Monday, August 25, 2014

Positive Attitude Brings Success

Elder B's new hair cut.  Probably a good idea not to cut it yourself! 

Hey everyone! How was everybody’s week??  Mine was a lot better than last week that’s for sure! This week we did a lot of work in the old area book by going by formers or potentials that were recorded in hopes that we could find people to teach. We came to realize that a lot of them don’t live at the address that was given or they had recently moved.   We did find a couple of people this week that are showing good signs of wanting to learn more! We are teaching a guy named B**and his mom L** and currently they are our most solid investigators.  B** is very skeptical of God and doesn’t really believe that He exists or answers people’s prayers. He is very willing to talk and listen to us, but he doesn’t believe that prayer really works.  So this week we prepared some really good lessons on how prayer blesses our lives and how through faith in God and His son, we can be blessed even more.  We had some great talks and we both testified and shared some personal stories about prayer that I could tell really opened his mind to wanting to give it a try.  Well, that’s what he did and his prayers have been awesome! He even taught his little sister about prayer and how to pray which was really awesome to hear!  He hasn’t said if he has gotten an answer to any of his prayers yet, but he does tell us he feels peace and comfort when he prays so that’s always good to hear from an investigator.  It’s going to be hard teaching him and a lot of the other teen kids we have been teaching because of school starting. 

Typical Compton street
C** is another kid we have been teaching and that we had set a baptismal date for on Sept.14th, but we haven’t found him or been able to get a hold of him for about 10 days now so I hope he didn’t get “anti-ed” or fall off the face of the earth.  He is a real solid kid! Hopefully we hear from him soon or we are going to have to drop him which is never an enjoyable task to do, but is necessary at times.

Elder B** and I are doing better together this week, we have been working hard and have been trying our best to have lessons with members present!   This past week has been full of dropped appointments and a whole lot of street contacting which is where we always find the strangest of people.  haha.   We were frustrated because we had not found anyone new to teach or who wanted to talk to us.   One night at like 8:30 pm we stopped and talked to this lady for 20 minutes when all of a sudden the family we had tried to visit a little earlier came home and we were able to stop them, talk to them and pick up 4 new investigators! Sweet!   You never know when you will find people to teach it just happens sometimes at random!
My favorite new butter.  YUM!
This week we have been trying to work on being more positive and point out some of the good things that we do throughout our day during each hour. It’s been hard to remember to do at times, but I can tell that when we focus on the positive things and not the negative, our work goes by a whole lot smoother and our attitudes shape up.   Let’s be honest, we all know I could use that! haha   The week went by pretty quickly and I can’t believe it’s Monday already! We are going out to a place called Bake N Broil in downtown Long Beach today for an Elder’s b-day lunch so I’m excited for that!   

We are hoping to have great success this week and are going to continue our efforts in staying positive even when all the pressure and stress is on the line. We have an additional training tomorrow at the mission office, and I am excited to be able to see "ZL" H** tomorrow!  I know it will be great to see and talk to him and I’m sure it will help lift and brighten my attitude as well.  It’s amazing to hear about all the love, prayers and support you all have shown for me over the course of my mission, words truly can’t describe my gratitude towards you all. Thanks for everything you do and I hope you all have a great and safe week!

Hasta Luego entonces!

E. Woffinden

Street Contacting this Week

(This is Jason's email from last week.  We were out of town and couldn't post it.)   No pictures this week.

Hey!! How’s it going!? Another week down crazy how time flies by so quickly but slowly too. Well this week was one of those slower ones, but it was pretty good. Elder B** and I are still having a very hard time finding people to teach here we had two investigators A** and N** drop us this past week so we were left with not a whole lot to stand on.  On Tuesday, we found a new guy to teach named C** and he has a baptismal date for the 14th of September!! So pray and let’s hope that he comes to church and continues to listen to the lessons. He is a 19 year old kid we met while going by some formers in our area book and he is a solid guy! Super humble and was nice for wanting to talk to us when clearly his family made it clear that they didn’t want anything to do with it.  We are excited to work with him and hope we are able to help him in any way possible towards setting his life towards God and the Savior.

Compton has been good!   I love the area here!  It’s exactly how I imagined it.   Tuesday I was able to get into some of the more rough parts of town when I was on exchanges. While we were trying to contact people in the streets, we had 2 cops pull us over off our bikes to "talk" to us. They were demanding, “Why are you here?? Do you guys know where you are at?" ha ha We were all yeah.. in Compton?  They just stared at us and said, "Guys.. people get shot all the time here please be careful and go home early.”  Then they left.. it was super funny!  But it’s true there have been a couple of times while being out here where I knew we had to get out of an area due to certain circumstances that were starting to happen.   But it’s all good and I love the ghetto.

So, a couple of weeks ago we found a girl named A** while we were contacting on the street. She was English speaking so we had to pass her off to the YSA ward elders here in the area.   We found out a couple of days ago that she has a baptismal date also coming up! So that’s sweet even though it’s not with us.  We still can see how passing off and giving referrals still helps the work move along. We haven’t been doing a whole lot of teaching and have mostly just been trying to find people this whole week so it’s been a super slow one, but I had some good exchanges with some elders this week in their areas.

On Saturday, we had a big BBQ with an investigator and the food was awesome! Everything was going great until his neighbor decided to come over hammered to go for a swim in the pool. His neighbor was beyond drunk and came and started causing all kinds of crazy things.  She was calling us out for our faith and asking us to read her something out of the Book of John.    She was saying how our Mormon book doesn’t even have the Book of John.   I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy her making a fool out of herself.   haha   But anyways we left and left her a card with our number asking her to call us in the morning. haha.

