Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 55 - Being a Beacon, and Being a Stinkin' Beacon

Dear Mom,

I love what you learned from the lesson that you taught! :) I learned a little bit from the priesthood lesson this past week! Well, a little background first. This past week was the first week of the transfer. And there have been some issues in some companionships in the district (not Elder Brown and I, but others), and I have been a bit stressed just trying to figure out how to help work out these problems. I've been praying A LOT this week! and on Sunday morning, I was in conversation with the Lord about these issues and what I should do, and among the answers I was brought to remembrance on the words of one of the blessings I received in my life, (can't remember if it was baby blessing, confirmation, when dad died, or some other time) that I would be a "beacon of light to those around me". I paused and thought about that for a minute. What do beacons do? they guide people in the direction to go, they're a signal of hope, and of help. And they can unify people in working towards that direction. (Not that I'm trying to get a big head about it or anything.) I think about the Lord of the Rings when the beacons of Minas Tirith were lit. The ruler there refused to light the beacons to ask Rohan for help, but Gandolf knew it had to be done, other wise, they would not win the war. So the beacons were there to be lit in a time of great need and assistance. Way to tie in Lord of Rings to the gospel haha I also thought about how in the past, I've unified my friends and others. Perhaps God sent me here because I needed to help in that way. I don't know. But God told me then that being that Beacon was something that I need to continue doing. Then in the priesthood lesson that day, they talked about being a light to those in darkness in the world. They talked about being an example of the believers like it says in 1 Timothy, but most especially in word and conduct. They talked about being like a caring big brother, and helping others to follow Christ. and many other things. That helped me connect what God told me earlier about being a beacon of light to that lesson, and it was awesome! God does so many cool things! So, that helped me out, but I would still LOVE prayers for me and for my district concerning unity probs and in whatever other way you feel inspired!

I got the opportunity to give another blessing on Sunday! One of the hermana missionaries was really stressing out, and we were going to give a blessing after church, but she changed her mind to wanting it after sacrament meeting. The blessing is helping her I believe! The spirit said many wonderful things in the blessing to her! Then Elder Brown gave a blessing to the other hermana that was stressing out, and great things came in that one as well. I love how God can work like that to help His children!

The blessing we gave last Sunday went well! The investigator needed a blessing of health, and she felt really good after. I gave a blessing to one of our investigators this past week as well! Her husband had cheated on her and beat her as well, so you can imagine that was a pretty rough time for her! We came a few days later and she told us that after we had given her a blessing that night, she went to bed without feeling any of the pain from what had happened. It was wonderful to hear that!
All in all, blessings just rock! God is awesome! And I will never get tired of seeing those miracles!

On another note, I was a stinker this past week! Back story (again) a few weeks ago, we had eaten with a member family, and after dinner, they offered a mexican delicacy called "champulines" to us. Champulines in english are grasshoppers. I, of course tried them with gusto! one of the hermanas absolutely refused to try them! So I started concocting a plan to sneak some of these champulines in her dessert one day. About middle of last week, we went over to that family's house with the hometeachers to give him a blessing because he was sick. After the blessing, I asked for some of the champulines and told them my plan. They laughed and laughed and gave them to me whole heartedly and wanted a report after I accomplished my plans! So, I had made chocolate muffins for our district to start off the transfer good! little did they know that we had blended up champulines in these muffins. I was giggling to myself all day about it! The next night, when I called to get info on their progressing investigators, we usually tell a joke along with it! So, I made sure they had their phone on speaker. "Hermanas, do you remember those muffins I made for you yesterday? I put a special ingredient in them this time....Champulines." There was a moment of silence, and then all of them bursted out laughing! Except one of the hermanas, the one that had refused to eat the grasshoppers that one time. She grabbed the phone and told that I should bolt the door if I didn't wanna die that night! I laughed and laughed, because I knew she wasn't that serious, of course! and the next day, I get hate mail dropped at our door step. A piece of paper with leftover blended muffin paste spelling out "H8 U" I though it was super funny! She laughs about it now! She's over it! But it was so super funny! The hermanas now say that instead of being Batman, I am now the Joker! it's super funny! Now I carry a joker card with me in my planner :P

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

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss/Joker :P

[Some images shared by a sister on the California Carlsbad Missionary Moms Facebook page, before and after a baptism]

Elders Wockenfuss and Brown arriving at the baptism

We must have funny faces!

Later, she saw them riding their bikes.

