Monday, November 19, 2012

The biggest change in the mission so far! - Email from 19 Nov 2012.

It is official!! My mission has pretty much taken a 180 degree turn, and I think it`s going to be for the better! This week, President Rowley has made an announcement in our mission that will really change things! We had a Zone Meeting on Thursday to make it known, and the Zone Leaders began by asking two questions. The first question was, What type of converts does the church need here in Tumbes? We began listing things like leaders, people that serve, people that are truly converted, full tithe payers, people with a testimony of the Book of Mormon, etc. Then they showed us a scripture that really changed things! Doctrine and Covenants 58:10-12. It talks about first going to the rich, and then moving on to the poor. I guess President is really looking at what we`re doing and what would really help the church to progress in this part of the world. He thinks, as do I, that the church needs more leadership. The church needs more men that are strong in the priesthood and that really have the means to serve other people. Unfortunately, we as missionaries search a lot of the time for the easy baptism. We want to be able to say that we`ve baptised a lot of people. But to what end? President is really showing us that we have a purpose even higher than baptising. As he said, if we baptise the men that will really be able to contribute, the women and children will follow! Inevitably, they will be baptized as well.

When that announcement was made, I think a lot of the elders reacted pretty strongly. It`s a huge difference now! We were reminded once again that we are not allowed to enter homes where there is not an adult male present. Something that honestly has not been done during my time as a missionary. We`ve gone in where they`ve let us, even if it is a mother. Now, we are being told that that`s not ok, and we need to change. I really do feel like the mission is changing a lot. We will no longer have the best numbers. Our numbers are going to fall for a while, but if we really put in the effort, the church will grow and flourish.

So anyway, that`s the biggest news that I`ve got from thiis week! It really has been a lot of fun this week with Elder Huaman. We`re doing well working together, and I really feel like we`re going to have a lot of success. We`ve met a few good families that have the potential to really go far. Because of the changes that President has made, we`ve really been searching for those men that are going to help the church grow! As a result, we`re knocking doors that before we wouldn`t have knocked. The big houses are now sought after, instead of judging the area to be a bit harder. As a result, we found one man who told is just in his doorstep that he wanted a Book of Mormon, and that if we gave him two or three weeks he`d read it all!! I was really impressed by that because normally the people we run into struggle to even read one verse! I feel like things are really going to become a lot more exciting now.

The ward is also doing great! Because of the Stake Conference we had last week, our bishop is really more focused in missionary work. We had a meeting where we were able to make our ward mission plan, and I`m really excited to get it going! We`re now assigning a Book of Mormon to one family in Sacrament Meeting every week! Also, we have a least one activity going on during the week as well, and we`re hoping to have two. I`m excited for all of the changes and am really looking forward to being able to work with the members more. I know it`s going to be great!!

OH!!! Something else happened this week...I got my Christmas package!!! I was literally like a little boy at Christmas, I couldn`t believe how HUGE it was!!! Thank you Mom!! I`ve included a picture as proof of how amazing my Mommy is, and how GINORMOUS the package was!!! Haha, who could ask for a better mom??

Well, I really just don`t know what else to write! This week the sewage came up out of the ground on the way to our Pension. It`s been all over the other streets, but now we had to walk through it three times a day! Oh, also, they have now built another bar! It`s right in front of our Pension! I guess it will only be open on weekends, but Sunday night the music was so loud it felt like the speakers were inside their house!! Haha, I feel bad for the family...I don`t know how they could possibly sleep with all the noise! Then again, we have a club where they hold events just a couple doors from us...I guess when there are graduations this December we`ll have the privelege of listening to spanish hip hop as well! Oh joy! Can`t wait for the sleepless nights...haha, but I guess that`s part of being in Peru. :)

Anyway, I love you all so much! Keep up the letters! I`ve got one in the mail to all the family!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Week one --- All over again! - email from Nov 12, 2012

Well, it`s now week one all over again in the mission field!!! At least that`s what it feels like to me....

After receiving the call from President and everything on Monday, I had a long trip ahead of me! We ended up having to go to the ZL`s to sleep for about 3 hours...and I didn`t sleep at all...before waking up at 1 AM to board a bus! We left at about 2 AM and got to Piura around 7:30. We had to wait for an hour before going to the office, awaiting our new companions! It was kind of a hard time to try and have personal fact, I couldn`t do it at all!!! Finally, it was time to go meet our companions!

