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

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Catching Up

President Nelson told us when we arrived that this was like "being dropped on to the top of speeding bullet train." He wasn't kidding! What an amazing ride it is!

Now that I've sort of caught my balance, I'm going to give you a short summary of what has happened since President Calderwood and I arrived.

Four weeks in, we had our first transfer. We were so excited to welcome the 10 missionaries we were blessed to meet in the MTC plus four English-speaking elders and one Mandarin-speaking elder who weren't at the MTC while we were there. We are so happy to have these wonderful, obedient and hard-working missionaries. They are precious to us!
Back row: Elder Greenwood, Elder Ozuna Castillo, Elder Liston, Elder Sefcik, Elder Snyder, Elder Broadbent,
Elder Law, Elder Peacock, Elder Brown, Elder Kitchen and Elder McDonald
Seated: Sister Bradfield, Sister Reid, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Sister Nichols and Sister Ellsworth
Such joy!! It was such a great experience to meet them at the airport and then have them in the mission home for their first night in the mission. It is a great opportunity to get to know them.

And then the next day, our missionaries that were returning home came in. After just four weeks we truly love these young men and women. We had a blast that evening and it was just beautiful to hear their testimonies and share the bittersweet emotion as they approached the next phase of their lives. 

Back row: Elder Ng, Elder Hsu, Elder Roberts, Elder Hall, Elder Udall, Elder Clement, Elder Jacobs, Elder Lewis, Elder Finlinson, Elder Jones, Elder Scott, and Elder Sterling
Seated: Elder Nackos, Sister Harry, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Sister Nay and Elder Mun
That night I turned to President Calderwood and said, "So I signed up to get my heart broken every six weeks?" That is truly how it feels. This work makes the bonds really, really strong. I miss these missionaries still!

A couple of weeks later we got a GREAT surprise. Four missionaries called to the Bulgaria mission to serve in Turkey and speak, er, Turkish (of course) had completed their work in the MTC but were still awaiting their visas. The missionary department asked if we could use them and we said, "Yes!"
Elder Ankney, Elder Bennion, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Elder Foechterle, Elder Wahlquist
Wonderful opportunities have already presented themselves to our Turkish elders and we are so blessed to have them here. It will be difficult to let them go when that time comes!

September 10 brought our second group of missionaries from the MTC! We feel so blessed that the Lord is sending us such amazing young men and women to serve here in NYNY South. This is a really strong group of missionaries and we love them already!
Back Row: Elder Peck, Elder Peterson, Elder Loftis, Elder Hardisty, Elder Ruesch, Elder Padilla Ortiz
 Middle Row: Elder Briles, Elder Wilkinson, Elder Jensen, Elder Izatt, Elder Wriston,  Elder Nisguritzer,  Elder Carlson
Seated: Sister Chipman, Sister Mortensen, Sister Calderwood, President Calderwood, Sister Lee, Sister Sanchez

Sure enough! Transfers mean heartbreak for us. Even though we only sent home a few this time, it wasn't any easier! We know that Heavenly Father will continue to bless these faithful and wonderful missionaries.
Sister Dumas, Elder Patchett, Elder  Wilson, Elder Lee and Sister Hughes
So, if you are following the math, you will notice that the mission is growing. We are up to 200 missionaries from 182 with no signs of a slow down. It's an exciting time to be serving here. Stay tuned for more news and more pictures!