Monday, July 16, 2012

Another new start...

 'Make new friends but keep the is silver and the other gold...'  How many of you readers can remember that song from  childhood many years ago?  I first heard it at Campfire Girls camp when I was in elementary school.  It has been one I have thought of and sung most of my life...this life is about change and two things that does always change are our relationships and friendships.   When we arrived in the Philippines, Cauayan Mission we had a house waiting for us.  Sister Breese and Sister Carlos had spent many hours cleaning, furnishing, and readying it for us.  We were definitely spoiled...upon arriving, we just had to shop and pick up the little extra things the mission did not provide and move in.  

Across the street from this home was another nice home occupied by another senior couple, the Russell's.  They are from Oregon and knew the Carlos' when they were all in the same stake.  On their property is a darling 'guest cottage' that houses a set of young missionaries..currently we have sisters living there.  Over the past year, we have become friends with this amazing couple and have learned SO MUCH from them and their experience as senior missionaries.  This was their second mission [their first was to Maine] and the two were mirror opposite missions.  In the Philippines, we have such a marvelous opportunity to actually make a difference in the units to which we are assigned.  The members want help.  They want our counsel and input.  They are anxious to allow us to train them and will listen.  The Russell's totally changed the branches that were assigned to them.  A couple of months ago, we learned of our assignment Mallig.  We will have similar challenges and have used their guidance and experience to help us set a plan for our new branch.  We love this couple.  In the past nine months, we have become good friends and we both know we will see each other again in the states.  As I write this, they are home, having been released and are floating in their pool!!!  A great senior couple and a wonderful example of selfless shadow leadership...thank, John and Sharon!  You will be missed by many on the other side of the world...

The Russell's at their farewell dinner at the mission home-Sister
gets the 'red plate' because she is so special!!

The senior team..back row-the Mills, us, the Gottfredson's and the Lakers.
Seated-the Russell's and the Carlos'.  Last official gathering..

An airport farewell...
As they were flying away to Toyko, we had three men and two women from the Cabatuan Branch helping us make a move across the street.  Now I want you to know...I HATE TO MOVE!!!  I am a 'nester' and I want my nest organized, clean and orderly.  Moving really messes up that plan!!  I had to go through things, separate, pack, organize, and then a day or two later, unpack and [my most hated thing] try to figure out where I want things put in the new house.  A year ago we sold our home, packed up about 1/10th of the 'stuff' we had, put it into storage, got rid of the rest of the 'stuff' including our home and a car and consecrated it all to the Lord for two years.  It hasn't been long enough for me to have forgotten that traumatic month and I didn't want to do it again but....President wanted us in this house so a senior couple would be in the same compound as the sisters so here we are.  It has been less than a week and the only thing that is totally settled is the kitchen.  Elder Shaner is working on the office today and I hope to go upstairs shortly and get our bedroom and my sewing stuff all unpacked and put away.  That said, I really do like this home.  It is much cleaner, more roomy, the kitchen is actually a detached building behind the main home [it sounded weird to me too but it really works well] that has lots of good ventilation with windows on all four sides.  I think we will be happy here.  Oh, and the house comes with a 3-day a week housekeeper...I really will like that part!

Covered breeseway between the main house [left] and kitchen [right]

This young sister was helping me unpack the kitchen-she was
also a baby wearer like my Kim!!

Looking from prep part of kitchen through to eating area..

Our new garden is on the property to the left of this picture.  That balcony
upstairs is lovely in the morning.  A great place to sit and read my scriptures.
There are many new things we have experienced in the past year.  So many new smells, sights and tastes.  One thing that I recently had [thanks to Elder Nay who INSISTED we come by and taste this new fruit he found] was Dragon Fruit.  I loved the name, probably because of Seth and other grandson's who had an obsession at one time with 'How To Tame a Dragon' books.  I miss my grandchildren and use every opportunity I have here to think of them.  It is actually delicious-a little like a Kiwi.  It even has the same little black seeds as a Kiwi.

President Quitola [my garden buddy, remember?] eating his first Dragon Fruit
of his entire life!!

Dragon Fruit.  God makes them in white and a gorgeous bright pink!  The one
in front is uncut.  They are about the size of a large pear.
This lifetime is so fun...we experience so many new things that are for our growth.  Being here on a mission has definitely, for me, been life-changing.  I never, in a million years, could imagine us ever being able to afford to go on a mission [for those of you readers not of our faith, this entire two year experience is funded by us, not our church.  They do fly us here and will fly us home but all of our expenses are exactly that-OUR expenses]  We just gave it all up [our jobs, our home, our family, our lifestyle, etc.] and came here with faith that the Lord is in charge and He will not lead us astray.  I know these people here have changed MY life...I will never look at 'I need' the same way because they are all such happy people with so little.  Their needs are so minimal.  They are a grateful, loving, happy, gracious, thankful, humble, honest, and God loving people...what more could the Lord ask of anyone?  My challenge now is to become more like them and then I will become more like Him...


  1. I love your new house! It looks like a dream house, and with a detached kitchen! I'm glad you are having such a great experience.

  2. Rene Harbertson commented on your link.
    Rene wrote: "It is so much fun reading your blog entries. I'm glad your inspired mission president knew you needed a "real" missionary experience. You will have a whole new appreciation for the worth of senior couples. You will be guided and blessed in all you do. You are always in our prayers."

  3. Chris Cruse commented on your link.
    Chris wrote: "I love your new home, Cheri. that red rood, it's so you! haha Much happiness to you and Randy. lovya"