Tuesday, November 4, 2014


This is Halloween, but these are not costumes. This is Elder Gako, AP, Elder Buhler, trainee, Elder Schlager, many things, Elder Malmrose, AP, and Elder Hall, trainer. All dressed up to go upstairs and meet Elder Dallin H Oaks, Apostle ..

And this is 90% of our mission, practicing so that they can be photographed after the meeting, but Elder Oaks does not approve of that practice. He felt it would detract from the spirit, so this is as close as we got to a picture of (nearly) all our missionaries. We even had about 35 of our senior couples there.  

The meeting was amazing. Sister Oaks is fantastic. She taught us to always speak and teach doctrine, for it is "sweet" to us. (And she hugged me, as did Sister Bowen!) 
Elder Bowen, of our Area Presidency, was awesome. We had not met him before. He is young, energetic, and he "told it like it is." He was a mission president, and then an Area Seventy, and now second counselor in our Area Presidency. He said, "I know what I am talking about". And he told them to do three things to change their mission and themselves. 1: Get up at 6:30 every morning. (Be 100% obedient.) 2. Talk to at least 20 people every day - really talk. OYM (0pen your mouth) and ITL (Invite to learn). 3. Improve planning. (Work with the Spirit before you go to work.)

Elder Oaks taught us about Priesthood Keys. Interesting, as he had brought "the keys of the kingdom" to the Philippines. I learned a great deal.  

One quote from Sister Revillo:  
"Our calling gives us authority, keeping our covenants gives us power." 

Halloween Night

We took our walk in the mall, and went to find some dinner. There were small children in costumes EVERYWHERE, as they had been "trick or treating" in stores and restaurants. They all had buckets of candy and were dancing and having a great time. Halloween seems to be big in the city --- did not see it at all last year in the province.
This lovely young flapper stopped us to talk, and it turns out she is a member of the church from Provo. Her dad works for one of the corporations there, and they came a year ago to live and work here. She loves it.

But, it is still the Philippines, and Christmas comes early. They were playing Christmas carols, getting the big Christmas tree set up, and here is one decoration already on display.


Saturday Night, several couples went to dinner at a nice Italian restaurant in our neighborhood. They told the wait staff it was Elder's birthday, so he got serenaded and a free dessert (a day early!)

Sunday, it WAS his birthday. Also fast Sunday. We went to church, and then he had a presidency meeting at the mission office. So, we did a brisket, and rice, and vegetables, and fruit salad, green salad, and invited the other 3 couples to "break the fast" with us between the meeting and an area  broadcast taped by Elder Oaks on Thursday.  

President and Sister Revillo were there with their children, and the Joses, he is first counselor, and the Barlows from Mindoro, second counselor.  
Then, we all went upstairs to hear the broadcast.  The chapels were  packed, all over the country.

And, ANOTHER conference. President and Sister Revillo decided some time ago that they wanted to do a "zone conference" for the senior zone. We officially have 58 senior missionaries assigned to our mission. although only 10 of us actually work under the direction of President. The rest are in the temple, or area, assignments. Does not keep us from having fun together, though. (I decided last night that I do not like the title, SENIOR MISSIONARIES.  From now on, I am going to call us "seasoned." For one thing, that categorizes 
everyone else as "unseasoned". (Bland)

We were invited to the Mission Home on Monday, for a great meeting with Elder and Sister Meim, who served as mission president in Davao, and  he is now an Area Seventy. As you see, most everyone came. And, we had the great privilege of meeting Brother and Sister Leitham, who opened the mission 28 years ago. They were staying for a 25 year reunion, in the mission home they opened. 
Sister Revillo came here to be interviewed by him before she was called on her mission as a 21 year old woman.  
 And she did her usual fantastic and miraculous job of putting on a great party. She had it catered, on the patio outside. The evening was glorious, and it was all beautiful.

A good time was had by all, and Elder Schlager got another birthday celebration, (sort of!). I probably have not mentioned the mission home much, but it is a really lovely home, and is just down the street from one of Imelda Marcos' palaces. (Which I believe was just seized by the government.)

This week, you might wonder if anyone is doing any work here. But I assure you, we are. And today was the beginning of an entirely new nightmare with the immigration department. I spent the day getting 12 missionaries back into the city to go to immigration tomorrow, because there is a new "Alien Registration Act" that is impacting us. Now, all of our missionaries, scheduled to leave this month, will NOT be given  exit clearances until they "register" (give me a break! It means pay another fee) under this new law. Two weeks to departure, and I can just see hundreds of our young people not on the planes they are scheduled to fly on. And my problems are small, compared to the people over in travel who are dealing with 21 missions, all over the country, with the same problems. on steroids.  

In the year we have been here, we have had the opportunity, again and again, to meet, work with, hear from, and even come to know a little bit, many general authorities and general officers of the church. That is not one of the things we anticipated when we came, but I think it is not unusual for seasoned missionaries. The work is going forward at a fantastic clip, and they are in every part of it. How very blessed we are, and feel, to have a tiny place in this great endeavor.  

We love it. 

And we love you! 

Happy Birthday this week to two of our darling grandchildren. And congratulations to my nephew on the birth of his new son.


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