Westbury is great! It's actually the strongest branch I've been in, even though it has less people. Elder Cintrón is doing well- just getting over a minor bug he's had this week. He's been taking NyQuil at night, and I think it's been helping. He is so fun to be around- we actually think very similarly. It's nice to have had a good transfer with an awesome companion after a hard transfer. I'm just grateful that I can focus on missionary work without any major drama or problems. Heavenly Father loves us. We actually haven't tracted once this transfer, because last transfer they tracted a ton, and so we have been spending time cleaning up our area book and building a platform of consistent investigators from their efforts. A "normal" day consists of getting up, trying to make myself exercise (it's not easy- even a year into my mission!), showering, studying, finishing up getting ready for the day, praying, grabbing lunch, and then it's all look ups, as we call them, until dinner. Then there's even more look ups until eight. At that point, we go to the church, where there's wifi, and we put in our lessons for the day. There's usually a bunch of other missionaries from our district there at that time of night, and it's a great opportunity to interact with the rest of the district and relax a bit after a long, sometimes tedious and soul-draining day spent doing look ups. I absolutely love my district! I haven't had one this fun since my very first district in the field. After that, we head home, plan, sometimes play a game or just talk, I've been writing a lot, too, and then go to bed.
Yes, we do drive everywhere. Let me tell you, though, I hate TIWI. We can't go over a certain speed or we get red flagged. Too many red flags, and you get red dotted for a transfer, and there's a possibility of losing all driving privileges for the rest of your mission. Normally, that would be ok, but it's too rigid for NY driving, where you have to be on your toes and go with the flow of traffic, or it makes driving dangerous. We get tailgated so much around here, and people have passed us on double yellow before. I strongly strongly dislike TIWI. We've recovered pretty well from the storm. Not a lot was damaged- just a metric butt-ton of snow, and even that's starting to melt. Yesterday we were in the 50s, and there's not a whole lot of snow left. The rest of it should melt this next week or so.
Roberto is doing well- still as absolutely adorable as ever. I actually got him to laugh a few times yesterday. I look forward to when I can be a dad. I know it'll be stressful and hard on some days, but something tells me it will be worth it many times over. That family absolutely loves me, though. I guess I'm just good with kids. I love them, and they love me :)
Jennifer is progressing, and we taught her the restoration last night! Another investigator- Elio, actually asked us for a BOM on Saturday! We was like 'yeah, I heard it was about prophets from the Old Americas, and how Christ visited the people here, and I really want to read it.' Talk about golden! All of his questions and requests were textbook. Everything we were going to commit him to, he committed himself to do! We have two other investigators- Juan and Jesus. Juan usually prays over us while we're praying- it's very distracting, and if you have any advice I'd appreciate it. We think that if we bring our Branch President, who, like Juan, served in the El Salvadorian military, we'll finally be able to really get through to him. Jesus studied with the Catholics, and is very knowledgeable. What really surprised me is how similar his beliefs are to ours- except for some very key and major points. Did you know that the Catholics changed the second commandment from worshipping idols to keeping holy festivals? Talk about philosophies of men mingled with scripture! Anyway, finding Jesus was monumental, because we've been passing by that house for the past transfer, slowly gaining trust, and this was the first time we'd actually been inside that house. The Lord's timing is perfect, I guess.
I picked up a book recently, a book that had been in the discarded pile at church. It's called 'Life Everlasting,' written by a BYU Theology professor in the 60s. He compiles the accounts of many, many saints who had the opportunity to visit the Spirit world, and the teachings of the church on the subject from prophets and scriptures. It's really really interesting, and as I've been studying a bit from it every day, I've learned a lot, and gained a more eternal perspective.
Great news about Ethan's mission! I wish him the best of luck. He'll be a great missionary. It was only a matter of time until someone made you some hair, though. Do they tease you about your follicle difficulties at all?
In response to your monetary concerns, I have taken your advice into account already. Elder Cintrón and I sat down a week or two ago and planned out a budget for this next month. We're going to be eating out less and generally wiser with our expenditures.
I'm happy to hear that you'll get to spend more time with your dad glazing and throwing pots. When I get home we'll have to spend a day or two together. I want to spend more time with the individual members of my family before going away to college, and, perhaps, getting married reasonably soon thereafter. I just realized that I'll probably only have a couple weeks with you all to not only get myself ready for college, but to reconnect and relax with all y'all.
Speaking of college, have you found out when registration deadlines are? I'm anxious to make sure I don't miss them.
Well, that's pretty much it. Your favorite song was playing while I wrote this. It rhymes with schmappy ;) Love, to all my family. I miss them. I think I've gotten a little more homesick this transfer, but it just translates to a greater effort put into missionary work. I miss you all, but I only have 46 weeks left, and I want to make them count. I pray for everyone every night though.
Elder Richard Brandt Hull