Saturday, July 23, 2011

It is HOT here!

Hey everyone, Things sound like they're going great, and from the sounds of it your summer is pretty good.  When do you go down to the Cabin?  I'll be honest; I really don’t like summer right now.  It would be awesome here if I didn’t have to wear a white shirt and tie, but I'm dying in this heat.  It's especially bad when I forget my water.  Normally on those days we just stop by the church a couple extra times because it's in my area and there's a water fountain and bathroom.  One thing that New York doesn't have is public bathrooms.  Which can definitely make things interesting?  So far we haven’t seen any more mice or cockroaches which is good and the "little friend" did end up in the sewer system, but it did take two flushes to get him out of the hole through which he tried to escape.  I like that idea with the ants too, sounds really fun.  I'll definitely have to keep that in mind.  We are fortunate and don’t really have any other bugs, especially since they cleaned up all the garbage that was outside our apartment door.  As to the question about bed bugs, that’s a big NO.  We don’t have any as of yet and lets pray it stays that way.

Anyways, just a few notes for Sarah.  First off, if you can avoid cafeteria food all the time, DO!  It can be good, but it gets old fast and cooking is just more fun anyways.  Does your apartment have a kitchen?  Remember too, soccer is a secondary thing, you do still need to keep your grades high if you want to play no?  And finally, just a quick favour from you Sarah.  I don’t know if you ever check my facebook, but if you do, feel free to accept any friend requests from people living out here.  They should be pretty easy to spot and I can’t accept them so I'm just gonna give you permission to do that.

Now onto a slightly more missionary related subject.  The Honduran family is starting to fall apart a little bit.  For one, they didn’t make it to church on Sunday or come to the English classes.  Elder Hampton and I stopped by last night and found Darlin, but Hernan wasn’t there.  Apparently on Tuesday they had had a fight and are now separated (they weren’t married).  Also, when we were talking to her yesterday, Elder Hampton and I both felt something was a little fishy.  Our thoughts are that it is something drug related, mainly because of the apartment where she lives and the other people with whom she lives are kinda sketchy.  However, we're not gonna pass any judgments just yet.  We have set an appointment up for tonight and hopefully that will go well.  Also, I had a split with my other zone leader on Monday and we found another guy who seems pretty cool.  He's from the Dominican Republic and apparently he won’t let people from any other religious group in his house.  Also, he really doesn’t like church because he doesn’t feel that people should get paid for that.  So we explained a little about our church and he said he'd come.  So hopefully he makes it.  He also wanted to show us some pictures of his family.  When he got to his son, Elder Ribeiro (my zone leader form Brazil) and I were just like "Holy Crap, that guy is huge!"  And I don’t mean fat, his arms are like freakin redwoods.  Apparently he's a model of some sort and well, saying he's a tank probably the best way of describing it. 

As for letter writing, I've been meaning to do a little bit of it and write a few people outside of the family.   I have written Jaren a letter, that was like 2 months ago more or less and I'll definitely have to write Gayle a letter of thanks.  Also, I have a few comparisons I wanted to make to the summer there.  First off, "what summer?" I definitely think that the time is flying by super fast as well.  Second, "water balloon fights."  All we have, since we're not supposed to play in water of stuff, is the mist coming off of the open fire hydrants and the super sweet refreshing feeling of walking through said mist or just splashing a little water on the face.  Third, "playing video games and watching TV."  Well, it's more like not playing video games and asking people to turn their TV's off.  Although, it sometimes can take us longer than others in order to get people to comply (when there’s something really good on or a soccer game), but the TV does go off eventually so that we can teach.  Fourth, "shooting", whenever I find an elastic band, I shoot the other elders in my apartment just because it's fun.  We had a little battle the other day. 

