Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our last day in the mission, we fly home tomorrow. Today was very busy we started with breakfast at “The Pastry” for all sorts of baked delicacies! Usually I only buy bread and sweets at The Pastry but this morning we indulged in all of the empanadas, stuffed rolls and meat filled breads. They were great.

Next we were off to the “Colonial Zone” here in the capital. This is the area of Santo Domingo that was settled by Christopher Columbus at the end of the 15th Century. The streets are very narrow and many of the buildings are still standing from the colonial days. Some of the buildings are five centuries old.

We visited the oldest Cathedral in the New World. I would imagine that it was a humble building compared to the huge Cathedrals of old Europe but it had beautiful architecture none the less. We’ve been here before and I’ve always been impresses with it.

We also toured a former church that is now a mausoleum and shrine to the fallen heroes of the Dominican Republic. We got to watch the changing of the guard with all of its pomp and ceremony. It was free except for the tip I gave our tour guide. We enjoyed the building and the tour a lot.

Next we were off to do all of our souvenir shopping for our families back home. Nathan & Valerie and Jacob & Wendy all had several purchases to make for their children as well as the families that are babysitting their kids. Hna. Johnson also had a list of items to buy for the several missionaries that had placed orders. They really like the “Conde Bags” to carry their scriptures and teaching materials in.

This afternoon our “Dueña” (Landlord) came over to inspect our apartment. Her name is Nieves Henriquez and she has been a wonderful Dueña. We have enjoyed the apartment very much and especially the convenience of living only two blocks from the mission office.

Our Dueña found nothing amiss in the apartment so we will be getting all of our deposit back. That is a good thing because the cleaning deposit was equal to two months’ rent or $1700.00USD.

We ended the day with President & Hna. Almonte for dinner in the mission home. They also invited all of the office Elders to join us. Hna. Almonte is a wonderful cook and the meal was superb. There was plenty for all and we went away stuffed. The food was very good.

We had a wonderful evening with the Almonte’s. We introduced our sons and daughter-in-laws to them. We sat around and reminisced about the good times we’ve had together while serving the Lord in the Dominican Republic.

One of the highlights of the evening was a book I had prepared for the Almonte’s. Last month I ordered a “Blog2Print” book of every picture in by mission blog. It contained 1500 photographs of the mission from when we arrived in July 2009 until the second week of December 2010. The book has over 250 pages.

President Almonte was excited when he received the book. As he turned the pages and we talked about individual events on specific days he was so overcome with joy he had tears streaming down his cheeks. We were all choked up a bit to see the Mission Pres. so happy with the gift. He continually thanked Hna. Johnson and I for the book.

But all good things must come to an end. We had to leave because we must get up at 3:00am to head for the Airport at 4:00. We said our final goodbyes; Hna. Almonte and Hna. Johnson simply embraced each other and wept. It was hard to leave but we do have plans to see them again when we attend a mission reunion the Almonte’s are planning for October General Conference 2011 in SLC.

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