The Greatest Game (of Chess) Ever Played!!!

It has been quite the week here on Staten Island…

We had a really great lesson with the family we are teaching! This ward really needs them to be baptized soon, because we are struggling! Right now our attendance averages about 90, and we are having three active families move out in the next two months… Oh boy. We are really praying for some miracles to happen here. The family that we are teaching did come to church though! The father has a job on Sunday but he left just to come. He even got up and bore his testimony 🙂 It was awesome. I love working with them. It is a Liberian family of 7! Great people.
Throughout the week we had some pretty hard times. I won’t go into detail, but there are a lot of people here that just aren’t very nice. Ha! It is a struggle for me right now to really love all of the people here. I always hear about people loving everyone they see on their mission, etc. To be honest though.. I don’t always feel that! It is hard to feel that for someone who is screaming at you, or threatening you. Sheesh. I can’t even imagine how The Savior did it. I think of His trial and all of the things he went through, and yet he still genuinely loved the people. I have a lot of improvement to do when it comes to charity. It is a work in progress!
We are fine, but suffice it to say.. we won’t be visiting certain less active people anymore. 🙂
We had a miracle happen yesterday!! We were looking up some people that the ward council had asked us to check on. Unfortunately the door was slammed in our face. So! We 2-2-5 it. Which means we knock the two doors to either side of the house, and the 5 across the street. That way we can still do all of our look-ups that we have to do, but we are incorporating some finding to. Anyways! We are knocking some doors and come across a Filipino family!! They were leaving, but they seemed interested (not even joking). We scheduled a return appointment and got their phone number. He said he had seen missionaries all over in the Philippines and he wanted to know what it was all about. It was a miracle. That doesn’t happen every day!
Ready for the highlight of the week? We were still checking on everyone the ward council wanted us to when we came across this guy. He was actually home and talked to us on his porch! Then he was kind enough to invite us in. Say what? I know it was another miracle. We talked to him for a while and got to know him and his family! He “used” to be a member, but was not interested AT ALL anymore. He made that pretty clear, but he was really nice to us! They fed us some food, and then he asked us “Are you allowed to play chess?” Heck yes we are. So we whip out the chess board and he plays Elder Finlinson. He is honestly beating Elder Finlinson pretty dang bad, and says “If you ever beat me, I will come to church”. Then it got a little more intense. I thought it would be pretty cool if he beat him, but I did not see that happening at all. He was down to two pawns, a queen, a bishop and his king. Things were not looking good … Then Elder Finlinson closed his eyes and said a little prayer. The other guy had like half of his pieces still… but! Next thing you know… Elder Finlinson beat him! Ha! It was one of the greatest moments of our companionship. 🙂 The guy was a great sport, and said that he would come to church. They were really awesome people.
Anyways, life is hard but that is okay. It has never been easy to be a disciple of Christ, but now is the time he needs them the most. Just gotta keep looking on the bright side of life!!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Because of Him

I hope you had a great Easter!! We had a pretty exciting week. 🙂

It started on Monday!! We tried to celebrate Passover… it was
interesting. We had some lambs, bitter herbs, unleavened bread, etc.
After it was all ready we stood around the table and went over the
symbolism of it all. We made sure to have our shoes on so we could
leave at a moments notice. It seems like a great tradition right? Well
the bitter herb was… BITTER. We had green onions and just ate those
raw. It did remind us of the bitterness of slavery, that is for sure.
It did its job. Ha! Then we ate the lamb… which was so greasy. It
was not very good quality. We then chugged the grape juice, and
decided to just munch on the unleavened bread! We got the bread from a
Jewish member here. The bread was straight from Israel.. and kosher.
🙂 Anyways we came to the conclusion that it was a once in a lifetime
celebration… and I was still hungry afterwards. SO I heated up some
pork and had a glass of milk. If you know anything about Jewish law
you will know why that is funny. Haha!

passover

Then we had transfer meeting on Tuesday!!! I will be staying in Staten
Island of course, and I am fine with that! There is still a lot of
work left for me to do here. It was so hot at transfer meeting. Our
whole mission came to this one because everything got re-aligned. The
Lynbrook District became a Stake! It was the last one on the
continental U.S. and it is no longer. We now have four stakes in the
mission. The work is hastening! Because of that there was two more
zones created.. the mission is growing like crazy. It was a historic
meeting that we went to, and it even got a little sweaty in that room.
Everyone was ‘shining’. I think Yoshi took a picture of me after that
meeting, so you can see how much I was ‘glowing’ ha! I am excited for
the future of this mission though. 🙂

transfer meeting 1

 

transfer meeting2

We spent the rest of the week inviting investigators and less actives
to the Easter party that the ward was having on Saturday! The party
was great. I ate way too much food… I just can’t pass up free food.
But I did eat a little too much… it was delicious though. Then there
was Easter egg hunts for all ages. The adult one was pretty fun. You
went and found eggs, and depending on the egg you would get different
prizes. It was fun. We finally met Bro Garcia there! He was a member
that moved in from Far Rockaway. It was a miracle. The ward really
needs fully active members out here.

