Dear Elders and Sisters:
A little over a year ago, we began a focus on the Savior’s Atonement as it related to us as missionaries. I felt (and continue to feel) additional strength and joy in the work as I learned more about the Atonement and, more importantly, applied it more effectively in my life.
Elder Neil L. Anderson gave a talk entitled, “A Missionary and the Atonement” in this year’s New Mission President Training Seminar. I want to quote part of his talk, because I think it is such a great description of what the Atonement can do in our lives:
“The merits, the mercy, and the grace of the Holy Messiah. Let me share an observation discerning a missionary’s spiritual understand of the Atonement of Christ. I remember interviewing missionaries, new to their missions who would say, “President, I don’t know if I can do this. I miss my family. I miss my friends…I find all this rejection painful…I can’t do it. I don’t have what it takes. I…I…I…” When a person’s spiritual understanding of the Atonement is still relatively small, the concerns about self, about “me,” loom large.
As I prayed to know how to help these missionaries, the answer came: “Brother Anderson, you didn’t call them. I did. In their difficulty they will come unto me.
“And my grace is sufficient for all men that they might humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them” (Ether 12:27).
Elders and Sisters, I testify that as we apply the Atonement to our own lives and seek the Savior’s help in magnifying our callings in the interest of those whom the Lord has prepared, we will find them and bring hope into their lives.
President and Sister at the branch picnic in Bermuda.
Elder Jose A. Teixeira of the Seventy visited in our mission in August. He and his family came to pick up their son, Elder Teixeira. The Teixeira family is currently living in Frankfurt where he is serving as second counselor in the Europe Area Presidency. The Teixeira family has lived in various parts of the world including France, Portugal, the United States and Brazil, where Elder Teixeira formerly served as a Mission President. While he was here, he spoke to the missionaries in their Leadership Meeting in the Rego Park Chapel in Queens.
“Arrivals” The “Arrivals” from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah came here on Monday, August 16 and spent the night at the Mission Home in Port Washington. The next morning, the missionaries went to the Rego chapel in Queens for a transfer meeting where they were assigned to their new companions and area. The “Arrivals” were as follows:
Sister Brooke Bassett English
Sister Rachel Winfield Spanish
Elder Ryan Gillis Korean
Elder Christopher Hanson Mandarian
Elder Benjamin Jones English
Elder Shattuck Kuzmic Spanish
Elder Dylan Moyers Korean
Elder Richard Mun Spanish
Elder Dalton Nackos English
Elder Jordan Parker Spanish
Elder Jacob Simkins Spanish
Elder Noel Cowley Spanish
Elder Jared Udall English
Elder and Sister Heinhold are neighbors and members of the same ward in Salt Lake as President and Sister Nelson. Their children grew up together. They took the place Elder and Sister Adolphson in the office. They will be working with the Bushwick Branch.
Elder and Sister Bullock
Elder and Sister Adolphson
On Tuesday evening, the Departing missionaries came to the Mission Home for the
traditional farewell dinner and testimony meeting. The next morning beginning at 5:30 they began to leave for the airport for their return trip home. The “Departures” were as follows:
Elder Alex Alder English
Elder Robert Childs Spanish
Elder Camryn Froerer Spanish
Elder Robert Furlong English
Elder Blake Law Spanish
Elder Richard Low Spanish
Elder David Mangum Spanish
Elder Ellis Miller Spanish
Elder Brian Rowley Spanish
Elder Joao Teixeira English
Elder Josue Torres Spanish
Note. We now have missionaries serving in the New York South Mission from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, Korea, Guatemala, Russia and Taiwan. This is the first group of missionaries who will end their missions serving under another President.
Bermuda. Included in the New York South Mission is the island of Bermuda. Although it is situated 570 miles off the coast of North Carolina, it is easily accessible from Long Island because of the La Guardia and Kennedy airports. There are always two missionaries who serve there (currently Elder Selander and Elder Grimm and Elder Selander who will be replaced by Elder Frandsen). We also have a senior couple (Elder and Sister Bowen). President and Sister Nelson go to Bermuda to meet with the missionaries and members about three times a year.
People. The people are religious. There are more churches/per capita there than anywhere else in the world. They observe the Sabbath day (this is a challenge for the hotel/tourist industry because many Bermudians just say they won’t work on weekends). The people are willing to listen to the missionaries, but many times don’t see the uniqueness of what the restoration means nor its implications.
