Pie in the face!! It was quite fun. :) Also...very delicious! It actually wasn`t pie, just frosting. However, the people sure loved shoving it in our faces!!!
Thursday, October 3, 2013
Well...can you all believe it?? Two years is going to be up in just one more week!! I don`t know whether I should be happy or sad...this time has gone by so quickly it`s amazing. At the same time, I feel that I`ve had enough experiences to last me for a lifetime of reflection! Hopefully I can always remember the good times here in the best mission in the world: La Mision Peru Piura.
So this past week was pretty crazy!! We had interviews with the zones, and I even had my enterview with President! When we have interviews, we also have to review the Area Books, so Elder Muralles and I had that responsability. It sure was eye opening! It seems like the mission is getting a lot better at things, but there are still some things that we could be doing a LOT better.
My interview with President was amazing. I am so grateful for him. I think that one of my weaknesses is not being able to recognize the good that I really do. President told me like three or four times in 15 minutes how much he appreciated me and that he had learned a lot from me. From ME? Kinda weird to think of someone like President Rowley learning so much from a 21 year old boy. However, I really appreciated his words. I know that he really means it. I feel that I have given it my all. President has shown me that I really can do it. I really can be a leader in the mission and help the missionaries become better representatives of Jesus Christ.
As for our area, it`s been pretty crazy! This week we had an activity where the stake brought in all 26 missionaries and some of the future missionaries to our area and one other to go contacting because those two wards haven`t been doing so great. Haha...the elders come up to us after and said, Elder Schofield and Elder Muralles! Your area sure is tough, isn`t it?
We just smiled and laughed. It has been a challenge, but I`ve learned to have faith in the Lord, and He has provided the way.
As for our couple that we`re teaching, things are going great! Gabriel and Diana have really opened up to us. They`re reading the Book of Mormon, the pamphlets we leave them, and they`ve started to pray together! We`re really excited about that! This week we were even able to take the bishop with us on a visit! The bishop and his wife did AMAZING, and hit it off with them! It was really great to see that. :)
On Saturday we had a huge ward activity called `Feria de la Vida` where all the organizations had responsabilities. It turned out fantastic! Gabriel and Diana came, and the ward members were super great with them! I think that they are going to progress a lot. If they do decide to follow what we`re teaching, I have the feeling that they`re going to be some great converts to the church.
Now, this week is going to go by SUPER FAST, and I`ll tell you why.
Right here is my schedule:
Tuesday: Leadership council meeting until 4 PM
Wednesday: First 5 Weeks Training Meeting until 3 PM
Thursday: Zone Meeting until 2 PM, and then I go to Talara on a work visit until....
Friday: 4 PM I get back to Piura
Saturday: General Conference, the new assistant arrives, and we do the transfers!
Sunday: More General Conference, and finish transfers!!!
So, as you can see, I get the privilege of working until the very last day. :) I`m actually very grateful for that, because it won`t be too hard at all to stay focused on what I am doing.
Being Assistant to the President has been a blessing. I`m not going to lie, I NEVER desired to be here. I never wanted to be in the office. It was always my desire to be out working, and trying to help people get baptised and remain active. However, I know that God put me here for a reason, and I`ve come to understand that my role is very important. We have to motivate the missionaries. We have to inspire them to be better. If I can help a missionary to become better, who knows how many lives he will touch afterwards? I hope and pray that I can somehow help this mission to progress...help this work to really roll forward.
I know that God lives. This is His work and it will never end until His Son comes again. I`m grateful to have been a part of it. I`m grateful that I still am a part of it! Peru has been amazing. I love it so much here! The people are amazing nice, and I will always have a huge piece of my heart here!
I love you all so much! I`m grateful for all your prayers and support. I hope that this last week can be the best one yet!!!
See you soon!!!!!
So this week was a great week because of a few mini miracles that happened! We found someone to teach! These past couple of weeks have been a bit tough because we couldn`t find many people to teach, but now we have a couple to teach and they`re even progressing!
