Archive | October, 2012

“Picking-up, Cleaning-up and Building-up”

30 Oct

Dear Parents and Loved Ones,

Today has been a day of studying, journal writing, game playing and apartment cleaning. Many streets and county roads have been off limits to pedestrians while heavy equipment crews have cleared large trees, fallen rocks and debris and huge piles of leaves, limbs and branches. While all are “safely gathered in” they’re also bored and restless.

This afternoon, those missionaries who were evacuated from low lying areas in Connecticut have been allowed to return to their apartments. Elders and Sisters have been given the “all clear” to reach out to branch and ward leaders to inquire as to member homes and clean-up opportunities. We’ve asked that they be back to their apartments as it gets dark. The fresh air and a little physical labor will feel good.

Tomorrow is P-Day for our mission. You should be hearing from your missionary about their experience over the past few days. As you write them back, you should know that I feel the Lord has greatly blessed our mission with safety and protection in large measure due to the obedience and faith of our missionaries. Every missionary has contributed to our coming through the hurricane without harm or incident by their focused obedience, faith and prayers. Please tell your daughters and sons that their personal worthiness has been the key factor in our mission’s blessings.

We hardly have the words to describe how much we love our missionaries. They lift us and strengthen us and empower us with their work ethic and love for the Lord. They obey with exactness, (which some of you will find hard to believe, but they do!), and they teach with the spirit and they serve with priesthood power and unwavering faith. It’s no wonder to us why the the Lord protects them and prospers their work!

We’ll move now into a phase of clean-up where we’ll have the opportunity to stand side-by-side with neighbors and friends picking-up, cleaning-up and building-up. Our example of hard work and community service will be our Christian message.

Thank you for sending us such wonderful men and women. They are really amazing! We are still without power or cell service at the mission home but I will continue to access information and communication from the office.

Thank you for your prayers and encouraging thoughts.

All the best,

Tom Morgan

Thomas B. Morgan

President
New York New York North Mission

“We feel very prepared and our missionaries are very obedient”

29 Oct

Dear New York New York North Mission – Missionary parents and Loved Ones

We hope you will find the following information regarding preparation and planning for Hurricane Sandy helpful.

As of the posting of this communication, Hurricane Sandy is still 300 miles off the Atlantic shores of New Jersey and southern Long Island. Winds continue to increase in strength in the communities of our mission but the full forces of Sandy is not expected to be felt until late this afternoon and this evening. As you may have heard from national news reports, all mass-transit operations have been suspended in New York City including subway, buses and trains. On Sunday afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg ordered a mandatory evacuation of low-lying areas in New York City and said the city’s school system would be closed Monday.

The mayor called for a mandatory evacuation of residents living in Zone-A by 7 p.m. on Sunday. Low-lying areas in the evacuation zone include Coney Island, Red Hook, and other areas around the East River in Brooklyn, the Rockaways, Broad Channel, the Staten Island coast line, City Island, Battery Park City, stretches of the West Side waterfront and parts of the Lower East Side and the East Village – (italicized and bold are within our mission). About 370,000 people live in these evacuation zones. We do not have any missionaries living in the mandatory evacuation areas. If Zone-B requires evacuation, we will work with Elders and Sisters in the Union Square area and our Chinatown area, including one couple, to move them north to Westchester County. We have coordinated with members of the Westchester Stake to house missionaries if needed.

Major bridges will be closed on a “case by case” basis or when the wind reaches speeds above 60 mph. It is unclear when transit will be up and running again after the shut down. Service should be able to return 12 hours after the storm, according to the MTA web-site. All of our missionaries in the city and the Bronx are reliant on the MTA for transportation. Some, because of very high housing costs, do not live in the area they work. Therefore we have asked our missionaries to hold tight in their apartments from 6:00 pm Sunday evening until the storm passes and we have issued an “all clear” announcement.

Missionaries living in the Stamford, Connecticut area were evacuated last night due to the risk of flood surges coming from high tide and high winds in the Long Island Sound. These missionaries have been relocated to Danbury, Connecticut and Yonkers, New York.

On Saturday October the 27th all missionaries were instructed to prepare for the storm by acquiring three days worth of food supplies – in addition to what they already had on hand, refresh all water storage in accordance with mission water storage policy, test flashlights and assure a prudent supply of fresh batteries, having some cash on hand in case ATMs are down due to power outages and keeping cell phones fully charged while power is available.

All companionships reported back as ready and compliant with instructions. We will carry out a “call report” protocol during the event to assess the safety and condition of each of our missionaries. Depending on internet availability, we will periodically update you as to the current status of the mission.

We feel very prepared and our missionaries are very obedient. Please continue to pray for safety and welfare of everyone in the storm affected area. We love your missionary very much and are doing everything within our power to assure his or her safety.

All the best,

President Morgan

Thomas B. Morgan
President
New York New York North Mission

Hurricane Sandy Prayer Request

29 Oct

SANDY

Please keep Kelly in your prayers as hurricane Sandy hits New York.

We love you Kelly and we know the Lord is watching over you and all His missionaries.

Mom

 

Awesome Things- Baptisms, a Visit From an Apostle, a Trip to the Temple, and Touring the Big Apple!

25 Oct

Jose’s Baptism!

Dear family and friends,
This week was packed full with awesome things! :) So great. Well, let me start off with last P-Day. We went down to Times Square and had a wonderful time! We went all over the place. We went down 5th Avenue, saw Tiffany’s, went to FAO Schwarz (the place with the big piano, from “BIG” the movie), saw the Plaza Hotel (from Home Alone 2), and went to the M&M store. It was soo fun. It was great to be back in the city again, but on the train back to Yonkers, I realized that this is where I’m supposed to be. I love Yonkers! It’s such a neat place, and although it’s less energy than the city, it’s awesome in lots of other ways. I LOVE the people here, and I don’t know, it’s hard to explain– this is just where I’m supposed to be for right now.
So we had another Dia de Naciones this last weekend! Just with our local Yonkers ward. It was so fun. People got up and sang, everybody brought food from their countries, and it was just a blast. This ward is so loving. There’s such a sense of family here, it’s amazing. We had two baptisms this weekend! It was super great. One of them was ours, and the other one was the elders. The ward REALLY came together in a way that I’ve never seen before! There was a full-blown meal provided by the ward afterwards. It was so neat. Jose, our investigator, was soo happy! It made me really happy to see him so happy. Things are also going well with English class. We’ve started passing out a TON of flyers and already there’s more people coming! Hopefully it’ll grow as well as it did in Harlem– I found out they’re up to 70 people a week coming to that English class! They don’t even pass out flyers anymore, and people just keep coming and coming. I’m so glad I got to be a part of starting that program there. What a cool experience that really set the groundwork for me to be able to help other places get started as well.
We had a special visitor this Saturday… Elder Christofferson, one of the 12 Apostles, came and talked to all of us missionaries! :) It was sooo cool. All of the missionaries gathered together and he came and spoke to us. We all got to shake his hand. It was super great to see all of my city missionary friends and to catch up, as well as to listen to an apostle of the Lord! He talked to us about the importance of repentance and the blessing that it is. Such a great experience. Loved it!
One quick experience we had this week– we were knocking a building.The second door we knocked on answered. It was a teenage girl who spoke to us in English, but I saw her mom cooking in the background, and she looked Spanish. I recognized what she was making too, so I asked her (in Spanish). “Are you making papusas?” She nodded, and I said, “I LOVE papusas!” And she said, “Come on in!” She invited us in right then and there and gave us some papusas, which is a super delicious food that they make in El Salvador. She sells them on the street, but she gave us some for free and showed us how to make them. We ended up teaching her a lesson as well, and we’re going to try to go back soon. It was just a tender mercy, especially because I was hungry :) Just kidding.. kind of. It just made me appreciate the Latin culture even more– I absolutely love that she just invited us in and sat us down and fed us. These people are so good at sharing! :) It’s a quality I’d love to develop more.
Well, that’s about all for this week. We’ve got interviews with president in a couple of days, so that should be good. And then transfers are coming up soon, already! We’re all kind of nervous, because there are more Spanish sisters coming in than there are areas, so that means we’ll be opening up areas. So basically, we’ll either be whitewashing (which means opening up a new area) or training. I really hope that I get to train, because that means I’ll get to stay here in Yonkers. :)
LOVE YOU ALL!
Sister Rogers

