Sunday, December 2, 2007

Hello from Connecticut

We hope you are all doing great and had a nice Thanksgiving and are getting
ready for the big Christmas Holiday. December is always such a busy
and fun time. We are experiencing some real cold New England weather
today. Its cold and windy and the snow is coming down. Tomorrow we
are supposed to be in for the first real winter storm of the season.
Its not too different than the snow and cold of Utah, but I do think it
seems colder maybe...but Utah gets pretty cold too. Well, anyway, we
have bundled up. We have electric heat and the bill gets really high
so we have tried to keep the temp low. If any of you know how I am,
you will know that I am always cold so I have to really dress warm
inside our apartment.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving. We went to Belchertown, MA to the
home of our CES director. We brought two of our young single adults
with us and we joined about four other YSAs up there from the
Springfield, Amherst MA area and of course the CES director, Brother
Beynon and his family. They live in the middle of a forrest and are
pretty far from any neighbors. They have a swimming pool in a little
house outside. Anyway, it was really fun. We really enjoyed the
get-to-gether. I have to admit, I got a little homeside, especially
knowing that our family was all together in St. George at Matt and
Jolynn's house. But, we did call them (one of the really good perks of
being a senior missionary) and are so glad that they all got together.

We have been busy doing missionary work. One of the really special
things we have been able to do is to go out with the missionaries.
They are sometimes limited on the gas mileage they can get and also
they like us to come with them, so often they will call us to go and
spend a few hours tracting or making scheduled visits with
investigators. I am so impressed with the young missionaries. They
are just amazing and so full of faith and enthusiams for the gospel. I
am learning to be bolder and to follow their example. I love being
able to bear my testimony as we go. Tracting is very interesting. I
never thought I would enjoy that, but honestly it has been really
enjoyable. We meet so many nice people and its fun to talk to them, to
get to know them, and in a few cases, even manage to come back and give
a lesson. I have learned the outlines and have memorized scriptures to
go with them and I love it. The young missionaries always take the
lead, but often call upon us to bear our testimony, especially about
our family and how the gospel has blessed our lives. I love working
with the missionaries, whether it be doing apartment inspections or
preparing meals at zone conference, its fun. At every zone conference
they act out scenarios of giving lessons to investigators. I got to
be in one of them last time. It was really neat. We have one zone
conference on Christmas eve and the other one a few days before. The
morning will be spent in teaching and learning etc, like usual, but the
afternoon this time is going to be a big Christmas dinner and party.
We are all going to go Christmas caroling after that. I think it will
be a lovely way to spend Christmas Eve. We are still working with
Jessica, the girl from Jamaica. She has slowed down a little because
she works like constantly. She came without any money or belongings
and now that she has a job and they are willing to let her work, she
works every day and night it seems and so we and the sister
missionaries who are teaching her have gotten a little discouraged.
She says she wants to learn and be baptized, but doesn't make time for
it. We went to her Italian resturant to have pizza for my birthday and
she was thrilled to see us and introduced us as her church so anyway,
we are praying she will be able to find a way to have the lessons.
There are many people here from Jamaica and also from Puerto Rico. I
love the way the Jamaican people talk. Just yesterday, I got to go
with the sister missionaires to teach a lesson to a little older man
from Jamaica. It was sort of hard to understand him, but he was very
interested and took a book of Mormon and said he might be able to come
to church on Sunday. I love experiences like that.

The classes we teach are going well. In fact the semester is about
over for the Hartford students. We have about two classe times left
and then a whole bunch of activities during the Christmas break. The
class we will be teaching next semester in Hartford is The Power of the
Word, a class on how to study the scriptures. We are just finishing
Preparing for an Eternal Marriage, which is also an awesome class. At
Hartford, we offer three different classes each week. We teach one of
them, and we have a Spanish class taught by a sister from Venezuela
and our CES director comes down from MA to teach the other one. We have
an activitiy each week after classes as well as a major meal, which a
sister here insists on preparing by herself. I'd totally be willing
and able to help her, but she insists she is doing it alone. (Oh well,
it gives me more time to do other important things)