Anyways, things here are going great.  I hope you have a great week, and I look forward to hearing back next week.  Also, HAPPY BELATED BIRTHDAY SARAH!!
Los Queiro Mucho,
Elder Dilling

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Well, things sound to be going pretty swimmingly back on the home front.  Things here in New York are also going way good.  I'll be tearing up the cheque right after I get back to the apartment, and I think the Bank account would actually be the best way of sending me money from now on.  Cash is always nice, but the bank way just seems so much easier.
Anyways, congratulations Mom on your test thing.  That's probably quite a load off your back.  Also, that plaque is really cool, is that sitting on one of the showroom shelves?  If so, I'm sure that’s a good conversation starter and could give you lots of missionary opportunities.  I'm also putting up some pictures that you can enjoy.  I don’t have any with Elder Hampton yet, or of the apartment, but I do have a picture of our toilet that you might enjoy.  Elder Bowker caught a little friend in his study room, so we tossed him in the toilet.  It was pretty sweet.  You can also see his attempted and failed escape plan.  This week was just an all around fun enjoyable week.  Saw and met lots of awesome, and crazy people. 
So let’s start off with the crazy.  On Saturday I went on a split with Elder Miller and near the end of the day, we were walking to a look-up that we were going to do and then on the way, some guy sitting on a bench calls us over, which isn’t really all that uncommon.  Anyways, he just asks us to talk to his friend who is obviously homeless and has set up shop on this particular bench.  His name was Carmile, and he's a pretty nice guy, just a little confused about some things.  So we get over to the bench and he's trying to tell us that we're missionaries for a catholic church here in the area and that he's seen us serving dinners at said church (If you want to look at the church it's on the corner of University and Fordham Road).  Anyways, after we cleared all that up, he started telling us his life story, about what his parents did and what he and his brothers did and all sorts of fun stuff.  So here's some of what he said in his story.  For one, his father built Manhattan and was the biggest construction boss in Manhattan.  He was producer of the movies,” The Producers” and one other big movie.  When he was a kid he worked in the subway tunnels and often got lost.  His mom was a seamstress and she was also the lady who found Marilyn Monroe, John Travolta and many other movie stars.  In fact, if you named one, she found him/her.  He informed us that Al Capone was also the Indian Geronimo, the very same who beat General Custer at Little Bighorn or something like that.  And that there was only one plane at the two towers, the second tower was set on fire by some isotopes from the computer room in tower one and that it was the result of the computers.  He also told us that the Italian Indians walked here to America when the world was all together in Pangaea.  He also came up with the idea for color TV and gave the idea to his uncle to create one.  He also had his uncle bring Hollywood over here to New York, because it was better here. 
He was just one funny fellow, who kinda ate up like 1hr of our time, but we both decided that it was time well spent.  I think he was just happy to have someone to talk to who was also willing to listen to him.  It really is a rather sad story and I kinda feel sorry for him.  But hey, what can I do for him right now, aside from pray for him? 
Other than that I had another split this Monday, but for this one, I stayed in my area and my Zone Leader, Elder Deitz-Hermosa came with both Hampton and I.  Hermosa is also Canadian, he's from Montreal, and has been in the mission about the same amount of time I have.  He's just an amazing missionary.  Anyways, we had him with us all day and we were kinda winding up the day.  we had had two of our appointments juke us and so we just decided to knock the building that the last appointment lived in, even though we knew that is was a big drug center and a number of drug and gun dealers live there.  We started at the top floor like normal and I knocked the door and through the door told the person we were missionaries (people always ask "who" before they open their doors).  She told us that she couldn't open the door at the time, but that we could leave a card in the door.  So I stuck one in the door, but this time I pushed it into the door a little more than I normally do.  I don’t really know why, but I did.  And because of that she was able to grab it from the inside.  So we continued knocking the building and just before we were about to walk down the stairs to the next floor, the first door opened and the girl inside told us to come in.  So, we entered and met Darlin and her husband Herman, who both looked VERY black, but they're from Honduras.  So we were excited to have found a new investigator for us, things had been a little dry here lately.  So we started getting to know them and find out that they are very poor and that they have had to choose whether they want electricity, or an apartment to live in.  Suffice it to say, they decided to pay the rent instead of the electricity bill.  Which is sad for them, but they seem really awesome.  I mean, REALLY awesome.  They have committed themselves to coming to church on Sunday, and also to the English classes on Wednesday’s and Thursday's.  We even bumped into them yesterday and she told us without us saying anything that she was going to come to the church tonight.  So yeah, they're way legit and I'm super excited to work with them and help them receive the blessings of this gospel.  They also have a young girl, like 1.5 yrs old.
Aside from that though, not a whole lot of new stuff has been going on.  One of the ties I got from Grandma Smigel is a huge hit with all the elders here, all of them were commenting on it the other day and umm.. yeah, that’s about all I got for know.  Umm, oh yeah, the other day we caught a mouse in our apartment and I know that most of you aren’t going to approve of this, but we killed it too.  He did put up a pretty good game of hide and seek though; it took us like 30 minutes to find him once we first saw him.  He was super fast, but we did catch him and dispense of him shortly there after.  We’re hoping he was the one and only mouse, fingers crossed.
So yeah, I hope you all enjoy this email and that you have a great week.  I look forward to next Wednesday and remember I put up some pictures, so you can enjoy them too.
Les Quiero Mucho,
Elder Dilling

