Monday, December 28, 2015

The Last Email of 2015

We had a great experience with this family at the LA Temple.
Hello everyone! Happy holidays!! It was such a good experience to Skype and see you all on Christmas Day. It's weird to think that my mission is coming to a close soon, however I still have some time left so I need to keep the work up! And speaking of the work, we have been having a fair amount of it here and I have seen a lot of good come from all the prayers, fasting and determination of missionary work.

A** is doing awesome! She told us that she has been a little busy, but she asked if she could extend her baptismal date to the 23rd of January because she wants more time to come to church and to keep learning before she takes that step. We will be having a church tour with her tonight at 7 pm, so please keep her in your prayers that all will go well. She said she knows what we are saying is something she wants in life, and that she wants to have us teach her youngest son's father (they're not married) the gospel so that maybe they could get married and live together. That would be awesome!

J and family at the LA Visitor's Center.
J**, X** and their family are also doing great! We had four of the five members of the family come to church yesterday!! It was their first time attending church,so obviously a new experience for them, however they enjoyed it and were able to see this isn't a white-member-only church. One of the speakers was a Hispanic woman who doesn't speak a whole lot of English, but she gave her talk in English and it was great!! We had a lot of fellowshippers swarm them after the meeting so hopefully they will become life long friends in the end. We went to the temple with them on Wednesday night as well and they thought it was amazing! "Un castillo!!" (a castle) in their own words. The tour went very well and they want to go again. They even told the sister missionaries there that baptism is on their minds and they are strongly considering it, so I hope they will keep working for their date on Jan 17th!

Christmas was great!! We were able to just hang out and play sports and watch "The Other Side of Heaven" at the Stake Center, then we Skyped. On December 24th and 25th we went caroling in the evenings as a district and it was super fun! We even found some really good potentials for the sisters in our district just by knocking on random doors and singing to them, haha, so it was a big success!

Elder M peeking at the presents under our tree.
The rest of our work is sort of slow, mostly one and done lessons, but we are trying to find more and more people. We have been doing really well however, and I am super happy and love it here in Huntington Beach!! We had 5 people at church yesterday so it was a major highlight of the week for sure.

I love you all and I pray for your safety and success! Gracias por todo!!

Con mucho carino

Elder Woffinden

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas-the Best Time of the Year!

Feliz Navidad from the LA Temple Visitor's Center.

Feliz Navidad mi familia!! Como estan?? What's up everyone?? Sorry it's such a late email... the MYlds software was down for a while, so nobody could email for the longest time. To be honest, this email isn't going to be very long since I will be Skyping home on Friday!!  I am super excited to see you all! I am grateful for all the Christmas packages and emails I have received! Thanks again.

My "Christmas Tree of Hands" from my family.
I am excited for the holiday season!! I can't believe it is going to be my final Christmas out on the mission... it's crazy, and also very sad! I want to make it the best one yet, so I have made plans with the district to do a "Secret Santa" for a family this year but, it's sorta hard to find good candidates since everyone is super well off here. The people whom we teach or see have all their trees, lights, and gifts, so it would be lame to give them more, but who knows, we will find somebody to go by I hope! This week we are going to go caroling again on la Noche Buena and la Navidad, so I am really looking forward to that. It was so much fun last year!

"Christmas Hands" tree - all decorated,
I forgot to mention last week that Elder P** did get transferred and now Elder M** is going to be the missionary who gets to "kill" me out here. He is 19 years old and comes from Boise, ID. He is a super cool guy.  He has been out 14 months and speaks really good Spanish, I mean really good, it's impressive. I am going to be learning from him then, haha.

Going to the LA Temple in a member's RV!
We had a great week and have been finding more and more investigators by using the new Christmas initiative, "A Savior is Born". We have seen a lot of progress in some investigators, but since elders W** and G** also came down here to Huntington Beach, the Zone was split and we lost many of our investigators and all of our less actives that we knew and taught. So to be honest, that has been a hard adjustment. The wards are different as well. I am just trying my best to mesh and get to know people like I did in the south of HB.

A** still hasn't come to church. That is a huge problem we have. She loves learning from us and is down to read and pray, but going to church always seems to be the main problem for our investigators. We have plans to stop by her house tonight with a super awesome member to help her get more fellowshipped and hopefully increase the odds of her coming out to church. Literally, all I want for Christmas is for her to be baptized before I go home, haha, If that happens, (which it will), I will be beyond happy and content with my mission. We have a lot of work to do especially since we're in a part of HB I'm not too familiar with, so pray that it all goes well!
Ja and Elder S

I can't wait to see you all this week! I hope everything goes great and that you all have a great holiday season! Thanks again for everything!!

Les quiero tanto!

Elder Woffinden

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Visit to the LA Visitor's Center

Investigators at the Despedida.

Hey how’s it going my beloved family and friends!!  Well Christmas is practically here and it looks like I am going to be spending my last Christmas here in HB! Whoo, pretty stoked about that. I have been preparing myself and our apartment is all decked out with lights and the small little tree so don’t be jealous now :) It has been freezing here however! And yesssss.... I know you got destroyed with snow today; however it has been raining a good amount here.  But, it is good to hear from you all again.

