Monday, February 23, 2015

I'm Off to Pico Rivera!

My "1-Year Shirt."
Whats up!? Well as I have been hearing from all your emails, you already know the news... pero es cierto! Me voy a Pico Rivera en Martes. My companion will be Elder A** and I think he has only been up there for one transfer. Also, I hear the ward there is really bomb and the members are great
Burnin' the 1-Year Shirt!
so I’m looking forward to that. My zone got combined into the Whittier zone so Elder B** (4th companion) will actually be my zone leader now, haha. He is now serving in my first area in Whittier, so it will be good to see him again.

My time here in Long Beach is over and I’m suuuuupppperrrrr sad because I really loved it here! I have learned so much about patience. It was HARD but, I can see how it has helped me overcome certain obstacles in my life.

The dog who ate me. I won't miss him!
This week was great! We finally had someone come to church, haha. It has been a real struggle getting people to commit to anything here. Her name is V** and she is progressing super well! I am really sad that I won’t be able to continue teaching her or the other investigators we have. She is a 17-year-old girl and struggles with some Word of Wisdom problems which is my specialty to work with, haha. But sadly, I will not be here to see what happens.

We took photos yesterday at the church so I will send them next week. Also, the V** family finally came back to church as well as Hno. M**!! Ahh, man I have been working my tail off trying to help them find the desire to come to church and my last week here they finally come, haha. Let’s hope and pray it stays that way! I love to work with LA people because I know how hard it is to not want to go to church anymore and to do other things on Sunday instead of church, but it really does make your life a whole lot better and happier when you put God first in your life rather than your own worries and desires.

My Long Beach District.

Foggy morning run.
This week was full of walking, and I mean a lot of walking, haha. It seemed like every day all our plans would fall through and we would be left with no idea of what to do, so we would just walk around and pray for opportunities to find people. We went by an investigator named R** late on Friday night to see how she was doing and to find out why we haven't been able to catch her earlier in the week. Well long story short, we had a really good lesson on the Sabbath day and reading the scriptures and her husband actually came and sat down with us and he participated a ton! He was really skeptical of us at first and didn't like us a whole lot, but now he loves us and even invited us to come by for carne asada whenever we don't have dinner! Crazy how quick he was to changes his opinion of us.

Elder B** and I have been doing awesome these past couple weeks and it’s really hard to leave areas and companions once you start to click and figure out how much you have in common. I know he will do great work here and I pray for every single investigator that we have here that they will actually desire to progress. I really do love them so much and it’s so hard to have to drop people every week or two.

D** is a great investigator, but he's returning to Mexico.
Our investigator D** is leaving for Mexico soon so we gave him signed photos of all of us and the Bible we bought him so that he will always remember us. He really loves the Mormon Church and is so excited to get back to Michoacán to talk to the missionaries there.

This week was a hard week to say goodbye to the members that are here in the branch, mostly the H**, M**, F**, and H** families. They all have been an amazing support and help to me on my mission! They have helped me out in more ways than I can describe and I am so blessed to have made friendships with them all.

There really isn’t a whole lot more to report for this week. I’m really sad to leave, but I am also excited at the same time, it’s hard to explain. I feel my time is done here and I am needed elsewhere. I just want to give a shout out to you all for all your love and support you have been giving while I have been out here on my mission. You are all so amazing and I don't know how I would survive without the love and support soon. Hope you have a great week!

Con mucho carino,

Elder Woffinden

Monday, February 16, 2015

It Was A Really Great Week!

February 12, 2015 - One Year Mark
What’s up! Hey how’s everybody doing? It was so good to hear from you all this week. I am always very excited for Mondays so I can read the emails and never send any back... haha jk. Well as you’re all aware with yet another holiday, the libraries aren't open so there are like 1.3 million missionaries here at the Stake Center so I hope to get some time today.

