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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

August 26, 2015 Q&A on the subway (haha that rhymed)

1.  How do you like living in the city?

Living in the city is good and bad, I don't really know how it compares to being upstate yet but from what I've heard from other missionaries I think I'll like being in the city more.

Is it a non-stop pace?  

Yep always non stop walking around trying to catch buses, running through the turnstiles to try to catch a subway that just showed up, and depending on the street sometimes crosswalks are just a suggestion. It's pretty funny how passive I've gotten at just kind of walking quickly, dodging people and cars, and figuring out where I am and where I'm going based off street signs.

Do you love it or does it wear you out? 

I love it and one of the reasons is because it wears me out. I come home at the end of the every day tired, hungry, and ready to go to bed. It's honestly a great way to live because I almost always go straight to sleep and don't have the energy to sweat the small stuff.

I love that you live in cities with Art in public spaces.  Do you see much of that, Sam?

We don't have a ton of art in our area but we have a statue of a butterfly pod, and a painted subway tunnel in the area above us. We have one wall that's pretty sweet I'll get a picture that I took for Elder Gallego and put it on this email.

2.  What do you have in your kitchens? 

Do you have a toaster?  

A blender?  

A mixer?  

A crock pot?  
Nope but if we want one the mission office can bring us one

Would you want one?
We usually just stick to stove top and microwave, and sometimes we'll make milkshakes on pday with the blender.

3.  Do you eat most of your meals at home?  

Yep pretty much all of them

How often do you get fed by members? 
Not too often, but when we do it's usually some Dominican spaghetti or la bandera

4.  What's your favorite thing you are studying right now?

That's a tough one, right now I'm studying the BoM one chapter a day really taking it slow, I'm flying through the New Testament, and PMG how to use time effectively in Spanish during my personal study's. During my extra time when I'm tired and don't feel like reading I'm watching all of Elder Holland's General Conference talks chronologically and when I'm not tired and feel like reading, I'm reading out of one of the institute manuals which is super awesome. It's hard to pick but the Book of Mormon/New Testament personal study combo is really great, they really truly support each other and when read together revelation flows.

6.  Sam, is there anyone from the ward that is super helpful to you?

Our Bishop is awesome, Bishop Mena, he is such a good leader and never really gets fazed by anything.

Cole and Ike sound like they're doing great, that I hope Cole's liking his teachers. I remember how weird it was switching to having a bunch of different teachers from just having one.  It can be kind of overwhelming adjusting to how 6 different people want you to act and learn, but being versatile and teachable are skills that you are going to need your whole life. And Junior high is the start of that in a lot of ways. It's awesome that Ike gave that sweet talk in primary, I hope he liked it.  I wish I had given some more talks before my mission.  I think it would've directly applied to teaching on a mission because it forces you to develop skills like explaining yourself simply, clearly and directly which is so key to people understanding our message. I hope they both have great school years I thinks it's kind of funny that I'm basically gonna be gone for the entire time Cole's in Jr high, I left right before he finished 6th grade and I get back just before he finishes 8th wow.

Haha that sounds like a really goofy event, I bet it was fun. My second day in the mission they had a ward game night and it was hilarious.  We played a bunch of weird games that I had never heard of before, like this weird version of musical chairs where you basically got assigned a fruit and if they called your fruit you had to get up and find a new chair.  If you were the person who didn't get a chair, you would have to do something goofy like sing a song or tell a joke. My companion lost like 5 times.  It was really funny.

Weird. I can't really remember Dad ever going to DC.  I hope he has fun.

We had a pretty good week this last week, but there's not a whole lot to update you on. We're just chugging away trying to find someone that has the time and/or the desire to actually meet with us consistently. It's great, though, we find some sweet new potentials every week and some of the members that we teach are really growing in the gospel.  It's great to see. My Spanish is coming along even though sometimes it doesn't feel like it, but Elder Buckley says that it's really been improving the last couple of weeks. 

I love you family have a great week!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Elder Gallego next to some nearby Street Art

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

August 19, 2015 Zone Conference

Awesome to hear from you guys, I hope Cole and Ike had a great first week back to school.  It's weird this is gonna be the first fall in like 15 years not going to school. Crazy! 

We had a super good week last week.  We found one awesome guy and actually had some follow up appointments happen which is super rare here. Two of the newish people that we have are awesome and one of them has a family that's pretty close so maybe if we can get them really moving or I stick around another transfer we might see some baptisms.

Yesterday we had Zone Conference which is basically a huge training meeting with all three of the Manhattan zones. We had it in the cultural hall in the temple building which is always awesome. The first part of the Conference was pretty much a devotional centered around a topic. Every zone gets a topic and all the missionaries have to prepare a talk because when the conductor stands up and says the program, he says an elder and a sister from every zone that the president picked and that's when and how you find out you're speaking. I had a feeling, ever since I heard that they did that, that I would be speaking, so I spent some serious time studying for it and getting some ideas down.  And I was right, they called on me so, yeah I gave a talk on "How is the Book of Mormon, combined with the Spirit, your most powerful resource in conversion?" In my first zone conference, I was the 2nd to last speaker and the last elder speaking.  I had a pretty strong talk that wasn't even really close to what I had prepared, but from what I've heard, it was still good. The rest of the conference was some random training stuff and then President talked for awhile about doctrine and principles. He used one of Dad's favorite quotes, "True doctrine understood changes attitudes and behaviors".  It was a really good topic. All in all it was 8 hours long, but it was a pretty sweet meeting.

Today we're going back down to the temple to actually go to the temple. We get to go once a transfer. Our entire district is going so it'll be interesting to see how the House of the Lord calms Elder Gallego. It's always awesome going to the temple because when you're down in the city, there's really not ever a break from all the random junk, but once you're in the temple you wouldn't even know that it's in the middle of Manhattan. It's a great break and the last time we went I left feeling so refreshed and ready to go for another 6 weeks.

Thanks for the box.  It was really sweet.  My companion hates the hex bug.  He thinks it's super creepy haha. And the first thing Elder Gallego did when he saw the whoopie cushions was play with one for a half an hour. The children's piano book gave us a good laugh.  Thanks, I'm seriously gonna try to learn at least 1 hymn before I get transferred.

I love you guys so much.  The question and answer thing that we did a few weeks ago was awesome, so feel free to ask questions.  It makes it a lot easier to think of things to write.  Have a great week and if you get a chance watch "Safety for the Soul" by Holland from the October 2009 conference.  I love that talk, my quote of the week is what I hope to be able to say someday, "I want it absolutely clear when I stand before the judgment bar of God that I declared to the world … that the Book of Mormon is true." Straight chills every single time. It might be kinda hard to find the video because it weirdly doesn't work on Gospel Library, but I know that you can watch it here on your phones

Les Amo Mucho,
Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 12, 2015 Answers Pre-Big Email and What the Heck Moments!

Wow! sounds like you guys had a Crazy Summer. It's like you have 2 less people to worry about or something. What are you gonna do with all your free time once the kids are back in school Mom? The kids here just started their summer break, the schools have these weird schedules where there's school for a certain amount of weeks and then they get 2 off but, I'm not sure if it's every school because some families go on really long vacations back to the DR during "Summer Break".

I already sent a pretty detailed response to your questions today, so I think I'm just gonna tell a story. That's why I named this email what it is, I had a few of them this week this one was just the most ridiculous.

Tuesday's are long because we don't have anything but proselyting time and they're usually a bit slow.  We usually have a lot of appointments but a bunch of them will fall through, so we spend a lot of time walking from place to place trying to find someone to teach on Tuesdays. Yesterday was exactly like this.  We had a few appointments
either bail on us or just not be home when they told us to come by and hadn't answered their phones earlier. So we spent awhile just walking around and taught a couple lessons then we had a member, who we were supposed to teach later that night, text us and tell us that he's going to a birthday party for a 1 year old girl. We thought he was going to cancel on us so we were kind of bummed, but then he invited us to go with him. We were really confused, but accepted because we've been looking for an opportunity to meet an awesome family to teach, that has already been exposed to the church by a member. So we said we would and met up with the member and his friend, the dad of the niƱa, and went to this party. Turns out we underestimated this 1 year old girls birthday party, it was supposed to be in a park but it got rained out so there was like 50 people squeezed into this apartment, super loud music was playing, the all the adults were drinking except for us and the member we went with, and it was super hard to move around because of all the people. We didn't leave for a bit, even though we were super uncomfortable, because they were all being super nice, giving us food and cake, and we didn't want to leave our member there alone because we're pretty sure he didn't know anyone but the father of the girl who's birthday it was. We did do some missionary work though. We became friends with the dad of the girl, and we talked to the member about the new thing we're starting to do with our investigators and members that we teach, to try to help them keep the commitments that we extend and that they accept, where we challenge them to read the Book of Mormon every day and we promise to text them and remind them every day. He accepted the challenge. So yep, that's my story of going to a rager birthday party for a 1 year old girl as a missionary and still technically teaching a lesson (Principle taught, Commitment extended).

