Monday, Day 382
Day 22 back in NY
This morning we woke up at 4:30 to start our laundry, then we came back to go to bed... it was very difficult falling back asleep, but I must have about 6 and woke up at 6:30. After studies we went to Trader Joe's for our groceries. We met a member that works there, he told us he's from Roseville, California and he hasn't been active for some time. We were checking out so we didn't have much time to talk but hopefully next week we see him again. I think he said his last name was (Burn-strum) or something like that. If I see him again I will invite him to church! We came home put our groceries away, ate a quick snack to hold us over till lunch. We went to Chick Fil A for lunch! Thanks family of mine for the gift cards! We enjoyed our delicious chicken and waffle fries! After lunch we met up with our roommates at Jos. A Bank and looked around while Elder McNairy looked for a suit. We then hopped around to a few different stores before coming home. We came home responded to emails and had dinner. Oh! I was sitting by the window writing emails and I heard some commotion outside. I opened up the window and looked out and saw a "fight". So we all huddled around the window. A large group gathered and the police drove by and watched then left. The police were in a tiny smart car, a couple minutes later the police returned with 2 other police cars and they drove up to the scene and everyone took off. Elder McBride and I went to the church, I filled out lesson reports and Elder McBride looked for members in our Ward who we haven't met yet, mainly less actives then came home, we came up to our building and there were all these trucks and things, usually that means a movie is being filmed. This guy came out of our building while we stood around to see if we could find out what movie and on our building the "Punisher" skull was projected. He said that they were filming the punisher, so maybe our building will be in the show on NETFLIX or something.
April 11, 2017
Tuesday, Day 383
Day 23 back in NY
This morning we went to the church for Leadership/District meeting. Elder McBride had asked me to give a spiritual thought on prayer. I accepted and went to a scripture I had marked sometime ago. Doctrine and covenants 10:5 "5 Pray always, that you may come off conqueror; yea, that you may conquer Satan, and that you may escape the hands of the servants of Satan that do uphold his work.
After sharing this scripture I briefly shared an experience I had of prayer. I explained that praying always is really just keeping a conversation with God. The experience I shared was the day before I had come home from New York. President Smith and I had just finished our tour of the Hartford Connecticut Temple. A set of sisters from our mission had asked us to bring home their car. After arriving at the church where their car had been left President asked me to follow him, driving behind him alone in a separate car. He then said, it'll be an hour and a half drive so use that time to just talk to God, and that's what I did. Something I learned during that experience was that it's also just as important if not more important, to not just talk, but to listen. After sharing my experience I shared my testimony and we moved forward with sharing miracles.
When the meeting ended we went to do a few look-ups. Then around 2pm we meet V for a late lunch. We meet at this place called T-swirl Crepes. And no we did not just eat Crepes... They were pretty good tho. We really only wanted to get to know V better and he wanted me to try the Crepes since I've never been. We then went home for an actual lunch and studies.
When we left the apartment we had planned to go to the church to do some Facebook contacting and hopefully find out whether C would be coming to institute or not. On our way to the train station we ran into a member from our ward. He told us he had been waiting for the train for a while then an announcement came and there would be delays... So we changed directions and walked to a bus stop with him. It was a long ride... About an hour long. We talked with the member most the ride there and also talked to this really nice woman sitting next to us. By the time we had gotten to the church, we had time I only to go to the bathroom...fill our water bottles and head home...
April 12, 2017
Wednesday, Day 384
Day 24 back in NY
Today we meet up with the Harlem YSA elders (Elders Davis and Elder Burt) to split. They aren't in our district, but we got permission from President to split. The reason we split was because Elder Burt had a dentist appointment with an active member from our ward. So I was with Elder Burt, we went to the NYU dentistry. It was only brief but I got to meet the member of our ward. Elder Burt doesn't have much longer in the mission so he was getting his teeth checked prior to going home. His appointment was about an hour and half and for some reason I couldn't be with him, so I was in the waiting room on my own for that time. Which was a little weird. After the dentist we made our way home. The whole way home Elder Burt asked a lot of questions about my journey home. He explained that he had a couple friends return home early and he wanted to know how he should talk to them and what he could say to them. It was pretty cool, we just talked about it all and how I've taken the whole experience as a blessing, nothing but blessings came out of the experience of going home. When we got back to our apartment for studies our conversation continued and a full study session didn't quite happen, but it was good because I was able to help him. We had lunch and went to join Elders Clark and Howard for an APF at Central Park. We weren't there for long, afterward we went to the church and planned out our schedule and route to do look-ups.
While we were looking up some people we got a text from our companions saying someone from Elder Burt first area was in the city and wanted to see him. It was the Getty's. He got in contact with them and they said they'd like to make dinner plans with us. Around 5:30 we met with them at an Italian restaurant. It was awesome; they are such a sweet couple and are so funny. Sister Getty has multiple sclerosis, but she had a great sense of humor and a wonderful smile. She was so sweet to us. Elder Burt made a joke about the numbers on the side of the menu across from the meals being the time it took to eat. He knew it was the price but he played dumb and it was pretty funny. After this wonderful evening at dinner we helped her down the hall and up the steps to her wheel chair. Since the restaurant didn't have a handicap ramp. We walked with them to their car and they gave us a ride to Columbus circle, where we ended I our split. The rest of the night consisted of Elder McBride and I getting home.
