Cannonball!!

Alright… I don’t have a lot of time but I want to send a good email.
I won’t send very many details, but I will give you all of the
updates! If you want to hear more, you can ask me the stories when I
get home!

First and foremost we jumped in the ocean this week. On purpose. As a
district. Sound apostate? Well don’t judge too harshly now! President
Calderwood supported the decision. Belle Harbor is an interesting
community… You have to be a part of them before they can trust you.
Every year they hold a polar plunge on New Year’s Day! You would be
surprised at how many people jump in the freezing water every year.
The wind chill was 23 degrees… It was freezing. We did it in our
proselyting clothes 🙂 everyone thought we were crazy.

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They had a bbq on the block afterwards! We went and showered and came
back. Everyone really opened up to us. We had a lot of fun, and ate a
lot of good food. 🙂 Win win.

So speaking of lots of food… We have been waking up at 5:30 every
morning to hit the gym. When the gym is closed we will get together
and do insanity as a district. It is a blast! It really is insane…
Gotta stay fit though!

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On a more spiritual note we had a great fast and testimony meeting
this week. Sister Siddoway bore her testimony for the first time… It
was so powerful. She talked about the temptations and struggles that
she goes through. She told a story about her resisting temptation in a
hostile environment, which is something she never would have done in
the past. I have loved being able to see the growth of the members
here too. We all have room to improve!

Oh you wanna hear a funny story? Elder Beazer was eating lunch at our
pad. I made chicken, beans, and veggies. The plate was halfway over
the table, and he tried to cut the chicken… All of the food went
onto his pants. It was hilarious. I almost died laughing. I let him
borrow a pair of pants that don’t fit me, and we threw his stained
ones in the wash. Later that night I got a text that said he ripped my
pants.. Hahaha! I didn’t really care, because it was just pants.
Anyways it gets even funnier. He takes his other pants with him after
they got washed. He puts those ones on for the night, and ends up
ripping those ones too.. Hahahaha! It was not a good day for pants.

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I hope I didn’t share this thought already, but it comes from the
ensign this month. I have always thought it was ridiculous that the
apostles couldn’t wait but “one hour” with the Savior as He suffered
in the garden. I mean come on, really? They kept going to sleep!
Sheesh. Then this article hit me. It made the point that OUR hour to
wait with the Savior is Sacrament meeting every week. How often do we
text, sleep, or daydream away our hour with the Savior? I think we can
all do a little better with our Sacrament meeting behavior. I know I
can improve.

Well here goes the start of another week! Hopefully you can all make
it a good one!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

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I’m a real man..?

Well I found out that I will be getting transferred! I only spent one
transfer in Terryville this time around, but it was a good little pit
stop. I learned a lot, and saw some pretty amazing miracles. I am
excited for this next part of my mission!

This last week we were visiting a potential investigator and we saw a
dog chained up in the yard. The investigator lived in the back, and so
the dog was guarding our path. He was not a very nice dog so we knew
we had to be careful. I was secretly excited because I haven’t really
had a dog story yet on my mission. Anyways! We devised a plan (by that
I mean I had an idea and kinda just went for it hoping Elder Galloni
would catch on). He did. We had to find out how long the chain was,
and then pray it didn’t break. I took off running in one direction
along a fence into the corner. Luckily the corner was too far away for
the dog. By the time I was in the corner, Elder Galloni was running on
the other side. The dog kept running back and forth between us until
we eventually got to the backyard. Luckily it wasn’t the smartest dog
I have ever met!!

Oh and we played Bocce Ball with a member this week, and I beat Elder
Galloni. I don’t think the Italian was happy to be beat at his own
game. 😉 Haha it was luck though, because he is normally a lot better.

We helped the Binetti family with some service! Man I love them. I am
actually really happy to see them move to Utah. The ward is distraught
over them leaving, because they all love them. It will be good for
that family though. I will get to see them more often now!

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Want to hear something crazy? A recent convert had a prompting that
she should take us and introduce us to her non-member brother! Wow,
alright. We are always up for that. Anyways after knocking on the door
he opened it and…. he didn’t recognize her!!!! They hadn’t seen each
other for over 24 years…!!!! I guess it all started because of pride
and a fight in the family. That was sad.

Anyways, we had a great time at the Bishop’s house yesterday! He had
us over for dinner. His son wanted to play “suicide chess” with me.
The point of the game is to lose all of your pieces before your
opponent. If you have the chance to take your opponents piece, you are
forced to. Turns out I am a pro at “suicide chess”! I guess I have had
too much experience of losing all of my pieces quickly. 🙂 After the
game Bishop asked everyone what they had learned from me. His wife’s
comment struck me, “I learned that the mission can turn a boy into a
man”. We had a good laugh at that because I realized how much of a boy
I really was. I don’t consider myself this amazing man or anything,
but I do have a testimony that the Doctrine of Christ can change us. I
am grateful for that… or else I would be a boy forever!!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

You Got Served!!

