Wednesday, August 17, 2016
August 10, 2016
Wednesday, Day 302
Day 289 in NY
Today is Elder Dutson's last Pday, we tried planning an awesome day! We planned on going to the bottom of the island and play mini golf. Not having wifi in your apartment sucks because you can't check the weather, so not being able to do that for so long has led me to be more aware of the weather and make a pretty accurate weather forecast each day. So this morning the Elders asked what our weather would look like for the day. I opened up the window, leaned out side, and with my
fingers in the air to feel the temperature and direction of wind. While doing so I noticed the dark clouds over Jersey coming over the Hudson and eventually making their way to the island, not of course all that fast. But I came back in the window about 10 seconds later and said “we will have a light sprinkle in about an hour and it may get worse for a little while longer and then it'll get hot again...” Well we took that into consideration and decided to get lunch first and see if my predictions came true. We went to chick fil a (thanks again for the gift card!). We grabbed ours and went upstairs, sat down at a table, and began eating. While we were eating Elder Chambers had some friends show up from home. They came and sat down with us and ate. Then about 10 minutes later another lady came over and sat with us, she must have been with his friends. We all started talking and quickly found out that she lives in Folsom and asked if I remembered Elder Black. I said I did and she said she would be seeing him soon after she returns home, so she asked to take a picture and send it to him. Chick fil a was a pretty exciting lunch. While wrapping up our lunch we noticed people outside, with umbrellas... Which means, it was raining, but more specifically it was a light sprinkle. Checking the time, Elder Chambers said, “dude you were right it's been an hour and it's sprinkling.” As we finished eating and headed out, saying goodbye to his friends, we made our way to the train station for cover from the rain because now it started to get worse. We hid in the station, but it was like 110° underground… Not too long after we went back out in the rain and decided there's no chance for mini golf. So we did that next best thing! And went across the street to H&M! Whoop whoop! About 30 minutes later, Elder Neilsen had a new suit. Lol. After this adventure we came home where we just hung out and finished writing emails. A planned Pday quickly became a chill day.
When 6pm rolled around we went out to look up T... She ended up not being home and we had all this time to figure out what we should do next. With little thought, the word Facebook appeared in my mind. Elder Dutson and I decided we would quickly get to the church, and Facebook video chat T. Luckily when we logged on, she was logged on, and she quickly answered! It was awesome! We haven't been very lucky lately, as we've tried to get in contact with T. We were so grateful that we have been blessed with technology to be able to contact those who we can't always catch at home. It was really cool since she answered we just talked to her right then. We explained that we came by and didn't see you at home. So we thought we'd give you a call on Facebook. It was such a great experience to use the tools we've been given for the purpose they were given to us, by using social media. By the time we got off our chat with T we didn't have much time left to go see the S Family like we usually do. So we gave M a call and followed up with him on the phone about reading the scriptures, he said that he didn't read this last week but that he would tonight. We shared Omni 26 with him and talked about how to gain salvation we need to follow Christ by fasting, praying, and enduring to the end, and then we invited him to read the chapter. He agreed and said he would read it tonight.
All of this being done at the church, we finally finished and got done just in time to make it home on time. We left the church and set off on our 30-minute journey homeward. We had a good day!
August 11, 2016
Thursday, Day 303
Day 290 in NY
After our morning routine we went onward to the church and left our humble abode... At the church we went to the 5th floor and began weekly planning. Meanwhile, Elder Dutson needed to back up his iPad to icloud. So while his iPad was plugged in and off and not in use, we just used mine. I just figured I would plan for the week since Elder Dutson wouldn't be here and my plans wouldn't match his any way. So as I planned this coming week, for my new companion and me. Elder Dutson began planning his week of being home before he jets off to school. After about 2 hours of planning we were hungry and stopped where we were with planning and headed down stairs down one block and bought some sandwiches from Pioneer deli. We came back to the church and ate, then continued with planning.
When the time came, we left the church and made way to see M. We stopped by and had a good conversation with him. We asked him about reading with little M (his son) and he had done it! He was actually able to get little M to sit down and read with him. It was awesome! He was able to read the first page of it with him last night! So we encouraged him to keep reading! After we talked a little bit about prayer and how his praying has been going. M is doing so well, he has come so far and is working so hard toward baptism. Our time with him went a little over than we had planned so we went home and had a 30-minute dinner before we went over to the D famlily. At the Ds house we had a good discussion about their reading of the Book of Mormon. A had already finished it, she didn't say when but she said she had read it twice all the way through. L said A has always been into learning and reading about religions and so she said she had read it already. L is still working on it which is super awesome, he has just been really busy with trying to pass his tests so he hasn't been reading as often or as diligently as before, but he says he should be able to read more soon. When we are with them we are usually there for a good hour, we love talking to them! They are so great! As it was getting close to us needing to leave we ended with a prayer and went on our way. Made it home about 15 minutes later and planned our night away!
