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Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 30, 2016 Pday on Saturday?!?

This week was super busy. We had zone conferences on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday. Then on Friday we had MLC. Most of the work we do is preparation, logistics and AV stuff. We also gave a training at the zone conferences. It was a week of miracles, everything worked out super well even though we had some big curveballs thrown at us. Curveballs which included, receiving 60 new cell phones on Monday to distribute to the mission, finding out the day of MLC that the reason we were having somebody from Salt Lake was to observe a 3 hour training that we hadn't even heard about up to that point, a 4:00 am wake up to go set up for the Zone Conference in South Manhattan (We had planned to wake up that early so I guess it was more like a really fast fastball), and the AC being broken in the Kingsbridge Chapel. Despite the few surprises it was a great week.

At the beginning of July President set a new baptismal goal to have 30 baptisms for 3 consecutive months. It was pretty ambitious because we had previously averaged less than 20 a month. As of Tuesday the mission had 20 baptisms with 10 scheduled for this weekend! The mission is going to hit the goal! It's such a miracle! On top of that there are so many people progressing to be baptized in August we should easily hit 30. Pretty inspired.

We are seeing some great miracles in our area as well. In our very limited proselyting time we found two awesome investigators that we are very excited about. And we have a new development in the J--- and S--- effort. On Thursday we had dinner with a member in our ward named Sister E--- from the Philippines. It turns out that she was baptized in our ward in Stamford in 1998 because she was introduced to the church by S---! Her name was E--- when she got baptized, maybe you can remember her, she totally recognized you mom and dad from your pictures on LDS tools. I'll send a selfie we took. But anyway, I was able to give her S--- phone number and she's going to try to help her get back to church. What a random amazing coincidence!?

Dinner with an old friend. So nice!
Elder McBride with his companions, Elder Mackintosh and William

Doing their a/v Duties

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

July 20, 2016 A Lot of Learning

This last week and a half has been such a roller coaster. It's like last week we started off going straight into a set of loopty loops. Since Thursday its felt like we've just been climbing with a little drop every once in awhile until tomorrow, when we start zone conferences, we'll hit a big intense drop with a bunch twists and bends. It'll be fun, we're excited.

Probably the coolest part of this assignment is the time we get to spend with President and his family. It's super weird, we kind of feel like part of the family. Example 1, we went out to dinner for President's birthday and it felt almost like when we would go out to dinner as a family, other than when the conversation changed to planning for zone conference and President drew up how he wanted everything to be set up with chopsticks. Well I guess that's not too crazy, Dad sometimes would do things like that. Example 2, Elder Mackintosh is sick right now and when we went by the mission home yesterday Sister Smith went into concerned mom mode and made sure he had the right medicine and some fancy oils. Example 3, William Smith sometimes just comes and spends the day with us, over transfers he was with us for 2 1/2 days straight, day and night. He's like a third little brother, except he knows what I'm supposed to do as an assistant better than I do.

The ward here in New Rochelle is awesome. It's super diverse because there are some really wealthy areas in the boundaries and the southern border of our area is Mount Vernon which is like north Bronx. So with diversity like that, we are having some cool experiences on both sides of the spectrum. On Saturday we had breakfast with a Canadian family in a beautiful, massive house then the next day on Sunday we went out in Mount Vernon with this awesome member, who was one of the OG members in Jamaica, to go try to make contact with some less active members. Its pretty awesome.  

One of the weird things for me about this area is that it's an English Ward.  Sunday was the first Sunday in more than 60 weeks where I heard both sacrament prayers in English. Also the building here is a ton like the ones from back home. It's been quite the readjustment for both Elder Mackintosh & I.

We have a crazy schedule this next week. Tomorrow we have a zone conference with all the missionaries from the Bronx and North Manhattan (about 55), on Friday we have the New Missionary Meeting, then on Tuesday Wednesday and Thursday we have zone conferences and we finish the week off with MLC on Friday. It's going to be a lot of early mornings and a lot of planning but it'll be awesome. I have no clue what day I'll be able to write next week, we're not sure if we'll be taking Pday on Saturday or if we'll just have to squeeze our chores in when we can. I promise I'll write though.

