Friday, November 23, 2012

Gobble, Gobble and a little more

It is currently Friday afternoon in the Philippines and my family and friends 'back home' have just completed my favorite holiday of the year-THANKSGIVING!! I love the gatherings, the food, the spirit of gratitude, the food, the traditions. the food, and did I mention, THE FOOD???? Yes, I am a foodie! I love to shop for it, I love to cook it, I love to create with it, I love to experiment with it, I love to serve it, I love to party with it, I love to smell it cooking and most of all, I LOVE TO EAT IT!!! It seems that in our family, many of the traditions we have during the holidays begin and end with food-probably our obsession with it is one reason we all have a healthy girth and appetite. 

Before I continue in this vein, I will give tell you of our new record...FOUR APARTMENTS FOUND AND CONTRACTED ON BEFORE TUESDAY OF THIS PAST WEEK...FOUR IN FOUR DAYS!!! Everything is not finalized on all of them yet but we feel confident that there will be some moving going on in the future with a few companionships. Most of you are aware of the increase in the number of missionaries applying for service to the Lord and He knows there has to be some place to put these young Elders and Sisters. We have seen His hand in our apartment efforts the past month and this past week set a new record. The Zone Leaders in Tuguegarao South Zone have been searching for MONTHS for an apartment in their proselyting area. They were successful in finding one for their newest set of missionaries but were not finding anything for themselves UNTIL last Sunday. Now for those of you who have been followers of this blog, you might remember Elder Nay. He served with us in Mallig and we became well acquainted with him at that time. Currently he is one of the Zone Leaders I was speaking of and I have to tell you-this young man has faith! Last Sunday he and his companion Elder Lasay decided they were going to get serious about an apartment so they decided to ask the Lords help and walk through their area, knocking on doors and asking people. As they walked, they visited with the different people, adults and children, who were outside and lo and behold! They came upon an apartment. They called the number on the posted sign, waited for the landlady to come over and looked at the house-it is a darling house and will be just PERFECT for these two patient young Elders. We are not finalized but we all have faith that in the next 24-48 hours it will be a done deal. The apartment they are currently in is a 20-30 minute commute from the area where they work and by moving, they will be able to work into the evenings and save at least an hour each day in commute time. I am proud of their faith and know they will be rewarded.

Elder Nay and Elder Lasay on the porch of their new apartment.
Happy Elders for sure!!
I have told you in the past about the Cortez family. Well, we are still working with them as they 'test' the Lords promise. Sometimes, it doesn't happen immediately and I believe everything happens in the Lord's time and way. Wednesday night they wanted us to come for dinner. They love to feed us and help us appreciate Filipino food. We are very picky about where we eat because we cannot afford to become sick and lose precious missionary time. This family has served us before and we trust they use filtered water and cook everything properly. A couple of weeks ago they served us 'bangus' is a white fish that is actually the national food. I tasted it [to be polite-I HATE FISH!!] and it was really good. They served us a 'soup' that I cannot remember the name of, bangus, catfish, tomatoes, and of course, rice. We brought ice cream and Perla made 'dessert' also-another national food called Buko Pandan. It is a fresh coconut/green jello [told you they should be members!!]/cream dessert that is actually very tasty. We enjoyed the evening with them.

Dinner table at the Cortez family

Silly Elder Dagal cheesing it. The Cortez in the background. See
Ryan [13 yrs old] doing the bunny ears??
This is our second holiday season away from family and I am here to tell you-IT DOESN'T GET ANY EASIER!! It is the third for the Carlos' and I cannot imagine a three year mission. Two has been great but!!

Last year we celebrated our Thanksgiving together with the other Senior Couples and the Carlos'. This year was no different...except for the people in attendance. Last year we had the Breeses and the Russells but both of those couples have returned to their other lives.
The Lakers [who came in February], the Mills and the Gottfredsons [who came together in May] joined us and we had turkey and all the trimmings again. Everyone pitched in and brought food and as always, there was NO lack! The Assistants to the President also came and brought four other Elders with them so the home was full!

Everything was so inviting.

The kid table...

Enjoying the company and the food...the adult table..hahaha!

As was last year, after our early afternoon dinner we transform the Mission Home from blah to beautiful! President always 'spearheads' the transformation and Sister places the decorations where she wants them. The Elders and the Senior Couples join with them and help where needed. It is such fun and really brings the spirit of the holidays front and center. One thing that I really miss is decorating my home-I always love to change the seasons with my decor and here, there is only one season so it is hard to 'get into it' like at home. Many of the Filipino people ask me repeatedly about snow...they cannot imagine it as they have never seen it or felt it. I do my best to explain but I am sure something gets lost in the translation.

President making an executive decision.

Trying to find the right box with the bear.
Like I said before, I LOVE THANKSGIVING!! I love everything about it but THIS is what I love the most!!!

This is not all of them but this was taken the day before we entered
the MTC 1 August they have all changed...
During the dinner, the 'bell' to the gate buzzed and someone hopped up to see who was there. I walked out, because I was standing, and there was the LBC delivery van! I knew exactly what had arrived...OUR BOXES! Sister Russell, who lives in Oregon where they have LBC service, volunteered to send us a box when she got home. There are so many things that we cannot get here reasonably priced that really make our lives comfortable [like nuts, chocolate chips, peanut butter, sweetened coconut] so we collectively decided to take her up on her offer. I put together a list of things that we all thought we could use, she shopped and packed our box and shipped it about 4 weeks ago. When she was here, she was serving in the Cabatuan Branch, where we live, and fell in love with the members. Being the creative person that she is, many hours were spent teaching the sisters how to crochet purses [you remember that post] and learning how to use an electric sewing machine. Upon her return to the US, she decided that she would try to find a nice machine that she would send here, ship a second box and include yards and yards of fabric for the sisters to use and give the machine and it's converter to Rosie Quitola, the Branch President's wife. I personally LOVE Rosie and was so thrilled at her gift. Last night I texted President Q and told him to bring Rosie and come over. They were here in 15 minutes and when I told them what I had for them, they were flabbergasted! Sister Russell had written a nice letter to Rosie and I explained the machine to her along with the admonition to 'be careful who you let touch that cord'. If someone would plug it directly into the wall, it would burn out the motor. She understood that so they packed up their trycie and off they went into the night.
Juanico, Pres, Rosie and John Carlo with their goodies.
What a generous gift from a wonderful woman-I really miss my friend and neighbor. We currently live in 'their home' so I think of them every day and hope, when we return to our other lives, we will see them again. 

I showed you the banana flower a couple of weeks ago and caught this picture of it now-there will be an entire rack of bananas that will grow from that one little flower. To harvest them, someone will need to cut down the entire tree. Each tree produces only once then it is destroyed. Within a few weeks, a new tree will have sprouted and will grow to become another fruit bearing banana tree.

I think about the similarity between that flower and our lives-we, Randy and I, are converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We joined in 1973 in a little town in Mississippi. The greatest blessings in our lives have happened because of Bill and Kathie Thorpe, our eternal friends who shared their lives with us and introduced us to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of our membership, our children and most of our grandchildren have been baptized. From one flower comes a rack of bananas...from one conversion comes a posterity of people who will form an eternal family. Amazing!!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

And they call this missionary WORK?? IT IS TOO MUCH FUN TO BE CALLED WORK!

There is NO way I could have ever imagined, using the most creative and 'out there' portions of my little pea brain, the experiences we would be having serving the Lord in this marvelous country...the wonderful people we would come to love...the things I would eat, smell, see, feel and hear...challenges we would face...the hardships and poverty we would see...the beautiful people we would be willing to set aside OUR family, OUR home, OUR careers and OUR lives to interact with-OH, WHAT A RIDE THIS HAS BEEN!! I have said this before but I will say it again and again and again...there are NO better people in the world than those who the Lord has chosen to place in this wonderful country. They are so humble, so Christlike, so loving, so passionate, so fun-loving, so spiritually hungry...have I convinced you yet???  I LOVE THESE PEOPLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

We serve in a very humble little community called Mallig [pronounced ma LEEG]. It is a 45 minute drive for us to get to our area [in good traffic] and we spend between four and six evenings a week working with the members, visiting members and helping the leaders create a program in their different responsibilities that will help to strengthen them and the other members of the branch. I say branch and I mean branch-some weeks it is no more than a buggy whip! Recently we woke up on a Sunday morning to rain and knew the numbers at church would be low-these people are not rain people and why, I don't know. It rains here [it is a tropical climate after all] and the Filipinos go indoors. Because they do not operate automobiles and need to depend on public transportation, it is often difficult to get places when the weather is bad. In our branch, nobody owns a fact, I don't think I personally know more than 2 or 3 families in the entire district where we serve who have their own personal vehicle. Some have a 'motor', which is a motorcycle and a few have a family trycie. Our branch president in Mallig owns a jeepney [but he doesn't know how to drive it-his son uses it to earn income I think] and one family in our branch owns a family kulig kulig.  Most of these people come from miles and miles away to attend church, often walking for more than an hour. It is the same for schools...the children take a trycie or walk. It is not a progressive country when it comes to transportation, that is for sure!

Last week was an amazing event-our normal attendance at our Sacrament Meeting is around 55-60 and we had 85 in attendance! We meet in a very small, old house and that day, the seams were bursting. We actually ran out of chairs and some sat on the floor or on a counter top in a back room. In the Philippines, as in the US, a Branch needs to demonstrate faithfulness to qualify for the building of a regular church meetinghouse. There are certain things a unit must do and apparently, ours is not there yet. Our current meetinghouse has two classrooms [probably 8'x9' each], a Branch President's office and the main room which is used for all other classes. When we arrived, Elder Shaner spearheaded some changes and we got a curtain installed to separate that room into two areas which helped but we are still very crowded at times. Our Primary room is the smallest and last week we had 34 children!! Our normal attendance is maybe 15 but we really had a grand time!

So many crowded into that little room-and of course NO air conditioning!

Gospel Doctrine in this room and the youth Sunday School
behind the grey curtain.
One thing I have learned for sure-these people are social animals!! They LOVE to party and last Saturday we had two fun events. In the afternoon we gathered the children for a Primary Activity. The Primary President gave a brief lesson, I taught a song then we had games! They LOVE games!! Any opportunity to 'play' and they are all in! After the children left, the youth arrived for their Halloween Party. The Filipino's don't celebrate Halloween but they know the concept and it gave them a reason to gather and have fun. We have really learned some fun new games being here and interacting with this fun-loving population.
Teams had a roll of toilet paper and to music, had a race
to mummify their other teammate...

Sister Ermhel is putting up the decorations for the youth
Halloween party.

This game was hilarious. The music would stop and BOTH
team members would need to be standing on the
paper-they would fold and fold the paper
to make it smaller until one team was left
standing. This team actually won-the last round,
Marry Joy jumped on Maricel's back-clever idea!
Our Monday's are supposed to be our 'P' day...preparation day where we do our laundry, get haircuts, go shopping, etc. MOST Mondays, however, we can be found helping missionaries in one way or the other with our apartment responsibilities. Last Monday we drove to Cabagan to try to help the Elders assigned there with their apartment crisis-the home we were renting for them has sold and they need to find a new place YESTERDAY!! We checked out two but they were not up to our standards, unfortunately. However, today we are going up again and checking out two different apartments they have found in their respective areas. If they are a 'go', this foursome will be divided but will each be closer to the members they are working with and closer to their investigators. That will be a blessing for them. It was a little 'tight' fitting these four into the back seat of our truck but they didn't complain a bit-glad for the aircon I suspect!

Elder Reher, Elder Jimenez, Elder De Guzman and Elder Makiling
We really enjoy our apartment responsibilities. As we travel the mission delivering supplies, checking on apartments, meeting with landlords, etc. it gives us a great diversion from our normal week and we enjoy that. Another benefit is the time Elder and I get to spend in the car, visiting, planning, reminiscing, worrying about our kids, etc. OUR friendship has deepened as a result of the time we have had together. 

This week has been Apartment Check week and we visited three Zones. We normally only visit one or two a month but with next month being December and the crazy calendar schedule we noticed, Elder decided to schedule November and Decembers this week and free up our December for the holiday festivities. It has been a great week and so far, Roxas and Burgos Zones all had 100% Celestial Apartments. We give them a little 'award' and a treat..this time they all got banana bread.[and most times actually because they all LOVE my banana bread!]

Elder Coleman and Elder Defacto [Elder Coleman
is Elder Defacto's 'tatay'...his 'daddy' or his trainer]

These are our Mallig Elders-two of the Lord's finest!
Elder Dagal and Elder Abitona

These sweet Sisters are in a foursome-
Sister Joame, Sister Tabudlong, Sister Janda and Sister Wilkins
 I have frequently told you how creative and ingenious these people are...yesterday we went into an apartment and found this little speaker with a makeshift 'plug' for a hole. I laughed and laughed!!
There are so many things that we see daily that we have never seen before and some we hope to forget. ha! ha! However, these next few pictures will show you some of the different things we share the road with...some are ONLY in the Philippines!

Leading their cows from one place to another-they are tethered
to the rear bumper of the truck

I know I would want to buy eggs here!!

These people are small people and so are their
vehicles...this one is advertising the political
candidates for an upcoming election.
I mentioned that the children do not ride on school buses or have parents who drop them off at school like in the US. They get up very early to be at school at 7:00 a.m.  They have an hour and a half usually for lunch then resume at 1:00 and do not dismiss for the day until 5:00. They students are responsible for getting themselves to school and some ride in a Jeepney, some in trycies and some just walk but their uniforms all let us know that school is out so watch the roads.

We are such a novelty here-many children have never seen an American in real life and as we travel down the roads, often we come up behind an open trailer, a kulig kulig, or other form of transportation with children and they ALWAYS wave...their smiles are heart warming as they greet us with their expressions. Such a precious culture...sometimes I still can't believe the Lord would trust ME to come to this country and meet these marvelous people. What a treat!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Different culture, different traditions...

One thing that we have enjoyed here are the different traditions that a different culture offers. Growing up in middle class, mid-west America and only experiencing the things that a Methodist family in Nebraska would offer is the only thing we have experienced thus far in our lives. When we have traveled to different parts of our country, we have noticed distinct differences in local traditions and celebrations but we were never prepared for what we have found here in the Philippines. The differences are SO interesting...

I remember watching a movie one time [I think with my friend Kayleen] that depicted a Catholic family in Mexico if I remember correctly. They, for some reason, traveled as a family to the cemetery and celebrated for days, saying they could connect with the dead. I remember we both discussed how odd that seemed to us but guess what???? THAT REALLY HAPPENS!!!!!

November 1st is All Souls Day here in the Philippines. It follows their Halloween [which is NOT like ours...some shop workers might dress in costume but there is NO candy, etc. like we have] This year All Souls Day fell on a Thursday so starting on Wednesday, the buses from all over the island were PACKED with people coming home 'to the Provinces' for the holiday weekend. It is a huge family celebration weekend, one of the biggest in their cultural tradition. We had missionaries going home on Wednesday night and another batch coming on Thursday morning so they needed reservations weeks in advance for their seats on their respective buses. Anyway, families gather in the place of their birth to celebrate. 

Halloween night, as we drove past on our way home from Cauayan, it looked like the cemetery was on fire!!  Each family brings candles to light up the graves of their dear departed. It is a beautiful sight to see for sure. Later that evening, families arrive with tents, bedding, coolers, etc. and they sleep in the cemetery for 2-3 days. The family members use this time as a way to honor their dearly departed. They believe the souls of their dear family members are allowed to come back to interact with their living families during that time and they want to be there to see them or for their loved ones to know that they are not forgotten by their presence at their grave. I remember something like that from the movie I talked about previously but couldn't tell you the details until now. It is an amazing thing to see. On Thursday, ALL BUSINESS stops for 4 days for the celebration. Food vendors set up in the cemetery and on the street outside the gates, vendors are selling trinkets and other remembrances, some are selling kitchen wares [just in case you forgot to bring something you might need] is amazing to see. The cars [and remember most people do not own cars but come on jeepneys or trycies] were parked for a mile both directions all along the highway outside of the cemetery gates. It was almost impossible for us to get through to go home!
Tents and flowers

A vendor selling snacks
The above pictures were actually taken the day after the main celebration but still depict the mood of the event.

Every Tuesday we have our weekly District Meetings and we really enjoy seeing our missionaries interact, train, uplift and brainstorm together as they learn from each other. We have two districts in our Zone now so there are two different missionaries who are given the opportunity to prepare and teach. They are both amazing leaders and we are happy to serve with them.

Afterwards, the Elders and Sisters gather somewhere to have lunch before heading back to their areas. Last week we happened in on their lunch when we chose Chic Boy for our lunch. These are 12 of the finest the Lord has...

Being American this past week has been a hard thing for me...I was born a Republican and will die a Republican I think. I know many of you are probably Democrats so I am not trying to offend but coming from plain vanilla mid-west America, I have adopted the traditions of my parents. I did the research when we got married and made the choice at that time that if I needed to 'declare', I would declare Republican. However, that being said, I have voted, over the years, for MANY Democrats because I try to do my homework and vote for the candidate, not the party. Many times Randy says we 'cancel each other out' because of my voting history but I believe in the person, not the party. 

OK...this past week was the Presidential Election at home and because currently, we do not own property or have a residence, we were not given the chance to cast our vote however, we did have strong opinions to who we wanted to see win and have the opportunity to run out country...we were definitely wearing red on Wednesday morning when we all gathered at the Laker's apartment for our 'Results Party'! Sister Laker thought that would be fun to be together, bring snacks, have lunch and watch the voting results come in...the air of that morning was a little glum to say the least. 

America chose...

When President Obama was elected four years ago, he was not my candidate however, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and supported him. In my opinion, he has not done what we all thought he would do but if America chooses another four years of his leadership, I guess we will just do our best to support him again. I will continue to pray for our country because I personally felt a change would be so beneficial but apparently, my feelings were in the minority. It will be another four years of the same and again, I will do my best to do my part.

The Mills and the Gottfredsons watching the 'tv'...better known as Laker's computer..
One thing we really LOVE about our apartment responsibility is deliveries of things that these missionaries have waited so long to receive. In August, President Carlos opened a new area in Nueva Viczaya called Dupax del Sur. These missionaries moved in and did their best to adjust to the new surroundings. The area is gorgeous and  cooler than Isabela where we live. Each companionship should have two desks for their study use. These young men have been patient while we had new desks built and yesterday, they were finally delivered. Happy missionaries in Dupax for sure!!

Elder Landeen and Elder Pingol
You remember an earlier post with Balai Gloria, the resort? We were in that area yesterday and Elder Shaner NEEDED chocolate cake!!  Now those of you [my kids especially] know how their dad loves CHOCOLATE and especially cake with ice cream so he decided to stop and bring some home. I didn't eat any cake but enjoyed their gorgeous Christmas decorations!! These Filipino people know how to DECORATE!!!  and for Christmas, everything is exquisite!!

This tree outside is decorated year round..

I bet you have never seen a banana flower before...we have many banana trees [as well as coconut, avocado, mango] on our property and when I was looking up the other day, I spotted this banana flower. It may not look so large but it is probably 12" in length at least. It is a gorgeous color of mauve and will turn into a rack of bananas. We currently have three or four in the process of growing.

Our experience here in the Philippines reminds me a little of this flower...we are holding on, ready to open up the lives of those we work with and teach but like this flower, there are hazards [like the barbed wire] that we must avoid...hazards like complacency. We must never think we are doing all we can because that is just not true! The Lord will accept our offering of our time, our talents, and our financial means to support ourselves but if we, as full-time missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, do not stretch ourselves every day to help, lift, teach, preach, lead, and serve Him, our 23 month mission is all in is OUR time to prove ourselves as servants of He who has given us everything!! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pineapples, people, places and possibilities...

There are many benefits from living in a third world country that is located within 1000 miles of the equator, has a tropical climate and is home to the most WONDERFUL produce I have ever seen, tasted or cooked with in my entire life!! People here take it for granted [probably like the beautiful mountains in Utah, the glorious beaches in Southern California, the brilliantly colored trees in Nebraska in the fall...etc.] but I am here to tell you there is NOWHERE on this earth that can compete with the quality and prices we find here every day! I have never tasted such sweet bananas, delicious mangoes, mouth-watering [with NO acidity] pineapple, crisp apples, juicy oranges, or exquisite grapes anywhere in the world. Most of our produce is grown locally but some is shipped in from Baguio. The vegetables are also delicious and some of the best salads I have ever made were created here in my home. My garden is producing some nice tomatoes [thanks Chip] as well as eggplant, okra, roma tomatoes, beans, radishes and squash. Most varieties we have in the US don't do well here because of the extreme heat and humidity but they have created their own 'breeds' who survive and actually flourish in this climate. We are semi-retired former middle class Americans who could live here like Kings and Queens with our current income...however, I don't think I could convince my children and their families to join us so I guess we will go home next summer after all!! 

It is getting much cooler the past month and that is a welcome treat. Growing up in the midwest, I am accustomed to the heat and humidity but I am also used to having a six month break every year...not so here. Randy says we have two and hotter, wet and wetter and he is right! For the next 4 months, we will experience a cooler climate, cool mornings and not so stifling during the days. By March, things will begin to become more uncomfortable and April and May...LOOK OUT! 

I purchased this all for about $10 US. I especially love the mangoes and
the Romaine lettuce [from Baguio].

I bought these 12 pineapple last Saturday at a roadside
stand in Nueva Vizcaya for 300 pesos..($7)
On the way home from speaking at the Young Adult Conference in Nueva Vizcaya last Saturday, we stopped and picked up 12 pineapples with the intention of taking the missionaries and visiting some investigators, less-actives, or new members. We planned to give them a pineapple and tell them how wonderful and sweet they were. We then likened the sweetness to the sweetness of the gospel in our lives and shared a scripture (1 Nephi 8:10,11) with each family. It was raining like crazy last Sunday morning (and many did not come to church because of the weather). Our attendance was really low so after church, the four of us gave up our afternoon, drove through the mud and yuck to deliver our pineapples. That was thrilling to each family. The Filipino people are, for the most part, so humble and teachable, a true treat for us!

We saved one for Elder Dagal and Elder Rostedt and they were so happy.
On our way to a far out area that afternoon we passed by a mama carabao and her eight day old baby...SO cute!! This was the youngest carabao we have seen in the 15 months we have been here.

By the time we went to deliver the pineapples, the rain had stopped and the air was so clean and clear. I loved this view of the mountains with the clouds still hovering at the top...just breathless scenery.