I think I mentioned last time that the class we were teaching at UCONN
ended after 7 weeks. It was sad, but there was only one girl who came
and she decided she didn't want to be the only student (understandable)
We did enjoy going over there though and got to know a lot of the
members in the area and hope to go back and visit again. In fact, we
are hoping to try it again perhaps next fall. I think we mentioned
before that the UCONN campus is out in the middle of nowhere and is a
very interesting campus. Not at all what you would imagine.
Anyway,our CES director felt like it was an answer to his prayers
however, because he desperately needed to start an institute class at
Springfield MA, which is about 45 minutes from here. He teaches one up
at Amherst, MA which is by several major universities such as UMASS and
Smith College Etc. He has a good group that meet there, but
Springfield also has a good group and he had hoped they would drive up
to Amherst, but most of them were not, so he was thrilled to start
another class at Springfield. Springfield is actually out of our
mission, but they don't have any CES missionaries there, so our mission
president said it would be fine for us to do that. I guess they could
use CES missionaries in many more places than they have them. At
Springfield, we are teaching Book of Mormon, which will go until next
summer. We have a good group of about 12-15 students who come and so
we are happy it all worked out. I love teaching the Book of Mormon. I
am doing refreshments and one meal a month for that group, which is fun
and I don't mind at all. We are having a big combined Christmas dinner
next week for both Hartford and Springfield/Amherst Institutes. It
will be fun. I am helping them get that ready to go. (We are having
it catered)This is interesting too, gas is only $2.97 gal in MA and in
CT, just over the border and in Hartford, 45 minutes away, it is more
like $3.25 gal. So, its nice that we go up to Springfield weekly so we
can get filled up there. (even though sometimes we go through two
tanks a week)

The senior couples here in the Connecticut Hartford mission get
together monthly for a family home evening and sometimes other
activities too. For FHE, We usually have dinner and then have some
kind of an activity. In December, they want to go to the Moscow Ballet
which is performing The Nutcracker in Waterbury, CT. That should be
fun. We got the nosebleed seats, since the price of the good tickets
is really high, but thats OK, I think it will be really fun.

Elder Bulkley has had a lot of health issues since we have been here.
It's interesting because some of these are different and even quite
serious issues, but so far we have been able to get good medical help
and they have resolved quickly and haven't prevented us from doing our
work. I know that our Heavenly Father has blessed us and given us the
knowledge and ability to find the right treatments and to have them
resolve quickly. For that we are truly grateful. A garbage truck also
backed into our car a couple of weeks ago and so we have had to have a
rental car this week while we were getting it fixed. Just a little
minor detail. But, the guy that backed into our truck was really nice
(from Jamaica) and I ended up giving him the DVD Joy to the World.
This is the perfect time of year to hand out Joy to the World pass
along cards. People are very receptive usually because they can get a
free Christmas DVD Joy to the World.

We are enjoying the single young adults here like we have mentioned
before. We spent a whole day on Monday taking Connie, the girl with CF
to the doctor at Yale University Hospital in New Haven. That is quite
the place. I enjoyed being there and seeing what was going on. I know
Connie really appreciated our help, because otherwise it was kind of a
nightmare for her to have to ride the bus and train and walk to get
where she needed to go. We also helped Christian, our friend in a
wheel chair look for housing, and a new job one day. We love serving
these special young people.We try to make several visits each week. We
send birthday cards to all on our list (over 600) so that keeps me busy
too, since I make them, but thanks to Traci and Jana for helping me.
Its been kind of fun and relaxing to sit down and make the cards. In
fact since we have internet (another perk of being a senior missionary)
we can tune into KSL and listen to the BYU games. Elder Bulkley has
LOVED that. I usually listen while making cards.

Elder Bulkley has a new joy in life and that is E-mailing people. He
has never been into E-mail before now but he has discovered it. His
E-mail address is If anybody E-mails him, I am
sure he will E-mail you back. A whole new world has opened up for him,
which is really good. I haven't been so good at writing lately, but
you can see we have been very busy. But if you write or E-mail, it
might take me a few weeks, or more, but I promise I will write you
back. We Love hearing from you. There have been some down days and I
can't tell you how wonderful those letters and E-mails are. We want to
thank all of you for your prayers in our behalf. We can certainly feel
the strength that comes from them and know that our Heavenly Father is
blessing us.We love being here on a mission and being able to serve our
Heavenly Father. What a better time to be serving him than at this
time of the birthday of our Savior Jesus Christ. We want you to know
that you our wonderful family and friends are always in our prayers
too. May you have a wonderful Christmas Season.

With Love,

Elder and Sister Bulkley

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Connecticut Fall

Here are some pictures that Elder and Sister Bulkley emailed recently. The captions are from Sister Bulkley. Enjoy!
Sister Bulkley along with Sister Neeves, another Senior missionary at an open house for a new chapel
View from the train, but the picture doesn't do the colors justice.

Senior Missionaries with the conductor on our train ride.

Elder Bulkley out our back yard.

Elder and Sister Bulkley in our Halloween Costumes.One of our young single adults from Puerto Rico at the Halloween Dance. Thats his real hair, but not beard
Sister Bulkley by some more colorful leaves and pumpkins, but the picture doesn't do it justice.

