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!

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