The second day in SLC Bro Jarvis asked us if we minded going to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic for a couple of days before going on to Jamaica. We of course said yes; it wasn't until sometime later that I thought to ask why. The reason was for us to be able to get a little local training as our Area Director Rufino Diaz, is based at the Institute there. So the amazing Church Travel department and the MTC and the PEF dept in SLC juggled our flight itinerary so we could fly to NY, layover for 4 hours, then on to Santo Domingo.
The Church put us up in the Marriot Courtyard in SD which was very nice. Since it was 4:00 in the morning we decided if we woke up we would call the Hammons for a ride to Church but we unfortunately did not make it up. When we got up around 10 we had breakfast and decided to walk to the Temple which Rufino had driven past for us the night before. It is a beautiful temple and grounds. We met two senior couples on the temple grounds who stopped their cars to greet us when they saw our name tags. When we got back to our hotel the Hammons called us and told us their schedule and we asked if we could just tag along. So they picked us up at 4:00 to go to a Welfare Training at one of the local wards.
Even though the training was all done in Spanish we really enjoyed the meeting. The people greeted us with handshakes smiles and hugs from woman to woman as they came in. We felt very welcome even without the language. (Though I did understand Elder Hammon pretty well, the Dominicans speak very rapidly and don’t finish words.) We went directly from there to a Fireside at the MTC which is adjacent to the temple.
There were 18 missionaries in the MTC, 4 of which were sisters and 6 of which were Jamaican who will return to Jamaica to serve. Pres Anderson the Area President was the speaker. He spoke on the Doctrine of Christ in a very simple and clear way—nothing new, nothing deep—just pure simple doctrine. I really enjoyed it. The temple and Mission Home complex is gated with a guard and the outside fence, or cement wall, is the only one painted and clean with trimmed grass around it.
These are some of the missionaries we met Sunday evening. They are doing a service project of packing food at the Bishop's Store House.
We spent Monday meeting people from the Area we may be dealing with. Hammons took us to lunch and then to the Institute where we met with the Roberts who are PEF missionaries working with Rufino in the whole area. We finished up with the Roberts on Tuesday and also got to attend an Area meeting with Elder Cornish a Counselor in the Area Presidency. He was very good.
Tuesday night we went to dinner at a Dominican restaurant with the Hammons—they are a very nice couple from Wyoming. He had been a community college president and had kept up his Spanish from his mission and is a whirlwind of activity. He LOVES speaking Spanish to the locals. They are very nice and interesting and we had a nice time being with them as they shepherded us around. After dinner we packed our things and tried to get to bed early as our ride to the airport was coming at 4:00am.