August 1, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
Last Sunday afternoon during our Sacrament meeting, the sky became really dark and then the rain came down in sheets. Eight days later and the rain is still coming down. We have brief periods of light sprinkles but those times have been very brief. The average rainfall for July is 17 inches – that is unbelievable.As we wrote in last week’s letter we were given a new assignment to serve in the Naic District.
The San Gabriel District is on target to become a stake in their next conference in December, so our new assignment is to help the Naic District become a stake in 2012 (that will be their 20 year anniversary- wow, 20 years as a district). Naic is in the southernmost part of the mission and is about 45 kilometers southwest of Manila. We are about 2 kilometers from the beach. Our new apartment is very nice – it is about 3 times the size of our previous apartment. There are no low-hanging cabinets to bump our heads. But, we are really out in the country. The building is a complex with three apartments that are side-by-side. The Sister missionaries live on one side of us and the Zone leaders live on the other side of us. We have been by ourselves over the past year (no next door neighbors) so having neighbors so close to us will take some ‘getting use to’. We don’t have garbage service so we must burn all of our garbage. There was a short break in the rain this morning so I went out and had myself a nice little fire (nothing like warming things
up with a nice little fire). Everything, including the garbage, was very wet – but nothing that a little diesel fuel couldn’t cure. We have lots and lots of frogs in the fields around us. At night they are very loud and they almost sound like cows. We will try and record them so you can enjoy the nightly serenade.
We will be assigned to cover 2 of the smaller branches to help them get better established and to provide training for the District leadership. Our first assignment will be a Branch Presidents training session on Sunday August 21. This last Sunday, we were asked to speak in the Bulihan Branch as were will be leaving them. It was difficult as we told them that we have been reassigned. It seemed like everyone wanted their pictures taken with us. There were some families that we have become very close to- we just hugged each other and cried. They will always have a special place in our hearts.
We had a good experience this last week amidst all of the rain and moving. Thursday evening we had a return appointment with a less active family. We met on the roof top area where the wife and another woman were washing dishes. We began to talk about the plan of salvation and shortly into the discussion the wife motioned to the other woman to come and sit down and listen to our message. We were very fortunate that they could understand English. We like to teach or review the plan of salvation and show them how the family is a common thread in the pre-existence, this earth life and the celestial kingdom. Then we talk about what Satan is doing to destroy the family and then give then some things that they can do to strengthen their own family. This has been very effective so far. Well, the other woman was very interested and so we then talked to her about the restoration and Joseph Smith. It was so good to teach them. We have another appointment this week with them. This is the best!
Sunday evening we attended a Family History Fireside in Naic. The speaker was the director of Family History for the Church here in the Philippines. He is also a representative of the Utah Genealogical Society in the Philippines. When they found out about Mom and her experience with Family History they were excited. The District President asked Mom to also help the District Family History Consultant get things going in Naic. We should be pretty busy here.
We traveled to Manila three times last week. On Monday, we helped the Peterson’s move their things from the apartment here in Naic to the mission office. They will be assigned to the island of Palawan and they could not take all of their things with them. Each time they come back to Manila for Presidency Meeting or training meetings they will be able to take some of their things back to Palawan. Tuesday was our Temple Day with those missionaries that are going home. That is a wonderful experience to be with them in the Temple.
Friday we went back to Manila to say good bye to the Thomas’. They have finished their mission and are returning home. They have been a blessing to this mission and we wanted to make sure that we could spend a little time with them before they left. We were trying to set up a time to take them out to dinner with the other senior couples but nothing really seemed to work out. President Stucki called us and asked if it would be ok to have a dinner at the mission home and then have time to sit down and talk with each other. The evening was very nice and it gave us a chance to listen to their testimonies. It was very nice. We love all of the senior couples and President and Sister Stucki are doing a tremendous work. It is good to serve with them.
Well, that is our news for the week. Seems like the days and weeks are getting shorter and coming faster. We hope that this letter finds everyone healthy and happy. We’re sure that everyone is excited to have school start – right Tamina? You’ll be a great soccer coach! It was good to talk with everyone on Thursday evening. Zelma, we’ll have no more fainting spells – right? We love you all. Hope that you are taking care of yourself and enjoying your summer. Thanks for your prayers and love and support. We love and miss 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