Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Con Fe en Cada Paso - Email from June 18, 2012

This may have been the last week that I got to see President and Hermana Chipman!! We had a devotional on Friday night with four different stakes, and we sang our mission song, `Con Fe en Cada Paso,` probably for the last time. It really was such a powerful experience. All four stake presidents bore their testimonies, and in between each president the missionaries from that stake performed a musical number. Our stake, Castilla, performed `Trabajeros Nos Es Trabajar` which is not in the English hymnbook. ;) However, it is one of my favorite songs! If you want to look it up, it`s hymn 88. :)
Anyway, Friday night really was an amazing spiritually uplifting experience. President and Hermana Chipman also both bore their testimonies. Hermana Chipman used her classic, we are the army of the Lord, line that she always loves. She had the investigators that were there stand up, then the leaders, then the regular members, and finally we missionaries. She then explained how each one of us are part of the Army of the Lord, bringing more spirits unto the Father. It really was one of the most powerful testimonies I`ve heard in a long time.

President talked to us about the four different languages that we heard that night. The languages of spanish, music, love, and the spirit. He is so right in that we can literally listen in four different ways. I felt the spirit so strong because of that, because I could really listen. He also invited a sister to come up and bare her testimony. She came up and said she had served a mission here in Piura about a year ago and was coming back to visit. She just happened to choose this week, where she could attend the devotional. She talked about how she had really fallen in love with the people, the land, the heat, and the culture of Piura. She started to cry, and I could really see that she had served her mission with her whole heart. I am beginning to fall in love with Piura too. Every day, I have to put it all on the line, and sometimes it is exhausting, especially when on the outside it doesn`t look like you`re having a ton of success. However, I am. I know that Heavenly Father has been helping me so much to reach out to His children. Without Him, I`d be nothing. However, in just 8 months I can speak Spanish fairly fluently, the people are actually able to relate to me and I to them. I`m seeing miracles in the work. They may be little and insignificant to others, but to me they are miracles.

As for the work here in Sechura, we`re progressing. We have a few good leaders in the branch who really want to work. I`m happy and grateful to have them. I`m hoping we`re going to see a lot of success, a lot of baptisms. We are searching, as always, for those that are prepared. Last Thursday I had an interesting experience that I wanted to share about that.

So we have one investigator that Elder Naranjo has taught since he got here about 2 months ago. She just isn`t home very often. Anyway, when we went on Tuesday we met her niece who was interested and asked us to go back on Thursday. When we got to their house, Kimberly (the neice) was just leaving with some who looked like another one of her aunts. Thankfully, she decided to listen to us. When we got inside, we began talking, and by the time we began the lesson we were teaching 4 girls. One was Eldie (the old investigator), Kimberly, Jennifer, and one other girl.

We taught about the Book of Mormon, making some references to Joseph Smith, but not really focusing a ton on that, more on the Book of Mormon and how it`s a test to know that what we teach is true. Towards the end of the lesson, I could tell that something had changed in that fourth girl. I asked her a simple question and then she started to explain a lot. She talked about how she went to another evangelical church and they had told her that she should never listen to the mormons. She said she had come in full of fear, and didn`t want to listen to us at all. She began asking some interrogative type of questions, and Elder Naranjo and I were able to answer all of them, I know we had help from the spirit there.

Finally, at the end of the lesson, we were able to commit Kimberly to reading the Book of Mormon. Also, miraculously, Jennifer and the other girl also accepted another visit this next week! I was really suprised at how quickly things changed...that`s something that only the Holy Ghost can do.

Well, my time is practically gone! I hope you all know I love you! Have fun in Utah!! Thankfully, the heat has been going down a bit`s only SUPER hot during midday. :) The rest of the day is just normal hot. :) Haha, love you all!!!

Elder Schofield

The Week of Glasses! - email from June 25, 2012

Well this week was really crazy! We only had one and a half full days in our area here in Sechura! The week really flew by, but part of me feels like we didn´t really have a chance to do a lot of missionary work.

So on Tuesday before we ate breakfast, Elder Lindsay showed up at our door and told us we had to go to the Union to give service for an organization, translating from spanish to english for some doctors from the states. So, we took off without having a chance to even eat! When we got there, we found out that it was a ¨Club of Lions¨ from Utah that was here giving away prescription glasses. We translated for the people as the searched the prescription and then found the right pair of glasses for the people. It really was a lot of fun! I saw a ton of people´s faces light up as the could see for the first time in years. Literally, some of them couldn´t see a number that is as big as the new TV Dad just got. They have horrible eyesight! Hey, maybe some of them will actually read the Book of Mormon now. ;)

We spent all day Tuesday there, and didn´t even get back to Sechura until 8! Wednesday we actually had a normal day, but it wasn´t very successful unfortunately. The people just weren´t home. We also found out that the Relief Society President was in a car accident! I guess the van she was in was going about 120 kph and went off into the sand, flipping five or six times! We saw the van and it was pretty smashed up. Thankfully, she´s fine and even came to church on Sunday. I hope that the other 14 passengers are doing well, it seemed to be a pretty intense crash site.

On Thursday, my companion flew to Lima! We thought he would be leaving early morning, but it turned out he didn´t leave until about 6. I ended up going on splits with another elder, Elder Losser, for Thursday and Friday. During that time, I was in Catacaos with him. However, I was only there for a few hours! We ended up serving again with the glasses organization thing, and then he had four baptismal interviews we had to coordinate. We even had to take one of them to Piura, which took a total of 3 hours by the end! Definitely worth it because Elder Losser and Elder Garcia had 4 baptisms this last weekend! Congrats to them! However, it just seemed like a super long day...

Saturday we did our weekly planning and were finally able to leave to visit some of our investigators...of course, this weekend was the 50 year anniversary of the biggest High School that they have here in Sechura! As a one was home. We ran around to a ton of investigators that we would have visited on Thursday or Friday but only ended up finding one at home. Oh well, that´s the way that missionary work goes sometimes. This next week we´re going to work harder and have a lot more results, I can feel it!

Sunday was also pretty crazy for me...I ended up giving a talk, teaching Sunday School, and teaching Priesthood! All in one day with zero preparation time. It was not easy...but I felt Heavenly Father helping me through it. I was able to pull off the first two hours ok, but then in Priesthood I just got handed the general conference addresses and told go. Unfortunately, it´s not nearly as easy to teach from General Conference addresses as it would be from the a result, I kinda tanked the class. Hopefully the people got something out of it!

I hope you all know that I love you! The work here moves along steadily, and I´m learning and growing with each and every day. President Chipman leaves this week! I´ll let you know how President Rowley is...I wonder if there will be a lot of changes! Oh, speaking of changes...we did have them this week! Elder Lindsay, my District Leader, is now going to be a Zone Leader! Elder Naranjo and myself are going to stay here, and they´re going to bring someone in to be Elder Christianson´s companion. Crazy how things can change so quickly!

Hope you all know how much I love you! Have fun in Utah! Put out those fires for me!! ;)

Elder Schofield

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Weird Week in Sechura! - Email from 11 June 2012

This week just seemed to be really weird and crazy! It all started on Tuesday, when we expected to have a Zone meeting in Castilla, which is about an hour and a half away. After getting to Castilla with our District Leader, and getting to the chapel, we found out that we were misinformed! We did not have the meeting on Tuesday, it was going to be on Thursday! Well, we thought we could take advantage of the situation and go to the bank in order to take out the rest of the money that we didn`t receive at the beginning of the month. So, we ended up traveling to Catacaos by bus and tried the bank there. Come to find out, we still didn`t have money in our account. In fact, we wouldn`t have it until the 15th of the month. Finally, we returned to Sechura after having spent about 15 dollars (which is a lot here...) running around for nothing. Haha, that day just seemed so weird beause I was expecting the meeting and then it didn`t happen...and then I expected money and it didn`t happen either...
Wednesday and Thursday went by fairly normally. We had a good meeting in Castilla on Thursday, where we were able to prepare for a musical number we`re going to perform next Friday. Very weird thing...I`m going to sing Alto! Never thought I`d say that, but with a choir full of elders and only two Hermanas, I got put in as an alto. Needless to say, we`re singing it about an octave lower. ;)

Friday were also just really strange...we had our weekly planning session, which went pretty well. We have a lot of investigators that are progressing slowly but steadily, and we just need to search for more that are ready! In the afternoon, things just got weird. We ended up only having one lesson that afternoon, where before we were planning on having four! Two of our investigators were just really sick, and then knocking doors we just didn`t seem to have any luck at all. The one lesson we did have was strange because the two girls in it just seemed to giggle the entire time. I`m pretty sure that they`re just snakes...we may not be visiting them much anymore! Saturday also was full of knocking doors. We had a lot of people giving us a lot of excuses for them not wanting to listen. We also just had a tough time trying to find people at home! In the evening, we were supposed to go out with Hermano Orlando Fasabi, our Mission Leader. He said he would meet us at 6:30 in our Pensionista`s house. So, we went there to wait, and he passed by about 6:40, but said he had to drop his daughter off at home and then he would be back. So...we waited...and waited...until about 7:30! Finally, we had to give up, so we ran to the local store to buy meat for Hermana Osario, our pensionista, so she could make us hamburgers. After a long search because we just couldn`t find the store, we came back with the meat. When we opened the package...the meat had mold all over it! So, instead of hamburgers, we ended up having rolls with a bit of ham on it for dinner. Not really the best end of a weekend!

After that kind of a bummer end of the week, and just the whole week in general, it was kinda a tough Sunday. I was assigned to give a talk on Missionary Work and how the members can help us. I`m honestly not really sure what I said. I had to plead with Heavenly Father that He would just help me put something together, and I went up there and something came out. I know that Heavenly Father was supporting me through it, because those weren`t my words that I was able to deliver. I really am learning so much more about how He supports us through everything. Times aren`t always the best. We don`t always have success and sometimes we feel a little down. However, He`s there to help, comfort, and support us through it all. I have a very strong testimony that He loves each and every one of us. He will do anything and everything He can in order to help us have eternal happiness in this life and in the life to come. I just hope and pray that somehow He can help me become someone that can help others to have this happiness.

Throughout this week, I`ve been amazed about how much I can go through and yet still be happy! Somehow, I still have something inside that is pushing me on. I know that it`s the Holy Ghost. Only the Holy Ghost could keep me going when times are rough, comforting me and letting me know that things are going to be alright. That`s what I want other people to have. They are passing through so many trials and afflictions, things that I simply could not imagine.

For instance, on Tuesday after we got back we were able to meet Ramos and Heydi. Ramos is 18 years old and Heydi just turned 17. She is pregnant, and they are now living together in his parents house. I couldn`t imagine having to face that sort of a challenge at the age of 18, let alone her having to have a baby at age 17. They are both Catholic, but I can tell they feel something is missing. He goes to church every Sunday, and told us he was going to come yesterday to our church, but he wasn`t able. However, when I was with him, I could just tell that this has to be weighing really heavily on his shoulders. Eighteen years old and he`s a father. He`s working as a fisherman, and is gone Monday through Friday, all day every day in the boat. We were talking a little bit about it, and he just kept saying how much better it is out there in the water, under the water especially, not having to be back here in reality. I can only imagine what his reality feels like.

Well, I have to go now. Just know that I love you all! the work goes forward, and remember that I am in His hands, and everything is going great!

Elder Schofield

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Apologies from the home front

I must apologize for not posting Dallon's emails for the past month. I could offer a bunch of excuses as to why I didn't post them but none of them would be good. I just didn't do it. I will promise to do much better and keep you all updated with Dallon's progress.

If you look up Sechura on the internet, you'll see a great picture of a gorgeous church. In his personal email to me, he said that's the only thing there is in Sechura from a visitor's standpoint. That may be why the church is the only picture I could find from Sechura. From his emails, though, it sounds like the branch and people in Sechura are great and I'm sure he'll have great success in Sechura!

Baptism in Sechura! - Email from June 4, 2012

You guessed write...we had a baptism in Sechura!!! Felix Javier de la Cruz BerrĂº!!! He is 16 years old, and was really prepared when I got here. Elder Naranjo has done a great job in preparing him for his baptism, and Felix is already getting excited and prepared to serve a mission. He´s the first from his family to be baptised, but in visiting with his mom, she commented more than once that she and her husband could follow him into the waters of baptism! We´re definitely going to follow up with that, and hopefully things will go well.

So the weekend baptism experience was pretty interesting...I have to tell you all about it! So first of all, we did go to Castilla on Thursday where we met up with our Zone and had interviews with the President. While we were there, we mentioned to two of the missionaries that are in the Union that we were going to have a baptism there on Saturday at 2 in the afternoon, and we would need their help in filling the font and preparing everything. They were very willing to help us out! Problem is...we didn´t talk to them after!

The other glitch happened on Saturday, when we found out that we weren´t going to have a bus until three. Unfortunately, we did not have time to tell Felix´s family, so they ended up waiting for an hour at the church alone! Then, just as the bus came, Felix´s little sister pooped her pants, so her mother had to take her home and change her. That meant that we left at about 330, without having called the elders, hoping and praying that things would somehow work out.

That half hour bus ride seemed to take forever. I was praying the entire way, asking for forgiveness because I knew that I should have coordinated things better and prepared everything ahead of time. I prayed that Heavenly Father would look past my disabilities and just make this a special day for Felix and his family. Thankfully, Heavenly Father answered my prayer. :)

When we got to the chapel in the Union, everything was ready! The missionaries had cleaned and filled the font, and members had set up chairs for us and everything! The ordinance went very smoothly, and the spirit was strong. I was really grateful for that! Felix bore a really simple testimony, yet very powerful, of how he really felt that he had been born again, just as the promise of baptism says! It was a great moment.

The rest of my week seemed to go by very well! I did mention that I had an interview with President Chipman, my last one with him as President! We talked a bit, and of course he always mentions exactly what´s on my mind! We talked a little bit about how we can help investigators want to keep committments. Something that is not easy! He then gave me some last words of advice, and bore his testimony of our new president, President Rowly. It will be interesting getting to know him! I don´t know how I can say goodbye to President Chipman...he´s been amazing!

Well, I´m really hoping this week can go well! As companions, I feel like we could work harder. We also have quite a bit of work to do with our Area Book...we have some investigators that are in there as ´new investigators´ that the missionaries taught a year ago! I´d say they´re no longer ´new.´ Thankfully, Elder Ramirez was able to teach me how to keep a ship-shape area book! Part of me knows that Heavenly Father put us together for that reason.

I hope you all know how much I love you! Sorry I don´t have any pictures...I forgot my camera in our apartment, and we had to come straight from playing soccer. Have fun in the middle of Summer! Winter here I come! Hopefully I won´t get quite as burned in the ´winter´.

Love you all! Keep writing!
Elder Schofield

Sechura: The Middle of Nowhereland - Email from May 28, 2012

Well...I`m in Sechura!!!! After almost 6 months in a tiny little city, I have been transferred to one of the biggest areas in the mission. Seriously, it is HUGE. There are only four missionaries here too! Honestly, I think that it`s quadruple the size of Negritos.
So on Tuesday we got to wake up at 430 in the morning to head out. It was kinda hard to leave Negritos. I feel like it`s my hometown here in the mission now. I`m going to miss the people there. Anyway, we boarded the bus at about 6 to head to Piura. After two hours, we got to the transfers where we have a huge meeting and President talks a little before telling everyone the transfer.

One thing different that he has decided to start doing is `co-companions` where two missionaries are together, but there isn`t a Sr. Companion. They have to work together and decide things together. They could be missionaries from the same group, or they could be close together in time. I think there were like 7 or 8 co-companions. Anyway, that really kinda suprised me because normally we learn from a Sr. Companion, right? However, I think it will be a great learning experience, having to learn together. You`ll be even more suprised when I explain my companionship. ;)

So Elder Naranjo is my companion!!! He`s at least 6` tall too!! Haha, it`s definitely a big change from Elder Ramirez, walking next to him. He also happens to be from my group! We came at the same time into the field, which means that I technically have six weeks time more than he does if you count the MTC. However, he is the Sr. Companion. When I heard that, I was a bit suprised because I expected to co-companion thing, but I also felt the spirit witness to me that it was just...right. Maybe God is going to teach me even more humility, something I think is very important. Anyway, we`ve really had a great first week together. Elder Naranjo has established a lot of relationships in just 6 weeks here in Sechura, and we have some great investigators! We had 4 attend church this Sunday, and Felix de la Cruz should be getting baptized this Saturday, with Jhoselyn the next! I`m really excited.

Sechura, like I said, is way different from Negritos. It`s about an hour south of Piura by bus, and it is just pure, flat desert. Our area doesn`t have hardly any roads, and it`s pretty rocky at parts. The people here practically all work in fishing, which can make it difficult to encounter them at home because they leave for one to two weeks at a time. That means that knocking doors is more of a hunt as to which house doesn`t have a padlock on it! One day we spent about 3 or 4 hours knocking and we were only able to talk to 5 people...a bit difficult! However, President said something in transfers that I really liked. He said we need to search for the way that God wants us to work in our areas. He talked about how we should discuss as a companionship how we`re going to work, and pray for the inspiration as to how we`re going to find people. I have faith that there are a lot of people here in Sechura that He is preparing, we just need to find them!

Another cool thing about my new area is that Elder Mark Lindsay is my District Leader! Jen, you should know who that is! He really is a great DL, and after our first District meeting, I feel like I`m going to improve a lot while I`m here. He`s got more energy than many missionaries I`ve seen, and expects more. That`s the way it should be. He and Elder Christianson are also in Sechura, but they`re more towards the main part of town. The rest of our zone is spread out over Castilla, Catacaos, and I don`t know where else! This means that we four are pretty isolated out here, almost in the middle of nowhere!

As a result of the isolation...I have some bad news! Mail has now gotten even slower. :) We can only send and receive letters/packages at the end of every change. That means that you shouldn`t worry if I say I haven`t gotten anything, because it`s true! Also, don`t worry if you`re not getting anything either. I`m writing, it will just take longer.

As far as the branch here goes, I think we`re going to be in great hands! They just recently called a new Branch President, but he seems to have a lot of energy and desire for the work. We also have a great Mission Leader that they just called this week, and I think we`re going to work a lot together. I guess there`s been a bunch of issues here due to rumors and things, so that a lot of members have fallen away and are less active. However, things have turned around a lot, and I guess that on a regular basis they have about 40 attending church.

This Sunday we had a bit of confusion concerning our Branch Conference! I guess they originally had it scheduled for the 20th, but the Branch President couldn`t make it. Well, then this week the Stake President found out an Area Authority would be holding a meeting on Sunday. He thought it would be fine because he could send his councelors to the Branch Council, but then at the last minute he found out all three of them had to go! Anyway, he ended up coming to Sechura to try to work things out for the 3rd. I don`t know what exactly happened, because Saturday at 9, they had decided to postpone it for the second time until the 3rd. However, Sunday rolls around and we had our Branch Conference! Sometimes things just happen, and we get to learn from them. The Branch Conference went really well, and I think we had about 120 people come!! It was so full that we elders didn`t have a place to sit! I wish it was like that every week.

Anyway...I`m alive and well here in Sechura! The heat is hotter than ever, even though they say we`re starting into winter here! I hope all is well up there in the good ol US of A! Don`t hesitate to send me a letter or email! I hope to get a big stack when July rolls around. :)

Love you all!
Elder Schofield

Chao Negritos!! Hola...? - Email from May 21, 2012

Well, I feel like a very big, thick chapter of my life has just come to a close. Tomorrow I say goodbye to Negritos! I found out this morning for sure that I am going to be transferred. I really have a lot of mixed feelings about it, which actually suprises me a little. I´ve been through quite a bit of struggles here, especially with the members. I´ve had to learn how to work with people that I just don´t mix well with. Now, after I´ve fought and battled for six months, I am going to miss them, a lot.

It´s funny how just as I figure out how to work with them, how to love them, I´m getting changed. I think Heavenly Father had that planned for me here! I´m going to miss Hermano Juan Medina saluting me every time I see him, calling me his general. I´ll miss the little tangents that Hermano Policarpio goes off on all the time...and many more people! This town really is where I was born as a missionary! I sure have grown and changed a lot here in this short time, and I´ve seen my share of growth as well. I hope that they continue to grow!

So...GREAT NEWS! Pedro and Edy Alama came to church this Sunday! We haven´t talked to them in about two weeks because they just weren´t progressing and we wasted time with them. Well, they just came to church on their own! They only came for the first hour, but I was super grateful for that. Elder Ramirez has also told me that he had a dream that he baptized their whole family...I really believe that´s going to happen. They´re ready. I hope Elder Ramirez will follow up with them, and I know he´s going to be a great leader here in Negritos.

Also, we had a less active, Joel Zapata, come to church for the second Sunday in a row! He really is a great friend to me. When I first got here he was one of the few that took the time to talk to me, even though my Spanish was pretty horrible. I left a tie and shirt for him because he didn´t have one, and this Sunday he came with his non member girlfriend that he´s living with. We also visited them afterwards and we may have a chance with Roxanna as well! I really hope so, because he could also be a great strength to this branch here in Negritos.

As far as our work here this week, it kinda went slow. On Thursday Elder Ramirez and I were suprised by a phone call! Our ZL´s called and said we had to be in Talara at 11, no questions. Well, when we got there we were the only ones. Then, President Chipman just walks in! It was really a shock, and I was really happy to see him. Whenever I see him I just feel happier and calm at the same time. We ended up meeting with two other campanions and learning about how to make companion study more effective. I learned a lot that I´m hoping to be able to apply in the future. He really is an amazing president, and I´m going to miss him when he leaves in this next change.

OH! Other super good news, the investigator of Elder Smith and Elder Yupa, Rommell, that was having drinking problems is back! They visited him on Saturday and he was able to have a big change of heart! He said he really wants to be baptized still, and even came to church on Sunday! He seemed pretty changed, for the better! Before he was argumentative with the points of doctrine, but in our class he just seemed really receptive. Also, before he wasn´t much to just talk socially, but after church we were sitting together, and I got him talking about basketball, soccer, and just different small talk. It was like night and day. I can see in his character that the Atonement really is taking effect in his life. He still has a long way to go, and is still overcoming addictions, but I really saw a big spark of hope this Sunday. I hope to hear of his baptism in the future.

As far as other things...I feel great! I´m doing great! I´m learning lots! Haha, and I´m running out of things to say...this week just a bunch of little things happened that I can´t really remember.

Random thing...ran into a guy who does apholestry! He was redoing a couch in his living room and it made me think of you, Mom! It´s really kinda random and rare to see someone that does that kind of work here. He lives in just this kind of hut thing, but inside he´s halfway through a job that looks like it belongs in a mansion. It´s truly incredible how he can make something so nice in such a dirty city.

Well, unfortunately my time is running out and so are my ideas to write! I don´t know why, but I just don´t have that much desire to write what´s going on! Tonight we´re going to have a big FHE for Elder Smith´s birthday, which is today, and my going away. Should be interesting! Hope I don´t cry, I really have fallen in love with the people here...

Love you all! Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers! I´ll let you know all about my new area and zone next week! It feels like I´m leaving for another mission all over again...

Con mucho amor,
Elder Schofield

Mother's Day! - Email from 15 May 2012

It`s hard to believe that Mother`s Day has already come and gone! It really was an interesting experience here in Negritos...I was not expecting Mother`s Day to be another reason to party and get drunk, but it was! Thankfully, we were able to avoid that by calling our families. :) I`m really so thankful for the opportunity we had to talk! Sounds like things are going well, and I send my love to you all!
Another great suprise came in the mail yesterday! I got the CD you sent, Jen! Thank you so much! I love Nashville Tribute, and it`s an awesome CD! I also got the announcement for Corinne`s graduation finally! Congrats again sis!

Anyway...not much has happened since we talked as a family on Sunday! Unfortunately I wasn`t able to get to internet yesterday due to some weird circumstances that we had. Just some bad planning on our part, but we were able to get permission to come today. :)

It`s really weird to think that in just one week I could be in a completely different area of the mission...I`ve heard that the areas really are way different. Some of them, for instance have to wash their own clothes! Mom asked me a couple questions about that, here we actually have a lady that does our laundry for us once a week. Also, in other areas, the pensionista doesn`t cook for the missionaries on the weekends, the members do! FYI, all she does for us is cook...and then we have our laundry lady. :) We don`t have maids mom...unfortunately we have to clean our apartments ourselves!

Also, just to answer a few questions mom had asked, the market has pretty much everything you could think of in it: clothes, sound systems, TV`s, vegetables, fruits, chicken, pirated DVD`s (a LOT of them), etc. They usually have all of the food in one area. A lot of people own their own tiny store, which usually has some cleaning supplies, which really only consists of clorox bleach and a mark off of Tide, and food. I don`t really like the parts that are pure food...tons of flies everywhere. It also doesn`t smell the greatest because you`ve got a bunch of chicken mixed with the smell of rotting tomatoes and stuff. Glad I don`t have to shop there!

As far as my companion...I really haven`t shared much, have I? He really is an amazing guy! Elder Ramirez only has one brother, and they live with his parents. He was just baptized two years ago at the age of 24! He BARELY got to go on a mission, and even got his call after he had turned 25, but he felt the impression to go on his mission, and so here he is! He`s studying to be an OBGYN, and is super smart. He`s grown up most of his life in Guanaco, which is pretty far down south in Peru. He`s grown up near the jungle and has told me of a few crazy experiences he`s had down there in the jungles!

His parents are not members, but his brother was baptized just after him. One crazy thing is that a lot of his family didn`t even know he was on his mission for two years until Sunday! I guess a few of them are really opposed, saying he should come home and finish his studying. I`m really impressed at how devoted he is to the missionary work, and the way he follows through with the spiritual promptings he receives from God. God told him to go on a mission, and so he`s here, despite the many friends and family members that called him crazy and tried to get him to stay.

As far as if he`s funny, he`s a pretty funny guy! He has a way of finding one tiny thing funny and then always repeating honestly used to annoy me because I didn`t find it funny the 50th time! However, I think it`s just kind of his character now, and we have had some fun times together. One thing that may not be the best thing we`ve done...but hey, Elder Smith and I have to occupy ourselves somehow...we taught Elder Yupa and Elder Ramirez how to say `I like to wipe my bum` which somehow Elder Smith turned it into `Kiss my bum, fruitcake!` I know it`s very immature and not something that we should teach our latin companions considering they know so little english...but hearing them say it with their spanish accents may be the most hilarious thing in the world! :) Sadly, my maturaty may be going down mom. ;) Haha, but really...I promise you I wasn`t the one who started that one!

Well...I need to go now, we`ve got an appointment we`re supposed to be at soon. I love you all! Thanks for all of the letters and support I receive from you! I`m praying for you all every night!

Elder Schofield

Wee number...wait, how long di I have now??? - email from May 7, 2012

Time is gone! I realized the other day that I just passed the 7 month mark...really??? That´s really hard for me to believe...I still feel like I´m one of the new missionaries just trying to get through it and help people in the little ways that I can. Time just really flies here on the mission. Before I think too much about it, I´ll be coming home! That honestly scares me a little! So much to do! So little time! Ahh!!

But really, this week has been pretty good for me. I do feel more confident with a lot of things, and I´m learning a lot. This week Elder Ramirez had a training meeting in Piura because he´s our District Leader, so I got left here for a day with another missionary, Elder Martinez. He has one change less than I do, so I was the older one for once! It was really a great opportunity, I felt, to see what it would be like. I prayed really hard the night before so that God could help me know where to go and what to do, because obviously he doesn´t know this area at all! I ended up having a great day with him, and felt the spirit guiding me and helping me a lot. Although we didn´t have a ton of success in finding new people to teach, I felt that it was a success in that I learned more from him and what it´s like to be Senior Companion.

One amazing thing about Elder Martinez is what he´s gone through in his mission. I´ve only known him for this exchange, and when I´ve seen him I´ve thought he´s been a little down. Well, come to find out, his father died two months ago. While he was here in the mission. What makes it really hard for him is that him and his mom are super close and they´re the only members in their family. I guess it´s been super hard for him, as I´m sure you can imagine. However, he was still able to have a great spirit with him knocking doors and teaching lessons! It really is an amazing testimony to me of how Christ can strengthen us during the rough times of our lives. He´s going through a lot, but because of what Christ did, he´s strengthened each and every day, and can share his amazing testimony with all that want to hear. I know that Christ live and supports us through all of our difficulties, and this is just another example of that!

The rest of the week was pretty tough for us. We had one investigator that we thought was really promising last week, Mirian. She accepted a baptismal date and just seemed SO EXCITED to receive the gospel. I really was seeing a change in her in two lessons! However, a week ago she wasn´t at home when we went to take her to church. She had told us she was going to Piura so we didn´t stress. On Tuesday, we passed by and her sister said she had gone to Piura but would come back Wednesday morning. We passed Wednesday and no one answered...we ended up going to her house every single day, but we were met by her cousin and he lied and said she was still in Piura. Also, one of the times we passed, both of us saw the arm of a woman retracted rapidly as we were walking up to the door. When we got there, her brother claimed he was the only one there. An obvious lie.

It´s really tough to leave her, but if she doesn´t want to talk, that´s her decision to make. We think she may have heard something about the church that was false and is now having problems believing what we shared. Everyone has to go through a test of faith before they can receive the blessing. Maybe she´s just not ready to make the leap.

The rest of the week also seemed to pass with just a lot of opposition. It wasn´t the best, but my companion and I really seemed to grow closer together through it, I think. I´m so grateful to have him. I know that Satan is also going to work in the same way that we are. We have to work hard in order to fight him, and we will face some difficult times. Honestly, I know that I haven´t seen hardly anything yet. Satan has a lot more forces out that people just saying they´re not interested. A lot more than a mother saying that the tall gringo is going to steal her child (honestly made me laugh a little when I heard that. How ridiculous can you get??). I know there´s opposition, and the world is just going to get worse. I also know that this mission is one of the relatively ´easy´ missions. Derek and Dad had to have gone through a tougher time with opposition in Europe. However, it really was incredible to me and a great testimony builder this week that it doesn´t matter what opposition I face, I have the spirit with me and I can support it all and still be happy. THAT is the power of God in my life. That is the support that I hope to receive from here on!

I hope that all is well in Utah! Tell the primary thanks for their efforts to raise the pennies for a Book of Mormon! I will look for someone really special to give it to!

Have fun in all that you´re doing! Please keep up the letters and communication! They really are a great moral booster!!!

Love you all so much!!
Elder Schofield