Sunday, July 20, 2014


It's been a full three weeks of interviews and meetings!  What a wonderful whirlwind!  We can't imagine having any more fun than this!  Yes, we get overwhelmed and yes, we feel like we don't know anything compared to what we need to know, but we feel the hand of the Lord in our lives, strengthening us and make a way for His work to be accomplished.  It is, after all, HIS work.

This is a picture of an unusually orderly traffic jam.  Usually, the cars are NOT between the lines....they are all over!

Tuesday was such a wonderful day!  We were blessed to go to the temple with the elders and sisters who were to fly home the following day.  This is Sister Thompson and Sister Mecham.

This is Sister Riddle.  One of her investigators stitched the embroidery on her blouse!  The Filipinos are so artistic!  These sisters are incredible.  I wish we could keep them!  We just got here!

Elder Pistorius and Elder Cook are two wonderful missionaries!  It is hard to let them go!

The highlight of the day was being able to attend the sealing of Elder Atoigue's parents to each other and to him.  When he left on his mission, his father was not pleased.  During his mission, his father had a major change of heart and had become an active member worthy to be sealed together as a family.  His father and mother flew from the United States to the Philippines to be able to see their son's mission and be sealed together in the Manila temple.  So Elder Atoigue and his parents were sealed together all of his "missionary family" (including Elder and Sister Craft- who were also going home at the end of their mission) were able to witness this crowning event.  It was so special for us to be there!  We love you and will miss you, Elder Atoigue!

President Ostler had each of the missionaries write a list of their "spiritual pedigrees" which are a list of the converts, reactivated and other people they connected with on their missions that are now part of their "spiritual family" that they will try to keep in contact with and keep encouraging.

After a wonderful day at the temple and interviews, a nice dinner made by Angel is a welcome sight!

The Senior Couples get to join in on the Going Home Missionary Dinners.  These missionaries become very special to all of us who are blessed to work with them.  We also were honoring the Crafts who have been serving diligently and are returning home.

The Philippines have wonderful fruit!

Angel is a fantastic cook.....just ask any of the missionaries!

Elder Durfee has grown and developed so much during his mission.  He feels a sense of great accomplishment in the things he has learned.

What a precious group of wonderful sisters!  How can we let them go home???????????????????????

After the delicious dinner and dessert, we had a testimony meeting where each of the missionaries were able to share their feelings and a miraculous experience they had on their missions.  We sang, "A Marvelous Work" and "God Be With You Till We Meet Again".  It was a sweet evening.  These missionaries have worked their hearts out.....and they are tired!

And then......came the typhoon.  We had been hearing reports from the missionaries and following the predicted storm path on the internet for several days.  When it turned more towards Manila, we contacted all the missionaries and asked them to stay in their apartments beginning at 6pm the night the typhoon was going to hit.  They were asked to stay inside until the storm was over and the flood waters had receded.  We sent the missionaries to a hotel so they could leave the next morning on a flight home.  Or so we thought!

That night, the eye of the typhoon went right over Manila.  Fortunately, it had downgraded so there was a lot less damage than there might have been.  President Ostler was up late, and then got up at least every hour to check the news.  The rain was quite heavy and the winds strong.  The roofs are often metal, so the rain hitting it can really make it sound loud.  Some of the elders reported seeing metal from roof being blown off houses, some trees were blown down, there were branches and leaves everywhere, and the power went out. 

Without power, there was no air conditioning or light, so we got to feel what it usually feels like for all the missionaries and used a candle and flashlights to see.  We tried to start the backup generator, but the battery had died.  We called the Facilities Management Group, and they promised to send someone as soon as the storm calmed down.  Because the phone lines were down, we sent an email to let the MTC know that we couldn't get out to come pick up the 15 new missionaries until the storm abated.  In the meantime, we had breakfast with the Crafts and Sister Ram who had spend the night with us.  When the storm calmed down, we carefully drove to the MTC.  Some of the roads were blocked by fallen trees, and several parts of the main road were flooded, but we were able to make it to the MTC where some very tired but excited new missionaries were waiting.  They had been up since 3am making sure they were ready for us.  Poor missionaries!  It was still raining, but we got them into the vans and got them to the mission home in one piece.  The sisters were full of laughter and sang happily along the way. 

We felt very fortunate that the storm had passed us without a great deal of damage, and most happy that all of our missionaries were safe.