Archive | November, 2012

Dominican Chicken Noodle Soup for the Soul

29 Nov

Me and Mama Osorio cookin’ up platanos in the kitchen!

Dear family and friends,

What a week! Thanksgiving was an interesting experience, to say the least. I absolutely loved getting a peek into the lives of our lovely Latin members and seeing how they celebrate our American holiday. First of all, there are a few key differences. Latins, as we discovered (and much to our dismay), eat their Thanksgiving dinner at night! They don’t start at 2 or 3 in the afternoon, they start at 6, 7, or 8! That was a shocker. Also, while turkey is a staple dish, it is not the only one… what kind of Latin Thanksgiving would it be without rice?? And platanos, of course. Oh, it was such fun to observe. I made rice krispy treats and oatmeal cinnamon cookies and we took them around to some of the families in our ward. I tried to help them cook and prepare wherever we went. It was so much fun! We went around and around, visited with our ward members, and then finally, at 8 o’clock, we ate. :) It was a wonderful dinner that we shared with Ramona and Juan (our recent convert) and their family. It was super delicious! And such a cool experience. Gotta love holidays on the mission. The only thing that was lacking was homemade rolls and mashed potatoes… but that’s okay! There’s always next year.

This weekend was a bit of a dud, just because Sister Major had a terrible cold, so we stayed home for a lot of the time. It was kind of hard to be stuck inside for so long, but I’m not complaining too very much because it is FREEZING outside! Seriously. Any inside time I can get, I’ll take it. I’m stocking up on warm clothing as much as I can! I’m gonna need it to get through the winter.

Our ward is just SO great. We have a family that lives really close to us, and we called them one night and asked them if they had a can of soup or something that we could borrow. They didn’t, but they whipped up a huge pot of Dominican Chicken Noodle Soup and brought it right over! They called a lot and made sure that we were doing alright. Such a huge blessing, seriously. I love love love them!

By the time Sunday rolled around, Sister Major still wasn’t 100%, but she wanted to go to the first hour of church. So, we go, and I end up having a miraculous experience! It was pretty cool. When we walk into church, I hear Bishop asking another elder if he could translate for a man who was visiting our ward who didn’t speak any Spanish. This elder and his companion are both pretty new in the mission, and neither of them felt comfortable translating. My companion is sick, and doesn’t even have a voice to talk with, so… guess who it falls to to translate? Yep, yours truly. So I think, okay, I can do this. So I get up to the stand where he’s sitting, introduce myself, and then he hands me something. What is it? It’s his talk! I thought I”d just be translating the Spanish into English so that he could understand, but oh, no. They want me to translate his talk from English to Spanish in front of the whole ward! Holy moly. So I try to see who else could possibly translate, but there’s literally no one. So as church is starting, I’m reading over the talk, frantically trying to translate and racking my brain for vocabulary. (The first paragraph alone was all about triathalons and bikes and had words like “spoke” and “discs”, neither of which I know in Spanish). By the time I got to the second paragraph, one thing was very clear: There was no way I was going to be able to do this on my own. So I put the talk down and just start praying as hard as I can. Praying, praying, praying. Finally, after translating the first two talks from Spanish to English for him, it’s his turn to talk and I’m up. I’m holding the microphone in one hand and the printed copy of the talk in English in the other. As he starts to speak, I hear the words come out of my mouth in Spanish, and after that, they don’t stop. They just keep coming! If I can’t think of the exact word, another one comes to my mind that means the same thing. A couple of times, the ward had to help me out with a few words, but for the most part, I did just fine! And more than that, I spoke with the best accent I’ve ever had on my mission. I haven’t been able to get it back since then, but I know that I’m capable of it now :) What a miracle! I’m so grateful that I was able to put my trust and faith in the Lord and that He answered my prayer.

I know that the Lord hears our prayers and cares about us! In this busy holiday season, let’s not forget that the Lord is so conscious about everything we are going through, and He wants to help us– we just have to let Him. I’m so glad that I’ve finally learned my lesson about not relying on my own strength… because with the Lord’s help, I can do anything! And so can all of you :)

I love all of you lots and lots and lots! I hope you’re keeping warm and healthy.

Love,
Sister Rogers

Happy Thanksgiving!! :) Dia de Pavo!

22 Nov

Turkey… with platanos (from Dia de Pavo) SO DOMINICAN. Love it.

