17 Oct 2010
Dear Friends and fellow missionaries;
I have been wanting to write for some time and give you an update of our mission. Some of this may end up in the blog as well. Which is http://jbhfamily.blogspot.com
We are enjoying New York City and the mission a lot. It is very different than life in Richfield. We have a nice apartment in the same building as the temple. Part of the building is a high rise apartment building with 37 floors (as seen in the picture behind the temple). The other part of the building is the temple and ward house. There are 3 wards that meet here.
This picture was taken from the building across the street where the New York Philharmonic Orchestra is housed. The snow flakes were on the window of this building. As you can see there is a lot of traffic all the time. This city does not sleep either. We are on the 6th floor of the high rise and there are 6 floors to the temple part of the building. The 2nd floor houses the distribution center for clothing and the Public and International Affairs offices. I have been working on their computers to get them to talk to each other. The 3rd floor is the ward house, it fills the whole floor including the high rise part. The multipurpose room has the same high ceilings as in other chapels. The 4th 5th and 6th floors are the temple and the 1st floor has the baptistery in part of it and the main lobby in the other part.
I can describe a little about the temple. The 4th floor has the laundry and clothing rental, and the temple office and dressing rooms for the workers. The 5th floor is the patron dressing rooms the ordinances rooms and the 6th floor is the 2 sealing rooms and waiting room. We have had some wonderful experiences here already and have met many people who are devoted to the Lord. One of the big differences we have noted is that many young people serve here weekly, some couples but mostly single people. The other workers come from various parts of the world. They live and work here in the NY area. We have met people from Nigeria, Algeria, Dominican Republic, Japan, Brazil, Ireland, and other parts of the world. I say “If you can’t travel to see the world, come to New York, everybody is here”. Spanish is the most spoken of languages other than English. It is very common to have Spanish speakers in sessions. There are 3 session on Saturday that are in Spanish and English speakers wear the earphones.
We are part of the Manhattan 1st Ward. It is estimated that about 284,000 people live within the ward boundaries. The ward has within its boundaries many notable sites, such as Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Carnegie Hall, and part of Central Park, Lincoln Center. Lincoln Center is home to the famed Julliard School of Music which is directly across the street from the temple. Our ward has about 600 members and the new bishopric spoke today. One of the counselors said he was aware of about 6 families in the ward who had cars. Everyone travels by public transportation. If you do bring a car to NY, parking is between $15 for ½ a day to $24 for 2 hours. There is parking on the street for up to 1 hr for less money, but they are hard to find and have meters.
We do a lot of walking, even though we live so close to the temple. When we go grocery shopping we walk a few blocks and then each of us carry two bags or sacks the few blocks home again. The few times we have gone out to dinner we have had to walk. There are a lot of places to eat very close, but are pretty expensive. I had the best hamburger I have ever had. It serves pizzas and burgers and fries. I paid about $15 for the burger, fries and a drink. The burger was very large and the fries were great too, so I didn’t feel too bad about the price.
We are still waiting for visas to come, but some visas are now coming through. Our friends who were supposed to leave for Brazil in July, left on Oct 11th. So we have hope ours will come. Verae has a dental problem now that will take maybe 2 months to get fixed. She has to have a new larger bridge made for her front teeth because the tooth that was anchoring the bridge has some decay in it. She will begin next Wednesday so we hope the visas come before we are though with this.
Love; Elder and Sister Hansen