Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

I had a rough night. Something I eat yesterday didn’t agree with me. But I was the only one in our group that got sick so that was good. Jared, Tere and Hna. Johnson all eat breakfast at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. It was all free with the price of the hotel room. The hotel really puts on a great spread for their patrons.

Our first stop was at the Barahona District chapel. The Zone leaders were there for Sunday services. We had mail to deliver to them for the Barahona Zone.

On the road to Duvergé we were very pleasantly surprised that most of the highway has been asphalted! Last year when we made the trip it would take hours because the road was so bad. Well not anymore. The whole trip only took us 40 minutes. I was traveling 70 miles an hour in places I used to drive 10 miles per hour. It was wonderful.

We had a wonderful reunion with our friends in Duvergé. They had about 30 members out to Sacrament meeting. Attendance was a little low because two of the branch’s mainstay families were all sick and couldn’t come to church. In spite of that we were happy to meet and greet the branch members as well as introduce Jared & Tere to everyone.

We left Duvergé as soon as the sacrament was over. We had to make a beeline to Neyba to get there before their Sacrament service was over. On the road we discovered that one of the bridges between the two towns was completely destroyed. It appears to have collapsed under its own weight; it doesn’t look like flooding caused the failure.

The story the Duvergé Elders told us about the bridge collapse was another example of the Lord taking care of his missionaries. Elder Carrasco and Elder Mower are the Zone leaders in Duvergé. They are supposed to travel to each of the other towns to work and train all of the other companionships in the Zone. A few weeks ago they had planned to go to Neyba to work with the Elders there. For some reason Pres. Almonte called them late Sunday evening the night before they planned to go. The President was very agitated and told them not to go to Neyba. He didn’t give a reason why but he was emphatic. Elder Mower described Pres. Almonte almost sounded mad and at time even sounded like he was yelling at him. Of course the Elders changed their plans for the next morning. It wasn’t until a couple of days later that they heard that the bridge failed that Monday morning. The Elders didn’t know if they would have been injured or even close to the collapse when it happened but they did describe the circumstances around President Almonte’s phone call as being a small miracle. I like to call it another one of the Lord’s “Tender Mercies”.

On our drive to Neyba was uneventful even at the sight of the collapsed bridge. There was a long detour down through the bottom of the ravine to get around the bridge. It is interesting to note that the 20 mile stretch of road between Duvergé and Neyba has been notorious as being a terrible stretch of road. But with the exception of the collapsed bridge, all of the problem areas on this road have been repaired. Hna. Johnson and I couldn’t believe our eyes as we saw all of the repair work that has been done in the past 5 months.

We arrived in Neyba in time to catch the last 5 minutes of their Sacrament meeting. And again it was a grand reunion as we got to see all of our old friends there. I took the opportunity to fill out a Fast Offering donation slip and give it to Hno. Norberto Tejera, the new Branch Pres. Ever since Hna. Johnson and I were reassigned and no longer attended with Neyba, I have always continued to make all of my Fast Offering donations there anyway.

My son Jared told me that he was wondering earlier if there was a way to help these poor people that have so very little. When he saw me filling out the F.O. slip he realized that was the way he could help. He made a donation to the Branch F.O. fund too. The Lords church is a “House of Order” and the right way to financially help members in the church is through the F.O. fund. The fund is administered by the Branch President so you know it will go to those that need it most.

On our way back to the capital we took the road through Galvin, Tamayo and Vicente Noble. This road is also known as one of the worst stretches of road in the whole Dominican Republic. But wouldn’t you know it, since the first of the year all of the bad stretches of road have been repaired or freshly paved over. Wow, the road is now beautiful! It was a real pleasure to drive on it.

On our way back to the capital we made mail stops in Tamayo and Vicente Noble. Of course the Elders got a gift of “Conference Bread” from Hna. Johnson. The South AP’s are in Vicente Noble and we had a nice visit with them. Hna. Johnson also had to give them petty cash as well as collect all of their reimbursement slips for input tomorrow morning in the mission office IMOS computer.

Today was a very big day of travel for the 4 of us. We accomplished all of the things we had planned to do. The most important was showing Jared and Tere where we served and what we did for 7 months last year. We got to introduce them to all of our friends in both towns as well as a lot of the missionaries along the way. We had a very good day.

This evening Jared and Tere phoned their sons in Texas. They are being cared for by Grandma & Grandpa Hunt, Tere’s parents. All of their boys got to talk to Jared and Tere. It was great. The only thing better would have been the “Webcam” but Debbie and Murphy don’t have a webcam so the phone had to do.

Next we called Grandma and Grandpa Burk, they do have a webcam. We all had a very nice conversation with them.

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