So on Tuesday we had a work visit with Elder Barreno, and we began knocking doors because we really do need more people to teach. That was when we knocked the door of Gabriel and Diana.
When we first got in, Gabriel wanted to talk to us alone, but then he invited Diana to join us. That was when a huge can of worms opened up...Diana is one of those people that has a TON of questions, and she seems to be a bit against the church...but that`s pretty understandable. Within the first two minutes she explained to us why, of course! Her little sister is a member, and she`s been a member for quite some time! She was dating a member who went on a mission! When he came home, they kept going out until he got her pregnant!! Then he dumps her...without them getting married, just leaving her with the baby.
Obviously, Diana was a bit upset about that! It`s kinda difficult for her to see past that, but I totally understand. As Elder Barreno and I tried to teach about the prophets and apostasy, I felt like I was literally fighting against some sort of spirit. It took all of my strength to not get upset and just explain things very understandably and directly.
After the first visit, they didn`t really want to set up a time for another one, they just said to come by. Well, we went back and got to teach them again! It was another battle...this time explaining about Joseph Smith and the restoration, but the best part is that they`re beginning to understand! They understand the message that we`re delivering, which is actually kinda tough to do here in Peru.
Although we have to kind of battle in order to help this couple progress because of their many questions and the problems that they`ve had, it has been a blessing in my life. I feel that God has blessed us with this couple so that we can show how committed we are to helping these people come unto Christ.
My whole mission has been a battle. I have found that my spirit can never be overcome. In those moments when people are deciding to shut down, to tell us no, I fight more than ever before. I know without a shadow of a doubt that this message is TRUE. The gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way that we can return to our Heavenly Father, and this is the only true church on the face of the planet that has the true gospel. I know it. I testify of that every single day here in the mission field.
Some days are harder than others. There are a lot of things that we must battle. In our ward, we`ve been working hard to motivate our leaders, which has been quite the battle in and of its own! I can`t tell you how much I would love to have just one Ward Council meeting. We try hard...and we`re working to motivate the members to be more friendly.
Another one of God`s tender mercies happened to us this Sunday. Last week we visited Brother Aulestia who was bishop and just recently got released. He`s been having a tough time lately due to some of the rumors about him. However, in our visit we were able to motivate him and help him to see that he really is important. On Sunday he taught Priesthood and man, did he teach an amazing lesson! I could feel the power of it all, and I know that he put in a lot of effort preparing for it.
After the lesson he came up to us and said, `Thank you elders for your visit. I really needed it.` I don`t think that there is anything else in the world that I would rather hear, especially when it comes from the heart.
We work SO HARD. We try our very best, and sometimes all we get are two small sentences like that in return...but the reward really comes from knowing that we were able to do God`s will, and that it has helped someone else to progress.
I love this work. It`s the hardest thing in the world. It beats you up, chews you to pieces, and then expects you to just keep on going. However, it is amazing. I hope that it never comes to an end. I will always be the Lord`s valiant servant.
Love you all! Have a great week!
Well, that`s right! I took my last and final trip to Tumbes!! What great times...a LOT of memories, some of them good, some of them...interesting.
This trip was VERY interesting...
First of all, we got to travel with President and Sister Rowley! 5 full hours with them in the car! I definitely got to know them a lot better, and I can tell that President is a lot like you, Dad! Haha, it was pretty funny because we were driving basically on the beach so we could see the water, and out of the blue President just pulls the car over and says, `Look for a whale! There should be some whales in that water!!!` It reminded me of something that Dad would do. :)
However, I learned a lot in that trip...it was cool as well because we listened to a Mission President`s Seminar talk by President Monson. It made me see the other side of the mission...that of being mission president. Is it possible that maybe someday I could be mission president? I hope not! At the same time...it would be an incredible opportunity to serve the Lord. However, I learned in this trip that the mission presidents have a lot of the same fears that we do in the beginning, not knowing how to do things, and that the prophets are always there to give the best sort of advice!
