Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hot Week in Pico!

Tree of all trees!
What’s up my family and friends!!?? How is everyone doing?? First off day lo siento mucho porque me olvide el dia de los padres!! Pero feliz dia de los padres ha-ha. How was everybody's week?? Mine was pretty good! We had a pretty solid week and also had a lot of good times. To answer some questions that were asked, I will start with the BofM reading. No, sadly I did not finish.  I got really behind and stressed out with some things that popped up during the week so I decided to change my goal to two weeks and to have it done by this Friday night. I know, I’m a failure!  It was just too quick for me to accomplish at the time. And as for the baby bird he actually died, not sure how.  We just came home one day and he had just killed over in his "homemade nest" so that was lame. But yeah other than that, I am ready to have a great week and now to tell you about what happened.

Feeding our little bird
Okay to start, we have been working with 3 people or investigators this week and all three are doing pretty good. On Wednesday night we brought J** to our church and had a little church tour/lesson with the bishop there. It was a great lesson and he literally loved our "temple" he kept calling our church a temple.  He said he felt very welcomed and that when he can get time off of work he will for sure be stopping by for the services. He and the bishop clicked off really well so it was a perfect member to bring out for the tour. With J** and Y**, they are two sisters that both have no real beliefs in God or in anything really religious. We taught them separately on different occasions, but both lessons were similar and it was just establishing knowledge that there is a God and that he is here and cares for them. At first they were both sorta hard hearted towards the lesson, but towards the end they completely opened up and I could see the mental light switch turn on inside their heads. Y** had a great experience when she realized that her making an attempt at a prayer the previous day, to a God she didn't know existed, was the reason why we came knocking at her door randomly on a Saturday night. She was able to realize that God has already answered her with help and all she needs to do is commit herself to trying to learn more and speak to him daily through prayer. Sadly none of them were able to come to church due to "Father's day"plans, but I am praying really hard for this upcoming Sunday.
This week we also have been working with Hno B**, the Elder’s quorum president, and by visiting more and more LAs in the ward and in trying to reactivate a large part of the ward. It’s going to be a ridiculous amount of work, but I hope in the future the retention rate will be higher than it is now. On Saturday we were able to do yard work for J**, one of our recent converts in the area, by cleaning up her back yard.  She is the coolest person ever and she is the type of woman who has 2.9 billion things to do all at once and can never catch a break or sit down.  It reminds me of somebody I know ( mom) ha-ha. However, I know that she is under extreme amounts of stress and needs help so we went over and mowed her yard and cleaned up her place for her. I know she wasn't able to express it with words but I could tell how much the help meant to her and that is the best kind of reward is seeing burdens lifted off people’s shoulders.
Did he get transferred to Tahiti?
On Saturday, we had a ward Father’s Day picnic at Los Nietos Park and it was super fun! They had great food, music and all sorts of games for everybody to play. They even brought a rope to play tug a war against the missionaries. Ha-ha. All the missionaries are pretty big guys in the ward and so they felt it was necessary to dethrone us I guess.  They had like every member possible that they could pull against 8 missionaries. Ha-ha Sad to report that we barely lost :( (Ego bruised) But revenge will be sweet once I can hit the gym again! But it was a great break just kicking back throwing the football and having some fun.
Hand extended.  Where is the bride?
Last night we had a pretty rough night with no success and I was pretty low; however, we had a prompting to go by a LA named C** who lives at our apartment building. Not knowing why, but we went anyways and knocked on her door. She opened it and was all, “Sorry, it’s a really bad time...” We asked her if there was anything we could do to help her that night? She paused and was, “Do you have a hammer?” What??? “A hammer? What’s up?”  She then showed us how her ex BF had come by and broke down her door and broke the door frame and lock etc.  She was very sad and so we decided to go get a hammer and nails and fix the door the best we could until she could get it replaced. The reason I am telling this experience is because sometimes as missionaries, we feel that teaching every night is the only way to have success, but I learned last night that helping people with simple acts of kindness is a success and one of the best that we can do on a mission.
As for Elder B** and I, we are on our last week of this transfer and are pretty sure that one of us, if not both of us, is getting transferred outta here. Not sure what will happen, but whatever happens, happens I guess. Things are going great and I am super happy to be here! The work is hard and unbearable at times, but I always seem to find a way out of the funks and get back on my feet. Hope all is good back in the 801! Love you all a ton!!
Con mucho Carino

Elder Woffinden

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Great Baptism!

