A Picture a Day for a Year - 1st



A PICTURE A DAY!

Day 264 - Tuesday, March 21, 2017
When we were called to serve, both President Clark and I had parents who were aging. Despite our inability to return home if anything happened to our parents, we were given the blessing of each of them to serve for three years in the Philippines.  They didn't want us to be any place else at this time in our lives.  President Clark's mother passed from this earthly life 6 months after we arrived in the Philippines.  How we miss her.  His father is now 95 and being cared for by wonderful siblings who are with him 24/7.  My parents were pretty healthy when we left.  That has changed quite significantly in the past six months.  Every time we call, our parents tell us how grateful they are that we can be in the Philippines serving.  We couldn't do what we do without the assistance of our siblings who are taking a huge roll in their health care.  How grateful we are for our children, grandchildren and especially our siblings who have served our parents.  They have sacrificed greatly by giving up many personal freedoms and convenience to protect, watch-over and love our parents.  Many people compliment us for our service here in the Philippines.  We see the pure love of Christ in those who administer to our aging parents.   

Day 263 - Monday, March 20, 2017
Our office staff heeded the call for a lunch time picnic in the mission office for preparation day (it was too hot to eat outside).  Hotdogs, potato salad, chips then topped off with a cookie. The only thing missing were the pickles.  I think their smiles say it all. 

Day  262 - Sunday, March 19, 2017
President Clark and I enjoyed a beautiful Sabbath day in Dingalan Bay.  Some would say that this little Branch is at the end of the row.  The ocean is just a few kilometers from the doors of this building.  We were truly filled with the Spirit as we sat in sacrament meeting with this little band of saints.  As I stood to share my testimony, I felt an overwhelming love for the beauties of the earth that we traveled through this early morning and the wonderful people that in that meeting.  
Oh how I love the Filipino people and the gospel of Jesus Christ!  
President Pronto has been the Branch President of Dingalan Bay for some time now.  I loved watching as he read all of the important information that needed to be conveyed during the meeting from his agenda book.  What a history there would be combing through the pages of that book.  We love President and Sister Pronto.  Below are some of the sights as we traveled through this beautiful land.





Day 261 - Saturday, March 18, 2017
 Today there was a CCM - Coordinating Council Meeting at the office.  This consists of all Stake and District Presidents and Elder Babida, our Area Seventy.  Today the task was to discuss the new process of obtaining Church buildings.  The FM department had 6 people who presented the information.  It is always good to see our Stake and District Presidents.  
Philippines Angeles Mission Presidency
 President Tabelisma (2nd Counselor), President Clark, President Cruz (1st Counselor) 
Without these wonderful counselors, President Clark could not complete all of the important tasks that go on in a mission.  There are no words to express our gratitude!

Day 260 - Friday, March 17, 2017


  
Today during our Paniqui interviews, I saw a sweet and most tender gesture when I asked these two Elders about their Book of Mormon.  They both removed the books from their bag revealing a cloth wrapping to protect the books.  The Book of Mormon is a priceless book that they do not wish to tarnish.  They recognize the treasure that the Book of Mormon is.  
After each missionary shares a scripture from the Book of Mormon with me, I give them a small, shiny heart.  I tell them it represents two things....I love the scripture they shared and I love them.  I share a heart with the missionaries once or twice a year.  They love collecting their little remembrance of our conversation and love.   

Day 259 - Thursday, March 16, 2017

 Today we had interviews in the Santa Ignacia Zone.  Each week we take one day to visit each house in one appointed zone.  The rest of the interviews are done at the church buildings.  The zone we visited today was a "bukid" area (farming).  The following pictures are a very familiar site as we travel about.  Walking down a path with various animals is never a surprise.  Laundry hangs everywhere.  Our missionaries clean up nicely when they find out that we are visiting.  I always ask if their house always looks like this or if they cleaned especially for us.  A large grin is generally the answer.  Love our missionaries!





Day 258 - Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Today we had interviews in Guimba.  As we drove, the fields of rice are being harvested everywhere!  This allows us to see my favorite animal here in the Philippines, the carabao.  The carabao is like the water buffalo.  It is the Philippines national animal.  It symbolizes strength, power, efficiency, perseverance and most of all, hard-work.  It’s more than just a farmer’s helper in the field.  It is the alternative to a tractor, never complains and is always at the “mercy” of its master.  It is often referred to “beast of burden” and is also the “filipino’s best friend.”  I am fascinated by this gentle giant of the road. Once when we had a typhoon, we heard of two farmers who lost their lives.  They went to help their carabao get to high ground and in the process lost their own lives while their carabao were spared.  They are a very beloved animal and I can definitely see why.  

Day 257 - Tuesday, March 14, 2017

More interviews in San Jose.  I love seeing how the missionary makes their Book of Mormon personal so they can find every needful scripture.  They spend hours and hours studying and researching, marking and defining.  They are pretty amazing!

Day 256 - Monday, March 13, 2017
I love it when our RM's send me Facebook messages with pictures showing that they're all together.  They support each other even after the mission.  Here they all drove to Midway, Utah to see the Whiting's speak for their homecoming.  They continue to be my heroes!  

Day 255 - Sunday, March 12, 2017
 As the sun sets on this beautiful Sabbath day, I am reminded of this quote by Elder Quentin L. Cook, "Keeping the Sabbath Day holy is a refuge from the storms of this life."  We had a beautiful Stake Conference in Angeles Stake.  The music sung by different ward choirs throughout the meeting was inspiring.  The talks reminded us to have gratitude and grow our wards, how we can better ourselves through going to the temple, serving others, studying always the Book of Mormon, having gospel sharing homes, continuing to grow and do better today than yesterday.  Just the boost we all needed to have a great week ahead. It was nice to meet Elder Ferdinand Pangan an Area Seventy.  The Priesthood meeting was held at 8 a.m. Everyone comes together so that means the sisters are able to enjoy the company of one another.  MANY photos are taken.  It was wonderful meeting with the Angeles saints today!
 


Day 254 - Saturday, March 11, 2017
A great day in the mission!
A beautiful sunrise during our morning exercise.
 Zone Interviews
The return of an RM
 The inspiring baptism of Sis. Aira Avenido.  She has been patiently awaiting.

Day 253 - Friday, March 10, 2017


 
Last April we ventured out to find every single house we had missionaries living in.  It was a monumental task but so rewarding.  Since we now do interviews every transfer, we decided to visit homes again but spread it out through 3 transfers.  Therefore, out of 3 zones we interview with in a week, one day is spent in the homes of our missionaries.  Mabalacat zone is the first zone for home visits.  Their homes were mostly clean and they all shared great scriptures from the Book of Mormon.  Sadly I forgot one companionship picture.   

 Day 252 - Thursday, March 9, 2017
Today began a new round of Zone Interviews.  When I visit with the missionaries, I ask them to share a scripture from the Book of Mormon that has touched them in their personal study. One of the missionary's presented this book.  I thought it odd that he had random bandaids decorating his Book of Mormon.  Then I realized this is a perfect pictorial analogy.  The Book of Mormon is here to bind the wounds of the feeble and the weary, heal the sick and afflicted and give comfort to the lost and lonely.  Thank you, Elder Barbiera for providing this imagery.  

Day 251 - Wednesday, March 8, 2017
This is a familiar sight when we walk in the morning. There are individual men with individual brooms that sweep the streets.  They are responsible to clean miles of roads, mostly littered with branches, twigs and leaves.  They start early and sweep well into the heat of the day. They are out almost every day.  We admire their diligence and attitude.  They don't have to do it all at once.  Steady and consistent is their formula for success.  We can all learn from this.  They understand, they don't have to complete the sweeping of every road every day.  In the face of a daunting, seemingly endless task, such as learning a new language or raising a child, patience and perseverance pays.  The scriptural phrase, "steadfast and immovable" comes to mind.  A good lesson for all to learn.



Day 250 - Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Today was Mission Leadership Council.  After the meeting, we were surprised to be greeted by Bro. Yap, a former Angeles Missionary who returned home about 6 months.  Bro. Yap recently returned to our area to start a business and pursue other interests (a girl?).  We are excited to have him back in Angeles and know he'll bring spiritual strength and gospel knowledge to help his new ward.  While we were talking, Bro. Yap was surprised and delighted as Elder Richards (pictured above) approached.  A "father-son" reunion ensued.  Bro. Yap trained Elder Richards.  The two excitedly talked about their mission lineage.  Bro. Yap now has three generations of mission posterity serving well in Angeles mission.  He is a "great-grandfather" in mission language.  A mighty fine picture of missionaries past and present that we love.  

Day 249 - Monday, March 6, 2017
SMILE!  It's a great day to be a missionary!

Day 248 - Sunday, March 5, 2017
Happy Sabbath!
President Russell M. Nelson taught: “I learned from the scriptures that my conduct and my attitude on the Sabbath constituted a sign between me and my Heavenly Father. With that understanding, I no longer needed lists of dos and don’ts. When I had to make a decision whether or not an activity was appropriate for the Sabbath, I simply asked myself, ‘What sign do I want to give to God?’ That question made my choices about the Sabbath day crystal clear.”
Farewell friends and fellow servants.  Travel safely!
"You've.Given.All!"

Day 247 - Saturday, March 4, 2017
"We are so much thankful!"
After Stake Conference in Cabanatuan last Saturday, we were privileged to watch an Area Devotional with Elder and Sister Bednar and Elder and Sister Bowen.  It was very inspiring.  Today on Elder Bednar's facebook page, he shared a phrase that I love in the Philippines. I thought today's picture will be a great reminder to always have gratitude like the faithful and mighty saints of the Philippines. 
Elder Bednar said, "I recently have been blessed to learn from a remarkable group of people who exemplify true humility, gratitude, resiliency, and love of God.  During an assignment in the Philippines, I was uplifted by the spiritual strength of these faithful people—but I was especially touched by a five-word phrase I heard multiple times during my visit: 
“We are so much thankful.”
As I listened to members pray, they expressed heartfelt gratitude, saying, “We are so much thankful that we are safe today” and “We are so much thankful that we are able to attend church.”  Their expressions of gratitude were endearing and genuine. I invite each of us to consider the blessings for which we are “so much thankful” in our own lives and express appreciation to our Father in Heaven in sincere ways—just as I saw and heard from those devoted Saints in the Philippines."

Day 246 - Friday, March 3, 2017
Farewell to Elder & Sister Dansie.  Our hearts are full of gratitude for their mighty works of wonderful service.
We spent the evening with our senior couples as we say farewell to the Whiting's.  The Whiting's came to us at a time when the last of the senior couples we began our mission with were returning home.  How grateful we were for their constant support, valiant service and ability to keep President Clark and me organized every single day.  We will miss them but will share some incredible memories as we served side by side.  As the sun sets on their mission journey, we send our love and appreciation.

Day 245 - Thursday, March 2, 2017

It's transfer day!  Missionaries begin gathering at the mission office early in the morning.  The day before in their district meeting they are informed of transfers.  The possibilities of where they would go are numerous within the 11 zones of the mission.  The missionaries greet each other as they gather with excitement.  Many haven't seen some of their fellow missionaries for months.  Most missionaries travel by bus.  Before they go to the bus station, they travel with their companion and luggage by trike.   The above picture is Brother Ryan.  He is one of the members who comes with his trike and helps wherever needed.  All of the trike drivers in town know when our transfer day is.  Brother Ryan keeps them organized so that everything runs smoothly and the missionaries aren't taken advantage of.  Brother Ryan gives hours and hours of service to our missionaries and others.  He truly is one of our mission angels.

Day 244 - Wednesday, March 1, 2017
We are marching forward with a new transfer.  Six weeks in the mission comes faster and faster.  This is a picture I need to remember...the morning when President calls all of the new trainers, district leaders, zone leaders and sister training leaders.  This always pulls at my heart strings.  Our missionaries answer the phone and willingly accept calls to serve with more responsibility.  They leave the comfort of what they've become used to.  They do so realizing it will take more time but they will grow into the assignment and it will build them into a better leader and missionary.  They do this because they love their Mission President and especially the Lord.  Can I just say how much I love them all for it!  Philippines Angeles Missionary - Where Only the Finest Serve! 

Day 243 - Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Today we said goodbye to our 23rd Batch since arriving on our mission.  They were a great group of eight missionaries.  We hardly knew they were in the house.  We had a great time teaching our final workshop today.  They were so receptive and asked such thoughtful, inspired questions.  One of the hardest parts of the meeting was preparing ourselves to say goodbye to two of our senior couples.  We will be eternally grateful for the Dansie's and Whiting's.  Senior couples are so important in a mission.  Without them, large and small details of a mission go undone.  To all out there who are at the age of retirement....Go On A Mission!  Better yet, sign up to go on a mission to the Philippines.  It will bless your life in ways that you could never imagine. 

Day 242 - Monday, February 27, 2017
And so it begins!  The shift of heavy books and light weight clothes to make luggage weight. Our cute sister from Pakistan had lots of onlookers cheering for her to take her suitcase from 41 kilos to 30 kilos.  Somehow .... she did it!  We all cheered when the scale gave her the reading.  Now lets hope that the airport has the same number on their scales.  

Day 241 - Sunday, February 26, 2017
Sweet Leah!
Two of our returned missionaries (2 years apart).
President Tabuada and the DeGuzman's (Tatay, Nanay, Lola) with President and me.  
This is the adorable Sister Altea (RM) with her good husband and grandmother.  We better not forget this baby.  His name is Clark Aison DeGuzman.  We are so glad that he was able to make a live appearance at Stake Conference. We didn't want to miss seeing this precious mission apo in person.  It is wonderful to see our missionaries marry and begin their multi-generational families.  

Day 240 - Saturday, February 25, 2017

 We were delighted to be able to attend the Cabanatuan Stake Conference.  Because we have 4 Districts and 8 Stakes, we often have conflicts with some of our stakes.  This is a sister who just turned the magic number of 30.  I told her that soon I will be able to double her age.  She is a great example of grand, faithful members!

Day 240 - Friday, February 24, 2017
 Although this is technically one day off, our trainers and trainees do such wonderful things to build the Angeles force.  They are trying to manage as the first transfer after hearing about the new schedule.  They are working in the booklet Adjusting to Missionary Life every.single.day.  That book is heaven sent.  It helps many a homesick missionary!  
We love our trainees and trainers.  

Day 239 - Thursday, February 23, 2017
 I may be biased but I think these are some of the greatest missionaries around!  Today we were able to spend time with trainers and trainees plus district leaders on both sides of our mission.  Whenever we have these meetings, we know that transfers are around the corner. We will have 9 depart next week and 10 new missionaries will arrive.  It's always a bitter/sweet moment in our mission.  

Day 238 - Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Today was a day of interviews in Cabanatuan.  Tomorrow is Trainer/Trainee meeting in Cabanatuan.  We are staying overnight again.  This time no one is sick.  President Clark went to Gapan for meetings and I took the opportunity to dine with the Dansie's before they go home.  They've given us some great months working, teaching and loving the missionaries and members of Cabanatuan and Bongabon.  They know the best dining spots.  A little unassuming Bistro had great food and a fun outdoors atmosphere.  We will miss you Dansie's!

Day 237 - Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Love letters from our little grands?!!!  Love them!

Day 236 - Monday, February 20, 2017
 It was a Family Home Evening Monday at the Mission Home!  We love it when music and laughter of little children fill the walls of the home.  Tonight we had 30 or so guests.  Tarlac Ward 5 Sisters Driggs and Patac have had lots of teaching and baptizing lately.  One of the families that attended were at the very first FHE we hosted.  They are still attending but now they are bringing two different families close to the waters of baptism.  They will be going to the temple in a couple of months.  No FHE would be complete without cookies!  It was a successful night indeed.  


Day 235 - Sunday, February 19, 2017
It was our pleasure today to be with Elder and Sister Tobias.  He is the Seventy that presided over the Guimba District Conference today.  We have worked with them before and enjoy the great spirit that they carry with them.  They served as Mission President and companion in the Bacolod Mission until 2013.  They had a four-year-old son and other children with them when they served.  We both marvel that we have each been the caretaker for over 600 missionaries without help of a registered nurse. The only way this can happen is through divine help and fervent prayers on our behalf. (Also advice from good Elders (doctors) that we can chat with in Manila.)
Elder Tobias and Guimba District Presidency

Day 234 - Saturday, February 18, 2017
This may seem like an unusual picture for the day.  There is a great story behind it.  We were able to attend the Tarlac Stake Conference on Saturday evening.  We love doing this because it is the Stake where we live.  Although we had a district conference at the same time in another part of the mission, we were able to split our time because they both had Seventy's presiding.  We were singing the opening song and the power went out.  This wonderful group of saints did not skip a note or volume while singing.  It is one of the charming traits of a Filipino.  You carry on come what may.  Everyone stayed in their seats while some of the brothers went out to turn the generator on.  We sang hymns while waiting and the power came on, partially.  There was enough for lights but not aircon.  The meeting went on and we loved the talks, the music by the choir and the overall feeling.  It is definitely another snapshot that will go in my memory bank.

