Monday, March 29, 2010

Party On!!

We are finished with the party scene for at least a few days. Monday night was a fabulous FHE with our Zone and the District Choir. Yes, they showed up and we had a great evening. Actually, quite a few of the choir members couldn’t make it so we only had about 35 here for dinner.
Some of the District Choir members

We fixed a monster pot of Pancit and some Sloppy Joes. Everyone ate lots so it must have tasted pretty good. After dinner the Elders presented a lesson and then we played games. Our apartment isn’t huge but we all managed to fit and participate. It was hot as the dickens but that’s the norm here so guess we shouldn’t complain.We really enjoyed the interaction between the choir members and the Elders. Our AP’s drove out from Manila for the evening which was extra special.

Elder Vaka and Elder Ngluafe (AP's) entertaining usThey are Naic alumni and we miss them.

Sister Smith managed to get a sinus infection and snorked and sniffled the rest of the week but there was much to do so we kept on. Tuesday the Elders all came over after District meeting and had leftovers for lunch.

In the Philippines it is customary to remove your shoes before entering a bahay (home). Usually when the Elders come the shoes are all over the front area and a big mess. Elder Mahe (ZL) cleaned up the area and arranged the shoes to surprise everyone. What a difference!

Ice Cream (the Zone favorite) for dessertWe had a Zone Choir rehearsal and finished polishing our number for Zone Conference.

Wednesday we left for Makati and took care of some things then went to dinner that evening at Chili’s. Oh yes, we love it! Chips and salsa, yum! The Howard and the Taggs joined us and it was a lovely evening. We stayed at the Mission Home that night then went to conference early the next morning. Our choir sounded good and we were very proud of them. We did “More Holiness Give Me”. We’ve come a long way in the past few months and sing multiple parts and everything now.

Saturday was a treat! The District Relief Society had road shows in honor of the RS Anniversary. Each branch was assigned a parable to present. They were very creative and clever.

Tanza Branch dancing to "Under the Sea" during their roadshow.Times like that make us wish we had a video camera but like most productions it really is better when it’s live. Sister Hussey and Sister Smith enjoyed the show while the Elders did some apartment maintenance and then came back to pick us up. The event was scheduled to begin at 3:00 but was 40 minutes late starting. When we left at 6:15 or so the road shows had just finished and they were having some Filipino spaghetti for dinner.

We were late today getting home from Church as we had a meeting to plan a fireside for next Sunday. One of the branches will be having a fireside to try to get the members excited about missionary work and reactivation efforts. We have two dynamic Elders assigned there and we’re sure they will do an excellent job. We are sort of the cheering section and background advisors.

Hope everyone has a super Easter holiday and we’re a bit jealous you all get to watch conference before we do. Our broadcast will be the following weekend for the stakes and branches here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Party Central

We’ve had several comments from home that we seem to be having too much fun over here. Well, you’re all correct! We not only love to spoil the Elders but lately we’ve been able to enjoy having the Senior Couples and some G.A.’s to spoil. What a fun and rewarding mission this is!

(St. Paddy's Day Celebration)

It was an exciting, busy, spiritually uplifting week for us. We also have the brightest sunburned shins in the Philippines. We were able to visit some less active members this week and encourage them to attend District Conference this weekend. It is so rewarding to go into the homes of these amazing people and share our testimony with them. We were thrilled to visit with them before the conference started today. Earlier in the week we kept busy with tutoring, visits and Mission Presidency meeting in Makati.  

Friday we went with the Senior Couples to Pagsanjan Falls near Laguna. It is out of our Mission area so Pres. Howard got permission for us to go. We got to ride in small canoes up the river with 2 boatmen per boat and couple.

It was beautiful and the rapids were fairly mild since we are in a draught here. We tipped the boatmen quite handsomely at the end of the trip because there was some serious work involved in getting us “up” the river!

The ride back down wasn’t too strenuous but keeping us balanced was a challenge. We wore sun block but still managed to get burned. The splashing and waves coming into the boat probably washed it away as quickly as we applied it. Elder Smith really enjoyed the raft trip under the falls. (I’ve already seen the back side of water so didn’t go with him.) 

Saturday was the training and adult sessions of our District Conference. Elder Sinamban (one of the area seventies) was here and delivered several outstanding messages. The Saturday meetings weren’t well attended but the session today was a full house.

We sang with the District Choir and they did very well. We sang prelude hymns for 15 or 20 minutes before the beginning and then did 4 hymns during the meeting. The choir members were so excited and pumped after the meeting that while the congregation was leaving we sang another number as postlude. Then, they (the choir) began visiting and wanted to know if they could have a choir party. One of the ring leaders asked if they could come to our apartment for the party. We said, “sure”, then.. they said great, we’ll be there tomorrow afternoon. It’s a holiday of some sort tomorrow so it is a good day for a party. We didn’t know how to say no to 25 smiling excited choir members so.. We’ll let you know later how things turn out. We’re really honored that they want to do things with us. Yes, we love it.

After the conference we hurried home and put the finishing touches on lunch. After some interviews at the chapel the guests arrived. Pres. and Sister Howard, Elder and Sister Tagg, Elder and Sister Hussey, Elder Sinamban, his driver, Pres. Vincencio, our Zone Leaders, and some friends from the Carissa Branch were here.

(The Husseys, Taggs and Elder Smith at lunch)

We’re wondering if we’ll be able to keep up a G.A. per month eating with us for much longer. Last month it was Elder Teh and then Elder Sinamban this month. We fixed meatball subs, coleslaw, pasta salad, chips and strawberry crumble for dessert. We prepared the salads last night and did the meatballs and desserts in the crockpots today. We had to be at meetings by 8:00 a.m. so were thankful there wasn’t a brown out. 

On another note: Sister Sonia passed away March 5th of cancer (See blog from Aug. 2009) She was a special baptism from Ternate.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


It is so nice to be free to leave the apartment and go into public again. Elder Smith is better and we are very thankful. He still has a few red spots on his cheek but they are fading quickly. The temperature at the desk right now is 88.3 degrees and will get a bit warmer in an hour or so. It is officially summer time in the Philippines. The humidity is only at 79% today (we’re in a draught) but there is a chance of rain during the next 3 days. Our aircon simply doesn’t work very well so the temperature in the room rarely gets below 83 even with it running at full blast. Since the electric bill is so high, we usually don’t run it except at night. Just think, we only have another 8 ½ months of this weather! We didn’t think we’d ever live somewhere hotter than Vegas.

We were able to go to the Mission Home on Tuesday for a going-home dinner and testimony meeting for this months’ departing missionaries. 4 Elders and 2 Sisters are leaving for home and it was so good to hear their testimonies and share this exciting time with them. After the evenings’ activities, the 4 Elders, 1 Sister and Sister Smith had a cut throat game of Winnie the Pooh Uno! This is hard to believe but Sister Smith lost! Two of the Elders are Naic Zone alumni so was super fun to just relax and goof off with them before they left for America the next morning.

Farewell to Elder Brewer Wednesday morning we went to Transfer Meeting to say paalam to our departing Naic Sons and to greet the five new-comers. We so enjoyed the testimonies from the AP’s, training AP’s and the new TA’s. We are constantly impressed with the strength and testimony of the missionaries. Then, it was back to the Mission Home to wait for the arriving missionaries from the Provo MTC. What an amazing new group! Ten Elders and three Sisters including Sister Jill Hales from our Stake! We were so pleased to see and hug her and welcome her to the Manila Mission. She will be assigned in Palawan which is the lovely island part of the Mission.

Monday night we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with our Zone. They were assured that on St. Patrick’s Day, “everyone is Irish”. We learned a bit about the history and culture and lore of Ireland and then had a hunt for leprechaun treasure. Lots of fun and lots of green food!

the 1st team to get their treasure

Wearin' of the green! Elder Heranez, Elder Valesco and Elder Smith

We’re afraid that our native Elders are going to think that all Americans are as crazy as we are. Actually at the FHE there were 2 from Britain, 2 from Australia, 1 from Singapore, 1 from Canada, 3 from the US and the rest from the Philippines. We’re pretty sure that they all think we’re crazy. But, we’re lots of fun! Our FHE’s have become known throughout the Mission and we constantly bombarded with requests to be invited. Many of them are spiritual feasts which in our opinion makes them even more special.

This month’s fruit is the Mango.Yes, they are in America but certainly not as fresh as here. Nearly every restaurant has a mango shake or slush of some sort on the menu. Green or yellow or orange, they’re all good. It is one of the most popular native fruits and is available everywhere, year round.
1. Kubo with living quarters. These are made of bamboo and are everywhere.
2. Right- small kubo (5X6') cost about $220.00 U.S. Left-larger kubo (5X8') cost about $260.00 U.S.
Elder Smith is crazy about these and wants to ship one home. He was looking at some the other day and the salesman/manufacturer said the price includes delivery. Elder Smith said, "to Las Vegas?" The guy back pedaled pretty fast!