This Is It…

All good things come to an end, right? Well this experience has been
more than good, and the end is at the door. As I type this letter it
still doesn’t feel real. It is hard to explain, but it hasn’t hit me
yet. I have said so many goodbyes, but it just feels like another
transfer.. I don’t understand it! Anyways, I will tell you a little
bit about my last week.

We saw a miracle happen. One of my favorite people in far Rockaway
came to church! She is an older lady that is a riot. I loved going
over to visit her. She lives everything that we believe except the
whole coffee thing. She can’t do without her cup of joe! So she
finally came to church for the first time since I have been here, and
guess what a member bears her testimony about? The word of wisdom.
Specifically how staying away from coffee has blessed her. I mean come
on, does it get any better than that? So cool.

I visited a lot of the members that I got close with while I was here!
I love them all, holy cow. One of the visits was made to a Jamaican
family! They are so great. I told them that I had a bad cold, and they
were excited. I was pretty confused… Then I understood. They had
made this stuff called “fire cider” specifically for sick people. I
took a spoonful of it and… Almost died. It was a mixture of garlic,
onions, pepper, beets, etc. It was so HOT. It instantly cleared my
sinuses haha! I think it actually helped!

I have realized something on my mission. The only thing that really
has any importance in this life are treasures in heaven. I learned
what is found in those vaults up there… There are only two things
that we can really take with us as we pass on. Ourselves (personality,
knowledge, talents, memories, etc) and relationships. That’s it!
Nothing more, nothing less. I am so glad that I had my perspective
change… The world doesn’t actually revolve around me, who knew? We
can all do better to spend quality AND quantity time with the people
important to us. I will forever cherish the friendships and memories
that I have made on my mission. There are some missionaries, and
members here that mean so much to me… That is my advice for the day!
Know where your priorities are because “for where your treasure is,
there will your heart be also”.

This is Elder Lee signing out for the last time. These past two years
really have been the best of my life, but now it is time to make these
next two even better.

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Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

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!

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!

True Charity?

We went to a Staten Island Yankees baseball game last Monday!! It was
a blast. They lost in extra innings… but it was still worth it. Plus
we all got free jerseys out of it!! Miracle. 🙂 Elder Beazer and I got
our hair cut in Dyker Heights. The chino hair cuts are always an
adventure because you never know what you will be walking out with!
They don’t speak any english. Haha! It turned out fine though.

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I spent the day in Brooklyn for an exchange. We got fed by a family
that we taught. They gave us Macadamia milk? It was the strangest
thing. They put regular macadamias into this machine, and it grinded
them up and boiled it into milk or something? It was strange. Oh and
we had some delicious noodles in this sauce with peanut butter mixed
in? I think it was a thai food? Anyways. The Chinese exchanges are
always my favorite.

Bishop Glick and family invited us over for dinner. It is always so
nice to go over there. There house is just so… home-y. Truly a home
away from home. There have been a few of those out here!! But they are
rare. They always make the best food too. I love it! That night we
went to mutual with the young men, and a professional volleyball
player came and did a little camp. She asked, “Who knows the three
fundamentals to volleyball??” Elder Beazer and I both said, “Bump,
set, spike it!!”. Luckily we said it to ourselves because then she
said, “If anyone ever says bump set spike to that question then you
know that they know nothing about volleyball”. Oops… we looked
around to make sure nobody heard us. Ha! The correct terms are “pass,
set, hit” apparently… Who knew?

We used Facebook to teach some lessons this week! It is actually
really effective, because everyone is usually on the move out here!
But everyone has their phone with them. It is a huge blessing to have
that tool.

Our ward party on Saturday was great! There was a lot of hard work
that went into it. Our awesome landlords came, and so did a family
that we have been visiting!! It was a great time. There was a bunch of
carnival games for all of the kids. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

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President Calderwood came out to dedicate Staten Island. The whole
ward council gathered and we all came together in prayer. It was
pretty powerful. The work really needs to hasten, and we needed that
spiritual boost. While President was at church with us he made a very
insightful comment. He said something along the lines of, “True
charity is shown in how we treat our spouses (or companion), children,
and close friends. We would be fooling ourselves if we thought we had
charity because we donated something to strangers, yet mistreated
those closest to us”.

I am far from being a perfect missionary, but I am so glad I chose to
come out and serve. I believe that everyone should serve. It has done
more for my life than I would have ever imagined. I will be eternally
grateful for the opportunity to serve!!

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 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!

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!