Wednesday, April 6, 2016

6 April 2016 - 3 Months in New York

Dear All,

This week was full of ups and downs, but mostly ups.

The end of last week was really slow, and both of our investigators
with baptismal dates dropped them. One of them was going totally crazy
on us about how water doesn't work for the sacrament, only wine. I
could see how that was a legitimate concern, but then he listed a ton
of other random reasons that didn't really make sense. It was pretty
obvious that he just wasn't ready and didn't seem interested anyways.
He was also just not all the way there, mentally, and even was under
the influence, which is never a good thing. It was getting to the
point where we were afraid it would become physically confrontational,
so we offered to come back another time and just got up and left as he
showed us to the door. That was severely disappointing, but he didn't
want to continue being taught and we respect his agency. The other
thing was our beloved investigator, Brother Harris, did not come to
conference, and we later found out he was no longer ready for baptism on
April 17th. We are still working with him and trying to help him
figure out some stuff. Those were really the most disappointing parts
of the week.

On Saturday and Sunday we had General Conference. Most of you already
know what this is, but for a short summary, it's a broadcast from Utah
where the Prophets and Apostles of God speak to members of the Church
and anyone else who wants to listen. It happens semi-annually, and it is
full of information on how we can improve as people, and other assorted
Gospel topics. That was super awesome. Especially because we watched
it at the church with our members, which meant there was ASL
interpretation for the whole thing! It was really cool to be able to
watch and listen to the talks from the Lord's servants. A couple
things that were mentioned many times were as follows:
The absolute main point of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is this: God
loves us. We are all literally children of God. Oftentimes we don't
quite realize how much that means. He and His son have done everything
for us. They've made it possible for us to be happy. We just have to
be humble enough to find the path they want us to take and then be
humble enough to accept that we can't reach our full potential without
We have the ability to have the Holy Ghost as our constant companion.
That's a big deal. That means we can have the third member of the
Godhead with us at all times. He provides a lot of protection and
power and He even makes it possible to communicate with God.
We have the ability to forgive anyone for anything. Us forgiving
someone does not mean that that person won't see consequences for
their actions. "I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of
you it is required to forgive all men." We do not get to decide who
does and doesn't deserve forgiveness. If we're having trouble
forgiving people, try seeing them through the Lord's eyes instead of
our own. If we are successful in this attempt, we will then be able
to love them far beyond our own ability.
This is Jesus Christ's Church. This is the only Church with God's
authority once again on the earth. Although other churches are good
and do help people be happier, and even bring them closer to God, this
is the only one that can perform saving ordinances.

We went to go visit Sister Rivera to see how she was doing, and she's
been doing a lot better since the last time we saw her, even her
husband seems to be doing way better. Also, quick side note, there had
been like 3 shootings in the last week right outside of and inside of
their apartment complex. What the heck. I love serving as a missionary
here, but I would not want to raise a family here. Props to anyone who
has successfully done that. The city really just isn't a very good
environment for families.

I've had a few times where we've been teaching a lesson and I've had
very clear impressions to ask a question or bring up a topic.
Sometimes they've felt completely random and it just doesn't make
sense why I would think that. So it's been pretty evident that it's a
spiritual prompting: it's just been obvious when I've had promptings
from the Spirit. The sad thing is I didn't always follow them. It's
only taken me a couple times to realize how much I don't want to
ignore them. All the other times that I've asked the question or
brought up the comment which I felt prompted to say, it ended up
working so perfectly. The Spirit just leads those lessons and it's so
wonderful. Every time I've followed them the lesson continues
smoothly. I've very easily learned to follow the promptings from the
Spirit, even when it doesn't make sense. The Spirit can teach a heck
of a lot better than we can.

About a month or two ago, I had put up some pictures of family and
friends above my study desk. It was nice to add some color to the wall
and to be able to look at the people in the pictures. As time went on,
they stayed on the wall and they looked nice. I'd never even thought
twice about putting them up. I didn't and still don't feel that they
were distracting me from being a missionary in New York. But earlier
in the week, I just felt very specific prompting to take down the
pictures. So I did. I don't know why, it was kinda out of nowhere,
but it was very clearly a prompting from the Holy Ghost. I haven't
seen any specific blessing from following that prompting, but because
I was prompted to do so, I know that it helped and/or will help me in
some way.

I saw a guy sit down and start eating his chicken in the subway. As he
was eating he would just spit out pieces of chicken onto the floor
that he didn't like or something. He would also throw the bones on the
ground every time he'd finish. This lady next to me was disgusted. She
was absolutely flabbergasted. Although I do not condone such behavior,
it didn't seem too out of the ordinary and for that reason, I didn't
think much of it. Oops! Another thing that happened earlier that day
was when Elder Bell and I were in a pizza place. We were eating and
some guy comes into the store with tons of different pastas and starts
selling pasta to the customers. It was pretty funny.

That's all for this week. Tune in next time, Wednesday at 1:00pm
Central Time, for more.

"Hello Mr. Police Officers!"
"Be obedient to the principle, not the sentence."
"I think there's more ways to be good than bad."
"If there were a perfect woman, do you really think she would be
interested in you?"
"Um, sir, your dog's hanging."
"Did you just take the pasta into the bathroom?
Yup. It's on the sink."
"Easy money."

Moroni Chapters 7 and 10. That's all I gotta say.

Keep on Truckin

-Elder West

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