Wednesday, May 18, 2016

18 May 2016 - 6 Months Today

Dear All,

Today is my six-month mark as a missionary. We're getting settled in at our new apartment. It definitely kinda stinks having so little time for proselyting and other stuff, but it's okay because we're preparing for something better. I love what President Smith said to us. He said, "I know that you may be thinking, 'Another move? Really?' But I am reminded of when this very mission was hit by Hurricane Sandy [I'm paraphrasing and IDK if that's even the right one.] Those missionaries
took 6 months to do service, and that's it. They did not proselyte." This helped me be more positive about the whole thing. The issue is that this program already struggles, and then when we take out entire days we struggle even more. But what this does is prepares us to be ready for when we will be covering the entire city. It will all work out in the end.

Service at the AME church was really good Friday morning. They really needed us, especially with heavy lifting. I feel like they're really starting to warm up to us because they talk to us and joke with us now. Donna definitely trusts us now because they were out of bags and she gave us money to go buy some from a store. That was sweet. While we were handing out the food, I heard Donna say to one of the others, "He can't hear," referring to one of the people getting food. Elder Bell and I were helping lots of people bring their groceries up the stairs, but as soon as we came down, I asked Donna if the guy was deaf, and she said yes. So Elder Bell and I immediately offered to help him take his bags up and asked if he knew ASL. Sadly, it was apparent that he did not know ASL. I then saw his hearing aid, and he could speak perfectly fine too. So we're assuming he went deaf later in life. He may not have known ASL, but it was yet another testimony to me that we can find deaf people. Literally as I was typing this, we were about to cross a crosswalk and this woman told us her brother was deaf. So we asked her about him and she said there's no way to contact him, but we gave her a card and asked her to give it to him. So that was yet another deaf person. It's pretty legit.

We moved all of our stuff on Saturday. The apartment is right next to Yankee Stadium, and there was a game that had just finished. It was a nightmare. The worst part was that we had all our giant bags and carts, and the subways were packed and everything was crazy. There was a group of college-aged kids who were super hammered. They were just yelling and acting super tight. I echo what a wise man once said to Elder Turner on a train: "They say an empty can makes the most noise." That group of kids was what I like to call, "A group of white people in the Bronx, obviously visiting from Manhattan."

(Note: Daniel wrote the following paragraph in a separate email to
us, but we've included it here because we found it interesting.)

The new apartment was an absolute mess though. It appeared that previous missionaries may not have cared much about cleanliness. There were plenty of cockroaches, which was disgusting, but didn't surprise me. We're gonna go hard in the cleaning and organizing aspect of it, especially because we're supposed to be here for a long time. I haven't put my food into the cabinet yet because there were dead roach carcasses and droppings all over it. So I really deep-cleaned
that thing. It was certainly not an experience I wish on any of my enemies because it was foul. Another interesting fact: you can almost always tell if an apartment has a roach problem the second you walk in. There is a very particular smell to it. It's not a particularly bad smell, it's just strange. The second we walked into the apartment, we knew.

We had an awesome miracle on Monday. So for district meeting, Elder Bell had us discuss the topic of testimonies and share our favorite testimonies from the scriptures. He then had us practice the NY Minute (it's teaching one principle of the Gospel in a minute) with the principle being the Book of Mormon. He specifically wanted us to focus on testifying and then backing up your companion's testimony. It was really awesome. This is where the miracle comes in, later that day, we were VideoPhoned by a random deaf person who was legitimately interested in learning more. He was asking us questions and was very
educated - educated enough to understand our answers and to read scripture! That is very rare in the deaf community in NY: having the ability to read English and fully understand ASL. We had a full-on unplanned lesson, and what do you know, we ended up teaching almost the exact same lesson we'd practiced at district meeting. I'm not kidding, we used almost the exact same teaching for the principle of the Book of Mormon with brother Platt - he's the man who called us. He lives in Brooklyn so we referred him to the South Elders. He's absolutely golden too. It was so awesome.

Well we're glad to be back in the Bronx and in an apartment that we should be in for a long time. And hey, we're living right next to the famous Yankee's Stadium. Although it is weird because there are legit giant company stores near us like Target and BJ's, and other random stuff. It just doesn't seem like it belongs here, but it's awesome for shopping, so it's all good.

"When life gives you anxiety, count the dimples on a golf ball...
How man-
There are 356".

-2 Nephi 33:6
-2 Nephi 4

Keep on Truckin

-Elder Daniel West

191st Street Stop on the train

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