Later that evening we had a stake priesthood meeting in Lynbrook. The meeting was translated into four different languages, and most of the translators were missionaries. It was a great meeting - if you spoke English! I grabbed a headset just for fun, and wow.... I'm convinced that anybody who only spoke Spanish gained absolutely nothing valuable from that meeting. The two poor Spanish elders up there translating were sweating bullets for more than two hours looking like they were on the edge of a nervous breakdown. One of them was a native Spanish speaker, even, but being bilingual and being able to do a live translation are two different things. From one of the talks, about twenty five minutes and very inspiring, the only intelligible concept I got from the headset was "había un hombre..... que fue al templo". I was just glad that our companionship wasn't doing it.
On Saturday we had a really exciting event - Hermanas Urizar and Snow and Elder Vi and I took the Mateu couple to the temple! They are older, probably seventies or eighties, and have a goal to be sealed in the temple in less than four weeks, so we went to the temple to start preparing them for that. Getting there was a nightmare - something happened to all of the R trains, so we were trying to figure out how to get to Manhattan using everything else... ended up in the Bronx... and by the time we got there the Spanish 9:30 session was full. So we hung out in the church side of the building until the 11:00 session, which was English, so the Mateu's had to use headsets. I also took a headset, and that really worried me there for a second. I was sitting there listening to something I could not understand one bit, thinking "man, I really thought my Spanish was better than that...". It didn't take me long to realize I was on some sort of Chinese channel. Unfortunately, once I got it working min Spanish, a lady here needed a replacement because her headset wasn't working. So I didn't get to listen to it in Spanish. But it was a super neat experience and the Mateu's were just so, so happy. It was marvelous.
We had interviews with president Reynolds this week and he's a really cool guy. Couldn't be more different from President Calderwood, but I'm sure that's exactly one of the reasons they change every three years. He and his wife will be a fine couple to preside over this mission.
Our investigator situation hasn't changed much.... Although Benjamín is now out of school and shows more promise with increased time. We are trying to respark ward activities here so our investigators and members can connect with each other. It's hard in New York, people are even busier than they are in Utah, but hopefully we can get things to pick up. Part of what makes it difficult is that our Bishop is only here every other week right now, and half of the ward council is not very strong. Being able to have lessons with our ward mission leader and turn them in as lessons to a less active is a little bit of a step down from having Bishop Wooley as a ward mission leader.... but he's making a lot of progress! He's come to church almost every week for the last couple of months and we have a goal to get him to the temple for the first time!
We also don't have any active ward missionaries. Elder Vi has an interesting perspective on Jamaica because he trained here a year and a half ago, and now he's back. The ward really isn't big enough to be a ward anymore, and he said that one big reason why is that more than half of the active members when he was here last time have moved to Utah! Super funny. We've got at least two families in the ward right now planning on moving to Utah soon. So it will be interesting to check out some Spanish wards when I get back and see how many came from New York!
It has been an interesting experience starting the first quarter of this mission so far in the two infamously stagnant areas among the New York missionaries.... but I know that my being here is inspired. I can feel it, I can see it in the experiences I have daily, the small ones. I've learned some valuable things here. I have experienced for myself, just like Elijah learned, that the voice of the Lord is not in the great wind, it's not in the earthquake, but it is found in a still, small voice. I've been obligated to develop faith, that is, hope for things not seen. I hope to never stop increasing my faith, something that I know cannot be developed without adversity. I love this work. I love the people of New York. I give my testimony that I know that this work is true, and that Jesus Christ stands at the head of it, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.