Day 233 - Friday, February 17, 2017
Our senior couples ventured to the historic island of Corregidor for a preparation day activity.  Corregidor is a small rocky island in the Philippines about 48 kilometers west of Manila.  It is strategically located at the entrance of Manila Bay.  This island fortress stands as a memorial for the courage, valor and heroism of its Filipino and American defenders who bravely held their ground against the overwhelming number of invading Japanese forces during World War II.  We love seeing our senior couples enjoying one another's company.  They work so hard for our missionaries and members.  

Day 232 - Thursday, February 16, 2017
Today was another great day of meeting with missionaries in the Santa Ignacia zone.  This Elder and I were talking about the CLS program (Companionship Language Studies).  Our native missionaries benefit and are challenged to study English daily during their language studies.  This will benefit them not only on their mission, but throughout their lives.  Our missionaries are truly "biyaya para sa akin!" (blessings for me).

Day 231 - Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Today we were able to spend time with these great Elders from the Bongabon zone.  We are missing one of the elders but his companion left room to photo shop him in.  Interviews keep us in the car driving but the fruits of being with each missionary is priceless!

Day 230 - Tuesday, February 14, 2017
Happy Valentines Day!  It's always nice to receive surprise messages from missionaries current and past throughout the day.  It's all about love!  Today we enjoyed a few hours to explore the history of this great land we live in.  During World War II, the Philippines had many historical events that took place in areas throughout our mission.  Most people have heard of the Bataan Death March.  The march ended here in our mission. There are shrines that memorialize these important events in history.  We have tried to travel to these areas before but something always came up.  Today we made it!  It was a very spiritual and moving experience as we saw, "The Wall of Heroes" dedicated to Filipinos and American brave men and women who, in defense of the Philippines in various places in the islands, died in battle or while in captivity.  We also saw many other markers that reminded us that freedom is not free from sacrifice.  President Clark's father served in Leyte, Philippines during World War II.  Many of our missionaries are from Leyte.  That is located in the boundaries of Tacloban Mission.  We are not the first Clark's from our family to serve in this beautiful land. Below are are photos of some of the memorials at the Capas National Shrine.


  



Day 229 - Monday, February 13, 2017
Today is a great day!  President Clark and I celebrate 36 glorious years of marriage.  We were married on Friday the 13th.  We were the 13th couple to get married in the Salt Lake Temple that day.  We were married in sealing room 13.  By all standards, that makes us one very lucky couple.  We have experienced so much during those years.  I must say that never have we seen so much of one another or learned more from one another than this time we've been in the Philippines. And we love it!  Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined marrying someone with such wisdom and goodness, honors his Priesthood, loves his family and his missionaries and me.  It's a match made in heaven!  

Day 228 - Sunday, February 12, 2017
This is our theme poster for the year.  We study consecration and seek to make it a standard of our work.  It seems an appropriate picture to post on Sunday as we renew our covenants with the sacrament.  Have a great Sabbath!  #Hisday

Day 227 - Saturday, February 11, 2017
No one ever anticipates being sick.  Especially when you are staying in a hotel and you're supposed to travel a windy, mountainous road early the next morning.  Somehow a flu virus infected one third of our mission within a 24 hour period.  It is a mystery that only Dr. House could figure out.  President Clark had to leave me at the hotel while he went to Baler for a District Conference.  He wasn't feeling very well either but went ahead to Baler.  It gave me time to reflect on the blessings of good health and modern medicine in the Harvest Hotel located in Cabanatuan alone.  (Alone is a relative term.  Texts and phone calls from sick missionaries poured in to break up my solitude throughout the day).  By evening, most of our missionaries were feeling better.  

Day 226 - Friday, February 10, 2017
 This is our third and final Zone Conference this transfer.  It was located in Muñoz.  The zones of Guimba, Paniqui and San Jose attended.  This is a picture that warms my heart. There are many missionary moms that do so much for all of the missionaries in the Philippines.  We received a box after Christmas that had Plan of Salvation kits in Tagalog.  Each kit came in a baggie.  Our missionaries teach the Plan of Salvation often.  They were so gleeful when I told them what the contents were.  Many said that they were thinking of drawing it out themselves.  Instead they have a durable, laminated set that all who speak Tagalog can understand and enjoy. Thank you missionary moms for a gift that keeps on giving!  We are grateful!

Day 225 - Thursday, February 9, 2017
 Yesterday we began with a sunrise, today it's a sunset.  We've had two great Zone Conferences with one left to go tomorrow.  The sun is setting over the Angeles Mission and our valiant missionaries.  With each passing day we are more and more grateful.  

 Yesterday Elder and Sister Richards arrived!  President Clark and I were traveling until late so tonight we made up for not being here.  We had them, some of our senior couples and Mila and Gus Lacinlale over to the mission home for dinner.  We will be forever grateful that we have an office couple to seamlessly take care of our office needs once Elder and Sister Whiting return home.  
 Tarlac Zone Conference Outtake.  I promise I'll put the better pics in a different post next week.  Tomorrow we go to Muñoz for Zone Conference.  


Day 224 - Wednesday, February 8, 2017

This is the view from our car as we traveled to our first of three Zone Conferences this morning.  No doubt it would be a warm day.  By noon, in Cabanatuan, the real feel weather was 100 degrees.  Here you see 50 people searching for shade before group photos. Despite the hot weather outside, the chapel was a comfortable sanctuary for the Spirit and our missionaries.  It was a great day to be in Cabanatuan! 


 Day 223 - Tuesday, February 7, 2017
There is a hustle and bustle about the office as we prepare for Zone Conferences.  
Here the birthday bags are being prepared.  
We can't wait to see some of our missionaries tomorrow!  
Anxiously awaiting the next 3 days!

Day 222 - Monday, February 6, 2017
  


           Elder Apolinario (office) & Elder Bleazard (asst.) Elder Swaney (office) & Elder Sabangan (asst.)

Every time one of our office staff changes, the Elders march over to the local print shop to get a hot off the press photo.  They get a serious picture for posting on the board.  We throw a lot of difficult situations their way but they are always very happy to serve.  

Day 221 - Sunday, February 5, 2017
It has been a wonderful and reflective Sabbath today.  I loved hearing the testimonies of many in Tarlac Ward 5.  The leaders announced that everyone must keep their testimonies to 3 minutes but there is so much to share.  Just when you think it is time to finish the meeting, a few more rush up to proclaim their thoughts and feelings.  While it's mostly shared in Tagalog, I love the passion of each member who stands to testify truth.  Then there are two darling children sitting near me who took a while to warm up to the woman with white skin and white hair (and finger puppets).  Eventually we made it there.  We sing a closing song that I've come to love while in the Philippines, "I Have Work Enough to Do, E're the Sun Goes Down." Soaking in every moment of the day, including those that build character through hard work and difficult situations.  This is what I've known for 2 1/2 years.  This is what I love.  So today there are more snapshots for my memory bank that will continue to build before our journey in the Philippines is through.  
This quote by President Uchtdorf seems be apropos right now:  

"This race of discipleship is not a sprint; it's a marathon.
As long as we continue to rise up and move toward our Savior,
we win the race with our torches burning brightly.
For the torch is not about us or about what we do.
It's about the Savior of the world."
Happy Sabbath #Hisday

Day 220 - Saturday, February 4, 2017
This is a quote that went in my article for Ang Tinig on Monday.  We are learning how to be consecrated missionaries.  Thought provoking statements like this lead our missionaries to assess their own personal level of consecration.  

Day 219 - Friday, February 3, 2017
Our travels for interviews have taken us across the island this week.  Tonight we stayed in San Jose Nueva Ecija so that we could interview our missionaries tomorrow.  We took advantage of the occasion by having our complete mission presidency join us for dinner. Since Elder and Sister Spung were close by we were so pleased they could join us. President Cruz (left) and President Tabelisma (right) help President Clark more than you can imagine.  We dined at the "Farmhouse Restaurant" in San Jose.  As you can see, the food was good but the company was the best.  We surely love all of the people around this table! 

Day 218 - Thursday, February 2, 2017
Tonight we visited these two valiant sisters in the Capas ward.  The sisters are pictured with their Ninety Day Vision planning board.  These sisters just came to this ward and soon the board will be populated with perspective members out into the month of May.  They are both courageous, kind, very diligent and fulfilling their purpose as missionaries.  We had a delightful visit and look forward to great things coming from Capas.  We love and appreciate these sisters!

Day 217 - Wednesday, February 1, 2017
Tonight President Clark and I had a special treat.  We were asked to speak to LDSSA college students from Tarlac Agricultural University.  The requested topic was Mission, Education and Marriage.  They were a great and attentive group of Latter-day Saint students plus three friends.  We spent two hours together talking about some of the most important decisions they will make in their young lifetimes.  Dunkin Donuts was a nice addition to the event.   

Day 216 - Tuesday, January 31, 2017
Today another great Missionary Leadership Counsel took place.  Our focus was the World Wide Broadcast we received January 25th.  Our leaders are now ready to sprint back to their zones and begin teaching what they learned.  Our hearts melt when our missionaries grace us with their presence in the mission home.  While this isn't a complete group, I caught a few of our leaders right before leaving in jeepneys and cars to go home.  

Day 215 - Monday, January 30, 2017
A missionary schedule is a BIG deal!  The missionary schedule has just gone through a pretty amazing shift.  It is no longer a "one size schedule fits all."  The schedule has main components but now the missionary companionship gets to make decisions on when the components will take place in a day.  It is quite exciting....and scary at the same time.  The General Missionary Committee saw this change as a great way to do a few things:  1.  "It gives the missionaries and MP the latitude to make the necessary decisions and adjustments in the daily work of the missionary."  Elder Oaks  2.  It allows the missionaries to exercise their agency to determine how to best use their time.  It shows that the Lord trusts missionaries to use their time wisely.  3.  It promotes healthier lifestyle choices for sleep and diet.  4.  It provides for more flexibility and additional time on Preparation Day for laundry, shopping, emailing, exercising and participating in recreational activities.  5.  It will allow missionaries after their mission to make a smooth transition into their life and have that same flexibility as they continue to pray, read their scriptures and to remain close to the Lord in their life.  So here's to implementing this great change in our mission!  

Day 214 - Sunday, January 29, 2017
Today was the Sunday session of Bongabon District Conference.  Some of the members travel for many miles to attend the meetings.  Because of that, the members take advantage and have Presidency meetings and District Auxiliary meetings after the meetings.  Many also bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the company of fellow saints.  Physical nourishment after spiritual.  They were a wonderful group to be associated with today.



Day 213 - Saturday, January 28, 2017
I sat in the hall with this cute sister in Bongabon.  We were waiting for the adult session to begin for the  District Conference.  It was fascinating to speak with her.  She has been working abroad for many, many years.  Her husband and two children remained in the Phililppines.  She is grateful to now live full-time in the Philippines again.

Day 212 - Friday, January 27, 2017
This picture was taken a week ago when Sister Oscarson and her husband visited.  Our assistants and office elders were ever present during their visit, meeting every need and request of our visitors.  Their reward was a photo with a Church dignitary.  They were thrilled.  The Ocscarson's and Bingham's were so gracious and attentive to the young missionaries - it was beautiful to watch.  The elders were delighted to serve every way they could.  

Day 211 - Thursday, January 26, 2017
            This set up was done by one Zone Leader.  Note the flowers!
Last month we received direction from the Missionary Department that we will now conduct both Zone Conferences and Missionary Interviews every transfer (every 6 weeks).  This used to be the 'norm' before the "wave" of 18-year-old missionaries drove missionary numbers in some missions beyond the 250 mark (including ours).  When we first arrived, we had Zone Conference once per quarter (3 months) and missionary interviews each quarter. Now that our numbers are down to 200 or so, we have gone back to Zone Conference and missionary interviews each transfer. I wondered how we could do it all and would the missionaries get tired of seeing us so often.  It has actually become a real blessing.  We are able to follow-up face to face on things that we discussed the interview before.  While it's a quickened pace and our travel times have increased, we love the chance to be with our missionaries!  

Day 210 - Wednesday, January 25, 2017
It's that time....time to plan for a great reunion with our returned missionaries.  It's rare that we can invite all of our Filipino RM's back to Tarlac.  We've planned a special event including social, spiritual and service elements.  Once an Angeles Missionary always an Angeles Missionary.  We hope many will be able to join us for our reunion.  

Day 209 - Tuesday, January 24, 2017
It's always great when we are able to see Elder and Sister Haynie.  They traveled with our visitors this past weekend.  We value so many friendships that have been made as we serve in the Philippines.  

Day 208 - Monday, January 23, 2017
This is one of those pictures that you just have to take.  It makes me smile.  

Day 207 - Sunday, January 22, 2017
 
Sunday was certainly a highlight for the Clark's.  We met the Bingham's at the hotel and rode to one of the ward in the Mabalacat Stake. There was quite a greeting committee as we arrived at Pandan Ward.  The building sparkled and so did the members.  The children peered around corners to get a glimpse of the visitors.  We shared a lovely sacrament meeting where all three speakers spoke in mostly English so the visitors could understand.  This was a real treat for us as well.  The Bingham's taught a wonderful lesson on prophets for Sunday School.  Together with Sister Bingham I then had a great treat....Primary!  The children were so reverent as they went through their sharing time.  They read scriptures, had a lesson and sang the songs with heart and might.  Sister Bingham then did a little activity in sign language that helps us remember we want to live with our Father above.  
It was a day to remember!




Day 206 - Saturday, January 21, 2017
                                                                                                                                                Photo Credit:  Sister Whiting
There are many pictures that were taken today but this one neared the end. This was called the "hug and picture time."  Sister Bonnie Oscarson and Sister Jean Bingham shared some fabulous talks and testimonies with the sisters of many of our stakes and districts.  The morning began with focus groups (one for leaders and one for parents of Primary or Young Women).  Next was a general leadership training.  Finally there was a devotional for sisters age 8 to old.  Not only was the chapel and culture full to capacity but each of the large rooms had TV monitors for an over-flow.  Each room was filled to the brim.  The messages reminded us of our worth and identity.  They were inspiring and appreciated.  The memories will linger not just today but always.      

Day 205 - Friday, January 20, 2017
We were honored to serve lunch to Sister Bonnie Oscarson, Sister Debra Haynie and Sister Jean Bingham and their husbands.  Sister Oscarson and Sister Bingham are here to train and serve.  First stop... sister leaders in our mission area.  They stopped at the mission home for lunch on the way.  They will then do some home visits and teach a seminary class. Tomorrow will be focus groups, training and sisters devotional.  What a treat it is for all of us in the Philippines. 

Day 204 - Thursday, January 19, 2017

It's transfer day!  Our trainers match with their trainees.  They get to know each other through lunch then they are off.  Our trikes drivers love being able to assist them with all of their heavy bags.  Every trike driver in Tarlac knows the day of transfers.  Enjoy the journey dear trainees!  We are grateful you have joined us.

 




Day 203 - Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Here are our newest missionaries!  Three sisters will have a short-term stay while they wait for visa's to south america.  The others come to us from all over the world.  We are grateful that they have landed in our mission!  

Day 202 - Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Our 22nd Batch of missionaries are on their way home.  Most of them will stay in Manila tonight and be on planes by morning.  God be with you dear missionaries until we meet again.

Day 201 - Monday, January 16, 2017
 These beaming missionaries have just completed their final workshop by Elder and Sister Whiting.  It is a career workshop with a lot of great self-reliance information taught as well.  This is the final group that will have this training.  Next transfer (we think) we'll have a much different process for returning home.  The departing missionaries will extend their return dates by two days.  There will be "My Plan" training given.  The training will also include a session at the temple.  It is a new process that we still aren't familiar with but it will be very exciting.  Anything that will assist our missionaries to transition from mission back to real life makes us happy.  We can't wait to see how it all works out.  These missionaries will soon be returning home.  
Last Saturday night I received this picture on Facebook messenger.  These cute RM's are all at BYU-I.  They all congregated to have a mini reunion.  Bro. Lance prepared some delicious chicken adobo. As you can see, they all had a great time.  BTW, not all of these RM's knew each other.  Finding the other Angeles RM's was not tough.  They all became instant friends. I guess it goes to show, once an Angeles Missionary, always an Angeles Missionary.  


