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

28 February 2012

Beautiful sites of Santo Domingo

Here are a few pictures we took while out and about in Santo Domingo. We hope you like them.

24 February 2012

Where we live

We live in an apartment in the Casa de Huespedes (Guest House) located on the Santo Domingo Temple grounds. The Casa de Huespedes is 4 stories tall. On the first floor is the Caribbean Area Presidency's Office where we work, the Church distribution center and the cafeteria for the guests and missionaries in the MTC (Missionary Training Center.) The 2nd and 3rd floors are the dormitory rooms for the guests and the apartments for the temple missionary couples. The 4th floor is the MTC. We live on the second floor in room 214, in case you'd like to drop by. Here are some pictures of our apartment. It is about 400 square feet with a combo living/dining room and kitchen, bedroom and bathroom. It is by far the nicest place we've stayed in since we started serving missions almost two years ago. We love it here.

22 February 2012

What do we do here?

We serve as the executive secretary to the Caribbean Area Presidency which is comprised of Elder Francisco J. Viñas, Elder Wilford W. Andersen, and Elder J. Devn Cornish each of whom is a member of the Quorums of the Seventy.  These wonderful men live here in Santo Domingo with their families and preside over the Caribbean Area.  What a privilege to work with and learn from them each day! 
Luncheon with (left to right) Elders Andersen, Viñas, Cornish, Bednar, Gonzalez and Bishop McMullin.
The highlight so far of our mission was the Area Review which involved the visit to the Area by Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Elder Walter F. Gonzalez of the Presidency of the Quorums of the Seventy, and Bishop Keith B. McMullin of the Presiding Bishopric.  These men and their wives came and spent about a week meeting with the members and the leaders in several parts of the Caribbean including the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

Sign: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Dominican Republic Missionary Training Center

Another of our assignments is to help President Stewart Glazier, the President of the Missionary Training Center located here on the Santo Domingo Temple grounds.  President Glazier asked Elder Button to be a counselor to him and assist with teaching and interviewing the missionaries who come here for training at the beginning of their missions.  We get missionaries from the US and elsewhere who spent their first 3 weeks in the Provo MTC and then come to Santo Domingo for 6 more weeks of  training.  We also get young people from the Caribbean and elsewhere who don't have visas to get into the US and need to do their training here.  If they don't have to learn a language, they stay here for about 3 weeks before moving on to the assigned field of labor.  Those learning a language are usually here about 6 weeks.  Each Sunday we have sacrament meeting, district meeting (instead of sunday school) and priesthood meeting.  Elder Button works with the Elders and Sister Button with the Sister Missionaries.  During the week we also participate in missionary teaching simulations and provide transportation for them to places in town where they have cultural and language development opportunities.
Us in the oldest Cathedral in the Western Hemisphere

President Glazier teaching the missionaries at the Dedication Site (Where Elder M. Russell Ballard dedicated the Dominican Republic for the preaching of the Gospel.)

18 February 2012

Surprise, surprise

In September we received a call we never expected.  The Caribbean Area Presidency asked us to consider serving another mission in the Caribbean.  We submitted our missionary paperwork and were called to serve in the Caribbean area office for 23 months starting Feb. 1, 2012. 

On Thanksgiving Day most of our children and all our grandchildren came to Puerto Rico prior to our return home.  It was a glorious reunion!
Family on top of the tower at el Yunque

After a wonderful week together, we sent our kids and grandkids home and began the bittersweet process of saying goodbye to our dear friends in Puerto Rico.  The sadness of saying goodbye was lessened by our knowing that we would soon be in the Dominican Republic at the temple.  We invited all our friends to come to the temple where we would await them.

Our last night in the San Juan Puerto Rico Mission with the Alvarados
Surprise goodbye breakfast with mission friends

We arrived back home on December 3rd.  It was wonderful to see our children who had not been able to come to Puerto Rico, as well as our parents and other dear family and friends. Christmas at home was wonderful.  We had our whole family all together for the first time in several years. 

December and January were spent busily enjoying our family and getting ready to leave again.  Among other things we sold our cow, Anabelle, and our last remaining vehicle.  Being cowless and carless was amazingly liberating!  Our children took good care of us letting us use their cars and taking us where we needed to go.  We had lots of fun with our family, trying to cram in two years worth of hugs, kisses and time together into just under two months. 

The Area Presidency asked Leon to be in Santo Domingo by February 1st with Marilyn's arrival dependent on the birth of Adam and Abbey's twins.  We prayed so fervently that the babies wouldn't come prematurely.  When it was apparent that they were developed enough to be born, we were afraid that they wouldn't come in time for Leon to see and hold them before he had to leave.  Fortunately Charlie and Adella Button were born on January 28th perfect in every way. 
Holding Charlie and Adella the day they came home from the hospital
Marilyn stayed to help Abbey and Adam with the babies while Leon flew to the Caribbean on February 1st.  It was really strange for us to start our mission being apart.  Marilyn loved being able to spend two weeks with the new little ones before she followed Leon to the DR.  On February 15 Marilyn arrived in Santo Domingo to begin our mission together.
Sister Button arrives in Santo Domingo, DR
We want to thank our children, grandchildren, parents and entire family and friends for the love and support that you have shown us.  We are greatly blessed to have such dear loved-ones.  We're thankful for your goodness.  Although we'll be separated by miles for a time, our love and covenants bind us closely together always.