Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Rapplees

We work closely with the Rapplees, the temple president and his wife, because we take various missionaries to the temple 20 times a year. The Rapplees were the very first members of the church here in the Dominican Republic.

The Ideal Baptism

The members spoke and performed the baptisms. The bishop conducted. The organization presidents were there to welcome the converts into the church.

Primary Program

The shoes of the elder playing the piano.

After we were the concluding speakers in the primary program, we were invited to teach primary. I should have listened to Mikan and tied my hair up. They couldn't stop touching it. 

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Elder Cook's Messages

Today Elder Cook was in Santiago and the meeting was broadcast to all of us here in the Dominican Republic.  It was absolutely one of the highlight days of my mission so far.  What a humble prophet he is!  I never expected to be inspired the way I was today.

The first thing that impressed me was when he related the experience of building the Kirtland Temple.  I have always known the women broke their china to add to the sparkle of the walls, but it meant something deeper to me today.  The walls really didn’t need their china.  The temple would be built without the china.  The sisters needed to break their china to add to the temple walls.  Their china was a symbol of the fine things of the world and the fact that they broke their china symbolized their willingness to give up worldly things.  The fact that they gave the china to enhance the temple symbolized the importance of heavenly things.  We are working hard here in this mission to be consecrated and that means putting the things of the world aside, not caring, not worrying about material things or what’s happening at home, but focusing on the work and the things of God.  What a beautiful symbol Elder Cook shared with us today.

Another thing that impressed me was his message about the converts our missionaries are finding.  He spoke of the gathering of Israel and how we are to find the elect.  I realized the investigators here are the elect.  They are those who have been prepared.  That’s why they have such soft hearts.  That’s why they are so willing to listen to the gospel.  They are a chosen people and we need to remember this when we teach them.   We need to remember that The Lord has prepared them, and that is why they are ready to hear the truth.  They are open-hearted, open-minded and we need to treat them with the respect and reverence they are due.  We need to bear solemn testimony in the discussions, not a rote, habitual testimony, but a testimony born of the spirit.

Friday, November 10, 2017

First Time for Everything

We rode the metro for the first time last night.   It saved an hour stuck in heavy traffic but we felt like sardines squozen in between hundreds of hot sweaty bodies.
The return trip was less crowded and we were able to make some contacts. The man who sat next to me had actually attended the church when he was 12 and had a friend who was a bishop. I shared part of the Book of Mormon with him. He said he had a copy in his house and would find it and read it.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Chosen People

The Dominican people are truly chosen. They receive really vivid confirmations that this is the true church.  One man was sitting in the foyer of the church. He said that before he ever came to church, he had had a vision (a dream) on two different occasions where he saw himself sitting in the exact same location looking in the very same direction.

Another woman was listening to the discussions and she saw a halo appear around the heads of the hermanas who were teaching her. She felt like this was a sign from God that these hermanas were bringing her the truth.

Transfers Require Divine Intervention

When we were doing transfers this time, we were blessed with guidance we didn’t know why we were receiving. We chose our trainers several weeks ago, and our new missionaries just arrived yesterday. We didn’t know who these trainers would be training, just that we needed them to train. As it turned out, they were the perfect choices for this exact group of missionaries. Practically every companionship was matched up in heaven. We put two Panamanians together, without knowing it. We put two athletes together who excelled in the same three sports. We put two hermanas together that happen to be the two craftiest hermanas in the mission. We had selected one Brazilian to train, and it turned out we received a new missionary who spoke only Portuguese, not Spanish or English. She was so happy when she met her trainer! Three weeks ago The Lord knew who we were going to need to train well before we knew it.

Blessings of Obedience

It’s so wonderful when the missionaries listen and follow counsel!  This week I gave the missionaries a training on the Santa Cena (the Sacrament) so they could help investigators understand the importance of church attendance. One of her hermanas comparted the information to a “member seca,” a woman who had been attending church for 8 years, but refused to be baptized.  When this hermana shared with her the connection between the Santa Cena and baptism, she committed to be baptized!

We started a practice in our mission where our missionaries carry a Book of Mormon in their hand at all times. The other night two of our hermanas were walking home and a man on a moto drove up and told them to give him their bags or he would shoot them. They immediately stuck their hands up in the air like a Saguaro cactus. When the ladron saw the Book of Mormon in their hands he sped off without taking anything.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Teaching By Flashlight

Many times there is no power when the missionaries teach. When we were teaching with these missionaries, luckily we had flashlights on our phones.

Stake Choir

It's so sweet... when they sing here they always dress like a group of professionals regardless of how professional they sound. They send the flowers home with me afterwards's even sweeter!

Life After Goodwill

This is what happens with all the clothes we discard in the USA -- on the way to a market here.

Really Funny, Elder!

Our assistants played a joke on our elder in charge of housing. After eight transfers in the office (that's almost a full year!), our assistants told him he was staying for yet another transfer.  He almost cried with relief when he discovered it wasn't true!

Monday, October 30, 2017

The Chicken Store and the Egg Store

These guys will soon be upside down waiting for a buyer.

The egg store

Great Training

During interviews this week, one of our assistants gave the best training. He compared the story of Peter fishing to our mission. When Peter was obedient to the savior and threw his net on the other side of the boat, he caught so many fish he couldn't haul them in alone. He then called on another boat to help him 

Elder Palma compared that to our mission because our promise is that every companionship will baptize this month. When one companionship needs help, they realize they can call on other companionships nearby to help.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Sister Golbranson - CCM President's Wife

My friend Sister Golbranson's husband is the president of the CCM here in Santo Domingo.

My 90-Year-Old Friend

My friend is 90-years-old and he plays like a teenager.

A Yoga Class I Longed to Join

The Smarts

We caught up with the smarts during the conference. What a trial to have a hurricane wipe out your mission!

Presidenté between Meetings

A Replica of an Italian Village

The river and the mountains are Dominican originals.

Blessings in Disguise

Each time I speak to a group in Spanish I ask Presidente afterwards what I said wrong.  He always replies, "I didn't hear any mistakes."  And then I ask one of the assistants who is from Mexico what were my mistakes and he says he doesn't know.

Obviously, I make all kinds of mistakes when I speak Spanish, but I have learned something from these responses that I think is good for all relationships.  When I speak the listeners are concentrating so hard on what I'm trying to say, and they are trying so hard to understand me, they don't even pay attention to my mistakes.  They are not listening to identify my mistakes, they are listening for understanding.

I think that is a beautiful lesson.  In our relationships if we could listen for understanding instead of criticizing others, imagine how much more content we would be with our relationships.  We wouldn't even notice the mistakes, and we would have far greater understanding!

The Rapplees

We work closely with the Rapplees, the temple president and his wife, because we take various missionaries to the temple 20 times a year. T...