March 7, 2016
Dear Family and Friends,
It's good to be back in the News! It's strange to be back in Newport News again and to recognize everything, although so much about the area has changed. The branch is much smaller than it was when I was here last. Many members have moved and many have become less active. I think that God has something in store for the branch and I'm guessing that is why I've been called back here.
Elder Hess and Elder Free are my new companions. Elder Free has been out for 5 transfers and we are finishing the training of Elder Hess. Its funny because even though Elder Hess and Elder Free know the area better than I do now, I know the members and less actives better because they have only been here for one transfer. It was wonderful to be welcomed by the members, everyone was happy to see me again.
The drive up to Newport News on Wednesday was a super long one. We had to drive from Greenville to Nags Head, and then up to Portsmouth, which was about 4 hours. Then, Brother McCoy picked me up in Portsmouth, since Elder Hess and Free couldn't come to pick me up, and we drove another hour to Newport News. We live in a different area than I lived in before, which is actually nice because we used to live 4 miles out of our area. This meant that we wasted 8 miles every day to drive down to our area. The boundaries changed too, our area now extends 2 miles further North.
The sweestest experience we had this week was that we went back to this apartment complex that Elder Free and Elder Hess didn't know about, and a family from Iraq let us in. They spoke some English and believed in Jesus Christ. They were really excited to see us and we had a really good lesson with them about the restoration. We invited them to be baptized, but they didn't know what that word meant so we had to try to describe it to them with hand motions and easier words. Once they understood, they said that they would like to be baptized!
We also visited a member named Faustino. He had two friends visiting at the time so we shared a message with Faustino and his friends. They expressed some interest in our message so we set up another appointment for later this week. As we left Faustino's, we noticed an occupied car that was parked next to ours. I knocked on their window and they rolled it down. I started talking to them and then Anthony came out of the car and told us how he had an Aunt die two days ago. He said that he had been meaning to come back to church for awhile. He asked us to call him Sunday morning and he would come to church. He said, “This is a sign from God that I need to come back to church.” Since he speaks English, we passed him off to the English Elders. Hopefully they will be able to start teaching him.
It has been funny because many people in Newport News have asked me if I am Hispanic because I "look Hispanic." I'm not sure what that means because I'm as white as can be. A guy from Cuba told me that I looked like one of his former classmates in Cuba, and then a Honduran woman told me that I looked like her cousin in Honduras. Another woman from Panama told me that I had Hispanic features. It’s been pretty funny but hey, I think it’s pretty cool.
Have a good week.