August 12, 2016
Friday, Day 304
Day 291 in NY
Today was super hot and we worked nonstop… We had brunch at 11am and left the apartment and didn't come back till 8pm for dinner. While we were out we had 8 appointments and we were able to make 6 of those! One of the other 2 people weren't home and the other, they were heading out the door when we came. So after our very short brunch we hit the pavement in 98° weather with humidity up the wazoo. We started up the hill to catch a bus and after waiting 20 minutes.... It finally came. We hopped on and headed over to see Gramps who wasn't home... Having a full planned day and not wanting to waste time.... We made the hardest decision... And skipped.... Ice cream with Bae... We then went straight to Sister R's apartment and visited with her for a little bit. When we left her apartment we made our way over to brother K's apartment and visit him one last time before Elder Dutson leaves. After visiting these members we went back closer to our apartment and visited D, A, R, R, and S.
I thought it was pretty funny the way we taught 3 separate lessons with them. They usually are all together. But we caught R, the mother of R, with out him and his friend S. So we were following up with her reading and she said she hadn't been reading. After coming to the end of sharing a scripture with her, R shows up with S. So R says, “R come talk to them! They are here for you!” So we chatted with R for a little bit as well and followed up with him. He too hadn't really been reading but says he will. We then turned and talked to his friend S, she was saying they just got back from the library. Elder Dutson asked if she got any books, she said no because it was closed. She was a little upset about that, so I told her I had a book for her. I pulled out a Book of Mormon and I told her what it was. She said okay and accepted it. What I think is so cool is that these kids are like 14 years old. We then ended our night coming home at 8pm for dinner where after we began nightly planning.
August 13, 2016
Saturday, Day 305
Day 292 in NY
Today was just as busy but twice as hot. I cannot wait for winter. We had 5 appointments that worked out today. We had appointments everywhere! We started close to our apartment, on the far west side of Manhattan and visited T. After him we then went across the island to the east side and visited M and his son then left to go see another investigator. After those appointments we came back to the west side but went up closer to the top of our area to see E again! We met with her at Sister D's. It was such a great time; she's still reading from the Book of Mormon. She even said she would be coming to church this Sunday! She told us that, before Elder Dutson even said anything about him going home. When we left that appointment we went over to D's then also visited B who lives right across from our apartment. With all of this running around we actually skipped dinner, and came home at 9 for planning and ate afterward. A lot of running around but mostly to let Elder Dutson see everyone he wanted to see before he left.
August 14, 2016
Sunday, Day 306
Day 293 in NY
Elder Dutson's last Sunday… We had 5 investigators at church! D, T & A, E, and M. I just love this Ward. There are over 600 members in the Ward but I've only seen about 50 members at church since I've been here. From what I've heard it's mainly because it's summer and members are all on vacation but even with all those members here I think we have about 150-200 active members, roughly. Every Sunday that I've been here we, the missionaries, have had some part in helping sacrament meeting function. Elder Dutson and I both have been preparing or passing the sacrament, due to few priesthood holders. My first week in Harlem Elder Dutson was asked to give a talk the day before he needed to give it, because someone canceled and bishop needed someone to speak. This Sunday, today, I gave a talk. Which we are both more than willing to do at any time asked to. I too, was asked the day before. So Bishop Day called yesterday while we were on the bus, I answered and he asked if I could speak. He said the topic that had been on his mind was "Why we serve in the church?" I thought it was the perfect topic. I got excited and accepted the invitation to speak. I felt like the talk went well. After church we talked to M, D, and E we followed up with them and the commitments we've extended them and set up appointments to come back this coming week. Then we came home and Elder Dutson packed and we cleaned up for the new missionary coming in. The last visit we had today was with J and E. We went over there like we do every Sunday for dinner. Then ended our night and came home.
Here is what I had written up for my talk:
"Why we serve in the church?
Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I've been given to speak to you all today.
Elder Newbold, from California, I've been a full time missionary for almost a year now. And I've been here in this Ward for about 5 weeks and I pray that I may get to know all of you during my service here.
I am so blessed to stand before you all today and speak on a topic that I have such a strong testimony of and a deep love for.
