Sunday, December 13, 2015

November 30, 2015 videos & photos

Put a video camera on me and I forget anything I ever wanted to say..... Any other questions that can be answered one minute at a time?

Elder Sirrine

This week's daily dose of crazy members
Plus the Cruz family which fed us on thanksgiving

November 23, 2015 Just Serve program

Hopefully you can decipher this! Life is going great, loving
missionary life! There are miracles happening every day in the
mission, I testify of that. Hook up with your local missionaries for
more details! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

(Typed up from photo of  handwritten Journal pages of Nov 20 & 23, 2015)
Nov 20.  Yesterday was quite the day.  It started off with a meeting in Manhattan to launch Just Serve.  I pray that reading this win the future Just Serve will be a well known and well used program.
The Zone leaders and Assistants were invited to attend  with President Reynolds for the pilot training in the North American North East Region.  Just Serve is an initiative to improve public reception of the Church and help the Saints follow Jesus Christ more fully, by making service more publicized and easier.  It is so exciting.  Something interesting about it all – President and Sister Calderwood are in charge of Just Serve in the North America North East Region.  So the presentation was theirs.  It was so fun to see them again and shake their hands and give President a hug.

After that we had several lessons which all cancelled….so we had a long day on the trains, which of course always keeps things interesting.  We still can’t get the zone on board with the commitment from our last zone meeting to talk to five people per day.  It pained me to start the goal so low for city missionaries, but we knew that there were many who would be happy if they could talk to one a day.  Anyways, they like the idea but we are too afraid of the people here…which I suppose is understandable.  Just yesterday I was sitting on a train wile one man had the attention of at least a third of the car, pointing at me and preaching to them as if I were a sort of specimen to be gawked at – “Look here, this is a Mormon! You know what Mormons are?...”  speaking all sorts of blasphemy, lies and slander.  I was powerless to do anything – my pride couldn’t stand walking away, I knew arguing with him wouldn’t help, and something told me starting a train brawl wouldn’t be a good idea either…so I picked up conversation with a woman in front of me that only spoke Spanish so didn’t know what he was saying.  Anyways, that’s what happens here a lot when you open your mouth.  But I’ve also seen miracles happen.  I’ve testified and seen the Spirit move people on train cars.  And I know that God promises that our backs will be laden with sheaves if we open our mouths.  Those sheaves many not come in a day or a transfer, or even on the mission.  But I know they will come.

Our zone is doing a bit better since zone training meeting, but still only at 50 people per day for the zone, many all of which are from the Spanish district and the two districts with decent teaching pools then.

If you can’t tell this has been on my mind lately.  We can’t develop the faith to find if we don’t have faith to talk.  But I understand.  When I started the mission I didn’t think it was even possible for me to become a missionary who talks to everyone.  But the changing power of the Atonement is real.
We had a great finish to the night with the branch Thanksgiving dinner!  It was very successful.  Many people came including investigators and it was full.  I love the people here.  President Cruz (sp?) asked me right as it was starting to give the spiritual thought on the history of Thanksgiving – “Quiero que lo haga un gringo, un Americano!”  Okay.  So I looked up how to say “Pilgrim” real fast and then reached deep into my elementary school studies back when we colored turkeys every third week of November while the teacher attempted to tell us stories about corn and Indians.
Of course, since it was a Spanish activity, as soon as the eating was done they cleared the floor, dimmed the lights, and whipped a disco ball out of thin air.  Hermana Bugas (sp?) (a seventy year old single woman) led the charge to the dance floor and began swinging outrageously.  Boom.  Mission worth it.

Nov 23.  Monday before transfers.  Elder Cottle and I are the only companionship that doesn’t have a change.  This zone is getting seriously renovated.  It’s been a crazy transfer.  We lost 18 of the original 20 missionaries.  One of these vacancies was a District leader who went home.  He came out with me.  Stress got to him after being a city missionary for almost a year.  That’s a long time to be in the city part of the mission.  One of our districts, three out of the four missionaries are going home tomorrow.  Keeping that district in the race has been a bit of a nightmare.  Hopefully we get some freshies, ready for some Brooklyn Street action.

Wells Wagner?

November 16, 2015 Repentance Changes Disposition

Manhattan/Brooklyn. This is our area it's pretty cool
The wonderful Elder Cottle!

There's a lot of cool murals here
A large bank. 'Nuff said.

Hey there just wanted to drop you in a little note.

How is everything going? Life here is going well. We just had a zone meeting and it was good but it's a trick figuring out how to get missionaries to keep the inspiration and Spirit felt in meetings longer than about a day. We really hit hard on talking to everybody because we are city missionaries and most of us are happy if the companionship talks to three people in a day! It's unreal. I do understand, though, how hard it is. At the beginning of the mission I honestly didn't think I could ever become the kind of missionary that talks to everybody. But I have a testimony of the atonement. Elder Holland said that repentance doesn't change behavior, repentance changes disposition. Not only have I changed my behavior, I know the atonement had changed ME completely in that aspect.

I'm glad I'm out here but I do miss you....

Love you

Elder Sirrine

Sunday, December 6, 2015

November 9, 2015 2 ASL misionaries

(This letter is a response to Dad's questions)

Yeah just got a lot of stuff to do as always. We've stopped "recreating" really on preparation days because there's no time pretty much ever since I became district leader, which is good! I'm thinking about just doing the journal picture thing more often because I always tell myself I will write more next week but then I never do

Hope you get better! Gotta get back in shape for snowmobiling season

Our zone is interesting. We actually don't have any super disobedient missionaries which is good it's just that we are all being pretty ineffective except for the ASL missionaries they're not doing so bad. Actually that's an interesting story: a while back the missionaries discovered that all the ASL speakers here have the same video phone service and they all have the exact same number except for the last two digits. So they literally just sit in their living room and call different number combinations to contact the deaf people! It's genius. And the deaf people love talking to the because they hardly talk to anyone else.

Anyways. Tell the family I love them and do think about them even if I don't write all the time. See y'all in a couple months!

Elder Sirrine

(Photo sent of journal page dated Nov 5…I typed most of it up, hopefully correctly)

We had a great day.  Due to the study focus as of late on faith, I put more effort in our using faith as a principle of power to achieve specific goals (and we set high goals for the day).  We started off by looking up Ulysses.  He was a referral from his mother who we knocked into miraculously.  She wasn’t interested because she already has her church, but we asked if we could leave her with a prayer, and she consented.  The Spirit seemed to loosen her up a bit and we kept talking.  We asked for referrals and she told us her son really needed it, although wasn’t convinced we could get him to listen.  Eventually she said to come back on Wednesday at 10:00 because he leaves for work at 12:00.
So in an attitude of great faith and prayer we looked him up at 10:00.  We knocked with no answer. We knocked again and I found myself repeating over and over in my head, “Knock, and it shall be opened unto you.”  It didn’t open.  We left a bit disappointed.  I was so sure.  But as we walked toward the train, I felt an impression to return after our next appointment, even though it would be a couple hours later than his mom said he’d be home.

We went to our next appointment, received the two referrals we’d asked the Lord for plus one (exceeding the average weekly actuals here), and came back.  After some pressing, the woman who answered the door told us that Ulysses was home, but wouldn’t listen to missionaries.  After some more pressing she fetched him.  We had a wonderful lesson and set a return appointment for Saturday.

This was the second new investigator in a few days.  The night before, right after we had just exchanged, we headed from our apartment to go teach English Class.  As a background, we’d had district meeting earlier that day.  We talked about finding, and our leader, Elder Paini (sp?) promised us that if we followed the PMG pattern of quickly relating conversations to the message of the Restoration, we would find a new investigator that day.  I wasn’t sure how that would happen because a new investigator constitutes someone who has been taught  a lesson and accepted a return appointment, but had faith in the promise.

So as we went to English Class we struck up conversation with a man on the train platform.  Long story short, I ended up telling him we were heading to English Class, invited him, and he came right with us.  Maybe only someone from Brooklyn could understand what a miracle that was.  After English Class we had a great lesson and he accepted a return appointment.

November 2, 2015 New Assignment

(This weeks letter a response to Dad's letter and questions)

Ouch! I hope your ankle gets better! Haha no more good deeds at deer creek....
How was your meeting in Manhattan the other day?

You got a letter that I was a zone leader? Yeah that happened. And yeah I was the district leader in Jamaica, I got that assignment with my trainer call.

I am in a different zone than last transfer, this zone covers Bushwick and Park Slope, so essentially downtown Brooklyn. Also we have the ASL missionaries, which cover all of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan (yep, different mission. It's crazy). So they have a car to share between the two ASL trios in the mission, but no one else here does. They would be way too inconvenient (and expensive) to park!

I didn't know Elder Cottle before, although he trained one of my MTC comrades! He's been out for almost a year and half, was a district leader for five transfers and then got called as a zone leader last transfer and moved to Bushwick. We are serving in a Spanish district (yay!) which actually is fifty percent native Spanish speakers which is super awesome although I'm still in a gringo companionship. The zone has twenty missionaries, six speak Spanish, eight English, and six ASL.

How do I like my new assignment? Hmm. I really liked being a district leader because it was very personal with the individuals, right there in the trenches. Zone management makes it very difficult to do that, it's really the DL job anyway, so we work more closely with them. So the difference is now we pretty much just try and train good district leaders and help them be effective, but it's at much more of a distant level, since only one district leader works in our area. It's interesting.

On the back, like I said the doctor doesn't want to do platelets, he thought the only option was physical therapy. So I went once to pt and got exercises that I now do at home. The MRI looked good. He phrased it as now being a "minor herniation" so I'm not sure if that means it's closed up all the way. And it is less painful that at first. He said that this is probably about the level of pain it will stay at. So the plan is to just keep doing the stretches!

Elder Sirrine