We’ve been so surprised at how fast time is slipping by. We know that we have not posted for some time but did not realize that it had almost been two months. We have been very busy. We’re not complaining. Elder Howes’s Grandmother used to say that if you want to kill time, try working it to death. We will attempt to be better at finding a rhythm that allows us to Post more often.
On November 9th we were extended the call to serve in the Office to manage the properties of the Mission. At the time President told us that we would need to commute to the office through January as the apartment that we would be assigned was the apartment that the couple we would replace were in. They left early in mid January and we used the apartment during emergencies for several weeks during storms to keep from traveling in poor conditions but (fortunately) a need arose for us to use this apartment for an emergency transfer (Sister Howes would have never lived in that apartment). As it turns out this was a blessing for our little New Paltz Branch as the Mission has not received a replacement Senior Couple for the Branch. The result has been that we are MLS Missionaries serving the New Paltz Branch and Office Missionaries. On the weekends and on Wednesday evening we make sure that we are in New Paltz to do our callings in the Branch. During the week, we travel to the Mission office in Scarsdale, NY and around to the now 104 properties. We have given up on one of our favorite assignments as Ordinance Workers in the Manhattan Temple as we are almost never available.
As we travel around we “check in” on the apartments to insure that we have our Missionaries in suitable accommodations with all of the things that allow them to focus on the work their called to do. The biggest challenge that we have encountered is cleanliness. Unfortunately many never learned to clean and organize. The result for our Mission is habitual uncleanliness in every apartment. The Mission grew so fast that keeping track of this was not done well so as we go out to the apartments Elder Howes chews the Missionaries out and Sister Howes gives instruction, her method (as in all things) is more effective. It became so clear that this needed to be worked on throughout the Mission that the Mission President asked Elder & Sister Howes to follow him throughout the Mission as he conducted interviews and they taught a class on how to organize, clean and take responsibility for their apartments. It was a two week process of long hours in five different locations around the Mission. We got commitments from every Missionary that apartments would be clean. Time will be the judge of our effectiveness.
Several weeks ago I closed an apartment in East Harlem. I had prepared to move out by bringing the Mission Van and Six Elders to the apartment. As I arrived the Elders disappeared to the roof of the building, and sirens of Police and Fire Department were blaring up and down every street around us.
Scene from the roof of our Mission apartment in East Harlem.
An gas explosion took down two apartment buildings three blocks from where we were and a block from four of the Elders with me.
A gas leak caused this explosion and killed 8 people with an additional 20 badly injured. It took 30 minutes to get to the apartment from the office but 3 hours to get back.
Cellquoia National Park? Well not really. This is one of the many cell towers throughout the area, they certainly stand out.