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

24 September 2010

Who needs a horse trailer anyway?

Living in Lehi for so many years we have seen quite a variety of horse trailers.  There are luxury multi-horse trailers, the very basic well-used trailers and the old run down, barely still useable ones.  But today driving down the road in Puerto Rico we saw something we have never seen before and thought, "Who needs a horse trailer anyway?"
Our highlight of the day was a visit from our dear friend from home, Daren Shumway, who was in Puerto Rico on business!  He drove out of his way to visit with us for a few minutes.

Elder Button's hair really looked normal in person, although it looks funny in this photo!

19 September 2010

This week in the mission

Every Tuesday at 6:30 am we have our district meetings in Luquillo, a 20 min drive from our apartment.  We enjoy meeting with the Elders in our district. 
Sister Button & Elders Button, Simons, Harvey, Nuauhi, Udall, Losee and Francis

September in Puerto Rico is known for tropical storms, so yes, we had plenty of rain this week.  September is also the season for avocados (aguacates) and annonas.  Yum!!!

Our friend Bethsaida made arepas for us - delicious!

For preparation day we drove to the veterans hospital in San Juan to visit Manuel, our friend from Vieques
Hurrican Igor created tremendous waves that made our ride on the ferry to and from Vieques very jumpy, but the Lord blessed us and we didn't get seasick!

09 September 2010

Humbled in their presence

Do you ever feel that you have really sacrificed to obey the Lord's commandments and that you are giving all you can to demonstrate your commitment to God?  To be completely candid, we confess that we may have fallen into some self-righteous pride in that regard in the past.  But we have been humbled by the family in this picture - the Dicksons.

The Dicksons are members of the Fajardo branch who live on the island of Culebra.  They have callings and attend church every week in Fajardo.  If you go to a map you'll see that Culebra is several miles off the northeast coast of Puerto Rico.  To attend church that starts at 9:00 am on Sunday, the Dicksons have to catch the ferry boat in Culebra at 6:30 am.  (Just imagine when they have to arise to get themselves ready and prepared for the day.)  The ferry ride lasts an hour and a half, and the seas aren't always smooth.  So they arrive at the dock in Fajardo about 8:00 am and then have to walk about a mile to the chapel.  Although church lets out at noon, the next available ferry doesn't leave until 3:00 pm but often it runs later than that.  So the Dicksons bring their food and make lunch in the kitchen of the church and wait until it is time to walk back to the ferry.  You'll note from the picture that the Dicksons have a newborn baby, about a month old in this picture.  Mother and baby started making the trip about about a month after the birth.

What are people with this type of commitment and faith capable of doing with the Lord's help? The story continues with the next picture -

This picture is of Ray and Nick, also from Culebra. They are investigators of the church who will be baptized in early October. The Dicksons invited them to come to church with them and they accepted...clear back in January of 2010! Almost every week since then these two young men attend church making the trip with the Dicksons. In addition, they are taking seminary from Sister Dickson during the week in Culebra.

So the next time we start to think that attending church, sharing the gospel with our friends, or anything else the Lord askes us to do is too much of a sacrifice, let's remember these magnificent people...and humbly follow their example.

06 September 2010

Answers to prayers

 Here in Ceiba our apartment comes with "neighborhood" dogs at no extra charge.  These dogs are not owned by anyone, according to our next door neighbor.  She says that they were simply abandoned by someone and she feels sorry for them so she feeds them.  What this picture doesn't allow you to comprehend is how absolutely miserable these dogs are.  I suppose that due to the tropical climate and bugs, they are infested with skin diseases that covers their skins with sores and their hair is very splotchy.  I felt sorry for them until I tried sleeping in this apartment.  The dogs tend to bark off and on all night long just under our windows. In the wee hours of the second night I seriously considered putting them out of their misery but realized that that probably wasn't the best idea.  I decided to resort to another solution - I prayed that God would do it for me.  I have learned that when we have faith and are trying to live like we should, the Lord will always give us what we ask for - or something better.  So when the dogs were still alive the next day, I decided there must be something better.  The next night I prayed that God would make the dogs stop barking at night.  Apparently God had something better instead because the dogs continued to bark throughout the night.  Finally the thought came to me to pray that I wouldn't be bothered by the dogs.  This must be what the Lord wanted me to learn because I now can sleep even with the dogs barking.  You may be inclined to think that this is a silly little story, but I believe it applies to many of our problems.  Often we pray for the Lord to change other people or our environment.  Sometimes the thing that most needs changing is us.  I know that God always answers our petitions by either giving us what we ask for or giving us something better.  So if we aren't getting what we asked for, we should seek to know and recognize the Lord's better answer.

Matthew 7:7-11

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.  Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?  Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?  If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?"