Sunday, April 23, 2017

See You Soon!

Dearest Family and Friends,

Believe it or not, this is probably the last letter that will come to you from the Philippines Olongapo mission president and wife. The movers are coming to take this computer and most of our belongings away in three short weeks, and I don’t imagine getting back to this again before then. 10 weeks to go until the magnificent and great President and Sister Lacanienta arrive, and the older and hopefully wiser Brother and Sister Dahle set out for home.

Doesn't he look great?!

Thank you for your prayers most especially. We have needed it, and continue to need it, so please don’t even think about stopping!! Thanks to the primary, the youth, and so many of you that have remembered birthdays, Christmas or sent messages or cards for no special reason. Thank you for the many who have supported our children, grandchildren and mothers when we could not be there! For all of these things, we are wildly grateful – well, I am wildly grateful, and Dennis is respectfully and deeply grateful.

Trying out the look of future missionaries! 
District primary missionary activity!

As nearly as I can tell we will be speaking in our home Sacrament Meeting on July 16. We will probably be seen racing hither and yon before and after that for family reunions, meeting five exquisite new grandkids and getting to know the ten adorable ones we left behind, hugging & kissing cheeks (awkward cultural differences coming up)… doctor and dentist check-ups and gloriously sinking newly cleaned teeth and anxious taste buds into Paradise Bakery’s Turkey and Cranberry on Molasses Bread! Café Rio burritos for Dennis. So much to look forward to!

With all of that, hit pause. We will have had in total 535 missionaries whom we love! Six districts and one stake worth of members that we have come to at least recognize, because who can remember all the names, but their faces have become so dear. The faithful Filipino pioneers and leadership have gotten into our hearts fully. We love the flavorful scenes and the beautiful children. Most of all, we love missionary work! This field is so white! The softened and prepared hearts are many. We have gotten used to seeing brand new nervous, excited, fresh from the MTC missionaries step off the bus on that first day, watching them navigate the difficult beginning, grow in confidence and joy, become trainers and leaders and master teachers, then saying goodbye as they get back on the bus to go home. They have worked so hard and changed so much! That is the part I and maybe we, will miss the most! That thought is what brings the tears.

We will do this twice more! Pairing trainers with their brand new companions!

What a gift this calling has been. Not an easy gift by any means. It has been rugged and brutal many times, but as we continually teach and believe: There is no growing in your comfort zone and no comfort in your growing zone. So, that is that. I hope we have grown. We are eternally and overwhelmingly grateful to a kind loving Father who's plan provided a Savior and Redeemer and an Atonement that has a most miraculous enabling power! Because how else could we, and why else would we do these things?

With love,

President and Sister Dahle

I got to work with the sisters in the mountains on my birthday:

It was her birthday too!

A good start on my birthday dinner!

The bus was hired by the Mariveles Branch so they could more easily come to district conference. 
He doesn't miss an opportunity. 
APs and President pausing to contact, testify, and invite to learn!
Our Elder Demetillo came back after his mission to court and marry this darling girl!

Some common views:


Our front drive
Taking a moment to admire the view. 

At it again. Three referrals from pulling over to watch the sun go down.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Some of our favorite things!

We were driving down the road when Dennis hits the brakes. He pulls off the road and runs out into the field that is being harvested by hand by this husband and wife. He gets a picture of them, tries out their harvesting knife, invites them to hear the missionaries, and brings me a bouquet:


Reunited with one of our wonderful RMs!!

Mission Presidents' Seminar in November. This is our Batch!!

Sister Spa Day!! Getting up the courage to feed our feet to the doctor fish.

Most Valuable Players: Mission Chef, his wife, and our wonderful Sister Mercy.

Selfie before the official group picture.

All tucked into the trike and ready to roll!

Senior Missionary time!

Exercise! Dennis has loved these occasional mornings. 

Our treasured office sisters


Twelve Days of Christmas acted out. What a lot of fun!
Family Baptisms!

Interviews complete. How we love this work and these missionaries!!!
Refreshing early start on the day of interviews up north. A true rarity and thoroughly enjoyed!

How did it get to be January again?

Dearest Family and Friends,
When I last wrote in July stating we were beginning a year of ‘lasts,’ I never expected it to be the last letter of 2016! Sorry to be trite, but the time has literally flown by!
We have had our last Christmas in the Philippines! You will never see such celebrating anywhere else, especially given that we have a head start on the world by beginning September 1. One night in December we attended a FiaFia celebration put on by the San Antonio District for the city of San Narciso. Our Samoan elder that is an expert in Polynesian dancing taught each branch a dance from a different island to make an incredible hour and a half performance that brought the community out in great numbers to fill their large outdoor plaza. The mayors from the surrounding cities were invited to sit at the dignitaries’ tables for a front row seat. We ‘dignitaries’ were invited to join some impromptu island dancing that may not have been the most dignified thing we have done in recent history. The full event was impressive and became a bonding and activating experience for the district as well as for the branches. It also provided a great activity for investigators to join in on. The neighboring mayor requested a similar night for her city, and our elder had an encore. Filipinos really do excel at fun, and that was a lot of fun!
Three Christmas Zone Conferences the week before Christmas brought the mission together in thirds. For part of the program we concluded our Twelve Months of Miracles by having several missionaries share a miracle they experienced in their work this past year. It was so powerful! There were activities provided by our amazing senior missionaries that were really fun. The final portion was music!! Missionaries can sing in ways that fill the soul. I find myself opening my mouth to ask them to sing at my funeral, but I always stop. I want to hear them again WAY before that!!! At the zone conference the assistants to the president gave us a gift without price. It's a binder filled with a page from each missionary describing a miracle they have had in their work and/or in their lives this year. They are beautiful and will be at our fingertips in the years to come. We will open it for anyone who wants to know about the true joys of missionary work and see how the Lord’s hand is in our lives daily. 

Companion shopping at the Christmas store!
Thanks to all who sent donations to make this possible!

One of my miracles came in the living, breathing form of a new senior couple; the sister is a real nurse! After almost 2.5 years of having a pretend mission is in great hands! My anxiety level has dropped to zero. Her husband is also uniquely prepared to serve here because of many years of being a stake clerk. We are in a really exciting time because our six districts are working hard to be ready to apply to be stakes, and this senior elder knows exactly what needs to be done to help, and has taken the bull by the horns! It is so thrilling to see these kinds of blessings come! Hooray for senior missionaries!! Its on our bucket list too! Sure hope you'll join us! 

My miracle is so much fun to be with!! Mission nurse!!!
A new Philippines Olongapo Mission president and wife have been called! Check the Church News throughout January to learn more…
We keep seeing weather reports with pictures from home, and for all its beauty, we are scared to come back to that!! May you all be safe, comfy, and warmhearted till the spring comes to thaw you out!
Sending so much love!
President and Sister Dahle

FiaFia Night:

Early birthday surprise