Wednesday, December 9, 2015

From Harlem to the Farms (9 December 2015)

Why hello family! So.....

- I'm getting transferred off of Manhattan island, out of Harlem, going about 2 hours up-state (basically the first time out of the city
my whole mission) to a place called New Paltz, and I'm being switched temporarily as an English Elder, to be with Elder Hansen who came out with me into the mission and whom I love! He is awesome! He's from California and we are good friends. We have made the joke throughout our missions that one day we would be companions, but we thought it would never happen because he was an English elder and I a Spanish one. But, now look! Haha. Don't worry though, I won't lose my Spanish. We drive a lot in that area, so I'll have a lot more time to practice it more than I have ever had in my mission. That way when they switch me back to Spanish, all will be good :)  So this will be my fourth area (Yonkers, The Bronx, Harlem, and now New Pultz). This will be the first time out of the city, so I'm stoked. I'm going to try and find the Hispanics up there, too. All you’ve gotta do is find the farmers and then they'll lead ya to those who speak Spanish, is what I've heard.

- Shot again. So this week as we were walking home, another cop got shot. It was nuts seeing the crime scene. Only in Harlem. I'm going to miss this place - that's not sarcastic either, haha. You kind of get used to the craziness.

- Photos. I've gotten a lot of people saying the locations of pictures that I take are pretty nice. So let me tell you how this works. Manhattan is a large island. It basically gets nicer the lower you go on the island. I only have really taken pictures down south and not in Harlem because I’m afraid to pull out my camera here.

- Angel Dust. Saturday we were walking to go downtown to our stake Christmas concert. On the way there, this guy came up to us and starting bawling, asking if we could pray with him. He had a rosary hung around his neck. So we started talking to him and he would randomly start screaming for help and kneel down on the dirty ground of Harlem. We were surrounded by the guys who smoke and drink on the streets of Harlem and he was really making a scene. He was acting very weird, so we asked him what was up. Turns out he was on a hallucinogenic drug called angel dust. He was saying he had $10,000 on him and he was scared because he was going to do something not so smart with his money. So, in the middle of thousands of crazy people, we stood, huddled, and prayed with Douglas as he held up his cross. It looked like we were performing an exorcism because he was yelling in the prayer. So we walked with him and started asking about his kids. He kept telling us he didn't remember anything we just told him, so we had him pull out his phone and record himself. We hit record and talked to him on the video and asked him: "Is this really how you want your kids to see their dad? Is this how you want them to see your example?" We gave him our information and told him what to do so he wouldn't do something stupid while he was on the drug. We talked to him and calmed him down for half an hour and then we left. The man needed so much help and was on the verge of doing something very dangerous. We have been calling him throughout the week to see how he is doing, and he literally thinks we are angels that God sent down to save him. We are going to set him up to get into the addiction recovery program. It was just amazing because my companion had forgotten his metro card, so we had to go back to our apartment to pick it up, and we met Douglas on the way back up, and we would have never met him if we had brought the metro card to begin with.

I'm learning that when things seem to go wrong, a lot of the times they are going right, you just have to be patient. Just like this situation, and the next.

- We took a taxi to transfers today, and we were running really late. At first we could not find a taxi, but finally one came. We started talking to the guy and turns out he is from the Dominican Republic and he had received the missionaries before. We talked for a while and he told us he wants missionaries to come visit him again. It has been about 10 years since they visited him. So we got his information and sent it off to the missionaries who cover his area. We were frustrated about no taxis coming and about running late, but God knew we needed to meet this man. It's just been amazing to see how God works through little things and how most of the time when doors seem to be closing, they really are just beginning to open.

- Patience is key, but not patience as in waiting for things to happen. Rather, doing all that you can do until you can't do anymore, and then go to God and say, "I've done all that I can do, now it's in your hands." Then wait for Him to help you help yourself do things that are impossible that you could never do yourself. I love it. I love how much you learn out here.

God is there, but He wants you to want to find Him and learn how to do it. That's the beautiful thing about this life—he leaves it all in our hands.

With love and hope,

- Elder Celaya

Goodbye Felipe (I love this man)

 Sister Feliz (she's like mother away from home)

With Frederico Torro

With Sebastian who lived in Oxnard
and always brings us Arizonas

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