We've had a crazy week. Unfortunately, a good chunk of it was actually
taken up by a phantom ear infection (we're still not sure if it
actually exists), a bad reaction to some antibiotics, and an
all-nighter at the Emergency Room. But after some headaches, vomiting,
severe dehydration, then some morphine, Percocet, several other drugs
that weren't nearly as much fun, a CAT scan, and a full day sleeping,
things are more or less back to normal. Monday night, I digested my
first full meal since last p-day and we've been out and about ever
On the bright side, while we were in the Emergency Room, and after
they got me on morphine so I wasn't curled up in a ball and moaning
anymore, we struck up some good conversation with a woman who was
there with her boyfriend who was experiencing some severe abdominal
pain. She was from Russia, but was currently living in Washington DC.
We talked with her a lot about the church and sparked her interest
quite a bit. All she knew about the Mormons before came from the Book
of Mormon Musical (that's typical of half the people on the street in
New York), so she was really fascinated to hear about what our church
is actually about. By morning, we had her contact info to send to the
missionaries down in DC! She also told us about what it was like to
grow up in post-Soviet Russia, which was really cool to hear about.
She does not like Vladimir Putin very much.
We had a whopping four investigators show up to church this Sunday!
(maybe that's nothing for some of my friends in South American
missions, but here that's a big deal). One of them also stayed
afterwards to watch a baptism. That particular investigator is named
A*. He's super awesome! I've experienced some of the best lessons of
my mission with him, but he has one pretty major roadblock right now:
he's gay. He has so much desire though, I honestly could see him
choosing to live a chaste life and being baptized anyway! We're
hoping. He loved church! Luckily, there are a lot of openly gay
members in our branch who are active and keeping their covenants, so
he would have a lot of very understanding supporters if he did join
Also, I don't think I've ever mentioned a man named Ryan Koch. He's
the director of the Church's public affairs office in New York (one of
three such offices in the United States). He's a super cool guy. He
lives in New Jersey, but we see him all the time around temple/chapel.
He knows he missionaries here better than the ones in his home area.
The other day, he was at the UN, and he happened to run into S*! (That's the woman I mentioned last week). He was able to recognize her at a meeting because we had told him about our encounter
with her, so he approached her an talked with her for a while. From
what he's told us it sounds like she might be a very good connection
for him and for the church at the UN.
Today Elder Richards and I get to go to the temple for an endowment
session. That will be a treat! It's been a while since I've gotten to
do that. Fun fact: it takes me less time to walk to a temple than it
does for my parents in Utah to drive to one! I'm looking forward to
that and to another week here in the Big Apple!
-Elder Samuel Burton
1. Elder Newbold, Elder Moss, myself, and a Elder Richards in Central Park
3. Me in the Emergency Room