Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Sports Day and The Metro

Well first things first, I read all of your guys' emails, but I most likely will not get to most of the questions or things you had for me, because I am a little short on time. Anyways, today we had a pretty sweet experience, it was Fall Sports Day, which meant that the whole mission got together at this ranch and just played a bunch of different sports! It was way sweet! Also, I rode on the Metro for my first time today! haha it really wasn't that exciting, its just a regular train, nothing too special about it, but it is very convenient! It was cool to meet all of the people in the mission too!

I had a pretty eventful week this last week, I went on two different exchanges this week on Monday and Tuesday, the one on Monday was with the district leader whose regular area is Bowie, the thing that kind of stinks about our district is that it is so big! From the apartment in Bowie to ours is about 70 miles, so instead of having to make the trip twice and waste miles, he just decided to spend two days down here. It was pretty cool, but it was also kind of nervewrecking because I had to be the one that knew what he was doing, no worries though, I some how made it through ;)

I will quickly tell you about an investigator that we found this week, it was pretty sweet! So we were tracting on this street in Mechanicsville, which I don't know if anything in Mechanicsville has ever been tracted because of our mile limitations, but we were there at around 1 o'clock on Monday, which is usually the worst time to tract because no one is home and it makes it feel like you just wasted your time, but this street that we were on, we talked to about 75% of the people! That hasn't happened on a Monday since I have been out here! This man that we taught though, his name is Eddie, he is a single father with two kids ages 10 and 3, he was raised in the Catholic Church, but he said he hasn't gone in over 20 years, his 10 year old daughter goes occasionally with her grandmother, but the is the extent of religion in that house. So we taught him about the Restoration, and it was so cool to see how he reacted to it, we also told him that there was something very rare happening this weekend, and that he could have the opportunity to hear the Modern Day Prophet, he was super excited about that, and we are going to visit him again tomorrow to give him more information about it, and where he can watch it! So he is really excited for that, most people here just can't wrap their minds around how there could be a Prophet on the earth today, and it is cool to see when it hits someone that there is no reason there couldn't be one.

Well, I am sorry for being so brief today, but it was a 2 hour trip from Fall Sports Day, so a lot of our P-day was spent traveling, in fact I haven't even gone shopping yet! haha But I love you guys so much!!! Mom, I hope you are able to move ok haha Dani, yes you are definitely in my prayers everyday!! Keep going though, I know you can do it! And hopefully next P-day I will be able to send a better email!!!

Till next time,

Elder Schaap

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Service Projects!

Well this week went back to normal as far as the area and companionship go haha I only have one companion, and we only cover one area again! But back to normal is a relative term I guess, because when we were combined, LP had most of the appointments, and so most of our time was spent over there, well when we got split again, it was like our area took a week break and saved it for this week! We have been very busy all week! But it has been up and down, Thursday we met with Sarah again, and it was a very good visit, the only problem was, she decided that she is going to start taking classes from the Catholic church she goes to, and since she doesn't have a whole lot of time during the week because she takes care of her Mom full time, she told us she wasn't going to be able to meet with us for the next little while... That really stunk, because she was doing so well, and then just like that, we aren't meeting with her anymore. Good things did come out of this though, as we were leaving, she kept thanking us for everything we had done for her, and almost started to cry. It got me thinking, yeah it does kind of suck that we may not meet with her again, but I can almost guarantee you that she will meet with some missionaries again. I thought that was really cool that we were able to make an impact on her life like that!

On Saturday, me and Elder Walker did a service project for an investigator that didn't seem too promising, nice people, but set in their ways. We helped them tear out their kitchen, and it was actually kind of fun! But, if he didn't have us there, he would have been working on it for a couple of days atleast. It was so cool to see how their hearts were softened, because we helped them and didn't expect anything in return, they are much more open to what we have to say, and to the message that we share. I have been noticing that a lot out here, I think I told you guys about the Car Wash that we did, well its the same principle, everyone is more open to you once you do something nice for them. I really enjoy doing service because it is a much more effective finding method than tracting. We had another service project yesterday, and let me tell you, it was hard work! We were working for about 4 hours straight, with a little lunch break in between, but I figured we probably hauled some where around 2 tons of dirt! We could have helped fill your sink hole haha ;) But it was still good, and even though the person we did it for may never join our church, atleast they will know that people from our church are good people. A lot of people out here have these weird and twisted outlooks on our church because of what they hear from people who don't like our church, well if we aren't doing anything else for them, we are showing them, not telling, what kind of people we are.

I think thats about all I have for you this week, but I always love hearing how things are going at home!! Mom - Good luck with your Century!! Dad - Good to hear you are feeling better! And that's way funny that the sink hole got bigger haha Dani - I swear I haven't even lost weight.... I don't think I look skinny in those pictures, but I guess I wouldn't be the best one to judge that. Also, if I were you, I probably would knock that guy out in your MBA group haha DO ITTTT!
Love you guys a TON! Talk to you next week!

- Elder Schaap

P.S. Pictures #1 and #2 are before and after of our service project yesterday
Picture #3 Me and Elder Opeda (My new roommate) at the service project, not sure why he looks so pissed haha

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First Transfer Day!

Well let me fill you in a little bit on how crazy my week was.... It started off on Thursday morning, the LP elders got a call from Pres Matsumori himself telling Elder Deklerk, who was the DL, that he was being emergency transfered out that day! The call came at around 8 in the morning and we all had to leave at 1! Pretty crazy!! Well the consequence of that happening was that there was only 3 of us left in our appartment.... so we have been a trio for the last week and covering both LP and Patuxent haha and we have been scrambling to figure out and juggle both of our schedules, because we both had appointments and things like that, but we had to compensate on some things, so both us and Elder Nowlin had to cancel some of our appointments. Needless to say it was quite an eventful week, but we made it through with out too many bumps in the road ;) Some of the time it was actually kind of nice though, because we always had appointments, whether they were in our area or LP so we did a lot more teaching and a lot less finding, which is nice! Also, LP has some cool people in there ward, Monday night we got to eat at a 4-star restaurant.... for free! haha it was so awesome! Dani, you should definitely be jealous! I was so full afterwards though, let me tell ya, it might have been worse than thanksgiving!

Other than that though, our investigators are doing well, I just wish they would progress a little faster, things keep coming up, like someone gets sick, or a relative dies, things like that keep preventing us from meeting with them and teaching. It's a little frustrating, but theres not much anyone can do about it so we just have to keep our heads up. As for transfers.... It was about as uneventful as it could have been hahaha I am staying in the same area with the same companion, pretty much the only thing that didn't stay the same was that I now have a new roommate, Elder Opeda who is Elder Nowlin's new companion, but we knew he was going to get a new companion anyways, so pretty much nothing exciting happened haha. We did drive up to the temple today though.... we didn't go inside, that is just where transfers are, but I did get to see it!

Other than that though, not much is going on, hopefully this week will be a little less hectic, and we can actually get some good work done. It is really good to hear from you guys though, sounds like things are busy as usual! Thanks for the Package! I picked it up today! Oh, and I have a question for you, are you trying to make me gain weight or what? You guys keep stuffing these packages full of candy haha I mean don't get me wrong, I love it! Also, it is probably going to take me the entire transfer to do that "Light Reading" that was in the package, but I appreaciate it haha and tell Jord he needs to step it up, I don't even remember the last time I weighed more than him! Dad, all I have to say is, you should probably practice your golf game a little bit, come on -5? haha Dani- not gonna lie, it was pretty weird to see that pic of you and Brad... I don't know, but to me it still seems like he is not home, but I am glad to hear about your school and that you are doing well! I knew you would! Well, thats about all I have for you this week fam! I love you guys!!!! And until next week...

- Elder Schaap

Pic #1 is: Elder Nowlin, Elder Deklerk, Me, and Elder Walker when we dropped off Deklerk to go be trained a ZL, and it was taken by Pres M!!
Pic's #2 and #3 are just proving that I still got it!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Park Rock? What a week!

Man what a week... Last Thursday, during the early morning, me, Elder Walker, and the Lexington Park Elders all went to do some service by helping set up some big canopy tents for an event called "Park Rock," it is a concert like Warped tour except not as big of bands. Anyways, we did this and in return we wanted to be able to have a booth at the concert so that we could talk to people about the gospel, well we eventually figured out that about 90% of the audience would be teenagers that came for the music, and the rest would be security guards, not very good odds of finding new investigators... But it was still fun, and they bought us Breakfast and Lunch, so we didn't make it out of there too bad haha. Also, that night we had a lesson with Sara, I don't know if I have told you about her or not before, but she is in her late 40's/ early 50's, and she retired so that she could take care of her mom full time. She was raised Catholic, but is open to the idea that there could be prophets in the America's, she has been meeting with missionaries for about 4 months, but she can't ever come to church because she is always taking care of her mom. Me and Elder Walker took about an hour that day to prepare a lesson for Sara about prayer, because in the Catholic church, most of their prayers are just recited and not very meaningful. One of the biggest things we try and get people to do is read the Book of Mormon and pray about it to know if it is true. Sara had been doing the reading part, but not the prayer part, so we did a pretty neat scripture chase with her and made her understand the importance of prayer. It was awesome to see how she started to understand what we were saying, we pretty much laid it all down for her and told her that if the Book of Mormon was true, then that means that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, which means that our church is true. She took it very well and told us that she would put it too the test! So that was very cool, unfortunately she can't meet with us this week, so we are going to have to wait until next week to see how it all goes, hopefully I am still in this area!!

Lexington Park had a baptism this last Saturday, and it was a very neat experience! It all went really really well, Elder Deklerk performed the baptism, and it was so cool to see how happy Marsha was after it was all said and done. I don't remember if I told you guys, but she quit drinking and smoking all within about 3 weeks, she is such an awesome lady! Unfortunately the Brennan's were not there... in fact we couldn't even get a hold of them, but I know he is busy, he is an attorney and has about 5 active cases right now I think, plus he was going out of town this weekend too. I am not too worried about them, we have another appointment with them next week, and I am excited to see how they are doing! A really good thing happened this week though, we had a Less-Active, Part-Member Family at church on Sunday! They had a decent time I think, I guess we will find out when we go and see them later this week though.

I had my first exchange this Monday with Elder Deklerk, it was way sweet, he is the DL, and a very good missionary. It was good for me to see how someone else does things. Well transfers are next week, I can't even believe I have been here 5 weeks already, it doesn't even feel like it has been half that yet, but they have a saying here, Hours feel like Weeks and Weeks feel like Hours, I probably wouldn't even have a clue what that means unless I was out here, but it really is true, the last 5 weeks have absolutely flown by. The good news is that it is more than likely that I will be staying here for next transfer, so hopefully I won't have to get used to another area all over again. Well I love you guys!!! It's always good to hear from you!! And as always, I miss you!!

- Elder Schaap

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wow! My first transfer is going by way too quick!

This week has been a really good one for me, we still have tons of appointments cancelling, but I guess that is just how it is. I kind of lived the good life my first week here, we had one appointment my first day and three the next and all of them held and seemed promising, not so much now, but that's just how it goes. Well I love hearing from you guys about everything that is going on back home. Sounds like things have been crazy as usual haha I have heard about the hurricanes, but just from members in our ward, I am sure if it is going to be bad that the mission home will tell us, but as of right now, we haven't heard anything from them. I had my first Zone Activity today, it was pretty sweet, we played volleyball, ultimate frisbee, and basketball, and I played all three haha we played 5 games of basketball after we ate... I was pooped, I need to get back into shape.

Well for my story I have for you this week, we taught a whole family, the Brennan's, and they are very receptive! They were asking us about what our favorite stories were in the Book of Mormon, and asking how they could become involved and come to know for themselves if what we were saying was true. The father has looked into religion his whole life, he was born into the Catholic church, but doesn't really believe all of it's teachings, he has read the Koran, and all of the different versions of the Bible, pretty crazy stuff, and he told us that he would have the whole Book of Mormon read by our next appointment! He said he prays every night, so we told him to pray about his readings and to ask if they were true. It is very uncommmon to find a family like this, where both the husband and the wife are open to hearing our message, so we have to do everything we can to help them! Also, the Lexington Park elders (the ones we live with) have a baptism this week and the father told us he would come to that, SWEET! I have heard that investigators that come to baptisms are way more likely to be baptized themselves, so hopefully it happens!

It was a pretty funny day yesterday too, we started off not very good, we had 2 appointments just not show up, then we went and tracted an entire street and not even one person answered the door. As we were walking down the street we saw this lady in her front yard with her dog, as soon as she saw us, she jetted into her house, 2 minutes later we go knock on her door... no answer, haha people are interesting, but what can you do right?

Other than that, we are still working with the excommunicated member I told you about last week, he is doing so well!! The only thing that is holding him back is the paper work that has to go through church headquarters, hopefully in the next month he will be able to be baptized, because he is ready!

It has been 90's here this week, not as humid though, either that or I am just getting used to it haha. Well I love you guys!! Glad to hear things at home are going well, minus the fence haha that is pretty funny though, maybe you should put a gate on there that works this time...... just sayin haha. Dani, I know how you feel, kind of, this is definitely the busiest I have ever been, just keep going though, I know you can do it, oh yeah... and it is worth it!! Mom, not really any requests for the package, but I don't know if zucchini bread would still be good once it got here. Dad, dinner with members is great!! They feed us pretty well, I am not really losing weight, but I'm not gaining it either, so thats good, according to the scale we have in our appartement, I am between 200-205.

Sorry if I missed anything, but you guys are so awesome! And if you write me letters, I could probably respond to them better because I can read those all during the week, and reply anytime on P-day, we only have about 30 - 45 minutes on the computers, but definitely keep me up to date on everything, Love you!

- -Elder Schaap

P.S. The Pictures:

#1 - Dani this is for you, I knew you would like it haha, there is a street down here that I am pretty sure Shrek says the Muffin man lives on hahaha hopefully I will be able to get a picture of that one too
#2 - A way funny sign when you first cross the bridge
#3 and #4 - These are just pictures from the bridge that we have to cross, pretty sweet. The other night, we crossed it at sunset and I was so mad that I didn't have my camera!!! I will get one of that soon though