New York

New York

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Week 85

Hello hello! Welcome to another week!

This week I received an email from my sweet cousin Emily. She had told me about her week and how recently in seminary they have focused on prayer. She asked some questions about my experience with prayer and how I’ve gained a testimony of prayer. I felt to share this with her and I feel to include it in my email this week.

This was my response to her.
[Since being on a mission I have had to rely on prayer a lot. I’ve experienced a lot with prayer and it’s amazing what can happen when you understand and have faith in something like prayer.

I think a couple of the biggest things we need to understand about prayer is first “what it is”… If we don’t understand what praying is, then, just like anything else in the world if we don’t understand it, we won’t know what to do with it.

So what is prayer… Well to me, prayer is a form of communication. Just as we use a cell phone to talk to someone we can’t see or be with in a moment, we use prayer to communicate with someone very special, someone very important to us, in moments that we feel we need to.

And I’d say the second but really the first thing we need to understand is... “Who it is “ that we are talking to. When we pray, we are speaking to our Father in Heaven. We pray to the Father in the name of Jesus Christ (3Nephi 18:19). Our Father in Heaven looks forward to hearing from us and he will never grow tired of hearing from us. Just like our earthly parents want to know what’s going on in our life so does our Heavenly Father (even though he knows exactly what’s going on) he still wants to hear from us and see us exercise our faith in Him.

I had a really neat experience with prayer just before coming home halfway through my mission. I had just finished meeting with my mission president in a chapel in Stamford Connecticut. I had just found out in that meeting with my mission president that I would be coming home. When we left the building he told me, I need you to drive this mission car and I need you to follow behind me. You’ll be alone but you’ll follow me. While you have this opportunity to be alone I want to invite you to think about the things that we just talked about, I want you to role-play with God what you will say to your parents when you call and tell them that you’re coming home.

I have prayed aloud before many times; alone, in front of my family, even at church in front of a congregation. But it wasn’t until this experience that I really understood what it should be like to pray with real intent. The scriptures say to come before the Father with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. In that moment I had a broken heart and a contrite spirit. I had faced my sins head on and came clean of that which kept me from the Spirit. I was uplifted, I was weightless, but I knew it wasn’t over... I knew that I had to go home, face my family, face my congregation, my friends, people that supported me going to serve a mission and my fear was their view on my early return home.

While driving behind my mission president and in a separate car that day I had never felt so much comfort, so much peace, and so much love in that moment then ever before.

I followed the invitation to speak aloud to my Father in Heaven and tell him of the things that I was worried about, the things I feared, but that I was willing to do it anyway.

For over an hour I had a conversation with God. I can’t say that He spoke words to me aloud, but the feelings that overfilled my heart allowed me to know that I wasn’t alone in this. One of the greatest things I learned that day was to give Heavenly Father time to reply.

So often we pray when we need something or when we are frustrated… Etc. but how often when we pray, do we stay on our knees and give Heavenly Father the time to place in our hearts and in our minds feelings and ideas for the things that we need and that we request.

Prayers aren’t always answered immediately, but they are always heard and in due time are always answered. God’s timing is far better than our timing. So we must give Him the time to respond to us through the spirit, even if it’s not going to happen immediately. Show Him you’re willing to listen, because that’s what a conversation is. A TWO-way discussion.

There are a lot of things we can learn from prayer. As you pray for experiences of your own you will come to have a stronger testimony.

I know that prayer is one of the greatest gifts we have been given in this life. It has blessed me abundantly and I am so grateful for it. Through my experiences with prayer I have felt my relationship with Heavenly Father grow and I know as you pray more often and with specific needs you will be blessed with divine help and guidance as you wait and listen to the Holy Ghost.]

This week has been good! Our mission has been picked to pilot a program to make contact with media referrals (meaning the people that go online and request a Free Bible or Book of Mormon make contact with missionaries online, who then refer that person to the mission of where they live). This alone has kept us busy. We haven’t had too much consistency in meeting with specific people but we’ve been out looking up, making a first contact with referrals, and lots of phone calls.

As part of this program, we get sent a lot of referrals, usually about 6 a day. We will figure out where they are located. We look up their address and determine which area they live in and we will send them to the missionaries that serve in that area. When we have referrals that live in our area we will make a few attempts (if necessary) to contact them. In our 1st attempt to contact them we deliver their requested item and seek to find their interest. We like to ask what lead this person to seek out a bible or Book of Mormon. It usually leads to a great and personal experience, where we have the opportunity to offer them a follow up appointment to come back and see how they are understanding their readings...

It’s been really busy! Going around trying to find those who have real intent to follow the Savior.

Today I felt like we had a pretty cool experience. Elder Patterson knew this family that moved into the Olmstead Ward in Hunts Point when he served there. They reached out to him and we met with them this evening at Panda Express. While we were eating, the husband, Brother Grace, asked Elder Patterson a question… He said “what is one of your greatest take-aways since being a missionary?” He said, “other than serving God and being able to share the gospel, what do you feel you’ve benefited from in your experience?”  After Elder Paterson gave his response, he turned to me and said what’s yours? … Same question but what’s your thoughts? I thought about it for a second, I said similar to what Elder Patterson said (he mentioned maturity and how that’s been a big part of his change and experience as a missionary) I would have to say experiencing on a different level, independence. Being a missionary we are dependent on the funds we receive monthly and even at times the people back home supporting us out here. Learning to be thrifty with that money has impacted the way I see money and I see how I can better use it. I don’t like the thought of relying on people financially; I don’t like asking for money or handouts. So I’ve tried to focus on being independent.

I liked being out with Brother Grace and his family; I got a chance to think about how else the mission has impacted my life other than spiritually. The things I’ve learned while serving a mission apply in life after the mission.

I’m so grateful for the opportunity I’ve been blessed with to have the experiences I’ve had that have brought me to where I am and have molded me to who I am today.

Patience. Love. Faith
Much love,

Elder Newbold

Click here to see a wonderful video put out by the Mormon News Room about Religious Freedom, featuring a picture of my cute missionary!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Week 84

Another great week has come and gone!

For a while now we’ve been getting media referrals like crazy, people have been ordering free copies of the Bible and the Book of Mormon!! It’s been awesome, but we’ve also been getting people from sisters in our district. They find people on the street going to and from places and most of them are guys... but they can never successfully hand them over to us. We’ve reached out to the guys they bring to church, we message them over Facebook and stuff and nothing... the guys they find have yet to be interested in learning but more interested in the Sisters. Here’s an example. The sisters have been bugging us about this guy E, who claims to be interested. So they invited him to the church for a tour on Wednesday. After our Pday activities we came to the church and waited for E.

The Sisters invited him and told him nothing about us being there. He agreed to come and get a tour of the church. The Sisters had a one-day notice that one would be getting transferred early. So the Sisters couldn’t make it to the church and we were there to wait for E and give him a tour when he got there. We waited and waited... and we sent him a text saying we were here and that something came up with the Sisters and they couldn’t be here. For a while he didn’t reply and we decided not to waste anymore time. After the Sisters finished their transfer they came back to the church and we met them there before we left. We told him he hadn’t come and we are leaving. (We met the new Sister, Sister Ståhle from Temple Square who just took the place of Sister Neria). E never showed and we left to go visit G.

When we came up to his building we saw G out side smoking. He said we could go in and he’d be right in. We had a quick visit with G due to time. We tried to follow up with his reading the Book of Mormon, but he was too distracted in his mind and talked about the most random things. He doesn’t seem to be in the right frame of mind to be able to be taught, at least in the environment he’s in. So we invited him to come visit the church sometime and we could meet with him there. He agreed and we made an appointment.

On Thursday we spent most the time weekly planning and making a lot of phone calls. We just have so many people in our area book we are trying to find the elect and filter out those who aren’t interested and on top of it all we are receiving at least 3 referrals a day that we are trying to contact as well.

Friday morning after studies we called this guy named J, he is one of the referrals we received. He answered and we set an appointment for today and 11am. So we left the apartment and went over to his. Unable to reach him at his apartment we called him again and explained that we stopped by but he wasn’t home. He apologetically replied that he didn’t mean to confuse us, but he meant to schedule his visit for the next Friday. We then went back home for lunch and made more phone calls. It was a weird day... we had some appointments set but none of them worked out. We even had a window planned in our schedule to Face Time President for a quick meeting and that didn’t happen. It must have been just one of those off days.

Saturday was pretty great too; we had a solid lesson with a kid that the sisters sent us. His name is P, he’s 17, and he is so solid. He’s definitely been prepared, he’s been on a search for God and he found the sisters. We planned to meet with him around 3 and talk about the plan of salvation. We didn’t get through all of it because he had some many great questions. But we briefly went through each point from the pre earth life to the kingdoms. It was a great meeting, at the end he asked how to pray and we walked him through the steps and he offered his first prayer aloud. It was so awesome!

Sunday we had stake conference and it was all right, it was all in Spanish, they had headphones while they translated it to English but it was just different.

The last couple of days have been interesting but great!! Monday during district meeting in comes President Smith! He sat down next to Elder Patterson and listened in for a bit and made some great comments and asked some inspired questions. While someone else was speaking President leaned behind Elder Patterson and said something like, did you get my text? I asked if I could join your district meeting and if there was anything I could help with. I told him we never received his text and I’m not sure how he could help, but that he could participate.

After our meeting President stuck around to have interviews or speak with some other missionaries. Around 1:45 we would need to be back at the church to meet with President. I guess Elder Patterson had an appointment with President, but what ended up happening was around 2pm President was ready, he came to the front of the church where we were waiting and he helped us out with finding the records of a few people and then wanted to meet with us. After he tracked down the records of the family he sat down in the front of the church with us and we talked for an hour and a half. A thought came to my mind while he spoke to us, the thought was... “I was the one who filled out my application to serve a mission, I willingly wrote back to the Presidency accepting my call to serve as a full time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and I agreed to live the laws of the mission and the rules of the handbook.” With that thought I realized that I have little time left as a full time missionary and there are things I could do starting now to be more obedient. It was a great meeting; it was different than most interviews with President because this time it was both Elder Patterson and I together with President.

When we finished with President it was 3:30pm, President left, and we went over to a nearby classroom to begin a split with our roommates. Honestly this split for some reason felt like a weeklong! It only went from Monday 3:30pm to Tuesday 5pm. We spent all day out on Monday we were out from 1:30 after grabbing some lunch till 9pm. We were out doing some look-ups in the evening when we got a text from a woman in the Cayman Islands. She asked if we could go to the hospital and give her father a blessing. We went straight to the hospital and gave him a blessing. We grabbed some dinner while we were out and went for church to eat. At 7pm we had FHE this drunken guy named Mr. B came in and joined us, we could smell it on him before we even approached him. He sat through it all and was pretty mellow for the most part, anytime someone said something sort of funny everyone giggled and then he got loud and exaggerated his laugh. It was good though!

