Who is the Predator Now?!

Well, well, well. So many stories to tell.. where to start?

I will start with the first exchange of the week! I was reunited with Elder Burch in Bayshore! We were in a trio, and we all went to… wait for it…. TEXAS ROADHOUSE! I haven’t been in one of those bad boys in almost two years. It was too good to pass up. I walked in, cracked open a peanut, and threw the shell over my shoulder to the ground. I was home.

photo 2

After dinner we went to try and look up a family. They didn’t really think anything would come of it, so I told them, “I guarantee we will get in this house”. They seemed skeptical, but they came along. We knocked on the door and they answered! Good so far. They said they were “busy”. The elders thought they had proved me wrong… but I didn’t give up that easily! I asked to use their restroom. (You would be surprised at how often that works) Anyways! Then I walked around complimenting them on their house, asked for water, etc. Before you knew it we were sitting in their living room eating apples and getting ready to teach them a lesson! It was a good exchange overall.

Remember how I am terrified of sharks? Well I still am. That darn Jaws movie really gets to you… but this past week I was able to fight back! Our branch mission leader had us over for dinner! And guess what was on the menu? NOT Elder Lee! It was shark this time!! Haha! It tasted like tuna. We had shark and catfish, and a branch correlation. It was an interesting night.

photo 4

Now to the next exchange! I went to Little Neck! We spent the majority of the day shoveling snow. My back is still sore, but it was worth it. We met some really cool people that they are going to go back and visit. We earned ourselves some shrimp dumplings over lo mein after all of the manual labor. I really like the legit chinese places they have out here. Not just like panda express. Then after dinner we went and taught an incredible family. I felt so much love for them. It has been such a blessing to feel the Spirit in abundance on my mission.

Saturday I spent my day out in Hampton Bays! Yay! Ironically enough, that was the location of my very first exchange, and now it is the location of one of my last ones. Every appointment that the elders had set up for the day fell through. Yipee. We knocked doors for about 1.5 hours. My face went numb! It felt good to do some work in extreme weather. Makes you feel like an Elder! We went to a members house, and it turned out their home teacher was over! Fun fact, their home teacher is deaf. We were there while the home teacher was trying to teach them how to finger spell. It was cool to watch. I know a little finger spelling so I could communicate a little bit with him.

On the way back from the Hamptons I made some stops in Terryville! I had to say goodbye to some good friends. I saw the Dybers first. It was great to see them. I have so many great memories with them. Then I went over to the Bradshaw’s for dinner. The Bradshaw family has been absolutley incredible to me on my mission. They always took care of me. I was sad to leave, but it was a huge tender mercy to be able to see them before I left.

photo 1 photo 3

Last night we went over to Joe Mure’s house! He is a really famous lawyer in New York. Really famous. Filthy rich. He puts on this fundraiser every year called “The Little North Pole” and we helped him set everything up for it. He invited us over for dinner last night to say thank you. Oh. My. Gosh. His house was so nice. He has this piano, right? He was going to get rid of it because nobody ever played it. Then he had a brilliant idea. Lets make it play itself! He hired someone to put a computer in there. Now you can Bluetooth your device to it, pick a song, and the piano will play the keys to whatever song. It also has speakers so it sings the vocal part while it plays the keys. WOW. I loved it so much. We ate dinner and then drank some nice seltzer water in the basement (I love seltzer water now by the way). We helped him count some of the money that he raised at the fundraiser.. he said he raised over $150,000 for the diabetes society!

President taught a great principle this week. He made an analogy. He referred us to John 4, which talks about Jesus at the well with the Samaritan woman. While talking about it President asked us all what kind of well we had inside. Is our well everlasting? Or is it running dry? He taught us how to tell. He used another analogy. Your heart rate recovery is the difference between your heart rate during workout and your heart rate two minutes later while you rest. That is the HRR. Well, we can use that same formula for Christlike attributes. When someone offends us, how long does it take for us to forgive them? When we get discouraged, how long does it take us to have some hope? The longer it takes, the dryer our well. When we allow external influences to affect us so much internally, our well is running dry. The moment we don’t allow those external influences to affect us, is when we know our well is everlasting.

Another week down, only a few left. As you can see.. I am making the most of it. 🙂

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

Partying, Partying, Yeah!

Too many things happened last week. I will try to sum it all up!

