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.
sean santa happy 2014 sean christmas 2014 sean christmas mission meal 2014
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. 🙂
sean district jumping beach 2014 sean district at beach sillohuette 2014 sean district beach
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!

Two Pies Please

Goodness gracious it has been quite the week! There are way too many things to put in this email, but as always… I will do my best. 🙂
Exchanges like crazy. I have been all over the place this week! The highlight was returning to Midwood for a 24 hour exchange. It was amazing to be back there and see how much it has changed. It started with us playing tag with a LA kid and his friends. We played with them for a while and then had a spiritual thought about the Book of Mormon! The LA kid said the best prayer ever. He said something along the lines of, “Heavenly Father help my friends find out this is true, I know it is”. Wow it was incredible. We were walking around that night going to and from appointments when I saw this mom with her child. I caught her attention as she walked by and we talked to her! She was interested in learning more, and wanted her family to hear about our message. WOW. It is a family of six. Amazing. The next day we were picking up trash around the church and ran into this kid. He saw us picking stuff up so he just started throwing his trash on the ground in front of us. Some of the missionaries were getting ticked, but some people are just like that. What can you do huh? ANYWAYS, we had dinner with a strictly Jewish family. Some of the nicest people I have met on my mission. The missionaries started talking to them one day, and they have been going over once a week for dinner ever since. I had some delicious food (it is called Jachnun, you should look it up). That sums up my exchange there!!! It was wonderful.
Then I ventured over to Jamaica! I had an exchange with a less than pleasant man on the street. We were fearlessing and shining shoes, and I commented on how nice his shoes were! He stopped and proceeded to yell at me, blah, blah, blah. Never heard that one before. I just kept smiling and told him, “I don’t really care when the letter J was invented, that has nothing to do with my testimony of Jesus. And yes ‘Yahweh’ is indeed the hebrew name for Jehovah”. Whoop-dee-do. Haha I have heard all of these arguments a thousand times. I finally told him to have a nice day and started to walk away, and he started yelling out cursings upon my head and that blood will be on my hands or something. People be crazy. 🙂 BUT then we went and got two pies from Joey’s on Jamaica ave. Boy do I love NY pizza. Yum.
I actually fell asleep twice this past week. During church and a lesson. Ha.. I am so tired all of the time. I don’t have a minute to waste though! The minutes are going by too fast. I absolutely love this mission. I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything. I am just going to go out there and live it up!
I read Moroni 7:3 this morning. There is an interesting quote in the institute manual. It says, “The rest here referred to is not physical rest, for there is no such thing as physical rest in the Church of Jesus Christ. Reference is made to the spiritual rest and peace which are born from a settled conviction of the truth in the minds of men”. Food for thought. In other words, “There aint no rest for the wicked”.
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

The Big… Slurpee!!!

We had an awesome week! We started meeting with this guy who is an
amazing artist. He can draw so dang fast. We are reading about Lehi in
the Book of Mormon with him, and he gave us some pictures that he drew
in like 5-10 minutes of what he pictured in his head as he read. I
took a picture with the iPad and I will email them home. They are
pretty cool!!

It snowed about 6 inches. Which is quite a bit for the city. The snow
won’t melt!!! It keeps piling up. Plus they have no place to put the
snow… ahhh. Right after the storm came through it rained… That was
ridiculous. I don’t think I have ever been so wet in my life. We
brought half of the water into our apartment with us! Forget the big
apple.. it was the big slurpee that day. Sheesh.

It was a great week for teaching! We had dinner with a Filipino family
who fed us “panseet”. No idea how to spell that. It is my favorite
Filipino dish though! So good. They had invited their neighbour over
for dinner! We had an FHE with him afterwards. They asked me (alone)
to teach the Restoration. It was different teaching without a
companion, but it was really powerful for me. I felt the Spirit really
strongly. I invited him to be baptized.. and he said yes! For real
this time!! Then we experienced Facebook lessons for the first time.
We have a 15 yr old investigator who has been too busy to meet with us
lately. We asked him if he could chat with us on Facebook! We had a
group chat with a member and were able to teach him about the
importance of the Book of Mormon. It was really, really cool. The Lord
provides a way. Facebook really can be a great missionary tool IF used

Oh! We were able to help this Jewish lady out with her van! She was
totally stuck. It took us a little bit of time to get her out. We
luckily found a brick and were able to chip away at the ice around her
tires. Finally we managed to push her out, and she was grateful. I
love being able to serve the Jewish people! They don’t often let us do
it. Ha!

Valentines day was good. Just another day! I was on exchanges with
Elder Ashby!  We went and visited a house that I had been to
before because I knew the LA member had creole parents who were
non-members. The dad opened the door. AND let us in!!!! Two miracles
right there. He taught him in creole. I just sat there and prayed for
the lesson to go well.. that was about all that I could do! He even
got a return appointment with him. Holy cow we are blessed!

