Saturday, March 28, 2015

Happy Easter--Because He Lives

   We are a week away from Easter and Bart and I want to share this video with you. It is a powerful clip about our Savior. As I have thought about what is different, possible, and better Because He Lives I realize the answer is everything. Because He lives I can again see my daughter, my parents, my sister, my brother, nieces, nephew, grandparents, and other loved ones that have passed to the other side of the veil. Because He lives I know that families can be together forever and that gives me hope and joy. Because He lives I can feel comfort and peace when my heart is aching. Because He lives I can be forgiven of sins and shortcomings. Because He lives there is a purpose to my life. Because He lives I can do hard things through the enabling power of His atonement. Because He lives I am serving a mission in the Philippines San Pablo Mission being blessed by the wonderful missionaries, members, and people here. There are countless things I could list that are a result of the fact that He, My Savior and Redeemer, Lives. I hope you enjoy the clip and that you take the time to think about what is different, possible, and better in your lives BECAUSE HE LIVES!


Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thinking of my dad

    Today marks a year since my dear dad passed away and joined my sweet mom on the other side of the veil. It's been such a crazy year and since I've been gone for 9 months of it I'm not sure I have really adjusted to life without my dad; after all right now my life is so different and without any of my family except Bart, of course. Life here in the Philippines is quite different and there are so many interesting and unusual things to see as you drive around. The scenery is beautiful and there are many rice fields. There are different kinds of modes of transportation then we have in the United States and even the cows are different. I find myself often thinking about my dad and how fascinated he would be to see the surroundings and the Filipino lifestyle. He would love the people because they are so friendly and kind. I often say to Bart that I wish my dad was still alive so he could see these things or I could at least tell him about them. Bart assures me that he knows and sees these things. I find myself wondering aloud about the things I see and what people do that live in the big homes and then Bart just tells me I sound like my dad. I'm good with that. I also know that Dad would love to hear about our adventures and the "learning" and spiritual experiences we are having. Once again Bart assures me that my dad and mom are getting to participate in our mission experiences. I'm sure he's right. I'm thankful for all my dad taught me through word and example throughout his 87 years here on earth. I miss my dad's smile and funny sayings, his strong hands, his spiritual insights and wisdom, his goodness, and strong faith and testimony. I miss both my dad and mom because when I think of one I naturally think of the other. What a wonderful example of "true love" they set for me, our family, and everyone who knew them. We all loved watching their interaction and watching them hold hands and give each other a kiss. I'm sure I will never quit missing them but I am so thankful for their legacy. Love you forever dad and mom!

Cutest sweethearts!
This was taken about 3 weeks before he died--he looks so great!

February Departing and Incoming Missionaries

February 8-10, 2015/Departing Missionaries
     It's hard to believe how quickly 6 weeks pass by. Our February departing batch was a fantastic group of missionaries. Each time it gets a little harder to say good-bye as we know the missionaries better. This group had a lot of wonderful sisters who had blessed my life since we got to the mission. They had been cheerleaders encouraging and supporting me. I had also had the opportunity to go out and teach with a couple of the sisters and we had attended baptisms for many of this group. The good-byes were tearful but the time with the sisters and elders at the mission home was great. We had a wonderful Family Home Evening sharing favorite mission memories and testimonies.

Our Fantastic February Departing Batch
Saying Good-bye gets harder each time. We'll really miss them! 
A fun new sign for departing batches--thanks to Sister Moran.

February 11-12, 2015/Incoming Missionaries

     The cycle continues and a day after we said good-bye to our missionaries we welcomed new ones. This was a small batch and only one sister to replace 14! The smaller batch made the orientation and visiting very personal and we enjoyed it. They are a great group. As they got off the bus I thought one of them looked just like one of our other Elders. I looked at his name tag and realized why he looked so familiar, it was one of our elders returning. He had gone home for some medical concerns and we weren't told he was coming back with this group. It was fun to see him and great to have him well enough to return.

Our new great group of missionaries ready to serve.

Special Missionary Meeting with Young Men's General President

     On February 7 we had a special experience as Elder and Sister Ardern (the Philippines Area President and wife) and the Young Men's General President, David Beck, and his wife came to our mission. The six of us enjoyed a nice lunch together at the mission home before driving to San Pablo for a special meeting with most of our missionaries. The visit at lunch was nice. Although I get nervous before we have special guests they are always friendly, personable, and fun. We are also blessed to hear insights and wisdom from them.
Brother and Sister Beck, Sister and President Mangum, Elder and Sister Ardern
     Unfortunately some of our missionaries are too far away to make it reasonable for them to attend so they missed out on this experience. Bart and I were told to each prepare a talk and all four of them were supposed to speak as well. As we were walking into the Chapel Elder Ardern said that he and Brother Beck had been talking and they had decided to change things. We were still supposed to talk but then they were going to have a panel discussion and let the missionaries ask them questions and they would answer. I couldn't believe it! The missionaries came to hear them speak not us. We gave our talks and then they did the panel discussion. It turned out great and the four of them were inspired in their answers. I couldn't believe how easy it seemed for them to answer questions in that kind of format. Bart and I were included in the answering but I briefly said something and Bart added a couple of answers. Anyway, it was a great meeting and the missionaries enjoyed it.
      After the missionary meeting there was a special meeting for the youth from four stakes in our mission. The chapel and cultural hall were filled with youth. It was a wonderful meeting. Elder and Sister Ardern, and Sister Beck all spoke briefly and then Brother Beck taught about the sacrament and showed the clip "Always Remember Him." Each of the youth had been given an outline and were asked to write ways that they would remember the Savior. He then had the a few young men and a few young women come up and share their comments. It was so impressive to listen to these faithful youth. It was a wonderful meeting and the Spirit was strong. I'm putting a link to the video clip. It's very thought provoking.

January 2015

     January was filled with Zone Interviews. We spent a lot of time traveling and actually spent 5 nights in a row gone one week. Elder and Sister Galbraith came with us and it was a fun trip. While President was interviewing the missionaries Sister Galbraith and I did a workshop on cooking and eating healthy. I did a Power Point presentation and Sister Galbraith demonstrated 3 dishes that the missionaries could cook--quick, healthy, and inexpensive meals. We also made them little recipe books so they could cook for themselves. The missionaries all loved the workshop because they got to eat a nice meal. After 15 deals of demonstrations we were tired of the meals even though she switched them up a little. It's always fun to be with the missionaries but it is tiring and we were happy to have the interviews done and get a little bit of a break.

Some of the beautiful scenery we saw during our zone interview travels.

Some of the missionaries during the cooking workshops.

December 2014 Departing and Incoming Missionaries

     On the Sunday after Christmas we were joined by 24 departing missionaries. (Earlier in the month 3 others had left as well.) Usually the departing missionaries spend two nights with us before going to Manila but since it was the holidays we only had them for one night. It was quite hectic as President had to interview each of them. It was not only a large group but a fun group so it was enjoyable to visit with them. We had a nice dinner followed by a departing video, memories, and testimonies. On the morning of the 29 we all had breakfast, said our goodbyes and they got in Jeepneys to head to Manila. The only problem was there ended up not being enough room so President and I drove a few of them up to the hotel. It was fun to visit them as we traveled.

This was a big, fun loving group of missionaries! We'll miss them.

      In December both of the Assistants that were here when we arrived left as well as an office elder. These three elders were such a blessing to us. They were encouraging, loving, and accepting from the moment we met them. They had all been a way from the office for at least a few weeks so that helped in the transition but it was still tender to say good-bye.

      Tuesday morning, December 30th, we had 27 missionaries arrive! It was amazing to see all of them climb off the bus and head down the lane to the mission home. Once again because of the holidays and the need to get them to their areas before New Year's Eve we had to cut our time together. We had a brief orientation, they then met their trainers and had some training, ate lunch, and they were on their way to their areas.

Welcome to our largest group--27 missionaries!

A lot of great new missionaries to take the place of the large group that left.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Merry Christmas 2014


      Christmas morning was very different and pretty relaxed. We were able to Skype with mom and dad Mangum with Hayley, Ben, and Peyton on their Christmas Eve. It was great to see them and visit for a while and a great way to start the morning. We had a Christmas brunch with the two office couples and were joined by the sister missionaries in the area. We then went with three of the couples to a baptism. It was a wonderful way to spend Christmas in the mission field. They called it a "White Christmas". There were two companionships involved and five baptisms. Most of the missionaries from that zone were there and it was a very special experience. After the baptism we (the four couples, the Assistants and office Elders) enjoyed a wonderful dinner, yummy desserts, and played games. After everyone left we were able to Skype and join some of our children and grandchildren for Christmas morning and watch the excitement of the kids while they unwrapped a couple of presents. We were able to "visit" and be a part of each of the family's Christmas celebration sometime during their Christmas day. It was the highlight to our Christmas for sure!

We had so much joining the traditional adult party and Christmas Eve Eve Family party. We loved joining in the laughter, hearing the grandkids sing, and seeing everyone together! 


Fun with Maddie, Grady, and Ari (Wes, Leah, Collin, & Cecily too).

Being entertained by the Larson family.

Sharing Christmas moments with Kaleb, Kat, and family.

Lots of laughter with Hayley, Ben, and Peyton and fun with the Drakulich family. 

Our first Christmas Day in the Philippines!

A few decorations in the mission home and around the area.