Sunday, January 24, 2016

Meetings, meetings, meetings

Yeah the title basically sums up the week. Just a bunch of meetings.
And I'm gonna start with a funny story about the zone training meeting
we had on Friday! we had a zone meeting and it's usually at our church
but they changed it to the other building in our zone. Why? I don't
know. But we got an email about that on Monday or Tuesday and I told
the other elders in the district so I definitely knew. But then Friday
comes around and I still decide to go to our building and see no ones
there. At first I
thought I was early so I was like sweet! Then it hit me that the
meeting was at the building that's about 45 minutes away...I realized
that at 1:20 and the meeting started at 1:30. And there was an
assistant to the president there. So that was awkward...but that
basically sums up the kind of district leader I am πŸ˜‚

So because of the meetings we weren't able to do too much because
Tuesday was district meeting, Thursday was an all day meeting with two
guys from the missionary department and they're basically trying to
get us ready for Facebook...which will be pretty interesting. But the
church trusts us I guess! But we were still able to get a good amount
of lessons. We met with Joaquin and talked about his priesthood duties
and what he's able to do right now and we invited him to bless the
sacrament which he was able to do and it was a really awesome
experience for him. And then we also had a meeting with Angel who is
now getting baptized on the 28th instead of the 29th and guess who's
baptizing him...JOAQUIN!!!! It's super cool because they've gotten
close and have helped each other grow. It's been cool to see. Then he
bore a super strong and spiritual testimony with Angel and it was
awesome. But we still have so much we need to do with Angel so we have
4 lessons set up with him this week. It may seem like a lot but I
really want him to feel ready and have a real firm understanding as
well as a testimony of all we teach. Which brings me to my next point:
What is a real testimony?

Alma 4:19 says: "And this he did that he himself might go forth among
his people, or among the people of Nephi, that he might preach the
word of God unto them, to stir them up in remembrance of their duty,
and that he might pull down, by the word of God, all the pride and
craftiness and all the contentions which were among his people, seeing
no way that he might reclaim them save it were in bearing down in pure
testimony against them." And to me It's interesting how he wants to
change the people he's getting ready to teach so much and just by
using his testimony. What I get out of it is that in order to really
help someone, we need to help ourselves first by doing what we need to
have a real firm foundation. In other words, we need to really read
and ponder on what we read, pray about it, find out for ourselves if
it's true and by the power of the Holy Ghost according to our faith,
we will receive an answer. Someone also asked me what makes a powerful
missionary recently and it really made me think. So here are my
thoughts: A powerful missionary is one who can teach with power. But
how do we teach with power? With the Holy Ghost. How do we teach with
the Holy Ghost? We qualify ourselves to obtain the spirit? How do we
do that exactly? Yeah the easy answer would be obedience, scripture
study and all that good stuff. The primary answers. But there's more
to it. When I think of what we have to do to obtain the spirit I think
immediately to the sacrament prayers. There's 3 things we always
commit to doing which is: 1) Take Christ's name upon us, 2) Remember
Him always and 3) Keep his commandments. 3 simple things. Then He does
something incredible for us that no one else can. He promises that as
we stay faithful to those commitments, he will bless us with His
spirit. And it's so hard to do this work without the spirit. We can't
read minds but we can DISCERN. And as we discern we can find out what
someone needs specifically in their lives. That's why we need the
spirit in all that we do as missionaries.

So that about does it for this week! Oh and in other news, the snow has come!!

1) Elder Parkinson and I went out to lunch before district meeting and
we walked past an episode of law and order being filmed! We weren't in
it but still pretty cool
2) The snow!! It' way better through pictures...it's too cold
3) The video speaks for itself...




video
video

Achievements unlocked

Hello everyone! Allow me to start by saying I really am so happy that
I got to stay in Midwood. I thought I was going to go crazy since I'm
in another area for 6 months but I actually feel so blessed. Right now
we're just finding like crazy, trying to help the investigators we
already have to progress and um...oh yeah! Angel is getting baptized
on the 29th!!! In other words, the guy who used to be known as one of
the laziest people you know is finally doing some work! I mean I've
been doing work but there's finally some good progress! We are also
working with Joaquin now to get to the temple to do baptisms and then
get ready to become endowed! Those are the two biggest stories out
here but we also have a ton of new investigators who just haven't had
much time to meet up again. Then this past week we were contacting or
as we say "planting seeds" like crazy and we got a good amount of
contact information so we will be contacting those people this coming
week. As for my new companion, his name is elder Parkinson and he's so
much like me that it's scary. In other words, we're having a lot of
fun and working hard. He's only 6 months in and his Spanish is super
good and he still has that greenie fire so we're gonna do some good
stuff this transfer. He was really happy to come here because he
didn't get to do too much in his last area and then he comes here and
I was just like well we have about 10 lessons set up this week so get
ready!

