November 27, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
We hope that you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. This year’s celebration was much different than last year. Last year we had a wonderful feast at the mission home the week before Thanksgiving but I remember writing in my journal that Mom and I celebrated a very quiet Thanksgiving Day by ourselves. After our appointments we came back home and had Hot Pockets for dinner (and they weren’t even turkey). This year, Sister Stucki, with the help of the Senior couples had Thanksgiving Dinner on Thanksgiving day. It was very nice. The food was good (although it is still difficult to have purple sweet potatoes) and the friendship was better. We love President and Sister Stucki.
Last Saturday evening Sister Stucki called and asked if they could take us to dinner for my birthday. We went to the Texas Roadhouse and had a very quiet time. It was nice. Sunday we had a very quiet birthday and I didn’t tell anyone about my birthday. Elder and Sister Spencer asked if we could come to their apartment after our church meetings for dinner so we had a quiet dinner of Tacos and corn on the cob. At church one of the Cagas family came and told us that yesterday (Saturday November 19th) was Precious’ birthday. We were excited to hear about her birthday and then mom said that it was my birthday today. Well, we almost kept it quiet.
Monday morning, Elder and Sister Forinash (they replaced us in Naic) called and said that they were going to be in Manila on Monday and wanted to do lunch. Elder Forinash served in the military and was stationed here in Manila. He wanted to come to the American War Memorial Cemetery on Veteran’s Day but was not able to come, so he asked if we could take them over to the cemetery. We spent a good part of the morning in the cemetery. It was nice to be there again and remember those who had given their lives for our freedom. That is a very sacred place and touches my heart every time I walk those grounds. It made Thanksgiving even more meaningful.
We had a very nice Friday ‘date night’. President and Sister Stucki invited us to a concert at the Community Center where they live. The concert was presented by the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra. It was a great concert. The conductor wanted to introduce the people to some of the unusual instruments in the orchestra. He played a French Horn solo that was beautiful. He also told us that the French Horn is one of the most difficult instruments to play and to master. Later he had a young woman play an oboe solo. It was also beautiful. This brought back so many memories of school concerts. He then told the audience that the oboe was the most difficult instrument to play. So I must apologize to both Kim and Chris for teasing them about the instruments they played in school. They chose the most difficult instruments to play. The conductor also had a 10 yr old boy play a xylophone solo and he was brilliant. It was so fun to watch his concentration. He was perfect in his solo and delighted the entire audience. It was a fun night and provided a night that was ‘different’ than all of our usual nights. Who would have thought we would be able to listen to the Manila Philharmonic Orchestra while here. We have been very blessed.
Transfer week is upon us. The fun and merriment will begin early tomorrow (Monday) morning. We are excited to go to the Temple on Tuesday. This will be our last transfer in the office. We should be leaving the office just before Christmas, but we don’t know for certain (Sister Stucki wants us to spend Christmas here) – so we may have just another three weeks left before we go to the island. We are excited to work with the people again and to teach the gospel. We need to concentrate on reactivation and strengthening priesthood brethren and families in the short time we will be there. I’m still struggling with the language but I know that one day it will come. I can read and translate just fine. But I just can’t seem to get the words out of my mouth. I’m still praying for the gift of tongues. The new office couple should arrive late night on December 13. We will probably start training them later that week after they rest from the jet lag and recuperate from the driver’s license process. By the end of that next week we could be leaving. We are fortunate that there will be a partial transfer on Dec 17 because we have 7 missionaries that will be going home before Christmas in order for them to start school in January. This will give the new couple a feel for what happens during a transfer. It is another one of those tender mercies we have come to appreciate and rely upon.
We enjoy the mission field. We enjoy working with the Assistant’s, the Office Elders and President and Sister Stucki. The Sister Missionaries in Manila asked us to speak at a missionary fireside on Dec 11th. That should be fun and exciting. We have been very blessed. We are looking forward to doing some Christmas ‘drops’ in the Branch just before we leave. That is always so much fun. We love each of you and hope that everyone is doing well. Thank you again for your prayers and your support. We couldn’t do this without you. We are excited to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas next year with all of you. What a wonderful time of the year. Congratulations Noah on the musical!
Well, as always, BE good, DO good, and BE men and women of Christ. And always remember to say your prayers. Group hug! We love you.
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant