News from Mike–10/8/07

Dear Family

The first week of the mission has been an intense one. We flew into the Philadelphia airport and met President and Sister Murray. They are wonderful people. Right from the start, President asked us to walk around the airport and talk to people and hand out pass along cards. That was really fun and not very difficult after the uplifting confidence booster of the MTC. So we did that until our bags came then got everyone’s stuff and headed back to the mission home in Broomall. Its a huge house with a monster backyard and a stream running through the back property line. We had cheesesteaks then we had a meeting, then hit the sack early. In the morning, we woke up and went to the church where we had our formal meeting and first real transfer meeting. My companion is Elder Wolsey from San Diego. He has been out about 6 months. We filter into the Pennypack Ward. Frankford is one of the roughest areas in the mission and has one of the most run down apartments. We live next to 2 crack dealers. Two cops were just killed a couple miles from here and there have been two people stabbed/shot on our block this past week. Interesting seeing that we stay out until 9:00 p.m. every night knocking doors while this is going on. We were informed that in the past year, Philly has climbed from #6 to #1 on the list of most dangerous cities with twice as many killings as days in the year. But I love it. My first area is pretty ghetto and mostly consists of row houses. But that makes tracting much easier seeing that the doors on most houses are literally 18″-24″ away from the next. Philadelphia Mission is the most successful mission in the state right now. In the past three or four years, climbing from 200-480 to 1000-1532 last year in baptisms This year President Murray get up a goal for 1000 baptisms with 70% retention. The retention has really been the problem so now it is the focus. It’s a crazy world out here and I love it. We have a pretty rough schedule everyday which they believe is the reason for our success. We work hardest and longer than all East coast missions and soon the area’s adopting the block schedule as well. It goes 6:30 a.m. wake, run, shower, dress, eat. 8:00 a.m. personal study. 9:00 a.m. companionship study and roleplay. 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. non-stop finding and tracting. Then from 3-5:00 p.m. we come in and eat our lunch/dinner meal, make calls, finish lesson plans and take a nap. 5-9:00 we are teaching and if we have no lessons then we know more doors. It’s going well.

I love you.

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