Thursday, March 29, 2012

Week 77

February 27, 2012
Well, another transfer week is upon us. Our Zone had only two changes on this transfer cycle. We are glad to keep most of our missionaries together for another transfer and are sad to say goodbye to Elder Gillette and Elder Halterman. 

We love each of our missionaries and they are very diligent and hard working elders. The Narra Zone had 12 baptisms this month. That is so good for Palawan.
This being transfer week, we took our Zone Leaders and our two ‘transferred’ missionaries to Puerto Princesa on Tuesday afternoon. The Petersons hold a Family Home Evening for those missionaries that are being transferred on the Tuesday evening of transfer week. This gives them a chance to say goodbye. We booked a hotel room in Puerto so we would not have to travel back to Narra and then come back again on Wednesday morning for transfers.  Wednesday morning we said goodbye to our missionaries and then waited at the airport for our new arrivals. Once everyone had their bags we loaded them into the 2 vans and went to the chapel in Puerto. There we had a short orientation meeting. The Zone Leaders, the Petersons and anyone else that has been on Palawan for a while give the new arrivals some valuable information about life on Palawan – things that they didn’t have to worry about when they were on the main island. After our meeting we loaded everyone into the vans and went to a local restaurant for lunch. 
There are several members that work at this restaurant and we wanted to bring our business to them. They were so good and they spoil us when we come. One of the Elders sitting across from me had a very interesting dish so I had to ask him what it was. It was served on a sizzling plate and looked like fajitas only with a raw egg on top. We watched as he stirred the egg into the meat and then said: “This is pig face. It is really pretty good.”   Oooooooooo! 

After lunch we loaded everyone into the vans again and took them to the transfer station (terminal) so they could catch a shuttle van to their new areas. This transfer was much quieter and much more relaxed than the last one!  

Mom and I were asked to speak at the Branch Young Single Adult, Young Women and Young Men ‘Post Valentine’s Day Party’ on Saturday evening. They wanted us to speak for 10 minutes about ‘pushing back the world’ (that was kind of different for a Valentine’s Day activity – but that’s okay).  Mom shared her testimony and a quote from President George Albert Smith about choosing the right. She did a great job. I had planned to speak about the Plan of Salvation to give them a reminder about who they are and what responsibilities they have (in 10 minutes – yeah right!). I was prompted to talk about keeping the Sabbath Day holy. I told how on one of our many travels this past week we came upon some very muddy puddles. As we were driving through this area I hit a rather large puddle and the splash was really quite impressive. Unfortunately, there was a motorcycle that turned onto our road from a side street at the same time that I hit the puddle. I was so sorry. If I would have known I would have slowed down more. What made it worse was the passenger on the cycle was wearing a white shirt. I related this experience to show them how we can become ‘spotted’ with the things of this world and that one way that Heavenly Father gives us to help keep us ‘unspotted from the world’ is to keep the Sabbath Day holy. The youth seemed to understand (I think that they have all been splashed by the vehicles as they walk to school – so they could relate to the experience) and I was grateful that I responded to the prompting I had received. There must have been someone there that night that needed to hear that message. 

Sunday we were off to Quezon for another Branch Conference. Quezon is a small town in the mountains about 60km (35miles) south of Narra. The Branch President at Quezon grows and sells flowers (bulaklak in Tagalog) for his business. He even grows roses here in the Philippines – they are not very big but they are beautiful. (They really smell wonderful, too!) He provided flowers to decorate the chapel for the conference and it added a very nice touch to our meetings. After Sacrament Meeting the women came up and began to pull the flowers out of the arrangements to take home. There were two small children that came up by me and they weren’t tall enough to get any flowers. I pulled some out and bent down to give them to these little girls. They were very hesitant to take them since I am this big scary white guy. There are very, very few white people over here in the southern part of the island so to some of these people we are the first white people they have seen. It wasn’t until the past 6 months that we have had American missionaries assigned to the real southern areas of the island. Well, they wanted the flowers badly enough to finally take them from me and as they walked away they turned and smiled at me. The Philippine people are such a beautiful people and their smiles are unforgettable. 
We hope that all of you are doing well. We pray that you are enjoying good health and that you are happy. You are always a big part of our prayers. We love you all. Thank you again for your love, prayers and support. Write when you have the chance. 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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