Intense Renovations Taking Place

The Santo Domingo Temple in the Dominican Republic has been undergoing some serious renovations since before Mr Hot Stuff and I arrived here. I haven’t been inside to see it, but all the workers going in and out and all the building supplies going in and out made it obvious. Now the renovations have spread to the landscape. It’s possible that some of this is just annual work, but to see the deep pruning the trees are getting, along with all the bushes being trimmed up – again – and the entire cement driveway and sidewalks getting a coat of I-don’t-know-what-that-repels-water. They’ve even been trimming up the trees and coating the sidewalks outside the temple grounds. That coating stuff smells awful! I bet the workers will be glad to have that part finished.

I’ve been thinking about all this work to make the temple ready for the people who are looking forward to coming here in the future and how difficult and even dangerous some of it is. It seems to me that people are much the same. The Bible says we are also temples – our bodies house not only our spirit but we can also have the Holy Spirit with us if we remember to seek the Lord. I guess that sometimes God does some intense work on us, too. Pruning away the parts that He knows need to go, renovating us inside and out. I think that sometimes this renovation work on us is also dangerous. It can be tempting to turn away from God when we have these painful renovations happening. It is sometimes tempting to say, “Enough. I don’t like this. I don’t want this. I’m leaving to go somewhere less painful. I’m going to find something easier.” I know. I’ve said this to God before. I’ve said it recently. I haven’t left Him, and He knows I won’t, but when something hurts, I definitely tell Him about it. Fortunately for me, God has an eternal amount of patience, understanding, and love. Fortunately for me also, He helps me through the hard parts. He helps me see the small miracles every day that eventually lead me to being able to see the big miracles.

I almost titled this blog post A Massacre of Trees, but decided that was too overstated. Even so, they have hauled off over 3 semitruck loads of tree trimmings. The scariest part for me was seeing them lean a very tall ladder against a palm tree, have a man climb the ladder, strap himself to the tree with a harness and then proceed to hack away the palm branches above his head with a very sharp machete. I want to buy that guy a “No Fear” t-shirt. And no, this palm tree in the picture is not the one I’m talking about. I’m talking about a palm tree over 30 feet tall.
The Area senior missionary couples had a Family Home Evening activity of assembling bags of Christmas cookies for the young missionaries in the Santo Domingo East Mission. We all made a bucketload of cookies to contribute and we were able to give 175 missionaries five cookies each. “Sure do like those Christmas cookies, Sugar. Sure do like those Christmas cookies, Babe…” (It’s a song.)

This Christmas cookie activity took place on the same day as a major power outage at our apartment. We were without power for six hours. No worries though. I took the cookie dough over to the office cafeteria and was able to bake them there. It gave me a nice chance to visit with another Sister who is here. She also didn’t have a working oven. Fortunately, there are six ovens in the cafeteria, so it was no problem. I stayed to help her frost her cookies and we had a nice visit.

The power outage was caused by a power pole that fell over (imagine that! lol). It was out for about six hours, and when it came back on, it was obvious that we had a problem in our apartment. None of the air conditioners would work and many of the lights only flickered (or strobed in the case of LEDs). We were super busy at the time though and didn’t have time to chase down a solution. Finally, we ended up talking to someone at the office who oversees physical facility maintenance, and he knew exactly what was wrong, and had someone come over and fix it right away. It turned out to be an easy fix – a wire in the circuit breaker was loose. Hooray! Air conditioning! Although, I will say, we were blessed to have evenings that cooled off a little, so with all the windows open, we had some relief.

Just before our quick trip to Puerto Rico last week the workers at the temple started building a nativity to display. It was up and lit when we came back. I love that this is a thing here. I love that people here love Jesus so much that they write it on their windshield. I confess though, I’ve wondered how many people have been hit by cars that say, “Jehová es mi pastor.” (The Lord is my shepherd.) I laugh a little at the irony there, especially when I see it on a really beat up taxi. Then I remind myself that the Lord really may be providing for them a car that runs so they can earn money for their family, and I take a little dose of humility and pray the Lord will help us all be safe on these crowded, busy roads, because I too, believe that Jehová es mi pastor.

This isn’t a great picture, but maybe your imagination can fill in the gaps. This is a very busy road that runs by here, so a lot of people will see this.

A while back I think I posted a picture of a manhole in the sidewalk near our house that had a tree stump stuck in it to help keep people from falling in it. Here is an updated picture of the same manhole. I am kind of loving this, because, although I appreciate growing up in a country where manhole covers don’t suddenly disappear, and where they are replaced if they do, I very much love that someone (probably multiple someones) cares enough about others to do what they can to make the situation a little better and safer for everyone else. There are a lot of problems in the world today that could make you wonder if everything is just going to hell in a handbasket, but this tells me we’re not there yet.

It’s a really big hole! A whole person could easily fall down in it.

We were at the grocery store this week and I saw this. Crustless bread. Entire loaves of crustless bread. I wonder what they do with the part they cut off?

My grandpa always used to say that the crust was good for you. “It’ll put hair on your chest.” As a girl, I always wondered about that…

We found an awesome Christmas wreath a couple of weeks ago at the Agora Mall here in Santo Domingo. It’s made of huge jingle bells. We’ve been trying to figure out how to hang it on our door. In the end, we decided to wire it to our security door, which works out perfectly!

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