Monday, December 28, 2015

The Last Email of 2015

We had a great experience with this family at the LA Temple.
Hello everyone! Happy holidays!! It was such a good experience to Skype and see you all on Christmas Day. It's weird to think that my mission is coming to a close soon, however I still have some time left so I need to keep the work up! And speaking of the work, we have been having a fair amount of it here and I have seen a lot of good come from all the prayers, fasting and determination of missionary work.

A** is doing awesome! She told us that she has been a little busy, but she asked if she could extend her baptismal date to the 23rd of January because she wants more time to come to church and to keep learning before she takes that step. We will be having a church tour with her tonight at 7 pm, so please keep her in your prayers that all will go well. She said she knows what we are saying is something she wants in life, and that she wants to have us teach her youngest son's father (they're not married) the gospel so that maybe they could get married and live together. That would be awesome!

J and family at the LA Visitor's Center.
J**, X** and their family are also doing great! We had four of the five members of the family come to church yesterday!! It was their first time attending church,so obviously a new experience for them, however they enjoyed it and were able to see this isn't a white-member-only church. One of the speakers was a Hispanic woman who doesn't speak a whole lot of English, but she gave her talk in English and it was great!! We had a lot of fellowshippers swarm them after the meeting so hopefully they will become life long friends in the end. We went to the temple with them on Wednesday night as well and they thought it was amazing! "Un castillo!!" (a castle) in their own words. The tour went very well and they want to go again. They even told the sister missionaries there that baptism is on their minds and they are strongly considering it, so I hope they will keep working for their date on Jan 17th!

Christmas was great!! We were able to just hang out and play sports and watch "The Other Side of Heaven" at the Stake Center, then we Skyped. On December 24th and 25th we went caroling in the evenings as a district and it was super fun! We even found some really good potentials for the sisters in our district just by knocking on random doors and singing to them, haha, so it was a big success!

Elder M peeking at the presents under our tree.
The rest of our work is sort of slow, mostly one and done lessons, but we are trying to find more and more people. We have been doing really well however, and I am super happy and love it here in Huntington Beach!! We had 5 people at church yesterday so it was a major highlight of the week for sure.

I love you all and I pray for your safety and success! Gracias por todo!!

Con mucho carino

Elder Woffinden

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas-the Best Time of the Year!

Feliz Navidad from the LA Temple Visitor's Center.

Feliz Navidad mi familia!! Como estan?? What's up everyone?? Sorry it's such a late email... the MYlds software was down for a while, so nobody could email for the longest time. To be honest, this email isn't going to be very long since I will be Skyping home on Friday!!  I am super excited to see you all! I am grateful for all the Christmas packages and emails I have received! Thanks again.

My "Christmas Tree of Hands" from my family.
I am excited for the holiday season!! I can't believe it is going to be my final Christmas out on the mission... it's crazy, and also very sad! I want to make it the best one yet, so I have made plans with the district to do a "Secret Santa" for a family this year but, it's sorta hard to find good candidates since everyone is super well off here. The people whom we teach or see have all their trees, lights, and gifts, so it would be lame to give them more, but who knows, we will find somebody to go by I hope! This week we are going to go caroling again on la Noche Buena and la Navidad, so I am really looking forward to that. It was so much fun last year!

"Christmas Hands" tree - all decorated,
I forgot to mention last week that Elder P** did get transferred and now Elder M** is going to be the missionary who gets to "kill" me out here. He is 19 years old and comes from Boise, ID. He is a super cool guy.  He has been out 14 months and speaks really good Spanish, I mean really good, it's impressive. I am going to be learning from him then, haha.

Going to the LA Temple in a member's RV!
We had a great week and have been finding more and more investigators by using the new Christmas initiative, "A Savior is Born". We have seen a lot of progress in some investigators, but since elders W** and G** also came down here to Huntington Beach, the Zone was split and we lost many of our investigators and all of our less actives that we knew and taught. So to be honest, that has been a hard adjustment. The wards are different as well. I am just trying my best to mesh and get to know people like I did in the south of HB.

A** still hasn't come to church. That is a huge problem we have. She loves learning from us and is down to read and pray, but going to church always seems to be the main problem for our investigators. We have plans to stop by her house tonight with a super awesome member to help her get more fellowshipped and hopefully increase the odds of her coming out to church. Literally, all I want for Christmas is for her to be baptized before I go home, haha, If that happens, (which it will), I will be beyond happy and content with my mission. We have a lot of work to do especially since we're in a part of HB I'm not too familiar with, so pray that it all goes well!
Ja and Elder S

I can't wait to see you all this week! I hope everything goes great and that you all have a great holiday season! Thanks again for everything!!

Les quiero tanto!

Elder Woffinden

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Visit to the LA Visitor's Center

Investigators at the Despedida.

Hey how’s it going my beloved family and friends!!  Well Christmas is practically here and it looks like I am going to be spending my last Christmas here in HB! Whoo, pretty stoked about that. I have been preparing myself and our apartment is all decked out with lights and the small little tree so don’t be jealous now :) It has been freezing here however! And yesssss.... I know you got destroyed with snow today; however it has been raining a good amount here.  But, it is good to hear from you all again.

