Tuesday, January 28, 2014

   This past week has been crazy! Tuesday was supposed to be my last day with Elder Shamo. We had a couple of lessons lined up that didn't hold, we visited some less active members, and tried to talk to one of our members about his word of wisdom problem. What made this week so interesting was the snow. On Tuesday it snowed about 14 inches with somewhat high winds. Because of the snow Elder Shamo and I had to walk everywhere since the buses we're running really slow. The snowing wasn't that bad but the wind was horrible. The wind made it so much colder and it seemed like no matter what direction we walked throughout the whole day, the snow was always blowing in our faces. Coordination was also canceled Tuesday night. When we finally got in Tuesday night, we we're covered in ice. It continued to snow throughout the night. 

   Wednesday morning Elder Shamo and I woke up a little earlier than usual and went over to the zone leaders place to have breakfast together before Elder Shamo and Elder Whitaker left. After breakfast, as we we're about to walk out the door and head down to Broomall, the zone leaders got a call that transfers had been postponed to Thursday because of the travel conditions. I was exited to hear that because it meant I got to spend one more day with Elder Shamo but at the same time I was worried about how that would affect the rest of our day and the rest of our week. Wednesday we had planned for transfers but it was postponed, so the time we would have been spent at transfers was instead spent doing service. We decided to borrow some snow shovels from the church and go shovel snow off peoples sidewalks/yards. We went to the Rennie's home first to help Brother Rennie shovel all the snow out of his huge driveway but when we got there he was almost done so we went to some nearby less active members and shoveled their walkways and parking spots for them. Then the Rennies' fed us brunch real fast and we went over to Brother Abad's home. His home is a disaster... When we got there we cleaned up wet dry wall that fell from the ceiling. When we first got there Elder Shamo pretended to be my new companion but Brother Abad figured it out after a while. I can not even describe what it's like being in Brother Abad's home. When we were done with the dry wall we continued about our day as scheduled; making stop by's and showing up to appointments that fall through. Wednesday night Elder Shamo asked the assistants for permission to stay the night at the zone leaders home since all of his stuff was already over there and so we wouldn't have to wait for a bus to take us to the subway in the morning; the zone leaders live right above the subway. I didn't want to stay the night there because that meant I would have to sleep on the floor, but Elder Shamo got permission and he really wanted to stay the night there so we did. 

   Thursday morning we headed over to Broomall for transfers and Ed Jackson, a recent convert, traveled with us because he wanted to see how transfers worked. Ed is awesome, he's super funny. When we do transfers all the missionaries that are being transfer out of their ares stand on one side of the gym and the missionaries who are staying in their areas stand on the opposite side. Anyone else who came sits in the overflow. They call out the missionary who is staying to the center of the gym, then they call out the new companion to the center and Sister Anderson takes a picture. That's it. Ed was standing with all the missionaries who we're staying acting like he was ready to get assigned to an area. He was being loud and laughing, you could hear him all the way across the gym. Ed is awesome. I was sad seeing Elder Shamo standing on the opposite side of the gym from me. He was my favorite companion so far. I didn't want him to leave, but he was replaced. My new companion is Elder Pintor, also the new district leader. Elder Toilolo's new companion, and the new zone leader, is Elder Engleman, and Sister Beams' new companion is Sister Stephenson. We've replaced three missionaries in our district. After transfers were over and we were back home I took Elder Pintor around the Area to try and contact some people and do stop by's. Later our district was invited to go to Sister Rodgers' home for dinner. After dinner we had a member come out with us to a lesson that fell through so he volunteered to drive us around for the next hour, until we needed to be in, wherever we needed to go. 

   Friday, since transfers were postponed, we had district meeting and weekly planning. Something we started to do Friday nights is play basketball in the gym at the church with people we meet on the streets and some of the members and their friends. So far we get a good amount of people to come. Afterwords we give a spiritual thought, say a prayer and invite everyone to church. 

   Saturday morning we played football as usual. It snowed Saturday morning so we didn't get very many people out to play with us. Usually we play with a big group of people but not very many people wanted to play in the snow with us. Saturday we actually has two appointments hold. Our first appointment was with this guy named Derral. The lesson went super well but at the end he told us he doesn't want to join our church because he like's the church he's already in. We we're both extremely shocked when he said that. He doesn't want us to come back but we left him with a book of Mormon. He's a really cool guy but just doesn't want to change. All we can do is invite. Our other lesson was with Victoria. She has a lot of interest in the church. When we met with her, we went with a member, and we taught her about The Book of Mormon and answered all her questions. She downloaded the Gospel Library app on her phone before we left. She's been wanting to come to church with us for a while and she finally got a trans pass, so she told us she wanted us to travel to church with her Sunday morning too. After we met with her we made some stop by's and reminded several more people about church the next day. 

   Sunday morning Elder Pintor and I had to wake up at 5:30 so we could travel with Victoria on the bus. At 6:30, just after we walked out the door, she called us and told us not to come anymore because she didn't have anything to wear... We told her that she could wear whatever, she came up with some other excuse but we just went back inside and tried to keep each other awake until we had to catch the bus for church. Sunday night the Ala family invited our district over for dinner at their apartment. After we had dinner there we went do Mike and Dana's home and Elder Pintor got to meet Dana. As we walked home their house, several people came up to us and tried to sell us drugs. 

   Today for P-day, Elder Pintor needs to unpack all his stuff so we'll be doing that today. Elder Pintor is really cool, I like him. He's from Vegas and he's half Mexican half Indian. He's smaller than I am. From what I've been told and what I've seen so far, he's a good missionary. I'm glad he's my new companion. He trained Elder Bergman from my MTC district. I'm still getting to know him. He's been out for just over a year now. Over this next couple weeks, something we're going to work really hard on is finding a lot of new investigators. We meet new people every day but most, if not all, the people in our area know what we do. Everyone out here we talk to knows about us. Most of the people we talk to usually say something along the lines of "why can't I just love Jesus", but they still agree to let us teach them about the church. Half the time we get a real address and if we're lucky we get a working phone number. It's been a real challenge finding people who are truly interested lately. The time I've spent out here so far has gone by incredibly fast. "I know that which the Lord hath commanded me, and I glory in it. I do not glory of myself, but I glory in that which the Lord hath commanded me; yea and this is my glory, that perhaps I may be an instrument in the hands of God to bring some soul to repentance; and this is my joy." -Alma 29:19

Monday, January 20, 2014

   Friday Elder Shamo and I figured out who was staying and who was leaving the area. Elder Shamo is leaving and I am staying. I will be getting a new companion on Wednesday. I am sad that we will no longer be companions but I'm glad I'm not leaving. I've grown to like it here, I'm used to it now. So from our district, Elder Shamo is leaving, one of the sisters is leaving and Zone Leader Elder Whitaker is leaving. On Wednesday we'll have three new missionaries in our district. Today is Martian Luther King day which means the libraries are closed and we're stuck sharing a computer in the clerks office at the church. Hopefully when we get iPads we can use those to email! That would be awesome; I could email from almost anywhere and I could email for a longer period of time. But for now, we have the clerks office. 

   This past week was kind of rough, not one of our greater weeks. We had tons of lessons planned for this week but for whatever reason we only had one lesson the entire week. The rest of our appointments either weren't home or we couldn't get a member our with us. Tuesday was an interesting day. We we're able to contact this guy we met named Leroy. We knocked on his door and he let us in. After we talked to him for a bit and got to know him, he gave us these shirts that say "real men pray everyday". Then he showed us some swords he found. He's super cool. He will be baptized. In the evening we figured out one of our members has a smoking addiction. We went to go visit Sister Saurez and her neighbor (an active member) was there. We talked a little bit about the new temple and somehow the conversation got turned and we discovered this member smokes. This guy looks exactly like the guy that plays chess with himself from the pixar short films. Anyway, we're working on him. 

   Wednesday we walked all over area going to and from lessons that didn't hold. Nothing cool or exciting happened Wednesday. 

   Thursday we had district meeting then weekly planning. We went on exchange with the Zone Leaders as well. I stayed in our area with Elder Whitaker and Elder Shamo went with Elder Toilolo in their area. Elder Whitaker is a cool guy, I'm sad he's being transferred as well. For some reason Friday went by super fast, I don't even remember Friday happening. Most of the days out here don't seem like they happen. The only days I can really remember are Mondays. 

   Friday we ended our exchange in the evening then Elder Shamo and I had our one lesson with Giovanni. We talked to him a little more about getting married. After that we got the call that Elder Shamo was being transferred. 

   Saturday we played football with a group of high school kids, their coach wanted them to scrimmage with us. That was fun, They said they'll be coming out every Saturday. hopefully we can start teaching some of their families. Saturday evening one of the members invited our district over for dinner. When we arrived at his house there were two ambulances there and EMT's running in and our of his house. After they left we figured out he just had some low blood sugar and fainted in his basement. He thought he was cool because he refused to go to the hospital. We still had dinner with him after all that. This is the guy that I took a picture of who is wearing the blue suit; Brother Gary. I don't remember if I already mentioned this or not but he gave me that blue suit. 

   Sunday after church we got a member do drive us around to some people we had scheduled to have lessons with. None of them were home.... Sunday night we had dinner at the Rennie's house for all the missionaries being transferred. Today we're going to go do whatever Elder Shamo wants to do before he's transferred. I really hope my new companion is cool and hard working.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Monday, January 13th

   Don't send any mail after tomorrow morning, transfers are next week and we figure out everyone's fate Friday night. I have no Idea if i'll stay or go

   The weather here kinda sucks. One day It'll dump snow, the next day it'll pour rain, then the day after that EVERYTHING will be frozen solid. On Tuesday the weather got down to -15 with the wind chill so president suggested that we do our weekly planning on Tuesday instead of Thursday. So Tuesday we stayed inside most of the day. After we planned we went out for a little bit to contact some people and do some stop by's on our way over to a members home for dinner. Coordination was that night too so luckily we didn't have to go back out in the freezing winds. I wore 7 layers of cloths for he rest of the day after we planned to stay warm. 

   Wednesday we did a lot of walking, stopping by a lot of people and trying to contact referrals. Wednesday wasn't as cold. All our lesson appointments fell through too. Most of the people we're teaching are girls so we have to have another guy in the room when we teach. We try and bring members with us when we can but most of the members that can usually come out with us were still on vacation. 

   Thursday was a weird day because we didn't do weekly planning that day. Since we didn't plan we had a lesson with Dillon and a lesson with Gloria. I don't know if I've reported anything on Gloria yet but she is Puerto Rican and she has a disabled daughter. She is very interested and has a date for the 16th I think. She speaks more Spanish than English but prefers to take lessons from us over the Spanish elders. Thursday night we had a scripture study class. The only people who showed up were Elder Shamo and I, the zone leaders, the sister missionaries and two male members. Since there was no other women there the sisters were about to leave but on of the members, Brian, said "Wait, if I got out on the streets and find a woman who wants to join us can you sisters stay?" We said, "yes", then he said "ok be back soon". 15 Minutes later he walks into the building with two college girls. Apparently they had a lot of questions about the Book of Mormon. so we taught them the restoration. Brian is a weird dude. 

   Friday we had a couple of great lessons, we were not out walking around much. We read from the Book of Mormon a little bit with this Puerto Rican guy pablo, he's a non-member. Elder Shamo had a lesson over facebook with one of our less active mmbers. Late in the afternoon we had an investigator cancel on us while we had a member out with us so we went and visited Pearl and Denise. They're both less active and they live together; and they're both trying to overcome a smoking addiction. When we arrived Pearl was there with her neighbor Mary and we have no Idea where Denise was but we taught Pearl and Mary about the Word of Wisdom. At the end of the lesson we helped pearl exercise her faith and commit to stop smoking 100% from then on. We'll see how that goes. After that we had a Lesson with Giovanni and G. We taught G about the gospel of Christ then we talked to Giovanni about chastity. If I mentioned, Goivanni is an active non-member because he currently lives with his girlfriend Rebecca. Rebecca is the mom of their two kids Giovanni jr (G) and Siani (I still dont know how o spell her name). Rebecca has no interest in the church but Giovanni really wants to be baptized. We had to talk to him about getting married. He doesn't know if their relationship is going to work out so we committed him him to fast and pray about what to do and act upon the answer he receives. That lesson was scary but it went incredibly well. The spirit helped us through that one all the way. 

   On Saturday we played football in the rain, luckily it was a lot warmer than normal on Saturday. After that we walked around contacting people the rest of the day. 

   Sunday we came to church to see all of our members back from vacation. After church we had ward council. Then the Rennie family invited us over for dinner last minute. Luckily we could go because we had no lessons scheduled. Before dinner we made some stop by's and after dinner we visited Mike and Dana. Today Elder Shamo and I are going to travel to Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Monday January 6th

   This past week was kind of a rough week, because of the holidays and so many people being gone and having plans it's been hard to have lessons. Tuesday was kind of a crazy day because it was New Years Eve. There were cops everywhere and lots of people walking round on the streets. We were able to talk to lots of people while waiting for buses and people that would stop us on the street but for the most part, nobody was home New Years Eve. President Anderson told all the missionaries to be in by 7 that night; good thing too because right around 7 weird stuff started to happen. Elder Shamo and I bought some chicken wings to celebrate the New Year, we also went to bed early, we didn't want to stay up. As soon as the clock hit midnight Tuesday night, I was awakened by hundreds of gunshots. Everyone in our neighborhood unloaded a clip into the air at midnight. It was pretty scary. It kind of sounded like a brick of fire crackers going off but with a little more delay between each explosion/shot.

   Wednesday morning when we started proselyting it seemed like the city had died. We walked outside and it was quiet. EVERYONE  was hungover. There was almost nobody on the streets and the people that were on the streets were…. crazy.  I don't know how to describe it. Our area is crazy! Wednesday we spent most of the day with members. We went home teaching with Brother Davis, had dinner with the Ford's, and visited some of the less active members. Brother Davis drives a huge semi truck, it was pretty cool driving around in it. 

   Thursday was zone training and weekly planning and district lunch. Zone training was good, we learned a lot about how to help those we're teaching make and keep commitments. After zone training we planned for this week. After weekly planning we had district lunch. Once a transfer President Anderson has allowed for the missionaries to get together in their districts and go have lunch together. Our District consists of Elder Shamo and I, the zone leaders Elders Toilolo and Whitaker, and the Sister Missionaries Sisters Beams and Reyes. We got together and went to an Asian restaurant called PanAsian Buffet. It was pretty good. Thursday night there was expected to be a huge snow storm coming in so President Anderson wanted us in at 6 Thursday night. At 6 Elder Shamo and I went in and studied for about an hour. While we were studying it got a little windy outside and started to dump snow. We went to bed early again. 

   When we woke up on Friday there was a good 8 or 9 inched of powder outside and it was still super windy. Friday was cold, the buses weren't running very often either so we ended up walking almost everywhere we went. However since the conditions were so bad outside, everyone else was inside so we were able to contact most of our referrals on Friday. I figured out that the reason why most people aren't home out here is because they don't like their homes. Seriously, people out here don't like being in their own houses, they're only in them when they're cold. 

   Saturday morning we played football in the snow, that was pretty fun. The rest or Saturday was spent walking between appointments that fell through. 

   Sunday when we walked out the door to go to church everything was frozen solid. The snow was melting all day Saturday then froze that night. The roads were iced over, the sidewalks were iced over and everyones cars were frozen shut. There was almost nobody at church. After church we studied then went to stop by some people. Sunday night we had dinner with Mike and Dana.Today,ever since this morning it's been dumping rain. All the snow is being washed away. Tonight its supposed to drop down to 7 degrees... It'll be interesting to see if everything freezes again. This year the Philadelphia Mission slogan is "Doubt not, Fear not", it comes from D&C 6: 36 I think.

Love you all,