Monday, December 12, 2016

Week 95 - A Reflection

Dear Mary,

I love the wockenflockite photo! Not too crazy, but just enough to make people wonder :P

The Wockenflockites are ready for Christmas and for Elder Wockenfuss to come home!

I haven't been able to finish El Libro de Mormon. I'm still in Alma, but I'll get there at some point at home!  :)

So this past week has been interesting-ish! On Monday, we had this Murder Mystery party that was so so fun! It's kinda like Clue, and werewolf/mafia, but on a bigger scale, plus acting. Everybody is given a character profile to read over, and they are to become that character for the next 3 hours that we play the game. Everyone is trying to figure out the "who did it" but also have to worry about the own personal goals, and all the drama that goes on in the game. Our game was called Spellbound. It takes place in a magical castle for wizarding students, basically Harry Potter, only there's no kid with a scar on his head. So not Harry Potter haha But it was so much fun!! It was such an interactive game, and everyone had a blast! It was weird going back to being a normal missionary at the end, but at least we all ended happily :)

The same day, Elder Adams got sick, and had to stay inside. In a nutshell, he got sick and better and sick again, to the point that the doctor told him to stay inside until Friday evening. Since we're in a trio, I got to go with Elders Dressman and Taylor to work in our areas. Elder Dowda volunteered to stay behind with Elder Adams to watch over him, and we all knew that I did NOT want to stay inside during my last week of the mission! haha

So we went and worked both our areas, with some success in their area, and some success in ours. We visited and taught our new investigator Laura to help her in her preparations for baptism. Lidia, the girl that got baptized last week, sat in the lesson, and helped Laura to understand different points of the gospel! She's gonna be such an awesome missionary one day!

We had an amazing Zone Training Meeting this past week as well! It was very spiritual and pretty different than how ZTM's are usually done. We talked about Our relationship with God, Prayer, Obedience, and a few other things. My favorite part was near the end when it was tied together. The STL's had a training for us in which for the workshop portion, we were to go into the chapel with a pencil and paper, kneel down in prayer, open our hearts to God and ask Him what he truly thought of us. And then after a few minutes of doing this, we would get together with our companions and introduce ourselves as if it was God introducing us. There were many tears from everyone, because we all got a glimpse of just how greatly our Heavenly Father truly does love us as His children and as His Missionaries. It was a great way to end my last ZTM here :)

I also had my Exit Interview with President Thomas. We went over "My Plan" and discussed various things, and he gave me really good advice about my future. And all those things that he said really comforted me about it all. At the end of the interview, he cried as he said thank you to me. He thanked me for my example and for everything that I've done, especially given my circumstances. After that, he asked if he could give me a blessing, which I agreed to. I don't remember everything in the blessing, I just remember comfort and confidence in God's plan for my future. And I remembered that he said in the blessing that my future is very bright. I got the most amazing feeling in my heart as he said, and it gave me the comfort and knowledge that I needed to know that everything will work out in the end. :)

So as I've reflected on the past 2 years of my mission, I've thought about each of my areas, each of my companions, and the people who, through my efforts, God was able to help. I've been told before that God handcrafts everyone's mission to them, that it a gift made special just for you. You may help change people and bring them to Christ, but along the way, you discover that's you've changed greatly too. I've come to discover that there was a purpose in every aspect of my mission. There was a purpose in every companion that I had, because each one of them had something to teach me, even if in the moment I didn't like, it prepared me for something later on. There was a purpose for every area that I was placed in, because of the experiences that took place. At the time when they occured, it may not have seemed like much, but all the things that happened made an effect on me for the better. There was a purpose for the members and investigators that I worked with, because they touched my life, gave me support when I needed it, taught me as I taught them, and helped me to know that there is good in a world full with evil, and that the darkness can be pushed back, one small act at a time. 

And that starts with all of us. We can make an effect on the world. Even if we can't see it right now, later down the road, we can turn back and see promised fulfilled in the scriptures that "By small and simple means are great things brought to pass."

I think the greatest thing that I've learned is to never give up. You don't know how close you really are the top of the mountain. Trust in God who knows all things, and always be worthy to do His will if called upon in an instant.

This has been the greatest and most challenging time of my life! I think of the EFY song "Stones in the River" as I look back on my mission. We get tossed and turned in the river of life, but as that happens, a bit of the jagged rock surface comes off and gets a bit smoother until we become the smooth beautiful stone or jewel that God sees that we can become. I've come a bit closer to being that smooth stone. Even though I still have a long way to go, I have changed. I'm no longer Patrick the kid that left home 2 years ago, and I will take what I've learned as Elder Wockenfuss and listen to God as I become who He wants me to be.

I love you all, thank you for much for always being there! I'll see you soon!

Con amor,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Elder Wockenfuss signing out for the last time...

Week 94 - The Final Countdown

Dear Mary,

This is the last week.... Bleh!! The Final Countdown! (cue the music)

Our investigator Lidia finally got baptized!! :D It was wonderful! By the smile on her face, you could see how thrilled she was to finally be baptized :)

I got to perform "When I am Baptized" on the guitar in the middle of the program, which always brings the spirit super strong. The district all gave me thumbs up and finger applauds when I finished. I have a great district :)

We also started teaching a relative of Lidia (named Laura) just the other day! After church last week, Laura talked with Hermana Mendez (Lidia's Grandma) that she wanted to start learning from the missionaries, and that she wanted to be baptized! Which the exact same thing that happened that got us to start teaching Lidia! So we are super excited for her! :)

My last talk in district meeting went pretty well! I just wrote down a bunches of notes on what I could talk about, and I let the spirit take over from there. I guess I'm becoming like Mom in that sense now haha I remember that she never wrote her talks word for word, but always had notes and materials, and then just let the spirit talk.

But in any case, it went well! I talked about various things that had changed me, what I learned, what advice I had to offer, and how it's been a great blessing to me.

On Thursday, we went over to a members house and helped them do some spring cleaning, but in winter haha It was a good time! We spent 2 or 3 hours there, and it just flew! Time flies when you're having fun! They put me in charge of organizing and cleaning out the cabinets, which was very fun for me! For some reason, I enjoy doing things like that...I'm not really sure why. But they were very grateful for the help that we gave, which is what I always love to hear! If nothing else happens in a day, I'm glad that I helped in some way to make someone else's life a little easier :)

Once a week, we've been getting together as a district to have a combined language study so that we can download the knowledge of us old fougies into the brains of the newer missionaries, and they have been pretty interesting sometimes! A couple of times we've practiced past tenses, and to do that, everybody takes a turn and creates a sentence to make and add to the story. We have very weird imaginations haha this last week's story had to deal with a princess, her bigger friend, and little boy that needed a fat transplant in order to live....yes, I know that we are very weird, but sometimes that's how stories go haha

It doesn't feel real that I'm coming home next week, either that or I've already accepted the fact that it's happening, and I'm just rolling with it. I could believe either one haha

One more week...I'll see ya soon!

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Week 92 - A Busy Week

Dear Mary,

Thank you for getting the room ready! I can't wait to see how it's gonna be!

This week was a very interesting one! We are now a Spanish district again, because we have 6 missionaries in the ward! I'm super glad to have Elder Dowda as a companion, and so glad to have Elder Dressman and Elder Taylor come into our district! We had to help them out a lot this week, so not too much in our area was accomplished, but we at least helped Dressman and Taylor pick up the beginning of their transfer so that it can be an amazing transfer! I do feel like this last transfer is gonna be the best one ever!! I'm excited to work with all these missionaries, and to have unity between all of us!

During the first half of the week, we were running around like chickens with their heads cut off! We had to help Elders Dressman and Taylor get everything that they needed to be able to work well in their new area here in Oceanside. It was quite the week and very fun at the same time! To start off, Elders Dressman and his new missionary, Elder Taylor did not have a ride from the mission office to Oceanside, but Carlos was so gracious to take our stuff to our apartment and then to go back and get Dressman and Taylor, and their belongings. Second, They don't have a phone yet! So the first night we let them stay at our apartment (even though they already had an apartment with other elders) so that it would be easier to communicate with us. But they decided to move into their apartment the next day after the Zone Welcome and to just decide before hand where and when we would meet them to pick them up for things. So we asked the hermanas help us move their things into their new apartment, which was very kind of them! Then we discovered that the only the had were beds. No dresser, no desks, no chairs, no extra silverware or plates, and no shower curtain... so we called the mission office and asked them for all of these things, which were brought over by the next couple of days. We hadn't even gone to dinner or shopped yet! So we went to dinner first at the Palacios house, which is always amazing!! They are an amazing family! Then we went shopping afterwards, and by the time we were done, it was nearly time to go home for the evening. So we did. We're also in a car share with the elders as well, and we decided that we give them the car on Wednesdays, so you know what that means... BIKING!!! :D Well, I'm excited about it at least haha We ended up not biking that day, because we discovered while biking that Elder Dowda's bike needed tuning up, and that we both needed bike lights. The elders had already dropped us off in our area, and we had no way to contact them because they had no phone, so we started calling other missionaries to come help us, but luckily, Elders Dressman and Taylor had come back and gave us a ride to walmart to get the stuff that we needed, then they took us back to our apartment to get everything fixed. Then on Friday we had breakfast with our Bishop as we usually do at the beginning of the transfer, then later we organized our area books to find anything that belongs to the other missionaries in the ward, which took 3 hours. Then we biked to the other elders apartment (because that was the previously agreed point of pick up so that w could all go to dinner) and it took us about an hour to do. Just in time to go to dinner! haha On Saturday, we had a joined Language study/lunch with all 6 Spanish missionaries in our ward, and it was so much fun!! We played a game where we all created following sentences of a story. The story was about a King Shark, a King Turtle, a family of fish made of gold, and a penguin marrying the turtle widow... it was super funny and weird! but lots of fun! That pretty much sums up all the craziness! But it was SOOO much fun!! The week went by very quickly!

