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Wednesday, December 30, 2015

December 30, 2015 The Lord Keeps You On Your Toes

It was great to see and talk to you this week! It does not feel like it's already been more than 7 months! It was great to see everybody happy and healthy, and the random buddies were a nice surprise. Christmas ended up being pretty awesome. After Skyping, we went and met with a less active, then we met up with our whole district and caroled. The caroling was a ton of fun.  Every companionship picked out a few of their less-active families and investigators. We took them little gift bags with brownies in them and sang a Christmas carol. Some of the people were super touched by it and a few tears were shed. Great experience I'll never forget it. It was a great way to forget yourself on a day when some might have been a little more susceptible to homesickness. 

We're having some awesome success with R--- and L---. Last night President approved us to have R---'s marriage and baptism on the same day, if he's ready. He really really wants to be baptized.  The marriage is the struggle right now, but things are looking good. L--- is almost for sure going to happen on the 16th or 17th (depends if he can get work off that Saturday), which is really exciting. He's flying through the Book of Mormon, and he loves it. That's the investigator update of the week. 

Other than those two guys and Christmas this week was pretty standard until yesterday. I feel like the Lord's letting me get comfortable then throwing me curveballs. I always liked hitting curveballs though.

Love you, I pray for you every day. I'll write another short email about the questions you asked.

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

December 23, 2015 Christmas Week!

So we had a pretty awesome week this last week. The Mission Christmas Devotional was on Friday in Ossining, which is the farthest I've been from the city since being here. They had this huge musical program planned and performed by missionaries with a couple talks and a huge Christmas dinner after. It's a pretty crazy experience because its one of the two (maybe the only from now on) times that the entire mission is together in one place. Other than that, the ward Christmas party was on Saturday. It was pretty awesome, Dominicans know how to cook for a group. We had R--- (Investigator with a bap. date) there and during the party we snuck out for a bit and showed him the baptismal font.  It was a super cool experience, he felt the spirit. We also did some finding activities that were pretty cool this week. We wrapped presents last Saturday and caroled yesterday, and tomorrow we're doing both of those again and taking brownies to a bunch of the less fortunate families in the ward and investigators. It's a great time to do it mostly because nobody really will set appointments with us on Christmas Eve. This last weekend we also set another baptismal date for the 16th of January and Rafael is on track and progressing to his baptismal date of January 9th. I'm so excited.

Thanks for the boxes, I've held off on opening most of them. I opened everything that was small and squishy and I went through my stocking, but the other stuff I'm saving. Tell Uncle Mark and Aunt Holly thanks for their present. We're going to set up the cardboard nativity seen in a less active less fortunate family's house because they don't have a whole ton of Christmas decorations.

I'm going to keep it a little short this week because we're talking on Friday, I'll add dad on skype today.

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Apartment Christmas Picture
With Elder Gallego at the Christmas devotional
Rockefeller Center
The Tree

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

December 16, 2015 Wait, It's Winter??

Hey family, how's it going? The reason I subject per my email the way I did is because even though it's December and I'm in New York City it's still 60 degrees outside. People are saying this is one of the warmest winters in a really long time and I just keep laughing because it feels a lot like winter in Arizona. I've gone out with short sleeves for the last 3 days just to say that I can wear short sleeves in December in NYC and be perfectly fine.

We're having some really good success in our area by trying to focus on the importance of families and how the Gospel blesses them while we contact people. I'm very thankful that I can testify how the Gospel has blessed my family and that when the principles that missionaries teach investigators are lived families really are stronger. We've found that people are much more open to the message when you just start off testifying and promising them and their families blessings (especially in this culture where families are so important and are being so destroyed.)

Speaking of the culture I'm going to finish today by explaining the video that I'm going to send to you. We went on an exchange with our Zone Leaders on Saturday and Elder Colson and I had been looking for one of their investigators in their area when we heard some Mariachi music that sounded so real it had to be fake coming from a few floors up. We had thought that somebody had just opened their door and they were blasting some mariachi music, but it turned out to be a full band coming downstairs from the 6th floor. It was so random, we laughed for a solid 5 minutes.

Can you please tell Brother Holt thank you for the Box that he sent me, the card games  are pretty funny I don't know if I'll ever have a chance to play them though, and the 2 decks of playing cards that he sent are pretty sweet. Also the young women sent me a letter too, I appreciate it. I love you family and am excited to talk to you next week.

