Last P-day we played a great game of Uno! It was a blast. We are going
to play again today 🙂 Most people wonder why I haven’t been to the
Statue of Liberty, or other historic sites, yet. I am usually too
tired by the time P-day rolls around to go on a quest like that. So I
find myself wanting to relax. Brooke Lopshire is in town! It is ship
week or something for the Navy in New York. She got ahold of the
missionaries and offered to give us a tour of the ship… Which would
have been awesome, but we can’t have visitors from home That is
okay though! It was nice of her to offer. Uno will have to suffice for
Anyways last Monday we visited with the chess guy again! He actually
fed us dinner this time. I got the chance to play him in chess, but I
got whipped. Ha! He is already coming to church next Sunday, so I
guess there was no divine intervention on my chess game… We got to
hold his pet snake though! And I took a picture of his lizard that
doesn’t have any hands or feet. I will make sure to email those today.
We had a great ward correlation.. one of the best that I have been to!
Our new WML is the man. He turned it up in ward council and challenged
everyone in there to have a referral to give to the missionaries by
the end of June. I felt the Spirit so strongly in that room! It is
amazing the difference that one person can make.
Oh did I mention that we have been “issued the responsibility” of
young mens counselors in the presidency? We can’t actually be set
apart, but we are responsible for everything that they normally would
do. That has been one of our focuses. We are trying to visit every Less Active
young man and his family to see if he will at least come out to mutual
with us on Tuesday. We have only been to mutual once, but it was
pretty fun! I had my cleats in the car and they were playing football
so I had my cleats on with my white shirt, tie, and slacks. Ha! I am
excited for it in the future. Elder Finlinson is going to make a great
Young Men’s President one day.
Speaking of my companion! I will be getting a new one tomorrow. Elder
Finlinson is leaving Staten Island. We have had a lot of great times
after being together for a total of six months! He is one of my best
friends out here, and I will definitely hang out with him after the
Alright. SO we had the best service project ever last week! We had our
regular weekly service project with All Hands, and it was the best one
yet. They showed us a driveway of concrete, gave us some sledge
hammers and basically said “This has to be gone before you leave”. We
tore it up. We were having so much fun smashing the concrete! The 8lb
hammers were good, but then they broke out ‘El Gordo’ the 12lb hammer.
It was a great workout, and we got it all done before we left! I will
send some pictures of that too.
Then we had back to back exchanges. I was in Brooklyn for two days
straight! In one day I taught lessons in four different languages..
Spanish, English, Cantonese, and Mandarin! The Chinese exchange was my
favorite. I can’t even comprehend the language, but it was fun to feel
the Spirit in the lessons. I helped teach their advanced english
class. It was just basically me standing in front of the class telling
them about my life, and having them ask questions in broken english.
It was one of my favorite parts. The Chinese Branch actually had three
baptisms yesterday! I love those people. OH we had a recent convert
and an INVESTIGATOR help us teach a new investigator. He was one of
the ones who got baptized yesterday. I have never taught a lesson with
an ‘investigator present’ before. Work is Hastening! Also, I stood on
the corner yelling some Chinese phrases that I learned for a finding
activity. I thought I was in China. All of the people were so confused
at why two white guys were speaking Chinese. Haha!
Bishop Glick took all of the missionaries out to Dim Sum before
transfers. We had chicken feet, duck feet, etc. Most of it was really
good food…. but every once in a while you came across something that
you didn’t feel like trying again 🙂 It was really nice of Bishop to
take us out. It was a Cantonese restaurant. Chinese people just walked
around with carts of food, and if you wanted something you pointed at
it. Every plate you took they would make a mark of it on your check
and then you just pay for it at the end. It was awesome.
We got the chance to skype a recent convert who moved upstate to see how he was
doing. We taught him about grace. He is doing good though! It is
always good to hear converts staying active in the church.
Wow. Anyways! I had a little more time this week to tell you about my
adventures! I wish I could fit all of it in one email, but too many
miracles and blessings happen to do that! I learned something pretty
insightful this week. I was pondering about the story of Jacob and
Esau’s life. I could not wrap my head around why Esau would give up
his birthright for a mess of pottage. It just didn’t make sense to me!
How could you give up something so great. So promising. For something
so minuscule in comparison, that you wanted in the moment. Then it hit
me. Everyone does this all of the time! Every time we sin! We have a
divine birthright. We have potential to become like, and live with God
again. Yet we find ourselves doing things that jeopardize that
privilege. Are you going to give up your divine birthright for a mess
of pottage? (don’t do it.. pottage isn’t that good anyways!!)
Come what may, and Love it!
This past week was pretty crazy.. we went on four different exchanges! I spent some time away from Staten Island. I was back in Brooklyn for one of the days. They had a really nice view from their bedroom. I fell asleep looking at the empire state building. Then one of the days was spent in Far Rockaway, Queens. Exchanges are always great. It was quite the week.
Earlier in the week when Elder Finlinson and I were teaching a lady who was referred to us by a member. She is a devout Christian woman, and was really nice. When we started off with the lesson she loved it. She was even taking notes!! We were so shocked. We had a great discussion about Prophets, and The Savior’s earthly ministry (and Atonement), etc. She was getting into it.. until we hit the Restoration. Right when we brought up Joseph Smith, she smiled at us, and slowly closed her journal. We continued to teach her, but she didn’t really participate anymore. I eventually asked her this question, “Would you be interested in finding out for yourself if Joseph Smith was a Prophet? You can know this for yourself by reading from the Book of Mormon and asking God if it is true. We promise He will answer you.” We waited for her response… and she said no. Then at the end of the lesson I asked her another question, “If you did go through this process and receive an answer from God, telling you that this church is true. That Joseph Smith was a Prophet, and this church is the only church with His authority… would you then be baptized?”. Personally I could feel the Spirit very strongly at that moment. We waited silently for her reply…. and she said… no. We were pretty astonished at her response. It blew my mind that anyone could say no to that offer. She was really nice though!
