to him.

Long day out on the streets of LB - still sick!
This week I have still been fighting my cold and it’s gotten worse.  I think I have bronchitis so that's been annoying to deal with coughing every 10 seconds.  Besides those investigators, we aren't really teaching too many another solid people just a lot of potentials and a couple miracle finds.

Okay so this Halloween party that we went to was at our Ximeno branch and the 10th ward (white) and it was huge!  A big success!!  I will try to send pics next week! There was a costume contest and food contests and everybody was dressed up.   About 3 hours before the party we were out working and we came across a yard sale, which are famous here, and I saw an "angry birds" costume for 2 bucks.  I bought it and that was my costume.  Ha-ha   It was super stupid but it worked! All the other missionaries were lame and didn't do anything so I was proud to represent.  There was trick or treating and tons of games for the kids and even a bounce house which soon became a missionary war zone! We went nuts in that thing.  Ha-ha

Trying out the new camera - Fish eye effect.
Well the rest of my week was pretty slow but really good!   I went on exchanges with Elders T** and S** on Friday and was glad to be out of my area for a little while.  My Spanish has gotten tons better!  Honestly, I just decided to not care and when I did that, it got better.  So the key to life is just don’t care about anything and good things come from it! Ha ha (jk)

This week is going to be good and I am excited for Halloween even though we aren’t allowed to do anything past 6pm due to missionary imposters! Ha-ha yeah pretty dumb but things are going good here missionary wise.  It’s still super hard and stressful and there are days when my "ganas" are just close to zero and I don't want to do anything (especially being sick), but by going out and working that's when the blessings come.  If we do our best, that’s all the Lord asks of us.  Well that’s all I can remember for this week.  Love ya’ll! Have a great week and thanks for everything!!

Love, Elder Woffinden

Monday, October 20, 2014

Typical Missionary Week

What is up everyone!! Hey thanks for the emails.  It is great to hear from you all again!  Hmm, where to begin with this week... it was a long one that’s for sure.  The days felt like years! ha-ha   It was also a hard week, too.  We had to drop a lot of investigators because they just aren’t progressing!   No reading, praying, church… nada so we had to say see ya… which is sad.  They will probably be picked up in the future when they are more prepared.

Monday was a bomb p-day!!  We went to a driving range to golf because an investigator works there and got us unlimited balls to hit!! ha-ha  It was sweet!  It’s all electrical and you don’t need to do anything but hit the ball and then another one pops up to take its place which was pretty sweet! We hit probably 500 or more and wow I am sore!! ha-ha   My body was wrecked from all the twisting and swinging since I am so out of shape now.  It was a blast!  It was also Elder Ps last p-day here.  He went home on Tuesday which was hard because he was one of my best amigos here and now he is home watching sports center etc. ha-ha   That is what he said would be the first thing he did when he got home.   Too funny!!

Okay, like I said, we dropped a ton of people, but we did find two super good finds!!  We found them out of desperation, honestly!  A** looks like she will be a super good find. I really hope everything goes well with them both because I feel pretty down about how none of our investigators really progress beyond a certain point. The whole coming to church part is their weakness and they never come!  But on a positive note, we have been working with some less active families.  The V** and H** families were both super inactive when I got here and now they have attended church three weeks in a row! So that’s always a bonus.

Police Helicopter spotlighting our house.
This week we had a crazy thing happen… like always! ha-ha  On Saturday night, we were in bed at like midnight when we heard a helicopter approach and start hovering over our house.  All of a sudden, a giant spotlight hits in our window and the entire room is filled with light.   We were like what the crap!?  It turns out that our neighbor was having a gun scare and was threatening someone.  I guess the cops were called and stormed his yard while the helicopter circled our little apartment providing light.  It was awesome!   Honestly, that really made my week. Ha ha

Well other than that I’m doing good! Long Beach is great and I am having a good time. The mission is super tough!! Very mentally challenging for sure with a whole lot of stress.  However, there are days when all the stress and tough times are worth it in the end.   There’s always room for improvement and believe me I need to be better! But I’m glad to have you all supporting me back home and it means a lot.  Well that’s about it for this week!  Have a good one!!

Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Staying in Long Beach East

Hey!! What’s up everyone!! How was everyone's week?? Mine was awesome!! So many good things I can’t even remember them all sadly... I always forget to write them down so I will do better from now on. But to start, this past week was the last of the transfer and.... I’m staying with Elder A** for one more.   I will honestly probably kill him since he goes home in 2.5 months! So I’m stoked for that!

