Monday, March 30, 2015

Feliz Semana Santa!

My third time to the Buddhist Temple.  I always love it.
What’s up everyone!? How’s it going this week? Thanks again, as always, for the love and support for me! I hope all is well and that you all had a great week. As for me, I can’t complain. This past week was a pretty good one, but of course there was also some hard times as usual, but to start off, I will talk about the work and our investigators we have now.

This week we had a couple investigators drop us out of the blue, so that was pretty frustrating. It’s always hard receiving a text saying they are no longer interested and that we don't need to come by anymore. However, we have been working with the C** family and even set a baptismal date for their daughter, S** for the 26th de Abril! This family is super solid and love having us come over, but they are very, very Catholic and even invited us to attend their church with them on Easter Sunday which was awkward. I have never been asked to attend another church from an investigator before. We said that we would have to talk it over with our president first (aka no, haha). They are progressing really well all together. The mom even told us that she prayed to see if it was right for her and her family to be talking with us and she received an answer of yes! This will just take patience just like everything in life. Of course, I am the type of missionary who has no patience and always wants things done right now and not later, so hopefully things will turn out.

Since Elder A** and I are losing investigators every week, we are still hitting the contacting and knocking pretty seriously. We found 5 weak investigators from our efforts and have some lessons lined up for this evening and tomorrow so hopefully we can help them all to realize that this is something they have been searching for. One of the tools that has helped us a lot is, Gracias a que El Vive (or He Lives) which is the new church Easter video which is helping us to remember that Christ lives and guides us in these days just like the days of old. The two minute video is really good and has been a great source for contacting out here so I would highly recommend everyone who is reading this to check it out and share it with your friends! The church keeps coming out with these bomb ideas and short video clips which really do help out a ton! As of right now we have S**, C**, and A** are moving forward toward their baptismal dates in April, so please keep them in your prayers as they op through life's battles and challenges of trying to change and accept the gospel.

Feels good to take a break at a service project.
We also have been working with the recent converts and less actives in our area R** and J** who was baptized in January, and hnos. C** and M**. M** had his wife pass away recently so we have been teaching him all the lessons again especially the Plan of Salvation to help build his spirit and desire to continue to come back to church. R** has been progressing better than anybody I have ever seen! She and her mom both gave talks in church yesterday and they were awesome! For only being 12 years old, she is very smart and strong in the gospel. We can tell by how she is teaching all the little girls and boys who live around her so she is a future missionary for sure!

Now to the service part of the email :) Being back here in the Whittier area is good because there are many different ways to find and offer service here! From the food shelter where we have been working every Tuesday to a company called Helping Hands for which we did yard work for this past Saturday. We helped a couple older ladies (2 different houses) with their yard work in the front and back of their homes. The work was mainly trimming bushes and trees and weeding so it was all work I am very familiar with, haha (thanks to Dad and Grandpa D) haha. I was the bush trimmer and cutter which was pretty fun since the lady said she wanted her trees to be cut into the shape of "eggs"??? Why? I have no idea, maybe for Easter? Who knows, but we did our best to make eggs out of her bushes and trees, haha.

Well to close, I almost forgot to mention that on Temple p-day we went to the Buddhist temple again! It has now been my 3rd time going there and I love it every time! I will for sure take you all there when we visit the mission in the future. Elder A** and I are both doing well. We’re working hard and trying to strengthen this area which is in desperate need of strengthening! It’s crazy to think how Easter is this Sunday and is also the end of the transfer! Will I stay or go? Who knows? Cast your votes before Saturday! I love you all and hope you all have a great week! Thanks again.

Con amor,

Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Finding the Lost Sheep!

Finding the Lost Sheep!
Mi familia!!! What’s up!?  Thanks again for all the emails and support!  Another week down just like that. It’s crazy how fast they are going sometimes... It’s always weird having p-day on a Tuesday.  For some reason, it just makes the week fly by even quicker and before I realize it Monday is here again.

After many attempts, I was able to capture this one!
Well where to begin, we had a very good week and a lot happened.  I want to be able to explain and tell it all.  Okay to start off, I will start by talking about all the service we have been doing here in Pico Rivera. As of lately, we have been doing a lot of service and have been finding great opportunities to help out in the community and to also help individuals with their everyday chores. This past week, we signed up and started to work for the "Inter- Faith" Food Corp which is pretty much a food bank here. Yesterday, we served there from 8-12 just boxing up foods and helping store and serve food to the needy and homeless.  It was surprisingly fun!  We had our whole district go and we killed it!  We were working like animals ha-ha and they were running out of jobs for us to do.  We would unload and load up pallets so fast and open and break down boxes, etc. What’s really cool is we are now on the "Tuesday" team. So however long I stay here in Pico, every Tuesday I will be working there so I’m so excited for that! This week we helped an elderly woman who has a small little farm here.  We helped her chop wood and round up all her lambs and sheep. Ha-ha   Yeah it was crazy! We were told that we could chase and tackle them as long as we got the leashes on them. Ha-ha  So we spent forever trying to catch these little demons, but finally did and I snagged some pretty bomb photos!  We each got our own "saving the lost sheep" photo.   It was a great week to help others out and what’s even better is how good you feel after performing service.  There is a reason Christ taught that charity and service are the greatest gifts we can give to others.  When we are found doing this in the last days, he will bless us!

