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)