At LA Temple with Elder P.
This past week was a fantastic week for us for many reasons, but the main one is that we had A** go to the LA Visitor’s Center! On Thursday night we left HB at about 5 and got to the temple at about 6:30 due to traffic.  As we left her house, we noticed that the member we had driving us showed up in a huge 35 foot RV that barely fit down the narrow streets. Ha-ha All of us, and her little kids loaded up into the huge RV and took the challenge of the 1.5 hour LA traffic.  It was awesome!  We about died like two times, but in the end, we made it there.  We had the Sister missionaries give us the tour and help teach her about the Church. She loved all the lights and Christmas decorations and we are looking forward to her
getting baptized the first week of January!  Please, please keep her and her daughters in your prayers.
At the LA Visitor's Center.

She was also able to go with us to the departing fireside last night and she thought it was super cool to see literally hundreds of missionaries in one sitting. Ha-ha.

As for the rest of the work, we have six investigators with baptism dates and A**, J**,  X** and A** are the most likely people to get baptized in the upcoming weeks. We dropped P** on Thursday sadly. She didn’t show up to the temple tour and it was just a big giant mess.  So maybe it’s just not her time, but I have tried for the past two months to get her to progress and she never has. The Lord always provides a way, and it was provided last night by our temple trip with A** and by finding more new people to teach.  As I look back over the length of my mission, I am so happy for all the hard work and great and wonderful people I have been able to meet, teach, and love.

Thanks again mom and dad for the Christmas package!! I am really grateful and excited to give out the little gifts to kids and I already passed out the Nativity books to the elderly ladies…so it was a big success! Tomorrow night I am looking forward to reading the Christmas story in Luke 2 and then giving the Nativity gifts you gave me to Akari and her family!  I feel it is the right decision and I know they will love them.

This past week I have been thinking a lot about the Christmas season and as to how selfish and
A Christmas package from home--yay!
spoiled I always have been and just mankind in general for always wanting and getting and never truly living or loving. As I took the word CHRISTMAS, I thought of how we never really focus on the CHRIST part only the MAS part which means “more” in Spanish.  We are always wanting more as human beings and are never really happy.  If we decide what truly is important and start focusing on the CHRIST rather than the MAS, I can promise a huge change in your spirits this Christmas season.

Well that’s about it for me here this week.  Oh I almost forgot, as we were heading home from LA on Thursday I got called to be a district leader here in HB... so yeah that's how I'm going to end the mission.  I'm pretty excited, but also was shocked at the same time.

Transfers--saying goodbye.
Thanks again for all you do! Love you all and be safe in all that snow!!

Love Elder Woffinden

Friday, December 11, 2015

Happy Holidays!

Wishing I was there right now!
 Hey everyone!! Happy Holidays!  I still can’t believe that Christmas is just around the corner and the New Year. My companion and I have been jamming to Christmas tunes since Halloween so we're pretty stoked about it.  Ha-ha. I am most excited to carol again like last year. I know it’s not going to be the same since last year was the glory times and it was just us eight Spanish Elders, but I am hopeful for a good holiday week.  It sounds like this past week was a good one especially with all the Savior of the World performances that you were able to participate in. That’s pretty cool!  We were only able to watch a little bit of the devotional last night because technically we aren’t "supposed" to watch it until our Zone Conference in a couple weeks.  However, at our dinner appointment last night they had it on in their home so there was nothing we could do.

Christmas in HB
Yesterday was a super long day for me honestly and also this past week was long.   We didn’t teach nearly as much, but we still had some success.  We are going to the LA Visitor’s Center this Thursday twice. One investigator at 10 am and another at 5 pm!!  It’s going to be awesome and I have fasted and prayed for this opportunity because the odds of them taking the necessary steps towards baptism are so much higher when they attend. So I ask you all to please pray for this day to happen and for their hearts to be touched by the spirit while going. We really have great potential here in HB with our investigators A** and P** and her two daughters and a couple of families we have been teaching. The members here have helped out a ton with the work and fellowshipping.  I can truly say that it has been the game changer for us in helping keep appointments and in actually teaching them. On Friday, I was on exchanges with elder G** and we had some super good lessons with our investigators Jorje y socji and Martina y Alfredo! I felt bad for Elder G** considering he is pretty "white washed" and speaks no Spanish even with his last name and family all being Hispanic.  One of my investigators just attacked him for it (jokingly of course), but I felt super bad. However, he is a great missionary and is super new in the mission, and I still could say I learned new things from him. That’s what is great about serving with so many missionaries because no matter how old or young in the mission you can always learn tips and advice that will benefit you for the mission and for life.

Snow in HB?? Don't think so!
I had a great experience yesterday during Fast and Testimony meeting in the Pleasant View Ward.  Akari’s mom got up and bore her testimony and since I translate in the back I was super excited because I thought she was going to give it in Spanish. She did it in her broken English and it was amazing!  She expressed all her love for us and the members for teaching her "little princess" and just how grateful she was for all that she has. The spirit was so strong and I just couldn’t help but go up a little after her and bear my testimony in English. Midway through, I thanked her in Spanish and told her how much she, her daughter and family have changed my life and how much I love that family.  As I was speaking, I looked at her in the audience sitting with her family and tears in her eyes and it was just such a great feeling to know how the mission really has not only brought me closer to God, but also to my fellow brothers and sisters.  There is so much love you can gain for others by serving them and actually caring for them. I will never forget that moment.

