Fireworks in Albany
Michael visiting the New York State Capital Building
Hello and Happy belated 4th of July! It sounds like those of you in Utah had a great time celebrating there and visiting all week. Yeah, I heard about the crazy Arizona heat. There is a family who snowbirds to Mesa every winter and they know everything around there; we had a BBQ with them yesterday and all their nonmember relatives which was fun. It's been a great week. Thanks for the package; it arrived safely and everything inside was great! I thought that it was Stephanie Gifford's time when she was to arrive. Her trainer's name is Sister Etienne (spelling?). It's interesting because she is a Sister that's been serving at SLC temple square but is here for 2 transfers. She'll be starting her 2nd transfer this time, and thus her last. So Sis Gifford will only be with her for 1 transfer guaranteed. You can pass that along to her family, perhaps. Ha. I won't see her, though; I'm not going in to Utica on transfer day. It's all good though. So we did get our transfer calls and my endless saga of craziness continues. I'll be serving with E. Checketts and for a little while E. Bergman as well. We'll be a 3-some here until a 'visa-waiter' missionary (one who comes here to fill in while waiting to get his visa) leaves and E. Bergman will go to the area he is currently serving. Ha, it seems there is never a dull moment here. E. Checketts was actually in Downtown Albany when I first got here to Albany and I know him some from interacting from that. It should be good; he came out with E. Miller and I'll train him how to be a Zone Leader. I actually offered the suggestion that a 3-some could work here again (we became aware of the fact that a 3-some was needed somewhere and President was asking for suggestions). President called me to let me know about the 3-some situation coming here and how much he appreciated the willingness and how he's fully aware of all of the changes and bizarre situations like that I've been in already. That was nice to hear. So that's that. Oh, and to answer..Zone Leaders generally stay a Zone Leader for a while; it used to be very common to stay such until the end but recently some have been sent elsewhere to help with specific needs or things like that. And because Zone Leaders are paired together I wouldn't train a new missionary unless I first went to a different area.
I'll give the run-down of this weeks events. Monday we went to the New York State Museum and saw a 9-11 exhibit followed by a sweet tour of the Capitol building. The Capitol building was really cool and interesting to be there right after the law for gay marriages that was passed. We taught a part-member family that night; perhaps the best lesson we've taught on the Restoration. It was really nice. That night I was then with E. Schrader with E. Lyman going to Palmyra. We taught Jenaro, their recently baptized Hispanic guy. Awesome. Tuesday working in Downtown with E Schrader was good except about everything fell through, oh well. Wednesday in the morning the Palmyra visitors returned. E. Lyman had a really good time, I'm happy for him. That evening we taught a couple investigator lessons, one of which was Namukolo. Thursday we had a great lesson with an older, part-member couple. We invited them to church (which we were a little nervous about with their very active status in the Methodist church nearby) and they accepted! The timing was really perfect, they went on to explain, and we were really happy with it all. That day consisted of a lot of teaching, too. Other investigators and a new, less-active woman we're teaching. I wish I could share her whole story but just very inspired we happened to knock on her door a little while ago and she knows she needs to come back. We taught a new investigator, another part-member couple. The husband has brain cancer and isn't projected to live much longer but we were invited to teach them by their home teacher who asked if they'd like to be taught. It went well; they are the Blairs. Friday was good - a few lessons; not anything too noteworthy other than we saw Namukolo once more before her big day Saturday. Saturday we helped a different part-member family with a move for a little bit. Then we got our transfer calls. And that evening was Namukolo's baptism! The Bishop's son baptized her who we got involved in the teaching process as he is going to Cali to serve soon. I was asked to read a testimony that Namukolo wrote because she was too nervous to get up. E. Lyman said it was one of the most spiritual parts of the meeting. Oh, we also sang "When I am Baptized." The baptism really went according to plan and was very special to be a part of. Sunday Namukolo was confirmed in Sacrament meeting (crazy about the guy from Ivory Coast getting confirmed in SLC too!). The most amazing part was her getting up to bear her testimony in sacrament! She spoke of how during the Confirmation she felt a warmth that she had never felt before and she couldn't help but shiver. It was incredibly powerful and all worth being out here serving day in and day out! Yesterday was good. Believe it or not we got a flat tire on the Corolla! Ha, I don't know what our/my problem is. But hey, E. Lyman was driving again this time and not me. We changed it and are on a donut and will get it looked at today - we think the old tire may just need a plug. And hopefully we get our van back when the new missionaries to the zone come from transfers. At night we saw some fireworks over the city of Albany, it was pretty good; we didn't have the best view. I'm sure it was nothing like the view those of you had at the Country Club. It's been great to serve with E. Lyman and I'm so happy that we was able to go out on such a positive note! It's been a little difficult with his going home as it's made the fact of 'going home' much more of a reality. But all in all it's been wonderful and I know once we ship him off and I get my new companion(s) the reality of home will be lessened.
I hope those of you driving home do so safely and that everyone has a great week this week! I'll be with E. Schrader tomorrow during transfers working in Downtown Albany. Friday I'll be in Utica for ZLC. Should be a great week this week. I love you all so much and truly appreciate and feel your love for me.