Chasing the Sunset

The weeks just keep getting crazier and crazier…

We were sitting in District meeting and we started talking about the plans for Christmas. We have had to plan out a lot of things… on top of taking presents to families, we were planning on cooking dinner for two families as well. We realized that we weren’t as planned out as we thought we were, and we had to change that. We had to run to Costco that night to pick up all of the food. We were loaded up and ready to cook on Friday!!
sean ingredients for christmas meals 2014
Then Christmas Eve hit. We were planning like crazy with President for the Christmas concert. We had to find a way to get every single person to Plainview… that wasn’t easy. We managed to figure it out with just one bus. Yay!! The event starting off with Sister Calderwood’s hot chocolate… wow. It was heavenly. The program was filled with music! That was the meat of the meeting. We have so many talented missionaries out here. Some of the musical numbers were really moving. There actually weren’t any numbers that were bad, it was a Christmas miracle. 🙂 All of the hard work paid off, it turned out great. OH and President Calderwood gave everyone a gift for Christmas. It is a temple recommend holder with our mission logo on it… wow it is incredible. I love it.
sean santa happy 2014 sean christmas 2014 sean christmas mission meal 2014
We spent the night at the Clavines’ house! They fed us dinner for Christmas Eve. We had a party! It was so much fun. I helped the youngest daughter make a card for her parents! It was a really good night.

Then we woke up on Christmas!!! Yay!!! We traveled as a district to the first family, The Anglade’s! When we rolled up we saw all of the kids looking out the window waiting for santa to come. It was really cool to see them waiting like that. I realized that we were going to have a huge impact that day. We told them that santa accidentally dropped off all of their presents at our house, and we had to bring them right over. Watching them open their presents was amazing. I got really emotional. Seeing the reactions was priceless. The dad looked so grateful. He has eight children!!! Him and his wife both work, and he was just baptized this past summer. His wife is still a non-member (for now). They were awesome though. I felt so good.

We rushed to the church after that sacred experience to get ready to skype our families!!! We started making homemade cinnamon rolls as a district, and then the oven wasn’t working. Great… haha we prepared everything and planned on taking the dough to the next families house to eat with them. It worked out perfectly. Talking to the family was great, of course.
We were driving to the third family of the day and we pulled over to go inside. I saw a random kid sitting on his porch. He looked pretty sad, so I ran over and gave him a present. You should have seen his eyes light up!!! Anyways, we went to the family and did Christmas with them too. They lived in pretty destitute conditions so it was cool to make sure their daughters had some presents, and food to eat.

We finished up a little earlier than we thought and we were on our way to load up the van with more gifts. Elder Beazer was sitting on the floor in the back because we had the seats down. I saw a round a bout and took the opportunity to shake him up a little bit. 🙂 Hahah he was rolling around a little bit in the back, it was all in good fun (until the car stopped and he chased me around haha). While we were driving we saw the sun setting over the beach!!! It was like 50 degrees and pretty warm, so we took some martinelli’s that we bought and ran to the beach. We literally chased the sunset on the beach. We had a toast on the beach to a great day, and took some pictures. We couldn’t stay long, but we sure enjoyed it. 🙂
sean district jumping beach 2014 sean district at beach sillohuette 2014 sean district beach
Then we had the Siddoway’s for the night!! That family was also a cool experience. We made sure they had a good Christmas. Those kids had the best reactions. I got some good pictures from them. We watched them open presents, and the mom was so happy. She was on cloud nine! We blasted some Christmas music and everyone was dancing and laughing. It was great to see these families so happy.
sean with family and district 2014 baby with smile on moms lap 2014 happy family 2014 santa sean with family in belle harbor 2014 sean beazer kids sister 2014 sean boy present 2014 sean district pans of food with family 2014 sean santa hat with cute girl 2014 sean secret santa district 2014 sean tired elders 2014

Afterwards we all piled in our van and headed home. We were all amazed at the emotional day we had. It was the best Christmas I have ever had. I can’t even believe it. OH so Elder Young and Beazer were in the back on the floor. Elder Young said, “take me for a ride, Lee”! He didn’t think I could… boy was he wrong. I took a different route home, where there is a huge dip in the road. I sped up and hit the dip… we got all four wheels off of the ground!! Lets just say Elder Young sure had a ride in the back with no way of holding himself down. 🙂

I wanted to say thank you for everyone that donated money.. It wouldn’t have been possible without your help!! You made a huge difference in the lives of 15+ children out here. They will never forget this Christmas!

