Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Week 80

March 19, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, 

Here is the weather report for today :
Mon, Mar 19
Variable clouds, a t-storm Hi 89°
RealFeel 105° 

Believe you me, it is that ‘real feel’ temperature that is the killer. We are also entering into the hot season- April and May. Just looking forward to that – you betcha! 

The news this week is great !!!!!   Welcome to Zachary ??? Morgan. 

Born yesterday, March 18, 2012. What a cute little baby – one of the cutest ever – and so handsome. What a wonderful gift he is to our family. We sure wish that we could be there to hold and cuddle him. Welcome, welcome to our family. We just happened to be working on the computer after church meetings and we saw that Chris was on SKYPE at 3:30 in the morning. Mom immediately said, “I bet we just had a baby!!” What fortunate timing. We were able to see our newest grandson just hours after his arrival. Thank you for letting us be a part of it Chris and Jen. We have been so blessed!

This week has been one of those weeks that will always be a part of our hearts for the rest of our lives. Sometimes Heavenly Father just reaches down and reassures you that He is in charge and that we shouldn’t fear.  First we had the miracle of another grandchild – that is hard to top.
Then, Mom was asked to speak at the Branch Relief Society Birthday celebration. She invited the Relief Society President, Sister Jona, to our house so she could explain what mom should address. 
Sister Jona Quiniones

After they had discussed some ideas, we asked her about her family and how she came to join the Church. Sister Jona is a remarkable sister. It took her a long time to join the Church but she finally joined. When they moved into this area, she had to leave her two children for a few weeks with her sister. Her sister was not a member but she made her sister promise that she would take her boys to church every Sunday while she was away. Her sister promised that she would but she would only drop them off at church and then come back and pick them up. After a few weeks the boys begged her to come into church just once with them. It happened to be Fast and Testimony Meeting and those little boys went up and shared their testimonies. Her sister said that she cried through most of the meeting. She wanted to have kids like that. So she began to investigate the church. Well, she married the Branch President (he wasn’t the Branch President at the time)!  It was so good to learn about her family.
After we were finished talking we asked Sister Jona if we could visit some of the members with her. She was excited to have us visit with her. I asked if there was anyone that was on her mind or that she was concerned about. She immediately responded with a name of a sister that had served previously as a Relief Society President but was now less active. Then she mentioned another sister that she would like to visit. We set up to visit the next day. 

The first sister we wanted to visit would not be home until after 5:00 since she was a school teacher so we set off to visit some other sisters. Sister Jona brought one of her counselors with her. Our first visit was delightful when the sister came to the door and saw the Relief Society counselor she invited us in. She was good friends with the counselor. We had a very good meeting with her and Sister Jona gave a beautiful message – the spirit was very strong and all of the sisters hugged each other.

 As we were leaving, she asked if we would visit her brother and his wife that had recently returned to Narra. They were living in a Nipa Hut right behind her.

They were living in Negros where an earthquake and flood had recently destroyed their home and they moved back to Narra. We had a wonderful visit with this family in their little Nipa Hut on stilts. They had nothing but each other. There was nothing in that home but a few small stacks of folded clothes and some sheets to sleep on. They cooked on a small fire outside. I thought that I would fall through the bamboo floor of the hut at any time. We left a quick message, invited them to come to church and had prayer with them. It was a very humbling experience. This was what I imagined it would be like teaching the gospel in the Philippines. Those 2 experiences were testimony builders for us. We don’t know if they will come to church but we can always hope. 

It was well after 5 and we came to the other home to visit. The sister we wanted to see was standing outside the gate of their home. We stopped and asked if we could come in and visit (she was not expecting us). They have 5 beautiful daughters from 13 to 2 years old. We had a good visit but the sister cried during the whole time we were there. Sister Jona and her counselor comforted her and told her that they loved her. They asked me to share a message and I shared my testimony about how wonderful it I to have the gospel in our lives and how blessed we are to know that the church is true. I assured them that Heavenly Father knows each of us and wants to bless us if we will do the right things. There was a good spirit there. We had prayer and then mom asked if we could take their picture as a family. When we got out to the van and we drove away, Sister Jona said that we got there just in time. 
I mentioned to Sister Jona that she was inspired to visit that sister today. We did get  there just in time. Sister Jona said that she went home after our meeting and prayed that the sisters would be home and that they would let us visit them. We were so humbled that we had responded to a prompting that she had received to make that visit.

Now the good news: The sister from Negros and her little girl came to church yesterday.  The husband of the previous Relief Society President came with 2 of his daughters. It isn’t a complete family coming back but it is a start. We hope and pray that something even better will come of this. We experienced first- hand that Heavenly Father knows His children and is watching over them. (Just to let you know, the whole family, father, mother and 5 girls are all coming to church now!)

Mom did really well with her Relief Society presentation on Saturday. She prepared a Power Point Presentation about the history of the Relief Society. The sisters loved it. Her final slide was a picture of some African saints and she put a caption on the slide that read, “Daughter of My Kingdom”. As we were getting organized before the program we gathered all of the sisters together and took a picture of them and mom downloaded that picture into the slideshow – so the final slide was the picture of the Narra Relief Society sisters with the caption ‘Daughters of My Kingdom’. The sisters really loved that. 

‘Daughters of My Kingdom’
 Well, there is much more we could tell you but that will wait for another day. Our experiences this week have been a real strength to us. We are so blessed to be here and to serve these wonderful Filipino saints. What a joy it is to know and love them. We are the ones that are learning from them. 

Thank you again for your love, prayers and support. We love you all so very much. Thank you for being good and doing good. We thank Heavenly Father every day, throughout the day, for our wonderful family. As we have said many times, we couldn’t do this without your love and prayers. Give everyone a hug for us and extra kisses. We love you and miss you. We hope you are all healthy and we pray for your success in all things. Do well in school! Do well at work. But always remember to BE good, DO good, and BE men and women of Christ. And as always, remember to always say your prayers.

Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant

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