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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Our Mission Thanksgiving

So much to be thankful for.....each other, our family, the missionaries, old and new friends, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are so blessed to be serving Him, through serving the missionaries, in the New York South Mission.

This Thanksgiving we celebrated twice.  First at our ward, Rego 1st Ward.  Here are some pictures:

This is bother Nunez and his daughter.  His sweet wife had to work on Thanksgiving. He has been such a blessing to us.  He is from the Dominican Republic and has been in the United States for few years.  His wife served a mission when she was younger and he is a convert.  They tell us they are planning to move to Arizona when we leave.

This young man, KC, is from Ghana.  He told us that the missionaries came to his neighbors home, but he was not home.  It was such a hot day KC invited them over for a drink of water.  Then he noticed their missionary name tags and he thought, "Oh, no.  I don't want them in my house."  It was too late, he could not be rude.  They taught him the gospel for 3 hours.  He excused himself, went upstairs, prayed, and knew the gospel was true.  Since that time he has gone to school at BYU for three years and wants to become a teacher.  Such a delight to visit with him.  He is such a happy young man.

This is a picture of Richard and I having lunch.  The man next to Richard, brother Galloway, is in our ward and for the last few years has planned the Thanksgiving lunch.  Next to him is his new neighbor of 10 days.  Through an interrupter, we learned he is from Russia.  It was so interesting to learn of his country and what brought him to the United States.  He talked about how Russia is crumbling from all the sanctions.  He was well to do in his country,.  He had a car, but no gas.  Groceries were limited. Banks could not do business because they had no money to lend. He sold all he had to come to the United States.  As we had lunch, we taught him some English words like water, fork, spoon, knife, water, etc.  He is an intelligent man and should be able to speak the English language soon so he can then get a job.

In the evening we celebrated our second Thanksgiving.  The senior missionaries and about 8 (jr) missionaries who live close to the mission office had a wonderful meal and enjoyed each others companionship.  The missionaries were so excited to have the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  Mashed potatoes instead of rice, rolls with jam, turkey and was so joyous to hear their voices oohing and awing over the dinner.

Here are a few photos:
Elder Smith giving the "thumbs up"
Elder Williams and a Sisters Staker and Mejia 
Elder Johnson with our two Office Elders.  Next to Richard, Elder Powell and on the end Elder Reese.

That's me with Elder Powell.  He loves to tease me.

We weren't able to spend the day with our children, but we did get to talk to most of them on the phone.  So blessed!  We love each one of you so much.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Buenas Dias

We just rented our 27th apartment since arriving in the New York South Mission and feel so blessed.  It is is such a daunting task, and without the help of our Heavenly Father, we could not do it.  If you don't know New York, you will not understand the obstacles we have to overcome to find and rent a missionary apartment in the name of the Church.  The City is full of apartments and you would imagine it would be easy.  But, finding an apartment in the correct area, good access to subway and bus systems, newly renovated but not too expensive, close to the chapel, and that will rent to the church, is unbelievably difficult.

This last week we drove approximately 500 miles looking for one apartment in the Dyker Heights neighborhood of North Brooklyn.  We say 500 miles distance, but, in stop and go traffic going between 5 and 15 miles an takes forever.  To help you understand, the other night on our way home, we were about a mile and a half from our apartment, and I told Richard I was going to get out of the car and walk the rest of the way.  I was home 5 minutes before he arrived!  Now, you might understand New York traffic in rush hour, or maybe I should say "rush day" because there is only a small window of time in the middle of the day that traffic lightens up.

The most wonderful blessing happened in finally renting a Dyer Heights apartment.  We made such a new friend in the landlord, whose name is Jose.  He is such warm and accepting man. We called him Saturday morning to let him know we were at the apartment measuring for mini blinds and he came right over to help.  He told us about a store a few blocks away where we could purchase the blinds, and then walked to the store with us.  As we walked the few blocks to the store, he was greeted by all those we passed with a kind word.  He has lived in the area since the 1970's, after immigrating from the Dominican Republic.

After purchasing the blinds, he insisted on all of us going out to lunch for some of his native food.  How could we resist, you cannot tell Jose "no."  We all got in our car and we were off.  The food was great, rice, beans, roasted chicken, and avocado salad.  He insisted on paying for lunch, and during the meal we received a Spanish lesson.  It was delightful. He has invited us to come to the Dominican Republic to his home.  He said we buy the ticket and he will provide all the food and the "big bed."  We were not sure what the "big bed" meant and then he explained.  The big bed is the floor! We all laughed.

Jose owns two homes we know of in Brooklyn and one in the Dominican Republic.  When we got home Richard researched the home we rented and found Jose had bought it in 1991 for $129,000.00 and it is now worth $1,027,000.00. His career was working in a music store as a salesman, he is married with 3 sons. He is a great man and we are blessed to be counted as one of his friends.