Monday, January 30, 2017

Another Great Week!

Am I ever going to have a 'not' great week?...I don't think so!  The blessings are abundant and the learning is ongoing!  As we prepare for a visit from Donna's family, we have been looking around, thinking, and planning.  They are on our mind everywhere we go as we try to decide what to do and see during their short visit.  It is a huge blessing to have them come!
This week: dance presentation for Chinese New Year, picking a pomelo, a yummy mango shake, children's parade, tribute to all the FACS teachers--gallon man, and a stop at the bread shop!
These pictures are just a sampling of our week.  I must say that the water jugs made into a man bring me quickly back to my teaching days.  In order to teach our students measuring cup equivalents, we would make a "gallon man".  The FACS teachers know what I'm talking about.

This week was Follow-up Training where the newest missionaries and their trainers come back together for more information about our mission and missionary work.  Both Donna and I are involved, and it is one of our favorite days of the 6-week cycle.  The picture below is of a new missionary, Sister Plowman, who is from Gilbert, Arizona!!!  In fact she lives between Donna and I AND took guitar lessons from our brother-in-law, Jeff!!  This is such a small world!!

Donna and I with Sister Kesler (trainer) and Sister Plowman (new)

There was a World-Wide Missionary Broadcast this month!  We are at least a week late viewing it here in the Philippines, but it was fabulous.  The broadcast was from SLC and the "missionary committee" spoke with the missionaries about their service, their mission, and gave some inspiring messages.  There are some changes that were made that will be implemented this month here.  One of the changes was concerning the missionary "preparation day" schedule and weekly schedule.  The other major change was in the key indicators that will be reported each week.  All are good changes and the young missionaries are excited to implement them in their work.

On Sunday we had another broadcast.  This time it was for all the women ages 8-108+ in the Philippines.  Sister Oscarson and Sister Bingham, from the Young Women and Primary presidencies, visited the Philippines.  The Area President broadcast a meeting so that all the women could see and hear from them instead of just the few from the areas they were able to personally visit.  Here is a spiritual gem worthy of remembering from Sister Oscarson:  "When we give the Lord His time, He helps us manage the rest of our time!" 
Missionary Broadcast and Special Women's Broadcast
This dinner was a tribute to our father!
This week we found a street vendor selling hot, buttered corn on the cob on sticks!  Donna went in to pay the internet bill for the office AND I found the vendor!  I bought 4 raw cobs to cook at home.  Memories of our father came flooding to our minds.  He would tell stories of when he was a boy, and they would have a feast of corn on the cob for dinner.  He loved corn.

Senior Activity...on Saturday, we piled into a van and went to Nayong Pilipino on the old Clark Air Force Base.  It is a cultural experience with museums, parades,  and areas showing native villages of the Aeta, Ifugao, and Kalinga peoples with their homes, native dress, crafts, and dances.  It is always a fun day with the Senior Missionaries.
Nayong Village Adventures
Picture/chuckle of the week...where should I hang my clean laundry today?  I think it should go right here...on these wires the city has provided for me!!!

I'm looking forward to another great week!  How about you? 💗💗💟💗💗

Saturday, January 21, 2017

behold, my joy is full ...

last night, our apartment was full of the joyful sounds, rising from the parking lot below, of young men playing basketball and children playing in the grass well past dark.  it gave me the idea for the theme of my blog entry this week.
  • i love the sound of a parking lot full of young men having good, clean fun!
  • i love an office full of elders!
  • i love watching a full circle of elders pray before they go out to find people to teach the principles of the gospel!
  • i love faces full of joy!
  • i love a beach full of new friends enjoying spending time together!
  • i love a sky full of clouds and colors!
  • i love a night sky full of stars (yes, i know the moon is not a star ... but trust me, there are stars there!)!
  • i love a car full of senior missionaries embarking on new adventures!
  • i love a full choir of angels!
  • i love a room full of wide-eyed, 'can't wait to start my mission!' elders and sisters when they arrive every six weeks.  this happened again this week and, like we've said before, it never gets old.
  • i love the same room full of newly-called trainers, eager to embrace their new, wide-eyed companions and love them through the transition into their next 18-24 months. 
  • i love a traveling cart full of baskets.
  • i love a pond full of garra rufa fish ready to feast on flesh.
  • i love this world ... full of beauty and wonder.
  • i love a heart full of gratitude for being able to experience it all, plus SO much more every day.
  • and in three short weeks, i LOVE that my arms will be full because the five people i love most on this earth are coming!  my cup, which is beyond full, runneth over!
all you need is love!  xo donna

Sunday, January 15, 2017


We, senior sister missionaries, had a cooking activity!  We had so much fun learning how to cook some of our favorite foods from our new life in the Philippines.  We have an expert amongst us, Sister Mila Wright.  She brought us into her kitchen where she had everything prepped and ready to go.

Mila is a fabulous cook and had our attention!  She is always cooking in large quantities for one thing or it was for us.

Donna can do it and I can do it...take a large tablespoon of filling and roll it up in the paper thin wrapper.  We seal the edge with egg white and we have Lumpia ready to be fried!  Yum!  It was a very similar process to making burritos.

