Tuesday, April 25, 2017

All Star Squad

April 24, 2017

Yesterday a new sister in the ward asked "Elders, how was the first
week of the transfer?" Me and Elder Berry kinda look at each other and
said "it was normal". I mean when can you say that? A normal week of
missionary work? That's possible? So don't get your hopes us because
this email might not blow you away and might be short. Although the
least normal part is that I rarely stick with a companion for more
than a transfer, so as we were walking around on transfer Tuesday, I
told Elder Berry that it was only my fourth time I hadn't gone to
transfers so it felt kinda strange to be headed out proselyting in the
morning! With transfers we get a new squad and let me tell ya, our
zone is pretty much the all star team. I've never seen so many solid
missionaries in one place and even better, Elder Fowers is my zone
leader! It's gonna be a good transfer.

No worries, just as usual we did get free food this week. As we were
teaching a recent convert named Emmanuel, he kept running to the oven
and throwing a bunch of pans around. At the end of the lesson he said
"Elders, I'll drive you home so we can drop off this food." I only
noticed one pan when we left, but somehow when we arrived home there
were three big pans of food! We even had the Petersons come over for
lunch that day and we still have some left! Africans are the best,
they are so humble and giving. Sometimes that's rough though because
their food doesn't really do me well. I'm not sure if any of you have
tried real African food before, but it's mighty different! After a
lesson with Allen, Quince and Vennesa their Mom, Viola, told us she
made us food so we enjoyed some nice stew and rice. Do you all like
fish bones in your food? Yeah, me neither. Welcome to little Africa.

We met a sweet less active from Nigeria this week name Mazino. His
accent is hardly there and he even has my kind of sarcastic humor.
Hilarious guy, and he gets buckets! What? Wow! One of my new favorite
people. We also taught a lady named Hawa this week, this sisters met
her on the street or something like that and she's very familiar with
our church. We couldn't meet at the place where she stays so we all
walked with a member to his moms house for the lesson. As we walked,
he pretty much taught her the restoration. Looks like my job was done
for me! Our investigator Antoinette is progressing really well. She's
been taught everything and is excited to be baptized! It will probably
be within the next few weeks as soon as she starts regularly coming to

Life is good, I don't get winded from walking anymore, my jump shot is
improving and I'm loving being a missionary. What more could I ask
for? I hope you all have a wonderful week!

1) the other district came to my district meeting this week, so it was
pretty much me doing a zone Training lol
2) just a nice picture of the Philly temple
3) food from Emmanuel!

You get a Book of Mormon, You get a Book of Mormon, Everybody gets a Book of Mormon!

April 17, 2017

Last week when I left off a crazy miracle happened. We played
basketball with the boys, Anthony, Vennesa, Quince, Allen and their
little sister Solange. Super fun, even though the partitions between
the overflows were locked and we only played on a quarter of a court.
After getting some buckets, we asked if they could give us a ride to
their home because it was pretty close to Walmart. They just told us
they would take us to Walmart so we didn't have to ride SEPTA. One way
ticket, nice!!! So I bought my essential things for the week, almond
milk and a bathroom scale, and headed out to catch a bus. Now I've
been in this area for a whole transfer now and on day one we needed a
place to eat so the senior couple, the Petersons, took us to Taco
Bell. That was March 7th. I hadn't eaten Taco Bell since then. I
noticed before the bus stop that there was a Taco Bell and my inner
man hunger and cravings tempted me to buy some Taco Bell, so I figured
if the bus was going to be a few minutes I might as well pick some up.
Right as I was about to pull out my iPad I heard someone say "what's
up guys?" And there's Allen and Anthony running out of Taco Bell. They
decided to drop in for some food, but Solange's order got messed up so
they were still there and offered to take us home. Two way ticket to
the store AND I still got Taco Bell. This might not seem like a
miracle until you've carried groceries on public transportation. I
keep wondering if my inner man hunger was actually just some friendly
guidance from the spirit...

So this week was pretty awesome. We continued doing the Prince of
Peace initiative at the 69th street station, and I forgot to get a
picture... mostly because I hated standing around a booth trying to
get people to listen to me. Good thing I'm not a JW. We did get a
pretty sweet referral from some sisters when they were at the station
though. She's a 16 year old girl named Mikayla and I haven't met such
an outgoing 16 year old in a while! She was super pumped about
everything we talked about! We also were out stopping by a few formers
and potentials when we met this kid named Clifford. He's 17 and from
Sierra Leone (money) and loved the Prince of Peace video. He had us
come back a few days later and all of his little cousins were there,
ranging from 9 to 13. They all listened so close to the restoration
and comprehended it much better than most adults I teach. When I
recited the first vision they said "that's God and Jesus Christ!" Oh
and when we pulled out the Book of Mormon "where can we buy one of
those?" And after we explained they were free, all of their hands shot
up saying "I want one!" One of the boys, who's 9 said "excuse me, I'm
not from here, I'm from Maryland. Do you have a church there too?" Yes
we do youngblood!! We got him the address for the church and the
number for the bishop... that's the best we could do for a 9 year old
who had no idea what his address was! The next day we had to go back
to drop off the 5 Books of Mormon we didn't have the day before to all
the little homies and afterwards as we were walking home a guy pulled
up next to us and said "are you Mormons? My house burned down with my
Book of Mormon. Can I get another?" Sure dude, no problem.

