To answer your questions mom: (I asked if he was in a ward or branch and if he had had an opportunity to use his piano skills.) Yeah, I am our branch´s accompanist (two birds with one stone, eh?). (I asked where he met for church.) We meet in a mini-chapel: one hallway, with an exit at one end and the chapel on the other, with bathrooms, Relief Society room (with attached baptismal font), Primary room, kitchen, and two classrooms in between. It has its own power plant, because electricity issues, YAY! (I asked if he had issues with the power going out. I have heard that is a problem there in the DR.) Well, the power goes in and out a lot, but the church has its own power generation and the apartment has a huge battery array with an inverter/charger thing, so power outages aren't a problem for us (another two-for-one!). (I asked if he had to do his laundry by hand.. another thing I have heard about serving in the DR.) We do our laundry semi-auto: we fill the washing half of the machine, add detergent, and set it to agitate. We then move it into the spin-drying half (they´re Daewoo brand machines, and a lot of people have them--maybe you can find a pic). (I asked if he had warm water for showers.) We don´t have warm water, all we´ve got is ice-cold; I miss my warm showers, regardless of the humidity. We have fans in the apartment to keep us cool, and we move them around to wherever we are in the house, but at night it does cool down--I´ve woken up cold a couple of times, so I´ve started turning it off before I go to sleep. (I asked if he had a CD player to play the music he brought with him.) We have DVD players (for showing stuff to investigators and less-actives, which work fine as CD players. Elder Fr**** and I trade off. (I asked where he went to send his emails.) We have to go to internet cafes to email here, yes. I will make a dropbox and send pics soon, but stuff went down this weekend so for sake of time (and lack of camera cord) I can't right now.
Wow, what a week! I kinda forgot somehow (in my exuberance) to mention in last week´s letter that I had my first baptism: hermana Y**** (Elder Fr***** actually did the baptizing, but still). She referred us to her father and brother, who we´ve begun teaching. I had my first intercambio (exchange) this week--I went out to Bayaguana with Elder Ch**** forinto (Elder Ch**** is a newbie like me--3 weeks in the field) while his companion, our District Leader Elder Da*** came to Sabana Grande with Elder Fr****. It was a good experience to have to start over new, and to be forced to be outgoing despite my greenness. I haven´t had too much trouble with being shy though--the Spirit has been helping me there, for sure. While I was on intercambios, we had our first lesson with Y****´s dad and brother, but I wasn't there and don't know much about how it went. Every night, though, we try to go to at least one Noche de Hogar (FHE), and last monday night they came to one at a member´s house. , our branch´s endowed members went on a temple trip, and we got permission to go along with, bringing Y**** and her dad and brother, as well as a longtime investigator D**** (an elderly, golden-hearted man with Parkinsons who has been ready to be baptized for some time, but we thought we needed a special interview since he killed a man in self defense in his years as a security guard. However, he wasn't prosecuted and thus needs no interview, so we will be placing a date with him this week). We taught a lesson on the temple grounds, and the Spirit was incredible. We talked about the Restoration, specifically the First Vision, and also shared the significance of the temple. We then took the four out for McDonalds (there is one a few blocks from the temple) -- oh man that felt like the food of kings-- and when we got back we watched the hour-long Restoration in the temple waiting room. Both D*** and C**** (Y****´s father) bore sincere testimonies, even though I don't know if C**** knew he was testifying! Again, the Spirit there was amazing.
That night, we got back home and started planning. I left to go to the bathroom (which requires manual bucket-flushing, BTW), and Elder Fr**** called me back in. His shirt was shaking, and he said he needed to lay back. I lightly laid a finger in the middle of his chest, and I could feel his heart beating about 3 times faster and stronger than seemed healthy for someone in the middle of exercise, let alone one who was resting and had been at rest all day. I gave him a priesthood blessing, and sat him in front of a fan with a wet towel over his head. Our phone was out of minutes, so we went to a members house down the street and called Sis. Corbitt and Dr. Reagan, the mission doctor. Elder Fr**** started feeling feverish, developed a headache, felt tingly in his hands and legs, and continued to have a ridiculous heart rate (160 bpm) and blood pressure. We had the branch first counselor, N**** (the only guy we know with a car instead of a motorbike) take us to the mini-hospital in Sabana Grande. In the 10 minutes between the phone call and the arrival at the hospital, however, Elder Fr****´s heart rate, blood pressure, and everything else calmed down, and they only got him tylenol for the fever. The next day we went to a hospital in the capitol to do a blood test, and because the only open doctor consultation appt was in the morning we stayed the night with the office elders (APs). We went on exchanges with them sunday night, which was cool; Elder Ve**** and I didn't get to teach any lessons, though. We spent all day in the capitol because of the length of the wait and consultation, got back just now, and are headed back in the morning for more testing to figure out what the heck happened to Elder Fr***** and why.
GAAH! This is frustrating! There goes my hour (well, I did understandably take longer writing Pres. Corbitt today, but still), and I haven´t shared even the half of the Spiritual experiences and the temporal awesomeness (and a bit of madness) that has been happening this week. Best regards to all of you; I love you guys!
(PS-pardon the awful typing--the keyboards in these internet cafes are not only the spanish keyboards, but are also REALLY worn, with stuck keys and stuff.)