Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Goings and Not Goings

The missionaries were all taken to inland secure locations and are all "OK" ;)

We weren't prepared for everything.  Rog went out to buy Halloween candy this morning but couldn't get through.  Henderson Road was blocked at Route 27 because of a downed power pole and lines.  The traffic lights on the larger main road (Route 1) are out and the traffic was heavy going south, away from NYC.  He noticed a few downed trees.

There are long lines at the gas stations that are open.  Some stations are not.  We're glad we have a full tank of gas, but we got a call from a friend about 30 minutes east of us who is looking for a gas station.  We told him not to come here.

Personally we are gratefully comfortable here.  The tragedy in NJ and NYC is beyond description.

We've had 4 meetings cancelled in the last 2 days.

I just heard that Halloween has been postponed until Monday.  Good decision!

Love to all,
Elder & Sister Dixon

Tuesday's Elizabeth Institute was cancelled.

Wednesday's Institute in Union City was cancelled.

Wednesday's CES Inservice (and luncheon) was cancelled.
Tuesday's district meeting with a small unit of missionaries was cancelled.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Super Heroes



We are blessed in America to have such great first responders.  It's just amazing how they pitch in to help everyone in need.  I'm grateful for all the government support that has been in play before, during Sandy and will continue to be necessary in the weeks to come.  We live in a blessed land with great, unselfish people in a time of crisis.

I noticed that the dock we stood on to watch the 4th of July fireworks was in the news coverage today as they reviewed the flood damage to Hoboken, NJ.  You can see the same angles in my photos posted in my report on the 4th.  We've also developed strong ties to many other parts of the state including:  Union City where we teach one of our classes,  Tom's River where we go to district meetings with the missionaries, Point Pleasant where our student Cristina lives, and of course New York City where we love to visit using the train, bridges and subways.

Don't expect calls or text messages from me.  I've received some texts but when I tried to send out responses this morning they failed.  Rog texted Eric last night at 6:30 pm saying the power went out and then texted him this morning at 10 am saying the power was on.  Unfortunately, we think the texts were delivered to him in reverse order.

We are so grateful for our comfort and safety at this time!  We have power, heat, gas for cooking and water.  I'm deeply appreciative for each one of those comforts. 

I look out my window and I can see a family trying to fly kites.   I guess I'd have to call those parents Super Heroes because they took this time they have off (most work places have been closed) to play with their children.  What a contrast this sight is to the devastation we see on TV in many other parts of NJ, the eastern states and along the shore, just an hour north, east and south of us.  I can't imagine how much suffering there is going on as a result of Sandy!  May God bless them all.
NJ family flying kites after "Sandy", 10-30-12, 3:30pm.
If you are curious to know where we live, look at a map of NJ and notice the deep notches on the west (near Trenton) and the east (near Perth Amboy).  Draw a line between those two spots and we are pretty much in the middle, between those points along Route 1. 

Thank you for all your interest and prayers.  We felt calm and we are grateful.

Con carino, los Dixon

Monday, October 29, 2012

SANDY...Frankenstorm!

Sandy is going to be beyond description...epic.  We are watching the weather channel and news frequently.  FYI: Last year Halloween was cancelled in NJ because of the millions of trees downed and power out because of the devastating rare early snow storm.

Elder Dixon and I are all settled in our apartment ready to endure a long rainstorm with heavy winds and no electricity.  We have extra water in the freezer, frig and garbage cans in the bathtub.

Food is fine.   Flashlights, check.  Batteries, check.  Candles, check.  Extra blanket, check.  Charged cell phones, check.  Laundry done. 



Sister Bjorn lives just 3 blocks from us and we are coordinating our Sandy survival efforts.  Her companion got seriously ill and had to return home.  We're keeping track of her until she gets another companion.  Any volunteers out there?   


The rain is pretty steady and the wind is gusting.  The temperature is still mild.

We were asked to go help at a shelter to help overnight with the children from Atlantic City area, but we can't because we are on the wrong side of the Raritan River.  There are already roads closed between us and the shelter mentioned.  So now we are still at home.  We expect to help with Mormon Helping Hands when the storm is over.

 I'm going to go cook some food  now to have for tomorrow.

Rog is going to start calling the young missionaries in our zone to see how they are doing.

Here are some photos I took in Aug. of places that I am concern about with the amazing water surge they are predicting.   All of these look very close to the water to me.

Lower Manhattan
Ellis Island
 The following are shots taken on our trip to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty:
Dock on NJ side where we board a boat to go tour Ellis and the Statue.


You can see the new World Trade Center in the background in NYC in the background:





Below is the Jersey Shore taken in Aug during a YSA beach party.
Looks peaceful!  It's east of Long Branch, NJ.
Beviblierka (Libi), a friend and Nefi
 



Deanne and YSA friends on the Jersey Shore.

Part of the YSA group at the beach.  Rog in stripes, Deanne in white.  Buddy Carlos in wheel chair.  A peaceful day at the Jersey Shore. 

Catch you all up later!  Love to all.  Elder & Sister Dixon, October 29th, 2012.   Frankenstorm.

Friday, October 26, 2012

One-Year Report


Great camera work, somebody!
     

 Just over a year ago this month we entered the Mission Training Center and began our amazing journey.    I know a lot more now!  I know our experience couldn't really be anticipated but that's OK.  We didn't need to know everything we would be facing before we started.  Now we are facing the coming of "Hurricane Sandy" in a couple of days.  I decided I would slip in this blog before it becomes an event too!

         So what have I learned that has amazed me?

         I've learned from watching the wonderful missionaries we serve with the sweet attitude of giving your all:  It's along the lines of a favorite song we sing at church:  "I'll go where you want me to go, Dear Lord.  I'll do what you want me to do....I'll say what you want me to say....I'll be what you want me to be."  These words become reality in the mission field.  I see everyone from the Mission President and his wife and the other senior missionaries to the newest "greenie" in the ranks of the young missionaries all saying in effect, my time is yours, Heavenly Father.  Let me know what you want me to do."  They are actually giving everything they have to "bring to pass much righteousness" in "this, the last days and the fullness of times."
This is where they serve.

This is what they teach.

This is where they live and sleep.

        Some of our missionaries overcome great challenges to be here, starting with our dear Mission President who has had some serious health problems.  I would like to list all the people I admire for their devotion to the Lord through great trials but I'll keep this general.  We have three seniors who have experienced life-threatening illnesses in this last year, others have been hit with family tragedies, and several who have humbly taken unglamorous jobs to be able to help the work along, such as inspecting 70+ missionary cars regularly or helping set up new apartments for missionaries.  Even some of our young missionaries struggle with serious health, family and financial concerns.  One had to go home from his mission in Brazil for three months to have a shunt in his head repaired.  He is serving here now and is again having headaches and shunt problems.  We admire them all so much.  I think each would say that all they want to do is help bring the gospel to the people who have not received the Good News.

Here are two elders singing a song for other missionaries in a small district meeting that we were privileged to attend.   Attending these district and zone meetings has been one of the highlights of my mission experience.  The missionaries experience weekly miracles and are miracles, when you think how young they are and how their lives have changed as they have learned to love and serve others.  (Click on the arrow below).



  video
And this is how they see their work.

        In August we had two sisters arrive and move into our neighborhood to help with the English-speaking Institute program.   On their first day in the mission field we toured Ellis Island and the grounds at the Statue of Liberty.  I learned that although I have felt patriotic all my life, my appreciation of what America means to the down-trodden and hungry masses coming here for a better life can deepen even more. 

        Unfortunately, Sister Kelly became quite ill and had to go home to Georgia.  We miss her and pray for her successful recovery.  Until Sister Bjorn gets a new companion, we enjoy sharing some meals, rides, lesson discussions, meetings and encouragement with her.  It's convenient that she lives just 3 blocks away.  Deanne is assisting her with Temple Ready classes to two young people leaving soon from New Jersey to go to Romania and Germany.
Visiting the Statue of Liberty in August was an especially exciting event.  From left to right:  Elder and Sister Phillips (from Idaho Falls), Sister Bjorn (from Montana), Sister Kelly (from Georgia), Sister Smith , Sister Goodwin,  (both from Jordan UT), Sister & Elder Dixon (from Highland, UT). 
       Sister Goodwin (as I mentioned before, is on her 4th mission and...shhhh...81 years young) and Sister Smith (2nd or 3rd mission) help with the church's Pathway Program, which gives young people in many far away places a chance to get a four-year college degree online through BYUI at a greatly reduced price.

      The Phillips give volunteer service in the genealogical research center at Ellis Island once a week.
 
      To finish my list of what I've learned, I'll just have to say 'check back'.  I have more wonderful lessons of course, but it's after10 pm and Roger and I are going to meet the Relief Society President of our branch at 7am tomorrow to help clean the building for Sunday services.   Now the twice-a year-cleaning help I used to perform back in Utah seems pretty unremarkable. 

Coming to America (photo at Ellis Island).  What do you think they were about?
Symbol of Liberty around the world!   An overwhelming sight to the downtrodden arriving from distant lands.  I'm grateful to France for this amazing gift and work of art.  

REMEMBER TO VOTE!  
NEVER TAKE IT FOR GRANTED!















































































Our Senior Missionaries

We have a "Senior Couple Home Evening" at the Mission Home about once a month.  Our amazing mission President and his wife are fun to be with.


Back Row, left to right:  Sister and President Jeppson (Se is responsible for the health,  well being,  and mission social activities of the 152 young missionaries, and the 20 or so senior missionaries.  She also maintains the mission home to receive new missionaries and visiting church authorities and participates at eventsf.)  (President Jeppson supervises the entire mission program, including making assignments, supervising the office and participating at speaking events);  
Sister and Elder Butterfield (from Pocallo, ID, in charge of half the Missionary apartments and furnishings, making sure they are clean, safe and functional);  
Elder Anderson (from ?, The Andersons work in the mission office);  
Elder Christiansen (from Lehi, the Christiansens work in office as fleet coordinators, keeping 70 cars repaired and assigned.); 
Elder Packer (from AZ, the Packers worked in the mission office.  He was the accountant, they just finished their mission);  
Elder Webster (from Rexburg are in charge of the missionary apartments in the north);  
Elder Clarke (newly arrived from New Jersey, serves as an MLS missionary and is in the branch presidency where he serves);  
Elder and Sister Dixon (that's us.  We're CES missionaries, we also serve in the temple on Tuesdays, Elder Dixon is in the EBYSA branch presidency, and we just started inspecting 6 missionary apartments every 6 weeks);  
Sister Christiansen,  
Sister Anderson, and  
Sister Phillips (from Idaho Falls, She and Elder Phillips who was home sick are CES missionaries.)
Front Row, left to right are Sister Goodwin (of South Jordan, UT, is--shhh--80 years young this year.  This is her fourth mission.  She is a CES missionary working with the Pathway Program for students earning college credit from BYUI online);  
Sister Clarke,  
Sister Packer, 
Sister Wesbter and  
Sister Smith (a neighbor of Sister Goodwin's from South Jordan, sharing the same assignment.)
Also working with us but not pictured were  Elder and Sister Sierer (from St. George, they are CES missionaries, he serves in the EBYSA branch presidency, they give support to local youth and they inspect missionary apartments.)