Monday, July 28, 2014

Is it really week four?!?....

Hello from the wet and green Philippines!

The beauty of the rainy season is, it's beautiful! Green everywhere and cool(er). We've seen the locals in jackets and shivers. We haven't acclimated quite that much yet.

The typhoon was an event. We had some missionaries here still from a temple trip so we were enjoying their extended time as company. A tiny Philippino Sister missionary came to the kitchen, dashing my fears of having to dig out cold pizza and peanut butter rations, and by gathering up the odds and ends and successfully lighting the contrary stove, made a feast for our crowd! Miracles!

There was plenty of destruction throughout the islands, but these resourceful people hardly skip a beat and just get busy cleaning up and making do. We watched out the back window as parts of the tin roof from the shanty behind us blew away, and four men suddenly appeared up there putting out a big tarp and securing it with anything heavy enough not to blow or wash away.

Jeepnies! No two are alike!

Elder and TWO others inside. 

Rice fields

Water Buffalo

We have met every last missionary in our magnificent mission, and they are the reason it is magnificent. What a group! Their collective fervor and faith is a huge power for good. They come from every imaginable background and unite here for one invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and his Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. They find, teach and baptize. They reactivate and love members. They are about their Father's business.

One of our Assistants had a birthday party/FHE here Monday night. This big house was full of families ready to be baptized or newly reactivated. He showed them the Joseph Smith movie, then had them share how they felt after. That is the power I am talking about. Forty people, give or take, had a terrific experience with the Spirit and felt the strength of gathering together. So very fun.

We had the opportunity to bring a returning missionary to his home and family after President Dahle gave him his release. They were too poor to all come and meet him, so he was making his way to them. We drove as close as we could, then parked. He invited us to come, so led us along a narrow, sometimes treacherous path lined with lean to's and shacks of every description, some barely earning the title of shelter, but home, still. The beach just a step or six away, covered in all kinds of debris probably left there by the storm. Dogs of every color greeted us with indifference (miracle - as dogs in general are probably my number two fear in life...right after being swept away by the tide and had for lunch by a great white). The families we passed were cheerful as they cooked or cleaned up their evening meals at trail side. We eventually arrived at his home where a sweet mom came out and tearfully greeted her son. Younger sister and brother and older brother too. All so composed! Dad was up in the coconut tree out back cutting several coconuts to gift to us. We went inside to a spotless and comfortable home, intruders I guess, on a wonderful family reunion. But they treat us like celebrities and want pictures with us. What dear humble people! I can't say it enough. They send these sons and daughters out with such faith. We are changed.

Driving to Guisguis

RM and his family

We are nearing a month here. I would by telling a big fib if I said every moment has been my happiest. I am weaker than I suspected and have dissolved more than once into the loud howls when I let my heart dwell on the hard parts. However, I am surrounded literally by young adults making the same sacrifice with courage and joy. I repent speedily. The president, yes I have to call him that, is in his element. He is doing a beautiful job, and feels this work in his bones. He is fiery and softer in his heart than ever.

Thank you so very much for your many prayers and encouraging return notes! We love you and appreciate your thoughtfulness!

With love,
President and Sister Dahle

Sister McNaught's (right) last day in the mission.