Monday, March 25, 2013

March 25, 2013

This is crazy that Easter is already here! I am going to miss dying eggs but I think I can handle not having to clean up the spilled dye. Easter is so awesome! We get to watch General Conference with the branch and I am so excited. Although I won't have monkey bread or be able to wear sweats and a t-shirt, I know that I am going to love this General Conference. This branch is pretty close knit and although there are loud personalities, everyone gets along. I love that I already know most of the branch pretty personally.
 Yesterday we got to teach a lady named Wanda. She had both of her parents die by the time she was 26 and she was diagnosed HIV positive by the time she was 40 and she is in her 50s. She told us that right now she is starting to relate to the story of Job because of all the things going on in her life. As a result of all the tragedies, Wanda is really humble. We went over there with a member and started teaching her a little bit. We had brought a member that ended up helping a lot. He had similar experiences to what she was going through right now and she was very thankful for us coming over. We asked her to come to church and she was excited and immediately asked where it was and what time. She wants to come closer to Jesus Christ so we talked about the Book of Mormon and asked her to read the 31st chapter of 2nd Nephi. It talks about the way to come closer to our Savior and she seemed very excited. When we contacted her on the street I didn't think anything would come of it but it turns out I was wrong.
 We got to meet with Carlos and Samantha again!!! Carlos came to the scripture study class we held on Wednesday night. He was trying to remember everything for Samantha so we just wrote down all the scriptures for him. We got to meet with them on Friday and they aren't moving till the end of April. I am so glad because that means we can continue to teach them. Their little girl is adorable!
Well, toodle ooo. I love you! This time is just flying by!
Elder Joseph Richard Engelman

Sunday, March 24, 2013

March 17th

We are on out way to play basketball and I'm sure you know how much missionaries treasure that time. This week has been a little tough when it comes to appointments. Almost all of them fell through. We had about 2 per day scheduled and we were lucky to have one. Nevertheless we met our weekly goal of 25 lessons. Actually, we exceeded it. We have been talking to more people and although it can be awkward sometimes it can also be fun. There are quite a few, for lack of a better word, crazy people out here. They aren't super insane, but nutty. We discovered that I was right. Carlos and Samantha are moving really soon. Because of a series of (seemingly)unfortunate events we ran into Carlos. He said they have just been busy packing and he has felt like he has been missing something. They haven't been reading as much this last week because they don't understand all of it. We are going to help them move sometime soon. Unfortunately they are moving to Florida so we aren't going to be able to continue teaching them.
We ended up running into a family tracting that let us come in. The father came downstairs and let us share a couple of scriptures. He started crying and saying "God is great". His name is Miguel and he welcomed us back any time. I don't remember his wife's name because it was weird. They are from Puerto Rico so it was hard to say. They ended up sending us away with some granola bars, fruit, and soda. I love them! It was interesting because as we were leaving he told us that he doesn't normally come talk to people like us but he felt like he needed to.

