Monday, July 7, 2014

The First Week

The first week was busy as we unpacked, had our first meeting with the office staff, got our Philippines driver's licenses, tried to adjust to having house help, began answering medical concerns of the missionaries, and tried not to have an anxiety attack as we drove in the crazy Philippines traffic! Actually it's only me that has anxiety; Bart finds it great fun to weave in and out of traffic and have few to no driving rules. Thank goodness for the wonderful office couple, Assistants to the President, and office Elders who drove us or or at least drove with us and answered every question that we had.

The last time we Skyped with the Petersons, they mentioned that a missionary couple would be leaving just as we arrived and that this couple thought they knew us. It turned out to be a couple that had lived in our neighborhood 30+ years ago. She was my visiting teacher and one of the greatest influences on me as a young mother. They were able to stay at the mission home with us for two nights before they left. It was fun to visit with them and catch up. They served here in the San Pablo mission for 2 years.

It was great reconnecting with Elder and Sister Douglas.

Our first week we introduced ourselves to all of our missionaries and met many of them individually. There were three "Meet the President" zone meetings. We were overwhelmed by the love we felt from the missionaries as we walked into each of the chapels. We had been praying that the missionaries would not only feel our love but our Heavenly Father's love through us. I was not prepared for the love I felt from them as well as the love I felt from our Heavenly Father for me through them. It was a very tender experience. I was so blessed to not feel nervous, anxious, or even insecure. I know that it was my own little miracle. We introduced ourselves and our family; Bart/President Mangum taught some principles about obedience and the Culture of Righteousness; I shared a thought and my testimony; and then Bart finished with some thoughts and his testimony. We then ate a nice catered meal and visited. It was great and we really enjoyed each day. President Mangum (I'm trying to get used to calling him this when we're in public) also had some baptismal interviews and gave a couple of blessings.

 Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Lopez Zone

Lucena Zone

Marinduque Zone

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Batangas Zone

Lipa Zone

Mindoro Zone

Friday, July 4, 2014

Cabuyao Zone

San Pablo Zone

Santa Cruz Zone 

Siniloan Zone

Our first Saturday we were invited to attend a baptism. It was a sweet couple whose son had been baptized just a couple of weeks earlier. It was a very special experience to be there. There was so much support from the Bishopric and ward and it was nice to support our missionaries.

We're living in the Philippines!

The long awaited day arrived. It was too hard to say good bye to our family so we decided to just say "see you later"; it was still hard!

On the morning of June 26 Collin, Cec, and Ari took us to the airport to begin the long journey to the Philippines. We flew from Salt Lake City to Portland. In Portland we watched as a mechanic worked on the plane for mechanical difficulties. It's never fun to think about getting on an airplane after there's been mechanical problems; especially when you're flying to Japan! For about an hour we weren't sure if we would even be flying out that day or if we did if we would make it to Tokyo in time to make our connecting flight to Manila.
After an hour plus delay we boarded the plane for a 10 hour flight. We landed just in time to get off and go directly to the next gate to board for Manila. We arrived in Manila around 10:00 p.m. their Friday night (we left Salt Lake about 11:00 a.m. Thursday morning). We were tired but were happy to be there. We were greeted by the Area Presidency and wives. They're wonderful! After going through customs and waiting for everyone's luggage we boarded a bus to be taken to a very nice hotel in Manila. We were exhausted and ready to go to bed!

In our hotel room they had fresh fruit and chocolates (one with the name of the Church on it) to greet us. We were tired and it was nice to be able to sleep. The breakfast buffet was amazing representing countries from all over the world. We ate too much but enjoyed it. Saturday morning we walked over to the nearby mall and was surprised to be greeted by an armed guard, have my purse looked in, and have a quick pat down! In the afternoon we had training with the Area Presidency and their wives. It was Philippines specific and great information. We had a nice dinner, tour of the Manila MTC, and then headed back to the hotel. It was a nice day. Sunday morning we had Sacrament Meeting at the area offices with the Area Presidency and other staff as well as our group of new mission presidents and wives. The spirit was strong and it was a spiritual lift. We took some group photos before going  back to the hotel. It was hard to say goodbye to our new friends. We were all excited and nervous as we headed different directions to our eight missions.

When we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by the Petersons. Sweet Sister Peterson hugged me and said, "My friend." I felt the same about her because I had grown to love her in our Skype visits. We got in the car and headed to our mission!
President Peterson drove with Bart in the front while Sister Peterson and I visited in the back. When we arrived at the home we were greeted by the office staff, ate a nice dinner, received some orientation (not enough) and then it was time for the Petersons to leave. That was hard! Not only did we enjoy being with them but we weren't ready to "be in charge". They left anyway!
A member in the ward hand painted this Welcome sign.

The beautiful home we will live in for 3 years.