It was good being on exchanges, but now I’m back and need to go to work.   I am hoping for a good week! Just like I hope you all have a great week too! I appreciate all your love and prayers for all the missionaries… it means a lot. I hope you all have a great week and stay safe! Thanks for everything.

Love, Elder Woffinden

Oh, our ward since we have so many LA members is now turning into a branch starting next week so that’s a big change!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Week Two in Compton

Jamba Juice Run after District Mtg.
Hey what’s up everyone!! How is it going?? Sounds like you all had a pretty good week! I know it’s crazy for me to think that Jared and Tanner are home!! WOW their missions flew by so fast for me!! I am so glad for the example they both set for me by going on a mission.  It truly helped me out in so many ways!  I am sure they were a 100 times better as a missionary than I am, but I just want to say thanks and welcome home to them!

Okay, week two in Compton! It was a little better than last.  Elder B** and I have been having great success on bringing out the members of the ward to lessons. It’s been really good to build relationships with the members and our investigators. We are still struggling with our area considering we are white washing and we have no real solid leads.  We are still not confident in what we do every day, but we are doing our best!   Getting to know the members as much as possible will make the work 10 times easier for us as they become involved.  

Greatest "church" wall
So this past week we have had a ton of bike issues.  I had another two flats on my bike and then another one on another Elder’s bike (I was using his bike because my tires were flat and I didn’t have time to fix them.)  On Wednesday, we were teaching a recent convert named M** at her trailer park home about how to use “Preach My Gospel” to help her in her studies.  We showed her how she can apply this knowledge of the gospel in her life. The lesson went great and we were just about to head out to our bikes to go to dinner.  We noticed our bikes looked different than how we had left them locked up.  It turns out that we got all four of our tires stolen. It’s very frustrating and we now have to buy new tires sometime this week which blows!  There are just a ton of crazy people here and lots of theft.  

This week we also had to do two exchanges with other missionaries.  Since I have only ever been companions with DLs, I go on them constantly!  On Friday, I was with Elder P** who is a greenie from NC.  He is an English speaking Elder and he came with me to my area.  This was pretty hard for me because I truly got the feel for what it would be like to be a trainer!  I was now reliable for all the Spanish that was spoken and for teaching all the lessons which was a huge transition for me.  Usually, I am the guy who just sits back smiles during the lessons. Ha ha.  Now the spotlight was all on me. Thankfully the day actually turned out really well and we had a lot of success! I honestly feel like it helped my Spanish out tremendously because I was forced to use all my attention and focus on what was being said and apply what I know to help them.  We taught a couple people and the lessons were great!   Elder P** didn’t say anything because he doesn’t speak any Spanish, but I am sure he got a feel of what it is like to teach in a different language… it’s tough!   He is a solid kid and will be a great missionary! 

Throwin up the deuces
Yesterday Elder B** had a baptism in Cerritos that he was invited to so that’s where we spent our afternoon.  It was a nice break to go to a baptism! After, we went and had dinner where they served pig noses and some other weird looking thing all blended into a soup... ha-ha   Yeah it was different!  They also served us water with tad pole eggs in it! ha-ha way weird!  I can’t remember the name of it, but it was just like drinking a slimy, gushy green & black smoothie.  New food adventures!!  We got some good referrals from them.   

To end our night, we taught a girl named J** who is a single mom with two kids. She has been looking for a church to take her kids to so they don’t get involved in the gang life of Compton.   The lesson was awesome and I can tell the she will be one of our interested and progressing investigators very soon!  We just shared with her a couple of scriptures from the B of M and bore testimony of the truth.  I could see it really hit home to her which is great!   That’s about it for this week! I hope you all have a great week and stay safe and have fun!  I am so grateful for you all and for all the time and love you show me.  You all are awesome!! Thanks again!

Elder Woffinden

LA - West Side

Monday, August 4, 2014

I Am in Compton

Y and JC and their children
Hey family how’s it going!!   Well I am here in Compton and it’s insane.  I love the fact I am here because I have always loved the image of Compton from all the gangster rap music I listened to back home etc. And believe me, the city lives up to its name! It is very ghetto here and there is trash, graffiti, homeless people everywhere!!  We are white washing which means we don’t know a soul here. It is a new area that opened up so we have to create our own area book from other Elders and just from street contacting.  I have already gotten two flat tires in four days.  The streets here are filled with thorns and broken glass which is a problem for our old missionary bikes.

We have found a couple of people who might show some potential in becoming investigators, but we won’t know until tonight when we go by to see how they are doing.   Church was interesting yesterday.  We have a ward roster of about 700+ people, but only like 100 are active.  The people have been very nice and receptive, and they are willing to do their very best at coming out and helping the missionaries teach the gospel.  We had about six member-present lessons in four days which is crazy!  I never had that in Whittier, Elder B** is a very good Elder at getting people to come out to lessons and to share their testimonies with their neighbors. There is a lot I can learn from Elder B**.   He has the best Spanish among the white boys and is probably the most obedient person I have ever met.

S and her mom, A
 We have met some super humble people here and they are very willing to let us talk to them in the streets! We taught a guy and his family in their broken down RV which is right underneath the I-91 overpass. These people have nothing at all, their house is a wreck and yet they are still willing to let us come in and talk to them.  Crazy!
It is very humbling to me how blessed most of us truly are and how we need to realize that there are people in this world that really don’t have anything.  Yet, they all seem to have the answer to the key of life.  That happiness doesn’t come by material possessions, it comes by the relationships we make and the help we give to others. That is one thing I have learned out here on my mission that I am very grateful for.  
Ja and Hermano C

Jason, T and his brother E
Well I hope you all had a great week!!  Make sure to let me know how you all are doing and send me photos! Thanks again, you are all the best!

Hasta Luego

E. Woffinden

Elder H and I doing our "bike" thing!