Friday, February 19, 2016

December 21,2015 Christmas Spirit

I'm jealous of all your snow.... I don't think we are having a white Christmas, but true it is easier to get people to listen to you when they aren't freezing.

So the plan we were thinking about for Skype is 12:00 to 12:45 our time, (ten your time). Does that work? We are flexible.

Christmas plans? We might do a zone activity, not sure. We are authorized to do one but we aren't sure how many people will be available. The goal is to visit members. We've got a Christmas Eve dinner appointment and Christmas Day lunch so far. The Christmas program is Christmas Eve. We are going to cram the whole mission into the Rego park mission office... Oh dear... It's going to be fun! So today is going to be spent making music. Hopefully we can get all ready.

I can't wait to do the Stonehenge music when I get back! You're not going to believe this but I'm a way better pianist than I was a year ago. Not having music or time to practice and always having big musical numbers to do has created a pressing need to learn how to compose and "wing".

I'm sure you're Christmas program was great! It's a little bit different in small Hispanic branches haha! Christmas is great although you don't feel it nearly as much here in New York. If you weren't a missionary you might not realize that it's almost Christmas. I do love it when every once in a while someone we talk to on the trains and share the video with opens up and you can see them feel for what seems to be the first time the Christmas spirit this year. I'm glad the Sabbath was a delight for you all! Actually, everybody's stake should be pressing that. That was born in February but it seems to be taking time to filter down all the way. Elder Rasband told us to teach the Sabbath day to members. Back in the pre-general conference general authority conference, the quorum of the twelve presented it as the way we are going to strengthen the church. My testimony of the Sabbath day has strengthened a lot on the mission. As I've made it a delight instead of a nap.

Another thing: have you heard a lot about JustServe?

Love you all, wish I could communicate that better over thumb typing but alas!

Elder Sirrine

December 14, 2015 Happy Holidays from Brooklyn!

Hey there! How are you all doing? We are doing so good here and I wish I had time to tell you all about the members and investigators and missionaries here. Suffice it to say that things are going well, we are seeing new investigators from sharing the Christmas video, and we have two progressing investigators, one with a baptismal date! That was pretty exciting. This teaching pool hasn't looked so good at least since spring, judging by area book records. Junior is the one with a date, which is for the 17th of January. He is so pure in heart. He's only eleven but he blows my mind. Whenever we are there he begs for us to stay and tell him more. He's wanted to come to church so bad for a while now, and finally yesterday we did it! It's hard because his family goes to a different church. So the real question of whether or not he will be able to fulfill his desires is whether or not we can convince his mother.

Another quick tender mercy was our zone conference this week. In our last one we really hammered "talking with everyone" because despite being city walking missionaries most companionship a were happy if they could talk to two people in a DAY. We've been following up diligently and trying to help the missionaries. It's been a struggle, but we are really changing. Just before the zone conference the assistants sent us a report from our last week of sharing the video, and our zone of 19  missionaries shared it with 471 people. Still below our goal, but it was such a success for these missionaries and set a good example for the mission. I invite each one of you to share the video (A Savior is Born). It is beautiful. It's the reason I'm here. I promise that no matter our current level of commitment to the Savior and his teachings, just increasing that starting now will make you happier. That's my testimony! In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Sirrine

Monday, February 15, 2016

December 7, 2015 Bushwick!

I will have to tell y'all more about this next week, but that balding head belongs to Elder Ronald A. Rasband...... CLIFFHANGER!

An old friend from Staten Island!!!

Copied from a photo of Elder Sirrines journal pages.....

I’ve wanted to write more…there have been many tender mercies, but its hard to find the time.
It’s a new month and we’ve started the Christmas initiative “A Savior is Born”  It’s a beautiful video.
Our investigator outlook is coming around.  We had such a miraculous lesson with Jesus Tito and his friend, Danny.  Tito is the nonmember son of an inactive woman.  The first time I met him, he was so anti he was railing on Joseph Smith the moment we walked in.  By the power of the Spirit, we ended up not only having a lesson with his mother, but him that day, and he accepted a return appointment.  Elder Cottle went back on exchanges, and when they left he was firm in not believing, but remained friends.  This third time, when we called him we we were treated like best buds, though he made it clear the actual lesson would just be with his mother.

When we got there, he had a friend, Danny.  Danny had just spent the last 10 years in jail, released the day before.  As we sat down to dinner, Danny kept asking more and more questions until we had been talking for an hour.  Then he accepted the Book of Mormon and committed to read!  

Another great experience was with the Castillo family.  The father is inactive, and the rest are nonmembers.  We’ve been visiting them since I got here, but the mom is always in the bedroom and will never come out, and the dad is pretty unmotivated.
Well, after much planning and pushing, we got Hermano Castillo to organize an FHE.  We went over, shared a paper basketball Atonement/Faith activity that the whole family loved, and showed the new Christmas video.  It was so good, the Spirit was there and their family was together and happy and Paula (the mother) was there!  Then she created the commitment to come to church.  So good.

Tonight we had a lesson with a referral from the English Elders.  They met him on the train.  Well we actually got in, taught well the Restoration, successfully extended an invitation to be baptized, and were introduced to his mother, who also accepted a return appointment (and has 11 kids!).  Most solid new investigators I’ve seen yet here in Bushwick.  Name’s Garcia.

Oh and an update on Samuel…We finally met with him again.  Like the last lesson, it was super good, he’s interested and seems super promising.  Still worried he’s not going to keep commitments when we aren’t there.  It’s hard with these people.  Every time we’ve caught him he’s just been dead knocked out on the couch.  Its hard to be confronted to start a 500 page book when you are a bicycle delivery boy from 6:30a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  We’ll see.

Had Mission Leadership Council today.  We were talking about the mission’s goals again, this time to finalize the most important council of the year.  What the Assistants presented was the 1-5-5:  1 million composed of 500,000 street contacting seeds planted and 500,000 lessons taught.  They broke that down to each companionship talking to 15 people per day and 15 lessons per week.  Everybody was getting really excited about it while I was scratching my head about how 15 people a day and 15 lessons a week both added up to 500,000.  I kept second guessing myself…I mean, math was never my strong point and there’s no way the assistants could make a mistake like that…finally I raised my hand slowly and said I was confused by the math.  Another Zone leader blurted out”  500,000 plus 500,000 equals a million!”  Forehead slap.  Well, long story short, that brought the whole thing crashing down.  We wasted a good twenty minutes trying to come up with another key indicator that could equal 500,000 so we could get the catchy million.  We eventually, after much sweat and tears (no blood) settled on the 5-6-7:  500,000 street contacts, 60,000 referrals contacted, and 70,000 lessons.  Hey 5-6-7 is catchy too.