I have been watching the mail daily for a couple of weeks now, waiting for some packages that my girls sent. Each day Elder Jewkes comes back from the post office with packages for the other missionaries, but mine still have not arrived!! Boo!! But yesterday, I received a package from one of the delivery guys.
Here is my package . . .And here is what was inside . . . . . . my order from the distribution center . . . I was so excited even though it was not the package I was waiting for . . . I will continue to keep up my vigil for my other packages . . . After all, I am in the Philippines . . . .
~ Monday June 27, 2011 ~The larger bunch of bananas was finally ready to pick this week. So on Monday Jose told me it was time to cut them down. Here are some of the pictures from out cutting 'ceremony' . . .
The bananas are turning yellow and ready to pickMe holding the bunch of bananas while Jose cuts the thick stem Jose & Me with the bananas Jose the best farmer around! He had to use his machete to cut the bananas This little guy and a couple of his friends made their home in the bananas. The bananas that had turned yellow had the skins splitting . . .
This picture shows the size of the bananas. They are about 4 1/2 to 5 inches long - this is an envelope for a card to see the size.They are the best bananas I have ever eaten. Not quite as sweet as the longer bananas we get at home. They almost have a tint of an apple taste to them. I will take pictures this weekend of the baby bananas.
We have had a lot of rain lately . . .This is how some people ride through the rain. There were people pedaling a bicycle holding an umbrella as well. I couldn't get a picture fast enough as we were driving along.
Some roads have been flooding, but on Sunday we decide to venture out to Arayat for church. We left and headed down the expressway to San Fernando since that route looked the quickest. We got off at the exit and headed to Arayat about 30 minutes away. But just after we got off the expressway, we ran into this flooded road. There was at least 2 feet of water in the middle of this 'puddle' . . .We couldn't pass. So we just turned around and went back to the next exit. We got off and started driving through the barangay along the road. All of a sudden, the front wheel went off of the edge of the road. (Only a 2-3 inch drop off to the dirt on the side of the road.) As Elder Jewkes got the car back on the road, we felt the thud, thud of a flat tire. It had started to rain pretty hard again and I was feeling bad that he would have to change the tire in the rain and in his missionary clothes. Luckily for us, this little car shop was right across the street. This is the nice man who changed our tire for us.The flat tire . . . . The inside of the repair shop . . . this is how most of the businesses are in the barangays . . . just in front of the people's homes. (This picture if for my bother who has his own auto shop.)This is one of the toll booths that we go through on the expressway . . . We ended up going back home fixing pancakes and then going to the Mabalacat Ward in the afternoon.
On Friday June 24th we had an early celebration for the 4th of July. It was our last couples meeting with President and Sister Puzey. We normally have our meetings in the mission home with lunch at the end of the meeting. After the President had finished his interviews with the couples, when we normally head upstairs to the mission home, he informed us that Sister Puzey wanted to cook and so we were having a picnic at a nearby park. It was pouring out side (rainy season) but we all climbed in our cars and drove to the park with a covered pavilion for a short meeting and testimonies from the Crosgroves. (They are going home on the 29th of June.) But before we started the meeting. President Puzey lit the coals for hamburgers (after the meeting). . . a REAL American picnic! We had potato salad, baked beans, mango salsa (Wade raved about it) all the fixin's for burgers and lemonade! We were all in heaven! For dessert she had fixed cupcakes and brownies. We had a wonderful time with our fellow senior couples!
Visiting . . .Waiting for lunch . . . The Puzeys working as a team!
President Puzey concentrating on those getting those burgers just right . . .The master chef!Sister Puzey . . . the fabulous cook! We all enjoyed this surprise picnic!Elder & Sister Crosgrove will return home to Boise Idaho on the 29th. Sister Bruington is with them This was taken at Zone Conference.We will all miss them!