To close, we had the Seapoint Christmas party/breakfast at the Church on Saturday and Santa came! Santa and I are super good friends :) and he hinted that I don’t need anything for Christmas but a plane ticket. Hahaha.  Super funny!

Giving Santa his "wish" list!
It was just an ordinary week here and everything is still going good! Just trying to make the best of the time I have left. I am going on exchanges tonight with a missionary whose area hasn’t found a new investigator this whole transfer so I am determined to find with them and help the area to get some success! Super excited for that. Thank you all for all the love and time you put in to supporting me out here! I really appreciate it… thanks so much!

Love you all. Que Dios les bendiga esta estacion de la navidad!

Elder Woffinden

Monday, December 7, 2015

We had a great Thanksgiving, and are now looking forward to Christmas!

The Huntington Beach District at the Newport Beach Temple.

Hey everyone, happy almost Christmas! It’s December 1 and I am so excited. I love this month! The GREATEST moments of my mission came around this time last year. I am so ready for the opportunity I have to hopefully spend Christmas here in Huntington Beach. Last year I remember doing a Sub for Santa for a very poor Hispanic woman in the ward who couldn't provide anything for her two girls, and when we showed up with a small tree, gifts and treats, she just broke down in tears as we sang to her. That was one of the happiest moments of my life, and I am hoping for more moments like that this Christmas season. 

As for today to start December we went to the Newport Beach Temple! It was amazing as usual,
Doing a little service at the temple.
probably one of my favorite temples. I honestly love the Los Angeles Temple, but it’s HUGE! But, Newport is small and only by reservation for a session so it’s pretty cool. We took some good photos I will be sending home soon. Thanksgiving was also a great event that I will talk more about shortly. 

Okay, well this week in HB was a super good one! From Thanksgiving to the temple and to setting 5 new baptismal dates, we really love the work right now. Our teaching pool is pretty good here and we are teaching from 20 to 25 lessons a week. We also have been doing some good less-active work here by spicing up the lessons with games or fun visual aides to get more participation and to help people learn visually rather than just verbally. We have the following investigators with a baptismal date which I would ask for each of your thoughts and prayers on their behalf: Patricia, Luis, Elsie, Amelia, and Maria. Elder Passey and I did a lot of exchanges this past week and will continue to have them since there are 16 people in our district, all English and we are the only Spanish speaking missionaries in all of HB. 

Teaching the Plan of Salvation in chalk art at Mile Square Park.
Jorje and Socji are a super awesome couple that we are teaching and I can really see them progressing this upcoming month! We had a great lesson last night where we shared the church’s new Christmas initiative, #asaviorisborn. It was great. Every time they see me they always yell, “ahhh alli viene Wolfy!” Haha, I love it. Amelia is a former investigator that we picked up from when she received the lessons over two years ago. We had a solid lesson with her and she brought up the Restoration and we were not even talking about it. She offered to pray for the truth right there on the spot. Her prayer was so good I about swallowed my tie! She accepted to be baptized on December 27th! 

Okay, I sent home like 300 million photos so I’m sorry, but a lot happened this week. As you can see
The spirits in the Spirit World kind of look like Pac Man.
from a lot of the photos, elders Passey, Garcia, Hobson and me went to a major park called Mile Square Park to do some "chalk art" on the Plan of Salvation, haha. It was hilarious! There were so many bikers and runners and random people coming up to us wondering what the heck we were doing as we chalked the Plan of Salvation on the ground. It took up 10 sidewalk squares so it was probably 30 feet long, haha, and it took a pretty good minute to do! It was a ton of fun and a great way to contact until..... the Park Ranger came. Yeah, no bueno. He lost his cans at us and especially me since I had chalk in my hand, haha. He was yelling, "This is vandalism! It’s a felony,” and freaking out. He was yelling, “Are you Mormons selling anything?” Haha! Man, good times. Sadly, he kicked us out of the park, but since it was a weekend he couldn’t power wash it off until Monday, so it sat there for three days :) haha, God, 1; cranky dude, 0. 

Thanksgiving here was great. Elders Rhodes, Ugbamen and us all had two dinners one right after the
Thanksgiving dinner with the Phillips family.
other. So, you can imagine, I felt like the Good Year Blimp that I always see floating around here in HB. But, whatever. We ate with the Phillips family in the Sea Point Ward and also with the Araceli family, recent converts here in the Beachside Ward. It was great food and a lot of fun since we had nothing to do all day but eat and eat. I am super depressed about how HB has just destroyed my physique, haha, but I can see the light ahead and it says, Golds Gym (or whatever they call it now), so I’m pretty happy about that! 

Well, that’s it for me :) I love you all, and I can’t wait to hear from you all next week!! 


Elder Woffinden