Branch. Traditionally, the work has been difficult (missionary work always is). However, things are changing—there is feeling of motion. The elders are having baptisms and the little chapel was full on the Sunday we visited in August and has been for a while. The members have been meeting in this same church --an old historic building—for over 40 years.
*Bermuda sits on the top of an extinct volcano and is surrounded by coral reefs.
*Bermuda is 22 miles long and only 2 miles wide at its widest point.
*It’s a British territory.
*It used to be a stop-over for slave-trading ships. Many of the people can trace their ancestry
to this period in history.
*It forms a corner of the Bermuda Triangle.
*War of 1812 was staged from Bermuda.
*Due to the coral reefs, there are over 600 shipwrecks dating from the 1600’s.
*All the food has to be shipped in (the Bermuda onion is one of the few foods that is grown
*Their water is mostly purified sea water.
*Gas is $7 /gallon. Life there is expensive but the missionary work is great!
PS. President was presented with a pair of Bermuda shorts. (No, this isn't the official missionary attire for Bermuda.)
Hurricanes. We continue to experience more random weather here in our mission. A couple of weeks ago, it was we had a hurricane warning (Hurricane Earl—a great name for a hurricane--was coming to Long Island!). We made sure that all the missionaries were prepared with food and water, flashlights, etc. A couple of the sister missionaries spent the night at the mission home. Luckily, "Earl" fizzled and everything was fine.
Bermuda. This weekend, the missionaries on Bermuda were awaiting “their” hurricane. The eye was 40 miles off the coast. Again, it changed direction and died down. It left in its wake rains, waves and high winds. Except for a few homes on the beach, there was little damage. The homes in Bermuda are quite weather-proof. They are mostly built of cinder block (painted in many pastel colors) and white limestone roofs (the limestone helps purify the rainwater that they gather to use for drinking). Because of Bermuda’s tropical weather (in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean??), hurricane warnings are not uncommon. Even President and Sister Nelson had “theirs” when they were in Bermuda in August. Elder Bowen said that they always feel the protecting hand of the Lord.
Tornado. At the same time on Long Island, another tornado seemingly came out of nowhere
It “chewed up” Long Island, but there was not a lot of structural damage. Thousands did lose their power (this year we’re getting used to it), and many trees were down. It “caught” President Nelson. Because of fallen trees and traffic congestion, it took him four hours to get home from the mission office. At one point it took him one hour to travel a mile. He arrived home at 1:30 in the morning.
Jamaica First Ward - Queens
President Nelson was visiting the Jamaica First Ward in Queens. He was impressed with the diversity of the members:
Bishop Bishop Urbanowski Germany
1st Counselor Brother Craig Trinidad
2nd Counselor Brother Jean-Louis Haiti
Ward Clerk Brother Hack Guiana
Pres. Brother Grant Jamaica
Primary President Sister Jean-Louis Haiti
Relief Society Pres. Sister Maharaj Trinidad
Young Womens Pres. Sister Monfiston Haiti
Ward Mission Leader Brother Robinson Jamiaca
High Priest Group
Leader Brother St. Fleur Haiti
Executive Secretary Brother Dovoedo Africa
Note. It brings to remembrance the scriptures found in 2 Nephi. "Know ye not that there are more nations than one? Know ye not that I, the lord your god, have created all men, and that I remember those who are upon the isles of the sea; and that I rule in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; and I bring forth my word unto the children of men, yea even upon all the nations of the earth?" (2 Ne 29:7)
New Dress Guidelines for Sister Missionaries
In August 2010, the Missionary Department came out with some new dress guidelines for sister missionaries. They include:
Dresses and skirts (that cover the front of the knee)
Fun prints and fabrics
Stylish shoes and boots
Scarves and jewelry
And last but not least--wearing nylons is no longer required.
If the sisters (as well as elders) are in public, they are expected to wear regular missionary clothing, but they may wear jeans for preparation day activities. As Sister Heinhold, one of our senior couples, suggested: "Now, just ask President Nelson for his Visa card and we will all have a wonderful P-day shopping." Happily, that won’t be necessary—our sisters already dress like this.
Scripture of the Month
Yea, they shall not be beaten down by the storm at the last day; yea, neither shall they be harrowed up by the whirlwinds; but when the storm cometh they shall be gathered together in their place, that the storm cannot penetrate to them; yea, neither shall they be driven with fierce winds withersoever the enemy listeth to carry them. (Alma 26:6)