Hello everyone!!! And Happy late Thanksgiving!!
So my Thanksgiving was actually very interesting. As most of you know, I've been transferred to the Bronx to be with Elder Sorensen. For those of you that don't know, the Bronx is definitely the "ghetto" of New York City. Everywhere else like Harlem, Queens, Brooklyn, Washington Heights, etc definitely has their really poor, almost sketchy areas, with most of it being "not bad". The Bronx is kind of the opposite haha. Most of the Bronx is extremely poor and pretty ghetto, with the exception of a few nice areas, which are mostly Jewish neighborhoods. It's safe to say that me and the rest of the white people here in the Bronx make up about 1-2% of the population. We can literally play "spot the white person" and lose some days haha. But it's actually not bad. Being here for a week, I've never felt threatened or scared at all. We run into a lot of "scary" people...but they are actually the funniest to talk to haha. In fact, most of the "gangstas" are actually some of the most polite people you'll meet in the Bronx. They are usually pretty respectful to us. I live literally across the street from Yankee Stadium, so this area is pretty mild, but once you start making your way any further, you'll start hitting the pretty scary parts of town.
This week, I've actually only gone out proselyting for about 4-5 hours. As many of you know, I have officially taken after mom and become an absolute psycho (no offense mom) about having a clean house/apartment. Well, you can only guess the look on my face when I walk into the apartment and it looked the way it did. I mean, it wasn't bad, and the floors were kind of swept and cleaned and there wasn't garbage or junk laying everywhere...but it definitely wasn't "Elder Stafford approved" as an elder I lived with said once haha. That night, I actually had one of the worst nights sleep I've had in a while. I woke up about 10 times because I was worried that there was going to be a cockroach crawling on me....that's right...we have cockroaches. So the next day (Thanksgiving) we didn't have any set appointments except for dinner with the bishop and his family, so we stayed home and we CLEANED. I spent the whole day deep cleaning and throwing stuff away in our room and putting cockroach poison all over our room so that I could sleep well that night. Once we sufficiently got our bedroom to the point where I was never going to see a cockroach in there again, we left for dinner with the Fergusons. Brother Furguson is the bishop in our Ward, and he hd his wife had us all over (all 10 of us...yep, we have 5 sets of missionaries in our Ward...not including a senior couple). It was the......"blackest" thanksgiving I think I'll ever have for the rest of my life hahaha. It was so much fun!! We were all in this tiny little apartment scrunched together and they had the Thanksgiving football game on and wouldn't turn it off haha, this family was running in and out of the tiny kitchen yelling at each other, and we had a bunch of Southern food like candied yams and cornbread stuffing and everything else haha. It was actually so delicious!! And Sister Ferguson...oh my gosh she is so crazy. She is officially the sassiest black woman I've ever met in my life haha. After dinner we just talked and talk until we had to go home...definitely an experience.
The next day we stayed home and I cleaned some of the hallways and some of the kitchen (the worst part...there are like 3 separate "nests" that the cockroaches come from. One inside the dishwasher, one behind the oven, and we think one underneath all of the drawers and cabinets and such. It's disgusting and smells so bad. I will never forget the smell of cockroach poop for the rest of my life... Then we actually went out and saw this man named John who we are going to go see again tonight. He is a member but could use some help, so we go over and see him a couple times a week or so. He's great! Then we had dinner at the Johnson's house, who is the second counselor in the bishopric for ANOTHER thanksgiving dinner. This one was a lot more calm and "home-y" feeling. They have an apartment, but it's more of a house. They were a lot more calm and we sang a couple Thanksgiving hymns and then had a terrific turkey dinner and everything...it was great! The next day...I got sick. I think I've gotten at least a little sick every time I've been transferred. Weird! So we stayed in and we did a little more cleaning.
The next day we had church which was fun! Next week is fast Sunday and that's what I'm looking forward to. The Kingsbridge 2nd Ward is famous for its fast and testimony meetings because there just always seems to be something crazy that happens or is said.
Then these last couple days, Elder Sorenson got what I had except way worse, so we've stayed inside and I've had my fill of cleaning. Our apartment actually looks really nice now. I wish I would have take before and after pictures. The only thing we have left is to instigate the roach holocaust. We're going to buy a couple cans of Raid today and we are just going to go to town killing all those cockroaches so this place can finally feel like home.
It's funny...sometimes I think I get called to areas just so I can turn the apartment around haha and who knows...maybe that's what God really needed from me! You never know!
Well, I hope everyone has a terrific week! I love you all so much. Stay safe and enjoy this Christmas Season!!! Woooo!! :)
Picture: me with my Raid