Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Busy Week in Long Beach East

Heading out to teach!
HEEY!! What’s up! How is everyone doing this week?? I hope well! It was good to hear from a lot of you this week and I love following up on the events that are occurring back home especially con mis hermanas embarasadas.  Ha-ha. But anyways, this past week was really good! It was full of all kinds of great events that happened so I am looking forward to trying to sum it all up into one e-mail.

To begin, I will start with the missionary work. So as of right now we currently have three solid investigators and each of them has a baptismal date set for the end of February. Sweet!  So with L**, I will just say that she is super awesome and so prepared! She actually reads and prays when we commit her to do so which is a big change from the investigators I have been used to teaching. This past week she was out of town so we only saw her once, but we had a really awesome Plan of Salvation lesson with her that really helped answer the big questions of why am I here, where did I come from and where am I going. She really enjoyed the lesson and the member we brought with us really helped add to the spirit that was there and to helping her feel more fellow shipped and not alone.  We have a set with her tonight so I am very excited to get her going again towards her B-date in a month or so!
Ja hangin' with Michael J statue

Okay so also this week something amazing happened to us on Friday! We had just gotten back from dinner and I was feeling really sick because I’m pretty sure I have ruined my stomach from all the Hispanic food and hot salsas and spices every day.  I get sick every time we eat, but anyways, I had the impression to text a member in the branch who has a friend named C** who they have been wanting us to teach. We hadn't been able to teach her and so I figured we never would, but I decided to text the member to ask if we could maybe meet with her some time in the future.  Within like 20 seconds after sending the message, she responded back with, "She’s here right now! Come teach her!"  I was shocked because to be honest our night plans looked pretty bad, but now I was on Cloud 9!!  I was so excited. We taught her at the member’s home and set a B-date for the end of February.   She came to Stake Conference yesterday and is excited to meet with us this upcoming week! Pretty sweet miracle!!

Also this week on an exchange, I taught English to a group of Cambodians.  I was the instructor to help them study for their citizenship test coming up, it was hilarious!  I had no clue what they were saying.  All I did was read the questions and waited for their memorized responses in English.  Ha-ha   They were very loving and said I was" funny" so it was a fun experience.

Elder S heading home!
I want to tell you about some more crazy experiences we had this week.  On Thursday night, I was on exchanges with elder T** in the Cambodian area. We were off to a pretty good night when as we were walking down a busy street.  We saw a lady sitting at the bus stop bench crying. After getting a closer look, I was overwhelmed with the smell of alcohol and knew she had been drinking a lot. So we decided to talk to her to see if we could help her. We tried to talk and even shared a scripture with her to help lighten her mood.  All of a sudden, she looks at us and says, "Okay you can do one of two things here, go buy me another beer or watch me kill myself by walking in front of the next oncoming car in the road"   -__-    That was my facial expression as we had just been put into a terrible situation.   We tried to call her bluff and then she got up and started walking across the street with oncoming traffic. So we freaked out and chased after her getting her across the street alive.   Long story short, we walked her to a bar and pretended to follow her inside but didn't. She had given us a card with her son’s name and phone number and a note saying, "I’m sorry!"  We called him told him where she was and then left. It was insane! I am so glad I didn't have to witness her getting hit by a car.

P-day - visiting the music store.
Well on a better note to end my email.  On Saturday, we were able to attend a conference where Elder Ronald A. Rasband spoke. It was fantastic! Probably one of the best ones I have attended. He gave a lot of great advice and came here because he felt like he needed to help the Long Beach mission out which was pretty cool! But that's a quick review of my week. We had a lot of good times and bad times, but it was overall a great week. Hope to hear from more of you next week!!

Thanks for all the love and support.

Con mucho carino,
Elder Woffinden.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Adjustment to Senior Companion

I am going to miss my companion, Elder Allred!
Hey!!! How’s it all going?? Thanks for the email! And I’m so jealous that you were able to head down to St. George to escape the weather back home.  Wait, it’s actually pretty nice weather here so I’m not too jealous!!  Ha-ha. What else is new back home?

