Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This morning we were extremely excited to read our e-mail and find out that we are grandparents for the 13th time. Valerie sent us the e-mail and reports that Wendy, Jacob’s wife, has had their 4th child. His name is Joshua and he was born at 9pm Saturday night by c-section. (Our 13th grandchild born on the 13th of March). He is 9lbs. and 22” and brings the family to two boys and two girls. Wendy & baby, Jacob and the whole family are doing fine. Valerie sent us some wonderful pictures. Joshua looks great.

Today is Stake Conference in our new stake we are now members of; it is the Independencia Stake. Hna. Johnson and I gave the 3 office elders a ride to the 10:00am general session at the “Cristo Rey” chapel which is also the stake center. The “Cristo Rey” chapel is the largest meeting house I’ve seen in the DR. The chapel and overflow into the cultural hall was every bit as big as any regular stake center in the US. Also TV cameras took the conference into 3 other multi-purpose rooms in the building. Plus there was an overflow seating area on the patio between the two main buildings. Since it is outdoors a large white canapĂ© was set up so all of the seats would be in the shade. The stake center was packed. Every seat was taken.

It is a testimony to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same here as it is in Mesa, AZ., as it is in Mexico or any other place in the world. The only difference between this stake conference and any other stake conference in the US was the Spanish language. There was a stake choir that performed prelude music as well as several pieces during the conference. There were even flowers on the podium and we all stood and sang an intermediate/rest hymn. The spirit was there and very strong testifying of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. The speakers were inspired and eloquent. It was a very good stake conference.

President Almonte was the second speaker and he spoke on the Book of Mormon. He talked about how the missionaries in the mission are using the Book of Mormon as their primary teaching tool. He also said that a convert’s testimony that is founded in the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon will always remain faithful to the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. He gave a very good talk.

After the conference was over several of the Elders asked Hna. Johnson if she enjoyed the conference and they wanted to know how much of the talks she understood. With a big grin of her face she said, “I understood every word!” Wow! They said, “You understood every word, your Spanish is really good.” Still with her big grin on her face, she let them jump to their conclusions for a moment. But then she said, “I had headphones on and listened to the translator”. Yes, Hna. Johnson really did enjoy the conference. She commented that this was the first time she has listened to President Almonte speak when she understood what he was saying.

After conference we invited the 3 office elders as well as the 2 AP’s to have dinner with us at our apartment. Hna. Johnson thinks of these young men as her own sons so she always pulls out all the stops when she feeds them. It was a great spread! Roast beef, mashed potatoes with tons of gravy! Green beans, tossed green salad with 3 different dressings and a gallon and a half of lemon/lime-aid. Fresh grapes, mango and pineapple. We had two kinds of bread and brownies with ice cream for dessert. It was a wonderful meal.

Elder Small commented that he never expected to have an American dinner while he was here in the DR. After the dinner he told Hna. Johnson that he is adopting us as his grandparents!

After the dinner we were still at the table talking and Hna. Johnson mentioned that I should tell the Elders “The Jelly Fish Story”. Well, with an introduction like that I couldn’t resist. I tried to tell as much of it in Spanish as I could but there are a lot of medical terms I didn’t know. So between my Spanish and Elder Small translating for Elder Barquero and Elder Mesidor we made it to the end of the story. I was proud of myself, normally it takes hours to tell the story and I managed to tell it in 30 minutes so the Elders wouldn’t be late for their next appointments.

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