Friday, February 20, 2015

It's Mango Season!

Dear Family and Friends!

When I sit down to write this, I often start by looking through my pictures to remind me what we have been up to! Well, there are too many! Can I summarize?

The general news is that the weather is still gorgeous! We can go for a bit in the car and house without turning on the air con! Only for a bit, but still! There is often a wonderful breeze! And it is mango season! Whenever we turn right out of our driveway, heading north, we will eventually come to the portion known as the Mango Highway where there are rows of grass thatch covered stands offering a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, but the BIG DRAW is the mangoes! Best to buy them green, then watch them ripen in a big bowl on the counter! Impatience is a virtue just this once, because it's best to eat them before they look completely ready! 

We continue to try to attend a different branch or ward each week. We have six districts and one stake for a total of 45 units, give or take a few. Two so far, sing the hymns in Tagalog! That is fun!
Pictures so you can see the language and try to guess the hymns:

The Espanto Family is a missionary family! As of last week they have sent off five missionaries, and by the end of February will have sent off six! One daughter served in the Temple Square Mission a year or two ago, and now her sister is at the Provo MTC preparing to follow in her footsteps! Same mission! So look for her! We assured her that she will be adorable in a coat, hat and scarf! The cold weather is as scary for them as the heat and rain were for us. Part of the adventure! The younger sister will serve in Australia. Three English speaking missions in the same family is a rarity. Six missionaries even more rare!

I have been finding pockets of time in two to three hour blocks where I can chase off with the Sister missionaries! This has been so fun, and a huge blessing for me. Again, the language barrier is just that, a barrier. But I'm saved by Taglish (a lovely mix where just enough English is thrown in to keep Dennis and me in the same ball park with those around us) and the missionaries explain more what the topic is as they ask me to testify or add some thoughts on the subject! (Most Filipinos understand English.) I probably just repeat the same things they've already taught, but hey, in the mouth of three witnesses, right?! Perspective changer. 

These two darlings are investigators. 
They live in a compound with their grown children. Usually 3 or more houses. This is the Filipino way. 
First jeepney ride. Sister Pinto and Sister Hart were our companions. 
Matching purses a Christmas gift from Sister Winters!
This sweet young mom was baptized on Valentines Day. 
With angel Sisters Larkin and Aggasid. 
Sarikris is a newer convert. She and her younger brother are the only members in her family. 
She is planning for a mission this year. 
The sister in blue is a member, and fellowshipper of the recently baptized sister in the floral. 
Her husband is investigating. Sister Cardenas is the missionary!
Nearby duck pond like no other!!
Live crabs for sale!
Closer look!

On Saturday we had two singular experiences. There was a baptism of a twelve year old young woman, fellowshipped by the branch president's daughter. We were going to be in that area later in the morning so we were lucky enough to attend with two of our senior couples, the Wrights and the Gorringes. It was in Mabayo. I few months ago I put a picture of their baptismal font on our blog. Now you can see it in use! There was a canoe going past, and they were curious enough that they turned back for a second pass, then stopped to watch and listen. This young girl will change generations. Can you just see her children and grandchildren rejoicing at this new potential?

Next, joined by the Whites, we went to the nearby sea turtle preserve and were captivated heart and soul as we set thirty or forty baby turtles, one at a time, in the sand to clamber their way into the surf! How amazing to see them swim with all their might, raising their baby heads up for a breath every few seconds, as they were taken out into the ocean to do what only instinct would lead them to do. The few that will survive come back to this very place twenty-five or so years later to lay their own eggs in the sand! Heaven's spectacular designs are fascinating at every turn!

The green flags mark the transplanted nests, brought in from the beach for protection. 
When they hatch, volunteers gather them and send them out to sea. We got to help!

On your mark, get set, GO! A race to the water. 
He didn't say cheese, but was so cute anyway!

Last night, after a long day of mission president interviews, we stopped in to see the Winters in action! They are bringing music opportunities to the saints in Lubao! They have developed a program and incorporated the generous donations of a foundation in the States, to offer piano and conducting lessons to nearly a dozen youth! We were mesmerized and warmed to the core as we watched their energetic love for music and teaching, bless the lives of these young people in ways they never would have had the opportunity for otherwise! It was so powerful! Goal? Provide pianists and choristers for the branches, while touching lives and uncovering and developing talents. Strengthening youth and raising sights. Another example of senior couples spreading their love and making a real difference! 

We send our love!

President and Sister Dahle

Can you imagine the reach of this class?
So positive and energetic!
Elder Winters
Recently returned family!