As far as our teaching pool goes we are super excited about it. With
our investigator Antoinette, we had a lesson on the word of wisdom. As
usual coffee and tea get the "what? Really?" But by the end her friend
Sarah came down and Antoinette started explaining that we can't drink
coffee and tea and how addicting they are! Let's go! With the boys,
they are all recent converts except Anthony, who's just their
brother-like friend, who is always at their house, kinda like Cena.
He's been coming to young men's and church so we figured we'd set him
with a baptismal date. Come to find out Bishop Ard went over last
Sunday with some young men and already talked to him about it! When we
formally invited him to baptism he said "absolutely! Of course? What
do I have to do?" In his words, he's the best "Mormon in training".
All those mentioned in this paragraph came to church this week, which
was such a relief. This Easter Sunday was a good one. As well as
church being a relief, the weather was insanely nice so I did some of
my studies out on out balcony. I'm thankful for the weather on such a
wonderful day with some great studies on the Atonement and our Savior.
We got invited to our first dinner appointment since I've been here
and the McShane's made us funeral potatoes and ham. Finished off with
some homemade cookies and cream ice cream. How could I go wrong? I'm
truly thankful for how peaceful this day was. It's already transfer
time, and I'm happy to be staying here another transfer to continue
training Elder Berry. I can't believe another transfer has flown by,
it goes so quick. There are many exciting things happening in this
upcoming transfer, so stay tuned! Take care and have a good week! Oh
and GO JAZZ!

1) Zone training
2) they wanted us to take a "look up!" picture, like Elder Choi... nice
3) Easter studies
4) baked by dyl. Tastes as good as it looks!
5) me and Elder Jolley, the "old guys" in the zone... I'm not old right?
6) P1 Elders Gang!
7) P1 Missionary Squad!

Juice and JW's

April 10, 2017

This week we did something completely new to me, something very
different. Over here in the Valley Forge they love their missionary
work. They love it so much that they went out and got us all the
permits and things necessary to set up a booth at the 69th street
train station for the Prince of Peace initiative. It's pretty JW style
honestly, except we are a little bit more proactive. It was a bunch of
"Can we show you a quick video about Jesus Christ?"'s and a lot of
"no"'s too. But that's okay! I only did it once because of exchanges
and whatnot, but the first day Elder Berry did it, they showed the
video to like 24 people in 2 hours! When we did it we showed it like 5
times in 2 hours. I mean it was raining, people are usually moody
when it rains right? The JW's were only a few feet from us and we
talked to way more people anyways. Like I said, it's pretty different
for us, so it will be interesting to see how it goes this week! I also
got to go on exchanges early in the week. Now this was the first
exchange since my first area, Lehighton, over a year ago that in the
exchange neither I, nor the other elder was in a leadership position.
It was so great! I was with Elder Brown and Elder Yirenya-Tawiah, who
have been out 4 and 3 months respectively. They are from Pleasent
Grove, Utah and Tema, Ghana. I'm sure you can figure out which name
matches up with each location. Anyways I just followed them around
most the day, but they needed a little bit of help on some lessons so
I was able to show them a few tricks. It's interesting how it doesn't
require a title for people to look up to you, it's more important who
you are and what you do! I loved being with them, they are great

We picked up this awesome new investigator named Dessire this week!
She's from Côte d'Ivoire, which I think is awesome because back in the
day when it was announced that the Ivory Coast would be getting a
temple I always pictured myself serving my mission there, and now I'm
finally teaching someone from there! Anyways, she came here from New
York and her mom is one of those hard to catch investigators, but
Dessire was looking for a church and her mom told her about ours! She
hasn't really been since we've been around, but we called her up and
she was excited to have us over! French class definitely did not stick
with me...

Now I know some people always appreciate my stories about food... so
while I did extend my pizza streak all the way until Tuesday (5 days),
that's not the newsworthy event because that happens almost all too
often. My district leader is just a transfer older than me and is
looking to slim down before he heads home. He introduced the idea of a
juice cleanse to me last week and has been encouraging me ever since!
I bought the necessary juices, but was very hesitant to do it at the
beginning of the week with fear that a random meal might pop up. That
wasn't the case, so Friday morning I started the long 3 day journey.
It was a rough morning, but I pushed through. Later in the afternoon
we just finished a lesson where we brought a recent convert Momoh. He
moved here from Sierra Leone no more than 3 months ago, so we were
quizzing him on American food and he really hadn't tried much. We
walked past a cheesesteak place and I told him we could get him his
first cheesesteak. Turns out the owner of the cheesesteak place,
Frank, absolutely loves us missionaries and has been waiting for Elder
Berry and I to come in and meet him! After I ordered a cheesesteak for
Elder Berry and Momoh to split, Frank handed each of us a bag of fries
and came to chat with us. So here I am, a very hungry boy, holding a
fresh bag of fries and watching my fellow brothers eat a cheesesteak,
which Frank ended us giving to us FREE. Are you kidding? I carried my
fries all the way home and wrapped them up for later, then we headed
out to see a few more people. Before going in to drink my dinner we
saw the Petersons, our senior couple in our complex who said "have you
had supper yet?" I guess some member fed them and gave them extra food
for us. Mac n Cheese, fried chicken, King's Hawaiian rolls, cookies. I
had to watch Elder Berry eat that all while I drank my juice. Wo is
me. I'd like to report that I do in fact have self control and I
finished my juice cleanse last night and enjoyed a big plate of
chicken, corn and rice (with a cookie). Sadly I didn't lose any weight
from this experiment so I guess my only positive outcome of this silly
diet is that I have self control (at least for 3 days). I'm sure
that's a Christlike attribute, right? I hope you all have a wonderful
1) cheesesteaks with the trio
2) Suzie's (my car) black cousin Suziniqua!!!
3) Momoh offered to split this cheesesteak with me... self control
4) West Philly