I guess I should probably explain how Angel wanted to be baptized. So
we extended the invitation Christmas Day and he accepted without any
problems but we thought he had to work Sunday mornings starting at
8...well it turns out he works Sunday NIGHT starting at 8. I really
don't know Spanish. So we invited him to church, he came, loved it
then we had a quick lesson and talked about baptism again. He said he
wants to be baptized so he can get the gift of the Holy Ghost and then
he just decided on the 29th because he'll have the whole day so it
works out perfectly!

As for the title, as I said we were contacting people a ton this week
to try and build up the pool and we had some luck but some people
really just don't like us. So we were walking towards one of the train
stops and this guy was like, "Look it's the morons!" And I corrected
him by saying no we are Mormons then he proceeded to cuss us out then
my companion told him Jesus still loves him and he responded with
something that shouldn't be repeated. White people are mean, man. It's
just the first time I've gotten cussed out as well as finding someone
through my own efforts and teaching all the way until they're baptized
so yeah! Achievements unlocked!!

So that about does it for this week! Good things are continuing to
happen and it's gonna be really hard to leave Brooklyn at this point
but I've got a full transfer to not worry about that! Enjoy some
pictures!!





Wednesday, January 6, 2016

RIP Transfer Meeting

Man what a week!! Usually it's really hard to work the last week of
the transfer but I guess something changed because we still got more
lessons than usual! And most of them were just kind of put in our
hands haha. Either someone called us or we showed up at someone's door
and they let us in which was super cool! Well after Wednesday at
least. Monday night we had nothing set up so we got to do a little
contacting and talking to people on the street and that was decent. We
got some numbers and names so it was successful. Then Tuesday came and
we had two lessons set up which both cancelled which meant...DUN DUN
DUN...contacting! Except to finish the day Joaquin called and asked if
we could come over and I'm not ever going to say no so we went over
and talked. His brother was there too and he actually got a little
involved which was nice. That was the first time I've had to be really
direct with him and I wasn't sure how he takes correction but it
actually went really well. We talked about reverence and how you
shouldn't be on your phone during church. I invited him to stay
reverent and turn off his phone and he did it! He got to church a
little late but as soon as he got in the chapel, he turned off his
phone!

Then Wednesday came around and we had absolutely nothing again. So we
did some look ups a long with contacting and boy was that a long
night. It seemed like nothing was going to happen. It's starting to
get pretty cold so no one was outside after 6:00 pm but it also seemed
like no one was home...it was crazy. But we kept going until the very
last planned look up. We get to the door, we knock then out comes the
lady we're looking for! Finalmente alguien quien podemos enseΓ±ar! We
tell her who we are and at first she was a little taken back so she
had her husband talk with us. They both remembered talking to
missionaries before because they were former investigators. But, the
husband said they didn't really want to talk with us. So what did I
do? I shared the Christmas video! It was still technically December so
todo bien. The wife, husband and their kid all watched it and the
husband really liked it. So he invited us in to talk. He's a pretty
cool guy but has some weird ideas about religion and that's okay!
Because we're going to help him through all of that. But, we don't
have another appointment until next Monday. Entonces, tenemos que
esperar.

Thursday was a shorter day because we all had to be in by 6 and
because most people are either going to parties or setting one up,
there was much for us to do. So we finally had time to deep clean our
apartment which is supposed to be done last week and weekly planned
then had a lesson before going back home. Nothing too exciting. Until
we got a call from the sign language elders telling us they met
someone from Haiti who doesn't like speaking creole because Spanish is
better (his words exactly) and he's a member! So this guy's name is
Wilson and he's so cool. He pretty much has the same story as Joaquin
so I was super excited to meet him! He's originally from Haiti, moved
to the DR got baptized after a month with the missionaries, moved back
to Haiti and he's been in New York now for 19 days or something like
that. We went and visited him on Friday and he's solid. He gave us his
membership record so we could get his records all sent to us here and
he was so excited. The lesson went a little longer than it should have
so we could get his whole story straight and help him create an
LDS.org account but it was all really amazing. Then we had a long,
sketchy walk back to the bus stop through the most ghetto area I've
seen thus far in my mission. So that was fun! We only got lost for
about 10 minutes and saw something pretty crazy but that's not
important! We helped Wilson and we're still alive. All is well :)

Saturday was pretty boring so I'm just going to skip to what happened
yesterday because that was definitely one of my top ten favorite days
so far. Church was pretty normal for the most part up until sacrament
meeting. Valentin finally came to church again so that was cool and he
sat next to Joaquin who bore his testimony!! Yeah that was awesome. He
was so thankful to Heavenly Father for giving him a 2nd chance with
the gospel and for giving him back his smile. He also gave thanks to
Elder Wagley and I but more than half of his testimony was just giving
thanks to this gospel and to the atonement. I only cried a little.
Then I was looking around and realized that there were a lot of new
faces! Turns out that there was a lady who was baptized 30 years ago
and just moved to New York after being less active for a little while
and now wants to come back, one of the members brought a friend,
another very less active came and someone who the other elders already
had an appointment with right after church came as well. Well, me
being me I thought hmmm all of these people need to be taught. Here
comes the fun. So all four of us had to find a member to stay after
church to teach with and then we found four different rooms and had
four different lessons at once. It was one of the coolest, most
stressful and most spiritual experiences I've had out here so far.
Then we had a lesson with Valentin at his house and after him
expressing lots of concerns he finally said that when he feels it's
right, he will be baptized. So there's a little more progress there.