Day 200 - Sunday, January 15, 2017
Once an Angeles Missionary, always an Angeles Missionary!

I love that day 200 is on a Sabbath.  Another beautiful Sabbath day.  This one was filled with missionary talks and a departing missionary's testimony.  It helps me understand that after one's mission you take all of the experiences and friendships in your heart.  Better than all of that are the powerful testimonies our missionaries take with them as they return home. Their personal relationship with the Savior will be paramount in their lives now and always!  #Hisday

Day 199 - Saturday, January 14, 2017


Today the sisters in Tarlac Ward 5 had a baptism.  The baptism is for one of the sons in the family.  They have been in our home a couple of times for Family Home Evenings.  Harold is 16 and has some special challenges.  He can not hear or talk.  His other family members who are eligible have been baptized.  The family would love to go to the temple in one year.  The baptism of Harold will assist this goal to come to pass.  There was a wonderful spirit at the baptism.  The sisters learned how to sing and sign, "As I Have Loved You."  Congratulations on your baptism, Harold!  

Day 198 - Friday, January 13, 2017
Philippines Area
Mission
Current President
New President
Philippines Angeles
Scott B. Clark
Robert C. Johnson
Philippines Cebu
Terry C. McCurdy
Abenir V. Pajaro
Philippines Davao
Efren M. Lamoglia
Pedro U. Adduru
Philippines Manila
Creg D. Ostler
Michael J. Fermanis
Philippines Olongapo
Dennis V. Dahle
Ruel E. Lacanienta
Philippines Quezon City North
Kim C. Bertin
Stewart F. Hughes
Philippines San Pablo
Bart A. Mangum
Douglas K. Davies
Philippines Tacloban
Wayne E. Maurer
Eduardo M. Argana
The Church has made it official today.  Our replacements have been named and will take over leadership of the Angeles Mission on July 1st.  We are now becoming acquainted with Bro. and Sis. Johnson and look forward to a great transition together.  We are certain they will be the ideal President and companion for Angeles missionaries in the years to come. We also know the new Presidents called for Cebu, Olongapo and Davao Missions.  We have worked with each of them during our service here in the Philippines.  Each of these missions will be richly blessed by their service.    

Day 197 - Thursday, January 12, 2017
Trainer/Trainee Meeting - Cabanatuan Side
Trainer/Trainee Meeting - Tarlac Side

Just look at these wonderful missionaries!  It is no wonder we've had a superb day training.  It's hard to believe it has been 5 weeks since we said hello to our newest missionaries.  Next week we'll get a new batch.  This batch was well represented today.  They are a great batch who has had a really good beginning.  We pray for their continued success. 
 District Leader Meeting - Cabanatuan Side
 
 District Leader Meeting - Tarlac Side

Our District leaders came armed to learn how to become better missionaries as they assist other missionaries in their districts.  It is always pure joy to see them.  Just look at these smiles.  You can see why we love them so.   

Day 196 - Wednesday, January 11, 2017
The mission  home is getting a face lift.  We will be receiving some special guests from Salt Lake next week.  There is always an element of excitement when this happens.  Leaders from the Church women's auxiliary will be visiting us with their husbands.  Transfers and guests in one week.  It will be monumental.  (Yes...the wreath will be removed before their visit).  

Day 195 - Tuesday, January 10, 2017
I grew up in a home where the wishbone of a chicken or turkey was a sought after item.  The wishbone is dried and then held between the little fingers of two opposing "wishers". Once the wishes have been made the bone is pulled by each person. The wisher who breaks off a larger section of bone is thought to have their wish granted.  We had some house guests who had never heard of this wishbone lucky charm before.  I dried the wishbone and in the morning they tried their luck at the wishbone.  They seemed to enjoy this good luck tradition. 

Day 194 - Monday, January 9, 2017
The "ber" months ended with a celebration of Christmas.  Now that summer is close it's time for "Fiesta or Festival."  It is always colorful, accompanied by happy music, fun-activities and sports, feasting and Roman Catholic ritual.  Each Province, city and barangay celebrate their own festival as part of remembering and honoring saints who lived long ago.  There are times when we drive through different barangay's and a rope blocks the way.  The citizens of that barangay petition you for money in order to allow you to drive by.  It helps them to pay for the celebration.  We travel a lot so it's not uncommon to stop 3 or 4 times along the way.   Party on in the Philippines!


Day 193 - Sunday, January 8, 2017
This was a nice Christmas gift from Elder and Sister Spung.  It is prominently displayed in the mission home.  This is a reminder what missions are meant to be.  Our senior couples make it much easier for us to find joy in the journey.  The added bonus is that our young Elders and Sisters love them as well.  

Day 192 - Saturday, January 7, 2017

Last November I took a picture of beginnings of the house across the street.  Below is what it looks like 2 months later.  They have very few power tools and no heavy equipment is used on site.  This labor intensive work in progress is slow but steady with about 10 men laboring each day.  We expect that the house will be completed in July or August.  


Day 191 - Friday, January 6, 2017
He did it!  For awhile we wondered if Elder Spung would be able to continue driving.  There were a few bumps along the way but in the end, he was able to obtain a student permit.  We decided to celebrate with dinner at a Chinese restaurant.  The good news....Sister Spung received her Philippines drivers license right away.  Now we need to convince her, the streets of Nueva Ecija are meant for her.  Elder Spung will continue to drive under his student permit so long as he is with Sister Spung.  It's a nice student-mentor relationship.  
Patiently waiting.

Day 190 - Thursday, January 5, 2017


Our missionaries have embraced the study of the Savior through reading the Book of Mormon.  They are marking their books by identifying all references to Jesus Christ.  As I go around the mission to zone interviews, they share insights with me.  They continue to be my heroes.

Day 189 - Wednesday, January 4, 2017
Yesterday we had our month Mission Leadership Council.  It was glorious!  The Spirit was powerful and taught many things that weren't spoken.  President Clark talked about our theme for 2017, "The Consecrated Missionary!"  Our missionaries are excited to improve their commitment and dedication.

Day 188 - Tuesday, January 3, 2017
This was Sadie and Alivia 5 years ago.  These two spunky granddaughters have a special bond.  You see, they are sisters sharing the same birthday four years apart.  I worried about how they might feel as they got older and had to share the spotlight.  So far, they are champs.  Sisters arm in arm!  They are strong, individual and talented girls.  When they walk into a room, they both command it in their own way. They don't always agree but still find it in their hearts to compromise and respect each other...eventually.  Happy, happy 9th and 5th birthday Sadie and Alivia!  We sure love you! 

Day 187 - Monday, January 2, 2017
This is an important piece of equipment in our home.  It allows us to communicate with loved ones, update important reports and feel connected with the world.  All green lights haven't been go for some time now.  Today we got an internet makeover.  A new box that hopefully will last for some time.  It makes us appreciate those things that we often take for granted.  

Day 186 - Sunday, January 1, 2017
Happy New Year!  Yesterday we were in Baler.  We drove over and drove back in one day. We knew that New Year's Eve would be wild and we wanted to spend it safely at home. One of the meetings that took place in Baler is for District and Branch Presidents.  One President that attended came to tell me he and his wife got a job and are moving to Manila.  He thanked me for some help we gladly offered some time ago.  With eyes glistening and a tug at my heart, we shook hands and he left.  I'm not sure I'll ever see him again.  I had the presence of mind to quickly take a picture.  I think that this picture is reflective of the year past.  2016 was a great year.  It was a year of challenge, peace and wonderful opportunity. We say goodbye but not without having knowledge of all the good that happened, the relationships formed, the family that grew.  We look forward to 2017.  I have a great feeling that it will also be a fabulous year.  We have our health, our religion, our missionaries and our Savior.  A very good year ahead indeed.    

Day 185 - Saturday, December 31, 2016
We received one of the best gifts available! The gift of another grandchild.  You can see the admiration and love these little boys already have for their baby sister.  Quinn Marie Clark entered this wonderful world on December 30th.  Because I'm in the Philippines it was the 31st here.  We are surely delighted that she is here safe and healthy.  Both of her grandparents are in the Philippines.  Quinn's dad is our son.  Quinn's mom is Elder and Sister Spung's daughter.  They are serving as a senior couple in our mission.  You can only imagine the angst we gramma's had at not being able to help.  Luckily Lesley's sister is there assisting.  When she goes home, another sister will come help.  And that is exactly as it should be.  Family is a beautiful thing --- we are grateful for all of ours!  Welcome to our world beautiful little Quinn.  Already we love you so much!


Day 184 - Friday, December 30, 2016
 The year is nearly over.  Our tree is down and the decorations stored away.  We are ready for 2017!  Before we move to January, I wanted to document a few nativities I've not shown yet.  I wasn't able to get as many pictures as I wanted.  The traffic doesn't allow us to properly document.   President and I drive separate cars most days that doesn't allow for better photo opportunities.  The nativity above is one down the street from the mission office in front of a park.    
 This is a nativity that is on the roof of the medical center near our office.  
Simple and colorful.
 The shopping center closest to our home is the stage for this ivory nativity.  
 I was able to snap these on the way home from Camiling District Conference.  They are located in different areas in Santa Ignacia.

This was the scene in front of Magic Mall.
 
Up near Central Luzon Hospital is a story book all about, The Holy Night."
This was the grand prize winner.  I've posted it before but just heard that President Duterte himself awarded the certificate to the military base off of MacArthur.  I have loved driving by the nativities.  It will remind me in the future of what a great, Christian culture that exists in the Philippines.  

Luke 2:6-7
"And so it was that ... the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn." 

Day 183 - Thursday, December 29, 2016
Lack of internet brought a tender mercy in the form of 3 brothers who used to be Angeles Missionaries and a sister.  I stayed at the mission home awaiting PLDT to send some technicians out to check on the internet.  The doorbell rang and I saw these four standing there.  I thought that PLDT did not want to hear from me anymore so they sent out the troops.  That's when I found out that the brothers used to be Angeles Elders back in the day of President Puzey and President Martino.  It was fun to meet them and hear about their mission service.  Most of them hadn't seen the new mission home before so they were excited to do that.  It truly confirms the fact that once an Angeles Missionary always an Angeles Missionary!


Day 182 - Wednesday, December 28, 2016

















The lack of internet is putting a crimp in the daily picture a day posting but I am trying be patient and hope better for the new year. Today is our cute Jackson's birthday.  Jackson was born 6 months before we came to the Philippines.  President Clark and I had just found out where we would be serving on our mission.  I loved being able to be with this sweet boy as much as possible after he was born.  I knew it would be a long time before I'd be able to squeeze him again.  One of the members of the Cabanatuan Stake drew this picture of me with Jackson after I was here a year.  It was a tender and appreciated gift.  I have it on my dresser everyday so I can remember that precious time with Jack.  Today he celebrates his 3rd birthday.   It won't be very long before we can reacquaint ourselves and I can smother him in gramma love.  Happy Birthday sweet boy!  

Day 181 - Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Today was a historic day!  I was able to go to the dentist for the first time in 2 1/2 years. Elder Stewart sold his practice in Los Angeles.  He and Sister Stewart flew to Philippines to serve a medical service mission.  She became his dental assistant.  There is such a need for dental care among missionaries in the Philippines. The Stewart's are assigned to evaluate and treat every missionary who comes to the MTC.  Their schedule is full and they work very long hours.  Their dental office has state of the art dental equipment donated by generous sponsors.  During their mission they will bless the lives of thousands of missionaries, both young and old.  THANK YOU, Elder and Sister Stewart!  

Day 180 - Monday, December 26, 2016

Picture without ornaments blocking Sister Pugh's face.
They loved exchanging gifts!

We celebrated Christmas a day late with our senior couples.  We took a few days to recover from the rigors of Zone Conference last week.  Our senior couples ran the Christmas workshops.  They provided some mission appropriate recreation - very welcome at this time of year.  We exchanged some fun gifts, enjoyed great humor and great company.  We were joined by our neighbors, the Lacinlale's, who just arrived home from America and added great joy to the gathering.  As always, many thanks to Sister Lopez for a wonderful meal.  

Day 179 - Sunday, December 25, 2016
Have a "Shock and Awesome" Christmas this year.  #LighttheWorld!!!

Day 178 - Saturday, December 24, 2016
Day 2 of Christmas Zone Conferences - Tarlac Side:  Angeles, Camiling, Mabalacat, Paniqui, Santa Ignacia & Tarlac.  A great time was had by all.  On Christmas eve we ask all missionaries to stay in after 7 p.m.  Tomorrow they will go to one hour of Church services. Just to bring a little excitement to Christmas Day, it looks like Typhoon Nina is going to move swiftly across the Philippines.  The projections say that the typhoon will be going south of us but we will prepare are missionaries in any event to keep them safe.  When you are on a mission, Christmas isn't like a typical holiday.  A mission Christmas is a time to look outward and serve others.  They are a unique and memorable experience.    

Day 177 - Friday, December 23, 2016

Christmas Zone Conference Day 1 - Cabanatuan Side with the Bongalar, Cabanatuan, Gapan, Guimba and San Jose Zones.  It was a GREAT day of learning and celebration!

Day 176 - Thursday, December 22, 2016

Clean copies of the Book of Mormon, a new marking pencil and a bookmark will be gifted to each missionary.  We are excited to read and mark this Miraculous Miracle then gather in 3 months time to share insights and inspiration.  
 We're making our list and checking it twice.  It's organized chaos at it's finest.  All boxed up and ready to be distributed to excited missionaries after our conference.  

Day 175 - Wednesday, December 21, 2016
 Preparations for Christmas Zone Conference are pretty intense.  No matter how early we start preparing, the last few days become very long and demanding.  Days are long and rest is short.  All of that being said, it is all worth it to serve our missionaries providing a rich in-field Christmas experience. The rewards are great for the work required. We don't know what we'd do without our Elders who work alongside us in the office. The box from America arrived with enough socks to gift to our Elders.  I have personally seen some of the socks that they wear.  A new pair of socks will be very much appreciated!  
  
Day 174 - Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Today President Clark and I were invited to meet with the Muñoz Branch 2 for a Christmas Devotional.  We decided that since Christmas has so many beautiful songs we would perform a do it yourself devotional.  President Clark explained how in Chicago they have the "Do It Yourself Messiah" each year.  Instead of doing the Messiah, we would be singing other beloved songs, all together.  President and I added some narration to the program. Our missionaries were also there sang a few solos along the way.  The members turned out in great number and did a heart felt job with their "Do It Youself Christmas Devotional."  In fact, it turned out much better than we deserved it to.  A bonus was being able to see one of our returned missionaries, Bro. Surio, his mom and girlfriend.  Although it is a most busy week, we were grateful for the opportunity to share together the Spirit of Christmas.  


Some of our missionaries with our Guimba Zone senior couple, the Spung's.  They were a fabulous addition to our "Do It Yourself Christmas Devotional!"  Maligayang Pasko!

Day 173 - Monday, December 19, 2016
Despite our bad run with the internet lately, I received a picture on messenger.  It was a picture of two of our great Angeles Sister RM's.  The one on the left, Sister Hansen just went home 2 weeks ago.  On the right is Sister Knudsen (soon to be married).  I love that they can share the title of Angeles RM.  We also had a visit with one of our great Elders.  Bro. Brandon Sorilla was in the area and stopped by as well.  We loved catching up with him. 
We are Angeles Family!

Day 172 - Sunday, December 18, 2016
 
Today was a great day in the Angeles Mission and Camiling District.  Two districts were combined to make one.  It won't be long until the large district becomes a stake.  Elder Babida of the Seventy and President Clark went through the sacred process of interviewing and receiving direction in selecting a new District President.  It was a very inspiring process. The Lord's will was manifest clearly through the course of the conference.  
Left to right:  Elder Babida, 1st Counselor, President, Second Counselor, President Clark accompanied by spouses
Day 171 - Saturday, December 17, 2016
Today the official process of merging two member districts into one district in Camiling begins.  For my talk, I will share with them a term well known in the Philippines.  It is "Bayanihan."  The term refers to a spirit of unity.  The original concept came into existence as members of a community unified to transport a house from one location to another.  The process involves the literal carrying the house to its new location.  This is done by everyone standing close in a unified manner then lifting the whole house off the ground and carrying it to its new destination.  They are "lifting where they stand."  We are sure the saints in Camiling will all stand close together and lift this new district to greater heights.  After all, this is the work of the Lord.   

Day 170 - Friday, December 16, 2016
Christmas is upon us and Sister Whiting and I don't know the ins and outs of clothing shopping areas as well as the sister missionaries do!  We took each other for a round-about ride of misdirection, wrong way roads and yet an overall successful time of finding just the right items to bring Christmas joy. Thanks sisters for taking time to assist us today!  Mahal kayo namin!


We live in the boundaries of Tarlac Ward 5.  We aren't often able to attend there because of other commitments but we were happy to go to their Ward Christmas Party.  It was fun to watch groups of all ages participate in games.  The food was great and the company was very kind to the old people in the group.  They did a great job of organizing so that all ages had something that they were interested in doing.  I'm sure there were many adults that slept soundly after that production.  Great job, Tarlac Ward 5! 

Day 169 - Thursday, December 15, 2016
Jesus worshipped through song and so can you!  Last year the Church gave many people an opportunity to participate in the virtual Hallelujah chorus.  It was amazing.  The only thing better would have been to be in the Tabernacle to hear the volume and grandness of the music as it was recorded.  We worship Him and he showed us how.  Go to the link to be inspired with musical grandeur.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akb0kD7EHIk
Our missionaries are practicing for our Christmas Conference where they will sing praises of the Savior.  It will be the perfect way to celebrate Him!
#LighttheWorld

Day 168 - Wednesday, December 14, 2016
 This is our neighbor.  Four months of the year it belches out the leftovers of refined sugarcane.  The Philippines is a beautiful country with beautiful people.  We embrace it all.

Day 167 - Tuesday, December 13, 2016
This is our newest group of Sister Training Leaders.  They are beautiful and capable sisters who train, encourage and support other sisters missionaries.  They are true leaders in our mission.  They are also some of the finest proselyting missionaries we have.  Four of them are brand new.  They go about doing good!  

Day 166 - Monday, December 12, 2016
It's catch up time as we celebrate our favorite new four year old, Kai.  He is a creative, energetic and a playful lover of trucks (especially trash trucks).  He is a protective big brother to his younger siblings.  He loves going to preschool and being around good friends.  He is always ready for an adventure.  I don't think the apple falls too far from the tree on that one.  Grandpa and I can't wait until we can go with Kai on a bike ride, a hike up the canyon or go out for an ice cream cone. We love and miss you Kai guy!

Day 165 - Sunday, December 11, 2016
This Sunday nativity was taken by Sister Whiting.  There is a light show and music that goes along with this quaint nativity.  How wonderful that many churches gather together to celebrate the birth of the King of Kings!
Today we enjoyed a great Stake Conference where Elder Adduru presided.  I love seeing the scriptures of the Area Seventies.  They are loved and well used.  Highlighted scriptures and markers throughout.  They are wonderful scriptorians.  President Clark and I spoke as well.  President talked about the Book of Mormon and its importance in our lives.  He gave an analogy of his cellphone.  Our friends visited us in October.  They showed us some features that we never knew was on the phone.  They were always there but we didn't use them until we were informed about them.  That is analogous to how the Book of Mormon is in our lives.  It's one of the greatest gifts that we need to open and explore to understand all of its features, functions and wisdom.  

I spoke about light.  The body is a receptacle for light.  When you live the gospel, you accumulate and leak light!  I spoke about the Church initative #LighttheWorld and encouraged them to utilize it in their lives.  I received beautiful examples from my children how they are on the giving end as well as the receiving end of #LighttheWorld.  Jesus was our example.  We can be examples too. 

Some of our Sisters with investigators at Stake Conference.

Below is a man I met yesterday.  He was recently baptized and he leaks light!  He is blind but has an amazing light that comes from his face because he knows truth. 

Day 164 - Saturday, December 10, 2016

President Clark performed a wedding today for this cute couple.  Sister will be baptized next week.  We gave them a picture of Christ for a wedding gift.  Sister wouldn't put it down and so the pictures that followed proudly displayed the Savior beside them.  
I think that is a really good sign.


Day 163 - Friday, December 9, 2016
Surprise and Delight!  Like the Christmas song says, "We'll Be Home for Christmas" (sort of).  We received this wonderful gift of stories and memories.  Some are favorite known stories and others are memories from our children's childhood.  They are treasures we all cling to and they will make for an exceptional Christmas here in the Philippines!

Day 162 - Thursday, December 8, 2016
This is a beautiful sight!  These new incoming missionaries have just met their new kasamas (companions).  There are many emotions behind the smiles.  It will not be easy but they will go forward one step at a time.  Soon life here will become a common happening and they will learn to love it.  The challenges that lie ahead are great but the rewards will exceed them.  Prayers will be offered for each specifically as well as collectively by many.  President Clark and myself are some of their biggest fans.  We pray for them always.  They are our heroes!  #LighttheWorld

Day 161 - Wednesday, December 7, 2016
These 12 missionaries come to us from the Philippines, Canada, US, Samoa and New Zealand.  They are all on very tight budgets.  Tighter than they know at this point.  We had them to dinner at the mission home.  #LighttheWorld

Day 160 - Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Twenty-one is the operative number.  21 valiant missionaries left our mission today. They are the 21st Batch we have had to say good-bye to.  Go and do great things!

One of my favorite scriptures from many, many years ago epitomizes what these grand missionaries have learned.  It was spoken by one of my favorite scripture heroes, King Benjamin.  Our Elders and Sisters have learned this hour by hour, day by day, month by month and now year by year.  The service they have rendered on their missions will echo back in their lives now and forever.  

"And behold, I tell you these things that ye may learn wisdom; that ye may learn that when ye are in the service of your fellow beings ye are only in the service of your God."  Mosiah 2:17 #LighttheWorld

Day 159 - Monday, December 5, 2016
Twenty-one faith-filled servants begin FHE together during their last night in the mission.  

Day 158 - Sunday, December 4, 2016
These Elders and Sisters attended their worship services for the last time as a full-time missionary.  After that we began to collect them to prepare for departures.  They were grateful to share their testimonies on this Fast Sunday as they said farewell.  We loved sharing the Sabbath with them.  #LighttheWorld


You'll never guess where this nativity was.  No other than....the bank!  After going to withdraw some funds, there inside the bank, where everyone waits for a teller to help them, was this lovely nativity.  The stars are the authentic Filipino star.  I have come to love these!


Day 157 - Saturday, December 3, 2016
We live in a great development with kind and friendly neighbors.  We try to be available to support yearly events.  One such celebration occurred today.  The above picture shows many of our neighbors.  It was nice to get out of our daily routine a little to enjoy a social occasion.  They have made it a tradition to have me say the prayer each year for the annual Christmas party.  I'm sure the next MP wife will be willing to assume that role.  We played a few games (pictures below), heard some great karaoke and ate delicious food.  We have officially begun the Christmas season.


Day 156 - Friday, December 2, 2016
  

  Dad & Mom Curtis with Preston, Jackson and Beckham  

                                                                  
 Dad Clark with Grand and Great Grandsons who will carry on the Clark name. 
Without our parents, we wouldn't have been taught what's most important in life.  We will be forever grateful to all of them.  We miss Mom Clark but know there will be a mighty reunion someday.  We thank, love and honor them.  #LighttheWorld
 
It was a grand night for singing!  Stake and District President's and their wives were invited to the mission home so that we could show some Christmas appreciation.  I'll have to post the pictures with the Presidents later but these are the missionaries that made the evening magical!

Below is our missionaries with all of our beloved senior couples! 


Day 155 - Thursday, December 1, 2016

 One of the scriptural names of Jesus Christ is "The Light!" He is the Light of the world.  He lights the way.  He can light up our lives!  During this Christmas season, the Church is asking members, missionaries and non members alike to #LightTheWorld by giving 25 days of self-less service.  Today I showed several of our missionaries the inspired "LightTheWorld" video at mormon.org.  They were excited to participate and share this initiative.  In our mission we have limited technology (no tablets or smart phones), to use this message in proselyting.  Our missionaries are finding ways to light their own little corners of the world.  You can too!  

We love training our newest missionaries and their companions after nearly 6 weeks.  The growth they achieve is inspiring.
(Above are Cabanatuan side missionaries, below are Tarlac side)

Our District Leaders!  Cab side above, Tarlac side below


Day 154 - Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Not all days on a mission are equal.  Sometimes a little rain will fall.  When it does, a silver lining isn't very far away.  To me this pictures shows just that.  I took this last weekend as we traveled to Baler.  I just love it.  It shows that when life throws a little rain your way, it won't last very long so embrace and move forward with joy in your heart for the goodness of life.  As we end the month of November the truth of President Monson's quote is realized, "Sincerely giving thanks not only helps us recognize our blessings, but it also unlocks the doors of heaven." 

Day 153 - Tuesday, November 29, 2016
We are grateful to have security guards at our home 24 hours a day.  One of our guards has been worked here since we arrived in the Philippines.  When our family members came to visit, he took a particular liking to Jackson because Jack would escape from the house and run right to Jose.  Whenever I am outside speaking to one of the family members via Face-time, Jose yells, "Jackson, Jackson!"  Jose was driving down the road to get something for lunch.  A large 10 wheeled truck didn't see him and his motor.  The rear part of the truck swerved knocking him over. We were grateful he came out of it with road rash on his foot and ankle and a very sore shoulder.  So far it looks like it's just bruised.  His motor has a couple of scratches on it but nothing that would not allow him to drive it.  I always say we have mission angels that protect us (especially in our travels).  I believe one was with Jose as he traveled.  Speedy recovery!

Day 152 - Monday, November 28, 2016
 It's difficult to choose just two pictures today.  There is so much going on.  I didn't show a nativity from our area yesterday.  This is in front of a Hotel named L Square.  Its colorful and has its own story to tell.  In the Philippines this is called a belen.
This afternoon we were invited to another Thanksgiving Dinner.  Elder Teasdale is the District Leader and thought it a grand idea to help his district know what a traditional Thanksgiving dinner tastes like.  He and his companion went to great efforts picking just the right turkey and ham then getting it cooked.  Neither is very easy.  We dined on turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, kimchi rice, delicious sweet carrots, rolls, and a graham cracker dessert.  I brought pumpkin, apple and pecan pie.  The foreigners couldn't believe their good fortune.  The others kindly tasted their pie and some even liked it.  Everyone left more thankful for the blessings of life and a full stomach.  

Day 151 - Sunday, November 27, 2016
Happy birthday to our energetic, talented and beautiful oldest child, Staci.  Staci was 3 pounds 7 ounces when she was born.  She spent boundless energy growing when she was young and she continues to be a force for all things great for her family.  This is a picture of Staci one week ago.  She was assisting her sister, Mikale, after she gave birth to baby Lincoln. I wasn't able to be there so Staci left her 4 children in the capable hands of others and drove hours away to be with Mikale during labor and recovery.  Mikale had her big sister by her side as Lincoln entered our family.  Normally that would have been my cherished role.  This is just one example of the ways Staci has supported President Clark and me while we have been away.  Staci made certain all was well with the Williamson family before she made the long trip back to her family in Boise.  Children taking care of their brothers and sisters - there is no better example of the plan of salvation at work, just as Heavenly Father planned it.  Happy Birthday, Sis!   

Day 150 - Saturday, November 26, 2016
It would be difficult to find better people to serve with in the Philippines.  This is our batch! There were 10 couples that came at the same time as we did to serve as Mission President and wife.  We laugh together and cry together.  We understand what the other is going through.  We experience the same types of "joy!"  We will be "forever friends."

Day 149 - Friday, November 25, 2016
Today we celebrated Thanksgiving with our wonderful senior couples.  That is one thing we wish to shout from the rooftops, our gratitude these giving senior couples.  They carry such a load which we would never be able to carry ourselves.  Our missionaries love them!  Our dinner consisted of many traditional Thanksgiving dishes with appetizers included.  Last night on the way home from Manila, we stopped at S&R just in case they had a pie or two. Three kinds of pie made for a pie night to remember.      

Day 148 - Thursday, November 24, 2016
 We have had a spiritual feast the past few days at the Mission President's Seminar.  Today is the last day.  A picture with President and Sister Zapanta was a must!  President Zapanta used to be President Clark's counselor when we arrived on our mission.  They were a real team!  We had mixed emotions when they were called to be Mission President and wife in the Naga Mission.  They are doing such a fabulous job and we loved seeing them.  They didn't have the deer in the headlights look at all.  They are very comfortable and very loved in their mission.  We can't wait to see them again in six months!  

Day 147 - Wednesday, November 23, 2016
Today is our darling daughter-in-law's birthday.  The month of November emphasizes gratitude.  This is the perfect time of year for Lesley to be born.  We knew Lesley as a youth from girls camp and other stake activities.  She was darling and fun and full of life.  Imagine our delight when Preston and she started dating.  It only got better when they decided to marry and she became a full-fledged member of the family.  Now they have two adorable boys and a little girl will soon join the throng.  Happy Birthday, dear Les...we love you!

Day 146 - Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Today we gathered with 21 Mission Presidents and companions at the Manila Shangrila Hotel.  The purpose is our annual Area Mission President's Seminar.  Our Area Presidency and their wives host us for three days for education, inspiration, interviews and socializing.  They tell us it is our chance to refresh and rejuvenate.  It works really well.  It's great to be with other MP's and wives.  We share a common bond and common concerns.  We learn a lot from just listening.  Many of our batch gathered after dinner for casual conversation, good humor and friendship. We serve with some really great people!  Looking forward to a few more wonderful days in Manila.  
  
Day 145 - Monday, November 21, 2016

We are in Manila for a few days at the Mission President's Seminar.  Before the conference began, we took advantage of the opportunity to see some of our RM's at a mission reunion.  It is difficult to express the love we felt for each one as they walked into the room. One of our RM's is married with a child.  He and his wife said President and I are the mission lolo and lola.  Many came in missionary attire and brought their badge of honor.  Some missionaries who weren't able to come sent pictures in with greetings for us.  We were delightfully stunned as we then had video messages from each of our children and their families from America. What an incredible way to begin a few days of intense learning and fellowshipping with the Area Presidency and other Mission President's and Wives.  
Holding the badges that they were so proud to wear for 18 to 24 months.

Day 144 - Sunday, November 20, 2016
This is the largest nativity display in Tarlac.  It is a large and colorful peacock with a small nativity embedded in the middle.  A unique pairing to be sure.  The religious significance of the peacock escapes us but it's a real crowd pleaser.  The nativity is accompanied each night by loud music and a thin man in a Santa Claus suit.   Today we are joined the Gapan Stake Conference.  There were great message and testimony.  It is always great to be with members and missionaries.  

Day 143 - Saturday, November 19, 2016
          
Because we are so thrilled to be grandparents again, I share this memory of these two darling grandchildren.  Lincoln is less than a week old and Grace is 3 months old.  When we came to the Philippines we were grateful for five grandchildren.  Five more have joined since then.  We look forward to welcoming another granddaughter next month.  Grandchildren truly do complete the circle of love!

Day 142 - Friday, November 18, 2016


Everything about our Zone Conferences were wonderful.  The Elders Choir was perfect! The request was sent to all Elders to come early to conference and practice a song.  The elders heeded the opportunity and sounded like a choir of angels.  (Very masculine angels!) The song was very fitting, "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy."  These missionaries not only sing these praises but they actually keep the lower lights burning in the hearts of those in the Philippines Angeles Mission.  

Day 141 - Thursday, November 17, 2016
Today completed the last day of zone conferences for the year.  We gathered three zones in Muñoz for a 6 hour conference.  Recognition is always part of our zone conferences. Several months ago we started giving simple "SOE flags" to missionaries who baptized two people in a month.  (See the white flags the missionaries are holding).  We were really pleased to see the number of SOE flags at each conference is growing.  There are more missionaries who receive an SOE flag then don't receive one.  Today more than a quarter of these missionaries received more than one flag.  Congratulations Angeles Missionaries!!!
This sister received three flags but wasn't in the picture above.  
I think that deserves a picture on her own.


