Thursday, July 31, 2008

Surprise visit

What fun to have Chance and Elvy here even if only for 10 hours. The boys rented a car and were proud to show it off.

Last night Chance Anderson, my sister Robin's boy, called and said he was at JFK and wanted a place to stay, he and his friend Elvy from Slavenia where Chance went on his mission. They arrived late last night and slept, ate and were off to Palmyra to the Sacred Grove and Hill Cumorah. We'll probably see them again tonight for a place to stay on their way back to the city to see the sights there. It was fun to see him and visit for a bit over breakfast. It is great to see the growth in young men after their mission. We love you Chance and loved seeing you.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Electronic Monopoly P-day Fun

The guys in our District
Monopoly game board, Disneyland, Golden gate bridge, Time Square, JFK Airport; they are all for sale.
Your credit card with a beginning balance of $15,000,000
The banjers way to transfer funds
Check out the pieces you play with and the property to purchase

It was nice to be able to sleep in today. The Elders came over after they washed and shopped for the week. Elder Gale had purchased an electronic monopoly game. It was a lot of fun. The banker handles all the money electronically. Every player gets a credit card in stead of money. The beginning balance on your card is 15,000,000. I must brag, I won! I started out with owning just two properties and ended up with everything. The Elders from Middletown dropped in and we put a halt to the game so we could watch a movie. Thanks to Kari Isaksen, we watched "The Ultimate Gift", and ordered Pizza. It took for ever to get here. When it did show up it was delivered by two Hasidic Jewish young men, wandering why we order their pizza, as I guess we are gentiles to them. Doug just told them straight up - Because you are the only pizza place that delivers.

We are off to see if we can find somewhere in this small town that can trim my hair and take care of the gray. I sure do miss going to see Lucinda and her taking care of my hair.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

FHE Movie Night

After getting home after Mission Conf. we had a few minutes to grab Doug's brownies he made, Orvil Reddenbacker's popping corn and go pick up the McCune family and head to the church for FHE. We had 13 people show up. We were so excited. We watched "Work and the Glory" part 1. Afterward we visited with a couple. He is a member of about 3 months and she is investigating. A light bulb seemed to click on when we told them we had been to Palmyra where the Sacred Grove is as well as the printing press where the Book of Mormon was published and the Smith home and Marin Harris Home. Evelyn has a question about there really being a God. But to know that she could go visit the spot where he appeared to the boy Joseph Smith really got her thinking. It is exciting to see individuals become alive with the truth.

Mission Conference

Every sang "Called to serve" for the sister who prepared the meal. What an army
Elder and Sister Morrison & Elder and Sister Unsworth, We love you both!
Dodge Ball - it was a pretty intense game
Oop! your out!!!! Elder Langi
A couple of the Elders dressed in "used car salesman" attire to honor Elder unsworth who was over the cars, Not only the maintenance but also had to sell the whole fleet durring his mission. Every three years the cars are sold and new ones bought.

I love Mission Conference. Even if we had to be up at 5:45 am to be ready to go at 6:30. We drove down to York Town, about 78 miles away. You never know what traffic is going to be like because there are so many who commute into the "City". It was 59 degrees when we left our apartment. (Have I mentioned before how Doug loves it up here, loves the weather too.) We arrived just in time to grab a bagel in the foyer and hit the little girls & boys room and get seated in the chapel. These conferences are so inspiring, especially when observing the young missionaries. I love to watch them lead out and take charge. We are so blessed with this rising generation. The spirit is so strong and much teaching was done along with much learning. This was Elder and Sister Unsworths last time saying good bye before they head home on the 5th. It was great visiting with our old "Olmstead" Zone. They performed a beautiful musical for the end of the conference. Two Elders played the guitar accompanying the rest of the Zone while they sang.
Lunch was put on by one of the wards in the area. One of the Relief Society sisters there I had a great opportunity to visit with. I am sure you remember hearing about an Elder (missionary) who was killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver in Argentina. Well, he was originally from Washington State I believe, anyway his family now live in New York. And I visited with his mother for about 15 minutes. She is so sweet and has such a strong testimony. Her daughter is now in the MTC in Provo headed to her mission in "Argentina". Oh what faith that takes to send another child to the same mission of her son. She and her husband are anxious to be able to serve a mission too, hopefully with in the next 5 years. One that will allow them to take a special needs son who is mentally retarted with them. Another Relief Society sister I was able to visit with I had met at the Bishop Store house. She is the RS pres. in her ward and was the one putting on the luncheon for the conference. Anywhere you go, there are sweet angels doing the Lords work, building the kingdom.
Of course it is always fun visiting with Sister and President Searle. We love them. We have been given an assignment to find an apartment for another senior couple arriving in our mission in Sept. They will be serving in the northern most part of the mission. It is actually in our stake and Zone here in Monticello, but they will live about 75 miles away.
After Lunch there was fun games planned for the missionaries. Everyone was able to change into their p-day clothes and choose and play for about 2 hours. They love this time together. Basket ball, football, frisbree, and the big attraction - Dodge Ball. The whole group of them ended up playing dodge ball; the sport that most accidents happen with; at the end of the afternoon. Doug played football, was the quarterback and impressed a couple of Elders with his abilities.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Some things stay the same

We headed down to the BIG city of New York early this morning. Took the Elders with us for P-day. Traffic wasn't too bad considering we were headed into the city at rush hour. Stopped by the Bishop's Store house to drop of some mail to the Formans, same old Bronx. CRAZY drivers! Headed down to Manhattan and found our way to the New York Donut Plant, remember the huge square donuts, Yum! Then we fought our way thru CRAZY traffic to the temple and dropped off the Elders. We then went to Doug's Dr. appt. This is the reason we get to go down to the city once a month. After getting Doug's prescription we headed back to the temple and went in and said hello to several people, we used to serve on Fridays, it was fun to see people we haven't seen since our day was changed to Thursdays. After going thru more CRAZY traffic we made it to Crepes on Columbus and then back to the Bronx to get prescriptions filled. It took us about an hour to go about 13 miles in the CRAZY traffic. Kmart has kept Doug's meds in stock so we have to go there to get them filled. Of course you can't go to the Bronx with a new Elder without taking him to CROSS BRONX PIZZA. (Okay so we just came from eating, but there is always room for CBP. ) It was a fun fast trip, the Elders were fun to have with us, and there is one thing about it; some places remain the same. And we are glad to get back to the cool breeze, green trees and fresh night air.


This is a SHOUT out to our little princess MAESI. Happy Happy Birthday!!!! Can't believe you are 4 years old today. We love you so much!! XOXOXOXOXOXO

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


What a funny name for a town. We traveled to Poughkeepsie, 65 miles away, to visit with the LDS Family Services to be instructed on the Addiction Recovery Program we will be teaching in Monticello and Middletown. While there we looked up the Elder's and did apartment inspections. Took care of a few minor repairs. They are a great companionship and it was great getting to know them. Elder Fornicello is from Belgium, Elder Jensen from Cache Valley Utah, both are spanish speaking missionaries. We grabbed a bite to eat and went down by the Hudsen River park and ate as we watched the sailboats on the river.

Monday, July 21, 2008

3 on 3 basket ball

Doug, Elder Mook - look how long his arms are, Elder Gale, Anthony, Miguel and Cody. Miguel and Cody are cousins.
The guys played basketball with 3 young men that came to church last week. We only have one young man that comes on a regular basis and that is President Murphy's son. But they live 30 minutes away and only come to Monticello on Sundays. The boys that played b-ball came to church yesterday again. That was exciting. We don't have a young mens program in this branch. If we can get these young men to come on a regular basis things will have to change.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Newburgh ZONE Meeting

Newburgh Zone Conference

We had our first Zone meeting with our new Zone and all the elders. This Zone is much bigger than our one in Olmstead. No sisters here, just me. A lot of new faces. It will be fun to get to know them. I am glad that we have the assignment to do apartment inspections to all of them. I have all ready received request to cut shirt sleeves off. I love to be of help to them. This is also the biggest geografical area Zone. Many of them live 45 minutes away from us. So apartment inspections will take several days.

We had a great Zone Meeting. The focus was teaching with understanding. Making sure we are asking enough questions to know if the investigators and new converts are learning and understanding what it is they are learning. We have great missionaries, especially those who are AP's and Zone leaders. They are amazing. We also all received a CD from President Searle a devotional from Elder Holland on the "Atonement". It is an awesome message.

After returning back to Monticello we went with Elder Gale and Mook to a ladies home to teach her. She is so prepared and searching for the gospel. Her father passed away suddenly last week and she really wants to know where he is and that he is okay and what she needs to do so she can see him again. This is really exciting when you have someone like this that is "Golden". We also met someone at Wendy's. We grabbed a bite to eat after family study night at the church and the guy behind the counter recognized us as missionaries. He said he was baptized when he was 8 but never really went to church. We got his name and number and will call and set appointment with hem. He is engaged to be married and was talking about temple marriage. He is not on our branch records. Isn't it interesting and wonderful how the Lord puts us where we need to be.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

P-Day at Bethwoods "Woodstock"

Could you imagine a half a million people in the fields behind us?
This was out view from dinner at Bubba's Bar-B-Q. How fun to have your own dinning area right on the water. The boy there is waiting for the boat to throw him the rope so he can ski.

I loved this fire place in the Bethelwoods Center for the Arts dance floor.

We went for a short 8 mile drive to Bethelwoods where the infamous 1969 "Woodstock" music festival took place. We learned an awful lot about the 60's. Enough to make us thankful that we were the 70's era. An outdoor music festival planned for the most 150,000 people turned into a 3 day, 500,000 hippie, mud fest, with love, peace, music and drugs. Four young men were searching for a way to promote a recording studio they wanted to build. They hatched a plan to stage a concert and arts fair and maybe make a little money. What started as a simple idea blossomed into an event that became a defining moment for their generation. They rented a huge field on Max Yasgur's farm in Bethel NY. There is now a museum and Center for the Arts. A huge outdoor stage that can hold 10,000 people. They have concerts out here all summer long. Rascal Flatts, Jonas Brothers, Donna Summers, Ringo Starr, Boston Pops, Chicago, Steely Dan and many more. They have quite an impressive line up for a place 100 miles north of New York City out in the middle of the country. It is actually a very beautiful place.

After the tour of the grounds and museum we drove down the road about 3 miles and ate at "Bubba's Bar-B-Que" on White Lake. A great summer lake resort area.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Serving Members

Elder Gale and Elder Mook painting a small bedroom in a bungalow. I don't think they have done much painting before.
Doug was excited to ride the lawn mower to cut the grass.
Notice the foundation this little bungalow is built on.

This afternoon we spent with the Elders. First we went over to a members place to help do service. Marcus is from Chile, here during the summer to fix up some bungalow houses and then go back home. So tecnically he is a member but not of our Branch. We helped him mow and pick up the common lawn area and paint one of the little bungalows. These little bungalow houses are very small, about 600 square feet. There is about 5 or 6 all together that have a common yard. He is remodeling and fixing them up so he can rent them out.

After that we came home and change really fast to go visit a couple members that juked us. I feel so bad for the missionaries. They get this all the time. So we went and bought them ice cream before heading back home.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Surprise new Calling for Elder Ellett

We went to PEC this morning before church with the missionaries and the Branch President and his counselor Brother Silva. During the meeting a brother walked in and sat down. No introductions were made. The meeting ended just as Sacrament meeting was to start. This Brother came up to Doug and introduced himself as a member of the Stake Presidency and would like to visit with both of us. So Sacrament meeting waited until we got done. Doug was called to be the 2nd counselor in the Branch Presidency. Of course he accepted. Doug's mom called last night and said she was worried about him all day and wanted to know if there was anything going on because she felt worried. Mother's intuition, she knew something was up. It was a surprise to us.

