Saturday, December 29, 2007

A Typical Day?

Today started out to be quite normal. But what is normal to a missionary. Well for us we filled 2 food orders. Around 11:30 two elders came by to let us know about a baptism at our building in our ward at 6:00pm. Could we please print up a program for them and could sister Ellett give the Baptism/Holy Ghost message? No problem. We filled another food order, worked out a program for the baptism on the computer, then went to Kmart to fill a prescription. The Doctor filled the script out wrong and only gave Doug three pills. He needs three pills a day for 3o days. No problem, they will contact the Doctor on Monday. While still in Kmart, we stepped onto the escalator to go down. 1/3 of the way down we hear this tumbling noise behind us. We turn to see a case of pepsi tumbling down heading straight for us as it explodes and sprays us all over. I bend down to keep one from hitting me and it explodes as I bend down. The lady who dropped them turned and left us there in a shower of "sweet N sticky". We then had to go back up the escalator to find the restroom with water and paper towels. I laugh now as I write this, but at the time it was awefull.

On the way home we get a phone call to let us know that the baptism has been called off. So we continue plans that we had before the baptism came up. To the subway to go down town to the apartment we located for the sister missionaries to pick up the keys so they can move in. Of course the subways has delays today. They actually are doing construction and we had to get off halfway there and switch trains. After getting off the subway, Doug's phone is beeping letting us know he has a message. (On the subway we can't get thru with phones) So as we are walking the 4-5 blocks to the apt. the message tells us that the baptism is back on. Speed walking becomes our mode of transport. We pick up the keys, check out the apt. which is on the 9th floor, then speed walk back the 4-5 blocks to the subway, to have to change trains half way there. We speed walk the 4 blocks to our place which is right by the church, we have two minutes to spare, we stop in there first before printing off the programs for the baptism, just to find out they can't locate the sister getting baptized and now it is off again. We could do with out a few of these days if they are "Typical" days in the life of a missionary.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Media Referrals

Media Referrals are the individual that see or hear about the church thru any type of media, they call the number given and requests the item advertised. Then the mission is sent the information and the office sends it out to the missionaries whose focus area the individual lives in. As senior missionaries, we don't have a focus area, ours is the Bishop's store house. We are sent referrals of those who are outside of the missionaries focus area, because they are too far away for them to get to. Because we have a car, it is easier for us to check it out than to drive the younger missionaries all over to do it. Before Christmas we had about 8 we were trying to get a hold of. Nobody would answer so we left messages. We had a sister call us back and set up an appointment for the following day. She told us the first visit that she was looking for a Christian book store so she could buy her a bible. We told her we could bring her a bible. We have been there four times, two times nobody answered the door, the other two we taught a short lesson. She has agreed to go to church with us this sunday. We are going to pick her up. Her name is Raquelle and she is a 19 year old mother of a little girl. Pray for her desire to learn more and be baptized.

I still feel like we are in training. The younger missionaries are very assertive and know how to share the gospel simply. I think that I open my mouth and too much information comes out. Practice does make better. Practicing role playing is such an important part of learning to share and teach. Thank heavens when we pray for the spirit it can teach and testify.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Day

We woke this morning to a bright sunny day. Temp. probably got up to 55. We fixed our traditional Christmas brunch for our Zone today. It was a big hit. We ate at the church, cause it is right next door. There were 18 of us. Could have never all fit in our little home. The Zone leaders, Elder Thornock and Elder Smith are amazing. They came early to help take everything next door and they set up the Relief Society room with tables and chairs and pulled in the Christmas Tree from the lobby. Everything had been prepared ahead of time except the crepes and waffles and eggs. The two sister missionaries cooked the waffles and Doug and I cooked the crepes while several elders buttered, sugared, and rolled them up. And there was three different elders cooking the scambled eggs. The Sausage gravy and biscuits was the big hit along with the crepes. They played a fun white elephant gift game, sang carols and then went on their way. Just another day in the mission field, except, phone calls to home. Yahoo!!! They are all so obedient and diligent in their callings.