At LA Temple with Elder P.
This past week was a fantastic week for us for many reasons, but the main one is that we had A** go to the LA Visitor’s Center! On Thursday night we left HB at about 5 and got to the temple at about 6:30 due to traffic.  As we left her house, we noticed that the member we had driving us showed up in a huge 35 foot RV that barely fit down the narrow streets. Ha-ha All of us, and her little kids loaded up into the huge RV and took the challenge of the 1.5 hour LA traffic.  It was awesome!  We about died like two times, but in the end, we made it there.  We had the Sister missionaries give us the tour and help teach her about the Church. She loved all the lights and Christmas decorations and we are looking forward to her
getting baptized the first week of January!  Please, please keep her and her daughters in your prayers.
At the LA Visitor's Center.

She was also able to go with us to the departing fireside last night and she thought it was super cool to see literally hundreds of missionaries in one sitting. Ha-ha.

As for the rest of the work, we have six investigators with baptism dates and A**, J**,  X** and A** are the most likely people to get baptized in the upcoming weeks. We dropped P** on Thursday sadly. She didn’t show up to the temple tour and it was just a big giant mess.  So maybe it’s just not her time, but I have tried for the past two months to get her to progress and she never has. The Lord always provides a way, and it was provided last night by our temple trip with A** and by finding more new people to teach.  As I look back over the length of my mission, I am so happy for all the hard work and great and wonderful people I have been able to meet, teach, and love.

Thanks again mom and dad for the Christmas package!! I am really grateful and excited to give out the little gifts to kids and I already passed out the Nativity books to the elderly ladies…so it was a big success! Tomorrow night I am looking forward to reading the Christmas story in Luke 2 and then giving the Nativity gifts you gave me to Akari and her family!  I feel it is the right decision and I know they will love them.

This past week I have been thinking a lot about the Christmas season and as to how selfish and
A Christmas package from home--yay!
spoiled I always have been and just mankind in general for always wanting and getting and never truly living or loving. As I took the word CHRISTMAS, I thought of how we never really focus on the CHRIST part only the MAS part which means “more” in Spanish.  We are always wanting more as human beings and are never really happy.  If we decide what truly is important and start focusing on the CHRIST rather than the MAS, I can promise a huge change in your spirits this Christmas season.

Well that’s about it for me here this week.  Oh I almost forgot, as we were heading home from LA on Thursday I got called to be a district leader here in HB... so yeah that's how I'm going to end the mission.  I'm pretty excited, but also was shocked at the same time.

Transfers--saying goodbye.
Thanks again for all you do! Love you all and be safe in all that snow!!

Love Elder Woffinden

Friday, December 11, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Wishing I was there right now!
 Hey everyone!! Happy Holidays!  I still can’t believe that Christmas is just around the corner and the New Year. My companion and I have been jamming to Christmas tunes since Halloween so we're pretty stoked about it.  Ha-ha. I am most excited to carol again like last year. I know it’s not going to be the same since last year was the glory times and it was just us eight Spanish Elders, but I am hopeful for a good holiday week.  It sounds like this past week was a good one especially with all the Savior of the World performances that you were able to participate in. That’s pretty cool!  We were only able to watch a little bit of the devotional last night because technically we aren’t "supposed" to watch it until our Zone Conference in a couple weeks.  However, at our dinner appointment last night they had it on in their home so there was nothing we could do.

Christmas in HB
Yesterday was a super long day for me honestly and also this past week was long.   We didn’t teach nearly as much, but we still had some success.  We are going to the LA Visitor’s Center this Thursday twice. One investigator at 10 am and another at 5 pm!!  It’s going to be awesome and I have fasted and prayed for this opportunity because the odds of them taking the necessary steps towards baptism are so much higher when they attend. So I ask you all to please pray for this day to happen and for their hearts to be touched by the spirit while going. We really have great potential here in HB with our investigators A** and P** and her two daughters and a couple of families we have been teaching. The members here have helped out a ton with the work and fellowshipping.  I can truly say that it has been the game changer for us in helping keep appointments and in actually teaching them. On Friday, I was on exchanges with elder G** and we had some super good lessons with our investigators Jorje y socji and Martina y Alfredo! I felt bad for Elder G** considering he is pretty "white washed" and speaks no Spanish even with his last name and family all being Hispanic.  One of my investigators just attacked him for it (jokingly of course), but I felt super bad. However, he is a great missionary and is super new in the mission, and I still could say I learned new things from him. That’s what is great about serving with so many missionaries because no matter how old or young in the mission you can always learn tips and advice that will benefit you for the mission and for life.

Snow in HB?? Don't think so!
I had a great experience yesterday during Fast and Testimony meeting in the Pleasant View Ward.  Akari’s mom got up and bore her testimony and since I translate in the back I was super excited because I thought she was going to give it in Spanish. She did it in her broken English and it was amazing!  She expressed all her love for us and the members for teaching her "little princess" and just how grateful she was for all that she has. The spirit was so strong and I just couldn’t help but go up a little after her and bear my testimony in English. Midway through, I thanked her in Spanish and told her how much she, her daughter and family have changed my life and how much I love that family.  As I was speaking, I looked at her in the audience sitting with her family and tears in her eyes and it was just such a great feeling to know how the mission really has not only brought me closer to God, but also to my fellow brothers and sisters.  There is so much love you can gain for others by serving them and actually caring for them. I will never forget that moment.

To close, we had the Seapoint Christmas party/breakfast at the Church on Saturday and Santa came! Santa and I are super good friends :) and he hinted that I don’t need anything for Christmas but a plane ticket. Hahaha.  Super funny!

Giving Santa his "wish" list!
It was just an ordinary week here and everything is still going good! Just trying to make the best of the time I have left. I am going on exchanges tonight with a missionary whose area hasn’t found a new investigator this whole transfer so I am determined to find with them and help the area to get some success! Super excited for that. Thank you all for all the love and time you put in to supporting me out here! I really appreciate it… thanks so much!

Love you all. Que Dios les bendiga esta estacion de la navidad!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, December 7, 2015

We had a great Thanksgiving, and are now looking forward to Christmas!

The Huntington Beach District at the Newport Beach Temple.

Hey everyone, happy almost Christmas! It’s December 1 and I am so excited. I love this month! The GREATEST moments of my mission came around this time last year. I am so ready for the opportunity I have to hopefully spend Christmas here in Huntington Beach. Last year I remember doing a Sub for Santa for a very poor Hispanic woman in the ward who couldn't provide anything for her two girls, and when we showed up with a small tree, gifts and treats, she just broke down in tears as we sang to her. That was one of the happiest moments of my life, and I am hoping for more moments like that this Christmas season. 

As for today to start December we went to the Newport Beach Temple! It was amazing as usual,
Doing a little service at the temple.
probably one of my favorite temples. I honestly love the Los Angeles Temple, but it’s HUGE! But, Newport is small and only by reservation for a session so it’s pretty cool. We took some good photos I will be sending home soon. Thanksgiving was also a great event that I will talk more about shortly. 

Okay, well this week in HB was a super good one! From Thanksgiving to the temple and to setting 5 new baptismal dates, we really love the work right now. Our teaching pool is pretty good here and we are teaching from 20 to 25 lessons a week. We also have been doing some good less-active work here by spicing up the lessons with games or fun visual aides to get more participation and to help people learn visually rather than just verbally. We have the following investigators with a baptismal date which I would ask for each of your thoughts and prayers on their behalf: Patricia, Luis, Elsie, Amelia, and Maria. Elder Passey and I did a lot of exchanges this past week and will continue to have them since there are 16 people in our district, all English and we are the only Spanish speaking missionaries in all of HB. 

Teaching the Plan of Salvation in chalk art at Mile Square Park.
Jorje and Socji are a super awesome couple that we are teaching and I can really see them progressing this upcoming month! We had a great lesson last night where we shared the church’s new Christmas initiative, #asaviorisborn. It was great. Every time they see me they always yell, “ahhh alli viene Wolfy!” Haha, I love it. Amelia is a former investigator that we picked up from when she received the lessons over two years ago. We had a solid lesson with her and she brought up the Restoration and we were not even talking about it. She offered to pray for the truth right there on the spot. Her prayer was so good I about swallowed my tie! She accepted to be baptized on December 27th! 

Okay, I sent home like 300 million photos so I’m sorry, but a lot happened this week. As you can see
The spirits in the Spirit World kind of look like Pac Man.
from a lot of the photos, elders Passey, Garcia, Hobson and me went to a major park called Mile Square Park to do some "chalk art" on the Plan of Salvation, haha. It was hilarious! There were so many bikers and runners and random people coming up to us wondering what the heck we were doing as we chalked the Plan of Salvation on the ground. It took up 10 sidewalk squares so it was probably 30 feet long, haha, and it took a pretty good minute to do! It was a ton of fun and a great way to contact until..... the Park Ranger came. Yeah, no bueno. He lost his cans at us and especially me since I had chalk in my hand, haha. He was yelling, "This is vandalism! It’s a felony,” and freaking out. He was yelling, “Are you Mormons selling anything?” Haha! Man, good times. Sadly, he kicked us out of the park, but since it was a weekend he couldn’t power wash it off until Monday, so it sat there for three days :) haha, God, 1; cranky dude, 0. 

Thanksgiving here was great. Elders Rhodes, Ugbamen and us all had two dinners one right after the
Thanksgiving dinner with the Phillips family.
other. So, you can imagine, I felt like the Good Year Blimp that I always see floating around here in HB. But, whatever. We ate with the Phillips family in the Sea Point Ward and also with the Araceli family, recent converts here in the Beachside Ward. It was great food and a lot of fun since we had nothing to do all day but eat and eat. I am super depressed about how HB has just destroyed my physique, haha, but I can see the light ahead and it says, Golds Gym (or whatever they call it now), so I’m pretty happy about that! 

Well, that’s it for me :) I love you all, and I can’t wait to hear from you all next week!! 


Elder Woffinden 

Monday, November 23, 2015

I'm Loving Every Minute I Have Left!

My Zone in HB with Elder Zaballos and President and Sister Tew.
Hey! How is everyone doing this fine week? It has been awesome here in So CAL and I am loving every moment I have left here in the mission. Last week I received a letter from Church headquarters with my flight papers to head home... wow crazy!! So here is the info for anybody who wants it. I arrive on Tuesday, Jan. 26th at 9:49 am in the Delta Airlines Terminal 2.  So I will see you all then, ha-ha.

The work here has been going along very well. This past week has been a very 
The history of my mission...on a long board--awesome!
good one for Elder P** and myself. We didn’t teach quite as much as last week, however, we did do a lot of things better and that were more fulfilling. We have seen a lot of progress with our investigator P** as she has returned home from being out of town, and also as we have helped her with service in her life.  On Saturday we  helped her set up Christmas decorations and her Christmas lights. As we have talked to her and started to teach her, she told us how she wants to raise her two daughters in a God-centered home with morals so that they will have a much better chance of not growing up and making the same mistakes she made in her life. We set a date for her to be baptized on Dec 20th and she accepted and said she wouldn’t feel right about being baptized if her two little girls didn’t join her! So we are going to keep praying mightily for this baptism to go through.  This past week I also was able to go on exchanges with Elders H** and C**.  Both are great missionaries and both great exchanges. We found new investigators on each one and were able to set a baptism date with E** for the 20th of Dec!  

I made Elder Conway a cupcake for his Hump Day.
This week for church we had E** (inv) come to church along with M** and M** (less actives) they brought a non-member friend to church too.  However, she lives in Santa Ana so we will not be able to teach her. But at the end of Sacrament meeting we and three other members (who spoke Spanish) taught the first lesson and it went very well! She has a great desire to learn. It was really a blessing that M** came to Church!  The whole five plus months I have been here, I have never been able to help her get to church.  However, the week we didn't go to her ward and we attended another ward, she comes... ugh frustrating, ha-ha. But, I was very happy that we had a good turn out and that all is going well.

This past Friday we also had a General Authority come and visit the mission. Elder
A nice place to be if you
have nut allergies like me!
Zeballos and his wife attended our Zone Conference and spoke to us along with President and Sister Tew. It was very long but a good meeting, and it was the last zone conference of my mission which is crazy! This next week is Temple P-day so I won’t be emailing on Monday but on Tuesday instead. 

I hope everyone has a great holiday weekend! I will try to not gain 40 lbs. out here this week, but who knows what will happen. I hope you all have a great week and Happy Thanksgiving!! Que Dios les bendiga a todos y que tengan una buena semana :) Gracias por todo que hacen para mi! En verdad estoy muy consentido ;) 

Con mucho carino,

Elder Woffinden 

Monday, November 16, 2015

We Had a Baptism This Week!

Akari on her baptism day!
HOLA mis queridos amigos y familiares! 

What’s up with everyone?? How is it being in the beautiful snow?? Yes I did say that I miss it, a lot actually! Even though I wake up freezing, and it’s only in the 50s and 60s in the afternoon and I want to just die, haha. It’s official the weather here has turned me into a wuss, but oh well. 

I had a greet week here in Huntington Beach and we truly saw many miracles, one of which of
Akari and her family.
course was that AKARI GOT BAPTIZED!!! Whoo! Saturday was an awesome day. Even though there were some slight hic ups in the program, and a couple things turned south right before the baptism, we still had a great service and she looked super cute in her princess outfit! The Lord truly blessed me to have been able to meet the A** family. Even though A’s father doesn't show interest right now in the gospel, I have seen him grow so much just by having us coming by, and by seeing the change in his daughter’s life. I know he will join some day and I just pray that I will be able to attend his baptism whether it is next week or 40 years from now. Even though I am not a perfect missionary and I have made mistakes and have flaws, one thing I have learned on my mission is how to love people and express love through actions and service. It’s awesome the change that occurs. After the baptism, we went to her after party where there was this giant carpa (tent) and a DJ, bounce castle, tons of food. They also hired people to make all you can eat tacos, haha. So, of course I gained at least 10 lbs. just Saturday night, but it was a lot of fun even though half of the people there were drinking and having a good time, haha. I will send pics of the after party next week when I have my SD card with me. 

Elder P** and I had a really solid week.
Besides having a baptism, Elder P** and I had a really solid week teaching as well! We taught about 25 lessons and really saw some progress in a couple of people. We were able to meet L** again, finally! I was on splits with a 16 year-old kid with a mow hawk (without gel) The sides of his head were shaved so the missionary image was great, haha. However he has a super strong testimony and actually speaks a decent amount of Spanish for a white kid, I was impressed. He speaks much more than I ever could at his age. As we taught her we were able to also teach her daughter!  Her daughter at first wasn't too thrilled, but then she smiled and was all "Ok, fine this one time," haha. It might be the only time, but I hope she felt something as we taught her! She seemed happy to talk with us and participated a lot so, who knows? We have a giant area to cover and so it is hard to meet with everybody, but we are hanging in there the best we can. Yesterday we had two investigators show up to church that we didn’t even get a chance to teach last week which was crazy!! Maybe that’s the trick! Don’t teach them and they’ll come to church... go figure, haha. But I was super happy about that! 

This week is a zone conference and we are having a visiting authority come and meet with us on
My best friend and study companion.
Thursday, so it should be bomb!! I’m looking forward to that! Also, Temple P-day is on December 1, so when I don’t email on that day you will know why this time, haha. It’s crazy to think that this is my last temple trip of my mission! (except the week before I go home when I go with President Tew). I can’t believe how fast the time flies, but I am going to continue to make the best of it while I am here in HB. With the holidays around the corner, I expect it to be super good here! I am looking forward to them :) But I hope you all had, and will continue to have, a good week, Thanks again for all you do!! 

Gracias por todo que hacen para mi!! Les amo mucho.

Elder Woffinden 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Life is Good! We Have a Giant Area and We Are Swamped With Work.