Tuesday we continued our split and finally were able to meet with G. We went over and followed up with his reading the Book of Mormon. He said it’s really difficult to understand the words. Then he kind of changed the subject a little and started expressing his feelings about life and he asked the exact questions, “where did I come from?” And “why am I here?” We listened for some time and when it was right we introduced the plan of salvation and testified of how those questions could be answered through prayer and study of the plan God had for us. By that time it was after 3pm and we needed to meet with a Sister from the Ward and give her neighbor a blessing. From the time we left G’s it was raining pretty good. We then went home for dinner and ended our split at home. After 6 we went back out, Elder Patterson and I, and visited a less active member and he asked if we could go to the hospital with him and give his mother a blessing. So we left straight way and walked in the rain to the hospital. I was soaked pretty good so I went to the bathroom and squatted under the hand dryer and dried my head. After waiting for nurses to finish cleaning up her room we went in and gave her a blessing. We then went to the church and picked up a big bag for Elder Patterson’s old mattress and home we went.

It felt like a really great week! I hope I remembered all the good stuff, but in many ways we were where we needed to be to help certain people. In 2 days we were able to give 3 people a blessing.

Patience. Love. Faith
Much love,
Elder Newbold

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Week 83

This week was solid! Progress is being made!
Let’s see, where do I start...

Well, last Pday we played volleyball for a long time! Time got away from us but we had a lot of fun.

Friday was a miracle day! We had a really cool experience! So around 10:15am we get a random text from President Smith “Elder Newbold & Elder Patterson, I know there is an investigator in your area book who’s life has changed and is ready for baptism.”
When I read that I immediately felt it was true and had all this motivation to find this person! My companion and I talked about it and he wasn’t all too sure about it, so half jokingly he replied to President “Do you by chance know his name?” ... “Just kidding President, we will go out and find this person.”

We came into our room and we knelt and I offered a prayer for help to find this person. Then we both separately looked over our area book, over the names, to see if anyone stood out to us. I didn’t get very far; in fact I stopped at the 4th name on the list and looked to see where he lived. Then Elder Patterson and I talked about who we think we should see. The name that I stopped on was T, I felt like we should start there. He agreed and we left. We went straight over to his home. When we got to his apartment we made our way to his floor, we knocked his door, and then a man came to the door. This man stood hiding a little behind his door, the room behind him was dark... his countenance was dark he didn’t seem very inviting. I asked, “Are you T?” His response was quick, “yes that’s me, right now is not really a good time… I’m not feeling well.” Elder Patterson said, “are you sick? Is there anything we can do for you?” T responded, “no, I’m battling depression and I don’t think there’s anything you can do for me right now.” I asked, “T, can we say a prayer with you?” With a changed and better attitude T agreed. With all the construction and noise going on out in the hall on his floor, I asked if we could come into his home where it was quiet. He said yes and said hold on one second as he then shut the door and said he was going to tidy up really quick. Hearing some things being moved he then opened his door again and invited us in. We came in and asked if we could kneel he said of course as he pulled a curtain away that entered into his kitchen and living room. We moved into the next room and knelt down together. This room was lit and more inviting. Before I offered the prayer, I asked T if there was anything specific I could pray for. His response was simple, “just my depression”. After the prayer, T thanked us tremendously, he said that we had made his day much better and have brought him better feelings. After the prayer Elder Patterson felt to share a video with him. His plan was to leave him with how to watch it and he could watch it on his own, since it was an 11-minute video. But he began to play the video, we looked at each other and decided to stay and watch it with him. At the end his eyes filled with tears and he expressed his feelings. As he opened up, we listened, and we watched this man’s countenance change completely. Without asking he shared with us his life. He mentioned how he wasn’t always like this; he said some years ago I had everything. I had a car, a house, a wife, I had my own business and everything was great! I wasn’t depressed... then one year everything fell... I lost my business, my car, my house, I became depressed and my wife left me, “if it weren’t for my son I wouldn’t be here today,” he said. We just continued to listen, he also talked about how missionaries in the past would come over and teach him and his son. He really enjoyed it and was getting ready to be baptized but the only thing that kept him from moving forward was smoking. Very quickly after he said that, his words were “but I’m ready now! I want to be baptized and my son too. We’d love to have you over each Friday and take the lessons again and I want to get cleaned up and start coming back to church.”

When we first arrived at T’s door we saw a man with a dark countenance, without a smile and too self-conscious to stand in front of his door. But as we asked the right questions and did our best to listen to him, before we left, that man that originally opened the door was no longer there. He completely changed before we left and was excited to have us back.

This was our miracle! Immediately after leaving his home, we text President “We think we found him!”

The first person we met today was someone whose life had changed and desired to be baptized. We have faith that he is the one, or one of the few potential people in our area book.

Saturday we didn’t have our missionary correlation meeting but we met at the church to discuss our plans on presenting the new Christmas Initiative to our ward tomorrow during 3rd hour. It’s the same idea as last years, 25 ways to serve in 25 days. I’m excited for this year, since last year I was home. Although I participated at home, it will be special for me to be here in NYC during this time.

Also some time in the afternoon, one of the counselors sent a text to us and it said did you get my text last night? We responded “no”. And then he asked if Elder Patterson would give a talk tomorrow... so that was lame for him to be asked that late notice.

But Sunday was good! Elder Patterson’s talk was great! He just went up there and talked off the top of his head and shared some personal experiences of how he has received blessings from obeying the commandment to pray often. It was a great Sacrament service.

