Tuesday, March 29, 2011

March 2011

March 2011 President and Sister Nelson’s Message
(This is a copy of a Message as it appeared in the February 2011 Mission Newsletter, after the visit of Kevin Pearson of the Seventy. He conducted a day long conference for the mission on Saturday, February 5th.)
Dear Elders and Sisters
     Sister Nelson and I loved what we learned during Elder Pearson’s visit. There were so many deeply meaningful lessons about the importance of our personal decisions. He made the point several times that we are now, and will be at the end of our lives, the accumulation of all the large (there are really not to many of these) and seemingly small (there are too many of these to count) decisions we make. We choose how obedient we will be, and receive the blessings of faith and spiritual strength in exact proportion to our decisions about obedience.    
     Sister Nelson and I believe that this same principle holds true for our Mission as a whole. The more we as a Mission are united in obedience and love, the more faith and spiritual strength we will receive. As we receive more faith and spiritual strength, we will be able to bless the lives of others better. It’s a pretty simple formula.     As we were pondering this formula, it occurred to us that we, as a Mission, are just like our investigators. We have talked a great deal about the fact that we can bring the Spirit to them and their hearts can be touched by the Spirit, but it is only after they make commitments and carry them out that they can gain testimony and strength. We are just like that. We were all touched by the Spirit during Elder Pearson’s visit. That was nice. But it will only be after we have made real commitments to change and be specifically better in individual and Mission wide weak areas that we will have an increase in faith and spiritual power. Only then will we be able to better bless the lives of others.
     We will be talking about how and what we want to change as a Mission. It is our great hope that individually we wil also prayerfully examine our lives and make real, identifiable commitments to change.
     It is only through these commitments as a Mission and individually that we will bless the lives of others as a result of Elder Pearson’s visit.
Missionary Letter--Change

     “Stop telling your mom you’re going on a mission—because you’re not going!” My stepdad was wrong.
     I was seventeen years old when I received my answer: the Church is true. At that moment I knew what the Lord expected of me. I was to serve a mission. After I came to this resolve, nothing worked out as expected. Friends left on missions while I stayed home dealing with the many setbacks that defined my life. I had no one to rely on; I was on my own.
     Two years passed; no one expected me to leave on a mission. But I was quick to remember my resolve. I did everything in my power to serve a mission. I was working three jobs, with seventeen hour work days to pay off a large debt that had accumulated. My call came: New York City.
     Through this I learned that I don’t need support from others to achieve my righteous desire. Yet, as I reflect, I realize the Lord was with me the whole time; I was never alone.
     Before the divorce, I measured life in homeruns, family vacations, and parties. Change was dad moving out. Change was divorce. Change was leaving home much sooner in life than expected. Change was driving to an uncertain future in a jeep stuffed with everything I owned. Change was unwelcome. Change was terrifying.
     Graduation came and went, leaving behind an education I didn’t care to work for and a lifestyle I didn’t care to live.
     Change is Jorge telling me to go on a mission. Change is traveling across Brooklyn on the Q56 bus in a suit, tie, and scratched nametag knowing that after a life of failures, I would not fail God. Change is seeing people like John give up lifelong addictions once having heard about the Restored Gospel. Change is the Atonement.
     I measure my life by seeing the dark change to light through the Atonement. Nothing impassions me more than working to help others change. While knocking the streets of Queens, the greatest change I’ve witnessed is my own. I am not the man I once was.
     My greatest passion? Change.

General Authority Visits

     March 5th. On the weekend of March 4th – 6th the New York South Mission was honored with the visits of Elder Neil L. Anderson, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Ronald A. Rasband, Senior President the Seventy, and Bishop Richard C. Edgely, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric. The General Authorities were all in Manhattan attending a special Priesthood Leadership Conference over the weekend.