Not a ton of things to update on this week. We've been finding some people who might actually pan out recently, so fingers crossed they will open their doors and answer their phones again. It's weird hearing about Alex's mission. Here it's really easy to find people that are interested and will talk to you once or twice then tell you that they don't have time because they're always working. They have to because of how expensive it is to live here. In a family both parents almost always work, the kids are home alone if they aren't old enough to have a job when they're on breaks, and the only adults we ever meet that are home most of the time are old women who we aren't even allowed to teach because there's never a 3rd male home, so we keep the Sisters busy. We still have people who are interested and are trying hard though. And some of the members that we teach are awesome.

So things are going well here I love you and hope you have a great week. I'm gonna put a picture of one of the libraries at Columbia.

Love ya
Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

We went to Central Park to play frisbee a few weeks ago. From the right its the lady who took our picture's finger then, Elder Buckley (my companion) making a really funny face, then Elder Gore (one of the AP's), William (President's son), and Elder Reid (The other AP), Elder
Gagnon in the back (Elder Gallego's comp/ZL), Sisters Hobbs and Thompson (English Sisters in our zone), me, Then Elder Gallego (ZL/Roommate/buddy from home). There are some sweet weird smiles in here because we could totally see the lady's finger on the lens.

A Library on the campus of Columbia University

Questions & Answers

1.  What are your current addresses?

I'm not supposed to give it to you but the closest intersection to where I live is 187th & Fort Washington if you wanna street-view it or something haha.

Do you get mail at your apartments?
We're not allowed to

And do packages always need to go through the mission office?
Yep it's pretty annoying but way safer and less annoying because they either leave it at the door so it could get stolen and I wouldn't even know or you have to go pick it up at the nearest ups/fed ex/post office if you don't want them to just leave it.

2.  How is the language coming along?

 It's coming along my companion says I'm doing really well but it's kinda hard to judge how well I'm actually doing especially since I was the only person learning a language who came in when I did.

Do you have to use Spanish all the time, Sam?
Yep all the time, my zone is the most pure Spanish zone in the mission, and there's a chance my area is the most of the 3 areas, so yep I'm speaking Spanish a lot.

3.  Where do you go to write letters?
I usually write my letters either on the subway or waiting for the subway. Sometimes after we're done with our chores I take like a half an hour to finish them up and then we either send them off in a Dunkin donuts, the church, or an A subway station because they have pretty good internet.

Can you print things or do you just read them?
I have my iPad so I don't really need to print but I probably could if I need to.

4.  Do you need anything?  How are your clothes holding up?
I'm doing pretty good.  They're doing good one of the zippers on one of my pants has some
issues but it's not a big deal.

Your shoes?
My shoes are doing really good, the brown ones are fantastic to walk in, the black ones are good but not as nice to walk around all day as the brown ones.

Do your feet hurt?
Sometimes one day it rained super hard and I got a blister in between 2 of my toes but it healed up pretty quick.

5.  Where are my pictures???  I need more pictures.
I took some pictures today I'll try to send them if I can get good enough internet but, where I am there's not a ton to take pictures of and even if there was we would still barely ever have time. I'll send you what I've got. I'll put a picture of When we went to Central Park with some people on this email for you and I'll try to send some more
when I send my bigger email.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

August 5, 2015 Staying in Washington Heights and Happy Birthday Dad!

Happy Birthday Dad!
Love Ya!

So I'm staying here in Inwood/Washington Heights/North Manhattan/Little Dominica. Which is sweet because we have had some serious potential show up recently. Elder Buckley stayed too.  We were the only companionship in our zone that stayed the same but luckily, Elder Gallego's staying too so we're still roommates. His companion Elder Gagnon did leave, though, which is a bummer because that guy is awesome but, you know, change is good.  We haven't met the new Elder yet because if they're coming to the city from upstate they don't get here till like 4.

That conference call that we had was pretty sweet, but it was tough to hear (because some missionaries don't know what a mute button is and were sitting in the same room as other missionaries).  But it was a cool idea that will eventually be awesome.  Basically, they announced the new trainers and all the baptisms that the mission's had in the last 6 weeks. I bet in a few months it'll be really cool since we don't actually get to hear from President Smith too much and we will be able to hear if our investigators get baptized after we leave.

The problem with that investigator is that he doesn't want to go to the ward in the Bronx where he lives right now. So unless he says he wants to go to that ward he does have to move to be baptized. It's really frustrating, but it's all good the Lord has a plan for him.

I did get that Moose! It was hilarious! When it came in it was half deflated because of the elevation change but we pumped it up with a basketball pump and he was good to go. I will cherish that thing for my entire mission.

Having transfers kinda kills a Pday because we have so much to do and since neither of us moved we scheduled somebody right when Pday ends at 6 which means that we have to be back and getting ready even earlier.

Nothing really super cool happened this week other than people getting switched around so I'm sorry this was so short. I love you have an awesome week.

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride