Monday, December 28, 2015

Closing remarks

Well this past Christmas week though tiring was quite wonderful and I was able to skype my family. It was a very strange feeling to know that I would be seeing them again within 11 days as of that point where as here I now sit reflecting on everything that has already come and gone over the past two years. The mission looked quite large and ultimately was forever from being done but it would seem that my forever has now become a count down timer of being able to do as many good things here as I can before shipping out back to snowy Utah (it was 70 degrees here on Christmas). There weren't to many events to report on besides being called on to give a five minute talk at church since we were under time. I guess the main thing that I would like to say is that I know for a fact that God lives and that we can return to him through Jesus Christ. I know that if during trial and fear of the unknown if we just hang in there for just an extra bit of time that we will be able to look back and see how we have been helped and blessed. To also know just how much we have been able to be apart of helping other individuals along the way. I know it because I have tried and experienced it. I look forward to seeing you all within the coming weeks and months. I hope that each of you had a wonderful Christmas week and that you have been kept safe but as for now this will be my last and final email home from the mission. I will see you all later! Sincerely, Elder David Macrae Olsen

Monday, December 21, 2015

My Plan is Finished, First Goodbye, Investigator power over 9000

Two weeks and counting, wow I can't believe just how quick things are ticking down here in the mission field. I am excited for the trip to finally come home but to be honest I am now starting to get pretty Nostalgic :(. I just got an email that is having me send in 9 photos of what my mission meant to me and what do you know.... Looking back through all of those photos makes one pretty happy and sad at the same time. Anyways I will now proceed to move away from my puddle of tears and tell you some of the highlights. First off is I no longer have to deal with My Plan stuff that they have tried to have me do the past four weeks. After four attempts of starting it up and making my way through to then not save my thoughts I just decided to crush it this morning and download it to my IPad. So that's done and out of the way. Now I will give you my favorite moments from the week. We had another troubled week as we moved about with things being set up and then canceled. On the other hand Tudesday night we went and saw the Alfonso's. They are doing well and are loving the warm weather (Porta Rican's). Family history was the topic but it would seem that this was the last time I would be seeing them on the mission since they will be going to Florida for Christmas. I am going to miss these two and I hope that things go well for them. I am hoping to hear from my companion that will be left here whether or not they are reactivated soon! Thursday we went and saw our investigator named Nick who self referred himself about two weeks ago. In less than a weeks time he had already read through 1 Nephi twice! Loved the Restoration and is now taking a Book of Mormon to his Mom over Christmas Break! Super stud! Well everyone I hope you all have a great Christmas! I will be seeing you all very soon here!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lockout, Exploding Sinks, Presidential Appearance, Golden Catch

Woof, I can feel the commercial jet plane engines warming up... Oh never mind, that's just the crazy warm weather we've had around here But it is getting pretty close here ;). Anyways after that miss fire of an email here comes the full story. So his week has had many stressful moments as well as some pretty amazing miracles. I shall now reiterate the weekly agenda. Nothing too abnormal about Monday and Tuesday besides our one investigator being a bit tipsy from his liquor and wanting to talk about the illuminati when we brought up the great apostasy. So aside from the normal events Tuesday morning we received a call from our Mission President that he wanted to come and teach with us the very next day. I've never had him out with me before but it was both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. So after a long day and a pep/rebuke talk from my zone leader, Wedensday happened and both my companion and I knew which family we needed to see. The Garrido family. And for those who I don't normally write they are a family of four who have been less active for a number of years now but the wife is now making the push to come back while her husband tries to derail the conversations. Well to say the least it went extremely well (wonder why). We were going to talk about the church family and the support we have from each other but President Anderson then segued into talking about the temple and eternal marriage. It was a very spiritual lesson and it got Sister Garrido teary but like a champ not a drop was dropped. We would seem them again yesterday and there has been an overall family change which was interesting to see. They are one of my favorite families. So Thursday was district meeting as usual which was ok but that's about it. We had a rough day with every appointment canceling and then later that night when we were going to go to choir right as the door closed I remembered that we didn't have the house keys.... So for about a half hour of trying to card back in we left with the only reward of a cut up finger and had to spend the night at the Nazareth Elders apartment. It was fun but I don't think my body agrees with air mattresses. Anyway we had an amazing appointment that day due to earlier in the week a guy texted us and asked to meet with us. His name is Nick and he is from New Jersey and has a family of four. We met him in a Panera bread and got to know him. He has had a friend of the church for 15 years which is how he learned of the church and from their gained an interest since he has never felt like he has fit into the church he currently goes to. Super sweet guy and is so prepared, can't wait to meet with him again this week. Well last up in news is that we had to go home after that to type up a paper. We opened the door to the sound of splashing water and found that our sink was up heaving its contents! We got a maintenance guy in immediately with a shop vac and after six buckets full it still kept up its black roiling thunder. The only way we were able to keep it at bay was to have the garbage disposal on constantly but after 45 minutes it keeled over. Thankfully by then the Plummer had arrived and the main source of the problem was found. The people up stairs were having a minor back up problem and for some odd reason felt that if they kept running water that it would solve the problem........ Logic! Anyways that's my crazy week, hope all is well and that everyone has safe travels this Christmas season!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Potential Energy, Checking check list, Rainy Days

Monday, decided that we were in need of some more potential energy for this area but all in all I can't complain. Seed planting is a main part of the job discription and I would rather work to allow others to harvest while they plant as well. So what ended up happening is that we had a referral come to us by the name of Patricia. We tried two times to get in contact with little to no success besides someone yelling through the door that they couldn't get up and to come back later. Well later ended up working for us since we were finally able to meet her and drop off the Book of Mormon that she had ordered. She was super excited since it would give her reading material for her plane ride. She had found out about it through facebook and her friends talking about it and said that she would love to have us over sometime... In March when she gets back from Germany. Oh well. Someone will be super happy to get that one! Meanwhile we had a very rainy week. And when I say rainy I mean that I woke up a total of two times this week to work out and upon looking out the window I became super excited since it was white outside! Which means snow! Denied, it was very thick fog and I felt pretty bummed out by it besides that it was super cool but sketchy to drive through at a later time on Wednesday night. So after a very wet and cold Tuesday with little success in finding we then moved to wednesday which was raining even more so than the day previous. We had prayed for a miracle of an idea that we could do to be productive and after about thirty minutes of walking in the rain it hit me that we could make a lot of treats and thank you cards for the members who have been helping us! It worked fantastic and to be honest I was quite happy to get out of the cold rain! Not much happened Thursday besides a member being quite unhappy with us for not making it to their house on Thanksgiving. Apparently they made a lot of food to not only have us absent but for their adult children who lived there to not show up as well. Felt really bad about that one. Besides that we had my last wing night with the Elders quorum where for the second time my companion failed the wing challenge :/. I guess before I forget about it I also had my very last Zone Training of the mission. 23 out of 23 completed and I must say that it was probably one of the best ones I have had on the mission. The main focus was on the importance of having each our own individual purposes being good and correct ones for being on a mission. As tradition would have it those that are "Dying" missionarys get up and bare their dying testimonies. Just short and sweet I would like everyone to know that I know that with endurance and obedience I know that God blesses us. It is by enduring and just giving things another try. trying to see how God blesses us rather than how we want to be blessed, that we can come to know that he is still there. I would not give up the experiences I have had on this mission though the struggle has been very real at times. Something I could not say at the beginning but because of pushing through I now know it. Thats what I know. So to finish off our week we had some fun with the Garrido's on Saturday night when we went to their Daughters 1 Birthday. Sure it sounds like an excuse for a free meal but in doing so we were able to meet her family and talk with them. They even took a special intrest to ask us what we were all about since we showed them that we aren't just church firing robots but actual people. I really do like that family. So that about does it for my week. I hope everyone has a good day this fine, beautiful day (great weather here) and I will see you next week!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Wifffff!!!!, Chalk Walk, Interesting Thanksgiving

Well now according to my Trunky Monkey Sisters I have now come to know that I have relatively 36 days left to go on the mission which is a strange number to look at. Life at the beginning is looking at the monstrous 728 and now it has been pretty well cashed out and it would seem that my tenure won't be holding up much longer. So I don't have a large portion of things to talk about this week so I will try to keep it short and simple. So Monday and Tuesday were pretty well complete misses as we went to appointments. What should have been 5 lessons for the beginning of the week quickly turned to 1 as we went around. On Monday we went to a new reassigned investigator named Marcus who I have known for a little bit since he works on the streets here in Easton. We got in and said a total of 5 words as he never paused for a breath to allow us to speak. Tuesday we reach a less active and after chatting a bit and about to start the lesson a phone rings to which we were quickly shuffled out of the door since it was some business he had to attend to. The next one cancelled moments before, and then the holy of unholy's we show up to a new investigator of ours and we are getting to know him when his Mom then enters the room (she is an ex member) She wasn't anti or anything but was another person who just preferred to take up all of the oxygen in the room. Five minutes into telling us about how much she loved her job at NAPA before being let go when our investigator (her son) says to give him a call so we can meet at another time. He then booked it up the stairs.... WE WERE DITCHED WITH HIS MOM!!!! so for the next hour and a half we had our ears blown off as she chatted about NAPA. her dead dog, and how much she enjoyed her boss at NAPA which was creepy since she showed us all of the pictures she had of him on her computer with the wife blurred out...... It was a mess. Wednesday we had district meeting due to the Holiday and it was ok like usual. Tired of tracting and street contacting we then decided that we were going to do some art work. So on the way home we went and bought some chalk so that we could do part of the Plan of Salvation on the side walk. It was a lot of fun and we talked to a few people who walked by. Nothing has come of it yet from what we know but with the rain Saturday I am pretty sure that it is no longer there. Thanksgiving was alright but it was also interesting. Most of the day was making Thank you cards which I love to do and then from there we went to one of the ward families. Great group and they were fun but there was some obvious tension between the wife and the husband which was sad to see. Three hours later we delivered cards. So besides that we didn't have anything to crazy. Jean is doing good but still won't commit to a date. The Garrido's are doing good as well and she was supposed to be at church yesterday but unfortunately didn't make it. Her husband tried to make a bash with us again as we talked about the need for baptism and baptisms for the dead which kinda killed the mood. So I wish y'all the best, this came out longer than I expected but thats how it goes. Have a great week!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Beginning of the End, Temple?!!?, Break Out, This is the Day!

Well folks, another transfer has come to pass and it would seem that I am now at the beginning of my end so I have quite a bit of work that I have to accomplish in that time. And it seems to keep piling on but yet also never really seeming to go anywhere so my first and for most goal is to break out of this seven lessons a week deal that we have been having. We weren't able to do so this past week but I have a good feeling for this week as we go around setting everything up. More less actives for the count and investigators still on the run so we shall see. So just to report is that our baptismal date Nathan is doing well however I am a bit concerned about how he is progressing. We are really going to need to emphasize the reading since he only made it to the second chapter of 1 Nephi and then skipped to 2 Nephi because he wanted to go to the "exciting parts". Guess he hasn't ever read Isaiah before. The Garrido family is fun like usual but it was quite obvious that Brother Garrido is still trying to push away from what he already knows to be true. We were going over the Family a Proclamation to the world and how they have seen their family blessed when he brings up the age old argument of is it better for a child to be with abusive parents or a loving gay couple... he also brought up asking where God came from but luckily for him Public Relations Officer Elder Olsen tactfully moved the case from digressing to digesting. Its been awhile and I wasn't expecting it from him... Little does he know that I already see what he is trying to do and am just waiting to move in. Friday we had transfer calls like usual. I was very relieved to hear that I wouldn't be moved for my last transfer but a bit bummed when I learned that I would be losing two of my Sisters in the district. I'm looking forward to seeing what the new ones can do and bring to the table. Debra has been doing great and it was wonderful to see her after a two week period of not being able to get over there and see her. She has been going through a rough time with the up coming holidays and not having anyone here for her so we addressed that. From there though we were able to finally talk to her about the up coming temple trip on the 5th of December which she was super excited for. Even more exciting is the fact that as of today she has quit smoking and coffee for the past 9 days so all we are doing now is going into a hold out war for the 5th of December woot!!! It is probably the only shot I have to go to the temple with anyone for any of the ordinances and if its just baptisms for the dead I am more than happy to take the opportunity. Also not to mention the fact that it will be to New York! That is what I am looking forward to the most so we need to do what we can to help her. Last up in news is that we had a really fun event yesterday. We have been practicing with the ward choir for an Interfaith event at an episcopal church. I had a lot of fun with it and I always love to see other peoples churches as well as the hymns that they sing. Their were 10 Christian groups including us as well as two Jewish congregations that came together and it sounded great. Our opening song that we sang was called "This is the Day" which was sung at some British wedding within the past decade I believe. I completely recommend looking it up on You Tube since the video I have doesn't really do the song or cinematography that much justice. Well folks I wish you the best and that you have a merry Thanksgiving. I'll see y'all soon!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Turning 50...., Grand Exchange, Just Can't Seem to Leave this Church

My colleagues and fellow members seem to be under the idea that I am reaching certain degrees of trunky since for the most part I can tell you the range of days that I have about left. They have a good laugh and say "But who's counting?" I assure them that it isn't me, Santa Clause at Walmart is the one counting.... :3. So yes I guess you could say that I am now in my fifties and I guess it is all down hill from here. You could also say that after the 50 you begin to age backwards and I can assure you that all statements are true. But enough of my wallowing I will give a brief report on this weeks events... Don't hold me accountable to that statement. Well, we started off with a great visit to our potential investigator Crystal, as we made our way down Washington Street. Her house was dark so we decided not to knock it but five steps later we receive a honking notice that she was just pulling in. She was not having the best of weeks due to three relatives dying the week before this last one and as we talked with her we decided to share the primary song "Family's can be together for ever". And though we were interrupted at times, due to a drug bust across the street, we were still able to manage a spiritual experience with her. We however have not been able to have a normal lesson with this women yet. Tuesday was an explosion of fun when one of the zone leaders came here on exchanges with me, an Elder Fernandez that is. He was recuperating from being pretty sick the past couple of days so we were just going to take it a bit easier than normal but by the end of the day we were able to accomplish 4 lessons and we now have 2 new Less Active and Part Member families to work with woot! Fernandez and I also shared a companion (Cornelius) so we had fun sharing experiences we had with him. Wednesday was mostly uneventful but we did have an awesome lesson with our investigator Nathan. We taught him the Plan of Salvation which he found to be extraordinary and we were able to put some questions that he had at ease. I am not to sure just exactly all that he retained, since the next day he started talking to us about how we taught him about racists not being able to make it into heaven(which we didn't do), but that he wanted to see us again on Friday. We shared with him the Restoration video then and he thoroughly enjoyed the visual help. One last fact that I would like to share before I finish off our week was the fact that we had to go to our church almost 6 to 7 times this past week which was exhausting! Which leads me to Thursday. We had district meeting as usual and I had one zone leader and one AP in on it which made it fun. I was worried about it at first but the meeting itself gained a life of its own and it was thankfully a very good and spiritual experience. We would later on return to the church that evening for Choir practice which has been a delight since we will be in an InterFaith event next week which I am looking forward to. And to polish off our night we then finally had a lesson with our investigator Jean. I have been trying to have a lesson with this woman for almost 2 months now but due to her situation, circumstances and never being able to get a Male out, it proved to be a hard won battle. We had the lesson in Brother Carter's home which was amazing and it went really well as we talked to her about how much love God has for her and how the church family can help her out in times of struggle. We invited her to be baptized on January 3 of next year (see what I tried to do there) but she asked if she could have a little more time to think on it so we will just continue to strengthen her. Well the last thing up in news is that I had my last regular interview with my mission President this past Friday. It was strange to think that I only have my exit interview left with him and then I would be only a few weeks out from home. This was probably my favorite interview of the lot that I have had. Just got to talk about how things are going on here and back at home with no real big business items or struggling missionaries to shorten my time (sorry, that sounds really selfish). We had a training afterwards which was great to but it did go a tad bit too long in my opinion. Anyways that about concludes our week. Friday pretty well started our down fall since every lesson after that cancelled out on us so better luck next time!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Martin Guitar Factory

IBM!, Blazzin Nuts...., Belief Montage with a Dash of Holy Water, Chess?