Lumpia has been one of our favorite things to eat.  It is like a little egg roll.  Mila's recipe has mostly meat in it, but others we've eaten have more vegetables.  Both are yummy.  We took some uncooked Lumpia home to eat later.  When 'later' came, I wanted to try to 'fry' the lumpia without oil!  It worked good enough for me.  The wrapper got brown and crispy and the inside got hot...perfect.  I know it isn't the way to properly prepare lumpia, but it was fast, easy, and fewer calories.

My other favorite dish is Pancit.  Our first time to taste pancit was at a baptism.  I was told that pancit is eaten at any special event like birthday parties, etc.  There are different kinds of pancit, too.  The biggest difference is with the noodle that is used.  I've discovered my favorite to be the Canton noodle.  Mila showed us how to make two different types of with Canton noodles and the other with a thin rice noodle.
This is the Pancit Canton.  It is meat, vegetables, and noodles.  The process is similar to making fried rice or at least that is what it reminds me of.  I tried to make Pancit after I had it at the baptism.  I failed!  My second attempt was much better, and now that I've had a lesson it will be perfect. :)

Caldereta is called a stew (with a special seasoning).  Mila's recipe is meat, potatoes, and carrots.  It is thick and yummy.  Adobo is the favorite of our office elders.  It seemed to basically be meat in a special broth.  It is usually served over everything here.  Still my favorites are the lumpia and pancit.  

We are loving our time in the Philippines.  The people are the best.  The young missionaries are stellar, the absolute best!  And the senior missionaries are fun to be with.

We are starting our new year with a bang.  Our new mission president has been announced and will arrive July 1.  Transfer week begins tomorrow again.  Like Donna said, the activities are the same, but oh sooooo different!  And there is always something new to make life interesting!  Actually, life is ALWAYS interesting!!

From our home to yours...with love!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

short and sweet ...

this is maybe a first for me ... i don't really have much to say!  there were no outstanding events during the week.  the work is similar day to day but everyday is truly something new.  i still love the opportunity i have to serve a mission here in the phillipines.  i still love the people and the missionaries and other senior couples are fantastic!  the new year has brought a renewed sense of wanting to do better ... be better.  diane and i were talking the other day about how we can feel such peace and joy in our lives when life didn't turn out quite as we expected.  i realized once again that every good thing in my life comes from the Lord.  i have a peace in my heart that surpasses all understanding, and i am grateful every day.

i like this quote from Thomas S. Monson, "The difference between the changes in my life and the changes in yours is only in the details.  Despite the changes which come into our lives and with gratitude in our hearts, may we fill our days -- as much as we can -- with those things which matter most."  for me, that is my family and the gospel of Jesus Christ, which encompasses just about everything in this life!  may the year ahead be one of growth and happiness beyond anything you expected!  love, donna

just a pic of me photobombing.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Good-Bye 2016!!!

You are called to the
Philippines Olongapo Mission
We have had a glorious 2016!!  We received our mission call letters on December 29, has been a year of preparation and then mission service.  We reported to the Provo MTC on April 11 and haven't looked back.  It has been a wonderful experience to serve in the Philippines Olongapo Mission.  We have pretty successfully learned our jobs in the mission office, met some of the most loving, beautiful people in the whole world, AND we have the opportunity to work with spiritually strong young adults who serve with a smile on their lips and in their hearts.  How could we wish for more??  We have had a blessed 2016!

Our mission president, President Dahle, celebrated his birthday this week and included the senior missionaries in his celebration.  We have heard about the Pawikan (sea turtle) Conservation Center for a long time.  We were so excited that we were going to be able to experience releasing the baby turtles into the ocean.  (Here we go with more beach pictures...but we do live on the South Sea.)

We learned that there are 3 types of marine turtles that swim to the shores of Mabayo to lay their eggs.  There are other types in other areas of the Philippines, but we get eggs from the Hawksbill turtle, the Green turtle, and the Olive ridley turtle.  The turtle lays the eggs in a deep hole they dig on the shoreline...and then the mother swims back into the ocean!  This conservatory collects the eggs and moves them to a protected area to hatch.  Eggs are laid during the months of September-February and take several weeks to hatch.  The baby turtles are about 3-4 inches when they are released into the ocean.  As with babies of all kinds...these baby turtles are so cute!  

After releasing turtles, we just enjoyed walking the beach and talking for awhile before heading to the remains of the Philippine Refugee Processing Center where over 400,000 refugees came from war ravaged countries.  There are many military history sights in this part of the Philippines. This is the first one we have been to, but more will come!
The pictures below are from the museum...and the history of the "boat people".  The refuges were housed, fed, and trained in a 'trade' skill so that they could make a living for themselves and their families.  It was pretty amazing.
After the museum we headed to the beautiful beach of the Camayan Resort for President Dahle's birthday lunch/dinner.  Today was a national holiday, Rizal Day, in the Philippines.  The beaches and all the tourist/shopping spots were packed.  We have been to this beach several times now and have never seen so many people enjoying the beach (but not in my picture!).

It is the end of another year!  It is hard for me to realize that today we are in 2017!  Donna and I talk about all that we have learned and experienced...and the changes that have happened in our lives this year.  We want to continue to grow and improve!  We wonder if we will lose 'it' when we get home and take off our badges.  Hopefully we will have practiced being our 'better' selves long enough that it will stick!

I chuckled when I saw this engraved stone at the refugee camp.  It says it all!!!!  Our motto for the coming year..."don't worry".  
May we all have the best year ever!  2017