Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

WOW!!! What a day. I started off at “ASODIFIMO” (Asociacion de Impedidos Fisico-Motores, Inc.) a charitable organization the church partners with to do humanitarian work in Santo Domingo. Elder and Hna. Francom have arranged for them and two other similar charitable groups to distribute wheelchairs to the needy. The church provides the wheelchairs and the training for their staff and they do the rest. They conduct interviews, evaluate needs, take measurements and if a person qualifies, they get a brand new wheelchair that they normally wouldn’t be able to afford. Then the recipient is taught proper care, maintenance and servicing of their new wheelchair. A great deal of care is taken by the church to make sure these wheelchairs are not given away to anyone or used to sell for cash. It’s a great program that benefits many lives of members and nonmembers alike.

I walked out of “ASODIFIMO” with a brand new wheelchair. Not for me, of course, but for Hno. Victoriano Diaz in Neyba. Hno. Diaz wasn’t able to come all the way to the capital so I had to do all of the paper work for him. I got the training so I can go back to Neyba and teach Hno. Diaz and his family how to take care of the new wheelchair. They are going to be so delighted when I take them the new wheelchair next Sunday. It is going to be a huge blessing not only for Hno. Diaz but for the whole family.

The next event of this “WOW” day was our trip to the Santo Domingo Temple with the members from Duvergé. They arrived by charter bus this afternoon at about 2:00pm at the “Casa de Huespedes” (Accommodation Center) on the temple grounds. On the bus there were 5 Elders, 20 branch members and one stowaway!

Of the 20 members, three: Hno. Tomas Moquete, Tuco, Yazmin are getting their endowments. Tuco & Yazmin will also be sealed to their 4 sons; Manuel (15), Manuel (12), Manuel (7) and Manuel (5). Yes all 4 sons have the first name of Manuel, so does their father but he goes by the nickname, Tuco. Ten of the 20 will be doing baptisms for the dead. Three are children under 11 years of age and can’t do baptism for the dead and we have one invited non-member guest, Macho’s caretaker, her mother. The stowaway was a 15 year old niece of Tuco & Yazmin. She was told she couldn’t come because she is inactive and would not qualify for a temple recommend but she snuck onto the bus and came anyway. She got to take a 10 hour bus ride for free.

Hna. Johnson and I got to the Temple at about 4:30pm. When we I approached the temple we turned the last corner before the gate. Hna. Johnson pointed out something we had never seen before; there was a couple in a suit and wedding dress having their picture taken on the lawn in front of the temple. We’ve seen this sight often at the Mesa Temple but never at the Santo Domingo temple. When we parked the car and went to greet the Duvergé members we were very surprised to discover that the bride in the wedding dress was Yazmin. She wore the same wedding dress she was married in 17 years ago. She looked gorgeous in it. And how fitting to wear her wedding dress, after all she was going to get married again but this time for time and all eternity.

President & Hna. Almonte were with us in the endowment session. Also in attendance was the former Elder that baptized Tuco & Yazmin in Duverge 7 years ago. I got to be Tuco’s escort and President Almonte was Hno. Moquete’s escort. Hna. Almonte was Yazmin’s escort. Just how often do you have a sitting Mission President attend your endowment session, let along be your escort. And then have the Temple President personally give you your orientation. WOW!

It was a beautiful and wonderful endowment session for all three members as well as for the rest of us. It was truly a rare experience for Hna. Johnson and I to be with these members from Duvergé, to feel their spirits and their enthusiasm. They have worked so hard and prepared so well to make this temple trip possible.

The endowment session was wonderful and so was the sealing immediately afterward. All 4 young sons of Tuco and Yazmin were brought into the sealing room all dressed in white. The “wonder & Awe” was obvious on their faces as they knelt at the altar with their parents to be sealed for time and all eternity. Afterward the Sealer had them all stand and look at their reflections in the big mirrors on either wall in the ceiling room. The little 5 year old couldn’t see so Pres. Almonte picked him up so he could see the reflections of his family go off into infinity.

Public drinking fountains are unheard of in the DR. The water isn’t safe so there are no drinking fountains here like there are in the US. However here at the temple all of the water is purified with reverse osmoses and is perfectly safe. When we first entered the temple Hna. Johnson & I as well as Tuco & Jazmin’s 4 sons were all in the waiting room. I left the room and stopped and got a drink from the drinking fountain. Hna. Johnson told me later that the two youngest boys had eyes as big as silver dollars. They had never seen a drinking fountain before let alone see anyone drink from one. They both hopped up and began to explore this wonder that shot a stream of water into your mouth. After they figured out how to make it work the 7 year old put his mouth straight over the nozzle and took his first drink. Hna. Johnson got up and showed him how to drink without touching the nozzle. Hna. Johnson said the two boys were very cute. For the next several minutes they attempted to master the technique. The best the youngest could do was to bob his head up and down at the stream of water and lap at it as his tongue went by.

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