Friday, October 26, 2012

Marvelous Training Trip

Hola family and friends . . .

We are thinking it may of been harder to leave home this time than it was in August!  We had a marvelous training trip - gaining a broader appreciation for the auditing work/challenges all over the world.  It was the 15 International Area Auditors that gathered - all except the U.S. and Canada.  Thanks to Dr. Ray for a complication free root canal!  It was glorious fall weather in Utah . . . loved the fading colors and falling leaves!  It was fabulous to see all but the Florida part of our little family -  made our hearts sing.  I am now singing these words from a hymn about what is before us  "I have fought my way thru; I have finished the work thou didst give me to do!"

The crockpot made it safely and I am so excited to have it!  Ahhh the little things that make senior missionaries happy.  I am cooking beans in it today for a trial run - yummo! 

The drive to the area office is along the ocean . . . we love it!  It didn't seem as strange to see the old beat up taxis and buses.  There is always a man hanging out the door of the bus watching and waving for riders.  When someone gets off they slap the side of the bus - guess it tells the driver they are clear. The taxi driver usually has a hand out with 1, 2 or 3 fingers up telling all how many more riders he can take.  They pile 3 in the front seat and 4 or 5 in the back of these small taxis.  Can't figure out how anyone knows where they are going!  The major intersections have digital timers counting down to when the light turns green . . . very helpful!

There is construction going on here at the office - redoing the lower level.  It is loud with lots of pounding and drilling.  They dumped a huge pile of sand right on the floor to work with in laying tile.  Chuck finds it very interesting to see how they are doing things.  Our office area will be moved or re-configured somehow in all of this.  We had people measuring it before we left.

Chuck is figuring out what to do next with our assistants and training.  We have a couple of visits to go observe.  We are glad they are so well qualified and pretty much up to date with their training of new leaders.

We have had tons of rain for two days . . . outside rings of Hurricane Sandy I guess - many didn't get to the office yesterday - some of the streets don't drain well, but it is amazing that most do fine.  More rain than we see in years in Arizona!

My Dad's last living brother passed away this week - Uncle Clyde Hansen.  There is rejoicing going on . . . especially by him to be released from that worn out mortal body!  We will think of those that gather for his service.

Get out and VOTE!  Thinking of and missing you . . . YEAH for all the technology to keep in touch!!  LOVE TO ALL xoxoxo Chuck and Vickie, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa
Just taking a load of bananas to market . . . wonder if any get bruised?

This really is a working taxi . . . amazing huh? 

We stopped at an intersection and this was on the curb - we helped give thousands of these wheelchairs away with the church logo for humanitarian projects in Argentina.

Yes, he needs to tuck in his shirt and pull up his pants . . . but the kids loved the trick! 

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Audits Are In

 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 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