Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Eagle and Chickens . . .

Today in sacrament meeting, the bishop spoke and talked about how we need to be who we are and fly like an eagle. He told this story . . .

There was an eagle who was born to a family of chickens. He grew up being a chicken. One day some eagles saw him and told him that he was an eagle. He said no he was a chicken. They set out to teach him how to be an eagle. They sent him to eagle flight school and he learned to fly. But when it was time to go home, he didn't fly, he walked home - just as he had grown up doing.

So what was the moral of this story . . . here in the Philippines most of these people are first generation Mormons. There are many cultures and traditions that the Filipino have. He was trying to tell the ward members that they need to be themselves and learn to fly and disregard those traditions and cultures that are not in accordance to what the church teaches us. They need to be an example to their families and friends in what they believe.

We are members of the Church of Jesus Christ and we need to act on that. We need to do those things that the gospel teaches to do, or we are no different from anyone else. We are like the eagle who thinks he is a chicken and lived his life that way.

I think this was a good eye opener for everyone . . . we need to follow our Savior and His example to each of us. do those things that will lead you back to him.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Worth of Souls Is Great . . .

I was reminded of a special experience I had a few weeks ago.

We had a sister in the mission who was homesick and wanted to go home. She came to the mission home to spend a few days and to talk more with the president. Her Branch President, District President, Relief Society President, a good friend, her mother, who is not a member of the church, and her niece came to visit and talk with her. They had came 12 hours by bus and jeepies to get to the mission home. They visited with her, had dinner and then spent the night. (They were going to just go back and get on the bus to travel the 12 hours to go back home.) I know that each of them were exhausted, but they knew that this sweet young sister was worth it! "Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God." D & C 18:10

When this sweet sister walked into the mission office, she ran to her mother and just cried. It was a very tender scene. Her mother encouraged her to stay and complete her mission! (Which she is doing)

To see that this young sister had such support from her District, Branch and from her sweet mother was a testimony to me that our Heavenly Father does have a plan for each of us. If we put our trust in Him, He will help us to find the way to accomplish what he has planned for each of us!

The Roberts Arrived . . .

Elder and Sister Roberts arrived yesterday at the mission home.It was so fun to meet them. I feel like I have known them for a long time! The mission president gave us the assignment to take them to their new area, Camiling, which is about 2 - 2 1/2 hours from the mission home. After lunch and their interview with the president, we could see that we would not be able to get to Camiling and back before it got dark. The roads here are very scary at night since most of the Filipinos do not use the lights on their vehicles - they think it will run the battery down . . . So we left this morning about 7:30am on our little 'adventure'. You see, we have never been to Camiling before. So it was like the blind leading the blind! Actually it wasn't that hard to find our way . . we drove to Tarlac (where we have been several times). After crossing the bridge it was pretty much a straight shot (about another hour of driving) to Camiling!

We stopped for a couple of minutes in Tarlac and
met these 3 darling little girls . . . they liked getting their picture taken
and they especially like the coins we gave them!It was such a beautiful drive! It is a little more hilly than the Angeles area
with lots of green vegetation and these beautiful tree lined roads . . .There are rice fields planted in the opened spaces too.
I am always amazed at how beautiful the Philippines is. Elder Jewkes said that it reminded him of Costa Rica where he served his first mission some 40+ years ago.
Welcome to Camiling
The front yard of the sister's home - beautiful!!

We helped the Roberts get their things moved into their house and settled some before heading back to the mission office. It is a really nice home with 2 bedrooms. The rooms are all very large. We had the zone leaders come over to meet them as well as the 4 sisters in that zone who live next door. It was fun to visit and to get to know Elder & Sister Roberts. I think they will enjoy their stay in Camiling! And the missionaries were excited to have a new 'mom and dad' in the neighborhood!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Answers to a Question . . . Are They Really On A Mission???

It has been brought to my attention that there are some out there in blog land that think we are living in a 'resort' and just having an 'great adventure'!!

