Monday, April 27, 2015

A Long, but Pretty Good Week Overall.

Elder B** and I at the Food Bank Volunteer Appreciation Day.
Hey family and friends!! How is everybody doing this fine day? It’s good to hear from you yet again, and I always enjoy reading the emails I receive from you guys, so thanks again! Congrats to Haley with her mission call! That's awesome she will be an amazing missionary! How is Taylor doing?

Well, we had a long, but pretty good week overall! I will try my best to explain everything and have it all make sense. To start, I want to talk about how amazing the Lord really is! I have been pretty depressed as of late since my area doesn't seem to improve no matter how much we try to find and keep new investigators. In the end, they always seem to drop us or vice versa. However, yesterday I decided to fast personally for my area and to find new investigators this week. I decided it was a perfect opportunity, and it was the last thing I hadn't tried. So long story short, last night we found 5 new investigators—3 are Spanish and 2 are English, but all are super bomb people! It was amazing and it truly humbled me to know that God is always here for us as His children. We sometimes forget that, especially in missionary work. He made it clear to me that it’s all because of Him that we have our success as missionaries. So, it was a Sunday night buzzer beater that really made our week that much better. The names of the people we found are M**, M**, C** and H**.

M** was a pretty good Restoration lesson even though she would NOT leave the privacy of her "Vador door" to greet us or participate, but she liked what we had to say and told us to come back tomorrow, so hopefully she will be more chill and not be so up tight. We found M** and C** by going by some potentials and they were sitting outside. We had a great 20-minute conversation about Mexico and the people there. They were shocked about how much we both knew of the country and also how they were speaking with white boys in Spanish! Overall, both were good lessons and we are excited to pass by tomorrow night with members to help us teach them.

Ya gotta love breakfast at the Volunteer Appreciation Day!
Okay, so also this week we performed a ton of service! I think it was about 13 hours of service that we recorded. We helped the food bank, mowed and trimmed a recent convert’s yard, and helped a woman load up her house as she prepares to move out soon. To start off, we had a breakfast given to us on Tuesday by the Food Bank for a Volunteer Appreciation Day. It was great, but once we arrived we realized that we weren't just there for a breakfast, but a bridal shower as well! The head boss lady is getting married and decided to have her bridal shower that day with tons of people, gifts and cakes. Plus, all the older volunteers came so it was a warehouse packed with people. It was pretty awkward especially since we played bingo and then had to write what the newlyweds could do for "date nights," haha. Long story short, the bridal shower/volunteer breakfast was pretty fun to attend. For the rest of the service week we helped J**--a recent convert in the ward--with all her mowing trimming and weed whacking. It was very weird being behind a lawn mower again, and brought back waaaayy too many memories of the countless times I performed the tedious task back home, but all that experience definitely helped out because the yard looks great! As I was using the weed whacker in a really long patch of grass, I clipped a couple of oranges that had fallen from her orange tree and they splattered all over my face and clothes which woke me up for sure, haha.

Besides the Sunday night miracle, which i already explained, the work has been moving pretty slow. We dropped C** the other day because she hasn't really wanted to meet with us and have lessons, so we will pass by later in the future. To answer your question about if we were able to get anybody to church, the answer is no. We invited 30+ people and the majority of them were really good invitations, so I thought at least a couple of them would show up, but sadly it didn't happen.

Chillin' with Elder B**. It's been a long week.
That doesn't mean I’ll stop there, we just need to keep trying this week and I know people will eventually start coming. Elder B** and I are doing well together as a companionship; we are both trying our best to help whoever we have to teach to progress and feel something that will potentially change their lives.

The mission is very tough! I will always agree to that, but it is also an amazing learning experience that you can’t learn anywhere else. But I love it just like I love you all! I hope all goes well this week and I can’t wait to hear back from you.

Con mucho amor!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, April 20, 2015

A Great Week of Service!

Pico Rivera - wall art!
 Mi familia y mis queridos amigos!

Hey!! How is everyone doing this fine day!? I'm doing pretty good here in Pico Rivera, CA. The work is slowly progressing and the weather here is great! God truly helps me overcome tough challenges everyday so what can be better? Thanks so much for the pictures you sent of McKinnley Mae!! She's beautiful, congrats Linds and Ty! Make sure to give my new niece a hug and kiss from Uncle Ja.  :)

Pico Rivera - a wall of art!
Well for my past week, I will begin with all the work we have been trying to accomplish here in Pico. Okay, so this week we found 6 new investigators!! Whoo! However, we can only teach two of them.... they are English speaking, majority of them, and so we will have to be passing them along this week to Elders V** and T**.   It’s all good they are both 'bomb' missionaries so I’m sure they will be in good hands. What’s hard is that a lot of them are Hispanic but they just stopped speaking Spanish and forgot everything so we aren’t able to teach them anymore. With the investigators we do have now, we have been having some big struggles with them keeping appointments and finding times that work with their crazy, constantly changing schedules. One of them texted us saying he is very interested in learning more and wants to keep reading in the Book of Mormon, but he can’t meet with us for two weeks. I hope and pray G** keeps the desire and will call us when he is ready.

