Sunday, December 4, 2016

another great week!

things just keep getting better here!  maybe i'm just getting used to the unexpected, maybe it's the holiday season ... i don't know; but whatever it is, i'm grateful that i can still experience new things and the things that we experience repeatedly are still fun and exciting!  i have to start with saying that our thanksgiving was one i will not soon forget.  diane told you all about it and it really was THAT memorable!

we were fortunate this week to be able to tag along as sister dahle entertained sister haynie (she is the wife of the area presidency counselor that was visiting our mission).  what a wednesday we had!  we went back to the ocean adventure park where they have a fish spa.  you may have heard about them ... where the "doctor fish" nibble away at the dead skin on your feet!  let me tell you what!  it was the strangest sensation!  i thought i would be too ticklish to stand it but after the initial reaction, it really wasn't so bad!  it almost felt like a light electric current pulsating my feet.  still ... just watching them was freaky!  sister dahle had experienced it before and i love this picture because she is relishing our reactions!  after it was over we, of course had to go to the camayan beach resort for lunch again and i got my favorite drink ... a four-seasons smoothie, with pineapple, mango, banana and papaya.  YUM!
on the way home from lunch we stopped for a photo op because the bats were flying (worlds largest fruit bats) ... in the middle of the day no less!  and some monkeys were out on the road as well.  what a treat!!  WATCH OUT SISTER EPPERSON!  this one snuck across the road while we were snapping pictures and looked interested in her!
on thursday, our errands required us to travel to some new areas of the mission we hadn't visited before.  the road to bagac down south was so beautiful!  winding road through thick tropical forests and beautiful vistas.  we have yet to go to the southernmost point or the northernmost point but will get there eventually!  rumor has it they are both very picturesque as well.  maybe next time we'll remember to take pictures!

last night to cap off our week, we attended a fantastic fiafia night!  that is the pacific islander word for joyful celebration.  it did not disappoint!  you may remember elder ah fun from earlier posts.  he was an office elder a few months ago and he put on a luau in our branch here that was so much fun.  well he got transferred to an area that was struggling and president dahle thought that he could do it again to bring a sense of comaradarie to the community.  well, he outdid himself!  he arranged for the entire san antonio district to be involved, which includes six branches (congregations) in six towns!  after months of practice, each branch performed an island dance, complete with fantastic costumes, food, and a synopsis of the history/culture of the island they were representing.  it was held in the san narciso town plaza and the public was invited.  three of the town mayors and many local dignitaries came and a great time was had by all!  the dancing was spectacular to watch!  their enthusiasm was contagious!  many high points but some stand-outs were the opening solo dance by new zealander, sister kelleher.  she. was. stunning.  honestly, one of the most beautiful dancers i've ever seen.  then there was the haka and the slap dance.  those are always SO much fun to watch!
dignitaries table
we love the people of the philippines.  we love the missionaries.  they bring such joy and happiness to life.  always a positive outlook.  it is an honor and a privilege to serve here in the olongapo mission, side by side with such stellar people.

one last picture from the plaza ... as we enter this holiday season, may we all remember the reason for the season.  the source of all our joy.  we love you! 

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