Wednesday, July 1, 2015

The (future) Vyse Avenue Branch

Wow we've had an awesome week!!! Biggest event of the week is obviously the new mission president, President Smith. He seems awesome so far! He had all the missionaries go go through and meet each member of his family! When I came up to President Smith himself, he said "Elder Burton! This is from your mom!" and he came up and gave me a huge hug. I'm super excited for this!

And, of course, I also have my new companion, Elder Unice. He's still a very green missionary, but he's great. He's been out for about four months. He's from Pleasant Grove, Utah. He is the youngest of six. He is a quarter Lebanese and consequently is the hairiest man I've ever met (Apparently Lebanese people are hairy?). I'm glad I figured things out in this area pretty fast, especially the subways and buses. Otherwise we would both be completely lost.

Other important things: we are currently teaching 8 people in four different apartments in Ruby's building, largely due to her own missionary efforts. D* (DJ), of course, Miss B* (Ruby's best friend), AJ (Ruby's grandson), R* (Ruby's granddaughter, who we are teaching over Skype while she's on vacation in Jamaica), Sh* and her two daughters (Ruby's across the hall neighbors), and of course Ruby herself. We've joked about soon starting up the Vyse Avenue Branch, consisting of only people Ruby's building! If everyone we're teaching and everyone that Ruby plans for us to teach get baptized, we would have enough members for a small branch there.

Unfortunately, our first lesson with Sh* was interrupted by a drunk guy who was trying to pick a fight with us, so Sh* took us on a walk down the street to get away from him. Next time we'll meet in their apartment, and we had D* volunteer to help us teach them the restoration. Haha! He's not even a member and he's going with us to teach and fellowship. Unfortunately, he relapsed this week, and he felt so terrible about it. But we had a great lesson with him to motivate him to keep trying.

We had a fun lesson with M* and S* Cruz. I forget if I've mentioned them before. They're less active members. S* is M*'s son and he is schizophrenic. He thinks he's Jesus sometimes because the voices in his head tell him he is. M* gets mad when he tells us he's Jesus. So the other day when we were visiting them, we were talking about Jesus (of course) and he cleverly used some third-person tactics to tell us why he hasn't been to church for so long. He said, "Sometimes Jesus Christ is scared to go to church because sometimes Jesus Christ thinks it's a cult" I tried so hard not to laugh! He's crazy and his mom is Puerto Rican, so she's kind of crazy too--just Puerto Rican crazy, not schizophrenic crazy.

We taught R*, Ruby's granddaughter, over Skype for the first time. It went super well! Next time we plan to give her a baptismal date!

We have recently started teaching a guy named A*, who has proven himself to be a bit flaky. We'll see. If he doesn't put a bit of effort into it, we have other investigators we could focus our time one. That's one thing that's very different about this area. There is an endless supply of people to teach! We always have someone to be visiting, we just need to weed out the crazies and the people that won't take it seriously so we know who is worth taking time out our schedule for. It wasn't like that in Poughkeepsie. We were tracting all the time, scrounging for people to teach.

Speaking of Poughkeepsie, I actually ran into a guy I know for there--L*--who we were semi-teaching when we went to visit K*. Apparently he recently moved here and is open to meeting with us. We'll see if it goes anywhere.

Shout out and thanks to my Uncle James for visiting and taking us to lunch! Always nice to see a familiar face. Thanks so much!

There are so many more things to say, but just not enough time! I could tell you about a friend of ours named Randall whose keep running into, or a crazy Hispanic guy we talk to in a nearby park, or any pick of fun and crazy people I've met this week, but again, there just isn't time! 

Love you all and talk to you later!

-Elder Samuel Burton

​Picture: Elder Unice and I​

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