Sunday, June 27, 2010

Pizza Yet Again!!

Yes, that’s right our Zone was on top for another month in the baptism department. After District Meeting Pres Howard furnished pizza for everyone. We are so proud of all the hard work our Elders and Sisters do and so thrilled with all the new members who are “coming to Christ”. We are on line to be on the top again for this month which would really be amazing. We’ve been the pizza recipients for 7 of the past 12 months.
FHE last Monday was awesome as usual. We had a traditional Philippine dish called Beef Kaldereta (Sister Smith style). We always warn the Zone that we put our own twist on things just in case it doesn’t taste quite like a Filippina nanay would make it. Elder Smith swears he is going to take our favorite wok home with him. It’s hard to say what customs will think but he refuses to consider parting with it. He does the majority of the sautéing over the open gas flame since Sister Smith is a sissy and sweats into the food! Gross! We were able to visit several families with the Missionaries this week. Some were investigators and others were less active. Everyone is so polite and welcoming. We really love to go to the homes and share the spirit with them. We had 7 baptisms on Saturday but were only able to attend one in Trece.
Times and distances were not compatible.
Sunday evening was a treat. The ZL’s and Sister’s had a training meeting for the Naic Branch Presidency, Mission Leader, EQ pres., RS pres. and so on. Everyone came with their spouses for dinner and the meeting here at our apartment. We enjoyed having them here and the lessons from the missionaries were terrific. Dinner was chicken in gravy (cream of chicken soup, evaporated milk, onions, garlic, salt and pepper) served over rice. We also steamed a bunch of cabbage (a huge favorite here) and some mixed veggies with cheese. For dessert we had brownies (made in the crock pot) and ice cream. Two of the sisters asked how we made the cabbage so good. Our super technical answer was “we steamed it”.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dad's Rule!

Happy Father’s Day to all the Dads out there!  Elder Smith is the prime example of “practically perfect” in that category!  Love you Sweetheart!

The week began with quite a splash!  The Zone Leaders have volunteered to keep our front lawn trimmed.  We don’t think they had any idea what they were getting themselves into but..Monday morning bright and early they were out with the machetes chopping grass.  They took a basketball break and returned with a couple of branch missionaries for reinforcement.  Three large garbage bags of clippings later they were finished.  Then, things went a bit whacko!  The Sisters had been cleaning and they were all on P-day.  The Sisters decided to help the Elders cool off and a monster water fight ensued. 

You’ll notice that the pics are all from a distance as it was quite a war zone.  Elder Smith thanked everyone afterward for not only cutting the grass but watering it also!

Thursday was Zone Conference and our Zone sang “Love is Spoken Here”.  It was so fun to have soprano voices in the group and they hit some high notes at the end that were lovely. 
Once again we have a group of great singers!  If we can get it to come together we’re going to try to sing “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho” for next ZC.  We’re reading the Old Testament as a Mission and when we read about Joshua we got inspired!  If we can pull it off it will be great fun.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Spiritual Feast

Sunday, June 13th was the dedication of the Cebu City Temple.  It was wonderful.  President Monson, Elder Oaks and Bishop Burton were there from SLC.  Our own Area Presidency was there also.  We attended the 3rd (and final) dedicatory session on Sunday afternoon.  The new temple is beautiful and we were honored to be the session that Pres. Monson decided to speak “off the cuff” to.  He kept saying that his remarks weren’t in the script but he continued talking and telling stories.  We loved it!  He also did the dedicatory prayer.  The night before (Saturday) there was a big Cultural Celebration that was on live broadcast to all the stake and district centers in the Philippines.  The youth from the Cebu Temple District did native dances in costume.  It was extra special because they had huge screens that broadcast youth from the outlying areas doing the same dances.  It would have been impossible for them all to fit in the arena and the cost of transportation would have been too high so they filmed other groups ahead of time.  We were worried that Pres. Monson would have issues as he kept his suit jacket on the entire time!  The temperature had to have been in the plus 100 degree range and humid.  They must have had an aircon positioned to cool him. 
                Monday was FHE.  It was the first official one with the new Zone members and it was very nice. 
We had spaghetti and meatballs (Italian style).  Filipino style sauce is with very sweet tomato flavored catsup-ie stuff.  Even the natives ate a ton so it must have passed with approval. 
Tuesday was DM and choir practice.  We have some terrific voices in the new group.  It is a very talented group.  Wednesday we went to Makati for Mission Presidency meeting.  Then, on Friday we fixed breakfast for the Zone at 6:30 in the dang morning
and then went to Manila to the Ocean Park. 
We enjoyed our time with the other senior couples and the fish were happy to see us.  Dinner was at the Manila Hotel. 
It is one of the older and more elite hotels in the city and was quite impressive.  Elder Smith had fish and fries and Sister Smith had pasta with eggplant and marinara sauce.  They were pretty yummy.  We had several baptisms this weekend but it was raining or rushed and so didn’t get any pictures.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Changes in Naic

