So yes, this week I think will be the mark of 9 months out on a mission. 9 months of completely unexpected surprises and completely foreign (hehe not international mind you) experiences. I've loved it, truly. Although a mission is always full of ups and downs, I've come to know that the ups are always more meaningful when you rely on the Savior to pull you through the downs. Getting through difficult situations is so much harder on your own. Sometimes it really is impossible to do it on our own. People get tripped up on the phrase; "God will never give you anything you can't handle." They don't believe it. But the truth is, God will never give you anything you can't handle without the help of His Son. Without Christ, and without the Spirit, we wouldn't be able to handle certain things. But if we seek the support of the Spirit, we can handle these things. With the gospel of Jesus Christ, we can handle these things. I'm saying I'm going through any huge trials at the moment, but people all around us are. Regardless of where we are, in every city there will be people that can benefit from someone just telling them that the Spirit is there to help. Our savior is there, but we have to hold out our hand to find Him. It's cool to talk about these things but it's even better to see these principles play out in real life. That's why we're on missions. To experience what the gospel really is, in real life. I definitely can say that this is what I've been able to experience. And I have 15 more months of "experiencing" to do!
So a couple fantastic things happened this week. Probably more than that. But for now, I'll tell a couple. On Wednesday we got slammed with a great winter storm- New York went into another state of emergency haha it really wasn't that much snow- just a ton of blowing snow around so as to blind the driver and give everyone frostbite. So everyone was advised to stay inside (police could pull you over and give you a ticket if they wanted to) and avoid all unnecessary travel. Well, we had a couple necessary appointments to go to, so yes, in the words of a confused onlooker, we went "witnessing" during the New York snowstorm, in the worst winter in NY in decades. No biggie. We weren't outside all day, though. We called it quits after late afternoon. DIEHARD WITNESSERS!
The weather is funny here, just as it is everywhere it seems, because a couple days after the storm it was warm at 54 degrees. So all the snow melts, and we end up trying to bike through massive cricks that form in the sidewalks, trying to go really slow so we don't get muddy water all over our white shirts. But most of the time, we fail, and ruin our shirts...actually Elder Powers is the only one that ruins his shirts haha he's destroyed 2 of them and he's only been here 3 weeks! It's great...
Our ward also had their annual cake auction to raise money for their Scout Camp in the summer. It's a massive spaghetti dinner where people make cakes and bring them, and people sped anywhere from $30-$120+ on any single cake. So naturally we made a cake, and it looked just delectable. Me and Elder Powers spent some precious time baking brownies and drowning them in frosting in between our planning sessions. So our cake was all vamped up to get anywhere from 100-$200 right because it was made by the Elders? The auctioneer seemed like he was saving ours for last, for a final big bang right? Well, no. He began at $15 (most started at $40) and ended up bidding DOWN, but eventually got up to $40! What a rip, but at least we helped slice off the price for one kid's scout camp.
As a missionary you're always stressed about your area not living up to its potential. As a trainer, I'm always worried that I'm not being the best I can be, to show my trainee how it's done. Our numbers were not as high as I wanted them. But this week I learned the lesson that it's only about us working as hard as we can, not necessarily getting the best "numbers." It was a great week on really taking a look at myself and changing things that needed to be changed. Or at least knowing what I need to change. Hard to explain. But I'll end this massive email with a link to one of my new favorite (but really old) talks.