So that pretty much does it for this week! As for the title, we had a
really big mission meeting every transfer and it was super spiritual
and motivating but president got a letter from someone from the quorum
of the twelve and had to pull the plug on that. But it's all good. As
for transfer calls I am...IN!!! Yet again. But my trainee is
out...that kinda blew my mind. Usually it's the other way around. But
hey! I'm really excited because there's so much going on here. And
yesterday during the testimony meeting when I was listening to Joaquin
the spirit hit me so strong. It just made me realize that I really am
supposed to be here, people have been prepared specifically just for
me and I have the amazing opportunity to be the instrument in the
lord's hand during people's progression in this gospel and there is
nothing else I'd rather be doing. I'm so thankful to be a missionary.
If anybody is thinking about going, do it! I understand now why people
stress it so much. It's because it will not only affect your life more
than you could ever imagine but it does the exact same plus some to
others! Well, that's all I got for you all this week. Happy new year!
Oh!! Also, thank you to the McKeehan family, Aunt Barb, Uncle Len, the
priests quorum back home, my family and everyone else who have sent me
packages!! It means a lot to know I'm not completely forgotten yet :D

1) Ghetto (assuming custom made) "Broolklin" flag
2) It snowed this past week too! For about 30 seconds and then it stopped though
3) New Hair Cut


Friday, January 1, 2016

Merry late Christmas!!

It's the most wonderful time of the week. We're gonna listen to Tyler
speak! Oh wait I mean Elder Rossi. Anyways, how is everyone! I want to
start out by saying late happy birthday to one of my favorites, Emily
Vickers and a happy early birthday to the one who I'll be beating in a
basketball game in a little over a year from now, my uncle Steve! I
always get scared of doing birthday shout outs because I know I'm
going to forget someone. Please don't hate me! Just like Christina
Perri, I'm only human, okay?

Now onto the week! This week was a little tougher for lessons because
of Christmas which is weird since people will go buy stuff to
celebrate the birth of Christ but won't learn about the birth of
Christ. Ugh...Americans. Just kidding. Our first lesson  was with Ryan
on Monday night and I feel like I've been forgetting to mention
something...he's had a baptism date for 12/26 for the past couple
weeks now. In other words, he got baptized!!! This was my first time
starting and finishing the lessons with someone so that made it even
cooler. The baptism was Saturday night and even though I messed up on
the program a couple times the baptism went really well. Elder Wagley
got to do the actual baptism and then I did the confirmation the next
day. He also doesn't speak any Spanish even though his mom wants him
baptized into the Spanish ward so it was really weird doing a blessing
in English. I actually stuttered over my words a couple times because
I was still thinking in Spanish.

The day before Christmas we had a mission wide devotional in order to
celebrate Christmas as a mission. Besides someone telling us we're
stupid for not understanding revelation and Isaiah, it was a lot of
fun! And it was really nice to finally see people outside my zone
again. But we will be back this coming week for transfers! Which is
also crazy since it feels like it just started.

The other really cool experience from this week came Christmas Day!
And it's not because I got to talk with my family...that's how you
know you've been a missionary for almost a year now 😁 even though it
was awesome to talk with everyone! I love you family 😊 But also I was
talking to a lot of the members back from Brentwood on Christmas and
they were all saying how they wish I could come back and how much they
miss me and appreciated how much I did for them all and it was just
super cool. So then I got homesick and wanted to go back to brentwood.
That will forever be my real mission home. We also had a lesson that
day! We went and saw angel who is now super progressing! We invited
him to be baptized and he said yes without skipping a beat. I believed
he would but I was still so shocked that I felt like plankton when he
gets into the Krusty Krab and Mr. Crab asks him now what? And plankton
just looked at him and said, "I don't know...I didn't think I'd get
this far." Word for word how I felt. But I explained how blessed he'd
be, how Heavenly Father is so proud of him and that there's so much in
store for him. The only thing is that he works Sunday's like pretty
much everyone else in New York so we have to find a way to help with
that. We talked a little about that as well and he said he can come
this Sunday so that's good! That's also when we will be talking
about setting up a date.

Those are pretty much the 3 big highlights from this week. Even though
they aren't many, they're still super powerful and meaningful to me.
Being a missionary has been one of the greatest and of course at times
hardest things I've chosen to do. But I also haven't been as happy as
I am when I'm helping others to come to Christ! I also took some good
pictures this week...you're welcome mom πŸ˜‰

1) Crazy Christmas set up at a members house
2) I busted my lip playing basketball last Monday
3) NO SLEEP TIL....BROOKLYN!!!!
4) The district
5) Christmas sunrise
6 and 7) Christmas breakfast
8 and 9) BAPTISM!!!