Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Another fine week in Poughkeepsie, New York. I would like to begin by describing our eeriest experience from this week:

In the city of Poughkeepsie, there are many brightly colored townhouses. We see pink houses, orange houses, purple houses, turquoise houses. Some are themed, like a dark painted house with orange and purple trim known as "the Halloween House," or one painted red, white, and blue. Some seem very lacking in any sort of theme or planned color scheme of any kind but still are excessively bright. The other day, we were tracking on South Clinton Street and we came across a house that was painted jet black with a few spots of red trim. There was a big metal fence going around the lot they said to all passersby, "these people do not like visitors." So of course we had to cross the street an knock on the front door. The house's ominous coloring and Victorian era style made the atmosphere of the whole place quite foreboding, but beyond that a feeling of dread set in far more soul-penetrating than could be induced by mere appearances as we walked up to the door. Still, we fearlessly rang the doorbell. The man who answered had a bald head, a silver beard, and a mustache that curled sharply towards his cheekbones. When he opened the door, we could see that the interior of the house was as dark as the exterior and in the entryway there was a large stain glass window depicting an upside down pentagram with the devil's face inside it. The man was quite rude and said that we were trespassing (Why do you have a doorbell if no one is allowed to ring it?). So we apologized and left. As we walked away Elder L'Espérance turned to me, "did we just meet Satan-worshippers?" "...yep." At dinner that Saturday we told Rhonda the story and she confirmed our suspicions. Apparently she used to be involved in what she called "white magic" as opposed to "black magic" which is symbolized by the emblem we saw in the stain glass and does involve devil-worship. Yeah, she's had a crazy life. A lot of changes have been made since, obviously.

We had a surprise trip to the temple this week to accompany Destiny for the first time doing baptisms. Unfortunately, Rhonda's health did not permit her to attend. She's been having a rough time. Heart problems and apparently head problems as well now. But luckily destiny had a great time. She loved it and was telling her Mom that she has to go as soon as possible.

In other news we had a good lesson with Ky* a few days ago. We met a lot of his friends. They were all just chillin' in his apartment and I felt like we walked onto the set of 90s sitcom. I was surprised there was no laugh track to accompany our arrival. Talking with them also reminds me just how ghetto Poughkeepsie is. I'll explain: there are three ways people of American decent speak in New York: good ol' American English, "Black Talk," and the extreme, Ebonics. Ebonics is typically only spoken in the city, but in the ghetto upstate areas we get "black talk" all the time. (Fun fact: "black talk" in black talk is "bleck talk") That is all Ky* uses around his friends. Then when we sit down and have a lesson with him, he refines his language a bit more so we can understand. As we talked with his friends about what we do as missionaries they were astonished to learn we weren't from around here. "Oh, we thought you's was local. We thought that's why you's was so comfortable being two white boys hangin' in this neighborhood." Haha. Anyway, we had a great lesson. We taught him about baptism and set a date for the eleventh. We also established pretty clear expectations with Ky* and organized a ride for him to go to church. The next day his ride came to church and said he didn't come out when they showed up and didn't answer their calls. We've been trying to contact him since with no luck. I suspect it's his family again. Bummer. 

Everything else is going well. Slow and steady progression. This Saturday is shock calls. Tonight is training calls and Elder L'Espérance keeps saying I'm going to train this time. I think he is, so... We'll see.

We said goodbye to the ashworths yesterday just in case we get transferred because they're going to England for a few weeks.

For now we work and we wait for the calls. Love you all tons!

-Elder Samuel Burton

Pictures: The Halloween House, a fun sign we found, and a selfie waiting at the laundromat.

Here's a picture with the Ashworth Family. Roughly left to right: Me,
Elder L'Espérance, George, Isaac (dad), Harvey, Finn, Harriet (aka
Hatty, on Finn's shoulders), and Eve (mom)

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