Everything is going good, all this week I kept on thinking about you all thinking about my new companion and you had no idea what he was like. So finally you all get to know. His name is Elder Nisguritzer, and I couldn't really remember his name the entire first day or so, but I've pretty much got it down by now. His parents are from Argentina, so he's fluent in spanish, which is kind of nice. I hope that this will speed up my learning quite a bit. He came in seven transfers ago but tore something in his knee so went home and came back last transfer, so he is just starting transfer 5 now and I am just starting transfer 3. There are a lot of new missionaries and a lot of missionaries who just got trained are training already! At transfer meeting the brand new missionaries all introduce themselves. Because I came in mid transfer I never got to do that, and last transfer meeting I wasn't sure if I should or shouldn't introduce myself, so I didn't. I ran into President Calderwood afterward and I mentioned that and he said "well, maybe we'll get you next time." So last week I introduced myself to everyone and apparently it was really funny! The missionaries that knew me or were in my zone looked really confused when they saw me standing up at first. I just said "So, I've already been here a while, but I never got to do this." Everyone enjoyed it pretty well. I President and Sister Calderwood both told me later that they loved it and thought it was great that I did that, and most the people in my zone told me the same thing. So I suppose I'm already getting famous in the mission. Our zone got changed around a ton! At transfer meeting, only the leaders and those whose companionships are changing go, so generally there are a few from each zone or maybe district that aren't there. Everyone in my zone was at transfer meeting! The zone leaders are now a chinese companionship, which has never happened before, so that's pretty cool. One of our old zone leaders, Elder Henstrom, is now our District Leader, so we will have some great leadership there. The other zone leader finished his mission and is now home. It feels weird being around missionaries going home. It makes me realize how mortal I am as a missionary, how soon my mission will be over. It makes me want to make sure I get my work done while I'm here.
It's interesting having a new companion. Elder Rose and I were at the climax of our friendship and knowing each other, and now I start over at level zero with Elder Nisguritzer. So far everything has gone fine. But my mission debit card hasn't come yet, so we have been low on food and I'm relying a lot on the credit card you sent me, so could you make sure to check up on that? thanks. Elder Nisguritzer is from Sandy, Utah. He likes playing soccer but his knee needs to recover before he can run. We won't be doing as much sports poselyting this transfer. I've been re-developing my love for Subway (the sandwich shop). We've been relying on it recently as we haven't had much food and the dinner appointment rules have changed. Now they are more focused on our purpose as missionaries and follow what the mission president's handbook says. They are supposed to be set up by the ward mission correlator now and are supposed to be to help families that need strengthening. I guess President Calderwood has gotten some angry phonecalls from members who want to stick to the old way. I wonder how those phonecalls go. Part of the reason for this rule is to change the mindset of the members from "help the missionaries by feeding them" to "help the missionaries do the work of the Lord." President Calderwood's method of leading the mission is really good. He sets a foundation of obedience in one principle, then once we have accomplished that, we move on to the next. The really cool part is that I will have him all my mission, so as his leadership of the mission, and the mission itself develops and becomes stronger, I will be doing the same naturally as a missionary. When I hit my climax as a missionary, the mission will be doing it, too! That will be really cool. Friday we had a mega zone conference with Elder Koelliker of the 70. He talked to us about a lot of things. One thing that he mentioned was Family History and using that as a missionary tool. Only one district or zone at the mega zone conference was using it, and I think it's because they are the one with the family history center. But they said it has been really successful. We also had Stake Conference yesterday, broadcasted from Salt Lake, and one of the talks (I think it was by either Elder L Tom Perry or Boyd K Packer) also talked about family history and how important it was. The church has just released a pamphlet about Family History that we will be able to use as a missionary tool. I don't remember what it was called.
One thing that I realized this week is how your style changes with each companionship and how your obedience does, too. In some ways so far we have been more obedient, but in other ways we haven't. Which means I need to take the good parts of each companionship that I am in and fortify it into who I am, and bring that to all I am around. I am going to work on being a really good example to my companions. I've also been thinking about transfers and how inspired President Calderwood is about every companionship and every area that we are in. And I thought about myself and what if I was different, and how things would turn out that way. So I decided that I would to my very best to be exactly what God wants me to be, so that he has more options and ways to use me and bless others through me. I've been thinking a lot about how these two years aren't for me, and they are all for God. I think I have figured out in my mind how that works with us being the biggest convert of these two years. Because I had faith that they were both true, but they didn't click together in my mind. I know that losing yourself is the best way to find yourself and learn and grow, but that didn't seem to do if for me. So I think that the answer is this: Every soul is precious in the sight of God. God wants you just as bad as he wants everyone else, so while you are dedicating your life to bring people to salvation and fortify them so strong that they don't fall away, make sure you get yourself there. Besides, you can't convert anyone more than you are converted.
Also, I forgot my camera, so sorry I can't send the pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge this week. I'll try to remember next week. Today we are going to the Barclay center in Brooklyn just to check it out and walk around, so I'll try to get some good pictures there too.
And of course, Elder Nisguritzer and I, with comfort, focus, effort, obedience, and inspiration.
Katie, I shall redouble my efforts to find a postcard. So sorry it's taken so long. I will look for more places and hopefully find one.
Hey Dad,I sent a really long email to Mom, and I answered some of the questions on there. Things are going pretty good. Yesterday we found someone who could be a great investigator for us. His name is J and we walked forever to get to his house because we weren't sure how to get there or how far out of town he was. So that was exciting. It was also really rainy but the things in my backpack stayed really dry! just the things I had in my pocket were a little soggy. Elder Nisguritzer's way of work I think is more obedient. It's more focused on following Preach My Gospel and doing things the way that we are taught to do them. I think learning this way will be really good for me to base the rest of my mission on. Our planning for investigators is improving, our focus on using our time is improving, and we are more open in talking about how we want to improve our obedience. I think that we can have a lot of success together. It's just interesting examining the differences between my relationship with him compared to mine with Elder Rose. I suppose that's part of the learning we get from the mission experience. Elder Nisguritzer is also Fluent in spanish, because his parents are from Argentina, although his ancestors are European. So hopefully he will help me get more fluent in Spanish. It has been going good so far.
I have a good story. We met a guy who is part of a new religion I think, They follow the law of moses and wear the star of david, but they believe in Jesus Christ as the savior and believe the whole bible. And he was really good with the scriptures. so we were discussing beliefs and something about kosher and the law of moses came up, and he was waiting for a response about something about why I don't live it. I didn't know exactly what to say, but I just said what came to my mouth and some things that I did know came to my mind. I was definitely guided in what I said. I mentioned a story where Christs apostles didn't wash their hands before eating, and the people got upset at them but Christ confounded the people. I mentioned how Christ fulfilled the Law of Moses, and now we follow the Law of Christ, which follows the same spirit of the law, but a different letter. This man was really impressed and although he didn't agree 100% with what I said, he really respected that I wasn't shaken. A couple of days later in my personal study I found a scripture that said what I had said to this man. I had practically quoted scripture I didn't know (Romans 7). That was incredible. I know God takes care of us misisonaries.