Jason and Elder A at the Temple
Okay so for the work this week. We had a great week of finding. We found 5 new investigators and family of 4! The C** family are the people we contacted last week with the mother and daughter duo.  Anyways, they invited us to eat breakfast with them on Saturday at like 10.   When we arrived there they had made this huge feast of food and some delicious super Picosa Pico de Gallo which was bomb.  We had a great morning with them laughing and chatting and getting to know them a little bit. They have 4 kids but we only have met their two daughters. The dad is an ex-gang member from skid row in downtown LA so has a crazy past! However, he was a very nice and a curious guy and was the one who invited us over to come teach him and his family.  We taught them and are going back over tonight!! I hope all goes well!

11 Elders in the Car!  
This week we got a new investigator named C** who is our recent convert's best friend.She is 10 yrs. old and was listening in on the lessons when we were teaching R** and now we have set a baptism date for the 19th of April.  She wants to get baptized very badly so we are very excited for her!   We still have to talk to her parents first. They are okay with us teaching her, but we still need to let them know that we are working towards baptism. They are super Catholic to the bone and her Grandma even called her a liar when she told her about Joseph Smith.  Grandma was saying, "God doesn’t give people visions or appear to men they are just lying to you."  I hope and pray we are able to win over the approval of her mom and dad over these next couple of weeks. She came to church and LOVED primary when we asked her about it. What’s super awesome is that R** has been teaching all the little kids in her apartment complex about the lessons and on how to pray, etc! SO every time we come over they are all super happy and want us to teach them (ages 4-13) so it’s awesome! The last find that we have is M** and her sister. We taught her two weeks ago and her sister was pretending to be asleep, but in reality was listening to everything and really wants to speak with us. Tomorrow we will pass by to teach them both, so please pray that all goes well!

A couple of great Elders!
Pheww, okay, I almost forgot but on Wednesday, President Tew came to my area and went on exchanges with me and brought another missionary with him to go with Elder A**.  I was trippin! Ha-ha   It was very weird just walking and contacting people with President.  We taught lessons to two less actives and even contacted these two guys right in the middle of their huge poker/drinking party with all their friends.  To be honest I had no desire to talk to them, but he insisted so we did and it was past awkward as they were all hammered and ignoring us as we tried to bring up some form of conversation.  But in the long run, it was a successful exchange and he said he was glad and proud to see that the area is moving along well.

Alright that’s about it from me today! I hope you all have an amazing week and stay safe!! Love you!

Con mucho carino,
Elder Jason Woffinden

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Week of Blessings

Most recent baptism!
Hey!! What’s up everyone!? How was this past week?? Thanks again always for the emails and updates on your lives it’s always so good to hear from you all and to receive pictures now and then. Also thanks for the pictures of Tucker you sent!!  Aha.. He really is a tiny little guy, so cute.

Yesterday was a good day because we were able to confirm R** a member of the church! I’ll admit I was a little sad because at the last minute she decided that she wanted Elder A** to do the confirmation.  It was a letdown, but oh well it was her decision. We are happy her family is doing well and grateful her mom is super active again which is awesome! Her dad and two brothers do not want anything to do with religion.  At least he came to support R** at church.  But when we asked if he wanted to talk with us, he immediately shut us down. Hopefully, later on in his life.

My new comp - Elder A
Well this week was a pretty long and HOT one for sure! I will admit I don’t miss being up in the Whittier zone sometimes because it really is a whole lot hotter here than down in Long Beach which is crazy since it’s not too far away.  It was a deathly hot week visiting potentials and formers trying to help strengthen and increase our teaching pool that we have. It was very successful and we did find a couple potentials that have some interest in hearing what we have to say. One of these is a young girl that we contacted after a long afternoon of no success. We were just heading back to go to dinner. To be honest, I don’t know why it’s always the people you don’t expect to contact that turn out to be the ones who have interest rather than the ones who we always talk to and they usually just tell us to get lost. Ha-ha.  After about 10 minutes of asking questions etc. she turned out to be a super cool find and was really willing and interested in us coming by to her house to teach her some more which was great! What makes this story cool is that after the contact we left and walked probably another 10 minutes and saw this older woman walking towards us. Again the thoughts of let’s just go by her and get dinner came to my mind, but I decided to talk to her as well and it turned out to be another great find!  As we finished the contact and were writing her information down, we noticed that her address was the same as young girl from our prior contact. We asked her if that was her daughter and she said, “Yes” all shocked.  We found a family that might accept the Gospel just by talking to people on the streets even when we didn’t want to. So advice to future missionaries... swallow your pride and just talk to people and it all works out! 

