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