Today we went to the Manhattan New York Temple.

Picture Postcards- October 2012

24 Oct

The happy trio.

Jose’s Baptism!

 

The piano from the movie “BIG!”

I got all my sisters with me!

At the m&m store.

I had to see Tiffany’s!!

There is a Waverly Place here!

I got to see my trainer- Sister Taylor.

Happy baptisms!

Me and Sister Major

Today we went to the Manhattan New York Temple

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tender Mercies

18 Oct

View at the top.

Dear family and friends,
Another great week here in Yonkers! I’m starting to get the lay of the land and recognize streets and houses and such. Plus when I go to church on Sunday, I recognize faces and I’m even starting to remember names! It’s a tender mercy, because that really helps me feel connected with the ward. Part of me had been feeling sad that I wasn’t as close to these people here in Yonkers as I was to the ones in Harlem… but then I realized that I was comparing my relationship of 6 months with the Harlem people with my relationship of 3 weeks with the ones here in Harlem! Definitely not a fair comparison at all. :) So I’m just giving it time and working on remembering people and smiling at everyone I see.
This week, our district participated in something called “Dia de Naciones,” or “Day of Nations.” It was a stake activity that brought all of the latin wards together and had them bring food from their respective countries. There were also cultural performances! We missionaries performed a little song and dance. It was a remix of “I hope they call me on a mission,” with a rap and everything! It was super fun, and I think the people really liked it. :)
Fun fact: This week, my grandparents (Rogers side) were visiting my aunt and uncle and their kids in Ohio. At the same time, my mission president and his wife were also in Ohio to go to a conference. Guess who ran into each other?! That’s right, my mission president and my grandparents! :) They were outside the Kirtland temple, and apparently Grandma and Grandpa approached them (maybe they heard their was a conference of mission presidents there?) and said, “Do you happen to know who the mission president is for the New York New York North mission?” They smiled and said, “Well actually, it’s us!” And they were like, “Our granddaughter is in your mission!!” How crazy is that? What a small world and tender mercy. Sister Morgan gave me a call when they got back and told me all about it. They took a picture on their phone, so I’ll get to see it soon. So cool, right? :)
Funny story from this week/ commentary on one aspect of serving as a Spanish-speaking missionary. In the Latin culture, there’s a little thing we like to call “besitos.” Basically, a besito is the kiss on the cheek that you give to each other when you greet each other and also when you leave. Obviously, sister missionaries only do it to girls. There have been a couple of times when a man has shook my hand and kind of leaned in to give me a besito, but I just lengthen my arm and give a firm handshake and lean back, and it’s all good. There have also been times where I’ve gotten besito-ed by accident, where it just happened so fast I couldn’t stop it. (from men) Well, at English class this week, I had just said bye to a couple of ladies, and was shaking the hand of one of the men, and he leaned in to besito me. It happened pretty quickly, but somehow right before he got to my cheek, I was able to stop it. I said, “Nope!” and leaned back really quickly. It was super awkward and I couldn’t stop laughing afterwards. He just kept on walking and took it in stride. It was pretty hilarious. :)
One last little thing– I saw my city yesterday! We were at a member’s house having lunch, and it turns out that they live right on the Hudson River. We walked out onto their balcony and you could see the skyline! I may or may not have cried. Alright, I admit it. I shed a few tears. It was just so beautiful! I took a picture and have attached it. And… we’re going into the city today! We’re going to Times Square to meet up with some other missionaries and have a good time. So be prepared for some awesome pictures next week!
Well, I love you all and hope that all is well. It’s starting to get cold here… so scary! Everybody be safe and stay healthy! :)
Love,
Sister Rogers

“We Shouldn’t Wait Until We’re Ready to Die to Take Time to Really Live.”

