Wednesday, March 21, 2012

P-day in Midwood

P-days in Midwood were different than in Freeport.  We still did our laundry, email, grocery shopping, etc. but instead of walking across the street or driving in the car, we walked everywhere with these:

We called them ghetto carts.  We would use them to take our laundry to the laundromat, then while our laundry was going we would do our email (the laundromat we went to had two computers where we did our email), and while it was in the dryer we would run to the grocery store to get our groceries and then come back and get our clothes.  Everybody had these carts for grocery shopping and stuff because most people walked everywhere.

Sometimes we would stop and get a treat and eat it in the park.

Or walk around and take pictures of different places.  We would walk through here every day to get to the subway.  The stairs to the train are on the other side of the fence on the right.

This was the train stop once you got down the stairs.

The last couple of months that I was in Midwood we started going to an Internet cafe in a Burger King a few train stops away.  We would go first thing in the morning because it was cheaper the earlier you went.

Afterwards we would sometimes go to Coney Island for a couple of hours since we were only a couple of train stops away.  We were pretty much the only ones there, and usually most of the zone ended up there.

Don't worry, I did follow all the mission rules.  I did not go swimming, just stood in the water for a picture. 

It looks like the elders have their arms around us, but they don't! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

My Zone

We had the best zone leaders in Midwood.  Elder Nelson was one of the zone leaders the whole time I was there, and he had two different companions during that time, Elder ? and Elder Smith.  Every transfer we had a zone activity and took a zone picture.  My first transfer we rode the Staten Island Ferry and rode past the Statue of Liberty.

My second transfer there we had an activity at Prospect Park.  We were divided into two teams, the Lamanites and the Nephites, and did an obstacle course/race thing and at the end we had a "battle" on the "Hill Cumorah".  I was on the Lamanite team and we won (hmmm).  Then afterwards we had a bbq and took our picture.

The Lamanites

The next transfer we had an international food lunch.  At the time we had missionaries in our zone from France, Ghana, Korea, Bulgaria, and Peru, along with Hawaii (not international, but still has some fun food!) along with a missionary that served most of his mission in Russia and then came to our mission to maybe help start a Russian program. Everybody was supposed to bring/make something native to their country/state.  I brought funeral potatoes (so did the other sister that was from Utah) and Sister Auna made a drink that they have in Hawaii.  Sister Lerat, from France, made crepes and they were sooo good.

The next transfer we went to the Brooklyn Museum (the same one I went to with Sister Allred, Elder Maner and Elder Matavao).

For a while we did service as a zone at a park called Prospect Park, mostly weeding and doing other garden work.  This is everybody after one of those days:

We also did a zone service project and renovated a grown-over twin towers memorial garden/park.  We also did service in Prospect Park, doing weeding and other garden work.  Somebody even wrote an article about it for the Church News and a picture of me and Sister Graham was in it!

The photographer that took the pictures for the Church News caught this lovely one of me as I was working.  The elders kept making fun of me because I looked like I was going to kill someone with the weeds.

At the end of my first transfer in Midwood, the zone leaders started having a breakfast with the sisters every Thursday morning.  They wanted to do something with the sisters since they couldn't go on splits with us, and that's what they came up with.  It was great!  Every week a different companionship was in charge of the food, and we always ate it in the church (since all the sisters lived next door to it).  This picture is from our first breakfast.  The elders were in charge and they got breakfast sandwiches and orange juice.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

My District(s)

Since I was in Midwood for four transfers our district changed a few times. It started out like this:
Sister Allred, me, Elder Maner (DL), Elder Matavao

Elder Maner was a really good district leader (and is now married to Sister Allred!) and Elder Matavao was a lot of fun.  During this transfer we had a district activity at the Brooklyn Museum.  It was mostly mummy type stuff, but it was a lot of fun!

The next transfer our district looked like this:
All the same except E. Maner's companion was his greenie Elder Meza, from Peru.

The next transfer our district looked like this:
This time it was my companion that changed to my greenie Sister Auna.

And the 4th transfer it looked like this (minus the guy in the middle):
Me, Sister Auna, Elder Smith (one of the zone leaders), Elder Weber, Elder Meza

Sometimes we ate lunch together as a district.  Once or twice we went to a pizza place called Rocky's (after the Rocky).

This one looks kind of weird; I was taking the picture of us in the mirror next to the table.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Midwood Companions

My first companion was Sister Allred, from Bakersfield, CA.  Like I said in an earlier post she spoke Spanish really well and was a great teacher.  I learned so much from her!  We were together from February 8, 2005 to May 1.  She taught me about mini-rewards - rewarding ourselves in small ways for working hard.  Usually we would go to McDonald's and get one of their $1 hot fudge sundaes.  She also always sang a song that she made up to the tune of _______ I can't remember right now, but it went like this:

Goin' tractin', goin' tractin',
Gonna knock on lots of peoples doors.
Gonna teach them 'bout the gospel,
Gonna ask them if they love the Lord.
Gonna teach them 'bout baptism,
Then we'll duuuuuunk 'em.

She also taught me a lot of interesting facts about the Jewish people (there were lots in NY) and introduced me to plantain chips.

I was also companions with Sister Allred when I dyed my hair for the first time ever.  One night we were waiting at a bus stop so that we could go home.  It was cold and dark, and a kind of scary looking guy stopped in a van and offered us a ride.  We said no thanks and raced down the street to the subway station.  Later Sister Allred said that when she was with her last companion people always thought they were Jewish since they both had dark hair, but since I was blonde, people bothered us more.  So, she said I should dye my hair brown.  I decided to go along with it.  I bought a box of hair dye and she performed the magic.  After about 5 minutes of having the dye in my hair I started freaking out because it looked really dark, so I washed it out.  It made my hair a little darker and evened out the color (as you can totally tell in the pictures), but it didn't turn out brown.  So it kind of defeated the purpose, but it was still fun.




My second companion in Midwood was Sister Auna, from Kona, HI.  She was my greenie, and the best one ever!

We were companions from May 2, 2005 to July 25.  I was really surprised and nervous to be called to train already, but she was so great! She really wanted to learn and be a good missionary, and she was a lot of fun.  She loved snacking on cereal and gummy candy, finding the latest "ghetto jewelry" (jewelry at the 99 cent stores), and getting to know the Hispanic culture.

Once when we were tracting we made up a song called "The 12 Days of Our Mission", sung to the tune of "The 12 Days of Christmas".  I know it doesn't really make sense because there are way more than 12 days in a mission, but sometimes tracting could really drag and this kept us occupied.  It went like this:

On the (1st, 2nd, etc.) day of my mission, New York gave to me:
   A golden baptism
   2 dinner appointments
   3 children crying (we heard a lot of crying kids in the apartment buildings)
   4 dogs barking (same)
   5 locks on one door
   6 Jews a wiggin'
   7 ghetto stores
   8 Virgen Mary's (lots of Catholics)
   9 horns a honking
  10 ghetto snacks
  11 slammed doors
  12 cockroaches

Just to explain ghetto stores and ghetto snacks - in missionary lingo in our mission, we used the word "ghetto" a lot.  I guess because we were in kind of a ghetto area.  So ghetto stores were like little convenience stores, comparable to gas stations without the gas pumps.  Ghetto snacks were usually purchased in those ghetto stores and were usually individually wrapped Little Debbie-like snacks that you could buy for a quarter.

Another thing we found at a 99 cent store were these rockin' flip flops, so we got matching pairs.  it was kind of a tradition to get something as a companionship.  We had a name for it, but I can't remember what it was.

There are a lot of other things I could write about these two wonderful companions, but I can't remember anymore right now, so as I go through my journal I'll probably add more to this post.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Midwood Baptisms

We had a baptism a couple of weeks after I was transferred to Midwood.  Her name was Lesly Ariza and she was the most golden person I was able to teach my entire mission.  She was from Peru and only in New York for her school break.  While she was here she worked for a Jewish family, a very common job for Hispanic women in NY.  Normally, those who worked for Jewish families worked Sunday-Friday with Saturdays off, but Lesly was lucky enough to work Saturdays and had Sundays off.  I don't remember how it happened, but somehow, she ended up staying with a family in our ward every Saturday night, so that is how we were introduced to her.  She had come to church with them a couple of times before we were able to talk to her and the first time we taught her she was committed to baptism.  A week later she was baptized.  She was and is still amazing and is still very active in Peru.

Hermano Pelaez baptized her; he was the dad of the family she stayed with on the weekends.

A few weeks later she gave us these cute stuffed bears.

A few weeks later, Arturo de Jesus was baptized.  He had some drinking problems to overcome, but decided that he wanted to be baptized.  He was pretty nervous all the way up until the baptism, but he did go through with it.  I have lost touch with him, so I don't know if he has been able to stay active or not.  (He's the one on the right.)

A few days later he got us this cake:

A couple of weeks later Alexis Jimenez was baptized.  He was directly from the Dominican Republic and was staying with his sister and her family, who were members in our ward.  He had taken the discussions in the DR and already knew he wanted to be baptized.  So we were the lucky ones who got to finish teaching him.  He was so hard for me to understand.  I always stared at him while he was talking, like, "I know you're saying something but I don't know what!"  He thought it was pretty funny and couldn't understand why I didn't know what he was saying.  Luckily, Sister Allred could understand him.  (He's the one on the left.)

His sister is on the far right, along with her kids.  Their mom is the one in front of me and was the only non-member.

Not long after Alexis was baptized Sister Allred was transferred and my greenie, Sister Auna came.  I was so so nervous and we seriously had nobody to teach at that point.  I was worried about finding good investigators and having a baptism.  We worked and worked and finally one day at the end of the transfer we went to a Father's Day party that the ward was having at the church.  When we walked in, one of the members, Hna. Palomeque, said that she had an investigator family downstairs for us to talk to.  We went down and met them and they were wonderful!  It was a mom (Norma) and four of her six kids (Cristina, Jenny, Gabriela, and Zach).  They came to church the next day and Norma asked for a Book of Mormon.  The second time we taught them they were committed to be baptized.  It was a very exciting time for Sister Auna and I.  For her because it would be her first baptism, and for me because I felt like I was finally doing my job as a trainer.  They were baptized the next transfer.  (Zach was only 5 so he was not baptized.)

We worked hard the rest of the transfer without seeing any more baptisms and then I was transferred to another area.