Dearest family and friends,
Happy Thanksgiving! I can’t believe this much time has passed. It’s almost Christmas, for crying out loud, and I’m already past my halfway mark. How crazy is that? Time really does fly. This week, we celebrated Thanksgiving as a ward, in our “Dia de Pavo,” or “Turkey Day!” Everyone brought lots of food and we had a big ole fiesta. It was fantastico! There was awesome Latin music playing, (which is my new favorite, by the way!) and it was just so lovely to be with all the people in the ward and to spend some good quality time with them. Tomorrow, we’ll be heading to a couple of members’ houses to have some lunch and dinner. It should be super great.
Last week for P-Day we went to Chinatown! It was quite an interesting experience. We had an elder with us who served in South Manhattan for a long time, so he showed us all the best places. We went and got real, genuine dumplings, plus some Bubble Tea stuff (that wasn’t really tea, it was more like a slush). The shopping was fabulous, and I’ve discovered that I have a new weakness: Scarves. I can justify buying them, though, because it’s starting to get really cold! And you’ve got to have scarves to stay warm, right? :) I especially love the infinity ones, the scarf that’s all one thing, cause that way it just covers your whole neck and you don’t have to be fixing it constantly. In fact… this week, I picked up a new hobby! Or at least, a skill that I’m trying to develop: crocheting! I know, I know, it sounds like an old lady thing. And maybe it is! But I don’t care :) We have this crocheting expert in our ward, and after she showed me a lot of her projects and how cute they were, I got inspired. Why whip out lots of money to pay for a scarf when I can make one, and develop a new skill in the process? I’ve actually gotten pretty far on it, but it’s still not as long as I want it to be yet, but I’ll take pictures when I’m done. :)
We got news that we’re going to go down to Queens again this Friday and Saturday to help out, which I’m really grateful for. I feel so far away and whenever we get the chance to help, we jump at it!
It’s been awhile since I’ve done a Missionary: True Life moment. So, here’s the skinny on the type of AWKWARD MOMENTS: Bathroom Edition that I personally have experienced in the day to day mission life. I have other awkward moments/ situations that I will share in future emails. :)
  • Locked in the Bathroom. This is one of my personal favorites, and actually happened pretty recently. We went to a member’s house and I had to go to the bathroom really bad, so I told the lady whose house it was that I was going, and then I headed straight for it. It wasn’t until I had pulled the door behind me and the doorknob fell OFF when I realized what had happened. She had tried to tell me in Spanish before I went in that it was broke, but I guess I was kind of “in the zone” and missed it. So here’s me on one side of the door, trying to find a way out, while they’re barking orders at me in Spanish, using words I either don’t know or can’t remember because I’m so stressed. Don’t worry, I got out alive– but it’s definitely a story I will remember :)
  • No toilet paper. This is one that used to get me all the time. You ask to use the bathroom, walk in, and discover that there is no TP. What do you do? Well first, you look around really thoroughly and make sure you haven’t missed it. When that doesn’t work, you go out and awkwardly ask if they have TP or you just stay in there long enough, flush the toilet, then come out and just end up holding it. I’ve done both. :) It used to be a bigger thing when I was new in the mission and a little shy, but now, I just walk right out and tell them that there isn’t any toilet paper, and it isn’t a big deal. :)
  • Can’t find the light in the bathroom. There’s this one house… for the last two times I’ve went in, I haven’t been able to find the light! I came out this last time and they finally showed me where the light was… it was really embarrassing. But everybody’s got different lights, you know? Some people have them on chains, some with switches, and they’re always in the wrong place. Always.
  • Emergency Potty Breaks. This is something that happened a lot to me in the city, and it was much worse there because stores just don’t have bathrooms in them. You have to go to a member’s house and ask to use theirs… and then you have to stay and talk with them so they don’t think you’re just using them for their bathroom. Here, however, I had the most embarrassing emergency potty break of my LIFE… and yes, I am swallowing my scruples and sharing it for the sake of the integrity of this blog, and of course for your entertainment. So once upon a time, we were in the eternal gas line that never ended. (Yep, that recent.) And I had to use the bathroom really bad. Like I’m talking considering-going-in-a-ziploc-bag bad. My companions didn’t know what to do. Finally I couldn’t do it anymore. I got out of the car and approached a man who was standing in his front yard and asked him, “Is this your house?’ “Yeah.” “Can I use your bathroom please??” The poor guy didn’t even have electricity in his house, but he let me go. It was a miracle. But my companions didn’t let me forget it.. they teased me for quite a few days afterwards. :)
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s episode of Missionary: True Life. I hope this inspires you all to be so grateful for the awkward bathroom moments you don’t have to face on a daily basis :) Happy Thanksgiving!! :D
Love,
Sister Rogers

Little kids playing with balloons at Dia de Pavo!