12 Oct

My Compers in Yonkers!

Dear family and friends,

What a wonderful weekend we had! General Conference was SO doggone good. I absolutely loved it. I really learned a ton. I especially loved President Uchtdorf’s talk, and both of President Monson’s talks (from Priesthood and Sunday morning). One of my favorite quotes from President Uchtdorf was, “We shouldn’t wait until we’re ready to die to take time to really live.” We really do need to be finding joy in the journey! And it is possible. And BIG news with the age change! Now boys can start serving missions at age 18 and girls at age 19. We missionaries were super excited to hear that. I mean, it doesn’t affect us personally very much, but it could definitely mean some growth in our mission in the near future. It’s going to be really interesting to watch how things change as time goes on.

After Conference on Sunday night (and it was Sunday night— the second session of conference doesn’t start until 4 o’clock here!), our whole zone went over to President Morgan’s house for homemade waffles! It was such a blast and it was super yummy too. :) It’s cool being upstate because we get to see President and Sister Morgan and a lot of the senior couples more often. That’s been super great.

Although I still miss the city, I’m getting used to Yonkers and learning to appreciate it for its little quirks. For example, here in Yonkers, there are houses, not apartments…. but they’re apartments. Let me explain. So take any given street. It looks like a normal street, lined with houses. These are East Coast houses, so they’re super cute and every one of them is really original. You go up the steps to the house, and what do you do? You open the front door, so that you can get to the hallway where there are buzzers (usually one for each floor). The problem is, sometimes they’re NOT apartments, and they’re an actual house. Luckily we haven’t gone knocking any houses yet, but I’m kinda nervous to go– because you could go and knock on the front door, but nobody will ever answer because it’s not the real front door! Or you could just open up the door and walk into somebody’s house on accident. It’s a tricky thing :) I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it soon!

In other news, FALL has arrived! I absolutely love it. Everything here is SO gorgeous! The trees are beginning to change colors. I’ve taken up the habit of collecting pretty leaves.. I left a few in the car, only to find two days later that it got all crispy and broke! I wonder if there’s a better way to preserve pretty leaves :) I just love it. Autumn has always been my favorite season, and it’s so much better in New York than any other place I’ve ever been. The weather’s starting to get a little brisk, which is scary (I’m terrified for when the winter comes!!) but it’s refreshing and cool and it’s good for right now.

Not too much else to report! Everything’s good here. Love my companions, love the area, love the people. We’re helping Jose prepare for baptism– he’s so awesome! He ADORED Conference and is super excited for his baptism. It should be really great (it’ll be in a few weeks). I’m excited to start finding some new people here too! It’ll be good.

Well, that’s it for this week! Love you all :)

Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

The fireplace stance.

The tripanionship- what, what?

Santa, not yet!

Picture Postcards- Saying Goodbye to Harlem

3 Oct

Me and Mario (the sweetest man on the earth who always gives me stuff)

Me and Mama Daysi

Saying goodbye to Rafaela

Me and Anthony and Angie

Me and Hermano Pichardo

Me and Radhaissa

Me and Sonia (Sherley’s mom)

Me and Yassiris. Saying good bye was hard.

