Sunday, April 7, 2013

Training Thrills

We had a great weekend.

My daughter, Quinn, came up from Roanoke, VA to help me (and by that I mean she did everything and I watched with awe) throw Laynie's Sweet 16 birthday party. Laynie had six sweet girl friends over full a full day of "glam" fun. It was so much fun for all of us but the details are for a different blog...so that is not what I am blogging about.

General Conference is a true blessing and I enjoyed every second of it but I cannot add anything here to enhance that experience....so that is not what I am blogging about either.

My friends, Anna and Jasmin, came up from NoVA for a visit this weekend before Anna heads back for spring term at BYU-I. They are great girls and we always have a wonderful time. Two of our missionaries here in Little Neck taught Jasmin a lesson on the plan of salvation this evening and it was great but that is not what I want to blog about either.

I want to share an experience that our mission had a few weeks ago. I hope you'll ask your missionary in a less public forum for details.

We had a visit from the Missionary Department! Brother Tracy Watson and Brother Greg Droubay came and trained ALL of our missionaries. On Thursday, March 21 Zones 1-5 met at the Rego Park Building. And then on Friday, March 22, Zones 6-9 met at the Plainview Building. We had the unique  (and rare) opportunity to learn how to do missionary work from two of the most experienced and best trainers in the world. The upshot is that we all learned some really basic tools to help us be sharper arrows in the Lord's quiver in bringing this glorious gospel to the people of New York. We were truly, truly blessed by this experience.

So here is the pay off for "slogging through my blogging." Pictures of your missionaries!



Zone 1
with (seated) President Kauffman and President Goepfert, (counselors in the mission presidency), President Calderwood, Brother Watson, Brother Droubay 
Zone 2
Zone 3

Zone 4


Zone 5
Zone 6
with (seated) Brother Droubay, President Calderwood, Sister Calderwood and Brother Watson


Zone 7

Zone 8 


Zone 9
But of course since these pictures were taken before transfers on April 1 and 2, the zones are somewhat different now. I'll take pictures again in May when we have zone conferences again so you can see your darlings doing their thing! 

Love to all,
Sister Calderwood


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day in the Rockaways

The organizers of the St. Patrick's Parade in the Rockaways invited our missionaries, more precisely our Mormon Helping Hands, to march in it. It is a cold, wintry March day here in New York (there were even a few snowflakes) but the people of the Rockaways were enthusiastic and ready to do a little celebrating.

I quickly discovered (and felt quite sheepish) that I was just about the only observer that wasn't wearing any green!! What was I thinking? I was quickly able to remedy the situation by transacting with a convenient street vendor. Feeling better, I settled in to watch a good parade.



Honestly, I have never seen so many kilts in one place in my life (and I've been to Scotland!). There were no less than 25 bagpipe and drum corps (did you know the Courts of New York and the Transit Workers of New York have their own bagpipe and drum corps? Well there you go) in kilts of every imaginable color. There is nothing like the sound of bagpipe! It was thrilling and they were all good! Also marching were school groups, Irish organizations and service organizations. There were several firefighting units including the world-famous FDNY.

Also representing (and a crowd favorite) were the Sanitation Workers of NYC. They became our buddies during storm clean up and were real heroes in their quick response and relentless effort during that time. They have lovely dress uniforms that they were wearing today and they were greeted with enthusiasm.


One of the Irish organizations was an Irish dancing group that has taken to doing their hair like the girl from Brave. This is a small representation of about 50 girls of all ages, ALL with their hair like this.




Also marching in today's festivities were some real heavyweights. Mayor Bloomberg was there with his Secret Service and Senator Charles Schumer

spoke to the crowd through a megaphone. (They got mixed reviews from the crowd...) But that gives you some idea of what a big deal this parade was. How cool is it that we were invited to be a part of it all?

The fact is, they love us in the Rockaways.

I wanted to share the experience of seeing our yellow-vested darlings coming down the street. It was such a great moment to see these young servants being celebrated for their hard work and goodness. Please note that I am the world's worse videographer and while I started off with a great camera angle, I swung away for a moment to try to illustrate the crowd's reaction and it was a little rough after that. (You live, you learn). Anyway, listen to the sound of the crowd at the first of the clip and then what happens when our missionaries come into view.

video


Keep in mind that our missionaries are a subset of the Mormon Helping Hands. We had thousands of volunteers from Virginia, Connecticut, NewYork, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and other places help during the Hurricane Sandy clean up. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter Storm


Dear Parents and Loved Ones of our Missionaries,
I'm sure you are quite anxious as our part of the world is again the bullseye for a big storm. Please know that we are aware of all the dangers of the storm and are in contact with each missionary through the mission organization. Yesterday President Calderwood advised all missionaries to obtain adequate food and batteries to last several days in case there is a power outage and for those missionaries with cars to fill their tanks. We've asked each missionary companionship to use their best judgment and guidance from the Holy Ghost to FIRST be safe and THEN look for ways to serve.
These are exceptional young people and as you know, are "battle tested." We anticipate that there will be no major problems. Thank you for your prayers and your support. It is our privilege to serve with these outstanding missionaries.
With our warmest regards,
President and Sister Calderwood

Dear Parents and Loved Ones of our Missionaries,
I'm sure you are quite anxious as our part of the world is again the bullseye for a big storm. Please know that we are aware of all the dangers of the storm and are in contact with each missionary through the mission organization. Yesterday President Calderwood advised all missionaries to obtain adequate food and batteries to last several days in case there is a power outage and for those missionaries with cars to fill their tanks. We've asked each missionary companionship to use their best judgment and guidance from the Holy Ghost to FIRST be safe and THEN look for ways to serve.
These are exceptional young people and as you know, are "battle tested." We anticipate that there will be no major problems. Thank you for your prayers and your support. It is our privilege to serve with these outstanding missionaries.
With our warmest regards,
President and Sister Calderwood

Friday, November 2, 2012

Superstorm Sandy

Hello everyone and especially the parents and loved ones of our missionaries. ALL OF OUR MISSIONARIES ARE FINE. Everyone weathered the storm well and except for a few "pads" (apartments) everyone has power (except the mission home, haha!).

