Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Week 1 of 104

Hey everyone!
First week has been great! I am teaching all those interesting and
diverse people I was hoping. I've already met and talked to so many
great personalities and some very unusual ones too. Our area is more
than just Scarsdale. That's where the ward is, but most of our
teaching is in other places, including: White Plains, Scarsdale,
Valhalla, Hartsdale, Eastchester, Tuckahoe, and Bronxville. Our
apartment is just outside of our area in Elmsford. 500 Town Green
Drive in a complex called Avalon Green. We have it pretty nice. Pretty
big, central AC and heating, a stereo system, a free gym, a pool we
get to stare at, and a view of manhattan far off in the distance (see
My companion is great! We work and teach well together. We've only known
each other a week but we're good friends already. He's from Highland,
Utah and is the oldest in his family. He's been out in the mission
field for six months and has served In the Bronx and here in
Scarsdale. We live with two Spanish missionaries, Elders Gleason and
Smith. They're a lot of fun. Elder Smith got here the transfer before
me, so he's still going through training.
I've been told the work is very hard in our area, but it's all I know
so far, so I think things are going great! We're teaching several
people, have one guy with a baptismal date, and the people here are in
general quite friendly to the missionaries, even if they're not
interested. I don't have time to talk about everyone we're teaching,
but here are a few just to give you an idea of the kind of people I've
-D* is a guy who has overcome a few addictions in his lifetime,
particularly a really bad addiction to alcohol. We're helping him
overcome his addiction to cigarettes right now. He's made a ton of
progress and has such incredible faith that God can help him overcome
it as long as he does is part by reading the scriptures, praying, and
staying away from 7-11 (where he buys his cigarettes). He wants to
come to church so badly, but his mom hates the church and if he does
she'll stop paying for his apartment.
-C* is a woman who contacted missionaries over the phone from a
mental hospital (at least we hope she's in a facility of some kind)
and just calls us whenever she wants to talk (we've never met her in
person). Conversations with her usually don't get anywhere, but she's
fun to talk to... and a bit scary. She says she's under a spell of the
Anti-Christ and wants power to destroy the world, but she knows Jesus
would be disappointed in her if she did... I'm not joking at all.
-G* is a man who has his own TV show, has written several books,
and believes free will is an illusion. Missionaries have been meeting
with him for a while, but he's not progressing because he refuses to
read the Book of Mormon, pray, or do anything unless our church puts
out a declaration that eating meat is a sin... But last time we met
with him we somehow convinced him to read the Book of Mormon on the
condition that we look into what our church doctrine says about animal
cruelty and being vegan.
-B* is the one we the baptismal date. He loves the church, loves the
members, loves the doctrine, loves coming to church, and he tells us
all about how much he loves it. His only hang up is he doesn't have a
testimony of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith. We're hoping we can
help him out with that before Saturday, but we might have to move his
baptismal date.

That's just a few of the people we're teaching, and I've met many more
interesting people that we're not teaching from all sorts of other
Basically, I love New Yorkers and I love being out here! I've realized
that I actually do know how to teach the gospel to real people with
real questions, problems, and lives. I can do this! And what's more, I
love doing it! Until next time,

-Elder Samuel Burton

Next week I'll be emailing from Manhattan, because we're going to
spend p-day in the city. I can't wait to actually spend some time
there! For now, here are some pictures from Westchester County:

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