Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sunday, May 2, 2010

This morning Hna. Johnson didn’t go to church because she was hurting so much from the welts of the “No-see-um” bites. They are really hurting her, at least the allergic reaction is finally starting to subside. However the secondary infections are worse than they were yesterday. By tonight when she went to bed her ankles were very badly swollen. They really look as bad as they feel.


Hola familia,
We just want to say that “We love our mission!”. We have been so richly blessed with so many experiences and to be surrounded by so many good people here in the Dominican. This month it feels as though we have played as much as we have worked. We went to a beautiful beach with the office mission couple from the Santo Domingo East Mission. They showed us how they mine for sea shells and Elder Johnson was able to have some fun snorkeling. The first thing that swam in front of him was a spotted sting ray and then by a reef he saw lots of beautiful tropical fish. It was a beautiful beach and day. And we can tell you without a doubt that there is lost treasure in the Caribbean because on the way home I discovered that I had lost my diamond from my wedding ring set. So somewhere in the ocean or beach is a lost diamond. 
This past week we worked really hard in the office so we could take a few days off to take other senior missionaries to Pres. Almonte’s cabin. There were some fun problems with IMOS(Internet Missionary Office System) and GVM(Global Visa Management). The last week of the month is to get all the rent paid for all our housing and to get all the missionary’s support funds funded and IMOS put a little fun adventure for me this month as I could not get our departing and arriving missionaries debit cards funded. I am so thankful to those in Salt Lake City who are there to help when these situations happen. IMOS still has a few bugs to be worked out and one by one SLC is doing that. My Global Visa Management is where I can put in travel arrangements in and see whose visas need to be renewed and this week IMOS deleted it so SLC is also trying to get that fixed for me. Life is a continual round of learning and solving whatever comes our way.
We did go to Pres Almonte’s cabin for 3 days and 2 nights and we were so excited about taking everyone out on short walk to the river that we forgot to spray ourselves for insects and boy some of us got bitten hard by no-see-ums. Elder Jones and I were not only bitten but had an allergic reaction to them. Now, I have infection in many of the bites for we went on a hike to some waterfalls the next day and my clothing (especially my socks) rubbed these bites and irritated them a lot. My legs are burning from the infection, but yes that is the price one pays for having fun. We went up there with Elder Jones and Sister Jones
(Executive secretary to the area Presidency) and their newlywed son and daughter in law, Elder and Sister Finlayson (CES), Elder and Sister Berkley (Records Extraction). We had such fun being with them and getting to know them. Our advice for all our brothers and sisters is to start planning your missions now, for they are a treasured experience and you get to have your sweetheart as your companion.
The highlight of our month was two chance meetings at the temple. Elder Johnson and I have the privilege of preparing temple clothing packets for the missionaries from our mission who will be attending the temple that week. Our missionaries are now attending on Tuesday mornings so we go to the temple late Saturday afternoons and prepare their clothing. I get all the missionaries sizes when they come into the mission field and the month of April and the month of May we have one zone a week going. One Saturday one of our former missionaries, Elder Morillo was there. He was an assistant in the south that we always mention. He is the only member in his family and he literally adopted us while he was out in the field as his family. What was so special about meeting him again was now he is not an ordained full time missionary and I gave him some big mom hugs and we were both crying. If you’ve been keeping up on the blog, Elder Johnson has taken some pictures where they give me a pretend hug. ( ) Our other chance meeting at the temple was when we walked out of the temple and found some of our Duvergé members there. These 2 families, on their own, came to the temple to do baptisms and endowment work. This was quite special as we know they came such a long distance and made some sacrifice to pay for their trip. Another reason why it is so special is because we now know that temple work is instilled in them and it did not take us or another missionary to help them, they did it on their own. We were so uplifted by their sweet testimonies and example of temple service. One of these two families is working very hard to be able to come and do their own temple work and sealing in July.
I cannot fully express to all of you how grateful we are to be here and to feel your love and support from home. Though we are enjoying our time as missionaries, we look forward to the time that we can fill our arms with all our loved ones (especially our grandchildren). The Lord has been especially kind and loving towards us for we keenly feel His guidance in our service here. And I am quite aware that this upcoming week is Mother’s Day week and as I told Dad that I have not missed a Mother’s Day at the shop for the past 37 years, he suggested that he could fly me home to help and I have to tell you all that I was so tempted to take him up on his suggestion. I know what hard work that this holiday brings and how exhausting it can be, but know that if I could I would be there to help. We will always be in your debt for all that you are doing for us. We love you and we love our mission.
Hugs and Kisses,
Shrek and Donkey (always on a fun whirlwind adventure)


Monday, May 3, 2010

Today we were informed of another “Emergency Transfer”. Usually emergency transfers are the result of disobedience by missionaries or similar problems, but not this time. Our good friend Elder Nardo Jimenez has been called by President Almonte to be the Branch President of the “El Cercado” branch. It is way out in the northwest part of the mission close to the Haiti border. Elder Jimenez goes home in September and so he will finish the last 5 months of his mission there as Branch President.

Elder Jimenez is unusually old for a missionary, he is 25 years old and he uses that extra experience and wisdom to benefit the lives of everyone he serves with. He will do a great job in El Cercado as Branch President. Hna. Johnson and I had the privilege of serving with him from October to February in Duvergé. In those 5 months he was the heart and soul of missionary work and member activation in Duvergé. He is a great teacher and can really motivate members. I give him all the credit for the 4 families that attended the Temple for the first time last January & February.

I remember fondly the first week Elder Jimenez was in Duvergé. He came to me and with a huge grin on his face asked me, “Are you ready for the ‘Duvergé Ward’?” By that question he was insinuating that there were going to be enough baptism in Duvergé to make it a Ward and that there were going to be enough active priesthood older to staff it. It was no idle boast, no single missionary before or since has had so many baptism in Duvergé and seen so many brethren be ordained Elders.

This evening we left the office early to buy supplies for this evening and it was a good thing we did. We stopped for gas and the attendant pointed to my right rear tire and said, “Did you know you have a flat tire?” No, I didn’t know but after I put some air in it we were off to a little “Gomero” (Tire Shop) around the corning to have it fixed. The tire shop worker pulled an inch long screw out of the tire, plugged the hole and we were on our way very quickly. I don’t like the practice of “plugging” a tire because I’ve had plugs cause separated tread but here in the DR it’s the only way they fix a hole in a tire.

Hna. Johnson and I went to a couple of stores to buy supplies on our way to FHE. We got to the MTC early enough so Hna. Johnson could make the silk greenery arrangements for Hna. Hendricks, wife of the MTC President.

The 5 silk arrangements look great and do the job they were intended for. They hide the exposed plumbing in the hall & stairwell of the MTC. Hna. Hendricks is very grateful for Hna. Johnson’s help with this project as well as all the other floral arranging she has done.

Hna. Hendricks pointed out that when she first came to MTC all of the special tasks that needed doing were overwhelming to her. She said she didn’t see any way she could do them all but then she started calling on the other Senior Sisters living and serving in the DR, asking them to use their special talents. They do things like cooking, sewing, floral arranging, piano playing, choir directing, etc. Hna. Hendricks has expressed her gratitude many times for all of the help she has been given. Of course everyone is delighted to share their talents in any way they can, after all we are all in the service of the Lord. It doesn’t matter where, what or when we serve; each of the Seniors are dedicated to serve the Lord and to help in any way we can.

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