July begins with a startling thought. July 1st marks our 2nd year anniversary on the mission. We are looking forward to a beautiful, fast paced and productive year!
It was great to have a sisters break-out session. Our number of sisters is dwindling in the mission so we only have 4 companion ships of Sister Training Leaders. It was good to counsel about light and how important it is for them to be a light to the sisters they serve. It seems that "chicka-chicka" (gossip) is creeping into the mission lately. We discussed that and what they could do to help stop it.
The way to a missionary's heart is through their stomachs. Once a year, we provide a hamburger/hotdog and chips meal for our Mission Leadership Council. It is about the only opportunity we allow for our pioneer heritage to shine through. We had many a happy missionary for MLC. Our "American heritage" meal didn't include rice. This can be a bit of a trial but the native missionaries accommodate our preference once a year. We try to make it special with a dessert that many haven't had before. This year they enjoyed eating fruit pizza.
We love returned missionary visits. Bro. DeLeon brought his cute wife, Mary Ann by to say hello.
July brought quarterly missionary interviews again. The last time we had interviews, we traveled to 83 houses. While it was an amazing experience, we decided to organize interviews differently this time. We traveled to each zone and the zone leaders arranged set times for each missionary companionship to arrive for interviews. We provided training with a couple of videos from past worldwide missionary training broadcasts. President Clark had the missionaries come in together and began the interview. They then separated and Sister Clark talked with the companion not with President. The topics were 72 hour kits, Companionship Language Study for all Filipinos and area books. President Clark gave them a handout from Preach My Gospel entitiled, "A Successful Missionary". The missionary would mark the areas they were excelling with and circle areas they needed improvement. Each missionaries also had to answer a sensitive and thought-provoking question from President Clark, "Why do you love your Savior?" It was a tender moment between missionary and Mission President. One that will be remembered always!
Sister Lopez's tradition of making a treat for each missionary was most appreciated again. Large chocolate chip cookies were a big hit!
Some Interviews are far away from our mission home. That requires us to travel and have overnight stays in hotels. When that happens, we like to find missionaries to treat to dinner. This was a fun place to enjoy a meal with two great elders!
Below are more great elders sporting their 72 hour kits, area books and cookies.
Sister Pantila's 72-hour-kit is extra large. She has been through a devastating and life altering typhoon. She is ready for anything. The last picture with the ocean in the background is Baler. This companionship of sisters came to make sure Sister Clark had company for lunch! We love our missionaries!
We love exploring our various zone preparation day activities. With President Clark sporting a broken foot, we can't do many outdoor activities just yet. But Paniqui Zone invited us to their Boodle Fight activity. Boodle Fight is a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food served on top of banana leaves. Fish, pork and rice are readied to be consumed using bare hands, jugs of water are prepared on the side to wash hands before the "eating combat". With the signal to start the Boodle Fight, everyone stakes out his/her position. We enjoyed "watching" and taking pictures. Sister Clark's brownies topped off the meal. A great feast and time was had by all.
MALL OF ASIA BAZAAR
Once a month, the American Women's Club of the Philippines holds a bazaar at the Mall of Asia in Manila. The dates don't align very well to allow us to attend. When they do, it is fun to jump in the car early in the morning, sit in the car for hours while we move oh-so slowly in Manila traffic then eventually arrive at the bazaar. Elder Pugh and Elder Whiting were great chauffeurs and bag holders. We had a great time seeking the best Filipino souvenirs. We hope to go again before Christmas.
THE DANSIE'S ARE HERE!
One of the greatest blessings that comes to a mission is senior couples! We have been pretty light in that department. We are so pleased to have the Dansie's join us. Their story is unique. The Dansie's have been married for five months after both lost their spouses of 50 years. The newlyweds bring great energy, knowledge and missionary zeal to our mission. We are thrilled to welcome them and look forward to serving alongside them.
WELCOME Elder and Sister Dansie!
BONGABON LEADERS UNITE!
VISITING TEACHING CONVENTION in SAN JOSE
Sister Clark was asked to speak to the Relief Society of San Jose Stake. The topic requested was visiting teaching. It was great for Sister Clark as she has been missing having a visiting teacher the past two years. Two hours of presentation on her own was a daunting thought so she asked Sister Whiting to share the program with her. It was a perfect fit. The sisters were so attentive. They want to succeed at visiting teaching but are still developing a culture of watch care. One sister said, "We are making history today." What a marvelous organization to which we belong.
BAPTISMS FOR THE YEAR
STANDARD OF EXCELLENCE
Way to go Cabanatuan Zone! Standard of Excellence is two baptisms per companionship per month. This isn't an easy goal to accomplish but Cabanatuan achieved this in the month of July. Great job Cab missionaries!