Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Friday, December 18, 2009

This morning we were up early and on our way to the office and “Another Whirlwind Adventure for Shrek and Donkey.” I had to go to the Bank for petty cash first. The office is completely out of cash and completely out of budget for the rest of the year. President Almonte told me that the petty cash check this week has to last us to the first of January. We’ll see, I really doubt we can make it to the first.

Back at the office we packed to leave. Elder Small commented that he thought today was Saturday. Normally we do this on Saturday but this week end we are leaving a day early. It has thrown all of our internal clocks off by a day. I thought it was Saturday all day too.

We only made two mail stops on our way to Neyba. The first was in Bani to the Bani Zone which will save the AP’s in “El Campo” an extra stop that would require a hundred miles of driving. We did link up with the AP’s in Azua to transfer the rest of the mail and supplies there. We arrived in Neyba at 2:00 to pick up tithing settlement docs and the Temple recommend book. We were in Duverge by 4:15 in time to help set up for the big Christmas party and branch dinner.

Soon after we arrived I started right in with Tithing Settlement and Temple recommend interviews. I set up a makeshift “Branch Pres. Office” in one of the rooms with a door. I had a small folding table, 4 chairs with a fan so I was ready to go. For the next 3 and a half hours I had interviews. I missed the branch party, program and dinner. But it was time very well spent.

I had tithing settlement with 8 members and 6 of them qualified for their first ever temple recommend! All of them have attended the temple prep classes put on by the Elders and they are excited and anxious to take out their endowments. These members are wonderful. Bro. Tomas Moquete has been a member for 22 years, Bro. & Hna. Hector Mendez have been members for 6, Hna. Mecho has been a member for 5 and Alexis & Hna. Mendez have been members for 6 months. All of them have very strong testimonies of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. They attend their meeting, fulfill their callings and pay their tithing. It is a real pleasure for me to be their branch President.

At the end of each interview I used the opportunity to present each of the families with their own picture of the Santo Domingo Temple with a Merry Christmas message and signature from Hna. Johnson and I on the back. All of them loved the gift and showed it off to the other members at the party.

It was after 9:00pm when I finished the final interview and came out to join the party. Hna. Johnson set aside a plate of food for me so I didn’t go hungry. And it was a wonderful “traditional” Dominican Christmas meal. They had fried rice, fried Yuca root, fried empanadas, fried bananas, fried… well everything was fried. It was very good.

We didn’t get away until after 10:00 to head back to our hotel room in Neyba. The hotel is the only one in Neyba called “Deysi Y Hnos” and it was “Spartan.” But it was a clean room with a bed with one chair. There wasn’t even a table or closet. The shower had no shower head and of course no hot water. I was very surprised that it had a TV with cable so I got to watch ESPN in English before I went to bed. It was all commentary so it wasn’t even fun to watch.

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