Well, this week was freaking sweet! As you know it was my birthday. Whoo! It was so fun! The whole day was just great even the lessons we had were really good so that just made it that much better. So to celebrate my birthday we worked! Yay, haha.  Elder B** did make me a b-day breakfast and set up all the packages I got around my desk while I was in the shower so that was pretty sweet. At 8 pm the H** family surprised me with a b-day party.  I know you already know about this from all the photos and videos they posted on Facebook. I guess I don't really need to say a whole lot, haha.  It was amazing, they are the best! When we got there Elder O and Elder B were already there which was a big surprise since their area is super far away from ours and they are on foot.  It was good to be able to have them there for it. 

Elder B made breakfast and put out b-day presents!
The H** family started off the night by giving me three gifts which I couldn't believe they did that.  They got me this super nice California beanie, a card, and a big poster with tons of pictures on the front and back of all the memories I had with them over the past six months that I have been here.  It had pictures of the old district crew!  I was so happy to receive these gifts.  Words really can’t describe how much it meant to me to have people show this much love and kindness to just some random white guy they have only known for six months. After that, they brought out a chocolate cake with fresas (strawberries) on top. I know from past experience that Hispanics like to throw people’s faces into the cake before they actually eat it, but it’s supposed to be a surprise. I wasn't really sure when or how they were going to do it, but they did catch me by surprise, haha.   My giant head took out literally half the cake, haha. I had frosting up my nose, in my eye and all over my hair, etc.  It was hilarious and I have never had that happen to me! So for the rest of my life, now ya’ll better watch out because I am going to be doing this from now on, haha. I’m turning Hispanic!  The cake, the gifts and all the photos we took really made the night awesome! So glad I have been able to know them and spend time with them.  They are so awesome.

Also this week was my hump day! Whoo! Nothing too exciting, but I did burn a really old shirt that was like black in the pits and had pen stains in the pockets and who knows what else on it.  haha.  I will send more pics later.

Is this a cake or cookie?  
This week was a really good week for teaching also! We had more lessons as a companionship than I have ever had here in the total six months while serving in Long Beach!  However, nobody still came to church....Oh well, they have their agency and I can’t force them to do anything. We did have a miracle find! While we were looking for a potential who lived on a street called Dawson, we were standing there looking like fools looking for a place that didn't exist. I saw a young girl walking towards us. I decided to ask her if she could help us find this address. It turns out she knew who it was and pointed us in the direction where we needed to go. However, before we left I decided to talk to her instead as a first contact, haha. I am so glad I did too because it turns out she has already been to church before and LOVED it. She is Catholic and said "I rate the Catholic church a 6 or 7 and you Mormons a 9," haha. Whoo! We never ever hear that! What’s also great is that she is best friends with a young member in the Branch named A**, so it all works out. We had a great lesson with her and she had some of the best answers and questions I have ever had any investigator ask me on my mission. Some of the questions she asked really made me wonder if she really was 15, haha. We had a lot of success teaching her and D** this week! Sadly, D** is moving back to Mexico so today we went by to meet him and take photos before he left so that he can show us to the missionaries down there, haha. Also this week, we dropped L** and C**. Both have been ignoring us for the past 3 weeks so it’s not worth our time, we don't really know what else to do with them. Things are starting to look good here and the transfer comes to a close this week! Can you believe it will be over this Sunday? I’m scared I might have to leave, but who knows.

Mom sent a cake mix, just missing a cake pan!!
Oh...haha, also before I forget, we had the craziest experience happen to us this week. I know I say this every week, but it’s true. On Friday Elder B and I were walking on Dawson Street as before and we came across a cat lying in the middle of the sidewalk. As we got closer and got a better look, the cat had both of its ears bitten off and its leg had been chewed up! It was all bloody and was just lying there licking itself and clearly couldn't hear us since it had no ears. We were concerned and felt bad for the poor thing so we decided to call Animal Control. They told us to wait there for an officer to come so we could help him find the cat. From here, the story only gets even crazier. After about 30 minutes of waiting on the curb, this ghetto white pickup truck pulls up and a huge fat white guy with a mullet jumps out and his first response was, "Are you waiting for me?" We asked him, “Are you animal control?  Really? Haha. He said, "NO! You called them!? This is my cat and he has ear mites and doesn't like to wear his cone..." What are ear mites!? And his cat had blood all over its head and no ears... Anyway, he grabbed the cat and threw it inside the house got back in his truck. He rolled down the window, looked me in the eyes and said, "I’ll see you on Sunday," and smiled and drove off. Haha. AHH!!!  So long story short, Animal Control came and hopefully the guy got ticketed because I’m pretty sure he did that to his cat. So yeah crazy stuff here!!

