Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Happy Birthday DIANE

Today is Doug's sister Diane's birthday. They were 360 days apart. For five days out of the year they were the same age. Now that would have been a hand full. Love ya Diane!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Parking tickets solution

We finally found the "other" place to pay our "parking tickets." We could have done it online but remember how the rain washed off the print. We had to go and find out what the amount was. We go in to pay the fine to find a huge room about the size of the cultural hall in the churches in Utah that is surrounded with 33 different windows for paying fines. The center of the room reminds me of the airport. Back to back seating through out the whole room. The monitors next to the ceilings tell you when your number is up at what window you need to go to. After waiting for our number to be called we approach the window to pay our fine and the lady behind the window tells us that we need to go in the "other" room and see the judge. But first we need to get another number for that room. The problem: the cop wrote the wrong code on the ticket so we have to appeal it with the judge. This next room is a little smaller, but more seating that is filled up with bodies. Finally our number is called, Doug goes to the cubical where one of the judges sits, She throws the ticket out because "that cop should have known better than to put the wrong code and he needs to go back to school to learn how to write." Tender Mercy!

But the story doesn't end here. We walk next door to go to Staples to buy some copy paper, Doug is looking out the window at where our car is parked, on the window under the wind shield wiper is a "TICKET". Oh my gosh!!! As we are looking out the window at our car a tow truck pulls up and attaches it self to the car parked in front of us that also has a ticket on the wind shield. Doug races out there to talk to the cop. We should have read the sign that is about 100 feet down the road. No parking. We saw the sign but it was so far away from where we parked and there were 3 other cars parked on the curb some distance back we thought we were okay. Next time - don't think!! This time the cop was actually a nice guy, he reduced the ticket from$110 to $60. Shared with Doug some of his in-sight and told him to get in his car and move it before it got towed.

So..... We were given this suggestion of making a sign that says CLERGY on it and to put it on our dash board when parking and see what happens. Hopefully it will make a difference when we do something we don't know we are doing wrong.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Together again

We love you President and Sister Hinkley!

President Hinkley Dies - January 27, 2008

We love President Hinkley! We will miss him very much. I think he will always be remembered to us as "OUR" prophet. It is such a shock to hear of his passing. Dusty and Brandon called us last night to let us know what they had heard. Of course we turned the TV on to see if there was anything on the news. We forget that we are not in Utah. Nothing was mentioned on the news. So we went to the computer to see what we could find. And there it was on the Church Newsroom site. This morning early a sweet sister from the ward called to let us know the news. She said that it was only mentioned in passing with maybe a 30 second blurb on the news she was watching. It is so sad to think that the "worldly" world is not interested in this moment in History. President Hinkley was so much a part of our lives. I almost feel like my Grandfather just pasted away. What a blessed moment in his life to now be with his sweetheart again, and with many of his ancestor, not to mention all of those who revere and love him in heaven as we do here on earth. We love all of our leaders and so miss them when they go on to bigger and better things in the next life. We do testify that Gordon B. Hinkley is a prophet of God in our day. How blessed we are to have been under his leadership.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

We Love the TEMPLE

We look forward to our Fridays we get to spend in the Temple. It is so amazing to walk inside the doors and literally leave all the hustle and bustle outside. Did you know that the temple was built inside the skeleton of an existing building? There are only a few places where they are attached together. Hence, one of the ways the noise is kept outside. It is on a very busy intersection of 68th and Columbus right across the street from the Lincoln Performing Arts Center. It is on the bottom west side of Central Park about two blocks away. I think it was dedicated in 2002. They were not able to put a steeple and angel Moroni on top at first because they did not own the air space. So the church bought the building next door in order to own the air space and now Angel Moroni sits atop the steeple.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY DOUG - Love ya so much

Had a great Day! We first went to the temple and worked our 6 hour shift. Then we walked a couple of blocks to take in the sights until we ran into this guy wanting to take us for a ride. He peddled us down thru 5th avenue and Madison on about 56th street. We finally found a credit union that we could bank at only to find out that it closes in March. The branch can't afford the rent space. They are on the 9th floor and the room is about 10'X10' and they have to pay 33,000 a month for rent. "Only in NY". The peddled taxi ride was the best. After the adventure in the bank we started walking to find the subway, but ran into a street blocked with cop cars so cars couldn't go down it but because we were walking we could. We came across a "jumper." Apparently he jumped off the roof of a 20 story building and there he lay under a sheet. We found the subway and went down to China town - Little Italy to find "Sofia's". An Italian restaurant. Of course Doug had his favorite, Fetticini Alfredo. It's his Birthday, he can have what ever he wants. We then walked thru Little Italy and found a place that gives massages. So Doug went in to get his feet massaged. The perfect present. He chatted with two of our good friends, Paul and Boyd who wished him happy Birthday. Got a phone message from the Grand-kids singing him HAPPY BIRTHDAY, a txt message from Brandon and Malea who are in LA to a Garth Brooks concert, chatted with our other kids and with his Parents. A couple of cards and gifts from home. What more could a missionary ask for on his B-day. He said it was one of his "BEST" days.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2nd Zone Conference

I love Zone Conferences. It is a great experience to mingle with these young Elders and Sisters. It is always a spiritual feast. We had a great visit/interview with President Searle. He is a wonderful individual. We love serving with him and his wife. He really makes us feel like what we are doing is needed and appreciated. Our finding apartments for missionaries continues as we were asked to find an apartment for a new senior couple who will be arriving on April 1. It takes alot of things from the senior missionaries to run a mission. We are blessed to be part of the New York New York North Mission., and able to do our part.

Trials can bring forth tender mercies.

Yesterday we received a phone call from Dusty questioning us about how he can help his brother Brax. Brax was complaining about sharp, severe stomach pain. With what he described I suggest he have Brax be seen by our family Doctor. Dusty called Brandee who works for Dr. Madsen. His office was able to see him right away. John Powell, the PA strongly suggested he go to the ER because he thought it could be Brax appendix. So off to the ER. Brax was seen and the surgeon check him out and said he would by-pass the Cat-scan and would go right to surgery, possible ruptured appendix. Our terriffic family rallied around. Dusty and Brandon took turns staying with Brax. Doug's mom and dad spent several hours waiting in the hospital till surgery was over. Brandee and our good friend Kari spent time in the waiting room too along with Braxtin's girl friend Abbie. I am sure Clint hung out too. And those are just the ones I know about. What a blessing family is. We were promised that the Lord would take care of our family while serving on our mission. They are each other's guardian angels and how we love them.

Brax is doing great, minus his appendix, he has gone home. and is being taken care of there by our terrific family. We love you all and pray for you continually. We can't wait for you to come to New York. Thanks to all who shower Tender Mercies with your love.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

P-Day at Ground Zero

Right in front of the proposed memorial that will be built where the twin towers were. We spent our P-day here. Lots of pictures to follow.
This is Doug in front of Ground Zero. It has all been fenced off. Hard to get a look at the spot unless you take a paid walking tour, so we did. Also there is a museum of 9-11. There is a cute quaint little restaurant next to the museum that took care of feeding many people during those first days and months.
Here Doug is standing in front of a wall of pictures of all the people who died in the tragedy.
This is a model of the new building that will be built on the spot. It is called the Freedom Tower. Notice the two reflecting water pools amongst the trees. This is to represent the void of the two towers on the area. This building will be as tall as the towers were.
In front of the Museum. We spent a couple of hours here. There is several short videos inside that explain the magnitude of destruction, and several eye witness accounts and audio stories that you can listen to. Many pictures, and a place in the basement to share your own feelings.

