Wednesday, May 11, 2016

11 May 2016 - Post Mothers Day Call

Dear All,

I was studying Elder Kevin R. Duncan's talk from this past General
Conference, and it is an awesome talk. It's titled, "The Healing
Ointment of Forgiveness." Although forgiveness isn't something that I
struggle with particularly, I still do fail to be able to forgive
everyone sometimes. He says some really awesome stuff. One thing is
this: "We mistakenly think that if we forgive, somehow justice will
not be served and punishments will be avoided. This simply is not the
case." I love that because it's accurate. Oftentimes we don't forgive
others because we think that they deserve punishment and they deserve
our resentment or some other petty idea. The truth is, if we don't
forgive someone, all we're doing is causing more bad feeling. God says
this in D&C 82: "Leave judgment alone with me, for it is mine and I
will repay. Peace be with you; my blessings continue with you."
Judgment is not ours to carry out. Our job is "to forgive all men."
Once we can find it in our hearts to forgive others, then we will be
free once again. Elder Duncan goes on to say, "One key to forgiving
others is to try to see them as God sees them." Of this I can testify.
The best way to learn to forgive others and love them is to try to see
them through the Savior's eyes, because as Elder Duncan says,
"Forgiveness is the very reason God sent His Son." The Atonement is
such a marvelous power. It is where we may draw power to forgive and
be forgiven. General Conference talks are awesome.

We were walking down 125th Street (it's like the Main Street in
Harlem) and one guy saw us pass and was like, "Hey it's Mormons,
Joseph Smith's people." Of course we just laughed, waved, and walked
on. Then about 20 seconds later we walked by a guy who said, "Brigham
Young; bring them young." We have actually heard of this guy from
other missionaries. Apparently, all he does is stand in the same spot
trying to upset missionaries by saying that we marry a ton of young
women. Ah it's a classic New York moment.

I was studying in Alma and I came upon one of the saddest moments in
the Book of Mormon. Alma and Amulek (essentially two missionaries)
were taken by the government and forced to watch women and children of
the Church be thrown into a pit of fire for no reason other than to
punish them for their beliefs. As they're watching this, Amulek asks,
"How could we witness this awful scene? Therefore let us stretch forth
our hands, and exercise the power of God which is in us, and save
them." He simply wants to save the innocent people, but Alma's
response is, "The Spirit constraineth me that I must not stretch forth
mine hand." He then goes on to explain that the Lord is allowing this
to happen because those who are killed are innocent and will go
straight to heaven. I love Amulek's response back. He says, "Behold,
perhaps they will burn us also." Amulek has such great trust in his
companion and is so submissive to the Lord's will and doesn't question
the decision at all. Alma then says, "Be it according to the will of
the Lord. But behold, our work is not finished; therefore they burn us
not." It's so awesome how they're so willing to suffer, even to death
if it so be that it is the Lord's will. But then he has the faith to
be able to say that their work isn't done and so they will not be
killed. Although this is such a sad chapter, it's also so awesome
because there's so much we can learn from these two.

I think we met our first truly happy bus driver this week. He said
"Good morning," to the people who walked onto the bus, including us! He
then would sing into the mic every now and then. He didn't just
announce the next stops on the bus, but he sang them. Ah it was great.
This was a reverse New York moment.

We were at a bus stop and we saw a random guy with hearing aids! At
first we were unsure as to how to approach this random man
whom we were assuming was deaf. So we just walked up and signed, 
"Do you know ASL"? We figured there was no point in beating around the
bush so we explained about ourselves. He was clearly not interested in
the Church, but there was something about him that just made us need
to keep talking with him. The cool thing is that we had a Branch Party
the next day, so we invited him to that. But even then he said he was
busy and wouldn't make it. We really wanted to talk to him and
continue but he obviously did not want to. So we got his contact
information and hoped for the best, planning to contact him soon. He
showed up to the party the next day! He was really nice and actually
talked with us. There has been no progression yet, but it was still
pretty legit.

"Holy Bungie."
"If the gun loads, shoot it."
"I like this book called DogMan. It's a dog, but it's also a man."
"I have never seen someone eat 20 tic tacs at the same time. you have."
"Okay, I'm going out for a smoke, so please hold the door for me. And
I'm getting coffee for everyone on this train. For anyone who doesn't
keep the door open for me, you're not getting any coffee."-random man
on the subway
"The Lord never promised eloquence, He promised power."
"Mormons here, Joseph Smith's people."
"Brigham Young...bring 'em young".
"Righteousness is relative...
I wouldn't necessarily phrase it that way the first time I met someone."

Nearer My God to Thee

Keep on Truckin'

-Elder West

Zone Conference

Random Subway Sculptures

Top of the Brooklyn Bridge.  
So couples write their names on these locks, lock them, and then throw the keys into the river.

Walking on the top of the Brooklyn Bridge

My ASL District enjoying P-day

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