Our Family

Our Family

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Jammies

Ever since I was little, it has been a Christmas tradition to open one present on Christmas Eve. However, the gift was always the same; pajamas. As we grew older, it was anticipated, and we even tried to get my mother to allow us to open a different present, but to no avail. The tradition continued each year, and I have to say I really looked forward to opening that gift.

We never had the same jammies twice. Sometimes they were purchased, but more often than not, my mother lovingly made them. This year was no exception. Even after undergoing shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff, she set about making pajamas for everyone in the family. 10 grandchildren, Zach's missionary companion, Mark and Heather and Ivan and I. Even Grandma and Grandpa had a set. This is our yearly picture of the grandkids, minus one. Zach will have to send us a photo of he and his companion in their "jammies."

When speaking to the family on Christmas, Zach asked Grandma why she made such "ghetto" jammie bottoms. He said, "I know I'm serving in the hood, but I don't need to dress like it." Too funny. Needless to say, I hope this is a tradition that our children will continue when they start their families, because if they don't, I'll be providing the jammies myself. It's wonderful how traditions like this bring us so much joy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Zach's first Christmas in Jersey & NYC

Time Square

Manhattan Temple

Nice hat Elder Roque!

Once there was a snowman, small, small, small. Only an Arizona boy would save a poor little snowman in the freezer for safe keeping.

Elder Clark shoveling snow. Brrrrrr

Baptism Day

Friends from the Branch

More friends from the branch

A Very Merry Christmas

We were able to speak to Zach on Christmas night, and it was really wonderful. He sounded so happy and really is loving his time in New Jersey. Grandma and Grandpa got to say a few words, as well as his siblings. Mark, Heather and the kids said hello as well. We called Grandma Roque on the cell phone and put it on speaker so he could say a few words to her. We also did the same for Grandma GG (Great Grandma). He was pleased to speak to all.

Last week Zach was able to attend the Manhattan temple, and spend some time in the city. He really enjoyed it. He the noise of the city is deafening, but as he walked through the doors of the temple, the quiet reverence was awesome. He was thankful to have the opportunity to attend the temple so close to Christmas. He also enjoyed the food, and sounds that the city had to offer.
Unfortunately, upon returning to their apartment in Newark, NJ they found that they had been robbed. One Elder on his way home lost his camera, memory card and a scrapbook from his mission. Hopefully the thieves will at least give the memories back.

Zach said that Christmas was spent with a couple of member families, and they were well fed. The first dinner was traditional, with ham, potatoes and fixings. The second, was Puerto Rican food. Mmm, mmm, good. If there is one thing that can be said for Zach, he is a world class eater. I fully expect that at some point there will be a Nathan's hot dog competition in his future.

It is cold and miserable weather, but Zach and his missionary companion are teaching 9 people currently. They are really enjoying the branch, and love the people. Apparently soccer, or futbol is the sport of choice in the neighborhood. So, the elders play on P-Day with the kids and men young and old from the neighborhood. Zach says he's getting pretty good. A member gave he and Elder Clark soccer jerseys for Christmas.

The people the branch are so friendly, and love to help the missionary effort. I have posted a few photos. Some from his visit to the city and the temple, and others of friends from the branch. Zach wanted to relay how thankful he is to be serving, and how blessed he feels to have this time to do so. Christmas is the perfect opportunity for all of us to serve one another and do as the Savior would have us do. Because just as President Monson says, "The true spirit of Christmas is achieved when we drop the last syllable in Christmas, and it becomes the spirit of Christ."

I have posted his remarks about the Christmas spirit in the form of a you tube video at the bottom of the blog.

Monday, December 7, 2009

First snowfall; frightening experience

Things are going really well; it snowed this past Saturday! This Arizona boy is freezing his butt off. Despite the cold weather, we are working really hard and seeing success. We are preparing two families for baptism.

We received a call from our branch president this week that one of our members was severely depressed and called to have the relief society president help plan her funeral. We were asked if we would check on her. Upon arriving at her home, she had chained the gate so no one could gain entry. I hopped the fence and knocked on the door for over 15 minutes. She finally came to the door in tears, and thanked us for coming. We gave her a priesthood blessing and she later said at church that our coming and the blessing were a miracle, a true answer to prayer. The whole experience was frightening yet uplifting.

The missionaries will get to attend the Manhattan temple this month, and see a few sights in New York City. It should be a great experience. I love and miss you all, but am enjoying the experiences that serving a mission brings.

Elder Roque

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thanksgiving Transfer

Hello all,

I was transferred this week, and my new area is VERY different than my last area. I am in North Newark "walking". Yes, no car and no bicycle. It's wintertime and cold and snowy and we walk and walk and walk. (Sounds like a primary song...) The area is rough, many call it the "ghetto" of the mission. I was a little nerve racking the first night, but I find I like it here.

I guess I shouldn't worry, because I'm part of the "GOD SQUAD". At least that is what the local gang members call us. Not only did they give us a name of which I quite like, they have offered us protection. Go figure. Needless to say, with the protection of the spirit, and the gang members, no worries.

My new companion Elder Warner is great! We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with (2) dinner appointments, and lots of left overs. I do miss Dad's ribs though. Mom wrote that he smoked 50 pounds of ribs for their meal in Las Vegas!

Elder Warner and I probably walked over 20 miles this week. Immediately after coming into the area, the branch president asked me to speak in sacrament meeting; I think it went well.

We also committed 6 people to baptismal dates. We are working hard and really feel blessed. Although the area is rough, I am adjusting an love it. I am so thankful for the blessings in my life and for all that I have. It's easy to take the comforts of life for granted until you see others living without them.

Here's hoping everyone had a great Thanksgiving, and is truly thankful for the blessings they receive.

Elder Roque

Monday, November 16, 2009

It's been a difficult week. A lady that we were teaching suddenly decided that she wanted no more to do with us or the church. It was hard to take, as she seemed to be progressing and understanding.

We are currently teaching anther woman,her name is Yvie and she has a baptism date for January . We also found another man to work with, Ozie Duncan. He has been taught before and wants to be taught again. He has been to church, had a baptisimal date and even taught gospel principles, he's a great guy. We've been teaching like crazy and working really hard.

It's getting really cold here, much too cold for an Arizona boy! I think I'm going to have to add to my
cold weather wardrobe. Layer, layer, layer.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

State Playoff Begin

Today is the first round of the State Volleyball playoffs for O'Connor. Bailey and Davia have enjoyed the season, and here's hoping that we go all the way! GOOD LUCK!

Difficult but prosperous week 11/10/09

This week has been difficult. My companion Elder O'Gwin Hurt his ankle rather badly, they doctor think that if it isn't broken, he may have torn ligaments and tendons. Needless to say, we did what we could do and it turned out to be a vey productive week. Even though it was rough we managed to set a baptisimal date for the 22nd of November!

The woman to be baptized name is Nancy, and she lives in a pretty rough household and didn't have a very good childhood. But She KNOWS the gospel is true and wants to be baptized! She is a great lady and really hospitable. She loves the missionaries because she says she can reallly feel the spirit when we are around. We told her after she is baptized she can have that same spirit to be with her always!

We taught about 22 lessons this week and we have 3 potential investigators we are going to follow up on. The members want to help invite but they are all mostly residents for med school in our area so they are always working. Its tough, but the work must go on. I love the work and the people; it's funny how I can already feel myself changing. The life of a missionary is tough but very very rewarding.

The weather is starting to turn very cold. I'm going to break out the heavy jacket! I love all of you somuch. I know Heavenly father is blessing you as well.

Elder Roque

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

This last week has been spiritually exhausting. It is really hard to watch people progress every day and then just stop. We know the blessings Heavenly Father has in store for them and its really hard to watch them not take advantage of them and really find the happiness it brings.

In spite of the difficult week, I had a really spiritual experience. I was giving one of the sisters in the ward a blessing and during the blessing I talked about how people would be interested in the gospel through her, because of the light in her eyes. Needless to say I had no idea I was directly quoting her patriarchal blessing. I could feel warmth permeating as we gave that blessing. It was amazing.