Now the topic that was given to me was service, but more specifically "Why we serve in the church?"
When I think of the word service, a lot of wonderful experiences come to mind. As I was preparing for this talk, I started to let my mind wander through all the different experiences that I have had doing service, within the church and outside the church.
As I let these experiences flow through my mind, I began to recognize that a very great amount of these opportunities and experiences that I've had were manual labor.
Many of them projects, such as; cleaning up an elderly woman's home inside and out, painting a families gutter, digging a 3 foot trench a 100 feet long for a neighbor, restoring the foundation of a barn for a widow...or moving a member out of a 5 story walk up...
While thinking of these experiences and remembering the way I felt during them and after completing such a task, a question came to my mind, what about the service in My house?
Not my own house, but His house, the house we are in right now, the house of our Lord and Savior, the meetinghouses and temples. What about the service done there?
Even though a large number of the service projects I've been apart of were for members of the church. I began thinking about service done within the church.
Again many experiences came flowing through my mind. Callings, responsibilities, leadership positions.... All things I've had the opportunity and privilege of being a part of.
To give you more of an idea of service within the church I'll list some the ways I've given service in the church along with my family.
When I turned 12 I took on much more of a responsibility than I previously had since being a member of the church. I received the priesthood and was extended a calling within a very short time after receiving the priesthood. I was called as a 1st counselor in the deacon’s quorum presidency.
Something my father had taught me and continuously reminded me of was to ALWAYS accept a calling when asked to. No matter what it is. Each time he did this he reminded me of my baptism and the promise I made there with my Father in Heaven.
As the years went on I served in every calling within the Aaronic Priesthood. Each quorum I moved up to, I received a new calling and often times that calling changed as other brothers in the quorum aged
Having this privilege of serving in each of these callings, president, 1st & 2nd counselor, and secretary, alongside my brothers as they too were serving as members of other quorums. I came to realize on my own that each of these callings was no more important than the next.
My brothers and I were each called to a certain position in the church, but having similar responsibilities and commitments. We felt that as important as these callings were to keep the young men's program within the church running smooth, these responsibilities were given to us so that we could serve others, help members of the Ward grow, and build up the fellowship and delegate other responsibilities to members in the quorum as well.
These callings allowed us to grow as well because of the responsibility and seriousness of our callings. I believe that a big part of how we grow within callings we serve in is by our attitude. When we have positive attitudes we allow ourselves to grow. When we have a negative attitude we refuse and neglect that opportunity for growth, turning away many wonderful blessings.
A scripture in the Book of Mormon comes to mind when I think about service, this scripture is in Mosiah 2:17
17 And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that
ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye
are only in the service of your God.
This scripture helps me remember that service needs to be a selfless act, when we serve others, we serve God. We shouldn't have negative thoughts towards service in any circumstance because when we serve others we serve God. If we love him keep his commandments.
The day I was baptized I made a promise with God. As did all of you who have been baptized in this church, we all made the promise that we would always TRY our best to serve as much as we can.
Another scripture in the Book of Mormon I'd like to share is Mosiah 18:8-10
8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the
waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are
desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people,
and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;
9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and
comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses
of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may
be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be
numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have
10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have
you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness
before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will
serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit
more abundantly upon you?
I found this reference in preach my gospel, on page 87, in the section called service. After this scripture it reads, "We are to become aware of others’ physical and spiritual needs. We then give of our time, talents, and means to help meet those needs."
When we truly love those we serve its much easier to become aware of their needs, both physical and spiritual. Service is one of the greatest blessings of membership in the church, as we serve our fellow
beings we will learn to love them.
This section in preach my gospel is such a great section I'm just going to read from it.
"Soon after baptism new members receive from priesthood leaders the blessing of a responsibility to help in the Church. This is referred to as a calling. All of the work in the Church is voluntary. No one is
paid for such service. When we accept callings, we are sustained publicly in a Church meeting so that other members can acknowledge our calling and provide support. We are also set apart by a priesthood leader and given special blessings to help us fulfill our callings. The Church needs the talents and abilities of every member to fill a wide variety of callings. All callings are important and help build God’s kingdom. We are to accept such callings and work diligently to learn and fulfill our duties. As we do so, we grow in faith, develop new talents and a greater ability to serve, and receive numerous other blessings."
Not always is service in the church easy... There are sacrifices that need to be made, but that's just part of life.
Many of the members in the church have full time jobs that sacrifice time at home, with family, other opportunities of income to serve diligently in the church.