Yes, a mission is an adventure. You meet so many wonderful people and have wonderful experiences in a new land and culture. I have been on several vacations that I would consider adventures, but not in the same way as a mission.

Some think that we must not do much because we are not the 'senior missionaries' our helping the Stakes, District, Wards and Branches (like other couples that are or have served a mission). We are in the office doing all of the behind the scenes things that help to keep the mission running and getting the information passed along to church headquarters! And, Elder Jewkes and myself do most of it by ourselves . . . no office elders in this mission.

So, what DO we do each day???

Elder Jewkes makes sure that all of the bills are paid; that there are contracts for all of the apartments and that the rent is paid on time; that all of the missionaries have their support (money to pay their living expenses while serving their mission). He also meets with the mission presidency. He goes to the post office each day to retrieve our mail (they don't deliver mail here, YOU go and pick it up). He is in charge of the vehicles in our mission. The other day the mission president needed a new battery. Elder Jewkes called the area office and they came and installed it that afternoon. There are still other things he does, but the work load changes almost daily for him! (We have found that in other missions here that there is one person that takes care of each of these tasks)

And me . . . I get all of the travel for our missionaries set up, which includes getting missionaries back to Manila to take in a temple session, to a hotel for the night and then on to the airport to travel home the next day. We start that at least 3-4 months before departure dates. I get departure books ready as well as orientation books for new missionaries . . . transfer weeks are always very busy! I send all of the correspondents out from the mission office. I order all of the supplies for the office including all of the materials needed for the missionary efforts. I keep the calendar updated. I put together the mission newsletter, print it and get it ready to distribute to missionaries. I enter all of the temple recommends for the Districts within our mission as well as departing missionaries. One of the blessings that I have is to enter the baptismal records into the church system so that each new member can receive a membership record number. Each time as I am entering these (and some can be very challenging) I think someday someone may be looking for a member of their family so they can do family history. It is so important to put in accurate information. I also help the mission president's wife with the medical issues (that nursing is coming in handy again). With 160+ missionaries, she is very busy. I also do all of the filing for the mission. And now we have cell phones for each companionship, so I will helping with that. It may not seem like much, but we are busy taking care of the mission office. We do get to attend Zone Conferences and some of the other meetings that take place in the zones with the young missionaries. I sometimes feel like I am back in the work place only the 'payment' is much richer here!

No, we are not out 'teaching' and working closely with the members, but we have gotten to know many of the ward members in the Angeles Ward. We will go home with many new friends that we will treasure for the rest of out lives! We have had spiritual experiences. We have been visiting an older couple in the ward. They are always so excited when we go to visit them. They are a very special family!

As far as a living in a 'resort', not sure where that comes from. We do have fun and enjoy the culture and the people. We do live in a nice apartment here at Clarkfield - the old US military base, but resort . . I think not! Maybe it is because I like to take lots of picture to help others experience the Philippines along with us ( and to have visual memories of our mission). Each time we go out, there is something new and amazing to see!

So, I hope that clears it up for those who don't think we are really on a mission. We love the work. We love working closely with the mission president and his wife. We love getting to know all of the missionaries as they come and go in the mission. We also love working with the other senior couples who, like us, have left our families and friends behind for 18 months to serve our Heavenly Father in furthering His work! There is not greater calling!!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another Transfer . . . . .

This past week we had transfers again. On Tuesday, we sent home 16 wonderful missionaries who we will miss . . . they were all great young men and women! It is always a spiritual high to attend their last testimony meeting in the mission field and to hear their testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ. I always come away feeling the love that each has for their mission, our Savior and the people of the Philippines.

