Archive | July, 2012

Proselytising in the Projects

25 Jul

Knocking doors in the Projects of Harlem

 

Dear family and friends,

Well first of all, I just want to say thank you for all of your weather prayers. Even right after I sent my email last week, I walked outside and out of nowhere, rain was coming down. How great is that? The weather’s been up and down, but the rain that comes keeps us cool, so that’s a nice relief. :) It’s like Utah, the moodiness in the weather, but I’m beginning to appreciate it more. I can’t believe the summer is more than halfway gone! Where did it go?? Craziness.

So this week, all of the missionaries who are in North, Central (that’s me) and South Manhattan all came and gathered with church members from all over Manhattan this past Saturday for the annual day of service! We participated in a big service project at Riverside Park, which is the park right on the Hudson. There were heavy and light weeding crews, as well as painting crews. I picked painting, and what a blast it was! We repainted a playground (with black paint, sadly… poor kids. I wish we could have sneaked some neon green onto the swingsets, but that was a no-go…) Of course, we played a little on the see-saws first :) But it was super fun! I think we got a lot done and the park people really appreciated our help. Plus it was fun to have a nice change of pace.

We also had a really great district meeting this week! We went around and played a unity game where we each said something nice about every person in our district. (It helps that we’ve all been together for 2 cycles now, so we know each other pretty well.) It was so great! That’s definitely a good game to play with family, friends, whatever. Sometimes we forget to thank people for the little things they do and how they help us. In other news… we have our first interviews with President this Friday! I’m so excited. I’ve talked with him a few times, but not extensively, but I just love him to pieces. He’s so great! I’m so excited to get to know him a little better this week.

Nothing too new to report investigator-wise. We’re still working with some great people and having some good success with them. Yasiris and her daughter came to church again this week and we’re meeting with them tonight. She is seriously the funnest! When we sit together in church, I crack up. We laugh at the silliest things and it’s like I’m in middle school again with my best friend. I love it! She’s just such a loving person, and she’s really making amazing efforts to follow God. We also had a lesson this week where we were literally just about to leave– had already besito-ed them goodbye, and were walking towards the door, when they were like, “Wait! Come back! We have to give you some juice!” No kidding. It’s a really big thing with the Latin people, juice. And I’m afraid they’ve got me addicted. I find myself with random craving sometimes…

And now for your weekly trivia facts… this week featuring: the Projects! Did you know…

  • It’s about a 5-10 minute wait for the elevator to come, no matter what floor you’re on. (Usually there’s about 20 floors, so it takes a while for it to go up and down). Oh and PS— if there’s liquid on the floor, don’t step in it and hold your breath if you can (it’s pee, 90% of the time.) Also… elevators break down sooo easily here. So if you only have to go up a few floors, use the stairs.
  • And, when you do use the stairs… hold your breath! Seriously. We find some great people in some of these buildings, but oh, the smells that you find in these stairs and elevators…
  • They have the BEST views from the rooftops. You just have to find one where the alarm doesn’t go off or the door is already open and you’re in for a treat.
  • Oh, and sometimes you have to knock some doors that scare you. (See picture attached.) B

 

It’s not super glamorous, but hey! That’s the missionary life. And it’s just great. I’m having a grand old time and every day holds something new in it to learn…. but I guess that’s what life is like outside of the mission too, I just never realized it before. I think a day that you’ve learned something new is a day well-lived. :)

 

I love you all! Have a great week. :)

 

Con amor,

Hermana Rogers

 

Knock, knock. Who’s there? I think it’s Mary’s place.

 

19 Jul

These People Are Just So Giving! I Love Them to Pieces!

18 Jul

Welcome to Harlem, NY!

 

Well, another week has come and gone. This one was a little bit slow in terms of finding new people to teach or getting to teach a lot of people, but oh was it richly filled with the wacky and crazy people of New York, and more specifically, Harlem. I swear. Just wait for the highlights later on in my letter…

So English class continues to do well, although attendance is diminishing just a little, which is to be expected, or so they tell me. That’s why we’re focusing on handing out flyers every week so that we’re always getting an influx of new people. I am in charge of teaching Grammar/ reading/ writing. Big shocker, right? Haha. I know. It’s totally up my alley and I’m loving it. I got my hands on an English Grammar book from my Italian roommate and geeked out pouring over it for about half an hour or so.
This week, I have a culture lesson for you all concerning the lovely Latin people I am working with. And oh, how I love them. But I have learned a very important lesson about communication with them, which is this: You CANNOT compliment them on things. Like, you just can’t. It’s kicked me and Sister Taylor in the butt plenty of times. Let me give you a not-hypothetical-at-all example:
Sister Taylor: That’s a really nice ring you’re wearing!
Investigator: Thank you! Do you want it? You can have it.
Sister Taylor: Oh no, I just wanted to tell you I thought it was pretty.
Investigator: (Taking off the ring), No, please take it!
Insert bamboo, recipe book or a watch, and you will have at least three real situations that have happened to us in the past month. These people are just so giving! I love them to pieces, but I’ve had to tone down my compliments, because it makes for some uncomfortable moments. No, ma’am, I am NOT going to take your ring/recipe book/ bamboo stick/ watch! It’s yours! Haha. It’s definitely thrown me for a loop.
On the flip side of that, when they ask you if you want more food, the answer should always be yes. (This is something I still have to work on, because I just don’t have enough room in my stomach!) They view food as such a huge way of expressing love. It’s really important to them that they make all the food themselves (aka, they won’t accept your help if you try to offer it), and it makes them extremely happy when they see you enjoying their food. So it’s like you’ve got to find this balance. Don’t compliment possessions, do compliment food, and always ask for seconds. Ay yay yay! It’s a little complicated, but I think I’m getting the hang of it.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. the highlights of this crazy person week. This time, I’ve got quotes that go along with them. So here are a few of our experiences (from this week alone, mind you):
– We met a man who I’m pretty sure has some serious psychological problems… Here’s his quote: “If I decide to blow up the world, and I ask God to help me, he will help me.” There’s faith for you… or just some seriously messed up beliefs. We tried to get out of talking to him as soon as we can, but he just kept going on about how he’s trained people to kill before and how he could get us a $1 a piece for the pamphlets we were handing out. We decided not to take him up on that offer at that particular time.
– Another man who we talked with informed us that the only way to win the lotto is by faith in Jesus Christ. This he told me right after he showed me the scar where he had been cut in half and operated on.
– Someone stopped us as we were walking to the church with the line, “Did you know Joseph Smith was a Jew? Smith is a Jewish name!” I bit my tongue to keep from telling him that it’s also one of the most common names in America, and thanked him for the new imformation.
– And last but not least… my lesson in American history! Here it is: “God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th. That’s why the first flag of the United States had 13 stripes, becasue  6 + 7 = 13.” See, you learn something new every day.
One last cool experience: we helped a homeless lady who looked a little bit like Gritch the Witch from that book I used to read when I was little, move some of her things up a big hill. While we were doing that, a man stopped me who was sitting on a bench and watching and asked what organization we were from. I told him, and we got to talking a bit. I ended up giving him a pamphlet and getting his information to pass along to the Engilsh elders! It was just a good reminder to me that people are watching all the time, and they notice little acts of service that happen.
Well, that’s about all I’ve got for this week! We just got done with going through the Manhattan temple (it’s absolutely GORGEOUS inside) and now we’re at the NY Public Library right by Juliard, so I think we might go explore a bit and then do some quick shopping at Target. I love and miss you all! Please pray for rain :) Haha no, I’m just kidding. Just for cloudy skies over here in New York… it’s been pretty good so far but it’s getting hotter. :) You Texans will understand and empathize. :)
Love you all!
Hermana Rogers

 

Picture Postcards- July 2012

14 Jul

So many people at Grand Central Station. Can you find me?

 

Grand Central Station subway concourse

 

Ticket booth at Grand Central Station

 

Just another day at the office at the United Nations

 

My UN ID badge!

 

Sis. Taylor beeng goofy and pulling an MTC map pic, but at the UN

Greetings From the UN !

11 Jul

Dearest friends and family,

Greetings from the UN! Right at this very moment, I am emailing you
from a computer in the United Nations. Wicked cool, right? We have a
member in our ward who works here and he offered to give us a personal
tour! We got to see all the big council/treaty-signing rooms. It was
super cool. (I’ll send pictures next week or later today.) It’s a
pretty cool place. Just another one of the AMAZING opportunities and
cool experiences I’m having serving here in the city. PS we had to go
through the Grand Central subway station to get here… I feel so
legit!

So last week for the 4th of July, we had a pretty chill night. We went
to the rooftop and watched some fireworks. I have to say, I miss
fireworks in Texas and Utah… all the buildings kind of got in the
way :/ But it was fun! I also hit my 5 month mark this week! So
surreal. In one more month, I will be a third of the way done with my
mission…. freaky!

Also, I saw an old friend at church on Sunday! Sister McKinnon, my old
young’s women leader, who moved here about four and a half years ago,
is in the stake relief society presidency and came to visit our ward.
It was so great to see her! Always nice to see a friendly face. We
also had our first session of English class this week– we weren’t
sure how many people were going to show up and we didn’t know how
successful we would be… but it was so great! We had 20-25 people
show up, and all of them had heard about the classes different
ways…. fliers, texts, friends, etc. I’m so excited! We’re going to
be having classes Tuesdays and Fridays, and it looks like all the
companionships in our district are going to need to pitch in and help
teach, which  makes me happy. I love teaching!

Highlights of this week:
– The man who rode by on his bike with a huge, giant snake wrapped
around his body while we were teaching somebody in Central Park.
Frrrreaky.
– The bird that pooped on Sister Taylor’s foot while we were
contacting someone. Bless her soul, she didn’t even blink. She just
kept going, then freaked out the second the guy we were talking to
walked away. I, of course, couldn’t stop laughing. :)

So, yeah! Everything’s going great! The weather isn’t too dreadfully
terrible most of the time, and I’m a good girl and put on my sunscreen
every day. (See, Mom? You taught me well!) I’m really happy with where
everything’s at here in Harlem. I really do love it here. Thank you
for all your support and love! I hope everyone has a wonderful week
and stays cool!

Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

Happy 4th of July! It’s a Crazy Hot Summer Day Here in the Big Apple!

4 Jul

Image

 

Hola amigos y familia,

Happy 4th of July! It’s a crazy hot summer day here in the Big Apple. Our whole zone is getting together at one of our chapels later today to make hot dogs and play some sports and stuff. It’s going to be great! And yesterday we got to meet our new mission president! He is absolutely amazing, and we love him already! He and his family are from Sandy, Utah, and are super down to earth and they are so excited to be here! Yesterday, he talked to us and just expressed his extreme love for us. I think it’s going to be a wonderful new time in the mission. Some things will probably change, but I have no doubt that whatever happens will be for the best. Anyways, we’re all super excited to have finally met him!

Talking about our investigators, we had some great things happen this week! We’re working with this great lady named Melania. She’s so cool! We left her with a pamphlet, and not only did she read it, but she looked up all the extra scriptures in the back! (That’s a big deal, by the way lol). Also, we taught the word of wisdom to Yasiris, the single mom from the DR who is just AMAZING, and she was surprised to hear that we don’t drink coffee. Apparently that’s something that she HAS to have every single day, and so we were anticipating that it would maybe take a while for her to wean herself off of the coffee. But we were happy to hear that she hasn’t had a single cup ever since we had the lesson with her! We were shocked and so excited for her. It’s crazy because she said before that she felt like she really needed the coffee otherwise she’d feel like she’d be dragging all day, but she’s had enough energy to make it through without it, which I think is a blessing in and of itself. So yeah. She’s amazing. And guess who made a surprise appearance at church after not talking to us for a month and a half? Cesar! It was crazy, I looked and saw him walk in and did a double take. We thought that he had dropped us, that he wasn’t interested anymore, so we’d let it go. Turns out that his phone had been broke or turned off or something, so that’s why all communication had stopped. So we introduced him to another family in our ward that’s from Mexico and we’re going to be having dinner with him and them this Saturday.

Oh yeah– Noche de Hogar went SOO well! We really worked hard to get a lot of members there, because we didn’t have enough last time. This time, it was just the right balance, and everybody had a great time. In other news, I am LOVING having an Italian roommate. Sister Maldarizzi is soo cute with her Italian accent, and she is just about the sweetest person I have ever met. She also taught me how to make real Italian calzones this morning! That was pretty sweet. She’s a wonderful addition to our apartment. Also, the New York lesson of the week: Just say no to street meat! It may smell heavenly, but the consequences are just not worth it. For those of you unfamiliar with the street meat phenomenon, let me quickly explain to you what it is. Street me is basically Halaal food cooked in little trailer things on the sidewalk. It’s kind of like a food truck but it doesn’t move. It’s got a grill and everything. They serve gyros, lamb over rice, and kebabs. Now, whenever you walk by one, the smell of meat wafts over you until your urge to consume is almost uncontrollable. I have given in twice now, and have regretted it both times! Sure, it may smell good, but the quality tends to be lacking, as evident by the HUGE stomachache that you get three hours later. This week, I finally broke down and bought a kebab- I’ve been wanting one for months now, and I finally did it. I bit into it and looked and saw that the chicken was pretty pink on the middle, but because I had paid $3.50 for it, there was no way I was throwing it away. So I ate it. And then instantly regretted it. We ended up having to go home a little early because I felt like I was going to throw up. Moral of the story: Just say no! :) Also, I’ve attached a picture of me in front of one of the “Book of Mormon Musical” bus ads. They’re ALL over the place, and Sister Taylor and I have been dying to take a picture in front of one, so we finally did. :)

Oh, really quick. I just wanted to share something that I’ve been thinking about and studying this week, which is the grace and atonement of Jesus Christ. I’ve read a couple of really great articles and scriptures about it, and I think I understand even better now than I did before. Basically, here it is: we know that Jesus Christ suffered for our sins so that we could repent, but he also suffered all of our pains, afflictions and temptations… so that he could better “succor” us. (See Alma 7:12, in the Book of Mormon). Before, I just thought that succor meant to comfort. But after looking up lots of scriptures and thinking about it, I’ve realized that to succor means to strengthen, not just comfort. And because Jesus Christ went through all of our pains, afflictions and temptations, he knows exactly how to strengthen us to help us get through the things that are challenging to us. So this idea of using the grace of Jesus Christ– it’s not just so that we can receive forgiveness for our sins, although that’s a big part of it. It’s so that we can receive an enabling power, a helping strength to enable us to do more than we could do on our own. It means that Christ strengthens us when we come up short and when we don’t feel like we can keep going. All we have to do is humble ourselves, accept that we need his grace, and simply ask (pray) for it. That’s something I’m going to be working on applying this week… and all the weeks ever after! :)

Well, I love you all lots and lots. Hope everyone is happy, healthy and safe! :)

Con amor,
Hermana Rogers