Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Week

i didn't post last week because we traveled for a district conference over the weekend and i was too tired when we got home.  we were able to spend the night at a quiet little spot in the north part of the mission (about 2 hours from our home) and were only there for a few hours but was able to snap some pictures of this beautiful spot.  it is called potipot (po TEE pote).  if anyone knows what the beautiful hanging flowers are, please let me know! orchids of some kind i'm guessing, an albino peacock and the largest hibiscus blossoms i've ever seen - easily 10 inches across!  beautiful!  we thought it would be nice to go back when we had some free time ... hahahahahaha!  'free time'!  what is that?!!

but this week has been maybe our busiest yet with three zone conferences in three days, seeing every missionary in the philippines olongapo mission!  what a glorious experience that was!  we love the missionaries so much.  the conferences were combined with the Christmas parties so we had beautiful talks about our Saviors birth and life that reminded us how we should be and to whom we look for all we are and hope to be.  afterwards, we were able to enjoy a few hours of fun and games, tininkling (the bamboo rhythm dance we did as kids), acting out 12 days of Christmas song and last but not least, the 'Christmas store' where every missionary got to go select half a dozen items for their companion.  Diana and i were in charge of this and it was so much fun!  we had received two giant boxes of donations from the states but had been expecting much more (as the coordinator had sent us a list of donated items) but had enough to make it a fun experience for them.  filipinos don't put much emphasis on the gift part of Christmas celebrations ... it's more about family and food.  but this beautiful site greeted us when we arrived home the second day!!! The rest of Christmas!!!!!

so the third day we weren't as concerned about rationing!  everything is currently spread out in the Dahle's dining room and will be distributed to the missionaries in the first two zones when we go back for conferences in january!  they will be SOOO excited!  the generosity of those who donated items so that the missionaries could have a nice christmas was completely overwhelming!  it has given me something to think about for how i want to give when i return home for sure.  
you've never seen girls so excited about stickers and deodorant (there was other stuff too); instant choirs: the islanders harmonize so beautifully, our zone, and the unexpected power in the voice of one small Elder; yummy lunches; fun with tininkling and sister sisters here to help with all your shopping needs.
a picture of our humble tree and an unexpected treat of a field of trees made of recyclables across the street from the church on our second conference day (this isn't even all of them!).

what an interesting time it's been here.  we were reminded that without the hustle and bustle that always accompanies the holiday season we've had a unique opportunity to focus all our thoughts on the reason we do all we do.  we are eternally grateful for the gift of our Redeemer, the Light of the World, Almighty God, the Prince of Peace, without whom we would have no hope.  today and always, we hope you feel the joy of the Savior's love, which is the very best gift of all.  

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