|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 ago...it 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.