Saturday, April 10, 2010

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wow, what a day, so much to do and so little time. We only had half a day to get our office work done. We tried to get it all done but couldn’t, we’ll have to finish tomorrow. Monday’s are away busy for Hna. Johnson. She had to do the petty cash and Reimbursements for the Elders. The new Elders still have computer entries and she will have to do those tomorrow. I was busy with “Diligencias” (Errands) to the bank and to pay a half dozen bills. I will have to finish my other office work tomorrow too.

We were in the office for only half a day because we had an appointment after lunch with the other senior couples to take a tour of the National Palace in downtown Santo Domingo. I’ve driven by and seen it from the outside before but I figured I would never get to go inside. But Elder Jim Bowcut, Counselor in the Temple Presidency, has been working for the past month on getting an appointment for an exclusive, personal tour of the Palace. All of his hard work has paid off. Over 30 of the seniors were able to go. Most of the seniors are temple workers and they have Monday as their P-day so the timing was perfect for them.

To our surprise we were allowed to take pictures inside, so I took a lot. We started in the Minister’s Hall. That is where all 32 government ministers sit at a huge table with the President. From there we went from room to room with our tour guide explaining the significance of each one. The assembly rooms, ball rooms and even the halls were beautiful with ornate carvings and marble everywhere. The tour took about an hour and a half. We all really enjoyed it a lot.

Back at the “Casa” we had some time before FHE at 7:00pm so Elder & Hna. Jones invited us to dinner with them. They also invited Elder & Hna. Mehr. It was a great meal with good food and very good friends. Like us, the Mehr’s don’t live at the “Casa”. It might be easy for couple living away from the hub of activity to “get lost”. The Jones’ have taken both us and the Mehr’s under their wing and have made a special effort to include us in all of their activities. We are really glad they do, we enjoy their company and hospitality very much.

This evening for FHE it was Hna. Johnson & my turn to plan and conduct it. This was the first time we’ve been asked to be in charge of FHE. Before we were so busy on weekends with our trips to Neyba and DuvergĂ© we often were unable to attend FHE with the other seniors. But months ago when they were making assignments to conduct, Hna. Johnson volunteered to take the Monday after General Conference because she knew we wouldn’t be driving to the South on that weekend.

For our FHE lesson Hna. Johnson came up with the idea of each of the senior couples sharing a special, spiritual experience they’ve had at a previous General Conference or a spiritual, uplifting experience they had with this April conference.

Our FHE turned out great. We heard some wonderful stories from the seniors; most were from years past but 2 were about this past weekend. We even heard from one of the couples that work in the Temple that only speak Spanish, their story had to be translated for the non Spanish speakers. All of the stories were great. It occurs to me that I should write them all down here but there is not time nor space.

Hna. Johnson started off the evening and ended the evening telling her own two stories. The first one was the story of her very first time to attend when I got us into a building next door to the tabernacle and we were locked inside. She concluded with the story that didn’t happen at general Conference but did include the apostle Elder Hales and how he rescued Hna. Johnson’s parents in the parking garage beneath the Joseph Smith Memorial building.

(Sister Mehr told of her 8 years singing in the Tabernacle Choir, passing GA’s in the tunnels. Also about timely messages on motherhood now that she was the instant mother of 6 plus 7 grandkids. Elder Jones talked about talk preparation by the General Authorities, Andersen & Vinas. Elder Bednar works on 7 manuscripts at a time, receiving inspiration on a talk that won’t be given for a year or more! Sister Roberts told about their new convert, Jose that drank in every moment of conference as he attended every session in their home. He bore his testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel because of the feelings he had watching conference. Sister Cruz told about traveling all the way to SLC and actually getting to shake President Monson’s hand. Her story was translated for us.)

After FHE we also get to provide the refreshments. Hna. Johnson and I bought 12 square brownie cooking tins at Bravo this morning to serve. When everyone was done there were several uneaten tins left over. There was a group of about a dozen Haitian members in the Casa cafeteria with us so we donated the left over brownies to them. It was a little difficult because they only spoke Creole not English or Spanish none the less they were very appreciative. The Haitian families come to the Temple at great sacrifice. The “Casa de Huespedes” only costs US$2.77 per person per night. The Haitians, nor many others would be able to come to the Temple without the “Casa de Huespedes”.

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