Sunday, April 17, 2011

A few of the things that bring me joy on our mission:

  • Looking into the faces of our students and feeling their love for us and for the Lord.
  • The giggles of a bright- eyed little boy and girl as we play "ring-around-the-rosy" over and over!
  • Associating with the dear, dear temple workers, many of whom come from long distances and sacrifice a lot to be able to pay for a bus to get here.
  • Institute students lighting up when they see us.
  • Lots of daily hugs and loving words from students and others.
  • The thoughtful acts of my wonderful companion, Reed!!
  • Hearing the people sing the hymns with such enthusiasm and love even though many times it is off-key.
  • Clerks in the store or students at the Institute burst into song spontaneously.
  • Wonderful friendships with other senior couples.
  • Strangers calling me "mi amor".
  • Hearing the angelic singing of the CCM missionaries on the floor above us.
  • Miguel Angel, a young man with one leg and a gigantic grin who washes our windshield at a stoplight.
  • A kind doctor that says to call day or night and means it.
  • Coming home at night to the temple all lit up!!
  • Isidro, our security guard at the Institute who is one of the most thoughtful people I've ever met.
  • The joy of someone receiving his/her mission call!
  • The weekly emails from missionary "sons and daughters".
  • The beauties of God's creations.....brilliant colored flowers everywhere.....the gorgeous blues and greens of the sea.....all kinds of palm trees.....a tiny geiko staring at me from the wall....huge fambroyant trees in full bloom
  • How excited the students get about general conference!
  • Watching a young man with the build of a wrestler click his heels in the air as he is about to enter the baptismal font.
  • Darling little girls with braids all over their heads held with all colors of beads.
  • Holding precious  and cuddly black-haired babies.
  • Three neat things happened on my walk the other the top of the incline towards the temple, there were 2 black spots on the sidewalk that looked like eyes and a curved stick was below them making it look like a smiley made me smile every time I came around to that spot.  There was also an absolutely breath-taking sunrise bursting forth behind the clouds!  The third thing was a conference talk I was listening to as I walked by Elder Eyring that seemed just to me.  He talked about trusting in God and being willing to be totally obedient.  I've been really struggling lately with being willing to go wherever the Lord needs us on our next mission because I want so badly to extend this one instead of putting in our papers for a new one.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Wendy and Christina's Visit

The Sunday before Christmas, we were excited to have our daughters come and visit us. It was the first we had seen Christina since she left on her mission over 1 1/2 years ago. We were thrilled to have both of them and Sherrie's mother with us for Christmas. We went to the mountains and stayed a night in a beautiful home of our mission president and also went dancing and did the tourist thing as well. 

We crashed a stake dance in order to get in some latin dancing. Wendy lives to latin dance. There were not a lot of youth in attendance but the music was loud and it was fast. We all got into it!

 On Christmas day we went with some of the other senior missionary couple to a retirement/nursing home. It was nice and we sang to the residents. The humanitarian missionary couple brought some quilts that were donated to the residents as well. The Catholic nun was very gracious and very appreciative.

Our Christmas tree was a traditional "charamico". It is easy to care for! We had it up in our apartment since last Christmas.

 The girls are excited!
 We were so excited to get a family calendar that the kids put together when they were at Wendy's house at Thanksgiving. We loved it and so did Grandma.
 I loved my ties too.
 Wendy and Christina with their Grandma West.
Ahhhhhh! Nothing like going to the beach at Christmas time!!!!! Sherrie never stops being a missionary! See her name tag!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Lorna"s Visit

We have been so blessed to have Sherrie's mother, Lorna, here with us for a month. She came in November with Sherries brother, Scott, and sister in law, Edith, before Thanksgiving.

We were able to show them around for a few days before they returned to New York to be with their daughter. We enjoyed them so much.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mission Training Center Missionaries Sing

This past Monday at our family home evening with the other senior missionary couples, we had a pot luck to send off our past temple president (the Harris's) and his first counselor (the Bowcuts). They have been wonderful to work with. The Harris's are from Portland Oregon and are returning to take the place as a sealer in the Portland Oregon Temple while the brother who was a sealer at the Portland Temple is coming here to be the temple president. They are changing places.

We were blessed to have a group of elders from the CCM(Mission Training Center), which is directly above our apartment in our building, come and sing to us. I have included a video clip of their performance. We love being close to the missionaries. When we go to bed at night, we can hear them singing above us. We feel like we are hearing angels! This past week a new group arrived. There are about 16 from North America and about 10 Haitian missionaries. I love to be with the missionaries in the temple and feel of their power. We met the first Haitian general authority (area Seventy) this past Friday at the institute. His name is Elder PiernĂ³ (sp) and is only 37 years old. He has already served as a stake president. He is the coordinator of Seminaries and Institutes in Haiti.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Many activities and even a visit from my beautiful sister, Joy and her husband, Lane. We are standing in front of the house of the son of Christopher Columbus. It is a huge stone building which is remarkable given the time period and crude tools used for construction. We also spent some time visiting the old fortress that was built at the mouth of the river to protect the city. It was later turned into a prison. The many prisoners that died there were just thrown into the river which runs next to it. It was humbling to walk through such a place. The picture of the gate is the original entrance into the city from the river. It was built in the early 1500's.

They also spent 4 days in an all inclusive resort on our favorite beach about an hour from Santo Domingo. We joined them for one night and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


What a great time we have. Sherrie is amazing and continues to bless the people here. She has started to spend time learning French so she can speak with the members that are here from Haiti. I have included one photo of a beautiful family who met each other here at the temple a number of years ago and have 3 adorable children.
Other photos are of our outing with the other senior couples and of our 100% dinner. Last week we had a dinner for all of the student in the institute program not only in our building but throughout the stakes and had about 95 people there. Sherrie came up with the idea to help motivate the kids  to attend institute and it has been very successful. She underestimated how motivated the kids here are for food rewards. She thought initially we could get all of them in our apartment. Not so!

The other photos are of our trip to a cocoa processing plant and a pottery factory. Cocoa is a big business here with the beans from the DR reaching mostly buyers in Europe. The good German chocolate comes from the DR. The Dr is the biggest producer of organic cocoa in the world. They call it organic of course because of not pesticides or artificial fertilizers. I asked about the diseases and pests and they said that the biggest problem they have is with the rats that infest the fields and climb the trees and eat into a pod and bite a bean and spit it out. I asked how they control the rats and they said snakes. So there you have it. Nothing to worry about! Makes your chocolate taste even  better knowing what people have to do to pick it. We are drinking freshly made hot cocoa. It was very good but very different from what we traditionally have. One photo is of some wooden bins where they ferment the cocoa beans after they are harvested. The grower has up to 6 hours to get his beans to the processor or he will loose them. The fermentation process is what gives the cocoa beans their distinctive chocolate flavor. The longer the process, the more rich the chocolate flavor. They are then dried and bagged. Each bag sells for about $200 US dollars. One photo is of our guide with a cocoa pod open. The beans are inside surrounded by a white fruit. It is quite tasty but the farmers grind the whole thing up after separating the seeds and use it as fertilizer.

We also visited a small fabrication facility of authentic Tiano Indian pottery. The Tianos are the indigenous people that were on the island when Columbus arrived. It was very interesting and very warm. I respect so much the difficulty the workers have sitting in the heat for 10 hours a day trimming and making the individual pieces of pottery. The pieces are sold throughout the country. We took advantage of the chance and bought some souvenirs.

The kids were back to school this past week so things were rocking. Our class starts this Wednesday but so far we only have 4 signed up. Probably due to the fact that is only for engaged or married students.

Another week in paradise!