This week we had some success.  I was on exchanges with Elder C** on Wednesday night and we had some great lessons during the day and everything was looking good for "prime time" (6-9 pm).   But, we didn’t teach anybody and we're having some doubts on if we would teach that night. At like 8:45 we made it to the street where we live and we knew we had to do an "obedience walk" since it wasn't 9 yet.   Honestly, I was tired and just ready to go inside. We started walking and were talking and having some great convo together when it finally was 9! Sweet! Time to go inside.  On our way inside, I saw a guy sitting by his fence smoking a cigarette.  My first response was its all good, let’s go inside, the day is over.  Something told me to talk to him so we decided to just bite the bullet and do it, and it was awesome!! This guy saw us and immediately threw out his cig and was ready to talk to us. We had a good short convo about life, etc.  He brought up the question, why are there so many churches in the world?  And boom we were ready to respond! So cool we now have a return apt. tomorrow and are super excited to meet with him.   Also this week we set a baptismal date with V** for the 2nd of Nov!  He is really doing awesome and his reading and prayers have improved tremendously since I first met him.

On Tuesday, we went to the temple with all the departing missionaries and it was great!  All 8 of us Spanish Elders loaded up into the big van at like 7am and headed to the temple, but what we failed to remember is that from 6-9 in LA is pure doom of traffic!!  Ahh.. the worst. We didn’t get to the temple till like 9:30 and it was just an incredibly long drive for such a short distance. haha  There are way too many people here!!   The temple was great.  I really loved it and we even got to go out to Denny’s after which I haven’t had in forever and it was bomb!  If you get an opportunity try the pumpkin cinnamon pancakes! Ha

This week has also been a week of really hard times too. This week probably sets a new record for me having people really trying to push our buttons and ridicule us. We had a guy throw his full sprite can at us while parking our bikes and it exploded everywhere.  We also got into a convo with these 3 super stoned dudes and they were criticizing us for where and how we get our authority, etc.  I noticed during the convo he was filming us on camera and it was just annoying.  We came across this guy who was walking around like he was so gangsta when he noticed us, he just comes up and shows us his arms that are tatted up and it says "anti Christ".  We were all, okay?? and pretty much just walked past him and ignored him. haha.

The branch here is doing great! We had a new Elder’s Quorum called and they are having a sports night every Friday night.   We can play volleyball, basketball, and ping pong. It has been awesome! haha   Now, I have no idea how to talk in "sports mode" in Spanish because back home I can talk trash or laugh and make jokes with people during games etc, but here I just sound like an idiot and have no clue what is being said at times. haha   Plus all our investigators were dropping some curse words every now and then which I have learned to catch now, and it’s pretty funny.  haha.

Well Elder A** and I are doing great! We have been doing some good work and he hasn’t been sick anymore.  I had a pretty knarly cold and was sick all week until yesterday.  My voice was pretty much gone which was terrible and I gave myself a headache from talking it was so bad, but I’m good now.  Since this next transfer is 7 weeks we are going to have Halloween and Thanksgiving together which should be cool.  I’m excited for this transfer and hope all goes well and that we hopefully get some baptisms! But that’s about it for me.  I hope you all have a great week! Thanks again for your emails, I really appreciate them!! Until next week!!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, October 6, 2014

Conference was Awesome!

This bird wanted to know more about Mormons!
What’s up!! Hey how’s everybody doing?? Wow this week was fantastic! Hope yours was as well? Well, to start off it was a busy one full of meetings and of course conference! Pretty sweet! But this week we had the Long Beach zone conference with President Tew. It was great! The missionaries that spoke and gave trainings are studs, and I really respect them and their desire to serve. Oh also we were able to watch “Meet the Mormons” movie!! Sneak peak haha It comes out this Friday and it was fabulous! It made me super trunkie though!  haha   All the college football and other things in the film… especially the Salt lake part, but anyways it was great.  I would highly recommend seeing it because the funds raised go to a good cause so that’s boss.

After zone conference, the Combods (Cambodian zone leaders) and us went to Cafe Rio!!  First time in forever! It was amazing, even though I eat that food all the time.  It’s super different from homemade Latina food. haha.  Also this week Elder A** has been super sick.  I don’t know what’s wrong with him.  He has a doctor apt today at 3 and has been having severe stomach and abdominal pain plus yesterday was throwing up all during conference.  Hopefully he gets better soon!  This week we didn’t have a whole lot of time for "normal" missionary work, but when we did we had some pretty good success. We haven’t found many new people lately and our ‘member present’ lessons have nose-dived this week.  We have been progressing well with V**   He came to the Sunday morning conference session which was perfect for him! On Saturday night he told us that he wouldn’t really want to progress until he got an answer about living prophets and apostles and low and behold on the Sunday morning session it was full of that!! BOSS!  I was pumped!   God truly knows what is best for his children, and I know that V** learned a lot yesterday.  We also have set a baptismal date for R** for the 2nd of November!  We all know how the adversary works on investigators progressing towards baptism so we will just pray and help her along as best we can.

Well, conference was awesome! It honestly was probably the best one I have ever seen... it was amazing.  It amazes me how much I used to hate watching conference as a kid and especially in college.  Wow, it turns out it is more than old guys rambling on. haha. I really loved Elder Bednar's and Elder Christofferson’s talks… they were amazing!  What about y’all?   What stood out to you?  I loved how they really focused on living prophets and revelation in these days because "Dios es el mismo ayer, hoy, y para siempre! "   It was awesome!

So this week I am hoping that Elder A** gets better so we can work because the past two days we haven’t really been able to.  We need to find new investigators! This is the last week of the transfer so we need to go out with a bang.   That’s honestly about it for me this week.   LB is the bomb and the branch is sick so things are good.  I bought a new Spanish help book today at Barnes and Noble so I am hoping that will help me with the sentence structure, etc in Espanol. But love y’all!!   Have a great week!

Hasta Luego!!

Love, Elder Woffinden

My view... BOSS!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Great Jabanero Challenge!

The Long Beach Zone on Signal Hill.
Hola Familia!!

What’s up? Sorry I wasn’t able to email yesterday, we had a temple trip planned for today, but we didn’t get to go. Nobody in the branch could take us, so 9 of us didn’t get to go while the whole rest of the mission did. That sucked, but oh well. So today we went to Costco instead! There was a member who could at least take us there, haha. It was awesome!! I spent way too much money, but I feel I spent it on things that I needed so I guess that’s fine, haha.

This week has been pretty good. We found two bomb investigators when we decided to just knock doors! One just moved here from El Salvador and knows a lot about our faith and asked for a Book of Mormon. So that’s what we taught her on her door step. It was pretty good. We are going back tonight with a member to hopefully teach her again. Sadly, the baptism for J yesterday didn’t happen. I guess he hasn’t been coming to church... so that’s pretty disappointing. I hate that—just go to church!! Ha.

Elder A** and I have been doing really well though. This is only a 5-week transfer and I can’t believe it’s almost over! That’s insane to think about, but we have been doing really awesome with the less-actives in the ward. We had 7 LAs come to church on Sunday and they are showing good interest in coming back to full activity which is great! We also have been working towards family home evening plans with members to help them build their relationships as a family.

The Long Beach Zone just before incinerating their mouths.
Oh, I almost forgot, Thursday we had a great day, haha. I bought 10 jabanero peppers for the Zone to eat, haha. It turned into a great little experience! Haha. I have been known to do stupid and crazy things such as eating deathly hot things or chugging a gallon milk as a challenge, haha, all for "zone involvement and unity". Seriously though, I believe that doing stuff like builds better relationships because we are having fun together, so, that is what I do to cheer people up, haha.
Holy cow, that's HOT!
Anyway, elders C, P, C and Y as well as Sister P and me took the challenge. Ha! It wrecked me! Hands down it was worse than the Chile del Arbol incident. I literally went into the bathroom and chugged sink water to help extinguish the flames temporarily, haha. Everyone else was dying except Sister P from Thailand! She was a beast! It didn’t even faze her. We all felt like wimps, but it was bad needless to say, haha.

It's a good thing you can't see my tears.
Well back to missionary work. The work is going well. I am improving every day. I still have some normal stress and issues such as language and teaching abilities or investigators not progressing at ALL, but it’s all good. I hope this transfer continues to be great because I really love it here in LB, it’s pretty sweet, ha.

Well, that pretty much sums this week up! I’m stoked for General Conference this week!! It’s gonna be SAWEET! Good stuff. Well, love y’all. Have a super chill week!! Thanks again for everything!!


Elder Woffinden

Monday, September 22, 2014

Another Great Week

Hey what’s up!! How are you all doing?? I hope this week was good because mine was pretty good! First off, thanks for the package I got it last Monday and its great!! I really appreciate it! I loved the ties too so that was a big surprise!  Ha-ha. 

Well this week was pretty good Elder A** and I have been having success working with the members here in the tiny Ximeno branch.   There are like 60-90 people in our branch and there should be around 300.  All are less active (LA) and don’t come so it’s a lot of work.   We have been teaching a guy named V** for the past couple of weeks and he is really progressing!  He came to church yesterday and said he liked it a lot.  He biked there which was a big surprise because he lives very far away from the church so it showed us that he really is interested in learning more.  

