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

30 August 2011

St. Kitts Branch Conference

In the San Juan airport we found this map of the Caribbean (our part of the world.)  Our mission includes the islands of Puerto Rico, (Vieques is part of Puerto Rico) St. Thomas, Tortola/Virgin Gorda, St. Croix, St. Kitts/Nevis, Antigua and Dominica. 

In Puerto Rico we drive on the right side of the road, (in Vieques we were supposed to but quite often had to go on the left to dodge a horse, pot hole or parked car?) but on the other islands they drive on the left side of the road.  Each island has it's own uniqueness.  But, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the same everywhere we go.  We sing the same hymns, read from the same scriptures, pray and worship in the same manner in each ward or branch and are lead by a prophet of God.

Service project at the St. Christopher Children's Home.  This service was especially meaningful because the Branch President actually grew up here in this home.  He and his wife have just been called to serve as Humanitarian Service Missionaries for the islands of St. Kitts, Antigua and Dominica.

While the men were in meetings Sister Button, Sister Hymas and Sister Hadlock went for a drive:

Dinner with our missionary friends!

14 August 2011

Tortola Branch Conference

July 2-3 we traveled with the Mission Presidency and their wives to Tortola for Branch Conference.  The branch rents the 3rd floor of a building that they have converted into their meeting house.  When we arrived Saturday afternoon the youth were just finishing up a service project in the parking lot next the building where they meet.

We enjoyed meeting and visiting with the members of the branch Sunday during the regular church services followed by priesthood and auxilary training.  We all enjoyed a great meal provided by the Kalama family.

07 August 2011

The Flower Show

In June we received a new senior missionary couple, Elder and Sister Rivera.  We spent time in the office training them, but then decided that we all might enjoy the training more if we changed the enviroment a bit and took a drive to Aibonito to see the flower show.  It was fantastic! 

We loved seeing the different plants and flowers, some that we see and grow in Arizona and many, many more that we can only dream about in Arizona.  Puerto Rican vegetation is breathtaking!  Here are just a few:

We told some of the other senior missionaries about our wonderful day.  Sisters Edwards and Hernandez decided to make the 70 min drive (each way) to Aibonito in the morning on the 4th of July.  They made it to Aibonito, saw a few plants and even bought delicious piña colada's to drink.  They enjoyed their outing so much that when Sister Hymas called around noon, they convinced her to make the same trip that afternoon.  Sister Edwards decided to be the tour guide for Sister Hymas.   When they arrived at where Sister Edwards guided them, Sister Hymas was a little puzzled because she had seen our pictures and, from what we had described, expected a larger event than what was there.  They drank piña colada's in a pineapple and were content with the afternoon.  That evening Sister Hymas told me about the outing.  As she described to me where they went I realized that they had never actually arrived at the flower show.  They had driven into the town and gotten close, but had stopped before they entered the actual flower show.

This story is paralleled by people throughout the world, especially here in Puerto Rico.  They want a happy life and to be with God in the life to come.  They depend on their churches and other guides to help them get where they want to be.  Their guides are well-meaning, but can only provide the seekers with the light and knowledge they possess.  Those seeking enjoy the beauty they see, but it lacks the depth and the magnificence of which they had dreamed.  They assume that what they have is as good as it gets.

Our purpose as missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to help people realize that there is much more light, knowledge, beauty and peace available.  They don't have to reject the truth and goodness that they have - they just need to add to it.  God has restored the fullness of His gospel and the power to create eternal families that will be together forever.