Not sure if I have used that title before.. but I liked it, so I
figured I would use it anyways!

This week we were blessed to help out with a lot of service projects!
It was a lot of fun. We were destroying a bathroom one day, and
cleaning out chicken coops the next! It was kind of cool to see some
real live chickens! It has been a while. I really appreciated the
chance to serve other people. It was a fun time!

We also had the chance to play volleyball with the ward! Some
investigators came to play with us, and it was a good fellow-shipping
activity for them. Plus I love volleyball, so it was a win-win!!

I don’t have a lot of time today, but I wanted to share something that
I learned in Gospel Principles! We were talking about sacrifice! The
teacher talked to us about the relationship between cost and
sacrifice. I will give you an example. The cost of an ice cream cone
may be $1. That cost is the same for everyone, regardless. BUT each
person sacrifices different amounts in order to earn that $1. Someone
may get paid $5 an hour compared to someone else who gets paid $10 an
hour. You see how one person may have to work harder to earn that $1,
and that means they sacrificed more. We all have to make sacrifices in
order to gain salvation. Each person’s level of sacrifice is
different. We can not judge what another person is sacrificing, or
trying to sacrifice. Only God knows our hearts (1 Samuel 16:7) and
what we go through as individuals when we work out our own salvation
(Phillipians 2:12). Try not to put others down, but lift them up as we
all try to return to live with God again!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Structural Issues

We had such an epic p-day last week! We played ultimate frisbee at a
park in Brooklyn!! It was such a blast. Then we had a little instant
grill that we brought, and made hot dogs for everyone 🙂 Haha it was
legit. Not sure if it was totally legal… but no harm, no foul right?
I will send pictures of it.

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We had fun at our weekly service project! We were at Snug Harbor. It
was blazing hot, and we were surrounded by my favorite insects…
bees. We had to clear some brush out around this worn down stage. They
warned us about the bees, and one of the elders started swinging the
tools to clear the brush.. he got swarmed by wasps! Ha… I ran away.
He got stung three times. We stayed away from that area. Then we had to
take this old stage apart, piece by piece. We were all sweating
bullets, but got a decent amount of work done.

Sadly, I totally forgot about Pioneer Day.. It isn’t that big out here
in New York! I hope ya’ll had a good time celebrating it though.

Our wonderful landlords took us out to dinner! We watched the house
for them while they were gone, and they wanted to take us out to eat!
It was delicious. I haven’t had salmon in a long time. It was a great
experience because we talked about our beliefs, and they asked a lot
of questions. Members used to live above them so they are having some
good contact with the church! It is fun being a missionary!!

Our church building got temporarily shut down… it has something to do with
how it is built? This type of building has to be inspected every so
often for something. Anyways, our building passed inspection so we
thought we were good. Then there was another building somewhere that
also passed, but it actually collapsed (nobody was in the building at
the time)… SO the Presiding Bishopric said that any building
(whether or not they passed inspection) had to be shut down until
professionals could come in. Well we found all of this out mid week.
It was really unfortunate because some members had already set up and
decorated the gym for Sri Lankan night.. And since the chapel and gym
had to be shut down, we couldn’t do it in there! There was some panic,
but Bishop got us some tents outside and we had our party out there!!
It turned out really great. I think it looked better outside anyways.

 

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We met a ton of non-members! The Sri Lankans are such great people. We
went around to all of the Subways to invite the Sri Lankans (they all
work at Subway.. haha) before the party. One of the guys that we
invited came!! Turns out, he had an old pass-a-long card in his
wallet. Three years old. Missionaries had met with him before!!!
Miracle. We got his phone number. Crazy. We met a lot of other really
good people there!

Our church attendance took a big hit because we had it in a different
building at a different time… only 57 people. Ouch. There was a
baptism afterwards though!! It was great.

OH and we found two new investigators!! Knocking doors actually did
the trick. That is the first time my whole mission. Sheesh. They are
awesome though. We are going back next week. Miracles all over the
place!!

Well there is more, but I have to go for now. After my mission ask me
about what some of the people were saying at the Sri Lankan party. I
wrote it in my journal… hahaha! There are some colorful people here
in New York!! Gotta love it!