One of my investigators
We we had run out of plans, we also had another "miracle prayer" find.  When we turn it over to God, he always pulls through!  We found a woman named M** while praying for which door to knock on for someone teach.  We ended up teaching her lesson one and she was surprised because she said that the JW's had talked to her a couple of hours before so she was wondering why she was getting all this attention. Ha-ha.  It was a great lesson, and we later found out that her sister who was pretending to be sleeping on the couch was also listening the whole time and wants to find out more as well! So that was pretty cool!!

Another great investigator

Also this week we have been working a lot with the LA's and even members in the ward. We performed service for a member by cleaning his house and washing his blinds to these gigantic windows he has in his house with these small tiny brushes... Gotta love service, but sometimes you just wonder why you are there.  He also wanted me to translate the bill he had received from the phone company because he was getting charged for something.  I had no clue what the charge was for so I felt super stupid as he just stared at me looking for answers. 

Well I’m pretty much out of ideas as to what to say...  Oh before I forget, next week is the temple week for us so P day will be on Tuesday instead of Monday! Also a birthday shout-out to Dad today!! Happy birthday Pops love ya! But thanks again for all you guys do for me, I hope to get the package you sent soon and also be looking for the suit I sent home today and let me know on the details! Have a great week.

Elder Woffinden

Monday, March 9, 2015

This Week Was a 4th Quarter, Come-From-Behind, Buzzer Beater!

Baptism of R** - What a great day!
Buen Dia!!! Como estan todos?? I’m doing great! Elder A** and I had a really good week with some awesome success that I will tell you about a little bit later. But, how is everyone doing? Good I’m assuming. Why haven’t I received any photos of my new nephew yet?? What is this?? Haha. How is Tucker doing? I’m glad all is well back home. Please send photos ASAP. I really want some!

Great family from the Long Beach area
This week was a struggle at first, but towards the end we had a really great 4th quarter come-from-behind buzzer beater to end the week, haha! Of course, I’ll start with the good news—R** got baptized! Whoo!! It was such a great service too! All the speakers were awesome and we actually had a very big turn out from the ward along with friends. So I really hope she felt the love and support there. Elder A** did the baptism yesterday and I will be doing the confirmation next Sunday at church so it’s pretty exciting! It was so good to finally have another baptism in the mission because Long Beach was really hard at times, and I feared I would never have another one. I’m so glad that the Lord is always preparing his children and that we were able to be blessed to have R** come into our lives. Since R** has been taught by the missionaries her LA mom of like 20+ years has come back into activity and loves coming to church! Also, her non-member father is showing interest and even came to the baptism yesterday which was really awesome for this family. The Spirit that was there at the baptism was indescribable. It makes me very happy to know that what she decided to do will truly bless many people’s lives. So the service was great, we took some awesome photos, etc. and I will be doing my best to send them soon.

Going to miss the Long Beach members
Well, like I was explaining earlier about a 4th quarter buzzer beater, it was because after the baptism we had another miracle-find happen to us while we were out working. This week we had a goal to find two new investigators since our teaching pool is pretty small as of late. With R** getting baptized we were both a little worried and were all, "well, what do we do now?" haha. All the way up until last night we hadn’t found anybody new to teach and had a hard week in general just trying to teach anybody. So while we were out visiting potentials at around 7 PM last night, we decided we would say a prayer and go knock five random doors to find two new investigators, or at least one. After we prayed, we sort of stood around clueless trying to decide which street we should knock when we saw this house with a super nice truck in the driveway, haha. I was immediately drawn to it and decided that we should knock that house. It looked pretty white, but I still thought we should knock it anyway so that’s what we did. It turned out to be a miracle find! We contacted a young girl named K** (16) and her friend C** (16) while they were sitting at home watching TV. At first it was suuupper awkward talking to them, they were not very receptive and were thinking we were just a couple of goons at their doorstep. But, as we began to teach them we started to notice how they lightened up and then they started asking deep questions from the soul. We ended up having a 1.5-hour discussion on their doorstep answering questions that they had been wondering about. They really showed a great deal of interest in why we do what we do and even said how they want to get closer with God even though they don’t know who or what he really is. As we explained and answered their questions I really could see how God has been preparing them individually and how by us praying trying to find someone to teach, God answered their prayers. It was sweet!!!

