Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day . . .

February 14th.

After a day of working in the office, Wade took me to the "C" Italian Restaurant for dinner.  We enjoyed the evening with President & Sister Martino.  It was a wonderful evening with fabulous food and great company!!

I think that maybe it was to make up for not taking me to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta that takes place on Clark Air base every February.  I had seen an ad for the Balloon Fiesta in one of the brochures that we got when we first arrived in the Philippines.  It is a pretty big thing here.  People come from all over the Philippines to witness it.  I had asked him if we could go on Saturday morning since we had a meeting in Tarlac on Friday. I woke up early, but he wanted to do some writing . . . so we didn't go.  I guess I will have to go visit my nieces in Albuquerque for their big Balloon Festival when we get back. 

Sunday, it took us almost an hour to get to church because of all of the traffic.  (It usually takes us about 20-30 minutes.)  We saw many of the trucks pulling the balloon baskets back to Clark.  It was interesting to see all of the hype . . . but the balloons in the sky will just have to be a dream for now.
Balloons that we saw from the road
One of the planes from the show that we saw coming home from church on Sunday
Billboard advertising the Balloon Fiesta - that is the Clark Air Base airport in the background

The Lord's Tender Mercies . . .

Wade writes a letter home each week to family and friends.  This week he talked about our Mission Tour last week and some of the testimonies that the Elders shared.  He gave each of their names and what they had said.  One he mentioned was Elder Strong.  We have gotten to know Elder Strong well because he is one of the Assistants to the President and is in the office with us a lot of the time.  He is a great young man.  He will be going home next week and he will be missed (as each of the assistants are that go home after two years of serving)!

One of Wade's friends read his letter and wrote back asking where Elder Strong is from.  He had had a mission companion from Driggs Idaho with the same last name.  We asked Elder Strong if his dad had served a mission and what his name was.  (He died when elder Strong was only 8 years old.) His dad had served a mission in Brazil.  Elder Strong is the youngest of 12 children.  The other 11 children  have been married in the temple.  I sent his father's name back to our friend and it was indeed the same person.  Small world, right??  

When I gave the note with contact information to Elder Strong, he related the following story.  He had been talking with his companion about their fathers last night.  He said he has wondered many times what his dad was like since he was so young when he passed from this life.  He told me that he had said a prayer that he would be able to learn more about his father.  Then the note came today from our friend.

Some make call it a coincidence.  Others may say it is a miracle.  But I think it is the tender mercy of a loving Father in Heaven answering a plea from a young man who has given two years of his life to serve an honorable mission.  

I also think that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us.  We are instruments in his hands.  
We have often wondered why we were sent to this mission and to an office mission.  Wade tells me it is because I didn't want to learn a language.  I think it was so he could learn patience.  I know that as I look back over my life, I was placed in positions to learn the skills that I needed to serve in the office.  But I also think that we were sent here to help Elder Strong find someone that can tell him what a great man his dad was.

This reminded me of when our youngest son, Charlie, was called to the India Bangalore Mission.  Soon after he arrived in India, he was approached by some church members asking if he knew a Dale Jewkes.  Charlie told them that was his grandfather and that he had passed away.  Wade's parents had served a mission in India in the 90s.  Evidently, Dale ordained a young man to the office of Elder in the Melchizedek Priesthood.  This young man had been searching for his line of Priesthood authority.  Charlie was the answer to that quest.  We were able to get the information sent to this young man after his search for many years.

Yes, there is a plan for each of us.  Sometimes we will be given the opportunity to be a part of those tender mercies from our heavenly Father to others.  We need to always live our lives so that we can be an instrument in our Heavenly Fathers hand to do those things that are required of us.

I am so grateful for those tender mercies and hope that I may always be worthy to do the things that my Heavenly Father wants and needs me to do in this life.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Relief Society Project . . .

This afternoon the Angeles Ward held an Relief Society activity.  We made baby blankets to give to one of the hospitals here is Angeles.  

We met in the kitchen because the Young Women and the Primary were having activities at the same time.  We used flannel, mur a little hood on ti and then hemmed around the edges.  Sister Briones brought her sewing   machine, but they didn't want her to sew all of the blankets.  She sewed the hoods on the blankets and then we hemmed the rest of it by hand . . .
Sister Briones (Stake President's wife) and Sister Mae Villanueva (Relief Society President)

Sisters sewing blankets in the kitchen
Another sister hemming a blanket
Sister Mae holding a finished blanket . . . the hooded part is in her hand
 What a great serve project and wonderful company to boot!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Mission Tour February 2012

We have been having our Mission Tour this week with Elder Michael Teh, a member of the First Quorum of Seventy and is currently serving as the  President of the Philippines Area.  He and his wife arrived Tuesday afternoon.  We were able to visit with them for a short time and then they were off for the next 3 days of Mission Tour/Zone Conferences with the mission president and his wife.  

