Archive | April, 2012

Picture Postcards

26 Apr

Branching Out of My Comfort Zone

26 Apr

Querido familia y amigos,

Hola! Right now I am writing from the Family History Center in the Manhattan Temple! It’s pretty cool to be downtown where everything is crazy and bustling but to be inside in a peaceful place :) I actually came here last week for the first time and it was such a cool experience to feel the peaceful spirit that’s here.
This week has been good, definitely a few interesting things happening here and there. It was kind of a bummer, because a lot of our appointments fell through this week. It’s frustrating, just because so many of our investigators are awesome people and I just want to teach them so bad! But we just have to work with their schedules and hope for the best. We’ve gotten to visit with a lot of the members in our ward though, and they’re just great. Sometimes they feed us, and I’m learning to try all sorts of new food. Those of you who know how picky of an eater I am…. you would be very proud to know that I have definitely branched out of my comfort zone, and it turns out that a lot of the food that I’m trying really isn’t that bad! Some of it is actually way good. Plus I think maybe all food just tastes better on your mission if you don’t have to make it or go out and buy it!
Speaking of food/ restaurants, the other day we were out with the other elders in our district, and we saw the “Tom’s Restaurant,” the one that is on Seinfeld! I’ve attached a picture for fun :) It’s actually pretty cool, because all of the elders in our district are in our ward as well, we we get to see them pretty often. It’s nice to have that unity and get to know each other a bit. We’ve got some seriously solid elders around here. I’m very glad to have met them! They’ve been really nice to me too.
Sad day– I lost one of my nametags a couple of days ago! I don’t know how it happened, but all of a sudden, I looked down and it was gone. I’ve ordered a couple of new ones, but who knows how long it will be until I get another one. Now I just have to keep switching the one nametag I own to and from my coat and the shirt I have underneath my coat whenever I go inside or outside. :) But happy times, we got to do a fair amount of service this week! One of the members in a neighboring ward needed help painting her apartment, so we and another pair of elders went over and painted. It was definitely a change of pace, so that was kind of cool. I’m also trying to convince my district leader to let us start an English class here, where we would be teaching English to people who only speak Spanish. I think that’d be a super cool thing to do. As of right now, my Spanish is coming along alright. I carry around a little notebook with me and jot down phrases that I hear, or pepper members for the answers to my vocabulary questions. There are a few where we have a system going, where I help them with their English and then they help me with my Spanish! I think that will be super helpful in the long run.
In other trivial news, I got a little sick this week. :( Being sick on the mission is not very fun at all. But I made it through and I think I’m on the up and up. The weather’s also been super loopy– one day it’s hot and the next it’s POURING rain. But it’s okay, because my companion and I play in the puddles on our way home. :) I really do love it here. There are so very many things to see and new experiences to be had. Every day is a bit of an adventure, and I’m getting better at talking to random people without getting super scared. My companion’s great, and so are the other two sister missionaries we live with (They’re Tongan and they’re teaching us the Haka. Jealous?)
Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well! I sure do miss you all. I appreciate your prayers and your support!
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers
PS- if you want to send me a letter, it’s probably fastest and most effective to just email it to me, because we don’t get the mail from the main office in Scarsdale too often– just include your address and I will send you a handwritten letter back! :)

I Love New York !!!

18 Apr

 

Hola familia y amigos!

Oh my goodness, I just have so much to write about! I don’t even know where to start. First of all, it is SOOO wonderful to be in the real world, meeting real-life people. I love that every single day, I get to go out into the streets of New York and talk to people all day long. I wake up with a smile on a face and a song in my heart– I know it sounds cheesy, but I swear, it’s true. (And that’s a big thing, cause I’ve never been a morning person, ever.) We talk to people everywhere we go. My favorite is on the bus, because sometimes you can have a good 5-10 minute conversation, and since there’s nothing better to do, people will actually talk to you! I’ve gotten in the habit of bringing both Spanish and English teaching materials with me when we go out, because we end up talking with a lot of English speakers as well. I was kind of bummed about it at first, but I’m okay with it now. It’s kind of nice to do some talking with people and actually understand everything that’s being said, as opposed to Spanish conversations, where I tend to struggle some of the time.