Elder LongSister BruingtonElder Pusod - He was one of the Assistants that we worked with in the officeElder Grow
Elder PageMe, Sisters Muaror, Martino, Abad and Bruington
On Wednesday we had 5 missionaries arrive from the Provo MTC and on Thursday 8 missionaries arrived from the Manila MTC! It is always fun to see these young sisters and elders arrive so eager to get out and do the Lord's work in sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the people here.
Waiting for training to begin . . . Sister Pristopher from the India New Delhi Mission!She is actually from Pakistan and our second sister missionary from there!

Oh how we love the missionaries . . . old and new . . . . .

Provident Living . ..

One of the many things that has interested me here in the Philippines is the gardens that are growing where ever there is a space to grow one. Most people have a garden in their yard if they are not in the larger cities. These wonderful people are living providently and I don't think they even know that they are. They grow the food that they put on their tables each day. Jose, our security guard, grows, pineapple, papaya, bananas and some peppers here at the mission home/office.Most people have chickens as well. But most of them are
roosters for cock fighting (and they are beautiful birds.)We have been counseled for years by our church leader to grow a garden . . . to take care of the needs of our family. I have been growing a vegetable garden in our backyard for years! I love it and miss it!

As we drive around here, I have noticed the different things growing where ever . . . so here is just a sampling of the 'gardens' here . . . I hope to add a few more pictures to this posting in the next little while (if I can get some good pictures from the car windows . . . )

Sugar cane and rice grow everywhereBeans growing right next to the road in a small spaceThis is the back yard of our friends bill and Mercy . . . what a garden they are growing . . .So when we get back home, I look forward to putting that garden in and
following the counsel of the prophets to plant a garden and live providently.

25 October 2011 - I got a couple more pictures so I am adding them to this posting (remember this is a journal of sorts!)

This is a stand where they sell something
(could be food, or a place to change a flat tire)
along side of the road . . .these are everywhere.
Notice the garden off to the left of the 'building'.
This open space is used as what looks like a community garden. They plant several different kinds of vegetables - and a lot of onions. Today I saw a guy watering his crop with two watering cans under each arm. These people can find a way to do anything! Also notice the tree stump? This tree was blown over in the typhoons!I have watched this place for about a month now. There used to be tall grass growing around this place . . . another place where you can buy things along the roadway. They started by clearing the tall grass and then planting . . .
You can see that the plants are starting to get bigger . . .
and the bugs haven't gotten to them yet.
This is the man that runs the 'store' type shop here. I told him I had been watching his garden and he got a big smile. The people are all so friendly and happy - no matter what their circumstances are!!!
(This is on the other side of the building from the previous picture.)

Celebrating . .. .

We were invited to a dinner celebration for some friends that we have met here in the Angeles Stake. Bill and Mercy. Bill is from the US. They were married a couple of years ago and Mercy was converted to the church about a year ago. The celebration dinner was in her honor. She took her endowments out in the Manila temple on Saturday October 15th. She is such a sweet lady. They invited us to attend the temple with them, but since it is out of the mission boundaries, we can only go about every 6 months and we just went a couple of weeks ago. It was a fun evening with all of her family and friends there to support her!

Mercy & Bill
Congratulations Mercy!!!

Christmas . . .

I was reading the on-line Costco ad to day and ran across this ad for Christmas Trees:

Christmas Trees. It's Time to Start Thinking about Christmas.
It's Time to Start Thinking about Christmas
Trees Starting at $89.99 Delivered

It made me laugh where the ad reads, "It's Time to Start thinking about Christmas". We can not get way from Christmas her in the Philippines . . . It started September 1st! And the Christmas music is everywhere. Jose our cute security guard told me to day that he will put the lights on the mission home on November 1st! (He wants them up for our kids when the come that month!)

So if you haven't . . . . Start Thinking About Christmas!!

Sunday, October 9, 2011


We really do get a salute each time we leave or come back home.
This is one of the guards at the gate to our subdivision.

Wade feels like he is finally getting some respect!!!

Typhoon Pedring and Typhoon Nalgae

As many of you heard and saw on the news back home, we have had typhoons again. Typhoon Pedring hit about a week ago. It is one of the largest typhoons they have had here in the Philippines in years with a span of 300 km (about 175 miles wide). We had lots of rain from it here at the mission office. (see pictures below) There were several trees uprooted and branched broken off of tress that we saw on our way to the Jubilee event last weekend. We had several of the missionary apartments that were flood, but all missionaries are safe and dry. There were many Filipinos who lost their homes. Many of these were those who lived close to the rivers and their homes washed away. I'm not sure how many members were affected.

Our mission president was on his way to Baler, which is on the east coast of the Philippines, last Saturday. They got over a bridge where the water was rising quickly and headed up the mountain only to be met by water flowing over the road. They turned around to go back, but when they got to the bridge, the water was going over it. So they were stranded in their car for 5 hours. When the Martinos arrived in July, Sister Martino felt impressed that each of the missionaries needed to have a 72 hour kit. She encouraged each missionary to get one. It was a prompting from our Heavenly Father, I am sure, because he knew that our missionaries would need it. Many missionaries had water and food to get them through this time. One group of missionaries had 1/2 cup of rice and a kit-kat bar between 4 missionaries. Branch members fed them after that was gone.

This was definitely a lesson in listening to promptings when we get them. No one had any idea that the typhoon would be as bad as it was. The stake president siad this was the worse one he has seen in 30 years. Other missions were hit much harder than ours was. There were several roads in our mission that were flooded and routes to different areas had to be changed. We had transfers last Thursday and several of the trainers coming in from those areas did not arrive at the mission home until after 1pm (they were supposed to be her by 10a).

The water covered the dirt where the plants are
next to the house ~ lower left
More of the flooding and water running down to the street.
The water running down the driveway into the street.
You can see how much water was in the gutter in the upper right corner.

A river of water in the backyard
You could almost use the water from the downspout for a shower!
Papayas that Jose cut off of the tree so that it didn't break.
(The Filipinos put the green papayas in different dishes that they make.)
A tree that was blown down during the typhoon.
The people cut it up and take it to use for firewood for cooking.

The sky after the rain had stopped . . . blue sky . . .
for a few minutes anyway!!

These guys are fixing the air conditioner
the back yard while it is raining.
Thus the umbrella . . .

I know that our Heavenly Father was protecting us during these storms. I hadn't seen the wind blow here until these typhoons came through.
Now we are just hoping that the rain is going to stop for a while. . . .
but then again, it rained again today!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Jubilee Exhibit . . . .

The Philippines is celebrating 50 years since the commencement of missionary work. They had a big celebration back in April/May -I posted pictures from this earlier in the year. The church now has an exhibit that is being sent up in the various stakes throughout the Philippines to introduce the people to the church and what we believe. This past week it has been int he Angeles Stake Center. The stake members have been there to explain the panels and then we have had missionaries there to talk to those who are interested in learning more. Elder Jewkes and I had the opportunity to be those missionaries on Friday evening . . . unfortunately, we didn't have anyone interested in talking to us further. The people who visited the exhibit were given cards to write their thoughts on and well be contacted and thanked for coming.

We were able to attend the ribbon cutting on Monday. The public Affairs Missionaries couple from Manila was here. Brother and Sister Bird are from Layton UT and arrived int he Philippines about the same time as us. They have been traveling all over the Philippines as this exhibit is set up.

Elder Bird, Sister Briones, President Briones~Angeles Stake President,
the Mayors wife, Sister BirdHere are pictures of the panels . . .
It is hard to read them, but they are done really well in telling about our beliefs!

Building Zion - One heart, one mind
This panel had a picture that sows cars in 1834 . . .
Elder Jewkes got a good laugh from that one . . .Jesus the ChristA Place Where Heaven and Earth Meet
Home Can be Heaven on Earth
The Great Plan of Happiness
Leading as Christ Led
Charity Never Faileth
Building Zion in the Angeles Stake