We have been doing well with C**, the little girl, but still have the problem of getting her to come to church with R** and her mom. She won’t come because her friends invite her to their church and she wants to attend with them, but she has full desires to be baptized and hear the lessons from us.  We just need to help her to ‘want’ to come. So our goal is to get the primary more involved.  We are going to try to bring some people from the primary to help us teach and fellowship her this week.

The "happy" tree. We found this tree to teach!
We have dropped M & M this week since we haven't been able to teach them for a considerable amount of time, but their teenage daughters are still showing interest to listen.  So that’s going to be our full court press for this week.. to help them come to church. As a companionship, Elder B**and I are doing awesome! The Lord truly has blessed me with all amazing companions. I learn so much from each one of them and they are all great men and missionaries. I just hope they can say the same about me :) ha-ha jk. Elder B** and I decided that we are going to kick it into overdrive this week and set some pretty good goals that will help us out with the work. One of these goals is to invite 10 people to church every single day which is 60 people before Sunday comes rolling around. All I want is for at least 1 soul to come (just one) and I will say it was a success! So please keep that in your prayers.

I LOVE Service!  
The service is still going strong here! We are always keeping busy doing projects or helping foundations, etc. I love service! It is the greatest thing ever!  Dad, I now understand why you would always take me around the neighborhood, when I was young, to go shovel all the snow from the widow's walks and around the blocks even when it was snowing, cold and early on a Saturday morning. Sorry for all the complaints, but it definitely made me stronger and more willing to help out on my mission.

That's about it for me this week! I know its super short, but I can’t think of more to say... I hope you all have a great week!! Love you all so much stay safe

Con mucho amor,

Elder Woffinden

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Week of Finding!

Thumbs up to this great member!
What’s up everyone!? How was this past week for you all?? To be honest mine was extremely long!! Ha-ha.was it long for you guys as well?? A special shout out to my amazing sister, Lindsay who is going to have her beautiful baby girl tomorrow!! Good luck Linds… you’re going to do great and I know and have faith that God will watch over and protect you all :)

Okay well as for my new companion this week. Elder B** is from Oregon and has been out on his mission for about 10 months now.   Yes, like I said last week he was "born" here in this area, ward, and same apartment. Ha-ha so he had mixed emotions about returning back to this area. However a lot has changed since he last left so we have a lot of work to do here. To be honest this has been my hardest area yet for working with investigators, LAs etc. We really don’t have a teaching pool anymore. The majority of the people we have been teaching have just disappeared off from the face of the earth.  The family C** we found out some very shocking news which makes our job 10 times harder as missionaries to help them progress to baptism. We found out that the mom and dad aren’t married and have just been living together for the past 13 years and they feel they will keep it that way. This is very hard because the only way they can ever progress to baptism is by getting married. I haven't really had to deal with this issue a whole lot on my mission so this is going to be new for me. But I am ready to attempt the climb and challenge that the work of the Lord brings each day. We have been teaching their daughters and they have been progressing decently. They have great questions and love it when we come over to teach them.  We are still trying to determine if they really have interest in progressing.   R** has been reading and praying which is great! But says she hasn't received any confirmations so we will just be patient with her.

Great member in our ward
With our investigator G**, we have been fighting tooth and nail to try to set up and keep appointments with him, but he has been cancelling all this past week. There is some good news though, he texted us last night saying, "I have read the first 12 chapters of the first book of Nephi and it’s very interesting and I like reading it."  So that was great to hear so at least he has the desire to read! We told him to keep up the good work and to always pray before and after so that he can feel the promptings and confirmations from the spirit about the truthfulness of the book.

With the “sermon on the mount” kids we only had one sermon this past week and it wasn’t a very big one nor effective. We were able to talk to C**’s grandma about allowing her to come to church with us on Sundays which she very hesitantly said was okay.  She is very concerned how C** keeps going to so many different churches. I guess she has been going to her dad’s, some friend’s church, ours and one other church.  Her grandma has just told her to pick one and stay with her choice... PICK OURS!! Ha-ha. She is doing great though, I can promise you that she will be baptized within the next year if she continues to try to listen and come to church.  It’s just a really complex situation with her right now.

Stick Bug!
Okay so something new that happened to us was when Elder B** and I were out knocking doors on Friday night. We hadn't been having the best of success and we just decided to knock this super random house all the way on the bottom of the street. So we did and this 14 year old punk rock looking kid opens the door with his two friends. We shared our quick little message and asked if we could come in to talk for a little more. To my surprise, he said, “yes!”   We ended up teaching them from the “He Lives” video and it was the most awkward lesson of my life.  They just sat there staring at us as we stood in their living room talking since there weren't any seats for us. They weren't really responsive either which made things hard, but they said they would like to learn more next week about the Plan of Salvation which we explained. Hopefully, they are serious.  It would be amazing to have three more people to teach!

