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

 

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One Response to “My Mormon Helping Hands”

  1. Veronica Rogers Bailey November 14, 2012 at 11:55 PM #

    Hi Kelly from Sarasota..what an exciting and worthwhile life you are experiencing..really enjoy your logs on a mission…All thee very best beautiful Kelly.
    Great Aunt Veronica (Grampa Don’s baby sister)

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