Tuesday, November 29, 2016


November 24—Thanksgiving

            When we returned from the seminar the mission home was filled with the couple missionaries including a couple that arrived that day. This is Elder and Sister Sippel’s fourth mission. They are amazing and a great resource to the units as well as the missionaries. All of the couples enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner made by Sister Spencer. We also enjoyed a great time visiting with one another. Having all of these wonderful couples is a great blessing we are very thankful for!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mission Presidents Seminar

November 21-24—Mission Presidents Seminar in Manila

            As always it was a few days of wonderful training, inspiration, and wonderful visits. President Shayne Bowen began the conference by teaching the importance of Belief and that believing isn’t enough we need action. He shared the story of Roger Bannister and how we need to overcome false limitations. We need to have a greater vision. Elder Schmutz taught about how true doctrine understood helps motivate positive missionary behavior. We need more than an intellectual understanding of the gospel; we need spiritual understanding which is conversion. Elder Haynie taught about improving our efforts to find scattered Israel. A big focus of the conference training was following up with the missionary focus of teaching repentance and baptizing converts. During this conference we had the opportunity to have a Sisters’ breakout where we had the medical advisors teach and answer questions about medical concerns. We were also blessed to hear the wives of the Area Presidency teach and testify to us. The theme was the “Errand of Angels is Given to Women.” President Bowen taught about the importance of the Book of Mormon in conversion. President and Sister Andrada who had recently lost their son in an accident shared their powerful testimonies of the plan of salvation and the love of the Savior. President Bowen reminded us that although the Andrada’s son’s death was tragic it was only temporary. He taught that the “path of covenants” enables us to return to our Heavenly Father.  We are so thankful for the opportunity to be taught by the Area Presidency as well as the other mission presidents and wives. It is always a time of renewal and reminders of what matters most.

Monday, November 21, 2016

November 2016--Departing and Incoming

 November 14 and 15--We had 14 departing missionaries. They began their Monday at the San Pablo Stake Center with a light breakfast and then were taught the Career Workshop.  That evening they came to the Mission Home for a nice dinner and a Family Home Evening. We watched a fun good-bye DVD, shared spiritual memorable experiences, and testimonies. It was a great evening. It’s always a sweet experience to be together and think about their growth over the 18-24 months.                         

November 16 & 17--We had an exciting morning as the missionaries got off the bus at the wrong location. President Mangum always tells the travel leader to call when they get to Santo Tomas so we know that they are about 20 minutes away and we can walk down to the street to wait for them. The office staff and President Mangum and I were waiting and wondering what was taking so long. Finally President called to check and found out that they thought they were supposed to get off in Santo Tomas so all of the missionaries got off the bus with all of their luggage and while we were waiting in Alaminos for them they were in Santo Tomas waiting for us. After finding out that they were at the wrong stop they boarded two Jeepneys and headed our direction. By the time they arrived we were about an hour behind schedule and they were all tired and hungry but in good spirits. We sat down to breakfast and counted and there were only 20 missionaries and we were told there were 21 coming. We then found out that one had not come because of medical reasons. President had to decide which of his trainers would not be training.
            It was an eventful start to the day but it ended well. We were able to get the orientation, interviews, and all of the training done. On Thursday morning President Mangum and I met with them after breakfast. They each introduced themselves, told why they were serving a mission, and bore their testimonies. They each had strong testimonies and we felt like they were one of our strongest groups ever. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve with them.

            After that meeting we walked to the Alaminos Chapel where they met their first companions and had some more training, ate lunch and headed to their new areas.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wonderful Senior Couples

       One of the great blessings of serving our mission is the many senior couples we have been able to serve with. They have been from different areas and had different personalities, talents, and skills but they have all been wonderful and have blessed our lives as well as the lives of the missionaries and members. We consider them our eternal friends.

       The couples have served in various assignments. Most of them have been called as MLS (Member Leader Support) missionaries but we have also had some that have been assigned as Office and Self-Reliance couples and one sister was our Mission Nurse. Whatever their assignment and wherever they've served they have blessed countless lives. We've shared spiritual and fun times together. It's always tender to say good-bye to these dear friends. We love them and appreciate their consecrated service. We look forward to a fun reunion in the future.

       The thing about senior couples is that they are always wonderful!!! We are excited to have so many couples serving with us now. We were down to three couples and by the end of November we will have seven senior couples serving at one time. We had three couples come in September. Already we are seeing the blessing of having couples assigned to every zone. They help check apartments, teach English to the Filipino and other non-native English speakers, support and help the wards/branches and stakes/districts where they serve, and of course, share the gospel through their Christlike examples. The missionaries love the senior couples!

       Although we served with some of the first six couples only a few months they blessed our lives and helped us with the adjustment of serving our mission through their encouragement, friendship, love, and examples. They each touched our lives for good. Some of our returned couples are now serving or have received a call to serve another mission. They're amazing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

41 Years of Marriage!

     On October 8 we celebrated our 41st Anniversary! Looking at the photo from our wedding day it's hard to tell that we are the same people--I guess in many ways we aren't. I like to think we've grown in more ways than just our weight. We are both thankful to be together for the adventure of life. We certainly have had a lot of "learning experiences" over the years. The last two plus years have been full of many adventures and learning experiences. Its been different being together almost 24/7 but we have grown closer and learned to appreciate each other more than ever. The great thing is we not only love each other dearly but we like each other and enjoy being together.
     On our anniversary we attended the rebroadcast of the Saturday sessions of General Conference and really enjoyed the meetings. When we were leaving I asked the Alaminos Ward Bishop to take our photo and document our anniversary. Bart was agreeable to it. He surprised me and shocked the Bishop and his wife when he said you need to take one more of us kissing. We also enjoyed a nice dinner at a restaurant in San Pablo. It was a very nice day.

October 2016 Transfers

October 3 & 4--The transfers come so fast it's unbelievable. Another great group of missionaries and leaders. All of the Filipinos did well on their English certifications. Once again we had fun with them visiting, watching their interaction, listening to them sing, sharing memories, and testimonies. There were no tears this time; this group was all smiles as they said good-bye. 

October 5 & 6--We had a new adventure with this group of missionaries. As we waited the rain started to pour down. We were happy that a new waiting shed had just been completed on the side of the road where we wait for the bus to arrive. We welcomed our large group of 21 missionaries in the pouring rain. This group had 12 American elders, 2 sisters from New Zealand, 3 sisters and 4 elders from the Philippines. We were impressed with this large group and know they will be a great blessing to the mission.

September 2016 Zone Conferences