Christmas Night we went to two members homes with our Zone Leaders. The first home are the top pictures. A sweet sister and her two daughters and a grand child. She is raising her grandson Manny. He and Doug hit it off with his little drum set he got for Christmas. She fed us dinner. There was such a sweet spirit at this home and we left them with a Christmas message and testimony. The other home was a little crazy. There was a single sister and her 4 little girls. They had gotten a Karyokee machine for Christmas and were rocking out all 5 of them. We just stayed for a minute and said we would come back again. We arrived home to get on the web-cam and visit with all our kids who were over at the house. The camera froze up but we visited over the phone and chatted on the computer. We love and miss you all.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve - only on a mission.......

The subway was pretty quiet tonight. We went downtown to finalize and sign contract lease agreement for one of the sister's apartments. Yahoo - it's complete, they will be able to move in on the 1st of Jan. The lady we have been working with is a sweet Jewish lady from Israel. She is here while her children are getting their education then she wants to move back to Jerusalem. There-fore, Christmas eve is not a big deal, because she celebrates Honika. We have become quite good friends. She told us we must come to Jerusalem and stay with her for a visit. Now that would be cool.

Doug wishes everybody we pass by on the streets - MERRY CHRISTMAS - and most respond with a smile and merry christmas to you too. People are friendly everywhere, even in Harlem.

Merry Christmas to all who read and check out our blog. We sure have fun sharing our experiences with ya'll. Have a great Holiday and make sure to Make it HOLY - remember the reason for the season. The blessed gift of the "Only Begotten Son - even Jesus Christ."

We send our love to all.

Santa does travel in ALL kinds of weather

We drove to Conneticut last night after the baptism. It was dark and raining just a little. We had to deliver some Christmas presents to Elders that had been transfered. Their packages went to where they used to be serving. We started out with a light sprinkle of rain, but soon it was raining sheets. Now we know that that expression is for real. We have never seen it rain so hard for so long as the wind blew it down in sheets. We were sad to have missed the view of the country side as we drove to Bethel Conneticut, 58 miles away from us. Because of the rain it took twice as long. The missionaries weren't there so we left it on the doorstep. We know that mom's and dad's and missionaries are grateful that Santa delivers in all kinds of weather. This morning early as I am typing, the sun is shining to a beautiful blue sky. Go figure!

St. George Family Christmas Party

Last night we visited with family who had gathered for our annual Family Christmas party for all who live in St. George. Diane's kids were all there too. Ron and Julie and their family, Royce and Mindy were down for the Holiday. Pauline and Scott hosted the party at their house and all their kids were there. Of course Elva and ReVon and all of our kids. There was a house full. Dusty and Cari even went to enjoy the festivities. He looks tired but did great, says Pauline. We enjoyed visiting over the phone for a couple of hours.

We were too tired to really know how much we are missing. Today has been a busy day. We had two baptisms. One in our ward and one in the Spanish branch, both meet at our building. It was a wonder experience. This sister has been coming to church for the past several months. She has all kinds of questions and wants to make sure she will keep her committments. She has such a sweet spirit about her. She has a little boy. It was beautiful. So grateful to be amongst these new members with their excitement about this new step in their lives.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Masses of people at Christmas time

Notice the little taxi in center of picture, these were pulled by people riding bicycles. The picture below is taken from the top of the Rock.

P-Day fun at Christmas Time

Sat. the 2nd we drove to Scarsdale to mission office for some assigned business, then drove back to the Bronx for a baptism at our building. Then drove around for an hour trying to find a post office that was open, found one but the line was out the door. We'll stand in line another day. After that we had the day to our selves.

We took the Subway "downtown" to 42nd street. We walked back up to Rockafeller Center which is on 49th street. The walk itself was entertaining. The throng of people on all sides of the street. The Christmas decor in the shop windows, Police on every corner trying to direct traffic for the cars because of the amount of people walking. Some cops were on horses. The rode was blocked off where the line to skate was. I can't imagine waiting in line out side for an hour so that you could skate. But I need to remember, this is Rockafeller Center. We then bought tickets to ride to the "Top of the Rock" to the observation deck, 68 floors up. The ride in the elevator was awesome. The ceiling to the elevator is glass so you can watch you speed up to the top floor. You go so fast your ears and head feel the pressure, and you need to pop your ears. The view is spectacular. We were there at dusk. Too bad the sky was foggy, couldn't see the sun set. We stayed up there long enough to watch all the lights come one at dark. This is a must when visiting the City.

