Sunday, January 1, 2017

End of 2016

We closed out the year with some Christmas socials and some new sights.  The pictures in our Blog show some fun things we've been doing, but actually most of our time has been spent helping out in the Branch.  Not the type of things you take pictures of.  Nevertheless, here are some of our activities at the end of the year.

 We had our yearly Branch Christmas Social.  Gilbert was conducting in the multi-purpose room, which serves as both Chapel and Cultural Hall.

 Some of the children.

 The Christmas social consisted of playing games and singing and eating.

 Sister Swift taught them one game where she had all the YW sit sideways in chairs in a circle.  Then they layed back on the legs of the girl next to them.

Then one by one she pulled the chairs out and they stayed up.  There was so much laughter and shrieking you would not believe it.

 We had the food outside.  Here are some of the YW in what they call a wacky picture.

 We also had a Mission Christmas Conference.  They had a pig and lots of good food and also some great talks and workshops.  Sister Swift and I gave a presentation on the importance of establishing  family traditions.

 President Dela Cruz (second councilor and his wife in the Mission Presidency) and the food tables.

 The three Elders assigned to San Ildefonso near the end of 2016.  Elder Cabalhug, Rasmussen, and Abay.

 Sister Swift and I participated in the "Light the World by following the example of Jesus Christ" program.  Each day we did something different on various topics suggested on the church website.  For each day we cut out a paper ornament.  This was our Christmas Tree for 2016, representing service to others.

 One day we went with the Bremners on a drive.  We saw this Catholic Cathedral called Grotto of the Lady of Lourdes. It is a replica of the one in France.

A Filipino women built it here after she had been healed at the original "Our Lady of Lourdes" in France.

 This is the grotto.  The water is believed (by some people) to have healing properties.

 We found this sign amusing.  They didn't want people to use the grotto as a place to take your date.

Afterwards we found this lunch place in the mall with multi-colored hamburgers.  This is the one I (Sister Swift) chose. Green hamburger anyone?  It was actually very tasty.

And for dessert, I chose an ice cream sandwich. Actually I ate it first so that it wouldn't melt.  It  came with a purple bun. Here in the Philippines an ice cream sandwich is ice cream on a bun. Elder Swift ordered a burger that came with a black bun.

 This is a typical fire works stand.  They sell the big ones to individuals, ones that you only see back home in shows by cities.  On New Years Eve there were fireworks going off all over our neighborhood.  Crazy how many.  They were everywhere.

 This is a roadside stand.  They say "It's more fun in the Philippines", but it's not fun to be a pig in the Philippines.

 One day we went to the temple with our Branch as Brother Manolito Gonzales got his endowments (in the middle).  He's a member we've got to know quite well and visited him often as he progressed through the year towards this special day at the temple.

 We saw a Filipino rice farmer preparing his rice fields with the help of his gentle, hard working carabao (water buffalo).

This kind of represents our year.  Lots of hard work but for a good cause.  Hopefully, like rice that springs up from this field as a result of the farmer's work, there will be much good for the members in our Branch resulting from our efforts.

The gospel is true.  Jesus is the Christ.  He atoned for our sins.  Heavenly Father loves and cares for us.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is his church founded by him for our benefit and to aid us in progressing towards salvation.  We love the gospel and we love being on a mission.

Elder and Sister Swift