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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 31, 2016 The Temple is Amazing!

This week was such a great week! Thursday we woke up before the break of dawn and went to the 6:30 am temple session with President Smith. I woke up that morning so ready to go it was a miracle. It was an awesome session. One I will never forget. After the Temple we rode the subway up to where we had parked our car and while on the subway I gave this awesome woman a Book of Mormon. 

We went straight from the city to a funeral back in our own chapel, it was a great service. Her family is mostly nonmembers and they were really appreciative. I literally got to see and understand the entirety of the Plan of Salvation before noon on Thursday. It was a great experience.

Sunday was also really special. One of our recent converts blessed the sacrament for the first time. He is my first recent convert to do so while I have been in the area. He's the coolest. He's going to do baptisms for the dead on the 24th with family names, including his father. It's going to be awesome. 

It's ironic that Jake spoke on Sunday because President & Sister Bench spoke in our Ward Sunday.  Both talks were great but, Sister Bench's was phenomenal. They spoke on temples which is the perfect topic for our Ward right now. I love that couple, I totally want to be like them when I grow up. 

Today has been fantastic so far. We started it off by taking a young man that we helped to reactivate to the temple to do baptisms for the dead for his first time, along with some other young men in our ward, William, and the Young Men's President. Probably the coolest part, though, is that he was able to get baptized on behalf of his father who passed away when he was a child. It was an amazing experience. He's so excited to do temple work now. The temple is a special place. I love you! You are all awesome!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Elder McBride at the Manhattan Temple

Group Pic From Left: Tustin (Bishop's Son), Elder Mackintosh (Best
Missionary In the World), William (My adopted little Brother and
Assistant trainer), Jevon (Person that got baptized for his dad), Me,
and Matthew (Young Mens President's Son)

Also, we stopped by the old place on Thursday because we were driving through. We didn't have time to knock the door or anything though.  
(This is the house we lived in when Sam and Max were born in Stamford, CT.  Aaah.  Sigh.  We loved that place.)

Yankee Stadium while driving home from Harlem.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August 24, 2016 Solid Week

We had a pretty good week his last week. Not a whole ton of excitement, but I did want to tell a story.

The Saturday before last, while we were neck deep in planning transfers, a member from our ward called and asked if we could go give a blessing with him that afternoon. We said "of course" because there is no other appropriate response when somebody asks you to come give a blessing, no matter how busy you are. We then met up with the member and went to this elderly Sister's apartment. This member had been her home teacher for a really, really long time and the sister's health was not too great. Elder Mackintosh and I sat there and watched while these two long time friends had a really touching conversation. They had nothing in common, except for the church, but they talked like they were siblings. Towards the end of the conversation the Brother suggested that Elder Mackintosh and I bless her in Spanish because that is her native language even though she has attended the English ward the majority of her life. Elder Mackintosh did the annointing and I sealed it and gave her by far the most spiritual blessing I've ever given, Spanish or English. After the blessing, we left, Elder Mackintosh and I with a greater understanding of what a home teacher is supposed to be. The next day she found the strength to come to church for the first time in months. She was so happy, there was a special spirit about her. According to her home teacher, she then had a great week. But sadly she woke up under the weather Sunday morning not feeling too good. She went to the hospital and peacefully passed away just an hour or two before church was to start. The
Priesthood is powerful. This sister was able to go to church and partake of the Sacrament on the last Sabbath of her life. This experience changed how I view home teaching work. A home teacher who is magnifying their calling is a powerful tool in the Lord's hands at blessing people's lives. This home teacher was one of the first people called to inform him of the Sisters passing, before even her close family. Home teaching isn't about "visiting" it's about "ministering". You can't just say hi to them you have to be aware of their needs and strive to alleviate them, whether or not they're comfortable asking for help. It's such a great blessing if done correctly.

Thank you Family. I hope you're getting back into the swing of things.

Elder McBride

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

August 17, 2016 Transfers

Before I talk about transfers we set a baptismal date last Thursday!  He's super awesome and super prepared. He's seen a lot of missionaries in the past. In our first lesson with him he pulled out a copy of the Book of Mormon from 1993. We're really excited for him.

Now to transfers. Pretty much every hour we've had where we didn't have something firm set up, we have had to spend working on transfers.  It was really cool to see President receive the revelation about where missionaries should be and who with in order to come closer to Christ.  I had always thought that transfers were either 1. President already has them figured out a few transfers ahead of time or, 2. President kneels down on the day of transfer calls and then knows exactly where each missionary needs to be. It's really not either of them though.  How he really does it is by constantly having the missionaries on his mind, acting on the really strong promptings he has, then seeing what would make the most sense, and then seeking spiritual confirmation for what changes he made. It's really cool to see him do it. After all the transfers are finished and everybody is in the spot and with the companion that the lord wants for them President kind of hands it off to Elder Mackintosh and I and says "Well Elders, make it happen" and it becomes our responsibility to get everybody where they need to go.

