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.

Midwood Members

The ward mission leader was Paul Merchan.  He was about our age and had served a mission in California (Long Beach?).  He was the best mission leader I had my entire mission.

The Santos family was another great family.  Abby (second from right) was a returned missionary as well.  I think she served in Boston.

The Pinedas.  She was the Relief Society President and so nice.  One hot day we dropped something off at her house that she needed for a lesson and when she opened the door we were just dying from the heat and humidity.  She took one look at us and asked if we needed a drink of water.  We did, desperately, so she gave us water and popsicles.

The rest of the Relief Society presidency.
Hermana Cuevas

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Area #2 - Midwood, Brooklyn

Midwood was smack dab in the middle of Brooklyn, but our area went all the way down to the coast (Coney Island).  We lived in a house right next to the church, which was so nice.  The Spanish sisters (us) lived on the third floor in the back in a small apartment.  The English sisters (there were 4 of them), lived on the second and third floors in the front of the house.  Their part was much bigger than ours.  The Bishop's Storehouse was in the back on the first floor, and the Family History Center was on the first floor in the front.

I ended up being in Midwood for 6 months and it was one of my favorite areas.  The ward there was much bigger than the branch in Freeport.  There was a 10-year-old girl named Nerissa who played the piano in sacrament meeting (just the top hand).  She was super cute and loved sister missionaries because she wanted to go on a mission when she was older.  (She's the one next to me in this picture.)

During the time I was in Midwood I had 2 companions: Sister Allred and Sister Auna (my greenie! in the picture above).

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My First Transfer Call

The last Sunday of my second transfer I got a call from the zone leaders telling me that I was being transferred to Midwood, Brooklyn to serve with Sister Allred.  When I heard that I got kind of nervous.  I had never been in a big city like that before.  Sister Allred was actually my "companion" at the greenie street sweep the day I got to NY and the only other thing that I knew about her was that she had really good Spanish and was a really good teacher (which was true!).  Sister Gines found out that she was training again, so we had to get to transfer meeting a little early so she could get her companion.  A couple hours later I was on my way to Brooklyn with Sister Allred, on my very first subway ride.