Greetings from Philadelphia "Home of the world series champion the Philadelphia Phillies." Last night at about ten o’clock, I was writing in my journal when I heard screams from every which way. For a few moments I was confused about what was happening, but I then came to my senses. Elder Ulrich and I heard the roar of loud fireworks confirming our assumption that the Phillies had won. For a few moments, Elder Ulrich and I sat inside and wrote the momentous occasion down in our journals. However, when the fireworks did not subside, our curiosity got the best of us and we decided that we would go outside to watch the celebration. We walked up the stairs and out the door. When we arrived outside, however, we saw no fireworks. Yet we heard loud explosions. Puzzled we stood looking at the sky wondering where these fireworks were. Perhaps they were invisible fireworks, or ones that were not working properly. For another few seconds we stood in confusion. I then realized that the fireworks we heard were not fireworks at all but rather firearms that were shooting off rounds. Immediately, elder Ulrich and I looked at each other and ran back into our home. "And the gunshots red glare. The bombs bursting everywhere, gave proof through the night that the Phillies were there."
Yes, it appears that the curse of the William Penn tower has been broken. In 1982 a tower was erected that surpassed the Penn tower in height. Since that point in time, no major Philadelphia team had won a championship. However, this year, about two months ago, the Comcast Tower was finished. On the very top of the tower, there lies a small statue of William Penn, thus allowing the curse of William Penn not to be broken but rather to have William Penn once again be the tallest man in Philadelphia.
Well, times up I love you all.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Greetings from Northeast Philadelphia "where the blue collared man still exists." It is quite interesting to see how true this statement is. People up here are the way they were in the fifties--namely extremely hard workers who have a high school level education.
This week has been an interesting one indeed. One of the Elders in our district had an appendicitis and had to be rushed to the hospital on Sunday night. As a result, this put a great burden on our shoulders, for we were now forced to work two out of the three areas in our district. Elder Covington, Parkin, and I took turns staying in with Elder Thompson while the other two went out and worked.
On Tuesday we got a call from one a less active woman in Elder Thompson’s area by the name of Joan Kloss. She is an odd individual who is just a tad bit off, and her apartment reminds me of a disheveled dog kennel. When Elder Parkin answered the phone, he immediately stated, "Hey, Joan, how are you doing?" in a monotone and somber voice Joan replied, "Not too good. My husband Charles died in the night and the police men are here, and they told me that you could come and remove his body."
Now as a nineteen year old who has never had to deal with anyone dying, I found myself in a predicament. However, after a few moments, Elder Parkin responded, “O.K. we are coming right over.”
As we ventured to the house, I was terrified by of removing a man’s body from the house. I then thought of ways that I could remove the body from her house. Perhaps I could wrap it up in some sheets and then carry it down the stairs into our car and drive it to the morgue. My mind continued to race with such ideas until we made our way to the home.
After the five minute drive, we made our way to the home. I will never forget the next few moments. I knocked on the door, and Joan appeared and invited us in. Elder Covington then asked if anyone else was home. She replied no, and then tears came to her eyes and she proceeded to break down and cry. No one was there. There was no family. No friends. No coworkers. One policeman had responded to her call, and after a brief visit, he pronounced the body dead and told her to have her church take care of the rest and then left hastily. She was left; she was abandoned in the time of desperate needl. The only friend that she had had died, and she was left to sit in a room as the corpse of her husband lay upstairs waiting to be buried.
What a terrible sight I saw. After a few moments of pondering, I called Bishop Hilton and the Relief Society president. Within five minutes the bishop his wife and the first councilor were there to comfort her. We were also there. Moments later everything was arranged for Joan and all she needed to do was mourn. I then thought to myself, this is why you spread the gospel. I truly believe that Joan would have remained there not having a friend in the world to help her had it not been for the Church. Joan had us to lean on in the time of her need but more importantly because she had the knowledge of the plan of salvation that the missionaries had brought her, she now had Christ and hope to lean on.
Mom, it is for reasons like these you are a relief society president. Dad it is reasons like these you are a home teacher. It is reasons like these we are members of the true church. Our purpose in this life is to help other people at all times. Our callings allow us to do so. I pray that I may be able to fulfill my future callings to the best of my ability, and I challenge myself and you to rise to a new level--to do something that is very foreign and uncomfortable for all of us. I challenge both everyone and myself to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. Invite your friends to learn more. Perhaps they do not need us in the time of their trials but I know that they need God. I know that they need the atonement.
I love you all and happy birthday Bradford. I hope that you all have a wonderful week. So until next time you stay classy, Evans family.
Greetings from "where the family still exists." Truly there is a great divide between those that I taught in Wilmington and those who I now teach. Where I was stationed in Wilmington the likelyhood of finding a family was about as likely as finding a leprechaun or a unicorn. However, here in the Northeast, we run into families every day. I am quite certain that 95% of Wilimington lived on Welfare. In the Northeast everyone has a job.
This week has really picked up teaching wise. It started off very slow and I was quite discoraged. Me and my companion were going through a hard time but you know as always said "when life gives you tar and feathers... make a pillow and pave a road," and that is exactly what we did. In the past week we have found eleven or twelve new investigators. We are finally teaching families which is something that I have wanted to do since I came on this mission. It really is amazing to see how the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses all walks of life. None of the investigators have made it to church yet, but we plan on having at least four investigators at church (which will be an amazing feat for our newly opened area).
I was also fortunate enough to go on an exchange with one of my favorite missionaries in the mission field, Elder Moorehead (who is also the missionary in the picture that Dana [one of elder mooreheads investigators] sent you). He really is a great guy and if I head to BYU I plan on rooming with him and Andy Romney. Our exchange was quite wonderful.
Elder Covington, however, seems to be going through a difficult time. He seems very stressed out. In fact President Murray payed him a visit yesterday. Since that point in time he has been doing much better. Still pray for him though.
I really haven't had any funny or spiritual experiences in the past few weeks so I apologize. If this continues don't be surprissed if I start making up crazy experiences just to entertain you. The last time I had boring weeks I prayed to God and asked him to bless me with exciting experiences that I could write home about, he then blessed me with Perry Davis. I hope that I can write a better email next week.
Mom You never told me about Bradfords shoe size.
Greetings from Northeast Philadelphia "where the door bells actually ring and the people sing." Surprsingly in the area where I now am in the door bells actually work. Its great. it makes me very happy.
This week has been a very good week. I am grateful for all of your prayers on all my behalf. They do sustain me. I know that they do. I believe it with all of my heart.
Throughout this world there are numerous trials that all individuals have to suffer through and throughout my life, especially during my mission, it has unfotunately been my responsibilty to witness these individuals and the trials they go through. For the past transfer, I have been working with two young children by the name of Kenny and Mike Macindo. From birth the boys have been reared up on a fathers harsh tongue and a mothers drinking addiction, spoonfed the bitter dish of neglect from craddle to the present moment. Since their youngest days on earth the boys were forced to grow up fast. Their childhood had been sacrificed because of their parents selfish decision to go after their own interests rather than hearkining to their responisibilities as a . The carefree life of a yongen has been unfamiliar to the boys. They were forced to fend for themselves and they continue to do so.
Last transfer the bishop requested us to pay a visit to the children and see if we could convince their father Kenny Sr. to have his kids baptized into their church. At the present moments the courts had ordered Kenny to live with his mother (who happens to be an active member of the church) in order to assure the childrens protection. Sister Macindo is a wonderful individual yet she is old. Her bones are feable and she cannot prevent Kenny from ruling over his family unrighteously.
Tuesday we went over to the macindo house hold and tried to once again persuade kenny to allow his children to be baptized. When we arrived Kenny was already in a rage. Screaming at the top of his lungs at his children. When he saw that we were in his home he stopped for a moment and greeted us with a calm hello. As our conversation continued with him he began to yell at the children again. this time with threatingings of abandoment and harsh discipline.
I have to go right now but there is more to the story my time is almost up. I will write the rest to you. Love you guys.
