Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two Years Already!

     As June 29, 2016 arrived we found it hard to believe that we had already completed two years of our mission. When we arrived on our mission, three years felt like forever to be across the world and away from our family, extended family, friends, and home. Now it feels sad to think how quickly the time has passed and will continue to pass. Of course, we will be happy to be home but this experience has been incredible. We will forever be grateful for the amazing experiences we have had. After a year I said to Bart that I wished I had known a year ago what I knew now. He told me I would feel the same way next year. He was right. It's difficult for me to not to stress about what we could have and should have done differently. Bart has the ability to see what we have accomplished and put into perspective what we didn't do as a way to learn and improve in the future.

Our Assistants and Office Elders
At our 2 year mark we had two office couples, a great new couple and our dear friends who left 2 weeks later.

     We have been blessed to serve in a beautiful mission. We are in the car a lot and except when we are in a city there is beautiful scenery all around us. We love the Filipino people. They are so kind, friendly, and loving. We are treated like celebrities by the members and often even by the people at stores, etc. And of course, we love our missionaries!!! It's amazing to think we have already served with about 500 missionaries. It has helped us to better understand how our Heavenly Father can love each of us. We have been blessed with great love for each of them. We have also been able to serve with valiant senior missionaries who have become eternal friends. We love and appreciate each of them.

Just a few of the photos I've taken as we've traveled around our beautiful mission.
A few of the sweet members that we've been with recently.

A sample of times with the missionaries.
     Of course, it has been an adjustment to live across the world from our family and the world as we know it. We are so thankful for modern technology that keeps us connected with our children and grandchildren, Bart's parents, and extended family and friends. It's been interesting to see the similarities and differences in the Filipino lifestyle. We have been saddened to see the poverty that some of the people live in but we are inspired by their grateful and happy natures. It's an interesting country where the native language is not English but most people know at least a little, most billboards and signs are in English, and you can get by with English and do fine. I do wish I had been more diligent in studying Tagalog though. It would have blessed my life and enhanced my experience as well as been helpful as I have given talks and helped with teaching. There have been several times when I'm with the missionaries teaching that I wonder how different our experience would have been if we had served in a real English speaking mission. Then I realize that I would have missed so many life changing experiences by not serving with these sweet people. I have also learned more about being guided by the Spirit because I often only understand a small amount of what is being said, yet many times the missionaries will say that what I shared was just what was needed. I have learned that although I can't understand all of the words of the talks each Sunday or the people we visit the Spirit makes up the difference. I am happy that most of the time the hymns are sung in English so I can enjoy singing them.

     Bart is a wonderful teacher and I enjoy watching him entertain, as well as inspire, and motivate the missionaries and members as he teaches the gospel and bears testimony of our loving Heavenly Father, the Savior, and the restored gospel. I also enjoy the opportunity to teach with him. Of course, it has been an interesting experience to spend so much time together. We probably hadn't spent as much total time together in the previous 38 years as we have in the last 2 years; so it's been an adjustment but a great experience. The good news is we have found that we not only love each other dearly but like each other as well and enjoy the time together. As we have studied the Christlike attributes in Preach My Gospel, Adjusting to Missionary Life, and the scriptures we have learned how to better communicate with each other and express our feelings. Bart especially loves a line from the Adjusting to Missionary Life book that says, "Your companion's behavior makes perfect sense to him or her, even if it doesn't to you." That principle is a wonderful thing to remember in all relationships. It's been a great blessing to serve with my sweetheart.

     We are glad we still have more time to keep learning and hopefully strengthen our missionaries and our mission. We are striving to serve with all our hearts, might, mind, and strength.


No comments:

Post a Comment