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Location: Weston, Florida, United States

Obtained a bachelor's degree in political science, a master's in ancient scripture, and a doctorate in educational psychology from BYU. Served with the LDS Church Educational System in Hayward and Palo Alto, California; Athens, Georgia; and Miami, Florida. Served as bishop in Newark, California, and Athens, Georgia, and as stake president of the Sugar Hill Georgia Stake. Served as president of the Mexico City North Mission 1996-99. After retiring from CES in 2004 have served four other missions with my wife: As CES area director in Central America 2004-2006; in Panama 2007-2009; again in Guatemala 2009-2011, this time as executive secretary to the Central America Area Presidency; and finally as a counselor in the Tegucigalpa Honduras Temple presidency, 2013-2014. We are currently serving in the presidency of the Fort Lauderale Temple, enjoying serving being able to continue to serve while living at home. We thought we had reached our photo upload allowance at this site, so began a new blog at donandvirginiacazier.blogspot.com, but can no longer find how to add new posts there, though we can again at this site. Feel free to email us at doncazier@yahoo.com.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

First full week--with the emphasis on full!

We've had a good first week on our mission. Virginia has kept busy reviewing missionary applications from Central America, entering information online, making phone calls to get needed information, and making reports. She is grateful to have had the help of several volunteer sisters who have been working with the program for some time and who have been able not only to help with the work but help teach Virginia some of the finer points that there wasn't time to teach her when we came down the first week of December for an initial orientation.

Don has been kept busy making agendas, typing up minutes, and participating in a number of meetings, including an area presidency meeting and a weekend area council meeting, attended not only by the area presidency but by the eight area Seventies from throughout Central America, by the area Director of Temporal Affairs (DTA), and others from the area office who attended to help with logistics. He has also made and sent out a number of reports, helped track and process recommendations for new bishops, boundary reorganizations, and applications to the First Presidency for sealing approval or restoration of blessings, all of which need to be approved by the area presidency before they go to the First Presidency in Salt Lake City.

We've also enjoyed attending our first Sunday in the Santa Fe Branch, which we'll be attending regularly during our mission. Likely we'll be given significant though probably not presiding assignments in the branch organization in the near future.

We've also enjoyed getting better acquainted with the area presidency and with other missionary couples and English-speaking couples in town. With us, there are a total of six missionary couples living in our rather small apartment meeting, plus a BYU professor on sabbatical, with his wife.

We've normally been up by 5:00 or 5:30 and have been getting in to the office by 7:00 a.m. Usually we've been there until 5:00 or 6:00. It won't always be that demanding, but there was much to do this first week--especially since the positions had been vacant for a couple of weeks.

In the "small world" department we would mention such discoveries as:
  • Finding that the new brother-in-law of Pedro Abularach (my successor as CES Area Director and one of the area Seventies) is a man we used to home teach back in Weston.
  • Finding that the new area medical advisors (doctor and wife), Elder and Sister Macarthur, are parents of one of the missionaries we had in Mexico City.
  • Finding that the Guatemala MTC president and his wife were CES people we had known when we were in Georgia and they had the Miami assignment we would later have.
  • Finding that my contact in the Confidential Records office in Salt Lake City (dealing with such issues as sealing approvals, restoration of blessings, etc.) is another former CES colleague from the US Southeast area.
  • Finding that one of the other senior missionary brethren (an Elder Blackburn) was on his mission in Argentina at the same time as Virginia.
  • Realizing that I already knew five of the eight area Seventies from previous missions we have served in Central America.
  • Realizing that I have previously met seven of the twelve mission presidents in Central America and know four of them well, including three who were CES men (including one I had the privilege of hiring), plus President Madrigal, to whom I was a counselor in Panama.
The following photos are from our area council meeting, which was held at the Finca Filadelfia, which in addition to having a picturesque hotel has been an operating coffee plantation for 130 years. Their coffee is world-famous, and is sold to Starbucks. They also have an interesting canopy ride through the trees up on the mountains above the plantation. While most of the area council meeting was dedicated to serious business, it wasn't usually as appropriate to take pictures during the meetings, so the following photos are from break times and some recreation time we took part of Saturday afternoon to enjoy the canopy ride.


The Finca Filadelphia, sit of our Area Council meeting


The area presidency (L to R, Elder James B. Martino, 2nd counselor; Elder Enrique R. Falabella, 1st counselor; and Elder Don R. Clarke, area president.)




Elder Falabella and others during a brief break


Group of area Seventies during break time



Canopy ride on Saturday afternoon. We went on about 6 stretches such as this--one of them about 220 meters long, and all well above the ground.

Elder Clarke getting ready for his turn on the canopy ride


Area presidency and area seventies at a canopy ride platform

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