Saturday, December 27, 2014

Typhoon Ruby

December 4, 2014

We just received a forwarded email from President Ostler, which he received from Elder Ardern, Area president. There are many areas that are threatened, but there was no mention of Palawan, so we do not believe the typhoon will hit here. We are fervently praying for the people in the threatened areas. From what we could see, it looks like it is about the same area that was hit last year, and I can not imagine the devastation for those people if the storm is not averted. We appreciate your prayers for us and for all of the people of the Philippines. We love you and will keep you posted.

December 8, 2014

Hi everyone,
We are fine here. So far we have not really felt any effects of the typhoon here in Narra.  There are suppose to be some strong rain and wind starting tonight in Metro Manila, but we probably won't have anything.  The people here are not really concerned because they say there are never typhoons or earthquakes here. Brother Gattud said they have been here since 1987 and never had either one.  It just always makes me a little nervous when people say it NEVER happens here.  But I am so grateful because the people here are so poor and I am not sure what they would do if what little they have was destroyed. We haven't heard too much about the other areas.  We know there have been some deaths and destruction but don't know how bad it has been. We've thought and prayed for all the parents of missionaries serving in those areas that have been hit, as well of the missionaries, of course.  But then I thought there are probably missionaries in this mission who have family in some of those areas. When Yolanda hit last year there was a fairly new missionary here whose family was in Tacloban. He said that was really hard, but they and the members of his branch or ward were all fine.

I guess everyone is getting ready for Christmas.  It is hard to believe it is already December. The kids here want to have a Christmas party and I asked them when and they said December 25th.  At first I thought, no, I don't want to do it on Christmas day, but then I thought, why not??? We won't be doing anything and you are all almost a day behind so it sounds like a good thing to do. What are everyone's plans for Christmas this year? We will have a Branch Christmas party on December 20th I think. The Gwilliams told us that they don't do much activity wise all year but they have a huge Christmas party, but this year they have used up the budget so not sure what we will do, but it will be fun.

We got a new branch president on Sunday. A man who just moved here about a month or two ago.  Actually he lives in the Sandoval area and we were hoping that the family would be in that branch, but he is needed there. He is young, someone said 24. He looks older than that, but I don't know. Both he and his wife are return missionaries.  We are hoping this will get our little branch going again.  We have struggled for quite a while now. 

Yesterday Dad and I and Sister Martinez visited our first 2 families about this temple preparation program we are starting. We had a good visit with both of them. The Spirit was there and they are happy and excited about preparing to go to the temple. We are excited about it too.  What a difference it will make in their lives, and in our branch if we can help these families live the gospel and make these sacred covenants. There was another family that we wanted to visit last night but we found out that the mother has been in Manila for the last month and is planning on going to Canada, to work, we presume.  The kids are living with grandparents.  It is so hard and heartbreaking.  It destroys so many families. It's probably wrong of me but I have been praying that she will not be able to find work, or better yet realize that it is not good for her family, and come home. Since being baptized last March the mom and kids have come somewhat regularly but the father works most Sundays. I don't think the kids will come to church and who knows about the mom. They were just so excited when they got baptized, so happy that they had found something that could help strengthen and protect their family. 

Satan is working so hard to destroy families. There is nothing more important than family and the gospel. But there are so many things that are distractions. Our families are worth our VERY BEST effort because in the end, if we do not have our family, well, I just can't imagine that.  Nothing could possibly compensate for that. You may have fame and fortune but in the end that is emptiness, and you have all of eternity to think about what might have been.  

We are so blessed to have all of our children and grandchildren! We love you all so much and are grateful for the way you live your lives. We appreciate you love and support. The gospel is true. Families are meant to be eternal - that is central to Heavenly Father's plan for His children. We are so bless to have that knowledge and understanding. We need to always remember that, and continually evaluate our priorities and make sure our focus is an eternal family. 

Anyway, we have an appointment with another family on Friday and hope to set up another one for that day.  We are going to take the Dagdags with us to that appointment.

Well, we love you all and hope you are all doing well. Remember the true spirit of Christmas. What a beautiful, amazing Gift we have been given.  And we need to share it with all the world.

Mahal mahal naming po kayong lahat!
Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma

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