September 7, 2015
Well, it was a very busy week, but a good one. We were able to do all of the apartment checks. We will be moving the Narra A/B elders into a new place at the end of this month. It will be a good move. It is much bigger – it is actually a house, not an apartment – gated, and in a nice area. They are pretty excited about it. While we were in Rizal we were able to meet with the branch president there and the 2 families and 2 individuals preparing to go to the temple. We will hopefully get their TPA forms completed and sent tomorrow.
We are once again having problems with the internet, which is so very frustrating!!!!! But maybe it will be back tomorrow. If not we will go back to the church. It was kind of cool because after we met with the families we went back to the elders apartment because they have a rat problem – they have caught or killed about 14 rats in the last couple of weeks because they have a huge hole in the screen covering one of the windows. So we bought screen and heavy gauge chicken wire to replace what was there. While dad was working on that with one of the elders I was working on the TPA’s. I felt prompted to call the temple patron housing. That was kind of strange because they and the temple have been closed for several weeks for cleaning and maintenance and won’t reopen until the 24th of this month. I have called and left messages and no one ever answers or returns my calls. But this group of members from Rizal wanted to go to the temple in October – they were thinking the 2nd or 3rd week. So I called. It wouldn’t go through when I went into contacts so I just tried dialing the number and it went through and someone actually answered! The housing was not available the weeks they wanted but the last 3 days of October was still available so I was able to schedule that for them. I was so happy about that! The elders let them know that they were scheduled and they texted us and said, “we wish you could have seen their faces when we told them they were all scheduled to go to the temple”. We are really excited for them.
Dad and Elder Whittle did a really nice job fixing the hole so hopefully no more rat problem. While they were doing that and after I had finished what I could do on the TPA’s I talked with the other elder there – Elder Baquiran. He told me his family’s conversion story. I’m not sure what religion, if any, his parents were - probably catholic. But they were very poor. When his parents got married they decided they would have just 2 children – a boy and a girl. Well, their first 2 children were boys, so they decided they would keep having kids until they got a girl. Their 3rd child was also a boy. But with their 4th one they finally got a girl. So, that was to be the end. Only his mother got pregnant. As I said, they were very poor so they decided she would have an abortion. About that time the missionaries found them and taught them about the importance of families and that abortion was wrong. They listened and were converted, and their 5th child was Elder Baquiran! He said growing up he was told that story and from a very young age he felt like he needed to serve a mission because it was missionaries that saved his life. Before he left on his mission he emailed the missionaries that had taught his parents and thanked them. His family has stayed active. He said his mother has a really strong testimony about tithing because she was so unsure about being able to pay tithing because they were so poor but they committed to do it and were so blessed. I thought that was just a great story!
Another fun thing on our apartment checks – we always take treats for the elders. This time I made no bake cookies. When we got to Quezon the elders said, oh, no way!!! Then they went in the kitchen and brought out cookies they had made for us!! The funny thing was, they also made no bake cookies! It was funny, but that was just so thoughtful!
The Cabar elders have had a time of it. We got really good rains last week or a couple of weeks ago, and they apparently did too. They had been up to their ankles in their house because it was flooded because of so much rain. And of course there was a lot of mud too. They did a good job cleaning it up.
We also go some good news – I don’t think I told you about it – there will be a couple coming to replace us! We think they will come in November, but we are not sure if President will have them live here or in one of the other branches. He said he is thinking about having them focus on a different branch every 6 months to help them progress and get members going to the temple etc. but they would probably just live in one apartment, not move every 6 months. But he is not sure exactly what he is going to do or where they will live, so we will just wait and see what he decides. We are just excited that someone will be here to help the members.
Saturday our service project was cancelled because they didn’t have all the supplies to repair the roof. Hopefully this week or next. Saturday afternoon we had an FHE in Sandoval to say goodbye to Elder Tabanou who will be going home on Wednesday, and that evening we had an FHE in Narra to welcome home Sister Ordanza and say goodbye to Elder Merrill, who will also be going home on Wednesday. It was a lot of fun. It was really unbelievable to see Sister Ordanza. I think I told you we were here when she left. We didn’t know if we would still be in Narra when she got home, but it was so fun to see her. It is unbelievable that actually 19 months has passed. Elder Merrill was also here for when we first arrived. He was here for one transfer after we arrived and then was transferred off the island. But he was transferred back for his last 2 or 3 transfers. We took he and Elder Tabanou to Puerto this morning for their flight to Manila. They do some things there at the mission home, and usually go to the temple, but they will not be able to do that because the temple is closed, but they will fly out on Wednesday. The Northrups are also flying home on Wednesday. We were here when they arrived too, but they were only here for 18 months.
The Hiatts will go home on September 28th. We are the last of the senior couples that were here when we arrived. Hard to believe. But a new couple will arrive in about a week to take the Hiatts place.
The work moves on. It’s kind of strange to think about but the elders that came last transfer and those that will arrive on Wednesday this week could actually still be here when we leave. We have sent so many missionaries off – not home, just transferred (actually the 2 that are leaving are the first 2 that have “died” here in Narra since we got here), and pretty soon we will be the ones leaving.
Well we went with Brother and Sister Abrigo to visit the Tana family for our TP visit. They did a great job! We really, really love both of these families! Last Sunday we went with the Corpuz’ to visit the Uda family. Usually we also visit the Magsino family also but Sister Magsino had to go to Puerto because her sister was in an accident and had to undergo surgery for head trauma. This is the second member of her family to be involved in an accident and have head injury this year. The other was her nephew. His accident was more serious, but he was younger. He is doing ok but not great. Anyway, the Corpuz’ did a great job also, and we really love all of these families! And also the Palo and Gineza families too. We haven’t been able to visit the Lagan and Manrall families yet, but we know we will love them too. There are so many really good people here and it is such a blessing to be able to work with them.
Well, I have really rambled on. Sorry this is so long. As I said, the internet is down. I am typing this in word and will hopefully be able to copy and paste later tonight or tomorrow. We love you all so much and miss you! I have to be honest and say that sometimes it is hard not to think about going home. I think it is just with so many going home or who have gone home, and we are pretty close. But there is still so much work to do. I have realized that you don’t really finish your work on a mission. Your time just ends and someone (hopefully) just steps in and takes over for you. And, you just hope you did something to help someone.
Well, it is good to hear from you. You are all so busy and we really appreciate it that you take the time to write. Life is good!!!
Dad and Mom,
Grandpa and Grandma