Our newest member R and her Aunt!
Wednesday night we had a Noche de Hogar at the Church and President Tew was the guest speaker for the night. To simplify the night in small words, I would just say, "success".  President Tew really is the best speaker I have ever listened to and learned from (even in Spanish).  He just destroyed it! The spirit there was undeniable as he taught on El Valor del Alma or the worth of the soul. It really did strengthen my testimony on how much God really does love each of us.

Well that’s it for me this week. I am praying for some success and tender mercies this week from the Lord.  Just remember that anything hard in life has to come with a price!  I love you all and wish the best of wishes to everyone!! Mis oraciones estan con todos!

Con amor,
Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!
Buen Dia!  How has everyone been this past week?? I hope you all had a great Easter weekend and also conference weekend! Thanks again for the emails and love sent back from home, it’s always greatly appreciated here.  Also thank you so much for the package! I love the new suit it is amazing! Mom and dad you’re the bomb!

Well another transfer has come and gone, it’s crazy how fast they are starting to count down now. I guess I’ll start with the transfer details.  ha. Well I am staying here in Pico Rivera and Elder A** se va a LB 16 or Paramount which is actually right next to my old area in Compton. I also found out that Elder B** is now going to be in Compton in my old area so that was cool to find out.  He'll love that area (minus the stolen bikes and flat tires on a daily :)) ha-ha.   My new companion is Elder B** and he actually started his mission and lived in the apartment I am now living in so he is coming back. Ha-ha from what I have heard by talking to him on the phone he is "thrilled" to be back. But I am ready for the change and for whatever this next transfer may bring. My district is going to be awesome however! Elders W** from the MTC and Elder T** from Ximeno and Whittier are coming up here so I am super excited to be in their district and serve around them again.
Okay well now for me and the wonderful week I had! Mostly true but also some sarcasm hidden in there :) ha-ha This was conference weekend which pretty much dominated our whole entire weekend. It was great however! I don't know about you but the whole Saturday session pretty much slapped all of us elders in the face telling us to go home and get married to start our eternal families.  ha-ha.  I loved all of conference minus the fact that I got food poisoning late Saturday night and was up all night throwing up and having other fun bowel problems... so I got no sleep and spent the night on the bathroom floor and also my living room floor watching D&C videos. When it was time to go to conference, I couldn’t get up off the floor since I was so weak and tired from vomiting all night so I had my companion and 2 other missionaries give me a blessing to help give me the strength to get off the floor and go to conference.  It worked! I wasn't cured and still felt awful the whole time but I was able to attend which was a blessing.

Well now for the rest of the week, Elder A** and I had a pretty decent week of work. For some reason we keep having "one and dones" with investigators.    They seem interested and then have absolutely no desire to hear any more so that has been a challenge for us up here. But, we have been having some great success with C**(the 10 yr. old) we had 2 “sermon on the mount” discussions this week.  I call it that because whenever we teach her there is always without fail 6-8 little kids from ages 5-13 sitting there and listening to us.  So every time we leave we say that we had our "sermon on the mount" for the day. However sometimes it feels more like a day care trying to keep the kids under control and from hitting each other, etc. This time, we saw one of them had finger nail polish with them so they decided to paint elder A**’s nails to keep then distracted while we taught C** and R**. It was a pretty good idea I guess.

On Friday we had a really cool find of a young guy named G**.  We contacted him while he was walking past us on the street and I saw he was wearing a South Park t-shirt which I have to admit I have seen that show at least once or twice in the past.  So I contacted him and we ended up picking him up as a new investigator after teaching him lesson one.  He said that he felt that something was missing in his Catholic faith and wanted to find out what.  I immediately was ready to pounce on that gesture and invited him to church etc. However he already had Easter plans so he couldn't attend, but next week hopefully! Also this week we started teaching G** and S** on preparing to enter the temple to become sealed as a family!! First time doing this so I was pretty rusty and clearly don't have any experience with marriage, etc.  They want us to come by every Tuesday to help them prepare for the temple which is pretty cool!  They said that whenever they get sealed, they want us to attend! That would be amazing to witness! Pray that all goes well for them. Well to summarize everything else up, there is a lot of work to do here and it is overwhelming at times to see how much needs to be done in such little time.  These things just take time I guess so vale la pena! (it will be worth it.)

That's it for me!! Hope everyone who reads this knows how much I love and appreciate them! From family, friends and people I have been privileged to serve around and get to know on my mission, I love you all!  Keep livin life up and remember, No se den por vencidos!! (never give up.)

Con mucho carino,
Elder Woffinden