Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

This morning I was off early to the Aduana (Customs) to pick up packages. I was the first one there when it opened. Well… actually it hadn’t really opened yet. Yesterday I phoned for their hours and I was told they open at 8:00am. I was there at 8:05. But the place was dark, the doors were chained and padlocked and there wasn’t a car in the parking lot. At 8:15 a car pulled up and it was the inspector that always opens our packages and checks for contraband. He said, “Sure we open at 8:00am.” He should have said “8:00am SDT” or “Standard Dominican Time.”

The postal inspector and another employee that arrived right after he did led me inside through the back entrance past the soldiers with military assault rifles. As we walked past the guards, one of them pointed his rifle at me and asked what my business was entering through the back door. Thank goodness the other two I was with vouched for me, they said, “he’s with us, he’s picking up packages.” I was allowed to go on it.

It is definitely the Christmas season in the mission. I picked up 16 packages for Elders and Hermanas. With all of the paperwork and inspections to do, it took me an hour and a half to finally leave with all of the packages. But what joy these Christmas packages bring to the elders and Hermanas when they get them. Many of the missionaries have known for weeks that a package is on its way. The anticipation is a killer.

And speaking of anticipation, there is a mission rule about packages arriving. The rule is that missionaries are not to call the mission office and ask about their package and the mission office is not to call the missionary to let them know if one has arrived. It is intended to keep the missionaries focused on the work instead of calling the mission office every day to see if their package has arrived. The package, like all of the mission mail is sorted and delivered by the next AP’s or Office Elders that go that way.

Well, there are two Elders in Azua East Zone that have known for weeks that a packages are on their way. They are Elder Ikahihifo and Elder Freckelton. Elder Ikahihifo (we call him “Ika” for short) was born in Samoa, raised in Utah & California and is now on a mission in the Dominican Republic. (He speaks three languages now) Elder Ikahihifo comes up with some pretty novel and unique excuses to call the mission office and probe for answers to unrelated questions, hoping we will slip and let him know if his package has arrived.

Elder Ikahihifo’s package arrived on Wednesday from FedEx. On Friday he called me to ask how customs contacts the intended recipient of a package if the declared price of a package is too high and is stopped at customs at the international airport in Santo Domingo instead of going on to the downtown Aduana. I told him the limit is $200.USD, but it isn’t important and he shouldn’t worry about it. Elder Ikahihifo kept asking a bunch of other questions hoping I would reveal if his package had arrived. To all of his questions I answered the same way, “Elder Ika, you really don’t have to worry about it.” But he kept pressing and finally I told him, “Elder Ika, this is a hint, you REALLY don’t have to worry about it.” There was a momentary pause on the phone and then a lot of cheering. Then he asked, “Does my companion, Elder Freckelton need to worry?” I answered, “Yes, Elder Freckelton needs to worry!”

Well guess what. Today at the Aduana I picked up two packages for Elder Freckelton. So both Elders got their packages and were very happy when Hna. Johnson and I delivered them this afternoon. Packages from home really make missionaries happy. And Hna. Johnson and I made a lot of Elders happy today. As we drove to Azua today, all of our stops along the way included the mail. Of course we delivered other supplies but most of our truck was full of letters and lots packages.

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if I'm related to Elder Freckleton. My dad's mom's maden name is Freckleton. I used to visit my great grandma Freckleton as a teenager. I wonder...