Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas Rush!

We were hoping that things would move at a slower pace in the Philippines around Christmastime. We were so wrong! Wow, it has been busy and fun. Monday night we had our Zone FHE. We went caroling! It was wonderful. We rented a Jeepney and all piled in.

We went to a local orphanage and caroled for the children there. It was so fun to watch the interaction of the kids and our Elders. We aren’t certain who had more fun or were more excited.

After the orphanage we went to the Naic Jail. Yes, that’s right, the jail! We had made arrangements previously for both visits. We were ushered into an open area and the inmates were invited into an enclosed area where there were some benches and chairs. Many were standing and they did seem to enjoy our little concert. As we were leaving they yelled “Thank you Brothers and Sisters!”

We had such a good time at the orphanage that we’re hoping to go back soon and possibly do a service project. There were 50 children at the orphanage and 100+ at the jail. It was our first Jeepney ride and we had a blast. It’s not something we’d want to do every day (like the missionaries) but it was fun. Elder Smith kept bumping his head as they are built for the smaller Filipino folks.

Tuesday was a trip to the Temple with the “going home” missionaries. We had a full session with the senior couples, 13 Elders and 1 Sister who left the next day. That evening we went to the Mission Home for dinner and a testimony meeting. Was a long day (with Manila traffic) but very nice.

Wednesday we went to the Hussey’s and worked on wrapping over 1,000 gifts! They received money from their ward in England to buy presents for some of the children here. With the UK money, some from us and some from the Hussey’s we were able to get a bunch of stuff. Sister Hussey knew that it would be the only gift some of the children would get so she wanted them to have the fun of opening several packages. So, every little item was wrapped individually and put into a gift bag. They were delivered to Bulihan Branch on Friday evening and will be given to the Maragondon Branch children on Wednesday evening.

Friday we were able to go to the setting a part of a new Elder from the Maragondon Branch. Julius is a remarkable young man and will be serving in Mindanao. He was able to save enough money to get a pair of pants, a pair of shoes and a new white shirt for his mission. He is the only member in his family and has a smile that simply makes you feel warm all over. We’ve been blessed to work and visit with him lots in the past few months and we’re so proud of him.

We had three Christmas parties this weekend which is enough to get nearly anyone “partied-out”. So many fun games and good food and even a choir presentation in the Punta Branch.

They started a Branch choir this summer and have worked hard to get ready for Christmas. They really sounded great! They did an unaccompanied arrangement of The Carol of the Bells that was wonderful.

One of the most exciting things I've seen over here! A baseball field! They simply don't have them and then poof! This one crops up in a rice field on the way between Naic and Maragondon. Notice the cow in the outfield. He's a regular Joe D'Moogio. I think he marks the bases. The dug outs are quaint with bamboo and thatched roofs. We're pretty sure the goat plays short stop.

Golly, this is the last post before Christmas! We still have several parties to attend, Zone conference, Mission presidency meeting and our Christmas Eve sleep-over with our Elders. Whew!

Maligayang Pasko at Manigong Bagong Taon to everyone. We love you, and love the Lord and love being missionaries! (Yes, we do miss you too.)


Natalie said...

Loving all the pictures. How wonderful to share the spirit of Christmas with those in need. Love you both, and glad you're having fun.

Ginger said...

What a wonderful experience you are having. I know you are a great blessing to the Elders there. Yes, we miss you, but I don't mind sharing you for a little while while you serve. LOVE YOU TONS!

crooksville said...

We love and envy you two! There's something very special about missionary work.

We are so blessed with having investigators over to our "lovely little place." We also live close enough to the missionaries that, every so often, they stop by at the end of their day just to chat and leave us a spiritual thought. I declared to them at their visit last evening that I feel I've finally graduated and advanced to the 1st Grade (it only took nearly 38 years from baptism to do it)!

Please keep up the great work. Susie and I KNOW that there was not one exaggeration in ANY of their special words to you. We really love you, pray for you, and cheer you on. Because of her eyesight, Susie doesn't spend much time on the 'puter, but she checks your blog every week, and tells our missionaries all about it!