Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

I received a very nice phone call early this morning. It was from Iris Mendez in Duvergé, wife of Hector who were sealed in the Santo Domingo Temple two weeks ago. (See Friday & Saturday March 19 & 20) She phoned me to thank Hna. Johnson and I for sending them all of the pictures of their trip to the Temple. I took about 60 pictures of them and the rest of the group from Duvergé. I had them all printed at Price Smart (very cheap) and I also burned them a CD with all of the images. Last Wednesday the Zone Leaders from Duvergé took the envelope with all of the pictures and CD with them back to Duvergé. Hector and Iris just received them this morning and called me right away to thank me. They were very happy to get the pictures. Iris kept saying over and over, “Thank you, Thank you”. I did the same thing for Tuco & Yazmin when they went through the temple the first week of February.

This morning the parents of Elder Caldwell paid a visit to Hna. Johnson and I in the mission office. Elder Caldwell was released from his mission this “Translado”. The Caldwells, of Lehi, UT, arrived in the Dominican Republic on Tuesday to pick up their son. They plan to tour the mission and see some of the sights for a week before taking their son home with them. Elder Caldwell has been telling us all about his parents and their visit. It has been a much anticipated reunion for him.

We’ve considered Elder Caldwell to be one of our sons while he has been serving in the office as an AP. We had a great visit with Elder Caldwell’s real parents. It was fun to get to know them and share stories about “Our” missionary. When the Caldwell came to the office this morning they brought Hna. Johnson and I a gift. It was a “Specialty” Boysenberry pancake mix with a bottle of boysenberry syrup. Wow, how did they know how much we love It was very kind of them to think of us in this way. We really appreciated the gesture.

This morning Elder Arreola, who we used to work with in Duvergé, and his companion came into the office on their way back to their area here in the capital. Elder Arreola has been sick for a couple of months. He’s been seen by several local doctors and has been diagnosed with an intestinal parasite. He’s been on medication but nothing has helped yet. He saw the Area Doctor, Doctor Kilgor, at the CCM (MTC) last Tuesday. Dr. Kilgor doesn’t think their diagnosis and treatment is accurate. Accurate or not he was rushed into the emergency room again last night after passing out. If he doesn’t improve he may have to be sent home to recover and recuperate. We are praying for our good friend Elder Arreola. Hopefully he will not be sent home. He is determined to fight this parasite. He says, “Going home is not an option!”

Parasites in the water and on the food are a very big concern by all the missionaries and the church’s mission department. Every precaution is taken to insure healthy drinking water and safe fruits and vegetables are used by the missionaries. All missionaries are immunized against a dozen diseases like Hepatitis, yellow fever, cholera, etc. But there is no immunization against parasites. Starting last fall all missionaries were issued personal portable drinking water bottles with built in reverse osmosis filters. They are compact and easy to carry. The missionaries carry them everywhere they go. They have become an integral part of a missionaries materials he carries every day. His water bottle is in his back pack right next to his Standard Works. The missionaries love their water bottles.

And speaking of parasites…. Both cisterns at the mission office ran dry today. The city drinking water supply is very unreliable. That is why there are two huge underground tanks under the lawn in the front yard of the mission office. Each tank holds 2000 gallons of water. When the city drinking water doesn’t flow like it didn’t this week, we have to call a water company to deliver 2500 gallons of extra water to us. Hopefully this will hold us until there is water in the city pipes again.

The water in the city pipes that comes to the mission office is called “city drinking water” but really it’s unsafe to drink, parasites you know. It is only used for washing, bathing and flushing. The water in the cisterns is pumped up onto the roof into a 100 gallon tank where gravity supplies all of the pipes in the office and the Elder’s apartment below with running water.

In the US we have “closed” water systems. From the source to the tap the water is always under pressure and never exposed to the outside air or anything else. Here, like most third world countries, they use an “Open” water system. At any place along the supply line to the tap in kitchen the water can be exposed to the outside air and anything else that flies or crawls. For example the cistern under the front lawn and the tank on the roof are exposed to the outside air. It is rare but not unheard of to find dead things floating in the cistern and roof tank like cockroaches, mice and toads. Ya…. That’s right; no one in their right mind would consider drinking the “city drinking water”.

Today Wendy called us from her home in Maricopa, Arizona to tell us some very bad news. Jacob & Wendy’s new son Joshua (Three weeks old, born on March 13th, 2010) has been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. Our sincere prayers go out to our son, his wife and their beautiful young family.

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