Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Short and sweet

Hello everybody! Well, this week was crazy busy and it would take way too long to describe it all so I'm going to give you a very short description (sorry!) 

So we had about 4 lessons with investigators as well as 4 lessons with members and they were all super legit! We also found a member who's been looking for the church the past 4 months!! He moved here from Mexico and he's going through a pretty rough time and just knows he needs the gospel. He found us on the street, we talked for about an hour and a half and I gave my first blessing of comfort fully in Spanish...it was scary. But it was super legit. At first I was just kind of saying some simple stuff but then the spirit took over and I can't explain what happened next. It was like words were just shooting out of my mouth and I couldn't control them and it was just a super cool experience both for him and me. Then we had another lesson with him the next day with the bishop so he could get to know him and that one was even better. He's so sincere in his desire to change and as he said the closing prayer I started to cry...but no one saw so I think we're good! 

We also had two baptisms on Saturday instead of one! The little girl got baptized and so did her mom! Her mom was baptized before but because we lost the record we had to do it again. But it was cool that they got to both be baptized together. Oh! And I guess someone forgot to prepare a talk about baptism so guess who had to make one up on the spot! Me!! I was both excited and nervous because I was just thinking like okay what can I pull out of thin air right now. I had about 5 minutes to prepare so I pulled up a scripture about baptism (#timefillers) and then just said pretty much everything I know about baptism. It went pretty smoothly though! I talked for about 5 minutes or so and I don't think anyone even knew that I completely made it up right then and there. The church is true everyone. 

As for investigators right now we are working with 4 people I think but no real progress has been made just yet. We've only had one lesson with them all but I'll definitely be keeping you all in the loop! My mom would probably get mad if I didn't. 😉 Oh and the 10 year old boy with the baptism date has been changed. We have to push it back a couple weeks because he hasn't been to church yet sooo that makes things a little difficult. But it's okay! 

Finally, SHOUT OUT TO MY BOY PARKER BURR!!!!! He's heading out to the port of Spain today to start his mission experience in the field. He's gonna be speaking Dutch so that's legit. Good luck man! 

Hope everyone has an awesome week! Love you all! 

1) Super awesome sticker
2) Super awesome me 😂 
3) Super awesome cake
4) Super awesome people about to get baptized 
5) Super awesome district






Tyler sent me these from P-Day. Chilling out playing some Basketball






Sunday, September 20, 2015

P-Day September 14, 2015

Okay last little bit of pictures. But here's the main crew









Pictures from Brentwood, NY

Oops I keep forgetting these pictures! These are the ones with the
members I was close with back in Brentwood
1) The Artola family
2) The wonderful Hermana Majano (She was pretty much like my mom)
3) The peguero family (They like me I promise. They just don't like to smile)
4) Our Ward mission leader Jorge Majano
5) Bishop Martinez being Bishop Martinez
6) The Fuentes family
7) Jess (She's from the English Ward but lives in the same place as us)
8) and last but not least, the Hurtados











So that happened

I found myself saying that a lot this week...So this week pretty much feels like I just a perfect 3 ball to the outside and whoever my outside is, is just about to destroy it. We have so many lessons and people to work with now!! When I got here the teaching pool was already really big but the guys who were here before me were working with like none of them. So what did I do? I took action with all these people and made calls and tried contacting them and now we have 5 investigator lessons set up this week and couple for the week to come. We also did a ton of fear-lessing (or talking to people on the streets) and got about 6 or 7 new contacts that way so within a little while, we'll be getting lessons left and right. Oh and I forgot to mention how we are having two baptisms this transfer! One this coming Saturday for a 10 year old girl and we just set up the date with this 10 year old boy for October 11th.
Pretty legit stuff man. I'm excited. 

This week definitely felt longer because of a 4 hour meeting and all the finding we were doing. The meeting is called Zone Training Meeting and it's pretty much a training for everyone in your zone. They're really good but we all know I can't sit still that long so that was a bit of a struggle. One thing I took away from it though is how we can't just stop trying to find people to teach once we think we have a good pool going. We need to prove to the Lord everyday that we are out here so willing to work and we won't stop even if we barely have any time. So I took that literally and just went ham with talking to random people and trying to contact investigators in our records and so far so good! I'm just hoping the lessons we have set up don't cancel. People out here are super busy with work and stuff so that makes things pretty hard on us. 

I think Saturday was the weirdest day of all. We were doing a fearless activity as a zone and we walk by this guy who called us over and it wasn't until we got right next to him that I realized he was drunk...so I was just like sweet let's see what happens. So he tells us about how God has helped him a ton through life and he seemed really cool. Then he went to shake our hands but as he did he put our hands on top of his head and I think he tried giving himself a blessing...I don't know. Then out of nowhere he punches my and companion and I in the guts so that was fun. Oh! And he refused to believe I wasn't Hispanic so that is still happening with people here too. Then later that night we were going to do look ups when this other guy stops us and is like hey what's going on I'm Christian too. And we thought this guy wanted to have a legit conversation with us so we started talking to him and he asked is the bible our final line of authority. So to be careful with answering that question I told him, it's a huge part of our religion as I'm sure it is yours as well but we also have another book called the Book of Mormon which is literally just another testament of Jesus Christ written by ancient prophets who came to the Americas. And he was shocked. So long story short, we talked and discussed our religion on the street for 2 and a half hours on the street and he wants us to come back so we will see how that goes. He's also an English speaker so I don't know how long we can really visit him since we are supposed to visit only Spanish speakers. Plus I love my Hispanics so there's that too. So that was Saturday.

A fun experience that was a really cool energizer for me was seeing the beam of light they shoot up at the sky on September 11th where the twin towers used to be in commemoration of them. We were walking out of a lesson and I see a beam of light and I just think, "Huh must be a big event or something" but then I realize the light isn't moving and I've heard about the light before so then I just scream "NO WAY!!!" Then I take off running and as soon as I see it super clearly I start jumping and I was just super hyped. Then we get to the subway station and I take off running again to the end of the platform because it's outside and I saw it even better and I just stood there silently (after getting some pictures of course) and I just want to get a shout out to all those who gave their lives that day and everyday since to fight for the freedom of this country. It was a pretty sweet experience. 

I think that pretty much does it for this week! Other than that it was just a lot of calling and finding! One thing I've been bad at doing has been birthdays sooo, shout out to my little brother who turned 14, my mom who is at an age where she may not want a lot of people knowing but she's still rocking it! Oh the owner of Siggy's carpet cleaner himself, Chris Rossi, has turned a year older and is somehow still going 😉 one of my many 2nd mom's Jennifer Burr just had a birthday on the 11th! And today is Meghan Kempker's birthday and she's turning 16!!! I hope I didn't miss anyone but those are the ones I know off the top of my head. If I did miss someone, please don't hate me. Hope you all had a good one and Meghan I hope you have a good one today! 

Now pictures!! 
1) Not sure if my mom sent this out but this is me telling my amazing story in Spanish
2) New York skyline
3) The twin tower light 
4) Major respects 
5) Very blurry zone picture
6) Less blurry but very crazy zone picture










Monday, September 7, 2015

NO SLEEP 'TIL...BROOKLYN!!!

