Tuesday, September 21, 2010

President’s Message

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 Nelson
                                 President and Sister at the branch picnic in Bermuda.
Visiting Authorities
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:
                        Sisters                 Language
            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 Brownell
            Elder and Sister Heinhold
Elder and Sister Brownell drove across country from Oregon, stopping “on their way” to visit friends and family in Utah, Nauvoo and Cleveland. They will be working in the East New York Branch. They will also be responsible for inspecting the missionary “pads” (the New York term for apartments).
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:
       Elders                                 Language
       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.
     About Bermuda:
*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.)

Random Weather

     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
Elders Quorum
    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)