Today we attended the meeting in Tarlac, about an hour from Angeles. We were all asked to come fasting for this meeting. At the beginning of the meeting Elder Teh discussed section 44 of the Doctrine and Covenants.  That we had all been called together.  We needed to be faithful and exercise faith and "He will pour our his Spirit upon those assembled".  We were asked to feel the Spirit and to take notes of things that are reveled to us during the meeting.

It was a wonderful meeting where many scriptures were discussed and related to our lives.  We again talked about the 'Rescue' effort that is part of the 2012 Philippines Area Goals.  President Martino discussed the Parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.  We discussed how things in the mission and our lives resemble this parable.    Sister Martino talked about the importance of temple attendance and referred to the Doctrine and Convents section 109 - the dedicatory prayer of the Kirkland temple.  She quoted Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone: "I promise you that all who faithfully attend to temple work will be blessed beyond measure. Your families will draw closer to the Lord, unseen angels will watch over your loved ones when satanic forces tempt them, the veil will be thin and great spiritual experiences will distill upon this people." What a wonderful promise!  If we will attend the temple regularly, our families will blessed.

President Teh referred the martyrdom of James in the Acts 12.  There are several lessons that we learn from this.  1) We learn the Power for Prayer ~ in our time of need He is always there for us; 2) To be able to follow the Lord with no hesitating and to Trust the lord always; 3) God will  not do for us what we can do for ourselves ~ we should not wait for miracle to happen, but rather make them happen. 

At the conclusion of the meeting, President Teh asked the missionaries to share something that they had felt and learned today.  Then he asked me to bear my testimony of what I was thinking at this time.  Now those that know me well know that I can be a very emotional person so I don't do this very often.  I was feeling the Spirit so strong.  I had been reading through my notes and the thought of how I decided to go on a mission came to me.  So I told my story . . .

When Wade & took his parents to the MTC when they went on their first mission, I felt so strongly that I wanted to do this someday.  Well, the years went by and my heart hardened about a mission.  I had told friends there was no way that I would go on a mission . . . But the Lord had a different plan for me.  After I was laid off my job, I spent the first summer working in our yard every day.  I was loving life!  I had wanted to just stay home for several years but felt I needed to continue to work.  Well, my hear was softened over the next year.  I felt that there was more that I could be doing to serve my Heavenly Father.  Wade had been mentioning a mission for several years but I always said no.  But after my heart was softened, I told him we should go.  After all, there were no weddings or babies coming so this was a perfect time for us to go!

As I look back now, I can see throughout my life, Heavenly Father had put me in the right place to learn the skills that I needed to be where I am now.  My medical background has been used as well as  my office skills.  Even my paper craft skills have been needed here in the mission.  I was guided and molded to learn skills to help me to be able to serve here.  My church assignments have also taught me skills that are helping in the mission.  Our Heavenly Father does have a plan for each of us, we just need to listen and the follow Him.  He will never give us more than we can handle.  We need to seek Him in all that we do . . . He will bless each of us when we choose to do what is right!
Elder & Sister Jewkes and Elder & Sister Teh

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Eleven Months have passed . . .

Yesterday . . . February 7th, marked eleven months in the mission field.  The time is flying by so quickly . . . It will be time to go home before we know it. 

But in the mean time, there is lots of work to do here in the mission!  

We have started a 'rescue' program here in the Philippines.  There are approximately 660,000 members in the Philippines, but just over 100,000 are active.  The Area Presidency has put an emphasis on bring back those who are less active.  It has been interesting to watch the people in the ward we attend as they come up with names of those that need to be visited and then go visit them.  I have been seeing lots of new faces at church the past few weeks.  I'm not sure if they are new or ones coming back to church because of the rescue efforts  What a wonderful effort this is.  

The missionaries are given names to go and invite back to church.  What is happening is wonderful.  There are members of the families who have not yet been baptized that they are able to teach.  Then, when these members come back, the missionaries work with them to set a goal date to attend the temple.  

A few months ago, we were asked to visit the Quiambao family.  Brother Quiambao and his wife had served a senior couple mission a few years back, but he had quit coming to church.  He is now there every week.  It has been great to get to know them and their two grand children that live with them.  We even took our grand kids to meet them when they were here.  They are good friends  . . . see it will be hard to go home in September!!!

Blossoms . . .

Yesterday I went outside of the office for a few minutes to soak in a little sun.  I was looking at the pineapples that are growing again ( there are about 5 or 6 right now) and I notice a yellow flower on the papaya tree.  I have seen many green papaya on the trees in the back yard but never a blossom.  On this tree, there were blossoms and papaya growing.  They are beautiful and the smell so good!   We also have two new banana blossoms and bananas that will be ready to eat in March . . . yummy!  So I will share some picture with all of you . . .
Papaya Tree with new papaya and blossoms.   Notice the blossoms are at the top of the tree
A closer view of the blossoms and the papaya already growing
Notice the blossoms about half way up the trunk of the tree
Close up of the blossom ~ can you see the baby papaya?? ( This photo is for my friend Selma!)

One of the purple banana blossoms
Another banana blossom.  The bananas grow above the blossom. 
These bananas will be about 5 inches long.  There will be 7 bunches of bananas on this one. .  There are so many different varieties here! I can hardly wait until March. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Manila Temple Trip . .

Manila Temple January 28, 2012
On January 28th, we had the privilege of taking a group of eight missionaries to the temple.  Normally, missionaries go to the temple after their departing testimony the day before they fly out of Manila. This group of missionaries depart the mission the middle of February when the temple will be closed.  The mission president made special arrangements with the Area Presidency so these missionaries will be able to attend the temple before completing their mission.

The 8 missionaries stayed at the mission home on Friday evening.  We piled into the van at 5:30am and drove to Manila ~ about a 2 hour drive.   
They were all excited for this experience!
Sunrise on our way to Manila
It was a wonderful experience as I sat in the Celestial Room and watched as each missionary came in.  The expression on each of their faces was so sweet and you could see how special this experience was for them.  You could feel a special spirit as each entered the room.        
Elders Au, Strong, Venance, Murano & Deppermann; Sisters Moron, Briggs & DeCato
It was a special experience for us to spend the time with these great missionaries.   
Elder & Sister Jewkes with the missionaries in front of the temple
On they way home many of them said how they wonted to make temple attendance a part of their life when they go home.  each of the missionaries going home this time live within about 1 - 1 1/2 hours of a temple.

We stopped for lunch on the way back and then got each missionary back to their companions so they could go back to work.
Most of the missionaries were catching up on sleep on the way back from the temple. 
What a great group of missionaries!!!

January 2012 - Random Pictures . . .

Random pictures taken in January . . . .
On our way to Manila - one of the signs on the expressway
Met these girls at the temple.  They are serving in the Manila mission. The one on the left and second from right are from the India New Delhi Mission.  The second from left and middle sister are from Pakistan and the one on the far right is from the Philippines
A tricycle being used to transport plywood.
The city of Moncada is getting ready for a Fiesta
Another city getting ready for a Fiesta or celebration of some sort.
They tie plastic strips, most likely from plastic bags cut into strips, to a wire and then hang the wires across the road.  This is a very common practice in the barangays here when ever there is a celebration.  They sometimes will use the colors of their barnagay.  These were made with a silver metallic material.
For my son-in-law Ryan ~ This is what the power lines look like all over the city . . .
Jose in his new non prescription glasses
This little boy was pushing this cart, but when we stopped to take the picture he turned to look at me.All of the Filipinos love to have their picture taken - even the little ones!!
Working in the rice fields - they are green and beautiful!
One of the old Cathedrals in the smaller towns - when we are driving, it is sometimes hard to get good pictures - sorry . . .
Landry day - tub to wash clothes along with the scrubbing board
Doing laundry for the Elders
Sunrise in the Philippines - we were on our way to Cabanatuan for a meeting
Frances and her brother Ron Spencer at her baptism

Francis Cedello ~ baptism day

"I Saw Grandma Kissing Santa Claus"

Grandma Kissing Santa Claus
 My niece sent sent these pictures from the family Christmas Party in December.  It captures my mom 'grandma' kissing Santa Claus.  I thought they were cute and wanted to share will all my friends and family!

Hope you have wonderful memories of the holidays!!
I think they were both having a good time!!