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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September 30, 2015 Hello Family

Hey Family, 

It's great to hear everybody's got their thing going on back home. Mom has a job, Ike's playing music, Cole's getting straight A's while playing the 2 most exhausting sports I've ever played, and Dad's job shopping. It's like everyone's lives got a lot more interesting now that me and Max aren't there. I'm jealous that Ike's actually doing musical stuff, I feel like I say this every week but, I wish I had. Which companies are Dad interviewing with?

Over here we had a solid but slow week. The first part of the week was pretty standard, until Friday when we got to go up to Scarsdale to have Elder Mackintosh's new Missionary meeting. It was pretty sweet.  I've really been blessed with a lot of opportunities to go to a bunch of meetings with President Smith in the opening months of our missions. Besides that, it was a pretty standard week of teaching, studying, and knocking on doors when we have appointments cancel. The works going pretty well, we're trying to find that golden investigator that's ready to receive us.

Well there's not a whole lot more to add today except for that we went to the natural history museum and somebody mistook us for being with the huge group of messianic Jews that were already in the museum so a lady came up and handed us some tickets and told us to go in and it wasn't until after we got into the museum that we realized that when they asked us if we were with the others they weren't talking about other missionaries. We didn't feel too bad because it was donation day anyway and we were only planning on paying $5.

I'm going to throw a panorama that we took of our zone from Fort Tryon park near the Cloisters.

I love you!
Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September 23, 2015 Training

The first week of training was pretty good. It's a real testimony strengthener, training. Especially when you feel like you should still be being trained. Elder Mackintosh is awesome, I couldn't have asked for a better trainee. He's really patient with me and understands that I'm still learning too. My Spanish has really started taking off, the gift of tongues is real, I wouldn't have been able to do it without a
bunch of extra help.

So this week has been pretty nuts with the new missionary and all that stuff but there isn't a whole ton to update you guys on because if you want to know what we did you can just go back 12 weeks and look at my old emails about what we did on my first week... Except my new companion's IPad isn't working yet because it came with IOS 9 installed on it which doesn't get along very well with the Church's security
software. He's going to get it on Friday at the New Missionary Meeting.

The cool story from this last week is basically the miracle that I'm actually able to speak good enough Spanish and do the things you need to do to be a missionary, while teaching a new missionary. Sometimes things get stressful then you sit back and think. "Why am I stressed? Look what the Lord has helped you do, if he made it able for you to do/learn that he will help you do/learn [insert struggle here]. You'll be fine, just try your best." And then you lift your head up, smile, and go to work.

So yeah, other than that I don't have a ton to update on, I'm doing great, I love you. I hope you're  all safe, happy, and not too stressed. Cole, don't stress about missing school, you have class every day there will always be time to make it up. Ike, keep up the music, I wish I had. I'll answer those questions that you have. The Q&A's make it so easy.

1.  Where are your companions from?

Elder Mackintosh From Lehi, Utah. The English District leader in our zone called that I would be training him when they saw his picture on Facebook like 4 weeks before we even knew I would be training, pretty crazy.

How old are they?

He turned 19 in the MTC and he's fresh out of High School

How about the other guys in your apartment?

Elder Smith is 20, from Salt Lake and he went to a semester of college at the U before.  Elder Colson is also 20, from Albuquerque New Mexico, and He worked a year before coming out

2.  What are your Sundays like?

Pretty much a normal day except we go to church from 11-2 then come home and do language study and 12 Week. We almost always tract on Sunday nights because everyone's home.

Do you attend multiple wards?

Nope we only go to 1 ward and there's 8 missionaries in it. So it's actually the complete opposite haha

Where do you attend? 

Our building is by 200th and Dyckman and we're in
the Inwood 2nd Ward.

Is it a building like we are used to or something different?

The building is a lot like a normal one except it has 3 levels. The bottom one is a garage and the top two are like a regular church building.

3.  How much do you knock on doors?

A lot

Someone mentioned to me that they didn't think that tracting was part of the program anymore and I laughed out loud.  Do you mostly contact on the street?

The goal nowadays is to do the majority of your finding through the members. In some places they don't need to tract anymore because member referrals but in places where the Ward is small and shared with other missionaries, there just isn't really going to be a lot of work unless you tract. Some missions in other countries I've heard also don't tract because it's too dangerous (MTC teacher went to Mexico and wasn't allowed to tract).

