Tuesday, June 30, 2015

False Teeth Miracle! ; )

June 29, 2015

Hi Everyone!

Well, another week is past and June is almost gone! It was a busy week last week, but nothing out of the ordinary. We did not get much rain last week, but it has been cloudy and cooler, and we are hoping and praying for more. However, all the rain was not good for our biggest pumpkin plant so we don’t know if it will survive. We talked to our BP about calling the Bebita couple to be self-reliance specialists. He was suppose to talk to them yesterday, but we haven’t heard how that went. They are such a cute little couple. And they really are little. They have the same kind of bike set up that the Dagdags have and since they were baptized, well, since before they were baptized because here they have to attend church 4 times in a row before they can be baptized, they have faithfully come to church. Before we leave we need to get pictures of all of these wonderful people because you need to see them. We love them so much!
Last week we were able to visit Sister Mayme Icobai. I think I told you about her. She is a Seventh Day Adventist woman that we met at the SDA bakery, who loves the LDS hymns. We were finally able to deliver the hymn book that we had promised her. We took the missionaries with us. As we were visiting she was telling about how much she loved the hymns and I asked if we could sing one with her. She was happy to do that and chose, “Lord, I Will Follow Thee”. During the second verse she got emotional. Anyway, it was good and she agreed to have us come back the next day. The elders shared a message about families and family history work and left her with a “My Family” booklet and a B of M. She said she would come to church on Sunday, and I really thought she would. She seems like the kind of person that if she says she will do something, she does it. But there may have been a reason why she couldn’t attend. I am not sure if I mentioned it before but we found out that she was actually baptized some time ago but after about a year she went back to SDA. He uncle, Brother Gattud, told us about that. (Just a reminder about how VERY IMPORTANT fellowshipping and friendshipping is!). Anyway, we were suppose to visit her this evening but couldn’t because – and this leads into another miracle, - Dad lost his partial plate (false teeth). He just set it on the table when we sat down to eat and then we couldn’t find them anywhere. He has an extra one, but it no longer fits and just falls out. So we prayed about it and continued to look. After dinner he had taken some papaya skins and other stuff like that out and dumped it out back, into the field behind our house. After looking EVERYWHERE he decided he would go there and see if he could check things out. You can’t really get back there because there is another wall – it’s hard to explain, but you really can’t get back there but there was one spot that he could reach with a stick. And that is the very spot where he found his teeth – inside a papaya skin. We just felt so blessed and thankful. I know it is just a small miracle, but it is just another testament that He is so mindful of us, even in the little things. Anyway, we couldn’t go but we will talk with the missionaries tomorrow and see how things went. Honestly, we don’t really feel like she is interested, but is just being kind and friendly, but you never know. And you never know when something said, or sung, might touch her and help her remember why she joined the Church before.
We had good visits with the Gattuds last week, but the Sandoval branch is struggling a little. Hopefully things will pick up. I think I told you they have to do the member mapping again, and this time it has to be done on line with all of the Narra branch before they will consider making it a branch. We were really hoping they would become their own branch before we leave but it may not happen.
We had a great visit with the Tana family. They are the family that were previously SDA’s and were so prepared for the gospel. They are now preparing to go to the temple. Brother Tana was really concerned about telling his family about their conversion but then he had a dream and just felt like it would be ok, and it is. His parents told them that as long as they are happy and living right that was fine. It sounds like they are really good people – and really faithful in their religion. A couple of weeks ago they went to Manila for his brother’s wedding. He told his brother that they were preparing to go to the temple to be sealed as a family and the brother was really interested in that. So, who knows. They also said they went to the temple, just to see it, and they said they felt something there, just being on the temple grounds that they had never felt before and was hard to explain. Brother Tana said that it felt like all his stress was just lifted. They are a great family and just so eager for the blessings of the gospel and so happy and thankful for it. We take so much for granted!
Well, that’s about it for now. We hope you all have a great week and a REALLY FUN 4th of July!!!! We will be involved in an EQ activity about the importance of studying the scriptures so that should be fun.
We love and miss you all so very much!!!
Love, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma



Sunday, June 28, 2015

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN!

June 22, 2015

Well, we think we are finally into the rainy  season! We have had rain everyday for more than a week. Some days not too much, but the last 2 or 3 quite a bit. Everything and everyone is really loving it! It is especially fun to hear all of the frogs. They make the funniest noise but you can just tell it is a happy noise.
Last week was a pretty busy week. We had more apartment inspections and transfers. We only lost one missionary from the Narra district, but 5 total in the zone. Still not a huge transfer. We have had 8 or 9 at a time. While we were in Puerto we visited the Butterfly something or other. They had many live butterflies flying around and exhibits of other little creatures native to Palawan. They had the giant scorpion there but the guide said they are poisonous, but not usually deadly, but it depends on how your body reacts. I’m not sure what that means. Along with that there is a native tribe that is there and puts on a show or demonstration. It is the Palawa’an tribe. They have their own dialect, which is not uncommon. There are over 1000 dialects in the Philippines. They demonstrated their instruments and also their blow dart guns. It was pretty cool They also have a pet python that is huge! We petted it, which was interesting because it was not slimy at all. They kept saying we could hold it but I really wasn’t up for that. We didn’t have our camera so we are going to go back one of these days and take some pictures. Maybe I will hold the snake then???
While in Puerto we also attended a “Finish Strong” meeting that they have for missionaries that will be going home in the next transfer or two. It was a really good meeting. President Hiatt wanted us to attend because he and Sister Hiatt are the ones that do it for the missionaries on Palawan, but they will be going home the end of September and no one knows if there will be another couple on Palawan, so we may be doing that class, as well as the Train the Trainer and New Leaders Training meetings. There is one couple coming in September, but the Hiatts and the Northrups go home in September. The Northrups are in the office so it has not been decided where the new couple will go. We hope that more couples will be coming because they are really needed.
On Friday Elder Wilkinson, who was a missionary here, came back to Palawan. He is officially “dead” as a missionary and his parents and one brother came to pick him up and to tour a little. So they had lunch with us. Then Elder W had planned on taking his dad and brother out proselyting and asked if we would entertain his mom. He suggested teaching her to cook some Filipino food but since I don’t cook I invited a sister in our branch to come over and teach. She brought a couple of other sisters. Anyway, long story, but we all, along with several other members and the missionaries in Narra ended up going to Jollibee’s (Philippines Mc’Donald’s) and taking the food there and eating and visiting. They actually let you bring in food from another place there. It was fun. And the Wilkinson’s bought everyone an ice cream sundae. Filipinos love ice cream but I don’t think they have it too often. It’s pretty expensive.
Yesterday we visited the Corpuz, Abrigo, and Palo families to ask them if they will go with us each month to visit and teach the families that are preparing to go to the temple in December. They each have one or two families to visit. We felt it would be a good idea to have them teach the lessons that we taught them because it will help strengthen their testimonies and remind them of the things that we all need to be doing continuously in order to stay strong in the gospel and also to help them remember the. covenants they have made. Like people everywhere, sometimes we get excited and motivated to do something, but then afterwards we fall back into old patterns or habits. We want to help them on the path to true conversion. It is also good that they attended the temple recently and can share that experience with the families. And we think it will be great for the families that are preparing also. It is good to establish good friendships so hopefully this will help.
Just one more thing that we are excited about. We have been trying to get this self-reliance program going but with no rain we haven’t been able to get the property tilled. Now we have the rain so we will be able to get that done. But the thing we are really excited about is that we just found out that this cute little old couple in our branch that were recently baptized has a GREAT garden!!! We were told about it a couple of days ago  so went to check it out this morning. It is big, beautiful and so organized, just like dad likes to do. They have had to water by hand, actually I imagine by bucket because they do. not have a pump I don’t think, or a hose. But they have kept things alive through the drought. They said several times today what a blessing the rain is. Anyway, we think it would be a great thing to get them involved with the project, maybe being called as self-reliance specialists. They have the knowledge of what grows here and how to grow it, and how to keep it alive when there is a drought. And, they speak Tagalog. We think it would also be great for them to have a calling and be serving in the Church, and able to do something they obviously love to do. We were told that they are trying to produce all of their own food, which would be a good thing for the members here to learn.
Anyway, that was our week! Thank you all for the Father’s day and birthday wishes. I will send individual thank you’s as well. We love and appreciate you all, and MISS YOU SO MUCH!! Thank you for your prayers and support.
Remember that striving and working to have an eternal family is the most important thing we can do on this earth, and it is worth every sacrifice.
We love you all!!!
Dad and Mom

Grandpa and Grandma

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

May malakas ang ulan ngayon!

June 15, 2015

We had a great rainstorm this morning!!!! 

When we left for our walk it was cloudy and a little cooler, which was nice. We went to the property to check the dragon fruit plants and water the pumpkins. Then we decided to go to the little Seventh Day Adventist bakery - they sell "whole wheat" bread, etc but we are not sure if it is whole wheat but it is good and they are nice people - and as we were walking there it started raining. We got drenched!! We would walk and then find some place to wait for a bit, and then go again. It really was kind of fun, and so nice to not have the hot sun beating down on us. It continued for a while after we got home. Probably the best rain we have had for quite awhile. So, we are hoping this is the beginning of the rainy season. It has stayed cooler all day. 

Last week was a great week! President and Sister Hiatt came out to bring some stuff and stayed for dinner. It was fun to have them come. It is just so nice to talk to some adults who really do understand everything you are saying! We had a great zone meeting, and on Wednesday (after zone meeting) and Thursday we had our last 2 English classes. Because we have transfers this week and 2 of the students in the class are leaving to go to college this week, I didn't want to wait until next week for the final class so we just did them back to back. It was good! We took pictures but none of them turned out so I am going to try to get the elders to down load theirs onto our laptop. They were a great class and we had a lot of fun!

We worked on getting everything set for the members from Cabar to go to the temple next week. I think we have all the issues worked out and hopefully everything will go smoothly. Neither of the sisters has flown or been to Manila so they were really concerned about what to do when they get there. We asked President Ostler if a set of missionaries could meet them there and help them get a shuttle. So they will do that and get them to the mission home where President will interview them and them get them to the temple housing. And we got the TPA funds worked out so they all have their money. It is exciting that they are all able to go.

Also on Friday a man that we had OYM'd showed up at our house. He said he wanted to meet with us the next day. He said he had a couple of questions and wanted to show us some publications that our church might want to purchase. So we figured that he wanted to sell us something. But when we had OYM'd him he mentioned being confused about baptism for the dead so we invited the elders over to meet him with us. He speaks pretty good English but when you get into gospel topics Tagalog is always better for them. Anyway, we were right. He is a Seventh Day Adventist and they have a publishing company - children's bible stories, health and nutrition books because apparently they have kind of a health law too. But we did discuss the gospel, somewhat. He is hung up on why we worship on Sunday and not Saturday because Saturday is the 7th day and according to him it is a pagan practice to worship on Sunday. Anyway, we didn't really think he was searching for truth, but one of the elders shared his testimony and it was really strong. Who knows, maybe. He says he has read the Book of Mormon and he really likes it. He thinks Joseph Smith is a prophet, but he says why don't we follow the words in the B of M because in Mosiah where he quotes the 10 commandments it talks about on the 7th day we rest, etc. Anyway, it was kind of frustrating, but a good experience. We really don't get to teach much.

We didn't visit any temple prep families last last week because President and Sister Andres were both sick. But we visited one yesterday and it was So good. They are very poor - he is a fisherman, but they committed to save 1000php every month, which would give them 6000 by December. That is really a sacrifice for them. They have one boy who will be 8 in August. We are hoping the brother will baptize and confirm him. Sometimes they are a little shy about doing things like that, but it will be so good for him.

It will be a busy week this week with transfers, and President Hiatt wants us to be involved in the new trainer training meetings and the new leader training meetings and the finish strong meetings because they will be leaving in October and we may have to take over. No one knows, but just in case. Well, better run. There is always so much to do! Which is really great.

We hope you are all doing well. We love to hear from you!
We love and miss you so much!!!

Love,
Grandpa and Grandma,
Dad and Mom

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Another Busy Week!

June 1, 2015

Mainit talaga dito!!!

So, we hope everyone is doing great! I assume you are all out of school for the summer, which has to be a great feeling! I always loved summer when you were all home. Course, I don’t remember, but I was probably ready to have you go back to school and get into a regular (somewhat) routine again.

Last week was a really crazy, busy week! But it was good. On Monday we went to Quezon and Rizal to do apartment inspections. It was a long trip, but not too bad. 

Tuesday was our monthly missionary luncheon, which is always fun. We normally have district meeting right after lunch, but because we had zone conference later in the week we didn’t have district meeting. So we went out with the Narra B elders. It was fun to go with them. We visited a few families, some less active. They are all such good people and we love them. We know that if they would commit to living the gospel fully in their lives it would make such a difference. There would still be many trial and difficulties, but so much more joy and peace, and help with the trials. We also went out with the Narra C elders that night, to visit the Magsinos. It is always so much fun to see them. 

Wednesday we went to Cabar and Brookes Point for inspections. There are 2 new elders in Cabar – that is called shot gunning an area when they are both new – and Cabar is a really challenging area. It is beautiful, but it is really off the beaten path, way off, and there is not a lot of things available. To add to the challenge, they have very little well water. They have to buy drinking water, but they have an outdoor pump to shower, do laundry and cleaning, etc. But, because of the drought, there is not much water coming out of the pump. I’m sure it must be that way for many  of the people here. We hadn’t really thought about that, but many people here just use pump water, so it could get pretty difficult. We are really praying for rain! 

Wednesday night we had English class. It was fun! The elders help and they really make a difference. I think I’m pretty boring but they liven things up. English will probably end in a couple of week and I am not sure if we will do another class or not. 

Thursday we went to zone conference, which was SO good! President Ostler now has a new vision for our mission and it is so inspired. You all probably know that the proselyting missionaries have steps and key indicators, things that they need to do with each investigator to help them progress to baptism. Then after baptism they reteach the lesson and continue to visit and encourage. These are the steps to salvation. But President has added the steps to exaltation, which is to help these new converts and less actives prepare for the blessings of the temple. These steps are from the New and Returning Member Progress form, so it’s not anything new, it is just focusing on it and having the missionaries continue to work with the members and the branch president/bishop to help these new or recently returned members stay on the path. Anyway, I probably didn’t explain it very  well, but it is inspired and inspiring. We are excited! It really is needed because President has always stressed that baptism is not the end. It really is just the first step. And we have tried to stress with those that we have worked with that we are not just preparing for baptism, or for the temple, we are preparing for eternal life so we need to keep doing those things that lead us to baptism. 

At conference we met Elder and Sister Duford, the couple that is serving on Coron. Coron is a separate little island but is considered part of Palawan. After conference we arranged to meet them for dinner. It was so much fun getting to know them. We had a really good visit, and pizza that was pretty good. So, to continue with the week, we had planned to stay in Puerto on Thursday because on of our elders had to go to Manila to be fingerprinted (everyone leaving the country has to be fingerprinted). He traveled to Manila with the AP’s after zone conference and was to come back Friday evening. That was fine because we had shopping to do. But on Friday afternoon we got a call that he had missed his flight (not his fault), and they weren’t sure when they would be able to schedule another flight. So we debated whether we should go home and come back when he flew in or just stay. I really wanted to go home. We decided we would get a few more things done, go to McDonalds for dinner – which is a real treat! – and see if they had his flight information by the time we were finished. And they did. He was flying in at about 930am the next day. So we stayed, even though we had no extra clothes etc. I felt really bad about that because we had a mission call for a brother in Aborlan and we were going to drop it off on our way home. He was so excited. The missionaries from there told him on Thursday that we had it so he was so excited. He knew we would not be coming until Friday so on Friday he sent us a text wondering when we would be there. He said he hadn’t slept the night before because he was so excited. We felt so bad to tell him that we wouldn’t see him till Saturday. He took it well, and said he would be in Puerto Saturday morning so we arranged to meet him and deliver it. Unfortunately we did not have our camera because we didn’t know we were going to get the call, but it was still so fun!

It was really good to get home on Saturday! That evening we went with President and Sister Andres to visit 2 of the families who are preparing to go to the temple. We are excited for them, and glad we are starting earlier so they have more time to prepare, both spiritually and temporally. On the way home we got a text from President Ostler. He asked us to go to Cabar on Sunday to help a family there fill out the paperwork for temple assistance and get it to him. We were happy to do that! We are waiting to hear if they will be going in June or July. They are a cute, young family, 2 little girls. Then we did an apartment inspection in Aborlan after we emailed the form to President. It was a busy, but really good week!

One thing we do in preparing families for the temple is have them fill out the “My Family” booklet and then input information and hopefully prepare names for the temple. I was just thinking last night that it might be really fun to get these booklets and have all of the members of your families (that can write) fill them out. You can go on line to get names, birth / death / marriage dates and places, and you can get pictures if they are online. We have just shrunk them down and printed them off. I think you would all really enjoy it. It would probably be a several day project, or maybe just work on in for FHE for a while, but you really do feel the spirit of Elijah as you see your ancestors and learn about them. Many of them have stories about them also, so you can get a little feel for what their lives were like. Anyway, just a thought.

Just one more thought. President had us read a conference talk by Elder Oaks called “Desire”. It is really good. He says, “I hope each of us will search our hearts to determine what we really desire and how we rank our most important desires. Desires dictate our priorities, priorites shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.” I have really been pondering and working on applying this. It is so important that our daily actions reflect our deepest desires. If they do not, we will not be able to achieve or obtain those things. Anyway, it is a really good talk.

Well, sorry so long. They usually always are! And I am sorry, but there is so much to tell. It is hard to get it into one email.

Anyway, we love and miss you all so much! We are so thankful for you! We are so blessed with a truly wonderful and amazing family!

Love,

Grandpa and Grandma, Dad and Mom