Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Final Report

Whale watching boat holding the only whale we saw that day!
Rosalind and Jay Sorensen
Saying farewell
Jerald Taylor and Lorenzo Castillo (our bosses) with the beautiful plaque we received from the office. 
                                                                                                         January 28, 2014
Hola for our final mission report in the DR - unbelievable that the time is here!    

Recently we met and helped train the Bawdens - a couple that is now assigned to the ABC Islands - located right above Venezuela  - they are in for an adventure.  They will do a little bit of everything and were excited to get to work!  There are about 20 single missionaries on the three islands and 4 or 5 branches of the church.  He spoke Spanish but there is a lot of Dutch down there also.  Just a faithful couple here from New Mexico. 

We learned that we are in the temple district for the new Gilbert Temple in Arizona.  We will arrive home in time to take our neighbors to the open house and also enjoy the cultural celebration with grandkids participating and then the actual temple dedication March 2nd.   We hear reports that it is spectacular and impressive! 

There is a whale watching season here - we scheduled an excursion along with about 20 other missionaries.  Turns out it was the season's first time out w/guests for the boat.  They had numerous whale sightings in the days before we went . . . however, on our appointed day the whales seemed to not get the "show up" message and blew us off!  It was 4 hours on rather rough seas - I chummed the fish along the way and was miserable for a little while.  It is great PR that they give you back your ticket for a return trip if you don't see whales - we gave ours away as they said anyone could re-use them.  Would of been an awesome sight to see those hump back whales surface . . .

A month ago I was able to be the escort at the temple for a young wife/mother here from Antigua.  They have been visiting family in Haiti and returned last Saturday to be sealed in the temple with their little girl.  The temple has been closed but President Flake opened it so this couple could have this wonderful blessing before returning to Antigua.  It was a wonderful experience to witness this occasion with them. 

We picked the Sorensens up at the airport Saturday at midnight - they are ready to take over!!!  It is has been great to be with them these last few days of transition.  We have greatly enjoyed doing all of our "lasts."  The office had a farewell of sorts for us . . . we appreciate the friendship/love of all these beautiful Dominican people.  However, we have become readier and readier to return home to our life and family.  Missions are life changing and we feel blessed to have been able to serve. We return home somewhat different in outlook and attitude because of the experiences we have had and learned from.   

We are so honored by the goodness of the lives of our children/grandchildren and the joy this brings to us!  How thankful we are to have the gospel of Jesus Christ to guide our lives.  We trust and pray this small sacrifice at this time of our life has been a worthy offering of our love and gratitude to our Lord and Savior.  Can't wait to get those hugs on our return!!   

Thanks for reading my mission letter ramblings and LOVE TO ALL  
 XOXOXOXOXO  Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa   

Monday, January 13, 2014

Yeah for 2014

Hola family and friends  . . .                                                       January 13, 2014
2014 things to consider improving on:  meaningful conversations with loved ones, whom do I owe apologies and always tell and show those close to me how much I care.  Yeah for 2014!!!
Yeah also for a mission departure date of January 30th - the countdown is on.  We will spend a few days in Florida with Justin and Lori's family and then fly to Salt Lake for a short visit with Jenna and Lane - drive on to St. George to see Jera and Jordan and travel to Arizona Tuesday, February 11th - stop and hug Jason and Angela then to our house in Maricopa!!  It seemed crazy to fly to Phoenix and then shortly get on a plane to go back to visit Florida kids.  This way we will of seen the family and can settle into some health care surgery that awaits us with Chuck's eye and my hip.   It is nice that we both don't fall apart at once . . .
We had a pleasant New Year's Eve Dinner with the Marte family - total Dominican food and tasty!  We had roasted pig - very crusty/crunchy on the outside.  Fanny Marte made sure everyone got a little of the crunchy - think that must be the favorite for them!  We shut down and headed home about 9:30 but their young adult kids were headed to the church for an all night dance and then somewhere to watch the sun rise over the ocean.   There was an hour of fireworks at midnight but not an all night thing like we anticipated. 
The office has been very quiet the last couple of weeks and people we need to deal with have been on vacation.  There are 7 holidays when the office is closed from Christmas Eve day through January so employees tack those days on to vacation . . . not much gets done!  However there have been several situations come up with our work that will keep us busy to figure out and try to not hand over too many problems to our replacements. This training of leaders is always ongoing to teach correct financial procedures and their importance.  Chuck has been to some great trainings lately that the audit committees are doing themselves - progress!!!
I love the tradition January 6th of the Feast of the Three Kings Holiday. This is the major day when the children receive their holiday presents. The tradition is for them to leave goodies out for the Three Kings that will leave them their gifts.   They also leave a glass of water and some grass under their bed for the camels!! 
Our temple service here is over as it is closed the last two weeks of January for maintenance and cleaning.
I am not taking about a third of my cloths home.   I will take them in for the office girls to have anything they might want - they will make the rest "go away."  Chuck will also leave some of his ties and white shirts. 
We are so grateful for the protective care of our grandson Jaren with a 4-wheeler accident.  The bike landed on top of him and he walked away.  We are feeling blessed and have such gratitude that he wasn't badly hurt.  Best of all good things to each of you . . . MUCHO LOVE FROM US   Mom and Dad, Chuck and Vickie, Grandma and Grandpa    XOXOXOXOXO
Pictures . . .
Visited an aquarium and this camouflage sting ray could certainly be a great object lesson!!!
Beautiful green mountains here in the DR . . .
Us by the Marte family door and their Santa they made this year for decoration! 
Chuck . . . admiring and thinking . . .