A NOVEMBER TO REMEMBER
This week was filled with things to be grateful for and events we will not soon forget.
It culminated, in a glorious way, a month we will always remember and for which we will be forever grateful.
Appropriately for a mission, it began and ended with baptisms. On Sunday, the 23rd, this fine young man and an older woman (of whom I did not get a photo) were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They belong to the Spanish branch and although we did not understand many of the words spoken, the spirit was strong and the room was filled with love.
Joshua Burgos (with his sister)
Not pictured Dora Sterling
On Monday, for our Pday, we had the great blessing of touring Plymouth, Massachusetts with a group of our senior missionaries. It was a great blessing because not only were we touring on Thanksgiving week in the very spot where the first Thanksgiving was held , but we had an incredible gifted, passionate, and very knowledgeable guide who made the experience a singular one. We came away with a much deeper appreciation for the sacrifices these forefathers made and also for their great courage, faith and strong family values upon which this great country was founded.
Our wonderful guide, Leo! What made the whole day even more special to me was the fact that he reminded me of my dad. You can't tell from this photo but it was his blue eyes, his passion, his mannerisms (the way he gestured) and his accent. My dad always kept a slight Bronx/Queens accent and athough Leo had a New England accent but somehow it still was reminiscent of my dad :)
|The oldest, longest running mill in the country.|
|The Pilgrims lived on one side of the stream and the native Americans on the other.|
This is a spring fed water source so it was always available and aways fresh.
He was also a great man and a great friend to the Pilgrims. I have always liked him. There is a copy of this statue at Brigham Young University. One of my best friends and roommate, Bev DeCapot, a Massachusetts native, made sure it was one of the first things we saw when we arrived there!
Did I ever mention how much I LOVE old doors and windows?
Did I ever mention how I never tire of seeing these steeples everywhere here?
Did I mention that even though it was a rainy, blustery day we loved it? We felt it added atmosphere to the whole outing.
(This says Burial Hill, by the way)
Did I ever mention how much I love that there are old graveyards everywhere here? Everywhere! In random places. Without any fanfare, fence name or sign half the time. You are driving along and -whoa!-there's another one! Love them! This isn't one of the random ones, however. This is marked and noted and famous.
National Monument to the Forefathers
It's so hard resisting telling you all we learned but I know you are not reading this blog for a history lesson.
That said, I just have to tell you little about this statue. We would have missed if it not on this tour with Leo. Most people don't know it exists! It's off the beaten track.
"It's meaning spreads out from top to bottom,from the heaven sent Faith, which was believed to have fueled the Pilgrim's journey, to the social principles and civil institutions that were seen to have been established under her guidance. The central figure Faith is surrounded by four ancillary figures which are meant to represent the principles upon which the Pilgrim Fathers proposed to found their commonwealth; Morality, Education, Law, and Liberty. There are smaller figures on the sides of each of these to amplify the message of the primary ones." (from the brochure)
Due to some bad photography, Morality is missing.
Notice there are several Moores on the list! They are going to look into it.
After our 3 hour tour with Leo, we all enjoyed a nice dinner together in a warm and cozy restaurant in the heart of town. Then we attended a play depicting the history of the Pilgrims from their discontent in England , to their frustrations in Holland , to their fateful journey here and that first hard cold winter .
We are more grateful than ever for them- for their faith and perseverance. We are grateful for God's hand in forming this great country. We are grateful for the Indians who helped them survive and befriended them. We are grateful for the core principles upon which our government was founded and pray we may always as a country and a people hold fast to them.
We are grateful for this remarkable experience to remember the First Thanksgiving in this way, in this place.
New York City !
Adam and Heather and kiddos were going to Heather's father's in New Jersey for Thanksgiving. Since NYC is part of our mission area and since we are this close to them ( a whole lot closer than California!), we suggested we meet them in NYC for a day. They happily agreed. We drove down on Tuesday, stayed in a hotel for 2 nights, and they took the hour long train ride in on Wednesday. It poured rain the entire day but we all agreed we were so glad we did it and spent the day together.
I keep being blessed with these rooms with amazing views! The Empire State Building, no less! Right outside our window! The amazing thing is I search for the bargains and end up with this!
View from the 30th floor down.
And just another reminder that we do work on our mission :)
As soon as we got to the room Dale spent an hour or two answering medical emails and phone calls.
After he finished , we went out exploring our immediate area. This is what we found:
Rehearsals were going on for the parade the next day right here in a staging area in front of Macy's.
And just around the corner were Macy's Christmas windows!
Don't know what happened to these photos- they were glittering and sparkling on my computer but now they look dull. This was inside Macy's and it was gorgeous!
Speaking of computers, mine is dying a slow, ugly death at the moment and I am very frustrated. I loved it. It is a 24 inch I Mac. I adore the huge screen and looking straight ahead instead of down when working on projects. But it is not very convenient for travel. I need a new one but am having a very hard time deciding whether to get another like I have, or a lap top. I am using Dale's lap top now to see if I like it ( and mostly because mine would not cooperate at all today)
The Chrysler Building
Just waiting for 11:59 P.M., December 31!
Of course, we had to check this place out!
