Sunday, December 13, 2009


What a week! Things started normally, then, poof!

Monday we studied Tagalog (and failed).

Tuesday was choir and district meeting.

Wednesday we worked on some projects for needy families in the area.

Thursday we studied Tagalog again (and failed). After tutoring we went to the local orphanage, jail and one of the hospitals. We made arrangements for our Zone to visit next Monday for our FHE caroling activity. Going to be great!

Friday we went to Makati for a planning meeting at the Mission Home. We spent several hours working on 2010 with the other senior couples, TA’s, AP’s and office staff and of course, President and Sister Howard. If you need to know when a transfer day is, just let us know. We had dinner and then got home late that night.

Saturday we went to DasMarinias to the market there to get hot dog buns for the FHE. Didn’t dare get them too early as we don’t have lots of storage areas and things tend to mold pretty fast here. We also attended a baptism that afternoon at the Trece Branch. (We've had 6 total in the Zone this week)

Saturday evening we were scheduled to go with the ZL’s to visit families here in Naic. I was bushed and suggested that Elder Smith should go and I would stay home and protect things. There are no sidewalks here in most areas and so I get nervous about walking in the dark and some of the places we go are very uneven and let’s face it, I’m a klutz!

The ZL’s told us 6:00 and to meet them at the Naic chapel. They texted to say they were running late so to come at 6:15. Elder Smith then texted back to tell them that he would be coming alone. Here comes another text. “Oh, no, Sister Smith needs to come because we told the investigators about her and they can’t wait to meet her. We’ll teach them here at the Chapel so she won’t have to worry about the terrain.” Let’s admit it, I’m a sucker for an investigator and dearly love the people here so I put on my shoes, a smile and we left a few minutes later. We arrived at the chapel and the ZL’s were out in front to meet us. They said to head on in and the family would be right there. There were activities going on in the building so they said we were meeting in the (air conditioned) high council room. Sounded good to me! When we headed down the hallway the lights were off in all the rooms so when we reached the high council room we opened the door while reaching for the switch. Suddenly the lights came on and “our sons” were all there yelling “Surprise!” and “Merry Christmas”.

They had arranged permission from Pres. Howard to have a Christmas party in our honor to thank us for everything they seem to think we have done for them. Yeah, I blubbered! Elder Smith was fighting a suspiciously runny nose too. They had decorated the room and prepared dinner for the group and had even brought us cold cans of diet soda! They know us too well. Hopefully, the pictures with this post will show our amazement and joy.

After a lovely, masarap (delicious) dinner we were all seated in the room and they started the program. The stinkers took turns each expressing their love and appreciation. We’ve never had a more touching or wonderful Christmas gift. We are so proud of the missionaries here and love them all so much and this was such an amazing experience. A few friends from the Branches showed up also to wish us Maligayang Pasko! We are so blessed and thankful for the love that we are receiving. It is hard to be so far from home and family until we look into the faces of the missionaries. They are our family right now and they make every day a blessing for us. Elder Afaga told me today that I said “dang it” and punched someone 30 or 40 times during the evening. I hate that the mission rules don’t allow hugging because that’s what I wanted to do to every one of them. At least Elder Smith was able to get those hugs. For those parents who read this blog, Thank You! We love your sons. Be very proud of them, they are the Stripling Warriors here today. Transfers are on Wednesday and we’ll be having a few changes. We’ll get new sons to love and learn from and others to tell good bye for a time.

Today, Sunday, has been hectic. For some strange reason we didn’t get much sleep last night after the shock! We were able to attend Sacrament meeting in two different branches then attended a baptism in Carissa. This evening we went to the First Presidency Christmas Devotional. Loved it!
Now to get some rest so we’re ready for the coming week. Tons to do! We’ll wait to impress you until next week’s blog. We’re taking President Monson’s counsel to heart. Simplify, relax and enjoy the season. We’ll finish up the projects we have to but no more. Actually, with over 1,000 gifts to wrap this week, 8 Christmas parties to attend, a trip to Manila to the Temple and then dinner and testimony meeting for the going –home Elders and Sisters, preparing a dance routine for the Naic branch party on Christmas day, delivering gifts to all the Branch Presidents, organizing the Christmas Eve party for the Elders, and finishing the Old Testament (Elder Smith) and Aklat ni Mormo
n (for the fourth time this year) for me, we just might get a little frazzled. Nah, we can do it!

Our rice field has been turned, plowed and replanted. Time is passing.


Natalie said...

Of course you would be honored! You guys rock as parents and as missionaries. The Philippino people are super lucky to have you guys there. Love you!

The Hardy's said...

I remember how much as a missionary myself we loved the 'senior' missionary couples. My comp and I were able to go to D.C. and tour the White House one time with 2 of the senior couples. It was so much fun. I bet those missionaries just adore you both. I know how much you want to hug them, Sis. Smith.

I realize that most of the missionaries probably speak English, but do you speak Tagalog to them? You mentioned that you study it and failed.

We love you and wish you a great Merry Christmas - one you'll always remember.