Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

This morning we left Azua headed West instead of East back to the capital like usual. We were headed for Jimaní and a rendezvous with Pres. Anderson of the Caribbean Area Presidency. But we had to make a couple of stops along the way. First we stopped in Sabana Yegua, about 10 kilometers west of Azua. We had to drop off a rent check to Elder Barrett and Elder Wilson. The rent checks were due last Friday but IMOS was late Authorizing and printing so we finally got the check to them today. Their Dueño should be very happy now.

Our next stop was in Duvergé were I needed Hno. Tomas Moquete (my 1st Counselor in the Br. Prescy) to sign a Branch check for the humanitarian effort in Jimani. All of the Humanitarian aid for the members in the hospital will now be funneled through the Neyba Branch. A few weeks ago everything was being paid by the mission and the mission was being reimbursed by the Area. But now it will all be paid by the nearest church unit which is Neyba.

We arrived at the planned rendezvous, an “Isla Bomba” (Island Gas Station), at 10:45 this morning. The gas station is about a quarter mile before the border with Haiti. The gas station and convenience store was very busy and had a flurry of activity was going on all around it. There were several bus loads of white people from many different countries. Inside the convenience store I bought Hna. Johnson a cold 7-up. The customer in line in front of me was speaking Dutch (I think), he paid with US Dollars and was given change in Dominican Pesos. At one point there were 5 busses all being gassed up at the diesel pumps. Some were headed into Haiti so they were topping off their tanks. Others had just come from Haiti and filling their tanks here because this was the closest station to the border.

Shortly after our arrival the “LDS Emergency Services” car arrived with President Andersen 2nd counselor in the Area Prescy, Bennie Lilly the Area Welfare director and Steve Roberts director of humanitarian aid here on assignment here from SLC. They have been in Haiti since last Wednesday and were returning to the Area offices in Santo Domingo. Bro. Jones, the Area Executive Secretary, asked Hna. Johnson and I if we would meet them at the border this morning and give them a ride back to the capital. Of course we were delighted to help. Brother Steve Roberts and the driver returned to Haiti so we only had two passengers with us on the way back to Santo Domingo.

On our way back through Duvergé we made another stop to pick up papers from the missionaries there. This time we met them at the “Internet Office” in town. Since today is P-day all of the Elders are writing letters home to their parents and families as well as their weekly letter to President Almonte. They are also filing their weekly reports on Pres. Almonte’s website. It is very important that all missionaries have access to the internet. This internet office is typical of many small towns all over the DR. The missionaries pay by the minute and they are supposed to get all of their internet work done in under an hour.

We stopped at the Azua Office for a “potty break” on our way and discovered that Pres. & Hna. Almonte were there. Pres. Almonte is in “The South” conducting interviews with all of the Elders & Hna.’s in the two Azua Zones. It was a very fortunate and chance meeting. We stayed for a while and Pres. Almonte& Pres. Andersen had a nice visit about the mission and missionary work in general.

We were with Elder Andersen and Bro. Lilly in the van for about 5 hours and they talked to us at great length about Haiti since the earthquake. They told us how much better things were in Haiti for the Saints there. For quite a while now the Church’s relief & supply distribution system has been functioning very well. The members in Haiti are getting the food and supplies they need to live on. Elder Andersen said that all of the Port-au-Prince wards are holding their full schedule of meetings even though they are still being used as relief shelters. He said that Sunday attendance is up 125% now compared to before the earthquake.

President Andersen told us that the news media has published the statistics of the dead and injured for many of the denominations in the earthquake area. He said it is truly a miracle that so few latter-day Saints were killed or injured in the earthquake. The news report said that there were almost 10% casualties in the Catholic Church but only 1.5% in the Mormon Church.

Another fortunate coincidence today was our stop in Azua coincided with the arrival of the Codetel DSL repairman. We haven’t had DSL in the Azua office where we spend our weekends in 5 weeks now. I’ve been calling and calling Codetel with no results. At least now there is a real repairman here and maybe Hna. Johnson and I will have internet next weekend so we can “Webcam” our grandkids again.

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