I am alive!
I am safe, I am healthy, and I am happy!
As many of you have commented, you believe this will be a memorable birthday!
It will be, but maybe not in the same way your thinking... but then again you've probably seen more pictures than I have of the worst parts of the storm.
The pictures I sent of the storm is pretty much the worst I've seen of it. Based off of what I've heard though the rest of the island is pretty bad.
Friday October 26th
We had the Area Proselyting Focus (previously known as a blitz) and we decided to train contact =) Most of the other missionaries couldn't make it. It was just our district leader and his companion. Sister Maldarizzi and I loved it though because it's pretty easy for us to strike up conversations with people and the young adults were approachable and easy to talk to. However, whenever we street contact them they do not give you the time of day! haha
That evening we went to the grocery store. We were broke but had just enough money to buy ingredients to make Pizza!
This was the first we heard of the storm and we started to prepare. We were really worried it was going to interfere with the baptism but we found it wasn't really going to hit until Sunday evening.
Saturday October 27th
Jose was baptized! I am so grateful I had the opportunity to teach him =)
Later that day we printed pictures from the baptism to give to Jose at church. We also bought a photo album to hold the pictures and a journal (composition notebook) to record spiritual thoughts. Both the photo album and composition notebook Sis. M. covered with pictures of Christ. They turned out so good.
Sunday October 28th
They anticipated the storm and thankfully shut down the MTA travel services Sunday evening. Currently the subways are flooded and going to be closed down for a while. That is probably what is going to affect our work right now. Sister Maldarizzi and I talked about the horrific events that could have happened if they didn't shut it down before the storm. I was picturing a titanic like moment and it made me really sad! Thank goodness they are smart and shut it down before the storm!
Church was really good! They made a lot of announcements about the storm and being prepared. Jose was confirmed a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and received the gift of the Holy Ghost! When we gave Jose his gifts he was so grateful =)
Later we were going to take the train home but the wait was 17 minutes! I told Sister Maldarizzi we should go. We could walk home in that time. Coming out of the steps we were going to cross the street when someone grabbed both my arms from behind. My heart stopped and I was like "what in the world?!" I shook free and I turned around to see Joe! One of my investigators from the Bronx who I met with for six months! I was relieved to see him. I told him he should not grab people from behind like that! =P
Regardless it was very nice to see him. I told him that was my birthday present from Heavenly Father-the fact that he helped me run into Joe lol. Apparently his cousin lives near there.
Monday October 29th!
Let me tell you about my birthday =) The mission was directed to stay in Sunday evening and stay in until further notice. We were advised (or told) last week to stalk up on water, batteries, flash lights, food, etc. It was kind of exciting Sunday because we didn't know what to expect but we got to stay inside lol. I realize that should be something we were excited about, but if not excited perhaps we had heightened feelings lol.
Monday morning when I woke up (early/on time) I slightly ruined the sister's surprise. As I walked out of my room and into the bathroom I saw them putting stuff up and a latter out. Once in the bathroom I thought, "oh nooo I ruined their surprise!" I debated whether I should go back to bed and pretend to be asleep or go in our office and write in my journal. I was going to decide once I walked out. As I opened the door whipped cream, silly string, and early morning cheers of HAPPY BIRTHDAY came my way!
I have never had whip cream to the face/hair until now lol but it was actually pretty delicious!
Moving out to the family room there was a home made pinata waiting for me! I didn't know recognize it as a pinata at first. I thought it was some Chinese center piece haha. Anyways I became very happy when I found out 1. It was a pinata 2. It was for me!
It was a cow that had been made from a cereal box and had toilet paper roll legs. It was attached to the light fixture in the center of the room for height. My bat was an umbrella! After the first hit and the lights flickered we realized it wasn't a very good place to hang it. Sister Woo has a pull up bar because she is buff and is staying fit to rock climb. We used that in the door frame to hold the pinata =) I beat the cow into the ground. Inside were delicious hershey's candy (milk chocolate and cookies & cream), chips ahoy, and a muffin mix I pointed out to sister maldarizzi at the store the week before.
We had pancakes and ice cream for breakfast. After that I passed out on the couch for a three hour nap.
I made a death by chocolate cake (my mom was awesome and sent me the ingredients needed through the mail)
Unfortunately I didn't mix it very well. So it didn't cook very well. It turned out good still. It just wasn't the traditional death by chocolate cake. It was more like chocolate cake with chocolate pudding inside...which was interesting.
I showered and got dressed up in my new sweater and we took pictures outside =)
The remainder of the day I was pretty bored! haha But I can't complain because I was safe and got to lounge around. Our apartment is not very big so it's easy to run out of things to do. Meanwhile, Sister Maldarizzi was composing a portrait of me for my birthday! I had asked her to and it turned out so good! I have a very talented companion.
We ended the evening playing Apples to Apples as an apartment. Every time I play that game I think of Ethan Kirkpatrick and Wendy (Johnson). haha
Tuesday October 30th
Tuesday was much better and more eventful.
We planned out our day and what we wanted to do with our time.
Sister Woo and Sister Lee joined us for most of it.
A good portion of the morning I spent studying the illustrated Book of Mormon. It is so good. My goal was to read it all in one sitting. I settled with reading a third of it (because that took me four hours). Part of why it took so long is because I was examine the pictures and allowing questions and thoughts to come to my mind so I could write them down in a notebook.
As my brother with down syndrome says sometimes "my butt hurt" haha
Later we went on a walk/exploration with our camera and a soccer ball. We had heard it was officially clear to go outside, but not to proselyte. We were encouraged to see if there was anything we could help our fellow men with. There weren't too many opportunities to serve where we live because we were too affected. It felt great to get out and stretch!
We took a lot of pictures over by central park. We couldn't go in because the park was closed.
I discovered some more cool settings on my camera =D I love my camera!
We eventually came back, had dinner (pizza) and played monopoly!
The Elders made me a Red velvet cake for my birthday but had trouble getting it to me earlier because of the storm. They also had COLORED candles!
Wednesday Oct. 31st
Happy Halloween! Happy Birthday Sam!
We walked to the 87th chapel since the trains are closed. It wasn't too bad since we live on 110th.
When reading my emails today I found out President Morgan had emailed families. As I was sharing this with the other Sisters Sister Lee told me her mom got the email but could understand it since she speaks Mandarin! I thought that was funny!
Well we're going to be having a Halloween party with other missionaries here pretty soon. Tonight we have to be in our apartments at 6p.m. because it's Halloween and they don't want us out.
I love you all! Thank you for your prayers. I am sorry Hurricane Sandy worried you.
Just think of Sandy the dog from the movie Annie. Maybe someone on the east coast yelled, "Sannnnndy! Come here Sandy!" haha
I pray that the Lord will bless each and everyone of you, and that if you sincerely seek Him you shall find Him.
Sister Emily Johnson