Elder Huffaker

Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The LAST Week -- July 29, 2013

Well, if you read the last e-mail I sent, I told you we had a very busy week planned. Well, it all happened.

The move with our investigator was a bit rough, but we were able to move her and got it all done in one trip. We are very relieved that she is moved and we know she is too. This last week in my spare time I have worked on getting stuff packed. It's not easy, but I am getting it done. It shouldn't be a problem since we just spent almost all Saturday moving our investigator. It took from 8 to 5 to move her, and we started getting things sorted at 7. Things like getting the moving truck and the member to drive. Well, we are sore and exhausted from it, but it is done. What a way to end!

Also I have had my final interview with President. That took place on Sunday. It was a great experience. Oh and we did go to the temple on Friday and President payed for our lunch there. That was an amazing temple trip as well.

Anyway, anyone who will be at the Lewiston Airport on Wednesday at about 3:30, I'll see you there!

--Elder Huffaker

Thursday, July 25, 2013

July 22, 2013 -- Last Full Week

Hi Everyone! Well, we are moving in to the last full week of this transfer, my last full week as a missionary!

Well, as far as this last week went, we had a complete polar opposite of the week before. We had several appointments that we had all lined up to meet with people both new and current investigators. Unfortunately all of them cancelled. We had put together a list of people that we wanted to visit while out in the area, also as backups if things like this happen. Since all of our appointments cancelled we were able to knock down a bunch of the list we had. Hopefully we will be able to meet with those people that cancelled this coming week.

We will also be wanting to finish that list we made so that Elder Ruiz and his new companion will be able to go out and find new people to teach. That is our main focus for this week. I will also be working on making sure that I get all my stuff taken care of. The mission has provided a list of things I need to do before I go home. So in my spare time I will work on that.

Also, Elder Ruiz has not gotten his visa yet so he will be staying here. However, when his visa comes, as I said before, he will be leaving asap. He might not be here much longer, he might stay a few more months. Who knows?

Also for this week, it will definitely be a busy week! There will be no time for me to be homesick. We have district meeting tomorrow, on Wednesday we are helping an investigator get ready to move, on Thursday we are doing weekly planning, on Friday there will be a departing missionary temple trip, on Saturday we are moving that investigator and it will take a while because of all the stuff she has, and then Sunday is church, Monday is Preparation day, Tuesday is the transfer meeting and departing missionary training, and then Wednesday again will be the departure!

Somewhere in all that mess I have to go to the office to do a departing missionary interview. Wonder where that'll fit! We still have to call the office to find that out today, they called us and we have called back, but no answer so hopefully we'll get that worked out and fit into our crazy schedule.

The lame thing about this time of year is that everyone is on vacation. So a bunch of the members are out of town and will be for part of the summer. Fortunately since we already know I'm getting "transferred" we know what we need to do and get transportation to the transfer meeting and I need to get my stuff all packed. That's one thing that's beneficial for this last transfer!

Well, I don't know what else to say, this week was kind of a bummer. I'll see you all next week though!

--Elder Huffaker

Friday, July 19, 2013

Week 4 -- July 15, 2013

Well, for starters, this week was a pretty good week. We met with some people and found new people to teach. We have also set 3 baptismal dates. Just this week we, found people and set baptismal dates with some of them. It has been a really great week. The current dates are for the 4th of August. Even if they aren't baptized on that day, they are on the path and so it will be fantastic to teach them until I come home. Feel like I'm leaving with a bang, just like I did Solemint ward.

Also, one of the members in the ward called me trunky, but then one of the sisters in the disrict said, she'd seen trunky and I'm nowhere close. Well, don't get me wrong, I am definitely excited to come home, but as you all know, I have been doing this for 2 years. It will be difficult to leave. I hope to be able to continue to work until the end.

My companion still hasn't gotten his visa, and will probably stay here. I wouldn't want to affect him in a bad way, so I am trying to stay focused. Hope all is well at home, see you soon!

-- Elder Huffaker

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

July 9, 2013 -- Halfway Through the Transfer

 Hey All!
Well as the subject suggests, it is now halfway through the transfer. For those of you who want to know, I have just received my travel itinerary. I actually got it today before we came to do e-mail. From the looks of it, it tells me that I'll arrive in Lewiston at 3:25 pm on Wednesday the 31st of July. If you want to be there, you have the information.
Well, this week was the Fourth of July. We went over to a family's house who invited us over. That would be the Wrays for those of you who know (the same family that let us Skype). Well they were pretty patriotic with their setup and it was pretty cool.
Brother Wray is an excellent grillman, and so we had some great food. It was enjoyable. We had the ever so early curfew of 9 pm (no different than any other night) so we had to make sure we were in by then. Elder Ruiz and I actually were in a little before then. We could hear the fireworks booming outside well into the night.
The next day we had a zone meeting at 8:30 in the morning. While we were traveling, we saw how smokey the sky was from all the fireworks. One elder commented that it tasted like metal outside. I couldn't really tell a difference, but it sure looked hazy.
In other news, at the meeting we were told the new times for our District Meeting. It has changed from 11 on Fridays to 8:30 on Tuesdays. As such I now have to prepare a training for tomorrow morning. It is actually a much better time to have District Meeting, and in fact, at the leadership meeting we had (June 26th) I was the one who suggested Tuesday mornings. The reason I suggested it though was that I have talked with other missionaries about the timing of district meeting and Tuesday mornings just seemed like the best time to have it. We will start that this Tuesday and it will continue on for the rest of this mission. Of course, I will only have 3 more meetings.
Well, other than that, not much else happened the rest of the week. Hope all is well at home!
--Elder Huffaker

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

July 1, 2013 -- JULY. [and the Mission-Split]

Well first off, before it happens, Happy Fourth of July! Our stake did a missionary musical fireside last night in honor of Independence day (yeah it was in June, but oh well). Our President was there and it was a pretty well done event. We were told to be there ate 5:30, so we made preparations to be there then. For us in Sylmar, it took us about 30 minutes to make it. Still it was a nice program.

For all of you who are paying attention, our mission has now been split! As of TODAY, the San Fernando Mission is just the Santa Clarita valley and the San Fernando Valley. That's it! Eventually there will be 220 missionaries in this mission, so there will likely be 2 sets of missionaries in wards. Not all wards will get missionaries, but most definitely will. It would be cool to see it happen, but it probably won't happen in my time. This is what I get to see, and it is the start of a new, or recently re-formed, mission.

In other news, there were meetings this week up in Santa Clarita. One on Tuesday from 9-5 for new missionaries and their trainers; one Wednesday from 9-5 for all leadership (Zone Leaders District Leaders and Sister Trainer Leaders); and one Thursday from 9-5 which was zone conference where everyone in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys needed to be there. If you up on what's going on, Elder Ruiz and I had to be at all 3. Yup. Fun stuff. And to top it all off, we still had District Meeting on Friday (that one's only for an hour and a half). Four days in a row we had meetings. I think I'm done with meetings for a while. From what we understand, there will be one more Zone Conference in July. That will be my last meeting. After that I shouldn't have any more meetings.

Just as a reminder, my departure date is still set for July 31st. No changes have been made, so don't freak out. I have not received an itinerary, I will inform you as soon as I do.

Also, Happy Canada Day! I only say that because we have a sister from Canada in our district and she is from Canada. It is today, and lots of people made the comment that this is our (the United States) month, and to get their own month.

Anyway, as I said earlier, we have been in meetings all this week. We haven't had a lot of time to do our proselyting, and since I'm training a visa waiter, we have an extra two hours of study. We are spending a lot of time inside and not out working. I guess we will just have to work extra hard this coming week.

Also, yesterday was 5th Sunday (you all should know!) and it was missionary Sunday. So the ward had a youth speaker give their testimony and then Elder Ruiz and I and our ward mission leader all gave talks, on guess what? Missionary work! Of course it would be on missionary work. As I said about my last talk, I've learned to not write out my whole talk, but to have notes. That way, whatever comes to me is what I say. I have to work on it though as my talks end up being longer than planned. I guess I can talk when I get going. I was supposed to give a talk for 10 minutes, but it ended up being about 20 minutes. Whoops! Anyway, I think it was a good talk, a lot of people came up and said something to us. Maybe they're just being polite, but I couldn't say. We had a bunch of people come up to us.

Well, other than that not much else happened this week, we are still working hard, and studying hard to for that matter. I'm picking up a bit of Portuguese, and Elder Ruiz is working on it. We are trying to find someone who speaks Portuguese so he can practice, but no luck. Still, it doesn't hurt to look!

Anyway, hope all is well at home!

--Elder Huffaker

Monday, July 1, 2013

June 24, 2013 -- The Start of the Last Transfer

Well, if you are aware, I am on my last transfer, and it started last week.

Well I've got some information about this transfer so be ready for it. As a reminder there are 6 weeks in a transfer, and I'm telling you this because I will be referring to the length of a transfer several times. So keep that in mind.

For starters, my former companion Elder Ehninger went to Valencia 3rd. A car area, and it's up in Santa Clarita. Not in the same zone I have been in so much, but it is up there.

Anyway, so President Hall does leadership calls after transfer calls(which come on Saturday Night). So anywhere from Sunday morning to Monday Night it is possible to get a leadership call. Well, he also calls those in leadership to either keep them there or release them. Sunday passed, and then Monday passed no calls from President. All the while my companion is getting packed. I actually took some of this time to go through my stuff as to what I'll be sending home and what I'll be leaving behind. It was good to do that and keep me less stressed about the end of the transfer.

Well, Tuesday morning came and Elder Ehninger got stuff ready to take out to the car to go to the transfer meeting. And then, 8:17 in the morning (I checked!) President calls. DUN-DUN-DUN! I hand the phone to Elder Ehninger as I'm pretty sure President is calling to give him a leadership assignment. I told him it was President and he's like "no you're kidding" and I said, "nope!" and he took the phone and he just sank. It was a bit amusing to watch.

Then he answered the phone and President asks him how he's doing and whatnot, and then he asks him if he could speak with me. My thoughts are "he's gonna tell me I'm still District Leader. It's a little late for that." So I start talking to him, and President asks me to be a trainer. Uhhhh. "Of course President." I may or may not have lost feeling in my legs.

Please make note that this is my last transfer, and the program we go through to train new missionaries is called "The First 12 Weeks" or the 12 week program. Did you catch that? I was certain that I wouldn't be called a trainer as I have 6 WEEKS LEFT! It seemed out of the question. Not a possibility. Well, that's the biggest news from the transfers.

I got that call Tuesday morning, the day of the transfer meeting at 8:17 (now you know why I checked!) and the new trainer meeting started at 9. So we had to book it up there, and we were a bit late, but we were able to make it there and when I walked into the training, president thanked me for being there as I received my call just an hour ago. In fact when he was announcing the transfers, he talked about how he was sure the transfers were right, and then this morning he had to call another missionary (me) to be a trainer. It came as quite a surprise.

So anyway, I will go over the first 6 weeks with my new companion, Elder Ruiz, and then someone else will have to pick up from where I left off. Oh, by the way, he is a Visa waiter, reassigned to here until it comes. He'll be going to Brazil speaking Portuguese. Well, as such, I do language study with him, and so I'm learning a little tiny bit of Portuguese. It'll be fun! right? He's from Fort Lauderdale Florida. Kind of an interesting place to have a companion from! He spent 6 weeks in the MTC learning Portuguese, and I will be with him for the next 6 weeks or until his Visa comes.

So anyway, this coming week we have 2 meetings in Santa Clarita, one zone conference and one Trainer meeting. Both will last a while so it will take up most of our week. This last week has been kind of slow with getting him all settled in. Also since he is a visa waiter he wasn't given a card for his MSF funds so it will be placed on my card. Well, that's one more thing I'll have to take care of. Oh well. Also I'm still District Leader. I don't know what else to write but that's been our week.

Oh, funny story: so we make calls from a parking lot near the church because we have horrible cell reception. So Sunday night we were there and there was this girl who came up and knocked on our window. Kind if weird and random, I figured that she was wanting money, but she started talking to my companion and saying stuff about what we believe in. Then she just left. Really weird. Then later during calls, she went running, well more like sprinting across the parking lot for no apparent reason. It was weird and super random.

But hey that's our life! Fun right? Hope all is well at home!

--Elder Huffaker

June 17, 2013

Well, I put more pictures on the pictures thing. [Google Drive] I hope you get them. Kinda bummed I don't get a letter today.

--Elder Huffaker

With Elder Kruger:

With his companion, Elder Ehninger:

June 10, 2013 -- Heading in to the Transfer Ending

Well, if you are aware, our week 5 has ended and week 6 has started. Next time I e-mail, I will have the transfer call for you.

As far as what we think will happen, we think Elder Ehninger will be leaving, and I will be staying for my last transfer. In our District, one of the sisters is going home, and so she will need to be replaced, and we think that the other sisters will all be staying where they are. The calls will come Saturday night, although sometimes they come late, generally Sunday morning late, and it might happen so this way, as the mission will be split this coming transfer.

So our president has to really figure out who will be going where as the people up north will be going to the other mission. So he's taking extra time to figure it all out. If any of our calls would come late it would be this one. We'll see what happens though.

Anyway, for this week. We had two big things happen this week. They both had to happen on Saturday too. First off, our ward did an Emergency Preparedness Fair where they offered free food. In order to get free food they had to come talk to us. Now we weren't supposed to bully them in to investigating, in fact we got only one potential from it, but they had to be in a church building and talk to the missionaries to get their food.

It was a big event and we had all the missionaries in the zone participating for it. It didn't have as great of a turn out as we had hoped, but it wasn't bad. It lasted 3 hours and we had to help set up and take down. 

Then right after that, we had a thing we did with some youth in the Santa Clarita Stake. They were doing a youth conference called, "Mission I'm Possible."  During this, they were given a companion and also had to go through a whole MTC experience. Then they had 2 hours with us being missionaries actually going out and talking to people. It was quite an experience.

Then at the end of the day, we got a call from one of our investigators who was telling us that he wouldn't come to church the next day and that he'd prefer it if we didn't stop by anymore. We tried to see if we could at least meet with him once but he wouldn't have it. It was rather saddening. We had just had a lesson with him that was really cool and he even said in the closing prayer that he'd come to church. After all that he changed his mind.

For the rest of the week, we had a hard time trying to get in contact with some of our investigators and we weren't able to meet with them all. We'll try again next week. Anyway, hope all is well at home!

--Elder Huffaker

June 3, 2013 -- This Week AND Last Week

Hey Everyone! Well, I don't know if the word got passed around last week, but my companion had some trouble e-mailing and things didn't work out, so I wasn't able to e-mail a whole lot last week.
Anyway, so the biggest thing from the week I couldn't e-mail was that we had interviews with President Hall. It was quite an interesting experience, we were told to bring our Area books and Planners (like we wouldn't have our planners, we ALWAYS have our planners) and then we didn't use them in the interview.
What happened with them is that we went with our zone leaders and they checked our area books and planners. We have recently been trained on using our area books more effectively, and using them with our planners. It has really made planning much better. Anyway, the interview with president went well, he talked with me about being a District Leader and I was able to ask some questions about it. He shared his insight on it and I will be trying to use it and become a more effective District Leader. What was cool is that he knows that I'm working hard on it, and doing my job, as not all District Leaders take their assignment seriously.
So for this week. This week was a slower one, we had pretty much all of our appointments cancel one way or another. Some of them got cancelled earlier on in the week and then got moved to Friday. Well, Friday I actually got a bit sick, like a cold or something, but we had to cancel our appointments that moved. So like I said, one way or another the appointments got cancelled.
Also this week, I had a baptismal interview to do, but then the baptism got cancelled. The person who would be baptized is moving to Utah, and has decided that she wants to be baptized when she moves there. She will be moving at the beginning of next month I think, and decided to push it to after that. It's kind of sad that the baptisms that would be happening here in my district keep getting pushed or cancelled.
The good news is that it'll either eventually happen, or they will be kept in our records and from there someone else should go by at a time that they will be more ready for it. We are the missionaries, once we have your information, there is no escape! Haha, a bit scary (but very true). Hope all is well at home!

--Elder Huffaker

May 28, 2013 -- Email Flop

Hey my companion is having trouble e-mailing, and so we tried something, but we will not be able to e-mail more today. Sorry :(. Hopefully we will be able to do more next week.

So I haven’t really been able to take pictures, and I don’t really know what to take pictures of as of right now. Anyway, what I do have is pictures of my “happy” They’ve recently done a thing where they have 10 calorie soda. I got some Dr. Pepper. (it’s 10 calories a serving, and a serving size is 12 oz, so the whole thing has 60 calories. It’s pretty dang good, and it doesn’t do a whole lot calorie wise. Anyway, I love soda (as you probably know) and so this is awesome!
Also I had some questions about some things to send home
1. Should I send home my blankets and sheets? Also my pillows?
2. What about my towels, and any bathroom stuff?
This will vary the amount I'll have to pack or send home. Please let me know by next week.
Also could I get a line of authority for my Priesthood?
--Elder Huffaker

May 20, 2013 -- Week 2

Hi everyone!

