Dominican Republic Santiago Mission

Misión República Dominicana Santiago

DOminican Republic Santiago Mission LDS logo
(Get this design on a T-shirt!)

Here are free resources about the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission:

Aquí están algunos recursos gratuitos sobre la Misión República Dominicana Santiago:

*Other Mission Pages: Dominican Republic LDS Missions.

DR Santiago Mission Address

Here’s a recent address for the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission. We try to keep this info up to date, but it’s a good idea to check the address with several sources, including your mission packet or the mission office.

Dominican Republic Santiago Mission
Av. Estrella Sadhalá
#10 2nd Piso, Frente a Univ. UTESA
Santiago 51000
Dominican Republic

Phone Number: 1-809-241-1145
Mission President: President Lorenzo A. Castillo Camacho

DR Santiago Mission Map

Here’s a link to the mission map for the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission (LDS). To access the official, up-to-date map for the Santiago Mission:

  1. Log into your LDS account here.
  2. Click here.

Videos with Santiago RMs

Here are in-depth YouTube video interviews with returned missionaries from the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission.  We interview hundreds of returned missionaries each year, so check back regularly to see new RM interviews.

mission interview  mission interview

Videos about the Dominican Republic

Here are LDS-friendly educational videos about the Dominican Republic. We scoured YouTube to find the best quality videos about the Dominican Republic, that are free from inappropriate music, immodesty and profanity.

LDS Church  food  nature  mission calls  time lapses

DR Santiago Missionary Blogs

Here’s a list of LDS missionary blogs for the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission. This list includes the missionary’s name, URL and when their blog was updated.

*Send your missionary a gift (mission-specific shirts, ties, Christmas stockings/ornaments, pillowcases, etc.)

Elder Charlie Walker 2017
Sister Emily Stephens 2017
Elder Ammon 2017
Sister Ellie Bake 2017
Elder Cameron Corder 2016
Sister Brittney Wasden 2016
Sister Teagan Gardner 2016
Elder Bannon Greer 2016
Sister Krislee Twiner 2016
Sister Kjerstin Van Woerkom 2016
Elder Brigham Blake 2016
Elder Timothy Hefner 2016
Sister Erin Jennings 2016
Sister Hannah Bossard 2016
President & Sister Douglas 2015
Sister Chloe Anderson 2015
Elder Carl Henze 2015
Sister Stephanie Woolf 2015
Elder Ronald Santacruz 2015
Elder Dallin Murphy 2015
Elder Derrick Kueser 2015
Elder Alarcon-Benedetto 2015
Sister Heather Peugnet 2014
Elder Samuel Preston 2014
Elder Tanner Oldroyd 2014
Elder Tanner Gothard 2014
Elder & Sister Fagersten 2014
Elder Tyler Willett 2014
Elder Russell Jensen 2014
Elder Matthew Griner 2013
Elder Hunter Cannon 2013
Elder Trent Taylor 2013
Elder Chris Sweeney 2012
Elder Jesse Westergard 2010

DR Santiago Mission Groups

Here are Dominican Republic Santiago Mission Groups- for LDS missionary moms, returned missionaries, mission presidents and other alumni of the Santiago Mission.

  1. Dominican Republic Santiago Mission Group (424 members)
  2. Dominican Republic Santiago Mission 2003-06 Group (379 members)
  3. Santiago Mission “President Douglas” Group (85 members)
  4. Misioneros Regresados Santiago Group (61 members)
  5. La Republica Dominicana: Mision Santiago Group (39 members)
  6. Dominican Republic Santiago Mission early 90s Group (26 members)

DR Santiago Mission T-Shirts

Here are T-shirts for the Dominican Republic Santiago Mission!

Shirt designs include Dominican Republic Santiago Mission logo/emblem shirts and Called to Serve shirts. The shirts make great gifts for pre-missionaries, returned missionaries and missionaries currently serving. LDS Mission shirts come in all sizes: Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, up to 4XL.  The mission designs are printed on white shirts and are shipped to you.

*Simply click on a shirt design to view the details and submit an order. The designs on mission t-shirts may also be printed on other LDS mission gifts, including: Dominican Republic Santiago missionary aprons, Christmas stockings, ties, pillow cases, teddy bears and Christmas ornaments.

*Click here to browse Santiago Mission gifts

DR Santiago Mission Presidents

Here’s a list of current and past Mission Presidents of the Dominican Republic Santiago LDS Mission.

  1. 2015-2018, Lorenzo A. Castillo Camacho
  2. 2012-2015, John Douglas
  3. 2009-2012, Miguel A. Lee
  4. 2003-2006, J. Devn Cornish
  5. 2000-2003, Rafael A. Méndez
  6. 1997-2000, Vicente Mederos
  7. 1994-1997, Stanley Bramwell
  8. 1991-1994, James Angus Norberg
  9. 1988-1991, Marshall B. Romney
  10. 1986-1988, Michael D. Stirling

Dominican Republic LDS Statistics (2015)

  • Church Membership: 127,530
  • Missions: 3
  • Temples: 1
  • Congregations: 205
  • Family History Centers: 29

Helpful Articles about the Dominican Republic

Coming soon..

DR Santiago Missionary Survey

Here are survey responses from Dominican Republic Santiago RMs, to give you a snapshot into what it’s like to live in the mission.

When did you serve?

  • July 2013-July 2015 (Jonathan)
  • 2006-2008 (Mike)
  • 2001-2003 (Drake)
  • 2000-2001 (Jennifer)
  • 1998-2000 (Shane)
  • 1998-2000 (Kameron)
  • 1994-1996 (Suamny)
  • 1991-1993 (Belkis)
  • 1991-1993 (Gareth)
  • 1991-1993 (Angel)
  • 1991-1992 (Kristen)
  • July 1989 – July 1991 (Doug)
  • 1988-1990 (Andrew)
  • 1988-1989 (Chris)

What areas did your serve in?

  • Locrio de Pollo, Sancocho, Mondongo, Espagueti Blanco. (Jonathan)
  • Nagua, Santiago, Dajabon. (Mike)
  • Bonao-Cotui, Santiago-Pueblo Nuevo, Sabaneta, again in Santiago but can’t remember the city, Bonao-Constanza. (Drake)
  • La Vega, Licey, Puerto Plata, San Fran, Mao, Cotui, Navarrette. (Shane)
  • Santiago, Puerto Plata, Imbert, San Francisco, Nagua. (Kameron)
  • Sajoma, La Vega, Puerto Plata, Villa Olga-Santiago. (Suamny)
  • Santiago, Bonao, La Vega. (Belkis)
  • Navarette, Esperanza, Santiago, Moca, San Fransico de Macoris, Mao. (Angel)
  • Puerta Plata, Santiago (Los Reyes), Nagua, San Francisco de Macorís, Santiago (Bella Vista). (Kristen)
  • Nibaje, Puerto Plata, La Vega, Nagua, Mao. (Doug)
  • Libertad, Cienfuegos, Central, Moca, San Francisco de Marcoris, Office. (Andrew)
  • Santiago (two different areas) and Bonao. (Chris)

What were some favorite foods?

  • Tostones! Tostadas (dominican grilled cheese/paninis). Gnarly Fried Chicken. That said, don’t eat at questionable eateries/carts. (Mike)
  • Everything except chicken feet. (Drake)
  • All the fresh fruit drinks, especially guanabana. Arroz con coco and quadules. Yucca con jamon. (Shane)
  • I hated rice and beans but learned to love it. Banana batidas became a favorite. (Kameron)
  • Moro de guandules; arroz, habichuela y carne; habichuela’ con dulce. (Suamny)
  • Fried plantains, ground beef, cheese, lasagna. (Belkis)
  • Frito Verde. Locrio de Pollo. Limoncillo- best fruit ever! I have no idea what the English word is, I have never seen it anywhere else. (Gareth)
  • Arepitas de yuca. Platanos maduros con “la bandera”. Chinola (passion fruit). (Angel)
  • Plátanos fritos, morir soñando, Dominican spaghetti, las frutas! (Kristen)
  • La Bandera, it was the only food. (Doug)
  • Pez Dorado (flan), Pepe Postre, Mission Home Banana Bread, Arroz con Pollo, Fresh fruit – Mangos, Pina and Banannas. Avocados! (Andrew)
  • In Bonao, there was a street vendor who sold sandwiches. At that sandwich stand was where I actually learned to like tomatoes. (Chris)
  • Platanos fritos, Moro de habichuelas. (Jennifer)

What was a funny experience?