Greetings from "where the blue color man still exists and the residents still speak with an accent." Prior to comming to this area I had thought that the Philadelphian accent was a myth. Simply something that you had told to me to entertain. However, since I have been in this new area I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrases, "yous guys" and "wuter." The accent of the natives can really be heard when they get mad. For instance when a six foot four blond haired missionary and his companion knock on their door they usually reply "yous guys get the heck off of my porch." Occassionally, kinder individuals ask if we would like some "wuter"
This week has been one of success. We have the rare priviledge of working with individuals who have been inactive for many many years. One of these families are named the Mccrorys. They like many of the individuals of our church were converts. However, after their baptism they began to flourish. Within two years they were sealed in the temple. Brother Mccrory was activily participating in Elders quorom and fulfilling his responsibility as a priestholder. While sister Mccrory was called as a relief society.
But, alass, the years went by and with it came the burdens of parenthood and church callings. The trials began to build upon each other and the Mccrorys slowly slipped back into their old habits. Time progressed and the visits from the bishopric and other members of the ward began to fade as well and the Mccrorys well. Inactivity had claimed the salvation and progression of the family.
About four weeks ago the Relief society president gave us five families to work with and one of them were the Mccrorys. For the first two weeks Elder Covington and I tried to repor with them and eventually we did. However, neither one of us had the gumption or the strength to be bold and ask them why they had not come to church in eight years. Then, at zone training there was a lecture on being bold and the importance of doing so.
We decided that we would be bold with the truth. We decided that we would not beat around the bush, but rather find out their concern and testify boldly about how they needed to come back to church. At the end of our next lesson we did so and immediately the family responded with their concern we then addressed that concern and testified boldly about how they needed to come back to church. After the lesson it was unsure whether they would return to church or not.
Last Sunday we arrived at church and the Mccrorys were nowhere to be found. We waited and waited but to no avail. Finally we decided that we would take our seats. We had lost. Midway into the sacrament meeting, I noticed a door open and to my surprise and to my liking there stood the Mccrorys dressed in a sunday atire that had been yearning to be worn for eight years. This was quite exciting.
Since this experience has happened both Elder Covington and I have been bold with every individual that we meet. We cut to the chase and it has gone surpisingly well. It really has saved us a great deal of time and energy. Either the people are interested or not. If you ask "why havent you been to church," tell you why and they are not at all offended. When you ask "do you want to come back" they tell you either yes or no. Its quite interesting. So family if you ever have any trouble with less actives just be striahgt up with them and testify to them and it will all be alright.
While this week has been one of great success, it has also been one of hardships. I feel as though I am constantly angry and upset. I am quite homesick as well. Please pray for me. I need your prayers.
Bradford great job on doing your homework. Keep it up big guy. I remember I started doing my homework my junior year and my grades shot up. It was great. Try not to hastle mom about going to seminary. Just go, be mad, and dont tell anyone. Thats what I did for four years. It really isn't worth anything to be upset. Mom won't let you ditch out on seminary. Its just not going to happen. Dad I found out that Hindu's believe in one god in many forms. Also the Behai are the most meek yet frustrating people I have ever encountered. Mom I have given a couple of PH blessings. I am sending you pictures via snail mail. I well thats all I have. I am out.
Greetings from Northeast Philadelphia "where the Russians reject and the hindu's give hope." This week we have encountered nearly every imaginable culture from the european and asian continent. It really is quite ridiculous. I nor anyone else in the mission has ever seen anything like this. I believe that we are the most unique area in the entire mission.
Me and my old pal elder Moorehead were on an exchange this week. It was great fun to be reunited with him. It has been seven months since I taught with him. Our exchange was a blast. If I ever went to BYU he would definately be my roomate.
After a few active member lessons there was time for Elder Moorehead and I to go tracting. We both prayed and felt that we should go to an apartment complex right accross the street. We began to knock and much to our liking there was someone behind each door who opened and welcomed us in. There was one problem. They were all immigrants from Hindu immigrants from India or Trinidad. Their culture is so very different from ours and we really had no idea how to talk to them. We really had no clue how to invite them to come unto christ. Whenever we brought up Jesus Christ they said that they believed in him and that he was a face of God. They also believed in Muhammed, Chrischna and many other religious icons. It was quite difficult to teach them anything so if any one has an idea of how to talk to Hindus please let me know so I can figure out how to invite them to come unto christ.
Despite all of this we do have quite a few Hindu investigators that we are working with and they have also been gracious enough to feed us. The Hindu's from Trinadad are alot less strict to their code of eating and the belief of reincarnation. One family gave us chicken Gizzard. I enjoyed it. Chicken gizzard really has become one of my favorite things to eat. Its slightly dirtlike taste and its chewy texture allows and individual to truly enjoy their meal. If you put some habanero hot sauce on it this delicicasy it hightens the taste and deepens the enjoyment.
That is about all that happened to me this week. It really wasn't a week of excitement. I have come to the conclusion, after much prayer and revelation, that I want to and feel prompted to become a writer. So when i get home I will try my hardest at RCC and see if I can go to one of the top writing schools in the Nation. Northwestern, Penn, Brown, or UCLA would be my top choices. I dont even know if UCLA has a writing school, but I really love that place. I am also struggling with the idea of getting married when I get home. Part of me wants to but another part of me wants to have fun with my friends for at least four years. I suppose I will know what to do when I get home. If I want to get married when I get home my guess is that I will end up at BYU.
I am glad to hear that Jeff and Cara are together. I really hope they get hitched and then Mom and I can go on a double dates with them. It will be oodles of fun. However, I am not happy to hear that has gone back to that siren, that heartbreaking trick, that individual who has a beautiful blond haired blue eyed outside shell but behind that facade lies an ogre a monster of sorts. Mom I hope that you don't give write that to Austin until she drops him again. But when that time comes be sure to do so. I don't have my camera on me right now but I will be sure to send you some pictures next week.
Greetings from Northeast Philadelphia "where rowhomes and inner cities are replaced with flowers and single condominiums and apartments." This week has been a very good week indeed. The reason why Elder Covington and I are opening up the Bensalem area is to get the active members and the leaders of the church more involved in missionary work. For the first three weeks we never met with any of the members and all we did was hunt for less active members of the church. It was quite boring and frustrating. But this week we made a conscious effort to get into active members houses.
Our efforts to get into the active members homes paid off quite well. On Sunday we visited an loud, outspoken, outgoing african american individual by the name of Perry Davis Jr. When we asked if there was anyone that we could go and teach he gave us four refferals. In fact he even replied that he would introduce us to one of the families he suggested for us to go and see.
Plans were then made for Perry Davis to take us over to the families house the very next day. As you can imagine Elder Covington and I were feeling increadibly excited when Perry was so very willing to allow us to visit his friends. We approached the door with all the confidence and excitement in the world. Perry Knocked on the door, but much to our dissappointment no one came to the door. However, this did not detter Perry Davis from giving us those refferals. After a few more moments Bro. Davis checked to see if the door was locked and when he found that it was not, he entered with great haste. he then made his way to the refridgerator took out a box of choclate ecclairs began to eat them and then proceeded to make his way to the television.
Brother Davis then invited us to follow him. Sheepishly I replied that this might not be a good idea but he beckoned me to follow. Finally I gave into his cries and we entered into the home. We then made our way to the sofa where we akwardly sat and waited for someone to come either come down the stairs or enter the house. After several long and akward moments we saw a middle aged man comming down the stair case. When the man turned and made eye contact with the three strangers he looked quite shocked. He looked at us and looked at Perry again and then said "P p p Perry? I haven't seen you in seven years" Looking cool and collected, Perry responded to the mans shocked look and statement with a "hey Pete long time no see. These are two of my church friends and I invited them over to have a lesson with you."
We then began our lesson, all individuals with the exception of Perry Davis trying to recover from the shock and awe of what had happened. In all of my days of being a missionary I have never been so scared of teaching a lesson in my life. Elder Covington and I went on and began teaching about the importance of the family, occassionaly being interrupted by Perry Davis asking if we needed something to drink or eat and reassuring us that if we ever needed anything we didn't have to ask all we had to do was just go into the cupboards or the refrigerator and take.