Well, there wasn't any really big thing that happened this week, but we did well on our lessons and we had a bunch of people at Sacrament meeting. We have a few investigators who are really interested so we were able to have some good lessons.

There was one person who is investigating now, that told us about a thing people do where they pray for like 7-10 days to receive an answer from God as to what it is He wants you to do, and how she did that, and then missionaries knocked on her door (the Spanish missionaries). She told us about how she has checked out other religions, and hasn't really felt anything, so why not check out the Mormons. It was a decent starter lesson, as we didn't teach a whole lot, but we were able to set a good foundation. It was cool to see all the people at church as well.

We had to get another investigator, her husband, and two kids a ride to church, and it wasn't easy, but she was able to come. We were able to show her around the building, but she had to leave after Sacrament meeting. Elder Ehninger and I are really feeling like things are starting to happen here in the ward.

Oh also, we went and helped out with the building cleaning, as it was the Elders Quorums turn, and there are like 4 elders, and only one could show up (the Elders Quorum President). If it was just him, it would have taken forever. We decided to do some service and help out. He was really glad we were there. It was great to help out too and it made it go faster, and probably improved the ward's opinion of missionaries.

Anyway, that was pretty much our week, hope all is well at home!

--Elder Huffaker

May 13, 2013 -- The Day After Mother's Day

Note from Marilyn:
We were able to Skype with Cameron for Mother's Day, and loved every moment of it. As a result, we both felt like we didn't have very much to say in our weekly email, since it was less than 24 hours later. This was Cameron's response to my email to him, and the only thing he wrote to us that week:

Yeah I feel like that as well. We just talked, so I don't know what to write. Anyway, I got the Google Drive thing to work with the file for descriptions of the pictures, but I can't put any more pictures on it. I have created a folder that will have the other pictures that I have taken so you can get them, but I can't put any pictures in there. I'll just try again next week.

--Elder Huffaker

May 6, 2013 -- Transfer Over

Hey everyone! So this transfer is officially over. As for transfer call, Elder Ehninger and I will be staying together in this area for one more transfer. As far as my district, one of the sisters is going home, so her companion will need to get another companion. And it turns out she will be training. So the rest of them will be staying the same. Unless I transfer out my last transfer, I will stay here until I come home.
Next on the list is this week. It was a pretty good week. We have been being taught about having short powerful lessons. Well this week we did pretty good. We had an investigator who we normally have a hard time having short lessons with (he's a bit of a talker) and we had a short lesson with him. At the end of the lesson we invited him to church, and he said "I feel like I should say yes." And we're thinking: YES YOU SHOULD! Then it was cool when he came to sacrament meeting yesterday. It was cool to see.

Then, (if you remember last week) the crazy guy who was outside of our meeting last Sunday morning, came in to sacrament meeting during the closing hymn, and started shouting things again. Luckily our investigator wasn't phased by it at all. The bishop and other priesthood holders were quick to escort him out of the building. No Problems. I guess that was the main highlight for the work this week.
So for those of you who don't know, Saturday was actually my birthday. Yep, I'm a-fficially 21. So what was cool was there is this less-active who thought it'd be cool to get a bounce castle for me. So I have sent pictures home of me in this bounce castle. Okay so for the truth: he got the bounce castle for his kid who was having a birthday party that day, and his birthday was on the 8th I think. But they were having the party that day, and we were doing service for them, so I got to bounce in the castle as part of my birthday. Pretty cool.

Anyway, so that day there was a baptismal interview that needed to be done in the bottom of my district (we are at the top of my district geographically speaking) and so we went to do that. After that we were asked to give the other sisters in my district a "blessing." (notice the "") So we get there and it turns out that they (all 4 of them and possibly my companion) had a little birthday party for me. It was actually pretty cool, and I guess I must be doing something right. I also sent pictures home of that. Then we had dinner with a member who offered to feed us again (they fed us Friday) because of my birthday. It was really good. Overall, it was a pretty good 21st mission birthday.

Today however, we had a zone activity where we got to tour a Warner Brothers Sudio. I sent more pictures home from that (we weren't allowed to take pictures everywhere, but some places we were). It was really cool.

We got to see a lot of the costumes, some of the sets, and some of the rooms where they do the recording and the editing. They had a room where they create sound effects of anything. Like walking, or door shutting. They had a ton of stuff in that room and a microphone that picked up everything. They told us that they have to do sound effects for everything you see. It is a crazy process. It has been a fun day so far. Hope all is well at home!

--Elder Huffaker