Down on the main floor is shopping, It is amazing. We stopped and got hot chocolate to sip on as we watched the skaters. Thousands of people with the same idea. We had a great time. Wishing you all could have shared this with us. What an exciting Christmas experience.

Diane Ellett Rasmussen

Diane is Doug's older sister by 1 year and 5 days. She was born January 30 1959. Diane passed away December 20, 2007, quietly during the early morning hours at her home. She has been suffering with poor health for some time.

Diane has three children, 2 boys, Leighton and Landon, and Elizabeth her daughter. Leighton is married to Angie and they have a little girl, Cassidy. Darren is her husband. She so loved her family. We are going to miss her. She always talked about how she loved our Clint and felt him near her often. I am sure she has given him a big hug and kiss. I know there are many loved ones greeting her. Our prayers are with her family. Her boys are in the mid 20's and liz just graduated from High School. We are sad to miss the funeral next Friday, but know we and they are in the Lord's care. We love you Diane and will miss you, but know we can see you again.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Dusty heading home today

Today Dusty and Cari are heading home from the hospital in Provo. Brandon and Brax are driving up there from St. George to pick them up and drive them home. Dusty is doing better. Not great, but better. It will take some time to continue healing and finding out exactly what he can do. But Heavenly Father loves them and is mindful of them and all our prayers. We love you Dusty. Wish I could be there to help and give you a hug and kisss. Thanks to our wonderful family for all their help.


December 21st is a busy day in our family. Not only is a last minute Christmas shopping day, and Doug's parents anniversary, we also celebrate our two oldest kids birthdays. Brandon was born at 6:59 in the morning and Brandee two years later at 11:59 pm. Both were born in St. George Utah and we brought them home in Christmas stockings from the hospital. These stockings have always been hung up at Christmas time and filled with treats for them. They have always been best of friends and still are. They are holding the family together while we are on our mission and are great examples and blessings to us.

Brandon has always been a kind hearted gentleman. A natural leader and deep creative thinker. He is always optimistic and fun to be with. He is a loving husband and awesome father, handsome and very spiritual. He is our first born. We love you so much Brandon and are so proud of you.

Brandee is our sweet little girl, our only little girl. She is very tender hearted and jumps right in to help anyone in need. She loves playing around can rough house with the best of them. She is a great friend, a precious mother and wife. She is smart and witty and beautiful inside and out. We love you so much Brandee and are so proud of you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Delivery Day

This is what the "pantry looks like when it is stocked full. Produce frig.

In this little room there is two freezers and one frig, the frig is on the wall not in the picture.

This is our district family. The one standing is Elder Donilov from Russia. Everything here is new and different for him. He joined the church 2 years ago. He arrived here just before we did. This is a great bunch of Elders, very dedicated and diligent.

Today was our first food order delivery from the New Jersey warehouse. The young elders come by to help unload the van and stock the shelves. Then we feed them lunch. It is great fun to be around them. They thought the spagetti was great, probably because they didn't have to fix it. It was a big order and filled our shelves, which is good because the warehouse is closed until the 5th of January.

Our front door perspective

Pictures now combined with post. Scroll back thru

Pray for our Dusty

Friday the 14th, Dusty was in Provo to have surgery on his ruptured disks in his lower back. The surgery went well, but the following day he was still in such pain when trying to walk. After another MRI the doctor said that more of the ruptured stuff had sluffed off and there was a significant space between the L 4-5 that he would need to go back in surgery and have them fused together. So, Sunday evening he was back in surgery having his back fused together with two rods inserted. This was a 4-5 hour surgery. After the surgery was complete the Dr. told Cari that everything went great. They will be there a week instead of 2 days like they planned. Dusty is very sore and rightly so after two surgeries. He has been up and walking short distances. The pain medication keeps him quite sedated, in and out all day. But every day he is getting stronger. They are hopeful to go home on thursday, but will have to wait and see.

Our kids are the greatest. After hearing of the news of the necessity of another surgery, they discussed what to do to help and it was decided that Brandee and Brax would pick up Tryston from grandma Shannon and take him to see his mama and daddy before Dusty's second surgery. So Brandee and Brax, McKell, Taylee and Tryston loaded in the car and drove to provo on Sunday, just in time to see Dusty before they rolled him into surgery. Perfect timing. This was such a blessing to two scared kids facing this surgery. They stayed there until monday afternoon and then drove back home. They will all help out with Tryston until Dusty and Cari are back home this week end.

Your prayers are so appreciated, the Lord hears each one of them. He is mindful of our family while mom and dad are away. We love you all and are so proud of our children. Oh we miss you so.

First Day serving in the Temple

Today is the day after a big snow storm rolled in. We walked to the Subway to catch a ride to the temple. We actually did really well making our connections, just by our selves. We ride the subway all the way down to 68th street, the very bottom of Central Park. Then we catch a bus that goes thru the lower end of the park and drops us off right in front of the temple.

The temple is right across the street from Lincoln Center, performing arts center. Right inside the door you go left to go into the temple, or right to go into the stake center and church offices. Just inside the temple door to your left past the recommend desk is the Baptismal font. When taking a shift there during the day, you are in charge of washing all the white clothes used. The elevator takes you up to the 4th where you rent white clothing, 5th floor where dressings rooms are and endowment room. The sixth floor is two sealing rooms and then President's and matron's offices. During our 6 hour shift, you rotate to every floor. There were about 12 brothers and sisters in prayer meeting. They sure are glad to have us. We so love the temple and are so grateful to be able to serve there on fridays.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Moving Day

This is looking out our front door. The picture doesn't do the reality justice. I wish I could send the noise in a picture. This is a busy express way beside I-95. I-95 is lower than the express way. If you click on then picture you can seen it in a different lite.
I took this picture of our kitchen as I was standing in the door way. the counter where the pepsi is sitting, is the only counter top I have. It is a converted book shelve, the other side is open with two shelves.
This is our office room upstairs. The two windows are over looking the express way. A very noisy room.
I turned just slightly when in the door way of the kitchen to get this picture. Our slow cooker sits on the microwave that sits on three tiered little shelve that sits against the frig.
this is looking into the kitchen door way thru one of the cold storage rooms. there is a door way right behind me that goes into a small room with two freezers and a frig and more shelves, that leads to another room that has all the canned goods on it. Keep in mind the picture you are looking at is the size of both of the other two rooms combined.

It's not hard to move when everything you have fits in your car. How blessed we are to go to a house that is furnished with things. We are blessed to have a roof over our head, a steam boiler to keep us warm, cold and hot running water, and a telephone. We did have to buy a bed after sleeping in the bed that was here. That is probably the one material thing that we will miss the most, our bed back home in St. George. We found Costco, yahoo, that was exciting. We now have food in the frig.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Zone Conference

We enjoyed Zone Conference today. What a wonderful teaching and learning experience. Two Brethren from the MTC came to our mission to observe and council. We are the 2nd highest baptizing mission in the US and Canada. They went to a couple Zone conferences and out with the missionaries to appointments. Wanted to see what we were doing that was so successful. Then they critiqued and counseled on what we could do better. Some of the ideas were implemented in our Zone conference today. Our biggest struggle is simplifying our message to people who are clueless about our church. We are to teach and testify in the 1st minute of contact. Don't waste time with introductions. This is a difficult thing to do for us who like to visit and learn about others. We won't have teaching opportunities like the young elders as we have other responsibilities with the store house and the housing assignment and temple service. But, we practice with them just the same. It is amazing how role playing helps you perfect a message. Not a memorized message, but a message with certain gospel doctrine. The young Elders and sisters are amazing. What a blessing they are.

Good-byes were said to the Shaffers. They are out of here early tomorrow morning. We pray for their safety as they are traveling thru the ice storms across the country. Signing out XOXOX

Monday, December 10, 2007

Web cam - a delight

Last night we were able to see all the kids and grandkids. Technology is a wonderful blessing. Of course the only one who looks much different is Taylee. Babies change so fast. And Brax, his face is full of hair. How did that happen. HA HA! You all looked great, hopefully we can figure out the delayed and scratchy sound. Love to you all!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Great Concerns relieved!

Where to get a hair cut! We have found the place. It was recommended by the Shaffers. 15 miles away from where we will live, but worth the drive. We punched the address into the GPS and arrived to find the owner, an Italian gentlemen who put Doug right in his chair and started cutting before we could tell him what we wanted. Doug says it is the fastest hair cut he has ever had. The owner, we will learn his name and remember it the next time we go for a cut, has cut hair for 48 years. Doug didn't dare move for fear of an ear being taken off he went so fast. His neck was even shaved with a razor. We were impressed. The whole process took about 8 minutes. Anna, who will be able to weave and hi-lite my hair was not there. But, I am told she does an excellent job. Doug's hair cut was cheaper than in Utah. In the City it would be nothing for his cut to cost around $60.00.

How to get Doug's prescriptions filled. This is a huge concern put to rest. Sister Vellaros in our ward is a PA who works with all the missionaries. She is a great blessing. Doug sat down with her today to go over his history and she wrote out his prescriptions. The next concern: where to fill them. Not a fear, Rite-aid is close by our apartment. We even have a post office just around the corner. Hurrah! We truly are very blessed to be in the Bishop's Store house, it is very close to so many things.

We have also joined the 21st century. We have figured out how to pay our bills on line. Necessity is a great teacher.

Olmstead ward Christmas Party

We had the great opportunity of going to the temple with a new member of the Ward, Doug Alcroft, to do baptisms for the dead. We accompanied two Elders; Elder Bedwell and Elder Donilov, Bro. Shaffer, and Doug on the subway with a transfer to a bus then to the temple. I think we can make it again to the temple by our selves. Elder Donilov, from Russia went to the temple for the first time after he arrived at the MTC in Provo. Today was his second time at a temple. He took turns baptizing and confirming and getting the same done to him. It was a wonderful experience. Elder Donilov is here on a mission due to the tender mercies of his ward who donate to the mission fund. He is the only member in his family and would never be able to go on a mission if it wasn't for the mission fund. He is so grateful.

President Searle has given us permission to serve in the temple one day a week. So we visited with the temple president, Pres. Frost and he was very excited to have us volunteer. He of course like so many others looks at us and says: "you don't look like seniors." They are in such need of help. We will be at the temple on Fridays, 10 - 4. We are thrilled with this opportunity.

We went to our ward Christmas party. It was a wonderful time. Such variety of food, which was very good. Brother Doug Alcroft was Santa. In the past the Bishop has been Santa, this was a great surprise for everyone. All the children were given a present. It was wonderful to watch the little ones get so excited. It definately helps with home sickness. The party was purposely scheduled for this day as it was a special going away good-bye for the Shaffers. Many tears were shared. They will be missed so much.

We are starting to LOVE New York.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Radio City Music Hall

Sorry this got loaded before I rotated, turn your head it's worth a look.
thi night we went to Radio City Music Hall, we walked around the block , Rockerfella Center
They were just cleaning the ice so people could skate, notice the big tree in the right had corner.
Here we are with all the couple missionaries watching the Rockettes, Doug is taking the picture.
This picture was taken clear across the skating rink from the tree. It's worth the turn to take a look.

What an adventure today. We went into the city to meet with a Broker about the Housing assignment we were given. One must be very alert and observant or one is found going across the wrong bridge to Long Island instead of Manhattan. This can become expensive as well because of the $4.50 toll each way across the bridge. It can also put you 30-45 minutes behind schedule depending upon the traffic. Needless to say live and learn.

All the senior couples went to Radio City Music Hall to watch the Rockettes. WoW!!! There are two senior couples leaving for home this month, and this was a going away party as well as our Christmas get together. It was almost as fun walking around Rockafeller Square with all the Christmas lights and people as it was watching the program. We had our first experience on the Subway. Not as bad as I was expecting. It was a grand adventure that we will attempt again before Christmas is over.

The Housing assignment has forced us to learn Manhattan a little. The prices are out rages. We are tying up a two bedroom one bath apartment for $2100.00 a month. It is probably about 800 square feet. And this is cheap because it is further north by Harlem. Just to get into the apartment will be around $6,500. It will house 4 sister missionaries. Brax, aren't you glad you live in St. George.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Delivery Day

Today was delivery day at the Bishop's Store House. The delivery truck is not quite a truck. It is an extended van that comes over from New Jersey every other wednesday. It carries not more than 70 boxes at a time. 6 missionary elders come to help unload, take the boxes us the stairs and put out on the selves. Everything has to be counted and accounted for. All the boxes have to be broken down and stored for garbage paper recycle pick up day. After wards the Shaffers feed them and then they are off to other appointments.

We had a great visit with the Shaffers going over many of the responsibilities and then off in the car to check out the place. Where the subway station is, three blocks down the street, hurray! Where the post office is, there are two close by, every Friday, mail weekly reports, every 3rd wed. must overnight monthly reports to main office. Where Costco and other grocery stores are. (An interesting piece of info: There are Costco's here that are on four levels, with parking lots the same way. Imagine shopping with all your kids.) A Chinese grocer who sells fresh fish right by the front door so the place smells atrocious, is the best and closest place to buy great produce that we will have to have in the store house . Where to get our hair cut and stuff. It's a crazy place, but we have so much so close by.

We experience a Zone meeting in China town yesterday, right down in the heart of the city. Sister Searle is amazing. She feeds so many missionaries so many times each week. At all Zone conferences. In China town it is a rented building with no kitchen facilities. So you can imagine all the before hand preparations that take place. 36 were fed yesterday and then another 20 today in her home. She fed them twice today, made cinnamon rolls for early this morning before the meeting began. Everyone loves sister Searle. She is every missionaries mother away from home.

So far, because we are living with President and Sister Searle, we really aren't settled into missionary life. But we have loved being a part of behind the scenes as we have watched and helped with their responsibilities. We will move into the Store House around the 12th of Dec.

We have found an apartment to house 4 of the 12 sister missionaries that were part of our assignment. They will be on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. The Broker we had to work with is a Jewish lady that is so sweet. Two of her daughters live in the apartment building so she says it is very safe. She invited us to come to Jerusalem where she is from, because she will be moving back there when her kids have all been educated. She will help us find a place by Union Square and another one in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Pray for our success. We have to be careful and cautious because it is the Lord's money. Love to you all!

Monday, December 3, 2007

It's going to be OKAY

Every day just keeps getting better. Today we went to staff meeting at the mission office and met the two office couples and the AP's. We were even invited to stay for the meeting. Oh what goes on behind the scenes that know one knows about. We then drove to the Bronx for our district meeting. The Elders are so much fun. After training and introductions, there are 4 new missionaries, us and and Elder from Novia Scotia, and Russia, they played Do you love your neighbor. What fun. After that we went over to the Store House with the Shaffers, had lunch and went over many things with them. The time flew by, we visited with them for several hours., learned much and are feeling more comfortable. The Shaffer's are going to be very missed here, they are amazing and we love them.

This evening we worked on an assignment of finding apartments for the 5 sets of sister missionaries. We are working with the High Councilor and the Housing specialist from each ward. We have appointments to see a couple places tomorrow night.

It's a busy place here at the Mission Home. Tonight two brethren from the MTC flew in to spend some time with our mission , checking out the success we are having with the "Preach my Gospel" book. We are a "Preach my Gospel" mission. It is an awesome teaching tool. Tomorrow we are off to China Town for a Zone conference to observe, learn, meet more missionaries and help sister Searle with the meal. She is feeding 36 missionaries.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Our first Sabbath in The Bronx

Our house is just beyond the house you see next to the church.

Today we woke to a beautiful white blanket of snow. We laid in bed and watched out our window at day-light as the snow was falling. It was quiet and serene as we laid there and enjoyed the moment. We enjoyed reading and studying during the morning as church wasn't until 1:00 pm. It was fast and testimony meeting during Sacrament meeting. The spirit was so strong. Many of the members don't have vehicles so they have to depend on the subway, taxi, or train. After the sacrament was passed many walked in late, due to transportation delays. It is wonderful to experience the testimonies of new converts who are so excited to share the gospel.

Keith Gripper, the new member who was baptized last night, was confirmed with the gift of the Holy Ghost. There were three new members who bore their testimonies. It was precious. Quite a melting pot. People from all over the world here in the Bronx. Many young couples in leadership positions. Five young couples going to medical school, many in leadership positions. We have 4 sets of young elder missionaries in our ward. They all were in the gospel essential class with the new members and investigators. Relief Society meeting was wonderful. The young women came in and joined us. The presidency was brand new, their second week was today. The cute young president gave the lesson about the importance of angels in our lives. And how we are angels, answers to others prayers and how we need to look for opportunities to serve and follow the promptings to do so.

After church on fast day they have pot-luck afterwards. This is so that they can socialize and visit and get to know each other, as many live so far away. We finally met Elder and Sister Shaffer who we are replacing. We love them. Sister Shaffer took us over to the "Pantry", the Bishop's store house, that is also where we will be living. It is just two house down from the church. It was bigger than we expected and as old as we expected. We are blessed to have such a fine home compared to the others in the ward. We were told that we will feel it is a palace after we experience living conditions of others.

We enjoyed the First Presidents Christmas devotional. Hope all of you are well and happy. We love you!!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Our first day in the mission field

Today was a great day. We arose about 7:30 and walked down the path to the church which is just below the Mission Presidents home. It was freezing outside so we walked around and around in the gym and down the get a little exercise. Doug played a little basket ball and I walked. We explored the church house, it felt like we were home. We then grabbed us a bowl of cereal and got dressed for the day. At noon we drove in with the Searle's to Manhattan to go to a baptism. We were right down town in Union Square. Most all the roads down town are one way roads because all the roads are so narrow. We drove around looking for a parking place, nothing on the street so we went to a parking tower and had to pay. President Searle took care of that. We then walked several blocks to the baptism. The church owns a building in the middle of a block that is about 8 floors high. They actually bought the building next to it also which used to be a catholic convent. There is a senior couple and 5 sets of sister missionaries living in the convent. They have several offices for different things there too.

It's just like you see on tv. The sun is hardly seen on the side walk because of the tall buildings. The bottom floor is shops and up above are apartments. On the top of some buildings there are trees growing in pots people have planted. The baptism was really special. It was for an older lady who had been waiting for missionaries to show up. She had gotten a hold of a B of M and had read it twice. The meeting was really spiritual. The two members that gave the talks were converts too. That was so amazing. They talked about their conversion and baptisms as they share the baptismal and Holy Ghost message.

A really neat thing that happened was that a sister we met in the elevator at the temple was there at the baptism. It really made a difference seeing someone there that was familiar. As well as some of the missionaries that were at the zone leaders meeting that we barged in on yesterday when we first arrived at the Mission Home.

After the baptism we walked the streets finding a chocolate factory resturant. Once we got there it was so crowded we decided to go back to Quizno's On the way back we walked thru the actual Union Square plaza. It is just like a huge craft fair, but with name brand things. Anything you could imagine and more. The girls would love it. The prices weren't to bad either, but oh so crowded. I bought two silk scarfs for $5.00 each. Looked for some boots but decided to just look around. I don't think the set up shops are always there like they were today. Being the holidays probably makes the difference.

It was actually exciting to be in the hubbub of things. It was great being with people that knew their way around too. I would never had been able to find our parking tower. My mouth was probably always open as my head and eyes were staring in amazement at everything going on around us.

An hour after we got back home we drove back to the Bronx to go to another baptism of a gentleman who is actually in the ward we will be attending. He actually stopped the missionaries on the street and told them he wanted to hear their message. The Elder's quorum president who talked is a convert of 6 years. He bore a sweet testimony, with a difficult accent to understand. The spirit steps in and makes it possible to understand. We met many of the missionaries that attend our ward. There are actually eight of them. We were hoping to meet the Shaffers, but they were in Manhattan with a son of their's that flew in for the week end.

The route is becoming more familiar as we have been in the Bronx a couple of times now. We won't actually be staying there until Dec. 12th. That is when the Shaffers will be released. We will go to church there tomorrow with the Mission President as he is doing training with the Elders Quorum Presidency.

(Honest truth) The Bronx scared me to death yesterday. Especially after we found out that right behind us is the train track and right in front of is a very busy noisy road. No houses across the street. The church has a 8 foot rod iron fence all the way around it and no parking lot. The doors have to stay locked because of transients that always wonder in and try to stay, probably because it is warm. You have to ring the door bell to get in. The church is one house away from us.

After checking out our neighborhood yesterday, we went to the temple. Many tears were shed during the session as I prayed for peace in my heart and confirmation of our purpose there. Needless to say, today was a much better day. Especially after attending the two baptisms. What a blessing the church is in our lives, how blessed we are as latter-day saints. The church is the same no matter where in the world you go. What a blessing here in New York, many of the leaders and even temple ordinance workers are very young. Heavenly Father has his valiant warriors on both sides of the veil.

(Note: my camera is now charged, will take pictures of places for you to see)