Friday, January 29, 2016

Manila Temple Trip

Maybe the best part of serving a mission is helping members get to the Temple for the first time. We've now had that opportunity, and even though it was stressful at times, it was definitely worth it.

Sunday afternoon we began our journey to the Manila Temple. We accompanied the Merang family from Branch 2 and Brother Jubang from Branch 1. We flew to Kuala Lumpor where we spent the night in the airport Tunes hotel. It wasn't too bad. I was surprised because President Chua told me Sister Bodell wasn't going to like it. She was fine with it. (President Chua is our District President here in Sibu. He made all the flight and hotel arrangements for us. We made the Temple and Temple housing arrangements.)

Monday morning we flew to Manila and took a taxi to the Temple housing. If we ever thought traffic was bad in Malaysia, we will count our blessings that we don't drive in Manila! Oh, boy! Bumper to bumper all the way. Our taxi driver, Clem, on the way back to the airport on our return trip said there are some simple rules for driving in the Philippines.

Rule #1: Fill in the blanks." That's exactly what they do! If there is any space between cars, they fill it in. 
Rule #2 is "First come, first serve." That deals with filling in the blanks and intersections. 
Rule #3 is "Buses have the always have the right of way. They're bigger than you are. 
Rule #4 is if you have an issue with a bus, refer to rule #3.

We arrived at the Temple housing and greeted by Lyte Gaviola. He has become a good friend with all the correspondence we've done in making the arrangements. He gave us the good news that we would all have our own separate rooms. We were planning on the brethren being in one room and the sisters in another. Each room has two sets of bunk beds and nothing else. There was a common bathroom for each gender and also a common room for eating. Food was also catered, but Sister Bodell and I mostly ate out. It was quite the adventure!

The reason for going to the Temple was so the adults could take out their endowment and the sealing of the Merang family. We were able to do three endowment sessions, do some baptizing for the dead, and participate in a separate sealing session other than the family being sealed. Both families had brought names to get their temple work done.

The family sealing was especially touching. It was an emotional experience for all of us to witness this beautiful family sealed together for time and all eternity. Words will never be able to express how we felt. This family was baptized shortly after we arrived in Sibu. We have watched them grow in the gospel. They are definitely a kingdom building family. We will continue to correspond with them after we return back to Utah.

The Temple Presidency and temple workers were very helpful. It seems that they bent over backwards to make sure that we were all taken care of and our needs met in fulfilling our purpose at the temple.

We were in Manila for about three days. We flew back on Thursday. We were happy to be back safely in our own beds. Our flight from Manila to KL was about an hour and a half late. We were a little concerned as we had a connecting flight to Sibu. We made it with about 20 minutes to spare for boarding. It was pretty close, but we were blessed. 

The flight was pretty bumpy as we hit a patch of turbulence. At one point the plane dropped, leaving our stomachs to catch up with us. The passengers issued an audible gasp. That was kind of humorous.

We spent Friday getting caught up with laundry, running errands, and getting a little rest.

A delicious surprise at the KL airport!
Waiting for the taxi at the Manila airport
Front view of the Manila Temple
The Manila Temple from the side
Another shot of the Manila Temple
Elder & Sister Bodell, Brother Jubang, Cassidy, Claudia, Kharista, Elvika,
Tracy, Caroline, Sister Doo, Brother Merang
Temple Patron Housing
Lyte Gaviola, Temple Housing Coordinator
Grocery prices in Philippine pesos. One American dollar equals about 40 pesos.
There were armed guards at the little mall where we ate.
A very delicious tuna cranberry sandwich on a croissant 
Kind of a Monte Cristo sandwich with cheese, chicken, and ham
Welcome back to Sibu1

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