Sunday, April 28, 2013

130428 Seek Ye out of the Best Books

Doctrine and Covenants 88:118:  “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.”
This week was the Opening of the annual Book Fair, “Manos a Los Libros - 16th Feria International del Libro 2013”.   Once a year book vendors come out in mass to display and sell their products.  There are also other booths for entertainment, food and fun.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints chose to emphasize values in the home in their booth.  A building was constructed just for the purpose of displaying Mormon Ad posters representing these values.  A big ceremony consisted of speeches and performances by three youth groups.  After which there was a sign unveiling performed by the area Presidency and a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.  It was an honor to be invited and meet with community groups that we have completed humanitarian service for in the past.

Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish
We were privileged to have a personal interview with Elder Cornish of the Area Presidency.  He has expressed sincere interest in what we are doing to make the Food Project happen in the Dominican Republic.  He gave us new vision and purpose.  Things are starting to happen quickly.  We feel the Lord has inspired us several times in the last week and that we are finally going in a positive direction.  We will tell more as things happen.   
The Branch President selected 5 families to start with on the food project.  We visited each one of the homes and were deeply moved by the poverty and daily struggle for survival.  Some families have tried to created meager make-shift coops that really don’t accomplish much purpose.  We have received much inspiration in the last few days that we will apply and report on in the future.  Here are a few pictures of the homes we visited.

This is a home under construction

                                                 Moises Fani, Edith and Pres. Diogenes

This member of the church survives by begging in the street.  He desperately needs a new wheelchair that we are going to try to obtain for him.  We are trying to teach correct Welfare Principals along the way.  Why should we let a faithful member of the church eke out a living by begging on the street?  There is much to be taught (to the branch president and us) as we seek for the right answers.

Ecclesiastes 3:4  A Time to Laugh
We have arrived!  The first few months of our mission we spent driving with white knuckles on the steering wheel and came home from road trips exhausted beyond belief.  This week we actually got in our car and went for an afternoon drive just for the entertainment.  The things you see on the streets of Santo Domingo are unbelievable though we have become harden to it.  We will pass on the refreshing driving experience, but here are just a few of the things we see on our daily neighborhood walks and drives. 

This is how they support the next story during building construction

This is a real leg breaker

Fresh meat
1 Cor 15:58  ---be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for as much as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord
We feel we were very efficient this week and accomplished much good.  We are working harder than probably any time in our lives.  We are happy.
Here are a few pictures of Wallace’s garden.  We are hopeful it will produce!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

130421 Beauty far Exceeding

I Nephi 11:8 ----and the Beauty thereof was far beyond, yea, exceeding of all Beauty

The highlight of the week was our overnight stay in Constanza and visit to “Salto Aguas Blancas” a waterfall high up on the mountain.  We needed our 4 wheel vehicle to make the trip.  The pictures do not do justice to what filled our eyes.  It looks like the Garden of Eden.  The land is more productive than any we have ever seen.  The family Rivera was our guide.  The mountains were covered with beautiful strawberry patches, carrots, onions, garlic, cabbage, peas, etc

This truck was on the same mountain road with us jammed with men in the back.

While in Constanza we ate dinner with the Rivera family and then visited the home of two young men who just accepted a mission call to Ecuador. 

Wallace trying a dish of goat meat. (It will probably be his last).

We had another meeting with the Military to discuss the hand pump project we are working on.

We were invited to the National Palace to attend an event of CONADIS during which there were a couple of beautiful musical numbers.  Instead of clap, everyone raised their hands and flutter their open palms.  It is the first time we have seen it.  It must be a Dominican custom.

Here is Edith teaching a small branch about the food project IN SPANISH!!  Isn’t she something?

Here are some more pictures of our exciting week.CLICK HERE

Saturday, April 13, 2013

130413 With Joy Shall Ye Draw Water

Isaiah 12:3  With Joy shall ye water out of the wells------.
A year ago we started working on a project to purchase a pump to deliver water to Hogar Crea, a home for men trying to recover from drug addictions.  They have had to haul water up a steep 4-wheel drive road for the last 3+ years.  It took us a full year to secure the project, work with INAPA to get the right design, import the pump from the US, get it through customs and finally get the pump.  The men from Hogar Crea shouted for joy when we pulled into INAPA’s water treatment plant yard with our horns honking.  The men in Hogar Crea prepared a delicious meal after which we showed a Windows Movie Maker movie of all the pictures and videos we had taken over the course of the job.   It truly was a joyous time.  Water is everything!  We gifted 36 copies of the Book of Mormon while we were at it.

2 Cor 6:4,6  But in all things approving ourselves as ministers of God in much patience, in afflictions, in necessities, in distresses---  By pureness, by knowledge, by long suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.
Our greatest challenge at the present is to try to figure out the chicken projects.  We have tried to help the members understand and accomplish what they need to do to have a food project, but so far nothing seems to bear fruit.  We have had glimpses of hope, but nothing seems right yet.  This week we went to Monte Plata and visited with an Agronomist who actually was a lot of help to determine the quantities and costs of a lot of things.  However, based on his calculations and the market value of poultry and eggs, none of these home projects seem to be economical.  We are plugging along and hope to see something come to reality soon.  Your prayers on our behalf in these regards are appreciated.

Proverbs 12:4  A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband.

Proverbs 31:10,11  Who can find a virtuous woman?  For her price is far above rubies.  The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her.

Wallace just wants to add as part of this blog his feelings about his companion Edith.  I acknowledge her wisdom, patience and long suffering on my behalf.  I am very grateful for her insight and counsel.  She has a great desire to learn Spanish and has made very significant strides.  She can read and understand most everything and can catch the drift of most conversations.  But her greatest contribution to our mission is her ability to keep us on the straight and narrow and her ability to listen to the Spirit.  Thank you Edith.


We saw one street celebration during the Easter weekend in Los Llanos.  We were on the only street out of town when we saw a mob coming up the road.  We were a little nervous when we saw a number of men carrying long machetes, but it turned out to be a festive celebration of sorts.  They passed by without molesting us.

One of the goals for the humanitarian efforts of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is to reduce the mortality rates of the new born in the world.  The Dominican Republic set a goal to reduce maternal and infantile mortality rates in their country this year.  They plan to concentrate on ten hospitals to accomplish their goal.  Currently the mortality rate in the DR for the new born is 27/1000.
 Dr. Lloyd Jensen, our neonatal specialist came to set up two trainings that will concentrate on the doctors and nurses from the ten hospitals that the Dominican government has chosen to focus on.  Normally the church will provide either Neonatal Resuscitation Training or Helping Babies Breathe, but this year the NRT course will be taught to doctors and the HBB course to nurses.  The meeting to begin plans on this important event took place in the Pan American Health Organization’s facility with representative of the Ministry of Health, USAID and UNICHIEF.  Here we are in historic meeting

Joy Crismon and Edith Haws

This country is known for the many ways they can improvise and make do with what is available.  Here’s a cute picture we saw displayed in the Ministry of Agriculture-small animal production facility.