Right after the Sacrament, a young lady came in and sat down next to the Elders. She was crying so Elder Gale asked her if she would like to talk. He came back in and asked me to come help him and grabbed his scriptures. They street contacted this young lady during the week. She was very interested in the plan of Salvation. Then on Wednesday her father died. She just needed reassurance that he was okay and wanted to know what she needed to do to see him again. I was able to share with her about our Clint and how I knew that I would see him again and that we were an eternal family. That he is in Heaven teaching the same message that we are sharing with her. Her father would have the opportunity to be taught the same message as she is being taught by the Elders. She was so glad to hear that and felt much better. It is awesome to be apart of , and witness the spiritual growth of those who are searching for answers that we have to share with them.

Other mission assignments we have been given: Inspecting all the north mission apartments, about 20 of them. Getting trained in and then teaching the Addiction Recovery Program. Teaching Strengthening Marriage and Family Relationships and also Family History. And of course, reactivating, finding, teaching, new converts and investigators.

Fun Senior Get together

New York, New York, North mission Senior Couples, Back row: Morrisons, Searles, Formans, Front Row: Elletts, Unsworths, Howells, Carpenters, Gilstraps not here.
Elder Unsworth, an amazing piano player, his son Andrew Unsworth plays for the Tabernacle Choir.
Elder and Sister Unsworth, He took care of all the mission cars, she is Pres. Searles secretary

We love getting together with the other Senior Couples and visiting. We met at the Mission Home. This time was to say good bye to Elder and Sister Unsworth, one of the couples in the mission office, they will be missed so much. Also it was a welcome to the Formans who are now at the Bishop's Storehouse. Such amazing brothers and sisters we get to rub shoulders with and learn and serve with. We are so honored to counted amongst them.

We enjoyed the beautiful ride down to the city, until we got in the infamous traffic. We stopped in to see Elizabeth Roman, the sister we were teaching who is getting baptized. She lives in a nursing home that is slowly trying to kill her with medication problems. She had been in the hospital last week because of medication they have been giving her that made her kidneys shut down. She is finally getting a lawyer and will not return back to the same nursing home. She was so excited to see us. We miss her and pray for her.

We broke down and got a membership to SAM's Club. There is no Costco near by us now and Sam's club is in Middletown 28 miles away. We go there for district meeting every week and will soon be teaching a class down there.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Exploring our neighborhood

This morning we went for a walk down the road past our little complex. There were more abandon, run down old places than there were with people living in them. And then in the midst of all of them there was this beautiful park with a huge pond in the middle with a walking path around it that is stocked with three types of fish, a huge play toy for kids to play on, a really huge dutch oven-bar-b-que pit, covered pavilion with picnic tables, even restrooms, and a massive tennis court area that was very nice. It had about 8 different courts all together. A huge project that the sportsman federation and Garden club, and Renaissance company built. Very nice.

From what we have gathered, this area was a huge resort place in the 50-70's. The Mofia had a lot of summer homes here. Huge homes. Then there was "Woodstock" in 1969. It is in a little place called Bethelwoods that is about 10 minutes from where we live. Much of the places here are abandon. They are trying to bring it back to life again with out much success. The state of New York has a lot of housing assistance in this area. "Section 8" housing. Many people don't like the city so they come up here and the government assists them. Many don't have cars up here. Now that is crazy because everything is so far apart. Hence the reason we become a taxi service for many to get to church and other activities. The younger Elders are not allowed to have any one in their car with them, mission rules. Many of the abandon places are little bungalow housing areas.