Akari's 10th birthday party...she will be baptized this week.
Buen dia a todos!! Hey what’s up!? How is everyone this week? This past week has been a very long and cold one! Yes, I said cold.  Cali has turned me into a wimp, and every morning when we wake up I just want to die it’s so cold, haha. It has also been raining a lot too and it poured this morning. All of Huntington Beach was a giant river and we were out driving through it while we were doing our P-day routine.  :)  But, this past week has been good being with Elder Passey. We have a GIANT area
We have a BIG area, so I'm glad we have a new car.
to cover and are very swamped with work right now. Yeah, I know that's not what missionaries usually say, haha, but there are not enough hours in the day to go by everyone that we want to visit in both areas, so it has been giving us some real challenges. However, Elder Passey and I get along great and have been really working hard.

Elder P** is 19 years old from Grantsville, Utah. He has been out for almost 16 months and he served with me during the "dream team" months back in Ximeno with the best district ever! So we get along really well. We have been setting high goals for these next 3 months since we have about 25 investigators and tons of less actives and people to go by and visit so we have set goals to invite all our investigators to A**'s baptism this week to weed out the solid ones from the weak ones and to have threee baptisms by January 1!

Akari's family enjoying her birthday.
A** is all set to go with the program being made this week and she will be baptized by a member of the ward that is a really good friend of the family, so we are really excited for her!! I am so stoked! I have been waiting for her baptism for the longest time and now it’s finally happening! This past Wednesday was her 10th birthday and she invited us over to be with the entire family!  It was such a typical Hispanic party, haha, loud, men watching Chivas play Leon in soccer, and kids running around like crazy while the women converse and cook in the kitchen, haha. LOVE IT! We made her cookies and gave her two big teddy bears we had obtained from random service projects we have done and she loved them! It was a lot of fun, and it was good to be involved in Spanish party land again for a little while.

As for the rest of the work, we haven't been able to find L**, again.... She was in the shower last night when we passed by and so I am very frustrated because I know she can easily progress, but she just won’t make time for it right now. Luis is reading like a boss and is now in the Book of Jacob! He wants to be baptized and has a good understanding and testimony of the lessons we have taught, but he is afraid to leave his home unattended with his diabetic "foot", so he uses that as an excuse to stay inside. So I’m not really sure what else we can do at this point, just pray we find a solution to this problem.

We found four new investigators this week, all of which were teenage girls with ages between 15 and
Kowabunga! Take me right over there so I don't get my shoes wet.
16... ugh! All they care to do is flirt, so I don’t really plan on teaching them for too much longer, it’s just a waste of time. However, I am hoping to teach their families all of which are Hispanic, so that would be the ideal situation! We also are teaching a woman named C** who is new and is progressing to a certain extent. We asked her if she believed what we have told her is true and she said yes! However, that’s only because she doesn't think we would lie to her... so we told her she needs to pray and take the steps necessary to find an answer for herself, but she just won’t do it. We have taught her about prayer like 10 times and she still just doesn't get it, so.. yeah, haha. I need to be patient with this one.

I look good on TV! At least on a Walmart Security Cam.
Another person to mention is a man named R** that Elder P** has been teaching, and so now I am getting to know him better. He is a middle aged man who has been a smoker since he was a teen and is in a ferocious battle to quit smoking. He is super cool and an amazing painter and has been getting taught for a couple months now and wants to do what’s right, but he says that if he were to get baptized it would be with a cigarette in his mouth, haha.

I am looking forward to what this next week has to offer and I am ready to reach the goals we have set. I’m doing well and HB is treating me good. Thanks for all that you all do!! Have a great week!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, November 2, 2015

Staying in Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach Zone

What’s up everyone? How was your Halloween weekend? What fun activities did you all do?  As you all probably know this is transfer weekend and the results are in! I am staying in Huntington Beach!  The zone has lost a companionship of Spanish Elders.  Now there is only my companionship for all Spanish speakers in all nine wards here in the Stake!! My new companion is Elder P**!! Woot! Elder J** and Elder B**, both our junior companions, are leaving to Whittier to be in Spanish land and the senior companions are left to take care of HB, ha-ha. So I am very happy and excited for my last two transfers here! However that is a lot of work and a huge area to cover for one companionship.  It will be a big change and a lot of work and miles to cover. But with that being said, I feel that we are going to be blessed and will have success and baptisms. Speaking of which, A** is still good to go so we are ready for that and also we are planning on setting a couple of dates this week with L**! (We finally found her again, she was super busy) She has been reading in the Book of Mormon and praying the whole time we haven't been able to visit her and her desires to keep learning and want to progress in las charlas (the chats or discussions) has still increased! So I am very happy to be working with her again. I also know that the other Spanish elders have some great potential also. So elder P** and I are ready to set dates and get to work.  I'm also glad to hear about Brooke and Tanner getting a new car!  Brock, I will expect to get hooked up as well okay? Ha-ha, jk. But really though... that would be sweet.

Ja and Elder R
The Zone has made a ton of changes and it’s sad to see missionaries leave! I have some solid friends here and it's gonna be hard saying goodbye to them all.  It’s crazy that I only have 12 weeks left on the mish!! It’s amazing how fast time really does fly by even when there are days where it feels like an eternity. I am looking forward to setting new goals and plans to better prefect myself and become a better missionary. To be honest, I was very saddened that I was never called to train, etc. It for sure made me feel like I was an inadequate missionary and that I wasn't good enough. However I guess things happen for a reason, but I just need to finish off strong and keep being positive.
Huntington Beach District
The work here is going to be crazy now since I am adding five more wards of work or just members to try to get to know! It’s lame when members come up to you at church and are all, "Oh hello, are you in our ward?" :/ terrible.  I have been here for 4 months... ha-ha.  Elder J** and I did some great work and he for sure will be missed.  He was a great companion and I hope he enjoys Spanish land and progresses more in the Spanish language. We have several strong investigators  right now, but have had to drop a handful of others who were not progressing. There's lots to do so I hope we have a super good week.

Halloween was pretty cool! We cleaned! Ha-ha. Then we went to the Stake Center and had the zone leaders give us a couple of trainings.  We received transfer facts about the upcoming transfer. On Sunday at the Despedida, Elders O**, J** and P** did a musical number for the fireside and it was super bomb!  It was my free ticket in without an investigator, ha-ha. But, it was a great fireside and I was able to see Y** (my recent convert) and also many other members of different wards in areas I have served in. I absolutely love going to those!!

Well that’s about it for this week, but thanks and love you all!!


Elder Woffinden

Monday, October 26, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Carving pumpkins with my District.
Hello my family!! Whats up?? Thanks again for the emails! (Mom and Dad, haha, jk). I’m still here in Huntington Beach and I’m just trying to finish this last week of the transfer off strong. It’s crazy to think that I only have 2 transfers left after this week! Wow... 12 weeks. It’s going to fly by and I can’t believe it. I need to leave it all out here on the field her in HB because I am pretty sure I am dying here. Speaking of the work, we had a pretty slow week honestly, it was not very exciting. However, I will do my best to make it interesting :)

Visiting our good friend, Ann Ward.
This week we were able to visit a very good friend of ours in the hospital named Ann Ward who just turned 90 a couple of months ago. She is the sweetest lady ever. She reminds me of Grandma Phyllis, haha. She is from South Carolina and her accent is fantastic. She will talk to us for what seems like hours, but it is super fun. She isn’t doing too well, so Elder J** and I went and gave her a blessing on Wednesday and also paid her a visit on Saturday and she was doing tremendously better! So we hope she keeps improving. I am pretty sure I sent a photo of her to you.

 The rest of the week was slow like I mentioned. We couldn’t find anybody home and L** and P**, two of our solid investigators, have just disappeared from off the face of the earth and won’t get back to us so, oh well. I really don’t know what else to do. That just means more and more finding! That pretty much explains my entire mission, haha. 

Good news! To help with our finding we received a text on Tuesday night from the APs telling us to come to the office for a gift, haha. So we did and the gift was a brand new 2016 white Toyota Corolla! Pretty sweet! We turned in the 2011Ford Fusion and got the newest car in the mission, so we feel very special! :) It is leaps and bounds better than our old car. What’s even better is, since we have a new car, we get 1,050 more miles to drive for the month! So to use all these extra miles we had to go to the good old DMV in North Huntington! Elder J**’s license expired so he had to go get a California license so he could drive. Like all DMVs, it was pure death--the lines and waiting were terrible.I brought study materials and actually had a good conversation with some Hispanics from El Salvador, so it wasn’t too bad. Thankfully Elder J** passed so we don’t have to go back there again.
Elder R** 21st birthday!

On Wednesday night we had Elder Passey meet us at the church for the baptism interview for A** and she passed!! It’s official, November 14th at 3pm so you all need to be there!

On Saturday night we attended a multi-ward "Trunk or Treat" party for Halloween and it was awesome! We dressed up of course as missionaries so everybody loved our outfits... but it was good going back to the good old days, trick or treating with pillow cases and walking around the church with all the little kids in a Halloween parade, haha, it was great! At the end, with our pillow cases stuffed with candy, we walked around to all the kids under the age of 5 and gave them our candy, haha.

Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot more to talk about for this week. The work is slow, but we are still being hopeful and relying on the Lord to provide the means for us to keep going and to truly take his "yoke" upon us to pull our half of the burden.

Thanks again for everything!

Love you all!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, October 19, 2015

New Investigators in Harper Park, Who'd Have Thought?

Crusin' in the rain in HB.
Hey what’s up my family!? It’s super good to hear from you. Thanks for the emails and support you bring me all the way from the foreign land of Salt Lake City, Utah! Also, happy late birthday to my wonderful sister Brooke!! Happy 25th b-day!!! :)

Who is Voniece? And, why are there no cakes and cookies?
This week was a pretty good week for Elder J** and me. We experienced a lot of highs and some lows, but felt the hand of the Lord especially with the work. For the past three transfers that I have been here in Huntington Beach, we have served in four wards and out of the four wards, two of them have been pretty successful with having Spanish speakers in their boundaries for us to teach. However, two of them were super, super "white" and claimed to only have members living there. One ward in particular was the Harper Park Ward. I have never had an investigator in that ward and honestly, I never thought I would with how small and white the boundaries are, but good news, we found 6 investigators in that ward alone this week!! One is a pretty cool family that I will explain more about in a second, but the others are teenagers in high school whose parents all speak Spanish so we hope to pick them up soon.

