Sunday, April 29, 2012

Week 83

April 9, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, 

Last Sunday we were still not feeling at our best. We had scheduled to meet with the members in Aborlan but then decided at the last minute to attend the meetings in Narra. In Narra we found that our families that we had visited have attended church each week for the last 3 weeks. We were so happy to hear that. We were delighted to see our one family all get on the motorcycle to ride home (the 2 older girls walked home but the other 5 were on the bike). 

In Sunday School the Branch President stood and welcomed Brother Gattud and his family to the meeting. They were back in the area to visit and to check on their house in Bagong Sikat. Brother Gattud had served as the Branch President in Bagong Sikat and also later as the District President in Narra. While he was Branch President, the saints in Bagong Sikat met for Sunday meetings in a small meetinghouse on his property. The meetinghouse is still there. What a coincidence!

 I was able to talk with him and make arrangements to use the old meetinghouse for our Sacrament meetings when we receive approval to conduct Sacrament meetings again in Bagong Sikat. There are things that are happening to bring these saints back into the church!

Well, another transfer week is upon us. The time continues to race by even faster than before. We had some major changes in our zone and also overall in Palawan. We are experiencing a flux in missionary arrivals (we will get most of the American elders after school is out and after they complete their MTC training in July and August – but right now our numbers are lower than they have been). One set of missionaries was taken from Narra and their area was closed temporarily. That doesn’t help our efforts in Bagong Sikat but we trust in the Lord and know that it will happen according to His timetable.

We invited the four Narra missionaries to lunch on Tuesday before we left for Puerto Princesa and the transfer activities. They were in ‘heaven’ because we made grilled cheese sandwiches, fruit salad and brownies. This was the first time that one of our Filipino Elders had ever had ‘real’ cheese. 

Elder Kunzler
Our Elder Kunzler, who comes from Richfield, Utah, told me that he was being transferred to Manila as a new trainer and new District Leader. He is a very exciting missionary and has a ‘bubbling’ personality. He told me that he was nervous but I told him that was to be expected. He then told me that Narra has been the biggest city he has ever lived in. I tried not to act shocked but then I said, “You do know that Manila is the most densely populated city in the world – right?” That is what he was nervous about. Bless his heart! He was at home in the jungle here and now he is going into a different ‘concrete jungle’ filled with millions of people. I can relate to that feeling being a young 19 year old from Logan and my first time away from Logan I found myself in Munich, Germany. I thought that all of those tall buildings were going to fall on me at any minute. Elder Kunzler will do great things in Manila.  

Narra Zone

Wednesday morning we said goodbye to those 8 missionaries that were leaving Palawan. The only problem was – after 2 unsuccessful attempts at take off, the flight was aborted. The airline flew a mechanic over to Palawan to see if he could fix it – but no luck! I think they just didn’t want to leave Palawan. They were able to get another flight for them at 6pm that evening. They couldn’t leave that little airport to get food so they were stuck there. Sister Peterson was able to get a care package to them.

Sis. Caubalejo, Elders Roberts,Munk,Antonio,Kunzler,Cayago,Mahinay,Declaro
We traveled back to Puerto on Thursday to conduct training for the 3 missionaries that were assigned as new missionary trainers. This week is also Holy Week. Nothing, absolutely nothing happens on Holy Thursday, Good Friday or Easter Monday. Well, we did plan to do some grocery shopping but the stores were closed. We did find a place to eat lunch. As we came through the door a young Marine came over and began talking to us. He and his buddies (there were three of them at the restaurant) were on a special assignment in Palawan for 40 days. He was a returned missionary and had been home from his mission for 1 year and 1 month. He was so excited to see us and we talked like we had known each other for a long time. He told us how he was keeping his buddies in line and wouldn’t let them get into any trouble. They did take him to a ‘strip joint’ one night but he refused to go in. The trike driver wanted to know why he wouldn’t go in there and he pointed to his chest and said, “Mormon”. The driver understood and took him to find the chapel. From our conversation I could tell that he was a remarkable young man. After about 20 minutes, his buddies called him back over to their table to finish his food.

I kept trying to catch the attention of the waitress so I could pay for the Marine and friend’s food, but she wouldn’t look at me. It was as if she was trying to avoid me. I was too late and the Marines paid for their food and left. Our friend smiled and waved as he left. I was sad that I couldn't pay for their meal.  As we finished our food we asked for the check. The waitress came over and apologized that she didn’t have a check for us because the American at the counter paid for our meal! We were both trying to pay for each other’s meal. I will make sure that I pay this one forward for him. We have been blessed so much for being here.

Well, this is Holy Week. Good Friday was so quiet that it was almost ‘spooky’ here. Usually our street is noisy with trikes, street vendors, kids, noisy dogs and tukos, and very noisy chickens. These roosters crow all the time, all day long. Who ever thought that they only crow in the morning to wake people up? Good Friday was unusually quiet and the streets were empty. We had a very relaxing day reading and studying but it was almost too quiet.

Saturday and Sunday were able to listen to the General Conference broadcast. It was so good to watch conference. I thought that next conference we will be together and enjoy Priesthood meeting and other activities together.  It doesn’t help to have received our travel plans and flight schedule this week!  On Sunday during the break one of the missionaries asked if they could all come over and have dinner with us. So we made dinner for 12 missionaries after the last session. We are limited in what we have on hand – mostly canned food! We did sweet and sour chicken with canned chicken and it all worked out, AND we were able to have a Family Home Evening with them. They are good missionaries. 

New Narra Zone with Sister Peterson and the Stuckis

We are so blessed to be missionaries. We love the work and this beautiful country and the Filipino people. I continue to be amazed at their faith and love. We love you all and miss you very much. We always pray for you and hope that you are enjoying life. It is good to be happy and involved. We hope that you are all healthy and happy. Keep smiling. Write when you have time. Thank you again and again for your love, support and prayers. 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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