Monday, April 29, 2013

Week 24 NYNYS

Hey there! I had a really good week and have been learning a ton from my studies in the morning. I wish I could tell you all what I have been learning recently about the Doctrine of Christ, but it would take all my email time! Spring is officially here and the trees are so pretty here! Unfortunately for me it has been affecting my allergies (my allergy medicine is now working so its all good). Thank you so much to all who wrote me this week! It was a pleasant surprise! I will work on responding to each of you as soon as I can. (Props to my sister Kaitlyn for being the best sister ever by sending me D-Back's updates!)

So last Monday after emailing we had our zone activity which was playing some handball, ultimate frisbee, and football. It was a ton of fun. I even had an awesome diving catch for the frisbee and then ate some turf on the landing. When we were all taking a break and sitting around and playing guitar, this guy out of no where just sits down and just starts talking to us. He started making up a song that went along with one of the Elder's guitar playing and the lyrics were about how kids shouldn't be smoking weed 'cuz they are gonna get caught! Then he pulls out this radio and starts talking some strategy and undercover stuff. At first I thought he was just being weird, but I realized that he was just trying to blend in as an undercover cop as he was following these kids who were smoking weed at the park. He jumps up and starts walking to the kids and his partner popped out and arrested the kids smoking! It was awesome!

We met with a family in the branch and taught them about the Restoration through a game of Jenga! We talked about how Christ's church was established and it was represented by the Jenga tower as it is first set up. Then during the Great Apostasy after Christ was crucified and the apostles were killed, people starting taking out doctrines, or Jenga pieces, and rearranging them. Soon, the whole tower collapses! The church needed to be rebuilt and put back in it's proper form through a Restoration. Cool right? They liked it.

So we have had some interesting run-ins with people out on the street. It is so funny! This is why I love the hipster part of Brooklyn which is my area. Most of the young adults out here know who we are. First off, as we are waiting for a bus, some guys rolls his window down and yells "Go BYU!". Another guy out of his window yelled "Mormons!" and then a guy on a bike yelled some things that I shall not repeat since they were not very nice. It is pretty funny. I just love this area out her, it is so much fun!

So as we were looking up some less active members of our branch, these kids were out talking on the street an saw us and were like, are you Jehovah's Witnesses or federal agents? I said "we are the Mormon missionaries", then the kid responded sarcastically "what?"  Then I said we are CIA. He started laughing at that. I have just learned you just can't be super serious here or no one will talk to you. Of course, I still keep the dignity of my calling, but most of the time you need to be yourself and let your personality shine. No one likes a robot.

So during our weekly games in the subway, I had our "Word of Wisdom" dice out and had people give them a roll. There are two dice, one has numbers 1-6 representing amount of days, and the other says things like "No Alcohol" or no coffee for the "x" amount of days you roll. One guys was like "I knew I was going to roll alcohol!" but he actually wanted to take on the challenge. It helped me to open a good conversation and talk about what we do as missionaries, but also how we can help people overcome addictions through the Atonement. People sure did think the dice were interesting.

So my companion had a pretty fun experience Saturday night when a member took us out to eat at a really good barbeque place. While we were there, quite a few people were sneakily taking our picture with their phones (I am sure I was all over Facebook)  and lots of stares. Even some lady mumbled something and slapped my name tag as she walked by. The restaurant has many varieties of intoxicating drinks so I think most people there had plenty to drink. The food was absolutely delicious though! We did actually have another lady named Olivia come up to us and started asking questions about our church and I thought she was just trying to be annoying, but she was actually serious! So we were able to get her contact info and share a little bit about what we do.

Another cool experience was when Matt was talking about how before he was a member of the church and really following the Word of Wisdom, he had chronic stomach problems, but now that he is obeying this commandment, he has found "health in his navel". It was really cool to hear that from him!

We are still working on finding people to teach. One of our investigators, however, has really been progressing. He is only 17 and has been coming to church regularly and he says it only gets better and better each week. He is learning a ton and loves the support he is feeling. He is really wishing his dad would start coming with him. He is a really good guy. We showed him the baptismal font and there was a really strong spirit as we showed him. He was really excited and basically asked when he could be baptized. We are going to pick a date on Wednesday! He is really excited and wants to invite his grandparents to come as well.

Our investigators have been doing quite well, but please if you can pray for an investigator of ours named Teresa. She was the one I was talking about having the best Sunday ever with her family. She is having some family struggles and needs some help.

Anyway, things are as good as they always are! I sure do love serving my mission here in NY. Transfers are coming up in about 2 weeks. Hopefully I can continue to stay here in Brooklyn. There is a pretty high chance of me leaving, but I don't want to! I love my area. It is finally getting nice a warm out here, and humid too. There is no other place that I would rather be than right here!

Happy Mother's Day Mom! I will TALK to you soon!!! Ahh! I am going crazy right now just thinking about it. It has been almost 6 months since I have last heard all of your voices. Mom, without your love and support earlier in my life, I would not be the person I am today. I couldn't have done any of this missionary work with you! I love you!

You guys are awesome.

Elder Hooper

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