I love all of you and really know the blessings Heavenly Father gives us are there if we are just willing to reach out and take them. He loves us and I love you.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Zach and Andrew

Zach was able to see one of his friends, Andrew Ganem before he left the MTC. They actually had been there at the same time for almost 3 weeks before they ran into each other. Zach was really happy to see him, and since that meeting, Zach has gone on to New Jersey, and Andrew left for Honduras.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Zach wrote this letter, and Ivan received it on his birthday. It's been difficult for Ivan, as the business is slow and he worries about it constantly. On the day he opened this letter he was feeling particularly low. Needless to say, Zach's letter helped to brighten his mood and put things in perspective.

Hey DAD,

I just wanted to say that i am so proud to call you my father. I always know I can to you for guidance. I was reading in the Doctrine & Covenants the other day and I wanted to share what I read. I was reading an article in the Ensign about Joseph Smith's experiences in Liberty Jail and the adversity he endured. It stated that everyone goes through their own "Liberty jail" experience at some point. In section 121 verses 7-8 it reads ...."My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;... and then if thou endure it well, God shall exalt the on high..." and in section 122 versus 8-9 "The son of man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he? Therefore hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain with the; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."

This really touched me because I know that no matter what we go through, what we are feeling, and the pains we have the Lord has felt them and is with us every step of the way. Like in the poem footprints: "... My son, I love you and would never leave you. when you looked and saw one set of footprints it was then that I was Carrying you."No matter what we do as long as we put our whole heart and soul into it and we do it in righteousness the Lord will make up the difference and carry us back into his presence.

I love you so much,


Thursday, September 17, 2009

I am so excited that Robert (one of Zach's best friends) received his mission call. Serving a mission is a great experience i know he will love it and love the people of Kentucky.

We have been doing an awful lot of tracting, with not much success. But, I know if I continue to work hard and be obedient that the Lord will bless our efforts. I was reading about Abinadi in the Book of Mormon the other day, and just was so honored to know that I am teaching the people the same gospel that he did. I know that many missionaries want to be like Ammon, but I want to pattern my mission after Abinidi; unwavering and obedient. Even in the face death, he chose to remain firm in his testimony of the Savior.

Elder Roque

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I have been in New Jersey for just about two weeks now, and it has been great.
We were able to do some contacting in Newark, what the missionaries here call a “fear buster”. I was able to place a Book of Mormon on that day. We’ll see
if a contact will result.

It is amazing here. There are so many opportunities to share the gospel and feel the spirit. I know I am doing the Lord’s work and I have never been as blessed as much as I feel right now. I am actually have the opportunity to baptize someone this Sunday! Her name is Yveline and she is from Haiti. I can’t believe how quickly the work moves ahead.

Elder Roque

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Zach's on his way

Zach has been in the MTC for almost 3 weeks now. Soon he will be leaving for the great state of New Jersey. We are all so excited for him, and he seems to be ready to take the leap. He has had truly wonderful experiences in the MTC. Here are a few excerpts from his letters:

"My time at the MTC has been amazing. The spirit is so strong here, I can feel my testimony growing every day. My missionary companion and I get along so well, we are so much alike. I can't wait to share my experiences with you each week."

Love Zach

His letters are short, sweet, and to the point, but we wouldn't have it any other way. Busy hearts and hands make for good missionaries. But, we sure do miss his smile and sense of humor around the house, we just need to remember he's on loan to the Lord.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Princess Ball

I know the Princess Ball was eons ago, but I had to post
the photos because they are a few of my favorites.
Zach accompanied Devynne to the ball because my
brother couldn't take all of his daughters.

Zach had a gold tie to match Devynne's yellow
"Belle" dress. They had a ball (no pun intended)
and danced the night away.

Zach's off to New Jersey

Well it's official, Zach will be leaving the nest soon and flying off to the
MTC and then to New Jersey. He is so excited about his mission call,
and is getting ready to go.

I have to admit that I am happy that he has made the decision to go.
I know that it will be an extraordinary experience for him. It won't
be easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is.

I do think that he will have a bit of an adjustment with the cold
winter weather, but I'm sure he'll do just fine. His father has told
him the secret to tracting in the winter is golf balls. Why you
may wonder? Apparently it saves your knucles in the extreme cold.
Rap on the door with the golf ball, and problem solved.

His farewell talk is on August 9th, and then on to the MTC on the 12th.
So many changes in store, but what and adventure and an opportunity
to serve the people of New Jersey.

Zach & Devynne

Zach & Devynne
The Princess Ball