Friday, June 21, 2013

Yah Mon!

Jamaica with Brother Deans and his right side steering wheel car
Our son's friends the Evans serving as the Jamaica Mission office couple.
Hola to family and friends . . .                                                    June 21, 2013
Oh yes, today is an exciting day for our oldest grandchild . . . turning 16!  Watch out for the crazies on the roads Briley - be safe and have a great day!!!!!!!!!  No texting while driving please . . .

We were in Jamaica for the weekend - not the beaches tourist thing but we really enjoyed the trip.  It was mostly cloudy, humid and warm.  Speaking English was refreshing and Chuck can't quit saying "Yah mon!"  They use it often in greetings and talking w/each other.  We were there to meet and work with our new assistant Mark-Jeffery Deans.  We saw much of the country on Saturday driving up into the beautiful lush green of the mountains.  It looks alot like here in the DR. However the driving on the left side of  the road and the steering wheel on the right side of the car is VERY nerve racking! Not sure I would ever learn to drive in reverse thought process!  We had 4 separate trainings at 4 different chapels.  They are doing procedures better in many ways than we expected - just spending a lot of money on welfare which was not a surprise - but they also need to focus on training people to attempt to be self reliant and not just a dole.  Often hard concepts to internalize anywhere but especially in poverty.   

Darling little girl -most all little girls have
very fancy braiding and beads in their hair! 
We went to a Sacrament Meeting Sunday and I was amazed at all of the hair!  Most wore dreadlocks woven into their own hair - lots of it!  There was a family that came in with triplets - darling little two year old girls.  Wanted a picture but the little ones were having none of that.  We loved meeting with a District President - he rides his bike all over about a 50 mile broad area.  He expressed how it was so worth any effort on his part because of his many blessings from the Lord.

The training in Santiago the previous weekend had a great attendance of 36 men.  Most of the leaders that were requested to be there showed up.  They served the "bandera dinner" (traditional) of rice, beans, chicken and a potato salad kind of dish.  I have never seen such a huge pot of rice - was at least 10 gallons.   They certainly ate heartily and cleaned out the pans! 

Chuck training the 36 in Santiago meeting. 
A lady met me there at the chapel when we were at the training in Santiago - we had talked w/her months ago and she wanted to make us (sell) an embroidery.  She was excited to show it to me and I hope I was equally grateful for her work.  It is crude stitchery but filled with desire to please . . . the flag of the DR, stick figures of us as missionaries, our name at the top and the year.  I always appreciate handwork and love her effort!   She was so pleased - how can I not adore it???

The Buttons returned from training in Salt Lake and were kind enough to deliver to us a suitcase full of 45 white shirts and 3 gallon ziplocks packed with ties for the MTC!  Our daughter Jenna's ward in Pleasant Grove, Utah gathered and sent them along with the suitcase to be donated to a needy missionary.  It was fun to be the ones to take these things to President and Sister Freestone to be handed out when needed.  Once in a while missionaries come with only two shirts and are washing one every night.  This will be a blessing to them!  Thanks Jenna for all your work to gather and individually mark and pack each shirt in it's own ziplock.

Shirts and ties to the MTC

We are enjoying hearing all of the summer activities . . . such a great time!  Love to all of you Mom ad Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa   XOXOXO 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cashew Apple and the "Untrip"

Spanish Speaking Assistants with Gerald Taylor (area controler) and Chuck

Hello all . . .                                                                   June 7, 2013
Chuck with the suitcase from Dick and Nancy's untrip
We figured out how to get things here to the DR that we might want (creature comforts)  . . .  Have Dick and Nancy plan a visit on a flight that is way overbooked and they check the bag carrying all the "things" they are being kind to bring to us.  Wahlah . . . they don't make it on the flight  but the suitcase will and we go to the airport and pick it up . . . NIFTY huh? 

Well, that is what happened . . . so crazy!  Chuck is greatly enjoying his Red Devil hot sauce and we appreciate the rest of the list.  Very kind of you bro and sis!  However, we are still looking forward to a real visit! 

Last Saturday we had our four Spanish speaking assistants gather for training.  They are the ones in charge of auditor training here for a majority of the units of the church.   There were the 3 from here in the DR and the one from Puerto Rico.  Chuck is very pleased with the way it all went and he thinks it was good to sit around a table and talk about what they do and share experiences.  They were also taught some new emphasis on important aspects of training leaders in using the funds of the church.  I can follow some of it and know at least what they are talking about . . . they seemed to enjoy the green chile cheese breakfast bake, cut up fresh fruit salad and rolls for breakfast I made for them. 

A favorite recent sighting was a bus (gua gua) with several layers of foam totaling about 15 inches strapped to the front bumper.  It was the usual beat up and running bus with big front and back extended bumpers but the foam was a nice feature!  Ya gotta be on your toes to catch this stuff . . .

Cashew Apple
I always wondered where cashew nuts came from but never looked it up.  Turns out there is a cashew apple tree and the nut is a by-product that forms first and hangs below a fleshy cashew apple.  The trees grow here in the tropics.  The ones we found on the ground were really stinky - but you can totally see the nut that after precessing is so delicious.  They mostly seem to use the "apple" part for juices we were told.  It was a huge tree and we couldn't reach anything on the tree that might of been fresher than the one I took a picture of. 

Next Monday is the FHE that we will celebrate Father's Day.  I wrote a "rap" for the occasion that all of the girls will - dare I say perform - for the men.  We had a little practice last week and it will be a hit!  That is the only description I choose to offer of what might happen . . .

Flamboyant Tree
Tomorrow we go to Santiago for a big training of leaders in that area under the direction of Felix Cruz our assistant.    They are planning a dinner and it will be interesting.  Add that to the 5 and a half hours I listened to on Sunday - you would think the Spanish would improve!   I am looking forward to the drive to see the gorgeous red flamboyant trees in bloom - they are quite the show right now.

We worked two hours in the temple this morning unpacking a million boxes and counting things - it was an order placed a year ago and it is very large - will be a huge job to mark everything and find places to store it all. 


Again - LOVE YOU ALL - hope your summer is looking fun!  XOXOXOXO Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa