Monday, June 6, 2011

Week 33

May 3, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,

This seems to have been one of those slow weeks. The heat has been turned to the ‘HOT’ position on the thermometer and it is almost miserable. The temp is around 95 – 100 and the humidity is about 80%. We had a couple of afternoon thundershowers that cooled things off but the increased humidity makes up for whatever temperature dip that comes. The good thing is that this heat will only last for another 6 months and then it will cool down. :) We have been without internet services again for almost a week. We just wish that they would fix it for good and quit with the every 6 week visit to adjust the antenna. The repairmen came Saturday morning but said they will have to come back on Monday because they didn’t bring a ladder to get on the roof. Oh well!

Saturday was the official Jubilee celebration and they broadcast the ceremony to the Stake and District Centers throughout the Philippines. We were blessed to get tickets to the Celebration so all of the Senior Couples went to Manila on Saturday evening to view the festivities.

It was fantastic. The youth and young single adults have been working on this celebration for 2 years. The actual planning and preparation began 3 years ago. It was so exciting to watch the youth perform the traditional Philippine dances and the costumes were beautiful.

It was difficult to keep back the tears when the first group ran out onto the floor and everyone cheered. The program lasted over 2 hours but the time slipped by quickly. We have included some pictures of the youth dances.

The Primary children’s choir was a real hit. The kids sang so well! We all laughed when some of the little ones saw themselves on the ‘jumbo-tron’ in the coliseum. Their expressions were priceless.

The adult choir was also beautiful. They sang many church hymns and some traditional Philippine songs. We were delighted to listen to the congregation join in the singing when the traditional songs were sung. The Filipinos love to sing! They also had three of the first missionaries that entered the Philippines back in 1961 present for the celebration. It really was an emotional time.

Sunday we did not have our regular Sunday meeting schedule but instead were surprised to find out that there was a Regional Conference in conjunction with the Jubilee Celebration. Again we were very fortunate to have been given tickets to this conference. We traveled back to Manila early Sunday morning in order to attend the conference session. The conference was a spiritual feast. Part of the conference included a satellite broadcast from Salt Lake. We were privileged to hear talks by Sis Julie Beck General President of the Relief Society, Elder Quentin Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve and President Boyd K. Packer, President of the Quorum of the Twelve. Their messages were exceptional and the music was beautiful. It was a wonderful experience. President Packer pronounced a blessing on the Philippine people that was breathtaking. With all that has been accomplished in the Philippines in regard to its miraculous growth, President Packer said that we haven’t seen anything yet. He said that we would see an explosion of growth in this land and it would be the beacon of Christianity in the Asian world. We are excited to see the work move forward. We are motivated to go out and work harder to accomplish those promised blessings.

Sister Howard seems to be making some good progress. She is more responsive now. She still has an infection and lung problems but she is only on a CPAP machine for breathing now. She is a ‘fighter’ and we are grateful for that. The physician told President Howard that we are witnessing a miracle!

Tuesday we will be going to Manila to the Temple with the next batch of missionaries that are going home. We lose 21 missionaries this next week. It looks like we will be getting 17 missionaries from the Provo MTC in mid July. That will help to fill some of the vacancies created by this big group that is going home. Everything seems to be so uncertain at this time with so many changes coming over the next few months (Sister Howard being so sick, the mission home is under total renovation and a new Mission President coming on July 1st).

We probably won’t know if we are going to Palawan until sometime in mid-July. The missionaries are great because they continue to press forward with the work with all of the changes around them. This next week’s transfers will be interesting – our Zone is likely to have 5 changes this time around.

Monday evening was our monthly Family Home Evening. Mom wanted to do something different so we fixed Chicken Cacciatore. I don’t think I have ever seen anything disappear so fast! The missionaries loved it. We talked about the last week of the Savior’s life and His resurrection for our lesson. We think they enjoyed it. We asked Sister Briones to make a cake for our 2 elders that are going home. The missionaries ate like this would be their last meal.

We have been blessed with some good visits this past week. We are going to do everything we can to get the scriptures into the hands of the members. We are to encourage them to purchase their own scriptures but we have seen that most families don’t have the money to purchase them. We have been visiting those that are less active and recent converts and have been giving them a triple combination and a copy of the Liahona magazine. The look of gratitude in their faces is rewarding. We also give the Book of Mormon stories to the families that have small children. We want them to try ‘the good Word of God’ to help them with their challenges. At one sister’s house (Sis. Pangilinan) we gave her a triple combination and a copy of Gospel Principles. I asked her if she had these books and she said that she did. I then asked I she had them in Tagalog. Her eyes got big and she excitedly took the books from my hands. We found out that she loves to read but doesn’t understand English very well. We figure that she will read these books.

We are still doing well. We are healthy and surviving the heat. We are still working hard to understand and speak Tagalog. We have faith that it will happen. We hope that each of you are doing well. We love to talk with you and are excited to hear how everyone is doing. We miss you all very much! Please take care of yourselves and write when you have time. We love the letters. Thanks to the grandkids for the Easter Egg Wreath – it is great and we love it. The missionaries love to ask about it when they come to our house and they love to look at pictures of each of you. We hope that the rain will stop pretty soon so you can ‘dry out’. We love you all. Remember to BE good, DO good and BE men and women of Christ. AND, ALWAYS remember to say your prayers.


Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant

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