Archive | February, 2013

Some News

28 Feb
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My Dear Readers,

What a crazy, busy week this has been. There have been some… developments, we could say, in my mission. After months of struggling with some health issues and after counseling with my mission president and the Lord, we have decided that I will be coming home from my mission a little earlier than planned. This isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly by any means, and I’ve put a lot of thought and prayer into it. All I can say is that I feel so much peace. The Lord’s timetable and plans for us are different than we think, sometimes. But I know that His hand is in this, and that this is my time to leave. To make the transition less inconvenient, I will be leaving sooner, rather than later, seeing as transfers is next week. So, surprise! I will be flying home to Texas in a week!

It’s bittersweet, really. I’ve come to love New York as a second home. I absolutely adore it here, and I am so grateful for the AMAZING experiences that I’ve had. I’m also grateful for the support that I’ve felt from my friends and family, especially in these last few months. But like I said, it’s time. I feel it.

So this coming week is going to be amazing and heartbreaking all at the same time. Today I went through the temple with all (14!) of the departing missionaries, all of them elders, and with the mission president and his wife. It was a really special experience where I was able to reflect and meditate on the last thirteen months and really feel the Lord’s love for me.

This Saturday, we have a miracle baptism! Sonia, the mother of a recent convert that I became very good friends with in Harlem, is getting baptized! The missionaries who had been teaching her passed her off to be taught by Sister Lancaster and myself, once I got back into Manhattan, because they knew about the wonderful relationship I have with Sonia. She’s had a long, hard journey, and it will be an AMAZING way to end my mission! Even better, Elder Bartleson, one of the original elders who taught her, and who is also going home in a week, got special permission to be the one to baptize her. So this weekend is going to be practically perfect. I’ll get to see a woman I love so very dearly be baptized, PLUS I’ll get to see my Harlem ward family before I leave! I feel so incredibly blessed. It really is a miracle!

I’m sad to leave Inwood, though. I’ve come to love them as well. We had a ward activity this weekend, a Karaoke night, which was super fun! There was a little emergency and Sister Lancaster and I had to go to the supermarket and get treats (we pretty much saved the day.. :) ) and so it was great because we were able to do some service. We even sang a little bit too! It was lots of fun.

I’m not sure if I’m going to get the chance to email or not next Wednesday (it’s going to be CRAZY, getting to transfers, etc.) but at the very least I’ll write once I’m home and include pictures from Sonia’s baptism.

I can’t say it enough: I love you all so much! I’ve felt your prayers, and I know that the Lord has blessed me to be able to serve for as long as I have. I’m so excited to talk to you and see you all!

PS: My homecoming talk will be in the Dripping Springs Ward (in Austin, TX) on March 24th. I’d love to see anyone there who would like to come!

Much love!!

Hermana Rogers


“Be Sure to Talk to Lots of Strangers!”

22 Feb
Valentine's I made for some friends.

Valentine’s I made for some friends.

Dear family and friends,

Happy Valentine’s Day! This one was great. Lots of missionaries get sad that they don’t have anybody around this time of year but I say, hey! Valentine’s Day is about love, not necessarily romance. And there are lots of people I love, so I was glad to get to express that to them.
The elders got Sister Lancaster and me a little heart box of chocolates (I’m pretty sure their moms put them up to it). Mine had a picture of a pirate on it and said “You Arr a Treasure!” Haha I loved it. I also made crafty valentines for people in the ward.
And last but not least, on the way to English class last night, we were walking and I saw a bunch of red roses, just lying on the sidewalk! They were perfectly fine, so I picked them up, thinking I could find someone to give them to. I was so excited about free roses that I completely missed the miserable man sitting on the porch, crying, with his bags packed. I’m pretty sure he had just gotten kicked out, and the roses were thrown for dramatic effect, so…. oops? :) Oh well. Recycled love. Cocoa cola would be proud of me.
We got a super cool text this week from one of the elders in our zone, Elder Fusco. He said “Make good choices and be sure to talk to lots of strangers!” I love it, because that’s exactly what we do as missionaries. We talk to everybody we meet, and I love that! :)
This has been a pretty low-key week. I’ve still been feeling sick and down, so I’m not really sure what the future holds. More news to come next week.
I love you all a LOT! Thanks for all of the support and love. :)
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers
Swish and flick!

Swish and flick!

Every rose has it's thorns.

Every rose has it’s thorns.

Spanish Conversation hearts

Spanish Conversation hearts

Valentine's Day candy from the Elder's

Valentine’s Day candy from the Elder’s

Elder Bartlett

Elder Bartlett

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Swimming!

15 Feb
Myself and Sister "Oh my heavens!" Lancaster.

Myself and Sister “Oh my heavens!” Lancaster.

Snow storm in the city.

Snow storm in the city.

 

Mayor Bloomberg said the city avoided the worst of the snowstorm dubbed Nemo.

 

Third Time’s a Charm?

13 Feb
Proclaiming with The Proclamation down in the subway

Proclaiming with The Proclamation down in the subway

Dear family and friends,Since last week was probably the longest email I’ve ever written in my life, I’ll go ahead and make this the shortest. :) And I can do that because, guess what happened this week?!
I got sick. Again. For the THIRD TIME in THREE MONTHS. I know. I am shocked as well. Fever, aches, a horrible ear-ache, the works. I’m recovering now, thanks to some heavy-duty antibiotics prescribed by the doctor, but it was kind of a miserable week health-wise.
Also, to top it off, there was a blizzard here! Haha it actually wasn’t too bad, because we didn’t have to be out walking in it because I was sick. It was a tender mercy. We got some SERIOUS snow, though. This is what I thought it was going to be like all winter. Luckily, it’s been rather mild. I’m so grateful for that.We did a little mini-table activity in one of the subway stations while it was snowing pretty bad. We handed out The Family: A Proclamation to the World, but there weren’t a whole lot of people going in and out because of the snow.  When it gets cold, people hunker down and just stay inside. Can’t say that I blame them!Well, I love you all. Sorry this week is kind of boring. Hopefully next week I’ll have more stories to tell :)
Con amor,
Hermana Rogers
Headband problems

Headband problems

Sis. Lancaster with our table of handouts.

Sis. Lancaster with our table of handouts.

Quieres una familia mas unida?

Quieres una familia mas unida?

 

Real-life Missionary Work!

7 Feb
Melissa's Baptism

Melissa’s Baptism

Dear family and friends,

How is everyone? We had a pretty successful weekend, made complete with the baptism of MELISSA! It was a super special experience. We had it right after church, so there were a lot of people there. Her non-member dad and brother both came and it was great. She’s such an awesome girl! The Young Women in the ward put together a musical number and a couple of her friends said prayers/gave talks. It was so sweet.

In CRAZY news, I hit my 1ONE YEAR MARK this Friday!! How ridiculous is that? I cannot believe that 1 year ago I was just starting my mission. It’s gone by so fast and slow at the same time. It’s hard to describe.

Okay, so this is the part where I give you the CRAZY story of what was my day yesterday. I’d like to make a little disclaimer, though, before I start. Usually, I try to put a positive spin on all of the experiences I share, but this one– it’s just crazy. It’s one of those days that is miserable but makes for great stories later. So I’d like to give you a look at real-life missionary work, that isn’t all sunshine and daisies, in the hopes that it will give you comfort knowing that we all have those days….(PS this is pretty much a short story, so be prepared for length and details :)

This is directly from my journal entry last night:

“Oh, heavens, as Sister Lancaster would say. What. A. Day! We were so, so busy. It’s a long story… SO there’s this lady who we helped take her groceries home a few weeks back named Dulce. We had set up an appointment with her last week for today, so I called a few days back just to confirm the appointment. I called the Dulce that was saved in the phone, confirmed the appointment, and thought nothing of it. Then at church on Sunday, this lady comes up to me and says, “You’re coming to my house on Tuesday at 1:30, right?” I have this confused look on my face, and she says, “I’m Dulce!” Oh crap, I think. I called the wrong Dulce! Apparently the Dulce saved in the phone was a member. So, I get it figured out and call the other Dulce and set up an appointment with her for a little bit later in the day.

Fast forward to today. Sister Lancaster and I decide to get bodega (deli) sandwiches from our favorite shop owner, Xavier. I got him to make me a Monte Cristo sandwich, (my favorite!) and he ends up giving us both our sandwiches for almost nothing. He is seriously soo generous. We’re buddies. Anyways, I get a hero (aka a footlong) and love every second of it.

At this point, I am full. Stuffed. Satisfecha, as we say in Spanish. So we leave, and go to the appointment. We get there and I feel the first pang of fear as Dulce opens the door and I smell food. We walk in and see the table packed full of food, and– wait for it– set for 6! “Shoot!” I say to Sister Lancaster, “She thinks all of us are coming!” So I call the elders frantically, begging them to come over quick. Long story short, neither of the companionships are able to come and rescue us, so I bite the bullet and break the news to Dulce that they aren’t coming. She doesn’t seem too upset, so that’s a good thing.
So then we start eating. Ay. I serve myself as little as I can get away with. There’s this weird chicken dish that’s slippery, and I’m pretty sure it was solid fat. I can’t get it on my fork, and after a minute of trying, I give up. The conversation’s good, but I’m feeling fatter and fuller with each passing second. But then it keeps getting worse and worse.

First, it’s “Oh! Behind you on that table there, there’s some bread! Have some.” So we take the bread. Then 20 minutes later, “Ah! We forgot the avocado. Let’s have some now.” Insert HUGE slice of avocado plopped on my plate. I try to eat it plain, but it’s a no-go for me, my taste-buds and I. Salt, I figure, salt will help, right? Now insert Mission Lesson #342: Always check the size of the holes before pouring the salt…. yeah. Oh, but don’t worry. There was more avocado, so it didn’t matter that mine was now inedible. “Take more, take it all!”

Yikes. This whole time, all I have to drink is lemon water, which I personally struggle with. It’s just not my favorite. Anyways, washing all of this down with the lemon water wasn’t really working out, so I asked for juice. Luckily, that helped me get the avocado down. But, oh, wait! There’s more.

Dulce walks in with a huge pitcher of something liquid that looks sweet. Finally! I think, Morir Sonando (my favorite Dominican drink)– something I can handle. Oh, contraire. It was a nice pineapple/coconut mix, my two least favorite fruits. (Yes, I do know that I sound like a Negative Nancy– I’m just trying to paint a clear picture of how it felt like my world was crumbling). Somehow I force it down, and I think, Yes! I did it, it is done… and then she walks in with the flan. If I wasn’t so full and in so much pain, I probably would have started laughing out loud.

Let me just say something real quick about flan– this is a dessert that I was never really familiar with before the mission. It sounded fancy, like creme broulee and tiramisu. I was actually excited the first time I tried it… but then I learned better. For those of you who don’t know, flan is this dessert that has a weird, almost spongy texture with this runny, mysterious liquid on top and all around it and it’s just… (shudder). However, Latins LOVE flan. They order it special for parties. You find me a Latin person who doesn’t like flan. Go ahead, I dare you!
When the flan came out, it was the end of the line. I could only do so much! So I smiled and sweetly asked her if we could take it to go. “Of course,” she says, “No problem.” By this time (we’d had to stall at the beginning of the appointment when we were trying to figure out if the elders were coming or not), we really needed to go because we were late for our appointment with the other Dulce.

Oh yeah! I forgot to mention, the whole time we were there, people kept showing up! First it was someone’s sister, then another lady, then another. I started saying a silent prayer of thanks that the elders hadn’t come, because it had turned into some kind of an unofficial mini Relief Society activity, and the elders would have been really out of place. So we decide to share a short message, in the which we end up finding out that the whole lunch, all of the women that came, everything was done especially for us. They all came because they wanted to be there when the missionaries came by! I felt very honored, and very guilty, because this whole thing had happened by an accidental phone call and now it was this big ordeal.

