Sunday, August 8, 2010

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Today Hna. Johnson and I were off on a new P-day adventure. We were off in search of “Conde Bags” for the Elders in the mission office. We have talked to several of the Elders and many of them like to use a bag with a strap over their shoulder called a “Conde Bag” to carry their scriptures and pamphlets as they teach. Most Elders use backpacks but a few prefer the “Conde Bag”. Elder Bates and Elder Thorup in the mission office have asked us to see if we can find them a “Conde Bag” today.

We’ve been asking around and we’ve heard that there are two places to buy the bag. One is on the “Conde Street” hence the name “Conde Bag”. Unfortunately all of the Conde Bags on Conde Street are covered with touristy logos, pictures, etc. and are not suitable for use while proselyting. The other place we’ve heard about is at a huge mall called “Mega Mall”.

The problem with the Elders buying a Conde Bag is that both places we know of that sells them are on the east side of Santo Domingo in the East Mission, which is outside of our mission boundaries. Since the Elders aren’t allowed to go there Hna. Johnson and I are off on an adventure to the Mega Mall which is very far from any place in the capital we’ve ever gone before.

Our search really was an adventure. We found Mega Mall and it really is a Mega Mall. It is probably a square mile all under one roof with hundred of stores inside. Inside we found a little shop called “INKA Accesorios” and they had the Conde Bags, lots of them.

Hola mi familia,

It has been a year now in the mission field and it has definitely been quite a year. We have had a memorable July. The highlight was having family, Jared and Tere, come and visit. Who would have thought that we would have family come, it is wonderful to be senior missionaries. We were able to take some time off from the office and take them around the island.
We wanted them to experience our weekly trek out to Duvergé and Neyba. While there, they were able to visit some of the members that have become very dear to us. Also, they were able to experience the distance that we would go for church every week for almost the first half of our mission. We were able to take them to the beach a few times, some fun places to eat, a place called 27 waterfalls, the temple and the local MTC, temple store and to meet some great missionaries. We did a session at the temple and then some sealings for Tere’s family members. Now that was special.
Our sealer was one of the very first members of the church here in the Dominican. Every Sunday, he and his wife would pack up their 4 small children along with a picnic lunch and dinner. They would travel all over to meet with newly baptized members and teach them how to have meetings like Primary, Priesthood, and Relief Society. They were a big asset to the missionaries working here. He did the sealings in the temple with such a smooth rich animated Latin voice. He was very spiritual and definitely loves temple work. He has been in the temple presidency I think twice and was such a spiritual sealer.
One of our more adventurous activities was doing the 27 waterfalls. We did 7 of them. What you do is climb and hike and swim to the tops of the falls. Then you jump or slide down the falls. There are natural rock slides to go down. The activity was one that took a lot of strength. They weren’t extremely high, but going against the water’s current sure lets you know how strong water can be. Thank goodness for our 2 guides Alfredo and Victor. They pushed and pulled us, mostly me, up against the current and while we scaled the sides of the mountain walls. We each had a helmet and life jacket on which gave an excellent handle for them to grab on to. Please take time to see this on the blog, it was FUN! (
Jared and Tere were also able to meet and have dinner with President and Sister Almonte. Jared stated it is not every day that a mission president invites you to his home and takes the time to have dinner with you. It was a wonderful evening, even though Jared and Tere and I do not speak Spanish the Spirit helps with communication a lot.
We got our kids to the airport early Friday morning and on the way back we had another experience that was new. We left the airport 5:50 am and by 6:10 am, we were dead in the water, literally. A tremendous rain storm hit and while on the highway back, the water kept getting higher and higher in a matter of minutes. It was close to being in a flash flood, I would think, even though I have never been in one. Every time a large truck or bus would go by Elder Johnson would put the car in neutral and we floated further up the highway in hopes of getting to higher and drier ground. They eventually closed the highway and after 3 hours being stranded out in the flood waters some highway workers pushed us up and out of the waters. We were not the only ones they pushed out for there were others in our same state of being stranded in 2 ft of rain water. My side of the car let water in and I had very wet shoes and feet. We had called the office Elders to try and find a tow truck which was a challenge in itself as the whole southeast part of the city was under this storm and stranded many upon many motorists. Another 2 hours and we were at the area offices getting our own little Corolla back, yeah! We reserved an upgraded vehicle from the area office and they gave us a very nice ‘Odyssey’ minivan. We felt bad in returning the van in a non running state but we sure enjoyed having a larger car.
Now, one might think that we are on one continual 18 month vacation. Yes, we are having recreational activities which are amazing. But we also work very hard in the office for our Heavenly Father and for the missionaries in our mission and for the members here. We do our callings with all the talents and gifts that we have been blessed with and do the best we can at all times. We love being surrounded by missionaries and doing the Lord’s work. We love the people of this land and we are so thankful for the opportunities we have been given to serve our fellowman.
We continually pray for our family and for the Lord’s work to roll forth and spread in many lands. We testify to all that this is the Lord’s true church. We have been given so many blessings large and small, which both are equal in importance. It amazes us on how the Lord provides so many tender mercies for us. We see His hand in all aspects of our lives. We love you all, take care.

Love from Elder and Sister Johnson in the Santo Domingo West Mission

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