March 4th, 2013

I wish I could have helped Billy do some demolition. I can't wait to see the house when I get back, not to mention my two nieces. David says he's getting a speedo tan so I just can't wait to get pictures of that :P Oh, and I think I can remember the 12th of March. I like the name Wyatt.
So we mainly walk here. Also we take the public transportation called SEPTA which includes buses, subways, and trains. I hasn't been raining very much but it is humid here so I'm glad I have gloves, scarves, and a beanie. If I didn't I would often find myself with numb ears, lips, and fingers. Just a few things you should know about Philly: there are no mothers, fathers, white people, or water. There are baby fathers, baby mamas, and wooder(yes, that's how they say it here), almost everyone smokes, and this is probably the Muslim capital of the USA. Oh, and every person is a young bull or an old bull(instead of guy).
We have had a lot of plans fall through this week. It is a little disheartening but we end up contacting someone on the street that is a little interested or we at least have the opportunity to bear our testimony about the truth of what we share. It is cool because when you tell someone, "I KNOW that Jesus Christ is our Savior and that his church has been restored on the earth, that he calls prophets today, that the Book of Mormon can help you build a relationship with Him, and that the authority to organize his church and perform miracles has been restored to the earth. And I know this because I have prayed and felt the Holy Spirit give me an answer" it is pretty powerful. When you tell someone you know something and it is the truth, it is pretty powerful.
We got to meet with Carlos and Samantha briefly this week and we taught them how to study the scriptures rather than read them. We went through 1st Nephi Chapter 1 and read it slowly. We talked about each verse and they were able to better understand and draw more out of the scriptures that way. We challenged them to read every day together and they were really excited to do so. When we texted them yesterday Samantha said she keeps reading chapters over and over again to better understand them. I can't wait to see them on Thursday and teach them the Plan of Salvation. They are so amazing because they are doing all of this not only for them but mainly for Carli.
The Frankford Branch is pretty small and not everyone is active but I seriously love it here. It is nice to see people that aren't striving to be perfectly mannered but know how to talk to people, laugh, and feel the Spirit of the Lord. During the Fast and Testimony meeting yesterday, a reoccurring theme was that we need to follow our heart because we won't ever be led wrong. It is so true because the Spirit speaks to our heart.
So a few days ago we talked to this guy on the street. It was going good and he seemed slightly/not really interested. We had been asking him some questions and he said that he wasn't 100% sure there is a god. That is when the Elder O(who will henceforth be referred to as baby daddy) made the unfortunate error of asking him," If Jesus Christ were standing here and you could ask him one question, what would it be?" His response,"Is smoking weed a bad thing? Cuz, I mean, it's a natural plant." He then walked away. We were laughing for the next two days about it.
At our Zone Training I ended up singing Come Thou Fount with another elder as the special musical number. It was pretty fun. Baby daddy was like,"I'm proud of you son." Because of that, I am now singing at the Zone Conference with multiple zones tomorrow. My Zone Leader is good and he told me to get warmed up because we are singing together. I'm actually kind of excited.
Thanks for the letter!
Elder Engelman
p.s. I'm going to try to send you pictures this way, tell me if it works.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

March 11, 2013

Elder Olaveson jumped on me early this morning. Don't worry, I'm having a great birthday Yesterday, I totally forgot that it was going to be my birthday.
We haven't been able to meet with Carlos and Samantha since my last email and they didn't come to church. They are planning on moving to Florida soon because her grandmother is sick. Samantha said they might be moving sooner and I think that's why we haven't been able to meet with them. She said they have been reading everyday and she wants to meet because she doesn't understand everything all the time.
We have had the chance to also meet with a lady named Gertrude. She's 30 but I swear she looks like she is only 22ish. She is from Haiti and she speaks three languages(Creole, French, and English). The first time we met with her we didn't get to teach much because her kids are crazy but she came to church yesterday. I was kind of afraid that she wasn't liking it because she had a really straight face most of the time but after church she was saying that she wants to bring her friend next week. We are pretty excited!
Yesterday, in sacrament meeting, the relief society presidency gave talks on the relief society. Two of them were pretty good and the other one was just downright boring. The lady gave a talk about the HISTORY of relief society. Don't get me wrong, I like history but not in church. Elder O pointed out later that the other talks were good because they connected them to Christ. Every time we talk in church or about any subject relating to the gospel we should talk about how it connects to Christ. People often talk about family history work but without connecting it to Jesus Christ and His gospel family history work is just researching a bunch of old peoples names. Christ needs to be the central focus of every talk or lesson.
Sis Matthews is the best. She probably didn't think so but she was awesome when she was my teacher. We really do need to allow time for the Spirit. We met a lady yesterday named Luz(pronounced as loose). She was slightly handicapped and told us how she had been beaten. It looked like her face had never healed right and she walked with a cane but she was telling us how excited she is to know that one day she can live with Christ and have a beautiful body again. She was pretty cool and extremely sweet.
On Saturday, a preacher started talking to us on the street. He told us that he never messes up or yields to temptations. I was taken back by this a little bit because that would mean he is perfect. Weird.
Your Missionary
Elder Engelman