Thursday, August 30, 2012

Check It Out!

Hi family and friends . . .        
Us Arizona folks were glad to see the sun after 4 cloudy/dreary days of rain from "Isaac" blowing through.  We had some flooding in some streets and part of a bridge washed away on a road going west of the city but escaped the real brunt of the storm.  We are told it literally did a 90 degree turn for a bit to avoid Santa Domingo!   The Area Welfare Manager for the church tells us that Haiti had some major flooding and the people are diligently cleaning up and repairing their very humble homes.

We (Chuck really) survived our first monthly Area Audit Committee Meeting.  They decided to do it in Spanish as Elder Zivic of the Seventy was more comfortable with that . . . pretty much took me out of it!  He is an accountant by profession and was very specific and thorough about going through the details.  Chuck, with the agenda, had made a sheet of "unit concerns" that he thought was just to peruse as examples of trouble issues . . . they ended up going through every item and deciding what to do and report back next meeting.  It will be a wonderful group to work with and get to know better.

 We attended a training given by one of the assistants.  There were 17 men there ~ half of them were the bishops of the wards in the stake ~ wow did they look young!  Remember the church has only been established here since 1978.  They were excited to learn and get things right with finances and had animated discussion.  I was impressed with the "brotherhood" I felt they had!  They were happy, excited to see each other and really joked around.  Chuck enjoyed being with them.  
It is the end of pineapple season . . . rats, they are soooo sweet and delicious.  The mangoes and avacadoes are huge, cheap and wonderful! 
Every morning at 9:00 I attend a short devotional with those here in the office wanting to learn more English.  We sing a hymn in English and someone has prepared a short thought from the scriptures and close with prayer.  I couldn't help but chuckle yesterday when the man presenting the thought kept directing us to a scripture with the phrase "check it out" . . . things just get lost in translation! 
There are always street vendors walking between traffic especially at stoplights selling all kinds of things ~ newspapers, phones and accessories, food of all kinds, hats, maps etc.  My favorite so far and I couldn't take a picture . . . a man with a large homemade wood birdcage in each hand with about 10 canaries in each cage!  Do ya think he sold any of those on the street ~ how do you take a canary home?

I am sending a picture of Simon Orozco with his wife and three little boys and also one of the home he has built.  The house is about 20ft. x 20ft.  It is all cement.  His brother is going to build a house on the top.  We were invited in ~ they gave us a folding chair and they all stood.  One little boy had a toy he was quietly playing with sitting on the floor by the back door.  I saw no real furnishings but they were excited and happy with their new home.  He is one of the 3 auditor assistants here in the DR and works with 86 units of the church to help with monitoring their finances. There are currently 406 church units in all of the Caribbean Area.

The Snows with the Orozco family.
The Orozco home.

I don't think we have fan palms in Arizona.

Guess the Electric Company doesn't care . . . the electric wires are a huge cluster in many intersections!   

We get real mail here pretty easy . . .
For letters, pictures (real), articles, cards, please send to:
Elder Charles and Sister Vickie Rucker
2250 NW 114th Ave., Unit 1A
Miami, Florida  33172

For any packages, please send to:
Elder Charles and Sister Vickie Rucker
8532 NW 66th Street
Miami, Florida  33166
We are trying to learn our duty and be good missionaries . . . 
MUCH LOVE TO YOU ALL . . . TAKE GOOD CARE OF EACH OTHER!!!  Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa   XOXOXOXOXO 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Saturday, August 11, 2012

We Can Do This

Missionary Training Center Aug 6 - 11, 2012

Hello family and friends . .

We are on our way!!  Thursday, Aug 2nd we locked the door to our home to leave for this mission to the Dominican Republic as Caribbean Area Auditors.  Jason and Angela took us to the airport to go to Salt Lake City.  We had a day of training at the Church Office Building on Friday.  That was an eye opening experience of how the church works all over the world to monitor and account for all of the funds donated through tithing and fast offering.  We were taught one on one by the Director of the Auditing Department and also two of his assistants.  They were wonderful to work with and very approachable.  At the end of the day we left feeling . . . WE CAN DO THIS . . . maybe!

We spent the weekend with Jenna and Lane's family and they all dropped us off at the Missionary Training Center Monday morning - Aug 6th.  It is such an organized and efficient process now that they hardly give you time to say goodbye!  They unloaded our luggage - gave us hugs and were off!   There are about 50 senior couples here this week in our group - literally going all over the world with a great variety of assignments.  They told us the number of couples going on missions has doubled in the last year - amazing and terrific!  We are often in a class with the whole senior group - but mostly in a smaller group of the same four couples that we have enjoyed getting to know.  We are mostly taught by young returned missionaries - they are fun and don't let us get away with much even though we could be their grandparents!   The fireside of the whole MTC was an awesome experience - it is worth it just to listen to the singing of "Called to Serve" with over two thousand young missionaries singing behind our group.

It is a good thing we are only here a week as the three solid meals in the cafeteria would quickly do us in!  We had a meeting with a doctor and another couple that is going to the Dominican Republic of the Congo in Africa.  The doctor was informing us about malaria - we will only have to take pills if we go into Hati.   The other couple however know they will have to deal with all that is involved with daily pills for malaria and the issues of hygine - they even have to wash the cans of food.  If they think there is a mosquito in the room they have to sleep with a net.  It was pretty scary and sobering to listen to the doctor and his warnings for them.  We did have to get a typhoid shot.

We leave here at 5:30 Saturday morning on a shuttle for the airport and will land in Santo Domingo about 9:20 that evening after a couple of layovers.  Arizona home is certainly missed already - but we are anxious to get going in our assignment.   It is a wonderful opportunity to serve a mission.  We hope you know how much you mean to us and how loved you are  . . . more than you can know! 
Loads of love Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa     XOXOXOXOXO

Chuck waiting on a skype call early morning the day we left home - notice bare feet and pj's
traditional map photo
This is only one aisle of washers/dryers!