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.
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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. 🙂
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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!
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I’m Immortal!!!

Well I have good news and bad news. It is actually the same news, but
it can be good or bad depending on who you are! Before you read this
you have to promise not to judge me though! Okay here we go… My
companion has been sick the past couple days. Its bad because he is
sick.. but let me tell you why it is good! I have pretty much been
tired my whole mission. Naps aren’t really a missionary thing because
we should always be doing something (D&C 58:27). BUT you can’t do a
whole lot when your companion is trying to recover from an illness! So
the past few days he has been trying to recover by getting extra
sleep, which means I get to get extra sleep too. 🙂 See what I mean?
Good news for me, bad news for him. Is that horrible to say?

Anyways! We had a productive week otherwise! We were teaching a lesson
to a LA members friend. I offended this LA member. He was trying to
tell us that the Catholic Church has the Melch. Priesthood. I got in a
little bit of a heated debate with him (which I shouldn’t have done).
It ended up with me showing scriptures to support my statement, and he
had nothing to say. Even though I was right, I felt wrong. I
immediately humbled myself and apologized to him. We are friends
again, but I learned a lesson. You think by now I would have known
better!

I was on an exchange with one of my favorite new elders! Elder Hussein
from California! He took me to Buffalo Wild Wings. It was delicious.
The have a new flavor called “Korean BBQ”. I highly recommend it. It
was a great exchange. I love getting to know all of the missionaries
that I serve with.

In our zone training meeting one of my other favorite elders gave a
great workshop! Elder Finlinson was talking about the Atonement, and
had a slip of the tongue. It was hilarious. He was trying to say that
we are all imperfect, especially him, but he mixed up a word. He
accidentally yelled out, “I’m Immortal!!!”. Hahahaha it was so funny.
That made my day.

We played basketball on Saturday morning with a 16yr old LA kid and
his two friends. They were pretty good! A lot better than I am. I love
playing basketball though. We are going to start playing every
Saturday morning and getting as many people involved as we can.

There was a theme in our zone training meeting. It was the concept of
Testimony vs. Conversion. It got me thinking. Am I converted to this
gospel? Having a testimony is the easier part. Being converted means
that we actively live the things that we have testimonies of! If we
proclaim that we have a testimony that Joseph Smith was a Prophet, do
we live our lives according to the revelations that he received? Are
we truly converted? It is something that we should all think about.

Well we are off to another great week. I wouldn’t want to be anywhere
else right now! I love New York, and I love this sacred experience!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Happy Fourth!!

Well I will start with our mutual activity! We played water balloon
volleyball, and had a huge water fight! We filled up like 200 water
balloons, and they were gone in like two minutes. Ha!! It was a blast
though. The activity days kids were there too. They chased us down…
I ended up on the ground. One of the girls was standing on me
screaming, and then she leaned over whispered “Now you know how my dad
feels ever day”. Hahahaha! Everyone had fun. It is always good for
them to be able to run around after being cooped up in NY all the
time.

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Elder Beazer and I were knocking doors on Wednesday, and there was a
nasty storm coming. We kept knocking anyways, but eventually started
heading back to the car. Right when we got back and opened the car
door we heard the LOUDEST thunder of our lives. We literally jumped in
the car and slammed the door. We were legitimately scared. Ha! Good
times… Then it stormed like crazy. We were looking up people in a
massive storm! Nobody answered, so we got a little wet.

I had an exchange with an elder from Taiwan! We had an awesome day.
There is a new member who moved in from Nigeria, and we went back over
to teach his sister and nephew. It was so great. I wasn’t really sure
what to do with myself… I am not used to that. Ha! We taught a
pretty good lesson, and they committed to read and pray. They even
prayed to know if the Book of Mormon is true at the end of the lesson.
Wow. It was powerful. I am just grateful for the Spirit. I wouldn’t be
able to do it by myself.

I hope everyone had a good 4th of July!! We were taken care of. Members
fed us lunch and dinner. We were really blessed. I absolutely love the
people here. They just get it, and they do what they are supposed to.
Especially when it isn’t easy for them. We were able to help Bishop
with a service project for a few hours before he fed us dinner. We
weeded and mulched! We spent the rest of the 4th fearlessing at the
ferry!! It was a blast. I was asleep by 10:00 that night, so I didn’t
see any fireworks, but hey.. sleep is way more important at this
point.

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I will be staying in Staten Island again with Elder Beazer! We have
some unfinished business to do here. We are excited for this next
transfer. I came across a great quote from Elder Neal A. Maxwell:

“We can also keep moving. Only the Lord can compare crosses, but all
crosses are easier to carry when we keep moving. Men finally climbed
Mount Everest, not by standing at its base in consuming awe, but by
shouldering their packs and by placing one foot in front of another.
Feet are made to move forward—not backward!”

Well.. Onward, Ever Onward!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

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I want S’more!

Our weekly service project was quite the project again! I learned how
to mix concrete! Even though I expected to learn a lot on my
mission… I did not expect to learn that! Ha ha it was fun. We had a
team that just mixed concrete for a little more than an hour straight.
We didn’t stop, and just mixed as much as we could. We ended up
actually finishing their whole days job in two hours! We had a blast.
Oh and it was HOT. Good work out though. 🙂
sean concrete service 2014 concrete job 2014
The ward had a campout! Well the ward was supposed to have a campout,
but only three families showed up. We went to support them, and helped
them set up their tents and gather wood. It was pretty weird because
their is actually a place to go camping in New York City! It was a Boy
Scout camp. We were in nature again though (temporarily) and it felt
good. I actually ate a S’more. I was in heaven! It is amazing how much
joy you can find in the simple things.

sean at campout to give directions 2014 nature in staten island 2014 sean and district campout 2014

Saturday morning we played some handball for exercise! We met a guy
there and played with him. We started talking to him, and we actually
went back this morning to play doubles with him and his partner. We
are going to go back and play with them in the mornings for our
exercise. I dove for the ball and scraped up my pinky pretty bad. I
scraped off my knuckle.. haha! It was for the greater good though! You
never know who will be interested in the Gospel! We are working on
getting a good relationship with them for now.

I love handball. I want to build a court in Utah when I get home.
Haha! Now that I know how to mix concrete. I just need the funding…

Anyways! We had a street sweep at the ferry. We handed out free
lemonade and materials! It was really fun. People are a lot nicer when
there is free stuff that they are interested in. We talked to a few
people with serious potential. Street sweeps are always fun!

Last week we played volleyball at Coney Island! It was so fun. I love
playing sports.

I also love this Gospel! There is nothing more important. I know that
is true. I absolutely love studying the depth of the Gospel. I started
reading Jeremiah today! In Jeremiah 1:5 it says “I knew thee”.
Interestingly enough the hebrew word for ‘knew’ is yada. Yada is
translated to mean more of a personal connection, rather than just
“hey yeah I knew you from 2nd grade” or whatever. To me it shows the
kind of Father-son relationship that God had with Jeremiah before he
was born. He didn’t only know us, it means much more!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!