Thursday, September 8, 2016

August 1, 2016 The Hampton Times FACEBOOK edition

So as many of you have noticed, we have been on Facebook.  Yep.  A week ago that might have been a fairly apostate activity for a missionary in NY South, but then the missionary department called President Reynolds, had him schedule an emergency mission leadership council, and then came to tell us to go train our zones the next day that, while we have absolutely no idea how, we are now going to use Facebook in our proselyting efforts.  I've never seen such a frightened herd of zone leaders and sister training leaders in my life.  For the last year and a half, Facebook has been the subject-which-must-not-be-named that has loomed ominously on the horizon.  It was a horizon that all of the mission leadership council hoped was far off. Of course, when the missionary department came and told us that it was a tool that the Lord expected us to use for good when we've been "sitting on our backsides" letting the adversary take control of it for the last year and a half, we repented speedily.

They only gave us small insights into the efforts and success of the first pilot group that retested Facebook recently, and we are truly all excited for the extremely powerful tool that we are receiving.  The missionary department has completely revamped the way that Facebook is used in missionary work compared to what it was a couple of years ago, and let me tell you (after having done it for a year and a half without Facebook) that it is a tool that has the potential to solve some of our biggest problems in missionary work that have had me ripping my hair out for the last year.  Our intention with Facebook is close the 'teaching gap'.  Here in New York, meeting with people more than once or twice a week is extremely difficult, and Preach my Gospel says "daily contact".  We will not be using Facebook to communicate with people outside of our area boundaries, but if we ever post things, share them with everyone! I look forward to giving you all some more insights about ways you can help the missionaries in your areas through Facebook as well.

On a different note, the highlight of the week is that Daniela is getting baptized on Saturday!!! She is such a miracle.  This has been such a sweet experience because, like Javier, we found her only a couple months ago.  I still remember clearly running her down in a sketchy parking lot for the first time....(missionaries are super awkward, which isn't always a bad thing as it brings in the 'pity factor'. Works for persons that have been saturated by New York about 5 years or less. Other cases and true New Yorkers are generally pretty pitiless).  She is absolutely incredible, and has the most adorable little six year old that reminds me of Mary.  I feel like we are reaping a lot of the fruit of our efforts from the last several months in Hampton Bays.  The Tuba family is SO close! They will definitely get baptized next transfer (I LOVE that family)!!

Transfers are coming up in a week.  Unfortunately, I have this feeling that I've always had in each area right before I leave. I could be wrong (hopefully).  I'm really getting into the swing of things and learning how to do missionary work, which is nice.  Now we've got to relearn how to do it with a huge change in online proselyting.  It will be fun! I just really hope that the future missionaries here will not be spared the horror of learning how to talk to any New Yorker visible on the 100 degree streets of the city.... that'd be a shame.  My testimony is something that I love and always want to share! I know that this work is the work of God.  It changes peoples lives.  It's changed my life so much that my old self from a year and a half ago would hardly recognize who I am now (and like 95% of that change is positive, which isn't bad.  Patience is the one virtue that might have suffered a little out here.  Hopefully that one rebounds when I get home and just sit in the wilderness for a couple days).  More importantly, I have seen hundreds of other lives change.  I've seen and am a witness to the joy that enters into someone's life who decides to do what it takes to come closer to the Savior and live the gospel.  I know that He lives, loves us, and answers our prayers.  In the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

Elder Sirrine

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