Chillin’ with Homer Simpson in Chinatown, NYC.

 

My Mormon Missionary Helping Hands

15 Nov

http://vimeo.com/

My Mormon Helping Hands

14 Nov

Hurricane Helping Hands

Dear family and friends,
What an incredible week it has been! So many amazing opportunities and experiences we have had. Everything has felt different since Hurricane Sandy hit. There’s a different vibe in Yonkers, a different vibe in the mission, just everything different. Everyone is praying for the people who were affected by it– now more than ever, for me personally, because I had the chance to see firsthand the incredible damage that was done.
This past Saturday, our whole stake loaded up onto yellow school buses and made the almost 2 hour trek down to Rockaway’s/ Queens area (I still don’t know exactly where we were, but it was right on the water) to go help out. Along the way, we saw boats in the middle of the road, stranded there, left where the water had carried them. When we arrived to the work site, we were met by a sea of yellow vests and smiling faces. There’s already a hefty team that’s been going strong ever since the storm hit, helping with the clean-up. It consists a lot of the missionaries in the New York South Mission. We had the chance to work with them, and they told us that their mission has been changed to a service mission for the time being– they work on helping people all day, every day… there’s that much work to be done. So they split us into groups of 8 or so (we were told that the missionaries needed to stay together, so that’s what we did) and they sent us to a house to go help them clean out their basement. When I say clean out, what I mean is “gut.” These basements were absolutely trashed. It was so tragic. We helped one man who is a famous Broadway musical director– I almost cried as I had to throw away pages and pages of sheet music and scripts and books. I’m sure it was way harder for him. After cleaning out all of the junk (and it all had turned to junk because of the water damage), we then proceeded to tear out the carpet and all the walls and insulation. Literally, we gutted it.
It was hard work, but fulfilling. The people were so incredibly grateful. They were just plain floored that we were so willing to come and help, and that our organization had been there for so long, and that we were still going. It was a really special thing to be able to help people out who had felt hopeless and overwhelmed by their destroyed homes. Another cool part was that we were able to work a bit with some members from our ward! They put us right next to each other, and then we ended up combining efforts, so it was a nice bonding experience. :)
The down side of doing service was that it took us FOREVER to get back… and made us a little bit late for our baptism! Luckily, the Latin culture has no problem with starting things late, so it worked out fine. We had scheduled the baptism for 7 but started at 8. Oh yeah, did I mention? It’s JUAN’S baptism! He’s our investigator! It was so great. :) It was really special too because Sister Richey and Sister Portugal, the two sisters who started teaching him (and taught him most of the lessons) got special permission from President to be there for his baptism, so that made him really happy. It was so great. It was especially happy because his wife is a member, and so is his nephew and so everybody was just beaming and happy. Juan’s such a happy guy as it is. I love being around him! His happiness is contagious. I’m glad I was able to see his journey.
In other news, English class is going strong! Elder Pickard, one of the newer elders who just got transferred to our area, served with me in Harlem my last cycle there. Now that he’s here, he and I are putting all of our Harlem English-class experience to good work! It’s been such a success there, and we really want to expand it to here. We’ve even heard of missionaries in other parts of the mission who are trying to start English classes as well based off of our method so that they can have the same success. It’s cool to see it spread! I love it.
Quick little anecdote… last Wednesday, we had to go in early because there was this huge snow storm that came in. It was pretty bad. Our roommates were a little bit later coming in than we were, and their car got stuck trying to go up the hill to our parking lot! We bundled up, grabbed Elder and Sister McAllister (one of the Senior couples that live in our building) and went down to help them try to push their car. It was CRAZY! The wind was blowing, and it felt like a million tiny icicles were pelting my face… and I’m pretty sure they were! Luckily, some men with plows and shovels came and helped us out, cause we were getting nowhere. It was intense, and now I’m a little bit afraid for when the real winter comes. It’s still not freezing every single day, but I know it’s coming. I’m stocking up on some heavy winter clothes- leggings, scarves, etc. Hopefully that’ll save me!
Well, that’s about it! Todo bien aqui en Yonkers. A mi me encanta estar aqui con mi companera y todas las personas en nuestro barrio. Son maravillosos ellos! (I love being here with my companion and all of the people in our ward. They’re awesome!)
I LOVE YOU ALL! Have a wonderful week and pray that I won’t freeze my butt off :) We’re going to Chinatown today and will be doing a lot of walking… Should be GREAT! :)
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers

 

Picture Postcards- “Fall” in Love with NY

8 Nov

Sleepy Hollow in the Fall. Look at all these colors!

Rikes Raggy- We visited Sleepy Hollow Cemetery on Halloween!

Scary moment at the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

The Sisters visiting Sleepy Hollow

 

 

 

It Doesn’t Rain, but HURRICANE!!!

8 Nov

Sleepy Hollow in the Fall. Look at all these colors! Halloween 2012
(before Hurricane Sandy)

My dearest family and friends,
It has been a CRAZY, crazy, crazy last week or so. Even though we didn’t get hit by the hurricane too terribly badly (at least, not as bad as other places), there are still lots of things to take care of in the aftermath. We were out of power from Monday until Thursday, but then we were fine after it came back. There are trees that have fallen over, HUGE trees– it’s seriously shocking. Probably the biggest thing we’ve had to deal with aftermath-wise is gas. There have been really really long gas lines! There was some kind of a gas shortage (we still don’t have all the information about why) but we ended up having to wait in line for 2 hours just to get gas (other people had it worse! I’ve heard tales of 3-4 hour lines) Everybody was just going crazy. It kind of felt like the end of the world for awhile there! People were driving nuts, it was just loco. But today was the first time that there haven’t been gas lines, so I think it’s evening out. Thanks for the update about Grandma/ NJ folks! I’ve been worried about them, wondering how they’ve been doing. New Jersey got hit way worse than us.
Because of the gas shortages and problems with the subways in south man, we haven’t been able to really get out and do service in other places because we simply don’t have a way to get there! President has had mothers calling him and yelling at him on the phone because he hasn’t sent us out to help– the thing is, it’s out of his jurisdiction! We go when we are called. They have to organize everything first– it’s going to be months of clean up though, from what we hear, so we’ll definitely get a chance to help, I’m sure. Poor President. Everybody in the mission has gotten electricity back except for the Mission home, where he and his family live. Bummer, right?

However, now there is a pretty big snow storm outside, even as I write this, so it’s possible we’ll get “grounded” as they say so that we don’t go out and drive in the dangerous weather. It just never ends! Haha. It’s always something. Sister Major and I got into a teensy little fender bender (we’re FINE, nobody was hurt, not even a little), but we had to have some elders come and help us change our tire, and then we had to get a new one. See what I mean? Everything’s been crazy lately.
Speaking of companions, today is TRANSFERS! Sadly, we have lost Sister Richey. She has been transferred to the Bronx, to open up a completely new area and to train a brand new missionary! Sister Major and I will be staying together here in Yonkers, which we’re really happy about. Me, in particular. I wasn’t ready to leave Yonkers. There’s still a lot of work to be done here. :) Plus, I absolutely love the people. They are awesome! We’re trying to figure out who’s going to be the driver– Sister Richey did it before. We’re not sure what’s going to happen, so we’ve kind of been taking turns– mostly because I am not super comfortable driving in the snow. We’ll see what happens.
We’ve got a baptism this Saturday! So super exciting. Juan, the husband of one of our members, will be getting baptized and we could not be happier! He is such an awesome guy– super jolly, really positive and really active. He’s great. The members are so good at getting together and supporting each other. Last night, we had our first “Noche de Amistad” (Which is basically a noche de hogar, Harlem-style, they just wanted to call it a noche de amistad, which means night of friendship). It was SO successful! So many people showed up and had a lot of fun. We had students there from English class, we had kids, adults, teenagers, EVERYBODY. We had a little lesson, played a fun game and everybody had a good time. Several people came up to us and were like, “We should have this every month!” And we’re like, “Guess what? We are! :)” Haha. Gotta love it. People just love activities and coming together. It’s a great thing.
So anyways, that’s what’s up! Not too much to report besides that. Hopefully this week calms down a little as we get our feet under us and adjust to some of the changes. I’m including pictures from last week when we went to the famous Sleepy Hollow Cemetery for Halloween! :) It was a lot of fun.
Well, I love you all and hope that you stay safe and warm this week!
Love,
Sister Rogers