Day 140 - Wednesday, November 16, 2016
This week is filled with traveling about the mission for Zone Conferences.  We were able to have a special guest workshop presented by Elder Collins.  He and Sister Collins visited the Angeles Mission to give a health presentation.  Elder Collins is our AMA "Area Medical Advisor."  He helps many mission president's wives throughout the Philippines.  Whenever we have a health issue that we feel needs an extra opinion, Elder Collins assists.  It is a wonderful backup when a second opinion is needed.  For two of our 3 Zone Conferences, he shared great ways the missionaries can stay healthy.  It was great having he and Sister Collins visit our mission.  

Day 139 - Tuesday, November 15, 2016
This Clark historical event happened today!  Little Lincoln Arthur Williamson joined our family.  He  is healthy and loved.  The Williamson family felt the love of those close and abroad, those on this side of the veil and the other.  I can't wait to hold him in my arms and sing to him someday.  Welcome little one!  We love you!!!

Day 138 - Monday, November 14, 2016
It's a day late but as promised, the first of several nativities that are nestled on the streets of Tarlac.  It's a sweet reminder that Christianity is alive and well in the Philippines.  

Day 137 - Sunday, November 13, 2016
This afternoon (Saturday), we spoke at the Camiling West District Conference.  Normally President Clark would have presided but we had an Area Seventy assigned to this meeting.  Elder Baquiran taught about families.  It was wonderful!  Afterward, their family came over to the mission home for dessert.  Their boys are so smart and well behaved.  It was fun getting to know them.  More conference tomorrow (Sunday).  

Day 136 - Saturday, November 12, 2016
Today Sister Luz, Sister Whiting and I went on an adventure to the shops in the city of Tarlac.  There are shops there that I never would have dreamed.  You just need to have a guide to help her get there.  Sister Luz is an incredibly talented artist.  She is going to sew some malong's for Sister Whiting and me --- and maybe some little ones for granddaughters.  Below are pictures of the fabric shop I never knew we had so close.



Vegetables and very fresh fish on the ride side of the picture.


There's a whole new world and we walked the back streets of Tarlac.

Day 135 - Friday, November 11, 2016
We are going to have new neighbors.  This house will hopefully be completed before June next year.  It is amazing to me the work and energy that goes into building homes.  The ground is dug with shovel and manpower before the foundation is begun.  I don't know if you can tell the rebar that sticks up from the cement blocks.  Homes are built primarily with cement blocks.  You can see the cement mixer in the middle of the picture.  I took this on a weekend so there are only 3 or 4 workers.  The picture below just added plastic around the perimeter of the ground.  I will try to send a monthly update of the house across the street.  

Day 134 - Thursday, November 10, 2016
Perhaps this is a way that hospitals get more business?

Day 133 - Wednesday, November 9, 2016
Today President Clark and I ventured out to run some errands.  I left my phone on my desk.  (Can you tell where my office is? A little corner of the supply room!)  Later I checked my camera to determine what my picture of the day should be.  And then I saw these!!!  Yes...these two Elders are the Philippines Angeles Mission Assistants!  They are fun-loving, hard working, happy Elders.  There is significance in the second shot.  The finger to the lips is the universal sign in our mission when one hears inappropriate slang.  The assistants have taught missionaries to politely make this sign when they hear slang helping everyone to remember words are powerful and our speech matters.    

Day 132 - Tuesday, November 8, 2016
This picture brings me joy!  Megan used to be known as Sister Remund nearly six months ago.  She returned home and began dating a friend she knew before.  It didn't take long until they both knew that they wanted an eternal relationship together.  One of the interesting "coincidences" is that her husband to be has relatives in the Philippines.  Megan came to visit people she had worked with while a missionary and added extended family to the trip.  It has been an emotional and humbling trip for her.  The only thing that would have been better is to have met Alex here also.  Congratulations!    

Day 131 - Monday, November 7, 2016

What a month!  President Clark rolled out the idea of October-blest to our missionaries the end of August.  They worked so diligently to find, teach repentance and baptize converts.  They did it inspite of General Conference weekend (which makes it difficult for investigators to travel the far distance to a stake center), 2 powerful typhoons, 1 transfer with 19 missionaries who left and 17 incoming missionaries.  They did it because of lots of faith and prayers!  For the month of October, we nearly baptized the number of baptisms in the prior month.  Nearly 150 baptisms would be a great month in every mission in the Church.  "Well done, thou good and faithful servants." We are very grateful for our dear missionaries who act in faith.

Day 130 - Sunday, November 6, 2016
It's no secret that I LOVE nativities!  Through the goodness of others, I have nativities from all over the world.  This nativity is becoming one of my favorites right now.  It includes carabao, nipa hut, coconut trees and wise men carrying bananas, mango and rice.  I love the Philippines!  One reason is they love Nativities!  They are atop many buildings where we travel including store fronts, hotels and even McDonald's.  This would be unheard of where I come from.  Each Sunday I will post a few of these wonderful Nativities.  #LighttheWorld

Day 129 - Saturday, November 5, 2016
It's not what's around the Christmas tree that matters, it's who's around it.  This Christmas season will be our last in the Philippines.  We will make certain to share it with as many as we can.  

Day 128 - Friday, November 4, 2016
Today we had a much needed Seniors Day.  We utilized the day well as the sisters went to Rosa's Quilt Shop and the Elders went exploring the Angeles area.  We all met up at the mission home and enjoyed a lovely lunch.  After that, it was decorating time!  We were able to spruce the mission home up in it's Christmas beauty.  We are now prepared for the holiday season.  We were so caught up in the Christmas music and decorating details that we forgot to get a picture all together.  We will do this during the Thanksgiving holiday!  

Day 127 - Thursday, November 3, 2016
Today was a great day!  First of all, we had our Mission Leadership Council at the mission home.  Our mission leaders, many of them just newly called, came together in council.  We discussed important matters of the mission and heard instruction.  The meeting was very edifying.  Our leaders are prepared to go forward in faith.  More great things to come in the Angeles Mission.  An added bonus was the Chicago Cubs World Series Championship.  A rare but welcome event.  During our lunch break, I announced, "WE CAN FLY THE W Again!  Cubs Win!"  Sadly, our little group of non baseball fans didn't seem too moved by it. Holy Cow...Cubs Win!  Cubs Win!
I don't see many pictures of Ammon without one of his family members in it.  We are grateful for a son-in-law who is a hands on help take care of the children kind of dad.  He adores my daughter and his kids.  He is often not in the pictures because he is taking the pictures.  Ammon is a great photographer and keeps the rest of his extended family current with family pictures. We are grateful for EFY because it gave Mikale and Ammon an opportunity to meet and eventually fall in love!

Day 126 - Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Here they are!  We lost two missionaries that worked in the office during our last transfer. Never fear...we have some great additions.  Shown above are Elder Naylor (assistant), Elder Silva (new office elder), Elder Apolinario (office elder) and Elder Bleazard (new assistant).  They are always just a text away, plus they keep us organized and on track as we rush about the mission.  We don't know what we'd do without them!  

Day 125 - Tuesday, November 1, 2016
How time flies!  It was just one year ago these wonderful missionaries spread their wings and were transformed from full-time missionaries to returned missionaries.  In many ways it seems like yesterday.  In other ways it seems much longer.  I'm proud of their accomplishments after mission.  Some are married and having families, some engaged, many are in school and are pursuing careers.  There is one constant...they were and still are Angeles Missionaries and they are loved dearly by President Clark and me.  

Day 124 - Monday, October 31, 2016
 
There are many cemeteries in the Philippines.  They are a busy place on the days leading up to the holiday, All Saints Day (All Hallows Day) on November 1st.  Filipinos observe this day by visiting the family members who have died to clean and repair their tombs.  Offerings of prayers, flowers, candles and even food are made.  Many also spend the day and night holding reunions at the graves, playing games and music, singing karaoke and feasting.    The family members pretty much camp out at the graveyard on October 31st until midnight.  The candles are lit and they say the smoke from the candles rise to heaven to let those who are gone know they loved then the skies will form clouds and rain.
We don't allow our missionaries to be out after 6 p.m. on November 1st.
Lots of booths with food begin to appear.  It is said that President Duterte is banning alcohol at the site of cemeteries this year.  
This is a picture I took off the internet showing the lighting of candles by the 
graves of loved ones.

Day 123 - Sunday, October 30, 2016
Today we spent the day traveling about the mission.  Bongabon was our first stop.  I was impressed to see this box with members around it as they took the envelopes out and carefully placed their tithing and fast offerings in it.  The box says, "Please return in order."  It is important to receive the blessings from paying a full tithe.  The wonderful people of the Philippines are learning this in a meaningful way.

This is the Verde family.  They have been members of the church for almost one year.  They all received a temple recommend to be sealed as a family.  They are what would be considered a golden family.  They are prepared to make covenants that will allow them to be bound together for time and eternity.  They are all so excited.  As I hugged Sister Verde, tears of joy were plentiful as she understands the significance they will take to enter the walls of the temple which will tie them to the eternities.
In Guimba we loved seeing the families as they left their Sunday meetings.  Such dedicated and wonderful members of the Church.

 President & Sister Lina and their 6 children hope on their trike to return home after a great Sabbath Day.  We just love these members!




Day 122 - Saturday, October 29, 2016
This picture is of a Mission President and his assistants!  Elder Naylor and Elder Bleazard worked President Clark hard in their area.  They met with some investigators and members. President's foot was finally healed enough to get out and walk the trails.  It was a great experience for them all.   

Day 121 - Friday, October 28, 2016
After a meeting in Mabalacat, President Clark and I drove to S&R.  This is the Costco look alike store in the Philippines.  While the prices are generally high, once in awhile a little taste of home is appreciated.  When driving into the parking lot, you are given a plastic card that says "Parking Reminder."  We have never quite been able to determine why these cards are needed.  What we do know is no one enters the parking lot without receiving one.  You also cannot leave the parking lot without returning the card.  All mall parking lots in the Philippines are the same thing.  One thing we have learned the hard way is that you must not lose the card or ticket.  If you do, there is much questioning, searching of the vehicle and license inspection.  We take very good care of the cards and tickets given to us as we enter so that we can in turn leave.  

Day 120 - Thursday, October 27, 2016
It's Transfer Day!!!  Transfer day is a day of transition for many of our missionaries.  President Clark and I are mainly focused on training for our newest trainers and trainees.  That being said, many missionaries come to meet their new companion and travel to their new areas.  It is high energy in the mission!  Some of the sights that never cease to amaze me is to watch the trike drivers tenderly cramming luggage of every shape and size.  It is sometimes a difficult puzzle to tackle.  None the less, they make it work.  More pictures will be displayed on the post for new arrivals that will happen in a day or two.  

Day 119 - Wednesday, October 26, 2016
We welcome our 20th Batch of incoming missionaries.  They are great!

Day 118 - Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Look up!  For our 20th Departing Batch, 19 wonderful missionaries complete an honorable mission.  In the next two days, they will travel home and enjoy the status of RM (returned missionary).  Farewell dear ones....until we meet again!

Day 117 - Monday, October 24, 2016
There are so many wonderful things that go along with being a Mission President's wife.  I embrace it all!  However, when I get pictures on my email like this, my stomach does a little back flip.  In my 2+ years, not much surprises me.

Day 116 - Sunday, October 23, 2016
There are times when we take for granted certain happenings in our lives.  This Sabbath is one of those.  It is a time for rejoicing.  Our missionaries have not partaken of the Sacrament for 2 weeks.  The first week was our General Conference in the Philippines.  Last week most of the missionaries were on lock-down because of Typhoon Haima.  The words spoken by Cheryl Esplin are especially appropriate today, "The sacrament is a renewal for the soul.....The more we ponder the significance of the sacrament, the more sacred and meaningful it becomes to us."  #Hisday

Day 115 - Saturday, October 22, 2016
Traditional dancing is very popular in the Filipino culture.  Many of our Stakes and Districts take opportunity to share their talent of dance.  Tarlac Stake has a dance talent event every year.  The has always taken place on a weekend where we are traveling.  This weekend would have been no exception but for the typhoon.  Our regular trip to Baler was cancelled so Sister Whiting and I jumped at the opportunity to enjoy this activity.  I LOVED seeing each of the groups with their native dance.  Many danced to observe the harvest.  Each of the 10 wards  or branches in the Stake participated.

Tarlac Ward 5 is ward I often go to because it is closest to the mission home.  When I don't travel with President, I see these cute ladies.  Their dance costume was the "malong."  It is a traditional tube skirt or dress.  People often wear this kind of clothing for traditional celebrations.  The sisters in front have the original print on but when turned inside out, the Philippines flag was observed.  Very clever!

 This was a cute group of ladies I sat by.

Day 114 - Friday, October 21, 2016
Typhoon Haima came and went.  Most of the areas in our mission were not greatly affected. This area in Lapaz, however, sits at a low point near a large river.  Flood waters are yet to recede.  There are many row boats on the streets of Lapaz.   

Day 113 - Thursday, October 20, 2016

This has been our week!  Back to back Category 4 typhoons came through our area.  The first, Karen, made a direct hit on our mission.  The second, Haima, skirted to the north.  Both brought heavy rains and damaging winds.  One more month left in typhoon season.  We count our blessings and feel your prayers!

Day 112 - Wednesday, October 19, 2016

 This daughter of ours is celebrating another birthday today.  She is bright and beautiful.  Her middle name means "smile or sunshine".  It describes her very well.  She not only masterfully cares for 2 VERY active and wonderful children, but she gives piano lessons, is Young Women's President and she has done some pretty incredible mission training plans for us.  She is a minister in the truest most Christlike sense of the word. She is always looking out for the good of others.  Tomorrow is her birthday and we're pretty sure she'll reach out to serve more people than she receives birthday wishes.  Oh, and did I mention...she'll be having our 10th grandchild very, very soon.  Happy Birthday, Miss Chell Belle!  Oh how we love you!!!  

Day 111 - Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Last Sunday our missionaries were in lock-down because Typhoon Karen landed in the boundaries of our mission.  It was almost one year to the day that Typhoon Lando hit.  Karen came on shore near Baler and the winds were close to 130 mph.  The rest of the mission received various amounts of rain and wind.  We were lucky that there wasn't more flooding and damage.  All missionaries were safe and it was more irritating for many that they were asked to stay inside.  
Typhoon Haima is right behind.  It most likely will arrive on Thursday.  Our northern areas will receive some wind and rain.  The rest of the mission will receive various amounts of rainfall.  We are always vigilant as we know that weather patterns are known to change.  In the Philippines all have learned to be prepared to weather the storm.  

Day 110 - Monday, October 17, 2016
This is a picture of our dear friends and neighbors.  Mila is my walking partner.  Gus loves to laugh.  His laugh is contagious and the rest of us end up laughing simply at his laugh.  They will be traveling tomorrow so they invited us to dinner tonight.  Besides a delicious meal, we read scripture, shared some thoughts and shed a few tears.  Our thoughts and prayers go with Gus and Mila.  We look forward to their return trip.  

Day 109 - Sunday, October 16, 2016
Today a typhoon hit our mission.  The Philippines name for the typhoon was Karen.  Karen made landfall along the oceanside near Baler.  It was almost one year to the day that Typhoon Lando hit the same place.  The winds were about 130 mph.  Luckily there wasn't as much rain as last year.  Baler was the worst hit and many homes were damaged.  There are families living at the church in Baler for a few days until they can make repairs.  All of our missionaries were safe and accounted for early on.  We are grateful for the prayers of many faithful friends and family members.  
In the afternoon we made our way to Angeles for a meeting.  The members were just getting out of their meetings.  This couple was prepared for anything as they traveled home.  They were ready for anything that might come their way.  

Day 108 - Saturday, October 15, 2016
Elder and Sister Spung were introduced to their new home today.  We drove them over to Muñoz where they will be living.  The zone leaders, Elder Cox and Elder Gray were very happy to meet them.  The zone leaders did much of the preparatory work of finding and preparing the house.  The Spung's are pleased with their little cottage in the heart of Muñoz. We are extremely happy to have them in the mission working with the Guimba saints. 

Day 107 - Friday, October 14, 2016
This week we welcomed two wonderful senior missionaries to the Angeles Mission.  We know they are wonderful because we lived and served alongside them in the Joliet Illinois Stake for almost two decades.  Elder Dony and Sister Sheila Spung are great disciples of Christ and also the parents of our beautiful daughter-in-law, Lesley Spung Clark.  We share two (almost three), energetic and bright grandchildren.  The Spung's are an nvaluable addition to the Angeles Mission.  

Day 106 - Thursday, October 13, 2016
The arrival of Elder and Sister Spung, merited a gathering of the senior couples at the Angeles mission home.  We are now almost fully staffed with senior couples.  Our missionaries are richly blessed with all of their selfless service.  We are joined by our neighbors Gus and Mila and our dear friends from Bentonville, Arkansas, the Saumweber's. We had such a lovely evening together.  

Day 105 - Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Baler is the perfect setting for great friends to visit.  This week's preparation day was in beautiful Baler with Les and Jan Saumweber.  It was a beautiful location and a wonderful reunion of old friends. 




Day 104 - Tuesday, October 11, 2016
"BELIEVE TO ACHIEVE" --- This was the theme of our Conference and these were the beautiful sisters who attended.  It was truly a day we will remember!  Thank you Sister Jan Saumweber for sharing your conversion story and inspiration with us.  

Day 103 - Monday, October 10, 2016
Our Sisters Conference was perfect in every way.  We had an opening in the chapel then went to the cultural hall to enjoy a meal.  This is the sight that greeted us as we entered the door.  These Elders worked very hard assisting Sis. Lopez to make sure that the Sisters each had a plate of delicious food waiting for them. 

Day 102 - Sunday, October 9, 2017
We are thrilled to have Les and Jan Saumweber visit the Philippines Angeles Mission.  They are truly leaving an imprint on the hearts of our missionaries!  

Day 101 - Saturday, October 8, 2017

Many hands make work light!  Even our Elders are helping to prepare for our special conference on Monday.  Thanks Elder Tuvera for treating us to your ironing skilz! 

Day 100 - Friday, October 7, 2017
This is a picture of four great sisters.  It is also the first time that I've seen one of our sisters dressed in slacks. The Church is doing all they can do to help missionaries avoid getting mosquito borne diseases.  That includes putting on mosquito repellent, spraying permithrin in houses and for the sisters, wearing pants while outside.  They do need to change into a skirt whenever going to meetings such as Zone Conference, baptisms, etc.  The sisters were at the Church to practice a song for our big meeting on Monday.  We are so excited!  

Day 99 - Thursday, October 6, 2016
Today we celebrate our bunso (baby).  It was 27 years ago that Brian joined our family.  Our little boy now has a new title --- "daddy".  I love this picture.  It tells a lot about becoming a new parent.  You love and care for your new little one immensely, but sometimes exhaustion catches up with you.  Brian's protecting arm lets little Grace know that she is safe and secure.  She looks so content to be laying down next to her daddy (even if he did fall asleep before she did).  Happy Birthday, sonshine!

Day 98 - Wednesday, October 5, 2016
October-blest is good to us already this month.  All sisters in our mission have been given a huge tender mercy.  A Sisters Conference was approved because of a special guest who will be visiting us next week.  Sister Borrowman is practicing a song that will be sung at the conference.  She is listening to the song and is practicing the notes on her lap.  It's an interesting way to play a song on the piano.

Day 97 - Tuesday, October 4, 2016
Awesome, happy, seasoned!  That's what these mission leaders are.  They are preparing in the heat of the noon day sun to get the group picture for MLC.  These missionaries work in the heat every.single.day!  I was quite surprised when after waiting 3 or 4 minutes in the sun for the photo, they talked as as if they had been outside for hours on end.  When they went inside, they froze because of the aircon.  It's a good thing that the MLC training was worth the trials and discomfort.  As you can see from their faces, they were really suffering.  (Joke lang).  

Day 96 - Monday, October 3, 2016
BEFORE

The first Monday before General Conference (in the Philippines we watch General Conference a week later), every missionary performs a POWER SCRUB on their homes.  It is a time when elbow grease meets the CR, floors, sinks, ref, etc.  I get pictures from some missionaries who are brave enough to send me before and after.  Power Scrub is a bi-annual event.  The missionaries work for at least 4 hours to make certain their homes are spic and span.  It puts us all in a happy place.  
   AFTER

                        BEFORE  
AFTER



Day 95 - Sunday, October 2, 2016
It's harvest time in the Philippines.  Rice fields are filled with men and machinery harvesting grain.  We came upon this picture this morning - a lone man wielding a simple sickle in the middle of a large rice field.  Truly the laborers are few.  It reminded us of how our missionaries sometimes feel.  Today is a great day.  #Hisday

Day 94 - Saturday, October 1, 2016
Feeling October-blest!  While sitting in a meeting, I received some pictures of a few of our beloved Returned Missionaries. They were at a mission reunion and sent President Clark and I greetings. Our hearts are touched by every.single.one of these valiant souls.  We love them when they are in the field and when they return home.  You can only imagine our joy when we continue to receive pictures and letters from them.  Once an Angeles Missionary, always an Angeles Missionary!

Day 93 - Friday, September 30, 2016
A lot of time was spent in the car today as we traveled to San Jose for Zone Interviews.  The rice harvest is in full-force so I'll share a few shots that I was able to get today.  There is an excitement in the air when it is harvest time.   
Strong heads, shoulders and backs are necessary.  Huge bags of rice are transported on heads then onto the trucks.
A carabao gets a ride to a far away field.  It almost looks like a statue.
 A caravan of carabao on their way to fill their carts.  
They are a mighty animal that fascinates many.  

Day 92 - Thursday, September 29, 2016
Here are two pictures that say a little bit about the Philippines.  To me they both symbolize really good ideas.  Not so great execution.  The truck is a wonderful expression of gratitude but proper English it isn't.  With the motor, you want to stay dry but an umbrella in the wind makes the motor pretty unstable.  Nonetheless, it all works in the Philippines.  
And we love it! 

Day 91 - Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Sister and Elder Pugh reside in Camiling.  They have many duties and responsibilities. One of the projects they have voluntarily undertaken is getting the Family History Center up and running. They have taken a room that was once in shambles, cleaned it up, asked for and received another computer, decorated the room with beautiful artwork and made it a place fit for sacred labor - Family History Work.  The members love coming to index and look for members of their families to do temple work. They sacrificed their own time and resources to make this facility available to Camiling members.  What a blessing they are to our mission and all who are around them.  There really are angels among us.  




Day 90 - Tuesday, September 27, 2016

We are getting ready to receive another senior couple in our mission!  To prepare for this, we need to purchase some necessary appliances.  A queen size mattress and box springs, bed frame, stove, refrigerator, clothes washer plus a mother and baby as passengers arrived today in Guimba.  It arrived on 2 trikes that had traveled over 40 kms one way.  They did this all for P300 which is the equivalent of $6.20.  Simply amazing!  Alright Elder and Sister Spung!  Hurry up and get here!  Your house is almost ready.


Day 89 - Monday, September 26, 2016
We were thrilled to be part of Family Week with our Cabanatuan Stake members.  President Clark and I left Baler to "race" over to Cabanatuan where we spoke a wonderful group of Stake leaders, members and investigators about the Area goals for the year.  Some of the highlights was the beautiful choir and the congregation when asked to sing, "I Am a Child of God" and "I'm Trying to Be Like Jesus."  The heavens broke through with pounding rain and bolts of lightning at the most appropriate statements that were being made.  It was an evening to remember.  I love that the Philippines celebrates such an important group of people ---- FAMILY!

Day 88 - Sunday, September 25, 2016
This beautiful sister was Sister Altea then became Mrs DeGuzman.  In December her name will be nanay to a handsome little son.  I love watching our returned missionaries doing great things and becoming even better than they were while on the mission.  



Day 87 - Saturday, September 24, 2016
The Day Dawn is Breaking....
Now the Day is Over!
Our weekend in beautiful Baler was spent interviewing and being with our missionaries.  It confirms to us that they are definitely our heroes!

Day 86 - Friday, September 23, 2016
Every Friday evening before General Conference, many of our Returned Missionaries meet.  There are mission reunions all over the world at conference time.  President and Sister Martino are sponsoring this year's Philippines Angeles Mission Reunion.  Last year we sent a video saying hello.  This year they will get a photo.  They will be our missionaries now and forever.  Tandaan mo, mahal kita!

Day 85 - Thursday, September 22, 2016
Every few months we are reminded how much we appreciate being able to work on, receive reports and communicate with family with the help of the internet.  It seems like every 3 months, especially around General Conference, our internet provider has a difficult time keeping the connection live. I know there is an analogy in that one!  It may delay the daily picture but I promise to catch up!

Day 84 - Wednesday, September 21, 2016
We are on the road for the next two weeks with Zone Interviews.  During my training, I've included two role plays.  Bongabon Zone is filled will wonderful Elders but no Sisters.  It was a tender mercy for the Dansie's to join Bongabon interviews.  Sister Dansie did a great job role playing Nellie.  

Day 83 - Tuesday, September 20, 2016
This fellow is outside in sweltering 90 degree heat.  He is about two feet from motorcycles, trikes, cars and trucks whizzing by.  His is an amazing feat of balance and exhaustion.  Maybe he has many small children at home and nights are long.

Day 82 - Monday, September 19, 2016
Today is this little sweetheart's birthday.  Teagan was our second grandchildren born while we were in the Philippines.  We met her in person while she was here for a week with her family.  Teagan is full of life and adventure.  Don't try to detour her from doing a difficult task, she will simply try it again with greater intensity.  Happy Birthday, sweet Teagan.  
We sure love you!

Day 81 - Sunday, September 18, 2016
On this Sabbath Day, may we all work a little harder to do a little better that we all may have the faith to be October-blest!  #Hisday

Day 80 - Saturday, September 17, 2016
Not often do our schedules align to be able to enjoy dinner with the Whiting's. They do so much to keep our mission running in so many wonderful ways.  We even received a free cupcake for the occasion.  At the end of our meal, we were reminded how fragile life is. Just outside the door of the restaurant, there was an auto-pedestrian accident.  The man involved was the parking attendant at the restaurant.  As we saw him laying lifeless in the street and then taken away in an ambulance, the temporary nature of mortality was realized.     

Day 79 - Friday, September 16, 2016
As I recognized the beauty of the earth, I knew that my Heavenly Father loved me.
                                                                            Elder Robert D. Hales

Day 78 - Thursday, September 15, 2016
 20 Inspired Trainers + 20 Excited Trainees =
A Perfect Match

Day 77 - Wednesday, September 14, 2016
 They are finally here and they are awesome!!!!  ***20 new missionaries***

Day 76 - Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Before saying farewell to our departing batch, a tie exchange with Elder Southwick and President Clark takes place.  Looking good!


Day 75 - Monday, September 12, 2016
 This is how our missionaries feel about serving the Lord faithfully.  They are armed with strength and testimony to continue their lives doing great things when they return home.  We will miss them!  (Sister Johnson is missing from this picture.  See returned home early for some family business.)

Day 74 - Sunday, September 11, 2016
 This weekend President Clark presided at Guimba District Conference.  It was a wonderful two days of meetings.  The missionaries don't usually attend the Saturday evening meeting so seeing them on Sunday makes our hearts sing!  While President was in wrap up meetings, we took an opportunity to snap a few pictures of many of our missionaries in the Guimba Zone.  This is a double bonus to enjoy a conference to let all of the members know how much we love and appreciate our missionaries.  

Day 73 - Saturday, September 10, 2016
Another Mission Miracle!  Three months ago during a zone conference, President Clark took a mistep which left him with a broken metatarsal bone.  The doctors told us that is a difficult bone to heal.  The x-ray 6 weeks ago left us with an x-ray that the doctor reported, "the bone looks further apart then when it originally happened."  Our doctors told President Clark to have patience.  Yesterday President had another x-ray.  Our doctor said, "the healing has been remarkable!  It's not healed to the point of discarding the boot but the bone is looking great.  What this all means is 6 more weeks in the boot then a foot that's good as new.  
We're grateful for another miracle in the mission and especially during October-blest.  

Day 72 - Friday, September 9, 2016
We have had a terrible cockroach infestation in our kitchen for awhile.  Luckily this isn't a product of that.  This is a fruit called rambutan.  The name is derived from "hair".  In Vietnam it is called chom chom, meaning messy hair because of the spines covering the fruit.   You peel this fruit and on the inside it some sweet, white fruit.  There is a pit inside of it.  It's actually not bad.  Since the mango aren't in season, we will branch out and be adventuresome.  


Day 71 - Thursday, September 8, 2016
We have lived here for over two years.  I've been wanting to go to the Capiz Factory since I arrived.  Today was the day!  The Spanish first used Capiz shells which are translucent, to make windows during the Sixteenth Century.  Capiz shells are harvested from the tropical waters of the South China Seas surrounding the Philippine Islands.  Each piece has been individually handcrafted by Filipino craftsman which makes each one unique.
I have seen Capiz all over the Philippines and love it.  Seeing how each piece is individually cut and put together was even more amazing to me.  Sister Whiting and I had a hard time pulling ourselves away.  The workers were making many Christmas items to take to the Hong Kong Show next week.  We were able to snatch a few things and order more in the process.  This could be a very dangerous find!  We made sure missionary work was done in the process.  The owner told us a story about seeing our missionaries while he was with a friend in another part of the Philippines.  
They made an impression on him enough to share it with us.  

"Missionary work is an identifying feature in
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Always has been; ever shall it be."  
President Thomas S. Monson
   

Day 70 - Wednesday, September 7, 2016
Today was a triple delight!  We went around doing a little Zone Conference catch-up.  We ran out of time on during our first day of Zone Conferences held for the Camiling, Paniqui and Santa Ignacia Zones.  A very inspiring talk was not presented because of time restraints.  Who wouldn't love these wonderful smiles! #wherethefinestserve  
                                         Paniqui Zone                                   Santa Ignacia Zone
 
Camiling Zone

Day 69 - Tuesday, September 6, 2016
This morning while on my walk/run, I saw this beautiful butterfly in the road.  It was barely moving.  The span of the wings was as large as my open hand.  Interestingly, I went home to research it and learn more about this species of butterfly.   I found that it's not a butterfly, it's an Atlas moth.  One of the largest moths in the world.  It reminds me of the scripture in Matthew 6:20-21 - Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt....For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.  This is a good reminder to keep our hearts and minds focused on the important things of this life.

Day 68 - Monday, September 5, 2016

In our area of the Philippines, the most popular form of transportation is the trike (tricycle).  Trikes are built with a sidecar affixed to an imported motorcycle.  Many people will run a business from their trike. One is just being a taxi service getting people from place to place. Another example is the basket trike above.  I haven't been able to get a picture that does a basket trike justice.  Sister Whiting took the one above and I just love it.  While I was in Cebu for the MP Seminar, we went to a little shop where I found my very own carabao driven basket vehicle.  I love this so much that I have it sitting on our dining room table.  I can't imagine the time that was taken to weave those tiny baskets but I'm sure glad that someone did.  


Day 67 - Sunday, September 4, 2016

The other day, President Clark and I went to a missionary's apartment in Guimba.  We were driving down a narrow dirt road looking for a place to turn around.  As we rounded the corner, we saw a long and narrow livery where cows laid their weary bodies.  
It is the beginning of the Christmas season in the Philippines.  We heard and sang Christmas hymns today at church.  My thoughts went to this livery and I wondered how different the livery was so many, many years ago.  Not only cows but sheep and donkeys possibly hovered over the sweet little Christ child who was born in their territory.
 "And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger."
This sweet and somewhat smelly scene that we found as we traveled home from Guimba, is a gentle early season reminder of that night long, long ago when the Son of God was born, even Jesus.  It is Him whom we strive to be like.  It is Him whom we love.  This powerful scripture has more meaning to me as well as our missionaries as we serve Him with all of our heart, might, mind and strength; "Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.  I have been called of him to declare his word among his people that they might have everlasting life."  These are the thoughts I have of Him on #Hisday!

Day 66 - Saturday, September 3, 2016
Still shopping at Jollibee.  Despite last Saturday's french fry fiasco, we placed another order today to feed the Priesthood leaders at our second training meeting in Camiling.  All was delivered on time with a complete order.  Thank you, Jollibee.  

Day 65 - Friday, September 2, 2016
Every mission dreams of having angels that assist the missionaries.  These angels can come in the form of senior couples!  When seniors heed the call to serve, leave their homes and families for 12, 18 or 24 months, they bless the lives of hundreds!  That is what these wonderful senior couples do in the Angeles Mission.  We are blessed right now with three senior couples, Pugh's, Whiting's & Dansie's.  Next month we will eagerly receive another, the Spung's.  Our young missionaries learn from and love these seniors who are very able to help them one on one. Yesterday President Clark and I had a wonderful morning with the seniors.  Sister Lopez prepared a most delicious lunch.  Later most of us, sans President Clark, drove to San Fernando to S&R.  Finding simple pleasures like real milk was a great way to end the day!  