It is still a summer resort area for all the Hasitic Jews who come here. They have huge bungalow resort areas that they fence off. Most all of them drive mini-vans and and they all dress the same. The men down to the little toddlers wear dark pants, white shirt, dark long taled suit coat, little black caps with tall top hats as well. The women all dress in dark skirts and are always very modest. The men don't shave the hair on their heads in the temple region. So they have these ringlets down both sides of their faces and the rest of their hair is short. During the summer months thousands of them infiltrate this area. Come fall, they all head back to the city. They don't like to mix and mingle with the "Gentiles" other people like you and me. They are crazy drivers and the locals get really frustrated with this time of year. It is a real oddity for a couple of westerners like the two of us.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

P-day FISHING adventure

We had a great time fishing at this private lake about 8 miles away from our apartment. We went to wal-mart and bought a fishing license. Rode around until we found a lake that we could fish at. There are a ton of lakes everywhere. And it turns out that many of them are privately owned. This particular lake, we had to pay $15 a person to fish from the bank. At first Doug paid $25 for us to fish on a little fishing boat until we remembered that missionaries can not go out on the water. So we fished from the bank. It was pretty good fishing. All the guys caught fish and threw many back because they were so little. We caught a perch and several sun fish. We were trying for bass and "crappies", but no luck. The weather was perfect and the place was beautiful. Just as it was time to leave the rain came down. We ended up cleaning the fish in the rain under umbrellas. We will fire up the little bar-b-que grill we have and enjoy a fish fry.

Yeah! for Walmart, I found some really cute baby flannel and got stuff to make receiving blankets and crocheted around the edges while the guys fished. Better late than never. Could never find a fabric store in the the Bronx with cute baby flannel.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Transfer BLUES

Okay, now I know how the Elders and Sisters feel when they get transfered. Especially when they have been working with Investigators and new members and they have to pass them on to the missionaries taking their place. It is so hard. I find myself wondering if they are being looked after and taught. I miss the ward members we became close to and the interaction with ALL the missionaries in the Olmstead ward. Change is always hard, but inevitable, and it can be very rewarding and interesting. So we will go forward with faith and do our best.

We talked to all our kids and they sure enjoyed the change of weather as they enjoyed the mountains over the 4th of July week end. It has been really hot in St. George a virtual oven. We are grateful they were all able to get away together and enjoy each others company and the cool mountain air at least for a couple of days. We love you and wish we could have been there with ya.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Sunday in Monticello

I love Sundays! I love learning and sharing and getting to know new people. The elders have been very busy here in our little Branch. We picked up three investigators for church this morning, and meant another one there at church. They don't have cars and the Elders can't have any one in their cars. Mission rules. So we went around and picked them up this morning. I love fast and testimony meeting. I love when the Holy Ghost bares witness of truths. I love seeing people walk in church that haven't been for a while. We went and visited a sister Kemp last night and invited her to come back to church. She came in late with her husband. We actually had about 35 people at sacrament meeting. There was only 22 there two weeks ago when we visited for the first time. We had a "Break the Fast" potluck dinner after church. A great opportunity to get to know those who were there. I love to know that the church is the same no matter where you go. The sacrament is administered the same, there is always sunday school and Relief Society and Priesthood meetings. We only have three little primary kids and 4 youth, 3 YW and 1 YM.

We visited with the Branch President Murphy after church to find out what he has in mind for us to do to help build the kingdom of God in Monticello NY. We went over the branch list and will meet again on Tuesday with Bishop Ey from Middletown ward, and President Murphy.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

4th of July Celebrations

Olmsted Hall that is the Museum now

The horse races at the Monticello Raceway, notice the little buggy the horse is pulling
On the way back we passed by tonz of little privately owned lakes, beautiful homes on the lakes.

We were given the suggestion to drive over to West Point and see the terrific fireworks and band concert. We went with excitement to go see the famous "West Point Academy". The drive was beautiful, green and lush everywhere you looked as we drove over Bear Mountain. The little town of main street looks like we just stepped back in time. We got there just in time to hear that we missed the parade and the fireworks and concert will be postponed due to cloudy weather until tomorrow. What a let down. We are 52 miles away from our place in Monticello. So we thought we would go over to the museum and visitor center, sorry, it closes at 4:30. But the ice cream shop was opened and we enjoyed a cool treat.

