October 15, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
Greetings from Manila. We are becoming a little more accustomed to the office and are busy getting things ready for transfer week next week. We hope that something doesn’t get forgotten in the process. Our biggest fear is to have forgotten something and leave a missionary stranded somewhere on the way home or forget something and not pick up a new missionary at the correct time. There are just a lot of little things that need to be done.
Our routine is pretty much the same each day so there doesn’t seem to be a lot to write about. We check e-mail numerous times during the day to check for new missionaries that are assigned to the mission and then we prepare welcome packets and letters for the new missionaries. We work on packets and arrangements for those missionaries that are completing their missions and are going home. We take care of the day-to-day operation of the office and then anything else that is needed. Everyone asks us how we like the office. It is demanding and also very rewarding, but it isn’t what we were doing before in meeting and teaching people. We’re not complaining in any way –it’s just that this work is different than what we were doing before. We have found that It is very easy to just get involved with the work and find that it is 7 or 8 pm at night and we had not taken time for lunch or dinner. We are enjoying the challenge and the opportunity to learn the different aspects of the mission administration. We have spent a lot of time this week in making travel arrangements for flights for the president and missionaries being transferred.
We are doing well. The Lord has blessed us in so many ways. We love to read and study the scriptures every day. We are almost finished with reading the Doctrine and Covenants together (our reading of the Book of Mormon in Tagalog is still going along but at a slower pace – we are in Mosiah 7 –but it is helping with our Tagalog) and then we will begin reading the Book of Mormon again. We love the Book of Mormon and our love for and appreciation of this book grows deeper every day.
We hope that everyone is doing well. We hope that you are all healthy and happy. We continue to pray for each of you every day. We certainly feel the strength of your prayers and support. We love you all. Thank you so very much for your love, prayers and support. Hopefully or schedule will become a little more regular so that we can talk to you on Skype. We miss you very much. Please take good care and give all of the grandchildren hugs and kisses from us.
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
P.S. It has been interesting that over the past few weeks the Lord has blessed me by bringing thoughts and remembrances into my mind. If you don’t mind, I would like to share one with you. Some of you may remember our Patriarch in the Stake. Patriarch Ficklin was the first patriarch that I had the privilege to ordain. Every time we would see each other he would always, always remind me to say my prayers. Then with a twinkle in his eye he would smile at me with his special ‘southern hospitality’ Louisiana smile. Shortly before he passed away, mom and I went to visit him. He was not doing well and we couldn’t tell if he recognized us. His wife, Katherine, told us that he was not aware of much now but she diligently stayed by his side. I sat down on the side of his bed and took his hand. He held my hand for a long time and would occasionally open his eyes. Every time he would loosen his grip on my hand I would gently pull my hand from his hand. But he would then tighten his grip on my hand and hold on. We talked with his wife and reminisced about the times we had together. After some time I stood to leave and Patriarch Ficklin held my hand even tighter (I was accustomed to this since that is what most older people in the nursing homes would do to me when I would come into their rooms). I started to shake his hand again and then said that we would need to leave. I told him that I loved him and he opened his eyes and looked directly at me and told me to ‘always remember to say my prayers’. Then I recognized that twinkle in his eyes. He knew who I was. He was a remarkable man that will always have a great impact upon my life. I think that is why I always end these letters with a reminder ‘to always say your prayers’.