  • Some of the missionaries surprised my Mission President by doing the Haka at a Zone Conference once. (Jonathan)
  • During a discussion, I was sitting on a plastic chair. One of the legs broke and all I remember seeing was the ceiling and feeling confused as to what happened. When I looked around, I realized that the chair leg broke and I was on my back with everyone at the discussion looking at me in shock. I began to laugh so hard I couldn’t get out of the chair. (Drake)
  • Too many to pick one. (Shane)
  • I remember having a headache. A lady licked a leaf and taped it on my forehead. It took away the headache. I believe it was marijuana. (Kameron)
  • When my companion (Sister Mora) and I went biking under the rain and the street light went out. We could barely see the street and ourselves. We had to shout to speak as the rain was so loud then, I thought I left her behind and suddenly I stopped to “wait for her” but she was really right behind me so we crashed and she fell from her bike. When I saw her, she had her sandal up to her knee. I laughed so bad that I could not help her out. (Suamny)
  • When I saw a friend in the stake and we greeted as if we were at an activity with our first name and a hug and the President was on our side. (Belkis)
  • A favorite companion jousting with your bicycles in the a “campesino” field with tall grass among small, humble homes. Kids watched and laughed at us. Under a huge rainstorm we purposelly rode our bikes through the mud and the biggest puddles. When we got home, our maid, who was the bishop’s wife, was not happy! (She would have to wash our clothes by hand). (Angel)
  • Chickens jumping on our laps during a charla, being proposed to by the vendedor de pan on his bicicleta. (Kristen)
  • I taught a bunch of kids in Nibaje that if they wanted to say “soy chevre” in English, they would say “I am a monkey”. They mastered the phrase. Once after transfers, the group of kids ran along one of the new missionaries yelling “I am a monkey”. The new missionary couldn’t figure out why these kids were yelling “I am a monkey”. (Doug)
  • We had an African bullfrog that lived in our toilet in our first house in Libertad. (Andrew)
  • The time a I was on splits and a drunk stumbled out of the bar and dumped his beer on me. (Chris)
  • Falling off my bike. (Jennifer)

What was a crazy/dangerous experience?

  • I woke up at 12:30 am once to gunshots right outside of my apartment window. (Jonathan)
  • While attempting to take a shortcut through the woods, we found some voodoo dolls made from cabbage patch kids strung up in some bushes. That was unfortunate. (Mike)
  • While driving to a zone conference, the van we were riding in had a stool for one of the passengers to sit on and hold the van sliding door shut because it would not stay shut. At least, we could open it if it was hot! hahaha. (Drake)
  • Coming out of the chapel after a meeting at night to a huelga going full tilt. (Shane)
  • During some strikes in San Francisco de Marcoris, we had to hide in some homes to avoid being hit with rocks. My companion was thrown off his bike and had his backpack stolen from him. (Kameron)
  • Crossing through a market area where there were men who were playing dominoes and one of them stood up and took a knife and buried it in the belly and he stood up and went over us and I told my partner run and we ran and the man was behind us as we crossed the avenue. The man tried to cross when a car hit him. We ran up to the church and we found two elders who had gone through a difficult situation also saw a man gave another shot in the head and they ran up to the church. When we began to count all our experiences, because we thought it was the same, but not. Then we speak slowly and said not to tell anyone what happened. It was a mistake, because if the president or assistants found out they would move us for any protection, but thanks that nothing happened to us. (Belkis)
  • Because I served as a zone leader for most of my mission, (almost a year and a half). I drove everywhere and had 3 accidents!! Not to take away from my safe driving, but driving in the Dominican Republic is unlike many places in the world. No missionaries were ever harmed in any accidents, even with a roll over accident! On Sunday evenings, we drove long hours for interviews and would make our route along the highway from Mao to Esperanza to Navertte and then Monday morning to Santiago for meetings and all the errands for the missionaries (among receiving letters and missionary money). On this particular occasion, we had to return from our interviews and drive back to Mao late in the evening because we would have to return to take a sister missionary that was sick to see the mission nurse the next day. It was about 11 pm, light rain and wet. My companion, Elder Martinez (who had a hard time serving his mission and keeping the missionary spirit) was disgusted, tired, and with a headache. I remember him so frustrated, that he reclined his seat back and was laying on his stomach (the seatbelt was hardly a safety harness for him.) Driving in the Dominican Republic was like driving as fast as you can, with as much as you can in between cities on the 2 highway roads. When you would drive through towns, of course you slowed down and then the moment you were through the town, you could speed up again. We had left Esperanza and were driving the long strait road to Mao. As we were approaching a slight curve in the highway, my companion suddenly put his seat in the upright position, with his belt properly protecting him. A oncoming truck had it’s bright lights on and I drove more to the right shoulder to be safely away from the oncoming truck. Our small Mazda 1992 323 drifted off the shoulder and side swiped a tree and then further tumbled down a deep ditch on the side of the road. We landed upside down in water and were hanging from our seat belts. We were shaken but unharmed and thanked Heavenly Father for his protection. Our faith was strengthened. The next day in the light, all observers thought the passengers must have died. People with homes across fields heard the loud crash and could not believe we lived through such an accident. “… I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.” (Angel)
  • Not many! When I was in San Francisco de Macoris, there were juelgas, and there was craziness in the streets (tires being burned and bottles being thrown) but we stayed inside and I never felt threatened in any way. (Kristen)
  • Two companions riding a motorcycle taxi around town. Drinking anything from the snow cone carts, climbing coconut trees. (Doug)
  • We were shot at in our house by our security guard who was drunk and using our house as target practice at 2:00 AM in the morning. (Andrew)
  • The time the Haitian prisoner was getting paraded around town and tried to escape and the cops were just shooting randomly. (Chris)

What was a spiritual experience?

