is huge! This is also my first driving area. Technically my last one was a driving area, too, but some elders crashed the car two years ago, and it's never been replaced. Let's start at the beginning of the
Sunday, I got up and bore my testimony because Jorge and I made a deal that if he would bear his testimony, I would bear mine. He did great, for his first time. I love the simple sincerity of a child's testimony. I felt kinda weird, because I knew it was possibly going to be the last testimony I bore there as a missionary. That moment, when I got up to the pulpit, it kinda sank in that I would be leaving. That was one of the most sincere and powerful testimonies I have ever borne in my life. I love that area, and the people there. I am so sad to see them go. After I got down, a familiar face got up. Remember Elder Nelson, from Bushwick? He finished his mission a long time ago, and has been going to the U, and now has a girlfriend who actually served here, too. Anyway, he served in Rockaway, and was visiting. He got up and gave me some generous compliments, and bore his testimony. As far as missionary work goes, Elder Nelson is my hero. I want to be the kind of missionary Elder Nelson was. To have him compliment me meant a lot to me, and it was a confirmation to me that I have learned the lessons the Lord wanted me to in Far Rockaway.
Monday, I got the call that I was out. Also, Elder Payne came back from Homedale, and we picked him up from the airport. We cleaned our apartment, and packed up. It was so good to have a companion again! The operation went all right, he says. Apparently they couldn't knock him out all the way, and he woke up on the operating table all drugged up, and the monitor the doctors were using to see inside him was right next to his head, so he watched the whole operation- all three hours of it. Pretty freaky, huh?
Tuesday we went and made the transfers. I took a driving test with my new companion- Elder Cintrón. He is such a great missionary! I already love him to death. I have to say that he's probably the best companion I've had. We get along perfectly, have some of the same interests, and things are just awesome. Elder Cintrón is from Puerto Rico, and has about 5 months on the mission. This is his only area so far. Anyway, this was the first time I'd driven in over a year. How weird is that? It was kinda surreal. I'm glad to say that we haven't crashed, and that we actually have been pretty safe.
The rest of the week involved look up after look up after look up. It's soul-draining, but it's what this area needs. We have a couple promising potential and new investigators, but I'm still trying to memorize their names and the massive geography of our area.
Our district is awesome! Ten people, five companionships, three languages (English, Spanish, and Korean), one district. There is another Spanish sister companionship in our district, one of whom is a
new trainee. I am one of the three oldest (like, with the longest time on the mission) missionaries in the district. SO WEIRD!!!! Now I'm the one everyone goes to for advice. For example, after church on Sunday, we got a call from the sisters. The new sister said that my Spanish sounds awesome, and could I please tell her how I learned Spanish so well? I thought she was asking the wrong person, but I gave her the best pointers I could. To be honest, I never really saw myself in this kind of a position. It feels good, but surreal at the same time. Even one of the other two older missionaries comes to me for advice and counsel. I guess this is going to be my role in this district, and if that's why the Lord put me here, then I'm going to fulfill it well. If not, no sweat!
I am also pleased to report that my services as pianist are yet again required. They were super super excited to have a missionary who can play. The Westbury Branch feels a lot stronger than Rockaway. Even though they have less people, there's more Priesthood, and you can see that the people who do attend are a lot stronger and more advanced spiritually. That is a HUGE relief, because in Rockaway I was pulling hair out and going into depression because the branch needed so much help from the missionaries just to stay afloat. Now I can just focus on being a missionary, and it feels great.
I'm sorry to hear that Spencer's not feeling well. He's in my prayers tonight. Congrats to him, as well, on his role! Spencer will make a great Chino ;) There's a Chinese place here where the workers are
super friendly, and I've already made friends with them. We can actually have basic conversations, and I always throw in the little Chinese I know, and ask for chopsticks, and it endears me to them. I love Chinese people! Sounds like Spencer had a rough day, though. Hope he's been able to get a good rest.
The Egberts will also be in my prayers.
I love you all,
Elder Richard Brandt Hull