For those of you readers who might not know, I am married to an engineer by education. Now engineers are a different breed of human...they are not 'wired' like normal people, don't see life through the same eyes normal people do and instead, are constantly trying to find ways to reinvent the wheel when it comes to simple tasks. I have always wondered what they dream hubby has spent many nights flipping and thrashing around and I always thought he was fighting dragons but I have changed my mind...HE IS TRYING TO BUILD NEW WAYS TO ACCOMPLISH RELATIVELY SIMPLE TASKS!

This past week, we 'opened' a new apartment. You all know we are in charge of the missionary apartments in our mission and that responsibility gives us many miles of travel, association with all of the missionaries and a working relationship with vendors and sales personnel in various stores. We really love the job-it give us such variety to our mission. Opening a new apartment means delivering everything they will need from beds to dressers to a fridge, stove, tables, etc. to a new bare apartment. The Assistants to the President are assigned a truck like ours (theirs is blue however and has had the  topper removed) so we often borrow their truck, both Randy and I drive and we can take everything to 'open' in one trip. This past week we needed to take many things and were unsure how it would all fit. One of the bulkiest things we needed to take were two clothes racks. They would fit in the open bed truck but it had a fridge already loaded so my engineer 'had a dream' about how to work it so they would ride on top of our truck-he used two 6' long bamboo poles tied across the luggage rack then rested the two clothes racks on that. I do have to admit that it was clever and allowed us to take them the hour drive away without any problems. My smart engineer...

Tying the poles and clothes racks securely..
You all know about the fresh water pond I have referred to in the past-the time when we send beloved missionaries back to their families, welcome new fresh faced and enthusiastic missionaries early the next morning then have our transfer meeting where everyone is thrown in the air and they all land in new homes. That is always bittersweet for me. We love these Elders and Sisters. Some we become very close to and they are the ones who tug at our hearts as they either return to their lives or move on to bless another area of our mission. This week we bade a fond farewell to Elder Griffin...he was our Zone Leader in Roxas for many months and we came to love him like one of ours. He reminds both of us so much of our youngest son and that probably strengthened the ties we had with him. As I type this, he is in Manila making his last minute preparations, repacking his suitcase and will fly out tomorrow morning to return to St George to his loving family who will greet him with open arms. We will miss this mighty warrior...

Farewell to a faithful missionary and a great servant of our Heavenly Father.
Transfers usually affect us to some degree but this time we will see two move on and they will leave a hole in our lives. Sister Klein will experience her first transfer. She is in Santiago with Sister Morales and will have the opportunity to be a senior companion. Her leadership skills are amazing and she will be such a blessing to that area. (I did tell her she will have a McDonald's close by and she was thrilled!)

Sister Morales and Sister Klein
If you have been following my blog for the past few months, you have become acquainted with Elder Rostedt who has been transferred also. His new companion is Elder Sarcauga and they will be in Ramon. That is one of the nicest Elder apartments in the mission and currently is housing four Elders. They have to be self-disciplined young men to be trusted in a foursome. He will be a blessing to the Ramon Ward for sure!! (but will be missed in Mallig)

Elder Rostedt and Elder Sarcauga
I have mentioned before about is constantly changing and sometimes those changes are easy, sometimes difficult. I have learned about flexibility while serving the Lord in this part of His vineyard. I love my mission. I love serving in the Philippines. I love our assignments. I love my fellow missionaries. I love my Mission President and his marvelous wife. I love the experiences we are having. I adore my companion and thank the Lord everyday that I have him in my life, my health is good and my testimony is strong. I know this is the Lord's church and I am so thrilled to be part of this work at this time in my life. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church on the earth today. I am so happy that my life took a turn 39 years ago last Friday when we entered the waters of baptism and know it is because of that decision, each member of my family will have the opportunity to be together for eternity. My prayer, my SINCERE prayer is that each of them will want to be with us in the kingdom of our Father. That is MY goal...