I wake up in the morning to two simultaneous alarms and wait for my
companion to turn them both off (I'm not lazy; his bed is closer). I
do a few push-ups and then give a Hollywood-worthy motivational speech
to get my companion to go out running with me. Pretty soon, I'm
enjoying the smells of the morning goods of every deli and bodega
within vicinity of Rainey Park as we jog a few laps. And I think to
myself as I run, how did I get so lucky? This is the life! "Da real
kine life," as they say in the Bronx. Meanwhile, my companion is
probably thinking, how did I get dragged into this again? I just
assume he'll thank me later. Haha. Truly, I love it here! It's crazy,
and filthy and the subways are always late, and there isn't a
non-missionary white guy for miles, but I love being here!
Spring here had unusually little rain up until this last week, during
which it has scarcely stopped raining! I love the rain though, so I
don't mind. It keeps us cool. Even though temperature-wise New York is
very similar to Utah, the humidity is killer!
We had a great lesson with R* on Saturday about temples, and again
on Monday about prophets and obedience. During the latter, R*
mentioned a man two floors above her who was having some spiritual
troubles. He had been coming and talking with her about them. At the
end of the lesson, he came knocking on R*'s door. He came in, a man
of Jamaican decent, but with no accent. He had long dreadlocks and
overall had bore a significant semblance to Bob Marley. His name is
D* Junior, or "DJ." We ended up teaching him too. R* threw down
on his use of drugs and called him to repentance. She had him in
tears! Then the sweetest, most amazing thing happened. She bore her
testimony to him that the Savior could help him and that we (the
missionaries) were representatives from the true Church of Christ. We
set up an appointment with him for the next day. The lesson went
amazingly well. We taught him about faith, repentance, and baptism and
how they can be the mediums to turn his life around. By the end of the
lesson, he was smiling so wide. He said, "I'm so happy, and I don't
know why!" We told him right then, that what he was feeling was the
Holy Ghost, which testifies of all truth. He committed to be baptized
and to give up pot. It was such a powerful lesson! We're going to see
him again on Saturday and teach him about the Restoration. As we were
leaving, we stopped by R*'s, per her request, to tell her how it
went. After talking with her for a minute, a woman came up the stairs.
"Hello, dear!" R* said, "Tese are my little Elders; Dey study wit
me. Pretty soon dey gonna be studying wit you too!" Haha! We're going
to convert that whole apartment building if R* keeps this up!
On Monday night, we got a call from D* U*, a less active
member. He said he wanted us to come by, and we ended up teaching him
and his friend who was there. We're going to be visiting them
regularly too now!
There's a woman we've started visiting named G* whose mother
joined the church in New Jersey. Apparently her mom kept telling her
she needs to have the missionaries over, so she wants to feed us
dinner once a week now. New investigator and free dinner! Awesome!
Overall, the work is really picking up in this area! I'm so excited! I
love being busy, and the Bronx definitely keeps us busy. She, like a
lot of people we teach, lives in the projects. To get into a project,
you have to dial the right code for the person your visiting, and they
can buzz you in. Last time, as we were looking up the code for G*,
a nearby police officer came over and said, "sometimes you just have
to..." And then he ripped the door open, probably destroying the lock.
Then he said, "be careful in there!" And went back to his post.
Today we're spending our P-day in Manhattan, visiting a few of my
favorite sites, namely the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine and the
North Woods in Central Park. Pictures might not come until next week.
That's all for now. Love you all!
- Elder Samuel Burton
Here are some pictures from around the Bronx: after Zone Meeting, wall
murals (these things are all over the place)