The first week in New Paltz has proved to be quite an experience.
We have one super solid investigator right now named K*. He's a
retired profession tennis player and likes to tell stories about his
days in the U.S. Open and the famous players he's coached. Now he
lives in a trailer out in the woods of upstate New York. He wants to
be baptized, but we need to set a new date with him. Probably in the
next few weeks. He has been to church several times, but sometimes his
health problems makes it difficult. He also, along with half the
people up here, does not own a car. I don't know how these people
survive without a car in this rural environment! So we have to
organize rides to church for hims every week.
We also do a lot of work with members. We have such a little branch
out here and most of the members are converts, so we do a lot to help
them keep the branch functioning. We have enough members on record to
be a ward, but only about thirty to forty of them attend church. We do
a lot of service too: fixing barn doors, framing houses, cutting and
hauling wood, and other farm/construction kind of jobs.
I have to admit, being up here is quite refreshing. The city is
amazing, but there's something so pleasant about driving down these
country highways and running around member's farm fields. Though in a
few weeks, when hayfever hits, I will probably recant all that.
The church building is a cool little chapel. It's set in the middle of
a twelve acre lot, surrounded by fields and orchards. It has one big
room which serves as a chapel for sacrament meeting, then gets divided
in two to be the primary room and the gospel doctrine classroom. There
are a few little classrooms, the Branch President's office, bathrooms,
and a little kitchen, all squeezed into the tiniest LDS meetinghouse
I've ever seen.
Elder Hansen is a cool guy. He's from San Diego, California. His
family joined the church when he was three. His Mom is
Japanese-American. He's a runner, so I finally have a companion that
will willing go running with me in the mornings!
So all is well for us in New Paltz. We have big plans for this area. I
want to see a ward here before I leave! Thanks for the love and
-Elder Samuel Burton