Life is good here in Poughkeepsie! Elder Romo and I had an awesome week! We're getting along really well . Having a lot of fun and going some good work. I don't even know where the past two weeks went. Now Elder Romo only has three more weeks until he goes home. It will kind of be a bummer when he leaves but I'm excited to continue working with him for a few more weeks. Our area is great. We're always really busy and have plenty of opportunities to teach, which is a big blessing. A lot of missionaries think that areas upstate out of the city are tough and kind of make it an excuse to not work hard and to settle for less than they can do. Luckily that's not the case for us here. We're both working hard and seeing blessings. We had one cool experience with a less active yesterday that I'd like to tell you about. His name is Harvey. His aunt is an active member who we visit every Tuesday for lunch. (The same one who I said "mucho gusto" to last week haha). Anyway she told us that he could use a visit, so on Monday we dropped by. He wasn't home, but his wife answered the door. She took our number and said she would tell him that we came by. This happens often. We give someone our number and they say they'll call. In my experience they usually don't ever call. So, we didn't think much of it. Didn't think he would call and just kind of shrugged it off, hoping we could drop by again next week. Well, at about five o clock yesterday we got a call from Harvey. He told us his wife relayed the message to him and that he wanted us to come and visit. We asked if he was free at six thirty and he said yes! So we went over and had a great visit with him. He's from Peru (which happens to be where Elder Romo is from) and speaks Spanish. So I didn't really get to say much. I understood parts of the conversation but couldn't get the whole thing. My understanding of the Spanish language is a lot more than it was before my mission but still not enough to communicate. So I asked Elder Romo afterward how it went. He said that Harvey told him he has been feeling guilty for some of the mistakes he has made and started this week to pray for help. We showed up right on time! Now Harvey wants us to visit often and help him, and he wants his non-member wife to learn about the church. Is it coincidence that we showed up when he needed us most? No. I am convinced that there is no such thing as coincidence in the work of the Lord. He directed us to Harvey right when he needed us. The Lord has His hand in what I'm doing every single day, and it's amazing when I get to see that as clearly as I did from this experience with Harvey. I love being a missionary. I'm also really enjoying my new calling as zone leader. It's been a bit of an adjustment for me. I was a district leader in Harlem for over four months, so I was pretty comfortable with my responsibilities in that calling. One thing I've learned is that when you get comfortable, the Lord doesn't let you stay comfortable for long. If that were the case we would be missing the purpose of progression in this life. So it's good that I'm adjusting to something new. I'm learning a lot and trying to figure out how I can lead the missionaries in my zone well. I had a great opportunity to learn on Friday. Usually the last Friday of each month the mission has a mission leadership council (MLC). The purpose of MLC is so that President Morgan, his assistants, the zone leaders and the sister training leaders can meet together and council on the needs of the mission. November's MCL got pushed back a week so we went to Scarsdale on Friday to attend that meeting. It was really cool! We actually had the opportunity to have Elder Anthony D Perkins from the First Quorum of the Seventy in that meeting with us. He is a spiritual powerhouse. Since he visited our mission I studied the talks he has given in general conferences. I really enjoyed his talk from the October 2006 general conference, "The Great and Wonderful Love". I learned so much from his teaching, and it was a really cool experience to be that close to a general authority. We also had some other awesome visitors. Elder Allen, who is the head of missionary work in the entire world and a team of five other church leaders in the missionary department joined us. They talked to us about the He is the Gift initiative. The team is actually the one that worked on this project and brought it before the Quorum of the Twelve. They are visiting New York City because a lot of the focus for this initiative is in this area. The Church has purchased space is Times Square and on public transportation to advertise this initiative. If any of you haven't heard of He is the Gift yet you should definitely check it out. The main part of the initiative is a video about Christmas and how Christ was the first gift.
You can also search #SharetheGift to see what people are posting about it on social media. I love the video, and we're trying to use it a lot in our teaching and finding efforts. The way that the church is using social media is so cool! I'm so grateful to be a missionary during this exciting and historical time in the church. Anyway, that's about it for this week. Life is good! I'm loving it and just trying to soak in every minute of the time that I have left to serve the Lord full time. I hope you are all doing well. I'm so grateful for each one of you, and I love you with all my heart!