Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Going to the ER (28 October 2015)

It's been a long time since I have written.  My apologies are given!

- Transfers were today and I will be staying in Harlem with Elder Wadsworth yet again! This will be our third 6-week cycle together.  I'm excited to stay! Harlem is fantastic.

- Helped a member move his house and we met this guy named SAX who is a drug dealer on the street. We joked with him that we were from the mafia and that we were from the Italian family, the Fibonacci’s. We convinced him to work for us. He offered us drinks and a smoke. He didn't know we were missionaries because we were in regular clothes, but we told him later. He knows everyone on that street, so now we are "homies" with all the thugs on that street. Everyone loves us now on that street.  It is pretty funny.  We know where to go if we ever have any trouble :) All these guys care about is literally, in their words, "drinking and running the streets." Some of these "street thugs" are really great people, it's just nobody gives them a chance.

- Hospital - So my companion and I have been having a few medical issues. We went to urgent care (this time for my companion), and they told us to get an ambulance and get there ASAP. We turned down the ambulance and the nurses were all freaking out. We took the train and buses to the hospital and went into the ER. They brought down the emergency ER surgeon and then 4 other doctors. The Dr. said, "Listen, you probably are wondering why there is all this commotion around you. Listen son, you could walk out of here today with one less body part, so we need to treat this asap!"  (It was a bad infection.)  So, I left the room, they did what they had to do, and luckily, it wasn't bad enough that they had to do the surgery, so they sent us off on our day--without any missing body parts! What a stressful day that was.

- Rise Up October - There has been a lot of protesting here for stopping what they call "police terror and murder." They have blocked off streets to protest, and there have been riots, etc.  Mainly it's a race thing. They are fighting against all the cops who have "murdered." They had a riot and march planned for Oct 22-24. Well, on Oct 20 a cop was shot in the forehead at a project right down the road in our area. We go to that project a lot and luckily we weren't there that day, but we thought that was going to really spark the riots. So we were prepared to see the city go nuts—we thought Harlem was going to burn. We found a card advertising the riots with a phone number. We called the phone number, and turns out all they were doing was "sitting on the grass in a park" and then they were going to march from one street to another. It was such a letdown.

- Columbia University - We went to Columbia University because we are trying to find service opportunities to help out with colleges and universities. Wow, was this campus amazing. It was filled with antique buildings and old English style structures. It was beautiful and very weird to walk from Harlem, filled with crazies, into a beautiful utopian little society. That’s how this place is. One street is Beverly Hills and the next is Watts.

- Daniel - Daniel is a member we just absolutely love. He lives alone here in NY.  He is not all the way there and is very lonely, so we go and visit him twice a week.  We are trying to help him shape his life a little bit. We have been helping him change his diet (he is pre-diabetic), and to fix his loneliness we are trying to get him a dog. We went into the shelter the other day with him and looked at the dogs.  There was this cute puppy that was so calm and perfect for Daniel. Well, he decided not to get the dog because he had to go pick up his pants. This dog was a $600 dog for only $50. He kept saying he wanted a Border Collie, a Pug, or a German Shepherd, which will NEVER be in those shelters. Ahh, good old Danny! The interesting part about the shelter is that it's filled with pit bulls because everyone here wants to be tough. They think by walking with a pit bull, you’re the tough guy. Everyone here has them. We are still working with Daniel.

- Abel - We are working with a guy named Abel. He used to be in the church, then came back. His story is so sad. He is here alone in NY trying to earn money for his family back in the Dominican Republic. His daughter, who is 5, is deathly ill. We have been praying and fasting for her. He called us last night and said she is not in good condition. The medical device that he needs to get her is too expensive for him to buy, and he doesn't know if she is going to live. He called us last night, and I have never heard a grown man of the age of 50 so scared in his life. It really made me grateful for my life and situation. Most of these people don't want to be here. The life here is so hard - a lot harder than it was for them back in their countries. It breaks my heart.

- Elder Reid – wow, what an example. I've known Elder Reid my entire mission. He was the first person I met out here. He went home today and that was such a sweet moment. He was the first person I felt that loved me when I came here, and when I was very, very sick in my first area, he was the one who kept me out here. I love his example. I will miss him.

- Danny The Beggar - We had been contacted to participate in an event for fighting against domestic violence at a hospital here in Harlem. We went and it turned out they already had too many missionaries. So, we were looking at our plans and we had planned to go do some look-ups. We were looking through our records and for some reason, a street number came to my head. I looked and saw if we had any look-ups on that street, and we had quite a few. So, we went down to that street. We came up out of the subway and guess who we ran into? Our man SAX! He was super happy to see us, and we talked to him for a while. As women walk by, he always yells at them and says, "Hey honey girl, I could see our baby in your stomach already." Then he laughs it off and starts talking to us again. These guys are hilarious. Meanwhile, there is this man behind us, watching us, who is standing in defeat begging for money. He waited until we were done talking to SAX and then he came up to us and asked if we could pray for him. We asked him what was up, and he told us he broke up with his girlfriend and now he doesn't have a home. He expressed how he didn't want to beg, but he had no choice, and how he felt like nobody loved him. He felt his potential was gone. It was amazing to stand there and show him that God knew who he was and that He loves him dearly.  As we did this, tears started flowing from his eyes. The feeling of the Spirit was so strong. The love, the humility, the peace—it was amazing. He then looked up at us and said, “I know God cares now because ten minutes before you guys came I prayed to God to send me his angels. Then minutes later you walked up and I knew you were his angels. He sent me you. I prayed for his angels, and those angels are you guys. He knows me. He loves me.” We sat there, all three of us, with tears in our eyes and we felt this overwhelming love for this man who had thrown his life away yet still had enough to come back. We told him we could help him change his life and he agreed. We are going to meet up with him in Central Park and start teaching him. We were meant to go there—God knew we needed to be there because He knew Danny was praying for help. This is something I will never forget. It was such a sweet and warming experience that will always help me remember that God knows all of us, and no matter what we have done or who we have become, through the grace of Christ, we do not have to be who we once were. He is change. He is forgiveness.

All things are possible through Him.


https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2015-08-001-step-1-honesty-davids-story-about-sex-addiction-recovery?category=12-steps-to-change&lang=eng

Sincerely,

Elder Celaya