We got iPads this week. We also baptized Jayden. I'm typing this using
this voice thing on the iPad. I may misspell a bunch of stuff but but
but I guess it all works out. Jaden's baptism did. We didn't do much,
And there wasn't a lot of people that came, and I don't know why that
and is capitalized but whatever, and we had a last-minute practicefor
the musical number but everything turned out well. The Holy Spirit was
there. I might attach a picture of the baptism. This thing is flipping
cool. Ha ha lowell. Loel. LOL me to sleep.
Love, elder to Jesus
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Here's two guys,
Guy 1: Last Friday, before teaching Jana from her new Slovak Book of Mormon, we were searching for members whom the leaders of the congregation, the ward council, did not know. We were at a point where we were sort of discouraged in finding new people to teach and baptise. Being inspired to visit a particular house of one of these lost members, we knocked on the door. Of course no one answered! But we were certain that the Spirit prompted us to knock on her door! What happened? We decided to ask her neighbors about her whereabouts and one of them said that she moved nine years ago. We were prompted to teach the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the neighbor said, "So, you ain't cops. I'm looking for a church to join." We told her that, no, we are not cops, and that we are missionaries from the Church that she should join. It was apparent that the prompting of the Holy Ghost was real when she accepted the invitation to come to church next Sunday and we found a new person to teach.
Guy 2: Last Wednesday, while still in the same rut that we were in regarding the number of people to teach, we gave a card to a young boy on the street. He asked if the person on the card was Jesus. We said yes and taught him the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He invited his seven other friends to join. We taught them as well. As a result, we told them that we'd come back on Saturday. On Saturday, we received the opportunity to teach the same lesson to their parents, who invited us back next Saturday. We also taught seven other lessons that day. God rescued us from the rut that we were in.
The lesson that I learned was Exodus 14:13 and Moroni 7:33; again, this is not my work, but God's.
To whom it may concern, Esq.,
President Taggart may be sending me home early. I'm proud of it. The reason is that my sister is Sister deJesus reporting to the Philippines mission a day before I was scheduled to go home. So I'm still worthy but going home early!
iPads are coming soon, much like the mission has reported for years now. But we're receiving training on using them this week. We can teach people here with people on Skype; you can help teach the gospel remotely! I'd love to add you all on Facebook to help teach people here.
We went to a Bible study group and a Messianic Jew church service the other day. I do not understand why people confess their sins in Bible study or why the Messianic Jews don't consider the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as part of their church.
Jaden is en route to baptism; Jana is not.... We'll work on it.
I Skyped my mom yesterday. I love that woman, and you should too.
Ja vim ze Buh je, a ze vas zna, a ze vas miluje.
Imma vomit. There's only two months left of my best two years. I thought they just started. The mission office sent me an email to confirm my departure date, which is 8 June 2015. Then they will buy my plane tickets. How far away is that plane? Imma vomit.
Well, I'm still adjusting to this crazy place. Caldwell is full of trees and rich Europeans. We live in what Jersey people call "the mountain," or what people call "hills" in Utah. Hopefully, we don't catch Lyme disease!
So far, we have two people who have accepted a date to be baptized at the end of the month: Jaden and Yana. They look forward to it! Hopefully Jaden's parents and Yana's husband will be active as a result.
We just had interviews at the beginning of the week. Basically, President Taggart and I just talked about me going home in two months. Imma vomit.
Well, there it is. Love y'all.
Never mind. 8 July 2015 is the departure date, as my non-American Haitian friend thankfully corrected me. I guess I was trunky for no reason.
Caldwell is good, but it's definitely not hood. I'm still adjusting to it.
Here there are Filipinos, Czechs, Slovaks, Italians, Lebanese, Haitians, Africans, Greeks, and other Europeans and Mediterraneans. I may actually like it here.
So far, we have three progressing investigators. We will be baptizing one in May. His name is Jaden. Let's pray that he makes it to church two more times!
They just sent me an email saying that I need to confirm my departure on 8 July 2015. I'm gonna vomit.
Anyway, 309 Mt. Pleasant Av #2, Woodland Park, NJ 07424 is the new address.
I feel unworthy to call you that now. I have been transferred from the hood to Caldwell, which is just as good as Beverly Hills. This is more appropriate:
Here is a ward that functions. When we baptize someone, they will stay active. Where is the challenge? Who will I yell at now? What will I yell? My new companion has leaky gut, so he says I will have to eat his portion, double the food, double the weight gain. Every member we visited has told us, "We gotta have you over for dinner." What am I going to do now?? This is my worst nightmare.
We have a developing area. We only have one investigator on a baptismal date. We also received a referral last night. I guess the challenge is there; we will accelerate the growth of this area by finding people to teach.
Before we taught that referral last night, we went to a mission-held fireside. Sister Stout and I performed His Hands, which is a song that makes me cry. As I looked over at the people we were performing for, people from Scotch Plains Stake that I have come to love after a year and a half in their service, I cried. I will miss Jew Nersey. My days as a missionary are almost over.
Freestyle this poem
pepperoni with cheese
Weather warmer. People out.
French family confirmed in French.
Fufu up the heezy. Honey on chicken.
Church, investigator bears testimony
Transfers. Where to? Where to?
Transfers. Goodbyes. Embraces. Car. Tears.
Transfers. Bye, Newark =
Bye, Africa, South America, Europe, Asia.
Bye, Spring Garden!
The subject box refers not to a militant general with an odd surname, but to the past weekend holiday that was general, and a sort of portmanteau of General Conference and Easter.
Elder Johnson and I now have the privilege of teaching 18 investigators. I am very pleased to see his eyes glow when we count our blessings and miracles that happen in our missions.
General Conference was interesting. They talked mainly about marriage and family, pride and hypocrisy, and the last days. The talks emphasized in my heart the stupidity of divorce when not founded upon spousal or child abuse. There are many that I taught in Kearny last year who talked with me, mentioning that they are considering such a hasty and selfish act for their children. They agreed that it's stupid. Things can be worked out!
Robert and Sis. Dore should be confirmed this coming week.
Below are pictures of an in-between Conference meal, a returned sister missionary from Newark from 18 years ago, and Elder Johnson and I.
This has been the most productive week of my mission. We saw a lot of miracles.
First, we went to the General Women's Broadcast. The Brazilian food was delicious. Then, yesterday, we had a multi-unit function. It was in English, Spanish, and French. The African food was delicious.
About that function: Sister Dore is the wife of the second counselor of the branch presidency. She was Muslim and has been taught by the missionaries for two years. Their friend, Robert from Guinea, moved in with them temporarily with the goal of having his family move to America. His brother is a pastor and they know the Bible very well. We have been teaching both of them for two months.
Attached are pictures of the baptism of Robert and Sister and Brother Dore, the iPads, and a good reminder.
The baptismal program included talks by Sister Saunders and Kathy, baptisms in English and French, and a musical number performed by me. The Spirit of God was there. Elder Johnson was excited. Then there was African food.
Well, all week was a medical disaster. Since we are the chauffeurs for the Ironbound Spanish elders, we drove them to various doctor's appointments that turned out to be vain. Elder Marquez was driven from pharmacy to pharmacy trying to obtain a tightly monitored drug equivalent to methamphetamine, aderol. Many pharmacists ended up giving all of us suspicious looks. But we finally worked it out.
We went to an eight-hour leadership conference where we were fed pulled pork and potato salad. The potato salad was a lot like a cannonball. It went right through us. For two days, Elder Johnson and I slowed down the work in order for our bodies to adjust. We napped for a part of the day, then went back out to work. Much Gatorade and apple juice was consumed.
Then we ate some week-old couscous from the refrigerator. We were also fed some delicious African food.
We should be baptizing two people (in French) next week! Please pray for Marie and Robert. We also found eight new people to teach. Despite the medical disaster, we had a good week. God works miracles.
You are hereby going on a mission and stuff to, like, the Philippines and stuff. Woohoo!!! My sister just got her mission call to the Philippines!
Transfers just happened. I stayed as a missionary in Newark's Spring Garden Branch and as Elder Johnson's trainer. Here's what he's experiencing, his first impression of New Jersey:
Once, we entered an elite chicken shack. The perimeters allowed only five people to enjoy loitering in the humid, greasy air. The rest of the restaurant housed the dirty kitchen, surrounded by cheap, seemingly bulletproof plexiglass. As we awaited our order, the line of impatient customers acted as slave-owners, yelling, "Where my food is at?! I'm hungry!" Recognizing us as foreigners, they handed us compliments such as, "What these mutha--- doin here?? They don't belong here." We were approached by a schizophrenic man, foaming at the mouth. He said, "Them thirteen-, fourteen-, fifteen-year-olds and they mutha--- principal! I had my first kiss in high school! Mutha---!" We left, content.
