Serving in the Caribbean Area Presidency Office in
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

26 August 2010

Beautiful Puerto Rico

Last weekend we returned to Vieques to work with our dear brothers and sisters there.  As we got off the ferry, Sister Button exclaimed "We're back home!"  As we walked to our apartment this is what we saw as we looked back to the west at Puerto Rico:

On Monday we returned to Fajardo to resume our work there.  Wednesday was our preparation day.  After cleaning the apartment and doing a few other things we decided to explore the southern part of El Yunque, the rain forest on the eastern end of Puerto Rico.  The following pictures don't really do it justice but hopefully gives you enough to know that God loves Puerto Rico.

15 August 2010

The parable of the GPS

Being lost while trying to find people and places here in Puerto Rico has been a frustrating and an almost daily occurence.  In many places there are no street signs or numbers on the houses.  Until recently we had to rely on verbal directions which were only slightly better than nothing ... and in some cases worse.  We also tried to use maps drawn by others, which again were usually of very little value.  To resolve the problem we asked our kids back home to send us our GPS (Magellan).  When it came we were excited to put it to use, but we quickly found that it was also very limited - it showed roads that didn't exist and didn't show others that did.  The straw that broke the camel's back was when we were in the city of Caguas looking for Costco.  We had the exact address from the internet which we entered into the GPS.  It took us into neighborhoods where we knew no Costco would ever be found.  After stopping and asking directions of several people, I came to the realization that none of them really knew where it was.  In frustration we gave up searching and decided we would just go home...Then I had an idea - I prayed and told Heavenly Father that we needed His help to guide us since nothing else and nobody else could.  As I started to drive I didn't hear a voice or have a vision, just a quiet feeling to go in a certain direction.  After a couple of turns and driving for about 5 minutes, there it was!  Our first purchase at Costco was a new GPS specifically updated for Puerto Rico.  Since then, going where we need to go and finding what we need to find has been amazingly better!

This situation is a parallel for many people here in Puerto Rico and throughout the world.  They wander through life looking for happiness and meaning.  They resort to various opinions, books and philosophies/religions.  Many of them give up after coming to the false conclusion that nobody really knows the way. 

But as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we do know the way and we do have the "perfect GPS" to guide people to where they can find eternal truth, happiness and safety.  As missionaries we pray that others will realize that they must turn directly to God for their answers.  When they do that, He guides them to us or us to them.  And when they listen to our message, He tells them through His Spirit that they have found the way home.

11 August 2010

Ceiba - our new home the fishbowl

We were transferred to Cieba, on the big island of Puerto Rico, working with the Fajardo branch.  We still have our apartment in Vieques, where we will go every other weekend while we continue to work with the people in the Vieques branch.  We are excited because we have alot more work to do.  We call our upstairs apartment the "Fishbowl" because there are so many windows.  The decor is very interesting!
Our favorite room in the house is the bedroom with our a/c unit

The following picture is the shower head in the Ceiba apartment.  In Vieques our hot water is produced by an electrical attachment to the shower head like the one you see in this picture.  Our hearts sunk when we saw that this one was burned out.

  Initially Marilyn was trying to be brave about the fact that we didn't have hot water in the apartment.  The first two days of showering were quite a challenge for her.  Leon, on the other hand thought the cold showers were very refreshing.  At the end of our second day Leon moved the faucet handle to one side and discovered.....HOT WATER!!!!  Unfortunately for Marilyn she had already taken her cold shower that day.  We are very pleased to have hot water in the bathroom and the kitchen!!!  In Vieques our only hot water is in the shower, so we haul the hot water to the kitchen to wash the dishes.

02 August 2010

Introducing our new Granddaughter!

We are the proud grandparents of
Maryn Grace Terry  
August 1 2010
6:09 PM
6 lbs 11oz 19 3/4 in

Here she is with her very happy family!!

Tender Mercy from Above

The Lord blessed us with a tender mercy yesterday afternoon.  (To preface this you need to know that we pray always to be able to find the people the Lord wants us to find and who are prepared to receive His gospel.)  There are a few people whose names are on the church rolls but whom we haven't been able to find yet.  Yesterday we felt a desire to look for a mother and her daughter whom we had been told lived in a certain part of the island that we never had visited.  We had no idea where in the neighborhood they lived, what their house looked like or what they looked like.  As we drove in this new neighborhood over steep hills around sharp turns, we passed many homes.  All of sudden Sister Button said that we should stop and talk to some people sitting outside a certain house.  By the time she said that we had already passed the house.  The roads are so narrow that it isn't easy to turn around so I asked her if she was sure.  She paused a minute and then said yes.  So we went down the road a ways until we could find a place to turn around.  By the time we came back and parked, the people had gone inside their house.  So we followed the Caribbean tradition - we went up to about 20 feet of the house and called out "Buenas Tardes."  There was a radio blaring on the porch that prevented the people inside from hearing us.  After calling out a few times we were about to leave when a lady came out the door and shut off the radio.  This time when I called out she heard us and walked toward us.  We asked her if she knew the people we were searching for, not really expecting her to know them but hoping that that this would be an ice breaker that would lead to a gospel discussion .  To our surprise we discovered that she was the very person we were looking for.  Here is a picture of the house -

Sister Button pointed out that this represented two miracles: 1) The Spirit had whispered to her to help us find this lady; and 2) That I had been willing to listen and follow her prompting.  Regarding this second miracle, I hope that she is just teasing me, but I must confess sadly that it has taken me almost three decades of living with my wife to figure out that she is right most of the time.  I used to think that she was right when what she thought agreed with what I thought.  Now when she has thoughts that are different than mine, I have developed the humility and wisdom to question my thinking rather than hers.  I can only imagine how life would have been different if I had figured that out in the early days of our marriage.

01 August 2010

Lessons lessons lessons

Sister Button is touching people's hearts, ears and stomachs.  She touches their hearts with her countenance, her love for them and her efforts to communicate with them in Spanish - which by the way is going very well and getting better every day (muy bien y mejor cada dia.)  She is touching their ears by teaching them music lessons.
Luz Romero learning to conduct the hymns.  Last week she conducted one hymn, this week she did all three!

President Velez and Yarisbel Colon learning to play the piano!

On Wednesdays we give English lessons.  We haven't had as many people attending as we would like so we decided to teach people during English class how to make the wonderful bread and cinnamon rolls that Sister Button has been giving to lots of our friends here in Vieques.  The attendance at this class was at an all-time high!
Chegui putting the rolls into the oven.

Yarisbel, Gloria and Maribel putting the dough into the bread pans.
Enjoying the fruits of our labors!