So as I mentioned last week, President Morgan said we might have the opportunity to go to the south mission and help out the people affected by hurricane Sandy. We ended up having that opportunity on Saturday. We were really lucky to have a stake that put together a trip down there and President approved the request for the missionaries to come with. We went down on buses Saturday morning and we went all the way down to Rockaway, which is basically a little island type thing off of Brooklyn and it's way far from the Bronx. It was so sad to see all the damage that was done there. I felt like I was walking through New York City when you see it in the movie "I am Legend." There was sand everywhere from the flooding. Everything had been flooded like 5 feet. Which means that all the cars that were there were destroyed, houses were destroyed, and everything was wet. It was an overcast day, which made everything feel even more gloomy. It's hard to express how sad I feel for those people. They are going through a really hard time right now.
The group that was organizing everything had a bunch of work orders from people that needed help, but they were all gone so we were told to just go out and start asking who needed help. We ended up helping this family basically tear apart their basement. It had been pretty recently redone and was super nice looking, but everything was ruined from the flood. Sister Pipes and I, along with 4 elders from our zone spent the day tearing apart their entire kitchen and then tearing down all the walls to the studs because it was all un-savable. They were really grateful for our help, but I was really grateful to be able to help them and serve those who were so badly affected by this event. I think it hit especially hard because those of us here in the Bronx were kind of complaining that we were stuck inside, bored for two days and while we were complaining, we had no idea that so many people were getting really hurt by what was happening. It was really sad to talk to the people and find out how badly the hurricane affected them. The man told us that he had stopped smoking two years ago and he started back up when he saw how badly everything was damaged. It's just really hard to see that not only did people loose a lot of material things, but it's really hurting their personal lives and emotions and all of that in ways that I don't think a lot of people really consider. It was a really great experience to go down and help out and we're all really hoping that we'll have more opportunities because they need help from anyone that is able to help out.
The rest of the week hasn't been super exciting. We're still working with some awesome investigators and are really excited about that. I don't think I've mentioned this yet but we put together a ward mission plan that is really super awesome. Since President Morgan wants us to focus on getting the members involved in missionary work, we've put together a plan that is definitely inspired by the Lord. To put it in a nutshell, we are going around asking for member referrals, but getting everyone really excited about referring their friends. One of the biggest problems about asking for referrals is that a lot of people don't trust you to take good care of their friends. So we're asking each member we visit to pray for help deciding who needs the gospel, because God knows better than we do. Then we make a plan with the member for each referral and how that person should be taught and how much the member wants to be involved. So if a referral needs to come to a bunch of ward activities before ever meeting with the missionaries for lessons, then we plan out activities for that referral. We haven't been working on it for very long but it's already been working really great.Plus, because converts usually stay more active when they have member friends first, it is really going to strengthen the ward as a whole because the members are going to come together and the new members are going to have better retention. Sister Pipes and I met with a member the other day and she gave us 8 referrals. Which is basically a crazy number. It's usually really hard just to get one referral. So we're already seeing the blessings of this plan and are excited to keep working with the members.
Thanks for all the support and love! Love you all!