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Why are P-Days on Wednesday?

OK, so first the money thing.  When I arrived in the Bronx I had to buy a Metro card (bus card) which costs 30 dollars.  All I had left of my mission money was 34 dollars, so when the next P-Day rolled around, we hadn't received the money for the next month, so I had to use my card, and I just decided to pay for everyone, and then have them each pay me back.  So I'm not really lending out money, it just made grocery shopping a whole lot easier.  Also, I got a cheque from Grandma and Grandpa Smigel on my birthday, but I have no way of cashing it.  I've tried multiple ways.  So what I was thinking is that it would probably just be easier if they put the money in my RBC US account, and I just rip up the cheque.   So let me know about that.

As for my Mr. Mac shirt, I haven’t received anything as of yet.  But I'll keep an eye out for it though.  Some more sponge pudding would also be great, but maybe you should hold off for a couple months.  I ate almost both packages on my own.  It was delicious, but not so healthy (the other elders didn’t want too much of it).
In response to your question about the Bronx, I live in "The Bronx Little Italy" which is pretty cool, and one of our members works in that bakery you saw across the street on Google Earth, and gives us deals occasionally on the $1 pastries, which are super good.   And then as for the Bronx Zoo, we plan on going there later on today.  Just need to go and get a haircut, and we're good to go.  So that should be way sweet.   I'll have some pictures to send home next week - a few of my area, and then of the zoo and stuff.  The really cool thin, is that on Wednesdays everything is extra cheap in NY.  It's called donation day, so you can go to museums or the zoos, and all that fun stuff for like $1.  That’s the reason we have P-Day on Wednesday’s.
And the carding technique is only to get into the building, so that we can knock the peoples doors.  We don’t try and get into their actual apartments. We only do it to get into a building if there isn’t anyone around to let us in, or if no one is leaving the building.  I've only had to do it like 3 or 4 times, mostly on the old crappy apartment buildings that don’t really have good security.  If you pulled hard enough you could probably force the door open.  Also, the buzzers don’t always work.  It's pretty ghetto here.  We’ve got a few projects in this area too (a project is a government owned building).  They're super dirty, and for some reason the tenants/ guests like to use the elevators as bathrooms.  EWWW!  They smell pretty bad.
This week has been pretty good.  We've been focusing a lot on finding people, and last Thursday I was able to confirm someone a member of the church, which was pretty cool/hard.  Giving blessings in Spanish is way hard.  Aside from that we've been having a little bit of success from contacting, and my district is doing great.  We also got special permission to go with the ward to a special service project on the 23rd.  We're going down to the super ghetto area of the United States to an area called Hunts Point, which is located in the poorest zip code in the United States, so that should be pretty cool.  I've heard there's some pretty cool graffiti down there as well.  Maybe I'll get some pictures of that.
I have a quick funny story.  Yesterday Elder Bowker and I were on a split in his area, and we decided to knock an apartment building, so we go to the top floor and start knocking.  It was pretty normal, lots of "no's" a few "no thank you’s" but there was this one door which was kinda propped open, and a dog was standing there looking like he wanted to be pet, but we didn’t pet him.  We just knocked on the door and kinda peeked into the room.  And when the lady saw us she said (in Spanish)"Oh no, who left the door open, the Mormon devils are here!!"   Her husband comes up and says they're not interested, and closes the door.  Elder Bowker and I just kinda look at each other like “what the heck that was funny”. 
Anyways, I gotta get going now, but I hope you all have a fantastic week and I look forward to hearing back from you next week.
Much love,
Elder Dilling