Did you hear about the Young Women’s General Board? Did you see Sister
Nelson from New York? That is the Stake President’s wife from my
stake! She is super nice. That was cool news to hear about!

Remember those awesome lessons we taught this week? Sadly they both
have dropped us. They are no longer investigating. From baptism to not
talking to us in just a few days. Remember how the Mission is a roller
coaster? Yep. Thats okay though! Life isn’t supposed to be easy. It
was never ever easy for the Savior, why would it be easy for us?
“Salvation is not a cheap experience”. We just keep enduring the
absolute best we can, and hope for better things to come. 🙂

Best wishes from Brooklyn!
Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!

P.S. Did you watch the Super Bowl? Did you see a commercial about
Derrick Coleman? The Deaf NFL player? Haven’t seen it but, I know the
guy who made that commercial. No big deal!! Ha!

All You Need Is Love!

Wow. I am sorry I couldn’t email last week. The work truly is hastening out here. You can feel it. There has been a lot of things
going on and we got really busy! I will try to make this email extra good for you (and grandma)!!

I will start off with some lesser exciting news… I bought a blender! I use that thing every day. I go through about 10 pounds of fruit and
2 gallons of milk… A week. I love my smoothies. Mainly bananas and strawberries! So good. I look forward to those things… I find joy in
the simple things in life now. Makes me happier 🙂

So every week on Tuesday nights we do an activity with the other district! We get together, sing hymns, and fearless people! It is
usually pretty fun. Recently this guy named Adam has gotten in contact with us. He is 19 and plays the tenor saxophone. We invited him to come play with us on Tuesdays. He started coming and asking about our church… So naturally we started to teach him. We invited him to church and he has come the last two weeks! He is a great guy. Elder Jensen and I are actually going to be doing a Christmas number with him. We will put it up on Facebook so keep an eye out for that!

Oh get this. We were on the train coming home for the night when a lady got on with her husband. I smiled and said hello. She looked at
me with a scowl and said “I don’t know you!!”. I was taken aback.. I actually had to apologize to someone for smiling at them. Gotta love
New York!! 🙂

Mom, remember how you make those chicken roll ups with cream cheese? Totally did that. They were delicious. We made them for some other elders in my district.

There is this less active member who lives in a group home that we are working with. As we were leaving one night we asked everyone there if we could sing to them. They looked excited! We sang some hymns (elder Jensen is really good at singing) and then we all sang silent night together. It was a really cool moment. We are able to use our talents to bless other people. It was awesome.

I guess I can tell you about the iPads…… 🙂 They are so nice! In fact. I am typing this on my iPad mini! Every missionary has their own iPad, and again… They rock. The gospel library app has made my studies so much better. We have our area books and planners in our iPads. We can do things so much more effectively. I love them. I also am able to stay on top of things a lot better. With the work hastening, there are a lot of things I have to do as a missionary. So many things to plan out and things to remember. iPads are truly sent from heaven. 🙂

Also, as you probably saw on Facebook..the Binettis were baptized! That family is awesome. I love them. I am humbled to be a small part
in helping them on their journey. A lot of missionaries helped teach them. Elder Tingey and I were actually the first elders to go over. It
was cool to be there… Tingey is still in Bermuda so he wasn’t able to make it, but he was there in spirit!!

I realized something this past week. The whole entire reason we are here is to love. Not the worldly kind of love, but the Godly trait. He
has sent us here to love. Love him enough to keep His commandments. Love our families. Love our neighbors. Love. If we can truly learn how to love those around us, we can find the kingdom of heaven. For “inasmuch as ye have done unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me (the savior)”. Treating others with love is the literal way to show love unto our Savior.

Elder Lee
Come whom may come, and love them. 🙂

To Break? Or Not To Break?

What a week we had!! I had the chance to go to the Manhattan Temple again! I love that place. I am excited to be able to go every week when I get home. We took Edward (a recent convert from before I got here) to do baptisms! He loved it. He was able to finally be baptized for a friend. What a cool experience!!

Then we had the chance to go to the Rockaways again!!  It has been a year since Hurricane Sandy hit, and they were coming out to celebrate all of the hard work they have done over the year! It is incredible how nice it looks now. Totally different! You can’t even tell that the Hurricane ever hit! The whole mission gathered with the community on the peninsula facing towards the ocean, and linked hands! They wanted to break a world record… and we… did!! We broke it! We now have the record for longest human chain! They took a lot of pictures and videos, and hopefully I will be able to send some of them for you to see. It was amazing to be a part of! It was just a special feeling. They are going to submit that to the Guinness Book of World Records, so we will see if they submit it anytime soon.

Anyways, other than that life is good! Sadly enough my trainee is getting transferred to somewhere else in the mission. He struggled in the city, and is hopefully going out to Long Island. I will be staying here for another transfer! I am excited to start another one. Time is flying by too quickly… I am really looking forward to the holiday season! Maybe people will be a little more receptive? 🙂 I can’t wait to see what happens in Brooklyn on Halloween! I hear it gets really crazy, and so we have to be indoors by 6:00. I will probably celebrate by going to sleep early. I can’t wait!

I love serving a mission! It is the best decision I have made up to this point. I am learning so much, and truly changing forever. I wouldn’t trade this for anything!

Elder Lee
Come what may, and Love it!
Brodowski, Lee and Jensen 2013

Success or Failure?

Well again… I don’t really remember what happened last week. It really starts to just be a huge blur. A good blur! But a blur none the less! I am so happy to hear a lot of people are doing well with the Gospel. I am excited for everyone and their missions! I know that a mission can bless everybody in their life if they chose to go. It sure has blessed me!
We did another zone wide blitz! 3 zones participated. That is about 75 missionaries? They all came to our ward to look up every single Less Active member in our boundaries. It was awesome! I was lucky enough to be paired up with Elder Burch again from the MTC!! We had a really good time. As we were doing our look ups, we saw some people playing basketball. Naturally we went over there and challenged them to a game. They saw that we were two white kids in our shirts and ties, and definitely under estimated us. We did end up beating them, but they weren’t very receptive to our message after the game.. they seemed a little angry with us. Ha!
We also got word that we will be getting a mini-iPad per missionary! They will come to us on Nov 11th! Plus each companionship will get their own iPhone! The first time I get an iPhone is on my mission…! We will be using the cloud of course. Each missionary will keep their iPad their whole mission, and use it for their area book and progress records, etc! SO when you get transferred to a new area? Boom. Cloud hooks you up with the information that you need. Legit right?
The work is slowly moving along. We haven’t been able to see anyone progress this transfer, and that is tough. It is hard to hear the success of friends in other missions, or hear stories from return missionaries and compare myself to them. We may not be seeing a lot of people progress right now, but does that define our success? If I don’t baptize 100 people does that mean my mission was a waste? Absolutely not. Success is measured by the effort you put into something, not always the end result. As long as I am doing everything I can to help other people come unto Christ, I am successful! Don’t get discouraged in life when you don’t always see the results that you want. Just remember. Success is measured by effort, not statistics.
Elder Lee
Come what may and Love it!
(For some reason I like to capitalize that L on love? Don’t judge!)

Conference, Undercover Cops, and a Burnt Bug…

What a week it has been!! We had a really good week here in Brooklyn!!
It started with a solid lesson with a guy named Delroy. He is honestly so pure in heart. We had a really powerful lesson with him. We taught the Plan of Salvation to him in an apartment, that happened to be 110 degrees. Those are the kind of experiences that I wouldn’t trade for the world. I teared up as I testified to this man. There is nothing that can replace the powerful effect a mission has had on me.
Speaking of how awesome missions are… we do a lot of finding activities to…well find people! We were singing outside of a train station this past week when we saw a STING operation. It was legit. These two undercover cops totally arrested this couple without them even knowing it. It was insane. We were just keeping to ourselves… singing hymns to the people of New York!! People think we are crazy by the way… but whats new!! haha

Click here for a cool picture!

We were on a bus riding home at about 8:45 when I noticed this guy. He was sitting down… but not for long. He totally passed out and just hit the floor really hard. Nobody else was really freaking out, but I got up to help him. He had just passed out from being so drunk. He couldn’t even tell where he was. I did my best to help him… everyone else was just so used to that happening that it didn’t faze them I guess? Mad world…
We are teaching a guy named Joseph who is blind! (I can’t remember if I told you that, things seem to blend together out here..) We were walking past a store when we noticed he was sitting outside. We have been trying to help him quit smoking lately! He obviously couldn’t tell that it was us, but he asked us for a smoke. We quickly let him know who it was, and he felt pretty embarrassed. Kept saying “you caught me, you caught me”! Ahhh… hahaha
We had a HUGE roach in our pad. So naturally we got my camera and recorded the death of this bug. Elder Jensen got his axe spray, and his lighter and we torched it. The video is sweet. You should see it!
And last, but not least… Conference was amazing. My testimony was strengthened. I was edified. I loved every minute of it. It seemed to go by too quickly. I really enjoyed Bonnie L. Oscarson’s talk. She spoke of conversion. Is conversion really a point we can ever attain? Can we ever become truly converted? I believe that it is always a process. “Improvement and progression have one eternal round”. We should always strive to be more humble, and seek new opportunities to learn. Strengthen your weakness’. Find out how to improve you testimony! You will never learn everything possible, and that is the beauty of it. A whole world of learning awaits all of us. Regardless of what season of life we are in. The only catch is, the conversion process lies within our power. Nobody can force it upon us, or become converted for us. The choice is ours.
Elder Lee!!
Come what may, and Love it!!