Tuesday, April 29, 2008

SMOLTZ - Go Braves!!!!

Doug's favorite team, the Atlanta Braves' pitcher, John Smoltz struck out his 3000 batter. Had to share the excitement. Doug is thrilled that we can watch a game or two or twelve.

Monday, April 28, 2008

3 day FAMILY's HERE!!!!!! break to sight see

City bus Tour, double decker open air bus
Outside of the TV broadcast of the TODAY's show
Central park
The only day it rained, heading to church
On top of open air bus city tour
Matching sweatshirts, it got cold, just out side the Hersheys chocolate store
At the temple
At the center of Central Park
Chatting at our apartment, wall to wall blow up bed
We held up a sign just in case they couldn't remember what we looked like when they arrived off the airplane.
Max Brenner Chocolate Factory, a favorite place to eat.
Loved WICKED, a must see while in New York
Rockefeller Center, ended up there several times
Famous "Bronx Pizza"

We had a blast while the girls were here. We saw WICKED on Broadway, which was excellent. Union Square and ate at Max Brenner chocolate factory, it became the high light. Went to Time Square several times, China town, Little Italy - lots of fun shopping there. Did a open air double decker bus city tour. Went to ground Zero, rode the ferry to Staten Island to view the statue of Liberty. Up early to go to the "Today show",Went to the temple, walked around Central Park. Of course this was all experienced via the subway trains and buses. Enjoy the biggest cheese pizza ever from Bronx Pizza. Went to church, still filled several food order in between some of this. Enjoyed the late night chats, crowding in the tiny bathroom to get ready for each day. All of this was done with Cari and Malea 71/2 almost 8 months pregnant, and Doug with a bad head cold and sore legs. They all did awesome. What a memory we had.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Girls arrived

Girls are here and we are having a blast!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Just 20 more HOURS


A"maz"ing FHE

FHE a"MAZ"ing

I don't think I have ever experienced a FHE activity like this. The Elders must have spent a couple of hours putting together a maze in the cultural hall with every chair and table, chalk board, podium, anything that was mobile and could be used. They even brought the blankets off their beds to make the maze more appealing. You had to crawl thru the maze. There were many dead ends. This was done in the dark with a flashlight blinking on and off to the weird instrumental music they came up with. It was a great hit. Actually pretty darn awesome. There were casualties. Most came out of the maze with some type of rug burn on their knees. You didn't know it was happening until you were all done. I am sure it was due to the race going thru the maze. Doug spent some time taking care of all the sore knees with neosporin and band-aids, while I put together the treats. We had about 30 in attendance. It was great fun. Did I mention that while you were crawling thru the maze the missionaries were shooting foam darts at you. It they hit you, you were dead and out of the game.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A little beauty here amongs the concrete

Blessings and Sacrifices

This family can now be an eternal family.
Father and son make it complete, except for the little one who is too young for baptism.
Elder Jones and Elder Bishoff

Today we drove to Scarsdale to the mission home and picked up Elder Bishoff who is there re cooperating from his dislocated hip and waiting to fly home tomorrow. We took him to the Spanish ward in Olmstead for the baptism of a father and son who he helped teach. The mother and two of the daughters are members and now the whole family is. What a BLESSING.

Elder Bishoff will go home for physical therapy and to get completely better. His plan is to return here to New York and finish out his last year of his mission. This is a great SACRIFICE for him. He is so nervous about going home. He is an excellent missionary and has had great experiences and success here. He will be greatly missed.

He is also a mighty hunter. Doug and he have lots to talk about when they get together. Elder Bishoff, we will miss you and pray for your quick recovery.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Temple Excursion

On the way to our 3rd new convert temple excursion we ran into the streets lined with people to see Pope Benedict. He was traveling up town from St. Patricks's Cathedral to Yankee stadium in the Bronx. Thousands of people had lined the west side of Central Park waiting for his motorcade to pass by. We were on the bus headed across town thru Central Park to the temple as we passed the parade of people. The throngs of people were amazing. It reminded me of when we go to General Conference in SLC. But there is a difference; we are all dressed in church clothes in reverent respect, not waving flags in street clothes and yelling and clapping.

As we were on the subway heading for the temple, Frederica, the new convert, and I were discussing all the people in New York for the Popes visit and saying how we just didn't understand the hoopla as he was just a man and how different it was, all the fanfare, showtime and media excitement, than from what happens when we go see our prophet. The lady sitting next to us became quite offended and stood up and said you don't understand because you are not Catholic and walked to a different place on the subway. Frederica piped up with: "Have a nice day."

It was a wonderful afternoon. Four of our young women and some of their leaders came with us with their husbands, along with the Elders who baptized Frederica. (And everyone was dressed in their best).

Just a side note: We woke this morning at 6:00 am to the smell of gas. Called Con-edison, the gas company, they were here with in a half hour. Found out our stove has a leak in a valve somewhere. He turned off the gas and told us to call a repair guy. So we won't have anyway to cook until Monday.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Only 5 more days

Hurrah!!!! Brandee, Malea, Cari are coming to see us. We are so excited

Sadness fills our heart

We are so sad to hear about our dear friend and former Bishop, Parker Ward passing away. We will miss him greatly. He was our Bishop when we moved into the Morningside 4th ward in 1992. We love you Parker, but know that you no longer will have to suffer as you have these last several years. Give our Clint a big hug and our love. We are praying for your sweet wife Clara. You two were like two peas in a pod. Never saw one with out the other. Such a great example of enduring tender love. May the Lord bless you both, be with you and comfort you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

wEDdINg bElLs are rInGiNg!!

Tonight at Institute class two of our favorite people announced that they are engaged. This is a shout out to Ashley and Peter - CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!! The big day is Aug 23rd in the Palmyra New York Temple. Doug called it along time ago. He knew it should happen. They are trying to find a place in our ward here in the Bronx, hurrah!!! They are so cute together and we wish them our very best wishes.

A stroll down Brooklyn Bridge

Today after the delivery from New Jersey Storehouse and after feeding the Missionaries who came and helped, we rode the subway train all the way down to the last stop which is City Hall where you can cross the street and walk across Brooklyn Bridge. The afternoon weather was perfect. My mom told me that was one thing she did many years ago and really enjoyed . People watching is great on the bridge. A real tourist thing. The pedestrians have a special walkway on top of the car route. It is very picturesque, with amazing history. After the walk across and back we took the train to Union Square and ate at "Max Brenner Chocolate factory." We roasted marshmellows right there at our table and dipped them in melted chocolate, dipped strawberries and bananas too. It is a must go to place when visiting. We then walked up Park Avenue and enjoyed the air, the people, the achitecture and each other. It was a great P-day adventure.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Zone Conference

Guess what we are doing. It's not playing catch - no it's not head, shoulders, knees and toes.
Have you guessed yet? No we are not jumping up for joy.
The last Zone conference for a couple of our missionaries. They will be going home before long. So I don't forget, I decided to write everyones names down. Left to right: Doug, Elder Wager, Ferrol, Gale, Jones,Rivers, Eyer, Leatham, Rivers, next row: Sister Pena, Chivarria, Elder Stoddard, Nearence, Peterson,Blanchard, Grahl, Bateman and of course Sister and Pres. Searle.
So can you guess the difference in these two pictures? Has Pres. Searle regressed in age? Elder Blanchard is a good substitute.

The focus of todays Zone Conference is: 1. the importance of full disclosure at the first discussion. Lay everything out on the table. Let the investigator know just exactly why you are there to teach them. To bring souls unto Christ thru baptism. The first ordinance of the gospel, then ask the question - Will you be baptized when you receive an answer to your prayers that what we are teaching is true? 2. To learn how to help the members be better missionaries. In Elder Bednar's conference address he said that the missionaries are the "Full-time Teachers" and the members are to be the "Full-time Finders." How are you stacking up with this responsibility? Are you finding so the missionaries can teach?

Our mission is such a melting pot of cultures. There was a statement made today that really made our responsibility to share the gospel come to life. Many of the people we will teach and share the gospel with will go home to their country and take with them the gospel. They will in turn share it with others there and the gospel will be taken to other parts of the world because we were bold and opened our mouth and shared our testimony. What an awesome thing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Not as young as thought

The only reason I am writing this post is because I am bored. Ever since the ever so fun football game, Doug has been laid up. 31/2 hours playing football was not good for his legs. He actually got a bad muscle spasm in his left leg and it cause him all kinds of grief and pain. We ended up in the ER early Friday morning, to see if he had a blood clot or a burst "Baker's Cyst" as he has had before. (Very painful) I guess no news is good news. They were able to help with the pain for several hours, but were not able to find the reason for the pain. But while there he acquired a flu bug. Today he has spent the day achy all over, stuffed nose and sore throat. So home made soup, lots of fluids and bed rest today. And hopefully next time he wants to play with the BOYS he will pace it and enjoy watching a little more.

FYI Ticket no. 11 is sitting here be the computer waiting to get paid. But who is COUNTING? Our fault totally. We forgot to move our car for alternate street cleaning on Thursday. We could have gone to a nice restaurant for the price of the ticket.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

P-day FoOtBaLl

Getting the teams situated - now let's play ball! Go Olmstead Zone. Yeah! we came out ahead and won!!!!!!!!

This morning bright and early, 4 robust elders were at our door hitching a ride to the turf park right next to Yankee stadium to play football. All others had to find their own way there as our Zone was playing the Kingsbridge Zone in touch football. (Actually we had two get lost, they had never been to this area before, they came about an hour late. Experience is a great teacher, now they know how to get here.) There was about 25 total. Doug was the odd man as his comp chose not to play but to watch. The day was perfect for them as they played, I was a little cool sitting watching. It was great fun for them. They played non-stop for about 3 1/2 hours. We had brought a couple of cases of water and gatorade. After we were done, they picked up all the empty bottles and threw them away. As we were just gathering our things there was this man who had been walking around the perimeter, (It is a track) he came up to Doug and said how nice it was to see a whole bunch of clean cut boys playing and having fun, he was so impressed that there was not any bad language and that they had picked up after them selves before leaving. He said you just don't see that any more. He was very impressed

Later during the afternoon after being home for some time, President Searle called and wanted us to pick up an Elder from the hospital as his companion had jumped over a garbage can right outside their apartment after getting back and fell weird and broke his pelvic bone. These were the two who had gotten lost when trying to get to the football game. Elder Bishoff is in bad shape. I'm not sure if he will have to go home to re-coop. Tomorrow and the next day, I'll bet everyone is a little sore from the game. I know Doug is.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Family Home Evening

Little Kay in the red shirt has stolen Doug's heart. She really likes Elder Ellett. They color together.
Frederica and her Elders, a recent convert. She is so much fun.
Katrina, Shaleen, and Yvette, are all in our institute class. Shaleen has the two little girls in the first picture.
The kids had great fun, little kids and the "Big" ones too.

Our first FHE in the Bronx. Elder Blanchard, the AP that was given the choice of where he wanted to serve for his last cycle, he chose here at the Olmstead Zone. He was a big instigator with FHE at the chapel for any who wanted to come. It stopped last fall when the weather got colder and the days shorter. But now it is back. We had a great turn out for the first night. There was 23 people there. Elder Blanchard gave a great lesson on the Whole Armor of God. We all got to draw our own armor. Then we moved to the cultural hall for the activity. Two teams were chosen and had to race thru an obstacle course the Zone Leaders put together. Very creative and a lot of fun. Of course refreshments topped it off.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Historic General Conference

Wow! What an awesome weekend. We enjoyed conference so much. What a spiritual feast and exciting sacred opportunity to participate in a Solemn Assembly. How we love and support President Monson, Eyering and Uchtdorf. We are so blessed to be part of a world wide church, the Lord's church and experience how wonderfully organized it is. How the mantle of authority just simply takes place, no politics involved. When we raise are arm to sustain, that is exactly what we are doing. There is no vote just a promise to support, sustain, love and follow. We love our leaders.

We went to our chapel and watched conference in the Relief Society room with other ward members and the Missionaries. The Spanish Branch watched it in the cultural hall/chapel. This is the first time the members have been able to watch it from this building. They usually have had to go to the Stake Center in Kingsbridge, about 6 miles away. We had planned to prepare lunch for the missionaries during the two hour break because our ward did not organized anything. The Spanish Branch invited us to join them in the cultural hall for a potluck dinner. So we brought all of our food and mixed it with theirs and we had a great feast. Many of our ward members are bi-lingual. It doesn't matter what language you speak when it comes to food. But there is quite a difference in the food.

Doug was unable to watch the Priesthood session as our good friends Bryan and Becky Smethurst called us and were in town for one night so we spent the evening with them. We will watch the Priesthood session on the BYU channel when broadcast.

Sunday sessions were awesome too. Because our ward leadership was not at conference and didn't plan anything as far as food, we again brought over what we could find in our cupboards and frig and joined the Spanish branch for lunch. Doug made a great yummy cake, and I had made rice crispie treats. We also had an ice cream cake in our freezer and stuff for sandwiches. It was a wonderful time to socialize and visit and get to know others. Too bad our wards in Utah don't do potluck like this. But then again, not everyone here in New York has access to the Internet or satellite TV. This gathering is a necessity here. And it was a great experience for all.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Surprise phone call

"Top of the Rock" with our good friends Bryan and Becky Smethurst, notice the empire state building in between us in the back ground.
Bryan & Becky had been on a cruise to Bermuda for the past week. They stopped over in New York for the night before flying home.

We were sitting in the Saturday conference session at our chapel with some ward members and missionaries when Doug's phone rang. He stepped out of the room to answer it. After a bit he stepped in and motioned for me to come out of the room. Bryan Smethurst called and said they were in New York headed to ground Zero and wanted to know if we could meet them and visit for a couple of hours. Of course we said yes. so we went home and recorded the rest of the conference session, hopped in our car and off we went. Way downtown was crazy. People, people everywhere. Doug's navigator, me, goofed up and we ended up parking on 42nd street and riding the subway down to about 10th street to meet up with them. We had a great visit and ended up at Rockafeller Center and rode to the "top of the Rock" to see the whole island before dusk. It was awesome. We had been there before around Christmas time but the sky was cloudy, not clear like it was now. You could see for ever. Time travels fast at times like this. Soon it was time to get them back to their motel over by JFK airport, they are to fly out at 6:00 in the morning. It was great seeing someone from home. We love them and are so grateful to have just a couple of hours with them.

A fun thing that happened while walking down 7th avenue to our where our car was parked. We were crossing a street and just as we got to the side walk we had someone yelling out "sister" - "sister". I looked over my shoulder and there were two couples standing together motioning for us to come over to where they were. They were mormons and wanted to know where they could go to watch conference on Sunday, or what channel was broadcasting it. It was fun to visit with them and not feel alone in this sea of people on the streets. They were from Bountiful and California. One of the couples had just gotten back from a mission in Peru. Of course it was our name tags that gave away who we were. Hope they found the chapel on 15th street for conference.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Evidence of Spring

I love to see the buds on the trees and bushes. Our neighbor, Bill, has daffodils in his small fenced in lawn area. As we went thru Central Park yesterday to go to the temple I could see blossoms on some of the trees and the grass is starting to green up. The weather hasn't really warmed up enough to get me excited yet. It is raining really hard at this minute.

Spring also means baseball has started. Doug loves that fact. It is evident as the subway was so crowded yesterday. Fans from out of town wanting to know how to connect to get to Yankee stadium to watch the ball game.

Our neighbor on the other side of us turns up his car stereo really loud and sits out on his porch with friends. The missionaries love spring because it brings people out of doors and on the streets. Much easier to talk to and find. People are excited to be outside and enjoying the perfect weather during spring time.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Transfer Day - Delivery Day

Early this morning we picked up Elder Oickle and Elder Hinds luggage and took it to Kingsbridge chapel which is about 5 miles away. The Elders had to take the subway and bus to meet us there as there was not room in the car for them. But it kept them from having to take 8 pieces of luggage on the subway with them. Once there we loaded up Elder Blanchard, the AP that just has one more cycle before heading home, and his new "greenie" Elder Leatham's luggage to take back with us to our Zone. They will take the subway and come pick up their luggage from us, as they will live just around the corner and down the street from us. We had to hurry back for the Delivery Van to bring the storehouse supplies. We actually ended up with 10 Elders here today to feed them after everyone had transfers.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Stop over visit

Don and Sue Boyle from St. George. We first met them at the temple. They are shift coordinators for one of the days we served at the St. George Temple.

Oh how fun and exciting for us to see familiar faces from home. Our friends from the St. George Temple stopped over on their way to the Holy Land. We picked them up from the airport, went to City Island for a wonder crab dinner and then they stayed the night here at the Ellee-ot motel here in "Da Bronx." (AKA Bishop's store house) They shared the subway experience with us as we went to the Manhattan temple, enjoyed the spirit there at a session with a room full of missionaries from the New York New York South mission. It was awesome. A quick bite of lunch and then back home on the subway to load up their luggage and take them back to the airport for their trip across the Atlantic Ocean. We had a great time getting to know them better. Hope you have a great trip - love ya.

For future reference: anyone staying at the Ellee-ot motel here in "Da Bronx" will be able to enjoy a king size blow up mattress thanks to the Boyles who donated it to the Motel. Thanks Don and Sue, I am sure it will get well used and is greatly appreciated.