Sunday, July 23, 2017

New Seniors & More!

Sunday morning I woke up to a text from our new senior couple.  They were at the Manila Airport and nobody seemed to be expecting them that early!  I called my contact at the Area Travel office and she quickly took charge, but Elder and Sister Carver were sitting at the airport for hours just waiting.  That is a horrible way to start your mission...welcome to the Philippines Elder and Sister Carver!  We were so anxious to finally meet them!  After church and resting on Sunday and then fingerprinting & paperwork on Monday (that didn't happen!!!), they finally got in a van for their 4 hour ride to the Mission Office...but the driver got lost!  They did finally arrive,
Elder and Sister Carver
and we were all so happy they were finally here!

The Carver's are living in the apartment next door to us above the office.  They were able to rest a little before joining us for dinner and visiting at the Mission Home.  They had a long and tedious journey since Friday when they left the Provo MTC, and they are still so cheerful and positive!!

Elder and Sister Carver are being trained to take over for Sister Hays and I in the office.  We are so glad that we have a few months with them for this transition.  Our weeks are busy, and we don't always have tons of time to stay in the office...something else is always needing our attention.

One day we had to go north to check out a new place for elders to live.  After a look around, we decided WE wanted to move into this home!  Look at these happy faces!...Elder De Guzman, Escoto, Paguigan, and Fuifui. We call this the "beach house".  It is a giant home on the beach.  As it turns out, the owner is sectioning the home into two separate spaces.  The Elders will live on the main level.
Botolan Beach House
President and Sister Lacanienta served a mission in the Philippines recently and were only home about 18 months before returning to serve here.  Because of that, their driver's licenses were expired.  We went with them to get the licenses renewed.  It was a madhouse and hot, but they survived!
The Lacanienta's with 'fan in hand'

It is never a dull or boring ride when you are in the car on the streets and highways of the Philippines.  There is so much beauty to behold...and then there are those things we see and don't quite understand.  Much of the Philippines lifestyle is different from home.  I know this is to be expected whenever I travel in the United States or far from home.  It makes me smile!

These bottom pictures are show stoppers...Trikes carry all sorts of things from people, animals, and furniture...AND canoes!!  The canoe was unusual enough BUT on this rainy day, there were people IN the canoe being carried by a trike!  The sideways picture is of pigs either going to market or to home.  Pork is a staple food in the Philippines.  The last picture is a hilarious protective helmet.  I wish I has gotten a closer picture.

One of my favorite things is to be with the young missionaries.  They are always hungry, and we love to take them for a meal and treats!  The faces are always happy and they are so appreciative.
The young missionaries in these pictures are: Sisters Calimlim, Borres, Pagatpatan, and Colati.  Elders Zamora, Bulloch, Nelson, and Breinholt.  And our Office Elders--Elders Tofa, Abala, Spring, and Magalei.

It is rainy season!!!  It was full force yesterday with very hard rain and wind for over 30 hours.  Elder and Sister Carver were initiated superbly!  
The Carver's were also initiated to our "no electricity" stand-off's.  The electric company is still working on new lines down the highway next to our home.  This week that meant we had two 8-5:00 days of no electricity (and no water, internet, or air conditioning).  We couldn't work in the office so we all took off and accomplished some of the other tasks that we needed to do.

This is a little friend.  We live on the second floor, and I'm not sure how this cat found it's way to our kitchen window!  Just one more thing that made me smile!

Friday, July 14, 2017

missions are a lot fun!

we've had some internet issues and some busy-ness issues this week so i'm a bit slow in getting this out but i begin with some things strictly filipino ... a hard hat that is surely as good as a motorcycle helmet, rainy season roads, and halo-halo (hollow-hollow).  
okay ... probably a third of the vehicles on the roads here are motorcycles and, if they wear anything at all, there are some of the oddest things worn as helmets that the person obviously thinks will protect them! hard hats are my favorite ... they won't fall off if i crash, right?  and one version of rainy season roads ... no explanation necessary!  

the picture doesn't do the halo-halo justice!  it translates to 'everything mixed together' (that's close enough!).  let me describe it for you ... in a dish, place a scoop of shaved ice then cover it with sweetened condensed milk.  add 3 types of boiled sweet beans/chickpeas, corn, yams, nata de coco (envision coconut flavored gelatin cubes), plantains, mashed sweet rice ... really anything at all that you have on hand! then top it off with, in the case above, ube (oo-bay)(which is like a purple yam) ice cream and some sweetened rice krispies for good measure! just about every restaurant has their version of it.  i think it's the nation's favorite dessert! 

