Monday, September 28, 2015

September 28 - Elders and spongy black cheese like substances

So basically in shortened form I will describe the letter that is lost in the internet somewhere.  It was the picture of my and Elder Griffen doing sixes for the six transfers we have been here for.  (Six, really?? Crazy right? We are both famous in this Ward) and then talked about how every single Sister in the mission was training, except for my companion and 2 other Sisters that are training leaders together.  We each have 16 missionaries to cover and they are all so new!! Some missionaries that have only been out six weeks are training!  It was not what I expected at all but I am so excited to get to do so many exchanges, and get to know everybody, help them out, and ya.  We will definitely be busy that is for sure!  We are doing 4 exchanges every week, but it will be great!  Last week Hermana Carpenter bought a lunchbox because we have basically become traveling missionaries!  I AM SO EXCITED! 

I am also starting a documentary of my mission.  Just so you can get excited.  I have some good footage so far!  :) Get excited for another classic haha.


1.           Relaxed because I told God I was going to make Manteca Town my home, and He listened haha.  No packing for me!!
2.           Went shopping at TJ Maxx and got my first pair of ankle boots cheap (gasp). Whether they look good or not I love them because they go with all my skirts and I can wear SOCKS! I feel so styling, and people comment on them :) Fashionista!
3.           Washed, oiled, punctured, and wrapped 150 potatoes for the new missionaries!  Got to peek at them through the door!  Got to be their first Hermana missionary contact!  They are all from Utah and Texas, but speak spanish fluently and are so sweet. 
4.           Started filming my life.  Found out Elder Scott had also passed away :(
5.           Went to mutual with Cxxxxs Hxxxxxxxz Jr (who wants to get baptized!). His dad is the one in the Plan of Salvation picture with Exxxxo).  Road trip in the car! 
a)                Cxxxxs Jr. is amazing!  We have been meeting with him for 6 weeks now and he is getting baptized for sure!  He used to go to a different Christian church, but now he has started coming with his dad.  Cxxxxs Hxxxxxxxz Sr is one of my favorite people here in Manteca, and he is soooo happy to have his two sons there with him every Sunday!  It is an amazing thing.  Someone called him on the phone during a lesson, and he said he was "talking to missionaries from MY church". We were so happy.  
6.           Found out I was able to touch my head to my toes! YOGA is amazing!  I decided that someday I want to go on a yoga surf retreat in Costa Rica!  Some members said they would hook me up with their family members. 
7.           Went running and got sore. Got to do more than yoga sounds like. 
8.           Road tripped down to Turlock.  Saw the new Sisters training themselves, and also Hermana Porter. 
                 a) created a well ventilated area
                     b) sprayed chemicals and erased 8 years of Elder showering  history.  
                    c) bonded with Hermana Porter. I LOVE HERMANA PORTER.
9.           Had District meeting, and Leilani came.  I LOVE LEILANI.
10.        Did service at Tracy Interfaith cutting cheese blocks.  Want to have time to serve and stuff after the mission. 
11.        Watched the Women's Session.  Completely in Spanish, and I understood all of it.
12.        Cried when I saw the Prophet.
13.        Was sad when a newer member we love didn’t come to church even though when we came to remind him Sunday morning he was on his roof just doing around the house stuff.... could have basically.  Waaahhhh. 
14.        Was happy when Lxxxxe came to church. It was so good to see her.  Mxx gave me a hug! Mxx was a little loud but all the Hermanas just loved him, and I was so happy.  No judging there!
15.        Exxxxo got a calling in the library.  I told him to be the Librarian he had to read all the books..... hahahaha.  Give him a week is what I say.
16.        Finished reading the Gospels!!!  I LOVE THE SCRIPTURES.

The work is going great!  This to be honest was a rough week.  But sometimes that happens I guess.

Thanks for all the emails! You are all beautiful people! 

I love/miss you a lot!
Hermana Sheffer

To save miles in the car we are getting rides from members.  I got to hang out with some of my favorite kids ever!  Bxxxxxn, and Axxxxn.  We took selfies in the back and blinded ourselves with the flash hahaha.  Best night ever!

We were picking up Sister Palmer one Sunday before church, and she was talking about how she felt overwhelmed with having to feed all the new missionaries with no time to prepare.  So we offered to put together the baked potato bar (annndd we wanted to see all the new Missionaries when they came in hahaha, double motive). It was awesome!  We baked and prepared 150 potatoes!