April 13, 2017
Thursday, Day 385
Day 25 back in NY
This morning we had interviews, mine was scheduled for 9:30am but President didn't get to me till about 9:50am. When it was my turn, he walked by the room where we had been waiting and said he was ready for me. As I came into the room for my interview, President stood there with his arm reached toward me; in his hand was the tie I left with him to come back to when I returned to New York. I said, "President it’s yours now" he said, "No, I told you to come back for it." I took the tie and he gave me a hug and said "Welcome back, we need you here."
My interview was great, he asked how it's been since I've back in the mission and to be honest I'll tell you about it: Sometimes, maybe even more often, I feel like missionaries talk about all the great things that happen, all the recognized blessings, or all the witnessed miracles... but something I feel I don't express much are the trials and the struggles as a missionary. Now this isn't to scare anyone from starting their paper work or not going on a mission, but real talk, missions are hard. Yes, I'd agree that they are the most rewarding and the most you may feel the spirit so strongly, so often, but they are not always so easy.
After President asked how it's been, I told how I've been... I have been struggling recently with feeling completely focused, feeling like I'm working hard enough, and feeling like I’m recognizing the Spirit... and as I've come to recognize these things Satan attacks and I find myself in a low place where my heart begins to ache and my thoughts are unorganized and I feel my worst... Satan wants nothing more than to bring us down and make us feel like we are worthless. One way he does this is by bringing back to memory our sins and making us question our worthiness. But after expressing my feelings to President, I didn't feel that way anymore. He asked me what I've done in the past and during my time back, to stay focused and recognize the spirit. I said that praying always helped and signing hymns.
When my interview was over, we found an empty room to start planning. After planning we went to the 1 train and saw President Smith again. We then met a girl from Cali, who moved to Queens recently, she needed help finding her Ward Elder McBride was able to look up her ward boundaries and give her the ward and address to her church. After getting on the train with President, I had began talking to a couple, at first I asked how they were doing, he responded and went back to his phone... they sat silently, then Elder McBride made a comment about their stroller, the man then said "Hey Elders!" I was confused, why didn't he say that the first time when I had said hello. The man asked how President Smith was doing, I turned around and pointed at President and said he's right here. The man freaked out and stood up to shake his hand. He said that a few years ago he had served in this mission, during the time President Morgan was here. We thought that was pretty cool.
We took the train to 200 West St. Met up with B.H., super awesome guy from my YSA Ward on the west side, we had lunch, BBC. We talked, I said okay B, this is the 2nd YSA ward that I've served in, so either I did something right... Or I didn't learn what I needed to the first time... He laughed and I asked him about what I did right to gain his trust and friendship and what I did right so that my name was still talked about in the ward street I left 8 months ago. I'll spare the long details, but in short he responded with "well you see, there's 2 types of missionaries, one knows how to work hard, be obedient, but still know how to have fun and relate to others. And there's the missionary who can work hard, be a kiss up, and is boring." He then went on into detail about my question. But it was so awesome to have lunch with him again and for him to see me as he described the first missionary to be.
When we finished lunch we headed home, packed for another split, and went to the church. When we got there we heard water under the elevator, so we went to the building staff and got help. They called someone to take care of it. When Elders Clark and showed up we split.
It was now about dinnertime, so we went to a grocery store on the way home and picked up some things for dinner. Elder Howard loves to cook so he made dinner. It was a dinner that a member made for him once. It was some authentic Chinese noodle soup. It pretty good.
After dinner we had a night of look-ups, we talked a lot about each other and shared our interests and such. It was a good split.
April 14, 2017
Friday, Day 386
Day 26 back in NY
This morning we had the Miracle line conference call. It was so awesome to hear what President had to share. So many great miracles! After the call we had some awkward time open between the call and the lunch plans we had set with Brother Ray Smith. We walked toward Mel’s where we would be having lunch and looked up people on the way. I got a burger, which was delicious! After our meal he asked for a spiritual thought or message. Briefly I shared D&C 10:5 and shared my experience more personally with Ray because of our friend and I then bore my testimony.
We then ended our split, Ray heading in the same direction as us walked with us to the train. When we got into the station and noticed or train had arrived we ran down the stairs to catch it. Ray was wearing a heavy backpack and while running, it some how by the weight and his up and down movement began opening and became unzipped! Just behind him, I saw it opening and items in the bag trying to make their escape, I reached forward, still running down the stairs, grabbed the large portion of the bag that was coming undone, and lifted it off his back. When we made it into the train I zipped up his bag, he turned to me and said was that you? He said, "I thought, what angel had grabbed my bag off my back??" His bag was pretty heavy and he was surprised to feel so much weight be lifted off his back. I explained that I saw it opening and he laughed because he thought it was an angel.
