Sunday, November 27, 2016

Thanksgiving Day!!

Thanksgiving day..we had Thanksgiving dinner American style!  It was fabulous!  My favorite 'moment' was walking into the Wright's Christmas decorated home and smelling the smells of Thanksgiving dinner!

Our hosts were Elder and Sister Wright.  They are "stay at home" senior missionaries.  That means their home is here in our mission.  They are serving as missionaries and get to go home to their own bed every night.  Elder Wright met his wife here in Subic when he was in the Philippines with the American Navy.  They married and raised their family in California, and now they live on some beautiful property here in the Philippines.  
Diane with Sister and Elder front of a bamboo plant

We took a walk around the Wright's property.  They have many, many varieties of fruits growing.  They all have their season.  While in the Philippines Donna and I are enjoying learning about and tasting many new things.  

Papaya, bananas, Dragon fruit, and a cacao tree (new) orchard

Enjoying our Thanksgiving feast...8 senior and 8 young missionaries

Our day was so enjoyable!  Only two of the 8 young missionaries are American, but the dinner was a highlight for those two, especially!  I asked our 2 Filipino Elders if they enjoyed the American claimed to have an American stomach and the other one didn't like it very much.

We senior missionaries are involved in a service project next month.  Before the young missionaries joined us for dinner, we put together candy bags for 100 children and also food bags for families.  We'll have pictures and more information next month.

Look what else we did...we had many new experiences this day!  

We had our first tricycle ride through the streets of San Antonio and San Marcelino.  The 'trike' is the most popular mode of transportation in our area.  It is a motor bike with a cab attached.  Sometimes the cabs are built to hold cargo instead of people.  We have seen whole families piled into and on the trike.

What about this??!!...another mode of transportation!  We see the carabao not only working the rice fields, but also on the streets with the carts.  We had to take time for a 'photo op' when we got the chance!  Here is Donna on the back of a carabao!

Just a walk in the park...on a carabao??!!!!!!!

I was going to tell about our whole week, but this is plenty for one sitting.  We did work in the Mission Office until lunch time on Thanksgiving. Then, it was time for our senior missionary activity, service project, and Thanksgiving feast.  

Have a wonderful week!
Donna and Diane
One of many Christmas trees... December is this week!!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

ol' black water, keep on rollin' ...

the title of this post is a throwback to my youth when the doobie brothers were featured prominently in my album collection!  

well, the black water is back!  this is a little disconcerting to see when you flush the toilet!  diane had to flush it about 20 times to get a semblance of clear water!  this time it happened when they 'cleaned out the pump house' ... whatever that means!  we have an elaborate 3-filter water filtration system attached to our kitchen sink and that's what we use to drink and wash dishes but i wonder if it can possibly clean out all this!  we joke about developing growths and who knows what else is happening to our insides but sometimes it doesn't seem as funny as others!  i can't think about it too much!  

while diane is fascinated with the rice, cariboa and bandits, i am fascinated by the creeping things.  
i noticed this beautiful creature on my window when i walked into the office the other day.  i don't know what it is but thought it was interesting.
we had an unusual flood of activity in our branch this week as three of our young men received mission calls!  there was so much excitement in the air today when they read their individual calls from the pulpit.  two will serve here in the philippines and the third will be serving in edmonton, alberta, canada, speaking english and french (he's going to freeze to death!).  they go out teaching with our missionaries several times a week and know the points of doctrine so well.  they have such testimonies of the truthfulness of their message so they, of course, are so excited and eager to serve.  one more elder just left this week for the missionary training center in manila.  the work is moving forward in this part of the world!

as we were leaving manila last week (we went for my last dental appointment -- finished up my $25 root canal and got my new porcelain crown!  woohoo!) this billboard caught my eye.  diane snapped a photo also and posted it on her instagram feed last week but i wanted to post mine too.  what struck me about it was that this simple message was surrounded by all the 'clutter' of the world (the other billboards).  as we enter this season of giving thanks and celebrating the birth of our Savior and Redeemer, may we all remember the simplicity of this message.  He loves us and wants to hear from us!  i'm thankful for all of you, whom i love and miss.  i pray that you are well and happy.  know that we are as we serve here with the fantastic people of the philippines.
h a p p y   t h a n k s g i v i n g !!!

Sunday, November 13, 2016


The Olongapo Mission received another senior couple two weeks ago.  We have a senior missionary couple that live here and serve from their home.  And then there is the super missionary couple...President and Sister Dahle.  There are 10 of us total!  (We could use you!!)

Monday we had a senior missionary meeting with breakfast in the Mission Home.  It is always wonderful to get together with other senior missionaries.  After our meeting, we had an "escape day", as one sister called it.  We had big plans to go to Nayong Village for a cultural experience.  It is going to have to be another day...when we arrived the gates and village were closed!  So.....we found a place to eat lunch and then we went to a 'Costco'-type store to shop.  We did spend the entire day together...we were just doing something totally different than originally planned.

