Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wishes do come true . . .

Over the past few years, my family ask me what I want for Christmas, my birthday , mother's day or what ever. I always tell them I want someone to clean my house for me . . . well guess what?? My dream came true!!! I now have a housekeeper who comes once a week. She cleans, mops floors, does laundry, folds my clothes, irons my clothes, straightens everything in my dresser and hangs my clothes by colors in my closet! It is wonderful and it only cost me approximately $9/week. Her name is Connie - just like my other name (they all call me Sister here). Her sister cleans for the Mission President's wife. Last week Connie cut up a papya for me that was growing in the back yard of the house. This week she cut up mangoes for me. What a treat!! I am now a spoiled lady . . . .

We also have a security guard who lives here. His name is Jose. He is wonderful. He is the one who planted the papaya trees in the back yard along with some banana trees. He has planted pineapples that are growing along the walkway to the backyard. He plants flowers and trees and then takes care of them, watering them every morning. I would love to plant some veggies in pots here, but the bugs eat them before humans can . . . oh well, I will just have to buy them in the market.

Tonight I am going to bed in clean sheets and I didn't have to do all of the work . . . good night!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A day in the office . . .

This has been an interesting week in the office so far.

Last week when we got here, the mission president told us that the mission office runs like a train that is speeding down the track. It needs to keep moving forward and not stop and start. So our job is to keep it moving and not slow it down.

Since the couple that was training us last week went home on Saturday, we are trying to remember all that they taught us . . . I think our brains are just running on overload or we are just too old to remember so much! Both Wade & I have run into roadblocks this week trying to remember where something is located in the computer or what needs to go where.

I am responsible to enter all of the baptismal records for the convert baptisms in our mission. Now I have worked with doctors before and I must say I am pretty good at deciphering their handwriting. But some of the missionaries have them beat! The biggest problem is that they write so small I have to get a magnifying glass to see the print and that is with my bifocals on! Today I was doing a little better and getting more of the stack entered. They are supposed to be entered in the month that the ordinace took place . . . I need to hurry since I still have a stack of about 25 that need to get done for March!! Oh yes, we also had a 'brown out' right in the middle of me entering a record . . . had to start over with that one. :) It only lasted about 15-20 minutes this time.

Another responsibility that I have is to enter Temple Recommends into the system. They are pretty easy to do, but I spent Monday & Tuesday trying to remember how to get into the church system so I could enter them I called the area office and finally Tuesday afternoon they gave me the number to another mission in the area. I called and spoke to a nice Elder from Nevada who was able to help me with that little problem.

My next problem is to get the mail merge to work correctly. There is some way to get it updated when new missionaries are put into the iMOS system (this is the church system that we use), but I don't remember being shown how to do that one. Wade has a person from the area office coming tomorrow to help him with some of the finance stuff he does . . . I hope he can help me as well!

This evening we went for a walk at the park. It is at least a mile around the perimeter. I only did half of it, but ran some of it. Wade did the whole thing. Boy am I out of shape!!! It felt good to get outside. You can smell some of the flowers that are blooming now - they smell so sweet. There is one flower in bloom right now that they use in Hawaii to make leis. There are some Vanda orchids that are growing on a tree on the property. They smell so good! There are flowers blooming everywhere right now. It is beautiful!! The trees are green and there are some areas here on base that remind me of the trees in Georgia!

Well, tomorrow is another day . . . .

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Week one continued

Tuesday began our training and also transfers. The missionaries going home came to the mission home for interviews and good byes. We were invited to have lunch with all of them in the mission home. Then we sent them off to Manila. They stay in the Patron House (which is next to the temple and used for patrons going to the temple) and they were able to go to the temple before going home on Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday we got a whole new 'batch' of missionaries. One of the Elders was even from our Stake back home. They arrived in the afternoon and stayed the night at the mission home. The next morning they all had interviews, lunch and met their companions. Then it was off to the bus station so they could travel to their area. Wade helped transport some of the missionaries in the Angeles zone to their apartments. When he came back, he walked into the office and told us that he had cried the whole way back. He said that he had been introduced into the culture here. (Before we left home, Wade said he wouldn’t have any culture shock since he had seen it all in Central America while on his first mission as a 19 year old boy.) He told me that he had seen places like this before, but that the Elders & Sisters had never lived in these conditions. He was humbled to say the least! I have driven by some of these homes and apartments, but I haven’t been inside of them yet. We will be doing apartment inspections in the next few weeks, so my eyes will be opened as well.

Friday we had a couples meeting with the President. There are 4 other couples in the mission beside us. It was fun to get to meet them. Since they wrer working on some of the power lines in our area we were without power all day so we went to the Holiday Inn at Clarkfield for our meeting and lunch. I enjoyed trying some new dishes and having a nice salad.

We have our p-day on Saturday. It was spent doing wash, getting some groceries and then driving around the base to become acquainted with where things are located. Driving around the base isn't bad, but when you are off the base it is crazy . . . Wade is now doing all of the driving!

Sunday we attended the Essil Ward in the stake center. It was very much like the buildings at home, but with the Filipino influence . The floors are either wood or tile. We were asked to bear our testimony again. We have been told that we may be asked to speak as well and to be ready at a moments notice.

The people are so sweet and they all look so young . . . I am looking for the fountain of youth that they all visit! The weather has been hot, but not unbearable., Maybe that is because we have air conditioning in the office and our apartment. Then when we are in the car we have air there. I'm sure we will experience the hot weather soon . . . but for now we are just loving being missionaries in the Philippines Angeles Mission!!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

We are in the Philippines!!

Today is Sunday. We are 15 hours ahead of Utah time. And we are still trying to make that adjustment to the time change.

When we got on the plane in Hong Kong, a sweet young lady (maybe in her early 40s) sat next to me. She asked about my badge and told me that she is 'searching' for a church at this time. She asked for some literature . . . it was all in our checked suitcases . . . but i did have a pass along card that I was able to give to her. She asked about our mission, who paid for it and told me she is looking for a church. She said that she has been to several and they all tell her they are true. Sound familiar? She said that recently she has been attend the Jehovah's Witness Church. So, I preceded to tell her that our Church is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ; that his gospel had been taken from the earth after his death. I told her about how a young man Joseph Smith saw God the Father and Jesus Christ and that the gospel of Jesus Christ had been restored to the earth in these latter days. She really seemed interested. So I got her name and address and will pass it along to the referral department at church headquarters. She is Filipino but lives with her German husband and 2 kids in Germany. She is here visiting her mother for 18 days. Maybe she will be a golden lead for missionaries in Germany . . . . :)

The mission put us up in a hotel in Manila for 2 nights to help us get some of our lost sleep and adjust to the time change. We also need to get drivers licenses before we go on to Angeles. So that will be our first order of the day on Monday. The hotel is very nice. We are on the 21st floor so we have a beautiful view of the city. There is a very expensive area of homes that we can see out our window. I would love to drive through the area to get a better look at the homes, but I don't think we will be able to do that.

Our hotel is connect to a very LARGE mall. I don't think I have ever been to a mall this large before! Since the internet in the hotel is very expensive, we can come out in the mall and connect to wireless that is free. So I am sitting in the mall at a yogurt shop writing this.

Back up to yesterday. . . . we were met in the Manila airport by a young man named Clem. He and the van driver loaded all of our luggage into the van . . . not sure if we could since we were so tired! They took us to the Holiday Inn hotel in downtown Manila. One of Michael's friends told me I would love everything about the Philippines except the traffic. . . he may be right. It was a little crazy, but our driver, Ernie, did a great job of getting us to the hotel safely!

First thing I did was take a shower . . . I felt so gross after 18+ hours in the air . . . not including the lay overs in San Francisco and Hong Kong. It sure felt good to be clean again! Then it was nap time. Neither myself or Wade could keep our eyes open any longer. We enjoyed about 3 hours of napping before Wade woke me up and told me we needed to go get dinner. We ate at a TGI Fridays next to the hotel. We started to walk around th mall, but we were both so tired. Wade was really out of it . . .the loss of sleep had caught up to him! So back to the hotel and to bed we went. I think we both slept until 6am this morning. I am finally feeling like I can make it through the day again!

We had a wonderful buffet breakfast here at the hotel. We are going to a 2pm church meeting this afternoon with our new friend Clem and his family. It will exciting to meet with the saints here in the Philippines.

As we drove in from the airport, I saw different types of homes. Some were very much like homes we saw in Egypt and Mexico. These I am sure are where some of the poorest people live. Other homes were a little nicer, but most were more like apartments. I'm sure we will see more of the poverty that is here as we travel to Angeles tomorrow.

I have taken several pictures, but will post them at a later time. For now, I will tell you that I am happy to be here and I am looking forward to doing the Lord's work here in this part of his vineyard!

Our Adventure Begins -

Thursday 3/17/11

Happy St. Patricks’s Day to all! My daughter posted on facebook that she had changed it to ‘St. Patti’s Day” in honor of her. She was so glad that everyone was celebrating her.

We finished our office training this morning. After lunch and cleaning our room we headed home to get the rest of our baggage. We had a couple of things to pick up on the way home. I did a load of laundry so we didn’t have to take dirty clothes in our bags. Mike got home early from work. We packed up the car with 4 large suitcases, 2 carry on bags and headed to Charlie’s to pick him up. The boys were going to be late for the start of the BYU game that was on TV. Charlie taped it! We got a couple of pictures at the airport curb and then we were off to get checked in.

We thought we would have a 3 hour wait at the Salt Lake airport. When we got to the check in, we found out that the flight was delayed another hour. We love sitting in airports!! We do that a lot when we fly standby. We flew to San Francisco and had to wait 4 hours for our flight to Hong Kong. Needless to say, we were very tired by the time we got on the plane and took off! Wade has such a hard time sleeping on the plane, but I think he got a few winks in on our 14 hour flight to Hong Kong.

So it is now Saturday morning. We arrived about 6:30a here in Hong Kong. We are now waiting for our flight to Manila. I’m glad I don’t have to make that flight home too soon. We flew on Cathy Pacific from San Francisco. We flew on a 747 which is a large plane! I did get some sleep. I had taken by shoes off to be more comfortable, and then I had a very hard time getting them back on. My feet were so swollen! I was finally able to squeeze my fat feet into my shoes and then walked a little in the isles. I finally watched the movie Tangled. It was really cute . . . one I need to buy. Wade read and finished a book on the plane. He had a hard time getting his shoes back on when we landed . . . Now to start drinking lots more water. Wade said he had drunk more water on the plane than he has ever drank at one time before. I believe it since I can never get him to drink water. And now we have to drink bottles water to be safe . . .

We are looking forward to getting to Manila in a few hours. We will stay in a hotel in Manlia to night and tomorrow night and then off to Angeles to get settled in out apartment for the next 18 months.

Yes our adventure has begun and we are thrilled!!!

Pictures to follow in a few days . . . .

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

One more day . . .

Today we spent most of the day learning how to do different office functions on the computer. Several of these are done in MS Word and few others in programs that the church has. We learned how to do a newsletter in Word and we did a lot of practicing today. The room the computers are in was so hot today. It was hard to stay awake! I wonder if this is what I will experience next week in the Philippines?

We will be finishing up in our class about noon, eat lunch, pack the car and head home to get the rest of our luggage. Then it will be off to the airport for a very long flight. We have been planning to have our boys take us to the airport and say goodbye, but we have had a wrench thrown into this scenario. Anyone who knows by boys, including my husband, knows that BYU games are very important and you don't want to miss anything. Well, BYU is playing in the NCAA tournament tomorrow at the time we need to go to the airport. So I guess we will be sitting in the Salt lake Airport longer than we would like to . . . the price we pay for sports at our house!

I finally learned how to add pictures (thanks to my sister in law Heather). The following are from our time here at the MTC. Enjoy!

We finally got here. Wade pulling his bag into our room with the 'thumbs up'.

This is the bed in our room . . not much of a room, but we were in classes all day.
At night we were so tired we would go back to our room and crash!

Pointing to the Philippines on the world map. This is our mission.

This is our MTC training group. 24 couples and 2 single sisters.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What is My Purpose as a Missionary?

Today was another wonderful day with more coincidences. As I was sitting in our office training class, the Sister next to me was working on the iMOS program for her new mission - Florida Tampa. She pulled up the couple that her and her husband are replacing and their name was Mott. She said they were from Vernal. I asked her what the Elder's first name was . . Dennis Mott. I told her that he is my second cousin. His mother and my dad are first cousins. She wrote down some information and is going to tell him that we met in the MTC. As we were visiting with Elder & Sister Burns today at lunch, he told us that he is related to Wade and knows his uncle Curt really well. The world just keeps getting smaller!

Our office training was great today. More review of computer programs that I have used in my working career. It amazes me daily how our Heavenly Father knows each of us. He has a plan for us and makes it possible for us to learn things that we can use to further his work.

Tonight our devotional was given by Elder Richard Maynes from the First Quorum of the Seventy. He talked about the 3 most important gifts from our Heavenly Father - 1) His Son Jesus Christ; 2) The Holy Ghost; 3) Eternal Life. By receiving the first two gifts it makes it possible to receive the third gift. Elder Maynes focused his remarks on the Holy Ghost.
  • In 1839 The Prophet Joseph Smith met with US President Van Buren. He was asked what makes Mormons different from everyone else? The Prophet answered "We differ in our mode of baptism and the Gift of the Holy Ghost."
  • In 3rd Nephi 18 the Nephities prayed for 'that which they most desired'. That was the Holy Ghost. They were baptized and the Holy Ghost came down upon them.
  • Each week we attend our sacrament meeting to 'renew our baptismal and temple covenants. We are told 'that his Spirit will always be with us". In D &C 121:26 it states, "God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost."
In Preach My Gospel, it tells us what the purpose of a missionary is: Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and Hist Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

So as I continue on this new adventure of being a missionary, I will keep this purpose in mind as I meet people and converse with them. What an honor it is for me to be a missionary and to invite Jesus Christ into the lives of others.

Monday, March 14, 2011

What a Week!

We finished our first week at the Missionary Training Center on Friday. It was such a wonderful week of learning new ways to teach the scriptures and gospel principles.

We had so many wonderful experiences last week. Friday morning President Martino (our new mission president starting in July 2011) brought his wife to the MTC so we could meet her. She is going to be wonderful to work with. Watch for their bio in the Church News.

Friday evening at dinner, we sat at a table with a couple who are going to the Siberia Russia Mission. As Wade was talking to them, they told him that their son had served in the Baguio Philippines mission in 1992. Wade told them that his parents had been there and that his dad died while playing tennis on his P-day. When he told them this story, they got this funny look of shock on their faces. They told us that the mission president had called their son and his companion to go and pick up the elder who had died. It was Wade's dad! What are the chances that we would be at the MTC the same time as this couple whose son had preformed such a tender assignment in carrying for the remains of Wade's dad?

While home this weekend, we were able attend a wedding reception for a young man in our ward. It was wonderful to talk to so many ward members and share some of our experiences. We enjoyed our ward conference on Sunday as well. It was a tender time saying good-bye to so many dear friends. We also visited with my mom and bid her farewell as well.

So today we are back at the MTC doing office training. We are learning iMOS (Internet Missionary Office System) that the church uses. We will be working on this for the next 2 days. We also had some EXCEL training today. It was a good review for me from training I had a few years ago.

Another coincidence . . . Today while we were eating lunch, I looked up and saw a couple from my ward growing up - Keith & Diane Burns - who are beginning their mission today. They will be going to the North Carolina Charlotte Mission. It was so fun to visit with them as they embark on their own great adventure. They said they had only received their call 3 weeks ago. They are in a group of 67 senior missionaries - 33 couples and 1 single sister. We also met 2 couples who will be going to Cove Fort. The work is moving forward!

I have a couple of pictures, but I hven't figured out how to post them . . . still working on that. Stay tuned . . . . . . . .

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Another day at the MTC

Day #4 is almost over here at the MTC in Provo Ut.

We have been learning the lessons in Preach My Gospel. Today we were to teach the Plan of Salvation. When we did this activity yesterday, I was able to do it, but I didn't like it. The lady we taught was very nice, but I had a hard time feeling good about the whole thing. Today I felt much differently about my experience. I'm not sure if it was because I felt more prepared or because I had done this yesterday and had more of a clue of what to expect. I was able to explain the scriptures that we used to go along with our lesson. When we got ready to end our visit, I 'invited' this person to be baptized and she said that she would if we could teach her a little more. As I said in my last post, the 'investigators' that we teach are really members of the church who come in to 'role play the part' so that we can practice and feel more comfortable in our role as missionaries. I felt much more confident in what I was doing and I think I can do my part in teaching our Heavenly Father's children in the Philippines. Because we are assigned to work in the mission office, I'm not sure how much of a chance we will have to teach, but I'm sure we'll have some opportunities.

We also visited with our new Mission President again today at lunch. He is going to be fun to work with. I am excited to meet his wife as well.

We are looking forward to going home this weekend to complete our packing. We will come back to the MTC on Monday morning for office training. We will be here again for 3 1/2 days, leaving Thursday afternoon to go home and get all of our bags and have the boys take us to the airport for our long flight to the Philippines. We will fly from Salt Lake to San Francisco. Then on to Hong Kong and then on to Manila. We will arrive Saturday morning. I am still a little nervous about the 'change' that we will be expereinceing, but I am so excited to get there and begin this new adventure in our lives!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Big Surprise

Today we had a big surprise. While getting our lunch trays, a brother was putting his tray down on the table where Wade had just put his down. He asked Wade where he was going on his mission. Wade told him the Philippines and he said he was too. Wade looked at his name tag and it said President Martino. Wade said oh you are our new mission president. Yes it was President David Martino who will begin his service as a Mission President the first of July. We sat and visited during lunch finding out a little more about each other. President Martino wanted to learn the Tagalog language and so he is here this week taking the language classes. The mission is an English speaking mission, but because he will be in meetings with people who may only speak Tagalog he wanted to learn enough of the language so he can communicate. He is a wonderful person who is currently a councilor in the Texas Dallas North Mission presidency. We were so surprised, but excited to meet him and we are looking forward to working with him in the mission field.

We have been studying Preach My Gospel and today we taught a lesson to an investigator. This person is actually a member of the church who comes into the MTC to play the role of an investigator so that we can practice what we are learning. Wade told me I did a great job, but this is something I really don't like to do. It is amazing at how all of the other Elders and Sisters are so encouraging to each other. I told them I can do it, I just don't like to. Wade is being very patient with me and helping me to feel more comfortable in these situations. I told him that this is why we will be working in the mission office though. Our teachers are fantastic, so patient, kind and helpful!

We are both finding that we are so tired at the end of the day . . . classes are over by 4:30 each day! We go back to our room, rest for a few minutes and then go to dinner in the cafeteria. The food has been good . . we can't complain . . . and I don't have to fix it and clean up after! On Wednesdays, they serve ice cream from the BYU Creamery. It is so creamy and good with various flavors to choose from. Wade had caramel cashew tonight. This is a favorite of his and you can't find it in the stores anymore.

Tonight we will study a little more and then try to get some much needed sleep!

One more surprise for us today . . . Charlie, my youngest son, had an interview for a job in Southern California last week. Today he received a job offer from the company. He is excited about this prospect even though it will mean him moving to Southern California. We feel that this will be a great opportunity for him to grow. We can see that the Lord is already sending blessings to our family. We are so grateful to Him!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

We arrived . . . .

We arrived at the MTC yesterday March 7th. We were met by a nice man who directed us to drive around to the building where we are staying. When we got there, we were greeted by 4 young missionaries who unloaded our luggage and carried it to our room . . . what service! We left our stuff in our room and were off to orientation after parking our car way out in the parking lot in the boonies . . . Wade went out to get my coat when it started to snow . . .luckily we only got an inch or two here.

We are among 24 couples who will be serving in various areas. Of those 24 couple there are only 5 couples leaving the United States - Fiji, Mexico, Germany, Guatemala, and the Philippines. Of those 5 couples, 3 will be serving a Temple Mission. We really thought there would be more couples serving outside of the US.

Today we spent all day in classes learning about Preach My Gospel. The teachers we have a fantastic - young returned missionaries with lots of gusto for the work! Tonight we had a Devotional with Elder Kent F Richards from the Seventy. We sang Called to Serve yesterday in our first orientation meeting and then again tonight at the Devotional. It still makes me cry! Maybe I will overcome that while we spend the next 18 months serving our Heavenly Father.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

A New Name

Well today I received a new name that I am to use over the next 18 months. I am now officially Sister Jewkes. Wade, I mean Elder Jewkes, were set apart as full time missionaries tonight by our Stake President. We enter the MTC in Provo tomorrow morning.

Wade's mother was there to support us as well as Jody & Cindy Davis - my sister and her husband. Both of our boys were there as well. What a wonderful experience!

Now to finish packing for the MTC. We will be there Monday - Friday and come home next weekend. Then we will return to the MTC Monday - Thursday afternoon. We will come back home and get our other bags and the boys will take us to the airport to leave for the Philippines.
We will fly from Salt Lake to San Francisco with a 2-3 hour lay over. Then a 14 hour flight from San Francisco to Taiwan. A short lay over and then 2 more hours to Manila. We leave here on the 17th of March and arrive in Manila on Saturday March 19th. We will stay in Manila Saturday and Sunday nights in a nice hotel to rest up. It is next to a large mall. We will get driver's licenses on Monday morning and then on to Angeles. We are excited to meet President and Sister Puzey as well as the McHarry's who we will be replacing.

This next few weeks will be the start of a great new adventure in our lives!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Things were going too well . . .

I have been getting my clothes and things ready to put into suitcases for the long journey to the Philippines. Things have been going pretty well . . . . until . . . .

I went down to the furnace room to get something out. Water was on the floor. The last time this happened I found about 1 inch of water all over the floor and into the next room's carpet. I had turned the outside water on and there was a major leak in the pipe . . . water going all over! This time there wasn't as much water. It is coming from the water heater. Wouldn't you know it . . . two days before we go to the MTC and we need a new water heater! We are going to 'milk it' along for a couple of days by turning the cold water off unless we are using the hot water upstairs. This is on the advice of our good friend who is a retired plumber! Luckily I have the best handyman around . . . my youngest brother. He is going to come over and put a new water heater in this week. (Thank heaven for little brothers!!)

Now if we can get out of here without any other repair problems we will be happy!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Today Patti and I sorted through my clothes to see what would be good to take to the Philippines. We went through dresses, skirts, blouses and knit tops. I think I will have plenty to wear. I just hope that they won't be too hot. I have already gotten rid of a huge black bag of old clothing items that I just don't 'need' any more. We returned a couple of items I had purchased recently that just didn't work!
It is so fun to spend time with Patti. She has such good taste.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A New Beginning

Today I am finally beginning my blog. This will be a place for me to keep track of the comings and goings of my life as a missionary in the Philippines.