Friday we were back to work. We spent a lot of time cooking and preparing a meal to take to the Anglade family. We made WAY too much food. I will send you a picture… it was ridiculous, but they will have plenty of leftovers. The dad said that the two days we had been over this week were the best two days of his whole year. Life is fulfilled when we serve other people, that is a fact.
sean district pans of food with family 2014
SO! Saturday we had some free time finally. We spent about four hours fearlessing and knocking doors. We found a potential family to teach!! He was really cool. We saw some kids playing basketball and we started playing with them. We played two games, and had a blast. We showed all of them the “He is the Gift” after the games were over. One of the kids seemed interested, so we will see what happens.

We had a great branch council yesterday!! Every family in the unit is going to be in charge of setting their own family goals, and we will follow up with them every month to help them. We are stoked.

This email is already too long.. I will close with a little spiritual thought. If anyone is still reading this. I was studying the most recent CES devotional from Elder Hallstrom. I was thinking about how my personal spiritual foundation is. How firm is my foundation? Am I doing the things necessary to keep it strengthened? He said “Ultimately, the strength of our spiritual foundation is shown by how we live our lives, especially in times of disappointment and challenge”. If you want to know the strength of your spiritual foundation, pay attention to how you live your life. Especially during times of trial!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Merry Christmas!!

Wow another hectic week…

It has been so fun though. THANK YOU. That is all I can say to everyone who donated money to help these families out here for Christmas. We have been planning and shopping and wrapping until we could wrap no more. Our district has been loving it. We wrapped almost 200 presents!! We are going to make these families ham dinners too. It will probably be the best Christmas ever. We are excited to surprise them.
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All of that Christmas stuff has been consuming most of our time, but it will be well worth it.
We have a huge mission wide Christmas conference! We are going to meet up on the 24th and listen to a ton of musical numbers, and review how the year went. We are really excited. I am mainly excited for Sister Calderwood’s hot chocolate… it is so good.

We are really busy with this week, and I don’t have a whole lot of time today! I do hope everyone has the best Christmas this week. My mission has taught me so much, but one thing stands out. Life is best lived in the service of others. It really feels good to do things for other people. I know I keep writing about this, but it is so true. Anyone that reads this… I am issuing a challenge. Think of something creative to do this week for someone else. Something that is unexpected, and could put a smile on their face. It can be anything.. Just do it. There is only one catch… you can’t tell anyone that you did it. I have learned that if you serve for a pat on the back, that is the only reward you will get. Good luck, and happy serving!!

Merry Christmas!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

#SharetheGift

What a memorable week. I will never forget this past Thanksgiving! That is for sure.

We started out the week making team shirts! We bleached the back of some “I heart NY” shirts for our turkey bowl team. The whole entire mission got together to play football on Thursday! It was freezing… we won our first game, but ended up losing. It was a blast though! I miss playing football. Oh and I accidentally pulled my hamstring while I was running for a pass… It hurt so bad. I went down pretty hard, and didn’t get up for a bit. I am recovering though. It is really tender and it still hurts, but I just have to keep on keeping on!

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After the Turkey Bowl, we went to the Forbes! They are a Jamaican family from the branch. They fed us so much food. It was unreal the amount of food that they had. Our whole entire branch could have been fed by that dinner. I ate a little too much food… I threw up in their bathroom. Everyone could hear me, and they all laughed at me when I came out. Hahaha! It turned out to be a blessing in disguise though. We had another dinner appointment after that. We kept eating at the second appointment because we didn’t want to be disrespectful. I excused myself and threw up in their house too! Another blessing in disguise… Then I had room for pie. 🙂

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I had an exchange! I was with Elder Beazer and Elder Young for the day. I love those two guys. We had a great exchange. We found a new investigator, and taught a former investigator. Then we had to stop by a pharmacy and grab some stuff for my leg, so we loaded up on chips and soda for the night! Well I drank seltzer water… haha #mormonparty We had a great time. Then we woke up the next day and found a surprise. We walked out to where we parked our car, and it wasn’t there. We all interrogated each other thinking that someone moved it during the night… We were happy to find out that nobody was lying! But then we realized we still had no idea where our car went. So we had to call the towing place for our complex, and this guy rolled up. He wasn’t all the way there in the head… We got him to give us a little discount, and he drove us to the bank. OUR CAR WAS TOWED! Haha I was so upset. They live in the same complex thingy as us, but they have a different parking pass because it is a different street… Wow. Gotta love New York! We ended up getting the car back, with a little dent to the bank account. It made for a memorable exchange. 🙂

Well I applied for BYU Provo. We will see if I get accepted. It is weird to be this close to going home. I am trying to focus, but there are so many things calling my attention. A lot of them are legitimate things that I have to worry about… Like school. 😦 No thanks. I will stay on my mission.

Anyways!! It was another good week in the books. I will leave you with a little spiritual thought. I am trying to study about the Savior’s life everyday this month because of the “He is the Gift” initiative from the church.So I was studying in John 2 today. The first eleven verses are about Jesus turning the water into wine. Just like He can change water into wine, he can take people with unrighteous desires and change them to have righteous desires. We simply have to be obedient. I know people can change, no matter how long and hard the process is. We just have to turn to the Savior! Especially during this time of the year.

Have you heard of the “He is the Gift” business? If not, google it. Watch the video. Find out how you and your family are going to do these three things this month:

#DiscovertheGift #EmbracetheGift #SharetheGift

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

So Long 2013!!!

This is going to be a long one… A lot happened last week! Here we go..

sean and his stocking 2013
Well Christmas time has come and gone here in New York! We had an
awesome week out here. It all started with Christmas Eve. We actually
had to wake up at 4:45 in the morning… yeah.. 6:30 is already pretty
early, in case you were wondering 🙂 We had to wake up to catch a
train to the mission office in queens, and transfer to a bus to take
us all the way out to Plainview! It was so fun. The whole entire
mission was there so I was able to see a lot of my friends. The
meeting was pretty musical. All the zones had musical numbers and then
we had a “Christmas Concert” at the end with narrators and more
musical numbers! I was in a quartet of sorts and we sang “Far Far Away
in Judea’s Plains”. It was a blast.

sean singing christmas mission conference 2013

President Calderwood also introduced our new vision for the mission!
It is incredible. In fact I will type it up for you:

New York New York South Mission Vision:

I am set apart from the world to serve with The Lord, Jesus Christ
here in New York. I am called to serve during this “most remarkable
era in the history of the Church”
The Hastening of His work

Through my Obedience miracles will happen
By living and preaching the gospel by the Spirit
I am Forever Changed

Baptism is the gate
Temple is the goal
Members are the key
Doctrine of Christ is the path
The Atonement is the only way

I don’t have the references included on there, but hopefully will be
able to get you the references soon. Isn’t that amazing? We all felt
the Spirit very strongly after the meeting. OH and Elder Olson was
there! He is the Area Authority for our area, and he is awesome. I was
able to talk to him for a bit and hear his testimony. He is a great
guy.

Then we had Christmas! We ate breakfast with a member from the
Carribean! He made us some delicious food.. (I am not exactly sure
what it was… I just eat it without asking) but it was so good. Then
we visited Joey! That was a humbling experience. I spent Christmas
sitting on a trash can with Joseph Booth. We made him cookies (a
little harder than people normally liked.. even too hard for Dad!) and
he had a hard time eating them because he only has a few teeth. BUT we
had a great visit. Sang Christmas songs at the top of our lungs. It
doesn’t get better than that 🙂 Then a member made us some Indian
Chicken and Curry. It was delicious. I love food.

After Christmas was over we had a finding activity at the subway stop!
We were shining people’s shoes for free! Nobody believed that it was
free, but a few people stopped and sat down. It is fun to really serve
people. There isn’t much service like shining somebody’s dirty shoes..

This was pretty funny. Elder McPherson and I were on the subway
talking to different people. Our stop comes up and, naturally, I get
off. He must not have noticed because he didn’t get off..!! By the
time I noticed he wasn’t behind me the doors had already closed. I
banged on the window and he saw me.. and he was pretty frightened! It
was hilarious. I called President to let him know. I was alone for
about 15 minutes before we were reunited! Oh the memories.

It poured rain yesterday. Poured. It made me feel like a missionary
though! Soaking wet trying to talk to people and look people up! It
was fun.. and wet. I spoke in church yesterday about missionary work!
Yay! It went pretty well. I am loving life! Things are great here in
Brooklyn! I appreciate your prayers. They really do make a difference!
Keep them coming. I hope everyone has a great New Year!! I will be
bringing the New Year in with a lot of… Sleep. Have some good clean fun
for me!!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

P.S. I am convinced the zombie apocalypse is happening. We were
walking down the street last night when we saw a man limping towards
us. Nothing too unusual so we just ignored him. Then he literally
jumped and snarled (like really snarled) at Elder McPherson. It
freaked us out a little bit, but we laughed it off. 🙂 Gotta love
Brooklyn!!!

Merry Christ-mas!

