Dear family and friends,
I would like to highlight a few main points of the past week to let you know what I am up to in the Bronx.
Lately we're trying to have quality teaching experiences with the people of the Bronx to better help them progress in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition, to help them understand the importance of the things we are teaching. I'm not saying we didn't care about having quality lessons before. It is just that I have come to a great understanding that we can not do this work without the help of our loving Heavenly Father and the converting power of the Holy Ghost. I have been seeking the Lord earnestly in prayer more and more.
Even though the work has its slow moments I know the Lord has been using me and my personality to build up his kingdom. I have made some wonderful connections and friendships with ward members, recent converts, and other investigators. Even if I have not been the missionary teaching them it's still amazing to see the impact/influence I can have on them.
This last Thursday, July 19th, we had one of our investigators over for a Cottage Meeting with the Britton family.
The Brittons are amazing! It was awesome that our investigator came because he had been in the hospital the day before. He thought he had a hernia. Turns out he ripped two internal stomach muscles! He got treatment and then rested about 24 hrs. so he had some energy to come with us. When I shared the spiritual thought I did my best to follow the spirit and liken the scriptures to some of the trials he has been facing.
On Friday we had the Blitz. That's where all the missionaries come to one area and help the missionaries in that area build up the work/give them referrals. I went with Hermana Pipes. We had an amazing lesson with a guy at his work place. He works at a building for under privileged people. He was very receptive and open to our message. There were a few points where the other sister tried to end the lesson, but I felt the spirit telling me to keep going, to keep teaching him about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. I bore my testimony about the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith as a prophet. He seemed touched by the account of the first vision. He was open to reading the Book of Mormon and learning more about our message.
Unfortunately, fast forward a few days when I called him, he told me his family wasn't open to it. He had already told us they was a different church they went to. He said he'd read the Book of Mormon though and if he was intrigued he'd give us a call.
Situations like that are so hard because I felt the spirit so strong when we taught him and he was guided by the spirit to learn more, yet his family closed that door that had opened. I know I did my part however in planting the seed. He had never heard of the Book of Mormon before that.
Sunday was a good day. It was pretty relaxed and I enjoyed church very much.
My personal goals for this week are
- see/have the pure love of Christ
- pray often/be humble/be diligent
- work hard/use time well
Monday July 23rd we had dinner at a members apartment. She is a young single adult who is published in the magazine FamilyCircle. I love the opportunity I have as a missionary to meet lots of members in our ward and find out more about their lives. It is always so fascinating to me to see how people are (in work, home, food, school, the gospel, etc)
That night I had a really good lesson with our investigator (the same one from Thursday night) on the phone. He wasn't able to make it to church that week but we talked about how he had been reflecting a lot while he was recovering. He knows he needs to put God first in his life. One of the things we've committed him to do is pray every morning and night. I asked him if he had asked God if the Book of Mormon was true. He told me he knew the Book of Mormon is true because of who I am. He said we are role models to him and he can feel our goodness. I agreed and said how when we really center the Book of Mormon and the teachings of Jesus Christ and his gospel in our lives other people can see it and feel it. I then stressed the importance to him of gaining a spiritual confirmation of these things. Sometimes it is hard to help people see that without the spiritual confirmation of the Holy Ghost we don't realize the need to act.
Tuesday July 24th was my favorite day this past week.
Happy Pioneer Day!
We first went with the Elders to visit one of their recent converts (Yassmin) who I adore. She is wonderful.
Following that we stopped by and checked on another one of my favorite people (Candy) who I taught the first time she came to church. She literally lives across the street from our area so we don't teach her, but the Elders are. She is absolutely great <3
I love that the friendships I am building here will continue to last even after my mission is over.
That evening we went with the Elders in our district to have a picnic at Van Courtland Park. We were meeting to of the Senior missionary couples (Denisons and Merrells) and I was so proud of us for being on time. To pass the time Elder Garvin and Stratton were pass a football back and forth. I had Elder Stratton remind me how to throw it well. It was like going back to fifth grade when I was a tomboy and "LOVED" football. haha. Anyways, after a few attempts I'm proud to say that I got decent!
About fifteen minutes later we realized we might not be in the right place. After some confusion we finally got n the right path and traveled the remaining distance to where the senior missionaries where set up.
Shortly after the Morgans joined us! President Morgan's wife and two of their sons came. He was going to come but there was some maintenance problems being attended to at the mission home. They are a wonderful family and I'm thrilled to have them as our new mission president.
We had a delicious picnic with burgers, hotdogs, watermelon, chips, and brownies. It was so American I loved it.
After dinner we tossed the football around quite a bit! Elder Denison (senior couple missionary in my ward who is hilarious) thinks I'm pretty talented =D He asked if I had brothers... or if I was a tomboy growing up. I told him Both!
After a lovely time the Morgans offered us a ride home. Sister Asregadoo and I accepted. One of the highlights about being a sister missionary is that when rides are offered you are always first on the list. Often times we are the only ones who get the ride.
I was able to give Sister Morgan directions back to our place. I am proud of myself because I know the area, and apparently well enough to give driving instructions!
On the way home we were able to see one of the fire hydrants splash water into the street. Her two boys ages 19 and 16 thought that was really cool! That is one of my favorite things about the Bronx :)
Something else funny from the ride home was when we saw someone driving their remote control car out on Grand Concourse! Which is the main road by the church. Haha it was rather funny. Sister Morgan said the Bronx was an interesting place. Ryan, the younger son, said unique was an understatement.
Today we were at the church playing Rummikub and Egytian war. We then tried to go to the Bronx Art Museum but they are only open Thursday-Sunday. It was a cool place though. I could definitely see some of my installation pieces being displayed there!
Well that's it for now. I am thankful for who I am becoming out here. The Lord refines me everyday! There is quite a bit for him to refine. lol. But seriously, I love serving... even when it's hard because it is so satisfying. The Lord is incredible and I am thankful to be alive everyday. Ethan Kirkpatrick finishes his mission today! It's weird being older and seeing how fast two years can come and go. August 8th will be my 6th month mark. I know with the upcoming changes of seasons and eventually areas the work and my service will continue to speed by.
Remember to make time for the Lord to communicate with you this week.
He will do this through quality
- Scripture Study
- Church Attendance
Sister Emily A. Johnson