Yes mom, I am in a better place, but I'm not dead. Haha. Don't you worry about me. I'm doing fine.

The Dominican Republic continues to be ever-so-exciting. Actually, it is kind of just the same thing here, day-in and day-out. We even have a food schedule that doesn't change; every Wednesday night we have pasta, for example. And every Thursday night we have hot dogs. These are both very different from their American counterparts. The spaghetti, for example, has the distinct flavor of beans and cumin. Oh-how delicious. As one of the Elder's in our district but it "They probably just thought one day, 'You know, I'm sick of rice and beans, lets put noodles with the beans!' Well, it worked for the Chinesse, but not so well for the Dominicans." Haha. Pretty funny. It was still edible, of course, but not quite as wonderful as my creations. On Thursdays we have a "special" soup for lunch. It is special because it's not rice and beans. Another one of the Elders in my district observed this week while we were eating it, "Hey, one of my buddies was telling me about chicken-foot stew. I bet you this is what he was talking about." I would like to say he was kidding, but he is serious. It is called "Soncocho" (I'm not sure how you spell it), and is something Dominicans only serve for special guests. We get it every P-day. If the "chicken-foot stew" concept wasn't visual enough for you, my companion observed the following: "There was a graveyard in my soup today!" And that my friends, is Sancocho. It really is pretty tasty, but there are pieces of meat in there that no one can identify and there is bones up the wazoo (which kind of adds a special kind of risk to meal-times) and there are huge chunks of papas (potatoes) and plantains. You put rice and avocado in it and eat up...but very carefully so you don't accidently swallow or otherwise severly intereact with a bone. I really do like it, I think I just prefer rice and beans.

So, it seems like I talk about food a lot in my e-mails, but that is only because that is the only thing that really changes around here. so, like I said, we usually have a very strict schedule as far as food is concerned. We eat sancocho on Thursday afternoons, because Thursday is preperation day. It's a special "treat" for going to the temple. This week however, we mixed things up a bit. We had Sancocho yesterday for almuerzo. "But why?! Why would we break routine like that?" That is a really great question. We had a special visitor this week, and he was here on Tuesday and Wednesday. We had Sancocho on Wednesday as a special Goodbye feast. So who was this special guest who warrented such a special change in routine? None other than Elder Hinckley and his wife.

Elder Hinckley is the son of President Hinckley, is a member of the first quorum of the seventy, and the head of the missionary department. He has been in the DR for about a week touring the missions here and checking out the CCM. He is pretty nice guy. The only results of his evaluation (that they announced to the general missionary population) was that the sisters (that's me and my companion) don't have to wait in line at meals - we get to go straight to the front of the line. I'm happy he came. Haha. Seriously though, the elders were pretty nice about that anyway; we always got to skip in front of some elders and often they clean our plates off for us, which is very sweet.

The Hinckleys spoke to us on Tuesday morning and they gave some pretty nice talks. Sister Hinckley told a story about how Sister Hinckley was dying during conference and President Hinckley didn't want her to go during that hard time, so he took a frame that was on his desk that said "Don't Quit" and went to her bedside and asked her not to quit. She died an hour after his last meeting. The moral of the story was to not quit. Keep going to matter how hard it takes.-

Elder Hinckley talked about missionary work for a while. One thing he told us was that there were 8,000 missionaries when he went on a mission in 1961 or sometime like that, and now there are 52,000. Dang! Can you believe that!? It was crazy to read about that.

So, I want to talk about the elders for a quick minute. They are pretty cool. Sometimes (not often, but sometimes) it is difficult to believe they're only 19 years old - they seem to know a lot and really know what they're doing. One of my favorite stories was my companion and I were studying one morning, and we look up and two elders in our district are teaching "Juan," an investigator they drew onto the white board. So funny. They were sincerely teaching him and bearing testimony. I loved it.

On the other side of things, they are very young sometimes. I have two really wonderful stories about that. One happened in the lunch room. All of a sudden I can hear a ton of elders laughing at the end of our table, so we ask what is going on. Remember how I told you we have bananas for every meal? Apparently one of the elders wanted to see if he could be like King Louie from the jungle book and squeeze his banana out of the peel. It was quite hilarious because he just ended up with banana pudding. The best part of this whole thing though, was that I think he actually thought that he could do it. Sigh.

The next story is for you Tyler. You should be grateful mom is making you do your own laundry now, because it is quite obvious that not every boy knows how to. One of the Elders here did his laundry the first week we were here. He put all his whites in with his blue towels. He washed the load with warm water. Now, he wears light blue shirts around. He has no white shirts left. Haha.

Needless to say, the CCM itself is boring, meaning we do the same thing over and over, day-in -day-out, week after week, but the CCM's inhabitants keep it interesting for us all.

My favorite thing about being here is being able to go to the University of Mondays. It is kind of the shining light of my week and the shineing light of my MTC experience. I get to meet random people and talk about the church, which is awesome! It helps me realize why I'm here studying so hard. It's so I can help them! It gives me an extra boost to make it through the week. I can't wait to get the Puerto Rico so I can contact and tract and talk and teach to people ALL THE TIME! I love going to the university. Unfortunately, we only go once a week. Shucks.

Well, I love you all! Thanks so much to you who went me letters this week. We get the dearelders, but the sad thing is is that they don't print them off for us until Wednesday night. I got my first correspondence in two weeks last night, and it felt so good! I don't know why mail is so wonderful, but alas. That is the life of a missionary. Since I am all out of American stamps, you'll all have to wait for my letters to come because they are being sent Dominican post - sorry!

Seriously. Thanks to all you who wrote. It made my day.

Hermana Miller

ps. Happy birthday to Dad - both of the birthdays; I forgot to acknowledge it earlier this month, seeing as it was right after I arrived here and was going CRAZY! Seriously though, have a fun time without me.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 29, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.