Thanks for being awesome family! I'm sorry to hear about the house problems. I hope everything worked out. You're the best, I love you!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Elder McBride with an Ecuadorian Buddy from Danbury

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016 Big Changes. The Lord Keeps You on Your Toes.

So transfers were this week... Over the weekend some huge changes happened. I don't have time to write the full story this week but I'll give a pretty simple rundown on how my time out here has been turned upside down.

On Saturday (transfer calls day) we got a call from President. He asked us to come down to the mission office that afternoon so he could talk with us. It's not crazy for President to call zone leaders and ask for insights on transfers but it's weird to ask for a meeting on such a stressful day. When we got down to the office he interviewed my companion, another missionary that he asked us to bring with us then me. And during my interview he called me to be one of his assistants. 

It was a little overwhelming because it's such a big assignment, but the craziness doesn't stop there. On Sunday the current assistants called to schedule when they would pick us up and towards the end of the call I said something to Elder Wulff (the assistant who I thought would be my companion because his companion was going home) along the lines of "I'm excited to be with you" but instead of reacting normally, he mumbled something and hung up on me. He then called me back and apologized.  Then he told me that he wouldn't be my companion and that I would be "whitewashing", which means clearing an area and bringing a completely different set of missionaries in. And to make it even crazier my new companion would be Elder Mackintosh. My trainee!  We, between the 2 of us, have just over 25 months of missionary experience, have served in 3 areas total and have had 6 total companions including each other. To say the least this was unexpected, really really really unexpected.

We were picked up on Monday morning at 8 o'clock to help with the 27 new missionaries coming in (including Colton Aulrich) and ever since we have been running around as the two blind assistants leading the other blind missionaries. We were put in charge of transfers yesterday, which included driving in Manhattan. We also assisted with the missionaries returning home this morning, which meant driving home from JFK alone because we had to bring 5 different vehicles (super weird feeling after being with a companion 24/7 for more than a year).  And now we get to learn how everything in the office works. It's kind of hard to explain my feelings about this whole experience. On one hand it's crazy stressful, but on the other it's super fulfilling serving other missionaries and it's such a great opportunity to learn. I've learned so much these last 3 days.

Other changes for me this week:
I'm in an English Ward.
I have an office job.
I receive at least 2 calls an hour to help missionaries figure things out.
I have my own phone for the first time since I left.
I'm at around 240lbs.
I drive a pick up truck.
I have to wear a suit a lot.
William Smith (12 yrs old) is also my companion (he's even on the transfer board) and he's by far the most experienced assistant in the trio.
We're in charge of all of the tablets and phones in the mission.
We have a 2 man apartment with church paid internet & a printer.

Sorry for the short email this week. I promise that I'll have more time to write next week. I love you!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

July 6, 2016 Great Week!

Hey Family! We had a great week this week! Last week we amped up our English Class advertising, and it's really paying off. We went from 5-8 people at class a day to around 25. It's super sweet. We also changed up how we teach the class to make it more fun and entertaining. It mostly involves making jokes me being a dork in front of the class for an hour. After class on Wednesday a man came up and asked me "When can you come and talk with me about the bible". English class is super sweet, it's so much fun.

On Friday we had an awesome MLC, we learned about the atonement and being hopeful. Also President set a new baptismal goal which is super exciting. After the meeting closed President beelined at me, shook my hand and whispered to me motioning to the back of the room "Keep it low key, Jake wants to say hi to you." I knew who he was talking about because he sent me a selfie the night before with Jake, but it was still a huge surprise. That kid has gotten so tall! We chatted with Ick and Jake for a bit and then got out of there.

The rest of the week has been pretty awesome. Sunday went great, I "played" the piano for the 2nd time in Sacrament Meeting, the Portuguese Elders had an awesome investigator appear out of thin air, and we taught a great Gospel Principles class. On Monday we had Zone Meeting, it went really well. And yesterday we advertised even more for English Class. It was great week.

Have a great time at the beach! I Love You!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Zone Picture after this most recent Zone Meeting

Elder Buckley, Elder Mackintosh & I at MLC a week and a half before Elder Buckley goes home. (With a sweet Photo-Bomb from Elder Burt, a south Manhattan zone leader who was a district leader here last transfer.)