Once we got to Tumbes we had a special treat! We got to eat in a Restaurant! The first time in two years! Very interesting...but then we went with the ZL`s to sleep.
That work visit started off with a BANG! Well...almost. ;)
Without giving a LOT of details...when we left our room at 10 in the morning, broad daylight, we witnessed a robbing!!! What a great experience...but something that I would have preferred to not see. We just had to hurry along because there really wasn`t anything we could do! But who would have known that an even stranger experience was waiting for us??
So as we get super close to the taxis that would take us to a district meeting we have, a white guy stops and asks us, in English, `hey, can I talk to you guys for a minute?` Mostly, I was just freaked out to see an american there speaking perfect English, so I said sure...big mistake!!
So he goes off...explaining about all these weird theories he has, one of which had to do with the right to bear arms. He said that if only a few people had the right to bear arms, wouldn`t we feel threatened by those that did have weapons? Of course! So we ALL have to have the right to have them! Then he tried to apply that to Nuclear Bombs...apparrently the States shouldn`t mess with the middle east because they should be able to have Nuclear Bombs like all the rest of us! It`s the same principle! (I think he`s crazy, what about you?)
But that wasn`t the craziest...somehow we started to talk about religion and Christ, and we mentioned the fact that we do believe that He was resurrected. He denies that, saying that 1 in a billion can be perfect like Christ and can have His powers. Then he said the craziest thing I`ve ever heard in my life, and he was very serious, he said `I am the new Christ. I have come to save mankind, but if they don`t help me and don`t believe in me, then I will curse you. There is hunger, there is disease, everywhere I go people feel my wrath, because they don`t believe in me and don`t help me.`
I never thought that I would see that prophecy fulfilled...but there really are false Christs out there!
The best part of that experience is that I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, that it was a lie. The spirit was NOT with him when he said that. I know without any doubt in my heart that Christ really LIVES. He died on the cross and rose up on the third day. He is now directing this church through prophets and apostles. Every time I bare my testimony of this, I can feel the spirit witnessing it to my investigators. This man had no spirit to back him up, because it was a blatant lie.
So...that made for a VERY interesting morning!
The next day we went with the LZ`s in Puyango, which is also Tumbes. However, that wasn`t as exciting because I ended spending the whole day with Elder Henriquez, who was very sick! He has parasites, so he was in and out of the bathroom all day!
It gave me a LOT of time to think...which was good and bad. I thought about all the many experiences that I`ve had on the mission and the amazing change that I`ve felt going on within me. I am not the same that I was before. It has been quite a journey, and these last couple of weeks will continue to be that way.
Anyway...I don`t have a lot of time, but I did want to mention one thing more! This last weekend was a special stake conference! They did it from Utah, and Elder Bednar and Elder Scott talked to all of Peru!!! It was AWESOME because they were SO direct and really know what peru needs.
Two items: Repentance and Respecting women. RIGHT TO THE HEART.
It was pretty amazing, and the spirit was super strong.
Anyway...I have to go because President is waiting for us!
Love you all so much! I hope that you`re all getting ready for conference!!! It`s going to be amazing to listen to the prophets and apostles of our day again!!!
This was quite a week! There was a lot to be done, and just a whole bunch of things came about. However, it really was a rewarding week where I was able to reflect and grow spiritually. It`s funny how after 23 months in the mission, I can still continue to feel inadequate and still learn how to humble myself and really have one of those `mighty change of heart` moments.
This week started with Leadership Council. It has to be one of my favorite meetings in the whole mission. Every month we get together and discuss how the mission is going. The zone leaders come together with the newly assigned `Sister Training Leaders` and we discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the mission. Then the assistants and President give a little training.
This week we talked about Nephi. President sat down and had us read a bunch of scriptures about Nephi`s life. It really was a great experience, and it reminded me a bunch of just a regular old FHE: The spirit was super strong as we discussed the qualities Nephi learned to use in order to do God`s work. It really made me think a lot about the type of missionary that I am and the type of man I am becoming. I hope to be more like Nephi.
After that training, we had two meetings with the District Leaders. It was kind of fun to do that because I ended up getting to see almost all of the elders from my group! It`s cool to see how far we`ve all come, and where we`ve ended up. Some of us have really grown and progressed while others really haven`t changed a whole lot. I think that has to do with our desires and how we`ve used our time here in the mission.
This weekend was definitely a challenge for me. Our area is honestly not going well. For the first time in my ENTIRE mission, we only have 2 investigators. Well...if we`re really honest here, there isn`t even one because these two are IMPOSSIBLE to find at home, and one of them goes to Trujillo every weekend so he simply can`t attend church. So, that leaves us at ZERO new investigators.
We`ve been working hard to find new people to teach. We talk with people in the street. We`ve looked for every person on the ward list, but we simply can`t find people! We feel that the members don`t have a whole lot of confidence in us because we simply haven`t been able to make it to things on time due to meetings we`ve had with President Rowley.
We`ve been stuck.
So...I guess all of these things just really hit me. I felt inadequate. I felt unworthy to be assistant because shouldn`t I be an example to the other elders? How can I tell them how to find new investigators if I can`t do it?
Thankfully, my companion is amazing. :) God knows exactly why Elder Muralles is my companion. At times, I have to show a lot of patience with him, but he truly has become one of my absolute best friends. As I was talking to him about all this and how I was feeling, he simply listened and just helped me to recognize that everything would be ok.
Sunday was a great turning point. I went to church more humble than ever before. God really helped me to feel his love. The talks seemed to be directed to me, and i could just feel how much He cared for me.
In the afternoon, I sat down and began reading one of my favorite talks `The Fourth Missionary.` It really focuses on being a missionary that submits himself to God`s will. If a missionary chooses to live the law of consecration, he will grow, change, and become a better person. If not...he will not gain any sort of benefit from his mission. The third missionary serves well and has a lot of success, but he holds part of himself back, which causes him to lose the benefits. The fourth missionary gives his WHOLE heart, and receives a very real change in himself in return.
After reading that talk, I knelt down and offered one of the most fervent prayers I`ve ever prayed before. I promised God that with these last few weeks I have left, I will do whatever He would have me do. I don`t remember all of the words that I spoke, but I felt a warm feeling invade me heart and mind, and feeling of peace and the drive to do more, to be more, and to really give it my all.
Sunday afternoon was different. :) We found a new investigator! :) He`s been waiting for this message, and I have a good feeling about him. We worked hard and I feel rejuvenated, and ready to go to work!
Well...as time is winding down...I`m going to up the effort. I must give it my all, or my offering really isn`t valid. If Christ had only been 99 percent obedient, would His sacrifice be sufficient to pay for the sins of all mankind? No. That 1 percent is important. If we are to give an offering to the Lord, 100 percent is required. Nothing more can be given, because it`s ALL we have. Nothing less is sufficient.
I have a testimony of missionary work. It`s the hardest work in the world. There is no success in missionary work if we try to do it ourselves. We have to recognize that it is God`s work and that it will progress only if we choose to turn ourselves over to Him. I have seen His hands pushing this work forward. Without hope, without faith, nothing can be achieved. However, if we can find a way to cultivate that hope and grow our faith, miracles will occur.
I love you all and hope that you all can strive to learn the same things I am here in the mission field. Turn yourselves over to God. If you do so, you will find that He will change your very heart and soul. You will be happier than ever before and will have the hope and faith that you`ve been looking for.
So....this week simply FLEW by! There was so much to be done, and just so much to think about that I can`t even put it all together in my head. Monday was CRAZY because we had to send so many elders home! If that was bad, Tuesday was even worse!! We got to receive 24 new elders here in the mission! It was pretty crazy seeing them get off the plane. Seriously, it made me think a lot about when we all got here, 21 of us!
A lot of the new elders are northamericans too. Haha, it`s pretty funny to see these 18 year olds getting here. They`re just so YOUNG! A lot of them really don`t know what`s ahead of them. It`s kinda funny. I feel like the old, experienced one. I also feel like some of them are a little immature...their companions are going to have to help them out a bit.
Tuesday morning we had the changes, and then the new elders received a training meeting. After that we went for a walk just to get outside for a while. At night we were just here in the office together. That was an interesting experience...all of the new elders were telling me about the states, about the music, videos, and some other things. I felt really weird hearing about it all. The strangest part about it was that I don`t care about any of that! It got a lot more interesting when I just changed the subject to missionary work. We started talking about what the culture is like here and what they`re going to need to do to help the work progress.
Being a missionary is the best thing in the world. For those of you that worry about missing out on the music, movies, or the other things of the world, just forget about it! There`s nothing else more amazing than being a part of God`s work. In fact, it`s actually a lot better being able to drown out the world with MOTAB and the scriptures. The spirit is so strong in the work it`s incredible!
On Wednesday we had our full day training meeting, which was quite fun! The last change when we did it, President couldn`t be there due to the death of Elder Litano, so this time it was a lot different! The spirit was super strong as President explained what he expected of us as missionaries and what the Lord expects. I love the was he uses scriptures to teach us. He lets God say it instead of trying to take the credit himself. I`ve tried very hard to do the same thing. Anyway, the training meeting lasted almost all day, and then we got the new elders sent off to their areas!
As for our area...we`re doing ok. Ok, maybe we`re not doing super great. It`s the first time in my entire mission that I have really struggled to find new people to teach. This area is very different! This week we had to work super hard, talking to everyone we could see, trying to visit the less actives to teach their friends and family members, etc. Really, we tried a lot of different resources, but honestly, it just didn`t work.
I don`t know why God decided to save this challenge for me for the end of my mission, but we`re working hard to overcome it.
There is one thing that I was able to learn this week, that truly is a valuable life lesson. Elder Muralles and I were having companionship inventory (something that I`m REALLY going to miss....it`s helped me a lot) and we talked about some of our weaknesses. That`s when he told me that I need to be happier.
When I think about it...even before my mission I struggled with that. I mean, I know that maybe I haven`t been the greatest person and whenever someone sins they feel guilty and simply can`t be happy. However, with me it`s something more than that. I have to work hard to be happy, and it really shouldn`t be that way!
It`s amazing how if you can recognize your weaknesses and then take them to the Lord how He can change that. I feel that I am slowly but surely becoming a happier person. :) something that I really should have been doing since a long time ago!
Life has its ups and downs. However, we should enjoy them all! This week we honestly didn`t have a great week in our area. Not many new investigators, not one of the existing investigators are progressing, and it was difficult working with the members. However, we worked hard! We`re doing our part and I know that God will magnify our efforts. I just hope and pray that we can find a better way of working here in Piura Central.
Well...I hope that you all know that I love you! Take care of yourselves!
So...this week was pretty crazy! So many things have happened...it`s incredible how each and every day can be an incredible journey in the mission. I really feel like every day is SO important now...it`s really a great feeling. :) Have you ever felt like every day is the same and that your actions one day really don`t affect the next? I used to feel that way too...however, I am beginning to recognize that every action and decision that we make really does affect us the next day, even the next week!
This week I learned how amazing the transfers really are! President was in his office a large part of the week, looking at the board with all of the photos of the elders and sisters in our mission. How intimidating! Every once in a while, Elder Muralles and I would receive a call...it would go a lot like this, `Elder Schofield, what do you think about Elder Smith as a trainer?` We then would give our opinion...but President always made the final decision!
The greatest moment was Saturday afternoon. Elder Muralles was pretty nervous. I think he really wanted to train his last two transfers, so he was expecting President to call him aside and tell him that he would no longer be AP. However, it never came! As we walked into his office, I could feel the excitement and the spirit that comes with the changes....I really could feel the spirit whispering to me as we sat down and talked with President.
After I said the opening prayer, we opened up the curtains and there were the changes!! We began analyzing each and every companionship, commenting in areas that may be troublesome and seeing where there might be some changes needed. It was an amazing experience, because the spirit was just so strong. I know that logically a lot of things might have been out of line, but with every companionship I just tried to focus on what the spirit told me. I could really feel with each and every one that it was God`s will.
In the end, we didn`t need to correct very many changes. President Rowley really had things all planned out, and I could feel the spirit witnessing to me that all is well. President told us in the end how amazing the experience is for him. He said that he just looks at the board and thinks about every elder and sister. Then, out of the blue he starts to look at one elder in particular and he can see him being a Zone Leader. He just sees it! He said that they might not appear to be ready NOW, but they really are ready for the job. He does the same thing with District Leaders and Trainers. I can only imagine what that must feel like...
As for the rest of the weekend, what a rollercoaster! We had a lot of things to do, and not really a lot of time to do it! We had to write all of the changes down and send it to President. In the middle of doing all of that, the power went out for two hours! That meant that we were locked up in the office without being able to really do anything...however, we got it all sent. :)
The next thing we had to worry about were the trainers! They receive their companions one day late, so we have to figure out who`s going to be with who and how they`re going to get there...etc. It was quite a lot of thinking and a bit stressful, to tell you the truth! Even more interesting was planning for the elders that are going home! THIRTY THREE missionaries go home today!! Can you believe it?? It`s kinda sad because Elder Turcios and Elder Ramirez are going home. :( my first two companions! It will be sad to send them off...I`m not sure if I`ll get to see them again...in fact, I highly doubt it....
The mission is hard, because you get to know so many wonderful, amazing people. You make AMAZING friends that are TRUE friends. Before the mission, I knew a lot of people. They were great! However, we weren`t working together for such a noble cause. We didn`t sweat together and work super hard in order to help other people accept this gospel. The links that I have created here in the mission field are strong, and it`s hard to think of them being broken...I don`t know what will happen after the mission, but I sure will miss these elders!!!
Anyway...that was what life has been like for the past couple of days! Thinking of all these changes is crazy...there will be 9 new Zone leaders! We only have TEN zones!! We`re going to have to train them all up because the next change there will be another 7 new Zone Leaders! What a crazy couple of transfers here in the Mision Peru Piura!
This week Elder Muralles and I have been getting along a lot better. It was pretty difficult for me. I`m pretty sure that he no longer wanted to be AP, he wanted to relax a little bit. When we found out that he still would be...he`s changed. :) I think that this next change will be a lot better. Now he knows that he`ll be here for two transfers more, so we`ll work a lot harder together and we`re going to have a lot more success, I can just feel it.
Sorry I can`t write much about our area! It`s honestly been a bit of a challenge. This area is full of rich people!! I`m trying hard, but we just haven`t figured out how to really work here. We teach only about 10 lessons a week! That`s pretty low...especailly considering the fact that I used to teach 30 or 40. :/ However, we`re trying hard and we`re going to be focusing a lot more on the less actives and converts. Hopefully they can give us references!!! :)
Well...I love you all! Say hi to everyone!!! OHHH!!! I can`t believe I almost forgot!!! I got my birthday package this week! Well, I got two!!! Tell Grandma Shaw thanks a billion!!! Also, thank you thank you thank you Mom and Dad!!!! The package is AWESOME!!! I don`t know how you knew that I just barely had to throw a pair of socks away...that was perfect timing. :) The candy is DELICIOUS. :) I forgot what I`d been missing!
Love you tons!!!!