I LOVE being a missionary! This first week in New York has been so awesome. Everyone told me that the first week would be awful and I'd cry myself to sleep every night, but I totally don't feel like that at all. I love the Bronx, I love the people, I love my companion, I love the other missionaries, I love everything!!

So much has happened in the past seven day, but here are some memorable moments:

We actually have quite a few investigators right now. The real problem is seeing them as often as we like because a lot of the time, we set up appointments but then they aren't home when we get there. Even if we called that day to remind them. It's kind of stinky but we just have to be persistent. Anyways, one of our investigators, Tianabel is super awesome. She was a media reference and has a member friend back in the Dominican Republic. She's 22 years old and has a 6 year old daughter. H. Pipes had taught her once before I got here and we went back on Friday and it was the best. It was the first lesson (out of like two or three others that week) that I felt comfortable talking, so that was really good. Plus she is just so excited to learn about the gospel. I'm really excited to keep teaching her. She came to church on Sunday and H. Pipes had to talk in Sacrament and she plays the piano for the primary so I was in charge of being with Tianabel, which freaked me out at first because my Spanish still needs a lot of work but it went so well. At the end of Sunday School she asked for a Gospel Principles book so she could read that and then at the end of Relief Society she asked about how she could pay tithing. It was so cool! She is going to come to General Conference this weekend, which should be really great for her.

I guess 5th Sunday's out here are missionary Sundays. We have eight missionaries serving in our ward so we break up our ward boundaries into four areas, which means our area is kind of small. But since it's all apartments, there are still a ton of people. So this Sunday three missionaries talked, plus our ward mission leader. During correlation on Saturday, Fernando, the ward mission leader, who is also super awesome, told us that we needed to do a musical number too. Most of this conversation was in Spanish so I wasn't totally following all that was going on. All I know is that all of the sudden, I am being volunteered to participate in a musical number with four other elders. And then it goes from that to me singing the first verse as a solo, which I was not okay with. But then I gave in because it was the Christ like thing to do. So we sang "Teach Me to Walk in the Light" and I did the first verse as a solo, then the elders sang the second and we all sang the third. I actually wasn't super nervous, which is only because God probably knew how much I didn't want to do it because I was terrified but that I was doing it because that's what we do as missionaries. It went well though and apparently Latinos aren't always the best singers in the whole word because some of the hymns were pretty painful so even if I stunk, they probably wouldn't have cared.

I was a little surprised by how many Spanish speaking people live in the Bronx. I feel like everyone we talk to speaks Spanish, which is pretty cool. It's hard for me to tell everyone apart though. I'll see someone that I think is of African decent and then they start speaking Spanish so I think "Oh their from the DR" and then I find out their from Honduras. So I have a lot to learn about who's who because it really does matter. But everyone is super nice. When we contact or tract, almost everyone will talk to us and take our card. We've had very few people who flat out reject us or shut the door on us. Even though I know that most people will never meet with us, at least I don't feel completely rejected all the time. Our ward is pretty awesome too. People are always super willing to come to appointments with us. And everyone is super friendly, which is really great for the investigators we bring to church. Also, they feed us amazing food!! Everyone has been telling me that you usually gain wait up state and loose wait in the city but I don't know how true that is because I 'accidentally' eat a lot because the food they give us is so good. I guess it's good that we don't have dinner appointments every day. Plus it makes me feel a lot better that people are so nice about my broken Spanish. They really try to help me out and don't hate me when it takes me 3 times as long to say something.

We did some train contacting the other day and that was super fun actually. I was sort of nervous about it because I'm not usually someone who talks to other people on BART and stuff so I wasn't sure how it was going to go. But it was actually really fun. Hermana Pipes loves talking to people so she makes me feel more comfortable and we were able to get information from a few people. The thing that was hardest for me, because I was being selfish, was that pretty much everyone we talked to lived outside of our area. So we were basically just finding people for all the other missionaries and I was pretty bummed about this. But I tried to stay positive and just know that either way, I'm still doing good work and helping others come unto Christ even if I don't get to do the actual teaching. So yesterday we were able to be blessed in return for our efforts, because two other sets of missionaries called us and gave us info about people they had found. That was really cool and a good lesson for me to learn.

Today we're hanging out in Manhattan for a little bit. We're at the family history center at the Temple right now and earlier we went to the Metropolitan Museum with two of the elders in our district. It's been fun to be in the city for part of the day, but it's also sort of weird because it's so different from the Bronx. In the Bronx we stand out a lot in our skirts. Plus we're some of the only white people and I'm one of the only natural blondes so it feel like everyone notices us and knows that we don't really belong. Actually, at church, I am the only blonde one. So it's super different. In Manhattan, most people are dressed nice and what not. The only place people noticed us as being different was at the museum where Elder Anderson kept getting mistaken for a guide at the museum today, which was pretty entertaining. 

Things are going really well and I am loving everything! Miss you all and love you too!!


Hermana Parkin