Wednesday, April 29, 2015

April 13, 2015 Mira mira! Está spring!

Elder Galke’s bday!  Hermana Perez threw a surprise party

Well, it's finally warming up here. As far as missionary work goes, this week was pretty slow.  But we did have Stake Conference in Brooklyn. It was a lot different than it is in Utah.  For the general session on Sunday they rented out the Marriott center because the little chapels are too small to fit everyone.  The stake covers all of Brooklyn and Staten Island.  Everyone who didn't speak Spanish or English was given headphones to hear the translates.  One of the talks was actually translated from the pulpit.  It was given in Cantonese one sentence at a time and his pulpit buddy translated it into English, which was then translated into Mandarin, Spanish, and Haitian.

We did have a chance this week to do some service.  We helped someone paint their apartment orange and blue, that was pretty fun. I was the only one tall enough to reach the top of the walls on a chair, so my job the whole time was edging the wall and ceiling.  It was one of those paint jobs where the labor was free and nobody knew what I was talking about when I asked for masking tape.... The five hour job was surprisingly relaxing.  Also we got to help out with an eagle project! A scout was cleaning up a small wash area right above a cul-de-sac and building a drain system so the rain wouldn't create a mess on the street.  It was super fun, and the closest I've gotten to wilderness so far in New York.

It felt really good to be outside and be working with my hands.  And best of all, we met a really cool guy named Jonathon.  He was super curious and interested in us and missionary work.  He's about our age, and from Venezuela, I think.  He seemed really solid, and asked us for the church address and our number, and then volunteered his.  I'm really excited to see what happens with him. It's interesting to see how God has prepared and guided people into our path.  I testify that God is in this work.

In the last few weeks, Elder Galke and I, and really all the Spanish Staten missionaries, have had a lot of 'not success'.  I remember setting transfer goals a few weeks took us several days.  We met and prayed together multiple times, but it was difficult because our existing pool seemed to have no potential for fruit in the next transfer.  Our most promising investigators, Anthony and Christian for Elder Galke and I, have stopped progressing and we are struggling to get appointments to stick.  That's been a huge problem - people either set up appointments with us but then either cancel or don't show up.  We are trying to figure out things we can to do help people feel the spirit more in between our visits so they will remember what they felt during a lesson and be motivated to keep their commitment to meet with us at the designated time. I guess you could say that the the last while has been difficult for missionaries in Staten, and yet I can still testify that I know that God's hand is in the work.  Elder holland pointed out that there are many missionaries over the last several thousand years who have asked the same question: why is it so hard? Why don't people get it? Why don't people flock to the baptismal font? His reply to that question is that a study of the Savior's life will affirm that missionary work was never supposed to be easy.  It wasn't easy for Christ. The season of planting and the season of harvest are not always going to be the same season.  I love missionary work.  I love the people that I am blessed to work with.  I hope that when I get to the end of this life I can say that I truly loved Jesus, that I fed His sheep.  I leave these words with you in he name of Jesus Christ, amen

p.s.  So we started advertising English class again and we had someone show up! We teach Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Her name is Irma and she is Puerto Rican.  She came last week to both classes and is interested in continuing.  Thursday is Mutual so she was able to meet some ward members as well and really enjoyed them.  Teaching English has been fun! I was surprised at how hard it is for me to speak English to her during class.... When I see someone struggling to speak out English I just start speaking Spanish.  Even if they're chino.  That's embarrassing.

April 6, 2015 General Conference

Hello! General conference was pretty awesome. We watched it live on our iPads at the church.  The other members were watching it in the chapel. For the Sunday sessions everyone was there and there was food in between. There were a lot of members in the Relief Society room with us watching it in English because that was preferable to them.

March 30, 2015 Buy a one dollar tag and get a free frosty junior with every purchase for a year? Hmm....

Really cool about New York:  the super old church castles

Apparently there are more dead people in queens than live-uns

I still am trying to figure out if buying six frosty cards at Wendy's was one of the best things that's ever happened to me or one of the worst decisions our companionship ever made.  Frosty cards are how Wendy's is trying to take out the tobacco companies. A free frosty junior with every purchase seems benign, but it doesn't stop there.  Before you know it, you're stopping by Wendy's to buy some fries for $1.08 and get six free frosty juniors.  If you are going to let yourself fall into that trap, I would recommend keeping it at one frosty card per person.

We picked up two new investigators this week, Miguel and Manuel.  Manuel is the brother of a less active member, Carmen (who we are making progress with and came to church the last two weeks). A while ago we had just returned home from an appointment with Carmen when she called us and said she wanted us to come back. So we drove back and Manuel answered the door and gave us a big bag of bread (he works at a bakery) and said he wanted to hear our lessons.  We've struggled getting an appointment but we finally got a first lesson and a return appointment. He is a really nice guy, though I don't know much about him yet. Miguel is the son of Concepción.  Concepción is a member, although has been inactive and now is living with Yovani who is investigating. They both want to come back and are doing well except they aren't married and Concepción can't get divorce papers right now for her husband. Miguel is a former investigator, he was dropped because he wasn't interested, but he came to church a couple times on his own (Concepción doesn't make her kids come to church) and we got an appointment with him.  We got him to open up and had a good lesson. We will meet with home again tonight.

We also had a really good lesson with Anthony and Christian. We were planning on talking about the law of tithing, but then we found out from the sisters that he just got a girlfriend.  At weekly planning on Thursday we pulled an emergency maneuver and switched some things around.  "Law of Chastity?" "You're not down."  "Oh I'm down". Well, we walked in there with Book of Mormon in one hand and the chastity pamphlet in the other ready to lay down the law, but we met some unexpected technical difficulties.  Anthony's girl, Antonet was there.  We had a mini crisis for about two seconds and then went right ahead guns blazing.  It turned out to be a great lesson. They gave us great feedback and were very willing to commit to live it - all three of them.  So I guess the mission hasn't ended all pursuits of living on the edge.... nowadays it's just embodied in teaching the law of chastity to an investigators first lesson.  Another cool development this week is that the new Easter video is out! Our goal as a mission is to show it in person to ten thousand people.  I invite everyone to participate in the social media campaign and make a goal to share the video with one other person. I've seen it a lot and still am learning new things when I watch it - pay attention to the details.  I testify that Christ is our living savior and that his arms are extended to us.  He invites us to come unto him, to repent and keep his commandments and take the grace that he is offering us, and I do that in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Some Albanians cut our hair and this is their interpretation of  "conservative professional"