Monday, December 24, 2012

12/24/2012

Guess what? It finally looks a little like Christmas!
 
 
 
The Snow finally hit New York last Friday! We had some pretty good snow and it was actually pretty fun! It hasn't gotten too cold yet, so that's good!
 
 
 Looks like we might have a white Christmas after all!
 

Or maybe not!
 
All of the snow has already melted! Crazy stuff, huh? Oh well... That just means driving will be a little bit safer for a while. And also that we won't be as cold. Haha!  (As you can see, I finally managed to get an actual winter coat! It's quite a bit warmer than my previous coat.. Although the weather has warmed up significantly since I received the better coat. That's how it works, huh?)

Things here are really going pretty well lately! I did an exchange with Elder Kip Atwood from Paradise, UT in Corning and it was a blast! He's a way fun missionary and it was cool to see what the work is like outside of Owego.

We had President and Sister Wirthlin come to church in Owego yesterday, which was a nice surprise. We also have the baptism set up and ready for next Saturday. (The reason we're waiting until Saturday is because one of her main fellowshippers in the ward had left until the night of the 28th, and she really wanted her to be there.) I'm really excited! She asked me to do the baptism for her, so I'll finally get to use the white trousers and tie! :)  I'm really just so excited for her. She looked like she was glowing yesterday at Church, and really seems like a new person compared to when I first met her. It's SO cool seeing how much the Gospel can help people.

Next Saturday, after the Baptism, we'll be having "Transfer Calls..." Crazy! I've pretty much accepted that I'm headed somewhere new, but you never know! My Zone Leaders said I was headed up to Potsdam, so we'll see if they're right! Could be a cold winter in a week or so... :) 
Whatever happens, I'm excited. It's a great time to be out serving a mission and seeing what kind of difference we can make on people.

We're almost ready for Christmas tomorrow! We finally got a tiny Christmas tree (I should have taken a picture!) and got a few packages in the past week. I got a package from Heather and Nick on Wednesday and a package from Tyler and one from Mom and Dad on Thursday. I hope that was all of them! In Mom's email, it said "Did both of your packages arrive?", so hopefully none of them got lost in the mail. Elder Gasetoto also got a package from "The girls of SLC" (Huh?) and one from home as well, so that was good! Funny thing was, he opened his presents as soon as he got them! Hahaha!

So here's the schedule for tomorrow.... We're running a bunch of presents to investigators around 8:30 or so, then eating breakfast/opening presents with the Richardson family at 9:30. After breakfast, we're headed to Elmira for District Meeting at 12 (where I'm giving my first training... Exciting!) After District Meeting gets over at 1:30, we're headed back to Newark Valley to eat dinner with the Cox family at 3:30. After dinner is over, I'm guessing around 5 (3 in Utah), that seems to be the ideal time for me to call/skype you guys! I'm excited to get to talk to you all. I hope that works for all of you... If that doesn't work out, email Sister Cox and relay the message to me so I know what other time would work out.

It should be a very exciting, very merry Christmas. It's weird not being home for the holidays (and kinda doesn't make it seem like Christmas Eve...), but it'll still be good.

I hope you all have a Merry Christmas, wherever people are spending the holidays. Where we spend the holidays and what we get during the holidays aren't what's really important, but the reason for the season is most important.


I believe Mormon.org/Christmas got it right when they said-

"Christmas is about Family. Christmas is about Friends. Christmas is about Service. Christmas is all about Christ."


Merry Christmas! I love you all.
 
Elder Mitch Hussey

Monday, December 17, 2012

12-17-2012

Hello!
 
I cannot believe it's almost Christmas! It is crazy to think that it will be Christmas Eve one week from now! I don't quite understand how/why, but time is flying by! I've almost been out for 6 months already! Weird, huh?

Our investigator has not been baptized yet... But she's now got a solid baptismal date and has even had her baptismal interview already! She's going to be getting baptized on December 29th... The Saturday after Christmas and the day of Transfer Calls! Crazy! I'm so glad it's working out that I will still get to be here when she gets baptized. And she is definitely ready for this. We have several other people who are getting really close to baptism, but I don't think I'll be here when any of them make that step. Our other solid investigator is actually a bit older than you're imagining.. He's 56! At this time, the youngest person we're teaching is in his mid thirties. In fact, this entire area is kinda lacking in youth... There are 3 young men, and 3 or 4 young women in the entire ward! A few are back from college for Christmas though, so that's good to get to see a few of them again.

The Christmas Decorations out here are definitely different... But they're still good. Not many people put Christmas Lights up on their homes, but a ton of people do yard decorations. There's a few yards around here that look like there was an explosion of Christmas lights, reindeer, and inflatable Santa Clauses. I'll have to take a few pictures this week.

This past week was pretty exciting for a few different reasons..

1. Had my first mission encounter with a dog! We were out tracting a neighborhood in West Corners, and we didn't hardly have any luck. Although it was perfect tracting time (5 PM), nobody was home. At the end of the street, we saw a house that was all lit up inside. We were convinced that was the reason that we were in that neighborhood, so we started walking up toward the door. We notice their mid-sized dog was on a long leash in the yard, and he noticed us too. He walked up to us, sniffed our hands, and then let us pet him for a minute. However, he wasn't too keen on the idea of us knocking on the front door, because as soon as we took a step towards it, he attacked! Now, I'll be honest here- I just ran away. Once I was out of danger, I looked back to see it going after Elder Gasetoto. Right when it was about to get him, he just slapped it in the face a few times and ran back to where I was. It was both horrifying and hilarious. Haha!

2. Elder Gasetoto started feeling sick on Wednesday, then on Friday Morning it was pretty apparent that he had the Flu.. Luckily, the Zone Leaders were coming from Elmira, so I was still able to get out and work. Unfortunately, we had to spend Saturday and Sunday in the apartment.. I hadn't gotten my flu shot yet, so apparently I have a pretty good immune system?

3. Speaking of good immune systems.... Last week, we had someone give us some snacks! They were basically a muffin and a cookie mixed, and they were a little bit past expiration, but found to be okay upon quick examination, I tried one. It tasted kinda weird.......... Elder Gasetoto was about to eat his, when he realized the bottoms were covered in mold. Looking at the rest in the package, almost all of them looked okay on top, but the bottoms were all gross. I thought I was going to throw up! However, I didn't get sick, and maybe that was the thing that kept me from getting the flu!... Right? Right? I'll just say that's what happened and it was a blessing in disguise... Yeah, we'll go with that.

Lesson learned- Always examine expired food thoroughly before consumption.

That was the exciting parts of my week! With Christmas and a baptism next week, things are going pretty good! It's definitely a different Christmas Season, but I'm enjoying it!

Hope you all are having a great Christmas Season back home!

Love you guys!

-Elder Mitch Hussey

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12-10-2012

It's kinda starting to feel like Christmas here in Owego! There are Christmas celebrations left and right, but it's about 45 degrees and raining outside today! It's definitely not what I expected winter to be like out here, but hey, I'm not complaining! This past week, Owego had their annual "Lights on the River" holiday celebration and we attended. There was a bunch of free food, turning on of the Christmas lights, and fireworks! It was pretty fun.


It definitely is a fun time of the year! We're trying to do our best to help people remember the reason for Christmas, but it seems like most people are too busy! It's okay though.. We'll keep on trying and have faith we can actually find people out here.

We went to the United Methodist Church's Christmas celebration with our Bishop and his wife yesterday. It was really good and we got to meet a few people in the area that way. The choir was great and did some interesting versions of the normal Christmas songs that were really good!

The work out here is going pretty well too! Unfortunately, one of our solid investigators started smoking again, so he probably won't be baptized while I'm still in Owego... BUMMER! But we'll continue to work with him and he'll get there eventually. It's not all bad news though.. Yesterday, one of our investigators and her grandson came to Church. Church was great, and afterward, we saw her give her Tithing to the Bishop. Then during the Linger Longer after church, she casually told us that she was ready to be baptized and we should set a date this Tuesday. Woohoo! I'm so glad she is finally going to make this wonderful step and progress in the Gospel. It was really exciting. She could be getting baptized this next week! I guess we'll just have to wait and see! Otherwise, the work is going pretty good. It seems like some days we have WAY too much to do, while other days, we can't find anything to do! But we have several investigators who are doing really well and coming along well on their progression in this Gospel.
 
We're trying to get Christmas Decorations up around our apartment, find gifts for members/investigators/family, etc! It definitely is a busy time of the year. But, it's really a good time too.

One more thing! We had Zone Training Meeting this past Tuesday, and while we were there, President Wirthlin told us that they received a few boxes and in them were enough I Love New York Utica Mission shirts for all of the missionaries in our mission! It was pretty awesome and they look great!
 
It's been a good week and we're still out here, trying to do our best to share this Gospel, one of the greatest gifts we could ever give! I hope you all stay safe, stay warm, and stay strong!

Love you all,

Elder Mitch Hussey

Monday, December 3, 2012

12-3-2012

Good Morning!
 
The Christmas decorations are starting to come up here in Owego! This Friday is a big holiday celebration called "Lights on the River" which apparently draws in a pretty good sized crowd of people. Should be able to try some missionary work in that sense, and there's free hot cocoa, doughnuts, and fireworks at 8 PM. Win-win-win situation. :)
 
We are getting a training on the Church's Christmas campaign tomorrow morning.. Should be cool to see a little bit more of what it's all about! If you want, check out Mormon.org/christmas and you can see a part of what it's all about. I do wonder if this will make any differences in the missionary work for us in this area.. I hope so! We're struggling to find new people to teach! (I'm not very good at finding.... Something to work on!)
 
Thanks for updating me on Elder Baird. I've written him a few times, but I haven't heard back yet. Oh well! I can understand how that is. I got a letter from Elder Duncan last week! He's doing good, but it sure does seem like a foreign mission is a completely different experience! It's weird to think about.

Things here are going pretty good! Our investigators are doing well. I think we'll see at least 2 baptisms this transfer.. Maybe 3. I'm praying for 4, but we'll see how that works out.
The church does has a "Stop Smoking Program", but it's old (probably the same as when Dad was on his mission) and could probably use updating here pretty soon. Our investigator tried the program and it didn't work for him before. This time, he's just going on willpower and cinnamon candy.. Lots and lots of cinnamon candy. He's made it a week already though! That much is really good.
 
I'm doing pretty good! This past week was pretty interesting.. We had another slow week. But we did have a interesting challenge!  We had previously met a youth pastor for the Baptist Church that seemed pretty nice, so we went back to have a gospel discussion with him. He was pretty nice until we started talking about the Book of Mormon, then he started throwing out all sorts of different anti-Book of Mormon info at us. The interesting thing was that he was telling us we needed to stop following our emotions and feelings and look at the "proof" he was showing us.. Yet he quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 a ton! "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."

Pretty weird experience, but I feel like it's just motivation to work harder and strengthen my testimony of the Book of Mormon. Partially because of that, I decided to challenge myself and read (and mark) through the entire Book of Mormon during the month of December (hopefully before Christmas)... It's kinda intimidating.. But I'm already on page 47 and I'm learning all sorts of new things this time! There's no way that the Book of Mormon is a story that was made up by man. I remember Dad mentioning on his mission getting a bunch of anti-literature thrown at him. I guess your testimony can't grow as much unless it's challenged every once in a while, huh?

This week should be really good though. Elder Gasetoto and I set some good goals and are going to work really hard to improve ourselves, which should improve our area and our investigators. I'm constantly finding a lot that I can improve on.... Nothing wrong with that though!
 
I'm very grateful for all that all of you do for me. To people who haven't heard from me in the past little while... I'm so sorry! Our P-Days got crazy and I have a big pile of letters to respond to.. But I'll get there. I really appreciate hearing about how all of you are doing and hope that you all stay safe as we are coming into the winter months.

Each day my testimony, love for the people, and understanding of how great this Gospel is grows stronger.

I love you all!
 
-Elder Mitch Hussey

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