Archive | June, 2012

Picture Postcards- June 2012- A New Yankee’s Fan Is Born!

27 Jun

A New Yankee’s Fan is Born !!

Chillin’ at the Yankee game with the Elders

Welcome to Harlem!

Jersey in the background

Close to the “Mother-land!”

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It Was Pretty Much the Biggest Turn Out For a Baptism I’ve Ever Seen!

26 Jun

Dear friends and family,

Well, P-Day came one day early this week! This is due to the fact that today we had transfers, and it just fell on an abnormal day. Luckily, neither Sister Taylor or I are getting transferred!! We get to stay in Harlem for the whole summer. I am so PUMPED! I really do love it here and I’m so glad I get to stay. It’s definitely not my time to go yet :) Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Sister Lotuleilei, who got transferred to the Bronx. I’m sad to see one of my Tongan sisters go, but now we get a new sister living with us! She’s from Italy and is awesome! I’m going to get her to teach me some Italian :)
A few cool things that happened this week– we went to the Yankee’s game! It was great fun. We went with our whole district and zone and sat way up high in the bleachers, in the shade. It was heavenly. The game was super chill and laid back, and it was just a lot of fun. (See pictures!)
We also had a great activity this weekend with our ward– a picnic at Central Park! It was great, and we had a couple of investigators show up and get to know some people in the ward. We’re also having another Noche de Hogar tonight, so hopefully we’ll have a lot of people come to that. And to top it all off– we had a baptism this Sunday! Yahaira, the 11 year old girl we’ve been teaching, got baptized right after church this Sunday. There were SO many people there! They just stayed later after all our meetings ended and it was pretty much the biggest turn out for a baptism I’ve ever seen. And it was in half Spanish/half English. Really interesting :) I sang with this wonderful woman named Olga who I just had the pleasure of meeting this week. She is absolutely AMAZING! Her voice is beautiful and it was just a wonderful experience. I’m really looking forward to visiting with Olga some more– she hasn’t been coming to church for 18 years, more or less, has 4 kids, and is blind. She is one of the sweetest spirits I have ever met. We connected right away, and I feel a very close friendship with her already.
Last but not least… we’re having a serious cockroach issue in our apartment! It’s a little bit ridiculous. We’ve put out a bajillion traps and STILL they come! I don’t know what we’re going to do but I’m about to go crazy. We’re going to have to launch an attack soon. And with the start of a new cycle, that means I’m making lots of new planner covers! I have requests from at least 4 elders for me to make theirs as well…. so I guess I’m going to have to get my creative juices flowing! I’m so glad that I can still do a little bit of crafting on the mission. (Yes, I am super nerdy!) And other than that… we’re just getting ready for our new mission president! He comes in this week, and we’ll get to meet him on the 3rd of July. I can’t believe it’s almost the 4th of July! That’s so crazy. This last 5/6 weeks just FLEW by. I’m sure this summer is going to go by in the blink of an eye. This whole year did, looking back. I can’t believe this time last year I was an EFY counselor. It feels like it was just yesterday! I’m sure in a year I’ll look back at this time with the same feeling. It’s crazy how time works, isn’t it?
Well, I love you all lots and lots. Know that you are in my prayers :) Write me! :)
Love,
Sister Rogers


Picture Postcards- June 2012- Museum of Natural History

21 Jun

How Crazy is That ?

20 Jun
Dear lovely people whom I love dearly,
Hello! First of all, Happy Late Father’s Day to my pops. :) I forgot to include that in my last email. Oops!
Anyways, it’s been a very interesting week, to say the least. We had 5 investigators at church this Sunday! Sister Taylor and I had our hands full, big time. The mother and daughter we’ve been teaching came, and I think they really liked it! We’re teaching them again tonight so that’ll be good. We also had two of our Cuban men friends from Central Park show up! We called them every single day leading up to church and they showed up! [They’re kind of flaky, so they asked us to call them– we weren’t just harassing them for no reason :) ] And then this cute girl that I talked to at noche de hogar the other night, showed up as well. It was kind of amazing, actually. She’s in the foster care system, and so I guess money’s really tight for her. She was coming from the Bronx and had to buy a metro card, which aren’t super cheap. She told me that morning (Sunday), her foster dad had given her $25, and so she thought, “Yes! Now I can go to church!” That was just amazing to me that a 17 year old would use the little money that she has to go to church. It definitely touched my heart. I actually ended up teaching the Sunday School class that she went to because they didn’t have a teacher… so yeah, needless to say, Sunday was CRAZY. But awesome. I was very happy :)
We also said bye to President Smith yesterday… he’s leaving, and next week we are getting a new mission president! We’re all excited for the new president, but super sad to see President Smith go. I just love that man. He’s made me feel very welcome and accepted in the mission, and that was exactly what I needed. He will definitely be missed. Also, with that, transfers are coming up. I’m a little bit nervous… I’m pretty sure I’ll be staying in Harlem, but Sister Taylor might go because she’s been here three cycles already. We are really hoping that isn’t the case though, because we love our area and we love serving together. No matter what happens, I’m sure everything will be fine, but I’m really loving things as they are right now.
Oh, another cool thing that happened– we knocked into this lady who was really neat and talked with her for a good twenty minutes, but ended off passing her information to another pair of elders because they teach in English and we’re not really supposed to. So they called her and invited her to a baptism that they were having (A lot of times, we’ll invite people to baptisms so that they can come and see how it’s done and what it’s like) Apparently, she thought that they were inviting her to come and be baptized! So she dresses up and comes to the baptism, all ready, which in and of itself is pretty amazing. Obviously, they did not baptize her there :p but the elders went and visited her last night. They took a member with them for the lesson and found out that two years earlier, a pair of missionaries had knocked on her door, come in and sang a hymn, said a prayer and left. She said that experience had really touched her and helped her a lot, and made her more open to hearing from the missionaries now. She told them the names of the missionaries, and it turns out that one of them was our very own Elder Palu, who just went back home to Australia last cycle. And even cooler– the member that went with them to the lesson had been baptized by Elder Palu and that same companion, two years earlier. How crazy is that? It just goes to show that we never really know how something affects others, and we may not find out about it until many years later– or we may never find out. But I just thought that was super cool.
Also, for last P-day, we went to the Natural History Museum! It was so cool. There was this lady who was a supervisor there who’s actually a member of our church, so she got us into one of the shows they were having for free. It was pretty cool! I made a little video in the space section that you could email home and emailed it to myself… (See this link: http://amnh_space.bitmove.tv/bitmove/amnh_space/receiveleeg.jsp?uid=BDAB400A5F3AA84300B5198679FDB37B&format=flv)
It was super fun. The space and dinosaur parts were probably my favorite. It was cool to be there with some of the other missionaries. I’m also super excited because today, we’re all going to a Yankees game! We’re allowed to go to one during the summer, and this one fell on a Wednesday and it was just perfect. So we’ve got our Yankee’s caps and we’re ready to go! Sooo excited. Stay tuned for pictures next week :)
Well, in terms of other news, let me take a moment to highlight the SUPER random stuff that happened this week. Highlights:
  • The shirtless Dominican man who sang to us a song of his own creation about how beautiful the earth and God is, right there in his doorway.
  • The two guys who came onto our subway car with bongo drums and chairs and just started playing right there while the train was moving. At the end, they passed around a hat for money, but said, “If you can’t spare the change, a smile will do just fine.” Ah! I love New York, that stuff like that happens.
STORY TIME: So we knocked on this lady’s door and turns out she’s Russian and doesn’t speak very much English. She invites us in anyways, and we try to stay for a while because we’re waiting for one of the other missionaries to call us back because he speaks Russian and we want to put him on the phone to talk to her so she can understand who we are and what we’re doing :) (I wanted to just call Neils cause I figured he could talk to her, but that probably wouldn’t have been a very good idea haha!) Anyways, so we’re there, trying to talk to her but not communicating very well. All of a sudden, she gets up and gestures to a table where she has some Russian candy out and tells us to take some. So we take one, say thank you and sit back down on her couch. Then she goes, “No! Take more! Take more!” So we go and take more.
Side note: there’s this thing that people in the latin culture do, and I guess Russians do it as well, where they are just always trying to give you stuff! If you compliment them on something, they try to give it to you! Last week, Yasiris, the dominican lady who we’re teaching, gave us a big carton of juice because I had said it was yummy. I felt so bad and didn’t want to take it. I fought her on it, but finally Sister Taylor told her we’d take it. I guess it makes them feel good when you accept their generosity, but I feel bad taking stuff… it’s a problem. I’m trying to get better at just smiling and accepting their generosity, because when you fight them on it, this is what happens:
She tries to get us to take even more candy, but I’m standing my ground. I don’t want to take all of her candy! So she holds up her finger, says, “Wait!” and gets really excited. She turns to the fridge, opens it, and hands us out a jar of Salmon CAVIAR..”From Russia,” she says, beaming. Sister Taylor and I take the caviar, smile and say thank you, then get out of there before she can hand us anything else. Who knows, maybe she would have tried to send us home with live lobsters, too! Haha it was just really funny and super random.
Anyways, I’m really excited for this week, because Yahaira’s getting baptized! It’s going to be great. We’re also having another noche de hogar on Tuesday and a ward picnic this Saturday, not to mention the English Classes that we’re going to be starting in a couple of weeks. We have too many events to invite people to! It’s going to be a busy summer, I’m pretty sure, and I just can’t wait!
Anyways, I love and miss you all. Thanks for all of your support, prayers, and love!
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

 

There’s Just a Really Cool Vibe in the Air, to be in the City That Never Sleeps!

14 Jun
Hola familia y amigos,
 
 
So this week, I hit my monumental 4 MONTH MARK! Haha I know it’s not too exciting, but I’ve now officially been in New York longer than I was in the MTC, which feels big. I really am falling in love with the city. I wasn’t sure I was going to for awhile, just because of how scary some things are and all the noises and smells and such… but I really do love it here. The buildings are just amazing, and the trees, when you’re around them, are fantastic. Central Park is amazing and there’s just a really cool vibe in the air, to be in the city that never sleeps. Every day I fall in love with it more.
 
 
I’ve been especially loving it recently because the weather has been incredibly merciful. I was a little worried a few weeks back, and loaded up on sunscreen and was lathering it on every day… but lately it’s been very overcast and even rainy! I am not complaining one bit about the rain. It means I’m not sweating and getting sunburned :) I’m sure it will warm up soon, but for now I am living it up! Also, quick little note…. I’m pretty sure I saw one of the actors from “House” the other week! The one that’s the short doctor who cheats on his wife… I’m sure he’s a great person in real life. I don’t know if he actually lives in New York and maybe I’m going crazy, but I was closer to downtown when I saw him, so it’s totally plausible. If it had been right smack in the middle of Harlem, I’d have more doubts, but I swear it was him!
 
 
Also, funny little story: the other night we went to dinner at a member’s house with the two Tongan sisters that we live with. Before heading over there, we had ran into a couple of the other missionaries. During that time, one of the elders, Elder Fontanella, took Sister Taylor and I’s house key, thinking it’d be really funny (also knowing that we were with the other sisters that we lived with, so we’d be able to get inside still…) but when we got home, we discovered that we didn’t have the key and figured out that Elder Fontanella had taken it. So we decided to prank him back! We had Sisters Lotuleilei and Lavaki text them and tell them that they’d accidentally left their bag with the keys in it at our member’s house and that we had to walk all the way back there to get it. We made a big deal about being locked out, and he felt really bad and was on his way to bring us back our key when we decided to be nice and tell him that we were kidding. He was super embarassed and it was sweet, sweet revenge. Moral of the story: don’t mess with the sisters… we’ll get you back! :)
 
 
So we’re teaching a couple of really cool people right now. For a while it was kind of disappointing, because we’d teach somebody and get really excited about the next lesson, and then we wouldn’t be able to meet up with them again– either they don’t answer their phone or they aren’t interested or they’re never home or too busy with work– whatever it was, it was just really sad that nothing really panned out. I love finding and teaching new people, but it stinks when you don’t get to have that time to get to know them better and really form that friendship. But right now, we have a couple of families that we are SUPER excited about! We’re teaching a mom and her two kids, and also the mom’s sister and her one son. They came to church a couple of weeks ago and LOVED it! We’ve taught them 4-5 times and are planning on teaching them later in the week. The kids are so sweet and excited to learn. We were a little worried for a minute, because they were supposed to come to church last week but canceled last minute… but we talked with the mom yesterday and she told us that she’s been reading in the Book of Mormon from the beginning and had already read 11 chapters! It was so cool for me to see someone actually taking the initiative and following through with the challenge we had given her to read and to find out for herself what the Book of Mormon contains. I really hope that she continues reading and wanting to meet with us.
 
 
The other lady we’re teaching and that we’re excited about is a single mom from the Dominican Republic, and her 8 year old daughter. Her husband died a little while ago, and now she’s just on her own trying to support herself and her daughter. She already reads the Bible every night and really cares about doing what’s right and having the Lord in her life. We’ve taught her twice and have another lesson with her set up for tomorrow. We actually brought a member with us last time, and they got along really well, and we’re having our next lesson in the member’s house! I just have a really good feeling about this mom and daughter. I loved teaching them about how they can see their husband/father again after this life! I take it for granted so many times the knowledge that I have of that, and forget that other people don’t always have that peace. I’m grateful that we have the Book of Mormon to teach us more about how our families really can be together forever. It’s just a great blessing that I’ve kind of taken for granted.
 
 
Speaking of the Book of Mormon… we just set a new goal as a district that I’m super excited about. We’ve decided that everywhere we go, we are going to carry around a Book of Mormon with us in our hands, in stead of just in a backpack or bag. That way, it will help remind us to share the Book of Mormon and it will be right there and we can just show people what it is! Also, when people see us, they’ll be able to even more easily identify us as missionaries and associate that image of us with the Book of Mormon. It really is the key to everything that our church is based on– of course, Jesus Christ is the head, but the Book of Mormon and the  knowledge it gives us is so important. So I’m interested to see how that affects/changes our interactions with people!
 
 
Well, that’s about all that’s going on right now. No crazy stories… this week! We’re planning on going to the Museum of Natural History (yes, the same one from the movies…. I think?) with our district. I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures so I can send them next week! I love and miss you all. Thank you for your support and love.
 
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

Welcome to Harlem and “Noche de Hogar!”

12 Jun
Well, another week has come and gone. It was a pretty normal week, with a few eccentric exceptions (like always!) We found some cool people to teach, and we actually had six people who we’re teaching come to church on Sunday! I think they had a good experience and are planning on coming back again. Later on, during church while people were in Sunday School, we had this man come up to us and start talking to us. He was wheezing and really out of breath and looked so tired, like he was about to fall over. We got him some water and tried to figure out what we could do to help him. He would start talking, mumbling out a word or two, then nod his head a couple of times and fall asleep, then jerk awake, try to talk again, and start sobbing. It didn’t take us too long to figure out that he was probably on drugs, because he was just acting really weird. We tried to get him home, but he wouldn’t tell us where he lived, so we were kind of stuck. Then one of our members passed by and said that he recognized him and that he was in danger of snapping and getting violent because he’s a war vet and his mind goes in and out sometimes. (I’m not really sure if I believe the guy who said he knew him… he kind of tells tall tales sometimes.) But he told us that we needed to call the cops and get him in an ambulance… so we did. The cops came and took him, and of course, as soon as the cops show up, he starts talking in lucid sentences and doesn’t sound or look crazy anymore. Yikes. So they take him away, but then like 20 minutes later he comes back! It was just super crazy and we ended up having to call the cops again, but we didn’t get to hang around to see what happened because we were already late to an appointment. But yeah. Welcome to Harlem! It’s always something :)
This week we also had Zone Conference, my first one in the mission! Zone Conference is basically where everybody in our zone, and a few other zone (comprising of about 50ish missionaries) come together and have a meeting with our mission president. He shared some really great stuff, but it was kind of sad because he’s leaving in a few weeks, and we will be getting a new mission president! I’m sad to see President Smith go, but excited to meet and get to know the new one. We did kind of a question/answer session and talked about some really cool things, like the importance of our agency and how we can teach more effectively. I really learned a lot and have a lot to think about and contemplate now. I also had the opportunity to sing the musical number for zone conference– I got my hands on the sheet music for the song, “The One,” which I sang a couple of times at EFY this past summer. It was really great to be able to sing that song again. I just love it. (If you haven’t heard it, you should check it out! It’s super legit).
Then last night, we had something that we call “Noche de Hogar!”which is basically a big ward Family Night– we had SUCH a good turnout! Tons of members came, and we even had some people who weren’t members show up! We had a lesson and games and some food, and it was just a great success. This 17 year old girl who doesn’t really speak Spanish and who had never been to our church before– she knew one of our members, Sister Olivo, because the girl had dated Sister Olivo’s son before– and so I got to know her a bit. At first I was trying to translate what the lesson was saying to her, but then I realized it would be way more effective for her and I to go out into the hall and I could just teach her in English so that she could ask questions. We ended up talking about a whole bunch of stuff and although we’ll have to pass her off to the English Elders :( it was still really great to teach her and interact with her. I’m reminded again of how much I LOVE working with kids aged 14-18. I absolutely adore them and really feel a connection with them. Talking with her last night really made me miss my EFY kids! I miss and love them so much and I cherish the time that I had to spend with them this last summer.
That’s pretty much it, really! We’re teaching some good people and finding new people to teach. I’m still loving Harlem, more and more every single day. I adore the members and feel such an attachment to them, and I love the other missionaries that I serve with! Sister Taylor and I always have a good time together, and my district and zone are all great. Today we’re all going to Costco together and then going to play a little ping pong. It’s going to be a nice, relaxed P-Day :) Thanks again to everyone for your love and support. I miss and love you all!
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers
PS- Shout out to my brother Mikey who just graduated High School! :) Congrats, bro. Love you.