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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The Mish!!!

Well I almost crashed the car this week.. We were driving down the
road and I felt something crawling on my neck. So naturally I freaked
out inside and swatted at whatever was crawling on me. I look at the
windshield and see a spider! Don’t ask me how it got there… I was
focused on that spider to make sure Elder Galloni killed it. While I
was focusing on the seemingly immediate threat, I missed the real
danger. Ha! I looked up just in time to swerve out of the way of a
truck that was heading our way 🙂 Nice eh? Moral of the story… don’t
get caught up on the little things. There you go.

I was reminded of some (not so) great memories this past week! A
member needed help taking down their trampoline. I have not missed
that grueling project, I will tell you that much! Some of those
springs got the best of us, but we were glad to help out.

We had a really cool experience this week! President Calderwood came
to town! He came to interview one of our investigators for baptism,
and while he was here he spent some extra time with us. He took the
district out to lunch and knocked some doors with us. It was funny
because I was telling him, “Knocking doors isn’t the most effective
thing so we don’t do it very often,  but we wanted to do it with you”.
The first door we knock on we get let in, say a kneeling prayer and
get a return appointment for the sisters (she actually has already
been taught with the relief society president and has a baptismal
date). We walked out of the house and President put his arm around me
and said, “Elder, I don’t believe you anymore”. Haha yeah… Anyways.
He was interviewing our investigator and so we were waiting in her
living room. In the middle of the interview she busts through the door
and takes all of these alcohol bottles from around the house and dumps
them down the drain! It was kind of a surprise, but she was serious
about it! There have been a few hiccups since her interview so she
won’t be baptized for a while, but she is on her way! President
Calderwood is such a great guy. I really look up to him.

There was a celebration on Saturday!! Do you remember Mike and Donna?
They both got baptized last year when I was here. They were just
married at the Terryville chapel! They are planning on getting sealed
in a year. I am so happy for them. We had a nice ceremony performed by
the Bishop, and then a party afterwards! I think most people had a
good time. Sadly, Mike and Donna moved upstate already. Everyone is
leaving!! The Binetti family is actually moving to Utah. Crazy. We
finally found all of these people to be baptized, and they just leave!
I guess we just need to find more or something haha!

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Everything is going good! I am more than happy to be enjoying this
mission experience still. There are a lot of ups and downs, but wow
they are great for me. I am learning a lot of lessons. One thing that
I have loved lately is the new mormon message! Everyone should take
the time to watch it. Especially mothers. It is about 8 minutes long,
but it is worth it. Sometimes we all get bogged down with all of the
things we have to do, but remember!! If you aren’t making someone’s
life better you are wasting your time! Live to help other people.

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Going Home!

It has been a crazy week! I got transferred back to Terryville! This
is the area that I started my mission in, and I love it. It is great
to be back and see all of my old friends. Sadly, a lot of the families
that I knew moved away. It is still good to be back home. This place
feels like my home. 🙂

My last day in Staten was awesome. We went out with our Ward Mission
Leader on Monday night! He is the coolest guy. We learned a lot of
wise words from him. I made sure to record all of his advice about
life. Haha! Then the next day we woke up and went to transfer meeting!
I found out that I will be companions with Elder Galloni. He is
straight from Italy! He has been on his mission for one more transfer
than I have. It is nice to have some Italian cooking in the house!

One of the coolest experiences is teaching with people that got
baptized when I was here last year. We went teaching with two
different recent converts. It is such a blessing to be able to see how
much they have changed, and how much they have learned! Wow that was a
treat.

We had a service project this past week! A member needed help painting
her house that she is moving into. For some reason people take that
talk from Elder Nelson a little too seriously. You know the “Ask the
missionaries they can help you” talk? Yeah. Well I guess she thought
we were professional painters? Anyways, we went over and tried our
best… and honestly I thought it turned out pretty good! Mom’s phrase
came to mind as we were doing it, “You get what you pay for”. Haha! I
don’t think the member was too happy with our painting job.. Ha! We
are going back over tomorrow with some members to try and fix it? I
don’t know.. I can’t seem to win these days.

OH get this. So over the past couple days we have been SO busy. But
when we were in our apartment, Elder Galloni would walk by the fridge
and smell something rotten. He would look in the fridge and behind it,
etc. We could never find the source of the smell. Finally after a few
days we had a minute to check around for the smell. I found a bag of
potatoes on top of a shelf above the fridge… the bag was leaking
with juices. The potatoes were rotting. The worst part? There was
maggots everywhere…!!!! It was disgusting. That was a fun one to
clean up. Do you want to know the really funny part? When we were
first put together as companions Elder Galloni told me that he was
kind of a neat freak and that he doesn’t want a messy companion…
Ironic eh? 🙂

We are teaching quite a bit! It is really nice to be busy. Huge
blessing. I don’t know what else to say! I am really extra tired all
of the time. Who needs sleep these days anyway? Sheesh.. I hope
everyone has a great week! I know I will!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

HAPPY Sunday!

We had a really cool experience this past week! We have been trying to
get in touch with this less active lady for a while now. We met her a
little while ago, and we have been trying to teach her ever since. We
kind of forgot about her because we couldn’t ever get over there.
Randomly Elder Beazer said, “You should give her a call”. So I picked
up the phone and…. she didn’t answer. Then five minutes later she
called us back! She said, “I was just telling my sister that the
elders forgot about me… and then you called”!!! Wow. We were kind of
freaking out. It was really cool.

We had interviews with President Calderwood this week. I look up to
him so much. It is always a good time when we get the chance to talk
to him. After the interviews we had exchanges! I was able to go with
Elder Baker. He is such a humble missionary. I look up to him a lot.
We had a good time! It wasn’t very long, but we taught a young man
about the importance of the temple. It was a good lesson.

Our service project gave me some more gnarly blisters! Our task was
not easy… we had to get a tree stump out of the ground. Those things
are stubborn, let me tell you. Elder Beazer and I swung at part of it
with some axes for like twenty minutes. We did barely any damage to
it. I am guessing we will be going back to the same place to finish
our job this Wednesday. It was fun to swing an axe though. 🙂

A member took us out to eat at a Malaysian restaurant! It was mainly
all really good! Some of it was pretty interesting.. but it was mostly
delicious. They came out with these HUGE coconut shrimps. Bigger than
my fists. Those things were good.

My Birthday was a sacred day for me. So many people took care of me. I
could feel their love! Wow. It was great. Of course my mom took care
of me all the way from Utah! I was truly happy that day, and very
humbled. It was humbling to see all of these great people who are in
my life. I love Staten Island. It is a sacred place in my heart!!

We had a meeting on Friday. We talked about online proselyting. They
asked for opinions on it. I raised my hand and said that it usually
ends up being a waste of time for myself and other missionaries, so I
just avoid it now. That is why I haven’t really posted anything for a
while. Then he made a great point. Should we avoid everything just
because it can potentially be bad? Tracting isn’t always productive,
should we avoid that? Contacting isn’t very fun, should we avoid that?
We have Facebook as missionaries because The Lord wants us to have it.
So… I repented and started using it effectively the next day. 🙂 It
made me think about all of the things in life that we avoid all
together because of how hard they are. It is no excuse! Sometimes we
have to buckle down, and do the hard things in life. We can’t
selfishly avoid things in life. Sometimes you have to step up to the
plate!!

Overall, I am happy. Happy to be in New York. Happy to be on my
mission. Happy to be a member of this church. This way of living
really is the way to ultimate and lasting happiness!!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Back to the Beach!

Honestly one of the best parts of my week happened on Saturday. We saw
a dog with sunglasses on. Ha! He looked so happy… and so cool. Wow I
am easy to please.

Anyways! We had an eventful weekend. Our Bishop got us a spot in the
“Back to the Beach” celebration down at the beach. Everyone had a
bunch of booths set up, and we had one too! Ours struggled a little
bit… We had a nice little tent, and tried our best to arrange a
display. It wouldn’t have worked at all without the help of the
awesome members here. Especially Bishop and our WML. Wow. They are
great. So we had pictures of the work that we did in Hurricane Sandy
on little easles, and we set up a ping pong toss game for the kids.
Everyone was so amazed that it was free! We gave out about 400 prizes!
It was pretty successful. We were there from 7am-6pm on Saturday, and
10:30am-6pm on Sunday (we took the sacrament and then went to work).
It was pretty brutal! We didn’t really take breaks, but time went by
pretty fast. I got so sunburned. My face looks like I got botox. Oh
and my scalp was burned really bad too, because I just got my hair
cut. Ouch. It was worth it though! It feels good to just work.

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We went to the temple on friday with a member who just moved in. He
was living in Nigeria and couldn’t ever make it to the temple until
now. That was cool to go with him. The Manhattan temple is different
because half of the building is used for local meetings. It is a
church! They have a gym and everything. So we were going to go up
there and show him around, and we got to the 3rd floor and right when
we walked out we saw a funeral… awkward. It gets worse. It was a
jewish funeral! They had actually covered up pictures of Jesus for
this thing…. Uhh… I was confused. Haha! New Yorkers just do whatever they want. Its great.
One of our friends who is investigating the church wanted to take all
of the missionaries out to dinner. We went to this super fancy Indian
Restaurant called “Taste of India” It was probably top 5 favorite
meals on my mission. It was so good. I loved it. She is great! I hope
she decides to join the church soon. She would be such a great member.

Anyways, I am sunburned and tired. I am going to take a nap for the
rest of P-day!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

P.S. Happy Birthday to my old father!! What a guy..

(Life’s) Mess of Pottage

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
this p-day!

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.

lizard snake snake2

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
mission.

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.

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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!!)

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!