Well, this week had a dash of New Blood imported into our area, but besides that I wouldn't say to much happened this week... Or was there? Well for the second time on my mission we had an IBM pop up. Not the Business what not, that we always hear about in the news going to make a push this year (Sounds like the Jaguars right?). But rather it stands for Introduced by Member. We are now working with the Boy Friend of a Less Active member returning to activity and if anyone understands missionary work that is the best of both worlds. 2 for 1 baby! Anyway his name is Nathan and is a pretty cool guy, though he is a bit interesting. He is looking to switch majors from Biology and science to being a fashion artist, so I am looking forward to seeing his drawing skills. Really nice guy and apparently when we left after the lesson he was super excited about the things that we talked to him about, woot! We invited him to be baptized, but as of the moment he is not yet ready for a date so we will work on that with him. Upon leaving we were going to go and see Brother Adams to have our annual lesson with him but as we arrived we found him on his porch getting ready to leave for the hospital since his wife had speculated that her ankle had been broken. We asked if him if she would like a blessing and then loaded him up and road to the hospital. She ended up only having a really bad sprain but with the blessing, she had little to no effect on her ankle besides resting it for the next few days. We would have also seen a family known as the Love family later that evening, but we realized partway into the day that they lived 80 miles away from us and that the Elders who had sent them to us had made the flub. We quickly called the Sisters associated to the area. Not to much to report about on Wednesday, besides I am a bit worried that Mike and May's preacher told them all the horror stories about us. My guess though is that if this was the case that he forgot to tell them about how we as Latter Day Saints worship a hamster in the temple by the name of Rosso (yes that is the strangest thing I've been told about my belief thus far). Thursday was also a bit of a hard day for us since our appointments fell through, however we did have some interesting experiences later on that night. We had dinner with Sister Stiteler which isn't to strange, I guess, besides how great the food is. No it was afterwards when we went to our Elders Quorum activity at Buffalo Wild Wings. The Elders Quorum has an initiation for new missionaries in the ward by having them do what is known as the Blazing Challenge which is 12 wings in their hottest sauce which have to be eaten within 6 minutes. Hot? Only the fact that they come right off of the burner, otherwise not so much. But you add a previous dinner, with six minutes as well as about 30 teeny boppin soccer girls who you never noticed as you chowed down things, can get pretty fiery in that mess. I am sad to say my companion did not make it past 4 but am proud to say that I completed the challenge! Friday we had dinner with Sister Timari who is doing well. We need to start preparing her for the Temple this coming month so that we can go as well. It will probably be my only chance to go to the Temple with someone, so I hope she is ready by then. Saturday was a beast all by itself. We were called to go and help a member move a fridge from Nazareth to their house in Easton and while doing so we were called by another member asking for help to move their fridge as well. The first one wasn't to bad besides how nasty the exterior was, but the next two (it ended up being 2 fridges) were new fridges that were just beasts. It was fun, but all in all I'm pretty exhausted from the whole ordeal. We would later that evening meet with a Less Active who we had lost contact with named Lori. She is a fun lady, but once again while we talked with her, she just confirmed to us just how long she has been out of the church. Its a mauge pauge of Catholicism, Protistant, and little to no Mormon left all wrapped up in a crumpled paper ball and her strange fascination for Holy Water. She came to church though like she said she would, so I am happy on that counter part. Sunday was probably the best day this week though. We had the elderly we go and see once a week and with his asking I tried to teach one of them how to play chess, but for some reason he didn't get the concept that certain pieces can move more than one space at a time as he slowly shuffled them up the board. I guess in time it might connect with him ;). After that though, we had dinner with a member and then rushed out to an appointment that fell through. So our last appointment that night we met with the Garrido family. They have been less active for some time and it is mostly due to the husband, but Sister Garrido is looking to come back so there is a light. It was a great night and we were finally able to see some of the struggles that brother Garrido has about the church, but when it all came down to it we gave him the question as to whether or not he believed that Jesus Christ was actually the one who was heading the entire church and what its decisions are. He liked it and we hope to see how he has used that question by the next time we see them. As for now Sister Garrido is doing great and we will hopefully see her at church soon. I wish y'all the best and I will see you later!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Trunker Treaten, Tyrannical Mini Giants, Halloween

Attempting to do laundry this morning as we began or adventurous P-Day, we placed our pay card in and upon removing it, the wash basin and one of the valves began erupting with hot suds and water spraying the whole wall and making a mess of the floor which we had a dirty towel to lap up... Just reminds me of how much more important it will be to have an outside dog... So here we go with the week since its pretty simple. Monday and Tuesday were pretty well uneventful as we meandered about the Easton and Phillipsburg region, which really bugged me but we had a pretty fun night on Tuesday as we went to the ward Trunk or Treat. However we weren't notified as well as one other family, that everyone was going to park on one side of the parking lot and with all of the pizzazz of my popcorn bopping music (if you listen to it don't judge me) blaring we only managed to get a few repetitive kids to come to our car so we eventually just started to give handfuls so that I wasn't left with a plethora of skittles. On Wednesday, we had a super soaker day! It rained and rained and never let up but the fearless missionaries continued as they tracked along.... Getting kinda tired of that. Not to much success but later that evening we went and had a lesson with our new investigators May and Mike. Mike wasn't in on it for the first half but lets just say that they have two boys who have some mental issues and obviously not well disciplined they terrorized and sifted through everything as we tried to give a lesson about the revelation. One even went through my bag and tried to steal my camera but thats where I kinda drew the line. However they did steal a "Proclamation to the World" and gave it to May and she agreed with all of it. I have good hopes for them however it will be an uphill battle with those little guys running everywhere woof! Thursday we saw Debra which was good like it always is. We went over some more strength scriptures with her since she is working on quitting smoking, which she enjoyed but I feel that it is time that we set her free on that subject and follow up a little later as we now move on to such things as the Priesthood and Patriarchal blessings. Good and plentiful temptations that will hopefully help over power the bad ones ;). She's a champ! So we now come to our Halloween weekend which includes mischief night... It was pretty boring haha. Mischief night that is. We had fun carving pumpkins, which I wasn't able to do last year. We listened to music and not much else happened. Its strange out here though since the different communities start Halloween on different days so trick or treaters have been around long before the actual Holliday itself. Saturday we moved a member which took up almost all of the morning and afternoon when we then had to double into the Sisters area down in South Bethlehem. I don't generally enjoy these double ins since nothing ever seems to happen but this time around our prayers were answered when we asked for someone we could talk to so that our time wasn't wasted. Elder Kester felt that we should go back from the way we came after a failed stop by and upon our travels back we met a part member family. Beth the wife is a member and her husband Barry is not and due to a Dr.'s appointment she wasn't able to meet with the sisters that day but when she saw us walking down the road after getting back she called to us and we got to go and teach the both of them a lesson. Woot! After that we had dinner with the Butterfield family, who are becoming my favorite family here. Dinner was good and when they heard that we had nothing to do besides go home for the rest of the evening (we aren't allowed out during Halloween) they asked us to stay and we played some board games for the rest of the night. First time this has ever happened for me and it was nice for some members to finally reach out :D! Also it was great to play a board game for the first time in almost 22 months woot!!! Well our conclusion, was a great Sunday yesterday. A less active member brought her boyfriend for the second time and he now wishes to be taught. We had Debra and our Recent convert move in Laura Prather there so it was good to finally fill up our empty Gospel Principles class. Show that we do work here haha. Anyways I wish y'all the best!

Pumpkin Carving

Monday, October 26, 2015

Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania Priesthood Restoration Site October 20, 2015

Priesthood Power!, Such Friday's

Well my dear friends and family members, another week has come to pass and a new one has been set forth for adventures of a new and different kind! They better come since my very new and also quite young zone leaders seem to feel it their duty to let me know how things are supposed to be run around here -.- (squinty face). I love advice but please come on... I have more time on the mission than both combined. I'm working on my old missionary pride but in the mean time I'll let you know what has been up this past week. Monday we had some tracting going on around these parts as I looked for a smiley individual who said good morning to us days before. I never found that person but on the other hand we had one of those awkward moments where we knocked on the door just as the man himself pulled up on the road and then proceeded towards us and his dwelling place. His name is Mike and was obviously a native African due to his accent. He loved the conviction we had as we told him what we do. Said we could come back, but as of the moment, it would seem that he is now ignoring our calls and is never home... I'm getting tired of this haha. So we shall move onto the more exciting news of the week and that was our trip to the Priesthood Restoration Site on Tuesday. It was amazing. The trip there was beautiful with all of the trees changing color out here as well, so it was stellar. I have plenty of pictures to send, but yes it was awesome! The chapel there is a bit on the small side but on the other hand it is quite unique and the front wall is situated with stained glass which I wish we did more of in our other chapels. We sang hymns and learned about the sight as we were also taught a few principles from the leaders there. It was a very spiritual experience and I would greatly recommend the visit! Went down to the Susquehanna river and then to the re-made houses of Joseph and Emma's home as well as Emma's fathers home. It would have been a whole lot better had I been in a different group. The group I was in seemed to feel obligated to touch and move stuff as they felt, which was annoying so I stayed towards the rear to soak it all in. It was probably one of the most spiritual experiences that I have had on the mission. We got home later in the evening, just in time to go to Melissa's for our second visit with her but as we approached the door she came out and told us that she no longer wanted to meet us and that she agreed with somethings but other things urked her. She gave us no time to ask what it was either but that is that. Wednesday we saw the Elderly and reset our time to see them on Sunday's from now on. We were also able to see our new investigator Trey and we had a good time with him. We talked about the Holy Ghost with him and after that discussion we asked him to be baptized. He told us that he wants to wait a bit longer so that he knows for sure that it is true so we will let him work on his own time line. We saw Debra twice this week and she came to church so I guess she is now a full fledged reactivated member but we still have things we need to work on there. She is so awesome and she had a great trip down to Florida this past week. Our main thing now is to help her quit smoking so that she can then go to the temple in about two months if not sooner. Thursday didn't have to much going on besides district meeting as the zone leaders hovered. It went alright and I shall now skip over to Friday. It was one of those days that you have a lot to do and then suddenly one thing gets you behind so thus it translates to everything else as well. We went and saw a new Recent Convert who moved into the ward named Laura. She is from Staten Island, New York and is now living with a friend and her kids. Such a fun lady and the four kids were cute as can be while the big ol' dog roamed around saying hi to his new visitors while showing off an injury where you could actually see the muscles move yeck! Well that's about where this past week winds up. I'll catch y'all later and wish ya the best! Love, Macrae

Monday, October 19, 2015

Walkin Horse, Greenie Moment, Can't Reach+Blue Eyes=Sky=God?

So apparently I represent God... I will explain this towards the end of my letter but I felt that everyone should know that though I was threatened for the first time on the mission, that I was not harmed since I represent God... Not in the black name tag way either. So our adventure doesn't really start until about Tuesday since Smilly packed the whole day but thats alright I guess. On our way down to transfers since we didn't have a car of our own we all crammed into a nicely compacted 2012 Ford Fusion and the only thing visible of my petite companion was the top of his hair as suitcases and boxes separated us. So my new companion is Elder Kester. He is from Lehi Utah and has been out for almost five months now which is good. Though he isn't the Golden that I had requested he has enough fresh blood in him to help keep me going over the next few weeks and I am excited to see what we can do together. Tuesday night we were able to see the 8:45 miracle we had about two weeks ago for the first time. Her name is Melissa and she is quite the hoot. She's been to a ton of churches throughout her life and most recently for the past 8 years has been a Jehovah's Witness but after all of the cancelled birthdays and having to sneak Christmas presents to her Grand Kids behind the churches, cough I mean Bible Scholars backs, she finally decided that a lot of their stuff didn't really make sense. We weren't able to share with her the Restoration that night, since our member present gave her a 13 articles of faith card, but in my personal opinion that was probably the best thing to happen that night. She loves #2, by the way, since it never made sense to her why we were punished due to someone else sinning. She stated that she just wanted to do this since it would be informational to her rather than to convert, but I get the feeling that if we can get her into the reading she won't mind reconsidering, if ya know what I mean ;)! Wednesday we had a pretty well empty day but with no car it didn't work out to badly for us. We began the day by just street contacting within Easton where I flubbed up pretty hard when I tried to use the Book of Mormon as a finding tool. It was a true Green Missionary moment at its finest as I talked with a lady named Evet, but the mission has taught me quite a bit that those can actually be the best of experiences since God makes up for what we lack. I was super surprised when she accepted the Book of Mormon and asked a few more questions but a darn bus arrival kept us from getting her address and number so I guess we were just meant to plant a seed. That day we even walked all of the way to Phillipsberg but don't worry, unlike one of my past experiences with a certain companion we knocked more than just three doors this time ;)! As we tracted around within a neighborhood, when I felt we should go and knock a door back up the street from where we came. We hadn't knocked it since I like to just go down one side of a street usually but going with it we met a lady named Shannon who came right out and sat down to talk with us as she busily tossed a baby from arm to arm (he was a heavy sucker). She used to live in Vegas and knew a lot of Mormons but had never looked at the book so we gave her one and allowed her to get back to her other kids :D! Later that evening we would also see Debra which is always awesome. We finally finished the last half of the Plan of Salvation which she loved and we asked her to set a goal to make it to the temple. No specific date yet but I am hoping that we can have her ready for the New York trip in December if not sooner, woot! Also the ward stated that they would like to count her as reactivated which is sweet however she still needs a review on a few things so we will continue to work with her. Thursday didn't have to many things going on for us besides giving a district meeting and having an appointment with Brother Emmons. District Meeting was good but the Scriptural apples to apples game didn't work out the best, but I'm fine with that, it was supposed to be a test run. Brother Emmons was pretty happy that my past companion was gone. I had always wondered why he was so anti social when we visited but apparently my companion had offended most of his family :/.... Smilly... Not to much Friday, besides Brother Adams like usual and getting our car back. Saturday however holds and interesting note. As we were trying to scout out and see how the South Side of Easton worked out for street contacting (it didn't), we had an interesting experience. While looking to cross a street there was this extremely nice car approaching but waiting at least 25 yards back from a stop sign for us to cross. Weird right? But we crossed when suddenly he zoomed to our side of the street and this Hispanic guy gets out and starts to bash with us in pretty good English, but it was apparent that he didn't have the vocabulary that he wanted for the occasion. He got angry with me saying "I understand" and always referring to him as sir and kept threatening to drop me! But not on "black top but grass" he stated. He also kept putting his arm up as if to measure and saying that because he couldn't reach he couldn't strangle me... I just stopped talking at this point since everything made him angry and I was just getting ready to hit and run when he suddenly gets in his car and begins to drive... to then stop and get out again, do mostly the same thing, but state that the reason he can't hurt me is due to not being able to reach and that "You have blue eyes, which represents sky, which is like God since God is in Sky. Can sky come down here? No..." Make sense of it if ya want but I'm to tired. Well the last up in news is that we found another Less active family to work with. We had heard the name tossed around and I had looked them up but couldn't really make any sense as to why they were less active. So after a failed phone call we showed up Saturday to be asked to come back the next day since their baby might have just gotten a concussion. So we did and they are a super cool family. The Garrido's. The wife is a talker but we were able to get all of the info we needed. She said that it was a sign to come back since she was debating to change jobs which would allow her to come to church and then when she got our message she knew what she needed to do. Her husband on the other hand is going to be a bit tricky. Can't tell if he has been antied or just needs a good push, guess we shall see. Well I'll see y'all later. The weather is cold and due to a mission trip to the restoration sight tomorrow I can only email till about 2 today before they are having us out again. See Ya!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Gabbin Gabbers, Potential Energy, Sick Dog Days and Nasal Cavity Experiences

Well the transfer calls have come and I feel relieved to say that this one will be staying here rather than having to figure out how to pack away all of his junk. Quite gratifying and with the end of the transfer I now have a new sense of energy... Most likely due to mostly getting over being sick but hey it works either way. So as it would go I would like to report on our the weekly events but I will keep them short and simple since that is what they were. Tuesday was a strange day. Busy but super strange with how it worked out. We weren't able to find a male to see our one investigator Jean Johnston at the park and without a guy our mission has moved in the direction that you can't have outdoor public lessons anymore. So we were just going to say hi check up on her and move along but quickly it became more than it was supposed to :/. We then moved onto a new Less Active of ours and his name is Daniel. Mid twenties and has been a convert for about five years now. Super cool guy but apparently also nerdy since before being hit by a semi truck he used to go out LARPing (Live Action Role Playing) for fantasy stuff and what not. We quickly came to the conclusion that there were two things we needed to take note of here. One is to help him have more of a spiritual conversion rather than just analytically. Two is he can jab and jab forever. But it didn't stop there... We went to Brother Adams and the same experience occurred while Devils Due played in the background🌊... I don't like it. We then went to another new Less Active of ours Susan. She's been less active for some time with no detail as to why besides the fact that she said a total of fifteen words the whole time while her nonmember husband talked and talked for the entire time while we waited... We never had the chance to give the lesson... So we then go to Sister Timari who has been my ray of sunshine here. We had an older couple with us named the Smiths who are great members... And though there was a lesson one could relate the entire experience to a pinball machine with little people inside trying to dodge the steel balls. Not much happened till Thursday in which was the day that I started to get sick but by and by I was fine to work. The big news however was at our dinner appointment when my comps. stomach for whatever reason didn't really agree with something and then decided to release itself from bondage back to the dinner table. Memories! By the time Friday came I wasn't so up to snuff but pressed on as we met with Debra later that night. She had bought a dress and was super excited to be coming to church! We had a strange lesson mixed with relating the scriptures to ourselves as well as the restoration, to then go back to relating the scriptures to ourselves as my comp. explained to Debra how she needed to "Slay!" Her wicked self. Interesting. Saturday I finally went out of commission since my head was to the point where light made me cry since it was so stuffed and ache. But never the less I am still yet to miss a full day and later that night after feeling a bit better we went out and though no success I bought this strange bottle of sinus cleanser and might I say that it was probably one of the weirdest sensation I have felt. Gave me a huge headache that night but by the time the next morning I was pretty well all cleared out! That's about all of the news I have, I will be getting a new comp tomorrow and I am now the imposing Relief Society President (district is made of all sisters) so we shall see how it all goes down :D. I love ya and wish ya the best. Also Debra came to church!

Monday, October 5, 2015

District

Hard Pressed, Golden Shepards, Pointed Aurguments and Name Slandering, Scar

So we had some really good things his week but for the most part we had a pretty dang ruff time trying to accomplish all of the things that we needed and wanted to do. Just another one of those weeks where you have plans to conquer the world but the world just didn't feel like it.... So mostly it all fell through. So Monday we went through all of the drama of my companion being sick but don't worry cause it continued from there ;). Tuesday we had zone conference which was a blast and a half. I got to see Elder Litton an old Comp. of mine one last time before he takes his daring flight back into the real world so for the time being I just sat in nostalgia since my boy Elder Crowthers was there as well. Not only good friends and tidings but our mission was finally nailed with the black boxes known as Tiwi.... He has a very creepy voice and though he was worked up to being more obnoxious than he actually is I still have to question myself how he deems our church parking lot to be a speed limit of only 5 to 10 miles per hour and barks at me for going a mear 15 :/. All nostalgia aside I'll move on with the week. Wednesday due to me having never reset the GPS "Home" Function my companion and I wandered probably about ten miles into what is probably the New Jersey Trenton Mission before realizing our mistake and then proceeded to drive on some sketchy roads and go over a few hills known as Appellations.... Thursday we had our first lesson with a semi active lady named Sister Loma. The biggest reason we were there is that one of the Bishopric members suggested we start to work with her son and to just help Sister Loma with spiritual things. We had a good time and met some gorgeous looking dogs that looked like small wolves known as Golden Shepard's. All was well until we reached a point where we realized that Sister Loma is fully active in heart but can't always make it to church and that we should have probably talked with her a bit more about whether or not she wanted us to work with her son. No offenses and no arguments I just received a look of "what are you up to" from her when I issued a Book of Mormon challenge :/. Oh well, she's feeding us and I think we will probably be done there haha. Friday I dragged my companion through weekly planning as we received rain from a distant hurricane but not much else. Saturday then picked up with the conference grind which was awesome. I put my votes on Eyring, Bednar, and Uchtdorf (of course!) for the whole thing. And though cold I still fought the sweater weather as we went to see Debra. She is my favorite and we have had so many spiritual experiences in her house it's quite amazing. Just a simple lesson on scripture study and prayer but good non the less. She will be reactivated soon! And then for our day of Sunday.... Pretty well sick of how the week had gone and that I now have to wear a sweater though it's still in that awkward stage of "too hot but not" (thank goodness for sweater vests!). I made a promise that I'd work a bit extra so that we could get a new investigator or lesson in. Well after a couple of door slams and an Indian Lady scared half to death when I waved through the car window at her husband we finally knocked the right door! Her name is Melissa and she was a bit interesting but she seems pretty Golden to me! Her father was a Mormon but died when she was little and never learned much about it. Has been through tons of churches and used to study with the JW's but found it all exhausting and kinda gave up on finding the one church. Has done a lot of family history and we asked her if she would at least give us one shot at a lesson she said she would love it. Took a Book of Mormon and we are now going back this Friday woot! Well that's about it besides small arguments about picking Brian back up while yet Brian called us and had small arguments with us I think it was finally clear for my companion when Brian knock named him Elder Snotler. Brian's been leaving obnoxious voicemails but what can ya do?

Monday, September 28, 2015

Free Bridge to Jersey

Small Treasures, Families with Benefits, Another One Down Another One Down Another one bites the dust

So I'm not to sure why, but I had the strange compulsion to add as many people as I could think of in this weeks email. Must be some old dying missionary trait and though I'm not sure that I'll continue with it I might as well make the most of it this week. So we got to begin our week with a really awesome spiritual experience, this past week. We found an older woman who hadn't been to church in ages my first week here, but she never held the return appointment we had... Until Monday last week. Her name is Debra and has been a convert for about four or five years but has also been less active for about half of that time. We were having a lesson about the temple and how families can be together for ever when we then asked her where she found her conversion to the gospel while investigating. Oh those few but precious moments on my mission where everything in the room just goes dead silent while the spirit opens the front door without permission (thank goodness ;) ) and flooded the room. She received her witness from the Book of Enos which was a first for me but now looking upon it that is probably one of the most amazing stories that we tend to gloss over. She stated that she was done running from God and wanted to come back. We would see her Friday night as well, talking about the Plan of Salvation and Atonement. Went to the woman's conference and apparently loved it (always wondered what happens in those meetings), but unfortunately over slept for church. I have high hopes for her ;)! Tuesday I was on exchanges with what we know as the "training Elders" who go around teaching the younger missionaries how to plan and what not do to their increased size as of late (little yuppies) and though I'm not young I requested them since I knew they had some great thoughts and my comp. was in a bit of a need for them. I was with Elder Long, an old mission buddy of mine, and we had a pretty successful day. He has served here before so we were able to do some work with a past individual of his who is once again investigating and give two blessings. We were also blessed to meet half of our goal to work with two families by the end of this transfer. This happened last Sunday night when through a very inaudible conversation a man from Tennessee with a thick Asian accent asked us to give his sister a blessing for her surgery. We went Tuesday afternoon to find that this sister and her husband have been inactive church members for about 20 years and have an un baptized daughter. They are Mark and Carolina and are such sweet people. Originally from the Philippines and are looking to come back! So missionary lingo that means a less active lesson, other lesson for the daughter, and free food, since that's part of their culture :3! We would find out later in the week that her surgery went very well and actually ended up taking only 2 hours rather than the 4 prescribed to remove an eggplant sized tumor... Yeck! So I guess that the last two items of business from this week that a feel to make mention are that we ended up dropping our one investigator Brian this past week. He's one I've been a bit worried about since the beginning since in our area book his name popped up with a big ol' DNC and as we've gone over, it has been pretty apparent that he's got a few mental issues but we continued on anyways. Well Thursday we committed him to the Word of Wisdom to quit smoking which he had already been doing for three days and then came back Friday when he texted us he didn't want to investigate any more since we had too many rules. I'll explain the last half in a moment. Yesterday was a good but bummed out day at the same time. Had dinner with a member when we then received word from a less active neither of us had met wanted us over for dinner as well a half hour later (woof)! We went over and he was a pretty swell guy but within the first five minutes when we asked about his conversion he told us that we don't talk about church while at his home but that we relax... Oh boy. Well half a plate of spaghetti finished and a corn maze found later, we received a text that Brian wanted us over again... We go to Brian's last night and on the way there a member found us driving by and came along... I'll finish with this: It was a Dark and not so Stormy night when the missionaries approached and began to talk with Brian as said member tagged along. Brian's aggravation increased as missionaries discussed how their ex gangster missionary friend wouldn't be able to visit. Brian wouldn't allow anyone in his house to come out with us... Seeing the tension build said missionaries and member cut conversation short to leave as a slew of obscenities began there journey out of the black cave. The end. Well interesting, none the less we won't be going back though my comp seems to have some strange faddish that we still need to save this guy 0.o. I don't know, anyways hope all is well and I wish the best!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Golden Dream Accomplished, Poor Car, Poor Missionary Celebration, Not Much...

Well today's letter will probably be a bit short but that's alright. I'll hopefully keep it sweet and snappy since there weren't to many events this past week. So Monday night we were able to meet with the Bishop for Dinner and have I guess what would be my first official family home evening night. It was pretty fun and I was pretty amazed by there 4 year old. He could read the scriptures at about a fourth grade level and was witty as all get out. Just one of those kids with a gift for the gab I guess. Tuesday was a bit of a long day since most of our appointments bailed on us so we decided to go and visit some investigators that I hadn't met before. The GPS gave us a location forever away and about 3/4ths of the way there my companion bailed out and was worried that we were going the wrong way. So we came all of the way back to Easton to find out that it was the correct address :P... So we made the decision that we still needed to go and see them. They own there own pizza restaurant known as "Johnathan's Pizza", she named it after her son. Her name is Margarita and is super nice however she is very busy with just a lot of difficult life matters and work so she wasn't able to talk to us for long but asked if we would like dinner there. Well after looking at the menu and what looked to be an appetizing "Johnathan Special" (he complains that he didn't pick a single ingredient) I decided to go for the long craved Stromboli which I've wanted since the beginning of my mission. Essentially its a pizza folded in thirds and loaded to the brim with cheese and other ingredients. So salty, but I can check it off of the list, woot! We would later teach Brian that night and set him up with a baptismal date for the 11th of October, however I am a bit worried about that since we also learned that he has social anxiety and so far hasn't really liked any of the members that we have brought over to help us teach :/. Wednesday we had our car inspected and what not so that it doesn't get a ticket and later on we would teach the Adams family about Patriarchal Blessings. They are a pretty cool family and are actually Elder Littons first converts so I'm glad to have a connection there. Such a crazy house though. It is a yours, mine, and not to sure if there is an ours yet, but it totals to be around 9 kids I believe. Crazy house but a lot of fun. Well, later that night after not having to much success we decided to go to one of the streets that we had planned out to tract but ran into a series of unfortunate events. My companion while pulling forward to retry parallel parking managed to scrape and swap paint with the car next to him as I waved my arms frantically and ran and slammed on the trunk to get his attention since he was still going. According to him he didn't hear a thing :/. Well we sent in the paperwork for that so I guess we shall see what ends up happening. We left a paper for the other car but luckily it seems that they didn't feel the need to call us. It was also Elder Smilanich's year mark that day but it seemed no matter what I tried to do for him that day a problem arose. Lunch? He ended up fasting... Brownies? No baking soda. Cookies? No baking powder. So I settled with toasting a ye old pop tart and placed a lit candle upon it which ended up working nicely for what we had... I would learn, a day later, that we had a box of brownie mix >.<. Thursday we had a strange district meeting where Smilanich did a fire and brimstone thing for the last thirty minutes on less actives. Different. Friday not much to report. Saturday: An appointment fell through so we went to Brian's with our member and witnessed forty five minutes of talking about movies since my comp said he had an idea :/.
Yesterday I guess the last events that I would like to report is that in my new goal to find a family we are now going to be doing a lot more tracting. And though we weren't able to find the family yet I got plenty of news on the Cowboys vs. Eagles games as we went down the line and actually began to use it in my finding. I plan to ask if we can come in and watch a bit and then do the ol' bait and switch if ya know what I mean ;).... Might backfire really hard though haha. We found a lady named Bonnie who was super excited to see us and she said that she loves churches that she can ask questions to so I guess we hit the mark pretty well there. Well I miss you all, got about 109 days left and counting and for you Justin maybe a little more ;) but I guess I'll talk to y'all next week! Love, Macrae

