Sunday, November 23, 2014

15 months and counting .......

We are not "Trunky", (I think!)   but we are beginning to think of all the decisions and work that will be required to get us back home and resettled. This week, we will be under 3 months to our departure. Just FYI, there is still not another couple on the horizon to replace us. Still time, of course, (we had 35 days from call to MTC), but it is a little bit worrisome. We hope to be able to help someone get oriented before it all falls on them. 

 SO, in that frame of mind,  I wanted to share a few stories this week that I hope I won't forget.

This is our wonderful Elder Osores. He belongs to a family that had been less active for 10 years. He is a nurse, 26 years old, and engaged to be married.  He is from Cebu. Due a miracle, he was brought back to activity and had the desire to serve a mission. He has been AP, Training Assistant, and a truly amazing leader. He went home this week, on schedule. But, it was almost not what happened. 

Two weeks ago, we got a phone call.  His mother was crossing the street, and was hit head on by a tricycle that sped around the car that stopped for her.  She was very badly hurt.  His Sister called, and asked him to come  home.  He could not talk to his mother, as she was unconscious.  He told President he would be going home early.  Then, he called back, and said, "President, I was praying for my mother, and a voice told me ,'I will take care of your mother, YOU take care of you mission.'  So, I am staying".  
Well, they said his mother would need facial surgery, if she lived.  And his father was very frightened.  He called again, and asked Elder O to come home.  Poor Elder.  The fear and emotion in his Dad's voice was almost too much.  But again, a voice told him to stay on his mission and not worry.  Three days after the accident, his mother regained consciousness.  When he spoke to her, she told him that she feels, if he had come home, she would not have lived.   A few days later, they sent her home.  Badly bruised, but with her FACE INTACT.  No surgery needed.   

Here is the entire batch on Exit Day, with Elder O right where he should be.  15 truly fantastic missionaries.  Most of them we know very well, as they have been here with us for the entire time.  We love them dearly, and are SO proud of them.  

Interestingly, there were only two Filipinos in this batch---which is very unusual.  

That afternoon, we were at the Mission Home and waiting very anxiously to see if their travel documents would arrive on time.  (ARGHHHHHHH).  You could throw a rock (I couldn't but YOU could) and hit the MTC from the mission home.  One of them said, 
"Our replacements are right over there".  and another one said, "I don't think I like the idea of being replaced!"  It may seem like we just replace one group with another, but to the Lord, trust me, they are all known, loved, and cherished individually.  

ELDER SCHLAGER took time to have just a little fun with his camera this week, and I think all the missionaries there got one almost like this.  

Usually, when we go to the Memorial 
Cemetery there is almost no one there.  This week, however , we were earlier, and there were 4 big tour buses of Chinese tourists.  All excited, dressed to the nines, and lovely.  Several asked for pictures with us, and I took this pic of this sweet couple (without us!)  to remember them.  Did you know that Christianity is simply swelling in China?  You can't proselyte there, but they come out and get baptized, and then go back home and live it.  

Christmas in November  primary Activity.  





And, my adorable Primadonnas! 

 WE absolutely love our office elders, 

But they do make us laugh sometimes.  As astounding as they are, they are still very young and inexperienced.  
This week, Elder Malmrose, one of our fabulous APs,, made me really have to just shake my head.  
I came into the office, and it smelled like a fire.  I ran to the back, and he was in the kitchen.  
"Elder, did you burn something?"  
"No.   Well, it sort of burned."  
We are talking smoke here---quite a lot of it.  So, he opens the microwave, and inside is a bowl, with a cheese sandwich in it, burned to crisp.  
"I don't know what happened".  
"Elder, didn't anyone ever tell you not to put metal in a microwave?"
"Well, maybe.  I haven't used a microwave for a year and a half---I forgot".

We aired out the office and went over a few basic kitchen safety rules.  These guys are supposed to cook, but in honesty, our APs just don't have the time.  They are always preparing to teach, or teaching, or running errands for President---like picking up people at the airport and dropping off people, sending announcements and emails, preparing reports, etc, etc. Sister Revillo has their laundry done at the Mission Home, as they are never at home to do it on P- Day.  And sometimes, President just says, "You need sleep.  Go home and sleep." (Usually after they had to be up at 3:00 am to drive someone somewhere.)

And, here are the 17 "replacements".  Just in time for Christmas.

Sometimes, I really hate not being perfect.

  (Yes, after all these years, you would think I was used to it)
This week, I had arranged for everyone to get shuttled to the airport, although I was a wreck waiting for their travel documents and passports.  So, the night before, I am giving them all the last things they needed, and their instructions.  And the two going to Hawaii and Tasmania point out that their planes go at 7:00 PM, not AM.  Oops!  
"What does oops mean?"  
Well, it means we need another plan for the two of you.  

And, when I ordered the tickets for the three new ones going to Mindoro, all Friday flights were booked.  I asked President if he wanted them to go Sunday, or Monday.  He said to send them Monday.  So, I went into the office and ordered their tickets.  For Sunday----as soon as I saw them I remembered.  Poor Mae, at travel.  I drive her crazy!  She rebooked them for Monday and didn't even make a nasty remark.  

As our dear President says, when I mess up:

There are a lot of moving parts!  


Sunday, November 16, 2014


Last year, I spent my birthday proselyting, and celebrated by stepping into a pile of nasty stuff.  I am nothing, if not entertaining for the natives!   
This year, I spent my birthday filling in last minute as the etiquette teacher at zone conference, having 100 missionaries wish me a happy birthday, and singing to me, and then dining out with friends at another nice restaurant.  

Missionary Manners
Showing sensitivity for others

v   If you are going to be late or not coming to any appointment, call or find a way to contact the person or family you are meeting.

v  Do not visit unannounced during mealtimes.
v  Wash your hands before setting the table or sitting down to eat.
v  Wait until you are invited to be seated.
v  Stand up when a lady or older person enters the room as a sign of respect.
v  When getting food, allow others to go first, especially children and ladies.
v   Hold the chair of a lady who is going to sit beside you.
v  Do not rock your chair. Sit up straight and do not slouch.
v  Do not reach across the table, ask for the item you want to be passed.
v   Use a serving spoon, ask for one if one is not available.
v  Never pile your plate high with food.
v  When taking food, take small portions to make sure there is enough for everyone.
v  Cut only one or two bites of meat at a time.
v  Take small bites and do not talk with food in your mouth.
v  Chew food for a long time without noise and with your mouth closed.
v  Lift the food to your mouth and do not lower your head to the plate.
v  Do not lick your fingers, the serving spoon or your knife.
v  Do not point your silverware at another person.
v  Do not use a toothpick after eating unless you are alone.
v  Be appreciative and thankful for being invited. Compliment the food but do not complain about anything.

v   Say “Excuse me” when leaving the table.
v  Do give a thank you note to your host, or hostess.
v  Keep elbows off the table while eating.
v   Don’t use your hands to eat unless we are eating special finger foods
v   Do not comb your hair or apply make-up at the table.
v   Cover your mouth when you burp.
v   Don’t talk loudly or interrupt when someone else is talking.
v   No phones or texting in the table.
v   Offer to help clean up and bring plates to the sink.
As a missionary, you are not expected to help in washing them.

This had been prepared by myself and Sister Jose, at the request of Sister Revillo.  But I did not have to do the presentation last time.  It was all done as a Power Point, and I have NEVER before taught that way.  It went Okay, though, I think.  

We taught them some basics, took them into a catered lunch, and tested them.  With Prizes!  They loved it.  

That night, 

Elder and Sister Sheffer and Elder and Sister Johnson took us to dinner, at another VIKINGS. (Because what we really needed was a second large, elaborate meal that day.  Suffice it to say, we could use a better meal plan than the one we are currently on.  We ARE trying, honest, but now the holidays are upon us!)   I slipped  out before the singers and horned helmets made it to our table to sing to me.  But we did take a picture for you:  
Such good, kind, fun friends.  I wish you could all meet them.

Also this week, 

it was bazaar time again.  Mostly, I just miss these.  There is an expat group here, American Women of the Philippines Club, who sponsor this  every month as a way to promote industry for the people, many of them women.  It is quite fun, and nice.  Especially at Christmas time.  
 Many, many cottage industries, and small business people, come and sell their hand made work here. It is a great place to buy souvenirs.

Sister Revillo and Sister Jose had never been before.  They came with me this time, and we had so much fun.  15 minutes before we were due to leave, I asked Sister R if she wanted to get something for lunch to take in the van.  "No!  I never eat, when I can shop!" So, I got her a piece of quiche, which she enjoyed very much, on the way home. 

Sister is such a girl---she bought a new purse, and jewelry, and sort of fell into a booth full of second-hand items from Japan---we had trouble getting her out of there!   

But on Friday, we had an office meeting.  And here is your funny story:  
I mentioned recently that they live in a really lovely home in a a VERY upscale neighborhood, back-to-back to the area offices and MTC.  But it is still the Philippines.  Apparently, they have had a problem with rats in the hollow walls and ceiling of the house.  So, they call exterminators.  These, in turn, sealed up all the outside openings that the rats were using.  Good idea, right?  Except that the rats were sealed INSIDE.  So, at our meeting, she says, 
"I woke up early yesterday, screaming!"  There was a rat in bed with her, chewing on her clothing!   
President says, "That's why I am tired."    He just sat there, with his head in his hands, while she told us that the rats have eaten all the wiring in the ceiling in the meeting room, "That is ;why there is not a projector in there anymore".  
And, that the rats are now dying in the walls, "And they smell, so I am having to use candles and fragrances so you can't smell them."

This is the girly-girl who has a pair of shoes to match every one of her many outfits, who makes her own pearl jewelry (when she has time and is not the wife of the Mission President) who has lived in Japan and Singapore, who makes the best chocolate chip cookies on the PLANET, who has sparkles on her fingernails, never passes up a piece of chocolate, and who says "I'm a shopper", with no apologies at all. 
 In the van, they were talking about Imelda Marcos and all her shoes.  I teased Sister, "How many pairs of shoes do you have,?"   She said, 'Not 8000!" 

Saturday, we were in Binangonan for the Baptism of Brother Ryan, 24 years old. 
We are a couple of hundred baptisms short of our goal for this year, so President has asked for "A white Christmas".  He got all the missionaries to commit to one baptism each on Christmas Day.  It can be done, if we all do our part.  

And, a happy happy birthday to our grandson. 

5 is wonderful. You are wonderful.