Thursday, June 23, 2016

March 3, 2016 more from the Hamptons

Sorry I don't have more time to write. I feel bad but probably for the next few weeks I will have little time to write. There's just too much work to do! All I'll report is that Elder Johnson and I are doing fantastic. He is willing to work hard! We are up a half hour early every morning and stop for about 15 minutes for lunch and then rely on the mercies of the world for any food after that (usually works out pretty good actually. Sometimes we fast). Preparation days I've decided sort of disappeared after becoming a zone leader here. Anyways, I love you all and wish you the best! Keep up the good work in the west.

From photo of Journal page Mar 2

A couple of days ago we had interviews with President.  It was awesome, as always.  It’s just so incredible to be able to talk with a man of such spiritual caliber.  And his wife is not one whit behind him.
It really was good.  As of late I’ve felt a little bit down about wondering if I’m really the right man for the job.  It’s hard coming from a place3 where I had so much trust in and from everybody that mattered to be (investigators, members, missionaries) to a place where I don’t know anybody or have their trust.  My companion has been in the Hamptons for a year, in total.
I’m not sure if President sensed any of that, be he seemed to be making an effort to address it.  He told me that during transfer planning, they had never been planning on moving me out here because I was doing so well in the city.  He said that I had been prayed here for a very specific reason.  He said he didn’t know what the reason was, but that he thought it had something to do with my leadership style.  He said other things that brought immeasurable peace to my heart which I will never forget.

February 29, 2016 from the Hamptons

From photo of Journal pages (which means there could be translation errors)

Feb (date?)
In our last appointment of the night, we visited with Carlos, a man I’ve never met before.  We began teaching the restoration.  As we unfolded the scriptures about prophets and boldly testified of the story of Joseph Smith, we saw the Spirit moving him.  He asked us what the role of a modern day prophet was.  As he did, something had changed.  He spoke in Spanish.  Up until that point he was insisting on using his poor English!  It was as if he realized the importance of this so profoundly he forgot about trying to practice English.  After explaining their role and that it was the same as the prophets of old, he paused long and deep.  Then with conviction he said simply, “I want to meet the prophet.”  We showed him pictures of the 15 men who guide the church, and he asked us if we had ever met one.  Both of us could say that we have, and gave unshakable testimony of their divine calling.

Few times have I felt the Spirit testify so strong.  After explaining how to pray to know, he said very carefully, “I already know.  This is true.”  He proceeded to bear testimony of the message of the message of the Restoration.  It was incredible.  Elder Johnson said that they’ve taught the Restoration multiple times to him with little success.  Something clicked.  He understood it, and then the Spirit gave him an incredible experience.  He will come into the fold one day.  Right now he can’t get baptized because he’s obliged to complete community service all day every Sunday until September.

Feb 27
Today we got haircuts from the first councilor in the Branch Presidency.  He’s a hair stylist for a barbershop that works with the really rich people.  A basic haircut like we got starts at $100.  It was interesting, he used a razor blade to do the whole thing for me, didn’t even touch any scissors.
We had an awesome FHE tonight in the Martino’s home (they are just wonderful, the loveliest Texan senior couple).  Camelo and Jefferson came, as well as two less actives and the Sister missionaries.  We had wonderful food and company, and then marveled as the Spirit worked wonders during the lesson.  As I was leading the discussion, it struck me how incredible that night really was.  We were 5 Americans and 5 Hispanics gathered together just trying to understand each other (only one of the sister missionaries and myself really speak both languages) and strengthen each other, as fulfillment of the prophecy that the gospel would come to cover the whole earth, without regard to language barriers.  How incredible that promise would have sounded to the 11 apostles after Christ had been killed, or to the tiny church of 1830 when it seemed like after 1800 years such a prophecy and commandment hadn’t made much headway.  Yet it’s true.

Feb 28
Today we are joining Luanne and a close friend in a fast, essentially that she’ll be able to find someone or we’ll be able to baptize someone she can marry.  She is incredible.  She has so much faith and loyalty.  She was baptized at age 30, and over here there aren’t any guys that age that are LDS and single.  Now she’s 40, I think.  She lives all by herself in her nice little 15 million dollar home just looking and………(photos of journal pages don’t continue)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

February 22, 2016 Goodbye Brooklyn, Hello Hamptons

The most amazing investigator ever! His wife is nice too

Journal pages Feb 20

Well it’s been a good while, a lot has happened.  Elder Cottle and I both got transferred out.  Leaving the area before has been sort of hard, especially in Jamaica, but this time it was really, really hard.  One of the biggest reasons is Carlos.  We just got to be so close.  It’s a shame I’m not going to be around to baptize him.  Or any of our other candidates.  I guess I’m accepting by now that my job here in NY is to build up dead pools and then pass them on to the reapers.  Good-bye Brooklyn.

So I’ve been here in my new area for a few days now, the Hampton Bays.  I am just blown away.  After a year in the city, I had no idea this kind of life existed here in NY!  We are the furthest missionaries out on the tip of the island (“banishment” it’s called), and I almost feel like I’m back in Utah!  We are in cars with 2,300 miles/month allowance.  The first thing I noticed is that the majority of people here don’t seem to hate everything.  Street contacting is a piece of cake.  I feel like I just spent the last several months earning my Master’s in Brooklynite combat just to graduate and go teach Pre-K.  I asked my companion if everyone was this nice.  He said yeah.  His name is Elder Johnson, by the way.  Seems like a great guy.  It’s incredible out here, and these Elders hove a seriously good pool.  In my opinion, They’ve got a lot of people that have potential.  Elder Johson doesn’t see any of them being baptized soon but I think the pool looks great.  We’ve just got to tune up the teaching and commitment helping skills.

Wow.  We are teaching some seriously rich people.  Literally all the richest people in the world live around here.  It’s a nice area.  The people we are teaching are more educated and open.
Also, despite all that, the branch here is tiny.  It’s about 40-50 active members, and get this – that’s combined English and Spanish.  The branch is mixed.  They say that the first two hours at church are separated (same building, different rooms) and the third hour is combined and we translate into Spanish.  The mission calls it the “zebra” pool.  My companion is an English missionary, so I do everything in Spanish.  It’s strange teaching alone.  The members are incredible.  They are all super involved and love the missionaries and want to help.  This area is bursting with potential.  Also we’ve been fed at least once every day, which Elder Johnson says is normal.  Not just from members – from everybody.  Kind of funny, It’s a completely different mission out here.  Not sure why we’re not baptizing more out here.  We’ll see.

Overall, it’s been a real nice week.  Thundering trains and blaring sirens are not dominating every moment of the day and night.  A couple nights ago I relieved myself in the wood whilst staring at the Orion constellation.  Haven’t seen stars in a while.  And I could never bring myself to follow popular culture and use a parked car instead of a tree, like they do in the city.  Didn’t seem missionary appropriate (there’s no stores that have public restrooms like they do in Utah).  So yeah that was a liberating experience.

Oh, also we have proselyting Senior couples here!  I’ve only ever dreamed of that.  And they are awesome.  In fact they were just mission president and wife in the Phillipines (right next to Danai’s mission, they said.  They know Danai’s mission president and say he’s incredible).  So they know what they’re doing.  Just a lovely Texan couple, I love them.  Unfortunately Elder Johnson doesn’t work with them much because they intimidate him but hopefully we’ll be able to fix that.
I’m excited for this transfer!  It’s going to be tricky balancing everything.  President just combined and got rid of a zone, so this transfer the Hamptons became by far the largest zone.  By area, it’s massive, and we have 34 missionaries.

Journal Entry Feb 21

First Sunday in the Hamptons!  It was awesome.  The branch is just amazing.  On Friday night we threw a ‘Midnight in Paris” themed party, and I’ve never seen such a magnificent Church party.  The effort put in was incredible, and it was a big success for the branch.  I was thinking how much mom and the girls would love the craftiness involved.
Branch activity themed "midnight in paris".
I wish I had a picture of he entrance, they cut out cardboard and painted it, made it look like an antique European stone building it was amazing

So back to Sunday.  This was interesting.  Apparently there is only one consistently active Spanish member, Jefferson.  He’s awesome.  I missed the first hour of Spanish service because President McGuire asked me to speak in Spanish sacrament as well (the other speaker was a sister missionary Hmna Mejra (sp?)).  Apart from Jefferson, there was a less active there, we had an investigator there, and the Sisters had 2 there.  So including the missionary’s contributions, that congregation was 10 people.  Jefferson is the Elder’s quorum president.  I’m one of his counselors (no other counselor), and Elder Johnson is the secretary.  Oh and Jefferson doesn’t speak English, so any communication between Presidet McGuire and the Spanish side of the branch has to go through one of the English members who does speak Spanish or us.  Kind of crazy!

For third hour, we are combined English/Spanish so I translated everything.  Overall, the branch is the fewest members I’ve seen, but by far the strongest in Spirit.  These members “get” the gospel.  They’re solid, so loving, and are excited about missionary work!  Because of that, this area has incredible potential.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

February 15, 2016 Both of us Transfered

Elder Cottle and I are getting blinded out.

Sorry I wasn't thinking but basically elder Cottle and I both are getting transferred out. We were not expecting that. It's rare. So I was thinking I'd have at least another transfer here, but tomorrow
morning we will be in our new areas.

There must be a heck of a reason.... But not one known to man haha! Elder Cottle probably should have been transferred before just because of time but the assistants tell us they've done everything to keep us together because we've been so effective in the last four months.

I suppose I am excited to see what's next, but it's going to be really hard to leave. It's sad.

Saturday the wind chill was -10 and we had five appointments set up, and all of them cancelled. So we were walking around all day.

Yency & Jadi

Denis on left, Junior on right