Monday, September 14, 2015

Black List Gator, Sister Talks A Lot, Of Christianity and Islam

We found out that we will be getting the much loathed and hated black boxes known as Tiwi, for our cars this month, so maybe it will be just enough to get me behind the wheel. For those who don't know these black boxes monitor everything that the car does and is known to be quite the pharisee as to how you should be driving the car. Guess we shall see. Anyways I will move on with this weeks events since I am pretty excited to tell about a few of the events. Not to much happened Monday night however on Tuesday we were able to go and see the Howlett family as well as the Adams family. The Howletts are an older family who were recently reactivated before I got here and are pretty fun. Brother Howlett defined himself as the biggest kid one will ever meet since his video game collection gives one of my best friends a run for his money as well as his old horror movie merchandise. Meanwhile his wife knits. We had a good lesson on scripture study however our main goal is to get them to the temple. Brother Adams was pretty sweet but I don't know much about him so I will leave it at that. Later that night we would receive a random call from a guy known as Brian and he wanted to start meeting with the missionary's again. We looked up his old record and were a bit sickened to see the DNC right next to his name (do not contact). I guess he flipped out on the missionaries in the past and ran them off of his porch when they stated that a British would not be able to return to teach him (he has a feddish for the UK). So with our running feet ready we decided to at least give him a try the very next day. He is a pretty cool guy though he is a bit interesting. I can't tell what all is working up stairs and where his interest truly lies but he knows quite a bit about church history and likes the Mormons over all, so I guess we will see what else we can do with him. We saw him again on Friday morning and went over the restoration. Wednesday night we went and saw the new Less active that we picked up the week before. Her name is Lori and is a super nice lady. The only problem is that with how nice she is it's also a bit hard to get her to stop talking and listen, haha. Never seem to run out of those on the mission I guess. More than likely I'll take a guess that it is a life time problem, I'll have to ask some one later on. We would see her as well on Sunday. Moving on to Saturday we went and got to do a service that I wasn't the most familiar with. We were able to clear out a garage so that we could then power wash it. Mind numbing I know but it was actually quite a bit of fun. The rain kept us from finishing which was a bit of a bummer since that meant we had to put all of the stuff back in on the undone half which ultimately means that we have to move it all back out again haha. We were also able to obtain three new investigator within one sitting a little later that day which was awesome. My first week here we did some tracting and found a girl named Izezza who said we could come back. And when we came back a girl named Devita answered and said that Izezza didn't live there. However she wanted to hear our message on Saturday. So we went over and met her and invited the other people there to come on in. Though unfortunatly the guy there didn't really want to come in we were able to meet with Devita, Izezza (she came back for a visit), and Izbeta. I got a little bamboozled at the beginning when we learned that they were all 18 and 19 (I was guessing that they were all 23ish). They are all from Seir Leon which is awesome and all are students. Two are Christian and the one is a Muslim but I take it from the fact that she didn't get all extra covered up when we arrived that it is like everyone else... Just the thing to do. They liked the idea of a modern day prophet, however they did express their concerns about false prophets and teachers so we gave the usual responses that they will know through the power of the holy ghost and by their fruits ye shall know them. I'm super excited for these three and I hope that we will be able to get Solmone in on the mix as well. Well that about wraps it up for this week. We received news that we have a pending referral for a family of ten so I am ecstatic for that! Guess we shall see but for now I'll see you later Space Cowboys!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Finishing Touches, Seat and Claw, Booby Trap..., Ghost Pepper Po

I have a few words... He shouldn't be allowed to drive! I'll explain this in a moment but first there are a few moments that we must attend to before the feature broadcast of my new area. Our final day together I packed my bags as Elder Maiava took either naps or talked to the occasional pop in of the Spanish Elders who hadn't finished there laundry. I had done perfectly fine with the transfer call until I had to start saying goodbye to our most consistent investigators later that night. Jachin was wondering why the heck I was leaving since Maiava had one and done all of his companions within Wilmington. That visit was short since he got home late from his track practice so we were then scurrying off to meet with Tiefa before the night was over. She hadn't completely quit smoking yet however she had been able to reduce it a lot to what I believe was only one cigarette every two to three days. Her date to be baptized is supposed to be next week so she better make it! I'm confident ;). Transfers came and I got to talk with President a little bit and he gave me some insights as to why he was moving me. He stated that the Stake President in Wilmington was making a big push to have mostly Sister Missionaries and that the area I was in would probably be replaced with sisters within the next few transfers. I can truthfully say that is not the best idea but to keep trust with the stakes and mission it has to be done. Not to mention the fact that the sisters who replaced me in west Philly were just replaced with Elders again... So I am now with an Elder Smilanich: ń S-mill-en-ich A small tiny Elder of about 5'7'' and what appears to be 130 LB's. Last name comes from Yugoslavia and by video game skill level I'd put his driving level at 5.2/1000. I've never been so scared out of my wits to ride with someone, my goodness! We have no designated driver so I'm talking with President in a few moments after this letter hahahaha... Eh... So I finally broke the Philadelphia line and am now in Easton PA. It's an interesting place. Besides Easton Maryland this is probably the whitest area that I have been but thankfully it's got a pretty even mix. There is a lot of work that needs to be done here so it's kinda what I was hoping for if this just so happens to be my last area ;). Get to do a lot of finding woof! So since I don't really have many people to report upon I guess I'll kinda lay out some of the interesting parts of this past week here. Thursday night I guess that the Elders Quorum a has a wing night every first Thursday of the month but only two other guys showed up to Buffalo Wild Wings so it was a quiet and mostly awkward night until the very end when I decided to try Elder Smilanich's ghost pepper wings which he himself had only managed to engulf one of a little bit at a time. Well due to peer pressure and plain stupidity I popped a whole sucker in my mouth and for about the first minute or so I was fine... And then it burned me...! I think it put my body in shock for the rest of the night but I'll continue on with our adventures. So while on the look out on Saturday night for some less actives we knocked on a door where we heard a muffle of a voice when suddenly the door opened a creak and a lady in the back ground said "come in!". Smilanich pushed the door open and we were greeted by a 250 LB topless woman who screamed "I thought you were my husband!". Thankfully she turned around before we had a sense of anything so we quickly slammed the door and stood there in shock for a moment. We were literally booby trapped! We would have success that night finding the less actives we had planned for thankfully. Saturday was pretty well completely filled with trying to find people. First two hours at the farmers market where I quickly found I was the only one attempting to find as we endlessly wandered around but we are working on that. Not to mention that this area is going to whip me good for street contacting ;)! Sunday included most of the same things however we went over into the jersey part of our area last night (finally checked that one off) and had some great success. Found a couple or brother and sister (better figure that one out quick) who we will be seeing tonight! We also knocked on a screen door where a pit bull invited himself out to say hi with the owner lady getting super angry stating that I had let him out -_-. Such rudeness. We would then find two less actives we will be seeing this week so it was a great night, woot! I love y'all!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Macrae and Elder Maiava & others

18 and Counting, Power Housing, High-Jacked, Keep it Up Up on Diggin, Home, Home on the Range

Dun-nu nunt nunt nunt, another one bites the dust! Another transfer gone, another close friend dead, and a peanut butter M&M just met its fate, just as so many of its other brethren have... This makes my 18th to last p-day as well... Yo Cresswell and Johnson what does that make for you ;3!? Anyways I'm not Trunky and I have the evidence to prove it since all of the young pawns around me seem to have made it the new thing to tell me every chance that they get. But that's ok since I know that they will all take their own turns when they reach my point of the mission ha! So anyways to continue on with what has been going on we had an extremely good week that kept us really busy. So rather than giving individual lessons I'll give people updates. Jachin: So we had two very good lessons with him this past week and we were super excited to see him at church his Sunday... Well we would have been had he actually shown up so now we are going to have to push his date back once again since our Ward mission leader would like to see him come at least three more times which is reasonable. I'm a bit sad and worried what will happen there but luckily for me that will no longer be my job to break the news. Tom: Crazy as usual and we aren't sure what to do with him. Still a flip flopped on believing in and not believing in God which I just don't understand. We are just going to go through with the Restoration tomorrow and quit dancing around the subject. Probably will be dropped. Lamonica: We were finally able to re contact this less active family which was sweet! They are doing better since the death in the family and have had some great questions about the plan of salvation because of it. Ultimately I feel that they will be reactivated due to this. So I'll move onto some new people so that I don't bore everyone to death with reports. Elder Miava and I were tracting on Wednesday and as we sat outside one of the doors Elder Maiava told me that he had a really good feeling about the door which turned out to be correct. Her name is Lizbeta and is from Puerto Rico and has a husband and three kids. We came back a few days later and taught her though her husband left since he doesn't believe in God. She accepted the message pretty well and had really good questions but she wants missionaries who speak Spanish so we reluctantly handed her off ;). So the last like really big success we had this week is that there has been this family who has been coming to church for about a month who are friends to a member that finally said that we could come and teach them! So last night we went to a members house and I guess we kinda taught them? There were a few members over there for dinner and the host of it all literally just took over and I was on edge the whole time! Started talking deep doctrine and about the endowment it was just ridiculous what he through at this family! I only got a total of twenty words in since when ever I tried to get to know them or teach them he would interrupt. We talked with the member who is their friend and he said we need to figure something else out since we are going to the same house next week haha! Well Maiava will. It's a family of six and another on the way and all at the moment are accountable woot! But anyways it would seem that I will be on the road again since I got the call on Friday night. Surprisingly I wasn't really stressed at all and here I am now with a bunch of crap scattered everywhere on my desk ready to be moved :P. Well I love y'all and guess we shall see where I end up!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Oxymoron Thinking?, Spiritual with the Crazed, Draggen