Well I got a new companion! Elder Beazer. He is great! We hit the
ground running this past week. It started off with us having to clean
out our apartment… We started carrying all of our stuff upstairs (to
the other elders apartment who live above us, because we would have to
live with them until our new apartment opens up). We carried dressers,
supplies, clothes, etc. We thought we had to be out by the end of May
so we were trying to get it all done! We call the guy in charge to
clarify what is going on, and we got a little surprise! He said we
didn’t have to be out until next month! So we had to go upstairs and
bring all of our stuff back down. We went to a meeting the next day,
and on the way home we got a call from Elder Tingey in the office. He
was telling us that we actually had to be out of our apartment by the
end of May. Ahh… we had to take EVERYTHING upstairs. Every last
thing that was in that apartment had to be moved and cleaned. We had
to finish it by Saturday night so we spent the whole entire day
cleaning. It was a long day, but we managed to do it. Life lesson?
Communication is key. Haha…

Our weekly service project was pretty fun! We had to dig out a trench
in the backyard of a home.  It was supposed to be six feet wide, and
one foot across. It was about eighteen feet long.. it was  quite the
project! We managed to do it all in two hours though! I didn’t notice
until near the end, but I got some pretty gnarly blisters on my hands.

We were looking up some people who Bishop had asked us to when we met
this lady. At first she tried to slam the door, but we managed to
start talking to her. Basically we just asked her a question or two
and she started telling us her life story. She had been baptized about
twenty years ago with her six sons. The missionaries always came over,
even for Christmas. Then her missionaries went home… her oldest son
who originally wanted to be a missionary started going down the wrong
path. She tried to reach out to her missionaries, but they left her
obviously. She tried to reach out to the church but nobody helped her
(the story seemed pretty one-sided, but I am sure there was some truth
in there). Anyways. To make a long story short. She gave up on trying
to get all of her kids to church as a single mother and started to
make some not so smart decisions in life. She stopped living the
Doctrine of Christ and now she is not happy. We listened to her, and
tried to at least let her know that we felt bad for her. She promised
us that it was beyond repair, but we are going to go back and see how
she is doing.. It is important that these Recent Converts have strong
friends in the church!!!!!! I gained a stronger testimony about that.

Chino bakes are delicious. They are basically just bread with filling.
Sometimes meat or vanilla pudding stuff. We get them in Dyker Heights
when we have to go for meetings! They are everywhere and really cheap.
A missionary’s favorite! Speaking of which. I am gaining weight. We
have too many things to worry about, and a lot of time we only have
time to eat really bad food. But hey! At least it tastes good. One of
these days we will have to do better with our eating. Ahh… so many
THINGS to do. It is great.

Lastly, we went to a party last night! No really, we did. It went from
7pm-12am. We didn’t stay the whole time, but we stayed out pretty
late. Are you wondering what we were doing?! Well the family that is
investigating right now had a special party. It was in honor of the
“Sweet Mothers of Staten Island”. Basically a night to celebrate all
of the Liberian mothers on Staten. It was great. Our mission president
gave us permission to go and support them. We ate some good food, and
tried to talk to our table about the church.. they weren’t interested.
Turns out they were all either pastors themselves, or married to a
pastor… That is NY for you! We still had a great time. The family
really appreciated our support.

Well this is too long, and I have a nap to take. Just to wrap it up,
President Calderwood spoke some wise words in transfer meeting this
past week. He said “If you are willing to do hard things in life, you
will be successful”. I know that is true!! Success comes from hard
work. He also said, “If you serve (or do anything) for a pat on the
back, that is the ONLY reward you will get”. Pretty intense, but it is
true. God doesn’t want us to flaunt our ‘service’ around. Do things
because you really mean it, and don’t seek recognition. That is the
two cents of the week. He is a wise man!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

(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.

052614 0526141 service

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!

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!!!

At Least It’s Not Russia!!!

Hello! I am doing great out here. Things are just splendid. Minus the
fact that it is freezing cold here. The wind pretty much just pierces
my soul. I feel like an iceberg was thrown into a wood chipper and the
remnants are being sprayed in my face. It’s that cold! But luckily we
never get too negative about it… I always just say “at least we
aren’t in Russia!” Poor Elder Madsen. 🙂

We had an epic mega zone conference last week! President and Sister
Calderwood came with the assistants! It was awesome. President shared
a quote that his father had told him. His father told him “control
brings freedom, no boundaries brings regret”. It was a workshop on how
to be productive with these iPads! I just thought that was a really
powerful statement. Helps us remember why boundaries and control are
so important!

I love food. A lot. Luckily New York has tons of good food! Everything
from Halal food, to your classic pizza. We got it all! Even the
members make great food here. We had our ward thanksgiving party this
past week and there was so much food. I ate 5 plates… I had to! Ever
since I have been out here my taste buds have definitely matured. I
will eat or try just about anything now! I had sweet potatoes the
other day.. Delicious. Stuffed cabbage? Who knew it could be so tasty?
There is a whole world of food out there that I never even knew
about… Especially egg custard. Now that stuff is incredible! This
Filipino lady made it for us. So good!

As for thanksgiving we will be playing in a mission wide turkey bowl!
Bryson and Ethan said that sports got banned in their mission for
thanksgiving.. But we haven’t heard anything like that? So we will be
playing some football!! Then this family invited us over for dinner.
It will be a great day! Then the day after I get to go to the temple!
I never had the chance to go for my 6 month mark, so they are catching
me up. I am excited to go through with a bunch of missionaries!
Sheesh. So much to be thankful for.

