Monday, October 12, 2015

September 7, 2015 Slight Plot Twist in the Jamaica Chronicles

Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn on the left, Manhattan on the right! Oh plus elder Ko and Elder Casper. That's a nice feature.
Statue of Liberty and Manhattan
White People!
Fun stuff. Really nice view.... Picture doesn't do it justice
 We are back up to a six man district! And we are officially 100% hardcore gringos. New additions: Hna Vanvalkenburg is Hna Snow's new comp, and Elder Ballard and Elder Parkinson are the new elders. Elder Ballard goes home soon, and Elder Parkinson is a brand new trainee. Apparently Jamaica is a popular place to send the fresh ones. I'll get a picture of the new district for next week.

Things are still going really well, the baptism dates we had have all been pushed back for
various reasons, but still look like they're happening! In addition to that, our investigator, Chris committed to a date of November 30. He has missed a baptismal date before, so we are really searching for how we can make this one stick. Elder Boden and I went and made a poster board with a three month calendar with all his goals on it and he really loves it! He says he'll keep it forever. I think it will help him keep his commitments. He has a goal to finish the Book of Mormon before he gets baptized! He is in Alma 30 right now. Everybody pray for him.... He needs it. I love him so much (as do about three dozen other missionaries) and really pray that this time goes through. Our Haitian investigator is progressing still.  He reads the Book of Mormon diligently (and, as a result, really likes it. I've never met anyone who has really taken the Book of Mormon seriously and not absolutely loved it! It's like the greatest book ever) and comes to church weekly. In fact, yesterday he went up to the pulpit and bore his testimony. That was quite the experience! We were all getting yelled at in broken Spanish and then out of nowhere he asked me to stand up! I think I sort of gave the deer-in-headlights look to the bishop, who motioned for me to stand up. He ended up giving quite the speech, including how great he felt in the church which was cool. Unfortunately this guy (Lazarre) is going back to Haiti in October and so we are trying to figure out how to make it a smooth transition to the missionaries over there.

The other day I had a really cool experience. I was with the zone leaders heading to a meeting in Flushing and was just talking to people on the bus. I had noticed that people that day had really gone out of their way to compliment the Spanish I was speaking. Then I started talking with a Puerto Rican man and before long asked him where he was from. He replied by saying Puerto Rico and asking what country I was from. I thought that was odd, since when you are a tall white guy in New York speaking gringo Spanish you just assume they are American. Well I told him I was from Utah, which was actually just in the west of the U.S., and he said, "wait, do you speak English too?" It took me a minute to realize this guy thought I was from a Spanish speaking country! I smiled and said that yes, my English is pretty decent, and I'm sure he picked up later in the conversation that my Spanish isn't native, but to me that was just a great tender mercy from my Father telling me, "I know that talking to strangers with every spare minute isn't always easy, but when you are doing what you know you ought to be doing, I've got your back". There are a lot of miracles like that which confirm my testimony that I already have of the gift of tongues. What missionaries are able to do with a foreign language without ever being immersed in said language is a miracle. And really my Spanish isn't that good, not good enough to fool someone like that. There's no doubt in my mind that angels were there helping me. I know that the scriptures are true. And they are just as true and applicable as they were when they were written. I love being a missionary and invite all who may be reading to prayerfully ponder about what you can so to take your relationship with Christ to the next level, and I invite you to take some time to do it, or at least start it, tonight. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Sirrine

Castillo and Alvarez family. Love them a lot! We always meet outside because it's cooler
Almost died when I saw this.... These people were trying to be outgoing and claim the biggest garden in queens (ten feet square) and they didn't have enough cordage to finish it. Not sure if this pole support was stolen off of someone's TV or something or picked up off the street... Good old New York

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