Recently I’ve been up and down with how I feel about being district leader. I haven’t been released since I was first called my 3rd cycle in. So it’s been about a year now and I’ve just been kind of tired of not feeling like I’m doing enough or even feeling like I know what I’m doing. And as transfers happen I hear about other district leaders I know all getting released. But this last week I’ve talked to my Zone leaders while on a split and have asked for some help, from that I’ve moved forward with a more confident outlook. My goal is to be involved more in each of the missionary’s weeks, to follow up and see how things are going and to make a clearer agenda for district meetings to help the district know what to expect from district meetings. So this week I worked on that and had an agenda prepared and I sent it to each of the missionaries so they could study along with me to come prepared to district meeting and have ideas and more questions to discuss. I felt much more confident in district meeting knowing that everyone has studied and knows what to expect. We talked about How to begin teaching, which is a topic that helps us as missionaries help those we teach feel comfortable and have a better understanding of what to expect from us as representatives of Christ.

After district meeting we went home to eat and then took off to the Metro North Station, Elder Patterson had a meeting with President. We got to Scarsdale sometime after 3pm and while Elder Patterson was with President I went with the APs, Elder Davis and Elder Davis. We went and visited a guy named M. He’s someone they are teaching. We stopped by, he let us in and we had a quick lesson with him, it was a pretty good one. Afterward we returned to the Scarsdale chapel and Elder Patterson and I were back together. The APs drove us to the station and back home we rode.

Tuesday morning, it’s Halloween! We woke up at 6 and started getting ready. We had Zone conference in Scarsdale from 8:30am-4pm. When we got to the church, we ate breakfast. Then I had a quick leadership meeting with the other leaders to discuss things we’d like to focus on with our districts/zones. Our conference started at 9 and went till about 4pm. We talked a lot about inspired questions and contacting referrals. During our lunch break we contacted a referral of ours and set an appointment with him for 5:30pm. After conference we were shuttled to the train. When we got back to Kingsbridge we went home and grabbed a Bible for our referral, then we went straight over to J (our referrals home). We talked with this guy for a bit; he had a lot to say... when we finally found a place to jump in we asked the question, “What led you to request a Bible?” He then explained his life to us; he said 15 years ago he, his daughter, and his son were all baptized in our church. But things happened and he was put out on the street by his wife and things fell apart. But now things have changed and he wants to come back to church.

Elder Patterson and I immediately after hearing this begin to look for his record in our ward… But had no luck finding anything. We took down the info we needed to track down their records. So if we find them it will be awesome to get them back to church, if we don’t find them it will be a fun adventure to help them learn the lessons and prepare for baptism again.

When we left their home it was about 6:15pm. We headed to the church because a member bought us pizza to take home. We picked up the pizza and headed home. Due to Halloween we have been asked to be in our apartments at 7pm.

It’s been a great and exciting week with some awesome miracles and lots of change going on!

Patience. Love. Faith

Much love,
Elder Newbold

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Week 82

October 18-25 2017
Day 575-581
Week 7 in Kingsbridge

Looking back our week seemed pretty eventful, let’s see how well I can remember everything!

Last Tuesday night we played basketball, with bishop’s son Antonio, who isn’t a member. Then pday we went to the park across from Yankee stadium and played soccer with all the Elders in the Zone. It was pretty fun; we invited a couple guys who were at the field to play. It felt like maybe 10 minutes into the game an Elder and one of the random guys butted heads and bust the guys lip. After a quick recovery and some spitting of blood we were back on the field playing. It was so weird how it ended tho... in the middle of the game (or so I thought it was the middle of the game) the ball was kicked out of bounds closest to where I was, as I went for the ball and returned everyone was off the field and were packing up their bags to leave... no one said anything, it was like they were robots and at the same time everyone decided they were done. Elder Patterson and I went to the church and played ball with Antonio and the sisters. We played for about 45 minutes and we were exhausted from all the sports we’ve played recently, so we stopped and went home to do laundry and some shopping.

Thursday morning my companion and Elder Matson (one of my roommates) had their “What’s next Meeting” (the meeting that all missionaries going home this cycle attend and ask questions about how they can prepare to adjust to going home). So they went on a split and went to Scarsdale for that, while Elder Clark and I were together and we went out and did some look ups in both our areas. Before we left the house I called a guy we had an appointment with and he answered and said that we could still come over at 12pm so after studies and planning we went straight over to his place. (He was a referral from headquarters, he had gone online and ordered a copy of the Bible). When we got to his apartment we tried buzzing in and no one answered so we thought maybe it doesn’t work. Then the super was just walking by and came to let us in. We went to the referral’s door and knocked, after a second time of knocking someone answered. It wasn’t him tho... it was the brother of our referral and he said that he just left. We told him we had an appointment with his brother at 12, by this time in the conversation it was 12:02pm, he told us when we could come back, we gave him our card and left. Then we did a few more Bible Referral look ups and then went into Elder Clark's area and did the same. We didn’t find anyone we were looking for but we were able to meet some people along the way. Around the time we decided to take lunch our companions text us to let us know the meeting was over. They got home a little after we did, while having lunch. We had a great split and a great day overall.

Friday I had a leadership meeting at the temple. It went longer than we planned but it was a great meeting. Our Zone leaders, Elders Bailey and Murset were asked to teach the Plan of Salvation, as they did I reflected on my life and tried to remember when I first had any connection to understanding the plan of salvation, that I could remember. I was taken back to the time I was about 12 and I was told that a close friend at the time had passed away... I remember being devastated... I went straight to my room and laid on my bed, soon after my mom came to my bed and sat with me and I can’t remember exactly what she said, but I remember being told that he wasn’t gone forever, that he had moved on from his life and was now in a much better place. I don’t know if at that time I had much of an understanding of what that meant, but it was comforting... I found hope in what words my mom shared with me and the feelings I had following her effort to comfort me. As I’ve grown and my understanding increased of the plan of salvation, that memory of mine has been reflected on often and I find much comfort knowing that he along with many others in my family who have passed are not gone, but simply, have “graduated” from this life and have returned to their maker. After the meeting we went to Chick Fil A for lunch and then headed home.

On Saturday we went to the church for missionary correlation, we talked about the people we are working with and 10 missionaries later we concluded with discussing the plans for the baptism tomorrow; the Sisters asked if I could baptize R. After our meeting we went home for lunch and then needed to be back at the church so I could give a young boy, R, an interview for baptism. R is a 9-year-old boy who is the son of a member in our congregation. A year ago he was baptized but recently realized his baptism was never recorded so we didn’t even have his name in the church. The bishop then had the Sisters begin to teach him and prepare him to be baptized again. During his interview I was so impressed with how much R understood, with each question I asked he gave an in-depth response to which it was clear he understood the questions I asked. He is so smart and so ready to be baptized.
Sunday was great! We have 10 missionaries in our ward and 2 of them gave a talk during sacrament, they did great! Elder Matson spoke on diligence and Sister Bandeaux spoke on Christ like attributes. After sacrament we went straight to the baptismal font to begin filling it for the baptism after church. During 3rd hour most of our time was spent in a missionary meeting with our ward mission leader and someone from the stake. They talked about some things they wanted to make sure we were aware of and apply as a unit in this ward. After 3rd hour, I went to the bathroom and changed. Everyone seemed to be a little rushed and so I don’t know how, but we forgot to take a picture with R before the baptism. But it was a great baptism! (The bathroom stall was taken by someone in the beginning so I found a closet to change in, so I walked into the beginning of the baptism a little late, then baptized R, after getting out of the font it took me a while again to change because I had to go to another closet while R changed in the bathroom. So I missed the Sisters teaching the restoration. But it went well from what I hear.) After the baptism it was about 5:30 so we went home for dinner, I made chicken fajitas and made some phone calls.
The Fajitas that Elder Newbold made!
Monday morning I was thrown through a loop. My mind had a lot of things going on. I received a text that morning from the Zone Leaders of things they wanted us to study, for both leadership meeting and for our split today. So I had more I needed to study then I had District Meeting to lead and Elder Richards last minute had an assignment that needed to be taken care of and asked if it could be done during district meeting and I agreed but wasn’t sure how much time we’d have... there was a lot going on and I just wasn’t sure if it would work out. But it did! After district meeting Elder Patterson and I went to a bodega for sandwiches and then to the church to eat. Later the ZLs met up with us and we started our split. I went with Elder Murset into his area. We did some daily contact with his investigators and then we made some phone calls. We had a set appointment with a guy and when we got to his apartment no one answered... we tried calling and couldn’t get ahold of him. We ended up leaving and went around to do some look-ups. We didn’t really have any success in finding anyone that we were looking for, but we both were talking to people on the bus and subway and had some great conversations. Around 5pm we stopped into a place called Checkers and had a quick dinner. Then we went to a member’s house to find out some information about some people and ask a couple questions that Elder Murset had. While there, she fed us! We weren’t expecting food but it’s the Spanish program so of course we are going to get food! She was a sweet lady, her father was home and he’s a funny guy. We had a pretty good split, I felt like although we didn’t have success in finding people today we were successful in keeping our commitment to serve and to try to find.

In my studies Tuesday morning I was studying preach my gospel and decided to read the section “a successful missionary” and I walked away from studies feeling satisfied about the work I’m doing. Although the last few months it’s been hard to find and teach people consistently, my effort to show the Lord my commitment to work no matter the outcome has been enough. In that section I read I was reminded that a successful missionary is measured NOT by the outcome of the effort put forth in the work, but the commitment that a missionary shows in his/her effort to work. It was a great split! When we un-split around 3:30pm Elder Patterson and I were back out the door and continued to work. We had a handful of look-ups to do and then we came home for dinner and went back out find more people! We had some little miracles happen tonight! As we showed the Lord we were willing to work, he blessed us to meet 2 different people at different times. The first guy, E, was a Bible Referral. We made contact with him and talked about why he wanted a Bible, he shared his feelings and experience that led him to request a copy and we gave him a copy. He was pretty happy about it and would like us to come back in a couple weeks. The next guy we met was G, he was found a year ago by some missionaries and he came to church once and enjoyed it, but we aren’t sure what happened for the missionaries to stop meeting with him. We talked about the Book of Mormon and he said the last time he read it was when the missionaries before were here. He then began to tell us what he remembered reading and almost perfectly he recited some scriptures from the first few chapters of Nephi. It was awesome; he said we could come back Friday and discuss more. He expressed to us he recently has been needing some prayers. He said he’s been having strange dreams and wanted some spiritual guidance. We testified of Christ and the peace and guidance we can receive from reading the scriptures and invited him to read and pray daily.

Overall it was a great week and we expect more miracles and we continue to put forth more work!

Patience. Love. Faith

Much love, 
Elder Newbold

Week 81

This week was pretty good! We had the opportunity to give a couple people a blessing. Early this week we had left an appointment with a member and got a call from the Sisters asking if we could come to the church to give a lady named Gift a blessing. We told them we were about 30 mins away but could make it there for the blessing if they couldn’t find anyone closer. After they called a few people and couldn’t find anyone closer so we went to the church and talked to Gift about what was going on; after we gave her a blessing of healing.

