Tuesday, February 25, 2014

February 24th

   So far working with the iPads has been pretty cool. Now we get to show videos from LDS.org to people when we teach and we can transfer and update records really easily, It's easier to plan things and its easier access information. We haven't seen any miracles from using these things yet but then again we just got them, and we don't take them out to much because of the area we're in. Right now we still have to enter in all our paper records to the iPads and that is a pain in the butt; however, the records we have already completed make everything so much easier. These iPads are going to help us out a lot once we get used to them. Things finally started to warm up a little bit this past week. 

   Tuesday was still cold but the rest of the week was somewhat warmer than its usually been. Tuesday was one of the slower days of the week. We stopped by a lot of people on Tuesday. In the evening, missionaries from another zone called us and told us one of their investigators will be living in our area for a few weeks. Her name is Cara, she's a teenager. When we went and stopped by to introduce ourselves, it was so weird. But shes a solid investigator. She's already been taught everything and she's ready to be baptized. We went with a member and took her to the Temple visitors center on Friday and she really liked it. She's really excited to become a member. 

   Wednesday morning there was a random thunder storm that came through. It rained really hard in the morning and washed away a lot of the snow. Wednesday afternoon we went on exchange with the Zone Leaders. Elder Pintor stayed in our area with Elder Toilolo and I went with Elder Engleman into the Zone Leaders area. We had a teaching appointment with this student who knows the bible very well. Every time we would bring something up he could refer it to the bible. He has a really hard time understanding priesthood authority. At the end of the lesson though he asked if we could get him a triple combination. He's really interested in learning about the church, he's primarily interested in learning about Joseph Smith, but he already told us he doesn't think he can believe it because it's not the bible. He's a good guy though. 

   We continued our exchange until Thursday when we had district meeting and weekly planning. Planning took longer than usual because we had to input some records but that took up most of our day. Thursday night we had our scripture class and that went well. The Zone Leaders have an investigator named Will who came and loved it. He told me that what we studied that night applied directly to him. He loves the church so far. 

   Friday it rained again but thats better than snow. We spent Friday morning inputing records but the rest of the day was great. In the afternoon we took Cara to the Temple visitors center. Then we went to the Morgan's home. Brother Morgan is a student at the University of Pennsylvania, he acts like he's twelve, he's always going a million miles an hour. He served his mission in Japan, and most of the time he spent on his mission was on college campuses. When we went over he taught us some of his successful techniques on how to do street contacting on campus. Hopefully we'll find them successful too as we start walking around Temple University. Friday night we went over to a less active families home, they're Puerto Rican and there was like 8 kids there going crazy. The kids were awesome though. They were so excited to see the missionaries. I got them to calm down and sit together on the floor, they would do anything we told them to do. They were SO funny! We taught them all how to pray and they said a prayer together in a big group, it was awesome. Elder Pintor recorded me teaching but we didn't record them saying the prayer together but it was so awesome. Those kids were great. Saturday Elder Pintor and I didn't go and play football because Bishop invited us over to his house for breakfast that morning and we had service to do. A family from the area next to us moved into our area and we helped them move. The family left the church because of something another member did but they love having the missionaries over. Hopefully we can get them back into the church. They have a car! So transportation isn't an excuse for them. 

   Saturday evening we gave Jeanine a baptismal interview, it was kind of hard getting to her house this time though because the street she lives off was turned into a crime scene. we were able to make it to her door though. After that we went to go stop by Brother Jaretsky and check on him. He's the guy that looks like the old man who plays chess with himself from the pixar short films. He ended up going to the hospital because he couldn't breathe but he's ok now. Before it was time for us to go in we had a lesson with Dillon and his family. They finally got a car and church clothes on Friday! Now you would think they have no excuses to not make it to church on Sunday but for whatever reason they weren't there... 

   Sunday was a great day though. Leroy finally came to church! He said he loved it! It was so great seeing him there because we see him all the time and he always says he's going to be there but this time he actually came. Leroy will be baptized some day. Leroy was able to connect with some of the members and everyone loved him. We also got a Muslim guy that walked in into the Chapel. He said he got a phone call from someone saturday telling them to visit the church, so he came. We have no idea who he talked to, he has no idea who he talked to but he came and checked it out. He ended up loving it too. his name is Elisha. I had to teach gospel principles this Sunday and throughout the class Leroy and Elisha were both really interactive. They were giving good comments and answering questions. It was great. Jeanine's Baptism was right after church, Leroy and Elisha couldn't stay for that but the baptism was good. Jeanine kept telling me she feels like she's floating. After Church we went to the Rennie's and taught their family about temples and talked about how great a blessing it is to be getting a temple in the center of Philadelphia. After that we went to Mike and Dana's house and had dinner and read from the Book of Mormon with them as usual. 

   Transfers are coming up again, we'll know whats going to happen this Friday night. This next week is supposed to get cold again too, I'm sick of this cold weather.

February 17th

  This past week has been super cold. On Tuesday we ended up walking almost everywhere we had to be. For some reason the buses did not want to cooperate with us that day. Seriously we missed every bus onTuesday, they all came really early. We just walked everywhere. We made a lot of stop bye's Stopped by less active members and potential investigators all day. 

   Wednesday was a good day, even though it was still super cold.  Wednesday morning we were able to meet with Noel. We talked to him about the word of wisdom. He has a little problem but nothing we can't fix. Once he's baptized, he's going to be a great member. We invited him to Jeannine's baptism this Sunday and he told us we would have to hold him back from jumping into the font. He's really excited to join the church; great guy. Wednesday afternoon we decided to start trying our luck at Temple University. Campus is right in our area and all the students I'm our ward keep telling us to go there. We went and walked around campus for a little while and ended up meeting a few members from other wards. We were able to talk with some other students and we were able to kind of figure out where we could have lessons with people and where most of the students usually are. I am excited to start proselyting on campus. The students in our ward are excited too. They all want to come with out contacting with us. Wednesday night we had a lesson with G before we had to be inside. G is a really smart kid. We got him the children's Book of Mormon, children's D&C and children's testaments. He's already read almost half of the children's Book of Mormon and about a fifth of the Old Testament. Giovanni, we're still working on him and Rebecca (his girlfriend, technically wife) getting married. Then Wednesday night we got hit with a blizzard. 

   Woke up Thursday morning to a lot of snow. It kept snowing through Thursday afternoon too. Then the snow turned into freezing rain. The roads were a mess. District meeting was canceled Thursday morning. We stayed in and did weekly planning till the afternoon. We tried to stay sheltered as much as possible Thursday. So right after we planned we knocked on the neighbors door, Hector, and
taught him about the Book of Mormon for a little bit. We had dinner after that but we could only stay in for an hour for dinner. Elder Pintor really wanted to do Facebook so we walked down to the subway from our place, because the buses were shut down all day, and took the subway to the church. Elder Pintor did Facebook for a little bit, I read scriptures. Everything was frozen with a super thick layer of ice by Thursday night. Walking back home we saw some cars frozen in pools of water. Snow was all around the cars, by the cars being in the middle of this snow pile it kind of created a bowl. When it rained, freezing rain, the bowl of snow filled with water then froze solid. There were some small cars frozen solid almost up to the door handles. A lot of the gutters and storm drains froze up too. 

   Friday morning when we woke up our street was iced over. There were bulldozers going
up and down the streets dozing snow out of the way. Luckily the buses kind of started back up again Friday morning. We were going to walk to the subway to get to the church Friday morning but as we were walking we had a bus catch up to us, that was lucky. The bus almost didn't make it up a small hill though because the roads were slick. We headed to the church and caught a ride to Broomall with Brother Stephenson for zone training. Zone training lasted most of the day but we got our iPads during zone training. Brother Stephenson was nice enough to drive us back from Broomall as well. On our way back we visited a less active member at Temple Hospital who is stopping smoking and trying her best to get to the temple. She's awesome. Funny woman. Right after that we went to go teach Dillon and his family. We finally got his aunt (I think, their family tree is really weird) to join us in the lesson. Her name is Tiffany, she's less active. A while ago, right after Shamo left, I finally got her to stay reading the Book of Mormon and now she's sitting in on lessons with Dillon. We also got most of the family to join in on a family prayer before we left too. That was a miracle. 

   Saturday morning we played football. Despite the three feet of snow on the field we still played and some of the kids that play with us still came out too. Saturday we also helped some of the members clear out the snow in front of the church parking lot entrance. When they plowed the streets they plowed all the snow into a huge pile in front if the parking lot. It took at least two hours to clear that out. Saturday night I think some guys tried to mug us. It was kind of hard to tell. He was drunk and he was yelling at us asking for change but then he told us to worship with him. He wouldn't stop yelling. I can't even describe the experience. 

   Yesterday was stake conference out here, Elder Neilson was there from the seventy. He gave a great talk. Right after stake conference we had back to back to back to back appointments. It was overwhelming. Right after conference we were finally able to meet with this woman named Mae (May) and her friend Henry. They're awesome, they have a strong desire  to change and learn about God and Jesus Christ. They're not very learned in religion but they love have us over to teach them. I am excited to keep meeting with them. After that we were supposed or have dinner with a member but it didn't work out because the invite was too late of notice and we didn't have time. Bishop came with us to meet with a less active/in reality active member named Grace. She's a loud Puerto Rican woman. She lives in our ward boundaries but goes to church every week in New Jersey. When we first stopped by her last week, we stopped by just to say hi and introduce ourselves but we couldn't come in because there wasn't another guy with us. She got so mad we couldn't come in. She requested we bring bishop with us this week. When we met with her yesterday she took us over to her neighbors house, Marie. Marie is going to be 99 years old in August. She's still up and active, looks like she's 60. We talked to he for a bit about church then went back to Grace's house to talk to her with bishop about her family and church and all that. Grace told us she wants us to meet all her neighbors. She told us she's going to start taking us around her neighborhood every time we come visit. After we met with her we had our usual weekly dinner appointment with Mike and Dana. Mike made us "Mikes burgers". A dangerous combination of ground beef and "secret ingredients" topped with "special cheese". They were super good. This week it's supposed to start warming up. I can't wait for the summer!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Monday February 10th

   Last week the library we email at was closed because of the snow storms, The snow here is super weird, I can't describe it but it's weird. Good news is, we get iPads on Friday! We should be able to email from those, just have to find Wifi. Finding WiFi is a whole lot easier than finding an open library though. The week before last week wasn't to eventful. It was very cold the whole week. We spent a lot of our time trying to find new investigators. We've been praying hard to find people to teach who are honestly interested in religion. 

   Tuesday the 28th we spent most of the day trying to contact people and visit less active members. Nothing exciting happened Tuesday. 

   Wednesday all of our appointments fell through but we were able to get four new investigators who seemed very interested. Thursday we had district meeting and weekly planning. After we planned we stopped by some people and then went to our scripture class that evening for the rest of the night. Friday we spent the afternoon at a funeral service at the church. Almost all of the people at the service were non-members. We thought it would be a good idea to help out a little and talk to people at the service. We ended up talking to most of the people there about the church but nobody showed any interest in meeting with us or even coming to one of our services. 

   Saturday morning we played football then went to another funeral service at the church to try and find more people that might be interested in the church but the same thing happened Saturday that happened Friday. Nobody showed any interests towards the church. I though that was really weird because ass those people are already in the church and during the funeral services some of the speakers made comments about the church that should have raised questions. 

   Sunday was fast Sunday. This fast and testimony meeting wasn't to crazy. We did have someone from the congregation stand up at the front (not using the pulpit, just yelling) bear their testimony on Forest Gump, but the zone leaders had an investigator of theirs get up and bear her testimony. Her name is Jeanine and she bore her testimony on how she found the church. She found the church when is was Christmas time. Elder Shamo and I went out and sang Christmas Carols to people with Elder Whitaker and Elder Toilolo sometime around Christmas eve. Jeanine was one of the people we sang to. We actually went and sang a hymn to her neighbor first, who is less active, and Jeanine heard us singing and came outside to see what was going on. The less active member then told us to go sing to Jeanine, so we did, and she loved it. She asked for missionaries to come visit after we sang. She bore a wonderful testimony about how she had been searching for the true church her whole life and how she knew she finally found it. She didn't even sound like an investigator, as she bore her testimony she sounded like she had been a member her whole life and the spirit was incredibly strong. She was supposed to be the last one to speak because we were out of time but another member stood up and decided she had to bear her testimony as well, about Forest Gump. That all happened the week before last week; last week was great! Besides Monday. 