That is the highlight of the week. There are more stories, but I don’t have the time to tell them now. There will be plenty of time to tell them all after the mission. 🙂
Come what may, and Love it!
It was awesome to be able to talk to my parents yesterday! I have the best parents in the world. It was a good way to finish off the week.
We ha d a pretty amazing week! We saw a miracle happen at pep boys.. of all places! We came out to our car on Tuesday and found a ticket.. Ahh! Another one. The ticket was for expired inspection.. so we immediately drove into Pep Boys. They took our car and told us to wait for a little while. We sat down in the waiting area by ourselves. Now this next part may not seem like a miracle to you, but it definitely was for us! A man came into the waiting area and started a conversation with us!!!!!!! Holy Cow. We didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Anyways. This guy lives on Staten Island and works in Jersey as a social studies teacher. He has always been fascinated with the history of religion! We talked to him about our history, and invited him to learn more… and he said he might be interested! He told us he would stop by the church one of these days. It is too bad we couldn’t get his information, but it was just a big blessing to be able to have a conversation with someone! Oh the miracles don’t stop there. A lady also came into the waiting room and we talked to her about Family History. She was really big into that. We gave her all of the information to come check out the family history library at the church!! Miracles.
I never thought I would savor an experience where we just had a pleasant conversation with someone! Oh well, I appreciate it a lot more now.
I was on an exchange with Elder Durney on Friday! We had enough time to look up one more media referral. We headed down there and found the address. We knocked on the door and this lady answered. She was covered in tattoos, and I was a little worried that I might get an earful. Turns out, she was one of the nicest ladies I have talked to in weeks! (Don’t judge a book by its cover!) At first she told us this guy wasn’t home, but we explained who we were and she said “Hold on, let me go get him”. We waited for about five minutes and she came back and told us that he was asleep and would be right out. We kept waiting.. until finally this guy comes to the door! He asked us if we were waiting for John, and we said yes! He told us to keep waiting and slammed the door. We figured that he was probably our guy… but we were persistent. We waited about five more minutes, and knocked again. Anyways this whole little charade took about 20 minutes on a porch. Sometimes you have to be persistent as a missionary!!
Anyways! I am still learning a lot of valuable lessons out here. I loved the book of Omni in the Book of Mormon! It talks about Mosiah who travels with his people (including his son Benjamin who would later become king). They eventually run into the Mulekites who had come over at a different time than their people. Mosiah finds these people bloodthirsty, wicked, and denying the very existence of God. It amazes him because they came across (roughly) around the same time, from the same place. Yet these two groups of people turned out to be so different! What was the difference? Well it was scriptures. The Mulekites didn’t bring any records with them. Mosiah and his people studied the Brass plates and the teachings of Nephi, Jacob, etc. Because they studied the scriptures and applied it they led much happier, righteous lives! In just four hundred years without scriptures the whole entire people of Mulek dwindled. That just blows me away! I have a huge testimony of scripture study. It is important to read and apply those teachings every single day! Beware, lest you turn out like Mulek and his people. We can see that happening in the world around us…
That is just a little insight from my studies this past week! Here is to another week!
Come what may, and Love it!
Another week has come and gone!!
I was pretty sick this past week. There is some kind of virus going around, and it was not fun. I spent the day trying not to perish. Ha! I recovered pretty quickly. I have a new found testimony of Priesthood Blessings. I am grateful for the Elders I serve with out here!
We helped out with our weekly service project! Every Wednesday we do service for an organization called “All Hands”. We are still helping people recover from Superstorm Sandy. We basically do whatever they need us to in these houses to help them get back into shape! We have framed, sheet rocked, etc. It is a lot of fun to be able to help out!
There was a Missionary pad that was blinded out in the zone this transfer. One of the Sisters left something in there and asked us to swing by and pick it up for her. We went over to get the stuff for her (because nobody is living there temporarily). She warned us that there was an alarm at the door, but let us know how to shut it off. So we thought “Sweet, easy enough!” Yeah, we were wrong. We get to this place and as soon as we opened the door out on the street this LOUD alarm starts going off. It scared me so bad! So I fumble with the keys to open the SECOND door in there. There was only one problem. There was about 4 keys on this key chain that I had never used before, and the door closed behind us.. leaving us in the pitch black. I had no idea what was going on! The alarm was only getting louder and I couldn’t get through the door! Finally we got through and shut off the alarm just in time. It was well worth the effort! There was still a bunch of food and treasures in their pad that we took (with their permission of course). Nobody was living there, so we figured we could put all of that stuff to good use! I mean come on.. you can’t pass up on free toilet paper. It can’t be done!
The rest of the week we had some meetings! Stake Conference was great. It was in the Marriot Hotel by the Brooklyn Bridge. It was a great meeting! I always love to hear President and Sister Calderwood speak in those meetings.
Our days are mainly full of trying to find those people who have fallen away, and those people who are seeking the truth! There are people out there waiting for us all to be answers to their personal prayers. If that doesn’t motivate you, I don’t know what will!! Happy “Hastening”!!
Come what may, and Love it!