That's right! I'm out here in Brooklyn!! It's a huge difference from the the island because I no longer have a car, I'm riding busses and subways and best of all, I'm walking! Oh I can already tell you all that I'm going to grow so much this transfer. I'm finally with a companion who is struggling more than I am at the language which means I will be doing lots and lots of talking. Am I ready for this? I am actually! I'm not exactly sure what has happened this past transfer but all of a sudden I'm talking a ton, the grammar is all right (85% of the time), I'm talking fast and people are understanding! My confidence has definitely grown and I don't even know where this all came from. But it was definitely needed. Now, because Brooklyn is so big, it's divided into 3 or 4 zones I think and I'm in the zone that covers Midwood and man was I surprised when I got called to go there. This is kind of how it went: We are sitting in transfer meeting and they decided to change things up a bit and instead of going zones 1-10, they go 10-1. And I was like okay sweet I'll probably get called pretty soon then because I probably won't be going to the city yet and zones 1-6 are the city zones. But was I wrong about that one. As soon as they finished zone 7 and my name wasn't called I was just like BROOOO IM GOING TO THE CITY!!!! But I was still chill about it. Then they get finished with all the Queens zones and I'm just sitting there wondering where the heck I'm going! Then finally they call zone 2, Midwood, Brooklyn. They call my old companion, Elder Peña, as district leader there and I was like okay I'm not going there because he's training and there are probably just him and 2 sisters in his district...but nope! They call my now companion, Elder Oaks, then myself and I'm just like no way! Peña and I are back man! So I'm in Midwood with an old friend and I'm loving it already. 

So yeah! That's that. Like I said before, my companion is now Elder Oaks and he's actually closely related to Elder Oaks of the Twelve Apostles so that's pretty cool. But he's struggling a little bit with the language so I'm trying to find ways to help him...especially since I don't do anything during language study. So I'm thinking if I help him, my Spanish could get even better. I'm not exactly sure if it's going to help at all but I can definitely still help him. There's no harm in that at all. That's actually one thing I've realized about myself since being out. I love to serve others. It's just something I look for each and every day. I've been talking a lot about it as well. One thing I always find myself saying is "Cuando hacemos servicio para alguien, no podemos pensar de nuestros mismos. Tenemos que pensar solamente de los necesidades de la otra persona quien estamos ayudando." Which pretty much means that when we are doing stuff for others, we can't think of ourselves. We just can't. We have to think of the needs of the other person who we are helping so that we can say we did absolutely every possible thing we could to try and help. And that's one of the biggest things we do as missionaries. If we are fully serving, we aren't going to think of ourselves. We really just can't. 

As for this week as a whole, we are pretty much just meeting people and getting to know the area a little bit better. And this is definitely an interesting place. We've already had two people pretend like they were going to jump us. But luckily they were just kidding. Saturday was definitely the best day of all. And it got me excited to train! You see, Elder Peña is training right now and Saturday he had a meeting so I was like why don't we do exchanges so that he can keep working and his trainee, Elder Corbett, was cool with it and we got the okay from the zone leaders so I was like alright sweet I'm finally in charge. Let's make some real stuff happen. Because elder oaks enjoys doing look ups but here in the city, that doesn't work all the time. So this is what we did: We started the day with look ups and we actually had success from that which I was honestly surprised by but it was mainly to try and challenge myself to learn to get around town. But anyways, our area book has about 90 potential investigators...that's not necessarily a bad thing but trying to figure out who's interested and who's not is a big challenge. So we went and looked maybe 7 or 8 people up in this one area and I'm pretty sure I dropped 4 out of the 5 people we actually talked to because they weren't interested. So success there! Then we went to the church after dinner to make some calls. There were some good ones and some really funny ones. The best was definitely the one with this Dominican woman who was super excited to hear from us but was a little busy at the time so she's going to hopefully call us this week! Then there was this one where I asked to talk to this guy Eddy then a lady just responded with "Estoy sola" then hung up and I was just like what just happened?? 😂😂 that one was funny

So yeah! That pretty much does it for this past week. The only other thing was that yesterday to introduce myself to members, the bishop asked me, Elder Peña and Elder Corbett to get up and speak since it was testimony meeting yesterday. So as always, I shared my story of how I went to BASEcamp and that's pretty much the biggest reason why I'm out here. That's the big experience that pretty much changed my whole perspective because that's the experience I had when I was able to feel the spirit super strong for the first time. It helped me come to realize that this is the true church, Joseph smith was in fact a prophet of God and he did translate the Book of Mormon and that is a true book and other testament of Jesus Christ. That is my small testimony that I was able to gain through just one powerful experience. Y por eso, aquí estoy!  So yeah. Thanks to everyone, I hope you all had an awesome week and you're all amazing! Now enjoy pictures. 
1) The district in the subway station 
2) The subway view with Brooklyn Bridge way out there
3) Mugging...then there's me 
4) Taco Bell with the Hatian Creole speakers
5) Coney Island. With my reflection
6) Elder peña's companions both old and new
7) The district again 
8) Elder Oaks 
9) Elder Peña
10) Elder Corbett
11) Everybody!












