Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The BIG three

When a missionary talks to someone for the first time, there are really only three things they want: an address, a phone number, a specific date and time for a return appointment. Really, even a name could come later and we would be fine with that. To get an address, number, or appointment means you have a pretty good potential investigator. One of the upsides to tracting is you automatically get at least one of those--the address. Tracting, however, is not usually effective in producing the other two, especially when your tracting in the state of New York. We've been doing a lot of tracting this last week. Our teaching pool is running low on solid investigators so we decided we need to find some more. One particular night, a potential investigator named Troy decided to go out during the time he told us to come to his house to meet with him, so we were left to tract out his neighborhood. We were going from door to door with the usual results: grumpy old men shaking their heads before we finish introducing ourselves, housewives peeking through windows and then pretending not to be home, children yelling from inside "Mommy, Mommy, someone's at the door" as the mothers try to teach them that there are certain people you don't answer the door for "shhh! it's the Mormons." The lack of success, well below freezing temperatures, and soreness of my feet were all dragging my spirits down. Basically, I was cold, tired, and pretty bummed out. I recall saying a quick prayer as I carefully maneuvered down the icy sidewalks. It went something like this: "I realize you're well aware, but the weather's pretty cold, New Yorkers are too, and I'm just not feeling too great right now. Sorry, I don't mean to complain, but I could really use a pick me sometime soon." Suddenly, something changed. I felt something. It took a second for me realize it was warmth. I was freezing on the outside, but a gentle burning filled my chest. The cool air became refreshing, my fatigue became peacefulness, and I felt happy again just realizing that my Father in Heaven wanted me to know in that moment that he cares. I felt as though God was saying "I'm looking out for you. Just keep up the work and I'll do the rest." So I felt a bit better and tried walking a little faster--I could tell something good was coming. We ended up on Clark Street in Poughkeepsie. A short ways down the street a girl, high school age, answered her door. "We're missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints." "Oh. Okay. Do you want to come in?" That was a surprise. So we went in. Her Dad was sitting on the couch watching soccer and we quickly learned he doesn't speak English (they're Hispanic). We sat down, shared a Mormon Message video with the girl (who told us her name is K*) and talked a bit about how she felt her relationship with God was. She said her parents were Catholic but their family never went to church, so she felt like she could use a bit more of relationship with God. It really seemed to click with her. Relationship with God? Yeah I want that. We introduced her to the Book of Mormon and talked about it for a bit. Guess what?? We left that house with the Triple Wammy! The Triumvirate! The whole Three's Company (and two of them are missionaries)! That's right, we left with 1. an address, 2. a phone number, and 3. a return appointment for this Saturday at 4! Awesome!

So our week has also been pretty successful. We had an appointment with a woman named M* (accent on the first syllable) whose grandmother is a member. The grandmother came up to us on Sunday and told us her granddaughter wants to be baptized, so we taught her the Restoration Lesson and invited her to be baptized on Valentine's Day! It was one of the best restoration lessons I've had on my mission. She is legit. She is soooo ready for the gospel! Referrals from members are always awesome! So much easier to find people that are actually serious about learning about the Gospel.

Destiny and Rhonda are doing well. Destiny is starting to really love Young Women's and Rhonda is trying to get basically all her friends to take the missionary lessons. The zeal of converts! They're awesome!

Exciting news! A member named Ray is taking us to the Temple today! He's an awesome guy. He's getting us dinner afterwards. First time going inside the Manhattan Temple! I can't wait!

Also, I would like to make note that last Friday marks the end of my sixth month on a mission. It's so crazy to think I'm already a quarter of the way through my mission! How did that happen? I feel like I got here last month! Then I think about all the things that have happened in that time and I realize it must've been a long time for all that to have happened. Crazy crazy. Missions are awesome!
Well, that covers the main stuff for this week. I apologize beforehand for next weeks email. It will be quite brief. My excuse: I get to email you guys every week, I get to hang out with my brother just once in three and a half years. I can't wait to show him how we do missionary work here in New York!

-Elder Samuel Burton

Pics this week:  sunrise this morning, cookies we made for investigators (thanks for teaching me, Mom!) I'll try to send some from the city later today

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