Friday, June 19, 2015

May 18, 2015 Back in a trio

Our zone in the mission home for one last hurrah with President Calderwood and his wife.

Pay attention! Speaking to Leigh (or Becca or Danai if they are single in a year): marry this beautiful man wearing the tie that looks like a picnic table cloth. We've already talked about it, everything's a go. I take this marriage and family stuff seriously - I'm gonna have cool brothers in law. It's like playing chess. Seriously though, Elder Buckner is where it's at.  he will be in Provo in a year.

Today is a little bit sad.... Elder Buckner is going back to Peru. He was supposed to stay to the end of the transfer, but his mission president called a few days ago and said he wanted him on Monday. I'm going to miss him so much. I've never looked up to any missionary here like I have to Elder Buckner. He is a good missionary. I look forward to catching up with him at BYU after the mission. So that kind of leaves this district in a super awkward spot. Elder Honey is now in a trio with us, so I still have been in as many trios as I have companionships! Also we will be finishing up Elder Honey's training, so he will have had three trainers between Elders Buckner, Vi and myself. Weird huh? Also Elder Buckner was our district leader. We were wondering if we would be having a democracy for the last three weeks of the transfer.... Thankfully we've got Elder Vi, our new district leader! He's got a lot of experience in the mission and in Jamaica so he knows the area well. Without him we've got elder Honey who is training, me who just finished training, and the sisters who just got blinded into Jamaica (and Hermana Urizar is as young as I am). So our district is really young, and now our trio has to take care of what two companionships were doing before. It's going to be super fun! It will be an adventure.  So we just dropped elder Buckner off and now we have to go move Elder Honey into our apartment.

Our trio looks like immigration officers - two white guys and a translator all dressed up. That's actually something that often makes it hard to contact people - if they've got a guilty conscience they think we are cops. We just wanna feed the sheep, man.
With Elders Buckner and Vi

On Sunday we took Chris, our most promising investigator, to the English ward because he couldn't make it to Spanish. Not to be deceived, the English ward has more skin pigment than the Spanish, and a lot of them used to be Pentecostal. Chris was a little overwhelmed. Not sure if I want to be taking any more investigators to the English gospel principles class anymore..... Chris was literally getting the gospel yelled at him.  It was kind of funny. Elder Vi and I were just looking at each other not really knowing what's do. That's what makes New York fun - lots of different people with different backgrounds. You meet some interesting people here. In our ward there is a lady who is probably the most committed person in our ward to the gospel, but has a few variances in how she interprets the scriptures. She believes we have to wear pioneer clothes all the time and go to church all day on Sunday. So she goes to the English ward as well, which is impressive because I don't think she really understands English....  Anyways, there's a brief recap of what's going on... I'll try to work on a list of people we are working with and let you all know a little more about the work here soon.

To finish off, I'd like to bear my testimony of prayer. I'm really trying right now to improve my prayers because as a missionary you have no choice but to rely wholly upon God, and I want to strengthen my relationship with Him. I've been thinking lately about the significance of praying in the name of Jesus Christ. On the mission I've come to realize a little more the power and the sacredness of that name. I think that in the past I've used it perhaps too lightly. I have been trying lately to understand a little better what it means to pray in the name of Jesus Christ. I would hope every one of you would do the same.  I testify of the power of prayer, of really, truly praying. I give my witness that God is there, and we can speak to him as one man speaks to another. I invite you to search the scriptures and learn what it means to pray in the names of Jesus Christ, and I say these things in His name, amen.

Elder Sirrine

This is how you shop at Costco when it's 45 minutes away and you don't have a car. Thanks Granny for the solid suitcase!
Proofreader needed
In case you were ever wondering what I look like bald.... You can now imagine it a little better. Elder St. Rose was bragging about his haircut ting skills so I thought I'd give it a shot. It took me about 1.5 seconds to realize he was using the clippers on the top of my head, and it took him about 1.5 seconds to shave a line right down the center. Anyway, this is our beautiful district with Elder Shippen heading down to a zone conference in the mission home!

May 11, 2015 New Companion, Elder Vi

The new comp elder Vi. It's kind of funny because he makes me look smaller than I make all of my old comps look. He's 6' 3" and a full hundred pounds bigger than me. (This angle doesn't help).

I'm not going to write today because I feel like I used too much time on Skype yesterday, but thanks everyone for talking with me and see you all at Christmas!

Elder Sirrine

(Note from the family:  We got to Skype on Mother's day.  It was fun to see Johnny and hear more details of his missionary life.  He seemed very happy.  Wish we had taken a picture of the computer screen! ) 

May 4, 2015 Greetings from Jamaica!

Shoulda seen the park we went to today.  It was a peninsula, the park.. And there is Manhattan. Also we saw President Obama's helicopter in right there.
Manhattan closer
This has been a crazy week. At transfer meeting I was assigned to serve with Elder Vi in Jamaica, Queens, the most diverse of the New York Cities five boroughs.  I am literally one of a handful of white people in the whole borough. Okay I guess that was figurative, not literal.... anyway, I've seen less than ten other whities since I arrived here on Tuesday.  Elder Vi is a big Tongan guy, and he's really cool. He seems like a hard worker, along with the rest of our district. I have a really good feeling about this transfer. In district meeting we set a goal as a district of six missionaries to get 100 new investigators this transfer, in addition to the regular goals of baptism and temple trips.  We are all excited and ready to work. With the time I have right now, the way I would summarize the work is buses, subways, and walking. I'm so excited to be in a walking area! My back is already feeling better and it's a little easier to stay awake when you are walking all day instead of driving.  Sorry I can't tell you more about it, maybe later today or next week.  I've got too much apartment cleaning to do....

Just being American
Departing memories with elder Galke

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

April 27, 2015 Transfers!

Familia Mendez

Wow spring finally came!


Familia Cortez

 Welp, I'm out. We got calls this morning at ten. It's kind of weird because elder Galke and I already "knew" (you never know until you know, you know) that we were both going to be transferred because our landlord told us that the mission isn't go into be renting the bottom floor of his house anymore. So the Spanish pool is getting cut from four Elders and two Sisters down to two of each. The mission is really downsizing right now - only one Spanish missionary is coming in this transfer. So Elder Galke knew he was probably out since because he has been here seven months. And I knew President would take me out because he asked me if I needed to stay in a car area because of my back and I told him at sitting is actually the worst thing for it. So I will be really grateful to be in a walking area, but man this is going to be hard.

I can't figure out if it was just yesterday that I showed up here in Staten and didn't know anyone's names, or if that was a lifetime ago. I really grew to care for these people, and now it feels like it's over. And some of the members aren't making an effort to make it any easier. Hermana Garcia in particular is rebelling. I would think she'd be used to this by now since she's been meeting with missionaries for over ten years, but she is literally threatening to call the president. She said she's never gotten so close to a pair of elders before. We are trying to get her to focus on the good news that both the sisters are staying, since she meets with them as well.
Hermana Garcia
It's sort of strange how the district still has no fresh blood, the other elders and the sisters are staying, and the last two transfers the district didn't change at all. Anyways. This is going to be so hard, but also exciting.

I just need to remember that this is not my mission, it is the Lord's mission. These people will still have missionaries. I am very blessed to be on a mission right now, and I want you all to know at I love the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that it is the true doctrine of happiness, and that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fully houses that doctrine. I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
The sweatshop!  Finally did something somewhat useful on P-day. Skinny ties are really in and elder Galke has spent his whole mission trying to figure out how to skinny them up.... Looks like figuring out how to sew did come in handy on the mission. They look really good actually.

April 20, 2015 Just photos this week, no letter

We got lost again and ended up driving through New Jersey and Manhattan.  In New York the roads are ruthless.... You can't just dowhatever you want because of the one ways.

So it's not exactly an egg with a fully developed embryo in it (can't remember what Danai called that)  ( From Danai :  It’s Balut!), but who thought canned salmon would be a good idea? Elder Galke doesn't eat hardly anything, so for supplementation I'm going through the cupboards and using all these cans that expired forever ago. Interesting what accumulates when themissionaries are in an apartment for years.