So, let me just say a few words about the Spanish…. well, before I do that, I should say this: There are a TON of people from the Dominican Republic here in Harlem. A TOOOONNNN. Let me tell you about their Spanish– don’t get me wrong, they are some of the sweetest people I have ever met, but they have this tendency of dropping the “s”s off of their words! Plus they talk suuper fast, so I struggle a lot understanding them. But it’s all good, because at least 75% of the people we meet are from there, so I’m going to get used to it really fast.

I’m also learning a lot about how incredibly nice the people in New York are! There’s this stereotype that everybody’s mean and rough and ragged, but it totally isn’t true. The other day, my companion and I were trying to figure out which subway station we needed to get to. Somebody came up to us and asked us if we were lost and helped us out! It was so great. There’s such a tight sense of community here too, especially on certain streets and apartment buildings. We’ll be walking out on the street and some people will just be sitting on their front steps, saying hi to all of their neighbors that pass. It’s great. I’m learning as well that appearances are SOO not what they seem. Like, at all.

So, one quick cool experience that we had. We were out and about and had thirty minutes to kill before an appointment. We were trying to figure out which building we could go knock. I looked around and saw that one of the buildings had a sign outside of it that was written in Spanish. (Being a missionary is kind of like being a detective… you have to look for clues to find out where the Spanish speakers live!) Anyways, so we go over to that building and start buzzing a couple of apartments to see if they will buzz us in. Nobody was answering. Randomly, I pushed “6”, and we immediately got buzzed in. I thought that we would just start at the bottom of the building and work our way up, but we decided to go up to 6 and see who was home. Turns out there was a woman there whose husband has cancer, so she’s home a lot taking care of him. I couldn’t understand hardly anything she was saying, but about halfway through our conversation, she started crying. We gave her a Book of Mormon and we’re actually going back to teach her tonight! So that was really cool.

I love teaching and I love meeting new people! It’s great. Just great. I’ve already had a slice of real, New York pizza (it was HUUUGE!) and my apartment is super decent, way nicer than what I was expecting. However… we did find a HUGE cockroach nest in one of our cupboards this week!! Needless to say, we freaked out a little bit. I’ve also had to get used to the smells of new York… it’s been interesting. But I’m adjusting and everything’s great.

I’m in LOVE with Central Park. Absolutely, 100% in love. It is gorgeous! So beautiful. Probably my favorite part of New York so far.

I really do feel safe when I’m walking around, mostly because I don’t have to worry about directions and I’m always using the buddy system, since we have to stay with our companions. Well I’ve already written a TON, so sorry about that. I will write some more next week because I’m sure I’ll have plenty of adventures between now and then!

I love you all! :)

Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

Announcing My First Area- HARLEM, NY. Mom, don’t freak out!

11 Apr
Hola!
Didn’t think you’d be hearing from me again so soon, did you? Well, curveball! P-Days here are on Wednesday, so here I am. And guess what?
I’M IN NEW YORK!
Yep. I’m definitely writing this email from a computer in a chapel in (drumroll, please, as I announce my first area…) HARLEM, NY. Mom, don’t freak out. They promise me it’s pretty safe here. I am in the Manhattan Central area, which is basically Harlem. So woohoo! It’s pretty crazy that I’m finally here!
We got to NY yesterday– our plane left pretty early in the morning, so I’m still trying to catch up today on sleep. I’m not going to lie, I’m absolutely exhausted! (Lugging around super heavy luggage will do that to you). But it’s been so great. I LOVE the mission president and his wife, and it’s just been really cool traveling around. I got to meet a ton of the other missionaries today when we did the transfer meeting, which is where I met my new companion/ trainer, Sister Taylor. She is from Georgia and has a cute little accent and she’s great (I’ve known her all of 6 hours or so, but so far we’re getting along just great!) It’s so great to be out in the real world, seeing real people and not being cooped up in the MTC. It’s pretty crazy though– we were on the subway earlier and I looked around and realized that my companion and I were the only whtie people! It’s the first time in my life I’ve ever been a minority.
But everybody in the mission is suuuper friendly and down to earth and just fun. There’s a lot more energy out here in the field than there was in the MTC. I’m already loving NY, although I think it will take a while to get used to all of the different sights and smells. We haven’t gone to our apartment yet, so I’ll be sure to report on that next week.
So as of right now, that’s about all I’ve got– I’m here in NY, and ready to get to work. I’m excited to start meeting and teaching people. I think this will definitely be an adjustment, getting used to city life, but it’s an exciting new adventure and I can’t wait!
Until next Wednesday–
Hermana Rogers

