Hello again . . .
All of the audits are in for the area and now we are working on resolving the "exceptions" which are issues where they haven't had documentation with receipts, signatures or proper approval for expenditures. They are extremely minimal but still need attention. The church is not so concerned about the money as they are about the well being of the men involved and therefore also their family. Many of them are very poor and the temptation of dealing w/money received from tithing and fast offerings is hard.
We had a recent Monday that was a holiday here so the office was closed. Ten of us "senior missionaries" piled in two of our small cars and headed to find a couple of waterfalls. The drive was gorgeous . . . all shades of green, plush tropical mountains and growth. There were many local vendors along the road with stands selling all kinds of interesting things . . . would of loved to stop and roam! The first "salta" (waterfall) was a 15 minute hike with 5 suspended bridges - gratefully not high but over huge boulders. One of the missionaries is a retired engineer and he was asked what he thought . . . he gazed at the construction and said "it's just a matter of time!" Not reassuring!! I could go in great detail about the hike to the second saltathirty minutes down the road . . . but won't. It was STEEP switchbacks on a narrow path that was slippery with damp leaves and tiny gravel with no guard rails of any kind. After about 25 minutes I decided to call it quits along with another gal. We could see the less than impressive salta through some foliage and that was good enough!! Chuck did the whole thing but said I was the wiser one! Iguazu Falls in Paraguay it was not. Wish you could of seen where we stopped to eat . . . pretty unbelievable . . . nobody got sick! They took us inside their little home to use the bathroom . . . there was no sink in the bathroom or TP. Your mind goes crazy huh?
The Hammons "over our office partition wall" are the Welfare Service missionaries. She has gone to the states to help their youngest daughter with a first baby. He asked us to "chaperon" him to a training he had to do in Puerto Plata on the north side of the island a 2 1/2 hour drive. It was great!! Sunday morning I went to a class by myself because Chuck and Brother Hammon were in a welfare meeting. Turns out I sat by a lady that she and her husband were the first converts of the church 33 years ago in Puerto Plata . . . the Sanchez family. The Dominican Republic had just been opened to missionaries a few months previous. They knew the Davis' that are Rick Tarwater's (our brother-in-law) aunt and uncle. They were very instrumental in getting the church established in the DR.
After church we went to check on a woman that had received a prosthetic leg from church welfare. This turned out to be one of those humbling experiences that haunts you as to why we are so very blessed. This women was in a tiny dark house/room about 7'x7' on a small bed that took up half of the room. There was cardboard on the walls. The daughter borrowed a chair from a neighbor and offered it to me to sit down. The daughter had a darling baby maybe a year old. Circumstances are impossible to justify or to understand . . . I always have to pause and remember that the Lord loves them every bit as much as he loves me. I really don't know how they function. They were clean and gracious as could be.
We are blessed to be able to attend the temple often. It is two blocks away but not a direct route to drive or walk there. We are often longer in traffic than if we could just walk. It is larger than you might think and serves all of the Caribbean Area. The stained glass and woodwork is gorgeous.
Know many of you enjoyed General Conference as much as we did! We are thrilled with the announcement of a temple in Tucson and memorable to be present for the change in ages of missionary service . . . glad to have lds.org to re-listen or watch whenever we want!
It seems weird . . . yet good to be headed home for a few days . . . I HAVE A LIST!! Love to all and know you are thought about often and prayed for daily . . . Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandpa and Grandma XOXOXOXOXO
|Chuck on the suspended bridge to the small waterfall.|
|Us with the Sanchez couple - Puerto Plata 1st converts|
|Daughter (w/baby) of the woman with the prosthetic leg - she is on her bed through the green door.|
|Dominican Republic Temple|