Day 64 - Thursday, September 1, 2016
 
Today is the day many of our holiday loving friends get so excited for.  It's time to celebrate Christmas!  Holiday music EVERYWHERE.  Filipino's start buying and putting Christmas decorations on their own homes or in the office.  Don't worry, the mission home doesn't put their decorations up until October!  I'm still not sure what to do to keep jumping frogs out of our garland at the front door.  Many homes will forego lights inside to be able to string lights up outside and turn them on to celebrate Christmas.  It's a joyful 1/3 of the year. 

Day 63 - Wednesday, August 31, 2016
  
Last week we lived out of suitcases for 4 days.  Sunday came along and we awoke very early to make our way over the mountain to Baler.  There are four small branches in Baler. We hit three of them that day.  This great group of saints is in San Luis.  They meet in a house that has been remodeled so they hold church here.  One room is the chapel, another is the primary.  There is an office for the Branch President in another room and a kitchen area for additional classes.  A necessity is the flushing CR.  It was fun to see the Young Women sitting on the patio learning about personal progress.  The Young Women shared the theme with me and I taught them some jingles about rain.  Not much English is spoken in Baler so people mostly stare at me and nod their heads.  If they don't understand, they hold their finger under their nose which means they're having a nose bleed.  I just remind everyone there are no nose bleeds around me and we work at understanding each other.  It was a great day in Baler but we were sure glad to get back to the mission home.   

Day 62 - Tuesday, August 30, 2016
 Today was a special day.  We called all of the mission leadership to a conference in Tarlac.  First up was the Mission Leadership Council for 1 1/2 hours.  Afterward, the District Leaders joined us for the rest of the day.  Our mission has been studying faith for the past 2 months.  President Clark has received additional revelation for us. We have a new initiative that will be focused on for the next 2 months.  It will be called, "October-blest."  During Zone Conference, we learned tools that would help us find and convert better.  We will put these to the test as we focus on 8/30 visits, Lesson Staffing, Follow up 200 and Baptize Weekly.  

I decided it was the perfect time to open one of the letters given to me by my children.  "Open when you need courage" seemed to be the counsel I needed at this time.  
It was just what I needed to hear.  


Day 61 - Monday, August 29, 2016
Little Miss Claire turned "2" on Sunday.  However, we didn't call her until our Monday morning. In these pictures Claire decided climbing on and jumping off piano benches was a great idea until she broke her arm.  A few words about Claire Bear right from her momma:  "She has been a light and joy to each one of us since the day she was born.  Though her words are few and far between, the laughter and sunshine this little lady exudes is bounteous and overwhelming."


Day 60 - Sunday, August 28, 2016
Today we went to the only branch in our mission that sings the hymns in Tagalog.  It's also our smallest branch in far off Baler.  The branch may be small but the sound was grand!  The photo below are Branch members from another area in Baler.  #Hisday  

Day 59 - Saturday, August 27, 2016
This grateful momma had a birthday today.  We are so glad Shelby is an official member of the Clark family.  We also love the early birthday addition that recently made it here safe and sound.

Day 58 - Friday, August 26, 2016
This is what 200+ used flu vaccines look like.  Our mission (including Sister Clark) is now inoculated so that the destroying angel of influenza will pass us by.  We had a few bad reactions to the flu vaccine, not unexpected.  We're looking forward to less sick texts! 

Day 57 - Thursday, August 25, 2016

 We interrupt this mission blog to show some grandchild cuteness.  Kai is quite a photographer-in-training.  He is already shooting weddings with his dad.  We'll wait to see the proofs to find out if we've got the instincts and talents for the job.  He certainly has the footwork and the body language for the job.

Day 56 - Wednesday, August 24, 2016
Today concluded our second of four Zone Conferences.  Once a year, the Church asks us to administer flu shots to all willing missionaries.  At each conference we have found different volunteers to administer them.  Today there were three cute sisters from San Jose who graciously assisted us.  Forty-one missionaries later, they were still smiling.  They were our service angels for the day.  

Day 55 - Tuesday, August 23, 2016
I don't ever recall seeing a double rainbow before.  "double rainbow is considered a symbol of transformation and is a sign of good fortune in eastern cultures. The first arc represents the material world, and the second arc signifies the spiritual realm." We had the first of four zone conferences today.  This must mean good luck from the spiritual realm will be assisting us during the week.  

Day 54 - Monday, August 22, 2016
These missionaries are greeting many members with a smile and a warm handshake for the Mabalacat Stake Conference yesterday.  It was a great meeting.  The choir was incredibly inspiring. Elder Vicencio taught us all about the law of the fast.  Although this is a new stake of just one year, they were very organized.  It was a great weekend. 
 
Mabalacat Stake Presidency, Elder Vicencio, President and Sister Clark

Day 53 - Sunday, August 21, 2016
This morning I received a text that said, "Sister Clark, good morning we don't have water in our house since last night and also the zone leaders."  So what do I do with that?  Today is #Hisday and I can't have our Assistants, Office Elders and Zone Leaders not matching the message.  They all piled into the van and descended on the mission home.  I'm not sure they knew what to do about a warm shower instead of a cold bucket shower.  Nonetheless, they were clean, we gave them some pandesol and hot chocolate.  The Assistants waited their turns for the shower by gaining extra instruction from President Clark.  We bid them farewell so that we could get to Mabalacat's Stake Conference. 
It was a great way to begin the Sabbath! #Hisday #weloveSunday


Day 52 - Saturday, August 20, 2016
This evening we enjoyed being with the members of the Mabalacat Stake.  The Mabalacat Stake was created after a split of the Angeles Stake one year ago.  The stake leaders refer to themselves as a "baby stake" but they act much more mature.  The stake is well organized and continues to grow.  President Dulay has a house full beautiful daughters.  Can you guess which one is his wife?  

Day 51 - Friday, August 19, 2016
Tonight we were asked to speak at a YSA Devotional.  The start time was 5 p.m. and no one was at the building until 4:55.  The burst of rain had left the roads congested and no one was able to make get through on the streets.  We were flexible and the meeting started at 5:30.  President Clark and I were asked to speak on Eternal Marriage and Missionary Work.  I had an interesting experience.  Last night I went to bed with the YSA's on my mind.  In the middle of the night, I awoke and thought of something very specific to speak on.  I figured that I should write it down just in case I forgot, which I did. In the morning I awoke and when I looked at the paper, I had no recollection of that question I thought I'd never forget.  So my talk was built upon this question, "When the question is asked, will you be ready?"  It was definitely a different approach but one that was specifically meant for this group.  

Day 50 - Thursday, August 18, 2016
Yep!  They're all ours!  Assistants and office elders come and go.  We love them all and miss them when they leave.  However, it gives us opportunity to get to know others elders on a more personal basis.  The new line up is:  Elders Naylor and Tuvera - Assistants.  Elders Lastierre and Smith - Office Elders.  We run them pretty hard but they still have plenty to smile about!

Day 49 - Wednesday, August 17, 2016
You might think that this is a strange picture to be picked for the day.  When I gave this to the missionaries, they thought I was going crazy.  After explaining to them that this map will assist them in informing me where they have pain or injury, they thought it a great idea.  It has been a very valuable tool for a Mission President's wife who isn't trained in medicine but has become pretty skilled in medical things.  Whenever a missionary has pain in a given area of the body, I can generally tell them what's wrong.  For example, whenever the missionary has pain in 5.2, hyperacidity is most likely the cause.  I know the exact medicine to prescribe.  When I first arrived in the Philippines, I could walk into most pharmacies and get whatever medicine I wanted.  Pharmacies are starting to require prescriptions more often which doesn't allow me to self diagnose as much.  Going to the doctor is another story that I will have to share sometime.  OH MY! 

Day 48 - Tuesday, August 16, 2016
This is an establishment right outside the stake center compound where our mission office resides. I simply walk out the gate and around the corner a few yards to the store called "Crayola". This tiny store carries many of the office supplies we have come to know and appreciate.  While the paper supplies are not the same as the ones I'm used to in America, I have adapted and utilized this little store a lot.  Anything else we might need is located at the mall, "National Book Store".  I am grateful for these cute workers who attend to every need whenever any of us go in. The cute short sister in the middle knows English pretty well so the others always seek for her whenever I enter. I was asked since I've been in the Philippines 2 years, do I know more tagalog now.  My answer is the same as before, "konti lang."    They always giggle when these words are spoken.  There is a large metal garage type door that raises and shuts when the store opens or closes. This store is definitely a tender mercy to have nearby our mission doors.  


Day 47 - Monday, August 15, 2016
We are 'singing and splashing in the rain' here in the Philippines!  The rainy season has been pretty dry until now.  In the past three days, some of the areas in our mission have received over 7.5 inches of rain!  Yes.  You heard me right!  It often feels like someone has a huge endless bucket of water and just poured it out and didn't stop for hours.  I have never seen or heard anything like it.  I love a good thunder storm but this is like you are in a full surround sound IMAX movie.  The picture above is an example of a light rain Filipino umbrella.  When we first arrived in the Philippines, I was told that you will literally get sick with cold or fever it your head gets wet from the rain.  Hence, an umbrella business during rainy season would be a wise business.  

Day 46 - Sunday, August 14, 2016
Today is the Sabbath.  Today is #Hisday.  Today was a full day of travel and enlightenment.  It was also a day of tender mercies.  The first picture is of Elder Villanueva.  He was the Area Seventy who presided over the Santa Ignacia Stake Conference.  I am always in awe over the scriptures of our visiting authorities.  They are loved treasures that are used and written in.  
After Santa Ignacia we made a few more trips around the mission.  Camiling was next up.  President had some interviews and I was able to hug some sister missionaries.  Guimba was next.  A returned sister missionary from another mission needed to be released.  While we drove to Guimba, a warning light appeared on the dashboard.  This is never a good sign.  After reading about it, we knew a trip to the repair shop was in order on Monday.  But what about the fireside that we were speaking at in Cabanatuan?  After turning the engine on and off, the light didn't return.  We held our breath until we arrived in Cabanatuan.  The rain and raising rivers were a tender mercy of sorts.  It meant the roads weren't as crowded and there wouldn't be as much braking and accelerating.  After the successful missionary fireside in Cabanatuan, we started our drive home.  Immediately the truck pulled some tricky moves on us.  With a silent prayer in our hearts and the determination to get home, we drove home without much traffic and a functioning truck.  It was a full and impactful Sabbath...#Hisday! 
     

Day 45 - Saturday, August 13, 2016
This is a before and after picture of the "Rice Cooker Malfunction".  If you didn't know this information already, it's important to learn it now.  Rice is an important part of "every" meal.  There are times when our missionaries have a psychological breakdown if they don't get rice each meal.  So today was CCM - Coordinating Council Meeting.  All of the Stake and District Presidents gather with President Clark and the member of the 70 who is over our mission, Elder Babbida.  The mission has provided the meal for nearly a year.  The meeting is only held quarterly.  Today the unthinkable happened.  We were preparing the plates of rice and ulam (whatever topping you put on rice is called ulam).  Things didn't look right so I took a little piece of rice and found they were not right!  5 minutes before serving time and we were riceless!  The assistants and office elders hopped right to it and ordered some rice from a member around the corner.  The President's had to wait a few minutes but it gave them time to chat and relax after their meeting.  They didn't seem any worse for the wear.  I told them they could eat their carmel brownie and ice cream for an appetizer but that didn't work.  Rice first.  Always rice first.



Day 44 - Friday, August 12, 2016

Today I ventured out with the Sister Training Leaders in Tarlac, Sister Tabay and Sister Borrowman.  Our task was to find a dress shop that could make pants for the sisters in our mission.  We were told the best way to do this was ask a school teacher where they have their pants made.  There are no patterns used but only measurements taken by Lanie or another dress maker around the area.  We showed her pictures of the style and off she goes.  
The Missionary Department authorized our sisters to wear pants or long skirts to protect against mosquito borne diseases such as dengue fever.  While the sisters aren't excited about wearing pants, there are times when mosquitoes are plentiful and they want to be protected.  Our missionaries also spray their houses, clothes and bedding with permithrin every 6 weeks at transfer time.  The Church has gone to great lengths to protect our missionaries throughout the world.  It has taken a couple of months of training, reminders and more training and reminders but we are all compliant now.  To date we have not had any dengue cases this year (except one freakish case last April).  Last year we had over 20 missionaries that had dengue.  

Day 43 - Thursday, August 11, 2016
 
                                                                                                    First Family Photo 
Meet Grace Eliza Clark.  She is our 9th grandchild.  Her parents are elated to have her join them.  Grace is our miracle.  She was overzealous to be with her parents so she thought it a good idea to start her delivery over 6 weeks ago.  Through fasting and prayers from many, plus skilled doctors, Grace waited until today to make her grand entrance (yesterday in the Philippines). She entered the world weighing 7 pounds 11 ounces (two ounces less than her dad at birth).  We love you, Baby Grace!                     ***Pictures just minutes after birth

Day 42 - Wednesday, August 10, 2016
Today was a S&R kind of day.   About once a month if there is a need to travel to Angeles, we make our way to our favorite warehouse.  It looks much like the Costco's in the United States.  Here we can find real milk, cereal and brownie mix!  These are huge luxuries in our part of the world.  Sister Lopez gives us a list and then we add several items on top of that. Today we needed two grocery carts to carry out our goods.  Zone Conference is coming so birthday bags need to be filled and special treats made.  That was okay because President Clark came along so we toted out his and her carts.  

Day 41 - Tuesday, August 9, 2016
What would you do if you found this group of incredible young missionaries on your front porch trying to stay out of the rain?  Take a picture of course!  Every month after we finish our missionary leadership council I tell myself, "That was the best MLC!"  This month was no different.  We had inspiring and memorable teaching and training going on in the mission home.  They will all take all this inspiration back to their zones tomorrow!  

Day 40 - Monday, August 8, 2016
This table is in our living room.  It is the first thing visitors see once they enter.  Our missionaries and guests sit down on the couches and immediately peruse the pages of these beloved picture books.  Inside is a photo of every missionary who has departed as well as every missionary who has entered the Philippines Angeles Mission since July 2014! Our hearts are knit together with these special servants of the Lord!

Day 39 - Sunday, August 7, 2016
Isaiah called the Sabbath a "delight!"  So do we.  Sometimes President and I have to split up because of meetings and responsibilities.  When we join back together, we want to make it a delight.  Tonight we went to visit our friends in the neighborhood.  We love them like they were family.  We had some great thought provoking discussions.  Time always flies when we're with the Lacinlale's!    #Hisday

Day 38 - Saturday, August 6, 2016
We had visitors tonight!  Mabalacat Stake Presidency and Bishoprics with their wives joined us for dinner.  It was our largest group yet.  We enjoyed a very nice dinner and thanked them afterward for supporting our missionaries.  Mabalacat is a new stake that has great potential to continue to grow.  We expect great things from them in the coming months.  

Day 37 - Friday, August 5, 2016
Can you spot the bathing baby?  This was a sidewalk scene on a busy street today in Cabanatuan.  The ingredients included a small bucket, a baby and plenty of water.  She was having a great time!  The day after transfers is generally a catch-up day.  Today a missionary returned home to one of our Districts.  When this happens President Clark generally travels to them because it is a long distance and great expense.  It was nice to travel together today and enjoy the scenery along the way.  We were even able to get some weekly planning in.  

Day 36 - Thursday, August 4, 2016
YES!  These missionaries are transferring today!  The jeepney behind them will be their mode of transportation to get there.  They will be close knit but excited to carry the work they were called to do, teaching and proclaiming the gospel!

The missionary on the curb behind the trike!  I can only imagine what he is thinking!

Day 35 - Wednesday, August 3, 2016
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.  Matthew 28:19
Our missionaries teach repentance, baptize converts and rescue members.  This is a lesson being taught to two young men who will be baptized this weekend.  It's about 90 degrees, high humidity yet they happily sit together and study the gospel!  

Day 34 - Tuesday, August 2, 2016
Here they are!  Our 18th Batch to depart since we have been in the Philippines.  We have definitely grown older since they entered 18 and 24 months ago.  They have grown testimonies and strength to go and do great things as Returned Missionaries.  It is our hope to get the before and after photos on the Home Tab tomorrow or the next day.  We will miss our missionaries who have imprinted themselves on our hearts.  

