I've confirmed it. It isn't just me either, the other missionaries feel the same way. There is something up with Poughkeepsie. We don't know what it is, but the whole town just has an eerie feeling about it. Strange vibes, bad juju, etc. Something is just off. I've been feeling it since I got here. Weird. Apparently it's actually known for the weird people that live there. Most people that live in the actual town are either gang members or crazies. Most of the members seem normal... Most.
Anyway, here's the more important stuff:
We're still working on building up our teaching pool. We tracted into a fourteen-year-old named L* last week and gave him a Book of Mormon. We stopped by again this week, because we felt our brief encounter had gone well even though we didn't get a return appointment. This time we got approval from his parents to teach him and set up an appointment for Saturday. He also told us he is now doing his school book report on the Book of Mormon so we gladly offered to provide any assistance we could give with that. Apparently his dad works with one of the members in our Ward.
R* was baptized on Saturday! It was an awesome service. More than half the people that came were her non-member family and friends. Her mother was bawling the whole time. Because she was happy and feeling the spirit, mind you. Not because she felt like she was loosing her daughter to a cult. R* told us she was about to start bawling to
o, but she said she held it in. She also introduced us to two friends of hers who we are going to start teaching soon. Awesome! She was confirmed on Sunday and made us cookies as thanks on Monday. We also taught D* (R*'s daughter) the Plan of Salvation, which went really well. She was asking good questions. Which reminds me, I have exciting news! D* asked me to baptize her! It's weird that I can do that. Awesome! But weird.
We had a lesson with less active who is the epitome of crazy cat lady. She's super old, has more cats than I care to count, tells stories of an old boyfriend she could have married but never did, and talks a ton when we come over because during the rest of the week she only has her cats to converse with. During the lesson, one of the cats arched it's back super high and started convulsing. The lady didn't seem to notice. I was about to point it out to her when a mass of lumpy orange mass shot out of the cat's mouth. The lady finally acknowledged the situation. "Oh, she's sick," she said. That was the extent of her reaction. She then continued with what she was saying leaving the cat vomit strewn across the floor at our feet. She left it there the whole lesson. Her apartment always smells like cat urine, and the vomit further worsened the stench. It smelled really bad, but we just smiled and went on with the lesson, deciding it would be polite to just ignore it like she was. We offered to clean it up, but she said she would. All I know is it was still here when we left.
We also had our mission christmas devotional last week. It was a lot of fun. Several Christmas songs were performed. President and Sister Morgan both gave talks. One of my favorite parts was when Sister Morgan read us a Christmas story, "The Christmas Tale of Jonathan Toom
y," which was one I heard at least once every year growing up in the Burton household.
Also, apparently Elder L'Esperance and I are performing O Holy Night in church this Sunday. He sings, I play piano. Our Ward is kind of musically deprived, so when they found out we had a bit of ability, they grabbed hold of it. So I'm going to have to come up with an arrangement in the next few days. Good thing it's p-day!
It feels really strange to not be home for Christmas, but we've got a lot of Ward members that are more or less adopting us for the season. British Christmas! I may or may not have come into Union Jack socks that I will be wearing at there house on Christmas...
I hope you all enjoy the Christmas season. Do all those fun things: family traditions, new things you've never tried before--everything in the spirit of the season. Think of me being there with you, but not too much.
Love you all!
-Elder Samuel Burton