Sunday, June 1, 2014

Public "Comfort Rooms" may or may not be supplied with tissue, towels, soap, flush, even a seat!, But they are often decorated with flowers. These were just too beautiful to forget.  THEY ARE LIVE FLOWERS! 


SO, there  aren't any bad weeks, as far as we can tell, but some are so much better than others. These past two have been fantastic, and rewarding.  

Schools in the Philippines come in many varieties. There are the public schools, of course, and lots of pre-schools and private schools in all the little baranguays. (Sort of a township, with their own government leaders, for good or bad!)

MONDAY night was our senior FHE, and I promised you pictures. I did tell you about the senior zones last week. There are actually 56 senior missionaries in our mission, (a really unusual and big number). The temple missionaries have their own schedule and fun, But they CAN join us on Monday nights if they choose. (Their P-Day)  They loved the service project, and many came to join us.  

Here is Sister Whittaker preparing the buffet table for our pot luck "snacks". Yeah. Right.  I made pulled pork, in the crock pot there.

And, here is Sister Johnson, who organized us and got us all motivated.  

As you can see, she did a good job! A very good turnout, and a lot of happy fun.  

 Final result, several boxes of kits, 210 in all, to take to 6 branch primaries in the Morong District. WE delivered ours today to the Binangonan Branch. They start school tomorrow.

When we came out of the PAO, the temple was just across the street, all lit up.  I took this picture, as it seemed a little symbolic to me.  We are trying so hard to be "a light in the darkness" here, for these wonderful people.  

Then, the next day, was just wonderful!  We had received a message two weeks ago, informing us that Craig C. Christensen, of the Presidency of the Seventy, would be here, and would spend two hours with our mission on Tues. He was inviting all of the missionaries less than two hours away, and all the seniors.   So, we planned, and rescheduled, and were able to get 90 percent of our mission here for the meeting.  (Only Mindoro, of course, could not be here.) Elder and Sister Christensen are in the middle, she is wearing a black jacket, with Elder and Sister Echo Hawk on their right and President and Sister Revillo on their left.  Can you find us? 

This was the first time since Pres. Revillo was called that they have had this many together.  The missionaries loved it.  WE loved it.  When they all filed out of the benches to go up and meet him, I cried.  Which I DON'T do!  I said to Sister Ferrin, "Aren't they beautiful?"   
She said, "Yes.  All that energy".   And I said, "All that LIGHT!".  It truly felt like we could turn off the lights in the chapel and never miss them.  The Spirit was so strong!  
Remember when we were told that the strongest spirits were saved for the last days, for the war before the Savior comes?  I know that is true.  I am working with them.  I know them.  THESE are THEY!  Noble and Great and so strong!

Elder Christensen told them that the change in missionary age was to put more in the field, and it is about THEM.  They need to be prepared, and then go home, get married, start raising families, and be ready to carry the church on their shoulders. The Lord needs more leaders, and he needs them NOW!.

A sort of funny side note:
When they leave the mission, they spend one full day at the Self Reliance Center with the Whittakers, for Career Training and preparation.  

Elder Whittaker told us he uses the 4 P's to explain the need for this for the Elders. t'hey need to be prepared to : 
Preside, Provide, Protect, and Propose!

But he uses the 4 D's to explain the need to the sisters.  Why they should be prepared to support themselves and their families:
Death (of spouse), Divorce, Disability, and Delay! (The guys take a long time to propose!)

Tues was such a high day, that Wed I was sort of in the dumps!  It was like flying, and then hitting the ground with a thud!

One more funny story.  For the past 5 months, our local missionaries have not had the Typhoid Vaccine, as there was a national shortage and they get their vaccines at the Manila MTC.  So, on Monday I get a message that it is in, and I have 29 who need to be vaccinated.  Well, they were all but one coming in on Tuesday for the Conference!  Good timing.  We sent them all a text and told them "Don't go home without it!"  Then, after the picture taking, I stood up and reminded them, and read the list to them, in case anyone did not get their text.

Well, we had 2 nurses waiting downstairs for them.  The obedient 8 came right down.  The other 20 had to be dragged.  (President said, "some of them escaped?")  
Really, though, it was so funny,  An hour earlier they were so impressive.  Then they  came to the office and I had about 25 babies.  I am not kidding.  And the ones who didn't need a shot, were peeking in the door to see the others get it!  I am pulling them away, trying to get the poor kids some privacy.  The guys had all worn long sleeved shirts to meet a General Authority--Most of the sisters were in dresses.  They had to undress.  

On Wed, President, Sister, APs and STLs flew to Mindoro for their zone conference.  On Friday, they returned, bringing Elder Gonzaga with them.  Elder Ballon (on the floor) is going back to Proselyting, and Elder Gonzaga (in the center of the sofa) will take his place as the apartment specialist in the office. Fast training going on.  It began with them showing up at about 10 am from the airport, and carrying McDonald's for breakfast.  I guess survival skills are part of the training for serving in the office.   They work incredible hours, and then do missionary work in the evening.  

And Saturday, we went to Binangonan for a baptism.  Well, actually, 4 baptisms.  Because that is how we roll in the Philippines Quezon City Mission.  We are a Quality Conversion Mission!

Two women, Sister Erlinda and Sister Ferlin, aunt and niece, who have been quite a long time in the process.  

But Elder Kmetzsche and Elder Latu are really great missionaries.  This will be Elder Latu's last baptism.  He goes home to Sydney this week, if we can get him out.  (The immigration mess is indescribable.  I won't try.  But it is a cause of much prayer for me, that everyone can get on a plane this week.)

And, not to be outdone, Elders Culango and Tampac also had two:.  This is Jemman and Mary Joy, the 12 year old son and 11 year old daughter of a member.  She has four children, and her husband went to work abroad.  He is not coming back.  Just abandoned them.  She has been less-active, but the branch is embracing them and I think they will be alright.  After her son is ordained, she will have Priesthood in her home!
Here is their baby sister.  She was sitting quietly, waiting for her mom and the baptism.  I took her picture and spoke to her, and she screamed bloody murder.  I must be even scarier than I think I am    
But, with her mom near, she was not too frightened to sit by me today.  Pretty brave.

Happy Birthday to You.

 Actually, to two of you.  You know who you are.

We love you.

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