Tuesday, September 29, 2015

All you wanted to know about Atlantic City

September 28, 2015
Umm... I always forget everything that happened during the week as soon as I start my email, so I'll just give a re-cap on what's happened to the Atlantic city branch.

When I transferred to this area, the branch was closing down and merging with the Linwood Ward (I was there for the branch's last Sunday meeting).  We have now merged and we are helping the members make the transition to an English-speaking ward.  It's been a unique experience and needless to say, it's been a crazy 3-4 weeks!

View from my apartment
Besides that, Elder Cruz is still my companion.  We have very different backgrounds and ways of working.  He converted to the church 4-5 years ago and comes from a very Spanish family that emigrated to the States when he was six.

In other news, our investigators are all progressing.  We were able to see a few of them at church on Sunday, which is great because not many people have cars in Atlantic City.  It's hard for some of them to get to church because it's in the the next town over and there are no buses that make a stop there, but the faithful will find a way.

I've learned a few things about Jersey this past week.  First, it has the least amount of wards, branches and stakes of all the states in the union (including Rhode Island).  There are two stakes throughout the whole state.  Second, New Jersey has a lot of toll roads.  I also learned toll roads are the dumbest idea in human history next to not being able to pump your own gas (Jersey has that too).

But I'm still enjoying the mission and staying busy.  I still get a little homesick from time to time, but that's expected.  Love you guys!

-Elder Dean

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Alantic City

September 14, 2015

So, there are a lot of things happening here in Atlantic city.  First, President doesn't want me to learn Spanish.  He told me to memorize a few things like my testimony and maybe a prayer, but besides that whatever I pick up is what I'll use (and I'm not picking up much... everyone talks so fast!)

Next, we have wifi in the apartment now. Our landlord is super chill so I don't have to rush my email.  

Third my new address is 108 N Trenton Atlantic City 08401 (Tell Grandma). Besides that, I can't think of anything... but if I do I will write you about it. 

It's awesome to hear you are reading the Book of Mormon again.  I know that you will see blessings come from reading it. It really helps lighten our burdens. They will still be there, but the decisions we have to make are much easier when we have eternal perspective.  I read the Book of Mormon every day too... as if that's a big surprise.

I have also started reading the Bible these last few weeks.  It has had its ups and downs ( exodus > numbers) but I am seeing a lot of blessings and a lot more understanding of the prophets and how they communicate with God.  The Book of Mormon and Bible really do support each other.

I also have been fed a lot of "weird" things now that I go into a lot of Spanish homes... like fried plantains and friends and this------------>

But it is a ton of fun... Dominicans are da bomb!  We also started teaching a family straight from Sierra Leone.  They have only been in the States for two weeks and they are super interested in the Gospel.  Please keep Aiah and his family in your prayers. 

As you can see I am having as much fun as I can and am trying my best to do the Lord's work.  I love you, Mom... thanks for all the emails this week.  If you want me to answer any other questions, let me know and I will try my best to answer them today!

-Elder Dean

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Hola Hermano Dean Adios Elder Dean

September 8, 2015

Dear Mom,

So, I have been re-assigned to a new area...Atlantic City, NJ... the land of Snooki.  It's a unique area.  First off, I've been assigned to a Spanish speaking area with my new companion, Elder Cruz.  I am totally lost.  Most of our lessons are in Spanish, but I'm trying my best. The Atlantic City branch had its final Sunday meeting this last Sunday and now is being absorbed into the Linwood Ward.

View from Elder Dean's Window
Atlantic City is a unique place to say the least... talk about being part of the world but not of it, but I think I will enjoy it. The majorities are people from Bangladesh, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mexico. I am enjoying the weather here, but New Jersey is a weird place.  They won't let you pump your own gas... an attendant does it for you.  It feels strange, but gas is super cheap.  Also, all the casinos means something is always going on, like fire works ever Friday night and jet flybys.  There are also a lot of poor areas that you can only go by during the day.

Our house is right near the waterway (the picture is the view from my desk) so there are a lot of boats just cruising around. It's also super humid out now.  It's cooling down, but on hot days it's really sticky.  But I know the church is true in all places and that if we work hard we can turn this area around.

-Elder Dean

Friday, September 4, 2015

Good by Allentown Hello Somewhere New

August 31, 201
So, this week has been pretty weird. Transfer calls came Saturday, I'm leaving my area. I am pretty ready to move. I could have stayed, but I kinda want to see more of the mission too. I kinda want to go to Philly, but I also don't because it's a walking area and winter is coming soon, but whatever... things will happen. We have had a really great week for teaching. We have found a lot of people. I have a few more pictures for you also.

Elder Fernandes walking the lonely streets of Allentown.  The baptism pictures as promised from last week.