After our Mini Mission Reunion, we stayed at the Makati Shangrila for a few days for the Philippines Area Mission Presidents' Seminar. It is nice to have different scenery but the very best part is being with people that we have grown to love. Other Mission President's and spouses will be our forever friends. We don't communicate much during the 6 months we are apart between seminars but we make up for during our three days together. There was a winter wonderland being created at the hotel while we were there. We took advantage for our group pictures there.
Above is our batch - those who came out with us and the Area Presidency and their wives.
There is a special bond that is formed when there are people who do what we do in the mission field day in and day out. We love all of the Mission Presidents and wives in the Philippines. This year ten new Mission Presidents arrived in July. This was our first opportunity to meet them. Looking at them reminded us how we must have looked 2 years ago at this seminar. Deer in the headlights and a wonder of what else will happen and how will we deal with it. The answer is, you just do. We've been given tools and guidance that we've never experienced before. Minute by minute, day by day, we accomplish more than you can imagine. Much of it beyond our own strength, wisdom or stamina. It's all for the greater good. Nothing we have gone through while here compares with the trials and joys that the Savior has gone through. It is because of Him that we can do what we do each day. He is our guide and our hero. Might we say, We LOVE what we do! The good and the difficult. It is refining us, helping us know that we can conquer the challenges....and missionary health care...and counseling with a sad missionary and encounter the joys that are experienced when you see someone join the Church and then 12 months later enter the doors of the temple to make their family eternal. It is all a truly miraculous experience.
We love sharing it with these people!
We love sharing it with these people!
Mission President's and companions from: Olangapo, Davao, Manila, Tacloban, San Pablo, Cebu, Angeles, Quezon City North --- our batch!
Fun facts! The new Mission President in Cauayan, President Hiatt along with Sister Hiatt, are a couple we've heard a lot about. They used to be a senior couple in the Manila Mission. They returned home and a year later were called to serve as a Mission President and companion. We heard of them because the son of our good family friends married their daughter. It was wonderful to meet them. In this picture we are with Elder and Sister Schmutz, the newest counselor in the Area Presidency, and President and Sister Hiatt.
Another dear couple we love is President and Sister Zapanta. President Zapanta used to be the counselor to President Clark in the Angeles Mission. It was a sad day for us when they left but now the Naga Mission reaps the wonderful benefits of having the Zapanta's teach and lead them.
We not only socialize with others, but the bulk of our time at the seminar is spent in training. We are counseled and taught by our Area Presidency with direction from the Missionary Department in Salt Lake.
Sadly Sister Clark didn't get a picture of President Clark teaching a portion of the training. He did a fabulous job and had others asking for more afterward. The piano player above is Elder Crockett. He is our IFR (In-field representative). He is also a remarkably talented musician and worked for years with the Osmonds. Sister Crockett was a back-up singer for the Osmonds once upon a time. She was also a member of the Tabernacle Choir for several years. They are cheerful and delightful to be around.
One morning during each seminar we have break-out sessions. It is one of Sister Clark's favorite parts of the seminar. The wives of the Area Presidency teach and inspire. The theme this year was, "The Errand of Angels."
At one point our area medical advisors spoke to us about such things as dengue fever. That is a phrase we are all too familiar with but must say that this year has been much better since we have done much better intervention with permithrin spraying.
The Seminar was held during Thanksgiving week. Our last evening we had a lovely meal with some turkey and a few potatoes and a lot of Filipino food. The greatest part was the beautiful program. The Crockett's put together a fun and inspiring program for all of us to enjoy. There was caroling as well as special musical numbers by guests. President Bowen shared something he wrote about, "I Believe in Christ - I Am a Christian." It was wonderful. It was the perfect way to really begin our holidays! We leave rejuvenated and very anxious to get back to our missionaries back in Angeles!
And now, behold, I give unto you a commandment, that when ye are assembled together ye shall instruct and edify each other, that ye may know how to act and direct my church, how to act upon the points of my law and commandments, which I have given.