Ground ZERO

We took the Subway all the way down town to City Hall and walked two blocks to where the Twin Towers were. It was an amazing experience. After 6 years, there is still a deep hole, 7 stories deep.
This building is just across the way. It is only half the height of the twin towers. It is a 55 story high building. And it is one tall building. Can you imagine one, no two buildings side by side twice the size? They say it only takes about 1 1/2 minutes to go to the top of the twin towers in an elevator. That is some ear popping fast ride.
There was 10 buildings affected by the terroristic act. 7 were completely destroyed. Three others are either being taken down floor by floor or rebuilt. One of these huge cranes, that is run by a women, is taking one of the buildings down, one floor at a time from the top down.
This is the fire station that is right across the street. There were ten fire fighters from that station that lost their lives. There is this really cool memorial along side the building done in a bronze cast. About 8 feet high by about 30 feet long.
This is St. Paul's church that is right across the street from the towers. It is the oldest running church in the country. I believe it was build in the 1700's. The fence around the church became a shrine for many of the victums during those dark days after the tragedy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Typical Bronx

On our way to the Subway from our apartment. The first day we were here in New York we got caught in a traffic jam right here under the tracks. As I look back at that day, I laugh. But, Doug also gets a little road rage when it is rush hour and we are in our car at that same spot. The subway is above ground only partially in the Bronx. Almost all the subway on Manhattan is underground. We just happened to live right near the elevated tracks in the Bronx.

This other picture is a gentleman on his riding machine. He just smiled as I took his picture. He passed us on the way to the subway.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New York PIZZA

I have never seen a pizza slice as big as you do in New York. The pizza pie is about 2 1/2 FEET, yes almost 3 feet in diameter. They are huge. The slice is enough to fill up two people. They are amazing. Two pieces are about as big as Little Ceasars whole Pizza back home. And they are actually pretty darn good. You can get a slice for $2. We found this out as we were looking for something to feed the 4 sister missionaries that we moved into an apartment today along with the 4 elders that helped.

Try moving into an apartment that is on the 17th floor out of 29 floors and there is only one elevator working, and it is saturday when everyone is home and going everywhere. Waiting line to get on the elevator, about 20 people deep and 20 minutes wait, and that is if you are number 10 or lower in line. Then try putting furniture in the elevator. Always an adventure.

Doug did share a gospel message with a lady while in line. She said she would read the book of mormon. Sister Sterling was great too. She gave a pass-along card to someone in the elevator and had a nice chat with her. While on one of the many buses today, the bus driver said he wished he had time to sit and visit with a missionary, but he is always busy driving bus. Have you share the gospel with someone today?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Night time in the City

We had the opportunity to go way down town to: CHINA TOWN. Elder Smith, our Zone Leader who was transfered today was sent down to China Town. He is actually going back to his original area where he speaks Chinese. We offered to take his luggage to him as he was suppose to take it on the subway with him. His apartment is on the corner of China town and Little Italy. No kidding. This is a very busy, narrow noisy, one way street. All the roads on Manhattan are mostly one way streets. There is about 15 restaurants on this one block, a real tourist attraction. It was really fun to walk the street. (This is where we bought hats for all or you grandkids.) We ate at a restaurant that has been there since 1905, VINCENTS. It was yummy. Of course Doug had Fetticinni Alfredo. He really liked it.
We are traveling down the east side of Manhattan Island with a view of Queens to the left of us.
Queens boro bridge. The lights are so cool at night time. Volunteering to take Elder Smith's luggage was probably a selfish offer. We wanted the experience. But he was very grateful.
This sign is on Long Island, in Queens. It was so bright and glowing over the water. We met Elder Smith and a brand new greeny outside of his apartment. The new greeny, another Elder Kelly from Utah, didn't know what to think of New York. His jaw was still on the side walk as we walked away.

New York takes on a whole different look and atmosphere in the night time. We were down town the day before checking out an apartment for the sisters there just down the street from China Town. What a difference between night and day. It is so exciting and we are having a great time.


