Checking in from beautiful New Paltz, New York! I've been here for about a month now and things are continuing to go great!
First off, I have some exciting news. I received a phone call from President Morgan late Monday night and he called to let me know that MY BRAZILIAN VISA IS HERE! The church has obtained my visa from the Brazilian government and is shipping it to the mission office in New York. I am scheduled to fly out of New York on September 30th!! That's really all I know for now. I was very surprised because I had expected to be here for quite a bit longer. I am very excited to get to Fortaleza though. At the same time I love it here in New Paltz and am pretty sad about leaving the people here. In the short time I have been here I have developed such awesome relationships with the people we have been teaching and the members of the church here. I will definitely miss it! I have loved my time here.
This week was great! Last Wednesday we went on a hike with some members from the branch and it was awesome! It was a fairly difficult hike with a lot of big boulders and rocks but it was incredibly beautiful. Today we are going to visit West Point and are being led on a tour by a member of the church that works there so we are very excited about that!
We started teaching Joseph this week. We met him last week and I briefly said something about him. He is awesome! He is 27 and originally from the Dominican Republic and just moved here to the New Paltz area from Florida a few weeks ago. He was so excited to meet with us and we have had great experiences meeting with him and teaching him. He told us that he feels like the Lord has prepared him to accept the Gospel now at this time in his life. He is amazed at what we teach him and truly loves reading The Book of Mormon. He told us that he knows this church is true and we asked him to prepare himself to be baptized on October 12th. He said he would and is very excited! It has been so good to meet with him and to feel of his deep desire to grow closer to Heavenly Father. It was awesome to know that the Lord had prepared him for Elder Atwood and I to come in contact with him at this specific time in his life.
Our Book of Mormon class on Thursday night went great! There were 8 people total there, including Joseph and Sarah (who is also preparing to get baptized). It was an awesome experience to read from the Book of Mormon out loud with others and to discuss it as we go. It was great and we look forward to it again tomorrow!
We also continued to meet with members of the church that have not been coming and we've had some awesome experiences with that. We met with Zelbert yesterday and he is doing well and continues to learn more about the church and the Gospel. It's always great to spend some time with him. He was very excited about me getting my visa to go to Brazil. We also met with Donald and had a great visit with him and beat him twice in the game he invented. I think I wrote a little about that last week but he created a game that is a mix between chess and checkers and we beat him two games in a row! It's fun and he continues to learn more about the Gospel but his progress is slow. Great guy though and he loves having us over. We've met several people around New Paltz this week that we are excited to start teaching as well.
The work has been truly amazing these past 2 weeks. It has been incredible to see the Lord's hand in this work. He is very much involved in it, indeed it is His work. I just feel lucky to be apart of it.
I hope all is going well for everyone. Thank you all so much for the support and love. I love you all!
Until next week.
P.S. Rumor is that this Saturday is the big BYU vs. Utah football game....GO COUGARS!!
We went hiking last week on our P-day and this is a picture of me at the top of the tower
at the top of Mohonk Mountain. That building is a nice resort up there.
If it was a little clearer you could see the city of New Paltz in the distance.
It was an awesome hike. Such a blast!
Me in front of the "Welcome to New Paltz" Sign
Me in front of the Hudson River!