You're not going to hit me with that ball are you?
As for the week, we had a slow one honestly. We didn't teach nearly as much as we normally do. A**'s baptismal interview is this Wednesday. We have finished her program, now we just have the painful wait until November 14th when she will be baptized. L** was out of town this past Sunday so we are going to have to move her date back a week. I’m not really sure what else to say for the work other than it’s going good and that we are hopeful to have more success. We had many people out of town such as L** our main and most solid investigator. She went up to San Francisco for the weekend with her husband, but hopefully she will come back tonight. We had a hard time finding many other investigators home throughout the week and it was the same situation with all of the less active members, so we had a slow week for sure. The success we had in Harper Park Ward was one family we taught on Friday night and it turned out to be a solid lesson! On Tuesday we contacted the mom and she told us to come by on Friday at 6:30 since she was busy with her English homework for college. We brushed it off like, sure... okay see you then… wrote it down and were positive it was going to be like any other contact. But as the week rolled on, we had a shocking surprise. Within one knock of the door, the husband F** opened the door wearing just a rug, well not literally a rug, but it was his chest hair which I thought was a rug, hahaI He was all, “oh hey, come in, come in!” At that moment we were a little shocked and not sure what to do, but we went in. Then the wife dropped what she was doing and was even more excited than he was and was all, "Hello!! We have been waiting for you! Please sit and make yourselves at home". By this time, I am shocked and can’t believe that the lesson is actually going to happen. Both Elder J** and I are wondering what is going on? Why are they being so nice? Haha.  It went great! Their youngest son Esau even came in during half the lesson and we taught him as well. So, that was a good tender mercy for sure. This coming Wednesday is A**’s baptismal interview at the church. We have completed her program and now have to painfully wait for November 14

Elder Ja--Machete Man
This week we did a lot of service for many old ladies. This one lady had the "Congo jungle" for a yard. She handed me a machete and told me to go to work, haha. So for about an hour I was having a grand old time hacking away at vines, trees, bushes, attacking spiders and who knows what else, haha. While I was relentlessly attacking her bushes, Elder J** took down her huge tree that had over grown so we created quite the pile of trash. It was super fun and she actually loved being able to see her back yard.

Well, that’s about it for this week. I hope all is going well back home! Good luck with all the remodeling in the new home. Thanks again for everything and have a great week! Go Utes! I heard about the win!! Super dope!!

Con mucho carino!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, October 12, 2015

A Great Week After a Great General Conference

The BIG 21 for my comp, Elder J**
Hey family, what’s up??

I thought this Conference was awesome! I’m sure like many of you it was crazy to receive three new Apostles, but I did say that Ronald A. Rasband would be one of them! The other two were a surprise. There were a couple of talks that really stood out to me from conference. President Uchtdorf’s from the Priesthood session was one of them. It was great! There were many others, but at the moment my mind can’t recall them so, oh well.

Unfortunately for me this weekend, and especially today, I was sick again!! I re-caught the same cold I just got over last week and have been hacking my lungs out, literally, haha. How did you all enjoy Conference weekend?? Yeah, I have to agree that Pres. Monson’s really struggled with his talk. It’s crazy to me that he has been a General Authority for almost as long as you have been alive Mom, haha.

 This past week was awesome!!! Don’t worry, I am feeling better. I went to the doctor and they gave me some antibiotics that kicked out the monster bug that was wrecking me, haha, so I feel much, much better!!

I got my release papers telling me when I will be coming home and they said January 26th, so that is the day then! I have thought a lot about going home early, but President Tew told me it would be impossible to send me home in December before Christmas, and I also want to serve the full time that I signed up for, so I will see you all at SLC International on January 26th!!

Today being P-day has been a good day. It is Elder J**’s birthday, so while we were grocery
Elder J**'s birthday sweet roll.
shopping, I bought us and Elders Rhodes and Oniki some cinnamon rolls and a 21 candle and we had a little b-day breakfast, haha.  It wasn’t much, but it was the best I could do considering we had no food... Oh well, haha.

Okay, there is a lot to talk about last week, so much I am trying to remember it all, but I will start with the work and with my investigators. A** is super good!  The baptismal date is still planned for November 14th and she is just a champion. We are reading with her in her little children’s Book of Mormon and she truly loves it all. So we are just biding our time till the day comes. We have L**! She is the miracle story and investigator that I want to tell you about.  L** is a middle aged woman with 5 children and her husband Oscar (who doesn't like us, but whatever). She has a wine collection of over 600 bottles, but hardly ever drinks she says. It’s only a hobby to collect the bottles?? Okay... ha, but we made tremendous progress with her this past week. We taught her about the Restoration and also the Plan of Salvation and had two of the most powerful and successful
Having a good time with Elder O** 
lessons of my mission, hands down. When we first met her, I’ll be honest, I was thinking “,… well here we go again,” as I was looking at the huge Mother Mary shrines and all the candles in her home. So I was very skeptical of her progressing. However, do not under estimate the power of God and the Holy Ghost!! I have truly seen how conversion comes through them and not my selfish self. As we finished teaching lesson one, we invited her to read Moroni chapter 10 and to pray about it. She was determined to do so, and she did!! She explained how she felt so at peace and how it was one of the best feelings she has had. She also brought up to us how she is dealing with a lot of hate and anger towards people in her family for things they have done to her and she started to cry. She wanted to know what she could do to feel the peace and love she desires in her life. Immediately the thought came to me to explain about baptism and to invite her to be baptized. So as we did and she didn’t hesitate for a second. We told her that it is the first step to finding peace, forgiveness and the love she needs to forgive and be healed. We invited her to be baptized November 1st and she said YES!!! I was so shocked and happy I think I looked stunned when she accepted, haha,  but as the week rolled on and we taught lesson two, I can truly see that she has potential and really will commit! She promised to come to church on Sunday but, early on Sunday morning she cancelled because she had to go to the hospital to visit her mother-in-law.... Satan is working hard on her now and it makes me so irritated!! We just need to be patient and help her make those necessary steps. We currently have 4 baptismal dates set and we are hopeful that all will go through! So please pray for A**, L**, L**, and M**.

