Sunday, February 14, 2016

14 February 2016


It is now Sunday afternoon on February 14, 2016.  It has been a really crazy week in many ways and a GREAT week in others.  I will explain.

We had a visit this weekend from Elder and Sister Russel M. Nelson, of the Quorum of the Twelve.  With him were Elder and Sister Ardern from the Area Presidency and Elder and Sister Collado, the Area Authority Seventy.  We were notified of the visit a few weeks ago and President and  Sister Reeder asked Sister Hoopes and Sister Watson to take care of providing all of the food for the visit.  That meant a Saturday morning meal; a Saturday afternoon meal and a Sunday lunch after all the meetings were finished.

This was a very special visit for Elder and Sister Watson as Sister Nelson is the first cousin of Elder Watson.  She is from Canada originally and they have not seen each other is about 15 years but have communicated a little by email.  They commented on the fact that they would go clear around the world to meet up with each other.

Choir practice with missionaries on Thursday morning
The week went like this:

On  Sunday, we went to the Naga 1st Ward which meets in the Canaman chapel.  We met with the Bishop about a girl in his ward who has been taking piano lessons from Sister Hoopes.  She needs encouragement and support from the ward.  After this meeting, we went back to our Naga chapel where we attended Priesthood and Relief Socity with the Naga 2nd Ward.  This was just for fun as we had invited the Watson's over for dinner in the afternoon.  Our Naga 3rd ward now meets at 1 pm.

Monday was English tests again for most of the day.  We will finish up the testing tomorrow for all of those going home in March.

Tuesday we left early again for Pasacao for piano lessons and then back to Pamplona where Sister Hoopes met with another Sister who is teaching piano lessons to 9 kids from her area.

One of two practice Lemon Meringue pies.  The Elders were
thrilled to be able to test it for us.
Wednesday was a shopping and food preparation and testing day.  See the attached pictures.

Thursday was District meeting day for all districts.  We had called a Final Practice for the Missionary Choir which was held in the Canaman chapel.  This chapel was being cleaned for the visit of Elder Nelson and it took a major effort to get them to open up and let the missionaries come in to practice but after the practice they all had to go elsewhere for their district meetings.  We went back to our apartment to continue with the food prep and testing.

Food prep at our place on Friday.  We also had lunch with
the Watsons this day.

Friday Sister Hoopes and Sister Watson went shopping for the final things needed for the food preparation on Saturday and Sunday.  Piano lessons in the evening for Sister Hoopes which went until 8 pm.

Saturday morning early, we left for the Mission Home to prepare the Saturday morning Brunch for the visitors arriving around 10:30.  Sadly, the Philippines airline did not cooperate. They were distracted by the fact the "Pres. Aquino of the Philippines" had priority.  He was in the Naga airspace and they wouldn't allow anyone else in, until he had cleared and so, the visitors did not arrive until just in time for their meetings in the afternoon.  Some were able to get a little to eat before they had to run.  Saturday afternoon dinner was very quiet so the food was either very good or they were very hungry and tired.  Maybe all three as Sister Hoopes and Watson received all kinds of praise and recognition for all the food.

Sisters surveying the table for the guests.
Saturday evening was soup and salad with bread sticks and the Quiche from Saturday morning. Sister Hoopes prepared a Pasta Fagioli soup using a "copycat" recipe from the internet.  The soup tasted just like the the soup from the Olive Garden restaurant. They loved it and Elder and Sister Nelson asked for more of the soup on Sunday at lunch.  The Collado's also asked for more when they saw what the Nelson's were eating.  The missionary choir sang  the Hymnplicity arrangement of "Joseph Smith's, First Prayer " during the  Saturday evening missionary session. Our young Elders and Sister did a wonderful job. But more importantly they had a wonderful time preparing and singing for an Apostle.  Sister Baird lead the arrangement and Elder Garcia played the piano, which was no easy task.  This was a brand new experience for them all.  Most of the Elders and Sisters have never sung parts, yet they tried and learned to really enjoy trying to learn to sing. All the missionaries from the entire mission were invited to the meeting.  It was a great time to hear from the Reeders, Arderns and the Nelsons.  Elder Nelson spoke very personally to the missionaries about their calling. He referred us to D&C 31. This section names a number of blessings that are OURS because "of your faith in my work". The blessing that so many of us desire is "I will bless you and your family, yea your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church". We all come from different circumstances in our lives, but we all have the same desires, that our families will join with us,"that they will believe and know the truth and be ONE with (US) in (HIS) church".
He then left a special Apostolic blessing upon all the missionaries.  It was very special to all of us who were there.

After the General Authorities left the Mission Home.
Sunday off to the Mission home early.  This lunch included Sister Hoopes' special chicken salad sandwich with her own rolls and an excellent Italian vegetable salad from Sister Watson.  Lemon Meringue pies were made and finished early Sunday morning but were too hot to take up at the time and we never did get them up to the visitors.  However, they had plenty to eat and were very satisfied.  We know that the missionaries downstairs are very hopeful that they will be the recipients of some of the pie as they are being stored in their refrigerator.

This week was truly different because it involved so much of the food preparation and cleanup to make the visit for these General Authorities special.  Also, we were glad to take the burden of food prep and planning off Sister Reeder. The choir practice and singing, proved to be quite stressful as I, Sister Hoopes,was running back and forth between the Mission Home, where we were feeding our visiting authorities, and the chapel, where we had 20 minutes for a final practice. Me thinks I must have been acting quite stressed out because Elder Howard said.  "It's alright Sister Hoopes you just have to have faith. It's good!",  as I was trying to get "38 youngster's" into place and ready to go, before an Apostle of the Lord appeared to shake their hands!!!

That's all for this week.  Hopefully, things slow down a little.


  1. So interesting to read. I can't believe all that you do there. It's an inspiration to us.

  2. What an experience that will never be forgotten.