Sunday, February 12, 2017

The Week that Was...

A new van was delivered to the office yesterday!!  We have gotten along with older cars since we arrived...which is okay when you think about the traffic!  One of our senior couples has had so much trouble with their they brought it to the office parking lot and took our van.  Yesterday, the fleet department in our Area Office brought us a replacement and took the truck away.  We were told the used van they were bringing had over 100,000km on it.  We were crushed thinking that Donna and I would have car problems out on the road.  You don't want that!!!!!  We were ecstatic when they brought us a NEW car with 1000km on it!  NOW we have the fear of putting the first scratch or dent on the car...or dirtying the inside!

The van is perfect for hauling missionaries, luggage, or furniture and household items.  We need one at the office, and we felt crippled without it.  We had smiles on our faces all day...and so did the office elders.
New Office Van!!!
We spent hours one day with 10 foreign (that's USA and Islanders) elders while they got a Philippines Driver's License.  It was a zoo and all outside!  I wish I had taken a picture!!  Maybe I'll get another chance.  The Area Office has asked the missions to have the elders get licenses if they have a license in their home country.  Our missionaries don't use cars, but if an elder is assigned to serve in the office, they do have the opportunity to drive.

We are finding many yummy (masarap) things to eat...some new to our pallet and some very familiar.  
1. the biggest and best avocados 
2. kalamansi is like a tiny lime and used to flavor many foods in the Philippines.  I ordered kalamansi juice for breakfast at a restaurant.  It was served with its own small picture of 'simple syrup' so that I could make it as sweet as I wanted!  I like it sour ;)
3. lunch of special grilled cheese sandwich, soup, and a fresh fruit platter
4. banana split with (purple) ube ice cream
5. corn on the cob!
6. the best French fries ever from the Army Navy Restaurant (Liberty Fries)
7. banana chips...they are very thin slices lightly fried and so delicious to eat as a snack
8. mangos, of course!  Whether we eat them plain or in a mango shake, they are delicious!  This area of the Philippines is known for the sweetest mangos in the world.  We live on what is called the Mango Highway!
9. pancit canton, my favorite kind of pancit...usually with onion, garlic, other vegetables (cabbage, carrots, celery, etc.), and then meat--shrimp, pork, chicken.

Our favorite part of the mission is our experiences with the young missionaries! It is a daily happening with our office elders living next door to us.  Our office elders are hand-picked by the President.  They are elders that he is proud to have represent the mission in many capacities.  We are constantly learning from them.  Below are pictures from two weeks ago.

1. Sister Plowman and Sister Kesler found a cute little place to eat in their Area. They said they are having to limit themselves to going only on their 'preparation day' because they eat cheesecake every time they go!  It takes them a week to walk that off!  They started telling us about this place they found with cheesecake like in the states AND cinnamon rolls like mom!!  When they said it wasn't just a bakery, but also had lunch/dinner entrees, we made a lunch date!! What fun we had with them!!!  And yes, the cinnamon rolls and cheesecake (many different kinds!) are divine.  We have met them two weeks in a row now!

2. Our current office elders: Elder Tupou, Elder Cervantes, Elder Poulsen, and Elder Detera.  The elders only spend a few hours a week helping in the office.  Most of their time is spent with a normal missionary schedule.
Elder Poulsen and Elder Tupou are our newest addition.  Elder Poulsen wanted to cook dinner for President and Sister Dahle and us!!  He has learned how to cook several Philippine dishes.  The President's favorite is Bicol Express.  Elder Poulsen made that for us!  It was so good and our first time to eat it.  The Mission Home was the perfect setting for our dinner.

3.  President Dahle is showing us a book about his ancestors.  The stories he tells are fascinating.
 Well, it is Valentine's Day week and everywhere we go it is decorated with hearts.  Of course, I love it because I love hearts! This is the sign at the round-about in Olongapo City.  It is also the week we have been waiting for...the arrival of Donna's family!


Sunday, February 5, 2017

what thinks Christ of me? ...

i was reflecting today during the sacrament about what had i done in the past week that was Christlike.  there was plenty i had done that was not, but at this particular time, i was desperately trying to focus on the good!  the scripture in luke came to my mind and i was reminded that asking is praying sincerely, seeking is studying the scriptures so i can know His will, and knocking is the doing ... the intent to act when i the receive answers i seek.

i am serving a mission for the church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints because i asked to know His will for me and He answered.  everyday i go forward with a leap of faith and hope that i am doing what i need to do to help build His kingdom here on earth.  i feel His love every day, even when i fail (probably more so!).  i am growing in ways i never expected, but at the same time, i feel i'm not doing all i can do to maximize my learning time here.  so the question i ask myself is 'what thinks Christ of me?'.  

am i serving my fellowman with a pure purpose?  am i working to develop Christlike attributes so i can show and feel more charity toward others?  what would He have be do today to help lift someone else?  

i am loving my time here in the philippines.  the people are fantastic!  and while life goes happily and busily on back home without us, i wouldn't trade this experience.  am so grateful i am here with diane.  it has been easier than i ever thought it would be and i'm sure she is a large part of making it seem that way.  it's impossible to comprehend but our eighteen months here is more than half over.  i want to make the most of every day we have left!  sending much love your way!  donna