Prince of Pizza

April 3, 2017

The weekend flys by quick when you watch 10 hours of TV... did I use
that joke before? Oh well, it's the last time you'll hear that because
I just watched my last General Conference on my mission... how is that
possible? I always imagined what life would be like at this point and
would always say to myself "I'm pretty much out of time at that
point." Nope, I've got plenty of time left! Honestly though, the week
goes even faster when you have a big meeting and you move too! Yep
that's right, I'm finally living in my area and I'm out of that filthy
place some missionaries used to call "home". Gross. Our apartment is
wonderful. We got 3 new beds (yes, 3), so we have the nicest beds in
the mission and our carpet is getting cleaned today. How lucky am I? I
pray I get to live here for the rest of the time I serve because this
place is so money. I mentioned above that we had golden retraining,
which is essentially a meeting for the goldens to be told a lot of the
things they are told the first day except this time they haven't just
been thrust into a new world and they aren't as tired... maybe. Elder
Berry asked me what my golden retraining was like and I couldn't
remember so I checked in my journal to see what I said, "I don't
remember much because it was long." Nice. Glad I paid attention. It's
okay though because this meeting was phenomenal and I won't forget
this one. We learned this whole theory that reading the Book of
Mormon, going to church and reading your scriptures will actually
bless your life and help you overcome trials and temptations. Crazy
right? I swear there was a conference talk on this as well... the
Primary answers truly are the right answers.

Two highlightable lessons from this week were first when we taught
Antoinette, who is a girl who had been to our church when she was
younger, but then moved away, but then moved back and wants to come
again! Anyways we taught her the Plan of Salvation and if you read
Alma 7:11-13 it talks about the atonement, then if you finish with
verse 14 it is a perfect segway into a baptismal invitation. We had
her read verse 14 and I said something to discuss baptism then looked
at Elder Berry, gave him the nod and he tossed out that baptismal
invite like it was nothin. Good work Youngblood. Excited to keep
working with her. The second was a lesson with the Hoto/Kolline
brothers that I've mentioned before. There's Venessa, Quince, Allen
and their buddy Anthony who might as well be a 4th brother. We brought
the young men's president, Brother Heist who did a great job with
these guys and Saturday night, Allen and Anthony rode the trolley into
philly for the priesthood session and pizza. They were surrounded by
young men at the table. Solid! Then the whole gang, with their little
sister Solange came to a session of general conference at church! They
practically took up the entire bench!

Speaking of pizza, I haven't had pizza the entire time I've been here
in little Africa. I mean this week I ate fufu and peanut butter soup
with crab and turkey neck, that's like typical food here, not pizza.
And yes I know what your thinking and you are completely right, it was
pretty amazing. You may ask what turkey neck tastes like? Turkey. You
may ask what fufu tastes like or what it even is? Yeah, idk. Anywho
after moving on Thursday we needed to restock our apartment so at the
store they had some bake-able pizzas, so I snagged that and enjoyed my
first slice of sweet pizza that night. Friday was golden retraining
with lunch provided, pizza. Saturday there was the Priesthood session
pizza social. Then Sunday we go to watch conference with some Africans
and I'm mentally preparing myself to eat fufu, but no they bring in
pizza. I think I'll eat some left over pizza from Thursday to extend
the streak to 5 days!

Last of all we had very little time to go finding this week, but
Sunday night we were out, mostly just walking home and no joke two
separate occasions people just called out to us and another part
member family let us in and we were able to share the new Prince of
Peace initiative on Mormon.org with each of them. They each felt the
spirit strong and were interested in how the Book of Mormon can "bring
us peace in this life and eternal salvation in the life to come." I'm
super excited to once again have an initiative to hasten the work with
and I encourage you to view it then go share it with someone else. I
hope you all have a wonderful week!

1) this lady's name is Kimmy, she owns a corner store by the dump
apartment and she hooks it up fat for her college students whom she
knows each by name and her "Christian brothers" (us). If you check out
her place on google maps "Bill's Market" in Philly she has a bunch of
5 star reviews that just say "Kimmy". Big shoutout to Kimmy and her