It has been quite the week! There were many miracles that made it super great. Perhaps one of the best I have had so far here in NY. We had district meeting, MLC, Leaders Meeting, sisters conference planning, two exchanges, preparation to teach a workshop for mega-zone conference tomorrow, a musical number to practice, doctors appointments (my comp has foot problems too!) and trying to share the gospel to balance. Needless to say we could use some practice at the balancing part. By some miracle we got done all that we needed to, and even hit our goals we had set! The Lord is helping us out cause He knows we can't do it on our own.
So Monday was our typical p-day. The Elders wanted pizza so we made some for everyone and tried to write letters. I got like 2 letters written in 4 hours haha so better luck this week? Yep. At 6pm Sister Jones (from my MTC district!) came and picked me up for our exchange on Staten Island! It's beautiful there and Sister Jones is a total doll. There is a Ft. Wadsworth there we are a pretty big deal here in NY haha. We had such a great exchange. I feel like I used to hate talking about feelings but I have learned so much in this last week about counseling and working through problems. Sister Jones was seriously running herself to the ground so I took her down to the ocean for a bit and made her relax. She is such a great missionary.
Tuesday we taught one of our investigators. She is from Islam and is so amazing. Everyone and everything seems to be against her joining the church, but she keeps pressing forward! She is super sassy, we were in Gospel Principals and she asked "if someone came to your door and wanted to tell you about a bible they had, would you listen?" Haha it really made everyone in the class think, it was pretty funny! I am amazed at the opposition some people experience, and even more impressed at how they continue forward regardless.
Soooo. More foot stories: we went to the podiatrist for my companion and I had the lady look at my foot. Not only is the wart still there but ever since I came to Bensonhurst the skin has been falling off my feet at an alarming rate. She said I got some kind of infection or disease from our nasty turquoise shower and she prescribed me some cream. The next day during weekly planning the guy from the pharmacy called and told me the cream would be $400, not insured. I literally laughed into the phone and told him I'll be good without it haha.
We had MLC and it was SO uplifting. President asked what was wrong with the wards and stakes and then turned it on us and said if our zones and districts were stakes and wards, respectively, what would we need to work on? It was pretty intense and we had a very good counsel about how we can help the missionaries in this mission become the best people for now and the rest of their lives. We talked about patterns of learning and the pattern set forth by Elder Bednar is similar to the pattern I learned at LDSBC and BYUI but now it actually makes sense when put into a gospel perspective haha I didn't feel like it applied to school for some reason :) but the three steps he outlined were:
1. Prepare to learn
2. Interact to edify
3. Invite to act
I think these steps can help us follow the prophet's counsel to keep the sabbath day holy, if we prepare before church, go to church to help uplift others, and act on what we learn, we will have a much stronger conversion to the gospel. As missionaries we are used to receiving a lot of commitments or "action items" from things we attend. I know it won't be like that when I go home, so I am trying to look for action items everywhere I go--ways I can improve from what I learned.
That night we got on a train to go home from our lesson. I was trying to talk to everyone but when we got on the train there were just a bunch of loud teenagers and a few drunk people. We sat across from a Peruvian family with 2 sleeping kids. I wanted to talk to them but I didn't have the courage to interrupt the parents as they seemed to be discussing something very important. I kinda checked out as people so often do on the trains. Then the father leaned forward and asked "sisters, can you help us?" He didn't say he was a member so I was confused why he knew to call us sisters. We got off at the next stop so I quickly asked what we could do. The family was from Albany and were worried they would miss the last bus upstate so they asked if we knew somewhere they could stay. I got their number and almost got squished by the closing doors of the train. We texted half the members in the ward and they gave us suggestions of hotels which we texted to the family. The next morning we woke up to a text saying: "thank so much sisters, we could arrive at time to take the last bus to Albany in port authority bus station, but we are so glad to know two sisters so friendly as you, we pray few minutes before to know you, so we know that God send to you for support us whatever. Thanks and blessings from us, a Mormon Peruvian family living at Albany." I feel like sometimes I am so caught up in receiving answers to my prayers that I forget that God needs me to answer the prayers of His other children. This was such a special experience to me and a testimony that God knows all of His children by name, and He knows your needs before you tell Him.
Saturday was a rough one haha. I loved it! We stand outside the church every Saturday from like 1-3 and offer church tours, bibles and Book of Mormon, pamphlets, and eternal life. We seriously got rejected by every single person we talked to. Like, our whole district. It was funny but I can't say it doesn't get to ya. Then Saturday night the elder's investigator who is like, totally golden and supposed to get baptized yesterday told them he wasn't going to go through with it. Then on Sunday we only had 1 investigator at church, our other ones kinda broke up with us. After church Sis Anderson and I were just done so we went to Coney Island and knocked on 75 doors. We got two return appointments!! We also saw a less-active and as we were going to find some lost investigators at the projects this random guy stopped us and asked if we were Mormons. We were shocked but responded "yes". He asked if Joseph Smith is a prophet to which we also responded "yes". I asked his story and he said when he was 15 he was addicted to pornography and knew only Christ could help him overcome it. He didn't turn to anyone but Him. And he is now able to resist the temptations and he said he reads the bible and teaches others about repenting and coming to Christ, and he is 21!!! It was SO COOL. We have a lesson with him tonight to introduce him to the elders! And our investigator who DID come to church said she doesn't think it's boring anymore, she likes it! Miracles...
So yeah, there were a ton of hard times but as I was writing in my journal last night I had the thought that "there is nowhere else I would rather be than here, struggles and all." I know Christ is with us in the work. He is standing with us on each stoop as we get the door slammed and he hears all the profane things people scream at us. He feels what we feel, and therefore knows how to succor us in our infirmity. I am so grateful for a loving Savior whose thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and whose ways are not our ways--He always knows what's best for his children. He answers our prayers, I know that.
Love you all, thanks for your support!
1. Sister Jones and I!
2. Staten Island Pier
3. Our District
4. The closest thing I've seen to a "farm" out here :)