Well look at that.. It’s that time of year!! The Christmas season is
very different on the mission. Not in a bad way! I have loved focusing
on other people in stead of myself. Its something I haven’t been used
to, and I am not perfect at it yet! But hey, I am trying. We are still
talking to a lot of people and finally seeing the fruits of our
labors. Speaking of fruits, I tried a pomegranate the other day..
phenomenal. Who knew?

Aceley finally came to church yesterday! He is one of my Less Active
friends. He really enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun to have him there.
Adam was also there and he played his saxophone in the ward choir for
sacrament meeting. It turned out great. We had a really good day at
church. Even though we had to teach “Exaltation” to someone who came
to church for the first time in the Gospel Principles class. That was
an adventure. New Yorkers are born skeptical out here, and the whole
“We have the opportunity to become like God” topic is not an easy one
for them to grasp. Especially the ones who have seen the Book of
Mormon Musical (curse that thing). We did our best to teach by the
spirit, and hopefully they will pray about it and find out for
themselves! That’s about the best we can do. 🙂

My other friend Joseph Booth is waiting to get his eye surgery. He has
cataracts, and can’t see. We have been teaching him, but sheesh it has
been a challenge. I have learned a lot about patience. It is something
I have needed to learn a lot about. I have a feeling I am not done
learning yet… just a wild guess though! Ha!

Want to know how I am going to be celebrating Christmas? I am actually
really excited about it. We have a breakfast with a member from the
Caribbean! He is going to make us some amazing food. I love eating at
his house. This will be the second time. Then we are visiting people
who would normally be alone. Taking them some humble gifts (probably
cookies or something). Of course we will be skyping home! Yay! Then a
member from somewhere in Africa is feeding us dinner! He makes
delicious chicken curry. Then we will be going to this adult home to
spend the night there. Singing carols, and doing our best to spread
the real meaning of Christmas. 🙂 I can’t wait.

If there is one thing I have learned on my mission.. it is that Jesus
Christ does live. I know he wasn’t born on Christmas Day, but I am
very appreciative that we can dedicate a whole entire season to His
life. Let us not forget the greatest gift He gave to us, the
opportunity to live forever with Him and our Father. His atoning
sacrifice is the greatest gift He could have given, and I would
encourage everyone to study more about His life. Especially the sermon
on the mount. If we pattern our lives after His, we can find peace in
this life and eternal life in the world to come. “He lives all glory
to His name… Oh sweet the joy this sentence gives, I KNOW that MY
Redeemer lives”.

Merry Christ-mas!!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love Him

Time For a Change!

I have a new companion! Elder McPherson!! He is from Meridian, Idaho. He is awesome. We are having a great time. We get along just fine. That always helps. 🙂

 Before I forget. We totally saw a raccoon the other day. I had never seen one in person before until then. It was so random. You see the craziest stuff in Brooklyn, I am telling you. We chased it down.. but then I decided I didn’t want rabies so we left it alone.
We are still talking to a lot of people! In two weeks we almost talked to 1,000 people. Amazing huh?! It is fun to meet all kinds of different people. We lost a companionship over the transfers so now there are only 8 of us in the district. We adjusted our weekly goal because of it. So far out of the almost 1,000 people we talked to… nobody came to church. Yet! Ahh.. It is a little frustrating. It is okay though, we are trying our best and that is all we can do. Good things will come to those who wait!! For the time being we will just keep on working hard. Gotta love the mission!! 🙂
We had a sweet ward Christmas party! The missionaries performed a few songs and the ward did a nativity scene. It was cool to see the members with all of their talents. I enjoy Christmas. It is just a feeling that you can’t describe!!! We are trying our best to spread some Christmas cheer, despite the many scrooges that we meet!
I honestly have a hard time remembering what we did the last week. That is what journals are for though right? All I know is that I am loving life. The mission really is a refiners fire, and I am learning a lot. I am trying to make the most of every minute because it is going by too darn fast..
Oh I just remembered!! Ready for a funny (ish) story? We were eating a meal with someone (I know, it was a miracle) when we started to share a message with him. We were talking about the Ten Commandments and how important they are. We emphasized a particular one that we felt he needed to hear. After the lesson he said that he would do a better job of keeping the commandments if he could only have a printout of them on his wall. He promised that if they were only in a place he could see them, he would be able to more faithfully keep them! We told him that we would find a way to get it to him. As we were walking down the small hallway out of his house guess what we saw on his wall? A list of the Ten Commandments. Ha! Just remember that desire and change starts within us. Material things or reminders clearly won’t do the trick. Try a little harder, to be a little better. Don’t rely on things other than ourselves to fix our problems.. or we might end up getting embarrassed in the long run. 😉
Elder Lee!
Come what may, and Love it!