Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Today, like yesterday and just like every weekend we delivered supplies and the mail to Elders and the AP’s all over “El Campo” on our way to our assigned meetings in Neyba and Duvergé. We are getting pretty good at it.

I mentioned last week that the primary elections were held on the 8th and maybe there would be a let up in campaigning for a while. Well, I was wrong. There is no sign of a let up in the city nor in “El Campo.” After church was over in Neyba there was a huge parade of cars and “Motores” with flags, banners and very LOUD speakers that went right by the branch chapel. It looks like we get to see and hear this for a couple more months. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, in the states campaigns go on and on and on for years.

Today we had two priesthood ordinances to perform during our Sacrament meetings. One confirmation by Elder Bird in Neyba of Hna. Youvenaris and the other by Elder Jimenez in Duvergé, to confer the aaronic priesthood and ordain Hno. Manuel Mendez a deacon. In both cases the elders got the words wrong and the ordinances had to be redone. In spite of the mistakes made, these wonderful new members of the church love the Lord and they are enthusiastic about their new found religion. It is a real pleasure for Hna. Johnson and I to be here and to work with the members out here in Neyba and Duvergé. We love it.

I got an interesting phone call from the AP’s in “El Campo” this morning. Elder Clause relayed a message to me from Pres. Almonte. He told me that Pres. Almonte doesn’t want Hna. Johnson & I driving in from Duvergé nor Neyba after dark on Sunday night anymore. It is too dangerous and he wants us to rearrange our schedule of meetings so we can be back in Azua before dark. It will take some major changes in our meeting times in both branches but I’m sure we can do it. This is a real blessing in disguise. Hna. Johnson and I are putting in a lot of hours on the weekends. Some Sundays we are on the road until after 10:30pm.

A change in our schedule will really help us get some much needed rest. Hna. Johnson and I haven’t had a day off in over 4 months. We haven’t even had a real P-Day since we got to the Dominican Republic. But we’re not complaining. We love our mission and working with missionaries and the branch members in Neyba and Duvergé.

This afternoon we didn’t attend the whole block of meetings in Duvergé. We left for Azua right after the sacrament meeting in hopes that we could make it before dark. Well, we didn’t make it. We got to Azua after 7:00pm, more than an hour after dark.

Since we were driving after dark we got stopped by one of the military check points. However this check point wasn’t your regular check for illegal Haitians, this was a “random” check by the full time army searching vehicles for illegal weapons. Normally I just flash my missionary name tag and they recognize us and let us go on our way. But this time they didn’t care who we were, they had us get out of the pickup and they searched it.

The search made Hna. Johnson very uncomfortable. I got out of the driver’s seat and the first soldier went right in to look under the seat. Hna. Johnson hadn’t gotten out yet when the soldier leaned over and his military assault rifle was pointed right at Hna. Johnson’s stomach! Later she said she didn’t like that at all. She said, what if that thing had gone off, I’d be dead! But it didn’t go off and after a few minutes they let us go on our way. Hna. Johnson really likes the idea of not driving after dark. She thinks it’s a wonderful idea.

It was probably a bad idea but I couldn’t resist. I just had to take a picture of the two soldiers that searched our truck. I aimed my camera at them and said “Sondrisas porfavor” (Smiles please). As the soldier waved his finger at me and said “No pictures” the flash went off. Now that I think about it, he could have confiscated my camera but he didn’t, he just shook his head and went on with the search. I guess I was pretty lucky. I wonder what he’d do if he knew his picture was going to be posted on the internet?

Today marks our 5th month to the day that we’ve been out on our mission. We entered the MTC in Provo on July 13, 2009. Although some days seem to never end, the time is flying by. Before we know it we will be looking back at a year and a half and wonder were the time went. But one thing is for sure, we love serving our Heavenly Father’s children in the Dominican Republic. This is where we are supposed to be and we are doing what the Lord wants us to do. Hna. Johnson and I are very grateful for our family that supports us and works so hard for us so we can work and serve here. We really appreciate their love, prayers and support.

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