My first week as a senior companion was a looooonnngg one for sure.  Ha-ha.  My new companion is Elder B**   He is a really cool kid from Rexburg, Idaho. He served about 4 months in Peru at the start of his mission, but then got sick and was sent here to finish his mission. He is a really quiet guy and doesn’t say a whole lot, but he is a good obedient hard worker.  This week was a crazy one having to drop off the Elders to the airport, and then realizing that I was now in charge of the area.  This means all the planning, teaching, contacting etc.  The area isn’t thriving like I would hope it would and we don’t have a whole lot of people to teach.  We are still in this "finding mode" for like the past month.
Our district - The serious side of a missionary

The crazy side of missionaries!
We do have L** however and she is doing really well!! We had two super spiritual and powerful lessons with her on the First Vision and Book of Mormon then we followed up with a Gospel of Jesucristo lesson. She has been reading in the B of M and truly believes that we were an answer to her prayers when we came knocking on her door for the first appointment. However, she still doesn’t feel ready for baptism and says she needs to work on some things and with her relationship with God.  We had a church tour scheduled with her on Friday with a member and we were going to set a new baptismal date with her after we showed her the font and chapel, etc.  At the last minute, she cancelled on us which was a huge let down...I had been looking forward to that for like 8 or 9 days.  Super frustrating.  That pretty much sums up what Elder B** and my week has been like.  A week full of cancelled appointments, people hiding and pretending to not see us or know us and a whole lot of walking around.  I mean a ton!

Another positive note, we did find one new investigator named M** while we were out knocking by some formers and potentials.  She was very receptive and was willing to have us come in and teach her right then and there. We started to teach a lesson, but the lesson soon turned into the world’s biggest Novela of all time. It is very difficult to teach in another language when they start talking about their own personal affairs and are giving detailed explanations of their lives etc.  We did get another appointment set up so hopefully that one is a little more organized.
Elder C- heading home!

I am going to miss these guys!
It’s been a very long and rough week for us both, and I am so glad that it’s over. All the stress of being a senior companion really slapped me in the face and our area needs a lot of work.  The Spanish needs to improve quickly, but I feel that with all the new changes I have been making and how much more I actually have to talk now in lessons, contacts etc, it will improve as time goes on.  It’s still good down here in sunny CA! The weather is awesome and the beach is fantastic :) We go every day! Ha ha (jk)  Well, that’s it for me this week!  It is a holiday and tons of missionaries are waiting for computers here at the stake center. Hope everyone has a great week! You’re all awesome! Love you!

Mucho Carino,

Elder Woffinden

Monday, January 12, 2015

I am staying in Ximeno - Long Beach

Greatest district of Elders!  Half are leaving to head home tomorrow.
What’s up family!!!! How’s everything going?? This week was great! Pretty hard, but a good one for sure. So to begin, I will say the transfer facts so as of now I am......... staying here in Ximeno Long Beach and I am now a Sr. Companion! Whoo!  My new companion is Elder B.  I don't know a whole lot about him other than the fact he served a couple months in Peru, but got sick and has been here in Cali for like 2 months.  So, that's what happened with me! My whole zone and district got completely changed up sadly! Three new greenies are coming here tomorrow from the Mexico MTC! So it’s gonna be crazy here.  Ha-ha. I am excited for this new start and change that's about to happen, but I am going to miss Elder A** a lot! He was an awesome companion and really knew how to work hard and love the people here.

So, this week was one full of trunkie missionaries all packing up getting ready to leave and not a whole lot of success teaching and finding.  However, we still had some :)  So with P** (the miracle find up on Signal Hill) Elder C** and I taught her on Tuesday while our companions were at the temple. It was a really good lesson, but she really didn’t' show a whole lot of interest.  In fact, I only recall her really talking to us like two or three times. Ha-ha   We would ask her questions and try our best to get her involved, but she really didn't know what to say.    Maybe she just needs a little warming up before she opens up to talking.

Just like mom makes at home!!  Yum 
Later on Tuesday night, we received a text from the zone leaders with a referral of a girl they had contacted earlier in the day while walking in the street.  They said we should go by and meet her, and that's exactly what we did.  Her name is L** she is 25 and has a little girl and she is a miracle find! When we got to the door she came out and was so happy to see us! She told us she has lived her whole life blaming God for her problems and for never being there for her in her hard times, and also that she was tired of blaming God.  A couple weeks ago she decided to try to get God back in her life. The missionaries contacted her and she knew that was an answer to her prayer, and that's why she was so happy to see us finally! We had a really good lesson with her and her answers and participation were perfect. She knew what we were talking about was true and she accepted a baptismal date for the 31st of January!  However, with being here in CA all houses and apartments have locks and so we didn't get a chance to visit her again.  Our last lesson fell through because we weren't able to get a hold of her to invite her to church.  So we are going to have to move her date to the week after since she wasn't able to attend church.  We have dropped a lot of people so we don’t have a lot of solid investigators to teach right now, but I guess that’s what we are going to do this next transfer is to find and Baptize!

The week flew by so fast and when it was finally Sunday, I couldn’t believe it! Elder A** gave a really good talk in church and we had our investigators, R** and A** come to that!  The drought of nobody at church has finally been broken! Whoo!

Down a few pounds!!
I’m a little worried now since all the older missionaries are now gone, it’s now up to Elder T** and I to be the top Ximeno branch dogs... This means doing all the dirty work (aka translating, speaking in church, etc.) ha-ha.  That’s probably going to happen, but it will be good for us. So Sunday night was the missionary despedida for all those Elders going home. Last night was a really hard night for me and also a really good night! It was hard because ALL of my friends have or are leaving tomorrow to return home. (Elder Pecht) you don’t count you left earlier. Everyone is now dead.  Halford, Allred, Campbell, Tucker, Williams, Schooff, Taylor, Robinson and many many more and it was hard because that’s the only generation of missionaries I know out here so I am back to square one of making friends again. Ha-ha.   Last night was also one of the best nights because I saw everybody from all my previous areas!!! I saw T** (my recent convert) and all the families of Whittier and Compton that I have grown to love so much. Also investigators like J** from Whittier and people I never thought I would see again.  Words cannot describe how happy I was to see all of them! Especially T**. He started to cry and was thanking Elders Beck, Halford and myself for bringing him the gospel and for how it has changed his life in many ways. He has been struggling up in Whittier, but last night really boosted him up. The mission is awesome!! I can’t even describe how good it makes you feel to see people again you have taught or have come to know and love.  It’s amazing!!  I can’t wait for my despedida, a year from now, so I can call them to come down and see them all again!

Well that about summed up my week. I’m doing really good and I am very nervous, but also excited for what’s to come in the future. Tomorrow is a new day so pray and wish me luck as a Sr. Comp! Ha-ha   I hope you all have a great week and stay safe!!  Love you all,

Con mucho carino,
Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A New Year!

Decorating for the branch New Year's Eve party!
What’s up!!! Happy New Year everyone!! Wow 2015 is here!! I have already had the craziest year of years!! It’s only been 5 days.  Ha-ha.  Sorry my email today is going to be a little crazy so just bear with me here.  Today Elder C** and I did the Buffalo Wild Wings Blazin Wing Challenge!!   This is 12 spicy wings in less than six minutes! It was incredibly difficult to do. I have been eating spicy foods for the past 11 months day after day, but this made my whole face go numb and I felt my nerves in my hands and feet start to tingle the whole time. Ha-ha. Both Elder C** and I did it in like 5 minutes and won our t- shirts and our pictures on the screen in the restaurant.  The best part of it was that the wings were free since we did it. WHOO!! So much fun.

How many missionaries can we get in one car?  Looks like trouble!!
Okay well to start off on Wednesday night, the 31st we spent our night at the church setting up decorations with globos (balloons) and streamers and all sorts of sweet decorations in the gym for the Branch’s New Year’s Eve party! It was freaking sweet! We spent 3 hours hanging everything and doing all the work while we had the HNA's in the branch just freaking out because it wasn't how they wanted it. Ha-ha Oh well, in the end it looked great! There was a pro DJ there, too and they danced all night… or so we were told because we weren't able to attend since it didn’t start until 9:30 pm... all work and no play!!... Ha-ha.  While we were blowing up balloons, I had one explode right in my eye and it was bad.  My blood vessels all broke and I couldn't see for like an hour after.  It was funny, but pretty painful!

Choir practice for our district!  We sang during the holidays to everyone. 
Okay well New Year’s Day comes along. We finished up with all our usual meetings and then headed out to work at around 4 pm. We had an appointment set at 4 with a guy named A** so we were pretty excited to get there and talk to him. Sadly, he wasn't home so we decided to go visit a potential that lives in the house behind his. We came to a gate that was about up to my waist, and I was in front of Elder A** so I opened the gate and we started to head over to his door. All of a sudden I saw in the corner of my eye a black and white figure walking towards me it wasn't running it was just walking slowly and that's when I realized it was a dog! Ugh... was all I could think of when it got to about my foot and without any growling barking or anything immediately jumped up and bit me right in the worst area possible to get bit!!! The dog went right for the knock- out punch with success!! I was in agony, but out of reaction I punched the dog square in the face and it made a little whimper noise and we started to head for the gate to escape! But the dog came right back and bit into my right hamstring and ripped my pants all down the back, by this time I am beyond furious so I took off my backpack and just swung it like a bat completely annihilating the dog into the ground and so we were able to escape. I was in pure pain and just lay on the lawn trying to get my breath. Blood started to stain my underwear and back of my leg which freaked me out so we had some missionaries come with a car and take us to the urgent care so I could be inspected for rabies and any other damage. Thankfully nothing severe, but I have some nasty bite marks and cuts which make walking very unpleasant, but I am alive and had my first dog attack!! Sweet ha.  So that's how I started my new year off.  Whoo!! In the urgent care!

A little "fake" snow for the holidays.
So for the work we have been doing, it’s been pretty tough. We don't have any investigators right now. We have just been teaching lessons here and there to potentials that clearly don't want anything to do with the gospel.  We have been trying our best to work on finding by contacting or going by our members to seek referrals because that's the best way to find people to teach, but have been having very little success. Crazy that Elder A** goes home in about a week!! I feel pretty bad because we don't have the most success in the world for him to go out with a bang, but we are doing our best and that's all that matters.

Temple Day.  Love these guys!
We did find a super sweet potential on Friday while we were contacting on Signal Hill (which we never do) since it’s super far away to walk or even bike to. But as we were walking the streets, I could see a woman walking with her three little kids, and I was impressed to go talk to her. I ignored the thought at first, but kept getting the impression to do it so we did. Turns out her name is P** and is super cool!  We had a really good contact with her and found out that she lives far away from us, but said she has all the time to listen to us but had to go at that moment. What ended up happening was we got her address and she said to come by anytime during the day!! Sweet! Maybe this could be the one who takes the steps necessary to be baptized! Who knows I hope so!  Also, we have been working very hard with the LA's in the ward and especially the T** family which have five boys.  We have been helping them read the B of M and try to start praying on their own, but man it is hard!  Video games, movies, music and all of the above just dominate their life which makes them not willing to do anything. We are being patient and are trying to help them as much as we can because in honesty they are solid guys they just need a little push.

Well, that's about all that happened this week for me! I wish I could say more about investigators or lessons we have been having, but honestly we just have been going through a really long dry spell and haven't been seeing the success like we would have hoped. But that doesn't mean to give up! The Lord has us go through trials so that we can gain experience and grow stronger for the trials we will have later on in life.  I'm doing okay so I don't want you to worry about me! The mission is good! I love it and I have learned so much.  I am happy I decided to go and have no regrets.  I hope you all have an amazing week! My thoughts and prayers go to you all back home!!

Nos Vemos!!

Love, Elder Woffinden

The branch mission leader was Mr Olympian
in 1990.  You know how Ja loves a good work-out!