This next Sunday I have J**’s  baptism back up in Compton!! Pretty stoked for that and it’s going to be cool going back to LB 16th again, I miss that place. This week we worked a lot with the LAs of the ward and one in particular named R**.   He is a pretty cool guy, but has a ton of health problems and doesn’t really get out of the house much.  Plus he got injured from work and he is now suing his work for his medical costs which is making his life one giant mess.   On Tuesday, we gave him a blessing that he would overcome his physical challenges and that his health would improve so he can start living a normal healthy life again.  He has been showing signs of improvement and his attitude was a lot happier when we saw him on Saturday so what a blessing for him!  Also on Saturday there was a branch "pot luck" activity at Colorado Lagoon Park which was great! I thought we were going to have all kinds of great food from all the different cultures, but no... hotdogs and chips!   ha ha   Sweet, so American, but it was good. Not a whole lot of people showed up but we still had a good time talking to members and playing soccer in the field so it was a great break. 

This is going to sound incredibly stupid, but these past two weeks as a district we have only been talking to each other with an "English" accent and yesterday I legit forgot how to talk normal.  I honestly couldn’t stop talking like that and I was worried that I forgot how to speak normal.   Ha-ha   I think I’m back to normal now, but some other Elders are still going hard… so buena suerte to them.  Ha-ha.    This past week the weather has been so much better! I guess there is a hurricane that has been going on??  The week before it was beyond hot!! I have never sweated more in my life! Our little apartment was like a furnace and I hated every minute we had to spend in it, but now it’s cooled down and things are back to normal.  

I have a pretty funny story that happened Friday night, we were walking to a lesson and noticed this bird laying on the ground in front of us so we were all oh... dang the bird is dead, that sucks.  We just started to walk past it when it freaked out, came to life and flew right into Elder A**’s face and it just kept attacking him. ha-ha   It was hilarious! It was pretty much the highlight of the week   Yeah lame story, but super funny to witness. Well, that pretty much sums this week up for me.  I’m doing good and the Spanish is improving.   We are working hard out here in LB.  My district is awesome so things are good here :) 

Hope you all have a great week and know that you are all awesome! 

Hasta Luego!

Elder Woffinden

Me and Elder B.

Monday, September 15, 2014

I Love Long Beach!

Preachin' to the penquins.
Hey! How’s everything going!? I hope everybody had a great week! Mine was pretty good! I freaking love Long Beach!! Ha it’s pretty sweet! My comp is Elder A** and he is a way cool kid.    He is from AZ and has like 3 more months left of his mission so I may kill him.  Who knows!   haha. This week has been a good one to start it off with the Aquarium on Monday.  It was awesome! It was so much fun going to downtown Long Beach finally. We saw the Queen Mary, and all the other cruise ships which made me miss the time when we went on our cruise! Good times.. Anyways, we had a great time there and got to touch all the sting rays, sharks (small ones) and other animals. There is a giant bird cage/house and they allow us to go in where the birds roam freely and just land on you at random times.  It was pretty funny!  I got some great pics from that.

Yeah, baby! Touching the sharks.
Well my new LB area is really good and covers Signal Hill all the way down to the beach, which is pretty small honestly. Some of the homes here are giant!  Enrique Iglesias has a home on Signal Hill that we want to go contact someday.   ha-ha We have some pretty good investigators here one named R** who was supposed to get baptized next week, but she didn’t go to church so we had to postpone it sadly.  She is really awesome!  We have had some great lessons and are sort of white washing in a sense that we had to drop a ton of people because they weren't progressing at all.

At night this place gets crazy!  Every night so far there has been police helicopters flying around with their spotlights over the neighborhoods looking for people, etc. ha-ha   There are a lot of ghetto parts where I am serving, which I love because that’s where the humble people are!  Elder A** is a good comp and we get along great.  This weekend he has been really sick though and yesterday we didn’t even leave the house because he slept ALL DAY LONG literally it was nuts. I have never been more bored in my entire life.  I watched Faith in Christ twice, the Restoration twice, and the Lamb of God once all in English and then in Spanish, ha-ha.   Plus, I did a ton of reading and language study which I really needed so it wasn't too bad.  I think he is sick because on Saturday night our Latino neighbor gave us these carne asada tacos at like 9:40 at night and they were beyond hot!! The salsa he put on them was one of the hottest things I have ever tasted and I have had a lot of crazy things out here!   So I think he got wrecked from this.

The P** Family
This week we are excited to finally get rolling and see what we can do! Elder P** is in my district for his last 5 weeks of the mission so that made me happy.    He is such a character!  Our Zone got white washed out and so we have the Cambodian speaking Elders as our new ZLs.

Well, that pretty much sums up my week!  I haven’t been to the church yet or met a ton of the members which I understand that there aren’t many? The branch has an average of 80 people and we will have to see how it goes.   I hope you all are doing great! I love hearing from you and hearing how life is going. Have a great week!!

Hasta Luego!!

Elder Woffinden