I can't believe it has been two weeks since I have updated this blog! I am SO sorry, my family and friends. We have had a busy couple of weeks but I have always been able to fit this hour in before...I will repent!!
Randy and I created an instructional fireside entitled 'Family Home Evening' [original, huh?] to help give these families tools to keep their families close but also to help their respective branches with the new area goals which include fellowshipping and rescuing less-active members who, for one reason or another, have lost their way after their baptisms. That is a common thing in the Philippines-in the past five years, only about 20% of the new members are still active. That is a shocking statistic but true-our goal is to bring them back with renewed strength and a change of heart. We thought having successful and consistent Family Home Evenings would help the current families as well as providing a catalyst for them to invite their less-active friends, extended family members, etc. We also thought it is important as these families return to church, they have a strong and actively engaged unit to come back to so under the direction of our wise and all-knowing Mission President, WE [meaning the senior couples] are taking on a new role of strengthening the currently active members. With that new direction, we will help to provide a place of teaching and strength to the returning families.
Our fireside is only one hour and is really fun. We start with a 'role play' of OUR early Family Home Evenings. The missionaries from the unit we are visiting help us with the little skit as we re-enact an early FHE in the Shaner household-Dad lecturing, boring us all to death and when the 'kids' start to act up, I jump up, yell and scream that "I HAVE HAD IT!! WE ARE DONE! THIS ISN'T WORKING AND WE ARE NEVER DOING FAMILY HOME EVENING AGAIN!!! GO TO YOUR ROOMS!!" My kids would tell you that is not far from the truth..
We then have a series of slides on a powerpoint that give them the tools for a successful evening, some ideas, experiences we have had, suggestions and most of all, the spirit has been teaching all that were there the importance of the family time. In the Philippines, we have been invited to several Family Home Evenings and most of them are boring-the 'lesson' is long and often times, just a lesson that the dad is planning to give in church the next week. If families are to have a close relationship, they MUST have fun together so we are stressing the fun part of the evening. Up to now, we have given the presentation to four different branches and will have our fifth this Saturday night. It has been fun!!
And then there were 10!!! This past week we also welcomed a new senior couple to our mission, Elder and Sister Laker from Utah. They bring with them a diverse and extensive knowledge of the gospel, it's principles and many years of experience with leadership callings. [He was just released as a Stake President before submitting their papers.] We are so thrilled they will be part of our team...
|And then there were ten! The Laker's finally arrived.|
Sister Carlos, me, Randy, Sister Russell, Elder Russell, Elder Breese
Sister Breese, Sister Laker, Elder Laker and finally, our Fearless Leader,
Now, I think a few pictures can say more than I can with words...
Only In The Philippines...Volume 3
|A truck packed with recycle sharing the road with pedestrians and cyclists|
|Wish I had brought my polka dotted boots!!|
|A kulig kulig-a common vehicle that we also share the road with!|
|Anyone need a potty break?|
|Sometimes we see entire families piled on a 'cycle' for transportation|
|6 foot tall poinsetta's-they actually grow wild in some areas.|
|These were grown in pots|
|A lonely meemaw comforting a crying 3 month old Archibald|
|Even carabou's have babies...|
|Miles and miles of rice, each one planted by hand..|
|Judy, I wish you could see this one in person! They are SO gorgeous!|
|We also share the road with Calisa's|
|and trycies and motorcycles as well as bicycles!!|
|These people have amazing balance!|
|Sister Carlos is 5' tall and you can see|
this lizard that the Assistant's brought home
for dinner is almost the same size-I guess
it was delicious but I can't say from experience!! whew!
This week will be another busy one. We have two area seventy's from the First Quorum of the Seventy coming today to preside at two different leadership training and member/investigator devotionals, one in Ilagan and one in Tuguegarao. Sister's Wixom [General Primary President] and Dibb [General Young Women's President 2nd Counselor] will be the guests speakers for the leadership training. We also have missionaries going home and another transfer meeting on Thursday...never a dull moment here in this glorious country. We are loving the experience and thank the Lord daily for the good health that has allowed us to serve.