Monday, January 9, 2017

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