More potato preparation pictures.  Rockin' aprons


LOOKY!!!!! MY HEAD IS TOUCHING MY KNEES!!!!! Yoga works!!!


We got to go down and visit our Hermanas that are in Turlock this week.  We did some studies with the Hermanas that are training themselves, and then we went to go surprise visit Hermana Porter and her two new companions!  Surprise!

But honestly the surprise was more ours, because we walked into the most ghetto apartment I have ever seen!!  We weren't sure we were in the right place until we saw the bike rack on the missionary car haha. 

The apartment was soooo gross.  The Elders had been living there before.  So we decided to help them get it into living condition before we left!

I volunteered to do the bathroom, and the room went silent... they were like, "You are so brave!!!" Haha.   

Cleaning the bathroom entailed Hermana Porter and I using our elbow grease, 2 different chemicals at the same time (NOT my idea........ haha…we were in a well ventilated area) and self-control to not gag.  There was seriously spongy black cheese like substances everywhere.  Hermana Carpenter with her smarts took the sink apart and we cleared out similar black substance from the u ring thing. 

It was an oddly satisfying experience. 

The only unsatisfying part was I accidentally got some bleach on my favorite skirt to wear in this point of my life...... waaaahhhhh.  It is an inside joke because between myself, Mxx, and everyday occurrences, I ALWAYS have something on that skirt, and then the bleach was the last it could take haha. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 21 - FOTO OVERLOAD

We knew that this was going to be a big transfer for Emily. With the new mission being formed in July plus many of the Sisters completing their 18 months, there are not a lot of Sisters left.  Emily  said she thought she would be training at least one if not two Sisters.  She has also been in Manteca since February, but we couldn't see her being assigned new Sisters in a brand new area, either.

Emily's email came really late this week. We couldn't wait to hear about where she will be, who she will be with, etc etc.
She proceeded to tell us NOTHING.  She sent some AWESOME pictures, but if it was not for the amazing Leilani posting on Facebook that Hermana Sheffer was staying in Manteca for a sixth transfer, we would have had no idea what town she was even going to be in.

And if it wouldn't have been for Hermana Carpenter posting on HER blog ( that she and Hermana Sheffer would be together again, we wouldn't have known who her companion was or what her assignment would be.  This is a quote from Hermana Carpenter's blog with "the scoop":

"So Sunday morning we got transfer calls, duh duh duh. So all of the Sisters in the mission are training EXCEPT me, Hermana Sheffer and one other companionship. Hermana Sheffer and I will stay together in Manteca as Sister Training Leaders. The other companionship will be STL's as well. We will be the only two sets in the mission and with a total of 32 sisters - that is a lot of work! That is what happens when somehow you and your companion become trusted by the mission president."

So a big thanks to Hermana Carpenter and Leilani so we know WHERE our daughter is and WHO she is with and WHAT she is up to!
Okay I will stop complaining now because WOWSERS she sent some GREAT pictures.

From Emily:

I am so sorry it's short this week but I am going to use time to send pictures!! Lots going on that is for sure!!! I loved all your emails and read them all! 

These are flashback fotas gracias a Leilani! 

First is outside the vegan ice cream place after transfer 3 of Manteca

After is on the 4th of July after we all served Alfred by cutting his hair hahahaha. 

Then is my all time favorite picture ever of me and Leilani! One of the reasons I am so excited to still be in Manteca  is Leilani! She is my favorite!!

Now a flashback to when Exxxxo gave me his band shirt! 

Now here is the gang of the Monte Vista Spanish Ward! Good times with these misioneros! This was our Last Sunday! Leilani pictures!

Elder Martinez, Elder Griffin, Hermana Sheffer, Hermana Carpenter
Hermana Sheffer and Hermana Carpenter

Both Hermana Sheffer and Elder Griffin are on their SIXTH transfer in Manteca!

Note from Sonja: Leilani also put this picture on her facebook page and said she made everyone get lower than her as she is so short! HA HA! Love it.

Serving at the Food Bank

 This is Lxxxxe! She made us mole and it was DELICIOUS!

This is Lxxxxe and her son Mxx!!

Hermana Carpenter and I with Mxx!

Mxx saying goodbye to us out his window!

We have been redeemed from those punks who ate our pizza!! Thanks to my mother our Dominoes fix has been satisfied...... for this week at least.....



Our trip to the recycling center!

All summer we gained 7 dollars of recycled water bottles!! WOOT WOOT!

My new $8 Yoga Mat!

Funny moment is I was companions with Leilani and some guy we contacted knew about jack Mormons of all things, so we were talking. I do not consider myself a Molly Mormon, so Leilani said I am Maria Mormon, hahaha with the Spanish accent which I can't translate into this keyboard. But it was pretty fun. 

Another funny is that we have been visiting all of Exxxxo's family, and one house was of a cousin we had randomly contacted outside and then we found out was related to Exxxxo through talking to him. We were talking to his wife, when he walked in from work, saw us, then said "You found me!" Hahaha it was hilarious. Well til next week!

Lots of love Hna Sheffer

Monday, September 14, 2015

September 2015 - The zombies of Manteca


This week has been CCCRRRRAAAAZZZZZYYYYY.  There were a couple of times where I thought, hmmm this is weird.  

So I thought the world was ending.  First off there are fires happening in my mission.  There are missionaries up in the mountains that have had to be evacuated!  They are really bad.  The light has been tinted pink for a couple of days, and there is always ash on our car, and people do not want to talk to us...  It is kind of zombie-ish haha.

But to keep with the inner peace I have been trying to be holy, and I have also taken up Yoga!  My companion has 20 minute yoga workouts and I LOVE THEM.  I am so excited to do it that I do it in the morning, and at night before bed.  I have only done it 5 times now, and I can already touch the ground!  I am going to be strong in body AND spirit when I get back home, and hopefully more flexible.  More at one with the earth.  I can see me swimming, and doing yoga in the mornings for the rest of my life.  

Exciting news is that I finished reading my Libro de Mormon!  It was great to see the difference of understanding from beginning to end.  I started it in January, and compared to then I now understand everything that it says in there!  I only use the dictionary occasionally!  It was kind of a sad moment though, because I feel like it means my mission is coming to an end.... and then I hear news of my plane ticket is already out there?!?!! :(  Don't know how time seems to fly so fast!  I love my mission that is for sure.  

One weird experience is that I was trying to read in English  the word "ancient" I was trying to say like you would in spanish, and it really confused me until I realized it was "ancient" haha.  

This week we went and met all of Exxxxo's family.  I always get nervous when I am meeting important people  so we met with his Aunt that lives close.  We are talking to her when what do you know.... His brothers, cousins, and uncles walk in......... There were 10 grown adults listening to us.  That is like a golden opportunity but I was having a nervous breakdown inside... It was crazy!  But they all listened and were respectful, and I know that one day if not soon, there will be people joining Exxxxo from his family!  He is definitely going to be the Pioneer of his family.  
*****(His family definitely loves and respects him.  I found out that everybody in his family has a love for him, because he was the one that crossed his WHOLE family safely across the frontera.  He was the first one in his family to come to the United States, and now the Gospel too!)**********

I gave a lesson in church this week on developing talents.  Hermana Carpenter and I also teamed up on the organ so they were all raving, because its rare to have the organ in a Spanish ward haha.  The new bishopric is good.

Also little moment of God loving to me.  I have wanted a pair of Huaraches since I discovered what they are... Google them.... now picture them with socks..... and that is what lots of the men I work with wear.  I am a fan of socks, and now I AM PROUD TO SAY I AM THE OWNER OF HUARACHES!!!!  A member bought them for us from La Pulga.  I have been wearing them around the house to break them in.  They also have flat bottoms so they are good for tap dancing!  I am so happy.  

The trial of this week was PRIDE.  It is amazing how destructive it is, and I hope I have the humility to overcome those types of experiences in my future.  HUMBLE. HUMBLE.HUMBLE.HUMBLE.  

I had pictures to send, and then I forgot my camera.  This week is going to be busy with transfer calls on Saturday.  I don't feel like I am leaving Manteca yet, but if I do, I predict Lodi or Turloc!  


Lots of love,


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September 7 - So I heard about that BYU game....

Hi family!

Well the internet is down, there are no libraries open, and we are all sharing computers, so it's going to be short this week! :)  

This week was great, and as always I learned a lot from the hard school of missionary life.  

Just kidding- nothing spectacular really happened just going along.  

Fun things:

- we are beginning to teach Exxxxo's younger brother.  It was a little rough because we were feeling extreme pressure, but I know he was probably acting tough for his brother.  It was weird seeing the family, because they don't look anything alike.  His brother said he had noticed a difference in Exxxxo for the better (and then proceeded to tell us how Exxxxo used to be .... and .... and **** and ......) of all the things Exxxxo did wrong in his life. hahahaha.  Brothers.  But I think it was a good lesson.  