Well that's about it from me this week! Things are good, it was a great week. I just hope you all have a great week as well! Love you, and thanks for all the b-day surprises everyone!

Hasta luego,

Elder Woffinden 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Elder Woffinden!!

Early Morning Run along the Pier.
Hola mi familia!!! What’s up??  How’s everyone doing this week?? It’s crazy to hear that it is in the high 60s back home in the middle of February! It’s just like here only a little cooler.  Ha-ha. Well this week is one of my favorite weeks of the year because my B-day is tomorrow. Whoo!!  22 years old…wow I am getting to be an old man... crazy.  I am also excited because it’s my year mark.  I can remember the days in Whittier when I never ever thought I would get to this day... but now it’s here and I can’t believe how fast time flies. Happy Valentine’s Day! Oh wait, I don’t have a valentine so I guess that one doesn’t apply to me.
Okay well to start, this week we had another rough week out here in Long Beach. There were a lot of good and positive things that happened, but the part I will first explain about is our area. So with our investigators, we are sadly losing them one by one.   L**, C**, and S** have completely fallen off the map. L**'s boss told her that if she wants to have a job she will work Sundays or lose her job. She has been ignoring calls, texts and appointments with us.  C** doesn’t live in our area which makes it really challenging because we can only rely on calling her to set up times, but her reply is always "Si Dios quiere"... which just means if God wants it to... which is always no!!  If you hear someone say that, they are saying "no" in reality.. just an FYI.  It’s been really hard not being able to teach them because it leaves us with so much extra free time to just roam around and knock and contact which is always the best ways to do missionary work. Ha-ha

Elder B and Ja at Buffalo Wild Wings
However, we do have an investigator named R** who is doing awesome! We have had three bomb lessons with her and they honestly have been some of the best lessons I have ever taught.  The spirit has always been super strong when we teach her. She has a baptismal date for the 8th of March, but that is if she will be ready.   We don’t have a whole lot of people to teach and we have had tons of ones and dones lessons and people saying they want to learn more.   We show up the next day and they tell us to get lost, so it’s a struggle.

Wagon rides with a friend!
We have a mission rule and standard where we have to teach every single night.  It doesn’t matter who, but we have to teach. You can’t just hangout or walk around doing nothing which I completely agree with. This rule has made us really develop some great relationships with the members! Especially la familia F**. Last night we had a very powerful lesson and were able to score two member referrals from them!  They have truly helped us out a lot here in the branch and have made it clear that they are grateful for all that we are trying to do for them. That is always good to hear!   We have been teaching D** every Tuesday and Friday!  This guy is bomb! Sadly he will be moving back to Mexico in 2 weeks so we won’t be able to teach him anymore.  He is one of the prepared ones we look for and will be baptized eventually. On Friday, we brought him a brand new hard back cover Bible with our names inside the cover, etc.  So when he does get baptized, he will remember us. ha-ha.  Not a whole lot has changed we are just really grinding it out here in LB.

Elder O. doing the BWW Challenge
Not a whole lot happened this week.  We did however add another missionary to the Buffalo Wild Wings champion ranks.   Elder O** did the challenge on Thursday and barely made it in time, he had 30 seconds remaining on the clock.  He has joined the ranks of me, Elder C and Elder P.   We have four Elder's pictures on the wall at the BWW representing the LB missionaries. Whoop!  Whoop!

The mission is going good! It’s very hard, but it’s very worth it at the same time. The language brings its own struggles and stresses, but I am improving each day especially with taking "classes" with some of the members every week.  Ha-ha.  I’m doing good!  I hope you all have a great week! Thanks for all you do and also thanks for the B-day package!! I just want to open everything already, but can’t till Tuesday!  Ugh!  

Have a great week, you’re all in my thoughts and prayers.

Love you!
Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Love the Month of February!

Hey what’s up! Thanks for the emails! I always look forward to reading them every p-day. Sounds like things are pretty normal back home. Yes, very aware about Super Bowl Sunday, it was on my mind a lot and when I found out the Seahawks lost I was livid! Ha ha  Oh well, if I don’t stop now I’ll be talking about sports all day.

Well another week has come and gone and we're now in February!  It’s personally the BEST month in my opinion :) ha-ha   It is crazy how I am coming up on my year mark pretty soon! I had a sister from the MTC send me a letter last week and she was talking about how she only has 6 months left! WOW!!! That was a reality shock to me! But anyways, this week was a pretty successful one if we’re going to count numbers for us. Ha-ha We found 4 new investigators which was a huge blessing! We are in a desperate need for more people to teach. Three of the new ones were from referrals we received early last week so it was awesome.  Sadly, the most solid one is moving back to Mexico in 15 days for good... He wanted us to teach him at a local park which I am usually not down for because they usually never show up.  However, he was there like 30 minutes early.  Ha-ha. We had a great lesson with him.  I have never seen anybody so excited to contribute and share thoughts and beliefs in a lesson. Towards the end of the lesson we were sharing with him the BofM and explaining how it’s the key to receiving answers about what we have shared.   When he found out it was "free" and he didn’t have to pay for it he about cried. Ha-ha I’m not kidding he was super happy! This man will be baptized in Mexico, no doubt in my mind.

This past week we also found and have been teaching a woman named M** and she is from El Salvador. She is an older woman and she is so cool.   She has just tons of energy and just lets all 301 grand kids she has running around each lesson climb all over her pull her hair, clothes, jewelry etc. I don’t think she really understands what we are trying to teach her as it is a bit noisy during lessons. Who knows what will happen with her. We weren’t able to teach C** besides on Monday which was a real bummer! She is our Golden investigator but works a ton and doesn’t live in our area since she is the friend of a family in the Branch. However, we are planning on seeing her this week so I will for sure keep you updated next week.

As for L** she is really starting to struggle. We can see that we are literally in “spiritual” warfare out here. It’s no joke!  She has been having trials and problems popping up left and right and even stopped reading in the BofM.  We missed her all week since she cancelled three of our lessons.  Two of those lessons, we had a branch member planning to attend.  However, we saw her on Saturday night and were able to talk over some things and to help build her up.  Her biggest problem is that she just barely got a new job and she works every Sunday from 8- 1 pm, which is when church is... yeah big problem. We decided to teach Sabbath day early and to promise her that if she has faith and prays for help from God to get the courage to take Sundays off or to change her hours that the Lord will help her to come to church. She is a little skeptical about it, but I really hope and pray she is able to.

Well that’s about it for our investigators this week. Mom you asked about M**, she moved to TJ Mexico... so no more of her I’m pretty sure.  As for my new companion, we are doing great! We get along really well even though he is quieter than most of my other companions. He plays the guitar and is actually really good so I am hoping to take some free lessons here pretty soon.  Ha-ha. He is a good teacher and has very good Spanish for the time he has been out.

As for other events that happened. Last week Elder O**and his greenie Elder B**got called to the hospital to give an older Hispanic woman a blessing who was dying. Elder O**called me to come with him since he needed another Spanish speaker.  I agreed to go. It was super sad when we arrived and she was all hooked up on machines and gasping for air with her family all around her. I didn’t know what to say.  We gave her a blessing for comfort and especially for her family.  I was sad to hear that she died the next day.  I just hope her family is okay.  Anyways, that about sums it up for me.  I hope you all have a great week! Love you all lots!

Mucho Carino,
Elder Woffinden