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".
DID I MENTION THAT THE BOWL WAS MADE OF STAINLESS STEEL?
"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: