Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday, March 7, 2010 (Our first day in Los Arroyos)

Yesterday evening we finally had scattered showers here in the capital. Last night was very cool and a delightful evening. Hna. Johnson and I went to bed with the windows open in our bedroom for only the third time since we’ve been in the DR. (We have slept without the AC many, many times but not by choice. It was because the power was off, as it often is and we had no choice.) But early this morning it was so cool I had to close the window and turn off our fan. Wow, a cold night in the DR, what a change in weather we’ve had these past 5 days. We love it. I can now say that there really is a winter in the Dominican Republic. It didn’t arrive until March but it did finally arrive and we’ve enjoyed it for the past 5 days.

We attended Sunday services at the Los Arroyos Branch for the first time today. President Almonte introduced Hna. Johnson and I to the Branch Pres. Miguel Lugo and his first Counselor Carlos Vicioso. In fact we met just about everyone. Pres. Almonte and his wife had to leave for a Stake Conference so they didn’t stay. The branch appears to be a very strong unit, at least compared to Neyba and Duvergé. There were over 100 in attendance at Fast & Testimony meeting. (In Neyba and Duvergé we averaged about 35 to 40 each Sunday.) I think this “Branch” could very easily be made into a Ward.

After the meetings the Br. Pres. called us into his office to talk to us about our duties in the Branch. He told Hna. Johnson that the Primary had just been reorganized and needed guidance and her help. He asked her to assist in Primary and help teach the new leaders their duties, etc. This is right up Hna. Johnson’s alley for sure. In spite of the language barrier she will be able to help a lot. Especially since one of the sisters in the Primary is the Branch President’s wife and she speaks English.

The Branch President asked me to do the same with the Elders Qu. He said they are struggling and need guidance and help. He said he would call Pres. Almonte to see if I could be given an actual calling in the Branch. I told him that as a Missionary, I could be assigned to fill any position in the Branch. For example I was assigned the position of Branch Pres. in the last branch we served in and that I could be called to do any duty where he and the Lord needed me here. He was delighted to hear that, so I think that I may have a new assignment in the Branch soon.

(Point of clarification: At the time of his setting apart, a full time missionary is given all of the authority and power to hold any and all positions of leadership in the mission during the term of his service. These positions might include but are not limited to Branch Pres., Elder Quorum Pres., Sunday School Pres., Relief Society Pres., or counselor to any of these, etc. It is important to note that he does not receive these by “Calling” but rather by “Assignment” from the Mission President. And since it is “by assignment” he does not need to be “Set Apart” for any position. He was given all of the authority and power as he was set apart as a missionary so he requires no further setting apart.)

All morning our visit to our new branch has seemed unreal, like we are fish out of water. We are still in a little bit of culture shock since we didn’t drive 5 hours to attend Sunday services in Neyba or Duvergé for the first time in 7 months. We already miss our friends in Neyba and Duvergé. But I’m sure this feeling will pass quickly. We will learn the new members names and they will all become our close friends soon enough. I know we will grow to love them just as we did the members in Neyba and Duvergé. The Lord has called us the serve the people of the Dominican Republic and it really doesn’t matter if they live in the country or in the capital. We will work just as hard no matter where they live and we will love them as our brothers and sisters regardless of the branch they attend.

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