Wow! It’s been quite a week. We went to the Temple and the going home activities on Tuesday. We said goodbye to 2 of our Naic alumni. When the transfer notice came Monday evening we also found that we were saying farewell to lots of our current Zone.

Good bye Elder VillaCarlos
Good bye Elder Valasco
Good bye Elder Mahe

Wednesday at transfer meeting we got 8 new Zone members. That’s half of our Zone.

Our Sisters are finally here. Sister Frost and Sister Betts are the best! We have 2 new Zone Leaders, Elder Dymock and Elder Richwine (an alumni)!

New Comers - Sis. Frost, Sister Betts, Elder Richwine, Elder Dymock and Bruce Pipit (Naic Branch member)We also have 4 other new Elders in the different areas making half of our Zone “new”. It’s going to be great! We went to a planning meeting on Friday morning and the Zone members are really excited and it was so good to get to meet everyone.

Thursday we went to Makati and met Sister Schardt. She had arrived the day before from the Provo MTC. She had found our blog after receiving her mission call and contacted us. We corresponded several times so it was nice to put a face with the name and letters. She is assigned to the DasMarinias Zone which is nearby so we’ll probably get to see her again soon.

Saturday was a different experience for us. The Tanza Branch asked us to teach a class about Conversational English. We had over 20 YM/YW there and practiced saying words in English and learning some basic rules. The kids were really good sports and were able to laugh at themselves when they made mistakes. They were much braver in English than we are when we speak Tagalog.

Our schedule for next week is full, which is a blessing. We both prefer being busy. (Keeping busy keeps Sister Smith out of trouble and makes Elder Smith’s job much easier.)

The fruit of the month is Sineguelas. It is small and the skin feels like the skin of a plum.
It is fairly sweet and juicy with a large seed in the middle so there isn’t much substance to them. They remind both of us of plums but are more oval shaped.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Getting ready for Sisters!

The focus this week has been getting the apartment next door ready for the Sister missionaries who will be here on the 2nd.  Our Zone will be growing to 16 members and so far everyone is thrilled about the additions. 

Monday the Elders were here at 7:00 a.m. and cleaned the apartment. 

They did a good job as there was 9 months of dust, dirt, dead critters, webs and crud to clean. 

(fixing pancakes for the crew)

Elder and Sister Hussey came a couple of times with supplies for the apt.  We think it will be very comfortable for the Sisters and we’re expecting great things from them. 

Monday evening was Zone FHE.  Elder Mahe (going home) had requested Chinese food.  So…  we had broccoli beef and sweet and sour chicken. 

We hadn’t realized that coming to the Philippines would make us multi-cultural cooks but it has.  The meal was wonderful!  We’ll try to post it on the blog (if I can remember and figure the measurements).

Thursday the Tanza Branch had an activity.  The Pesa family lives in a subdivision that has access to a clubhouse and pool. 

The party was there and was really nice.  Everyone had a great time and the kids were like kids everywhere and couldn’t get enough swimming.  There was enough food to feed a small army and all very delicious. The RS president, Sister Gorresetta fixed a raisin pudding from a recipe from a friend in Orem, UT.  It was really good and did taste like home. 

This evening we had a lovely roast beef dinner for our ZL’s, AP’s, TA’s and some Naic branch missionaries. It was a farewell for Elder Mahe and was the first time we’ve made “real” mashed potatoes here. They tasted so dang good!  It’s a pain to have the gas stove going and water boiling in this heat but it was worth it and we’ll do it again soon.
"Slug-brella" leading the Catholic women's parade Sunday morning.  The "slug-brella" is a fixture over here.  We have seen at least a thousand of that particular umbrella since we arrived here.  It is an Avon product and they are everywhere.  We had been "slug-bug" calling one day riding to Manila and switched to calling "slug-brella" since there are so many!