Boa Tarde! or, I guess for people on the west coast bom dia!Soooooo... I'm in New York! To answer all my mother's questions- I'm in the Binghamton area, just outside of Scranton? I don't know, I have no idea where I am. I did meet a David Wallace in the airport, so I feel pretty legit.
So, I guess I'll tell you a little about the actual work we're doing.
1. THERE IS SO MUCH WORK TO DO!! Pretty much half the ward is inactive, so not only do we have people we've street contacted or tracted and referals, but we visit at least 4 inactives a day. Some times this is frustrating because it keeps our key indicators low, but these people have usually "strayed" because of some horrible things that have happened in their lives- lots of deep emotional and spiritual scars. I come home totally emotional drained like everyday, but I'm learning a lot from it. I never realized how important each individual calling in the church is, or how important Bishops are and how much work they do. I'm so grateful that I had Bishop Platt as a bishop growing up. He really set the standard high. While the bishop here is a good man, there are just some things I've noticed that Bishop Platt or even my branch president at the MTC (who was Bomb) did differently and meant a lot to me. I'm really grateful for all their service.
2. People here LOVE to talk. It's funny because we teach people about how Joseph Smith was confused as to which church to join and even today, there's still so many churches! It must be true! haha. Yeah, so like everyone has a religion, and as soon as we tell them we teach about Jesus Christ, they're like "oh oh! come in! I love Jesus!" At first I was like "score!" because we have no problem getting into anyone's house, even when we're tracting and stuff (I don't know what Jake is complaining about), but the problem isn't in the getting in, it's in actually teaching a lesson. All these people want to do is talk about their lives, your life, their neighbor's life, and anything under the moon. And every time we try to steer the conversation towards the restoration, they get up to pet their dog or they ask where my name is from, which brings me to another thing-
3. Apparently my last name is weird? Seriously, the first thing everyone says when I introduce myself is "Barkdull? That's a very unusual name. Never heard it before. Where are you from?" Yeah, because Colorado explains it all. I'm starting to wonder whether they're talking about the name, or the person wearing it..
4. People in New York love to recycle, and they LOVE their animals. This is actually super helpful because I've found that when street contacting, you can start up a conversation with anyone by walking up to their dog and saying "Oh, I saw your dog from afar and just had to come over a pet it!" and it's mostly sincere. There's this one lady we're teaching, though, I swear, she has like a menagerie at her house. She has three dogs, two cats, 14 chickens, 7 ducks, two pythons, a rat, and some type of dragon (not comodo, or however you spell it). I myself am constantly shedding a layer of fur everywhere I go.
Anyways, so that's a bit about what's going on. I'm finally starting to get things figured out here, which is nice because now, instead of trying to learn what's been done in the past, I can focus on what we can do in the future to be more proactive and effective.
Sometimes a whisp of a thought floats through my mind that I may only be here for one transfer, and then I'll never see these people again, but no matter where I am, all this time is the Lord's, and I want to serve my best and build up every area I can with whatever time Heavenly Father gives me. And even if I don't convert anyone to the gospel here, at least I'll have converted Sister Glenn to running. We've been doing Jillian Michaels for the past couple days, but I finally got her to run with me for 6 minutes this morning! It's a big step! Sister Kemer and I want to train for a marathon when we get back. Let's just say I have big plans for Sister Glenn. It's slow work, but we'll get there, haha.
I love you all! If you ever feel so inclined, my mom has my mission address. Whenever I pluck a letter from the mailbox, I feel like I'm plucking one of those glowing pears off the tree of life in that animated scripture video. Okay, maybe that's a little sacrilege, but just to give you a visual representation.
Tchauzinho! or as people say in NY "bye now!"