The biggest problem we are facing today is the lack of gasoline for our cars. If we were dealing with lesser mortals, this would not be such a big problem but these missionaries WANT TO WORK AND AID THEIR FELLOWMEN and in many cases they are thwarted by lack of transportation. Word on the street is that most power and gas shortages will be addressed by this weekend so hopefully we will be back on track.

In many of our zones there was little or no effects from the storm other than downed trees. Two of our zones were badly, badly wounded: Zone 1 (Staten Island) and Zone 7 (Far Rockaway, Broad Channel, Freeport, Long Beach and Lynbrook). In the days and weeks and even months to come, we will be sending all of our manpower into these areas to help families remove water from their homes, repair damages and rebuild. Our work there has already started and our missionaries are wearing themselves out in service to their fellowmen and therefore to our Lord. Attached are pictures and some web links to give you an idea of how they are spending their time. They are doing much good.


 After Sandy
 After NYNYS Sisters








Many of you want to know what you can do to help. First, pray fervently for our missionaries, members, investigators and all the people of this area. Pray especially for those who lost loved ones in this storm. There are some heartbreaking losses and people need to feel the love of Heavenly Father. Pray for hearts to be softened and for people to recognize the good work our missionaries are doing and desire to know what motivates them. Right now we are hoping our actions speak louder than words but we can use everyone's faith to move our MISSIONARY efforts along. Second, it is logistically impossible for us to make sure each missionary has warm clothes for the outside work they will be doing. Please work with your missionary to make sure they have appropriate shoes, coats, hats, rain gear and layers of clothes to keep them warm and healthy. Third, Sister Shepherd in the mission office is coordinating donation efforts from parents and others who are calling to offer assistance to OUR MISSIONARIES. Donations to disaster relief can be made through your home wards under humanitarian aid.

http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865565759/500-LDS-missionaries-helping-neighbors-in-Sandys-wake.html

http://www.ksl.com/index.php?sid=22782346&nid=148&title=lds-missionaries-help-clear-debris-from-sandy&s_cid=queue-12


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

We are ALL fine

Dear Parents,

All missionaries are SAFE.  The first phase of "Safe" and "Serve" is complete. We are being cautious and asking all missionaries to stay another night in the same locations. We will make a decision tomorrow on whether to return to our original apartments on Thursday.  Thank you for all of your prayers.

President and Sister Calderwood

Monday, October 29, 2012


Dear Parents,

We tried to email everyone but many emails were returned to us. So this is the next best thing. If you think of it, please send an accurate email address to Sister Shepherd  at 2012006@ldschurch.org

Hurricane Sandy is heading toward the boundaries of the New York New York South Mission.  The mission has an emergency plan in place and we have been planning and preparing for this specific hurricane for many days.  I am writing to update you on those plan.

Our plan is called Safe and Serve - Be Safe first and then go and Serve.

SAFE:  As of Sunday night, we have moved all 27 Sister missionaries into the mission home with our family. We have food and water a plenty and beds for everyone.  We also have access to a generator if needed.  Our 2 daughters are loving this.  The sleepover of a lifetime.

The subway and mass transit system closed down on Sunday night.  Prior to its closing, we moved all Staten Island Elders into high elevation apartments in Brooklyn or Queens.  We moved all other Elders living in low elevation apartments inland into high elevation apartments.  Everyone is moved as of last night and we will all be in doors and safe to wait out the storm.  Each missionary was instructed to purchase water and prepared foods for the apartments in case we lose power.  In addition all apartments have first aid kits, emergency radios and cell phones.  All cell phones will be charged continuously to prepare for a possible power outage.

We have a cell phone tree using text messaging set up through our District and Zone Leaders.  All companionships report in via the "tree".  We will have near real time updates on each missionary.  My Assistants are bunking in the Mission Office where we have land lines and other supplies.  The Mission Home and the Mission Office are set up as Command Centers.  In addition, the local Priesthood leaders have set up an emergency hotline linked to google maps so we will know the location of anyone in need.

SERVE: We all have our work clothes and  we will move out into the community after the storm to help with the clean up.  This will give us a chance to work side by side with the local New Yorkers. Our missionaries know how to work and this service will be a great opportunity to represent the Savior and give back to our fellowman.  We are here to save souls either physically or spiritually.

Most importantly, we know the the Lord loves our missionaries.  We love them so much as well.  He will keep them in the hollow of His hand and provide ways for us to serve.  Sister Calderwood and I are honored to being serving along side some of the best missionaries to ever serve.  Thank you for sending your sons and daughters to serve here.

Kindest Regards,

President and Sister Calderwood

New York New York South Mission