Friday, July 19, 2013

Happy Birthday, Love Miles

Hello to all . . .                                                                            July 19, 2013

Vickie's desk decorated for b-day

Miles at 6 days - what a cutie! 

WELCOME TO OUR FAMILY MILES JOHNSON GUNTHER 8lbs. 3 oz. - 21 inches born July 8th my birthday!  Thank you for the very thoughtful birthday gift Jera!  It was wonderful to have the technology to know in real time the progress of his arrival - such an exciting miracle!   Sooooo, boys and redheads surge ahead in our grandchildren count . . . we actually aren't real sure about the redhead but I am going to count it for now!  It is so hard to not be around for these special events . . . but they seem to manage fine without us and we are rejoicing in our posterity!  Thank you Hancocks for helping the Gunthers!  Aching to hold him . . .

Stirring the sancocho soup

We joined one of our assistants Rolando Marte and his family for a celebration of his son's wedding.  It was a gathering at his mother's home in San Cristobal about 20 miles out of the city.  It was a joyous occasion and they were eating sancocho . . . a stew type pot of meat and vegetables they were cooking in a huge pot over a fire in the backyard.   You put some rice in a bowl and pour the sancocho over the rice - tasty!  Chuck thought he had some "parts" in his bowl.  I took my chocolate cake and that was the food for the day for probably 50 that were there.  So, from a 9x13 pan we would usually serve 15 or so . . . well they served everyone from that cake with a good size corner left that Rolando's sister was "saving!"   I know Chuck wondered "what's the point" when he saw his one bite portion on his plate!  Dominicans don't eat near as many sweets as we do . . . however, the candy sure disappears when I put it out at the office!

On Mondays we have been goingto the MTC and have two sets of three elders that are "teaching" us in Spanish for their training.  They are doing sooooo well to be so new and Chuck pushes them pretty hard - can see their brains spinning!   It amazes me since I don't seem to grasp language nearly like they do!   One of them just graduated high school . . . they are awesome missionaries and fun to be around.  They are only here in the MTC 6 weeks!

Tuesday we felt a slight tremor of an earthquake . . . now that sounds scary and I hope a big one doesn't hit . . . but we both noticed it sitting at our desks at the office for just a couple of seconds.  It was over before you realized what was going on.  Hadn't ever experienced anything like that.  It would certainly be unsettling if it  happened often.

We left yesterday morning to go to Sabana del Mar with a group of missionaries including the Haws that serve with Humanitarian Services.  We went to a hospital that they were exploring a project to help with some needs they are requesting.  It was interesting to visit the rooms and be shown the hospital and meet some of the patients.  There is such a difference in the quality of care from what we would expect at home.  We visited with a new mother that had a small baby laying by her - he was very small.   We spent the night in an "interesting" little hotel . . .   Elder Haws plans to write a book one day - he says it will be a very short book and the title will be "The Power of Low Expectations!"  We decided that would be the name of this little getaway - we had a great time!  We also took a boat ride into the "Haitises National Park" - lots of mangrove trees and a couple of caves.  It was a really fun day.

On the boat in Haitises Park
The summer is flying . . . we love you all so much!  Hope life is being good to you LOVE, Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie and Grandma and Grandpa   XOXOOXXOOXOXOX
Just a regular egg to show how big the mangos are! 

Friday, July 5, 2013

Powerful :)

6 on a cycle - not my photo but we have all seen it
Elder Leavitt got the picture
Hola family and friends . . .                                                July 5, 201
Dunfords had us and others over last night for wonderful enchiladas for the 4th and an early birthday cake for me! Always so fun to be with good people and eat great food! 

Chuck playing the thumb piano w/Dunfords
I was thinking how lucky we were to not have been sick in 10 months - then Sunday a week ago dawned.  What a miserable day I had throwing up etc. Monday I stayed hunkered at the apartment even missing a fun "talent" night at Family Home Evening.  We were to play the kalimba with the Dunfords - a crude little handmade instrument from a gourd you strum w/your thumbs.  Chuck went ahead and performed . . . the whole evening was ENJOYABLE I hear . . . you must remember senior missionaries are usually easily entertained!! 

Our internal lunch clocks are at least an hour ahead of everyone else in the office.  We are amazed at how quiet it is when later they are all down in the lunchroom.  Open that door and it sounds like chaos however . . . it is a truth what we hear that when two or more Dominicans are gathered it is usually a party!  For the most part they are a jovial, fun loving friendly people.  Most here in the office speak some English.  We have a friend named Socrates that when you ask him how he is - he always gets this huge genuine grin and says "powerful!" 

One afternoon last week we picked up Orosco our assistant for the east part of the country and took him to get trees to plant for his home.  We got a lemon, mango and avocado - he was so thrilled and happy!   He works hard and is great at this church assignment he has but his income is very small for his family to live on.   This is the case with all of the Auditor Assistants but they sure are good men. 

Orosco family and new trees
Chuck has been to two training sessions the last two Sundays w/out me.  The first one I was sick and last week I went to a concert of the acapella men's group that performs here - we had heard them at Christmas.  They are wonderful to listen to!!  This time they did several "barbershop type" arrangements - I loved it!  Chuck's trainings were very successful and well attended by multiple stakes - he was very pleased with how things went. 

The nursery where we got the trees.
House of the family that runs the business
We apparently are in a rainy season - it has rained everyday at some point for the last two weeks then often clears up quickly and is lovely but clouds can come in fast.  I love the changes!  We are warm but nothing like the temperatures we see are going on in the west at home - hope our house isn't melted!  We had a wonderful pre-4th of July bar-b-que dinner for FHE on Monday - my baked beans were sorta delicious!  There was a program on the history of the writing of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence - all very interesting and patriotic.  God bless America, my home, sweet home! 

We continue to wait for #15 to arrive - otherwise known as the "tie-breaker!"  Jera and Jordan are waiting on the old fashioned way to know if it is a boy or girl.  Either way as of now we have 7 boys and 7 girls - 7 redheads and 7 other!  Anytime now Jera . . . .

We love hearing about all of the summer activities going on . . . We love you and miss you so much  XOXOXOXO  Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa