Sunday, March 30, 2008

Good-bye dinner for Elder Hinds

Elder Jason Hinds is from Jamaica. He is a Jamaican hopeful for the 2012 Olympics in running. An extremely fast sprinter. He is so awesome!

We had 4 of the missionaries over for dinner today after church. Elder Hinds, from Jamaica is headed home on Thursday. He has been an exceptional missionary. He is loved by all who know him. He is a very obedient spiritual disciple of Jesus Christ. We love him and will miss him. Elder Oickle his companion, will probably be transfered out of our area on Wed. We will miss him too. He is an awesome missionary and it is so fun to feed him because he loves food. Pretty sure that our great Zone Leaders will be sticking around for this next cycle, but who knows.

Surprise B-day party for Tom Nickich - 60 yrs old

The Elders are at the left , only their knees are visible. All Tom's friends at the nursing home are not available for the picture.
We had a surprise party for Tom at the nursing home. Bishop Brignoni and his wife and daughter, Pres. and Sister Searle, Missionaries and his friends at the nursing home were there. Pizza, cake and ice cream were enjoyed by all. It was amazing how many residence came to see what all the excitement was. Tom was so excited. Especially about the big costco box of rice crispy treats that he got for his birthday, that and a case of pepsi. He was like a kid at Christmas. He was even more thrilled with Bishop and President for making the effort to be there. It was a great night.

Samuel Santiago, New Member

Here we are with Samuel Santiago and Elder Nearents & Elder Grahl

Samuel was baptized Saturday and confirmed on Sunday. We have had the wonderful opportunity to be apart of teaching Samuel with the Zone Leaders. Doug was impressed on our last visit with Samuel to offer him a priesthood blessing to help him in the confusion he felt about being baptized. He said he would like that very much. It was a wonderful experience. Samuel was "pricked in the heart" like the scriptures talk about. And he was baptized. We met his beautiful 5 yr old daughter and his girl-friend. He is a great individual who wants so bad to be a good person and dad. He is on the right track.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Dusty's "Go ahead" from Doctor

Dusty called and said he saw his Dr. who performed his surgery on his back and got the go ahead to start physical therapy. He has healed just fine and is doing good. The Lord has been good to our family while we are away. We are so blessed. Thanks to all of you for your prayers. Now go forward Dusty and be diligent with your PT. XOXOXOX

Easter Mail Surprises!!

Thanks McKell for the beautiful pictures you drew for us. We love them
KC, we love your Easter Bunny. He is so fun!

How fun is it to get treats in the mail. (Thanks Brandee for loving us, it made our day! XXOXOX

Early this morning our neighbor came knocking at our door. The mail man dropped off a package for us next door because we weren't home yesterday. It was Temple Day. And what to our surprise. A package addressed to Gramma and Pompa from KC, Kell, Allee and Taylee. How excited we were to open a "HAPPY EASTER" package. We love the pictures. They are hanging on our wall so all can see. Of course the carmelleggs are yummy, Pompa's favorite. Oh how we love you all. Thanks so much!!!!!!!!! XOXOXOXOX

Also we go to costco to pick up a birthday cake for Tom Nickich and there is a whole bunch of pictures of all of you kids and your fun easter picnic and Great grandma's birthday party that your mom sent to us. You are growing all so fast. Especially little Taylee. She's a little chunky monkey.

Pre Conference Cleaning

Right before General Conference every 6 months, floor to ceiling cleaning happens in our mission. Very - very thorough cleaning. Walls, Ceilings, ovens, doors - everything. This is a good thing. There are many missionaries coming and going over the span of 6 months. Many of them typically have never cleaned like this before their mission. That's what moms are for. Wednesday - Pday, was spent all day cleaning, washing, going thru, clearing out, sending home. It is our job now to inspect apartments with a detailed check list. We help get things fixed if they are broken, replaced cleaning supplies if empty. We have some great missionaries, who are very obedient. All you moms out there - your kids are turning into fine adults. We love them.

The Missionaries we found the last apartment for, they have it pretty good, they moved into a very nice clean newly refurbished apartment. They were loving it.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

3rd Mission Conference

Elder Blanchard, One of the Assistants to the Pres. (AP') Sister Searle says that he was so shy when he first came out on his mission. Now he is a giant among men, So vibrant and excited with the work.
Doug was impressed with Elder Bishoff who putted from the farthest point for 4 out of 4 hole in one.
We love Mission Conference. We travel 30 miles north of us. We had an awesome time. Testimony meeting right before lunch is my favorite. This generation is such a force for good for Heavenly Father. They are incredible. The strong witness they bare is amazing. After lunch training was fun. They rotated to three different workshops. We helped in the AP's workshop. Doug ran the golf putting. I just enjoyed taking pictures of the event. President and Sister Searle each had workshops in different areas.

First, in companionships you had to answer the questions on a paper. Every question had to do with Preach My Gospel book. After correcting their answers, you took the number of correct answers and had the opportunity to shoot baskets or putt at golf for that amount of times. You received points for the made shots. Some of these young men are very good at shooting baskets or putting. After everyone rotated to all workshops, all points were tallied in each Zone and then divided by the number of companionships in that Zone. We came in second by 1 point. The winning Zone got a Pizza party. It is fun to sit back and observe this righteous army learn, work and play together.
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More Tickets as in plural (2)

Okay, I wasn't sure if I was going to share this item. But it is such evidence to us that we are being harrassed. It was early Sunday morning as we were on our way to Tom's nursing home to pick him up. Bright crisp sunny Easter Morning. we exited off I-95. The light was green as we followed two cars in front of us onto 3rd avenue. This is right by the overpass of I-95 that we just got off of. Doug reached up to take off his seatbelt as it was bugging him where his cell phone is, fixed the phone that had flipped open and then was just putting back on the seat belt when we heard a siren behind us. Doug thought the cop just wanted to get around us, but to our horror, the cop was pulling us over. The lady cop had come from underneath the overpass. The only words out of her mouth was "Licence and registration. After several minutes she was back handed back the registration and Doug's license and two tickets. She told us that we had went thru a red light and that she watched as Doug put his seat belt on. She was writing him up for no seatbelt and running a red light. How could we have been running a red light when she was stopped under the underpass because of a red light? We were coming from a different direction than her. Doug had his seatbelt on the whole time except when he was adjusting his cell phone on his hip. I am so proud of Doug for not yelling at her, for trying really hard not to let her have it after she drove off just for my ears to hear. Oh it can be so frustrating when I have to listen to the anger cause I am in the car with him. Anyway, oh well!!!!!!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Media Referrals

Tonight we are really excited because we had a great missionary experience. We took the DVD, Finding Faith in Christ, to a couple. He is Christian and his wife is Hindu. They are from Guana. Mohan is his name. We were able to share the message of the restoration with Him and committ him to come to church and read the Book of Mormon. He is excited about coming to church. He knows about baring testimonies at Church. We told him that this Sunday is Testimony meeting and that excited him. We have learned that if you pray with faith for miracles to happen, they will.
Also, we have been going to Samuels house with our Zone leaders, teaching the gospel. They just called and said that Samuel has committed to be baptized on the 29th. Wow, another miracle. We will go and share another lesson on Wed. Just like the scripture says in D&C 4: "The field is white and ready to Harvest." How blessed we are to have all of your prayers answered as you pray for the missionaries to have success. May the Lord bless all of you too.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday!

Elder Oickle and Elder Hinds had a great day today. They had 5 baptisms. This family of 4 children. Their mom, sister Cruz has been an inactive member for about 10 years. She is hoping this will bring them all back to church.
And this Granddaughter of a member in our ward . She is friends with the oldest girl in the other family that was baptized today. Elder Hinds is from Jamaica and Elder Oickle from Novia Scotia.
President and Sister Searle surprised us and were here after church for the baptism. In the wheelchair is Tom Nickich and then Doug.

What a beautiful day it has been. I shared a little about Tom before. He is a miracle, and so excited that we would bring him to church this Easter Sunday. It has been a year since his baptism. A year ago last Easter. He is still living in the nursing home where he is getting good care. He has been doing much better and the staff has given him travel privileges once in a while. He was excited to see President and Sister Searle. They came to his baptism and have visited him in the nursing home. Tom got a little sick at the end of Sacrament meeting, Doug had to take him over to our house to get him something to snack on, then they made it back to Priesthood meeting. We go over to the nursing home on Sundays after church and have "Bible study" with him. We read from the Book of Mormon to him, as he is blind.

We helped Sister McClary and Donna work out problems with Assist-a-ride. They also came to church today in the van with Assist-a-ride. We picked up Megan Hutchinson, a cute sister from Jamaica on our way to church with Tom. She has been in a car accident and hurt her back bad, is waiting for surgery and can't walk very far so we have tried to help her get to church.

Happy Easter everyone. What a wonderful way to spend Easter. Witnessing the "New" "Re-birth" of children of God. How grateful I am for the Awesome gift to all - The Glorious Atonement and Resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ. May we all give thanks and share His love this Easter Season. Love to you all.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Ward Potluck party

We had a ward "Potluck" last night. There was so much food. The primary had Easter fun games for the kids to play. We sat by Dennis Hodges, a new member and his wife Debra. She is not a member but has really noticed a change in Dennis since he has joined. They are a minority here in the Bronx. They have been married for 22 years and have been together for more than that. They are each other's best friend and do everything together. Sounds normal to us, but doesn't happen much here in the Bronx. She really enjoyed herself last night. I remember her being to Dennis's baptism, hopefully she will fee better about coming to church with him.

Dennis is quite the gentleman. He has a suit in every color of the rainbow and shoes to match. He is always dressed to the hilt. He is a very humble man and shares the light of Christ with everyone.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Harley Fever

Today we took Elder Bishoff and Elder Steele to Costco to order some eye glasses. Elder Bishoff miss placed his, I guess that's a nice way to say that he lost them. He needed to order some more and Costco is where Sister Searle the Mission Presidents wifes says for them to go. Now we have been to this Costco many times. Each time driving right by a Harley Dealership. Everytime Doug says he wants to go inside and look around. Well, today was the day. After talking to our good friend Rex on the phone and hearing about the Harley Ride the neighborhood friends went on last week end, he needed a fix. If even to just go look around. Of course he had to buy a shirt that said: "New Roc New York - Harley shop". The bikes are even better prices here in New York. He's thinking he would like to sell the car when it is time for us to go home and buy a bike and ride it across country home in 1 1/2 years. We'll see about that.

Elder Bishoff and Steele are great sports. Elder Bishoff is from Moab and enjoys hunting. Need I say more. We had a fun afternoon with them.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy 70th Birthday MOM!!!

Happy Birthday MOM! You are the best mom ever. Wish we could have been to your party. We love you so much.

Garage clean up day.

Beautiful roses I got from my sweet heart. We sit here at the table and enjoy the squirrels daily.
We have so many squirrels here. They are so fun to watch. They are everywhere. We hear them on our roof all the time. They chase each other up and down and all around the trees in our back yard. They have chewed on our back stairs so bad and nested underneath them that they are falling apart and are a hazard. Today they are getting replaced.

Doug was so excited to be wearing jeans. The wind blew really hard one day and tweeked our garage door. He went out there to take it off the hinges and fix it and ended up with a bigger project. Cleaning out the garage so that he could use it to park the car in. Everything came out. the car does fit barely.

All Moved in

This is the name of the complex where we found an apartment for missionaries.
This is the center area where they have entertainment sometimes and the farmers market on Saturdays
You can't see that the table Doug is sitting at is a chess table. There are all kinds of game tables like this all thru the complex, as well as basket ball, tennis, volley ball and play areas.
Dup. picture sorry. This place is very family oriented and seems to be a very safe place. A big reason for wanting missionaries here.

The Elders are all moved into "Stuyvesant Town". The third apartment we found for the missionaries. Originally it was for the sisters, but things change. This is a very nice area. It is right downtown on 14th Street and 1st Avenue. It is a complex with about 30 different 12 story buildings with all kinds of amenities. The elders were real excited about the great outdoor basket ball court right by their building. They are on the 9th floor. There are several play places for families with children. A farmers market every Sat. in the center of the complex.

The night before moving the Elders, the leasing manager that we have been working with called and said that we could only move two elders in, not four. Oh, it has been a night mare. He said that there is a New York law that says we can't have that many people in that size of apartment, but on the other had if they were all related and family, they couldn't turn away anyone, even if there ended up being 40 people in there. They will allow three, but not four. What the heck! Satan puts obstacles in our way all the time. So we might be moving three sisters in there and moving the Elders back out. "It will all work out. Put your trust in God and move forward with faith and confidence in the future." (Pres. Hinkley)

More new Members

Elder Arnold, Elder Stoddard, Fredrica Bazemore, Desiree and her daughter Keishandra, Elder Ferrell, Elder Bateman.

Today after church we had another baptismal service. Three sisters were baptized. Mother and daughter have been to church every week for about a month. And sister Bazemore has been investigating for many years. I think she has been thru about 12 sets of missionaries. She finally said it was time. She says that the song "If you're happy and you now it clap your hands" Is her song. She is so excited about being baptized. I counted over 50 people there at the baptism. That's one of the reasons they have baptisms on Sundays. People will stay for it after church, especially if there is refreshments.

Why can't we learn the first time?

The first time it happened I thought, "Okay, I learned a good lesson, Don't reach for anything in the cupboards over the stove. I'll just get Doug to do it." I was in my jammas reaching up over the stove while cooking eggs, my Jamma top dangling over the open fire, we have a gas stove, didn't know it had caught fire until I put down the crock pot I had grabbed. It scarred me pretty good. It is a really strange feeling looking down and seeing my shirt on fire. Well I have been very careful since then. But yesterday after church we were home fixing dinner, Potatoes were cooking on the stove, I needed something over the stove in the cupboard and reached up for it, dang, it happened again. This time I was in one of my nice church suits. The top didn't catch fire, but it melted because it is polyester. So I have a nice melted spot and some discoloration. I am so grateful that I didn't get hurt, but there is a potential. Hope the "third" time isn't the charm. I hope there is not a third time!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's better to be safe than sorry

Last night "Da Bronx" became what we had seen on TV before our mission. Two of our young Elders stopped by at about 8:30 pm to drop off the carpet cleaner that resides in our basement. (They did a good deed for an investigator by hauling in their "Bronx cart", the carpet cleaner across town to an investigators home and cleaned her carpet.) Anyway, they dropped it off here and then went next door to the chapel for a few minutes. As they were there they watched a truck pull up to a car, bring out their power tools and take off the bumper and side panel and who knows what else. They had it off and in the back of their truck in a matter of a minute or two and they were gone. Elder Hinds called and told us that we might want to park our car in the back thru our gate and not leave it out on the road. He then relayed info that he had been given about how there are many auto repair places that find it cheaper to rip of what they need to fix a car instead of forking out the money to purchase one for the car they are repairing. How sad, and how scary. So, Doug pulled the car out back and wrapped the rusty old chain around the fence to look like it was locked.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Another New Member

Sister Angela Cabello was baptized today right after church. She has been investigating for about 5-6 months. She shared such a sweet testimony of the love of her Savior she has felt as she has learned about his gospel plan for her. She has two small children and she is so excited to be raising them up in the gospel with her ward family. Your brothers and sisters in the gospel truly become your family. We are so blessed to be a part of this ward family.

(Stay tuned for the many other baptism that are planned here in our ward for the next two weeks.)

Weather Monster

Friday and Saturday of this week it literally poured sheets of water from the sky. The wind blew it side ways so the umbrellas were of no value. I really have empathy for the younger missionaries who are out in all kinds of weather. It would be hard to appear at someones front door there to share a message while you are dripping wet and shaking cold. They are troopers, my hat is off to them. The work rolls forward continually. May they all be blessed with warm hearts, hands and feet.

We were out in it for about 2 minutes and got really wet. All we had to do is step out of our car, put out our umbrella and walk a couple of blocks. Hurray!!!! At last we are able to pick up the keys to the last apartment we have been jumping thru hoops to get for 4 Elders right down on 14th Street. And then we stepped out side, umbrella up for 2 more minutes and into our car that warmed quickly as we drove the entire length of Manhattan. We truly have nothing to complain about as Doug hit every green light, about 100 blocks worth of green lights as we drove north back to "Da Bronx." (That probably will never happen again.)

Saying good-bye

Saying Good-bye to Sister Williams at the Airport.

We had the wonderful opportunity to get to know sister Williams. She is one of the sisters that we found an apartment for and we still do apartment inspections for her apartment. We helped them move in and get several things to start up the new apartment. She came out in the mission about September. Unfortunately we are having to say good bye for now. Last Monday we arrived at her apartment at 4:00 am to take her to the airport to fly home as she will possible need surgery for a heart condition. She has been an awesome missionary with her companion Sister Wright. We love them both as do their companions, converts and ward members. She has been such a blessing to many people, us included. Our prayers are with you sister Williams and know that you have served as a valiant, honorable ambassador for the Lord.

(Now that we have been to JFK airport, we are feeling pretty good about that. 5:00 am is probably the best time to be there as it wasn't too busy, but it is a killer on you for the rest of the day. )

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Unexpected opportunities

Elder John K. Carmack, speaking to the Senior Missionaries and Temple presidency.
Potluck dinner we all shared together, Doug is in the back in the left hand corner.
Doug and President Searle, He is an exceptional leader and friend.
Sister Frost, temple matron listening to Dr. Karen Hyer, Pres. Frost behind the Dr.

We were blessed with an invitation to a potluck dinner at the chapel that shares the temple building. Elder John K Carmack was the guest speaker. He is the general Authority that was in charge of putting together the Perpetual Education Fund Program, and is the managing director of it. President Hinkley had the inspiration and gave Elder Carmack the assignment. It was wonderful to be in his presence and and be taught by him.

We had the grand opportunity of sitting at the table with the other two featured guests: Sister Karen Hyer, Ph.D., and Brother and Sister Neeleman, the CEO of Jet Blue's, parents, along with President and sister Frost, (Temple President). The two first mentioned were in town with Elder Carmack for a "Side event" of the United Nations that was discussing "A Unique financing model to fund education for disadvantaged women." (The church's Perpetual Education Fund) It is to be a panel discussion. Did you know that 51 percent of the individuals that have benefited from the PEF are women? 20% of those are return missionaries of third world countries, and the other 49 percent, the men benefiting, 80% of them are return missionaries of third world countries. About 30,000 individuals have been educated with this program. It is all funded by the generous donations of church members. So keep up the great work! Your donations are blessing the lives of thousands.

Elder Carmack shared many of his experiences while rubbing shoulders with prophets, seers and revelators. We are so grateful for this wonderful opportunity that was ours. FYI, Elder Carmack remembered Doug from about 6 years ago at Camp Helaman when Doug was the Stake Young Men's president and with his presidency put together President Reber's Inspiration for the Camp. Elder Carmack was asked to come speak about the PEF so the young men would know who the service project of cutting, splitting, stacking and pre-selling 20 cord of would benefit.

We also survived the hour long subway ride while packing our "funeral potatoes" to the dinner and then back again. The walk home was great as it was still about 50 degrees.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

I love Testimony Sundays

I love going to church. I love visiting and meeting new people. I love feeling the spirit and having the Holy Ghost witness to me truth. I love watching families interact together. I love to watch the missionaries waiting at the door for their investigators to arrive. I love watching people greet each other. I love watching the joy and happiness new converts have when they learn something new. I love when they share their own testimonies. I love to watch the programs, like visiting teaching, ones that I have known all my life, take effect and become meaningful to lonely people. I love being part of a ward family. I love the gospel and how it brings people from all walks of life together with a common goal of serving, loving and learning together. I love to watch change take place in people. I love the way the gospel helps bring about this change. I love sharing my testimony. I love learning. I love experiencing the effects of your prayers. I love serving together with my eternal companion. I love my sweet supportive family. I love memories, experiences that have been, that I keep in my heart. I love my Savior Jesus Christ, and my Heavenly Father. I love knowing that they love me, listen to me and help me. I love each of you and are so blessed by your love.