Smile, Elder Wockenfuss!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Week 54 - Comic Relief and Blessings

Dear Mom,

My District and I absolutely love your dream* and the goofy pics that you all sent me! They say "that explains so much about you!" as we all are laughing and having a good time over here! My district loves you guys!

[The Wockenflock assurance that all is swell: Buddy swallowing a sword,
Mom putting the hammer down and stabbing him in the back, 
Katie pointing Loki's scepter at everybody in the world as Mary cuts her head off.]

[Pic 2: Buddy riding a scepter, holding a sword.]

I'm super glad that everyone is doing good! I talked with Elder Brown (my comp) about those feelings that wouldn't go away, and he completed understood about the whole empathy thing that we have, and I'm pretty sure we figured out that I was empathing off of Hermana Lichfield. She's one of the sisters in our district, and she's finishing her mission tomorrow, so we figured that I was just feeling all of her mixed emotions about going home. Everything's fine now! :)

Man... what happened this week since Wednesday?? O I know! We found a less-active family through the efforts of an active member! We haven't been able to find this family for a long time, but because of this member working hard, we were able to find them! The husband needed a blessing because he has tumors in his colon or something like that, and the wife has a brain tumor, but she says that she's doing better than he is, so we gave him a blessing of health and guidance that he needed, and we're going back to see them this week! After the blessing, the husband gave us both a really big hug! I could seriously feel his love, deep appreciation, and relief that we were there and that we gave him a blessing. I almost cried from how strongly I could feel it! Once again, another miracle and instance of seeing God's power in the lives of his children! I will never get tired of telling those stories! Tonight, we actually get a chance to give a blessing to another investigator of the hermanas! We'll see what God has in store tonight! :)

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

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Never too old to be a Power Ranger!

*Mom's dream: I had the funniest dream last night where I was going somewhere and along the way, I ended up outside a room for a Carlsbad, CA, missionary training meeting. I felt I shouldn't be there because you were in the room, but I was told it was okay. This meeting was taking place because President Kendrick had decreed that all the missionaries should learn to lip sync the lyrics to current popular music.  I stood there watching the group while some song was playing and missionaries were trying to learn the lyrics, lip syncing along. It was imperative to get this right in order to further the work. Your companion, but not Elder Brown, was on the verge of a meltdown because he couldn't keep up. He cried out in frustration when he messed up and banged his fists on the table in front of him. I felt bad for him, but knew with a little more practice he would get it.  After a while I walked over to visit you and I noted your accessories.  With your white shirt and black pants, you were wearing a shiny, dark red patent leather tie, with matching hat and belt. Boy, did you shine and look sharp, as dreams go, though I can see you wearing such an outfit for real. Haha. What a dream.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Week 53 - Not Much Happening Beyond Cleaning Up the Ward List

Dear Mom,

I'm sooo glad to hear that the kitten is alright! The name fits perfectly! :) **

I did get the packages! I got my power ranger shirts, thank you sooo much! And I got the package with the UCA Jedi Shirt and Wickles, super funny and hilarious!! :D I'm not sure about the 4th package, what was in it? If you're still having a hard time deciding on a february tie, could you send me another creme/offwhite paisley tie like the one you gave me at some point before my mission? I traded it for another tie in the MTC, which I super regret now. Because I really really liked that tie! haha

As for the 3 piece gray suit you saw me wearing, Megan's mom sent that suit in the mail last week. She asked me for my sizes, so I went to a suit shop and got all my sizes done and sent them to her, so then she went on JCPENNY and got me suit that I wanted :) It's so snazzy and I love it! Almost everyone comments on it now haha

The snazzy new suit

So this past week, Elder Brown and I have been cleaning up the ward list, and we only have 2 names left to verify!! :D Apparently, there have been hundreds of members who have moved out that didn't tell anyone, and it's been annoying us that the ward list hasn't been updated, so we decided to take care of it that it could finally be done! And we're almost there! :D

Not very much else happened this week, not that I can remember anyway haha

For some reason, in the past couple of days, I've been having a feeling that I couldn't really shake, that something has happened or was going to happen to either you guys or to someone that I care for period. Has anything been going on?

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

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

[an excerpt from his e-mail to Mary. A few weeks ago, he had asked for her help setting up his FamilySearch so he could use RelativeFinder to see if he was related to any of the missionaries in his district. Turns out he's related to all but one. Here's more info.]

I think the closest relation I have is to Elder Talbot, our common ancestor is David Maggart, on granny's side of the family. I think he's our 7th great grandfather, so pretty cool stuff!

This past week I got the chance to go to MLC(Mission Leadership Council), because they invited the DL's to come. And we got to see and practice what we were going to be doing in our Zone Training Meeting's and District meetings next transfer. And it looks like it's gonna be good! We learned about effective studies, answering/ teaching complex questions simply, and teaching our investigators about repentance and how to use it in their lives.

Elder Wockenfuss and Elder Brown

Having a really good laugh over something!

The lady who took the pictures really...


... really likes funny face photos.

All smiles

** The story of the kitten - Well, you never know from one minute to the next what life will bring.

When one of the new kittens was missing, Katie discovered that she had accidentally put it into the washing machine with a load of towels.  She found it next to the washing machine, all stiff, eyes open and locked jaw,  breathing, but unresponsive.  We were sure it was going to die.  I mean, holy kow!  It went through the nightmare of going through a whole laundry cycle!

I left to get Mary from school and when I got home, Katie had put it into a small box to let it die.  After a couple hours of being in the box, the kitten suddenly started screaming and thrashing about like it was trying to swim and find a safe place to put it's head.  We picked it up and it screamed louder, thrashing,  We set it on the floor and it walked really weird, throwing it's limbs out wide and coming to rest its head against something solid.  When we tried to pet it for soothing, it screamed.  So we left it alone to rest.  And maybe die. But maybe not.

It slept once we put it on a towel with a warm rice bag. Then all its siblings came along and lay down with it on the towel, and he was fine for the rest of the night, sleeping through the night, in fact. By morning they all had climbed up on to one of Mary's Monster critters and were sleeping in  a pile.  

This morning when he was found standing on the back of a chair, having climbed up Katie's jacket to get there, we decided he was really going to be all right.  He has been to the kitchen looking for food and water of his own accord. 

We have named him Miracle Max.  How can a kitten survive a full laundry cycle except by a miracle?  That final spin cycle is brutal, let alone having to swim for at least a half hour beforehand.
I have decided Miracle was just stunned and in shock, or knocked out when Katie first found him.  When he came to, he must have thought he was still in his nightmare experience.

I have a new washer (and dryer) that washes more gently than the older traditional ones with the rough agitator in the center.  Also, it doesn't fill up as high as the older ones, therefore allowing the kitten to be able to "walk" on top of the towels as they washed and agitated against themselves.

New rule:  put clothes and towels into the washer one piece at a time.  Check for kittens.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Week 52 - Power in the Priesthood

Dear Mom,

This week has been pretty good!  We had 2 of our investigators come to church! Yadira and Ricardo! They're a married couple that really wants to change their lives. We had invited them the night before to come to church the next day. At first, they said they couldn't, because they had to help his brother tow his car in San Diego, but then they were sitting there talking to each other trying to figure out how they could come to church. So they completely rearranged their morning so that they could come to church the next day! This was the first time that I've really had an investigator to church in months! That's a sign to me that they are serious about wanting to get baptized and change their lives!

This past week, I had the opportunity to give 7 blessings! 5 of them in the same night! One set of Hermanas in our district asked Elder Brown and I to come to their Investigator's house with them to give a blessing upon the house, and for the wife and husband. Elder Brown didn't feel comfortable enough with his spanish to give blessings, so I ended up giving all of them. At first, we explained blessings and what they are, then I gave the blessing on the house right after. The spirit was definitely there! Then we asked who all wanted a blessing. It was only the husband and wife who wanted it, but we asked the other man and woman who were there if they wanted one, but they kindly declined. So we gave a blessing to the husband who's trying to overcome alcohol addiction. After his blessing, he just sat there in the chair for a minute in silence, and wiped his tears. Then we gave a blessing of comfort and strength to the wife, because she's been so stressed in her life. She's been feeling as if home wasn't home anymore, worrying about her family, and many other things. So we gave her the blessing, and words came out of my mouth as guided by the spirit that I did not know why they needed to be said, but they needed to be said. I could hear her sniffling in many places in the blessing, I knew that the spirit was telling her things that she needed in the blessing. I then asked the other man and woman again if they wanted a blessing. They had a look on their face that something was different. I knew that they could feel the spirit there. They then agreed that they did want a blessing as well, and we did accordingly. By the time all the blessings were completed, the entire house was absolutely filled with the spirit and an extreme feeling of peace. We all could feel a significant from when we first arrived to that moment after the blessings. We asked the wife how she felt after the blessings. She described to us how from the start of the blessing, she felt a warmth and peace begin from the top of her head that flowed throughout her whole body. She said that she felt wonderful and different from the beginning. We left with the most wonderful feeling ever! I felt so much at peace, and extremely grateful that I can have that priesthood power from God to do his will and help families and individuals in their lives.

Then several days later, the other set of Hermanas in our district called us and asked us to give a blessing to THEIR investigator. we brought the member with whom we ate to the blessing, because we needed a man in the house. He doesn't have the Melchizedek priesthood yet, but he's progressing to that point. Like before, Elder Brown anointed, and I blessed. After we left the house, the member just kept looking at me with a look of awe and like he really wanted to progress to get the priesthood.

Elder Brown got sick a few days ago, so I gave him a blessing to help him recover. So, lots of blessings! and lots of cool miracles!

I don't say all this to get praise or anything, but just to show how awesome God is! His power is amazing! And we have the amazing privilage to have it again on the earth!

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

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 51 - Needing a Little Help from the Lord, and He Sent Batman With a NERF Gun

Dear Mom,

Talking about giving talks at church, that reminds me of all those years ago when we got asked to speak on the Great Apostasy on a Saturday evening, BUT we got all our talks prepared and everyone thought they were awesome! So God sure gives us a helping hand when we give talks! :D

So this past week, our district meeting was awesome! Or so I thought haha It was a lot better than our first district meeting, which still wasn't bad! But this past District Meeting, I felt like Batman was extremely needed. So I wore my Batman Tie, Batman Watch, Batman Cufflinks, and Batman socks. It. was. wonderful! Sorry I forgot to get a pic of it haha Everyone got a kick out of it though! Then after the district meeting, we went to a Panaderia (mexican sweet bread place), (see pic below)

I'm not sure if I've told you (but I'm sure you've guessed), I have become an avid NERF person on the mission! So I figured out a way to integrate NERF into our district meetings! Just to break out of the same ol boring routine haha We have short 2 minute talks that we get assigned to do in each meeting. There's 1 topic for each month, and 1 person gives this STEPP talk in each meeting. Leaders usually just randomly pick someone while they're at the front. But instead of doing that, last week I drew a bulls eye target with everyone's name on it. Then I picked someone, gave them a NERF gun, and shot at the dart board to decide who would give the STEPP talk. It ended up being me. Everyone busted out laughing when it landed on me. I'm so glad everyone enjoyed it! This week, I'm turning it up a notch! I'm going to have someone shoot the dartboard, then the person chosen from the dartboard gets to grab whatever NERF gun I have and shoot down empty water bottles with everyone's names on them until there's one left. I think it's gonna be a BLAST! :D

The other day, Elder Brown and I were getting ready to leave the apartment, and we turn around a see an orange tabby cat just sitting on our porch! 

We picked up a few new investigators and the husband has no religion at this time. He was born in the Catholic church, but he hasn't gone in YEARS! He believes that there is a higher being, but he doesn't know who He is. So he's pretty open to learning more! Even last night, he asked "Who goes to which place?" referring to heaven and hell. I responded that "We have no place to judge who goes where." And that answer just blew him away. He had never heard of anyone saying something like that! He's heard catholic preachers throw down their preach of where certain types of people are going to go, but never anything like what was just said. I feel like that was a culmination of what I learned in my years of Seminary. Every time in Seminary when someone asked where a certain person in the scriptures was going to go after this life, our teacher would simply respond that we don't know, because we have no place to judge. I feel that in a sense, God had been preparing me for that moment to say exactly what that Investigator needed to hear. God is amazing!

We have a ward missionary named Carlos, and he just absolutely the best ward missionary I've ever met in my life! He's just the greatest! If you need him to come to a lesson, he'll be there! If you need him to pick up an investigator for church, he'll do it! And he somehow can connect with everyone, no matter how old they are! Just the other day, after we woke up, we got a text from him saying that he was outside with donuts for us! So you can imagine what we had for breakfast that day :P

We have an investigator name Jorge who's really starting to progress! We left him with the assignment to read the intro to the Book of Mormon, and the testimonies of Joseph Smith and the 3 and 8 witnesses, and he described it all to us quite vividly! He remembered everything! So we're super excited to see his progress! :D

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

With much love,

Elder Patrick Wockenfuss

Elder Bucko and I on our last night together. We're wearing the ties that we gave each other.

Me and the Herrera Family (My absolute favorite family besides the Morgans)