     On Friday the 4th, there was a Youth Fireside held in Queens with Elder Rasband and his wife and Bishop Edgley. He opened the meeting for questions and answers. Numerous questions and comments centered on the challenges of being a Mormon in New York City in these times—especially in a school situation.
     On Saturday the 5th, Elder Anderson, Bishop Edgely and Elder Rasband presided over a Special Mission Conference for the New York South Mission. It was held in Rego Park, Queens.
     On Sunday the 6th, Elder Anderson presided at a Special Stake Conference held in Brooklyn at the Grand Prospect Hall. At the same time, Bishop Edgely presided at the special Stake Conference held in Plainview, on “the Island.”
     The whole weekend was a very unique opportunity for all. Seldom, if ever, have there been so many General Authorities visiting our Mission at the same time.
                                  “Historical" Notes
     Bermuda. Elder Rasband, in one of his talks, said that as a young missionary he served for nine months in Bermuda when it was a part of the Eastern States Mission. During his mission, he also walked the streets of Queens and Brooklyn. He recalls that at that time there were only ten companionships serving on the whole area of Long Island. Elder Rasband later returned to the New York North Mission to preside as Mission President.
     Brooklyn. The Grand Prospect Hall in Brooklyn, built in 1892, is a beautiful structure that still reflects its former splendor. It was built with the full support of the politicians, businessmen, religious leaders, and masons, who wanted a social, cultural, and political mecca for Brooklyn. The intent was to create a “French Renaissance hall echoing the embellishments of Versailles.” It was noted by one observer at the time, “Everyone who enters the extravagant lobby and spectacular spaces feels taller, more important, grander.” Today it is still in use--as noted by the Special Conference held there on Sunday, May 6th.
     Plainview. When the 1964-65 World’s Fair held in Flushing (Queens) was over, the building from the Mormon Pavilion, which was used for the presentation of Man’s Search for Happiness was disassembled and moved to Plainview. It was reassembled and now serves as the chapel there. Over one hundred people were converted to the Church because of their experience at their. 
    Woodside. The Woodside chapel in Queens formerly housed a Bulova Watch factory which employed disabled Word War II veterans. Under what are now the stake offices, was a large pool (described as some as approaching Olympic size) used for rehabilitation.                                       More Memories
     Manhattan. The French Embassy in Manhattan is currently housed in a beautiful old mansion located on 5th Avenue and 79th Street, across from Central Park. Bishop Edgley remembers when it was the Mission Home for and Mission office the East States Mission. He said that was rumored that the staircase scene in Gone With the Wind was filmed there.
     Port Washington. In one of our conversations with Elder Anderson, he told us about a young Jewish man named Seth Quackenbush who lived a few doors down from the present mission home in Port Washington—the home where President and Sister Nelson currently reside. Seth had graduated from high school and was on his way to a college in Massachusetts. Elder Anderson, who was a member of the Seventy at the time, was visiting the New York South Mission and happened to be at the Mission Home when Seth dropped by. They met each other and almost as an afterthought, Elder Anderson asked Seth if he would like to meet some other students that would be attending the college. Seth said, yes. The rest is history. Seth was baptized into the Church. Later, he met a young woman who had also converted from Judiasm to Mormonism. They were married in the Washing DC Temple.
     This occurrence brings to mind Elder Wigginton, who left the New York South mission just before the arrival of President and Sister Nelson. He was also a Jewish convert to Mormonism—he was studying to become a rabbi. Upon his conversion, he was immediately disowned by his family. He served a faithful mission.
Pass Along CardsTo: General Authorities and Following Leaders in English-Speaking Units, Domestic and Internation: Area Seventies; Stake, Mission, and District Presidents; Bishops and Branch Presidents
From: Missionary Department
Subject: Mormon.org and New Pass-Along Cards for Members and Missionaries
     The following notice is principally for mission presidents, but also for stake and ward leaders to make them aware of the new products and information.
     A national advertising campaign focusing on the redesigned mormon.org began earlier this year on thousands of Internet sites. The campaign uses banner and other Internet advertisements featuring links to and video portraits from mormon.org. These advertisements have helped produce a 70 percent increase in visitors to mormon.org.
     In conjunction with this initiative, the January issue of the Ensign contains an insert highlighting ways members can share the gospel using new pass-along cards and the mormon.org website. Mission presidents should encourage missionaries to discuss the insert with members. We encourage stake and ward members as well as all missionaries to begin using the new cards immediately. Instructions for ordering additional cards are attached.
     Given the nationwide Internet campaign and the value of mormon.org as a teaching resource, we ask that mission presidents assign all missionaries to visit mormon.oorg and become familiar with its content. Missionaries should not be assigned to review mormon.org (especially the video portraits) changes regularly, missionaries should visit the site frequently. Ideas for using mormon.org in finding and teaching activities are included in the attachment.
Training Resource:
Mormon.org and Pass-Along Cards     Background. Years of research and experience have shown that the most effective way to understand members of the Church is to meet one. The redesigned mormon.org website provides an invitation for people to view profiles of individual Church members (with the opportunity to connect with them through their social networks) and to chat with missionaries. Each profile on mormon.org has stories and testimonies from Church members from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Although each member is unique, visitor to the site will find a unified message that we believe in and follow Jesus Christ. The redesigned mormon.org and pass-along cards hope to respond to myths and misperceptions about the Church and open lines of communication for those not of our faith with Church members and missionaries.
National Advertising Campaign. An internet advertising campaign is currently underway on thousands of websites. Vistors to sites such as facebook.com, foxnews.com, ehow.com, whitepages.come, and cnn.com will see banner advertisements. Visitors to popular sites such as hulu.com and YouTube will see video ads based on the portraits found on mormon.org. To see a sampling of the banner ads and video ads, go to boncom.com/mormon. Please note that this site also contains sample radio and billboard ads that are not running nationally.
Ideas for Using the Internet Campaign

     *Members can use them to initiate a conversation about the Internet campaign.
     *Mission presidents could encourage missionaries to be appropriately creative. For example, they might use the front of the cards to initiate a conversation about the diverse make up of the Church and our unifying belief in Jesus Christ.
     *Various way. Missionaries can use the back of the cards in a variety of ways. They can write the address to the mormom.org profile of local Church members. (b) to write the address of specific pages of mormon.org, chapel and address and meeting times, a sorry we missed you” message for cancelled appointement or to set a specific appointment time and date.
From Missionary Department—Mormon.org and New Pass-Along Cards for Members and Missionaries
Queens Parent publication, January, 2011
     In December 2010, the Missionary Department released a new language training methodology.
Daily Dose.
     For years free English classes have been offered by our Missionaries to the public. We have no idea when these classes began nor where. All we know is that have been an integral part of our mission for many years. They are used as tools to spread the message of the gospel. Many people who are interested in learning English find that they are also interested in knowing more about the Church.
     At the end of last year, the Church released a new program (it’s been several years in development) called Daily Dose. It will now be used in the English programs in the United States and Canada. Our mission has adopted it. It’s a completely different approach from how we have been teaching in the past. Before the missionaries made up their own lessons—now the lessons will be standardized (Just because you can speak a language doesn’t mean you know how to teach it).
     The Daily Dose “kickoff” for the New York South Mission was in January, 2011. The following was a media release in the NY Queens Parent publication.
Media Release     The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has been dedicated to offering ESL classes to the communities they serve for years. What’s different for the new year, is a new approach to teaching the classes that livens up things and gets students talking right away. Prompted by the desire to standardize their classes and make things, well, just more interesting, the church administration worked with a professional company to create a program called “Daily Dose.” It’s a dose of good fun, with students standing in small groups, called “huddles,” and working with a colorful graphic dialogue poster and an instructor, they are engaged in conversation right away. “It’s an exciting approach to learning a language. It’s an opportunity to start [practicing] speaking the language instead of memorizing words, nouns and verbs,” says William Nelson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints New York South Mission. Classes will be available throughout Queens at various Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints chapels and are open free to the public. Community members are welcome as volunteer ELS instructors. The church will provide training.(Contact number, 917-583-0595).
March “Departures”The March 2011 Missionary “Departures” are as follows:
Sisters                                    Language
Sister Cindy Arlin Calderon         Spanish
Sister Jennifer Olsen                 Spanish
Sister Taeko Marie Smith           English
Sister Sara Jan Sorenson           Spanish
Elder Alexander Castro              Spanish
Elder Christopher Davis             Spanish
Elder Lance Ole Einerson           Spanish
Elder Benjamin Flores               Spanish
Elder Stephen Griener               Spanish
Elder Jacob Brent Hatch            Spanish
Elder Daniel Craig Mosman        Spanish
Elder Tyler James Nielsen          English
Elder Corey Glade Olsen            English
Elder Brick Cory Petty                Spanish
Elder Emiliano Pucheta              Spanish
Elder Claudio Reyes                  Spanish
Elder Nicolas Rudaz                  Spanish
March “Arrivals
The March 2011 “Arrivals” from the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah are as follows:
Sisters                                 Language
Sister Summer Leone Dumas    English
Sister Cyrena Marie Fifield        Spanish
Sister Alyson Paige Harry         Spanish
Sister Kori Ann Nelson             Spanish
Elder Chase Kris Davis            Spanish
Elder Jeffery Robert Click         English
Elder Jeffery Scott Lewis         Spanish
Elder Dallin Knapp McEwen      Spanish
Elder Anthony Dwight Moore    Spanish
Elder Kraig Eugene Peterson    English
Elder Joshua Blake Roberts     Spanish
Elder John Heath Sanford        Spanish
Elder Christian David Lascano  English
Elder Steven Roberts              Spanish
Elder Gabriel Enrique Parra      Spanish
Mission Video Filming
     A young woman by the name of Sharida Saeed Frias, a student (senior) at Brooklyn College was riding a bus on her way to her Broadcast Journalism class empty-handed. She had a homework assignment due and she had nothing to show for it. She needed to identify the subject that she was going to feature on her five minute documentary. On the bus, she found herself sitting next to two Mormon Missionaries. So she asked herself, “Why not?” She explained to them (Elders Kosaka and Warren) her assignment and asked them if they would be willing to participate. They said that it would be fine, but first they would have to have the consent of their Mission President. He said, yes.
   To make a long story short, she spent three days following them around—filming Preparation Day activities, “fearlessing” (contacting people on the streets), interaction with the members, etc. She said that five minutes was a substantial amount of time and it took a lot of footage to be able to get it. To make a long story short, the project is finished and Elders Kosaka and Warren will be making their “debut” in a month or two.
   When the Elders asked her what was some of her conclusions about the Church and the missionary program, she said, “I am beginning to understand instead of judging.”
     Note: Sharida is from Miami Florida majoring in Broadcast Journalism. The purpose of her Missionary video was to investigate: Why are the missionaries doing what they are doing as opposed to leading a “normal life?” She wants to go into the TV industry. She has had a lot of internship experience with FOX, CBS and NY-ONE.
Gospel Quote “We invite all men everywhere to read the Book of Mormon, to ponder in their hearts the message it contains and then to ask God, the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ if the book is true. Those who pursue this course and ask in faith will gain a testimony of its truth and divinity by the power of the Holy Ghost.” Introduction--Book of Mormon