It's kind of weird, before being in the office transfers was kind of just a thing that popped up over the weekend then happened. But dealing with all the details and craziness of it is a whole week long process. After Trainers were called Wednesday night, preparations began to have their training Friday.  The rest of Friday was spent helping President as he makes transfers. He will sometimes ask us for information that he "uses to receive revelation". Sometimes it can be easy like "How much time has so and so spent in the Bronx?" or sometimes it can be hard like "How good is Elder so and so's Spanish?"  

Saturday we were in the office for awhile to help President out then we were able to go to a dinner appointment with one of our members that we work with whose nonmember wife we had recently become friends with and talked her into making us some food from her native country, Ghana (talking about food is a great way to start growing a relationship with people who aren't interested in the church). She made us fufu with Peanut Butter soup, which is this dough made out of powdered plantain and this soup made out of peanut butter, oil and a chicken that she had bought and killed that day. It was super weird but actually tasted pretty good. Warning though. Fufu is not a good meal to eat when it is hot and humid, it is heavy. 

After the fufu we went and put all the transfers into the computer, met up with President and his family and called everyone to call or release them from positions and to give the zone leaders their zone's transfers.

Church was great Sunday, after a great missionary themed sacrament meeting it was back to the office to schedule out the next 3 days and make sure that we could coordinate all 200 missionaries on Transfer Tuesday. We welcomed a great group of new missionaries Monday.  Tuesday went almost flawlessly. And this morning we said goodbye to 12 missionaries. They left from JFK so we got some awesome views of the city, I'll include the pictures. All in all I have a much stronger testimony of revelation and preparation.

The Lord has really been helping me these last few days even though the focus has shifted a little bit away from my investigators towards the other missionaries and their investigators. President Smith holds priesthood keys that give him the right and duty to receive revelation for this mission, I have seen those keys in action. It's super cool.

Sorry about this rambly email. I'm super tired (I actually fell asleep while writing it). I love you! You're such a great, supportive family.  Thanks for your prayers.

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

P.S. Elder Mackintosh and I are both staying together for this 7 week transfer which means we will have been companions for 5 transfers total up to this point. He's great.

Beautiful View of the Mission

Sam Driving Home from the Airport

City Field where the Mets Play.
Photo Cred: Elder Mackintosh

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

August 10, 2016 Normal But Great Week

We had a really good week this week. We had 2 investigators at church and a couple of less actives and a recent convert. It was cool to see how each of them had a completely different little miracle that helped them to come. 

After getting out of a meeting Sunday morning before church we FaceTimed a family member of a less active to help him wake up (we had gotten permission from the person we were waking up to do it the night before). We didn't think too much of it until his Grandma got up and in her testimony said that she had been praying for help waking him up just before we FaceTimed in, it was super funny to hear an old Jamaican woman tell that story over the pulpit. 

Other than that the another cool thing that happened is that we set a date to do baptisms for the dead with our recent convert. He's super cool, he was baptized back in January after a bunch of amazing miracles happened in his and his wife's lives that finally motivated him to be baptized. On Friday we had great lesson with him about temples, family history work and proxy ordinances. Then two days later, in church, the lesson in priesthood was on the exact same subject but more in depth, it was another miracle coincidence. Super cool.

This last week was nice and normal, but this coming week will be anything but. By the next time I email we will have planned and carried out a meeting to train trainers, figured out transfers, welcomed 17 new missionaries, said goodbye to 12 and planned and carried out transfers. And with all that, I could totally still get transferred next week. Haha, this is a rollercoaster.

On Sunday Elder Mackintosh and I taught that Sunday School lesson that you cited. I loved reflecting on how great of parents you are. Don't think for a second that you weren't awesome parents. Of all the things I've learned and realized out here, one of the most obvious and powerful is that you two are fantastic parents and I've come to admire you as examples for how you've lived your lives. Thanks for being great!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

August 3, 2016 Time to Work!

Hey Family,

It's only been a couple days since I last emailed but we have been able to start working in our area and things are going great! Elder Mackintosh & I both have never received a referral from somebody requesting a free bible before but we got one last week and met with him on Monday and he is super sweet! We have a pretty clear week coming up but the week after that will be nuts because this transfer is only 5 weeks so we will have to plan transfers. I'm sorry I don't have a ton to write this week. You're the best. I love you!

Con Amor,
Elder Sam McBride