Wednesday, December 21, 2011

"Hogar de Ancianos": An Afternoon of Singing Christmas Hymns"

"Hogar de Ancianos": An Afternoon of Singing Christmas Hymns"
Elder Darrel L. Hammon

Senior missionaries serving in the DR
          We had a wonderful early Family Home Evening this afternoon. We went to the Hoger de Ancianos to sing Christmas carols to the residents called ancianos.We met at the Casa de Huéspedes, gathered up the senior missionaries, and then waited for the Snows to arrive. They arrived in a van, which we used to haul the rest of us. Brother Muñoz drove the temple van. So, two vans full of people went: Los Bair, Swapp, Hammon, Snow, Burke, Brown, Casanova, Ferguson, Ford, Low, Muñoz, Shaver, Sisters McDermid and Meade, and Reid Cornish. We drove down the Malecón to the Luperon and then on to Independencia. It was just a couple of blocks away.
Sister Maria
We rolled into the yard, parked, and then packed our presents of hygiene kits into the building. Sister María, one of the senior nuns who works with Mother Superior, met us at the door. Her large smile made up for her minute stature. I am sure her small body is packed with energy. She greeted us and then led us through a couple of courtyards to an open area where several ancianos were sitting, some in wheelchairs, others in rocking chairs, while others sat on benches. Whether they were just there because of the time of day or had been summoned that the Mormones had arrived to sing, we do not know. Our thoughts were they had come to hear us sing.
                We had a good time. We sang several Christmas hymns like Venid, adoremos!, Cantan santos ángeles, Jesús en pesebre, and ÍRogocijad! Jesús nació. The senior missionaries from Puerto Rico began singing various songs from Puerto Rico. With glorious notes and rhythmic movements, they, along with many of the senior missionaries who joined in, sauntered around the big room, singing melodious tunes to the ancianos. At the end, we sang Noche de luz.
One of the ancianas
                While the missionaries were singing, I went around the room and took pictures of some of the ancianas/os. They were wonderful. One of them asked me to take her picture. I told them I would and then come back and bring them the pictures. They seemed pleased.
More of las ancianas
I also spent some time with Sister María who told me about how the Church had helped them last year through a humanitarian project and how appreciative they were because of our help. One of the next projects they wanted to complete was renovating their chapel.
After visiting the kitchen and being serenaded by another sister, we trundled back to the front of the building where we bid adieu to Sister María and another sister. She asked us to return someday in the morning so we could take a tour of the entire facility, which houses over 300 ancianos. I loved the courtyards and the gardens. I am sure there are more to be seen.
One of the courtyards
President Bair (Temple President), Sister Maria, and another Sister who sang to us.
We left the Hogar de Ancianos, sharing Feliz Navidades. What a great time!

1 comment:

LowRider03 said...

My first thought - well, besides the question I had about whether or not you had to show ID to leave the nursing home - was about the wonderful opportunities to serve others your mission has provided! Good on you!