I Leave For New York Tomorrow!!

9 Apr
Hola!
Holy Moly. I can’t believe I am leaving tomorrow!! This time in the MTC has seriously flown by and taken way longer than 2 months all at the same time. It’s hard to describe. But I am very ready to get out into the real world! I’m so excited. We have to be up at 3 AM tomorrow morning to get ready for our flight that leaves at 6 or so. I still haven’t started packing yet… luckily today is P-Day, so I can get it done!
Here are some updates about how my last week in the MTC has gone:
1) On Wednesday, I got to host one of my best friends, Sister Alison Jones! She will also be headed to New York, but to the Rochester mission. It’s been really cool being here at the same time, even if it is only for a few days.
2) Also on Wednesday, my companions and I were selected to do example teaching for the new missionaries. Basically, we go in and start a lesson with an investigator and then the new missionaries take over after ten minutes or so asking questions. I remember it being a really cool experience when I first came in, and it was kind of neat to be on the other side. I remember when I first saw those missionaries teaching, I thought that I’d never be able to do it like they did! And lo and behold, we totally were able to do it. It’s just one of the many things that I’ve learned about myself since I’ve been here.
3) Yesterday (Easter) was a really cool day here. Elder Packer actually came and spoke to us! So that was super cool. And then for the devotional that night, the BYU Men’s Chorus came and did a concert. It was so great! They were amazing. We’ve really been spoiled with terrific devotionals and different opportunities since I’ve been here in the MTC. Looking back at my time here, I can’t believe how many cool things I’ve gotten to do and be a part of! I’m glad that I came in when I did. :)
4) Goodbyes— goodbyes are hard. We had to say goodbye to one of our favorite teachers on Saturday night, and we’ll have to say goodbye to another one tonight. Plus there are two people in our district who aren’t going to the same mission as the rest of us, so it’s sad that we won’t get to see them now and then. I’ve really grown so close with my district! I just love them all so much. (Once I get out in the field, I’ll be able to upload and send pictures and you will be able to see all of the companions/elders I’m talking about!) Ooh, funny quote time: Hermana Noble was talking about how she needed a break from men (don’t know how we got on that subject, but we were trying to only speak in Spanish, so we were talking about subjects all over the place.) The word for “break” in spanish is “descanso.” But Hermana Noble said, “Necesito un desayuno de hombres.” ‘Desayuno’ means breakfast. It was reallly funny.
Anyways, that’s about it! I’m about to be a real missionary! This time tomorrow, I’ll be traveling on my way to New York.
With that, just a quick note– I won’t be able to receive free DearElders anymore! :( Sad day, I know. However, DearElders still work, you just have to pay the price that you would pay for a stamp, and you have to go to the New York, New York North mission tab instead of the Provo MTC Tab on the webpage. I’ll have my mom update my address on my blog and facebook page once I’ve got it.
Thank you so much for all of the support and love I’ve received while I’ve been here in the MTC! It’s really meant a lot that I’ve been in your thoughts and prayers. I am so incredibly excited to go out into the world and teach and be a real-life missionary! :)
Con mucho amor,
Hermana Rogers


Travel Plans Ahead!

