Thursday, January 29, 2015

Return of the Green Team!

Dear Family and Friends,

We have again succeeded in the sending off of missionaries; 16 great ones. And yesterday welcomed in 13 new ones! Of all the fun things we do, that is the most fun. We have read their bios and the few that are confident in their English write letters to us in advance, so we knew a little more about them. All their faces are familiar.  

A text and an email came through at about 5:30 a.m. saying, "They are on their way!" It included a bus number and very approximate time of arrival. A convoy raced into town! We mill around the bus station, talking to our other missionaries that are there transferring, or over-seeing the transferred (bless the zone leaders and assistants), always keeping an eye out for THE BUS. When it rolls in we scan the windows for those faces and greet them so excitedly as they come down the bus steps. I grab the Sisters in a giant hug. I want them to feel welcome and loved from the very first minute...I wonder how many are actually offended and appalled?! Oh dear! 

The scenery on the ride home is actually pretty great, so that's good. And this time several of our riders were talkative and funny! No need for the 'what's everyone's favorite dessert' questions. As we drove into our compound one Sister saw our house and asked if some of them were going to live there. Mmmm....
First ride to the mission home. 
The New!
The Trainers
Assistants, Office Elders, and a brand new Sisters friendship. 

This morning, January 29, 2015, was the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Bloodless Landing. If you are a history buff, or even mildly interested, you could google it. We drove up to San Narciso beach with the Winters and the Gorringes for the ceremony. We met a 97 year old veteran who was in one of the canoes that rowed out to let the attacking American war ships know that the Japanese were already gone, and no need to fire. This sweet man from Iba gave us a whole sack of mangos he had picked from his tree. He reminded me of my dad. I had a lump in my throat half the morning.

Salvadore Soriano Tabile. Age 97. 
War veteran and participant in the Bloodless Battle. 

Which is more interesting? The mural or the conversation and onlookers? :)
We are statuesque, are we not? 
My cute sister!

Well, this time we had warning about the Green Team cleaning men. Remember before? I hid in the bedroom and poked my head out wondering what in the world was happening! Today, I threw the bedroom door open and let them have at it! No less than five filed into our bathroom! What can they all be doing in there?! After 30 or 40 minutes Dennis and I really began to wonder! I think we should be worried about the spiders we have been watching all these months between the glass and the screen of the bathroom window. We will miss them.

Part of The Crew

I sort of assumed they would only be doing the serious sort of cleaning jobs, so imagine my surprise when our gardner, turned cleaner, headed for my nightstand with a dust cloth. Alarming! But that was nothing compared to my shame when he started swiping at the lamp shade and sheets of dust came cascading down, laying a disgusting carpet of grey all over my journal and scriptures. It suddenly became really hot in there, and I would have run out of the room, but another cleaner was on his hands and knees in front of the door! Conspiracy! I am now writing this at my little desk in the maid's quarters where I do not expect to be found...except by the ones cleaning the underside of the eaves and waving at me through the windows. :-) Next time I will just stay at the beach.

You can run but you can't hide. 
Ahhh. Finished product.  Note the pillows. 
We have something to look forward to every week. I like that. I like change. We really, really like young single adults, especially the ones wearing name tags stating Elder or Sister, Philippines Olongapo Mission, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It is good. 

Thank you, thank you for your notes and letters! And for considering our invitations to join us here.

With love,

President and Sister Dahle

The president. Crashed. 

And this brings my mother to mind. 

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Seven Months, But Who's Counting?

Dear Family and Friends,

Seven months ago today we celebrated our 35th anniversary at the MTC! Our most memorable anniversary EVER! Does that number 'seven' sound great to anyone else? So nice to have that much time behind us; steepest learning curve in the universe! 

We have had three grand zone conferences! It is the best, best ever to meet with our fellow missionaries! We used Sister Esplin's conference talk on the sacrament as a spring board for our spiritual instruction segment. Then, the training was based on foundational principals that we received from our Mission Presidents Seminar in November. We also had the missionaries practice using the council system by having them work as companionships, then districts, then combining in zones to do some problem solving for two different concerns we have had for our mission: "Considering our culture of obedience, where are we, where do we need to be, and what do we need to do to get there?" Also, "Use of time and key indicators." They were dynamic! The zones came back with solid, real solutions and plans. President Ballard's talk at our MTC Seminar was the impetus for using the council system in this setting. The missionaries came having read that and Sister Esplin's talk. Powerful!

Inspired by Elder Bowen. Designed by collaborative effort, led by President Dahle! Part of Zone Conference training. 

Has everyone seen "Meet the Mormons?" It hasn't been showing at a theater near us. Shocker! However, we received a copy in the mail yesterday marked "RUSH," and tonight there will be a Premier Sneak Preview in our living room for all available Senior Couple Missionaries! Yessss! Date night! Pop the popcorn!

Another six week cycle is coming to a close with the exciting job of planning the next transfers resting squarely on President Dahle's shoulders. There is so much involved in this Rubik's cube of all Rubik's cubes! That little square of six different colors? Child's play. :) Perhaps I shouldn't use that comparison. In the transfer process there is a synthesis of facts about needs, timing, strengths and skills, even personalities, that has to occur. Combine that with the choosing of leadership and trainers and the numbers going home and new missionaries coming in? Wow! All of this guided and confirmed by the power of the Holy Ghost, earnestly sought by some initial counseling, then fasting, prayer and hours of pondering. For the twelfth time this hour, I'm so glad Dennis is the president, and my companion!

Last Sunday we got up nice and early and travelled the two hours to Mariveles for church. After an hilarious detour (the GPS guided us in our giant van to a nice little Assemblies of God church in a tiny nook and cranny type maze of skinniest streets), we arrived at a chapel that looked like a temple! It is on a hill with an amazing view! It is beautiful! Oh, for the day when the temples dotting the earth can extend to the most southerly tip of the Bataan Peninsula in the Islands of the Philippines! 

The Mariveles Chapel

The View

Now that's a pass along card!

Young Women! The 2nd branch YW President is 18. So are her counselors. 

President Dahle takes every opportunity to shoot a hoop and make a friend. 

Out on the basketball court tonight there is Institute Basketball! Local members and their nonmember friends regularly meet here to play. President Dahle has been teasing them that they need to come and be taught the gospel before they can play. Tonight, our basketball playing assistants, Elders Albano and Taylor, have organized just that. First they play, then the Institute teacher will welcome all 15 or so sweaty YSA members and investigators, for a rousing lesson! 

The lizards say "Hi!" They've been working on their survival-in-the-house skills since daydreaming Lulu lost track of time and stayed in the kitchen sink too long. She got so cold she couldn't get out. Couldn't even wiggle her little pink toes. She was rescued by Elder Taylor, when he carried her gently on his fingertip to the great outdoors and the warmth of the sun to thaw. Her hero!

With love,

President and Sister Dahle