We attended our first Zone Conference this past Wednesday June 22nd in Tarlac. We had been asked to Read chapter 6 of Preach My Gospel and Moroni chapter 7 in preparation for the conference. Chapter 6 of PMG is titled "How Do I Develop Christlike Attributes". It gives the following topics to study: Faith in Jesus Christ, Hope, Charity & Love, Knowledge, Patience, Humility Diligence and Obedience. The talks for the conference were based on these topics.The talks given were so good - lots of inspiration to be a better person! Sister Puzey (mission president's wife) talked about our Savior and our Heavenly Father. She presented the question 'How do You know that your Heavenly Father Loves You?" The missionaries were given time to respond and tell how they know they are loved by a Heavenly Father. Their responses were so different but shared with love. As I sat and pondered this question myself, I remembered an experience several years ago when I was going through a tough time. I felt that I had done all that I could do and needed more help. I knelt in prayer and asked for help. Almost immediately I felt arms around me. Yes, I know that My Heavenly Father listens and He loves me!
We were also instructed in being more Christ-like. Some of the points given were that we all need to be more like our Savior in all that we do. Have more charity and be kind. Be better tomorrow than you are today. We need to listen to the spirit and pray with all our heart. Treat others like you want to be treated. Go out of your way to help others.
Another talk was about hope. "Hope is the anchor of our souls." The pioneers had hope to endure, to cross the plains and start the church. We need to have have hope in everything.
Sister Puzey's closing remarks were also words of wisdom to all. We need to never forget that we are a Child of God and that we have a Savior who atoned for our sins. Never forget that families are forever. Take time to look at the details - of leaves, of flowers and recognize the different colors. Listen to the sounds of nature, to the wind and the rain. Learn to Enjoy. We need to find joy and happiness all around us - Joy is found in the simplest of things. Joy is found with in. Learn to be grateful and say 'thank you'. And never give up! She suggested that we keep a "What Makes Me Happy?" list. Each day you can find something that makes you happy.
This conference was special in the fact that President & Sisters Puzey will leave on June 30th to return home to Idaho. We will be getting a new mission president on that day as well. President & Sister Martino will arrive from Denton Texas. Change is in the air.
I came away with a re-newness to be a better person, to be more like my Savior, to be kinder and show love and give more service to others. What a great day!!
Our ZoneNew missionaries since the last Zone conference with their trainers singing the mission songLunch time . . . .
Sisters Vincent, Myers, Staub and Kemker - May 2011 arrivals Sister DeCato, Me and Sister Lamoste (she was released in our last transfer but came back for zone conference and to say good-bye to the Puzeys)
Wade goes to the park on base to walk almost every morning at 5am (much toooo early for me!). He has made some new friends - Lettie and her brother Smiley. They both have lived in the United States. They have holidays here almost weekly. On June 13th there was a holiday for a Saint. The banks were closed as well as the post office. To celebrate, Smiley decided to throw a party. They invited us to come over to their home in the Barangay Margot.
It took us about 30-45 minutes to get there and it should have only been 15 minutes. There were parades and bands in the streets. People were standing on the side of the street by their homes. As we drove by they would look at us to see if we were part of the parade.
Smiley had a 'killed a cow' for his party. They had several meat dishes - beef, chicken and a fish dish along with the traditional rice. They also had a dessert made from fresh, young coconut with mangos and papaya mixed with cream - much like fruit salads at home. It was really good. They eat coconut here before the white part gets hard. It is really different for us.
After we ate, Lettie and Smiley showed us his home. It was like a mansion compared to the other homes around. It had tile floors and wood throughout. It was beautiful. Other than the missionaries apartment that we inspect, we haven't really been in any other homes. But it was nicer than most . . . he is retired from the US Navy.Both Lettie and Smiley are Catholic, but we feel that just being friends with them gives them a taste of the church. Evidently a senior couple that was here a year or two ago were good friends with them as well. We look forward to growing the friendship.
I have showed you pictures of the fruit that our Security Guard, Jose, grows here on the property. The large bunch of bananas will be ripe in a few more weeks. This past week two of the pineapples were ripe. Jose saved one just for me!
Me picking the pineapple
Jose checking to see if the bananas are almost ready to pick (these are the big bananas we have been watching).Baby Papayas growingWe cut the pineapple Saturday morning for breakfast. It was one of the sweetest that I have ever eaten. Wade liked it as well . . . and he doesn't usually like pineapple!!
This past week we had transfers again. (Have 6 weeks already passed?) On Tuesday we said good-bye to 11 missionaries. This time our 'trainer' Elder Williams departed the mission to return home to New Zealand. We will miss him. He was a great trainer!!!
As I was taking this picture of our departing missionaries' luggage, Elder Howard told me you had to have a person in the picture . . . so he jumped right in . . . As all of the other missionaries loaded the van to leave, Elder Landingin stood at the top of the drive way to wave good-bye. We sent him to the van to join his fellow departing missionaries. I think he wanted to stay a little longer! On Thursday, we had 10 new Elders and 1 Sister arrive. It is always fun to welcome these new missionaries! After a busy day, I walked into the AP's office and this is what I found . . . relaxing after a week of transfers!
The mission home has been in a remodeling stage for the past couple of weeks. This also included our apartment being painted a few weeks ago and us living in a hotel for a week. Today we had a crew here cleaning the mission home and also the mission office. While one of the workers was cleaning in the office, he asked where we were from. I told him Salt Lake City. His eyes got big and he asked, "Have you been the temple there?". I told him yes, that in fact we had been married in the Salt Lake Temple. (We are asked this question each time we are asked where we are from.) I explained to him that there are now 4 temples in the Salt Lake area and that our ward is the new Draper Temple district. After a few more questions about the temple, he asked if I had ever heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in person. I again told him that I had, but at the time I couldn't remember when the last time was. I also told him that our home teacher is a member of the choir. I told him about several people in our stake who had been in the choir. Then I told him that my dad's cousin had been a member of the choir for 20 years. He was so excited to hear this. He told me that some day he wants to go to that temple and see the choir.So what is the point of this story? I realized how muchI take for granted back home. We have a beautiful temple downtown that people around the world make a special stop in Salt Lake to see. They try to make their trip so that they can also see the Tabernacle Choir preform. How many times do we take the time to go to see the Spoken Word on a Sunday morning with the choir? Or try to get into a General Conference Session? How often do you go to Temple Square with your family to feel the spirit there? How often do you take your family to the visitor centers and teach them about our Savior Jesus Christ and his life? How often do we take the opportunity to attend the temple?
It really hit home today as this young returned missionary from the Philippines was so excited to meet someone who had been to the Salt Lake Temple and had seen the choir preform.Now I admit that it took me a very long time to go to the Spoken Word on a Sunday morning. A few years ago, I was working a convention in downtown Salt Lake that was over the 24th of July. I could have gone home on Saturday evening to spend Sunday with my family, but I knew that I would have wash and cleaning to do at home. Instead, I stayed at the hotel and got up early and walked to the Conference Center for the broadcast. After, I walked over to the Joseph Smith building for Sacrament meeting. As I sat waiting, everyone stood and in walked President Hinckley and President Faust. I was in their home ward! I am thankful that I took that opportunity to hear the choir and I got the bonus of attending church with the Prophet.
The Conference Center
Last summer, our grand- kids were visiting and we took them to Temple Square for Family Home Evening. Our kids always enjoyed a visit to temple square and the grand-kids do too.
They loved looking at the Christus in the visitor center.There was a cut-away model of the temple so that they could see what it looks like inside.
They had their picture taken by a display telling about the Prophet Joseph Smith.And a picture by a picture of our latter day, Prophet Thomas S Monson. Most of all, we enjoyed spending time with them talking about the gospel and visiting Temple Square!(They were getting tired when this picture was taken . . can you tell??)
So my point today is don't take things for granted. . . enjoy those things that you live close to and share them with those you love . . . .