November 21, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
Happy Birthday to Sarah!We love you and hope you have a wonderful birthday.
Once again this week has slipped by so very quickly. We continue to keep busy here in the office and we enjoy the opportunity to learn new things and associate with President and Sister Stucki, the Assistants and the Office Elders. We are very fortunate to be able to work with them.
The week seemed to go so quickly because there was something new each day. Our Bulihan Branch Primary Program went very well. They only had the senior Primary children participate and they did a wonderful job. They sang lots and lots of songs – we really don’t have a pianist in primary so they sing along with the recorded tapes or CDs. The children did really well and they stayed up with the recording. Our pianist for the Branch taught himself to play the piano. He plays ok but sometimes very slow. He is in the process of completing his missionary application so he will leave in the next 3 to 6 months. Don’t know what we will do in the Branch for a pianist (of course we will pray really hard for someone to move in or for the missionaries to find a pianist but we know that the Lord will provide).
We did provide the ‘treat’ for the primary kids after the program. We struggle sometimes because the guidelines say that treats should not be given in Primary – but the kids are hungry and go without food more often than we want to think about. Our Branch is quite poor (money wise). From our count there are only 4 families that have adequate employment that they can meet their day-to-day needs. It breaks our hearts. We assist as much as we can and hope that is enough. They are such good people. I was blessed on Sunday to teach the Gospel Essentials Class because they didn’t have a teacher. I volunteered and we hope that it went ok. I decided that I will prepare a lesson each week just in case I have the opportunity to teach again.
President and Sister Stucki were gone most of the week to a Mission President’s Seminar. We always pray that while he is gone that everything will be quiet and that the missionaries will behave themselves. Well, we had an emergency transfer on Tuesday morning. OK – we got through that one. No problem. Then we received an e-mail from the Senior Couple in Palawan. There is a young man that had received his mission call to serve in Australia and would need to come to Manila on Tuesday to go through the Temple, get his suit, white shirts etc and then leave for the MTC in New Zealand on Thursday. No problem. We could take care of that on Wednesday. He arrived on Tuesday at 11:30 and was scheduled to fly out Wednesday morning at 10:00am. Well, we picked him up at the Temple (the Assistant’s went to the Temple with him as his escorts because he had no family members here) at 7:00pm and then off to the Mall (which closed at 9:00pm). We experienced so many tender mercies that night. Here was a young man from the island - first airplane trip, first time in the Temple, first time in Manila and Manila traffic, first time in a mega-mall, and first time ever putting on a suit coat – what a whirlwind for him. Needless to say, we were in a rush to get everything for him in about 45 minutes. I laughed as I watched him try to put on a suit jacket. There were arms everywhere and it was a struggle. Then I realized that this was a completely new experience for him. My heart melted into a puddle and started to leak out of my eyes. We found the suit and he looked good. Oh, but we also needed to have the pants altered – at 10 minutes before 9 – there were 2 women at the sewing machines in the alteration room – they said that they would each take a pair of slacks and within 3 minutes – done! Off to the white shirts – we asked him what size he was – small of course – but the size small shirt he was wearing was way too small for him. So we tried the medium – way too big. Well, we asked if there was another type of shirt – and this one was just right - you should have seen the clerks face when I said we needed 7 long sleeved white shirts – Seven? Are you sure? I repeated it back in Tagalog, yes I need 7 shirts. Off she ran to the back room – they only had 6. That would just have to do. Well, we were the very last people to leave the store –we decked out that missionary in 45 minutes and made the clerk a good sales commission on top of it all. What a fun experience. As we drove back to the office late that night we talked about how this young man will bless his little branch when he gets back home in 2 years. He will have a testimony of the gospel and a great command of the English language (although with a funny accent) and will become a leader in the church on that island. The investment we made that night will bless him and many, many others. What tender mercies we have seen and how fortunate we are to be here and be a little part of this work.
We thought to ourselves, what else could happen this week? We didn’t dare say it out loud because then we knew it would happen. We were blessed to have relative quiet for the rest of the week. Just a few little things here and there. We have been blessed to be here.
Well, that is the most of our excitement here this week. We hope that each of you are doing well. We hope that you have a safe, fun and wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday. My mother would start weeks in advance to get everything ready for that one day. Then on Thanksgiving morning with everything cooking she would wait to have family come back home. She had done everything she could do. All the preparations were made. The anticipation on her face to see her family was worth everything. We didn’t have very much when I was a kid, but we did have the family. I feel that way now. We have been very blessed and the Lord has been very kind and patient with us. I can imagine in my mind that He has made all the preparations and is just waiting for all of us family to come back.
Have a great Thanksgiving. We love you all so very much and we miss you. We wish that we could give you all a great big hug. Be happy and enjoy the time together and create memories. Remember to BE good, DO good, and BE men and women of Christ. And as always, remember to say your prayers.
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant