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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

July 29, 2015 Pretty Regular Week. Sorry This is So Late

I'm sorry this is so late, Mom, the subway station internet is down so we had to make a special trip to Dunkin Donuts to get internet ha.

How's it going Family? I hit my month mark last week which is pretty crazy, It's weird to think that I was finishing up my Freshman year of college 3 months ago and now I'm here in Washington Heights trying to teach people about the Gospel in Spanish.  That's a bummer you're finally heading home, it seems like you've been up there forever. It's nuts that Cole and Ike are heading back to school! I left before they got out. Cole's starting at Fremont right?  Make sure he tells us who his teachers are because I wouldn't be too surprised if some of them were still around. Tell us who Ike's teacher is too I can't even remember who my 3rd grade teacher was. The only teachers I really remember from 7th grade were my coaches. That weight lifting class that I took ended up being pretty awesome because when you're that young the improvement is so fast.

Pdays are always interesting. We just got done playing volleyball and Gatorball (This really weird soccer/lacrosse/hockey game) in the Harlem church building which is sick, the basketball court was on the 5th floor. I've actually gotten really good at volleyball because that's what we did everyday in the MTC. It was a ton of fun, but now I'm super tired and sweaty. We only have a couple lessons tonight with some less active members so I'm not worried about having to run across our area for 6 hours straight like we have to do sometimes.

There's not a whole ton to update you on this week. We've been really focusing on the members recently because we don't usually get a ton of help from them, so we've been trying to get them to trust us by visiting them a lot and just trying to be as helpful as possible. We have an investigator that is going to get baptized but he wants to move down into our ward boundaries first. He's been looking for a place for awhile but he never misses church, keeps all the commandments, and listens to everything we say. I'm super excited for him but he's being super picky about where he's gonna live and it's kinda driving me and Elder Buckley nuts. He's great though.  We gave him an Ensign this week to read a talk from President Monson.  

Next week this email could come from somewhere else because it's transfers. Elder Buckley says that I'll probably still be here but who knows. I'll know by Saturday. We have a Mission wide conference call tomorrow which is really crazy we've never had one before, we're expecting some changes so everything is possible right now.

I love you all so much. I'm doing great I hope you are too.

Con Amor,
Elder McBride

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

July 22, 2015 One Month in the Field!

Sounds like Park City is a ton of fun! I bet the weather is super nice there, sometimes especially early in the morning it feels so good to be outside but then it starts to heat up and by the time we're done with studies it's like a humid oven. I'm pretty much used to just being a sweaty mess all the time haha. We had a little microburst rain storm last week that started right before we left for an appointment with a new member so we got soaked from like the belly button down but since it only rained really hard for a little bit we were soaked all day and had to explain ourselves to everyone. It was more funny than miserable, though, and I had an excuse for being wet other than just sweaty.

That's awesome that Cole got to try scuba diving.  At first it's really scary having to rely on a tank and a tube for one of the most basic natural functions of life but, once you get under for a few minutes you get really used to it. Not gonna lie the first few days of the MTC and the field felt like the first few minutes of scuba diving, but after a few days it becomes normal.  

We had a really good week last week but, it's really hard getting people to keep commitments. They'll be super excited to do it then when we leave nothing gets done. It's ok though.  Every once in awhile we find somebody super good or our persistence pays off and somebody finally reads or prays.  We had a great day yesterday. Every single one of our appointments fell through, but like every back up plan we had went perfectly. We found a couple new kids and an inactive member that nobody's talked to since before Elder Buckley got here 4 months ago. To finish the day off we met with a new member who is awesome but she's struggling right now because her mom died last week. We met with her 4 or 5 times in the last week she had some really tough questions about the spirit world and why priesthood blessings don't always work. We were able to answer all of them though and she's feeling better. 

We're trying to take a bunch of the members in our area up to the temple to do baptisms for the dead because we have a bunch that have had some serious time as members, but have never gone. Hopefully it works out before transfers because this is gonna be President Smith's first transfer so anything could happen.  

We just got done playing ultimate frisbee in Central Park with the AP's and President Smith's son, William. Elder Gallego's companion Elder Gagnon used to play on a school team up in Idaho which is awesome because it's no fun to play when you're the only person that can really throw. Elder Gallego's always a hoot as you guys know, it's still super weird waking up and seeing him come out of the other room then fall asleep on the couch.  

Hey Mom thanks for being clutch on the mess you're the best! Dad, how's your venture goin? I taught my apartment economics yesterday.  You would've been proud haha. When does school start for the lil bros? Is Cole gonna do band or computers?

I love you all!

Con Amor,
Elder McBride

Only have one selfie for us this week, sorry I've been way to busy.

With Elder Gallego on the Subway.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

July 15, 2015 Another Week Down

Wow I feel like I just wrote yesterday! 

After I emailed you last Pday we went to the temple (we get to go once a transfer cycle). While we were getting in the elevator, an older man and his wife walked in behind us, turns out it was Elder Zwick of the 70. He was super cool.  Elder Buckley asked him a question one of our investigators had about whether or not general authorities receive any kind of compensation for their service. He was super open about it and told us that its a lot like how missionaries live, where we get a basic amount for food and necessities and then get reimbursed for special expenses like traveling. He made sure to explain that it "wasn't even close to enough to live off of" solely but it does cover the extra expenses of serving as a general authority. We then had him in our session and in the locker room after we ran into him and our brand new Mission President talking. What are the odds?

Our new President is awesome by the way. We had our new Missionary meeting last Friday up in Scarsdale at the chapel and he just comes off kinda like that guy from Parks and Rec played by Rob Lowe always super super positive and energetic. He's super well read and spiritual though, he talked about the apostle Peter, complete with like 5 scriptures, for an hour, off the cuff. He said he wasn't even planning on talking about Peter but he just felt like he needed to. Our zone has 1 on 1 interviews with him on Monday so next Pday I'll tell you how that goes.

To answer your questions about how my companion is learning Hebrew and Greek. He told me that he had a couple companions who didn't really want to do much so he ordered a couple books that teach how to learn Greek and Hebrew enough so you can read the Bible in the language it was written in. To be completely honest, I don't know where he ordered them from and I'm not sure it's allowed but, it has helped the work.  We have a baptism scheduled for the 25th because of it haha. He's learning Greek now all on his free time before bed and studies, and during extra meal time. I think my head would explode if I tried to do that.

Our zone is the smallest zone in the mission. It is literally the size of a full district with 12 missionaries. Our zone only covers about 50 streets from 155-205 which if you go check out the map, It's super tiny and really thin, especially considering the rest of Manhattan only has 2 more zones Mid Man (Aka Harlem) Zone, and South Man. There are areas the size of our entire zone in Harlem. But for a Spanish Missionary this is the best place to be because most of the people here are Spanish speakers. The three Spanish Elder Companionships are the only ones who have specific areas.  The Spanish and English Sisters and the English Elders cover the entire zone. It's a pretty interesting set up because it's reversed compared to most other places in the U.S. the Spanish speakers cover a big area with English areas inside. It's a super cool place to start.  One of the AP's Elder Gore started in Inwood, too, and he said it was one of his favorite areas.

Elder Buckley and I are having some good success here. We got a ton of New Investigators which was really unexpected because we didn't even really tract we just randomly ran into people and the one time we did
tract we had some awesome people open their doors. A few miracles too. We went to look up this little kid who said his family would be interested, but when we knocked he wasn't there, but an old lady opened the door and said he lived in either 6f or 5f, so we decided to try 6f first. Their door was already open so we started talking to this lady who was really open to our message. Turns out she wasn't related to the kid, but she was just praying for God to help her find a way to make her life better. A serious miracle because it wasn't even the right apartment but since we didn't understand the old lady we went to it on accident. We have a follow up with her this weekend we're excited.

It's so great reading your emails every week.  Thanks for keeping me in mind. I'll try to send some pics today even though I don't have too many because we've been so busy I need to get a selfie Elder Gallego took yesterday.

Con Amor,
Elder McBride

This is Washington Heights. A massive Dominican guy carrying a snake.
This little part of our area is called Castle Village.  It's weird
because it's like super ghetto and then around 183 it gets super nice on the West side. That's the GW Bridge.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

July 8, 2015 Crazy 2nd Week

I'm gonna start off with the baseball game last Friday. It's super rare for the whole mission to meet together because they treat this mission like 2 separate missions; upstate and city. Because if you're in the city and have a Metro card, it's really easy to get around in the city, but it's expensive and complicated to go places upstate.  When you're upstate you generally get a car so it's easy to move around upstate, but expensive and complicated to come to the city. So there are only 2 times a year where the whole mission meets together
and one of them is the Yankees game. It was pretty cool to see everyone, but Elder Buckley and I were exhausted because we had a packed schedule leading up to the game. Our seats were literally the highest seats you could get which was actually kinda cool because I got a sweet pic of the city looking through the fence that was right behind us, I'll try to send it to you but it's a struggle getting an
Internet connection that can send pictures well, so if not today I'll try to send some while I'm at the church tomorrow. We only got to stay till the 5th inning, so I had no clue the Yankees won until Saturday during correlation meeting at the church when I got dads email. Sounds like it would've been a pretty sweet game had I not been a missionary

So we're having some pretty sweet success in our area. The baptism we had last week was the first baptism our area has had in more than a year.  And since my Companion has been here, we've almost tripled the lessons taught. The people here are sweet, we get let in a lot while tracting
and set up return appointments, but they "juke" the return appts. a lot haha. Sunday was awesome.  The guy that got baptized last week got confirmed, we had an "eternigator" come to church with his wife finally, and later that night we set 2 bap dates with a teenager and his sister in-law.

I'm sweating so much. It never feels 'hot' but sometimes I feel like I'm sitting in a bathroom with the shower running turned all the way hot. Elder Buckley says that he was the same way when he came out and eventually you just start sweating less and less, so... Fingers crossed. Other than that nothing's really bothering me. Spanish is coming little by little, I'm not losing weight because if you're in the city the members don't feed you a whole lot so you get a few extra
dollars every month and buy all your own food.  My companion, Elder Buckley, is awesome.  I get to hang out with Elder Gallego every day, which is awesome, but still feels weird, and probably best of all we're having real success in an area that hasn't really seen any for awhile.

Thanks a ton for the package! I just got it yesterday because
sometimes it takes a bit for the Office Elders to bring the mail down to the city. We had to come in before 8 on 4th of July which was nice because we had some extra time to relax but was a bummer because it was some prime time to meet with some people that are tough to get ahold of. We just hung out in our apartment and talked about deep doctrine haha.

We get to go upstate on Friday to a new Missionary meeting, so luckily I'll get to spend some extra time with the new Pres. I'm excited because last time I was up there I was so distracted by the "holy cow I'm on a mission" feeling that I didn't really take in how awesome upstate NY is. We're taking a train up there, too, which is way better than the mission van that I got driven down in.

I love you all so much, I'm gonna try to send some pictures and I'm gonna send another email with some comments about your Abraham observations, Mom.

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir sings the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium.
The entire mission got to go.
The view behind the stadium.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

July 1, 2015 First Week Down 95ish to Go!

Hey Family how's it going? 

Thanks for the emails, I love reading them.

There are some weird rules with IPads. We're allowed to read emails whenever, but only allowed to respond to non members when it's not Pday.

So the craziest thing about my first week is that Elder Gallego is one of my Zone Leaders. And he and his companion Elder Gagnon are our roommates. It's so weird and random, we have a moment that feels like we're breaking a rule or something when we get to hang out after
planning every night.

My area is 170th to 185th in Inwood, it's interesting because it's only a 1/3 of the Spanish ward we're in because there are 8 Spanish missionaries in our ward, 6 Elders and 2 Hermanas. We have this strip of shops and stuff called Little Dominica because it is so densely packed with Dominicans. I'm so happy I get to start here because since it's one of the Spanish areas in the mission, I still get to be immersed in the language while I'm learning. And I can feel my Spanish

So we had a baptism on Sunday, which is kind of funny because technically he counts as my baptism, but he had already learned everything and was committed before I got here, haha. His name is M---, and he's the first Baptism from our area in like 6 months. He's Mexican and speaks really fast, so I can't understand a word he says, but my Comp speaks super super good Spanish, so he can understand him.

We taught a lot last week, but it's really hard to get people to
commit to do anything here because they can be really flaky. So we only have 1 investigator that's really progressing and then a bunch that just like to hear what we have to say, but we're gonna try change that.

Turns out that Columbia is just a few blocks south of our area, so we're gonna try to meet with Abbie sometime.  Thanks for all the updates you sent us.  It's good to hear all that stuff from home.  I love you all so much!

Con Amor,

Elder Samuel McBride

We went to the the 911 memorial on my first Pday. It was a ton different than it was when we went last year. They've built a train station thing right next to it and that dinosaur looking thing is still under construction and is gonna be like a one of those huge covered walkways and shopping centers.