Also, I got to participate in a miracle. His name is Mike. He left for boot camp before we finished all the lessons, and I was also transferred away so I didn't know what happened to him. I worried since his parents are anti. When I called the bishop in my last area, he told me that Mike was baptized in boot camp. A couple of weeks later, he went to the temple and received the priesthood. As a missionary, you are in the front row to people's salvation.
I'm going to the temple in two weeks!
We lost our phone.... That's our livelihood!
We also prepared and participated in a luau.
I am teaching my own English class. It's been my dream.
Max, Meylyn, Marie, Robert, Marvin, and Crystal all have a baptismal date for the end of March and the beginning of February. Please pray for them to receive answers to their prayers.
I guess I missed a couple of details these past weeks. I ran out of meds, so I've been forgetting a buncha things.
We are now teaching more investigators rather than members. We recently received 17 referrals in one day. We have taught more Spirit-filled lessons than I ever have in my mission. We visit hospitals, shelve books, tutor elementary kids, and teach English class, guitar class, and ASL class. The branch is finally putting together an activity at least once a month. The upcoming one is a luau.
The other day, we went hunting for a chicken shack. In the 30 minutes it took to find it, we saw many things. Driving through an abandoned alleyway, there was a middle-aged man hunched over a giant wad of $100 bills, greedily counting them. Walking into the shack, desperate panhandlers met us from every angle, asking for wads of cash, please; are you Christian? Sitting down, we were encountered by a schizophrenic man. He said profoundly, "And the 13-, 14-, and 15-year-olds. My first kiss was in high school. Tell that to your principal. My principal name be John. And the 13- 14- and 15-year-olds." He mentioned that about 7 or 8 times. We invited him to be baptized. He accepted and proceeded to froth at the mouth. We said, "We gotta go." And, without words, he turned and left the store. So we ate our chicken. It was delicious.
If you have previously had any emotional attachment to your phone, you you may be able to sympathize with Elder Johnson and me as I tell this story. We lost our phone. Our phone is the gateway to everything we do as missionaries. We searched and did not find it in anyone's house. We said a prayer. A thought came to our mind to search in the snow. We found it and immediately placed it in a bag of rice. The best feeling is finding your phone. Prayers are answered!
Yesterday, Spring Garden Branch received training from the Scotch Plains Stake high council. I recently celebrated one whole year as a missionary in Spring Garden Branch. Trust me when I say that that training was one year overdue. I am grateful for that prayer answered. I also know that God answers prayers in His own time.
That's how cold it is today, and, in fact, to-week. Six flippin degrees Fahrenheit.
I guess my dad called the mission office to check if I was dead. It turns out that I'm not. Sorry....
We talked to a man on the street. He smelled like Bud Lite and grade A weed. He told us about how his wife needs to go to the hospital and they will be evicted and his wife and his kids and no drugs, see? He seemed very engaged in our gospel conversation until he asked us for cash. I smelled that coming a mile away.
People here just need to work and not make excuses.
On a positive note, Elder Johnson gave his first training in district meeting yesterday. It was bomb.
My stomach is yelling at me. Gotta run!
This week, we shelved books and walked a lot and our car got iced on. We got free fries at a coffee shop. We went to Hamburgao for Elder Johnson's first time. People birthed people. Sadly, people's parents passed on too. And people went to the hospital. It was a slower week.
I let Elder Johnson lead out in planning the area for a bit to see where he's at. This coming week, we're gonna take turns. Then in the last week of the transfer, he will lead again.
We went outside of our apartment and found our car encased in an inch of ice. We scraped it off using our bare fingernails and pushed the car about seventeen miles to the nearest dealership to hijack a new one, crossing only fourteen frozen fjords. Life is tough here in Jersey, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do. You don't know nothin bout guns, as they say. But freezing rainis miserable.
But to-week, we went to Jersey City to fix our car. Juneau the storm convinced the Pep Boys mechanics that they should not show up to work even when there wasn't even a storm.... We also went to a pet store and almost petted a few newborn chihuahuas. Elder Johnson and I made shark tacos and enjoyed them. We finished moving the rest of our stuff from the old apartment.
Our new apartment is in the basement. It's cold. The roof leaks. The floor creaks. There's a man-eating clam in the backyard. 18 Brill St Basement, Newark 07105 is the address, in case you want to send a cake or two.
As per the work, rules are changing. We found a new investigator. We should be baptizing people by the end of February.
Also, Betty came to church!!! I was the happiest man! That's one step closer to going to the temple with her. I'm going to go with Margaret and Samantha as well before I leave this mission.