  • The Gift of Tongues comes to mind…one time I had to teach some Haitians and I didn’t speak Creole, but the Lord allowed me to understand their Creole and teach to their needs for the duration of the lesson (I was on exchanges at the time.) (Jonathan)
  • My companion and I got to give a blessing to a man who had been sick for a couple of days. He was laying on the kitchen floor that whole time. He was in agony and his wife requested for us to do a “special prayer” for him. So we helped this man get into a chair and gave him a blessing. After the blessing I asked to use the bathroom. On the way to the bathroom, they had a small black dog that barked at everything. To get to the bathroom, you’d need to go past the little dog. While I distracted the dog with my shoe, I heard laughing. I looked up and it was the father we had just given the blessing to. I asked him if he was OK and he kept saying,” the pains gone, the pains gone”. My companion and I looked at each other in amazement. (Drake)
  • Was a daily thing. Every time I taught the First Vision. (Shane)
  • There was an old man (Pedro from Villa Olga) who never wanted to receive the missionaries when they went visiting his old wife member (Georgette). We started building a relationship with him and noticed that he knew a lot from history. He had a huge map hanging on his library with big Xs marked in some places. We asked about them and he happily taught us about them. We found the stories familiar to what is written in 3 Nephi 8-11 so we started telling him that those things were written in the Book of Mormon. He was surprised as he had read the book from cover to end and we invited him to read it once again but with an open heart and asked him to pray about it. He did and two months later he got baptized. And became being a strong and faithful member of the Church. (Suamny)
  • By sharing with a fellow my feelings about the temple as had been my experience when you enter it. She began to cry and I ask what happened and she told me that she sees the temple from her window and she and her family had sometimes once per month gone to the temple. For me, it was something impressive and  I shared my feelings and desires always go to the temple and she expressed her desire to change and wrote to her parents to set a goal to go at least once a week. After this experience, I said that once I had the opportunity to go to a temple. The Santo Domingo Temple was built and I go every Saturday, I served as a worker for seven years and go on my vacation two or three times a week. (Belkis)
  • One of first moments I felt the Spirit so strongly on my mission that I was moved to tears was when Elder Benjamin B. Banks spoke to our zone. He shared of the last time that President Ezra Taft Benson (who called me on my mission) had spoken publicly. He said that he stood among the brethren in the upper rooms of the Salt Lake temple and said, “Brethren, I love you. I love you. I love you… Please take this message to the world.” Elder Banks said when he spoke, it was as if the Savior himself had spoken to them. And at that moment that Spirit moved me so strongly that I began to cry. I wrote in my mission journal that it was as if a lightening bolt had stuck me. I knew that President Benson was the Lord’s annointed on the earth and that this was the Lord’s work. I was a part of the greatest work on the earth and I was so thankful. That was the first witness that I can remember of the divinity of the callings of the brethern and how I should always pay attention to the Lord’s servants speak in General Conference, or any other setting or opportunity. I had never payed attention at all during conference time growing up in California with a single mother. I only knew that we did not have to go to Church during stake conference and general conference. Remember that missions are for missionaries. For you to grow and learn for your faith and testimony. And YOU will be the most important missionary conversion on your mission. (Angel)
  • Reading the scriptures by candlelight, the many spirit filled meetings and charlas. (Kristen)
  • Too many, too deep to mention. But it was daily. (Doug)
  • Each baptism was amazing with the humble people. We had some amazing people join the church. But the best feeling was that their children have now been married in the temple. (Andrew)
  • My last baptism was a person I was lead to in a dream who had Lehi’s dream narrated to them in a dream by the Moroni in the Joseph Smith pamphlet. (Chris)

What are some interesting facts about the Santiago Mission?

  • Everyone there wants to learn English, there’s a constant party in the street, and there’s basically no separation between the rich and the poor. Everyone lives right by each other. (Jonathan)
  • Rolling blackouts and unexplained loss of other utilities is very common in the Dominican Republic. Mango season is almost a national holiday. (Mike)
  • It was beautiful no matter where I went. Don’t use bikes, talk to everyone you come across. (Drake)
  • The highest mountain in the Caribbean. Columbus is buried there. (Shane)
  • It is the best mission in my country, ja,ja,ja. The people there are incredible. Missionaries there can learn to be humble. You can raise a people. (Belkis)
  • We were the highest baptizing mission in the Carribean. Although the Church was newest in that part of the Carribean and Central America, it was the fastest growing. There is now a temple in the capital of the Domincan Republic, that shares the island of Hispanola with Haiti. The island is believed by Dominicans to have originally been discovered by Christopher Columbus. A Domincan can appear to be as American or European as anyone with blue eyes and blonde hair, or as dark skinned as an African…and everything in between. The Spanish dialect is fast, like Cuban Spanish with words cut shorter by omitting certain letters. For example, traditionally, “Como esta Usted?” versus, “Como ‘ta uted” Said much faster. Electricity comes and goes. “Se fue la luz!” was a coming expression along with “llego la luz!” For when the electricity was back on after turning off. It is a 3rd world country that shares the island with Haiti, the poorest country in the western world. (Angel)
  • Bucket showers! When the water came, we would fill up the bucket in the shower and then use it until the water came again! Doing everything by candlelight- in most of my areas, having luz was rare. (Kristen)
  • We did not have the big airport in Santiago like they do now. All missionaries had to fly into Puerta Plata. (Andrew)
  • The first Mission President of the Santiago Mission was only president for a year. (Chris)

What was the weather like?

