Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thursday October 18th - Wednesday the 24th
I love writing each week =)
It's something I look forward to!

Thursday Oct. 18th
Interviews with our mission president at the church.  I like having one on one time with President Morgan! He is super legit and I feel uplifted everytime.
Training session with the assistants to the president while we waited for our interview.
It was awesome because to further emphasize one of the points they wanted to cover we all got to watch part of the movie Remember the Titans =) It was the last game where the coaches aren't working together and they are loosing, yet when they work together they kick butt! The analogy was to help us further think about the way we are working together with the members.
The training was framed within the context of becoming converted to the doctrine of Christ.

We also focused on specific areas to further our goals of working with members:
Courage to ask for referrals from members
Obedience to effective planning
Reverence for leadership that we serve with that hold the priesthood keys
Effort to follow up

In addition to interviews our mission president talked to us about growth they are anticipating in our mission.
The church is anticipating a huge surge in missionaries ever since they made the announcement about the age change during this last session of General Conference.
 A lot of those missionaries will serve state side because of visa limitations. Furthermore our mission is expecting a high increase in numbers because of the amount of people living here and the geography we cover.
Right now there are 143 young adult missionaries in our mission. The surrounding missions like Ny NY South and the Utica mission have 208-211 missionaries.  With senior missionaries we have 173 missionaries to our mission.
The leaders of the church told our mission president to expect the numbers to double within the next 6-12 months, but starting as soon as January! That means that every single one of us could be training! Currently all the missionaries time in the MTC is now being cut one third. English missionaries will be there for two weeks.
Furthermore, to meet the demands of the missionaries that could come in it is very likely that those not learning a language will not even go to the MTC, but rather come strait into the mission. It will be our job to wrap our arm around the new missionaries with love and teach them how to be great missionaries!  This will increase our personal responsibility thus there is a greater need to personally become converted to the doctrine of Christ so we can teach them. 
Our mission president is giving us the heads up now because he wants us to be prepared!
This shows me how inspired the brethren are because ever since I've been in the mission they've introduced a thing called the 12 week infield training that you do with your companion the first three months you're in the field. The major complaint with that was you were repeating the things you did in the MTC. However, now realizing the MTC could be done away for English speakers it is crazy how we could truly be their MTC experience!
I am super excited I am serving while these changes are taking place. I look forward to riding the wave of missionary work in a season of change!  I would be thrilled to train. Even though I hear it is challenging I think it would be very rewarding :)

That night we had dinner with a member downtown at a resturant called Dig In that was delicious! It's seasonal and very healthy. Not to mention delicious. There was no sacraficing flavor for health =)

Friday Oct. 19th
We had our last appointment with Jose! We confirmed everything for his upcoming baptism. The only thing left is his interview and then the baptism.  It has been such a lovely experience teaching Jose. His receptiveness to the gospel has really meant a lot to me.

We went next to have a lesson with a woman the elders are teaching who is getting baptized this week. The elders had a conflict that they couldn't resolve so we were able to help them out. She is an awesome woman ans I am grateful I had the opportunity to meet her.

That night we had a dinner appointment which turned out to be a miracle of the Lord!
We had dinner scheduled with an investigator and two members, one of which is a recent convert. 
When we were at their place the member told us a friend text her and asked if he could get a copy of the Book of Mormon. I gave her the one I had and he said he'd come pick it up.  When he got there we sat down at the table with us and we ended up teaching him for like 15-20 minutes! He is so open and prepared. He said he's been open to the church and wanting to learn more ever since he started at Columbia (for the past four years). We set up an appointment with him for the upcoming Wednesday (Oct. 24th!)
It was such a great faith building experience for everyone who was there. It also showed me that there are people that we know, Kasey (the member) had know him for the past four years, who are ready to learn about the restored Gospel. It is our job to extend them the invitation. If we don't they might just end up having to approach us! lol.
Anyhow he realized his time here at Columbia was coming to a close and he wanted to look into it before he moved for medical school. He found it hard to believe that the bible was the end of the story. He didn't know why God would stop talking to man. It was awesome to be able to tell him that God still call men to be prophets today!

After he left we watched the restoration dvd with our investigator and the two members. We had taught him the restoration before but we hadn't had a chance to watch the movie. He really liked it. We went on the read 2 Nephi chapter 11 in the Book of Mormon which is all about the doctrine of Christ.  The spirit was present and we were able to talk to him about baptism and choosing a specific date. He had already expressed to us before that he was open to being baptized at home. He has a lot of lds friends and he wanted his family to be there. He accepted a date for January 5th, 2013.  We left there so grateful for all the ways we have seen the Lord bless this area since we've been serving together!

When we left there we ran into a member Chase that we've been working a lot with and his jewish friend who we'd met before. Somehow we got on the subject of ice cream bars and Sister Maldarizzi had never heard of them before! So Chase decided we were going to have some! It was great =) We went into the store right next to us and he bought a box of ice cream bars. It was such a fabulous way to end the night!!!

Saturday Oct. 20th
We woke up way too early! haha but it's worth it because it was to see an apostle of the Lord!
We had to leave our apartment at 6:15am to take the train to Fordham (my old area in the Bronx) to take the cheapest Metro North up to Scarsdale.  It all worked out though and we had a chance to come together with the entire mission and hear Elder D. Todd Christofferson. It was a wonderful experience!  I will try to tell more soon. Basically my spirit was nourished and I felt God's love!

Later, we had an awesome lesson with a refferal from the Elders. He is a journalist major at Columbia. It was a great lesson. He had a lot of questions and took some notes, which is new for me lol

Sunday Oct. 21st
Sunday was long! However, I enjoyed it =)
We went to the family ward at 9am with our investigator Shannon because she couldn't make it to our YSA ward at 1pm because of work.  It was an awesome sacrament meeting focused on Gratitude.  There we also met another journalist student who came to church to check it out. He actually knows the guy we taught the day before! We set up a time to meet with him this Thursday.
While my companion was setting that up I was talking to a family who was visiting from Gilbert Arizona. Turns out it was the Barlow Family!!! Not only did this woman know my family, but as a little girl I have been to her house! haha. Her daughter dated my brother throughout high school. Another one of her sons is friends with another brother of mine. It was such a funny connection to make!

We went to our church meeting at 1pm and it's so nice now that I'm familiar with multiple faces. I really love our ward. They are all very talented individuals.

We eneded the night with a dinner appointment with one of the apartments in our ward.
I love how much we get fed here. It's really nice and it's really the only way I can get to know the ward since it's so big.

Monday Oct. 22nd
We traveled to North Man. for District meeting.
Afterwards we left to go to our appointment with Shannon. She showed us pictures from her trip to NM to see the Hot Air Balloon Festival! She brought up that Plan of Salvation and we went through it with Sister Maldarizzi's visual aid that she drew (it is super adorable!) I was able to really feel the spirit when we talked about pre-earth life and earth life.

Next we went to the chapel to meet Jose so he could have his baptismal interview with our District Leader.
Later we had dinner with a lovely member of our ward named Abby. It was nice to have REAL food. Prior to that we had only eaten cookies and candy corn! We did not intend for that to be our meals for the day, but we forgot to pack snacks lol.

Tuesday Oct. 23rd
Happy Wedding Anniversary Brad and Monica!

After my personal studies that morning my objective of the day was to
1. Make people feel loved
2.  As appropriate bare my testimony that I have felt Christ's love through reading the Book of Mormon
3. Invite them to read the Book of Mormon to feel Christ's love as well.

Service at the food pantry where I was able to have a wonderful conversation with a woman named Dori.  We talked about many things. One of her friends joined the church and has had a lot of support from the members in Oklahoma. She was really impressed by the churchs efforts to reach out to those around them. We were able to share with her about our experiences as missionaries and I shared my testimony about how I have  come to feel the Savior's love and have come to know him through reading the Book off Mormon.  Any many other things did I say unto her.
We contacted a lot of people on the street and throughout our day.
We ended the night at a dinner appointment with two members who are superb! Sister M and I worked out our approach to our spiritual thought. The past two nights it was a little off. However, the analyzing we did about why exactly they weren't working as well as we wanted really paid off because the spiritual lesson Tuesday night at dinner was very powerful!  One member is a dancer her in the city. The other is an opera singer. They are both very talented!

Today, Wednesday Oct. 24th
We were pretty relaxed earlier in the day. We went shopping because I had received a care package from a loved one in Az. My other Mom =)
I got a really cute sweater from Old Navy that will do wonders as it starts to cool off. I am really grateful for her love and support!
As the weather shifts there are a few things I want to get, but missionary budgets are not exactly for clothes shopping haha.
After I finish emailing we are having a lesson with the guy we met last Thursday night who is friends with one of the members. We're prepared to teach and we think it's very possible he could accept a baptismal inviation tonight! So that is definitely exciting!

I love you!!!
Sister Emily Johnson

who is almost 22! haha

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