PHILIPPINES OLONGAPO MISSION
The schedule for our three days in Manila was a whirlwind of activity. One highlight was attending a session in the Manila Temple. The most mind-boggling was the Immigration Office experience. The traffic in Manila is unlike ANYthing I've ever seen! It's the most densely populated city in the world and it truly seems that all 12 million+ citizens are on the road at the same time! Door handle to door handle and bumper to bumper ... CRAZY!!!!! It was exhausting ... and we were only passengers!! The sights and sounds of Manila were almost too much to take in. I can't imagine the experience without a driver and a handler once we arrived at Immigration. President and Sister Dahle arrived Tuesday to transport us the three hours to our new home away from home in Subic. We stopped for some supplies before going to eat. This is the restaurant they took us to ...
|this place made a GREAT first impression!|
Day 2 we went to Olongapo for a meeting and met a few dozen of the young Elders and Sisters serving here. They are incredible! We are looking forward to meeting as many of them as possible over the next 18 months. Four of our favorites are our Office Elders/Trainers! We love them already! Dinner was at the Mission home with President and Sister Dahle and the Gardners, a Senior Couple serving up north.
|our cute Office Elders: Daquero, Hollis, Heta and Kresge|
On day 3, President and Sister Dahle invited us to a lunch meeting at another beautiful beach resort to meet with the Gardners and three more Senior Couples to discuss needs in the Mission. We took the scenic route and saw monkeys in the road and thousands of large 'flying foxes' (some of the largest fruit bats in the world)! The views of the South China Sea are spectacular. And of course we had to try a ripe mango shake ... masarap! (delicious!).
|third day ... second beach restaurant ... missions are AWESOME!|
Day 4 we traveled to Olongapo again for Mission Leadership Council (MLC). Once again we were blown away by the caliber of these young missionaries. Most of our missionaries are 'islanders' from the Philippines and surrounding island countries. Diane commented that she can just envision them leading their Wards and Stakes someday in the near future and it's true.
Well, by Day 5 we were loving the people and the place and adjusting somewhat to the oppressive humidity. Jet-lag seemed under control, we had mostly unpacked and settled in and all was right with the world ... then we were asked to come down to the office to begin the purpose of our mission! The Elders in charge of training us have been very patient (speaking for myself) and kind. We feel a little overwhelmed but know this is the Lord's work and it will move forward! The training we got in Provo was great but we now realize the real-world application of it is a whole different ballgame!
Today is Day 7 and we decided to get out on our own for some additional apartment supplies and groceries and I actually drove in this madness they call traffic! I'm happy to report we returned home unscathed and willing to try it again another day!
I'm excited to begin this chapter and know God is in charge. I've felt His love and seen His hand in so many ways during my short time here. The challenges and triumphs of these young missionaries are real and your prayers are needed, felt, and appreciated every day. Keep 'em coming!