How safe do you feel knocking on doors?

I feel super safe. I've never once been straight up yelled at or threatened or anything really scary.

4.  What kind of service activities do you participate in?

We haven't done a whole lot of service but, we do teach English Classes twice a week and have service opportunities with members sometimes.

Are there organized projects?

Usually no

Do you go to certain places over and over? Or is it just case by case?

Case by case usually except for English class our companionship teaches every other Thursday.

5.  How do you divide up the cooking and cleaning duties?

We kind of just do our own thing and then sometimes we work together and make something special. Ideally we just clean up after we do whatever and it never gets to bad but, that doesn't always happen so when we need to do a special cleaning on a pday we divide up what we need to do and get it done. And every transfer the day or two before the transfer the people who aren't cleaning the apartment do a really deep clean.

Do you feel like you know how to clean?

I'm not the one to ask that would be my roommates. I feel like I'm fine at cleaning though.

6.  Have any of your roommates been good cooks?

Elder Smith is a really good cook, so sometimes he'll make something really good, but usually we don't have the time or the energy to cook anything more complicated than Mac and cheese.

7.  What do you do on P-days besides write to us?

Sometimes we'll go do something cool like my first pday when we went to the 9/11 memorial or go play some sport. But a lot of the times we do our laundry and get our groceries and just kind of relax.

8.  What do you do for exercise?

I mostly just do some push ups in the morning because we walk around all day and a lot of buildings don't have elevators, so I kinda count that as my working out, and do some push ups for obedience's sake.

9.  Have you heard from any friends?

Ha but not for a bit I shot off a couple how are you doing emails today

10.  People always say that crazy things happen on the mission that its best for moms not to know.  Like crazy people being taught or crazy comps or missionary associates.  So are there any crazy things you are not telling me?

Crazy stuff happens, but nothing you need to be worried about.

11.  What are your feelings about fasting?

Fasting is awesome, I've really gained a testimony of it these last couple of weeks ever since I was called as a trainer. I fasted the Sunday before and it really reassured me.

12.  Packages.  Did you finally get our packages, Max?  And Sam, I sent one to you too with your coat in it.

Yes. Thank you, you guys are so nice.

I Love you so much,
Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 16, 2015 Some Big News

So on Wednesday after I sent off my email I got a call from President Smith and he called me as a trainer. It's been a stressful but exciting week. I might not be able to send off a long email this week but I'll try to send you some pictures of my companion and some of the members/investigators that we teach. Pray for me... This'll be fun.

Con Amor,
Elder McBride

Ok sweet I got a second to write. Yep I'm training Elder Mackintosh from Lehi Utah, here in Washington Heights. It's kinda crazy and super unlikely for someone to train right after they got finished being trained but, if the Lord calls you, it means it's for a reason right?

Elder Buckley went up to Holmstead in the east Bronx to be a Zone Leader and Elder Gallego went up to New Rochelle to be one of the Westchester Zone Leaders. It's a bummer to see them go, but change is good. Training's going to be crazy. My Spanish isn't really all that great yet, but, from what Elder Buckley told me, I'm doing well for only being out 2 transfers. We're going to learn a lot together and I think that my Spanish will take off, now that I don't have a safety
net.  We said goodbye to a bunch of Members and investigators so that means I have a few pictures to send home to you. I'll put them in some other emails so the caption goes with the picture.

This is me and my trainee Elder Mackintosh. He seems pretty awesome and ready to put a lot of effort in. We're going to learn a lot together. It's going to be really funny to listen to Hispanics try to say our names.

Of course me and Elder Gallego had to take a picture before he left for upstate. It's so crazy that I started my mission in the same apartment as him, what a blessing.

This is Elder Buckley and one of the Recent Converts we teach, Hermano M...

