Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

Our weekend isn’t over until we arrive home. But today we went straight to the office when we got back; it was 3:00pm. We didn’t get home until after 6:00pm. And even though the weekend is finally over we can’t slow down; but we really enjoyed our weekend branch parties and church services.

We got very little sleep again last night because of all the noise in the adjoining rooms. And I figured out why we can hear every sound from every other room in the hotel. There is no ceiling above each room. It was hard to believe at first but it’s true. There are ceiling tiles above each room but they are not “Acoustic ceiling tiles” they are just a false ceiling. Above them is nothing and there is nothing to buffer the sound. The bedroom walls stop at the ceiling tiles so if a TV is on in the next room, it is just as loud as if it is one in your own room. A man in the room across the hall from us got up at 3:30am and turned on his TV very loud. It was as if someone had turned the TV on in our room. It woke both of us up and I could tell he wasn’t going to turn it down so I went across the hall and knocked on his door. He looked very surprised to see me but he did turn off his TV. Hna. Johnson was never able to go back into a sound sleep for the rest of the night.

We were on the road home at 8:00am. But the road home included half a dozen stops along the way and really slowed us down. First we had to load all of the borrowed table and return them back to the Branch President, Teddy Figueroa, in Vicente Noble. He is a great Br. Pres. It is very interesting how a Branch can flourish or wither depending on the leadership. Since Pres. Figueroa has been the president, the attendance at Sacrament meeting has tripled! I found out that 12 years ago when he served his mission in Santiago, DR he was the companion to Hno. “Hijo” Norberto Tejera who is now living in Neyba and is full of enthusiasm and is working so hard for the branch. My prayer is that he will be my replacement as the next Br. Pres. Yes… My assignment in both Neyba and Duvergé is to work my way out of my job.

We dropped off mail to the AP’s in Vicente Noble. Elder Clouse is going home in 3 days so Elder Morillo will be in a threesome companionship until the next “translado” (transfer). Elder Clouse was wearing his signature tie. It has been signed by all of the missionaries he has served with or worked with as an AP or ZL during his mission. Every inch, front and back, is covered with signatures. What a great keepsake from his mission.

We also made mail & supply stops in Azua, Bani and Madre Vieja. While in Azua we stopped for lunch at “La Esquinita”, the best hamburger restaurant in the Western Hemisphere. Really, I’m not kidding. The food is not cheap by Dominican standards but I can say that they serve the very best hamburger I’ve ever eaten! Hna. Johnson and I have eaten there many times now and it is our favorite place for lunch or dinner.

Our mail run to the little Pueblo of Madre Vieja takes us through the town of San Cristobal. Normally it is a 15 minute side trip but today it took an extra half hour. Streets were blocked and the detours we had to take were choked with cars, truck and busses. It was a mad house. It turned out that today is the annual Christmas “free box of food” government welfare give-away all over the Dominican Republic. People were lined up for blocks. The Dominican Army was out in force to maintain order! We saw the same thing in the little town of Galvin, the sister city to Neyba.

I talked to Elder Small in the office about the “free box of food” program. He said that a person can get back in line and get more than one box if the supplies last. He also said that last year each box of food includes 2 or 3 bottles of wine. The next morning the streets and gutters of town were littered with empty wine bottles.

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