Friday, December 27, 2013

Dominican Republic - December 27, 2013

Hola to all -                                                        December 27, 2013

We trust you have had a wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to celebrating a New Year!  We have had fun activities to keep us fairly occupied and memorable experiences. 

A sad event was going to the office on the 10th and learning our friend Aydy's baby had passed away.  Her desk/office is right across from us.  He was about 8 months old and had been born with some heart issues he could not overcome.   The graveside service was to be that morning - we and the Crismons attended.  I have never seen a more lovely cemetery - it truly was luscious green, serene and well kept.  We are told it is tradition to wear white for a funeral and it was so perfect to see Aydy, her mother and little girl all in beautiful white dresses with flowers and ribbons in their hair.  I loved it. 

The Dunfords came to stay with us the last couple of days before they flew home.  It was so fun!  They had to be out of their apartment and we so enjoyed having them!  We will look forward to seeing these good friends another day!  The night before they left we went to a mall where the West Mission missionaries pulled off a flash mob of Christmas caroling.  It was a great experience and we loved watching it. 

Our assistant from Haiti - Jean Rossely Bernardo couldn't get his visa to come to the training held in November so last week he was finally able to come over for two days so Chuck could teach/train him.  He speaks English well enough that it wasn't a problem - Chuck's French is lousy!  It was a privilege to be with him in the temple as he was able to participate in doing the work for his father. 

Last Monday there were about 15 of us that went out to a small housing area in the cane fields called a batey.  Haitians live there - about 40 families and work the cane.  They are extremely poor - there is a tiny school building and some housing - all in the dirt.  We took lots of items that Crismons and others had gathered - each couple also took rice, beans and oil for 5 families.  We expected it to be a marvelous experience . . . it turned out to be rather chaotic and we didn't feel much gratitude.  It continues to be such a problem with how to help people without making them totally dependent on that continued expectation of help.  Much of the time you just have to give and then let it be in the Lord's hands.  That is why in the Church we try so hard to train the leaders in the proper use of funds to help people be able to help themselves.  I also had my camera stolen while there . . . bah humbug! 

How wonderful to have visits with all the family - technology is so awesome.  Chuck even got to narrate the nativity via Facetime with the Florida kids as they acted out Luke 2 Christmas Eve!  Christmas morning the senior missionaries played Santa elves and gathered to put together a goodie plate for each missionary at the MTC.  Each couple took 45 "somethings" - we put one each on 45 plates - wrapped them in cellophane tied w/ribbon and went singing to the cafeteria where they were all gathered.  We sang to them - they sang to us and even though a little homesick rejoiced that we get to spend Christmas in the Caribbean! 
We also delivered the 90 baby kits we had put together . . . indeed there were more than 90 babies at the hospital that morning.  We got to walk through the rooms singing and wishing the mothers "Feliz Navidad" - lots and lots of tiny babies and mothers - some didn't look like they felt too well and we almost felt like we were imposing but it was a wonderful experience. 
A favorite sighting this week was watching a man trim/shape a small tree with his very large and sharp machete - definitely is a tool of choice for all things here! 
Greatly missing home at this time of year but enjoying counting our blessings here in the Caribbean!   LOVE TO YOU - Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Gma and Gpa    XOXOXOXOXO

Pictures -
Goodies for the missionaries at the MTC - Chuck is far right
Haiti Nativity sets . . . do you see and love the giraffe with the cow and sheep??? 
Batey kids lined up for gifts
A new baby and mother at the hospital with one of our newborn kits. 


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