tired. I was able to go do laundry and buy food for the week, and then I took a small nap. Then we heard that some Elders and Sisters were getting together at the Brooklyn Bridge Park. Now that's not close at all to where we are, but Elder Pavon really wanted to go, and we stayed close to home the last two transfers, so I took one for the team and sat my aching self out in the shade and watched people play soccer. It was a nice day, actually, but there's too much noise here in NYNY. A little later the soccer stopped and people started talking and socializing. So, I got to meet a lot of nerdy Elders and play a card game with them called Munchkins. I actually enjoyed myself. The ride home (by way of Manhattan subway-which is acceptable) absolutely killed me. We were packed into a cramped subway car after waiting for fifteen minutes for it to come. Not fun!
So, I couldn't go to our appointments today. We called Jonathan and Fransisco Rojas (I've already sent you a picture of their family), two less-actives I'm super close friends with, to do some splits. Fransisco stayed with me and babysat me while I slept, and we watched a couple Disney movies until Jonathan and Elder Pavon came back. It was good- I really needed a down day.
It's hard to think about the past week and remember the most memorable parts. Well, for one we got stood up by people going to the temple - twice. One elderly member we've been working to get to the temple called us the night before saying he was planning on going to the temple the next day. We said 'oh, great! Sounds good, see you tomorrow.' Well, he's got a bad foot, and so we were planning on going separately- him with his son in his car, and us in the trains. We get to Marcy, the last stop before Manhattan, and we get a call from this gentleman that his son might not be able to take him, and that we should wait before continuing. So, we went to the church to do our studies (we were going to skip them to take him to the temple). Two hours later, we get the final no. That was pretty frustrating.
The next day, during weekly planning (in the middle of it) we get a call from our Branch President (who I've noticed has habit of interrupting us), telling us that there's a few brothers and sisters who need some help getting to the temple. Of course, we agree to help, and so we didn’t finish our weekly planning as they start arriving at the church. This is because we discuss the needs of members and
non-members in the area, sometimes some very private needs, and to discuss it in front of people who have no stewardship over these people would be a violation of the trust placed in us as representatives of the Lord. Anyway, after, again, two hours, we ended up deciding that the sisters would take the members into Manhattan, and not us. Just a little frustrating, but it happens sometimes. We keep chugging on.
As far as mission news, this is the last transfer meeting for President Calderwood. I'll be sad to see him go. We got to be pretty friendly, in the limited contact we've had (one time he pulled me into his office for an interview, thinking on accident that I was there to renew my recommend- I've rarely been that scared in my life- and we had a great chat), and we think very highly of each other. On the other hand, I'm excited to welcome in a new president. It'll be an era of change, for sure, especially as the Facebook and online proselyting will be coming back into operation within the next two transfers. We
got to be a part of a little panel of Missionary Department guys evaluating the iPad training that they had us test, and just thoughts in general on the use of the iPads and the internet. We had a great discussion about internet safety and avoiding inappropriate content. The concept of your own heart and desires and the Holy Ghost being the best filters was pretty well discussed.
I love being in the Bushwick Spanish district, because we get to test and pilot a lot of stuff, and lead the mission in temple attendance, as well as putting out some systems and policies that have and will continue to revolutionize the mission. For example, the rest of the mission is having a really hard time tracking sacrament meeting attendance. The White Handbook says to never find yourself sitting alone, but that's not really a measurable goal. That doesn't measure progress, because you can only sit next to two people. So, what we're piloting is called the 'New Face' system, where you only count every person who has not attended in one month or more (which happens to be the church's standard for activity). We've seen some huge success with it in our zone, but the rest of the mission seems not ready to handle it.
I haven't been able to see any of Elder Perry's funeral. When I first heard, we had just walked into the church from leading a funeral. A bit of a morbid turn of events, but I'm actually kind of looking forward to the change (not to say that I'm glad anyone's dead, or anything- haha). I noticed that Elder Scott is having memory problems, and President Monson is getting older. I feel that we are on the cusp of some big changes as the Lord seeks to hasten his work even further.
Well, that's all for this week. I gotta sleep.
Love you all,
Elder Richard Brandt Hull
PS: I'm so grateful that I have an example like dad. I want him to know how much he's influenced what I imagine to be a good father and husband. I've always noticed his self-sacrifice, and admired him for his selflessness. I pray that I can be that strong when it's time for me to take up those sacred and joyous roles and callings. Thanks for being such great parents. I love you guys so much. Thanks for being patient with me throughout the many, many years (19 of 'em!) of challenges and growth. I know it wasn't easy, but I am so grateful for my parents.