Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary to US!

Terrific, busy, fun-filled week here in the Philippines!
Wednesday, September 22nd was our 43rd anniversary

and we decided to treat ourselves to a p-day at Sonya’s Garden in Alfonso. We took a back route and it was absolutely gorgeous! We passed multiple pineapple fields, sugar cane fields and lush tropical scenery that was amazing. We treated some of our favorites to dinner and the trip to help us celebrate. Sister Schardt, Jeane Arandia, Sister Frost and us. The pitcher on the table is dalandan juice.Sister Frost, Sister Schardt and Jeane Arandia (from Naic) came with us.

The table cloths are a variety of hand embroidered linens. The dish in the background is salmon belly. Not one of our favorites! The meal was delicious and the surroundings are stunning. It was a wonderful day. Our Sister missionaries actually found someone to sell them a “slug-brella” so we have one to take home! They literally stopped a lady on the street and talked her into selling it. We were thrilled!

Saturday found us in Binan for the San Gabriel District Conference. We participated in the afternoon training sessions and in the adult session that evening. Elder Sinamban of the Seventy was presiding and it was good to listen to him again. He was in Naic District earlier this year and had lunch with us. The Senior Couples and Pres. and Sister Howard went to dinner afterward and enjoyed visiting.

Sunday was a special Missionary Musical Fireside at the Buendia Chapel in Makati. Part of our missionaries are on the island of Palawan but the rest who are here on Luzon (160 plus) entertained over 600 members, investigators and recent converts. What an extraordinary experience for them and the congregation. There were soloists, groups, piano soloists, guitar soloist and the choir (all the missionaries) sang 4 numbers. Elder Swenson directed and also played an oboe solo. We loved just being in the congregation and feeling the spirit.
Keeping things short this week as our next entry is going to involve lots of pictures and explanations. Just remember to watch for “Fred”.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Change of plans..

Last week we announced our 2 months to go mark.  Then, Thursday that all changed.  We will be extending until December 9th.  There will be a new Senior Couple coming into the Mission from AZ, on December 6th so we will be here to welcome them and show them our wonderful Naic Zone.  We’re looking forward to meeting the Petersons.  We received our itinerary from the Church Travel Office via email on Friday.  We would have left Manila at 12:45 p.m. on November 12th and then landed in Las Vegas on November 12th at 7:09 p.m.  Hopefully the next itinerary will be as favorable.  We’re looking forward to getting the day we lost coming over back again.  So until then here's Home Sweet Home:Yes, the Zone got pizza again this month!  We’re so proud of our missionaries.  They work hard and deserve the recognition. There are so many variables in missionary work and stats go up and down but the hard work never stops.  We are fighting with numerous allergies, staff infections, LBM’s, boils, rashes and general crud right now but everyone keeps working.  We try telling everyone to keep their “bugs” to themselves.  Charity and sharing are great but sometimes it’s alright to be selfish.


Thursday evening we were blessed to be at the “setting apart” of Elder Pipit from the Naic Branch. 

We’ve been to several others and it is always so special to see the missionaries preparing to serve the Lord.  We thought about our nephew Ethan, and his journey to the MTC this next Wednesday.  We are so inspired by the faith, diligence and determination of the missionaries. 

Friday evening we hosted a Naic Branch missionary training FHE.  There were 22 here for dinner (prepared by Sister Jeane) and training and games and visiting. 

We are busy preparing for a huge FHE on September 27th.  There will be 70 or more here including 3 Zones and the office Elders, Senior Couples, Pres. and Sis. Howard and the guest of honor..Ta da! A 35+ kilo lechon baboy!  Yep, we will be roasting a whole pig in the front yard.  We will get lots of pictures for the next blog entry.

While driving around the city we find sighting of things that remind us of home.  Here's what was on the bus we were following one day:

Just around the corner, we were greeted by more basketball on a tryke.  Basketball is huge over here!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Whoa! 2 months to go..

We just realized that our possible going-home date is two months from today. We still have lots to do so have to get busy. Even if the date changes a bit it is still rapidly approaching.

Family Home Evening last week was terrific as always.We had 32 here this week. It was crowded and hot but everyone was still smiling and happy. We had sopas for dinner with fresh rolls from Sister Cristy’s bakery down the street.It was really yummy. The AP’s, TA’s and the Morgan’s came which added even more fun to our little group.

We went to Makati for Zone Conference during the week. We stayed at the Mission Home on Wednesday evening and had conference on Thursday. Wednesday evening we went to Chili’s (Elder Smith’s favorite) for dinner with the Morgan’s, Howard’s and Swenson’s. It was a great evening. Zone

Conference was very informative with training in the new 8 lesson plans of Preach My Gospel.

 Trece had a baptism on Saturday and there are several scheduled for the next two Saturday’s throughout the Zone. Next month is looking good for baptisms also.

Yes, we do think about our kids once in awhile!  This delivery cycle passed us in Makati and we discussed Amber's cooking skills at the Palo Verde Ward Cook Off.

here are ice cream vendors all over the place.  This is a fairly fancy one.  They don't play obnoxious music like at home but the bell on the handlebar dings constantly.  Selecta is our favorite brand of "made in the Philippines" ice cream.  The Zone is hooked on the Double Dutch flavor.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Temple Tour

Well, it is officially into the “ber” months now in the Philippines. They are supposed to be the coolest months of the year! We’ve already noticed some new Christmas lights and 1 Christmas tree up in a business in the Naic bayan. We heard Christmas music being played in a tryke the other day as it was passing us so we know the holiday season is beginning.

The Morgan’s from Roy, Utah, joined our little group last Wednesday.

They are a very special couple and are going to be a wonderful addition to the mission. They are living and working with the SanGabriel District and Zone about 45 minutes away. We didn’t realize that the couple missionaries would get better with every addition but they are just like our Sisters and Elders and seem to be sharper with every change.

Last Saturday was a Temple Tour for our mission. What a treat it was to be there! Each Zone brought their investigators to learn about the Temple. We had over 300 investigators attending! They met in a pavilion behind the ancillary building on the Temple grounds and then left in groups to visit 7 stations that were set up around the Temple. They were taught about the meaning of the Temple, Temple work, the restoration, family history and so on. Many of those attending from the Provinces (like Naic) had to leave at 4:00 a.m. to arrive on time in Manila. We had 50+ from our Zone. It was such a treat to see so many there. One brother who was attending the last tour noticed the no smoking signs on the Temple grounds, he had just had the first lesson and so the Word of Wisdom hadn’t been mentioned yet. He was so touched by the Spirit that he quit smoking on the spot. He had been a 2 pack a day smoker for 30 years. He was miserable for awhile but now has a baptism date set and is very excited about the gospel. The “Temple” feeling is so sacred. The tours will be going on regularly for the mission and we’re sure there will be some wonderful success stories to unfold. This month has a fruit that is a doozer! It is stinky as the dickens! In Tagalog it is most definitely mabaho (smells bad)! Just bringing one home from the store made our car stink for days. Durian is brutally spiky with big seeds and such an odor! One of our Elders described the taste as a cross between an avocado and an onion. (Personally we think he was being kind in his assessment.) Our sweet Filipino missionaries liked it! We’ve decided it is an acquired taste but it is a totally cool, awesome looking fruit.

A new Sanders business in Rosario, Ph (yes, those are power lines hanging in the foreground)