Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 59

Saturday October 29, 2011

Dear Family and Friends,
 Things have started to quiet down this morning so it is a good time to write a letter. Yesterday was the Zone Leader’s Council. The 4 Zone Leaders from the island of Palawan missed their 4:00 afternoon flight so we got them booked on a flight this morning. Whew! – that was a tender mercy of the Lord – trying to find a flight for 4 on a busy holiday weekend. So we had them stay here in the office overnight. They enjoyed the air conditioning, the warm shower and then mom cooked pancakes for them this morning. I told them if they missed this morning’s flight they couldn’t come back! They were very excited to find out that we were coming to Palawan after we finish this office assignment. We are also excited.
 It is difficult to believe that this week is gone already. It has been a blur in many ways. There never seems to be a dull moment in the office – because there is always ‘something going on’ and several deadlines to meet. The work is very rewarding and it is good to help the missionaries and President Stucki.  It is a privilege to work with President and Sister Stucki. They are wonderful people.  

Today is our preparation day and we looked at each other and decided that we need to get outside and get away from the office. We are still deciding what and where it will happen (we’ll probably just go to the market) since this is a long holiday weekend and traffic is already bad enough. Monday is a holiday in preparation for the actual holiday on Tuesday – All Saints Day. It is similar to our Memorial Day. There is some trick-or-treating in the ‘Americanized’ subdivisions.  All Saints Day is a day to remember loved ones that have passed away, and most importantly to pay respect to those that paved way for their families to grow. I found an interesting item about this holiday:

             “On All Saints Day, all of the thirteen Roman Catholic churches in the Philippines hold mass and novena. A novena offers prayers for the deceased to bless and to continue to guide them out of darkness. After the Novena, thousands of families all over the Philippines return to the cemeteries where their love ones are buried. Families decorate the tombs with candles, flowers, balloons, toys, and pictures -           anything that would remind them of their love ones. Others would just repair and repaint the damage that has happened to the tomb over time, and just put simple candles in front of the tomb. Some families would have potlucks and eat and drink right beside their love ones. The men would sing and rejoice to celebrate the spirit of their loved ones because on All Saints day in the Philippines, people believe that the spirits of their loved ones roam around looking after their families.”

Isn’t that interesting - they believe their loved ones roam around looking after their families – maybe that is part of the reason why Family History is accepted by so many Filipinos. We have had a lot of success with reactivation efforts when we talk about family and extended family.

Wednesday of this coming week, we will begin our mission tour with Elder Ardern of the Seventy. He is also a counselor in the Area Presidency here. We are looking forward to the training and instruction we will receive on the tour. We will probably have 4 more missionaries stay with us overnight on Wednesday. They are coming from a small island on the north tip of Palawan. A branch was organized this week on that island. There are only 2 days with flights off of the island to Palawan so we are bringing them to the Manila Conference since there are daily flights to Manila and back. I am learning to become a travel agent as one of my office duties.
We are doing well. We are enjoying good health and the weather is really very nice now. We are at the time of year where the temperature is about 90 degrees and the humidity is lower. We typically get an afternoon rain storm about 3 or 4 pm but the nights are very nice. We have come to look forward to the ‘ber’ months because the weather is much nicer than any other time. Tomorrow I have the opportunity to go back to our previous area in Naic and speak in a District Priesthood meeting. I am honored that the District President wanted me to come back and speak even though we are no longer assigned in his area.
We hope that you are all well. Hope that you have a happy and safe Halloween.  It is hard to believe that November is here so soon. The time just races on. We love you all and are so blessed by your love and prayers. Thank you all so much for your love. Please take good care of yourselves and make sure you give all the grandchildren lots of hugs from the both of us. We miss you all very, very much. Write if you have time. And as always, 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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