Me with Mama and Papa Simbro

Hermano Pichardo, Hermano Richards, Me, Obispo (Bishop) Gamez

Me and all of my luggage headed to Yonkers

Sometimes The Messages We Share Aren’t For Who We Think They Are

3 Oct

The City Tower in Yonkers

Dear family and friends,
Well, I have successfully survived my first week in Yonkers! What a change it is from the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s so weird not to be surrounded by sirens, taxi horns and bus sounds. There’s a lot more greenery around too. It’s a nice place. We live by a casino/horse racing thing which is SUPER cool! I got an email from my Grandma Helena today and she told me that my Grandpa Jack used to love going there. It’s kind of cool to think that I’m in the same area my grandpa was! (I never met him because he died before I was born) So even though I’ll most likely never enter into the casino, I get to see it every day when we drive by. :)
The area that we work in has SO many Spanish speakers, at least compared to the area of Harlem I was in. What a wonderful, refreshing relief! :) It’s so great to be able to put my Spanish to good use on a regular basis. We also live with another pair of Spanish sisters, so we speak more Spanish in our apartment than we did when I was in Harlem. To top it all off, I really feel like my Spanish has improved! I’m definitely conversational, on the border of fluent. I’m just working on bulking up my vocabulary, because I’ve finally got most of the grammar down. :) I never thought this day would come, but somehow it has!
Another interesting change about being in Yonkers is the food. The members here feed us almost every night! We usually eat with the other pair of elders that are in our ward, and we just get fed sooo much. The problem is, we don’t walk near as much here as we do in the city… I’m a little bit nervous about that combo, haha. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep my figure. :) This week, we actually got fed by a couple in our ward who are both cops! NYPD.. so legit! The ward members here are very kind, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know them better.
I loooove my new companionship. Sister Richey and Sister Major (both from Utah) also love singing and have beautiful voices. We had a really cool experience this week– we were in a lesson and we sang a song to end. I harmonized on the second verse, and Sister Major added a top harmony on the third. We sounded professional, almost! The Spirit was so strong, and I got goosebumps. Every morning when we sing for companionship study, it’s like blissfulness in my ears. :) I LOVE it! Plus they’re also super nice people, so it’s easy to get along with them. I’m really enjoying it.
So the first thing on my list of things to do here is to revamp English class! We had such great success in Harlem, and I know that we’re going to have the same kind of success here. There’s just a few details that need tweaking, and I know that it’s going to just take off. We have about eight students that come to class regularly as of right now, but with the new efforts that we’re going to be putting in, hopefully that number can double or triple in a few weeks time. I’m so excited to get to work and put into play what we figured out in Harlem. So great.
This weekend, we had the chance to go to the Bronx to listen to the General Relief Society Broadcast, which was super great, and which made me WAYY excited for General Conference this weekend! I am so so pumped. It’s kind of weird to think about how the last time Conference came around, I was singing in it, as a missionary. My second conference as a missionary. So weird to think about! I should be hitting my 8 month mark this week. Soooo crazy! Super freaky. Anyways, I just want to encourage everyone to watch/listen to General Conference! What a wonderful opportunity is to listen to the voices of servants of the Lord. I’m so grateful that we have a prophet on the earth today! How blessed we are to be able to listen to his voice and hear what the Lord wants us to hear. :) If you are interested in watching or listening, it’s this Saturday and Sunday. There are four sessions, and you can go to www.lds.org and click on “Watch General Conference.” If you’ve never seen it before, you’re in for a treat!
We’ve also got some really awesome investigators we’re working with. Jose, a taxi driver, is preparing for baptism later this month. It’s so awesome teaching him because he really gets it– everything we talk about, he understands, has questions, and applies to his life. That’s not something we see terribly often, so it’s definitely refreshing. A cool experience that we had this week– we were knocking a building and were on the first floor, talking to this girl at her door. She wasn’t super interested, but we still kept talking to her and asking her some questions. After we left, this lady who was waiting for the elevator asked us if we had any more pamphlets, and we ended up talking to her and her sister and getting their information so we could set up an appointment later. It was really cool to see how the Lord works that way– sometimes the messages we share aren’t for who we think they are– and there are always people around listening, watching. The ones who are prepared and open and seeking truth are the ones that find it. :)
Well, I hope everyone has a wonderful conference weekend! I love you all and pray for you often.
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

Me and SIster Major

Sister Richey in the driver’s seat