Monday, June 28, 2010
Hello New York!
Elder Christensen and Elder Miller
Greetings to all from Schoharie Valley, New York!
It is incredible that I am really here, really serving in New York now! It was so funny meeting all of these people on Tuesday that knew Paige and Ben. But I'll perhaps start from the beginning and give an overview of what happened these last few days. Tuesday we woke up at 2:45 and flew from SLC to Chicago. The plane was smaller than I imagined for that flight - 2 seat rows - but I was on an emergency row with 3 other Elders. The flight attendant, John Carlos, came to give us the low down for that and Elder Israelsen next to me in the isle offered him a pass along card. To tell it briefly, he had talked to a Mormon before, and had a Book of Mormon. Turns out he GOES TO CORNELL, lives in Ithaca in the fall and winter (flies full time in the summer) so in our mission, ridiculously coincidental (not, meant to be). AND, his dad lives in Gilbert (told him obviously from there and the Ben and Ben's dad connections). It was basically just me and him talking because we had the most connections and everything but it was so cool - the first "REAL PERSON" I got to teach/talk to. The plane was incredibly loud so it was way hard to talk to him but I had him go back and read the introduction and he then asked questions. He was intrigued and gladly gave me his information. It was definitely an experience to remember for my plane ride out into the mission field! Then the plane to Syracuse was a smaller plane. 1 seat, isle, 2 seats. I was in the very back in a solo seat - nothing cool happened there. But we were picked up by President and Sister Bulloch and Elders Warr and Fullmer at the airport! They are all so awesome! We went and got pizza and wings close by the airport then traveled to the mission home in Utica. It was awesome here and we had some "training" there that night. Their backyard is like the Sacred Grove. Wednesday morning we had awesome breakfast then went to the Mission office (the church building there in Utica). We saw all the trainers and I recognized one from my BYU ward, Elder Miller! I had remembered hearing he went to this mission from Holly Perkinson but we never interacted or crossed paths there. In fact, he didn't recognize me at first but got talking and it was hilarious. He's sweet. Then I found out a few minutes later he would be training me! We both were just cracking up. He only went Fall at BYU and went in the MTC January 27. So he's only been here 4ish months, clearly still new but a stud, clearly, as he is training. He's been here his whole time so he knows this land and people really well. The apartment is pretty nice, all things considered. I'll just take pictures rather than describe it. We're located in Cobleskill. Our area basically consists of several "villages" of 2,000-3,000 people - we're in the biggest "town". But we've been working very hard, we have around 15 investigators from all walks of life. The first lesson I had on Thursday was with a man named John who smoked the whole lesson, shirt off tats, bullet marks in his skin, etc been in jail. Rough, rough life and guy. Very memorable first lesson though - he is actually very sincere and interested; who knows where it will lead though. The one investigator we have/had with a baptismal date when I met him he was hammered drunk, smoking cigarettes and watching porn. He knows it's true but the devil has him bound down with his strong cords. Anyway not all the people are like that obviously, we've taught some more "typical" people that went well. It is so incredible to actually be talking to real people with real concerns in the real world. Definitely still getting used to everything but it has been great so far. Yes we have a ward of about 170 people. There are a lot of less actives or part member families here that we try to see as well. We haven't received any referrals yet but that's alright. Elder Miller is good and we're getting the members behind us and on our side. There are so many stories or people I could tell you about but those are the more noteworthy things. Like I said I am still just getting used to everything but it becomes more of a reality and natural the more I am here and lose myself in the work. We are working really hard and want to be entirely obedient. We've seen blessings already with people opening up to us who hadn't before I was here, etc.
Thanks for the pictures and letter it was great. I don't know when I'll send my memory card. Perhaps next P-day I'll take pictures this next week when we are out a little more so you can see. Could you send me some blank CD's, the Bawden Reflections CD please and I'm curious when you're sending the mink blanket and other sheets? Was I suppose to have already gotten those because they weren't in Utica when I was there but I wasn't worried I figured you had it under control. I'll probably send some stuff home from the MTC and letters and whatever else here in a week or so.
But the work here is really progressing. There hasn't been a baptism in this area since August of last year - I heard some nubs were here before, but it's been turned around and we're trying to continue to do so. And Elder Miller and I have some things we are really excited about so we'll see how it goes. I've learned a lot here already. So happy I am here.
Got to run but I love you all and hope to hear from you soon! Thanks for all the love and support. Thanks for the brownies Ben. Pictures will come soon.
I love you all,
145 North Street