Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 3 of the Ft. Lauderdale, FL Experience

This past week went much better than the last two weeks. I've been trying really hard to become better at getting to be a better missionary and getting used to the work. And it's paid off. This past week, we were able to have a great week and were able to have a "normal" week, quoting Elder Pa.. Through diligence and hard work, we were able to build up an area and find some sweet people.

We had an awesome miracle this past week. So we had two people meeting with us and we had them set on date. We then get a random call from them and are told to never come back. This was the trial of our faith. We were a little bummed out, but we were trying to work hard and to meet people ready to hear the gospel. One day later we follow up with a guy named S.. He's way cool. We talked with him and scheduled an appointment for the next day. His friend walked up and S. called him over and told him that he should listen to us. We schedule an appointment with S.'s friend for the next day, and then we followed up with those lessons. S. then hooks us up with another guy that lives near him. And he wants to meet with us too.

So here are some interesting and funny stories that happened this past week:
I've always been apprehensive of going to the thrift store and buying used clothes. You have no Idea where they've been. But this past we were able to have some fun at the thrift store. I was walking around, being bored and not really interested in anything, when I walk by a rack of pants. This rack of pants had something that looked like an American flag on it. Upon closer inspection, I was able to observe that this American flag was pants that looked like the rex-quan-do pants in napoleon dynamite! Obviously, I bought them and washed them. Who could deny pants like that? And they were exercise pants, so they can be used whenever. And when I say whenever, only in the apartment because they are too flashy for missionaries to wear.

This week I had an experience that really strengthened my testimony that Heavenly Father is watching over us. On Saturday night we had a few minutes between appointments so we decided to follow up with a former investigator. While driving to the former's house Elder Pa. felt like we should stop by the house of another former investigator who lived on the way. We parked and talked about what we would teach for a few minutes and as we stepped out of the car we heard a series of shots punctuated by silence and then another round of shots. We later discovered that the shooting had taken place almost exactly where we would have been if we hadn't stopped to visit the other investigator. This experience strengthened my testimony so much that Heavenly Father truly is watching over and protecting us. Don't worry we're friends with most of the gang members so we're safe.

On a more cheerful note, we had 100 people at church yesterday! When my companion Elder Pa. got here 2 months ago the average sacrament attendance was 44 people. Last week we were up to 77 and this week we had 100. I know those numbers sound pretty small especially compared to wards but it was a huge success for us to have to pull out the folding chairs to everyone could sit during sacrament. Plus one! One day the Belle Glade Branch will become the Belle Glade Ward. 

On Monday night Elder Pa. walked into my bathroom and discovered an overturned trash can with a stack of Book of Mormons sitting on it in my shower. Automatically he assumed that there was a toad underneath the trash can that other Elders had so lovingly left for us. Rather than letting the toad go outside he got me and we slipped a piece of cardboard underneath the can, transported it to the Elders study room and kicked the door open as he took the cardboard away and released the frog. Elder Bu. proceeded to scream and jump on his chair while Elder E. scrambled into a corner. The frog made a bee line for Elder Bu. causing the screams to escalate into shrieks. He then made a panicked, yet graceful leap off of his chair and landed on another chair further away from the frog. After a few minutes of torment as pay back we caught the toad and put him outside. Needless to say, it was a priceless moment.

So this one is more of a random story, we were in the Winn-dixie parking lot (yes, the only grocery store here is Winn-dixie) and we see a guy walking right in front of our car with a machete. It wasn't scary, it's a common occurrence. People that work in the cane fields harvest the cane with machetes and take their machetes home with them after work. It was pretty cool.

My suit is pretty banged up, so luckily my companion and I were waking around and found a store that was willing to sell 4 suits for 200 bucks. And these were good suits too. Anyways, we are thinking of getting some of these soon and especially me.

Week 2 of the Ft. Lauderdale, FL Experience

So just in case y'all weren't exactly sure of what my mission address is, here it is again with more detailed instructions.
This is the address of the mission office. We aren't supposed to have anything sent to us at our current address. I'm pretty sure it's so that mail doesn't get lost in transfers. It's all supposed to go to the mission office, then to us. And there's another Elder Seth White in my mission. Crazy, right? So make sure you specify it's me. My middle name is Daniel, considering that's the easiest way for it to be specified.

7951 SW 6th st Suite 110
Fort Lauderdale FL

So this past week was really awesome. I hope that my visa doesn't come soon. The lord really has blessed us in this area and we can see the effects of them. The people are so awesome here! Flippin' legit! 
So I saw a tree frog the other day that was huge! It was probably the size of my hand. It was late at night and we were walking to go inside and it was just chilling on the door handle. Crazy! And there are huge amphibians everywhere! There was a toad the size of both of my hands put together. It was a little creepy.
And this past Sunday, we all as missionaries were able to give talks. It was pretty cool. I talked about the value of every person and used these scriptures if y'all want to check them out or use them for a spiritual thought:
Luke 15:4-6
Alma 23:14 (the one Amalekite is important enough to be put into scriptures that were chiseled into metal plates that were inscribed by an ice pick)
D&C 18:15

