Duck, Duck, Goose.........how many of us remember this game??? I remember playing it in the snow on the playground during recesses in Nebraska in the 50's...now THAT was a lifetime ago! I bet most of my grandchildren and children have never played but Elder Griffin must have picked up the rules somewhere along the line because at our Branch Farewell Party last week, he got the whole group involved! It was so fun to watch these people learn a new game and enjoy themselves so much-they are game people for sure! The party was in honor of our beloved Zone Leader Elder Rausa who headed home after serving an honorable two year mission and two young men, Elder Emerson Ulep and Elder Mark Prince Munoz, who left last week for the MTC in Manila to start their two year missions, and also for Sister Queenie and Brother Alex Diaz who will leave in May for the MTC. Everyone had so much fun and at the end of the festivities, the honorees were seated across the front of the room and each person there, if they wanted to, could come up and either tell the individuals how their lives had been changed as a result of their association or give them a little advice. It was a touching time, especially as the parents/siblings of these four young people whose lives will drastically change as they serve the Lord came up and shared their testimonies. It was also wonderful for Elder Rausa to hear how he had impacted this Branch-he has been such a great leader and teacher. We will miss him for sure..
|Elder Griffin chasing Elder Rausa around the circle.|
|A little 'fatherly' advice for Elder Rausa|
|Elder Rausa enjoying his 'last treat'|
|Elder Munoz and Elder Ulep..they are happy, excited young men.|
|A little treat was enjoyed after the lesson.|
Growing up in Lincoln Nebraska, I never had the opportunity to visit a farm until I was in junior high. One of my friends had an aunt and uncle who had a farm in rural Iowa and one summer while she was there, she invited me to join her for a week. I took a bus to northern Iowa and we had the time of our lives!! I probably learned to love the outdoors as a result of that week. Randy's older sister Laura and her husband Neale live on a 'farm' in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska and my children all have fond memories of visiting there when they were small. Well, the farms in the US are VERY different indeed than the farms here and this past week, in honor of Elder Breese's 80th birthday, we were invited to the farm of Brother and Sister Ramos. They live a few miles from Cauayan and we all traveled to experience farm life as well as have a carabao ride! All of us wanted to actually get close to a carabao and knowing this family and their animal, it was a great opportunity for us to have photo ops!! Elder Breese was the first to hop on and he actually rode it as the carabao pulled us down the trail. They have a great farm with lots of various business ventures but the ride was the highlight for sure. One interesting note-the skin of the carabao is loose on it's body-as some of the shorter-legged women got on, the skin rotated and they felt the 'falling off' sensation. Being tall and with long legs, I just got on the stool, lifted my leg over and sat down so I didn't have that falling feeling...it was a fun experience indeed!!
When we came home on Monday, we needed to go to Mabini to finalize an apartment move for a set of Elders. These little girls were riding ahead of our truck and I loved the fact that the one on the back was responsible for the 'roof' of their vehicle.
With Elder Rausa's release and his return home, we had a transfer meeting last week and Elder Velez joins Elder Griffin as our new Zone Leader. I teased Elder Griffin that 'this one won't fit in your pocket as well as Elder Rausa did!' Elder Griffin is VERY tall and most Filipino's are not so the height difference is always noticeable with his companions. I think you all remember the pictures I have posted in the past of Elder Griffin and Elder Rausa...Elder Velez is a little taller in body and equally tall in spirit. We are very lucky to have his leadership in our district and look forward to learning from him for the next few months.
|Brother Ramos-the 'farmer'|
|The birthday boy ready to ride|
|This sweet couple will be going back to 'life before' soon-they will be misssed indeed|
|Getting ready to go-Sister Carlos has a tendency to scream, and I mean SCREAM|
often and when this cart started to move, she squealed and of course, that
only startled the carabao more and away we went again-it was
a real experience for sure!!!
|The farm group...we had such fun!!|
|This country is so beautiful...a tropical setting for sure...HOT AND HUMID!!|
|Isn't this a face only a mother could love??|
|Atop the tractor of the Philippines|
|I made it, mama!!!!|
|The farmhouse..very lovely indeed.|
|A mama with her 6 day old piglets...they were SO cute!!|
|In the Philippines, you can't just 'go visit' a person without being fed! |
These people love to eat-this is Sid's birthday Meryenda-fried chicken, chicken
ingsal, pancit with boiled quail eggs, and my favorite-dessert sticky rice.
|another mama with her baby|
|These are coconut trees getting ready to be planted-they produce their own little|
trees bundles from starts and plant them into groves.
|A cute couple of girls..|
|Children [and adults] LOVE to have their pictures taken..|
Yesterday we had our first Zone Meeting with the new leaders and they did a great job! One activity that I especially enjoyed was conducted outside in the parking lot-they all carried chairs and set up an obstacle course. With each set of companions, one was blindfolded and they lined up on one side of the course-by listening carefully for the voice of their companion, they were 'led' through the course with verbal commands and it was amazing to watch as they each discerned the voice they knew and followed the instructions. Some were more successful than others but it was a great lesson on following the familiar voice...their lesson was on Divine Companionships and the necessity for unity. Elder Shaner and I were asked to tell a little about how our divine companionship has helped us on our mission. 46 years together is a big help!!!
I told you about my 'funeral' last week and to my surprise, this box arrived in the mission office on Tuesday!! My dear friend and dentist, Kathy, sprang to action after last week's blog post..now, when I posted that, I NEVER IN MY LIFE expected this reaction! I was just sharing my week with you and when she emailed me to tell me what she had done, I WAS MORTIFIED!!! Not only the expense of the unit [which embarrassed me totally as she had already given me one!!] but the postage to get it here and within a week! I begged her not to do it but...you can see she didn't listen too well. I am so grateful for her and the friendship of that couple. They are precious are we treasure their love and support.
|Elder Velez and Elder Griffin..a new 'divine companionship'|
|Preparing for the obstacle course activity|
One of my favorite times of year occurs twice actually-the first Sunday in April and again the first Sunday in October. We have the General Conference of our church and it is a great opportunity to sit back and bask in the spirit as we are taught for 10 hours over the course of the Saturday and Sunday sessions about the things that are important for us in these latter days. Our beloved prophet addresses us as well as other apostles and leaders. Because of the time difference, the Philippines will broadcast the conference the weekend after it actually occurs and this past weekend was our conference, coincidentally landing on Easter Sunday. The talks will all be remembered but the one that really hit me hard this spring was given by President Uchtdorf. He talked about the importance of ceasing the destructive behaviors that plague each of us...destructive to our spirit, destructive to our characters, destructive to our relationships but most important, destructive to our progress in this life. Our goal in this life should be to uplift, support, strengthen, revere, love and serve our fellowmen and by implementing his philosophy, we can become better servants for our Father in Heaven by helping His children to achieve their utmost potentials.
Thank you President Uchtdorf...I needed that!!!