Happy Halloween

We are doing really good here in Connecticut. Dad has been really good health wise again this week. He is scheduled to see a neurologist next Wednesday to evaluate the seizures he had a few weeks ago. He seems a lot better: stronger, happier and and more involved than he has been since we got here. He is doing really good. We are very grateful to our Heavenly Father for this blessing. Also thanks for your many prayers in our behalf. We know he is looking after us. Dad even got back on the treadmill this week and is starting to get going. I am not sure what the neurologist will say. I almost think she will change his medications again, since he is on a high dose of Trileptal and I think she will decide to split it between two seizure meds instead of just one, but we will see.

Our class at UCONN has ended. We ran it for about 7 weeks and we really only had one student who came twice and the rest of the time it was the Sister Missionaries and a really nice couple from the ward there. The student who came twice was a law student and didn't want to spend the time away from her studies she said. We feel bad that it didn't catch on better, but we tried our best and that is all that is important. There really aren't very many LDS students that even go to UCONN or at least that are active in their wards there. We tried our best on those we knew about. I think there was probably about 4 students that we identified and tried to make personal visits or phone contacts with. We sent out over 60 postcards to young single adults whose records are in the main ward in the area, but it probably covers the whole middle section of Connecticut and so some of them probably didn't want to drive the long distance and many have moved. In fact we probably got over 20 of the postcards back saying the person had moved. We also visited the main ward in the area, had it put in the bulletin every week and also contacted the Bishops of a few surrounding wards that might possibly have UCONN students. Actually a couple of the students who we got a hold of are commuter students and didn't want to stay into the evening to go to class. WE also had the sister missionaries in the area help us with some of the young people in the area and they thought they might get a couple to come out, but it didn't ever turn out that way. Anyway, we talked to our CES director last week to see what he wanted us to do. (We had talked to him before that time and he wanted us to stick it out and see if anything would come together) He was so excited when we told him the class wasn't catching on. That sounds funny but he said it was an answer to his prayers and he didn't even realize it. Anyway, teaches an institute at Amherst Mass where there are like four big UNIVERSITIES. There are also a large number of smaller colleges and universities in Springfield MA, which is quite a little drive from Amherst. Anyway, he kept wondering what to do with the group from Springfield, because it was just too far for them to drive to Amherst. When we told him our class wasn't working out, he concluded that we could come up there to Springfield each Wednesday instead of going to UCONN to teach. We have been busy this week getting postcards made to mail to students and calling Bishops etc. to let them know about the class which will begin next Wednesday, November 7th. This class is a sure thing, because the postcards we sent out are to active Institute students who have attended in Springfield before. During the summer, I guess they have the Amherst class in Springfield. Springfield is about 30 minutes from here. Its all Freeway and not hard to get to at all. We feel really good about this and excited to be teaching. We will be teaching Book of Mormon. Speaking of Book of Mormon, a few weeks ago, we met for a family home evening with the senior missionaries. They showed a DVD produced by some BYU professors who had researched Lehi and his family's journey in the wilderness for 8 years before they built the ship and sailed to the promised land. It shows places where they think different things took place and talks a lot about how they probably had to deal with people along the way (something, I totally never figured) and make their way in the dessert to various already established settlements. Then the Land of Bountiful which is likely located on the Eastern side of the Arabian Pennsula, it showed where they likely ended up. THere is a small section of the land that is located on the coast that has winds that come in a certain pattern that bring rain and so the area is beautiful and green whereas the rest of it is very dry and dessert, even along the coast. The theory is that especially as they left the last settlement and headed to the land of Bountiful, the trip was trecherous and difficult, without water naturally and many bands of tribal people who would kill anyone who came into the land. They couldn't build fires for that reason. The DVD makes you really appreciate Lehi and Nephi and their families for the journey they went on. When we were coming out here, Aunt Jill loaned me a book on tape called OUT of Jerusalem. Its simmilar in many ways because it fictionalizes the journey and has them coming into areas that were settled and following the trade routes so they could get water. It also has them embarking on their journey in the boat and following the islands around through Indonesia and the south pacific etc, so they could replentish water and supplies before they hit the open sea. This DVD also theorizes about that too. Anyway, it is most interesting

One of the good things about having taught at UCONN is that we now are familiar with the campus and the area around it and think it is so quaint and interesting. We also met some really nice people. THe couple that had been helping us from the Ashford Ward invited us over to dinner last week and gave us a whole big sack of apples. Everyone is so nice.

Our work here in Hartford takes up most of our time and we do love it. We still work with lots of special needs young single adults and help them get places like to the doctor, to fix their wheel chair, to look for housing, and rides to and from YSA and Institute. We love these kids. They are so brave to be out in the world without others in their family to help them. They are just about all first generation LDS and so we are so excited to be their connection as far as someone like a family member in the church. We love working with Connie who has Cystic Fibrois and Diabetes. We were supposed to take her to the doctor last Thursday and when we got to her house which is about 45 minutes from here in a town called Middletown, she was in the hospital already. She had gone in the day before because of not being able to breathe and running a fever. I guess she and her boyfriend Nick, who is also LDS and quite a character just walked her to the hosptial which was about a mile away. He is of Puerto Rican background, we think and the story he tells is that he was approached by the missionaries when he was in the middle of a drug deal. He said they kept asking him questions and he was afraid something was going to happen, but it didn't. Anyway, he lives in a terrible part of Middletown and works at MacDonalds and doesn't have a car either. He and Connie would like to get married, but its such a dilema. Connie has huge medical expenses and can't really hold much of a job so she is on state assistance health insurance. She says if she marries Nick, she will lose her insurance coverage and Nick, who doesn't have any benefits at all and makes minimum wage, won't be able to support all of her expenses. Also they wanted my opinion on whether they could have children if they did get married. I did some reaserach and found out that a lot of CF women even those with diabetes also have had succesful pregnancies. I told her that they needed to make it a matter of prayer and talk to the doctor and their Bishop. Its really hard for them since they don't have a car or anything. Well, we go down and take them to institute or fHE whenever we can. I think their ward is also really good to them. I know the Bishop and his wife are their hometeacher/visiting teacher for Connie at least. The African American guy we have been working with QB isn't being convinced by us to join us in YSA activities or institute. We have done a lot of things to help him, and have a good conncection with him, but he for some reason does not want to come back right now. We suspect he has something else going on???because he says he is in big debt and was hinting that he needed money. We told him he needed to talk to his Bishop about things like that. Its sad, but we will keep trying to work with him. He has nobody else either that is a member. There are a lot of Puerto Ricans here in Connecticut and in fact we help another guy who is from Puerto Rico. He and another young man drive up to institute activities from Meriden a town about a hour south of here. Occasionally we go to pick them up if they don't have moeny for gas. ANyway, they came up to our Halloween Dance last weekend and we helped them get Halloween costumes together. They went as a bag of M&Ms and a Q-tip. The YSA here in Hartford sponsor a Halloween Dance each year that is the best in all of New England. We had people come from Vermont, Mass, and all over Connecticut like New Haven, where they have a good institute and even a single's ward. Elder Bulkley and I went as Hawaiians with Aloha Shirts and leis. Jana had given us the idea for bags of M&Ms but we put the Javier in that costume.

Our Institute class here in Hartford is large...about 30 are enrolled although we don't get that many coming out each week. We also visits wards and try to make visits each week to YSA members. We have tired to make it a goal whenever we are out in a store or around people, to give out pass-along cards. We gave one to our doctor to get a free DVD of Joy To The World. I am getting more bold and I love it. We are also helping at the mission with apartment checks. We have done about 5 so far. We take brownies with us and then try to get acquainted with the Elders and sisters. We have been pretty easy on them. The Senior missionary here who is over housing, in fact got upset with us for giving some Elders a bonus point when we had also taken some points off for something else. He is really a hard core and gets after the missionaries at Zone Conference about their apartments. I guess they need to be strict with them, but I am so amazed by the faith and courage of these Elders and Sisters. They are amazing. I want to do everything possible to build them up and let them know they are loved and appreciated. Our most exciting thing we do is to help the missionaries with the lessons to Jessica, our friend from Jamaica. We love it. The Elders who were giving her the lessons both got transferred and sisters are going to replace them in their apartment, but we are getting a sister from Temple Square and she hasn't arrived yet (tomorrow) so we have had some time in between the two sets of missionaries. We have talked to her and gone over and given her the DVD of the Restoration to look at. She is busy working often two shifts/day since she needs the money so its hard to get her scheduled, but she is progressing really well. We took her to the Halloween Dance and often pick her up for YSA and Institute. She came to church this past Sunday with her Mom and we sat by them. Its exciting. Dad and I love studying the gospel and especially studying from Preach My Gospel. I have memorized a lot of scriptures and the outlines along with scriptures for the first three lessons. I have two to go. Its incredible to feel the spirit when you study and to know He is helping you to understand.

Its Halloween evening tonight and we are home. All missionaries in our mission were to be in their apartments by 6:30 pm for safety reasons. So far we haven't had any Trick or Treaters. I am attaching some pictures we just took. Please know how much we love you all and appreciate your love, prayers and support. You are the best family anyone could have. You are all always in our prayers. May our Heavenly Father keep blessing us all. WE LOVE YOU!!

Love, Mom and Dad (Elder and Sister Bulkley)