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December 9, 2015 Miracles!

Hey family--

How's it going? I should probably be able to be on the call at 4:00 Danish time, which is 10:00 my time and 8:00 Arizona time. I'll confirm with President that I'm allowed and make sure I send you my skype information.

So today was a ridiculously busy day with transfers so I don't have a whole ton of time to write today but I did want to tell you about my Saturday. This Saturday we had the coolest 2 hours I've had on my mission. We set 2 baptismal dates with new investigators that we had found that week. One's name is R---, he's living with a less active and he's so cool. Every time we teach him something new, even if it's something very unique to our church (I.e. Joseph Smith) he says "really?! I didn't know that!" And he doesn't even second guess that it's not true, it just makes sense to him. He's such a great guy, his baptismal date is for Jan 9th, Cole's birthday. The other investigators name is J---.  We ran into him on the street and he stopped us and said that he really needed to meet with us and after a handful of tries to meet with him we were finally able to meet up so and he has some awesome desire to learn more about the church. So yeah, this Saturday we set both baptismal dates with both of them back-to-back. It was really, really cool because we've really had some trouble finding people with intent so we haven't had anybody take a serious baptismal date for a long time (we've extended a bunch, just nobody's accepted). That night I was pretty down because I had a pretty good chance of getting transferred out and we had just had such a fantastic day with a ton to look forward to, so when we finally got the call and found out that we were both staying I was super excited.

Sorry this is so short. I love you! I promise to write more next week. I'll throw our zone picture from this last cycle on this email. I look like a dork because I had just jabbed one of our roommates/ZL's Elder Colson in the ribs while trying to make a funny face for the "funny picture" it's pretty goofy.

Con Amor,
Elder McBride

December 9, 2015 Transfers!

I'm sending off this is short letter about what's happening with our transfers. Elder Mackintosh and I are both staying as well as our roommates/Zone leaders. Other than that, basically the entire rest of our zone is getting changed around quite a bit. Our District leader and his companion are both leaving and my new district leader is Elder Gore who will be finishing his mission here after being an AP for the last 5 transfers (I'm super excited, he's great). His companion is Elder Tippiani(? No clue how to spell his name) who is a sign language missionary getting switched to Spanish. One of the Spanish sisters is going upstate and her companion is training a new missionary. With the English district both the sisters and elders have one leaving and another missionary coming in. Fun transfer, a lot of change besides our apartment. I'll write another letter about my week later. Love You!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

December 2, 2015 Great Week!

Hey family!

It's great to hear about your thanksgiving. It sounds like it was quite the party. Ours turned out a lot chiller than we thought it would but it was still great. Wow! I can't believe Zach's home, it sounds like he's doing great. That's awesome to hear that Danny's getting ready to go on his mission.  Wish him luck for me.

Things are going well over here. We had a pretty sweet week. One of our investigators has just started to progress, his name is A--- and he is just super prepared to hear what we have to say. I've never seen somebody so readily accept the restoration in my life, he's eating it up. He's great and progressing but we have to help him grow his faith in order to make the jump from his old church (which he is very, very involved in) to our church. Also this week we found two new investigators that seem really sincere that should be progressing by the end of this week. I've been here for awhile and this is the most progress I've seen since I got here. This transfer cycle's starting to winding down, and I've been here awhile, so I might not be able to see these people through to the end, but it's whatever the lord wants. One cool thing that I found out this week was that we had this investigator that we taught for my first three months in the field that got baptized earlier this month. Long story short we taught him pretty regularly up until September then we were finally able to get him moved over to some elders in the Bronx where he could get baptized (because he lives but he spends most of his time and works in Manhattan) and in less than a month, baptized. The story's a lot more complicated and dramatic than that but that's basically what happened.

Other than that, I don't have a whole lot else to update you on. I got the box of Christmas decorations and stuff! Thank you so much! We haven't named the elf yet but, he has been a lot more active than Mr. Narwhal. He's already found his way into a few places that have really surprised my roommates and I. I'm going to put some pictures we took while walking through Central Park today. It was a little drizzly but not to cold so we walked through the park after finally getting Elder Mackintosh's hair cut. We tried to go last week, but the member barber we go to was super busy because of thanksgiving the next day. Late fall is super cool because the trees all have their own schedule so some of them are like super deep red or orange.

Con Amor,

Elder Sam McBride

Beautiful Winter Day in Central Park