I'm not complaining, this week was actually very fun!! I love when stuff like this happens, it makes the time fly by soo much!! :)

Elder Dressman told me yesterday that I give really good advice! We were helping someone who was struggling with personal things and after we had left, Elder Dressman had told me that I just always had good advice to give. I never thought of myself as being that way, but it's good to hear that someone thinks that of me.

He also rekindled my dream of acting the other night! I was doing a couple of voices, and he asked if I had thought of acting before. I told him that it was my dream as I was growing up. He told me that I should do it and that I would be really good! I never had someone bring that up to me before, I was a bit surprised! But I'm definitely gonna try going for it! We'll see what God has in store for me!

Write when you can, I love hearing from you!!

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Week 93 - The Nightmare Transfer Before Christmas

Dear Mary,

I'm glad that the weather is finally getting normal there! It'll be so weird to not have SoCal weather when I come home haha

On thanksgiving, we are going to the Delaveaux family's house for dinner!! :D I think I've told you about them before, they are so awesome!! They are one of the many sets of "Mission Parents" that we have :)

As for my plans... I'm gonna get a job at Kum & Go, maybe go to school at uaccm (still not sure), I want to get a good smart phone, (not a cheap walmart-y type of smart phone, but a better one, maybe like yours, not sure yet), I want to weekly be researching different careers that interest me, I want to be going to the temple at least once a month as a family (like how we used to do slow Saturdays), get a calling asap and magnify it to the best of my ability, and go out with the missionaries weekly if possible. That's just an idea of what I want to be doing when I get back. I'm gonna meet with President Thomas this week to discuss My Plan, iron out details of what I plan to do, and have my final interview with him.

The title of this email should be "The Nightmare Transfer Before Christmas" because so much craziness has happened! And as a play on words of the title of the Tim Burton movie :P [Note: Whether he was joking about that or not, we did it!]

So! This past week, a sister missionary came in from Bolivia and was assigned to the Hermanas in our district, so they're in a trio now :D The sister from Bolivia is learning English, and is doing really well at it! They seem happy with each other, and are doing good work! The night that she came in, we ate at the Palacios house, and it was such a good time! We were all laughing and enjoying the company! The Hermanas even noted that it was great to see me so happy since my past struggles :)

That night we got a call from the Assistants telling us that the next day we would be receiving one of the new missionaries that had come in a week and a half previous, because one elder in the mission had to go home for knee surgery, so things had to be switched up a bit. So we would have 2 trios in our ward!! haha 8 missionaries and 3 areas! so crazy!! and all the companionships are training! haha

The next day our mission had the opportunity to meet together in Escondido with Elder Dallin H.Oaks of the Quorum of the 12!! :D He wanted to shake every missionary's hand before the meeting started, and as I passed through to shake his hand, he grabbed my lapel to get a closer look at my name. "Wockenfuss...Is that how you pronounce it?" he said with a smile on his face "Yes sir, it is" is what I thought I said, but I'm sure it came out as "ahfiaubfblbiul" (:P) because I was amazed that I actually got to meet him and that he touched my nametag!! :D :D

[Family freaking out at the awesomeness!!!]

It was a wonderful meeting though! It was centered around being witnesses of Christ and gaining a greater relationship with Him and how we can rely on him as missionaries. It was so wonderful! We felt the spirit so strong there!

The Proclamation of The Living Christ was discussed as well, and a bit of behind the scenes of how it came about. It made me realize that I have never read The Living Christ before, so I want to do that this week! I'll tell you next week what I learned from it! :)

We got Elder A. (the new missionary) after the meeting with Elder Oaks and had lunch as a district, and since then it has been a difficult time! [Removed for privacy]

Please continue to write and email when you can, I love hearing from you!


Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 91 - It's the Final Transfer!

Dear Mary,

Well... This is it!....The transfer to end all transfers.... what a weird thought!! I'm excited for it though! I'm gonna be working as hard as I can till the end! I only have 5 more weeks to wear this nametag, I'd better make the best of it! :)

Transfer calls came on Saturday night, and we found out that Elder Sedgwick is leaving to Vista, and I'm getting Elder Dowda! And we're getting a new set of elders into the ward as well! :) I'm excited for the change and am going to make this the best transfer of my life!

I totally admire Nephi for how much faith he had in completing Heavenly Father's commandments! I feel exactly like Nephi as I come to the end of my mission "being lead by the spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which [I] should do." My life is coming before me! And I don't know how everything is going to turn out! But I know that God WILL provide for us! I remember Mom telling me for years that when she passed away I'm supposed to keep the family together and be the spiritual leader. I always thought, "Yeah that'll be a LONG time down the road, so I don't have to worry about it right now."  but I was wrong! I didn't expect to take that to happen so soon! But I'm so glad that we can all work together and strengthen each other and that we're all still going strong in the gospel and that we haven't broken apart! I'm learning more and more of how Mom truly did have to rely on the spirit and God in her decisions! It's truly a blessing that we can communicate with Heavenly Father anytime that we want! I know that as we continue faithfully, everything God has promised will come to pass for us :)

Elder Sedgwick and I got the opportunity to teach the young men's class in church yesterday! It was on education and developing skills. I honestly learned stuff to help me to prepare for education more! I certainly hope that they learned something from it, because I know I did :)

People have been giving us sooo much Halloween candy!!! Our kitchen counter is just filled with candy upon candy! ...we're probably gonna get a little fat haha :P

Speaking of Halloween! Here's a couple pics of my Halloween costumes!

My Batman PJs, of course!

I was also the Joker! with green hairspray! It was pretty awesome!

I wore both of them at the exact same time! I showed up to our Zone activity wearing the Batman Pjs, (which everyone loved!) and after a while I was like "Man, It's getting hot in here" (which yes it was), I unzipped the pjs and joker came out from underneath! I loved the first look of confusion when I pulled off the batman hood and people could see green hair! And then they all just laughed when my Joker costume was just beneath it haha :) I thought it was pretty snazzy lookin! haha :P

Write when you can, we've only got 5 weeks left haha :P

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Monday, October 31, 2016

Week 90 - Missionary Work For Those On the Other Side

Dear Mary,

My, o my! What has happened this week? Let me start with the temple trip! Well... Let me start before that! I went on the computer to see if you had sent any girl names, but I couldn't find any. It was the day before the temple trip, and I did not want to turn up empty handed to the sisters that I asked to help me. So the persistent me came out and I told myself that I would stay there for half an hour looking for enough girl names for the sisters. When I pulled up the family tree fan, I got the impression that there were people in there ready to be printed out. So I started clicking around where I felt prompted, and after I found the first female name that was ready, I got so excited and continued looking! I looked until I felt that I had found all the ladies that were ready at this time. At one point, I felt bad for not being outside doing missionary work, but I heard this voice telling me to calm down and that I was doing missionary work right then too! That I was bringing my family closer to Christ, and that's a very important thing to do! So I felt better after that!

We had enough names for every single missionary in our zone, plus a few drivers! 23 of our ancestors got to receive their endowments that day! I could just feel how happy they all were! I could feel that Granddad was very pleased :) One of the sisters came up to me in the celestial room and told me that she felt very close to that ancestor that she had taken through for us, and that she felt happy :) I believe she took Alice Jones through... I can't remember the last name, but I know the first name was Alice! :)

This is super funny! I was praying about which of the male names were the most ready, and I felt that George Henry Wockenfuss was requesting one of the Zone Leaders to do his temple work, because he had listened to several of the lessons he taught, and it really affected him. I thought that was interesting, and I wondered why he didn't sit in on my lessons. Then I'm pretty sure I felt him say: "Son, I've seen you teach, and you're wonderful! You're outstanding! I just can't understand you because your lessons are in Spanish!" I just laughed at that!

At the Deseret Book store near the temple, I bought the new Christmas album from GENTRI and the Alex Boye African gospel inspirations album, and they sound awesome!! I can't wait to show you guys! :D I also got my name engraved on my mini Spanish scriptures! It looks pretty cool!