The Huntington District
On Wednesday as we were heading home from our District Meeting, we received a call to go give a man who was not a member a priesthood blessing. So we went right away. He was having surgery for bladder cancer I think. All four of us went and gave L** a blessing and it was super good! It was the first Spanish blessing Elders Rhodes and Oniki had participated in and they said it was cool to be a part of it. Elder J** anointed him and I gave the blessing. We were also able to do some good service this week at the old folk’s home and also at a member’s home, so it was a great week for us all. We are doing well and I can’t believe how fast the time is flying by!

Well, I hope the best for everyone and I love you all!!

Gracias por todo que hacen para mi! En verdad ustedes son una gran bendicion para mi!! Los amo mucho :)

Elder “Lobo” Woffinden

Monday, September 28, 2015

It Was a Great Week in Huntington Beach!

The brave Huntington Beach Zone and the Jabanero Challenge. I can't resist!
Hey family, what’s up! How was everyone’s week? It was super good to hear from you all again. I always appreciate all the emails and support from back home.

Well to begin, I want to start by saying this week was an awesome week! It was super cool and we truly had a lot of miracles and successes from the Lord. We set three new baptismal dates and found a young woman we are positive will be baptized on the October 24th.  I will explain her story in a
Little pieces of dynamite!
second. We had a great week working with the members, but also had a good week on finding and really sifting out the investigators and dropping those who aren’t interested at the moment.

This week I received a letter in the mail from church headquarters with my "trunky papers"... wow, crazy!! I come home in less than 4 months and I only have two more transfers after this one. I honestly have no idea what to do with my life, so I had an interview with President T** to seek his counsel on what I should do or what would be best for my return date.

As for the work here in Huntington Beach, we had a great week! I want to say that A**’s baptism is set up for October 24th and it’s a 90 percent “yes” as of now! I’m super happy and excited for her! We also had an amazing find this week of a young girl named R**. We have seen this girl in the past, but she would always avoid us and hide whenever we would walk by. But, last Wednesday we went by her house and decided to knock on her door. It was early in the morning so she had just awakened and opened the door and started talking to us. She wasn’t super interested at first, however she allowed us to share a message. We set up a time to visit again later that afternoon when she would be properly dressed and ready etc. So we passed by again at 4:00 PM. She was home, but was clearly going through a rough situation at the moment. We talked to her sister outside when all of a sudden we heard this wailing and bawling coming from inside the house. We were shocked at what happened, but her sister ran in to see what was wrong. Five minutes later they both came out crying and told us how her boyfriend had called and confessed that he had been unfaithful to her with someone she was very close to, she was a mess! We told her that we would pass by on Friday when things weren’t so fresh and chaotic. On Friday we arrived at her house and taught an amazing first lesson! She started to cry and really opened up to us and explained how she felt good and that she had hit rock bottom and wanted a solution or way to happiness. We committed her to pray that night to God for the first time and to ask for answers and guidance, and she agreed. We then asked when we could see her again and she told us tomorrow morning. So on Saturday morning we passed by again. She was home and super happy to see us! We sat down and started talking when she opened up and said, "…okay, I need help. I have two problems, the first; I can’t forgive anybody, so I need help with forgiveness. The second, I have an uncontrollable pot addiction and can’t stop.... can you guys help me find relief and peace in my life?? “ Right then and there the Spirit came in and my companion told her the blessings that come from living the gospel and opened up baptism to her and invited her right on the spot! She didn’t even hesitate. She said, "Yes, I will do anything to get baptized and feel peace in my life.” So she accepted a baptismal date for October 24th as well!! WHOO!! Now, the bad news.... She doesn’t speak Spanish and so we will have to pass her on to the Young Single Adult elders.... ugh, frustrating! But it’s still cool how the Lord blessed us to find her!

I like running through the sprinklers, but this is ridiculous!
Right after that we went to dinner and heard that the U of U completely trounced the Oregon Ducks in football, haha, sweet!! Also that night, we had a very powerful quick lesson where we found a new investigator and her mother. Both of these ladies are named Lupe and are awesome! We had a very spiritual lesson on prayer and the love of God in our lives. They loved talking to us and were cracking jokes, it was just great. The daughter then asked why there are so many different faiths in the world and why we all don’t believe in the Virgin Mary. So we set up a return appointment for tonight to teach the first lesson!! So please wish us luck!

That pretty much sums up the teaching and major highlights of the week. We struggled finding our less active members this week because everyone was busy with work or school. Hopefully, we will have a better week with them next week. The work is going well, the people are awesome, and HB is beautiful! Also, the Blood Moon last night was freaking sweet, haha!  I’m sure you all were watching intently.

I hope for the best for you all. Please stay safe and keep working hard!!

Love Elder Woffinden