The week started off with another exchange. As district leader, I'm supposed to do an exchange with each member of my district every transfer. And I kept putting this one off until the last week for whatever reason. It wasn't too eventful of a day. I was with Elder Hellewell, Elder Goates' companion. He is from Linden, Utah, and he came out at the same time as Elder Spencer. He was actually in the same MTC district as him. He and I taught a lesson to their investigator, Alberto that night before English classes. It was a pretty cool lesson. We taught the Plan of Salvation and at the end, we committed him to be baptized on the 17th of November. He was kind of hesitant, so I told him that I wanted him to simply pray about that date and discuss the idea with his Heavenly Father. It didn't mean that he was committed to the date, but that he would discuss it with someone who knows exactly what he needs. And he liked that idea. He's going to report back on the prayer in their next meeting. Hopefully that goes well and we can make that happen in the next couple of weeks.
Elder Kaleb Erickson at 5 Points in Queens
Wednesday was the most successful day of the week. We went out again with Elder Brodowski, one of the Brazilian missionaries. We didn't have any appointments, but we went out to try and look up some old names. We found a guy that we had met a while ago at some soccer fields. He told us we were welcome at his house any time, so we dropped by. His name is Oracio, he is a way cool guy. He had a copy of the Book of Mormon sitting underneath his coffee table. We chatted for a while and got to know him. We invited him to church and asked if he would meet with us again next week. He was hesitant about church, but told us we could come back for sure. Then he asked us if he could have a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon. Well of course! He didn't come to church, but hopefully the lesson next week goes well and we can start working with him and his wife. We also met with another family that night. I knew very little about them, but when we got there, we found out that the father is the nephew of a woman in our ward and they have met with missionaries before. They weren't too pumped about learning more, but we invited them to our ward party on Friday and they were really excited about that. Then they gave us hot chocolate and bread. Sounds like a success to me.
On Friday, we had the greatest ward party of all time. It's called Noche de Hispanidad. Which means Hispanic Night. And it is the best idea ever. Essentially, everyone shows up and brings a food specific to their country, then we have a giant potluck dinner. It's absolutely incredible. Granted, it started like an hour and a half late. But it was amazing. We ate so much. I'm going to make a bold decision and say that all-around, the best table was the Dominican table. They had the best stuff overall. Though each table definitely had their gems. It was just a fun night of food and good people. The missionaries decided to bring green jello as our contribution to the party. I thought it was rather fitting. They also had some native dances from Mexico and Ecuador and one member from El Salvador sang a song that he wrote. It was a really great night.
Sunday was the fun trip back to Far Rockaway. I guess to celebrate the one year mark since Hurricane Sandy, they wanted to do a big event where everyone gathers on the beach and holds hands in a big chain and they take a picture of it and have a small program to say hey we're the Rockaways and we're coming back after Sandy! Or something along those lines at least. We had to leave right as church got out to make it down there. And that was going to be a push to try to make it on time anyways. It's about an hour trip by bus from us to the Rockaway Peninsula. We made it there about 20 minutes late. Bummer. But I was there with my whole district and 4 of the 5 of them have never seen this area before. So I took them for a small tour of the best sights on Belle Harbor. Which essentially include the beach, the Manhattan skyline, and the sunset. And it was a great moment in all of our lives. It was beautiful out there. We were there for maybe 45 minutes, but it was a really nice visit. I even found a family that I helped a year ago. They don't remember me, but I talked with them for a bit and found out how they are doing. They said it's still a struggle, but they're not giving up. They keep fighting every day and they will get their house back to normal soon. That's the Belle Harbor spirit I remember. There are some great people out there.
So it was a good week. We found out on Saturday night, that I will be here for one more transfer. I'm staying for one more round with Elder Spencer. So we're going to make it a good run here. See if we can start making some good progress with the base of people that we've created. It should be a fun transfer.