Sunday, May 9, 2010

Arriving in Puerto Rico

We stayed in the lovely mission home for almost 3 weeks as we tried to find an apartment. Often when the 3 assistants to the presidents would also spend the night, we would all gather both morning and evening for family prayer and for the missionaries to sing a hymn or two for us. It was an excellent way to start and finish the day. We are in the living room waiting to hear them sing.
This is a little coqui frog the Martineau's daughter caught for me at the Mission Home when we were staying there. At night these tiny frogs make more music than crickets.
There are many fruit stands set up alongside the road. Some are out of the back of trucks but you will find lots of stands out in the middle of nowhere plus lots of trucks set up with BBQ to cook and sell pinchos--beef or chicken put on wooden squewers. We haven't tried those yet here but have in Aruba.

We got lost looking for apartments to rent for the elders and came upon this house amongst all the greenery. This is not a usual home and is away from all the traffic and homes.

The north side of the island is very lush and green with all the rain they receive. Lots of palm trees, vines, and many tall beautiful green trees with lots of red flowers in the trees. I will have to get a close up of all the red flowers in the trees. This picture was too far away. I discovered that with Dave's color blindness he had never seen the red. He just sees green trees and didn't understand what I was trying to take a picture of.

This is on the southern side of the island near Ponce. It is more desert but there is still green. There are lots of hills all over Puerto Rico. Excuse the blur, but I think we were going about 70. After Aruba where you were never able to go more than 50 mph, this is a treat to get on the freeways and move a bit faster and you're away from all the congestion near San Juan.

Sister Higgs, the lady in the middle with a dark red blouse and black skirt, is finishing her mission next week. So we hosted all the senior missionaries at our new apartment for a dinner
for her.Our mission president, President Martineau, his wife and 2 of their 10 children who are here visiting this week, are on the right side of the picture. This is on the terrace outside our apartment. We actually fit 3 tables and 15 chairs in the living area . The lady with the red dress fixed all the food. They drove from Izabela, about 2 hours away. Elder and Sister Ramirez are both almost 80 and going strong.

Leaving Aruba

Elder Zenger and Elder Ellis baked us a cake for our going away party. Elder Ellis will stay on Aruba until he goes home next summer. Elder Zenger will be coming back to Puerto Rico this week for transfers and we are excited to see him. I have been corresponding with his parents and have become friends with Trish. We just found out that Trish and her husband Paul will be coming to visit Puerto Rico in a month to stay with her son-in-law's parents only about 1/2 hour from here. Their son-in-law served his mission in Puerto Rico and now their son is here. They of course can't visit with Elder Zenger so he will stay focused on his work and mission, but Elder Pietz and I are looking forward to visiting with them.

This is Sherman, a Chinese, that is part of the San Nicolas Branch but just hasn't been baptized. He comes to church every week, always helps with any service projects, will do anything to help. Sherman came to lunch every Sunday and we went out for dinner with him several times. His father, a great man, and Sherman invited us out to a Chinese restaurant a couple times. Sherman flew to visit some friends in Florida a couple times and went to Sam's Club and the post office for us and brought us back lots of things on our wish list. We are hoping he will soon be baptized and receive more blessings.

One of the highlights of our mission was getting to know Gerde. Once she knew about the gospel and was going to be baptized, she absolutely just bubbled with joy. She was so excited about the gospel. Elder Pietz had the real delight in being able to baptize her in the ocean. She will always have a special place in our hearts. No one laughs or loves like Gerde.

These first few pictures were taken the night before we left Aruba at the chapel. They had a little going away party for us. This is a picture of our branch president, President Buckley and his wife Johanna. We lived at their home and they were wonderful friends. We enjoyed having Sunday afternoon barbeques in their garden with all the missionaries and some new converts and investigators. President spent months building and adding new touches to a BBQ oven/grill. They are very generous and warm loving people. They were always thinking of others. They are talking about going on a mission themselves.