2 Apr
Hola familia y amigos!
Oh man. Heads up, this is probably going to be a longer email than usual. There’s just so much to talk about!!
First of all, for those of you who saw the tiny glimpses of me here and there, you will know that I did, in fact, sing in General Conference. It was such a cool experience! It was my first time going to conference live, and it was so neat. I saw lots of general authorities, and it was so neat just to be able to sing in such a big place! As you probably saw on TV, David Archuleta is here in the MTC! He got here this week, and there was a big frenzy among everybody. There have been rumors floating around pretty much the whole time that I’ve been in the MTC that he was either here or coming or already gone, and then for one of those rumors to actually be true? Pretty crazy. He looks like a really nice person, kind of shy. I feel bad because everybody’s always talking about him. But it is kind of cool to see glimpses of a celebrity here and there in our midst. Funny side note– so the intermediate song that everyone sang on Saturday afternoon session was “Called to Serve,” right? I heard a story here recently about somebody’s granddaughter who thought the words were “Awkward, ever awkward.” (INstead of onward, ever onward). I just thought that was so funny, because it’s kind of true about us missionaries. We are quite awkward. :)
This week was also crazy exciting because we got our travel plans! I’m going to have to wake up at like 3:30 in the morning, but I don’t even care. I’m FINALLY going to New York! I am so ready to get out into the field. I’m kind of getting senioritis after being here so long. Hopefully I can plow through this week until next Tuesday and stay productive.
Quick funny thing that happened– yesterday (April 1st), I was walking to/from buildings and saw easter eggs hiding in the bushes along the side of the walkway! I got really excited and opened one, and inside was a piece of paper that says, “April Fool’s.” Oh well. Looks like Easter is next week. Speaking of Easter, I’m super excited because apparently 3 general authorities are going to come and we’re going to have a big easter service, like with the whole MTC. So that will be neat!
Okay, last really cool thing that I want to talk about. We had this AWESOME devotional last night. LIke seriously, probably the best one out of the whole time I’ve been here. It was given by Vai Sikahema– that name is probably familiar to those who follow BYU football. I think he was on the winning team the same time that Ty Detmer was? But now he works as a sportscaster in Philly. ANyways, he was in town for General Conference and some other things and he was invited to come and speak to us. First he showed us some video clips from some news stories that he had done– one of them was him reporting with missionaries singing “Called to Serve” in the background! They had organized a “Mormon Night” for the PHilly’s baseball team and he suggested that the missionaries sing the national anthem. He also did an MTC interview type thing when the olympics were going on in Salt Lake. Point being, he totally takes advantage of his career and mingles it with church stuff and does some really cool things with that. So that was really sweet.
But the most amazing part of the devotional was what happened next. Brother Sikahema showed some pictures from his mission, and talked about a man that he had taught in the back of the store that the man owned. He then invited that man to come up to the stand! Turns out that as part of a mission reunion, he came to see the missionary that had baptized him. Brother Sikahema then invited his old companion up to the stand as well! So there they were, the two missionaries and their old friend who they had taught and baptized back in the day. Brother Sikahema then showed pictures of the man’s (his name was Bob) family– his two daughters and his wife. Then he showed pictures of the two daughters grown up and married, and the pictures of their children. It was such a unique experience to have that visual right there– that when you teach people, it never just affects them. It affects the other people in their lives as well. To see the joy of all of them being united after all this time– it just made me so excited to go out into the field. I can’t wait to meet the wonderful people of New York and form relationships that will last a lifetime with them.
I’m so grateful for this opportunity that I have to serve and to learn. PS– General Conference was SOO awesome. So many good talks. If you didn’t have a chance to watch it, you should go online to lds.org and listen to them! You won’t regret it.
Well, I love you all! Wish me luck and pray for me to be able to focus and make it through my last week in the MTC!!
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

Hermana Rogers Sings at General Conference with Elder David Archuleta

1 Apr