READY FOR THE NEXT THING? we finally caught Bxxxxo home, and he has worked himself up the ladder at his new work and he told us that in 2-3 weeks he will be able to come back to church every week!  I had thought that because he wasn't reading or praying or coming to church that he was completely forgetting about us and the Church but he really hasn't been, and he still wants to come back!! I was so shocked and I felt like crying I was so happy!  

Other funny thing is we contacted a sales guy for Energy Outside, and he is actually a convert to the church!  He goes to a singles ward down in Modesto.  He loves the church so much and he shares it so much with every person he meets.  So he totally talks about religion during work (don't know how much of that is allowed haha) and he keeps sending us referrals of people he has invited to talk with the missionaries and said yes!  So we have a Spanish speaking friend out in Manteca to help us out.  

Last funny thing, is we were talking to Exxxxo about maybe doing a fast for his family, and he was like "no, I fast all the time, a couple weeks ago I fasted every other day!"  It caught me by surprise, and I just started laughing.  Of course he would be fasting every other day! I told him he probably shouldn't do that because he was going to die.  Then he said he had actually lost 10 pounds (ah man haha) But he wasn't doing it to lose weight.  He has a lot of faith that is for sure!  

So I heard about that BYU game.  Every single member in this stake was freaking out about it.  haha.  


Hermana Sheffer



This week we had a mission conference and Elder Hamula came from the Setenta.  It was an amazing experience!  It was a, “The church is true and good” experience.  It was a moment when my perception changed.  Those are always fun. But more on that later.

 He talked a lot about how to change your heart.  Which I want to do.  For the better and to be more loving of course.  He gave me steps to follow which was good. 

1) Accept that you have agency in all things
2) Act outwardly the way you want to be inwardly
3) Accept the grace of God. 

It was amazing to afterwards study grace and agency, and try to control myself after (we made a big batch of chocolate chip cookies this week to give to people and they are just sitting frozen in the fridge and it has been KILLING ME.... But I HAVE AGENCY and I AM CHOOSING NOT TOOOOO) haha.

Our joined Mission is doing better but definitely needs some more love.  I love it so far, but I guess some companionships are still struggling.  Rivalries..... contention is of the devil! 

At a Leadership Council we were talking about it and I shared something that I learned in my History of Creativity Class at BYU.  We learned that the moments in the history of the world where creativity and innovation increased happened when two cultures or groups of people merged.  The different cultures and ideas were catalysts for that creativity.  We learned how the people were brought together either by war and invasion, or by building roads.  So basically creativity and progression will happen in the long run of this mission, but we have the choice whether we are going to build roads, or to go in by war.  I love that class so much. Anyways I have a feeling after this Conference things will get better.... if not they are disobeying an Spostles voice haha.  

Something interesting is that Elder Hamula chose to interview 6 missionaries from the whole mission, and I was one of them.  I got to have an interview with an Apostle!  I thought he was going to read my soul, but I was still excited as well.  It was really good what he had to tell me, and we talked about the mission a lot.  I want to be a servant of the Lord for the rest of my life!

My perception changed on the Second Coming.  I had always pictured this horrible ordeal to purge the world of iniquity and then Jesus Christ coming, and all will recognize him as the Saviour.  But I realized that it is going to be just like it is now.  Christ will be here right now, and Christ will be at a pulpit and we will be watching him on a broadcast in all the church buildings.  The missionaries instead of spreading the word that we have prophet here on the earth they will be spreading about Jesus.  I think this because look at his birth and death.  The only people that really recognized it were those who knew, and had faith, and were watching the signs.  Just some thoughts, I could be wrong. 

AANNNYYWAAYYSS.  I thought that was interesting.

This week Exxxxo gave me a band shirt from his good ole band days!!! I was so excited!! It has little angels with their behinds all over it though, so I don't think I will ever be able to actually wear it haha.  But that is exciting! I am working on buying a tape to cd converter so he can actually have his band days on CD to give to his family.... and me :) 

We performed for Sacrament this past Domingo (special reason stated below) and even though he got his kidney stones surgically removed, he still came and belted out in the choir.  Hermana Gomez, the choir director, was so perfect because he told her he might not be able to sing because he had surgery, and she is like NO we need your voice!  So he was really excited to like feel super needed.

Something interesting is that we have contacted randomly 4 people in Eliseo's family. 
It usually goes something like this...

US:  "de donde es usted?" (Where are you from?)
THEM:  "soy de michoacan mexico" ( I am from Michoacan, Mexico)
US:  "Oh wow, conocemos alguien de Los Nogales Michoacan!" (Oh wow! We know someone from Los Nogales, MIchoacan!”
THEM: "EN SERIO?! SOY DE LOS NOGALES, QUIEN ES QUE CONOCEN?" (Seriously? I am from Los Nogales! Who do you know?)
US: "Exxxxo Mxxxma" "
THEM: WOW, El es mi PRIMO! El es miembro de nuestra iglesia" (Wow! That is my cousin. He is a member of a new church)

 and so on. 

Seriously the Lord is leading us to his whole family.  So we decided to have him write down his whole family and then pray to know who to try to visit.  He was really excited because he wants his family to know about the gospel too, but they are closed off a bit.  But his whole family still respects him a lot.  So that will be fun.  

So to the ambulance story :) This week we were up in French Camp for an appointment, and it just felt like a very off day.  So we decided to leave our plans, and we prayed to know where to go. 

Hna Carpenter thought of a referral on the other side of French Camp, so we went to go and try and contact it.  He wasn’t there, and so we decided to try a couple doors.  While we were out walking on the street a woman runs out of her house hysterically screaming and crying, and it freaked me out. 

We ran over to go see what was happening.  She was holding her baby in her arms and trying to call 911.  We talked to the paramedics for her.  The baby looked a little lethargic but fine, so I wasn’t sure what to do.  But we translated for her and I guess the baby had been having a seizure and she didn’t know what to do.

A firetruck and ambulance came. The bottom line is that the baby was fine and we were able to translate for her. We told her we were going to check up on her the next day.  We came back the next day and had a lesson and she wants to come to church.  She said she ran out of the house and couldn’t see anyone, and then all of a sudden we were there.  She thinks we are angels haha.  But it was a cool experience to actually be were the spirit had told us to go, and I want to be like that for the rest of my life.  

For example, AFTER this happened to just illustrate this is a learning process, it was 8:45 pm and we were gassing up our car before heading in for the day.  I had a feeling that I should get out of the car and go talk to people, but then I was like, “No I will clean out the back seat of the car because there are 1,000 water bottles back there that I need to crush”.  So I was back there crushing water bottles and Hermana Carpenter was like, “You should go talk to that man!”.   So I got a card and went and talked to him.  Turns out he was investigating the church about a year ago at a time when we had a low of missionaries and they had to combine the Spanish area of Manteca into one ( it had been two separate areas for forever) and he got kind of lost in the changes.  He said that he reads the Book of Mormon frequently and at the time wanted to get baptized, but then a local priest asked him to teach Bible studies for his church and he was really excited and committed to do that.  He said 3 months earlier and he would have been a member.... wwwaaahhhh. 

I am not worried about it, its only a matter of time and now we know about him again and will be able to stop by occasionally.  Good thing Hna carpenter said that haha.  So ya, I will never let an opportunity like that be lost over some water bottles.  

Another exciting thing is that this week our Bishopric was released and a new one called.  We have a new bishop.  Obispo Levy has been bishop for six and a half years, and he was the first bishop since this ward moved up from a branch.  It was quite a spiritual sacrament meeting.  The new bishop is Hno Gonzalez, who I don’t know if I have mentioned before, but he is the Principios del Evangelio teacher and he is fierce but funny.  So I think it will be good. 

So.....hmmmmm..... that is what flies from the top of my head, but the work is going great here in Manteca!  I love being in the Modesto mission, and I love all the new missionaries and old ones, and everything.  

I am still reading in the New Testament and I finished Mark today.  I am still in Third Nefi in my Libro de Mormon.  I love study times.
So I was thinking and I think it would just be better if I flew into the Airport in Salt Lake City!  I would like to fly and see everyone (Including the student Lizzy).  Got to have the plane experience! So I think that is my final answer haha :) I think it would just be easier to plan since we aren’t entirely sure, and we will definitely come out to visit soon after!  

I am glad to hear that Lizzy and her roommate are going good :)  I am pretty sure God always gives you someone those first few months haha.  Hna Carpenter and I are both jealous because we love school season so much.  California is definitely taken a cool turn the past couple of days.  Which is great!!  It really didn’t get THAT hot.  Only a couple of days.

Well I end this long email with 

Hermana Sheffer