It’s the last week of the cycle and we were expecting no changes for us since Elder Patterson only has 1 cycle left. Saturday night we expected transfer calls. As District Leader I get a call from the Zone Leaders informing us of the changes happening in my district. So around 10:15pm we got a call from the APs it was a short call and they told us that we need to move out... not a call we were expecting and not one we were happy about... during call we got a call from the ZLs, when we called them back they told us about the changes happening. Then I called everyone in the district and told them who was leaving and who was staying.

Sunday we went to church and during Sacrament meeting we watched the primary program. Then the Spanish Elders came in and told us someone came to church and so we went out to the hall and talked to this guy. After talking with him for a bit, (not knowing who he was) we found out that he lives in a shelter and was looking for some money to go to an interview tomorrow. We talked to our bishop and I guess the guy didn’t want to wait so when we came back he was gone. We stayed in the back and then noticed that bishop’s wife was gone... we went and found her in the foyer and she was on the phone with her doctor, she was in pain. She has some knee problems and we asked if we could do anything to help. She asked for a blessing, bishop was near by and we grabbed him and he opened up his office and we gave her a blessing.

I enjoyed 3rd hour, we were being taught out of the Teachings of the Presidents, Gordon B. Hinckley chapter 18 and it was about Virtue and what I got from it was simply, we need to overcome the common distractions of the world that society accepts and rise above and strive to be who we are expected to be by our Heavenly Father.

After church we went home and started cleaning up to prepare the apartment for the Sisters that are moving in on Tuesday. Late Sunday night we got a text from the APs it said, Elders please be moved out by tomorrow so the Sisters can just move in Tuesday. We weren’t to happy about these last minute changes... having spent money on groceries and putting money on our laundry card and now having to leave a lot behind.

After District Meeting on Monday we went home and started packing, Elder Richards said he could come by in the afternoon and pick up our stuff and drive it over to our next apartment so we didn’t have to haul it over there by train. Which was so nice! We left the church around 1, after district meeting and went to check out our next apartment, around 1:30 we made it back to our current apartment and began packing. Elder Richards would be over around 4:30 so we quickly packed up and cleaned as much as we could and loaded his car up… we had just enough room to fit with our stuff in the car and he drove us over. Elder Clark and Elder Matson came out side and met us at the car to help load the elevator. We made it all in one trip and began settling in.

Tuesday was a bit odd; waking up in this other apartment was weird, just because of how quick the move was, and it just felt weird. We went out and attempted to contact some referrals and we had a really cool contact with this guy named G. He is Puerto Rican and he was really cool… He opened up a lot to us and shared his life situation and how he is searching for God. He has a strong belief in God, at least in a supreme being. We brought him both a Bible and a Book of Mormon and we testified to him of the knowledge we have that there is a God, that He is our loving Heavenly Father, and that He desires us to be like Him. He asked Elder Patterson how he came to know that and it was a really neat experience, the Spirit was there and it touched G. He had lots of questions and he asked us to come back and begin teaching him more. We shared some scriptures and invited him to read before we come back. We are excited to have someone who has expressed real interest to teach!

Around 7pm we went to the church and played basketball. I’m slowly becoming professional...

Today was pretty great! This morning we went to the park across from Yankee Stadium and played soccer with all the Elders in the Zone. It was pretty fun; we invited a few random people to play with us. It was sweet, one of the randoms was really good and we had a few really good Elders who played soccer before the mission. One of the randoms and one of the Elders hit faces, busting the random kids lip... but they were all good and we kept playing.

Before they all left I had done a couple back flips and the kid we played soccer with came over and asked for some tips, he said he’s not afraid to backflip, he just can’t get his legs around fast enough and he lands on his knees. So I helped him out and he said he would practice. For lunch we went to subway and then went to the church to play basketball with the bishop’s son Antonio, who isn’t a member.

It’s been a good week, with some ups and downs but overall finding G made this week worth it!

Patience. Love. Faith
Much love,

Elder Newbold

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Week 80

Last week I don’t know how I forgot to mention, but October 3rd was like one of my favorite days of all time! Why!? Because of my motto “I love helping people” was shown for 12 hours straight. So like 2 weeks ago I got a phone call during my studies one morning from a brother who works in the public affairs office for the church, here in NY. He said that after discussing this particular project with President Smith he said to reach out to me and organize a group of 10 missionaries who could commit to 2 days full of service for a charity group (Catholic Charities). Immediately after receiving this information I recruited 10 missionaries to this project. This project took place this last week, October 3rd and 5th. The 3rd was Prep Day. On both days we would be building a 2,500 sq ft playground at a school called Lawrence F. Hickey Center (it’s a school for kids from the ages of 3-5. Essentially it’s a school where these kids, who are growing up in The Bronx and don’t have safe places to have fun or enjoy a safe clean playground will have safety and fun in this environment). Catholic Charities for this event was sponsored by KaBoom (another group) and The Walt Disney Company. We showed up on the 3rd at 8:30am, they were expecting more people but it was literally all missionaries and maybe just under 10 other volunteers. We showed up with our group of 10 and when we got there another missionary zone were there. For prepping the area to build a playground we unloaded 2 large moving trucks of playground equipment and organized them according to the most efficient way to assemble it. When that was finished there were a handful of other projects that needed prep work. Lots of wood needed to be stenciled and cut for benches, planter boxes, cutout people, and decorations for the schoolyard. We all broke up into groups and went to work. Elder Patterson and I worked with a group of guys and prepped the area for the playground. They had a tractor to dig holes for the playground so we just kept the area in shape as they went. We raked around the dirt while the tires tore up some areas, we dug out some collapsed holes, and filled in some deeper holes...etc. We were there till about 5:30pm or so. We finished all the prep work and would be back on the 5th to build.

Thursday, the 5th, we had to be at the school at 7am. We had volunteered as project leaders so we had a quick leaders meeting before everyone showed up. I volunteered to be the leader of the planter box building team. I had a folder with all the instructions I needed, so I quickly looked over it and prepared to receive my group of helpers. After the opening ceremony we were assigned a group of people to each project. All the members of my team were people who worked with Disney and ABC news members who worked in sales. They all worked so great together, we went over the instructions and they just jumped right into it, we built 7 planter boxes and placed them in their designated areas and then filled them with dirt and top soil. It was pretty fun. Because of the limited tools we had and the size group we all took turns assisting with each box, so it took close to 4 hours. We then had lunch and spread out to help other groups. I hopped around to different projects; I helped most of the remaining time mixing/pouring concrete. By the end of the day, the group of concrete mixers had mixed over 25,000 lbs of concrete! It was such a fun service project! Channel 7 News was there and Catholic Charities hired a videographer and a photographer for both days to capture the project in the making. It was sweet!! The photographer was awesome, we got a chance to talk with him for a bit, the Elders who serve in the same area he lives in got his info and he showed a lot of interest in learning about the gospel, he seemed really prepared. I got his business card and we look forward to seeing his pictures. 

Click here to see the News clip and read the article about this project.

On Friday we did weekly planning and went out for a bit to do some look-ups. We have a pretty filled/messy area book...(meaning there are a lot of people in our records, but we don’t know most of them) so we are in the process of trying to get in contact with all these old investigators to see if anyone is still interested. We’ve found a couple of guys who have shown interest and we’ve set a couple appointments with them but things have popped up for us and them and we haven’t been able to see them yet.

Saturday we met with this guy named Z he is from Africa and he’s pretty cool. This was the second time that we met with him and this time we brought him a French copy of the Book of Mormon. He speaks English but French is his native language and so he doesn’t quite understand the old English in the Book of Mormon, we’ve invited him to read from the French version that way he will understand it better. We had a good lesson with him reviewing the Restoration (since the last time we met was 2 weeks ago) we asked him what he remembered and he actually remembered quite a bit. So we moved forward a little and just focused on the Book of Mormon, we invited him to read it and to pray to know if it’s true.

Throughout the day I sent emails to people in area book regarding their request for Bibles/copies of the Book of Mormon, as well as made some phone calls. Later in the evening we went to visit a blind member, Brother R. We hadn’t seen him in maybe a week and a half, but we had a plan to share a talk from General Conference since he doesn’t get to leave the house and come to church. Well as usual our plans don’t always work out the way that we had planned and I think this time may have to do with the fact that we hadn’t visited him in what might have been 2 weeks... so I guess he had more to talk to us about, lol. He’s an older man, 93. He lives in an apartment, but doesn’t have anyone really to talk to very often so I guess we didn’t come back soon enough to cut his story telling in half for this visit but we sat and we listened, we are sure he needed us there for that reason, but before we left we shared a scripture and then made our way home for the night. He’s a great man with great faith.

Sunday was pretty good; we had an investigator named E show up. We’ve been to his home twice and have shared a couple lessons with him, but we aren’t meeting him regularly because of his CRAZY work schedule. We didn’t even know he would be coming today, he just showed up. So we hope to get in contact with him and be able to see if he’s interested. During sacrament meeting a man stood up to bare his testimony, he explained that he’s just visiting but that he served here in this area over 20 years ago and to see the change has been a great blessing to him. He said that when he was serving here it was only a branch and there wasn’t even a chapel here. It was really cool to hear a little bit about his experience and his testimony. It made me feel good to know that even though there’s a chapel here and it’s now a ward there’s still work to be done and that my efforts here are making a difference.

For district meeting on Monday I asked Sister Bandeaux to give a training on how we can have meaningful studies. She did a great job, we discussed as a district some of the things that we’ve done in the past and the things we are currently doing in our studies to feel like we are having meaningful studies. We talked about the importance of having faith in what you plan to study; in some way what you study each morning (whether you think or not) is applicable to someone you come in contact with.

Tuesday was pretty great too we woke up and during planning just decided we would do a last minute APF. So we called up the other missionaries in our district and invited them to join us. We went to the church and decided we would stand outside and talk to people passing the church and offer to give people chapel tours. The Sisters joined us and went up to the bus stop near the church and talked to people, we talked to a good amount of people and gave a couple Books of Mormon out. The Sisters had some success in bringing people to the chapel for a tour, it was pretty cool. But the weather was pretty hot, we were out I think about an hour and a half and couldn’t take the heat much longer, we both felt dehydrated and decided to clean up. We felt good about it and had a good time talking to people, but we were both ready for lunch and in need of hydration and a quick nap.

Another great week has come and gone... I don’t know where time is going... but we are enjoying the time we have left in the mission and trying to do our best to prep this area for future missionaries, we have so many people on record and we get referrals like crazy here so it just keeps adding up. I’m thankful for the reminder that I was blessed to recognize this Sunday that no effort is wasted, we are all contributing to the work of the Lord and I know that this is truly His work and that His hand is always in it. He’s guiding us to the right people and the right people to us. I know that the church of Jesus Christ has been restored and that we are blessed to have continued revelation through modern prophets. I’m grateful for this knowledge and I know all who seek to obtain this knowledge can, through faith in Jesus Christ.

