We had a slower week, but lots of things went down! The Boyd family in our branch has a girl named Ava who turned 8 almost a year ago and due to family circumstances she wasn't able to be baptized right away. Her dad is not a member and they don't have any family here in New York. Just last week they finally had some family in time and they wanted to have Ava be baptized that Saturday. Earlier in the week we had a fun lesson with her and her family about baptism. We used an analogy that Elder Lewis used in the past with water and pepper symbolizing the world and sin, clean water representing baptism and soap representing the Holy Ghost. You dip your finger into the water and pepper and it comes out all covered in pepper, or sin, and then you rinse it all off in the other bowl of water and are cleansed from sin, and then you receive the Holy Ghost and put some soap on your finger and go back into the world and all the sin shoots away from you! They really thought it was cool.
We met with Matt Bronner for dinner as well and went over the basics for performing ordinances like blessings properly and we had him consecrate some oil as well. He is so excited to be able to hold this powerful priesthood!
We also had an interesting lesson with Dez last night. We might wait a little longer for his baptism since I think there was a little bit of misunderstanding about what happens after baptism. He really likes us and appreciates the hard work we put into teaching him and respects the members that have helped us teach him too. He asked if it was ok to be baptized here and then go to the another church that he has been attending. He wanted to be baptized with us because he wants to honor our efforts. We helped him understand that we do not want to him to be baptized for our sake or for the members, but for his Heavenly Father and himself. We talked about the priesthood a bit as well. We still aren't sure what we will share next with him. I will be doing a lot of prayer and thinking on his behalf to know what he needs. We also gave him a blessing to help understand what his Heavenly Father wants him to do. I sure do love Dez with all my heart. He is a dear friend of mine and I only want what is best for him.
Elder Lewis had this awesome idea for a finding activity to brighten up the dreadfully hot day. He wanted to do a scavenger hunt and take picture of people that met certain criteria we set up. I will send pictures of who we talked to. We got 11 out of the 15 categories and we destroyed the other companionships too.
There was also this skanky lady on the bus that was arguing with the bus driver since she couldn't the fare because she didn't have change. She was making thing big commotion and finally the bus driver was like yo, get off my bus. She goes to go through the front door, but he wouldn't open and told her to go out the back. She starting saying something about how the front door must have been broken and what not. We were laughing so hard at all of this. There was a teenager that was laughing about how she came on the bus through the front and now she was saying its broken. You had to be there to understand exactly what happened, but it was so funny. I see so many funny things out here.
We have been playing a lot of handball with the youth out here. At around 5pm they all crowd around in the parks and play handball. It is the funnest sport ever. I wish they had handball courts in Arizona. We always have to go back and change afterwards, because I swear I sweat my entire body's supply of water due to the humidity! It is so hot! McCarren Park is the nicest park in our area and it is really close to our apartment. There are hundreds of people playing baseball, kickball, soccer, handball, running, exercising, playing basketball, and even at the swimming pool. It is really fun to be around there and talking to people around there. They also have a big farmers market every Saturday too. The summers are really fun out here since everyone is outside doing things.
We did a Plan of Salvation/Family History activity out in Williamsburg with all the hipsters. We actually had some really good conversations that lasted for about 20 minutes each. I think we finally found what works well in this neighborhood in our area. There are so many different neighborhoods in our area. People tend to live in small communities and each one has their own personalities.
Everything out here is going well! I sure do love Brooklyn. It is such a fun area. It is however very challenging and discouraging at times. I feel like I am in a foreign country most of the time.
Mom and Dad, thank you so much for the awesome package! I loved it! Grandma Hooper: Happy Retirement! I loved your letters as well.
I have been here for almost 7 months. It is crazy how fast time flies by.
Love you guys,