This cute family:
the reason we came!!!
This pic is out of order but it's the only one with almost all of us. Rain and dark museums do not offer the best photo-ops for families, we discovered.
We stopped here for some very delicious hot chocolate and even more delicious cookies to warm our souls after getting drenched.
Where we lunched. A friend had recommended it to Adam. Great recommendation. I really should have taken more photos in here- this place is amazing! And it is huge! 6 restaurants inside next to delis and markets selling everything Italian. Fabulous!
The Museum of Natural History
Where every family in New York headed on this rainy day.
Under the blue whale.
Perfecting their very best scary dinosaur roars!
This visit to the museum with Adam and his 3 year old son, Liam, was quite the sentimental journey for Dale and I. We brought Adam here when he was 2 and he amazed everyone within ear shot with his knowledge of the dinosaurs- he knew all of them by name and was happy to tell anyone around. Now here we were, full circle with his son- brilliant as well! It was a "Circle of Life" moment. The girls are no slouches either- they were quite impressive with their wealth of knowledge and information. We tried to stump them but to no avail :)
After the museum, we walked to our hot chocolate shop and passed by the balloons being inflated for the parade the next day. That's Heather in the brown hat in the center (without an umbrella)
Mimi and some of her cuties in front of Macy's windows.
One of first taxi cab rides!
On the train (photo courtesy of Heather )
After the hot chocolate, we all hailed cabs back to Penn Station where they caught the 5:35 back to Jersey. We could walk to our hotel from there and since we did a lot of sight-seeing the night before, and since it was still raining, we went back to our hotel and spent the evening there- cozy, warm and dry :)
Keira said it for all of us-' I've never been so cold. And though it's cold and wet and miserable, I'm still glad we did it!'
We agree! We loved spending the day with part of our family, especially so far from home.
Thanks Adam, Heather, Keira, Avery, Callie and Liam! We love you!
More views from our room.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade!
It was just a few blocks away from our hotel!
The photo above and below show the crowds and all the places they find to view the parade.
Sorry kids! I freaked out myself when this came peeking around the corner!
The last two were taken as we were walking away. Love the skyscraper in the background.
They start deflating the balloons immediately as soon as they finish the route.
I apologize to all of you who have this parade on your bucket list and think us extremely ungrateful, but we left early. Dale is not a fan of parades (to say the least) and we wanted to beat the traffic so we took off before it was over.
The bonus to that strategy is it got us back to Boston in time to share Thanksgiving with Susan and Mike! They had eaten their dinner earlier with 2 sets of missionaries but saved us plenty of leftovers. So grateful to have a homemade yummy meal and enjoy this Thanksgiving with even 'moore' family. What a great and fun blessing it has been to share this mission with them. We have treasured every moment together and living so close to each other after living so far apart for all of our married lives. We are grateful for them.
We love you family, immediate and extended, and have always considered you one of our greatest blessings.
Mike and Dale mugging it up in their twin missionary gear.
The winter wonderland on the drive home.
The winter wonderland we found in our backyard when we got home!
We went back to the Moores on Saturday night for another delicious dinner-. We were invited for 3 reasons: she made Yucatano Delicisioso, it was Sister Roy's farewell dinner, and...they like us!
La Familia Monterroso
And more baptisms!
From our Portuguese Branch:
Julio Resendes, Ely DePina, and P.J.Andrade (not pictured Camila Cardusa)
This was a landmark month in the Massachusetts Boston Mission.
Our mission president felt impressed that there were many more people out there waiting to learn about and accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ than were hearing it. After thoughtful consideration and prayer he challenged the missionaries to find them and promised we would through complete consecration, more dedication, more fasting and prayer, and greater effort in seeking. We wanted to make this a November to Remember.
This mission , under President Packard, has never been about numbers. But to put things in perspective, the mission average was 20-30 baptisms a month. The most ever was 59. He felt we could do better so he set the goal for 70 in the month of November. What a wonderful thing this was to witness ! Every missionary was committed and dedicated and worked so hard to make this happen.
They packed every day to the brim meeting, teaching, serving, working with people- sharing the restored gospel with them.
On Sunday night , November 30th, our president sent out the word that we had baptized 100 people!
And please make note, it's not about statitics- it's about people. 100 real people, 100 souls were brought into the waters of baptism and have taken this important step on their journey back to our Father in Heaven.
There are so many seeking the truth. So many seeking knowledge. I like this thought I just heard at a meeting last night: "Missionary work is evidence that God loves His children."
Miracles were happening every day. It seems people were just dropped from the sky in front of the missionaries.
What a joy and great blessing it was to be a part of this.
We are grateful to have been witness to seeing the joy and light in so many eyes and lives and to welcome them with open arms into the church.
We are grateful to be here serving this mission at this time, in this place under this leadership.
We are grateful for our testimonies.
We know Christ lives. We love Him. We are grateful to serve Him in this small way.
We are grateful of our knowledge of our Heavenly Father and His plan for us. That we have a Savior. That we can repent through His Atonement. That They love us . That we can return and live with them and our families forever.
With the joy and peace this knowledge brings, we do indeed go our way rejoicing!