Oh and we played basketball with this kid we met and his friends. I
love how they underestimate us because we are white… Then they start
getting really mad when we score on them 🙂 Ha! I am doing great! I
love my life. I love my mission. And most importantly, I love this
Gospel.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Eat some stuffing for me!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

10,000

Well.. It happened. We finally hit it. 10,000 miles in one car! Remember way back when I got the Toyota Corolla? It had 90 miles on it. This past week we hit over 10,000! We do a LOT of driving… A lot. It is crazy to think I have seen that many miles in that car! Sheesh.
So dad you would be proud of me! I finally made the Flank steak with the marinade. It was tasty! Not sure who else really enjoyed it… but I loved it. It was awesome. Just like a Sunday night at home!
We have been playing basketball still every Saturday morning! One of our investigators came last Saturday! He is awesome. He is really getting involved with the ward and it is helping him out.
We are also working with Dominick! He is super cool as well. He has a baptismal date for October 12th! He is really excited for it. We have been taking lots of people over there to teach with us so that he can have a lot of new friends in the ward. We are going to institute with him tomorrow night. I am pumped!
We have been really blessed lately! Hard work pays off. I promise. I can honestly say that I am more tired this week than I was last week… and I do have the feeling that I will be saying the same thing over and over again until I get home! So when I eventually get home, I will probably hibernate for a week or so! Ha! But since we are working hard we had a  baptism yesterday! David was baptized. He is a son of a family we have been working with. I love that family. They had me baptize him, and it was one of the most amazing experiences. I could see the parents crying, and could feel the spirit so strongly as I baptized him. There is nothing that I can compare that feeling to! I love it. The Holy Ghost really is so powerful, if we allow Him to influence our lives.
It was a great week. More great weeks to come! That doesn’t mean that the weeks are easy by any means… because they wouldn’t be great if they were easy.
As always, I love you guys!!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and love it!

What would you do for a… Slurpee?

You have to sing the Klondike theme song when you read the title of my email this week. Ha!
Anyways, it was a great week. I will start off with my favorite part! We went to the Temple on Saturday!! Donna came for the first time! She was baptized for her two grandmothers, It was a really cool experience to watch. We helped her get started on her family history, and she is on fire. The Spirit of Elijah is real. I sure have a testimony of that now! She is doing work with it!!
I am almost positive that this is THE most diverse mission in the world. I can never remember what I emailed last week, so I hope I don’t repeat myself, but oh well.. In two weeks we talked to a Muslim guy from Egypt, a Hindu lady from New Zealand, a Catholic lady from Ireland, Ecuadorians, a family from the Dominican Republic, etc. It is so cool to meet so many different types of people. I love the diversity out here.
We have been going up to the “docks” a lot! We all go up as a district, and sing hymns for everyone. A lot of people just laugh, and mock us, but we do meet some really good potential investigators out there. It is fun too. I love singing still, and I get to do it all the time! We are doing a musical number for zone conference on Wednesday. (President and the Assistants will all do workshops for it). It was funny because we always ask people what their favorite hymn is, and finally this lady stopped to talk to us. She said she saw a movie about groups singing. Turns out it was pitch perfect. She asked us to sing the “cups” song from it! Nobody else had seen it, so I sang part of it for her! Haha! Never thought I would use that one out here.
We met this lady and offered to do service for her. She didn’t believe that we weren’t going to charge, and she was a little apprehensive at fist! But we just started weeding her garden anyways. In the process we found a lot of nappy creatures, some of those were slimy worms. I picked one up, and looked at Elder Finlinson. I told him I would buy him a slurpee if he ate two worms. He doesn’t often back down from a challenge, and accepted it. The first worm got down pretty easy. A little heaving on his part, but it made it down. The second one was tricky. He tried, and tried until finally he swallowed it…. or so he thought! He managed to start crawling back up his throat, mid swallow. He started gagging, and had to pull it out of his mouth. The whole time I was just dying laughing of course. It was hilarious for me to watch! Now my question to all of you… what would YOU do for a slurpee?!
Well. I have learned a lot thus far on my mission. One of those things is that life is stressful! I don’t have time, or energy to tell you half of the craziness that goes on. I just know that through it all, everything will work out! I just take a deep breath, do my best, and pray. That is about all we can do. I love living this Gospel. I am happy that I can help others live it too! I know this is true. Or else I wouldn’t still be out here, trust me. Ephesians 4: 5 says is better than I can, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism”. This is The One.
Love you all.
Elder Lee!
Come what may, and Love it!
P.S. Go to www.LDS.org, and view “A day in the life of a missionary”. That is my mission! Those missionaries are home now, but they served out here. Elder Munday was the AP who picked me up from the airport!