Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014-9-3,4,5 The Mission Tour

First Mission Tour with Elder and Sister Ardern!

We wish you could have flown with us to Palawan and been in the chapel as your missionaries were instructed by Elder and Sister Ardern.  What a treat it was for all of us!  I think we were all sitting there wondering if it was really us having that incredible experience!

I'm sure you will hear about it from your missionary!  Elder and Sister Ardern are so warm and friendly.  Even though they carry a heavy load, they lose themselves in the work and truly give their hearts.  We have been so blessed to have them in our mission.  Ask your missionary if they read scriptures differently now that they have been taught about "unpacking" the scriptures.

We know you are most interested in pictures of your missionaries, though, here you are!

 This is what it looks like by our front entry each time we have Mission Leadership Conference.  Our Assistants started the first row neatly and everyone else followed their example.  Thank you Elder Obray and Limoncon!

 This is all the MLC waiting reverently for Elder Ardern to arrive on Tuesday.  They were all there 45 minutes early!  Amazing missionaries!  Parents...they are incredible!  Thank you for preparing them so well to serve.

These are bags of mail for each zone.  Thanks for sending letters & emails!

Angel, our helper, and the sister missionaries put together lunches for each of the missionaries to take with them after the meeting was over.

 Angel is everyone's favorite!  She cooks and bakes Filipino, American or whatever food you prefer.  She cooks for the missionaries whenever we have large gatherings, or special guests.  (The Arderns teased us about living the law of consecration and sharing her with them.  :))

Our first conference of the mission tour was Wednesday on Palawan, in Puerto Princessa.  It was wonderful to see the missionaries again.  We were especially excited to see the new elders and sisters and find out how happy they are.  President and Sister Hiatt had arranged everything so nicely.  It went very smoothly.  We are so grateful for their service on the island!

          Elder and Sister Ardern really enjoyed meeting the sisters and elders.

         Elder and Sister Wirthlin are treasures!  They so faithfully and humbly serve the members and people in their area.  The children in their neighborhood throng them when they come home.  They make such a difference here!

Zone conferences happen only four times a year, and mission tours are once a year.  Each of those occasions are opportunities for us to make sure they have a good meal!

These are all the missionaries currently serving on Palawan.They are the Narra Zone and Puerto Princessa Zone.  President and Sister Hiatt are sitting to our right as you look at the picture.  President Hiatt is one counselor in the Mission Presidency.  The other counselor is President Angoy who is seated on the second row, third from the left.   President Ostler couldn't ask for better counselors.  They take care of so many issues on the island of Palawan. They are such consecrated couples. They are such a blessing to us!

Thursday, we met with half of the zones in Manila.  We met in the Makati chapel.  We had a wonderful session.  President and Sister Ardern shared their conversion stories.  Sister Ardern's parents were both converts.  Her mom joined the church in New Zeland but was inactive because there were no branches to attend anywhere nearby.  In her adult years, missionaries found her name and contacted her.  She readily became active again.  Her husband, Sister Arden's father, had been playing basketball for years with the missionaries, but none had asked him if he would be interested in hearing about the church until a new missionary finally asked him.  He soon took the lessons and joined the church. Their family reveres those elders.

Elder Ardern was taught the gospel as a young man.  The missionary who baptized him was soon transferred, so Elder Ardern credits a lot of his staying active to the missionary who continued to friendship him after his baptism.  He took personal interest in Elder Ardern as a young man, and even gave him his bike when he returned home from his mission.  Elder Ardern honors that missionary.  They shared their stories to help the elders and sisters realize what a difference they make in the lives of the investigators.  Sometime it's hard to see the long term affect.

Here is a line of elders patiently waiting for lunch after they allowed all the sisters to go first.  They are such gentlemen!

We have discovered the truth that, for a Filipino, a meal is not a meal unless rice is served with it.

                  Elder and Sister Duford (who arrived a month ago) serve on a remote island next to Palawan, called Coron.  They are working with a branch that was really struggling, and now there are more people attending than are even members in the area!  They have so much enthusiasm for the work!  If every couple in the church could just see what they are able to do for the community they are in, they would come on a mission as soon as possible!  It's just amazing to watch.

Elder and Sister Paine work in the office and basically do everything possible to support us...from taking us to get driver's licenses to pizza for the missionaries and getting plane tickets to playing the organ and teaching gospel essentials.  We are soooooooo blessed with couples!!!

Elder and Sister Northrup take care of all of our housing needs.  The past transfer, they had to find and set up seven new apartments!  That is a horrendous task in a place like Manila!  They visit each apartment of elders or sisters, do apartment checks and give them a spiritual message and a house keeping message.  They are so faithful and quietly serve.  This mission has been soooooo blessed by their presence in many ways.

Elder and Sister Theler work in the office.  Elder Theler takes care of all of the finances.  He is very meticulous and feels a genuine need to care for the Lord's money wisely.  He does it with such compassion and kindness that all who know him love him.  Sister Theler is the office receptionist, the mission nurse, the language study coordinator, the office secretary, the organizer, and basically whatever we need or could dream of.

                                     Amazing Manila Missionaries

Friday was our last day of the mission tour.  What an incredible group of missionaries and what an amazing day we had being taught by the Arderns.  It truly was a blessing to our mission to have them come.  We have been encouraged and inspired to become better tools in the Lord's hands.

Sister & Elder Jensen are self-reliance missionaries assigned to our mission.

What a feast it has been!  Even better than the physical feast was the spiritual feast!  We have each been given much food for thought.  We have been encouraged to ponder what we have learned and each choose five specific goals to work on personally and five to work on as a companionship.

                            The rest of the Marvelous Manila Missionaries!

                                           Our "Super-Kind Trainers"