Saturday, September 14, 2013

September 9 Letter

Hello everyone!

Well, another transfer has come and gone, and I will be in North Buffalo for at least another six weeks! Elder Hirschi and I will be staying together, but Elder Barnes is headed off to Brockport. It's pretty funny, actually, because I'd been telling him that is where he'd be going all week, and I really got him into denial about it. We were all laughing hysterically when the phone call for transfers was ended, because I nailed his new area and his new companion. Anyways, I'm really excited about another transfer with Elder Hirschi. I'll be honest, it was hard to serve with Elder Barnes sometimes, because he was very vocal about his priorities being 1) p-day; 2) dinner appointments; 3) our lunch break; 4) "occassional" naps; and 5) internet proselyting. Elder Hirschi, on the other hand, is probably my favorite companion I've had yet. Plus, now we will only have two missionaries in our apartment! Elder Hirschi has been sleeping on the couch for six weeks now, and since we have to be in the same room, that means the couch is crammed in between my bed (on the far side of the room) and Elder Barnes'. Waking up in the middle of the night was an event of miserable acrobatics.
But, as for actual missionary work this week, I suppose I could expound.
First, we started really working with Guy, the man from the Congo I mentioned about four weeks ago. (His name is pronounced with a "Guh" for the G, and an "ee" for the uy.) We had a fairly decent lesson with him, but there was a definite language barrier. His first language is French, and while he has learned a remarkable amount of English in his 16 months in the States... well, he still has some room to go. I think I came up with a dozen synonyms for "difficult" before he understood what I was saying. We started off with a lesson that was much too historical to be of any doctrinal value. All fact, not testimony. But eventually, we had a really cool discussion about how prophets point us to Christ, and help us understand His will. Then, even better, he showed up for church yesterday!! Church is good for everyone, but especially good for Guy, because we actually have a French-speaking Sunday School class. Since there was only a less active member and Guy in the class that day, Brother Atkinson was awesome and just retaught the Restoration to them. Now, Bro. Atkinson is planning on coming to our lesson with Guy on Tuesday! Hopefully that can keep going somewhere!
We obviously also continued working with Kevin. This time we took the Munros, a couple from the ward. It went remarkably well, actually. Brother Munro is known for really liking to talk. Kevin is known for really liking to talk. Somehow, amidst all their bickering with each other, progress was actually being made and the Spirit was somehow present! By the end of it, Kevin really understood the point of the Book of Mormon (I think), and said he knew it was true. He also talked about how he knew his infant Catholic baptism wasn't satisfactory since it wasn't by immersion and he had no real say on if it was happening. Then, at Gospel Principles on Sunday, the lesson was on prophets, and the teacher asked, "What is the role of a prophet?" Kevin answered (probably a little louder than is orthodox in an LDS Sunday School class), "To let the world know the will of the Father!" He is definitely getting a good grasp on some things. However, while he seems to have a testimony of the truthfulness of what we've taught him (from the Book of Mormon to premortal life to the Word of Wisdom), he doesn't lack a testimony of Catholicism. He doesn't really get the idea of authority, or of Paul's statement to the Corinthians, "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." .... well, that and he also believes the mental hospital in New York is a typification of Egypt and the inmates there should be liberated. He has come so far... but yet he definitely has quite a ways to go still haha.
Really, church yesterday was great. Guy and Kevin were both there, as well as Dorris, a less active lady we've been working with for quite some time. We also had a random non member man from our area come, but he was so involved in the class that no one even realized he wasn't LDS until he mentioned he'd never heard of the Restoration while we were discussing power and authority. Suddenly, all 10 of us missionaries were scrambling to figure out which companionship he was here with. Well, he wasn't with any of us, but now we are meeting with him on Tuesday! Also, the other missionaries had some investigators there who are just incredible. Mrs. Greene, from Eggert's area, came for the first time. She's an old black lady who fits every stereotype of a black Baptist. Apparently, when they first met her, she said there was no way she'd ever change, but bit by bit, she's come to love the truth. Now she desperately wants to get baptized, "But I can't join 'til I put down dees cigarettes!" She's been going to ARP and got a blessing from Elder Danielson, though, so she's on the right track!
Buffalo Spanish also had a family come who seem like they come straight from The District. They've never been very religious, but her boss of seven years is LDS. Well, he moved out to Utah a year ago, and they went out to visit him. While there, her boss took the whole family to Temple Square, where they watched the Joseph Smith movie, and then took them to church. Since then, they've came to church every week. Angel, the husband/dad, was talking about how "It doesn't seem like it could be an accident that I'm here. I've never felt this way before." Amy, the wife/mom, was in tears after Sunday School.
The speakers on Sunday were great too! Elder Gordon H. Smith, an Area Seventy/retired U.S. Senator came to visit the ward. I'm a little frustrated, because he actually had a meeting with all the missionaries in the zone before church, but President Francis asked me to represent all 10 of the Buffalo Ward missionaries at ward council. I mean, we accomplished some cool things at ward council.... buuuuut, I wouldn't have minded hearing a politician with a testimony haha. Anyways, Elder Smith spoke in sacrament, immediately following President Francis' own talk. It was great!
Oh! And I found out there is a SigEp chapter at Canisius College, a little Catholic school in my area!!! I've contacted the chapter president and am trying to figure out if I can meet up with them sometime. How sweet would that be!?!
Well, we spent a ton of our day cleaning the apartment and packing up Elder Barnes' stuff.... so I'm going to head out!

I love you, but I don't miss you!
Elder Allen

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