Transfer Day is hard! I hate to say goodbye to those you have grown close to. This is sister Underwood and sister Hager. Sister Hager is transfering to Home. Her 18 months are over. She is the one next to me. They are in our district but spanish speaking. We love them, they are so cute and such good missinaries.
Our Zone Leaders: Elder Thornock and Elder Smith. Elder Smith is transferring to China Town. He will be Chinese speaking once again. These two have been awesome together.
Oday, I am a nerd! No if I was a computer nerd I would know how to take off this duplicate picture of Elder Thornock and Elder Smith.

Our Assistants to the President (AP'S) Elder Blanchard and Elder Kelly. Elder Kelly is going home, his two years are up. He has been a real go getter. President was very sad to see him go home. He really clicked with him. But, all good things come to an end so that they can go on to the next chapter in their life and make it better because of their experiences they take with them. Change can be hard but it can be great too. It is all up to us. These young missionaries are such an amazing army the Lord has here in New York. New York is a better place because of all of them.


In two weeks time we have received THREE parking tickets. 1st - Doug parked in a spot near the Queens hospital to give a blessing, that close to the Hospital - too good to be true? Sure was, he got a ticket for parking in a Doctors parking spot. There was a sign there but it was knocked over, face down on the road. ($95.00) 2nd - Alternate street parking days, Every other day you have to park on the opposite side of the road. Due to street cleaning between the hours of 8:30 - 10:00 am. Therefore, all the cars that park on the other side of the road now have to find a place on our side of the road during these hours. Some one parked in front of our house and blocked our driveway so we parked four houses down from us. We got a ticket because the neighbor was mad we had taken their parking place. It was a rainy day and so the writing on the ticket was washed off. We called the number on the back of the ticket to have them tell us what it was for and how much, "It won't be in the computer for another 6 weeks." but the back of the ticket says we have 30 days to pay it or else. What a joke!!!! 3rd - Alternate street parking - we parked in our driveway. The nose of our car was sticking a foot out in the sidewalk. We used one foot and left 4 feet for sidewalk traffic. "sidewalk violation". ($115.00). Our drive way is so narrow that Doug has to climb out of the rear door when parking there because of the slight incline and the neighbors stairs, it totally blocks the front door from opening so he has to slip over the seat and go out the back door.

We could probably have a very nice vacation when we are done with our mission if we could have used all the money forked out for parking tickets for the next 21 months. Yes only 21 months left to go.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Moving Day for Sister Missionaries

The front room, living room, soon to be study room for the sisters.Notice the new wood flooring, new paint job. Out the window in this 9th floor apt. is a great view of the bridge that spans across to Queens.
The bathroom is small but clean. The toilet is on the other side of the sink. Only room for one person in this room.
Hall way of closets. This is a great plus. I am standing right at the front door looking down the hallway that leads to the two bedrooms and bathroom that Doug is standing in taking the picture.
You'll have to crank your head to see this kitchen with new black appliances. What you see is what you get. Except for the fact that you don't see the foot deep counter-top just across from the stove and frig. The kitchen walk thru is 3 feet wide. Yes that is the front door at the end of the picture.

This probably isn't exciting to any one but us, but the Sister missionaries are now in their nice apartment on the Upper East side of Manhattan. I didn't remember I had my camera with me until the missionaries and AP's had gone back to the convent to get some more stuff. Sorry no pictures of the missionaries. We were there to give them the keys and show them around a little bit. Surprisingly to us, the sisters are teaching an investigator in the same building. They have been having to travel on the subway 45 minutes everyday to and from their focus area. Now they can actually live in their focus area. Tamara, the Jewish Broker we have been working with lives in the same complex. She will take good care of them like they were family. She has been a wonderful blessing and has become a great friend to us.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bronx ZOO at Christmas time

We had seen some advertisements about the Christmas lights at the Bronx Zoo. So we went to check them out. Because it is at night and very cold, most of the "live" animals we were tucked in bed and we were unable to see them. But the lighting was awesome. The ice sculptures were really "cool". The Hot Chocolate and Pizza were yummy. We went to the Monkey hut, the mouse house, and the reptile cave. At the food place some carolers were singing carols. They were amazing. It was a great Christmas night-time activity. Can't wait to go back in the summertime. There are about three zoos in the New York area.

Diane's Funeral

Diane's funeral was on December 28, 2007. We were unable to attend but our hearts and thoughts and prayers were there. Brandee had sent us a few pictures so we decided to post them. I had to take a picture of them, so sorry they are not really clear.
Ron had called and asked Doug to send a message from him. So we emailed a message to Ron so he could share it during his talk. This was a difficult task, but we have heard the funeral was beautiful and very well attended. What would we do with out the gospel plan for families to be together for ever and for the Atonement that makes it possible to live with our families in heaven with our Heavenly Father. We love you Diane and continually pray that Heavenly Father will bless you and your sweet family.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Mail intruder caught in the action

As we were waiting in the Hospital waiting room, it was decided that Doug go home and get his phone so that we could update Pres. Searle with Elder Doremanns condition. On arriving to our house in "Da Bronx" there was a man with a stick and a piece of gum on the end of it putting it down our mail slot, which is a slot at the base of our front door that the mail man puts our mail. It drops onto the floor right inside the house. He was looking for an envelope addressed to him. Crazy huh. the crazy part is that there was an envelope addressed to him. He handed Doug some of our mail that ended up stuck to his gum as he tried to get his letter out.

Long story short, the Shaffers let him use there address to have disability checks sent to him because he had to move out of his home if he got baptized because he was living with his girlfriend and she wouldn't move out and he couldn't keep living with her if he got baptized. She would keep his checks when they went to their place. He had been homeless so the mail came here. So there ya go, only in "da Bronx'.

Mission Conference

Talent show at Mission Conference. Fun for everyone. There was beep boxers, teaching us how to beep to primary songs. Skits, musical, Story telling, kung fu dancer, etc. It was great fun until we had to go to the hospital with Elder Doreman.
Mission Conferences happen once a cycle. A Cycle is every 6 weeks. That's how missionaries figure time. You have a companion for so many cycles, you get transferred after the cycle, new missionaries come here at the beginning of a cycle, etc. So we have a Zone conference once a cycle and mission conference once a cycle. This time around a Talent Show, being New Years Eve day, was scheduled. Late Christmas presents were also handed out. Our mission is divided into two mission conference geografical areas. We met with the north half of the mission. There are 77 companionships in our mission, that makes for a lot of missionaries to feed at one conference so it has been divided.

We were told the conference would be in the Yorktown chapel. We were to take the sister missionaries, as they don't get sardined into the van with all the elders needing a ride. The missionaries in the Bronx have no cars. So this mode of transportation is necessary. The conference had been changed to Scarsdale, the chapel next to the mission home, unknown to us. This would have to be the only day Doug has forgotten to take his phone with him. We sat in the parking lot for 20 minutes, mind you we WERE on time, before another car with missionaries pulled in and told us that the conference place had been changed. We were 35 minutes away from there. So we were late getting there.

The first part of the conference we heard from Bro. and Sis Sasine, councilor to the mission pres. Then Brother and Sister Rogers, councilors in the Temple Presidency talked to us. The AP's did some training and committing. They are awesome. Pres. talked and challenged us to do better. Of course we can always do better. Lunch was served, Sister Searle is always feeding missionaries. We are very comfortable being in the kitchen helping. I can do that. After lunch the talent show started. We soon were asked to take an Elder to the hospital as he was very sick and ended up having his appendix out. So we spent New Years Eve in the hospital waiting room with his companion, until Pres. and sister Searle came to relieve us, 5 1/2 hours later. Always an adventure.

We were challenged to read the Book of Mormon in 6 months, marking all the places that Faith and Christ are mentioned and talked about. We challenge all of you to do the same. We should always be reading the book of Mormon. HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL!!