Typed from photos of Journal entries (pardon any name misspellings):
Dec 19, 2015
I can’t believe it’s nearly Christmas. On exchanges right now with Elder Walker. Last night was fun – got home at 6:00 and they still hadn’t managed any “shares” with the Christmas video (the goal is 10/day). So we set out with a prayer and started walking the streets. After a bit I felt like we ought to give knocking a try. First door we knock, a woman about our age invited us into a beautiful home – there were roommates there prepping for a party!
We asked to share the video and they insisted on hooking it up to the TV. They were super impressed, and we started talking about missionary life. More people soon joined. 45 minutes later, we’d had so much fun together and had made some wonderful new friends, and one of them invited us back to dinner. It was just like being back in college.
Dec 22, 2015
Just started exchanges with Elder Harris. Such a relief. I needed some time away from my companion. Today after a great lesson he told me that I’m too animated during lessons and smile and use hand gestures too much. I’ve been trying to be tolerant of the fact that he is awkwardly quiet and shows no emotion in lessons because I assumed he was doing his best. Little did I know he had the opposite goal in mind.
Dec 27, 2015
Well, Christmas happened, just like they said that it would. It didn’t feel like Christmas. It felt more like trying to run down Elder S. He escaped. We got a call in the middle of studies from an out-of-breath Elder Harris, who was trying to run him down, but Elder S outpaced him. He made it all the way to Manhattan where he skyped his father ((I suppose that’s just what you do on Christmas), and we spent the rest of the day looking for him. We later went to a dinner appointment at the Stake President’s house with the rest of the district. We gathered there and offered a prayer. Shortly thereafter, President Reynolds received an email from Elder S saying he was all right. The next morning, it was discovered that the spare key to the Sister’s old apartment (now vacant) was gone. The Assistants knocked on that door (which is right next to the Elder’s current apartment) and Elder S opened up. He had taken all his things, gone to Manhattan, and moved right back in next door. He is in the mission home now. I’m so worried about him. I pray that everything will turn out.
Dec 28, 2015
Today we had a great lesson with Miguel Bisano, an inactive guy. Super nice fellow, love him a lot. He’s got good questions and wants to learn.
After that we went to the Rojas family (also inactive) for an appointment. The son said we’d have to reschedule when he opened the door because his mom was super sick, so we asked if we could give her a blessing. They let us in and we ended up having a great talk. They had both read the talk we gave them – “The Why of the Church” by Elder D. Todd Christofferson, and were very impressed by it. Getting them to church seems hopeful. It was good to see the results of my efforts this morning to more focus my studies on investigators and receive revelation for them. I received strong impressions about parts of the Plan of Salvation that were direct answers to a question Miguel had that I otherwise would have answered improperly.
We had really good experiences on the street. Shared the video with a man who had just left a disaster at his girl’s house and he was so grateful for the message and the timing. He was blown away by how perfect it was. Another fellow didn’t want to talk to us, but after coercing him into the video, volunteered all his information and an appointment tomorrow!
January 3, 2016
Today we had an epic lesson with a new investigator named Maria. That was a huge blessing because she is fruit of talking to people on the trains, which we have no visible success from, but continue to do diligently based off of faith and obedience.
We taught well and the Spirit testified in high voltage. At the end, she offered a beautiful prayer, apprehensive at first, but nearly as soon as she opened the prayer we were all wrapped in Heavenly Father’s arms of love.
Junior is off track for his Jan 17th baptismal date, due to his family. Trying to soften their hearts seems like trying to stop the tide – always defensive, really never pushing forward.
Transfers on Tuesday. President called us a couple nights ago in a conference call with the Sister Training Leaders and Zone Leaders, informing us that there will be no more transfer meetings. The missionary department is taking that out, as it is not a principle found in the Mission President’s Handbook. So we counseled together on how on earth we are going to get people to their new companions and new areas, and we are all still scratching our heads a bit. I am sad that the majority of musical numbers are going to be done away with, but I know this will help the mission if we are humble and don’t complain. Calling the zone tomorrow will be fun…
January 6, 2016
Pretty solid day, talked to a lot of people on the street, with an exceptional success ration – out of 42 people we talked with, two accepted the idea of a visit. Hopefully we can contact them.
Josh Carreno came out teaching with us . He’s such a stud.
So far my comp and I are off to a better start than last transfer. It’s been discouraging to feel like our relationship is so irreparable – very disappointing to me that while I’m preaching faith and repentance I can’t seem to apply them in my life. But, overall, I have improved some and gotten stronger. In the past conference, Joseph Smith was quoted: “God will feel after you and wrench your very heartstrings.” How true that is. My comp tries my pride and submissiveness in such an exquisite manner. I am left dumbfounded. And, unlike my last companions, I didn’t learn my lesson within two transfers, so now I’m with him for three. By the grace of God, these two have gone by quickly. Hopefully the next one does as well. Not sure how the Assistants and President think we are so wildly successful because of how much the zone has increased in performance while within we are struggling so much.
January 7, 2016
Tonight we had a great lesson with the Escobar family in which the daughter in law cooked for us. She’s Mexican, so there was some hotness to it. Hermana Escobar was making a huge deal out of it, it was hilarious…a Hispanic lady about to wimp right out on us and the two gringos agreed that there was hardly any spice. Guatemalan people.
Had a wonderful lesson with Fransisco Poveda, a new investigator who has great desires, but is very addicted to alcohol and tobacco. Sat down with the rest of the family as well and they are lovely. The situation seems to have potential.
January 8, 2016
Today we had a wonderful lesson with Junior, and Bairon joined in and set a baptismal date! Also had Mission leadership Council today, it was super good. Great Spirit there.
January 8(?), 2015
Random thought: we are going to teach Miguel Bisano(sp?) tonight so we’re buckling down for a wild ride. Miquel is an interesting fellow. He’s the only person I’ve ever met who could mess up the ice-cream truck driver analogy used to teach authority. “Miguel, what would you do if an ice cream truck driver pulled you over and tried to give you a ticket?” “Bro, I’d strike up conversation! Like you undercover or something?..” on and on and on. At another time he said he’d like to tell us his two passions in life. “First, to be the greatest UFC Champion.” Scrawny little Miguel who spends his days smoking weed and playing video games. “I wanna be the greatest fighter who ever lived. And second… juicing” That’s where all powers of speech failed him (which for Miguel is incredible), as he stammered out half sentences, clearly distraught that he was not capable of communicating to us the profound joy of putting together a few natural fruits and veggies with no sugar.
January 9(?), 2016
So we taught Miguel last night. Wow. That’s about all I’ve got right now.
Okay, now that I’ve had a day to recover I can give it an attempt. His friend, Michael was over. They spent the first half hour arguing about UFC. Finally we were able to assert ourselves enough to crank up a Mormon Message (that’s about all the hope we had left). As soon as it was over, Michael counter-maneuvered by showing us a video trying to convince people to convert to Islam. After learning about Allah, we pieced together a hopelessly confused Plan of Salvation lesson, which led us to separating into Miguel and myself and Michael and my companion. That’s about where I’ll call it quits, as making an attempt to describe what actually went down would probably cause carpal tunnel and mental breakdowns.
January 10, 2016
Yesterday we had the most amazing day at church I’ve experienced on the mission. Seven investigators came! Along with several less actives we’ve been working wo hard with lately. Junior came to church – with his aunt, Bairon, Denis, and his mom. Bairon and Junior are on track to be baptized together on the 31st of this month. The only thing that pushed Junior’s date back from the 17th was his aunt, and she came and enjoyed it! Such a miracle.
The less active Highlights were Jonathon and his mother (hadn’t been in years), and Miguel Bisano. So I guess our two and a half hour “lesson” last night did some sort of good.
Also, a random guy the English elders spoke to on the street showed up at the Spanish service. So I translated – he stayed all three hours – and then we taught him about the Restoration and he said he wanted to be baptized. I swear something like that happens every time we work with the English missionaries here – it’s awesome! And the mission office sends them dozens of internet self-referrals every day. Most of them just want a free Bible… but the Bushwick English program is seriously great right now. The whole zone, actually, is on fire. All the missionaries (almost) stayed the same last transfer, and after much blood, sweat, and tears on the matter, we are a TALK WITH EVERYONE ZONE! I can’t say how rewarding that is to see. It’s changed the work here in Bushwick.