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

September 9, 2015 Short But Sweet

I don't have a whole lot to update you on this week other than that I'm not sick anymore (Yay), but we did have a couple cool experiences this Sunday

On Saturday we met with a less active couple who we've been working with pretty much since I've been here. The husband is a very talkative person so the lessons are usually mostly him talking about something he's recently read or some topic that we brought up at the beginning, and then we ended by teaching the principle we wanted to teach and then bearing testimony. After a particularly scattered discussion it was almost time for us to go so we bore our testimonies.  It was one of those times when the words just kind of came out making sense in Spanish without really having to struggle too much. After we bore our testimonies, the wife started talking, which she rarely does, and told us the the real reason that they haven't been going to church for all this time. We were able to address some of the concerns that they had had and reassure them. And the next day, They Came! It was great! The last time he came was more than a year ago and we don't even know the last time she came was. It was a straight up miracle.
On top of them coming to church, a member who is visiting from the Dominican Republic for a week brought her brother and his wife to church who aren't members and live in our area. They are awesome.  We're meeting them tonight, because the sister that's a member is going home tomorrow, and we want her to be there for the first lesson. It was like two great investigators just appeared out of thin air, such a great blessing. 

Next Wednesday we have transfers though, so there's a chance I'll be gone to continue teaching them, but it's
doubtful because my companion has been in this area for a really long time so if anyone's leaving it'll probably be him. But there's a chance that next week I could be emailing from someplace totally different or I could be with a different companion. 

Transfers are fun. It's like every six weeks you start another semester at school, meeting new people, changing up your routine, maybe getting a new roommate, and every once in awhile go to a totally different place. Exciting haha. 

Time really feels like it's flying I'm already past the 20 months left mark and I feel like it was just yesterday that I got to the MTC. Crazy.
I got those Book of Mormons, Books of Mormon, or copies of the Book of Mormon (however you say it) from the young women of the ward. Tell them thanks. I'm not sure when I'll be able to hand them out because most of the time we just give out Spanish copies but if I don't give them out in the next week or so I'll give them to the English Sisters in our zone and they'll be able to get them to somebody awesome.

Sorry for the short email I didn't really have a ton to say this week. I hope you have a great week and that everybody will stay safe, healthy and happy. I love you!

Con Amor,

Elder Sam McBride

Friday, September 4, 2015

September 2, 2015 Sick Week!

So... 2 weeks ago some of the sisters in our zone got sick and then it spread to Elder Gallego and my District Leader then it came to my other Zone Leader, Elder Smith, and I. We got sick and had to spend the entire day in the apartment. Our companions got permission from the Bishop to bring us the sacrament, thank goodness, so at least we got to do that. We have felt pretty bad every since but we're feeling a lot better today so hopefully soon everything will be back to normal.

We had a super fun ward barbecue at this park along the
Hudson.  It was super pretty I took a sub par picture of a beautiful view.  I'll put that on this email. We played volleyball in full proselyting clothes and ate a ton of food.
We found some awesome people these last few days so we'll see if we can get some people progressing and coming to church. We're having some pretty good success with some of the less active members of our ward, which some say is just as important.

Sorry this is kind of short there's not a whole lot to update you guys on.  I'll add another picture that Elder Gallego and Elder Smith took one day when I forgot my IPad in the apartment, to make up for it.  They're making some pretty funny faces, but hey they took it so I'm at no fault for sending it to you guys. I love you all so much and hope
that you have a good week.  Enjoy taking the sacrament.  It's one of the highlights of my week.

Con Amor,

Elder Sam McBride

Hacked by Elder Gallego

Pretty Park Along the Hudson

A special little note for the little bros:

Cole, it's great to hear from you! I hope schools going great. Take advantage of it and try hard especially in the advanced classes I wish I had stayed in those for longer. Having weight lifting during school is awesome I'm jealous, taking a weight lifting class is so much better than doing it on your own. It's hilarious that you guys have been having so many parties, sounds like fun. 

So, for the story that I told Ike I would write in your letter. We were over at a members house yesterday waiting for her to finish cooking so we could teach her a lesson I tried to talk to her son who was sitting on the computer and playing his DS. When I tried to talk to him my companion leaned over and told me that he never talks to us so I might as well not even try, so I gave up for a few minutes until a little later I realized he was on a Pokemon website. So I started talking with him about Pokemon and how I played a ton with my little brothers a few years ago. He was super excited and showed me his pokedex. It was pretty cool, his mom is a super solid member, but he's never even really talked to the missionaries.  So congrats, you helped me get to know someone that traditional doesn't like the missionaries, you guys are awesome! I love you Cole, have fun, make good friends, don't burn yourself out in school before it even really matters, don't sweat the small stuff if you don't learn that now you'll learn it on your mission, and always always thank God for your blessings.