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.

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