   Monday the 3rd the whole city was effected by a large snow storm. Most of the city was shut down. The library we normally email at was closed. Usually bishop lets us use the computer in the clerks office when that happens but that computer is broken. So we ended up finding a little library that let us get on the computer for 15 minutes. Wasn't much time but at least it was something. After that we had to go find some place where Elder Pintor could get an eye exam. His vision is bad, he's near sighted. So we spent a couple of hours in an optometrist's shop. I just payed around with all the glasses while watching Elder Pintor get his eyes checked. It snowed to much on Monday, I am sick and tired of all the snow and ice. 

   Tuesday was my Birthday. It was just like any other day. I got a nice text in the morning from President and Sister Anderson wishing me happy birthday, I loved that. I also got a cake, cinnamon rolls, and some chocolate covered strawberries delivered to our place as well. I loved that too. I ate the strawberries and the cinnamon rolls but I saved the cake for later. Monday the Elders from another ward in our stake handed off one of their investigators to us. They had been teaching him for a little bit but he lives in our area so they had to hand him off to us. His name is Noel and he is super excited to get baptized. He loves the church. His ex wife is a member but he told us that he doesn't want to get baptized because of her, he said that this was something he decided to do because it's what he wants. He is scheduled to be baptized on March 2nd. 

   Something else cool that happened Tuesday night though was that as we were coming in for the night we found our next door neighbor chillin outside on his porch. As were walking up to our front door he asked us if we could talk to him about the church. He told us he's lived next door to the missionaries for so long but never had a lesson with them because he was never interested. He told us that he wants to meet with us now because he's actually looking for religion in his life at this time. We prayed with him and told him we would see him Wednesday for a quick lesson. 

   Wednesday Morning I had the horrible experience of "freezing rain". Freezing rain is pretty much what you get when the temperature is below freezing but it still rains. I think that's how it works, but everything was frozen that morning. It got better in the afternoon when it started to clear up. Most of the day we were at the church. We had scheduled to give a couple of people tours of the church that afternoon through the evening. Nobody showed up to their tour. We spent most of our day sitting at the church waiting for people to show up so we could show them around. Whenever someone didn't show up we would talk to some of the members that came through or read scriptures. 

   Thursday we had zone training. zone training is different from zone conference. zone training is just with our zone. zone conference is when multiple zones get together. After zone training we had weekly planning, then a great lesson with Noel after that. 

   Friday afternoon we were supposed to meet someone else at the church but they didn't show up either. Friday night Brother and Sister Carr, who are in charge of the new temple construction, invited our district over to the temple site for dinner. It was Brother Carr's birthday. I hadn't eaten my cake yet so I took it over there when we went. They didn't know it was my birthday and I didn't want them to do anything special for me but they included me in the birthday song. It was Elder Toilolo's birthday on February 1st so they included him to. We ended up having a short little birthday party for the three of us Friday night. 

   Saturday we had a lot of people come and play football with us in the morning. The rest of the day after football we went around visiting less active members. Most of the people we stopped by weren't home but one of the families we stopped by was actually talking about the missionaries and going back to church just before we knocked on their door. That was cool. Saturday night we finally got in contact with this guy named Warren. We gave him a gospel video a while ago and were finally able to follow up with him. He said he loved the video. He ended up talking to us for an hour and a half that night. We invited him to church on Sunday and he actually came. 

   Sunday we had several people tell us they would be at church but only two came. Warren and Victoria. Warren seems really interested in the church. we're supposed to talk to him some more tomorrow. Victoria is starting to keep her commitments now. We had a quick lesson with her right after church and she said she really liked it and that this is where she wants to be. Warren had to leave right after Sacrament so we weren't able to talk to him after church but he was very into sacrament meeting. As we have prayed hard to find those who are honestly seeking for religion, I can defiantly see our prayers have been answered. "Whatsoever you ask in faith, being united in prayer according to my command, ye shall receive" - D&C 29:6

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Monday February 3rd

There is a huge snow storm blowing through Philadelphia right now and just about everything is closed. I only have 10 minutes on this computer so I'll email all about this last week next week. I'm doing good, staying warm, and I'm safe.