We got to the mission home, and met up with the other trainers! There are 6 of us in all! One thing kinda cool is that my brother, Elder Skansiani is also training! That means Elder Turcious has 2 grandkids born at the same time!!! It`s pretty cool, and I was excited to see him there. President gave us an hour long training meeting before we were able to meet our companions. Mostly we just read D & C 121:34-41. That scripture pretty much is amazing for anyone who`s trying to be a great leader...look it up!

Anyway...the moment finally came to meet our new companions! We walked in the room and President just began reading off the list. I was the second to last to be called! My companion is Elder Helaman Huaman from Lima!!! It was pretty exciting to finally meet my companion. Of course we introduced ourselves and began talking. Elder Huaman is super talkative, like pretty much every LimeƱo that I`ve met! He`s one of two kids, and his older brother actually served a mission in the Utah Salt Lake Mission!!! He said he was in the Sandy area! Kinda crazy...but anyway, he was born in the covenant. Also, Elder Huaman served here 3 years ago! He got part way through his training and got sick so had to go home. He`s now returning to the mission, three years later! So, basically I get to retrain him and help him to remember some of the things he already knows!

I sent a picture...that`s not very good...of us at the mission home. He`s kinda short, but by now I`m pretty much used to that! I just hope he can get used to walking a bit faster than usual. ;)

Another crazy thing with Elder Huaman...when we got to the pensionista, we found out that Hermano Chota served in his ward as a missionary! His pensionista is Elder Huaman`s grandmother!! It was pretty suprising to really see how God had set that all up. I also included a picture of the Chota family there with Elder Panduro before he left. There`s Mary and Cesar, and then the kids (from oldest to youngest) are Brenda, Angel, Vania, and Shelby. The three younger ones are QUITE the handful. Mom, I`m pretty sure you`d laugh to see them, cause I think they act just like my sisters when they were little!! Poor Brenda has to help be mother too, but she`s really great with the kids. It`s fun to be surrounded by the girls, kind of reminds me of home! Only problem is that as a missionary, we can`t really do much with kids! However, it`s still fun to make silly faces and listen to the little girl laughs and screams.

Anyways...the work here is going GREAT! We have a great family that is now progressing! They aren`t married, which will be a challenge, but Carlos and Juana are just super! Their son, Yan, was baptized about a year ago and is now less active. However, Carlos has started reading the Book of Mormon and is understanding a lot! We also have been able to get the Lopez family to help us out, they`ve gone with us to some of our lessons and are really becoming a great resource for Carlos and Juana as they have questions and concerns with what we teach! I feel really confident that they`re going to accept the gospel and be baptized!

As for Jorge...well, he`s struggling. He`s got a ton of health issues that he`s dealing with, and with his son in prision it`s just super tough on him. He has stopped smoking, well for at least 6 days now, and is sticking to his goal of the 18th. However, his faith is really waxing thin...he says that he`s doing everything he can to keep the commandments and he`s not seeing any blessings. It`s hard for me to try to show him some of the blessings he has because he`s just so hardened. He is making a ton of sacrifices to follow Christ, and I know that he is being blessed and will be blessed more for what he`s doing, but he can`t see that. If you can include him in your prayers...I`d appreciate it!

Oh! Another really cool thing happened this weekend, our Stake Conference! We had a 70 come! Elder Hooker came and spoke. He was also accompanied by the Lima temple President and his wife!!! President Rowley and Sister Rowley tagged along as well!!! It made for a super special meeting where we were able to feel the spirit super strong. We had at least one investigator there, and I`m sure that she felt the spirit strong. They talked a lot about honoring our wives and really doing the things to live a happy life. The wife of the temple president spoke of how miracles occur in the construction of temples. I wish I could tell you all of the stories, but I just don`t have time! Really, too much is happening on a daily basis!!

I hope that you all know that I love you...sorry if these emails are just throwing information at you...I`d love to be more detailed, I just have too much on the mind! Love you all, keep in touch! Write letters if you want more details. ;) haha, I promise to respond to you all!!! :)

Elder Schofield


Monday, November 5, 2012

Ahhh!!!!! Training Begins! - email from 5 Nov 2012

Well, it`s official! I have now been give the new assignment to train a brand new elder! I must say, I am very excited for the opportunity, and I know that Heavenly Father really has given me this responsibility at the perfect time. He really is directing this mission, and I feel the spirit confirming to me that even if I don`t feel READY, I have been PREPARED: I was thinking about that the other you think that any of us actually felt ready to come to earth? I doubt that. I do know that our Heavenly Father prepared us. Each and every one of us have the abilities to overcome any challenge or responsibility that we are given. All we need to do is make the effort and really follow His plan, His way.

This week was actually a pretty tough week for us here in Pampa Grande. My companion and I both caught the flu, and it was super hard to go out and work. There were times where I honestly could not focus on the lessons and my body was so tired that I just collapsed when we got home. However, that`s ok. :) I know that it was only for a time. Now that all I have is congestion, I know that everything is going to be great. :)

We also had a challenge this week with our recent convert, Karina. We found out that her daughter tried to commit suicide. Not just once, but four times! Obviously, she was pretty devestated. What made it worse was that Karina had made a comment to her daughter about how difficult life was becoming, and that sometimes she wondered if it wouldn`t be better to be dead....obviously Karina feels super guilty for saying that.

Unfortunately, we didn`t find out until about 3 or 4 days later. When we found out, I just felt the huge weight that she must be feeling settle over me. I thought of some of the experiences that I`ve had with family problems...and memories just came flooding back. The guilt that each person feels: mother, daughter, sibling, etc. The true pain that`s there, as well as the numbness of shock. It just all seemed to come back in one moment for me. When we visited her, I could see in her eyes all of these feelings. Mostly, we just listened. She needed to get it all out.

After listening and trying to see what she needed to hear in order to continue forward, I realized that God really had prepared me. Although I don`t know what it`s like to see a child try to committ suicide, I have had similar feelings. I was able to understand enough to at least listen. I also understand that it really is not Karina`s fault. She was not at fault for the suicide attempt. Yes, she may have said something that shouldn`t have been said, but she shouldn`t feel that weight of guilt.

The other thing that I could testify and tell her is that her daughter, Daniela, really is not fully at fault either. She`s pshyzisophrenic (idk how to spell that...), and she constantly has a man following her and telling her to kill herself. In that state, she really does not have full, 100 percent control over her actions. I was comforted by the knowledge that we will be judged not only just by our actions, but by our DESIRES. I know that God is merciful. I know that through the atonement of Jesus Christ, she can have forgiveness. Both Karina and Daniela can move on and have happy lives. I`m grateful for the examples in my life, of family members I have seen go through challenges just as hard and work through them, and become stronger as a result. I know that Heavenly Father is there for us.

Christ`s sacrifice really does take care of all the hurt in the world. I`m so grateful for that knowledge.

So...I heard about New York!!! Huricane season!! My thoughts and prayers go out to all those involved. Not sure how bad the damage was...but I heard it was pretty big.

I guess the elections are coming up! I`m actually kind of glad to not be involved in any of that. Haha, I guess that`s the blessing of being a missionary! Let me know who wins, although I`m pretty sure the people in the streets will let me know. They have the strange habit of talking about the states every time they see a gringo...I wonder why?

Well...I don`t know what else to say! I hope you all know that I love you. I miss you. I am looking forward to skype! Only 50 more days! Haha, but who`s counting, right? Oh...I`ve also decided that instead of telling people exactly how much time I have in the mission, I`ll just say one year for now. Once January comes, I`ll tell them I got here in October, but I won`t say what year. ;) Being old in the mission is lame...I want to stay forever!! But I guess I have another mission awaiting me at home....

Love you all!!!!

Elder Schofield

Sunday, November 4, 2012

An incredible week in Pama Grande! - email from 29 October 2012

Well...this week was simply INCREDIBLE!! I don`t have a ton of time to be able to write about some of the experiences I had, so I`m going to copy a message I sent to President Rowley that I wanted to share with you all. I want to first bare my testimony that I really know that this church has the authority of God. I know that not because of reading a book or being told by priesthood leaders, but because I have actually felt God working through me as I perform priesthood ordinances. This week I was able to have one of those experiences, and I wanted to share this one with you:

This week I had an amazing experience that I want to share with you. One of the MA that we`ve been working with called us as we were walking to district meeting on Tuesday. He wanted us to visit a friend that was in the hospital that was super sick. He has diabities to the third degree and really wasn`t doing well. The hospital is outside of our area, so after calling and getting permission from the Zone Leaders, we were able to accompany him to his friend. When we got there, the guards were super strict and said that only one person could enter to see him at a time. They didn`t even want to let one of us wait outside the door. After explaining a little more, they let us in. Unfortunately the critical care unit is really shut off to most people, so they absolutely refused to let us both in.

After just a few moments, both my companion and I felt the prompting that I needed to go in and give him a blessing. I didn`t even have to say anything, Elder Panduro just looked at me and said you`re going. As I entered the room, he was just barely propped up on the bed, and really looked horrible. It reminded me of my grandmother right before she passed away, just horrible. Anyway, I explained what I was going to do the best I could, and he nodded his head a little, like he understood. As I put my hands on his head, I could just feel the spirit burning within that room. I really think that someone else was there with me. The words seemed to just flow as I gave this man a blessing. I knew, better than ever before, that he was going to be healed. I promised him that he would walk out of the hospital healed, and that he would be able to return to his family again. I`ve never felt more sure of something before in my life.

When I left the room, I was suprised to find myself alone with him. I honestly felt the presence of someone else there. Later, I came to realize that someone else really was there. Whether it was an angel or the Holy Ghost Himself, I don`t know...but President, I have never felt the presence like I did in those few moments during his blessing. Later as I talked to my companion about the experience, he said that he could also feel the spirit from the hallway, and knew that something incredible was going on inside.

I know that this church really does have the authority of God. It was an incredible thing to feel it working through me. Thank you for the opportunity to serve, President. I know that you received the inspiration so that I could be here in Pampa Grande. I can`t wait to hear that this man has left the hospital, and I know that it`s no longer a matter of `if` but of `when` he leaves.

Wow, right? Can anyone else in the world say that they have been able to experience something so incredible? The great thing is, YES they can. I know that there are millions of worthy priesthood holders out there that really do have the power of God and really can perform miracles like this.

Other than that experience, I was also able to work with Elder Naranjo again! He`s here in the area just next to me, and we had companion exchanges. I was supposed to be with Elder De La Cruz, but I ended up with my ex comp again. It was great to be with him again. I forgot how much I loved him! He really has changed a lot in his teaching style, and I felt the spirit strong with him. It was a great time to be able to proselite with him.

Oh! The pictures! First of all, I have to say that this week I was able to try some sweet dishes!! The one in the picture is shrimp soup. It is simply DELICIOUS! Mom and Dad, if you come down here with me, we HAVE to eat this! It was probably one of the best seafood dishes I`ve had, and my pensionista made it!! I was also able to eat this week chicken leg soup!! Haha, as I was eating it, I thought about how Jen, Sam, and Chelsey would react seeing it. Hahahaha...I doubt they would eat it! However, I liked it! It was really delicious! I also was able to try shark, and cow stomach again. Both were really good. I`ve told my pensionista that I really want to try different dishes, and I guess she`s giving me what I wanted!!

The photo with four elders is from when we had companion exchanges. Elder Naranjo, Elder Zavala (he`s black, from Ecuador), and Elder De La Cruz. We had a lot of fun together! It made me remember Negritos where four of us lived together. It`s a lot better, because you`re able to have more fun and talk to other people, more than just one companion. We also played Chess with the bishop`s daughter!! I CREAMED here. Don`t worry, she`s 15, so she`s definitely at my playing level. ;) Haha, it was fun to be able to do that.

Anyway, another incredible thing happened this week...Elder Panduro really opened up to me. Can I just say, I have been blessed with an incredible calm life. His father was a drug dealer and was dealing across borders. He also had another wife and kids...Elder Panduro had to grow up with just his mother. He also ended up getting into some bad things, but through the gospel and some great elders he came back. I KNOW the gospel is true! Every companion I`ve had has proved that. I`d love to be able to share more of his story right now, but time is pretty much gone!

I love you all so much!! I can`t wait for the Christmas call!! Make sure and keep doing the small things, and grow closer to God each and every day!

Elder Schofield