Friday, May 30, 2008

Sister B today at the Memorial Day Parade in Bloomfield
One of the big mansion houses in Newpot, RI along the Cliff Walk
Michael on the day of his baptism
Elder Bulkley and Michael and Lisa (some of our Young Single Adults) on the Cliff Walk in Newport RI

Hi Family and Friends,
I wanted to take a minute to drop you all a note to let you know we are
doing well and having a great experience here in Connecticut. The
spring is almost as beautiful as the fall with all of the bright
colored blossoms. We have been doing a lot of driving, as usual and
have really enjoyed the leaves being back on the trees and the
wonderful weather. It does still rain a lot and in fact nobody waters
their lawns officially. It just gets watered by the rain. We have
been driving to Massachusetts to teach institute at both Amherst and
Ludlow. (We also still teach in Hartford) We only did both for a few
weeks, but it gave us a chance to see the beautiful county side and to
get acquainted with more young adults. Massachusetts is beautiful and
a lot like Connecticut, but was maybe a week or so behind in the coming
of spring. We have also traveled to Boston to the temple to take young
single adults on a temple trip. We actually do this about once a
month. It is very enjoyable. We also had the opportunity to go with
some of the young single adults to Newport, Rhode Island. That was
really fun to walk along the cliff walk and see the mansion homes that
were built in the 1800s there along the coast. I will attach a few
pictures of that.
We have been given some new assignments to help with the Hartford
Ward, a mostly inner city ward. We are delivering all of the media
referrals that come in such as DVDs, Bibles, and Book of Mormons. It
gives us a chance to meet people of all kinds. We have thoroughly
enjoyed this opportunity and have been able to give missionary lessons
and talk to people about the church. We love this part of our new
assignment. We love meeting and talking to people. We meet so many
people from the West Indies, especially Jamaicians and Puerto Ricans.
We also taught a lady from Haiti. Hartford has a huge concentration of
Jamaicans and people from the West Indies. We also work with the young
Elders and Sisters here and we often go on visits with them or have
them and their investigators over to dinner. (Thats the only way that
the young missionaries can go to dinner at someone's home...if they
have an investigator with them) The Sisters here often call me to go
with them tracting and contacting, which is something, I really enjoy
doing. These young missionaries are so amazing. We are learning so
much from them and love their dedication and love for the work of the
We are working with several investigators. One is a lady we bring to
church each week from downtown Hartford. She loves the gospel and is
working hard to be able to be baptized soon. We are also working with
several young single adults. Two just recently got baptized. Michael,
who is of Cuban/Pureto Rican anncestry was baptized the end of April
and is doing so well. He has to work on Sundays sometimes, but we are
hoping that he will be able to get it off more often. He is so happy
and says the gospel has really made him feel that way. Another YSA,
Jon was just baptized a week and a half ago. He is amazing. He had
read the Book of Mormon, D&C etc. and was already a scholar of the
Bible. He commented that since being baptized and confirmed,
everything seemed so much brighter and that the world just seemed
better. We are still working with Lisa (Michael's girlfriend) and
Jessica, from Jamaica and others and hoping that they will be baptized
soon. We also have several young single adults that we regularly take
to the doctor or help with problems they have. Its very rewarding and
we love this opportunity
We are both doing well and keeping very very busy. I have not been the
best at answering letters or E-mails, but I hope to be better. We
still go to the gym every week day and try to keep in shape. The price
of gas out here in CT is one of the hightest in the nation at up to
$4.35/gal in some places. We can go to MA though and get it for
$3.70/gal (at least that was what it was last Tuesday when we went, but
I am sure it is up since then) That is one of the advantages of being
able to travel to MA. Our mission got the chance to hear from Elder M
Russel Ballard and from Elder Snow of the Seventy on Saturday. It was
truly a wonderful opportunity to learn from these men. They are truly
inspired and got us all excited about missionary work. The wards here
are really involved in missionary work and are trying to be even more
helpful, which is nice. The members are great to fellowship and to go
on visits with the missionaries. The work is going forth and according
to Elder Ballard, we need it to go even faster than it is going. We
all need to do our part. Elder B and I have loved being missionaries.
If any of you are close to the time when you could go, we want to
encourage you to take that leap of faith and go. It is such a
wonderful experience and the Lord is there to help you with anything
you might have to deal with. It is a lot of work and I can't say it
is easy, but it is so wonderful and the pay off is worth it. We have
been greatly blessed, as have our family. We want to testify to you
that this is the work of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. May God be
with all of you. We love you and appreciate your love and support.
Love, Elder and Sister Bulkley (AKA Van and Judi)

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Connecticut Greetings

Having fun after institute. This is the lady that teaches the Spanish Class
Elder and Sister Bulkley out with the Sister Missionaries
Do I look like a missionary? (note all the letters and drawings from our Grandchildren on the door)
Hi Family and Friends,

Greetings from Connecticut. It is finally starting to warm up and that is so wonderful. It has been very cold, humid, and snowy and driving in the freezing rain and snow has been a real hard thing, but we made it through. Its different than Utah snow because it often mixed with freezing rain. I know that God helped us on more than one occasion. We had some real experiences driving home from Boston and up to New Hampshire to a YSA conference in the freezing rain and snow.

We are keeping really busy and loving our mission. We are working with several young single adults that are investigating the church and that is exciting. We take one young man and his girlfriend to all the YSA/institute activities and to church and he has a baptism date for April 13th. His girlfriend is coming along too and it is exciting and wonderful to see their testimonies grow. Another young man is coming to institute and YSA activites. He met the missionaries at a Subway where he works a month or so ago and has already read the Book of Mormon and D&C and is now reading Jesus The Christ. He is already a scholar of the Bible. He will be baptised this month too. He is just so excited about the gospel and so happy. When we first arrived here, we met a girl from Jamaica who had come over after the hurricane last summer to join her mother who was already here. Her mother is a member but Jessica isn't. She has been coming to YSA/institute activities off and on since last fall. She and her mother do not have a car, but want to get one. The only trouble is that neither of them have a driver's license so Jessica is taking drivers training and we are helping her practice on the road since she has a learners permit. She is so grateful and is meeting with the Sister Missionaries to take the lessons. On our mission we get to do a lot of fun things with the YSAs. Some of the fun things we have done lately are to go ice skating, bowling, to dances, to conferences, to the Boston Temple, to dinners and on double dates with some of them who need rides. I think I have mentioned before that there is a huge range of students that we work with. As we teach our institute classes at Hartford and at Springfield each week, we work with law students, medical students, graduate students, college students, YSAs who are working, a lot of Spanish students who don't speak much English (we have a Spanish institute class too in Hartford), and young people who come from hard family and life situations who are struggling, and some students with disabilities. Many of them do not have cars in their families and don't have driver's licenses so getting them to activities is one of the big major things that we do. We often take two trips to activities to get people there.

I have mentioned before how we love to go on appointments with the Elders and Sisters. It is a real privlege to testify to people about the gospel of Jesus Christ. We go out with the Sisters in our area probably 4-5 times a week. We love working with the mission and seeing the gospel go forth. Recently Elder L Tom Perry was here visiting in our mission (So was Elder Glenn Pace) They were both wonderful and got everyone all re-energized to carry on the work. In addition to English Speaking Elders and Sisters, we also have Spanish and Portuguese Speaking Elders. They have several Spanish Speaking Branches and a ward in our mission,which also covers Rhode Island. The growth of the church among these people is tremendous. In fact, they are trying to move the Hartford Ward back to inner city Hartford because so many of them don't have rides and if they moved it there people could take the busses. Right now there is a Twigg (mini branch) in downtown Hartford, but the Spanish Hartford Branch and the Hartford ward have to come all the way out to Bloomfield, which makes it hard. We work with a lot of people from Jamaica, Puerto Rico, other places in the West Indies, Mexico, and other Latin American Countries and a lot of African Americans. In fact in our ward, the Bloomfield ward, I bet we have more than 50 regular attenders who are black. When we go out with the Sisters I would say most of the people we visit are black. Its wonderful to meet so many wonderful people.

Elder Bulkley is doing great. When we first got here, he started to have some trouble with his heart, and some of his medications. In fact there for a while it seemed like something new and different was happening to his health every week and we couldn't get on top of it. They do have a lot of good doctors here and we were able to get him in to some specialists in several areas and get these issues resolved. He is now doing so much better and we know that our Heavenly Father has blessed him greatly. We can testify that when it comes to missions, there are ups and downs and I think that makes you have to depend totally upon the Lord for strength. But, He is always there to help you deal with these trials and to carry you when you need it. We are so grateful for being here on our mission. It has been a wonderful blessing in our lives and in the lives of our family. Thanks you dear family and friends for your love and support. We love you and appreciate you more than you will ever know. Love, Elder and Sister Bulkley

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Update from Connecticut

Hello Dear Family,
I just wanted to fill you in on the latest from Connecticut. We are so excited to announce the birth of Tylie Belle Bulkley, daughter of Shane and Chelsea Bulkley born on Feb 15th. She weighed 6 lbs 15 oz and was 19 inches long with quite a lot of dark hair. Mother and Baby are doing well and Shane is as proud as he can be. I am not sure if you knew that Jason and Nicole are also expecting a baby sometime in April. They wait to find out what its going to be to make it more suspenseful. Anyway, along with Avery who was born to Morgan and Jil after we left in late August, it will make three new grandchildren who have been born since we have been gone. Its hard to believe we have been gone now for almost 7 months, but its things like this that make us realize yes, we have been gone a while.
I wanted to let you all know how Elder Bulkley is doing. We appreciated so much your remembering Elder Bulkley in your fast and prayers in January. You will never know how much it meant to us for you to join with us. We truly felt the strength from that event and even though it wasn't immediate, we are certainly seeing the hand of our Heavenly Father in his health. As you know, he developed several new health issues as well as having trouble with a few new ones since we have been here on our mission. Most of them have been quickly resolved and in fact he is doing better in many of these problems. For instance, he is on different seizure medication now and I can see a huge difference in him as far as his being tired. He has so much more stamina and is less tired. He had some heart issues that have seemed to be controlled now with a change in some of his medications. THose are just a few of the things that seem to be doing better. It seems like we have to be patient however, and I am sure that the Lord was trying to teach us that. Immediately after the fast, it seems like several things came to a head...and we wondered if it meant we should not stay out here. But, we persisted with some doctor appointments, medication changes and things have really fallen into place and he is doing much better. I have, decided that things will probably not ever be perfect with him, however, since he comes with a lot of medical issues and I think it is just par for the course for him to have to deal with some of them. We are still trying to figure out why his potassium level keeps going up? An endocrinologist is now trying to figure that one out. Oh well, we are grateful that he is doing so much better and we know that all of our prayers have been answered in his behalf. We are so very grateful to our Heavenly Father for his letting us come on this mission. He could have said no, you have too many health problems. But, instead he has let us come and has helped us work out things and poured his blessings out upon us. For this blessing we are truly grateful. Our testimonies have been strengthened so much for being here and being able to serve this mission.
We are loving our mission. Some of the fun things we have been doing lately are: going on a double date with a young single adult guy who doesn't drive due to a brain injury and a YSA girl that he wanted to ask out. It is the first date he has ever been on and he was thrilled. We went to dinner and then back over here to our house to watch The Best Two Years on our laptop. It was fun. We had to drive about 35 miles in one direction to pick him up and then back past our house and an additional 15 miles to pick up her. By the time we were done, I think we had about 150 miles on the car...oh well, it was so nice for them. We have a young single adult conference for all of New England next weekend in Exitor, NH. We are taking a carload and plan to spend the night in a hotel while the YSA members stay at member houses. It will be really fun. We have Elder Glen Pace and Elder L Tom Perry coming to the mission on two seperate weeks, the last weekend of February and the first weekend of March. We are having a senior missionary dinner with Elder Glen Pace and then two seperate Zone conferences where he talks to all of the missionaries. We are not yet sure what Elder LTom Perry's plans will be.
We are so excited because there is a YSA young man and his girlfriend who are non members who have been coming to activities for about a year or so. Mike, the young man, had a baptismal date last October, but started having fears and backed out last minute. They stopped coming to YSA and institute for about a month is all and are now back coming again. We pick them up for institute eachThursday and today we were able to take Mike to Sacrament meeting and we got them having lessons again with the Elders. It is really neat to hear Mike talk about how things have started to fall into place for him as he has started back into the missionary lessons again. We are hoping and praying that this time, he will be able to be baptized. We feel like he will and Lisa his girlfriend, who is coming along a little slower, hopefully will also. We often go out with the Sister Missionaries. About three weeks ago, they answered a media referral and found a young girl about 21 years of age who seemed just golden. She had previously had friends from Georgia, where she is from, who were LDS. They must have left a big impression on her, because she had sot out the LDS website and made both an institute referral and a media referral for herself. When the sisters went to drop of the DVD, she immediately wanted the lessons and came to church. We also took her to FHE that week and the mission president talked to at one of the lessons and in fact gave her a beautiful blessing. We all thought she was coming right along so well and she had committed to being baptized. She called her family to tell them of her decision and I guess they must have really given her a bad time because she started canceling appointments and didn't want to come out anymore. All she will tell you is that she needs some time to work out her feelings. We are hoping and praying she will be able to make the gospel part of her life. What a hard thing to have to deal with when parents don't want you to have anything to do with the church, but yet, you know it is true.We are still working with the 21 year old girl with Cystic Fibrosis. She has been in a jam because her roommate moved out and she didn't have enough money to pay rent. The ward is helping her I know that, but she is still in a really hard situation. She ended up in the hosptial last week and we went down to see her. She has an awesome visiting teacher who is always willing to help her too. I am sure that things will fall into place for Connie. You feel so bad for her though because she is very handicapped by her Cystic Fibrosis and Diabetes. She has no support from family and yet, she is cheerful and pleasant always. We love her and pray for her. Well, these are just a few of the special young people we are working with. We still love teaching insitute two nights a week and doing visits.
We hope you are all doing well. It looks like its been a pretty hard winter for those of you in Utah. We have also had a very cold, wet, and icy winter. We are ready for spring. We pray for you always. Please keep us posted on how you are doing. One thing for sure, is that we all need to help each other through this life. It is tough and without each other and the gospel. We all need each other. We all have different trials that are hard. No one is exempt from them. Lets all band together and we can help each other though. Thanks for your love and support.
Love, Elder and Sister Bulkle

PS Speaking of trials, I either lost my purse or it was stollen this week, and they started to put charges on one of our credit cards but luckily, the Lord was looking out for us and our son Morgan called us out of the clear blue to find out some information. We told him what had hppened and he told us we needed to call immediately and cancel everything (A big huge pain and we kept thinking we would find the purse) Anyway, we are grateful that we did because the person put only $100 dollars worth on (which we can appeal and not have to pay it) but right after we cancelled it, they tried to put several hundred dollars on it at Wal-mart, but luckily it was already cancelled. The Lord helps us usually through others. Thats why we all need to be aware of each other and help each other.

This is a picture after a snowstorm in December.