Day 33 - Monday, August 1, 2016
This is the beginning of Family Home Evening for these departing missionaries.  They will have one more day on the mission.  We try to help prepare for returning home.  It can be difficult for them to adjust to thoughts of post mission life.  We will miss them being with us on a day to day basis.  They will continue to linger in our hearts forever as loved Angeles Missionaries.  

Day 32 - Sunday, July 31, 2016
Today we celebrate our oldest son.  Preston loves to laugh.  We have a family texting thread that keeps us in touch with our children across the miles.  Often we generate an audible laugh from comments he makes.  He is a great dad to his two sons and just found out a little girl will enter the family by the end of the year.  Happy 29th Birthday to a wonderful son that is loved!


Day 31 - Saturday, July 30, 2016


I was asked to speak to the Relief Society of San Jose Stake.  The topic requested was visiting teaching.  I must admit that I have missed having a visiting teacher the past two years.  Two hours of presentation on my own was a daunting thought.  I asked Sister Whiting to share the program with me.  It was a perfect fit.  The sisters were so attentive. They want to succeed at visiting teaching but lack a culture of watch care.  One sisters said, "We are making history today."  What a marvelous organization to which we belong.   

Day 30 - Friday, July 29, 2016


President Clark and I have wanted to get to know our Stake and District leaders better.  We have invited the leaders for dinner at the mission home.  Some of the areas are too far away and difficult for the leaders to travel.  When that is the case, we go to them! Tonight was the Bongabon District gathering held in Cabanatuan.  Authentic Filipino food was on the menu tonight.  Squid balls and fish headlined the entrees.  As you can see, President Clark enjoyed plenty of rice.  We enjoyed our time together. 
   
Day 29 - Thursday, July 28, 2016


Welcome to Elder and Sister Dansie from Murray, Utah!  The Dansie's arrived excited and ready to go to work.  After a few days of orientation, they will begin their work as Member Leadership Support Missionaries assigned in Cabanatuan.  The Dansie's have been married for five months after both lost their spouses of 50 years.  The newlyweds bring great energy and missionary zeal to our mission.  We are thrilled to welcome them and look forward to serving alongside them.

We are giddy with joy to have the mission home filled with Senior Missionary love!  We now have three senior couples to assist our missionaries.  We can't wait until October when Elder and Sister Spung will join the ranks.  We loved our time together tonight getting to know each other a little better!    

Day 28 - Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Today was our last day of interviews!  Twelve different zones and 200+ missionaries were seen in the past 3 weeks.  Guimba zone was last and the power company threw us a curve ball.  Each month there is one day that the power is turned off for up to 9 hours throughout the community.  These are to facilitate annual maintenance and testing of the power stations.  Our Guimba interviews were unforgettable as the sweat dripped freely.  We didn't let that affect our pleasure of seeing all of the Guimba missionaries. The missionaries are very used to this.  It is just the Mission President and wife that needed hand fans or sweat rags throughout the process.  Rain or shine, fans or no power - we love experiencing the joys of meeting with our missionaries.  
Education is important to Filipinos.  Each barangay builds a school building.  The students wear uniforms.  There is a fairly large court just beyond the fence area where the youth have their opening exercises.  Singing the national anthem, saying the pledge and other activities take place before they go into their classes.  Often when we drive in the morning at 6:30 a.m., children are walking to school.  Traffic is also quite interesting as youth arrive and depart from school.  Our missionaries do many service projects at schools during the summer months while the students are on break.  

Day 27 - Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Today is a "Pick 2" day.  Of course our San Jose Zone Leaders and their Purple Palace had to be the first choice.  This was our second to last Zone Interview for this month.  It went so smoothly.  It's difficult to get pictures of all of the missionaries during interviews because we are constantly in a room with missionaries during interviews.  The San Jose Zone Leaders lead and organized the day so well. They have many missionaries in their zone doing weekly baptisms!


Although the traffic was par for the course today, President Clark turned around to backtrack so that I could get this gem of a picture.  I love so many things about this.  The classic countryside basketball court with one cow and without a rim.  The haystack background also adds ambiance.    

Day 26 - Monday, July 25, 2016


This is one of the beautiful sites we are grateful to view as we travel around our mission. Mount Arayat is an extinct volcano that rises to 3,366 feet.  There is no recorded eruption. Mount Arayat stands in the middle of the flat lands where many rice paddies are planted. We are told that it is a magnificent hike.  We look forward to a day when we can ascend Mt. Arayat.    

Day 25 - Sunday, July 24, 2016


Happy Pioneer Day!  A pioneer is someone who goes before showing others the way to follow.  There are many examples of wonderful pioneers in our lives.  
The picture today is this hymnal that brought a smile to my face.  For church today we went to Tarlac Ward 5.  Books like this sat proudly on many of the chairs.  The books were donated by a senior couple who came and donated 4 months of their lives for the Angeles Mission but also spent many hours with the saints in Tarlac Ward 5. Ron and Diana Williamson's memory still lives here as the members sing words of praise out of these hymnals each week.  Before this donation, the number of books were few and they were tattered and torn.  Music is huge in the Filipino culture.  Sometimes it is with piano accompaniment and sometimes not.  Their voices are loud and full of spirit.  It reminds me of the quote, "We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer."  

Day 24 - Saturday, July 23, 2016

Saturday marks our 10th Zone Interview. We met with Gapan Zone.  Just 2 more to go. We love our time to meet with each missionary individually.  President Clark wrote a great article in "Words from the President" regarding these interviews.
When you think about it, there are some missionaries in our mission who never meet one another.  If they are always on opposite sides of the mission, there is no opportunity to meet. That shows you just how spread out our mission is.  That's why we love each and every opportunity to meet with and enjoy our time to share with each missionary individually.  
This Jeepney!  Just down the hall from our interviews was a beautiful baptism of a sister from San Leonardo.  Although it was quite a distance from their home, there was much support from the members and family.  They all huddled together in this jeepney to attend this beautiful ceremony.  As I hugged the sister, she had the largest smile on her face and said, "I can't believe this day is here!"  That is the beauty that the gospel can bring to a life.  

Day 23 - Friday, July 22, 2016

Doctrine & Covenants 42:6
"And ye shall go forth in the power of my Spirit, preaching my gospel, two by two, in my name, lifting up your voices as with the sound of a trump, declaring my word like unto angels of God." 
---These Sisters are leaving Zone Interviews armed with 72-hour kits, area book and proselyting bags.  They are full of faith and ready to go and do!

Day 22 - Thursday, July 21, 2016

There are days when a Mission President's motto will be, "Expect the Unexpected." Yesterday was one such day.  After a late night retrieval of some missionaries, an early drive to Manila ensued this morning.  As we walked into the Missionary Recovery Center the first thing we saw was this sign.  What a sanctuary this place of healing is to our wounded warriors.  We are grateful to Elder and Sister Peel for caring for our missionaries in their temporary housing.  Elder Collins and Elder Thueson are service missionaries who are also retired professional doctors.  We couldn't do what we do every day without their counsel and
guidance. 




Day 21 - Wednesday, July 20, 2016



This might seem like a strange picture of the day but let me explain.  I must admit when finding out we were coming to the Philippines, I thought, "What about my hair?" Well there are still many days I say the same thing. Today when I announced I was getting my hair colored, one of the Elders said, "Sister Clark, I've been looking at pictures through the months.  Your hair has been many different colors from red to pretty white."  In the Philippines they have a lot of red, dark brown and black.  Not a lot in between.  One hairdresser used to mix 3 different colors together for me, then he left the salon.  After consulting with my hairdresser back home, she suggested a certain color.  With the help of a friend traveling here, I am finally medium blonde again!  The stylists were in awe of the color and the product.  Just another part of our wonderful journey in the Philippines.  





Day 20 - Tuesday, July 19, 2016


A classic Philippines beautiful sunset.  Storm clouds give way for a last few rays of sunlight at the end of the day.  An almost every day occurrence but one we never grow tired of seeing.   

Day 19 - Monday, July 18, 2016


This is what a Boodle Fight looks like.  Boodle fight is a military style of eating where long tables are prepared and food are on top of the banana leaves. Fish, pork and rice ready to eat using your 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 aims for his/her position.  Paniqui Zone invited us to their Preparation Day Boodle Fight.  We enjoyed "watching" and taking pictures.  Brownies topped off the meal.  A great feast and time was had by all.
 Before, during and
 After!


Day 18 - Sunday, July 17, 2016


Today we had the Sunday General Session of Baler District Conference.  President Go has been District President since 2009.  He functions under difficult conditions and performs his responsibilities very faithfully.  We love President Go!

Day 17 - Saturday, July 16, 2016


 This is an Area Book with a missionary who understands the importance of the contents within.  Area Books remind us that the Lord expects us to keep records of his children.  One of the missionaries I met with this past week told me the following story.  He was baptized in 2013.  He had two good missionaries that he loved and appreciated.  After he was baptized, he asked the missionaries if he could have a copy of his "Teaching Record" that the missionaries had used.  When he received the original form, he turned it over only to find that nothing had been written on it.  None of the experiences shared, questions asked or comments made had been written down.  This missionary was very sad to realize that nothing had been recorded.  He told me that helped him realize that he must update his area book every night so no detail will be lost.  What a testimony to me of the power of area books.  

Day 16 - Friday, July 15, 2016


Every 6 weeks missionaries transfer in and others go home.  It's the life cycle of a mission.  Occasionally, because of school schedules, a missionary needs to return home before the actual transfer date.  Behind the door below is an Elder having his final interview with his mission president.  It is a very tender time as reflection on his two year mission and instruction after his mission takes place.  

Farewell Elder, until we meet again.

Day 15 - Thursday, July 14, 2016


Zone Interviews are underway.  When President Clark interviews with the missionary, I work with the companion.  We go through their Area Book and 72-Hour Kit.  This Sister went through a typhoon in Iloilo before coming to her mission.  Knowing what she and her family went through the filled the bag with not only 72 hours but 168 hours of supplies.  

Day 14 - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Driving in Manila is a scary task that you don't want to do everyday.  However, we can be persuaded.  Today was one of those days.  The American Women's Club of the Philippines has a Bazaar that they sponsor on one day a month.  Not often does our schedule allow us to travel this event.  Today Elders Whiting and Pugh sacrificed a preparation day and drove Sister Whiting, Sister Pugh and I to the Mall of Asia.  It was an enjoyable day of searching for just the perfect gift to take home with us one day when we return from our missions.  

Day 13 - Tuesday, July 12, 2016


It's Zone Interview time.  Sister Lopez is spoiling our wonderful missionaries again with her giant chocolate chip cookies!  We wouldn't know what to do without Sister Lopez!

Day 12 - Monday, July 11, 2016


Surprise visits and berry delight!  We love it when our returned missionaries return.  We especially love it when they return with a spouse!  It was great to see Bro. Angelo and Sister MaryAnn DeLeon.  This reminds us our Angeles family continues to grow!

Strawberries are an unusual and limited fruit in the Philippines.  The berries in my fridge needed to be put to good use.  I think the Elders agreed this was a great way to provide berry nourishment.  Dessert before lunch....YES!  



Day 11 - Sunday, July 10, 2016

This is Elder Raul Edgardo A. Vicencio.  He is one of the Area Seventy's in the Philippines. He is assigned to preside over many Stake or District Conferences around the Philippines during the year. President Clark and I have had the pleasure of working with him at a few District and Stake Conferences.  I always marvel when he opens his scriptures.  The worn and marked pages just fly open to whatever verse of scriptures he wishes to use.  He has such passion for the scriptures.  He speaks with enthusiasm and love.  I will cherish this picture of him and this well used holy writ.  It is one of his most valued possessions.  

                                           

Day 10 - Saturday, July 9, 2016

Today we have two pictures for the day.  We spent the time in Bongabon for a District Conference.  Since we are going back tomorrow, we're staying in Cabanatuan for the night.  Needing to do some business with our Cabanatuan Zone Leaders, we asked them to come over to the hotel for dessert. Wisely the didn't turn us down.  Chocolate and red velvet cake were the perfect choices for this pair.  I think the chef must have known President and my first names.  President's piece had both of our initials on the plate.  Sweet!  


 Day 9 - Friday, July 8, 2016

These two missionaries are our office elders!  We work them pretty hard and they are always pleasant and smiling.  Today was Elder Lastierre's 25th birthday!  We weren't able to be in the office for the actual celebration because of Zone Interviews.  Apparently the brownies we sent were a hit!  The Whiting's added pistachio icecream.  What more could a 25-year-old missionary ask for?  When I sent him a birthday greeting today, he responded, "I want to be one of the great missionaries in the Angeles Mission.  #LEGEND".  That will be you, Elder Lastierre.  


Day 8 - Thursday, July 7, 2016

You may wonder why a memory stick would be the picture of the day.  It's a terrible thing to lose your memory.  Losing your memory stick is also very unpleasant.  Today was the first day of quarterly missionary interviews.  The contents of this little item was to play a primary role in our training.  When the memory stick went missing early this morning, it became a huge frustration and distraction.  But all was not lost.  Just when it looked like we would need to create alternative training material, a "mystery DVD" showed up in President's paperwork.  He doesn't know how it got there but it contained the video presentations that were needed for the training.  Coincidence?  I think not.  Coincidences are just miracles that God chooses not to take credit for.  After hours of searching when we returned home, I did one last sweep through the closet and found the memory stick right where we started searching for it.  Another mission tender mercy!  
Happy Birthday to our awesome son-in-law, Judd.  We love you!

Day 7 - Wednesday, July 6, 2016

I LOVE THIS MAP!  It shows the boundaries of all 21 missions in the Philippines.  Better than that, the missionaries can now show me exactly where they live instead of just telling me. Our mission isn't the largest in land mass but it is in Stakes, Districts and units.  We have 8 stakes, 5 districts and 93 units.  It makes our 200+ missionaries work hard to try to cover them all.  

Day 6 - Tuesday, July 5, 2016


A revelatory experience was share by all who attended our Mission Leadership Counsel meeting!  It was truly a beautiful thing.  We sure love these missionaries!

Day 5 - Monday, July 4, 2016


Happy 4th of July!  Beside wearing red, white and blue today, I will be serving an American 4th of July meal tomorrow for the Mission Leadership Council.  (Wait for Day 6). 
Today Elder Fillmore shared this picture with me.  I am either driving or late with the camera to capture a scene such as this.  Often times a young child will travel with a tatay (dad) or lolo (grandpa) on a trike.  They learn at a young age to hold on.  Putting them in the side car on their own can be even more dangerous.  My mommy heart always panics when I see this.  I'm glad to have never seen an accident of a child and a trike.  Sadly, accidents with motors or trikes are very common and oft times tragic.  

Day 4 - Sunday, July 3, 2016



Most Sunday's President Clark and I travel together to various areas in our mission. Occasionally we split up to double our efforts and attend to needs of missionaries.  Today was one such day.  I attended a Tarlac Ward Fast and Testimony Meeting.  The testimonies were sweet and I understood more than usual.  I was sandwiched between two very kind friends.  The hymns were sung with enthusiasm.  There were numerous testimonies borne one right after another.  The Spirit was present in abundance.  After the meeting, I went to another part of our mission so that an important phone call could be made by one of our missionaries.  I took a wrong turn on the SCTEX and ended up in a neighboring mission (sadly not the first time).  After making the necessary direction adjustments, I arrived at the Mabalacat Chapel.  The building was quiet and peaceful.  I reflected on the beautiful Chapels provided for the Saints to worship in the Philippines.  In many areas they are the most beautiful building around.  I am grateful for His Day to renew my covenants each week.  I know that He Lives and loves us all!  


Day 3 - Saturday, July 2, 2016


Today on my walk I found these Filipino cows taking a little rest.  The owners move them around the pastures on the side of the road so they can feast on the grass that grows rapidly during the rainy season.  It is remarkable that the animals in the Philippines eat only the grasses that grow wild. 

DAY 2 - Friday, July 1, 2016


Today marks our 2nd year anniversary in the Philippines.  Since it is also Friday night, we celebrated with dinner out at Italianni's.  Our hearts are knit together with the Philippines! 

DAY 1 - Thursday, June 30, 2016
This  marks our last year in the mission. There are so many things that we wish to remember always.  We will strive to catch different memories each day. 


I'm cheating a little because I'm posting 2 pictures.  One is of my cute friend, Mila.  Mila and her husband Gus were introduced to us by Angeles Mission's previous Mission President and wife, the Martino's.  They have been a wonderful addition to our mission friendships.  Mila and I will often walk this road to get our daily walk.  
 








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