During a week we have senior missionaries stop in the office to pick up missionary and apartment supplies to be taken somewhere in the mission.  The seniors keep the missionary apartments supplied with necessities for comfort and service.  I'm not sure how the mission would survive without the service of senior missionaries.

Donna had to go back to Manila to see the dentist.  She asked the Wright's, the couple that have their home here, if they would like to go to the temple (and drive us to Manila for Donna's appointment).  The temple has been closed for 3 months, so they were excited to have the opportunity and an excuse to go to Manila. Then, another couple wanted to go to the temple...then another senior sister had to go to the dentist!  We ended up with 7 senior missionaries and a driver going to Manila on Friday!  It was another unplanned senior missionary outing. Manila we go...

The outing began at 2:30 Friday morning!!  The Wright's like to leave early to beat the heavy Manila traffic.  We arrived without a problem and had a McDonald's breakfast before heading to the temple.  We were all able to do something in the temple before dentist appointments.  While Donna was in the dentist, I had some people I had to meet with in the Area Office.  We finished at the same time!  The others had gone to the small Family History Library and Distribution Center.  

We were all together again and ready to eat lunch before heading back.  You won't believe it, but we went to Outback Steakhouse!  We were taken to a huge outdoor mall with every American restaurant I could think of.  We were in a mini-America.  It seemed so strange!

Senior Missionaries are the best!!  Elder Robert D. Hales gave a fabulous talk on Senior Missionaries in the April 2005 Conference.  It is a must read.  Please look it up!
He talks about how every missionary experience requires faith, sacrifice, and service, and is always followed by an outpouring of blessings.  He enumerates many of those blessings.  He stresses that “ALL those who serve make an invaluable contribution in the sight of the Lord…”

I am amazed at the many opportunities for service there home and abroad.  Whatever talents, hobbies, personalities, experiences, or desires one has...there is the perfect place for you to serve.  I am a witness that service brings blessings.

Please look up Elder Hales talk and look up senior missionary opportunities on  Yes...I know I am preaching. 

Manila Temple from the steps of the Area Office

Senior Missionaries let loose in the big city!!

I think they are enjoying themselves!
Love to you all!!
Missions are the best!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

lather. rinse. repeat.

every day is different ... but there are activities that happen over and over again; variations on a theme as it were.  there were a few 'variations' that happened this week.  we made our second pre-dawn trip to manila to complete my dental work.  this one will have a 3rd verse because the crown didn't fit.  not sure what i expected for $25 but hopefully our trip to pick up the 're-make' this coming week will be the final one for awhile.  things that were different ... we took a stroll around the temple grounds.  it has been closed for 3 months for renovation but will re-open this week so, hopefully, we can attend a session when we go again.  it's been over 6 months since we've been able to go to the temple and i really miss it.  there is such peace there.  we were able to visit the pearl market but got SO overwhelmed by booth after booth after booth of pearls, we left without buying anything!  things that were the same ... the beautiful sunrise (notice the volcano on the right), the picturesque rice fields, and the massive tollbooth at the entrance to manila.  we leave at 3:00-4:00 in the morning to avoid as much traffic as possible once we arrive in manila, otherwise this would be a 45-60 minute stop.

the next thing that happened that never gets old is the trainer/trainee match-ups when the new batch of missionaries come in.  the weariness of the day of training passes.  there is always such joy and excitement as they all line up, eager to meet their new best friend for the next 6 weeks!  i love watching them greet each other and i happened to catch the look of peace and joy on president dahle's face as well!  it is quite a process for him.  he selects the missionaries he trusts will be the best trainers and then he interviews all the new arrivals.  he then prays over the match-ups, to be sure his impressions are right.  he admits he makes mistakes sometimes but thinks that those even happen for a reason.  i tend to agree!

and today the rains returned!  since the typhoons blew through, we haven't had hardly a drop of rain but today the skies opened and it was fantastic!  i tried to get a picture but rain never shows up in the photos.  i need to learn how to photograph rain!  it was beautiful to watch and listen to.  we understand you had a pretty spectacular storm at home this week as well!

diane mentioned sister avenceƱa last week ... the missionary who left for the tempe mission.  well, it just so happens she was assigned to the the cooley ward, which was my very first ward when i arrived in arizona as well!  if you happen to see a beautiful filipina with a big smile, say hello!  so cool that she is meeting people both diane and i know!  small world!

and finally, just a sign on the road to manila but i love it!  it's an analogy for life really, don't you think?  protect yourself as much as possible by being obedient, but this life is one exciting ride!  come what may, and love it!