  • Hot, humid, and rainy. Tropical. (Jonathan)
  • Almost always warm. Rain could get crazy and lead to flooding. (Mike)
  • It’s similar to Hawaii weather. Humid and the weather is pretty random from nice sunny days to thundering rainy days. I loved it. It reminded me of home. (Drake)
  • Hot humid. (Shane)
  • Hot and muggy. (Kameron)
  • Perfect in some areas and super hot in some others. (Suamny)
  • In this country, the weather is very hot all time. (Belkis)
  • Humid, humid, humid. Hot. In winter, I needed a sheet to wrap up in at night. (Gareth)
  • Tropical, humid, warm and wet. I never used a blanket (only sheets) on my mission. And one of the very first purchases on the island I was told to make was a small, electrical fan. When I got off the plain in Puerto Plata, I remember I was wearing my suit jacket, it was evening and so warm and humid. I could feel and hear all of the tropical bugs and animal life around us. I was not back home in California anymore! (Angel)
  • Perfect. Between 80-100 degrees year round. Rainy at times. Very humid. (Kristen)
  • 80-85 degrees every day. Had some flooding in La Vega. Only one hurricane. (Doug)
  • There is a reason why you carry your umbrella for half the year in the afternoons. The tropical storm season lives up to its name. (Andrew)
  • I think I was too cold on maybe two occasions and probably only complained about the heat once. (Chris)
  • Warm to hot, humid, rainy for several months a year. (Jennifer)

Any things you really like about the area/people?

  • The culture there is so open and accepting; there’s so much about the people to love and they love you right back. The people are friendly and love the Lord. (Jonathan)
  • People are extremely generous, kind, and willing help others. Not a thing I liked, but important to know: The people are very superstitious; willing to believe crazy stuff. (Mike)
  • They will give you the clothes off of their back. I love them and miss them. (Drake)
  • All very nice, open people. (Shane)
  • Beautiful. Nice people. (Kameron)
  • We were almost always allowed to get into the people’s houses to teach. (Suamny)
  • Humility. Sincerity. Simplicity. (Belkis)
  • Humility of the people. They had nothing but would offer us all they had. (Gareth)
  • People are very humble and very open. For example, we would arrive on a new home’s porch to meet and share the gospel with folks we never met. There could be an aged grandmother on a rocking chair and she would barely stand with her aged body, immediately offering us a place to sit. If a family would be eating when we would arrive, they would stand from their table and offer us their food. I will always remember the loving, sharing nature of the Dominican Saints, like the first time I met and spoke to a Dominican missionary. Elder Perez (Assistant to the President) had taken us out to eat for our first Dominican meal. I complimented him on his tie and he said, “A tu orden.” He meant, “It’s yours, if you would like.” I had never experienced that kind of humble sincerity. Certainly a wonderful example that people are more important than things. (Angel)
  • I loved the weather. The people were great- they have so much faith and believe in God. You could teach anyone a charla- they were friendly and open! (Kristen)
  • Humble, loving, amazing energy. (Doug)
  • Absolutely amazing missionaries that served with from the Capital. (Andrew)
  • They are still in the Dominican Republic. (Chris)
  • They are kind and willing to listen to you. (Jennifer)

Any packing/clothing advice?

  • Short-sleeved shirts and rain gear. (Jonathan)
  • Short sleeve shirts only. Seriously. Getting clothes made/tailored is very inexpensive in the Dominican Republic. Consider packing light for the Mission Training Center and getting some made there. (Mike)
  • Pack comfortable. You can get clothes altered in the mission by tailors and you can get what fabric you want and have them customize your clothes. (Drake)
  • Plenty of slacks. (Shane)
  • Bring extra shoes. Dominican shoes are not comfortable. (Kameron)
  • Cool clothes, light colors and umbrella, because at any time it rains. (Belkis)
  • Clothes that do well in tropical climate, stay away from wools. Comfortable, durable shoes. Ties and pants and shoes you can get wet and endure the sun with. Really all that matters is a willing heart and mind. The nice shoes, suit and tie that I arrived in the Dominican Republic were stored my entire mission and came out when I returned home. I did give some of the nice clothes away to members and future Dominican missionaries before I left. (Angel)
  • Light materials, comfortable skirts and tops, sandals… We had skirts made there for cheap, jumpers were in at the time and were comfortable and cool. I shared many clothes with companions. (Kristen)
  • Do not take cotton underwear under any circumstances. The humidity will never allow it to dry. Take lightweight breathable mesh. Lots of extra white shirts and extra pairs of shoes to wreck. Mud and rain is not your friend. (Andrew)

What blessings did you receive from serving a mission?

  • Peace, a good relationship with the Lord, a stronger testimony, and an understanding of who I am. (Jonathan)
  • To much. I don’t even know where to start. (Drake)
  • Many spiritual blessings. Learning Spanish. (Shane)
  • My family changes their attitude to church members and defend though they are not members. (Belkis)
  • A mission is the only time in your life you can dedicate everything to the Savior. You spend all your time serving the Lord and others, studying the gospel, or teaching the gospel. You never have that opportunity anywhere else. (Gareth)
  • The Savior taught, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for My sake, shall find it.” When we are in the service of others, we are only in the service of God. I am grateful for all of the temporal blessings that I have, having lived in a third world country I remind myself and my children, that we do not need much to be happy. One of the most vivid introductions that I have of the humble, loving nature of the Dominican Saints, was the first night on the Island. We were taken down a dirt pathway through grass and trees. Down a ditch almost, and there was a neighborhood of shacks, made from sticks and palm leaf roofs. As we approched one of the humble homes, it was becoming dark, and there was no electricity. We were greeted by a thin, petite man with a smile. He invited us inside. The home had a dirt floor and they had all there possesions inside the comparable size to my daughter’s bedroom. As we sat in the dark, I noticed a picture of the Savior on the wall. The father called his children to sit near and one by one, he introduced his children. I remember he named his children the names of prophets! They were so happy. How could they be happy in such circumstances with so little possessions? I would be reminded over again and again of the simple, and plain truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all… In all of life’s trials and experiences. We can choose Joy. We can choose to follow His Plan of Eternal Happiness. (Angel)
  • So many. A love of the gospel. A love of hard work. A love of the Dominican people. I learned Spanish and lived it and changed my major to Spanish when I returned home. I now teach Spanish. I can’t imagine not having served a mission!! (Kristen)
  • Lifelong friends. (Doug)
  • No one asked me why I wasn’t on a mission. (Chris)

What are some skills you gained?

  • Cooking, cleaning, machete-ing, how to listen to and read people, and how to really connect to people. (Jonathan)
  • Learned a new language. Learned patience, oh so much patience. Learned what it was like to live in poverty and to not have time for “first world problem.” People in this mission frequently had real problems, like how would they be able to afford food for the next day, or basic healthcare. Yet, they manage to be very happy. (Mike)
  • I learned to be better organized, clean, and to actually speak to people. (Drake)
  • Talking to anyone, anywhere. Learning to teach. (Shane)
  • To learn how to manage finance in a six kid’s home! (Suamny)
  • The talking to everyone and not feel embarrassed about that. (Belkis)
  • Speaking Spanish. Ability to read people. (Gareth)
  • Confidence to speak to anyone, anytime. Confidence in the Spirit that teaches us all. Confidence to work hard and smart. An attitude of gratitude and to persist all things. Driving more safely. Leadership and team building. Lead by example and bring out the best in others. Motivate all in all times and places. Leave others better than you find them. Budgeting. Service and sacrifice. How Church Organization works to establish ward and branch harmony in the most remote areas of the Church. How there is a lot of work to do; and I want to be a part of it! (Angel)
  • The language, “roughing it” without water and electricity (learning that I don’t need a lot to be happy!), hard work, how to get along with and live with someone very different that I was! (Kristen)
  • Spanish fluency. (Doug)
  • Spanish language has been a long term blessing. (Andrew)
  • Command of the language. (Chris)
  • Speaking Spanish came in handy in my job. (Jennifer)

What do you wish you knew/did at the beginning of your mission?

  • I wish I had loved the people more. When I accepted them into my heart, everything changed. (Jonathan)
  • To trust that the Lord will help me in my efforts, no matter how little I felt they were. The Lord knows our hearts and struggles and will help us as long as we are patient in our trials and focused on Him. (Drake)
  • That it goes a lot faster if you are busy. (Shane)
  • Share my testimony and teach with power. (Belkis)
  • Should have studied the scriptures more. (Gareth)
  • I have the belief that when the student is ready, the teacher appears… So all that I learned was at the right time. I realize I could have prepared more through reading all of the scriptures more with a desire to search, ponder and pray of their truthfulness and how it all applied to my life. I could have read so many of all of the best books about the Gospel to prepare more. Taken Spanish learning more seriously in school. Saved more money for my mission. Pay attention to the prophets with each General Conference. Know that the time will pass fast. Set daily habits, daily goals, begin with the end in mind and even see your life and draw it out ten years after your mission and work backwards, where you see yourself with family and professional life. Set goals, physically, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Learn from the best. Model your life among those that you admire and respect the most. (Angel)
  • To not stress about the small things, or about things that you can’t control, and to live and enjoy every minute of it because it goes so quickly!! (Kristen)
  • Boldness is expected by those you teach. They know perfectly well why you are there. Don’t beat around the bush and don’t waste time. (Doug)
  • Its a LONG two years but it WILL be worth it. Much more service projects in the morning hours. (Andrew)
  • It’s OK to have fun. (Chris)
  • There is a cultural difference. (Jennifer)

Any advice/testimony for pre-missionaries going to Santiago?

  • Pray long and hard to know the Lord’s will and be willing to accept it, no matter what He may say. (Jonathan)
  • Start learning the language and about the culture now. Buy a travel book and read up about local history and customs. (Mike)
  • Go there expecting noting but know that while you do your best to be selfless, you will lose yourself in the work and you’ll have the hardest, and best two years on your life. (Drake)
  • Hang in there. It will be very hard but very fulfilling and worthwhile. Been 18 years and I still think about it at least once a day. (Shane)
  • Trust in the Lord’s words no matter what. (Suamny)
  • Study the scriptures and learn to relate with other scriptures to not get overwhelmed or feel powerless over some investigators or people who want to pull down what we know is the Gospel of Jesucristo. (Belkis)
  • Love the Dominican Saints and give them hugs for me. Serve them with all of your heart, might, mind and strength. Know that this is the best mission in the world and you are at the right place at the right time and that while you are away, your family and loved ones will be blessed. (Angel)
  • Just love it! Love the people. They will love you and accept you, they are such open people. (Kristen)
  • Santiago is the best mission, but only if you make it so. It can live up to all your hopes, but it depends on you and your willingness to serve. (Doug)
  • Read the Book of Mormon out loud in Spanish every day. You will be so blessed by this. (Andrew)
  • Get a testimony before you go…once you get there no one has time to make sure your testimony is strong enough to make it. Everyone is working on their investigator’s testimonies. (Chris)

What was a funny language mistake?

  • One of my companions accidentally commanded someone to repent quite forcefully once…to be honest, I’m sure that there were many, but none come to mind. (Jonathan)
  • They pretty much all involve accidental use of swear words. I’ll spare you. (Mike)
  • One of my companions accidentally said to a man “I like your head (cabeza) when he meant to say “I like your shirt (camisa). I couldn’t stop laughing from the confused look on the man’s face. (Drake)
  • Companion asked if the hurricane married much damage. (Shane)
  • Saying “playa” in English. (Suamny)
  • After teaching, reading my partner numbers and in a speech she said fourteen two instead hundred forty two. For me it was very fun, because that number we had practiced many times that day. Another was when I mistook “Embarrassed” with “Pregnant” was horrible that confusion. I thought in Spanish. (Belkis)
  • One new American missionary said in his uneasy Spanish to express how embarrassed he was, “Estoy embarazada!” Which translated means, “I am pregnant!” (Angel)
  • I had one father of a family ask me where he could buy some of the white biking shorts the sister missionaries wear all the time. (Andrew)
  • The guineo, platano deal. (Chris)