Friday, January 18, 2013

Missionary Blessings

 Hello family and friends . . .

The audit period is here beginning January 15th - March 15th.    We have been going to many trainings for the stake auditors - mostly to observe the assistants as they do this.  On one we were to pick up Orozco from his work . . .  of course we got lost.  It was a "missionary blessing" when we turned the car around and I see him about 40 yards away . . . laughing!  There was tons of traffic and people walking.  He had seen us (the gringos) drive by and figured we would be back!  Oh yeah the other thing is our phone was "locked up" and not working.  It is a miracle that we found him.
I have noticed how loving many people here are w/each other.  We were sitting behind a family in church and two brothers maybe 7 and 11 were quietly (sorta reverent) playing "rock, paper scissors."  The older one quit and just put his arm around his brother, pulled him close and kissed his head - the younger one just snuggled in.  You often see women of all ages holding hands while they walk together - even teenagers.  The office here is often like a party - people are always singing in the halls and stopping to joke around.  This is right up Chuck's alley!  Most have a hearty laugh! 

Favorite working horse picture - creative tack

Random thoughts: 

- I love it that many women use an umbrella when they walk outside - like the parasol days. 

- We were in the apartment and I heard someone loudly singing outside - had a great voice.  Chuck looked out and there was a man strolling along and singing into a can - we don't know what his state of mind was but it was enjoyable!!

- There is a very rusted out old car abandoned on the street on our way home from the office.  This week we noticed someone was breaking in down and hauling it off - much easier than a tow truck??

- An SUV stopped in traffic and they quickly opened the back - they were hauling a big multi-layer cake with blue icing and it was melting and slipping sideways!  The man tried to straighten it and then crawled in w/the cake to hold it with blue icing everywhere . . . we doubt it made it!

Sacrifice is when your son returns home from his mission and you aren't there to be with the rest of the family so your kids show it "live" to you on an ipad from the airport . . . that is what happened to our Area President Anderson and his wife.

- We got to attend the sealing in the temple of two couples from Haiti - in French.  Then they had their children brought in - girl maybe 7 and boy maybe 11 for one couple.  The other couple had a little boy about a year old.  They were so beautiful all in white with their dark skin and flashing smiles.  Except . . . the baby cried rather loudly the whole time - it was too late for him with too many new faces. 

- We got a second new car!  They had assigned us the wrong one for some reason.  This is a white Toyota and Chuck likes it because it has a little more zip. 

- On Christmas and New Year along the road there were whole animals roasting on poles . . . pigs, goats and chickens.  You just have them cut off what you want . . . we didn't try any . . .  didn't know how long they had been on that pole!

Sunday we left at 7:30 a.m. and drove an hour and a half east for church and trainings again w/Orozco.  Then we went to a disciplinary counsel with that case we worked on for so long.  That part of our work is pretty disturbing when you are dealing with a man's church membership.  Gratefully the real purpose of what we do is to teach procedures that protect those dealing with the finances if they are diligent in using them.

We hear the winter is colder than usual - sounds frigid!  We are still sleeping under a fan . . . although now with a sheet!  

Love to all and hope you know are thoughts are with you often!  Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa - Chuck and Vickie XOXOXOXOOXOX
One way to deliver bread

Meat on Christmas Eve - couldn't get one of the line of meat cooking on poles

Chuck buying his carving of the Taino Indian

Friday, January 4, 2013

Happy New Year 2013

We loved using Skype, Facetime and Google Plus to talk to family and friends over the holidays - what marvelous technology!  And we thought a Vonage phone was awesome . . .

We had fun little events and gatherings to celebrate the season - wonderful memories.  I think I will just make a list of random incidents and events so we can remember them:

- I needed tissue paper and ribbon - had to buy tissue paper by the single sheet and cheap curly ribbon by the yard.  Wanted to buy the whole roll of ribbon and she just looked at me really funny.  Finally I found out that if you show most stores your receipt they will wrap things for you . . . ok, so the wrapping looks like what Chuck might of done . . . but it was wrapped! 

- We and the two other senior couples that work out of the area office took cookies around to all of the employees singing "We Wish You A Merry Christmas" - they loved it!  We needed 300 so we each made 100 cookies and they got a napkin of three each.  
Taking cookies around the office for Christmas

- The Area Presidency had a devotional and catered lunch for all the senior couples - there are many that don't work at the office - all of the institute personnel, area office, temple workers and employees - about 220 of us.  It was a great event.  Two buffet tables of all foods Dominican! 

- Two Family Home Evenings . . . First was an acapella group of men made up from several stakes that sang to us for an hour w/great gusto and we loved it!  Christmas Eve Vickie sang in a double quartet - it was an "entertain ourselves" program!  New Year's Eve was

- Our kids and grandkids sent us a box of 12 envelopes to open for the twelve days before Christmas . . . along with our favorite jar of chocolate/carmel macadamia nut clusters - LOVED each day of that - was bummed when it was over! 

- A group of about 15 couples went to an orphanage and took gifts.  Counted our blessings! 

- Couples again met on Christmas morning and we each took "37 of 1 thing" - it was like Santa's workshop as we piled 37 plates full of goodies - one of each from all of us and wrapped them in cellophane and ribbon.

We had made baggies of carmel corn.  Then we all went "not so quietly" up 4 flights of stairs to burst into the classroom of the 37 missionaries at the Missionary Training Center.  We figured they each had at least 6,000 calories on the plate!  We sang to them and they sang to us - glorious time. 

- Aunt Shirley sent a few white shirts and the MTC was grateful for that donation. 

- We have gathered in apartments with others for food and visiting - wonderful holiday season! 

- We went to Samana on the northeast part of the island for an overnight with 6 other couples.  Moregoreous views of the ocean you wouldn't find anywhere - fantastic!!

We don't want you to think we play all the time.  The big project we have been working on for about 6 weeks has come to a "Loss and Defalcation Report" that is almost ready to send in.  We don't know what will happen.  It has been quite the experience to meet several times and have the security guards outside the door because we weren't sure of the state of mind of some involved. We feel blessed to be trusted to do this work - certainly not quite the same feel as our previous humanitarian work!

Chuck did a fantastic joy of figuring out the two boxes/puzzle of contrived paperwork that was involved to hide all of the expenditures.
It is hard to think we don't even go home this year!  But, we are at the 5 month mark - safe, comfortable and blessed more than we probably deserve. 

Love to all always . . . we think about and pray for you and your concerns.

Keep the faith!! XOXOXOXOXO  Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Chuck and Vickie