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

Monday, September 8, 2014

Transferred to Long Beach East.

Love this place!
Hola familia!? What’s up? How was everybody’s week?? This past week was really good! We had a lot of success and found some really awesome investigators.

I am going to miss this great family!!
Well transfers are here and sadly I am getting transferred... dang it!! I hate moving.  I love it here in Compton and I was really starting to get used to things.  I am going to Long Beach East which covers around the Signal Hill area.  I am in the Ximeno branch which I hear is pretty crazy!  Every missionary I have talked to said that they loved Ximeno and LBE.  I’m not moving to far away, but sadly out of Compton.  My companion is Elder A**.   Remember Elder W** from the CCM?  We are actually trading companions.  haha He was with Elder A** and now will be with my companion, Elder B**and I will be with his companion… so it’s really strange.

Crazy wall art in Compton
This week we had more special trainings, but just for the Spanish speaking Elders.  I got to see some of my past companions again and I was so excited to chill with them all Friday afternoon!  Elder H** was the ZL in Ximeno, but he just got transferred to HB North - dang!!   The training was great. The APs and President gave us awesome training on how to become more fluent in Spanish by working on the basics of the language pronunciation and diligent studies.  They also reminded us that we are learning a whole new language and that it is going to be hard, so stop being so hard on ourselves!  (I took that part to heart.)  The language is coming along, and I am hoping to apply their words into my everyday studies and communication with people to really see how I can improve.

The closes I'm going to get to swimming for a while!
So, this week we found 5 more new investigators!! And two of them are legit! We found J** while street contacting after Elder B** got a flat tire and we were walking his bike back home (flat tires are a daily way of life).  We gave him our number and told him to give us a call sometime and honestly, we didn’t think he would act upon it.   Two days later, he called!! haha  This never ever happens! Somebody actually called and it was sweet. He wanted to meet up that night so we did and we had a great “get to know you” lesson.  It turns out that he has always loved our church and how we always want to help people and how we don’t charge money just to attend church every week.  He accepted to be baptized after 2 lessons and said it with no doubts whatsoever!  He came to church yesterday and has a baptismal date for the 28th of this month.  So if all goes well, Elder B** will call me to come back and attend the baptism!

Elder B** - The dessert that almost killed me last week!!
We found P** when we were visiting referrals from the members. She has a son who is living in Utah right now and who is not living the way he should.   He actually was put in jail last weekend.  So this is really taking a toll on her mind. She has relatives in Utah who are members, and she told her son that he should join our church so that he could get out of the troubled life he has found himself in.  haha. We taught her last night and she loved it! She called her family members who are church members in Utah and told them about how she was impressed with our church and what we do and believe, etc.  This family member then called us and thanked us! Pretty cool!!

It’s going to be hard leaving Compton.  Honestly, this is one of the areas I wanted to serve in the most and I am sad I only got 6 weeks here.  There can only be one companionship here and it is rare to get to serve here as a Spanish speaking elder.   I was pretty lucky!   I am excited for LBE and what will happen there. I am glad to have been companions with Elder B**.  He really taught me a lot about obedience and how to be diligent in the work.  Yeah, we had our disagreements, but we made it work and did our best and hopefully we can have some baptisms this month!  Well that pretty much sums up my week.  It’s pretty hard to remember everything that happened, but those were just the highlights.  I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for all the love and support!!

Hasta Luego!!

Elder Woffinden

Site of the 1984 Olympics

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Life in Compton is Sweet!

Sunny California!
Hey what’s up!! I’m glad to hear you all had a good week!! Mine was pretty good and stressful at the same time, but that’s mission life. This week we did a lot of fun activities such as parties and group get togethers which really helped lower stress levels and helped me relax. We went out to Bake n Broil for Elder J’s birthday on Monday and it was fantastic! The food is amazing there, but very pricey...  Elder B** at the end decided to get this brownie cookie ice cream sundae that was really good! Minus the fact that about a minute after I took a huge bite, I realized there were nuts in it as my tongue and throat started to go numb! It was super scary because the waitress took like an hour to get our bill and I was slowly just dying at the table.  We were able to rush back to our apartment to get meds, as I am clearly alive to tell the story, ha-ha but a close call.  

On Tuesday, we had our specialized training with all the LB missionaries.  I was able to see Elder H**, Elder W** and Elder P** again.  They are probably my best friends here in the mission.. It was great!! I was so happy to see them and to catch up on old times of the mish.

This week we have found 9 new investigators! Pretty sweet!!   We have been teaching a ton more this week, and I have seen my Spanish improve a ton.   No one is coming to church... it sucks! I don’t understand why they promise us they will come, but never show up.  I do not know what to change?   

On Thursday, we took a member out with us to go to a couple of our lessons. Sadly, all fell through, but I was determined to find someone to teach while we had the member with us so I said a silent prayer just asking for anybody to talk to.   Surely enough, the first door we knocked on turned out to be a guy and his mom who have been less active for a very long time and had wanted to come to church, but didn’t know where it was located.   Their Spanish ward got changed to an English ward a while back so they stopped going.   They aren’t new investigators but we did teach a lesson and they said they were going to come to our ward, so that was sweet!

Life here in Compton is pretty sweet! I love it here! It’s hard and some of the people are insane, but it’s just a thrill living here. The area hasn’t been too successful for a really long time and we have seen that from our work, but I am confident with the end of the transfer coming up next week that our next transfer will be better! We are teaching more and finding more every day and our contacts are still just the wildest experiences ever.  Ha-ha   You would not believe the questions people ask us and what they believe "Mormons" are or do in life.  It’s crazy!  Since today is Labor Day, I do not have a whole lot of time to email since all of the LB Elders have to come to one church to email because the libraries are closed.  So I apologize that my email is short. But thanks again for everything and I hope you all have a great and safe week!  I’m praying for you all daily, and I am so grateful for the love and support.

Hasta luego!

Elder Woffinden

No time for pictures this week!