Thursday, September 3, 2015

Serious time

Well first of all, I'm out of my first area! Which I'm pretty sad about because I've gotten super close to some of the members and it's going to be so hard to leave them. They've pretty much become my family. I'm also sad to leave the people I've been working with like those two boys who have the baptismal date, the two other guys who are super close and one of them actually told us this past week he had a dream where he pretty much talked with someone who told him the church is true and that's super cool! Then there's Cassandra who is the girlfriend of a less active and I'm really hoping she will have a desire to be baptized. 

This past week was pretty successful too! We found two new investigators who seem super legit and one is the uncle of a less active so hopefully there can be some good stuff there and the other is the little brother of the kid who had the dream. They are both super interested and I wish them nothing but the best because that's what the gospel can bring. 

I know I may have seemed a little less serious in previous emails but these past (almost) 7 months have really truly been amazing. I've truly began to have a true appreciation for this gospel and I've been able to see all the amazing things it can do for people. One thing we have talked a lot about has been the commandments and that we have them not to keep us locked in a cage but to help us progress and grow through this life and put our faith in our Heavenly Father and ask for His help in those areas that we need it. He knows us better than anyone else and he will always do His part as long as we do ours by striving to live and follow His example as much as possible. But because we are human and we are going to mess up, He will always forgive us. He will always forgive us then give us a 2nd chance to try and do better again. 

Yesterday was a day filled with good byes because I had a pretty good feeling that I was leaving so I took a ton of pictures with members and talked with one especially who decided to have a big Ward good bye party for me and the other sister who will be leaving the area. So tonight we will go to her house along with like half the ward so I'm really excited for that! It's also going to be a little bitter sweet though because of how much they've all done for me. I spoke with the member who is having the party for me, Hermana Majano, and she said how happy she has been to have me serve in this Ward and that she has definitely been able to see an increase in my Spanish and it just felt super good to hear that since I wasn't sure if I've actually had an influence here but I guess I have! 

So yeah! That's pretty much it for this week! It's been a crazy journey thus far and I'm so excited to find out where I'll be going tomorrow at transfer meeting, who I'll be serving with and all the experiences I am about to have these next few transfers. Obviously I have no idea what's to come but whatever it is, it's for a reason and it's going to help me more than anything. I actually had an experience this past week while talking with someone and they helped me realize that even the hardest trials we have help us in some way. Whether it helps us have more knowledge, more faith, humility or whatever it is we may need in that moment, we will be able to develop it. That's what trials are here for. The scriptures even say that Heavenly Father will never do anything save it be for the benefit of men. So there ya have it! One of my favorite scriptures because of the amount of hope it brings. To me at least. 

I could go on and on with this stuff but I'll save more thoughts like that for the future! But for now, I will end this email with my testimony that I know this church is true, Heavenly Father loves us so much and because of that love he has given us a prophet to lead and guide us today and I share that simple testimony in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Now for pictures! 
1 and 2) the two girls who have been like my little sisters here (But no one can compare to Riley!)
3) The member who calls herself our "mama negra" (black mama 😂
4) The 3 survivors of 3 different district leaders...and mama negra again!
5) The gangsterest gangsters of all gangsters
6) The member who tried to scare me by kicking me out of his house my 2nd day and one of my favorites
7) 2x2 Rubix cube that I can't solve
8) funny video
9) I've had this same car from the start and I got it to 10000 miles!