Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Look at August

Dear Family and Friends,

How are all of you? What are your family events and forecasts? We miss you! Put us on your Christmas letter list! It's time to think about Christmas here, because the -ber months have begun! The outdoor lighting decor is for sale as we speak!

So, just because it's the rainy season doesn't mean it rains all day every day. Usually we just get one or two storms a day; sometimes with ferocious lightening and thunder and bucket dumping downpours! It is amazing and reminiscent of a good winter-time blizzard. Nice to look at and listen to, but you don't necessarily want to be out in it; which brings us to the fearless missionaries! Umbrellas and rubber shoes or boots are the must haves! I spied two of the little boys who live behind the mission home as they brought the family washtubs out and climbed inside rowing around in the floods! Bloom where you are planted!

Front Porch
Unfortunately, when the rainy season comes, so do the mosquitos carrying dengue fever. Twelve cases all in one geographical area! All Elders. It put them down for a week, and missionary work came to a screeching halt. The now dengue-savvy Gardners were in the doctor shuttle business and literally handled every single need for all twelve over about a month’s time. Exaltation earned!! We are continually in awe at how much of a difference all our senior couples make! I keep wondering how to repay them for everything they are doing! No answer but one. They don't do it for us or for pay, they do it for the missionaries and for the Lord.

August was a month of mission president interviews. Each time we have these, we try to change things up so there is less time just sitting and waiting. You wouldn't think it would be a difficult thing to avoid. Ha! We are doing a little bit better. The side benefit is that I have some time to visit with those who wait. It's a treat. Dennis has really begun to spend more time with each missionary, and he enjoys it ever so much more than running them through a chute, so to speak. But add up 165 missionaries give or take and multiply that by the average 20 minutes. Yes. Well, it’s another of our favorite things!
San Antonio Zone Sisters! 

We had a special event! The U.S. medical ship Mercy came to Subic Bay! The chaplain assigned to this tour is LDS, a returned missionary, married with a young family. He contacted us and invited a group of 20 to come for a tour, then later in the week he came ashore and gave a fireside for the local branches. It was faith building and fun, both.
The Mercy with my sweet sister! 
The Mission Presidency and wives were the lucky guests!
The Mercy is an enormous boat; second only in size to an aircraft carrier! Stepping on board was walking onto US Territory, dedicated 100% to doing charitable surgeries and giving other medical care for people in developing countries. It has state of the art everything! Lieutenant Luckeson was allowed to show us all through its exquisite interior. What gifts they bring; sight, the ability to walk and talk. A most exciting endeavor!

The travels of the Mercy.

A few weeks ago an Elder was injured in a tricycle accident, and he was in the hospital over a Sunday. We asked the Olongapo Zone Leaders to bring the sacrament to him and his companion.  Stopping by later for a visit, we were just in time to open the door on four Elders concluding their own sacrament meeting. The room was spirit filled, and it was surprisingly tender to see the sacrament emblems laid out carefully on the hospital bed. They sat there ready to sing the closing hymn. Why do we get to have these experiences? Can you feel the greatness of this simple thing? I can’t convey it well enough.

Hospital room sacrament meeting. 

We are doing great. Learning more about working together and enjoying the time. We oft repeat this truth: "There is no growing in your comfort zone, and no comfort in your growing zone!" OH the GROWING!! I had a little prompting, I guess you could say, to stop wishing the time away! What?! (Guilty as charged!) I should endeavor to treasure every day we have left in our mission here, doing this work as companions. It is a gift. Dennis and I have rarely even served in the same stake over the last 13 years. So, time to look at each morning and the hours ahead as a blessing. Being grateful in prayer! Opening my eyes all the way. And now that I said it aloud, I have to do it! :) Thanks for your prayers!

Sending all our love,
President and Sister Dahle

From our hotel window in Balanga:

Promptly at 6:15 a.m. the Zumba music begins to pour out of enormous speakers and the 
exercise conscious ladies of Balanga gather to pump it up! This was purple day. Apparently
some forgot and thought it was orange. Nope. That was the day before!! Faux pas! 
Otherwise rather quiet on the street. 
Someone grand coming down the stair case!!
Oops! Check that tie! 
Impressive group of Elders!
  Goodbye! They are going home! Everyone except that nice couple at the right. 
  So, the Elder in the middle at the front didn't have to lose his first name! His name is Elder. His grandpa 
met two really nice young men on a jeepney, went home and told his pregnant daughter that if she 
had a boy she should name him Elder. He was impressed that those two wonderful young men 
had the same first name! Years later the family found the church. :-). Great story, right?!

Our newest batch!

President Dahle teaching! 
Clean shoes to start every day. 
These new Elders spent a couple of hours out working the first 
day here and had some mud to show for it.
Ahhhh. Ready to go and meet their trainers!
An exciting moment!