Monday, June 8, 2015

1st Week of June--Baptism and Baby!!!

     On June 6 our cute grandson, Ammon, was baptized by his dad. Of course, we weren't there but we understand it was a wonderful experience. We're so thankful for Ammon and his great parents. We missed not being there but we are so thankful for the support and love of family for this special event.

He looks so happy! A very special day.

     A few hours later, now June 7,  darling Nolan was born to our dear Hayley. Ben was so sweet to keep us updated on the progress and we saw a photo of Nolan shortly after he was born. When we received the photo and news of his birth we were filled with excitement and gratitude. Then the tears came. It's hard to be away and not hold the baby and help Hayley. I'm so grateful for the goodness of family and friends to help since we're not there. We were able to Face Time a few hours later and had a nice visit with Hayley and Ben and saw Nolan sleeping. I love these adorable pictures of Peyton meeting his baby brother for the first time. They are priceless.

Beautiful family--look at the joy of a new baby!!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

May Transfers

     The last day of zone interviews were on May 1. After we finished interviews we enjoyed driving to a couple of the areas in Mindoro we had never been to. It was a beautiful drive. Saturday we met Elder and Sister Pjarro (he is an Area Seventy). We spent the afternoon in meetings for the Mindoro District Conference and again on Sunday. The Conference was really good and we loved the way that Elder and Sister Pjarro taught. They were so fun and easy to visit with and we feel like we have new friends.

The Mindoro District Conference was held in their beautiful new District building. It's quite a contrast to the little meetinghouse in the picture below. We saw a lot of beautiful scenery in our ride around Mindoro.
     May 3-5--Shortly after the Sunday meetings ended we headed to the port hoping to catch the Fast Cat boat but there wasn't room but fortunately we were able to get on another one that was only took two instead of three hours back. We made it to the port in Batangas and drove the hour and 15 minutes back to the mission home where we had 14 departing missionaries for dinner. This was a time I was very grateful for our House Help.  President Mangum had his interviews with the missionaries while others visited and worked on getting their luggage to the right weight.
    Monday morning after breakfast the departing group went to their Employment Training. That evening we had another nice Family Home Evening watching the departing video, sharing experiences and testimonies. Tuesday morning we said good-bye to another batch. Six weeks really goes by quickly.

This group had lots of energy! Several of the group earned their English certification.
It's always bittersweet to say good-bye to our missionaries.
     May 6-7--Wednesday morning we met the bus and our nine new missionaries. We had a good orientation with them on Wednesday and they had interviews with President Mangum as well as a proselyting experience. They get up very early to board the bus and leave from Manila so they're always tired and ready to go to bed early. On Thursday morning we enjoyed breakfast before some counsel and a testimony meeting. We then had a meeting with the new missionaries and their trainers. They ate lunch and left for their first areas.

A great new group of missionaries.

The first day of orientation and the meeting with their trainers before they left for their first areas.

The busy month of April!

     April was a very busy month! We actually stayed in a hotel for two weeks of the month. The first three days we attended a District meeting, had a District Leader Training, and had Mission Leadership Council. Then on the 4th Bart had the privilege of baptizing two great men. Their wives are members and were so excited to have their husbands join the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We went with two of our sisters to teach one of the men a couple of weeks earlier and had a sweet experience. When we were on our way to the baptism we received a call from the missionaries to inform President Mangum that they had scrubbed the font but the water was still brown. This area has problems with their water. The baptisms were very nice and weren't affected by the water (although I did wash Bart's baptism clothes as soon as we got home).

District Meeting in Lucena. MLC with our great Zone and Sister Training Leaders.
At District Leader Training we had 4 of the District Leaders teach workshops. They taught well and there was a lot of participation. 

The Assistants are not only great but great teachers too. 

Bart looked great in white. The water looked pretty gross but the Brothers didn't seem to mind.
It was a special baptism with happy families.

     April 5 was Easter and we had a nice dinner after attending two Sacrament meetings. On the 7th we began our fourth round of Zone Interviews. We spent two days with the Cabuyao zone and two days with the Santa Cruz zone. We also had a new couple arrive during the week and although they stayed at the mission home for a few nights we really only had the chance to visit for about an hour one night. They are great though and will be a wonderful blessing to the mission. That weekend we were able to go to the Stake Center and watch General Conference. Conference was wonderful! One of the benefits of seeing it a week later was we had the talks already downloaded on our iPads so we were able to just highlight the talks rather than take a lot of notes. We also had a fun surprise when we saw two of our former missionaries at the broadcast. One of them had been an Assistant so we knew him well and the other had left 2 weeks after we arrived so we didn't really know him. They came over later and had dinner with us and we had a great visit.
Some of our great missionaries at the interviews. Our nephew, Jeremy, was one of our elder's 4th grade teacher.
We said goodbye to one of our elders who went home the next day.

Our fun new couple. This round of zone interviews our two office elders came with us and taught a workshop on budgeting and planning.
While President Mangum was interviewing the missionaries I would visit with the companion.
I shared a thought from one of President Monson's talks and gave them this wallet sized card to remember
President Monson's formula for success.

    The next week we had three days of interviews, a new grandbaby, Bart's birthday, and a Mission Presidents seminar-- it was a busy and great week!!! We spent one day with interviews in Batangas and two days in Lipa.

Our sweet new grand baby! Missionaries at the interviews wishing "President Mangum" a Happy Birthday.
Can you believe I opened the door one evening and their stood a sister and we were dressed almost identical?
Of course, we had to get a picture.

The Mission Presidents Seminar was held in a beautiful hotel in Manila.
We had a picture with our great-niece, Aubrey's mission President and wife from the Urdaneta Mission.
For whatever reason I really didn't take photos for the 3 days. There were two group photos--One of "our batch" and one with many of the wives but I still haven't received copies.

     The Mission Presidents Seminar was wonderful. We met "our batch" on Thursday night and had a nice Italian dinner and a great visit. We love these dear friends. On Friday we spent the day being taught by Elder Ardern and Elder Bowen who are gifted teachers. That night we ate at PF Chang's and had gelato from a little shop (being in Manila is like being in a different country from our mission). Saturday was another wonderful day of training and visiting. We were taught so much and realized how much more we need to do. We were encouraged for the most part but a little overwhelmed and even discouraged for brief moments. Thankfully, Bart is good at realizing our strengths as well as our weaknesses. We spent time making plans for upcoming meetings with the missionaries and deciding what our priorities should be. Sunday morning we had a very spiritual Sacrament meeting. Afterwards the Presidents had a council with the Area Presidency and Area Seventies and the wives were able to have time visiting and sharing. It was great to be uplifted and encouraged by special women who understand the joys and challenges of our callings.

     The following week we took a boat to Marinduque and had interviews with the missionaries the following day and then took a boat back to Lucena. We spent two days there doing interviews then traveled to Lopez for interviews. Friday night we were able to go out with the Elders in Gumaca and visit a sweet part member family as well as a great, strong member couple. Saturday we attended the Adult session of the Lucena Stake Conference and then went out with the Lucena Zone Leaders to teach a wonderful family. It was a tender experience as we visited with the father of five beautiful children (the mom was at the market). Sunday we attended a ward in Lopez, stopped in Atimonan, and then headed back to the mission home after 6 nights away. We were happy to be back for a couple of days.

The sunset reelection as we rode the boat. Great elders. The sweet families we were able to visit.
The Lucena Stake Center steeple from the hotel room.

      Monday and Tuesday we had interviews in San Pablo as well as a Train the Trainers meeting on Tuesday and a Missionary Check-up meeting on Wednesday. We then drove an hour and a half to catch a boat to Mindoro. Thursday we attended a Mindoro District Youth Conference where Bart had been asked to take some time to teach. The Youth Conference had about 100 impressive youth. When we arrived they were having a testimony meeting. Bart then taught them at a Devotional. He taught them about the importance of the Sacrament using the "How Will I Remember Him" video. He also had them watch the "Because He Lives" video and had them write their own statements. After the devotional the youth watched slides of the their conference.
    That afternoon we had some missionary interviews and a nice dinner and visit with the senior couple on the island. They are great and such a blessing to the missionaries.

Another pretty sunset from the boat. Our funny, little sister peeling a coconut with her teeth!
Our March batch or missionaries with their trainers--they had so much fun seeing each other.
The Mindoro Youth Conference was at a beautiful resort.