Sunday, August 24, 2014

Update August 18, 2014: Send It Home

Week 26
Aloha Everyone!
  Another Super fast week here in Kalaeloa! Since it’s only a 4 week transfers, transfers are a week for Wednesday! It’s crazy how fast it’s gone! Anyway this week as been full of fun!
  Monday we played I’m pretty sure 6 hours of basketball…. Straight… haha
  Wednesday was busy and full of mini miracles. It’s amazing how the lord prepares the way.
  Thursday was a ton of fun! We were on Exchanges and I was with Elder Hansen in my area. Elder Buckley went to Kapolei. Elder Hansen is from sparks Nevada. He’s a country boy and we get along really well. I am realizing how much of a country boy I am out here on my mission! Haha we talk about trucks, guns, shooting, and camping to name a few; chew seeds; cruise with the windows down; and whatever else we feel inspired to do. Haha Here is a Beautiful Picture we took in Waianae of the sunset.
Friday was pretty normal the highlight was a young couple that Elder Goodman found before I got here had us over for dinner and we were able to tell them a little about what we believe and get to know them. It went super well and they are ready and so open to the gospel. He just got out of the Navy and she works for the army. They are really awesome and he’s the first Hawaiian that I’ve met that’s an avid Snowboarder! Haha he got to board a lot while stationed in Korea for several years. I’m super excited to see them again this Friday.
  Saturday was pretty slow. I spent the morning in Ewa Beach with Elder Hansen at a doctor’s appointment then had lunch with the elders over there.
  Yesterday was super cool we had church then went to a baptism for the Makaha ward. We then headed up to Laie to the Temple Visitor’s Center where we had an Island wide missionary Fireside. So all the missionaries currently on Oahu came and Vai Sikahema spoke to us. It was fantastic! And it was really cool to see everyone! Over 180 missionaries together! That never happens!
  Alright now for the nitty and gritty, I am getting rid of all my BYU gear. I have already given away most of it today and plan on not bringing up football in the rest of my areas as a conversation starter. You are probably asking why. I had an experience last night that will probably change the course of my mission. As I said Vai Sikahema spoke to us.

 He is a legend in football. He played for BYU for 2 years before going on his mission to South Dakota and his freshmen year returned a Punt for a touchdown to spark the comeback win  of the 1980 "miracle" bowl and then went on to set NCAA records as a Punt/Kick returner and win the national championship in 1984. He then was the first Tongan player to be drafted to the NFL and to play Pro football. Any way you can Google him. He’s a news anchor for NBC now and does all the Olympic Games. He was in town for vacation. His wife is from Laie. And one of the stories he told about his mission hit home.

He told about how he took this Huge ring with him on his mission that he got when they won the 1980 Holiday bowl and used it as a conversation started and "to knock doors cause it was cold!" haha anyway then about 8 months into his mission a General authority visited his mission and was a BYU football alumni so Elder Sikahema made sure the he saw his championship ring. and he did and the first thing he said was "Elder, Why are you wearing that ring?" and he went on to explain how it was a great conversation started, was good for knocking doors....etc. and the general authority told him;

 "If I were you I would take that off and send it home. But that's just my opinion you can do what you think is best."

Then Elder Sikahema was shocked at this response and thought about what he said. Fasted the next day and ended up sending it home that night. He then went on to tell us that that moment in time changed his mission. He changed and grew more than he ever thought. He realized that when he had the ring yes it started great conversations. But they were all about BYU, football, and him. Not the gospel or Jesus Christ. That really hit me.

From the moment he stood up in front of us till the moment he sat down 45 mins later I was thinking to myself. That’s me. Now a Stake President, President Sikahema, is the General Authority and I am Elder Sikahema. I use my BYU stories to start conversations all the time. And as of late I have been wondering how I can become a better missionary one that is devoted to the gospel that "jumps in with both feet" I have felt that I am still dragging one toe at home. I think I might know how to pull it through. Something President Sikahema said is that when he was told to send it home because he didn't want to let go of his identity. But he did and when he did he learned so much more and was truly converted to the gospel and became the best missionary he could be. He then said that out of his 4 years at BYU including the Miracle bowl and a national championship and 8 years in the NFL and now over a decade as a Sports broadcaster covering all kinds of stories including all the Olympics. He still learned more and thinks about his 2 years as a missionary more than all of that combined.

I know he did not give that fireside or tell that story with me in mind but just as an experience that might help these missionaries but it just happened to be the exact scenario that I am living. And I know that’s not a coincidence but heavenly father knew this is what I needed to hear and an answer to my prayers. I know as we give up those things that don’t matter and focus on the things that are important in our lives such as our families and building our relationship with our savior Jesus Christ we will be blessed and will see the fruits and feel the joy. Afterwards I talked to President Sikahema for a few minutes and thanked him and he told me “Football means nothing now, focus on the Gospel, being obedient, working hard, and loving this people and you will be a successful missionary. The time for football will come. The time for Missionary work is now. Devote yourself and you will see the joy and reap the success.”

I hope this may change someone’s perspective. It has mine. Giving up my BYU gear was hard but I know it’s the right thing for me at this time. My challenge for all you is, is there something in your life that is holding you back? What can you “Send home” and change your life? Something that is stopping you from being the best you can be. If there is, SEND IT HOME!
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Elder and Sister Cleveland (Huge BYU fans and i am very close to them), Myself, Vai Sikahema and his wife after the fireside at the Laie Temple VC

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I love and miss you all!

                     Elder Shoaf

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