Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Mission Update

Hola family and friends . . .

We were relieved and grateful when the Annual Training was over and we took the last ones to the airport!  It seemed to go really well.  Those over us have only expressed compliments and we haven't been asked to go home . . . so we will press on.  It was a learning experience and we were impressed with the quality of the assistants that we work with . . . it was good to put faces with the names!!  Most are young enough to be our children and we loved getting to know them.

We are grateful to my cousins Phyllis and Danny for keeping us updated on Uncle Buddy Raymer's recent care and ultimate death on September 14th.  He was my mother's only brother.  Uncle Bud was a good part of my growing up years.  Even in recent years his joyful, joking spirit always shown through when we would visit him.  As Phyllis said . . . we were amazed how he still could come up with "new material" to bring a smile to our face.  He leaves us a wonderful legacy of faithful perseverance in the face of extreme health obstacles.  We love Uncle Buddy!!

A visit to the dentist was an adventure.  After carefully checking off all of the health issues to be gone 18 months ~ a month in I found myself with a toothache . . . grrrrr!  I got a dentist referral from the area doctor . . . address didn't show on the GPS . . . we got directions . . . found the street and need #13 building . . . stopped to ask 5 people . . . they look right and left and point in all directions and somehow a Taco Bell is mentioned . . . not one in sight . . . we finally call the office for the third time and she tells us the color of the building . . . still no Taco Bell.  We see the dentist's name in the building directory as on the 5th floor.  There is no 5th floor on the elevator buttons.  I finally have an examination from what seems like a competent doctor . . . x~rays and about a 30 minute visit . . . $13.00  How do they do that?  It was all rather hilarious!!  October 10th we will fly to Phoenix to visit favorite Dr. Ray for a root canal then on to Salt Lake for our Auditor Training the next week.  Nice break huh?   Sorry just don't want to get that root canal done here . . . ok call me chicken!

We finally visited a beautiful beach!  Indeed just like a postcard . . . crystal blue, refreshing, perfect temperature and the ever present swaying palms.  Chuck enjoyed a little snorkeling but wasn't too impressed - didn't look like a tropical fish tank!  We took home lots of sand and had a fun time with 3 other couples.  Be sure to bring beach shoes if you visit . . . it's sorta rocky in the water.

Beach Therapy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
At church last Sunday there was a group of about 30 visiting from Suriname.  They are here for temple work and staying all week at the "Casa" by the temple.  All of the couples had been sealed in the temple on Saturday.  They speak different strengths of English, French and Dutch.  In Relief Society (women's meeting) it made me chuckle to see about 6 groups holding different translations of what the teacher was teaching in Spanish.  It all sounded like confusion and it literally was ~ but they sure were sweet, friendly women!

Except for 2 ~ all of the audits are in for the area ~ 406 units of the church from this Caribbean Area.  Percentage wise . . . we are #1 in the well . . . world!  There are 15 areas of the church outside of the USA. The Mexico Area is second . . . but we have to admit they have over 2,200 units of the church . . . but hey . . . we are going on percentage!!!!  It is a real accomplishment and awesome to see this work of the assistants in helping to get things done on time.   There is an audit every 6 months.

We are enjoying our mission and feeling more comfortable.  It is good to get to know some people and making new friends.  Miss you all and love you OH SO VERY MUCH!!!!  Thanks for keeping in touch ~ we thrive on it!!  XOXOXOXOXO

Love you Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandpa and Grandma

A horse drawn cart with something that looks like cheeries and limes but we don't really think it is cherries????????
Assistant Area Auditor Training - group picture
Botanical Garden . . . a funky tree!!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Our Buddies Slick and Inca Cola

Hi family and friends . . .

Today is our 44th anniversary . . . wow that's crazy to think of that number!!
Since we arrived we have been working on the Annual Area Auditor Training that is tomorrow and Saturday the 14th and 15th.  Have done all of the scheduling for meeting agendas, flights, food and lodging for the 7 assistants and their wives to come here to Santo Domingo.  We are having dinner catered for Friday night but Saturday breakfast and lunch we are arranging ourselves.  Do you know the effort to find ice chests and tablecloths etc. when you aren't "home?"   But . . . we think we are under control.  There are also three men coming from Salt Lake  . . .  the three over the Church Auditing Department.  Wish us luck!!

Richard and Hazie Brown came Tuesday from Trinidad ~ they are the couple over the West Indies ~ and have been staying with us.  It was a stressful airport run at midnigtht on unfamiliar roads that do not have good lighting - we felt watched over and blessed.  We have had a great time visiting with them and getting to know such good devoted people.  
Have I mentioned how curly my hair is here . . . I have pretty much gone with it.  I always feel pink and hot!
We went to a fun restaurant that advertised Peruvian Grilled Chicken ~ the Peru thing drew Chuck in and it was delicious!  He even got to enjoy Inca Kola that he has such a love for from his young missionary days.  

Chuck enjoying his Inca Kola . . . a bubble gum tasting citrus thing.

There are about 30 couples here that gather every Monday for Family Home Evening ~ usually in small groups of 4 or 5 couples with an assigned host couple.  We meet in the apartments of those that live at the Casa by the temple.  Sometimes they all gather in the cafeteria room and have refreshments together.   Last week our lesson was on the history of the Dominican Republic and Christopher Columbus.  It was so informative!  I did not know he never landed on the mainland of the "Americas!"  He made four trips and landed here at each one.  His son Diego Colon has a "restored" home here that was built in 1512.  We went to tour it on Saturday ~ it was very interesting.  It is totally made from the coral stone that is the foundation of this island.   The whole Columbus thing was quite the history lesson! 
Diego Colon (Columbus) home

It is interesting to know that last February Elder Bednar was touring this Caribbean Area and visited Cuba to dedicate it for the preaching of the gospel.  There is a small branch of the church established there and recently the branch president and his wife were here to be sealed in the temple.  
For anyone thinking they may visit us one day and would like to work on a project to bring . . . white shirts are always greatly needed here at the MTC ~ size 14 through 15 are in the greatest need.  No need for bigger sizes.  Also, young boys white shirts are needed outside of the cities.  Newborn kits are always a great thing to be delivered to outlying hospitals.
Don't know how we would get around without our buddy Slick . . . yes, we've named our GPS because indeed she is such a slick little thing . . . MAGIC! 
All is well here with us - just need to get through these next few days with the annual training and we will be glad to have it successfully over . . . we hope!   We love you and pray all is good in your lives.  Thank you for the emails and phone calls to keep in touch - they are joyous to us!   LOVE TO ALL xoxoxoxooxoxoxxo  Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie and Grandma and Grandpa

This is the entry picture of our apartment . . . poor missionaries!

Moving day for someone - sorry, most of my "local color" pictures are from the car.