I loved the #BecauseofHim thing the church did all week. It was
amazing to see Facebook covered with uplifting things. Ever since I
have been on my mission I have come to know one thing… That I don’t
know very many things. One thing I do know is that Jesus Christ lives.
We have the opportunity to live with our Father in Heaven again, and
it is all because of our Savior. I may not know very many other
things, and as long as I know that simple truth.. I am okay with that.

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

The Book of Hosea!!!

First of all.. I would not recommend driving in New York City. To
anyone. It is insane! We were driving the other day and on one side
was as huge semi truck, on the other side was a bicyclist, in front of
us was a car that just double parked because the wanted to, further
down the road somebody was trying to do a u-turn in a small lane, PLUS
the pedestrians that just walk across the street whenever they feel
like it. It is crazy. I hope the image that have in your mind does
that situation justice!!! It’s a mad world out here. Ha!

It was a great week! I was able to go back into the city for a day on
exchanges. We had a blast. We met a guy walking his pug and started
talking to him. Turns out he works with a member of the church!!!!!
That member was in the spanish ward where I was exchanging!
Coincidence? I think not. He said he had already been invited to
church, and wasn’t interested right now. Right after that we went to
the members house who knew this guy and thanked him for being a great
member. It was a cool experience.

Saturday was a highlight for us!! There are some Filipino families in
the ward that are great. One of the daughters had her birthday and so
they threw her a party. A party it was!! It was outside on the grass
behind the church. There were tents set up, face painting, magicians,
etc. The food was the best part. They had a whole pig. It was all so
good. It was themed “Despicable Me”. Haha I will send you the picture
that we took in our party hats. It was great! Of course the most
important part, we were able to talk to tons of people! We made some
new friends, and passed out some cards. Nobody was interested quite
yet, but hey! We tried. It was a fun time!! They have these Filipino
Spring rolls that are so good… plus this dish called “Pancit”. It is
to die for.

minions!

minions!

We had a super powerful lesson with a lady who has been coming to
church for a while now! A member sat in with us, and it was so
spiritual. This lady said she would pray about getting baptized on
Mother’s Day!!! She has the cutest son too. I am really happy for
them.

Recently we have been studying the book of Hosea for companionship
study. The book is rich in symbolism! It uses marriage a lot as an
example. It gives the parallel of Jehovah being the Husband to His
bride Israel compared to Hosea being commanded to marry a harlot named
Gomer (we aren’t exactly sure if he was actually married to gomer or
what the deal is, but it really gets the point across!). Anyways.
Anytime it refers to the bride committing adultery it is talking about
how Israel is ‘cheating’ on The Lord with their idolatrous ways.
Idolatry is a very serious sin, and is out there today! It got me
thinking.. Where are my priorities? Am I ‘cheating’ on The Lord by
putting other things before Him? It is something I think we all need
to ponder. There are great lessons to be learned from the Old
Testament. 🙂

Oh Dang! I was going to tell you all about Passover and how we are
going to celebrate it tonight.. I will let you know how it goes next
week!!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Hard Times Come Again No More

Well General Conference was awesome!! The Priesthood session was probably my favorite one that I had ever been to. I learned a lot of really good things. I am just sad that we have to wait another six months for the next one. I especially liked President Monson’s talk in Priesthood. It fired me up. 🙂

Besides conference we had a hectic week.. A lot of it involved problems with automobiles. I do miss the days when I could just walk or take the bus everywhere! It seemed like there was always one thing after another just piling up on us throughout the week. I did my best to “enjoy the journey”, but I have to admit I got pretty frustrated. Life is hard sometimes! We spent a lot of time at Pep-Boys to say the least.. haha! Even our flapjacks in the mornings were giving us grief. It was just one of those weeks, but hey! Those weeks are the ones where we grow the most! We have a song called “Hard Times Come Again No More” that is rather fitting to this week. Ha!
We are still pluggin along out here! I am still either learning or loving every minute. It is pretty amazing to be able to have this opportunity to preach the gospel, even if it is for such a short amount of time. We are just trying to make the best of it! Keep praying for the people of New York. They can use all of the prayers they can get!
One theme that I got from conference was “defend the faith”. That is something that I have had to do a lot on my mission. Whether that is in living rooms, on buses, street corners, on the internet, etc. You name it. It has not always been easy. There have been times where I was unsure of how to respond. There was even times when doubt crept up on me. I am grateful for those experiences though. The flame of my testimony has been revived in those refining moments. I sense a lot of hard times ahead for members of the church. Regardless of where you live, because we all have the internet. The internet can be a nasty place! We were trying to find some people to teach through some groups on facebook, and some of those groups didn’t like our church very much… to say the least. 🙂 Defending the faith will never be easy, and it doesn’t always require us to do so in a heroic manner. But it does require us to hold strong to the truths we have been converted to. Elder Holland gave a great talk on this topic that I really liked. Anyways, don’t shy away from the truth. Take comfort in persecution that lays ahead! For, “if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20). Although we may seem alone when we defend the faith, we stand with Jesus Christ. Take pride in that!!! Hurrah for Israel!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!
St Patricks Day 2014!

St Patricks Day 2014!