November 13, 2011
The Christmas music started many weeks ago but now the decorations are coming out in all their splendor. We are trying to get somewhat festive since everyone else seems to be getting into the Spirit, but it seems so difficult to be in the Christmas spirit when the temperature is 93 degrees and the wind is gently blowing the palm branches (and this is the cool season).
We were delighted to go to one of the ‘real’ Philippine markets this past week. There are plenty of American malls over here but this was the first time we went to an authentic market type mall where one can bargain with the store owner and the prices are very, very reasonable. Sister Stucki wanted to get some less expensive decorations for the mission home.
We asked Sister Briones about the area and she said that she would go with us as our ‘bodyguard’. Thursday morning Sister Stucki, Elder and Sister Spencer, Sister Briones, her mother and her brother came with us to shop at the Divisoria. We have never seen so many shops and retailers in one place and soooo many people. We were told that this isn’t as crowded as it usually is at Christmas time (thank goodness). The prices were very inexpensive and this is the ‘bargaining place’ over prices. We were delighted to see Sister Briones bargain with them for the best price. It reminded us of Chris in Brazil with our hammock deals.
I’m not much of a shopper but I must admit that this was fun. We had to ‘dress down’ and couldn’t wear any watches or jewelry. We found some fun places and were able to experience the Philippine economy. It is still fun to see people walk by and stare at this big white guy. My biggest problem was getting hit in the head by the umbrellas as people would walk by. I am just the right height. It was a long day, but Sister Stucki found what she wanted and we had a fun and wonderful adventure. We love this country.
I was able to go to the American Embassy this week. One of the missionary apartments was robbed and one Elder had all of his identification (including his Social Security Card) stolen. His parents wanted him to go to the Embassy to report the theft so I took him and his companion to the Embassy. It was a new experience. It was such a busy place. There were probably 400 to 500 people there in the lines just for Visas. I guess, even with the all ‘bad’ things that America has done or is doing, people are still trying to get to America. Well, after a couple of hours at the Embassy, there wasn’t anything they could do for the Elder. He is going home in about 30 days, so they told him to just apply for a new Social Security Card when he got back to the States.
That has been our excitement for the week. We are gearing up for another transfer for the last week of this month. The time continues to race by so quickly. We work about 4 transfers into the future to keep things moving well. Sometimes it gets confusing because we could be working on 2 different transfers but doing the same thing for each one – it just gets confusing sometimes.
We enjoy the time that we can study. We are still slowly reading the Book of Mormon together in Tagalog. Some nights it is slower than we would like but it is exciting. We love our morning study and treasure those quiet whisperings that help one understand what one is reading or gives personal insight into ones life. This Gospel is so exciting and so comfortable. When Joseph Smith said that the gospel was delicious to him, I think I am beginning to understand what he meant by that statement. It is delicious. It is satisfying and I want more.
We love you all. We miss you all so very much. It is hard to think of Christmas without you again. We hope that everyone is doing well. How is school going for everyone? How cold is it now? Is there a lot of snow again this year? What is everyone’s plan this year for Thanksgiving? We are doing well. We are healthy and happy. We are enjoying the work but also looking forward to being out with the people again soon. Remember to BE good, DO good, and BE men and women of Christ. And always remember to say your prayers.
Mom and Dad, Granma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant