Saturday, July 9, 2016

and the adventure continues!

Diane lovingly reminded me that it's been my turn to post for three weeks ... sorry i failed to do it last week and i'm grudgingly doing it this week.  it's not that i don't want to keep in touch, it's that i'm technologically challenged and it's difficult to get the pictures and words to line up and i get very frustrated!  she gets lots of practice creating beautiful documents in her office assignment here plus she did this for two years on her last mission.  bear with me.  i've decided it's more important to get the message out than worry about what it looks like but i'll work on it!

where to begin?  transfer week was over two weeks ago and that is a lot of fun!  As you can imagine, there is a lot of work that goes into getting missionaries home safely, transferring 40 some-odd missionaries to new areas, and receiving new ones and sending them on to their assignments here in the Philippines.  it's hard saying goodbye to the ones leaving; transferred missionaries have half a day to pack up and move on to their new areas; but it culminates in a fun tradition of having all the new missionaries line up across from all the ones who have been selected as their trainers and then they open the envelopes and see who they are paired with and the joy and excitement fill the room!  i love it!  this happens every six weeks and i don't think it will ever get old!

one of the quick transfers that we weren't expecting was our office Elder Hollis.  we had a birthday celebration planned for his birthday on the 26th that now wouldn't happen so we decided to go up and surprise him with a pan of brownies.  it was a 2-1/2 hour drive and he was definitely surprised!  that was fun!  leading up to that, though was our longest brown-out yet.  the power went out about 5pm saturday.  we kept waiting for it come on so we could bake the brownies.  it never did so we called the couple we would be spending the night with and she said she had already made some because that's what she does for all the missionaries in their area.  we were grateful and said we'd see her the next day.  well, we slept with no air-conditioning and woke up to no power.  and when there's no power, there's no water so no showers before church.  no power at church either so we were VERY happy to get in the car and blast the air for the long drive north!  did i mention i'm developing more gratitude for what i have?
18 hours in Masinloc/Infanta area: mango grove leading to the ocean, birthday boy,
Lynne and Brent Gardner and another beautiful Philippine sunset

The next weekend we had a luau with the congregation we attend church with.  We have several Polynesian Elders/Sisters in the mission and Elder Ah'Fua is one who put the whole thing together as a way to bring the community together.  He is from Samoa and taught dances from Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Hawaii and New Zealand to different groups of church members and they all performed.  It was FANTASTIC!!  They roasted yet another pig and made their costumes.  It was a feast for the senses ... so much fun!

... but the highlight of the evening HAD to be the duet with Elder Ah'Fua and our very own Sister Epperson singing 'You Are My Sunshine'!  I KNOW!!! I'm as shocked as you are that she would agree to do it!  but he is quite fond of her and asked her to sing with him and she was very brave! She had everyone singing along by the end!  The video was too much data to post here but trust me, she was amazing!  She said she hadn't sung in public since her duet in church with her friend when she was 12!

And lastly, we had our district over for a 4th of July dinner ... hamburgers, hotdogs, beans, watermelon, chips, rootbeer floats and more ... the works!  We had three Americans and their three foreign companions (Australia, Philippines, Samoa).  I love to feed missionaries because they are so grateful! They were so full, they had to come back after teaching in the evening to have dessert!  It was a great end to a fun weekend.

Sorry this is so long.  I'll do better about posting in a timely manner.  Maybe Diane will post about the rain (which is AWESOME!!).  I'm so grateful we are able to have respites from the long hours and are able to really enjoy the people and the country we are serving in.  The work is the Lord's work and I'll be forever grateful that I have the opportunity to come and serve in this way.  We are grateful for your prayers.  We love you and would love to hear from you!