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