We hopped in the car and headed back the way we came, 10 miles past Monticello to a little town called Liberty. We had read in the paper while eating ice cream that they would have fire-works. Now it is 8:30 and we are driving around in this little town trying to find where the high school is to watch the fireworks. We find the fire station and ask about it, "there is no fireworks in this town, you need to go to the race track in Monticello to see fireworks." Come to find out, the raceway could be seen from our balcony if not for the forest of trees. So we drove over to the raceway, parked and watches a couple of the races and waited, and waited along with hundreds of other people who had come to see the fireworks. Long story short - we ended up listening to and watching what we could see thru the trees from our balcony. Fireworks didn't start until 11:05 pm.


a house right next door to the church
inter-action with 12 other missionaries several times a week
washer & dryer in the basement
new friends
diversity and variety
being comfortable with our assignment
serving in the temple one day a week
teaching Institute
Doug being able to play early morning basketball/Elders
less stress/just ride the subway or take a bus
close proximity to Manhattan with all it's excitement and things to see and do
investigators with baptism dates
air-conditioner that blocks out freeway traffic sounds
FM Group - who fixes and maintains all problems
Great mission memories

Friday, July 4, 2008

Moving to Monticello NY

Elva and ReVon checking out our new pad, we are on the 2nd floor and this is our rear balcony.
Elder Langi told Doug about this famous donut place downtown near China town. So he had to stop and get a dozen. They were the best donuts ever. They were square and filled with what ever you wanted. I had a peanut and Jelly one and doug had a coconut one filled with coconut syrup.
Elder Langi moving stuff from the convent three flights up.
All the Elders came to help us move stuff into the moving truck.
Elder Mook and Gale helping move in our apartment, trying to get the broken air conditioner out of the slot to put in a new one Doug bought.

What an adventure. We are being transfered to Monticello which is about 95 miles north east of the Bronx where we are at the Bishops storehouse. We did find us an apartment in the same building as the Elders. The Lord was sure guiding us the day we found it. Anyway, the apartment is empty. We have been on a furniture hunting spree. Downtown at the 14th street chapel where the old convent the church owns had a table and chairs, a bed, coffee table and couch. All of the these items you would recognize from your church buildings furniture. Then we went to Yonkers to the base in the chapel there for more items. The mission home had a bedroom set that Tom Nickich donated to the church. The Elders on Olmstead street near us had a dresser and night stands.

We arranged with the AP's to pick up the mission van downtown in China town. We brought our Zone leaders, Elder Grahl and Langi with us to help us move items as the Elders in Manhattan south were at a Zone Conference. It is always an adventure in the convent. Things had to be moved three flights of stairs, the building has no air conditioning and it was about 95 degrees.

Now here's the kicker: we parked right out front of the convent, we put money in the meter. As we were walking out with our last load of stuff, we notice a police meter man at the rear of our car. We asked him if we could help him, what seems to be the problem? He told us he watched as the meter ran out and then proceeded to start writing us a ticket. He was in the process as we came out of the building towards our car. We told him we were just leaving because we knew the meter was running out of time. He didn't even care, told us it was too late and gave us a $65.00 ticket on our windshield. Doug was not a happy camper, he share a few *%&@#+++%&* words with him. I think that was #13. There is one great reason Doug is thrilled about getting out of the city.

We brought the furniture back to the store house to unload in our little garage, then the Elders took the van back down to the convent to get the rest of the load that didn't fit and Doug and I went to rent a Budget rent-a-truck. We met the Elder's back at the storehouse and interupted our District meeting to get the other Elders to help load everything in the Truck. They are such awesome young men, we are really going to miss them.

We then enjoyed dinner with the Formans who are replacing us in the storehouse, answering questions and training, then home to finish up with odds and ends that we needed to box up. During the night, the Rent-a-truck got "tagged". The missionaries called it getting "Bronxed". What else need we endure? Anyway, we finished loading our food from the frig and off we went to the mission home to pick up a few things there. Sister Searle fixed us lunch, we had a great visit and then off to our new home in Monticello. The Elders from our building and the Middletown Elders came and helped us move into our apartment, Then we treated them to dinner and was able to get to know them.