My dad works for a company full time, he also runs a business he and his brothers own, and just a couple years ago he was released from a calling in the bishopric he had been serving in for 10 years. During those years of full time work and service my family and I saw him few nights of the week and on Sunday's.
Serving in the bishopric there are many meetings he attended both very early in the morning and late after church on Sunday's. And never did I ever hear or see my dad complain, but I did witness and receive many blessings in my family as he served in the church diligently.
As I'm sure many of you know and some of you have been part of, serving in the church isn't always easy, but it's worth it.
Following the example of my father I too have been blessed with many opportunities of service in the church, both in the church and temple.
After receiving my own endowment, I was called to work in the temple, where I had the beautiful privilege of working with members and helping them perform the ordinances in the temple. At 18 years old I worked a full time job for a member’s business, worked for my dad’s business on weekends, and any open hour of the day
I worked for a neighbor, with all this work going on I had little time to work with. So I chose the early shift and woke up most days at 4 am to be at the temple to work a 6-hour shift.
I would say it was the best way to start off the day!
Brothers and Sisters, we serve in the church because we love our Savior, because we love our Father in Heaven. We serve because it shows our commitment to follow them."
August 15, 2016
Monday, Day 307
Day 294 in NY
After District meeting today we came home for lunch. We didn't get much time today to visit people for very long, we had a lot of packing and cleaning to do. So we went across the island and stopped by M's again to say goodbye and take a picture. Then made our way back to our apartment and stopped by D's again to do the same, share a quick scripture and thought and take a picture. When we finished all our visits we came home for a few hours, had dinner, packed, cleaned, wrote in our journals, shined shoes, etc. it was a good day. Not as busy and eventful as I'm used to but it was good. At the end of the night we went over to say goodbye to the D's Family for the last time, chatted with them for some time and made our way back home.
August 16, 2016
Tuesday, Day 308
Day 295 in NY
Transfer day! Super crazy, so we got up, got ready, caught a bus and took off to the 125th Metro North station here in Harlem. Where we met up with our good old friends Elder Forbush and Elder Troutman. Both Elder Forbush and Elder Dutson are going home so we did a split. Elder Troutman and I said goodbye to our companions and bought our tickets up to Scarsdale and waited for our train. Meanwhile our companions left, they went back to our apartment, where they hung out and killed time till their meeting at 11am for their transfer meeting going home.
We made our way up to Scarsdale on the train and were picked up by the APs, Elder McBride and Elder Macintosh. They then drove us to the Scarsdale chapel. We walked in and saw all 17 new missionaries sitting in the pews studying. Quietly the 17 of us trainers came in and sat behind them in the back rows. When President Smith walked in he told us to join the new missionaries in the front pews. We all got up and sat in the fourth and fifth row. Then the new missionaries all got up and sat amongst each other in the first 2 rows. After a quick introduction by the APs, President stood at the
pulpit and began pairing new missionaries with their trainers. One by one each new missionary stood as their name was called and followed their trainers name. When both stood, each trainer ran to their new companion and embraced them! Sitting, waiting patiently, the name Elder Gentry was called and he stood then following his name president said "and Elder Gentry will be trained by, Elder Newbold!" I quickly stood up out of my seat and quickly embraced my companion with a hug. We grabbed his stuff and made our way back to a pew where we sat and watched as the rest of the missionaries received their companion. After receiving my companion we were spoken to by President, Sister Smith, and instructed by the APs. Then making our way into a room outside the chapel we grabbed the new missionaries luggage and made our way outside to the vans. Filling the vans with luggage and missionaries we were driven to the station to catch a train back to Harlem. When we got home we had some time for Elder Gentry to unpack a little and have lunch. When we finished we went out to work. We first went to the church and worked online for a couple hours. We sent some messages on Facebook to investigators. Then while there we called a handful of people and ended up teaching a lesson on the phone. After that we came home for dinner and then back out for some look-ups and appointments. It was a good day! We taught 3 lessons; not knowing what today's schedule would be like because we didn't know how long the transfer meeting would be. But over all a great day! Elder Gentry is awesome! He is a great missionary and is going to do so well out here in NY. Looking forward to the next 2 cycles. With 2 cycles of training that means I will be here in Harlem till I hit my year mark. Which also means I will have been in the city for a year! How crazy! I'm a city missionary, I'll be here for another year I'm sure. Lol
Well what a great week! Thanks again to everyone for your patience, I've been slacking on my journal emails so I take all Pday writing them... Love you all!
Patience. Love. Faith