Elder McBride and I went to Lincoln square for our YSA meeting where Brother J.B., a member of the Harlem YSA Ward joined us to help answer some questions we had about how we could improve and better approach members of the YSA Wards to set appointment and build their faith. It was sweet! After the meeting I changed into my suit and went into the temple with a recent convert V.G. This is the second time he has been to the temple since his baptism. The 1st time he went was on a Saturday so it was busy and he felt rushed. So we were able to come with him today with hopes to slow things down and help him have a better experience. We showed up without an appointment, which is hard in the New York Temple because they have limited ordinance workers, so when a reserved baptism session is over they usually are done with baptisms till the next one. Fortunately without having to beg and explain our story the temple workers were great and let us have a little session of our own. We got dressed and the workers asked how we wanted to go about it, Elder McBride said we were here for V, so he would be the one getting baptized. The worker then asked who would baptize him, Elder McBride then looked at me and said Elder Newbold will, so that was awesome. I got into the water and V followed. 10 names later we were done. V made his way out and Elder McBride did the confirmations. It was such a neat experience for all of us in different ways. After returning to the changing room we stopped and asked V about this experience, he lit up with a smile and at first struggled to explain his feelings. But was then able to describe to us what he felt and his thoughts. Super cool day!
April 15, 2017
Saturday, Day 387
Day 27 back in NY
We went to the church after getting ready and filled the font for a Baptism! Best sound you'll hear on your mission, the filling of a baptismal font. There's something spiritual about it. While it filled we planned and studied.
We saw on the ward page that a member needed help bringing treats and food to the chapel for the baptism. We reached out and he accepted, within 20 minutes we were at his door and then a few minutes later we were out of his building with all the stuff. We made it out to the street and flagged a van taxi; we filled the trunk and drove to the church. Then into the building with all the stuff we went. We took it all to the kitchen where we set up and helped cut up fruit and lay out the food.
The service started at 12 there were about 60 people, so we had the beginning service in the chapel and moved down to the front for the baptism, then back to the chapel to wait for A, the newly baptized member and C, the member that baptized her and then to finish the program and move to the treats in the other room. We stuck around and talked with members and of course enjoyed their treats. Afterward we went home and finished our planning and studies, had dinner and went out to do some look-ups before coming back home.
April 16, 2017
Sunday, Day 388
Day 28 back in NY
This morning we went to church and welcomed members and visitors. At some point we went up stairs to unlock some doors for classes later on. Then back to welcoming people we went. Someone had asked us if C (Our investigator) was coming to church... After getting the message on Facebook that he sent to us we weren't sure. He has difficulty messaging in English.
We were pretty excited about today! It was the 1st Sunday in 2 weeks that we've had the Sacrament. About 2 minutes before sacrament started we went into the chapel to get a seat and there C was, sitting with V. Why we sat with him I do not know. There was no room for the 4 of us. The pew was the smallest one in the room and would comfortably sit 3 regular size people. I sat pretty uncomfortably for a little over an hour. But it turned out to be worth it. We had I believe 4 musical numbers. And they were awesome! We also had A, a less active recent convert show up, who we've been trying to visit since I've been here. After sacrament meeting we went to gospel principles and V taught the class, it was about the Priesthood. In Elders Quorum the lesson was on General Conference, it was more of a discussion and it was centered on how could we prepare better for conference. Class was cut 30 minutes short because we had an Easter ward brunch. The brunch was successful! Great food! We got to talk to a lot of members and scheduled appointments with some who we haven't had an opportunity to meet with yet.
After the brunch and cleaning up we went to a classroom and had a short planning and studying session. We scheduled to go to the mall strip in Central Park for an APF. Which we did, we were there for 2 hours to cover our shift and the Elders in our apartment, since they had something come up. We had this poster board and written on it was "What are you hopeful for this spring?" We stood out away from the board and invited people to write on a sticky note what they were hopeful for and stick it on the board. We had a good amount of people who participated and some good conversations. We also met a few random members who happened to walk by. When we first got there it was pretty hot and since we didn't have time to go home before we were still in our suits... I took my suit jacket off and out it down for the APF. Towards the end of our time being there it got really nice, it was over cast and there was a nice breeze. About 10 minutes before leaving, it started sprinkling, thankfully it was only that.
We made our way home for dinner around 5 and left again to do look-ups. We had a handful of people towards the very bottom of the island; just near the Brooklyn Bridge we looked up 4 people in a project building, then walked to another nearby project and looked up another guy. We made our way home and closer to home we looked up a couple more people and had a funny experience on the last one. It was a nice building, Elder McBride buzzed the room that we were looking for and it quickly stopped, so he tried again, and again and was confused as to why it kept canceling so fast. He thought maybe he was doing it wrong and I thought we were being rejected by whoever was in the room. He continued buzzing in, probably a total of 15 times. At that point a women answered and said, "Will you guys please stop ringing!" Surprised, Elder McBride responded, "Wait! Does M live here?" And she said, "he lives here but he's not here, why?? Do you know him?" Elder McBride said "Sorry we rang so many times we are from his church" immediately you could tell she felt bad, you could hear it in her voice as she said "oh. Yea he's not here right now, do you have his number?" We didn't have the correct number; she then gave us the correct one... We hope! We then came home... We walked the whole way home, a little further from China town.
Patience. Love. Faith