I did the second segment of the "My Plan" program this week, where I had to set goals for the future, well, for the next year to be specific haha I'm still refining my plans and goals, but I'm writing a bunch of things that I want to have accomplished by next October! Maybe next week I'll have a more firm plan of what I want to do! I'm super excited though! It's teaching me to make plans, and then to set specific goals to accomplish those things! I'm excited to get to work on them!

I really hope that Pathway can get started in Arkansas! That's part of what I'm planning on doing! If not, I'll figure out something!

Yesterday, our investigator Richard came to church for the first time!! :D We were super happy about that! He loved it! He said that the people were so welcoming and friendly! All the members seemed very happy to meet him and they offered their help in teaching him and with anything else that we need! He's trying to find evidence or a sign that God is real, and he's slowing getting there! We hope and pray that before I leave, that he'll find his answer! We tell him that as he continues to read the Book of Mormon, Pray, and come to Church, that he will receive his answer. :)

I went on exchanges this week with Elder Hadfield! He's a really good missionary! We weren't able to teach anyone, but we did our best and had a blast as we went! A lot of times, the YSA elders and sisters go the college nearby and have a little booth set up that they sit at few a for hours and talk to people. This time, Elder Hadfield had finished a poster board for the booth, and it went so much better than all the other times that I've been there on exchanges! More people took notice, more people stopped and asked questions, and we passed out more materials! So it was a great deal more successful thanks to Elder Hadfield's genius! :) We also made cookies that night to bring to district meeting! It was Elder Hadfield's first time making cookies, so I helped him out as best I could, and it was a fun time!

I think that's pretty much it that I can remember for this week! Personally, I'm doing really well! I'm not down in the dumps, I'm working hard and happy for the future! :) Is there anything else I can pray for ya'll about?

Write when you can, I love hearing from you!

6 more weeks!.... isn't that weird to think about??

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Our Elder at the San Diego temple

Elder Wockenfuss and Elder Sedgwick

Wockenfuss and Sedgwick with Hermanas Adams and Parris

Week 89 - More LegoLand, Being in Tune With the Spirit

Dear Mary,

LegoLand was of course super fun!! I didn't take quite so many pics this time, Hermana Mendez was the one who took the majority of our pics, and I still have to get those from her. So hopefully next week I can send them to you! :)

Katie's artwork is lovely as always!! I think I saw the Cat drawing before, but not the others! They all look really well done!

For those Elders, I performed When I am baptized, Three Wooden Crosses, Classical Gas, and I Love To See The Temple :)

Searching for gifts of the spirit in the Book of Mormon is a really good idea! As I've gone through my mission, I've been able to identify more spiritual gifts that I have, which is always cool to be able to notice those things :)

This past week I started this program that the church has for missionaries that are getting ready to return home, which is called "My Plan." Realizing that I only have 7 more weeks in the mission is a weird feeling! But I'm glad to be able to go through this program! It's designed to help you think of your goals for after your mission, to have something to stand on and to give you direction. This week it's having me read through my patriarchal blessing and find the courses of action it tells me to take, to look for what things in there describe me, and what kind of person God wants me to become. It's weird thinking of the future like that, but also being a missionary. I actually had a meltdown last night from all stuff going through my mind, but Elder Sedgwick helped me to calm down and to be more at peace. Once I had let everything out, he told me that I was now the most calm and relaxed that he had seen me in several days. He's a good guy! I'm glad that he was there to help out! :)

Yesterday as the Sacrament was being passed, I was doing my personal reading of the Book of Mormon, and I came to Alma 20: 4-5 starting in the end of verse 4.

A few verses earlier, the Lord had told Ammon that his brethren were in prison in the land of Middoni and that he should go to free them.

 "Now Lamoni said unto him: Who told thee that thy brethren were in prison?
 And Ammon said unto him: No one hath told me, save it be God; and he said unto me—Go and deliver thy brethren, forthey are in prison in the land of Middoni."

It made me think of how much he needed to be in tune with the spirit for that! And how much faith he needed to have to act on that prompting! We all can be and do the same! We may not necessarily have to free our family from prison, but we should always strive to be worthy enough and know how the spirit talks to us to be able to recognize prompting to about doing good. It could be "go visit this person, they need a hand" or "Call this person, it's been a while" and they possibly be going through something rough. Whatever the situation may be, we should have the faith to obey the promptings that we receive, and we will see miracles from it, and be more filled with joy that we did God asked, and we were an instrument in His hands for good.

Please continue to write and email when you can, I love hearing from you! :)

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss