Friday, December 14, 2012

Grateful for Freedom

Hola again family and friends . . .

When we had our Thanksgiving buffet some (if you  had a sticker on the bottom of your plate) were asked to take a minute and share what "they were thankful for."   At the end our Area President Anderson said he was recently reminded of how grateful he was for freedom.  He was just returned from a trip to Cuba.  He had visited with the Branch President there.  His daughter after many years had received permission to go to the states for schooling.  She is living and going to school in Salt Lake City.  The Andersons had visited her in October when they were there for General Conference.  She isn't sure she will ever see her parents again.  She had small gifts for the Andersons to take back and hopefully give to her parents when they went to Cuba again.  One was a 6 inch replica of The Statue of Liberty.  He said it spoke volumes to all that were there and caused him to contemplate those blessings of having our freedom!  We all felt the spirit of his experience.  Indeed we are so grateful for our freedoms as US citizens. 

Our work has caused some situations the last few weeks that are difficult but needful.  We spent 5 hours one Sunday talking with several leaders/members about financial expenditures in a ward that are not adding up right with the paperwork . . . I was so done with listening and not understanding much Spanish!!  Chuck has been out in the evening several times with others - visiting and trying to pin things down as to what has been happening - such as were activities really held for which there were expenditures?  It is a hard/sad thing to search and see if there is wrong doing.  But, that is what we are here for in this assignment.

Saturday we went west on the island to Azua - our second time there to deal with a missionary that was sent home from the MTC located here because of some undisclosed financial problems he had while serving as the branch clerk.  It is wonderful that he felt the spirit work on him to disclose that he had been dishonest . . . the sorry part is it wasn't a large amount that has caused him all this sorrow.  After all is said and done it is only 1850 pesos that he is responsible to repay - about $45.00 - a very small amount to us but huge for him!  It was awesome to see the burden lift from his countenance . . . he said, "I can do that" and then he can return to his mission clean and forgiven!

The Haws are Humanitarian Service Missionaries here - they got a new little Toyota truck when the vehicles were rotated.  It was so funny to hear them tell of how in the city traffic men will randomly jump into the bed of the truck for a ride and then hop out without saying a word.  At first they were alarmed - now they realize it is harmless and just part of the culture!  There aren't too many pickup trucks. 
Next Tuesday evening we start working a shift in the temple.  We have worked on and off many years in the Mesa, Arizona Temple.  I can tell this experience will be different in many ways and yet the same - of course the main block for me is the language!  The blessings are the beautiful people, gorgeous peaceful atmosphere and surroundings and joyful service done there.  Chuck will be wonderful and I will give it my best . . . .

I read this advice from Jeffery R. Holland's Christmas article in the "Ensign" this month - love it and want to practice it: Keep your faith. Look for the good in your situation.  Do something kind for someone.  Seek Christ devoid of wrapping and tinsel.   We are thinking of the preparations for Christmas with you all.  We are among the couples here helping with newborn kits, hygiene kits and baking cookies for all of the MTC elders to receive their own goodie bag.  Angela, we will be rooting for you as you conduct a fantastic Stake Christmas Concert this Sunday . . . good luck! 
Some have asked for this info:

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

 MUCH LOVE TO YOU - ENJOY THE SEASON . . . Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa     XOXOXOXOXOXO

Chuck's barber shop

How do those eggs keep from flying out with a sudden stop? 

Lunch time . . .

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