Sunday, November 9, 2014


We do occasionally work, and we do not eat ALL the time. But with Elder's birthday, then President's, and then mine, (and Barlows up from Mindoro for the week) it was decided that a CELEBRATION was called for.  So, all four couples went to Vikings, a very large, very fancy buffet restaurant at Megamall, which is exactly what it sounds like.  Look it up.  It is quite near the Mission Home.

As you see, they took good care of us.  And this time, we ALL got serenaded.

President and Elder.  They seem to enjoy each other very much.
One sort of interesting thing

happened.  There was a big wedding at the Catholic Church on the corner of our block.  They hold all the festivals, etc, there, and we enjoy watching what is going on.  Often, it is "standing room only."
This time, the reception was planned for the garden area around the pools.  The green roof is the big room used for parties, exercise classes, etc.  As you see, the caterers did a bang up job of preparing for the party.  Even balloons in the pool.  But, before the wedding party arrived, a huge rain storm came through, steady and heavy and just straight down (luckily!), drenching the entire area.  After it was over, the caters were out there with towels, drying the chairs, and the wedding party arrived and things went on as scheduled, right into the night.  The table cloths must have been pretty soaked, though!  This is the view from our bedroom window, Looking down on the celebrations.
The Northwest has nothing on them when it comes to "doing it in the rain".

Big send-off at TGI Fridays

for our dear friends the Horsleys.  Well, maybe we DO party and eat all the time, after all!  

Something a little bit different:

Some of our friends have asked us about what it is costing us to serve a mission.  That is an interesting question, because you can figure it in so many ways.  Total cost of being here?  Money spent for direct mission costs?  Money spent over and above what it would cost to be at home for the same period?  ( Or below---some missionaries actually save money.  Not us!) And, some missionaries have kept very precise records of every dollar or peso spent, which we have not done, except for a couple of months, to get a feel for where the money was going.  
Also, I absolutely have to bear testimony to the fact that what we give to the kingdom ALWAYS results in more for us, not less.  If you have any testimony of tithing at all, you know that you receive, in the words of Elder Bednar, "subtle but significant" blessings for that sacrifice.  We have learned that a donation to the kingdom is always the same.  It does not have to be written on a tithing receipt to bring the same promised blessings.  

That being said, here is some information that those of you contemplating a mission might find useful.  

1. Travel  the church paid for our trip to our mission, and will pay for our flight home.  That is true if you serve at least 18 months.  (Incidentally, the reason Senior Missions are 23 months and young Elders serve 24, is according to Elder Ardern, our Area President, because of some tax ramifications if we are out of the country 2 full years.)

2.  Medical Insurance  If you wish to be considered for a foreign mission, you are required to either have private Medical Insurance (Not Medicare) or to purchase the policy the church provides.  At this time, that costs $183/month for each of you.

3.  Housing   You most likely will not be going out, as we used to, and finding your own housing and setting it up.  The church will find a place for you to live, contract with the landlord on a standard lease that legal has approved, and tell you what it costs. Then you will donate that amount to your home ward and it will be swept from that account into the General Mission Fund, where the finance secretary in your mission can pull it to pay your rent. In this mission, rent can be as low as $200/month or as high as $1000, depending on where you are assigned to "labor".  

4. Utilities  In the Philippines, we also put enough in our ward fund to cover our utilities.  That is added to our support card, monthly, and we pull it in cash to pay our utility bills.  Internet and phone is vital, and sometimes a problem, as you will have to either get a contract yourself or take over the one the previous couple had. The mission will give you a phone to use, but if you have a landline, you must pay for it.

5.  Vehicles  If you are in a mission/assignment that requires you to have a car, you will have to get a driver's license, and you will rent the car from the church.  That is $150/month.  You are also, except in VERY special circumstances, going to be buying your own fuel for the car.  

6.  Furnishings   There may be a possibility that you will not be in an apartment furnished by the landlord.  In  that case, the church will provide basic furnishings to you, but they are also rented, at $100/month.  Of course, in that case, your basic rent is probably lower.

7.  Additional costs for us
We had to put our household goods in storage, so that costs us $114/month.
Renting or just leaving your home, will most likely increase your homeowner's insurance premium.

We feel like the utilities, our food, our gasoline, and our personal expenses are about what we would pay at home, and so are not part of the actual cost of the mission.  Of course, that may not be true in some missions.  
 Here is our door, welcoming, I hope, to anyone who comes by.
This is the Christmas Tree that the Dolleti Family put together in the guest house out at Sampaloc.  We were there today so Elder could help to train a new clerk, and they insisted on giving us dinner, at the guest house her brother owns.  They are such a great family.  He is the Branch President, and their two oldest children are on missions.  That branch has flourished under his leadership.  

While there, we were able to see many old friends.  Here is the Aguilar family, still moving forward.  Remember when they went to the temple in the spring?  Well, he got a PEF loan, and went to school to learn welding.  Here he is with his certificate.  And now, she has a loan, and started college last week, to become a teacher---her dream.   Jhezelle just turned 3, and John Ivan is 4, now.  She is still the Primary President, and he is still in the Branch Presidency.  

We were able to get Shresh and Vidia to agree to come on Friday, Nov 21, to our home for FHE.  They are the Indian Couple in our neighborhood.  So, we are planning how to be good missionaries to them.  We bought a game, Dominoes, to play.  We have taught that one to 5 and 6 years olds before!
Our friends, the Sheffers, came over last night to play with us and to practice.  

Here is your laugh:  They have recently been asked to go to serve in Malaya, because Jardines went to Mindoro.  (Are you getting the message here?  WE NEED MORE SENIOR  SEASONED MISSIONARIES!
Well, it is a long drive from the city, and he was tired, so she offered to drive.  He said "She hit two pedestrians in about 1 minute".  She was driving, and someone walked right up to the van, as they do, trying to dodge traffic and get across the street.   He said, "You are going to hit that man".  BUMP--her side mirror slammed into his shoulder.  Collapsed the mirror.  Then, Elder pushed it back out, and she did the same thing again 20 seconds later.  Sister Sheffer, "Well, that didn't really count.  It only moved the mirror a little bit."  Elder Sheffer, "The other one counted.  He really got hit.",  Sister Sheffer,  "It wasn't that bad.  I just nicked him."  

I spent the Friday at Immigration all day, trying to get the new registration accomplished for the last of our Pauwi--those leaving on the 19th.  Wish us luck!

1 comment:

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