So we share the message and get out in under ten minutes– considering we had to put on 10 bajillion layers, that’s not bad! So, we got to our appointment with the other Dulce, the one we meant to call in the first place. Straight off the bat, she tells us that she’s got her church and she’s not going to change, but that we can still talk about religion and stuff. We talk a little about marriage and family. The old Catholic granny in the corner tells us we should hurry up and get married quick before we get too old. We pawn off the flan to Dulce #2, who LOVES it (See? What’d I tell ya?) and get out of there.

Oh yeah, and did I mention? It’s snowing outside! Ha. We call up Juana, a lady who the sisters found a while ago but who hasn’t been able to meet with us until today. So we go over and almost immediately, I get the sense that something is off. There’s a strange smell I can’t place, there’s a weird feeling in the air (like the one you get at old people homes) and when she brings out the Seventh-Day Adventist hymnbook, I brace myself for an interesting lesson.

We start with her singing one of her hymns for us, then we sing one of ours for her. Nice, right? We say the prayer, and she whispers along and I feel like some kind of weird spell is being cast (I’ve found a lot of people whisper along when we pray– I guess prayer is different in different religions). I really don’t know what to teach, but I land on Alma 40, and we start reading a bit. But Juana is breathing heavily and whenever she talks, I hear the faintest hint of a slur. She’s also being WAY hospitable, which isn’t uncommon, but hers was over the top. Oh my goodness, I realize, I think she’s tipsy! I’ve taught people under the influence before, and it isn’t fun. You get nowhere, which coincidentally, is exactly where we got. She wasn’t comprehending much, so we ended the lesson quickly and tactfully.

Then comes the– you guessed it– food. Luckily, it’s just some fruit. Cantaloupe, to be exact. Or in other words, Sister Lancaster’s least favorite fruit, as she quickly tells me. She takes a deep breath, spears an orange cube and starts to lift the fork to her mouth, but stops. She can’t do it. So, I do the only thing I can think of. (No judgment, please.)

“Hermana,” I say to Juana, “My companion is allergic to this fruit. I’m sorry!” “Oh, no!” she says. “Si, Sister Lancaster says, “it gets my throat.” She picks up quick :) So Juana brings her juice instead, served in a plastic disposable  cup.  When she walks into the kitchen for a second, Lancaster looks at me, points to her cup and I see a few tiny brown spots on this inside. “This cup has been used,” she says, then closes her eyes and just keeps sipping. I remind her of missionaries win third-world countries that have to deal with much worse. (That’s what I tell myself when things like this happen to me, at least) I eat half the plate of cantaloupe and we get away with taking the rest to go. We waddle along our way (yes, waddle. So. Full) and go to English class a little later.
Cool note, the head of the entire missionary department of the church was at the chapel with the APS! Anyways, it’s the end of the day, and I’m still in pain.”

So, that’s your real-life glance at a day in the life of this sister missionary. :) I love you all, and I’ve included a picture of me and Sister Lancaster with the ladies at the lunch they prepared for us.
Luncheon with Dulce #1 and friends!

Luncheon with Dulce #1 and friends!

Love,
Sister Rogers

Full Circle

5 Feb

This is a Facebook status from Byron MacKay:

Tonight I received a letter from Sister Kelly Rogers who is serving in the same mission that I served in. The first thing I pulled out of the envelope was a picture. In the picture stood one of the best ladies I know, Ramona de Los Milagros del Corazon de Jesus Terrero Santos. I baptized Ramona while I was on my mission, but her husband, as supportive as he was, never cared to talk to us. In the picture, standing next to her was her husband wearing baptismal whites. I couldn’t believe it! What I helped start, Kelly helped finish. Not only that, but Ramona’s family is complete. It is a center point of doctrine in my faith that families are eternal. Those ties continue on and on into the next life. As wonderful as that is in it of itself, there is no better joy than seeing a family come together to make it so.