Quick thought. With all of the drama about our building’s structural
issues, it got me thinking. Do we have structural issues in our lives?
Are we built on the foundation that we are supposed to be built on? If
we are not rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, we run the risk of
our lives collapsing! It is easier to strengthen your foundation now,
rather than worrying about costly repairs later!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

I Am Running Out of Creative Titles…..

We saw some deer this week!!!! In NYC! Haha we were freaking out when
we saw them. There is like a super miniature forest across from our
house. Right next to the freeway.. haha it is kinda sad, but hey!
Trees are trees. Even a little bit of nature is better than none. So
we saw those deer over there as we drove by.

Ready for a funny story? So we had planned to go board the Staten
Island Ferry to fearless people. We get on, and I felt prompted to sit
at this specific seat. I sit down, and Elder Beazer sat behind me on
the other row so we could talk to more people. People kept passing us
(nobody wanted to sit by religious people, imagine that!) and so I
turned to Elder Beazer and he was saying that with all of these people
he was hoping to meet some members or something. He told me that he
had never met random members while he was out proselyting. After he
said that I turned around… literally within 15-20 seconds this
family walks over to me and says, “Lets sit over here by the Elder!”.
Turns out they were members visiting from Utah. HA! Prayers are
answered. We talked to them for a little while, and gave them some
pass-along cards to hand out while they were here. I thought that was
pretty cool.

We made homemade pizza with the YM for mutual! It was at Bishop’s
house. It was really good. We are having a lot of fun working with the
youth.

Service was filthy this week!!! They had put in a bunch of gravel in
our hole that we dug. It rained, and the hole wasn’t deep enough… so
we had to remove all of the gravel they put in, and take out like 4-5
more inches of dirt… There was mud and stuff everywhere. It was
pretty fun 🙂
Well I am always learning something new! A lot of people out here
believe that they will be saved by grace and not have to actually do
anything. Well they are kind of right… We are saved by grace after
ALL we can do (2 Nephi 25:23). I came across a scripture in James 2:19
that basically says “Great job for believing, but hey that’s not
enough! Even the devils believe that God is God”. If salvation was
really determined by confessing that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,
then even demons would gain salvation (which is clearly not true). We
see an evil spirit actually doing this in Mark 1:24. Obviously James
was right when he said “Faith without works is DEAD” (James 2:26).
Just some cool food for thought. Faith is important, but without
obedience (works) to God’s commandments, we could never prove that we
love Him (John 14:15)! (See also Matthew 7:21)

Life is hard. Life is good. That is the way it was supposed to be!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Pep Boys Really Does Everything!

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!

Elder Lee

Come what may, and Love it!

From the Woods…. To the Hoods!!!

I am finally in the city!! Brooklyn baby!! I love it out here so much. Sheesh. So much diversity. I thought it was diverse before… There is literally a different language/culture every single block you walk in some areas!! Lots of Jewish people, Muslim’s, etc. It is so cool to talk to people from all around the world. A lot of people don’t even really understand english. It is crazy. Culture shock for sure… Oh and yes. I walk everywhere now. I do love the subways, and buses though!!
We played soccer with some Haitians at this park on saturday!! After all the walking, and running around I lost 4 and a half pounds… in one day. It was crazy. We are going back next week to play with those Haitians. We are going to try and share a message this time after we play. The mission life is so fun! It is a lot more tiring out here though… I fall asleep once I hit the pillow. Ha! I love it!
A ton of crazy things happen every day, and I couldn’t explain them all if I wanted. One experience does stand out. There is recent convert named Edward in this ward. Oh by the way, this ward is FILLED with creole speaking people. Mainly from Haiti. But most of them at least speak english too. It is a sweet ward. Anyways, Edward invited us over for dinner. He said he didn’t have much but that he would like to feed us. We soon found out that he lived in very humble circumstances. I will just leave it at that. He got some peas and carrots out of a can, and gave us some cranberry juice. Normally I wouldn’t even touch that food… but because of the situation, I wa able to eat it. I can honestly say that peas, carrots, and cranberry juice have never tasted so good.
I am just loving my life! I love New York. It is such an awesome experience to be on a mission! No matter where you are, or what you are doing, just make the best of it. Life was meant to be enjoyed. If you focus on the negative, your life will be negative. But when you focus on the positive, your life truly is positive. I know that for a fact!
Lastly, Sis Blosil is in my district! She is awesome. It is fun to be serving around her again for the first time since the MTC. Oh and I got swarmed by wasps. I know. In the middle of Brooklyn, that was one of the last of my worries. We were doing service at “Prospect Park” when I was attacked. Luckily only got stung once on my shin. Ha! Who woulda thought.
I love you all!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and love it!