Hard to say Good-bye to great members
The Lord really does bless us with the little tender mercies whenever we ask for them, we just need to act on the first impressions we receive even if they may seem dumb or outrageous at the time.

We also had a lot of service opportunities this week as well as a Zone Conference on Friday with President Tew. Both were super good and really helped this week turn into a better week than we thought it was going to be. For the service activity, our zone organized a LA member’s home in the Whittier English ward and helped pack up her house since she is getting ready to move in the near future. All I will say is that she had a lot of stuff!!! Like a very large amount of stuff, haha. It took about 4 hours, but we had lunch there so it was pretty cool. She was very grateful and emotional that we all came to help her since her family and kids had left her and wouldn’t help.  It felt good to help her out just a little.

Well that about sums up my week! I hope you all have a great week and stay safe. Thanks for all the love and support!! Y que tenga buena semana!!

Con mucho carino

Elder Woffinden 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Baptism This Week!

More wall art in Long Beach 
Hey!! What’s up everyone!? Wow I am amazed to hear the news about Ashley and the baby!! It’s crazy, I’m going to have another nephew today.  Wow so sweet! Make sure to send me photos por favor :) Hope all goes well Ash you have my prayers and love! But it sounds like everything is going well back home.  I am still amazed to find out and remember how many family and friends are either pregnant or getting married or something else... It’s overwhelming sometimes. Ha-ha I am so clueless out here but it’s all good.

Sooo Pico Rivera is different and I reallllllyyy miss Long Beach. This week was a pretty average week, but I do have some great news! We’re having a baptism this Sunday!! Elder A** and his companion found a girl a week and a half before I came to Pico, and we just set up a date for her to be baptized.  It will be on Sunday, March 8th!  She has been doing great and has been to church every single week so she’s ready.  She is 13 and her mom is actually a member but has been LA for a very long time. She is super cool and is super solid and is so excited for her baptism!

Last pose with Elder B** before transfers
The area here is all biking and is pretty big, we are always biking which I hate.  I'd much rather walk and talk to people rather than bike and act all creepy stopping people from the road with our ghetto helmets, etc. ha-ha. Elder A** and I had a pretty good week to start off here.  It was very, very long which is normal for the beginning of a new transfer in a new area, with a new companion and investigators etc.   Elder A** knows the area very well for only being here for one transfer.  It’s a completely different ball game compared to Long Beach.  We don’t have a whole lot of work as of now and there are a lot of one and done investigators that they had when I got here.  We have been weeding them out to try to find the people with the best potential.

Our neighbor in Long Beach
Elder A** is from Austin, Texas and has been out on his mission for one transfer less than me so he will be hitting his year mark pretty soon this month.  He is a really super nice guy and very obedient. He is a good elder and really likes to work hard so I am hoping for us to really see some good progress here in Pico Rivera.  The ward is very different and I am sort of surprised that it’s a ward. It’s about the same size as the Ximeno branch for membership, but from what I have seen they all seem to be very nice and friendly which is really good.  My apartment is great! It’s like four times bigger than my last one in Ximeno. Ha-ha   I can actually move around and not feel so cluttered! Also we have an oven, disposal, and many other things that actually work in the apartment so that is a bonus! There is a member family that lives below us and he is the bomb!  I think he calls us every day to tell us he has either food or some form of gift for us.  We got three boxes of Little Caesars pizza one night or sandwiches with milk or juice.  It’s pretty cool living next to some awesome members.  My zone is Huge! Ha-ha and Yes,Elder B** is my Zone leader now. It’s great because we get along great! We had a zone service project on Saturday from 8 am to noon and we were supposed to be performing yard work etc. for these two homes. When we showed up, we had like 30+ missionaries and 20 other volunteers who all showed up to this little older couples house to perform yard work such as weeding, mowing the lawn and pruning trees, etc. It was pure chaos!!  So many people for not very much work... and sadly their lawn was all weeds so all the grass is now gone! :/ I’m glad it’s p-day and I can rest today and get my thoughts together of what we’re going to do this week.

Going to miss this great family
I have seen some big changes in myself these past three weeks.  My Spanish has improved tremendously which really takes away a ton of stress! It’s true being a senior companion really puts everything on you.  It’s either you sink or swim out here.  I hope all is going well for everyone back home!! Good luck Ash and Brian with the baby today!! Super excited for you both. I love and miss you and can’t wait to see photos. To everyone else, you’re all awesome! Thanks so much for your prayers and love towards me and all my investigators! Please continue to pray for R**, V**, and J** back in LB!!! I miss them so much and pray they can get baptized soon.  Love ya’ll.

Hasta luego mis amigos!!

Con mucho Carino,

Elder Woffinden