Our week and it's cancelations. So we saw Tom again last Tuesday and it was one of those good but yet strange lessons where it leaves you feeling as though your tires are spinning out in a four foot snow bank with little direction in sight due to a Grizzly taking a nap on your hood.... Something is happening and has the possibility of great things but there really isn't anything to grab onto to get out. Mostly I am trying to figure him out. He knows what the spirit is and what it feels like, but he seems to switch off from knowing there is a God to not knowing, to thinking that non of this is real, back to saying there is probably some sort of entity out in this great blue yonder of a universe. I just don't have much to go on since he's one of those that is comfortable where he is at and when we mentioned about Gods plan for us he wasn't to fond of the idea that there was an actual plan since he is an artist and prefers to just kinda go with whatever. I feel that he thinks plans are rigid fences but in our next visit I've been thinking about talking about absolute truth, teaching the Book of Mormon and then if still nothing to go on, possibly might drop. I'm not sure. Later that night we went on splits and I went with a Brother Isom. Really cool guy who is a private airline pilot who has essentially lived all over the United States. We got to know each other pretty well since our appointments didn't hold nor the back ups. Not to mention we waited forty five minutes in the car waiting for Maiava to get back to then learn from his split partner that he had dropped him off at the church an hour earlier with the other missionaries there >.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Christian Tribalism and Spirituality, That "Rich Friend", Foretold Delays

We saw Jachin a lot this week... I am pretty sure that it was almost five times but I could be wrong on this one. Anyways we were trying to get him prepped for his baptism this week but it would seem that we will delay that a little bit so I'll give reason why in just a little bit. So this past week was pretty good and kept us a bit busier than the past one. Mostly due to Jachin and Tiefa but we were able to go and see my first member referral this past week :D! It was from the guys brother in New Hampshire and we had tried to find him before with little success. His name is Thomas and he is a pretty sweet guy but he has some interesting beliefs. Christian all the way but it seems that he's not to sure on absolute truths besides Christ. Meets with the Jehovahs Witnesses, does tribal prayers with the local Indians, it's just kinda strange all together. But he enjoyed what we had to say and likes our three kingdom view and stated that no matter how the world ends he wins in the end. We have some good promise here so hopefully we will be able to accomplish what we have designed to do ;). On Wednesday I went on exchanges down to Newark Delaware with an Elder Wiesler, our zone leader. I would like to relate this exchange to that one rich friend that most of us can associate to. Rich, nice house, beautiful woman (vice versa), has a dog who's breed is on the endangered species list. Or in our case great area, super supportive members (they drive them everywhere), live on a college campus (fulfills the beautiful women part). We were stuffed with lessons and went from one right to the other which I enjoyed, meant less finding for me ;)! He's a good guy, definitely is a young zone leader and he knows it :3. Thursday was a bit of a strange day. Last transfer President instituted what are known as training Elders who were supposed to work with those who are six months and younger. But it seems that all are game so we got Elder Long with us which I was pretty happy about. Not to much happened during the exchange, we had a family history event with Tiefa and Jachin right before it but past that we were just walking around looking for people. We only came across a very fiery Pentecostal woman. I told her that I had already been to a Pentecostal church and she asked why I didn't stay there, and when I told her why she stated that if I came to her church I wouldn't leave and that I would see how the gift of tongues actually worked. We would have gone but we couldn't find her church. Also I've already dismembered the case so I don't really care. Friday he and his companion gave us a kind of training on how to plan? It was nice but for the most part I feel there were bigger reasons for them being there. Friday was mostly taken up by weekly planning. So on Saturday we talked to Jachin about the baptismal interview questions. He did amazing and we felt that he was really ready for baptism as we went through all of the stuff with him. I think he got a little scared when a certain member started going off about not watching things over PG, only listening to Christmas music, and other non doctrine points that scare us missionaries as you could very well guess, but otherwise all was well... And then he didn't show up to church yesterday so we are pushing it back a bit :P. And that is the news for the week! Love and for Delanee... Happy Birthday Delanee, there used to be an Elder Hainey, I once taught a girl named Lanee, Happy Birthday Delanee!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Playing at the baptism (hate wearing my glasses) and what happens when you & your companion find a nerf gun in the closet!

Kids! What's the Matter with Kids Today?, Getting To Old?, Double Blitz, Slow Week

Well I am now at that ripe old age of being a one handed man... Both transfers and months fit there individually :/... But all old missionary pride to the side I'm waiting to take over as the oldest missionary in this zone come next transfer✌🏻💪🏻!! 19 months down with a little less than five to go is a strange feeling. Ok I'll quit being trunky. So this past week didn't hold to much for us but I'll report the good and plenty. So Tuesday we had a lesson in the morning with some recent converts. A mom and Daughter duo Nicole and her daughter Hailey. They seem to be a sweet family though I didn't really get to know who they were since our member was the one driving the lesson, and a good lesson it was too... Such a great description right? Later that night we went on splits and I was left with Brother Hooper to teach Jachin about the Law of Tithing. It went really well and like usual most people have a bit of a concern that they will be asked to give money but after some explaining he was totally fine with it and as we followed up we found out that he has pretty well quit drinking tea so we are right on track for his baptism next week ;)! Wednesday? Let's just say that everything fell through and I really am not sure what we did during the mean time besides going and doing service for our one meal appointment. I don't know about anyone else but when I get back I'm going to the gym daily... Every other day... Maybe twice a week. Anyways I'm one of the few elders that works out every morning and I'm tired of everyone thinking I'm just this skinny wimp so I have some goals! Thursday... So I've been noticing for about the past transfer or two that all of the rules we received last year are being regivin this (new missionaries and all). But what's gotten a little bit annoying is that all of these new zone leaders who are a year or under act as if the older missionaries have never heard of these things and have the aura that they are the more obedient generation. Maybe I'm wrong but that's the vibe that I'm getting. Anyways I had a faulter after zone training for the first time on the mission. We went down to pray before leaving the apartment and all I remember is saying amen and then my arms hurting for some reason. Well I guess that amen had happened thirty minutes earlier cause I was down and out for the count :/! We had another lesson with Jachin but we had to go to his house since we didn't have a member to take him to the church with us. Surprisingly his house was super quiet and not busy like it usually is so we had a great lesson about the Ten Commandments and the priesthood. His drunk uncle was a bit of a jerk though. We are teaching the Ten Commandments and suddenly he yells Moses didn't say that it was Jesus! It was Jesus who said that, you Mormons are so screwed in your thinking. As he stormed out of the house. Meanwhile we were in the Old Testament :3... Friday we doubled into the 1st Ward elders area since neither of our companions has a legal drivers license for here in the states. It was fun since I was with Elder Foster who I served around in North Philly. Cornelius went to him right after me so it was all good. Saturday nothing. Yesterday not to much. We almost didn't have a lesson since we showed up just to see our investigator get into and drive off in her car. We sat there for about thirty minutes with a less active till she showed up again. Later that night I was asked five minutes before the Spanish baptism to play the piano... True to Hispanic culture I got an hours practice before the actual things started and it was all one handed, so yup!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Meals for Days, Serve Up!, Member Presents are Ideal... Debatable

Well my very first week has come to pass where we had six out of seven days this past week where we were fed by members, my goodness. We would have had all seven but right at the last moment yesterday, they had to reschedule so my record stands at six :P. All is well though since they were literally our only hope of surviving and getting a complete diet! Anyways I'll move away from our meal business to the normal grind we have experienced for nearly 19 months as of this coming Saturday. So going back to meal appointments, on Monday we met with the Savage family. All of them are active except for their fifteen year old son, who from what I have been told, thinks he's to "cool" to go to church and that it's boring. Well long haired hippy man likes books, video games, and Pokemon and though their isn't anything bad or uncool about these things I just feel he has a bit of a case of the small nerdy man syndrome when I met him. Anyways we are working to make some good connections with him at this time and since Maiava was never into any of those things I guess I'm the one who has to put in the wedge :3. We had probably the best member meal appointment lesson I've ever had. We went over scripture study by watching an old 1980's seminary video called "The Maze", which has become a favorite of mine. We discussed in depth the reason for scripture while our target went in and out from pretending to sleep to watching the video. I'm determined! Tuesday we had a good lesson with our one investigator Jachin. We took him to the church since his house seems to be the community inn and out which doesn't always provide for the best of lessons but the spirit was pretty strong in this lesson as we went over prayer and scripture study. He is a cool kid, grandson of a member and at the moment has something strange going on with his leg, so hopefully the Dr.'s can fix it. Wednesday we were able to find a new investigator named Michelle. She is about in her fifties and I feel like she has a lot of promise at the moment. Found by Elder Maiava's last companion, we meant to just drop by and set up a return appointment but she sat us down outside and just kinda dropped her whole life's story on us before we could say a word. Either way the next day we came back and taught her half of the Restoration which she enjoyed, hopefully she likes the second half too :3. We also saw a less active by the name of Jose. He filibustered us super hard and to say the least I tried not to doze off but after an hour it was near impossible... But from there he decided to show his guns to us and though empty I wasn't fond of a twelve round fully automatic twelve gauge being pointed in my direction 0.0! He's a cop. Thursday not to much happened besides being on exchanges with a newer missionary who I was cringing with the entire time since he said some stuff that quite a few people could have taken offense to. We also played Volleyball which I had improved in a lot since our first time. I just looked at it like a game of tennis and it kinda solved everything. Friday... I don't remember much and due to some random events not much happened either. Saturday we had interviews and I'll leave that for other emails. Afterward we went and helped serve in a food kitchen which was fun. I hadn't done anything like it before and it really was an enjoyable service. However one man didn't think it was enjoyable, he had five minutes to wait to get seconds but he wanted it then and there. We left so the kitchen was left to solve it themselves. Now we come to our new investigator Caleb. Since we didn't have to much going on we showed up to help with the Spanish Elders wedding when he also decided to show up 45 minutes early. So we sat down with him and got into it. Had super good questions which we went along with for about an hour when we then moved into the restoration a bit... When our member we had called for another lesson showed up an hour early and completely took over. Not in a good way either... We totaled three hours in there with random nonsense to then leave and him not be available for the lesson we had scheduled him for. Oh boy. Well to end on a good note we have a lot of work going on here and I am excited to see what else we can do here as we move a long. I love you all and I wish you the best!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Glory Days, Back to Utah and Samoans?, Old Dog, Grinding Fridges

Where oh where in the world could this little missionary be, where oh where could he be? I'll let that sit for a moment other wise I might lose some viewers due to lack of suspense and tension. When you have only have about six viewers you need all the likes you can get otherwise the network might shut ya down ya know? But anyways onward with our... Wait what?... A shop where you can rent plants?... Oh my... So Elder Murphy and myself finished off our transfer by driving around Philadelphia and Camden New Jersey picking up all of the transferring missionary stuff. We learned pretty quickly that they are a lot easier to work with than those that are going home so our travels were quick and full of great music... Not much to report there. The rest of the day was dedicated to talking about all of the glory days and stuff from the mission as we cleaned and prepped the apartment, or at least I cleaned, Murphy really didn't feel like it since he had just done a double out in his last area. So Wednesday was an interesting day with transfers and all. I had hoped that they were just shuffling Elder Murphy and I around to another area since we had only been together for one transfer as service Elders but as you can guess it was just a hope. I am now with Elder Maiava who is from Samoa which is pretty cool. Good guy and from what I understand he played a little bit of professional rugby before coming out and has been out for almost nine months. And no they didn't transfer me to Utah haha however the ward reminds me a ton of the Utah Wards back at home. I am now in Wilmington Delaware (northern half this time and still not to far from Philly :P) in the Wilmington 2nd Ward. Literally the Ward is divided in half of people who work for Americas largest consulting company (almost all graduated from BYU) with the other half being lawyers... Who also graduated from BYU :P! I've never met so many people in my life who had told me that they were just in Moab a couple months ago and loved it all in a moment of about 5 minutes. But anyways enough about the people who actually come out teaching with me and how there school stole my schools colors. I learned this week that I have hit a peculiar age on the mission. Last transfer we had received info that over half of the mission was six months or less. Well with this past transfer that number has become even larger and besides our one zone leader who dies this transfer I trump everyone in the zone by eight to nine months :/...5 1/2 months to go and I've already been givin the nickname as the grandpa of the district bleck. I guess it's alright though. Elder Murphy and I joke about Elder Ballifs first words to me when we came into our companionship "I'm an Old Head, I'm stuck in my ways don't try to change me!". I don't have to worry though. I have a good comp. So I'm not going to report to much on the lessons this weeks since I just barely met most of these people and have nothing really to report on. The last two things I feel like mentioning at the moment is that of the last part of this weeks title. No not grinding fridges as in reference to dirty dancing but rather that it was making the most horrendous of noises when I got here but nothing to much besides that. Until Saturday morning when we woke up to find that only the freezer part of our fridge worked and all of our regular fridge stuff had passed away... And was quite smelly! My diet has consisted of oatmeal and meal appointment food so my digestive tract is all out of whack. My only hope is that I don't go lactose intolerant like some of the other missionaries :P. Anyways later that night we celebrated with the Ward Pioneer Day which was a bit of fun. Stick pull, tug of war, and lots of food and people to repeat the whole from Moab gig to but it was fun. Our apartment complex also shot off fireworks later that night which made no sense to me but it worked for the occasion so I won't complain. Well I love you all and am glad to see that you had a great week this past week with the cousins. Make sure you don't have to much fun with out me, I only have so much more time till I'm back ;)!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Abomination!!, Quick Awkward Exchange, Bronies and Military Nonsense, Up and Out..

Well this is how our past week went. It went pretty well...... Ok so really on Monday we were able to stop by our new Investigator Jefferey and have a bit of an exchange of matching beliefs. He didn't really allow for a lesson since he was the one mostly leading out and finding out what he could match up with us which was nice. He's really cool and I guess we will see what happens this coming visit on Tuesday. Tuesday we had a fun but also interesting day of exchanges. We had to deliver mattresses to the Sisters who would be going into a trio this coming transfer. It started off with us going down to the mission storage lockers where we had many strange encounters! We began removing mattresses and box springs when Elder Prue Identified that the many bugs found upon these slabs of material were bed bugs! But we were and still are ok, with no house infections or blood spots. No the true monstrosity was that of a large strange bug that our dear Elder Prue happened upon as he was moving a box spring and this abomination appeared from the inside of the box spring sending Mr. Prue out of the unit with a loud yelp. Proceed to 30 minutes of refinding, identifying, and failing at killing what I identified to be a spricket! They are nasty! Combine a cricket and spider that is about the size of the circle you can make with your thumbs and index fingers yeck! I'll make sure to send a pictures of the Abominable Cretan. I went with Elder Prue to New Jersey which was a blast. We had two drop offs in Cherry Hill, and Medford. The Sisters in Cherry Hill were super fun as we told them about everything that they had to do now that we had spread what might be a bed bug mattress into their apartment (it was in cased so they were fine). The second set however was super quiet and at first wouldn't come into their own house when we were there thinking that it was against the rules... We need to know where stuff is and also they show up to district meeting every week just fine so we finally got them in. Anyways all done we were on our way home. Half hour away we called Elder Murphy to see where they were and they hadn't even left philly yet to go down into Delaware. So without keys to either apartment we first helped the office senior missionaries till they left which was about an hour so it is about 5 pm by now. We make a call and Murphy is stuck in traffic and is still about 45 minutes away from his destination :/... So with nothing to do Elder Prue and I get onto LDS.org and turn on an old church movie called the "The Phone Call" (highly recommend it). Well about 10 minutes into it the AP's come in and see what we are doing and start acting as if we have both only been out just a few months saying how when they were a golden they used to watch that too and that it should be left till P-Day so that we could be more productive..... I've been noticing this a lot with the new leadership but I mean we had nothing else to do. We were at Broomall till 8 that night and then didn't get home till 10 since we had to go back to the storage unit. It's frustrating. Anyways Wednesday I went on exchanges with Elder Standing which was alright. He came out with Elder Litton so we had some fun conversations but past that we were never really able to make a solid connection on something to talk about. Oh well. Thursday we had to go back in for service. Nothing to particular there besides that we had to warn the dying missionaries that we would be coming to pick up their stuff the next day. This would have happened had not one of the missionaries (we will identify him as the Marine) complained that we hadn't given him any notice. We told him that it wasn't our job we were just telling him what we were doing. Well he scoffed at me and went to the AP's to make sure it was changed. Wrong move. Saturday was completely taken up by picking up luggage and I was thoroughly frustrated since only two of the leaving missionaries were preparing the whole week to go... The rest seemed to procrastinate till we showed up at the door... Where half weren't even there. Also we saved the Marines stuff for last :3. Oh and so last but not least Elder Murphy and myself are doubling out. It's my second one and done double out and it's pretty depressing since I really didn't accomplish anything here besides have my batteries recharged so I guess we shall see what happens here over the next few days. I love you all and wish you the best!