So this past week we were able to meet some really cool people. So we were walking in the ghetto, contacting people, talking to some, getting shut down by others. When we walk up and meet this one guy sitting on someone's back porch eating ramen. His name is D.. (this porch had mesh to keep bugs away) So we walk up and start talking with him and this girl he was talking to and he was like: here, come with me, I want to show y'all some stuff. And then he goes off on how he's a really good painter and how his stuff it top of the art. Super good. We start to follow him to his house, which is like 60 yards away. While walking down the street, we see a random horse in the middle of the ghetto. One of the most out of place things I've ever seen. A horse just chilling right in the middle of the ghetto. It was chilling with hay around it and was fenced in. And right next to it was a double wide trailer. It had some stuff painted on the side and I was like huh, cool. So we follow him into his house and he starts talking to us and showing us some of his paintings. He pulls out this one painting and just blows us away. It was amazingly detailed and realistic looking. My companion has seen a lot of the best world class art and says to me, this guy can compete with the best of them. He's amazing. So we check out this huge painting for a while. It's probably 7X4 and it's just got so much detail everywhere. He then showed us a sculpture of his that he's going to reveal in January that's supposed to blow everyone out of the water. And it was crazy detailed!! It was a sculpture of a woman. He even did the lines and bone structure of the knees! he also put on hair and did some crazy texture stuff to make it look ridiculously realistic. There was arm hair. Lines in the lip, teeth, toes, just ridiculous detail. Anyways, we're always welcome there and he said that we can stop by whenever. So not only is he a ridiculously good artist, he likes us too. We're preparing him for baptism right now. It'll hopefully happen in December.

I also got to eat some Haitian food this past week, It was kinda scary. But it wasn't too bad. It just looked like it would make me crazy fat from eating it. It was some kind of soup w/ these starchy potato like things in it. It was super thick. And for noodles it had ramen noodles. Basically it was very interesting. The person who made it was cool, but I couldn't understand a single thing she(the person who made it) said. (I don't understand Creole (Kreyol))

Ft. Lauderdale Nov. 11

And there's another Elder Seth White in my mission, so make sure that they know it's me and not him whenever you send it. Have fun!

7951 SW 6th st Suite 110
Fort Lauderdale FL

So here is Ft. Lauderdale FL is crazy! I got here on Tuesday afternoon around 4 PM. The humidity felt amazing, and my skin is almost getting back to how it was. The mission president was pretty awesome, his name is president Anderson. So I went to transfer meeting on Wednesday meeting and got assigned to the stuart zone. And right now I'm in Belle Glade until I get sent to Brazil. 

Belle glade is way different from anywhere I have ever been. They grow sugar cane here. Most of the people here work in the sugar cane. And there are lots of Haitians here. So here, it's all flat and all ghetto. There are only a few nice houses around. So Belle Glade I've been told is the most dangerous city in America per citizen. It reminds me of the idea of Orangeburg but way more ghetto and smaller. 17,000 people. There's someone that gets shot every week, but thankfully we're missionaries and they respect us. Also, in Belle glade in the surrounding area there are canals and flat land everywhere. It's way different from SC and the pine trees.

My trainer is Elder Pa., I think he's been out for 9 months, and he's from Texas and he also went to BYU. He's pretty cool. I don't think he gets me yet and I'm not super comfortable around him yet. He is pretty cool and speak 4 languages. English, of course, French, Spanish, and Creole (Haitian). He was called to here Spanish speaking but picked up the languages. And I found out here that I'm nowhere near prepared to communicate with other people in Portuguese. It's way different talking in a different language. But, where I am there are no Portuguese speakers.

The first day was really crazy and weird. This area was basically whitewashed before I got here, so we started with no teaching pool. Starting up from ground zero. Oh, and there's a small branch here. Anyways this past week, we've gotten 9 new investigators and done lots of work. There is something that they do here in the mission called harvesting. It seems weird, but it works. We knock on the door and tell them we are representatives of Christ and ask them if we can leave them with the prayer. We then say a quick prayer to them, and because praying brings the spirit this works. Then we talk about Jesus Christ and invite them to be baptized. A surprising amount of people say yes. It's pretty awesome. We then tell them we share messages of Christ and invite them to come to church with us. That's about it, super simplified of course. But the whole process takes like 2-4 minutes.

Anyways, it's interesting to be here being trained and getting used to it. Hopefully I can adjust quickly.

MTC Experience

Well, it's been pretty awesome here. Here's some things that went on during my experience here at the MTC.

So this one elder in my district is a helpless flirt. I saw a sister I thought I knew and went up to talk to her and asked her if her name was C.. She said yes in a really cool accent.(she's from England) The elder, right next to me says "C. is a very nice name and it fits you. It's the most beautiful name for a British girl." It was hilarious! She looked at him awkwardly, and he said "umm... I need to stop and I need to go" right after he said that. We have never let him live it down... But he's getting better at it, I think. He's always talking to the sisters a little bit too much.

Last night we all made guesses where we were all going. Three elders got two of us right. So one person in my district is going to Oregon, 2 to California, my companion and I are going to Florida, 1 to Washington, and 2 to Brazil b/c they got their visas. It was pretty awesome. And I played volleyball with some people in my district last night too after we opened our reassignments. We destroyed, needless to say. It was one of the funnest volleyball games here at the MTC.

The food here is pretty good, but after 6 weeks here it gets kinda old. So earlier when I weighed myself, I was 190. That's the fattest I've ever been in my life. I think I've dropped a little weight since then, but still, that's ridiculous. It's easy to digest and is calorie packed. This one elder in my district came into the MTC at a 240 pounds and now he's 276. 35 pounds!! This place is crazy. And sitting in a classroom all day doesn't help much either.

Our teachers are really awesome, we have two. One is a guy, I. S. and then there is Ir. H.. They are both really good at teaching. I think we are Ir. H.'s last district that she teaches. We are getting I. S. a cow hide tie w/ the hair on it and everything, and we are still deciding on what to get Ir. H.. Probably a shirt with us signing it.

Yeah, that's all I can think of right now, and I gotta go, so until Monday! (you get a free p-day the day before you leave)