Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Making merry with Mormons and murderers

- M - E - R - R - Y - ~ - C - H - R - I - S - T - M - A - S - ! -
How lucky am I? P-day on Christmas Eve. We will be spending this fine day with our zone having our own little Christmas celebration. We've spent the last week sharing the "He is the Gift" video with EVERYONE. If you haven't see me it yet, do. It's the reason for the season!
I'm excited to get to skype home tomorrow! 
I'm excited to open the "Open on Christmas" packages from home!
I'm excited to be having a British Christmas Dinner with the Ashworth Family!
--But all that comes tomorrow.
This has been a good Christmas-y week filled with carol-tracting, gingerbread sharing, and helping to ensure that some families in our Ward have Christmas presents. We are meeting with D* consistently twice a week to prepare her for baptism on January 3rd. She's opening up a lot more to us than she has in the past. Initially she was ver quiet and shy, but she's gradually become a fun, bubbly chatterbox. R* is still as awesome as ever. She's mad cookies for all the missionaries in the area, several Ward members, and many other friends and neighbors. By her count, she has made 300 DOZEN cookies in just a few days. She still has tons of left overs and won't ever let us leave her house without taking a bucket-full of chocolate chip, gingerbread, sugar, peanut butter, molasses, and snicker-doodle cookies.
But to move on from the cookies...
We also subbed for the Institute teacher last Wednesday. The lesson was on a D&C sections 69-75. Incidentally, a part of section 71 is currently on a plaque with my picture hanging with all the other missionary plaques in my home ward. We had an awesome lesson and as we read through section 71 I got to talk about why I like that section so much. My interpretation is it doesn't matter what problems you deal with, enemies you face, or inadequacies you have, if you are serving God, he will give you all you need to fulfill whatever position to which you are called. One of the students happened to be leaving on a mission in the next few weeks. He stayed afterwards and told us that in the past several weeks he's been facing harder temptations than he has ever faced before and the fact that he had to deal with such temptation made him feel like he wasn't ready for a mission. We whipped out Ether 12:27 right then and there and BOOM, concerns addressed. He said our lesson was an answer to his prayers. He told us we gave him confidence that God was preparing and strengthening him for his calling as a missionary. I feel like that lesson was a good reminder for myself as well
On a stranger note, we recently discovered that a dinky little piano keyboard in our apartment was given to the missionaries by a murderer. Apparently a woman being taught by the other missionaries is on parole after spending time for killing her aunt. She gave the keyboard to the sisters whose apartment we took over. I'm not too surprised. There's a lot of crime in Poughkeepsie. Well, that's your Fun Fact about my life for the week.
Anyway, later in the week we set up a table on main street Poughkeepsie and street contacted with the "He is the Gift" video. This was really just a test run for this weekend, when we have permission to set up in the Galleria Mall. Main Street Poughkeepsie has a lot of strange people so things kept pretty interesting. One homeless guy really liked the message and decided to stay by the table and tell everyone that came by "It's all about Jesus!" Another lady just looked at us with disgust for a few minutes and then yelled "I can't eat this!" Then she ran around telling everyone nearby we were recruiting people for our cult. Oh dear!
Speaking of deer (with ee not ea), they are all over the place here. They are not nearly as skittish as Utah deer. When we looked up an inactive guy a few days ago, he was super nice and invited us in for pumpkin pie. Then as we were talking to him, he looked up and stared out the window saying "oh no. They're back." We turned around and saw his backyard was just filled with deer. They were everywhere! More than I cared to count. Crazy.
Just yesterday we stopped by a lady we tracted into several days before. She had told us she was busy so we should come back later. Usually that means we will never see them again. But we went buy again anyway, and what do you know she let us in and we sat down and taught a good lesson. We found out she's a minister for a Methodist church, but she is still interested in learning more. Her grandson is autistic and has apparently read a lot of anti-mormon stuff. When he first saw us, he said "did they say anything about good news?" "No." "If they do, send them away." Don't know what that means. Then at the end of the lesson he told us to have a good evening and give his regards to Morono (Moroni). Then he said, "yeah, that's right. I've been reading up on you guys." As we were leaving, he told us "we'll be watching you!" Well, his grandma still seems pretty interested and told us she would read the Book of Mormon and pray about it. Goodness, sometimes I wish people would realize that's all we really want them to do. Find out if it's true for yourself!
Well, that's all for now. I'm going off to a Christmas Eve zone activity. Though not my real family, my zone members are the best I got to celebrate Christmas with.  I hope you all have a fine and dandy Christmas and a new year fit for a king!
-Elder Samuel Burton

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