next, we took the newbies, president and sister lacanienta, to a farewell dinner for the perrero's and wright's who were being released.   
and the reason we are all here ... joy in the work of bringing souls to Jesus Christ!
next, we had three days of zone conferences so the lacanienta's and all the missionaries could meet.  as has been said before, being with the young missionaries is our favorite thing so these are always great days.  our most unique companionship is elder rigby and elder lomibao! they just make me smile! a couple of pics of missionaries waiting for meetings to begin and one of our favorites, elder vaoiva, helping to clean up after a delicious lunch!
while getting acquainted was THE highlight, another highlight of the day was that we got to receive flu shots! sister rollins (l) is our mission nurse and sister miller and i handled the paperwork and moral support.  some of the reactions were priceless, but of course i felt badly for them!  and finally, preparing for zone photos sometimes takes awhile and people with ADD can get a little bored.  notice the bad influences in the second row?

like i said, missions are a lot of fun!  the people i've met will influence me for life.  the things i'm learning, about my Savior, myself, the world and life in general are, hopefully, indelibly written on my heart.  i'm so grateful to be on this journey! 

Sunday, July 2, 2017


Where is the time going?  We have hit July in the blink of an eye.  Our preparations for welcoming a new Mission President HAVE to be finished.  We said our final good-bye to President and Sister Dahle.  The good thing is that they live in Utah and have a daughter in Arizona so we feel it isn't really good-bye forever :)

The Photos above: Senior missionary dinner at Texas Joe's, a favorite American restaurant by Subic Bay.  Donna and I in the office with Sister Dahle; President and Sister Dahle photo with the Assistants to the President.

This is really happening!  As President Dahle told us...when President Lacanienta drives into the Mission boundaries, the priesthood keys for the mission are his, and President Lacanienta is then the Dahle's Mission President.
This is our Mission Map and our Branches/Wards as they are today.  The Calapacuan Ward is where we live, in the Olongapo Zone.  The white area of the map is water and the grey area is land to give you a little idea of where we are. We are on the northern Luzon island.  Manila is east of us.

Not only are we saying good-bye to the Dahle's, but two other senior couples are also being released this week.  The Perrero's are returning home on Wednesday after being with us for a year.  They have taken care of the missionaries and members in the northern two zones and lived in Masinloc.  The Wright's have been serving a live-at-home service mission for over 3 years!  They live in the San Antonio zone and have been indispensable!  I'm not sure the mission will function properly without them.  Actually, it is going to be difficult without both of these senior couples!  Quoting a general conference talk..."Even if these seniors don't know the local language, their accomplishments are great and their spirit of sacrifice is precious." Elder Russell M. Nelson.

These pictures are some of our sights this past week or so. 1) farm equipment in the road...a familiar scene here or at home. 2) a marker for the 'Bataan death march' from WWII.  These markers dot the roads in the southern part of our mission. 3) a bell tower in the Freedom Park in Bataan. 4) one of many mango trees just full of mangos...the best mangos in the world! 5) Elder Poulsen added a necktie to my collection so that I can add it in my necktie quilt from my missions.  6) Jeepney with "Arizona express" on the back flap.  The jeepneys have all kinds of signs, but of course, we loved this one!

Below are some pictures we wanted to share.  The first is our same Elder Poulsen.  He was one of our office elders.  We visited him the day before his birthday, his 'preparation'-day, to deliver a birthday treat for him and his housemates.  We found him doing laundry and had to get a picture of laundry in action. The second picture was captured as we were driving on the highway the same day.  When we stopped to take the picture of this laundry drying on the guard rails, a woman started crossing the road to protect her clothes, I believe. It was the sunny side of the road and her clothes needed to get dry!!!!!

We did meet President and Sister Lacanienta this morning!  We are anxious to get to know them and work with them during our last few months in the Philippines.  We will have to share pictures next week after our week of activities with them.  They are going to be so busy this week, but that is what they wanted.

We are so grateful for this mission opportunity.  We love the Lord; we love the people; we love our missionaries; we love serving!