Love Temple Day!
Hey how’s it going everyone!? As you are all aware, this week was a temple week so hence why I am emailing on a Tuesday and not the usual Monday. It was super good to receive all your emails and support from home it truly means a lot and always is a big help for me to get through each passing week. Life here in So. Cal is for sure heating up! The temperatures are getting super-hot and it’s making me want to never go outside and do anything. Ha-ha  But duty calls! Elder B*** and I had a pretty good past week. It was like any other week that we have had here in Pico Rivera so I will try to keep this as short as possible.

So excited G** was baptised
To begin, we had a baptism this Sunday!! G** got baptized and I was so proud of his decision to join the church!!  I was surprised this week when he called us after a lesson at like 8:30 at night asking if he could stop by our apartment to talk for a bit. We agreed and decided to just talk outside by the common pool area. He said that he loved reading in the Book of Mormon and then invited us to his baptism! Sweet!  He asked me if I would do the initial ordinance of the baptism. Of course I accepted! I was honored when he asked me to baptize him. The baptism went great.  I did forget an extra white shirt to change into after getting drenched so I had to wear a wet shirt under my coat for all the pictures. Ha-ha. I hope you all enjoy the photos I will send home,
Great new member!
We had some small successes this week by finding more people to hear the gospel. We have added yet another "J**” to our teaching pool and he is a super chill dude! He keeps telling us that he wants to go inside our temples.  We found out later that he doesn't know the difference between a church and a temple so we set up a church tour for him tomorrow night with el obispo! He is very excited to feed his curiosity and actually see what a church looks like inside. Sadly, this week we had to cut out a lot of non-progressing people again since nobody will take the time to actually act upon what they learn from us.  It’s rare to get people who keep commitments faithfully out here. Our teaching pool is pretty small once again, but we have set up a new bap date for a new guy for July 26th! However he needs to stop smokin’ the refer so we have some work to do with him. However, he understands the scriptures perfectly since he used to be a JW so he is used to scripture studying and preaching etc. I shared with him my favorite chapter out of the BofM.  This is the story of Alma the Younger found in Mosiah 27 and he loved it! It struck home to him, and his summary of how he imagined the chapter was hilarious. You all had to of been there… sorry I can’t repeat half of what he said. So pray that we have success with the new investigators we have because the fruits are starting to dry up right now :) ha-ha

Driving in the car!
Also great news!! Elder B** and I are parents! Ha-ha We came home on Friday night to a couple of great surprises on our 3rd floor balcony. There were two baby birds that had fallen from the nest of the roof and were stuck wounded on the floor. One of the birds was about to die anyways and as we tried to help it, it died. We had to get rid of him, but we have a baby bird that we watch over in the night since the momma bird can’t bring him back in the nest since he is too big. So we fed the bird bread water and it was the craziest thing of my life. ha-ha I was woken up at 2 am by the screaming baby bird so I went out and fed it some more food. ha-ha There, now I am prepared for real parenting! What’s good is that we place him outside each day and the mom bird comes and feeds him so he won’t die so it looks like he will be just fine! Super random story I know, but it’s pretty funny! But the work is moving along well. I am not looking forward to the summer again here in Whittier since it gets hot as the Arabian desert!  I am continuing to hope and pray for success from the Lord and I see his hand each day in my life.

Jason's "Crib" - Nice to see the Laker's blanket is still around!
I have a goal this week for myself which I set last Friday. The goal is to strengthen my testimony in the BofM and to be better able to testify with more power and conviction.  I decided I was going to read the whole book in a week. So that's what I have been working on and it is hard! Tons of reading but I will let you all know next week if I made it or not.

Thanks for all your love and support for me each week! It’s pretty hard being away sometimes since you just want to start your life, but I know I am here for a reason and God will provide the way for me and for others in my life as well.  Nunca te des por vencido!

Con carino
Elder Woffinden

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Week of Birthdays!

Happy Birthday to a great friend!
Mi familia!! HEY!! How’s it going this week?? I was super thrilled to get your emails! It’s sad though my emails get less and less each week :( you all must have forgotten about me. Ha-ha jk. But yeah it was so good to go back to Ximeno last week! That area and the people I met, and taught there, will always have a huge impact on my life. I thank God every day for the relationships that have developed by my decision to serve him.

Elder B's Birthday Breakfast
Okay well this past week was a pretty good one! It was Elder B** bday on Wednesday so I treated him to a wonderful breakfast of pancakes (my favorite food) ha-ha that's all I had... but it was good! But as for this week it wasn't as successful and fun as the previous week but there was a lot of good and not so good moments. To begin we had to pass off our miracle find "G**" because he doesn't really speak or understand Spanish sadly... so we had to pass him off to the Single’s ward again. He WILL be baptized in the month of July for sure.  I have never seen someone with such desires to put away bad habits and to be born again through God.  We’re just here to do the work so in the end it doesn't really matter who does the baptizing just as long as they come unto Christ.

The crew!

Elder B**and I had another good week with finding more new investigators! We found V** by trying to visit a LA named C** who actually lives in our apartment complex. As we knocked on the door she assumed that is was her roommate and opened the door, but to her surprise it was two big white guys standing at her door.  She was shocked, but turned out to be very interested and allowed us to teach her. She brought up the BofM as one of her main questions and desired to know why we have it and what it is.  That's what we based our lesson on was the BofM and it went great! She really did seem interested and especially since C** her roommate was an ex missionary.  She also helped us teach, and even had a super bomb prayer at the end for us! Talk about miracles! We can get two birds with one stone.  Now we can reactivate a less active and hopefully convert her best friend, how sweet!

We found and taught J** last night (Sunday). She is a 25 year old woman that we found by knocking doors. She wasn't thrilled to see us, but she said that she won’t turn down anybody that comes by her door trying to do good so she would hear us out. We decided to just spend the majority of the lesson explaining how God is her father and he loves her and how she has been searching for signs to find God and we are here to answer her prayer. She explained how she has no idea who God is and if he really exists and really doesn't care too much about it. We were trying to dig deeper and deeper as to why she feels this way, and sure enough we found the problem. She has given up on prayer a long time ago because "God never responded back to her". Perfect! That was the window we were looking for! We had a great heart to heart for about 10-20 minutes on why we came out to serve God and on how we know he exists. I could tell this really struck home with her because she sort of sat there quietly and then said, "I will try the prayer thing again tonight, I promise!" WHOO!! You best believe I have been praying for God to answer her before our next visit on Wednesday. But both news we found are bomb!

Happy Birthday!
Okay now for some crazy things and funny moments of the week.  I want to share an experience we had with an investigator while we were teaching the first lesson.  So we taught this 18 year old girl outside on her porch since we couldn't go inside since there wasn't a man home.  After we explained the first vision and how God appeared to Joseph Smith, I could tell there was a spirit with us because I felt super good and so I decided to ask her how she felt.   I said, "How do you feel in this exact moment??" She paused and looked up at us and only said, "Well... my feet are cold!" .......clearly not the answer we were looking for, but it was super funny!  You had to of been there to think it was funny!!

Another crazy moment we had was when we had gotten home around 9 pm and we’re waiting by the elevator to go upstairs and this Middle Eastern man comes behind us and says hello and follows us in the elevator. He then asks, "Are you Mormons?” and we respond "yup". At that moment we get to the level we want to exit and he closes the door and stands in front of the door blocking us from leaving. We were both like.. are you kidding?? Then he just starts grilling us with "anti" material and how we are all wrong and going to hell, etc.  He told us that he has died "seven" times and has had Jesus tell him that what we teach is false and that there is no such thing as prophets and revelation. By this time honestly, I am pissed! I am tired and have been walking all day and the last thing I need is to get yelled at in a small elevator by some tiny little man that reeks like beer. So we are all, “Sir, please move we don't want to argue with you at this moment” and he doesn't move.  I am just boiling inside and am all okay well you don't believe that Christ’s church has apostles or prophets? Go right now and look up Amos 3: 7 and Ephesians 2: 19-20 for me and then we’ll talk at a more convenient and professional time. Then we walked out. Ha-ha.

The service master!
But I am doing great overall, the work is moving along and I am learning more each passing week! I also got a car today since my back has just been getting more and more severe each week so no more 40 minute walks home for us.  Whoo!! I love and miss you all so much! Thanks again for all you do and have done for me! Hope you have an amazing week full of many blessings and success!!

Hasta luego y recuerda que nunca te des por vencido!!

Elder Woffinden

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sweet Baptism in Ximeno Branch

What a great new member!
My family!!! WHATS UP?? How’s it going this week?? I am always so happy to read your emails and hear how things are going back in the good old SLC! Sounds like everyone has been and is doing very well. I had an amazing week and will try to sum it up as best as I can and in this short time because I don’t want to be emailing for 6 hours. Ha-ha.

Baptism of J** in Ximeno branch!
So great news!!! My investigator from Ximeno J** got baptized yesterday and I got called down to come and watch the service and take some photos!  When I found out she had accepted to be baptized 2 weeks ago words cannot describe the amount of joy that passed through me! I was past words and I am so grateful to God for allowing me to be a part of her life and to witness her make one of the best decisions of her life.

Besides the baptism, this week was one of the best weeks of my mission, Elder B** and I had found 9 new investigators and have been teaching so many more lessons than we have been in a really long time. But the best part is that the people we have been finding are past solid! I know for a fact they will be baptized. And speaking of baptisms, G** will be baptized on June 14th! Whoo!

Fun to see all the members of Ximeno branch 
So with all these investigators we found there is a good back story. To begin, I was on exchanges with Elder W** who is our district leader here in Pico. He came to my area with me and not to brag, but I was his first exchange he has been on as a DL. Ha-ha  It was fantastic! We found 6 new people together and found two people who will be progressing to baptism very soon.  Two separate people and J**’s family we will hopefully pick up tomorrow when we pass by.  The story with G** started when we stopped by to see if C** was home from school. To our surprise there was this huge man sitting outside on a blanket with a little baby on it and all I could think of was this dude is a cholo for sure! Ha-ha He is a pretty intimidating guy, but what happened with him was truly shocking. So we contacted him and started to just talk about life and all these other sorts of random questions and then of course the religious questions pop up now and we were more than prepared for them. Ha-ha Long story short, he told us how his life was full of drugs and problems before and how he never knew who God really was, but he has been dying to find him and to change his life around. He has never really been to church, but told us that he feels it’s time to change and to be spiritually reborn! And how do we become spiritually reborn? Through el bautismo! So we committed him right there and then to be spiritually reborn and to feel closer to God by learning about him from us. He accepted a baptism date for the 21st de Junio!!   He even told his mom about how happy and excited he was and how he knows that it was the right thing to do because of how happy and peaceful he felt as we were talking and especially as he gave his first prayer ever in his life!! It was amazing and we were both shocked how fast God had placed people into our path.

The famous Signal Hill with Elder B
So fast forward to 6 pm. We had just gotten out of dinner and we went to the park to go contacting. Both Elder W** and I love basketball and so we started to watch all these guys play basketball on the outside courts. On one of the courts we saw three guys playing ball alone and we just looked at each other with the grin of grins and were all, "Oh yeah game on!" ha-ha. Long story short, we challenged them to a game of 3 on 2 and if we beat them we get to teach them.   If we lose, we never talk to them again. Ha-ha. They agreed and yup game set and match. It was a quick game to 15 by 1's and we just pounded them. Ha-ha. They begged for a rematch to 11 which we agreed and beat them again ha-ha. So by their word we taught them all dripping in sweat in proselyting clothes with my tie all stretched out and our shirts were black from the ball and ground etc.  So we picked up 2 more new investigators! They actually really turned out to like what we said and became pretty interested. Sadly, they don’t live in my area so we had to refer them off.  God will continue to help his work progress! Long day and a tiring one, but it was great! Elder W** is awesome and if his family ever reads this email or finds out about this exchange I just want them to let them know that their son is a fantastic missionary and he truly knows how to work hard and “Ball Up”!! Ha-ha

Service at the food bank!
So the work is moving along, C** dropped her date again, but we will continue to help everyone here to progress the best that we can! Elder B** and I are doing great together and are hoping to finish this transfer strong and to have more success than we have ever had. That only comes with the price of hard work and submitting your time and talents to the Lord and I know I have really struggled with this on my mission, but all we can do is get up dust ourselves off and keep pushing through!

You all are the best! Everybody who reads this just know how much I miss you all and can’t wait to see you again! Que Dios los bendiga a todos en sus vidas!!

Con mucho carino
Elder Woffinden