Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saturday, December 19, 2009

This morning we didn’t have to be at the Branch building until 11:00am so we got to sleep in, for the first time in I don’t know how long. We really enjoyed the free time too. After a very cold shower we asked the manager of the hotel where we could find a restaurant to eat breakfast. We found it after we enjoyed a walk around the central plaza of Neyba to get there. Our breakfast was a traditional Dominican, fried egg, salami, boiled green bananas, boiled Yuca root all covered with sautéed white onions. Mmm Goood! We really liked it.

When we got to the branch we discovered that there were only 3 members that signed up on the tithing settlement sheet. I was able to use the spare time to work in the branch office on the computer updating lists entering releases, entering callings, etc.

We didn’t have to be to Duvergé to pick up the tables until 2:00 so we had time to eat lunch. We started with dessert first at the local ice cream shop around the corner from the hotel. Next we finished our lunch eating a loaf of “Pan Sobado,” This is bread we brought with us from the capital. Each loaf is about the size of submarine sandwich bread they use at “Blimp’s” or “Quiznos”. It is a very soft and chewy. It has a slightly sweet taste and is very good. We each had one and it made a great lunch.

In Duvergé we picked up table, ice chests, and other supplies we left last night. I showed Elder Jimenez how to set up and run the generator. He is so happy to have a source of power now whenever the lights go out in Duvergé, which is very often. The Duvergé branch has been struggling without power in the evening for months. We were very fortunate last night. The power never went off once which was a wonderful blessing and an answer to prayer.

We drove back to Neybe with the tables and helped set up for the party tonight. We finished setting up and had enough time left to run back to our hotel room for a little rest. The AC works in the hotel room and we were very hot. Hna. Johnson even took a cold shower to help cool off. She felt so much better after being able to cool down.

The evening’s activities at the Neyba branch started with a baptismal service for a Haitian couple named Suze Dalleg Romd and Anselme Bien Aime. Their native language is Creole and French. They were taught in Spanish although they don’t speak it very well. They can understand Spanish when it is spoken to them and they can read Spanish pretty well. The baptismal service was a very well attended since most of the branch was there for the party that was to follow.

The baptism service started at about 6:30pm and finished at 7:15. After talking to the Hna’s in the Relief Society we found out that all of the food hadn’t arrived yet and we probably wouldn’t be starting the ward activity until about 8:00pm. That was my first indication that this was going to be a very late night. The program part of the branch party started at 8:00 and didn’t get over until 9:30 that is when the dinner started. We didn’t even start cleaning up until 10:00. At 10:30 we called a halt to the cleanup and went home. There were only a couple of class rooms and then end of the hall left to clean and the 4 Elders said they would finish it at 7:00 tomorrow morning.

But in spite of the late hour of the program and dinner it was a great evening for the Duvergé branch. I did a quick head count and came up with about 130 members and investigators in attendance. The R.S. sisters were planning to feed about 100. But as it turned out there was plenty of food to go around and even leftovers. Everyone had a wonderful time. Many of the old time members commented to me that this was the best branch Christmas party they had ever had.

We had some members come to the party that hadn’t come through the front doors of the chapel in years. One father of 3 of the girls that preformed in a couple of the dances that was so proud of them, he kept coming over to me and saying, “That’s my girl there on the left”, etc. His name is Luis Guererro. His whole family are members but he hasn’t been out to church in years. This whole evening of baptism, program and dinner was a wonderful missionary and activation tool. The Hna’s in the R.S. are really to be commended for a great job.

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