Patience. Love. Faith
Much love,

Elder Newbold

Monday, October 9, 2017

Week 79

It’s been a good week! Last pday was mediocre; it was raining again so we stayed inside. Thursday was good, we did some weekly planning, called a hand full of people to try and get in contact with to invite them to church and set appointments for the week. It was a bit of a struggle getting in contact with people. We’ve realized before we can go out and do a lot of finding in this area, we need to do some work with our area book as it is. It’s full of people that we don’t teach and neither of us has met. So our goal is to do a lot of contact attempts to get in touch with these people we have in our records and find those who are really interested. We don’t want to continue adding to the mess of people we have. Sometime in the afternoon we went to the church and met with the other elders, Elder Clark and Elder Matson for a split. I went to their area with Elder Matson and Elder Patterson stayed in our area with Elder Clark. We didn’t seem to have to much success with the appointments we had set, they fell through and we attempted to get in contact with some investigators in his area through Facebook and phone and a couple responded but we weren’t able to meet with them that night. Later in the night Elder Matson had challenged me, for I can’t remember what reason, to do 300 push-ups for 30 days. (I know I know, your thinking what the heck is this kid up to? This isn’t gospel related... I know, but it’s what happened okay, bear with me... the miracles will come and the experiences worth sharing are coming) It was about 9pm at the time so I had an hour and a half to knock out 300 push-ups... I thought pshh, that’s too easy... but I proved to myself how out of shape I am... but I did it, I succeeded and before 10:30 I did 300.

Around noon on Friday we unsplit. When we met back up with the Elders we went to Panda for lunch. The other Elders had a great day in their area, they were able to meet with a member we hadn’t been able to visit very much, but they went over and were able to do some service for him. It was great! Slowly but surely making positive progress with him.

We had planned to go back and help Brother Cano with his home. We were on our way and realized we were going the opposite direction. So by the time we had realized it we were too far out of the way, we gave him a call and apologized... he said he was about done for the day anyway and we could come by another time.

This week was a bit slow... unfortunately we aren’t teaching IK anymore... he just isn’t making progress and showing real intent. Other personal reasons have showed that it won’t be good to make time each week to meet with him. He’s a nice kid, just a little confused.

Crazy Story for the week...

GHOSTS live with us. So since I got to this apartment, roughly 3 weeks ago, weird things have happened and noises have been heard. We’ve been making the joke that we have a ghost in our apartment because stuff falls of the counters when they are completely stable where they are, we have a pan that was securely set in our dish rack and all of a sudden at the end of the day we were on the couch talking and we heard this loud (pan hitting the tile) sound. So we got up to see what happened and the pan is on the floor and has a pretty nice bend now. Earlier in my first week here, I can’t remember what happened but other stuff on the counters had made their way to the ground also.

HERE is my crazy story:

So I’m lying in bed, it’s some time after 10:30pm. We have been in bed for a little while now. Elder Patterson is really quick to fall asleep every night while I on the other hand take at least half an hour if I’m lucky to fall asleep each night. So I hear Elder Patterson’s heavy breathing and know he’s sleeping... JUST as I’m on the very peak of falling asleep a very distinct movement was felt from under my bed. Honestly it felt like some one kicked me and it completely woke me up so I (blind as a bat) grab my glasses and look under my bed to catch the little elf that kicked me... but no elf was there. Convinced that he was now hiding, I checked under Elder Patterson’s bed, no elf, and Patterson is sleeping. So I tell myself it must have been a stuck spring in my mattress that decided to spring at that moment. Well again I’m back to the peak of falling asleep and a sock gets thrown at me! For the 2nd time I’m wide awake. This time it’s after 11pm, Patterson is sleeping like a baby and I flip out wondering WHO threw a sock at me hard enough to wake me up. Well it wasn’t Patterson because he woke up the second I shook him, after jumping out of bed, flipping the lights on, and going over to his bedside. He quickly woke and with squinted eyes from the lights being on he, confused as can be, slowly reaches for the sock in my hand and unfolds it from the ball it was rolled into (before it was thrown at me) and says “is that my sock? Bro what are you doing??...” His head falls back to his pillow and back to sleep he went... again, I checked under both our beds, you know... just to make sure the boogieman wasn’t around. Completely disturbed and awake I flip the lights out shut the door to our room and lay back in bed. Finally I’m back to a point where sleep has found me, when all of a sudden my arm gets pulled toward the crack between my bed and the wall, instantly I’m awake again, for the 3rd time... I’m loosing my mind at this point. Something is in my room and wants to play games. Patterson is still sleeping... it’s about 12am and I’m upset I’m not going to get any sleep tonight. Well I again laid my head down and went to sleep... not sure what the time was but for a fourth time I’m awoken by a loud noise it sounded like a hydro flask was thrown at the floor. Well, Patterson has a metal bottle on his windowsill but when I looked it stayed standing on the windowsill with nothing on the ground in our room… tired, confused, upset, I rolled over and on to my knees and voiced to my Heavenly Father my frustration… I’m just trying to sleep and something isn’t letting me. Whatever it is, may it leave, and bless this apartment that it may be a place where we can take safety from the world, a home for the Spirit, and a place of love and peace this I pray for, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. And back to sleep I went and didn’t wake up till 6:30am.

When we both woke up I told Patterson what had happened and if he even remembers me waking him up. He had no idea anything was happening and didn’t remember me waking him up or taking his sock from my hand.

Next week will be a great week!

Patience. Love. Faith
Much love,

Elder Newbold