Monday, May 27, 2013

Food  & Farewell !!

Well, we are down to 10 days until AJ enters the MTC. This past week we had family date night at a local Filipino restaurant to give AJ a little taste of some of the foods she may be eating.
The restaurant's name is Salo-Salo and it was recommended to us by one of my husbands co-workers.  It was soooo good!!! We all loved it.  We will definitely be going back to visit this restaurant again.

Dinner at Salo-Salo
Chicken, Beef, Pork....YUM!!
Fried Pork

Fried Rice

Pancit Noodles....This was my fave!!
Mango Slushy

Overall this was a great dining experience and we had a lot of fun sampling some of the Filipino cuisine.  Did I mention that we were literally the only non-Filipino people in the restaurant?  That's how we knew this was going to be authentic Filipino food.

Sunday  was AJ's farewell talk in church and we hosted an open house at our home in the afternoon. We were surrounded by family and friends all day with everyone giving AJ words of advise, support and love. Everyone told her they were looking forward to hearing or reading about all the fun experiences she will have on her mission.

AJ at the Open House

Filipino Turon
It was a fun and busy week. Now as we head into the last week before she leaves for the MTC there are still a few loose ends to tie up, but AJ is getting more and more excited. We have been very blessed during these past weeks as we've tried to help her prepare physically, mentally and spiritually for her mission. 
As she gave her farewell talk in church I thought I would be a bundle of emotions and crying like a baby (her dad cried), and while there were many emotions running through me the one that stood out was pride and the tears that were shed were tears of happiness.
 I am so incredibly proud of my daughter. I know how hard it is for her to leave her family and all the things that are familiar to her, but she is taking that leap of faith and trusting in the Lord and believing in his plan for her.

Here we go....10 days and counting!!!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Newport Beach Temple
Temple Day with AJ
May 11, 2013

Today was an amazingly spiritual day. I feel so blessed to have been able to have been apart of this day with our daughter.
For our family and friends who are unfamiliar with our church's temples, it is a beautiful building both inside and out. The temple is a very sacred place to us Latter-Day Saints. It's a place where we can go to escape the worries and effects of the world around us and concentrate completely on the things of God.
I am never more at peace than when I'm in the temple totally immersing myself in the teachings of the Lord.

As I sat quietly next to AJ I was so grateful to my Heavenly Father for the knowledge we have of the gospel, and the Atonement of Jesus Christ.  The knowledge that we have that our families can be together forever. I was grateful that AJ has decided to give 18 months of her life to share this knowledge with the people of the Philippines. 
Make no mistake, she will be greatly missed by her family and friends, but by her desire to serve the Lord she will be blessed, her family will be blessed and most importantly the people in the Philippines will be blessed.

As we get closer to AJ's departure date and as she continues to prepare to serve it seems like the adversary is working overtime to destroy those peaceful spiritual feelings.  Today has been filled with frustration as we start to feel the time crunch of her departure (23 days) and still have so much to do.  AJ and I were starting to snap at each other today, she was snapping at her siblings, they snapped back and then we all took a deep breath and realized that this is what Satan wants. He would love nothing more than to bring contention into our home and ruin what should be a wonderful experience for all of us as we help AJ prepare to serve the Lord.

We decided to not let this be a stressful experience. We will put our faith in the Lord and enjoy each and every one of the next 23 days!

Next week we are planning on taking the family to an authentic Filipino restaurant to try the cuisine of the Philippines and give AJ a little taste of what awaits her. Can't wait!! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

29 Days and counting!!

AJ will be going into the MTC in less than a month!! Yikes!! We are still waiting for her passport to arrive. After we get her passport we will have to mail it off to the travel center in Utah for them to start processing her Visa.
We have done some shopping in preparation for her trip. She has bought some skirts, shirts and a few pairs of durable shoes (crocs). Since it rains often in the Philippines she was told that she will need durable water-proof shoes, and crocs were highly recommended.  We are told that once she gets to the Philippines that she can purchase additional shoes there for about $5.00. Not sure how many Filipino Pesos that is yet. We still have to learn the rate of exchange, but we've been told it's 42 pesos to every one US dollar. Not bad!!

We will be taking AJ to the temple for the first time this Saturday. It will be a very special day for her and for her father and I as well. I feel so blessed to be able to share this time with her. I'm looking forward to Saturday and will write more about that later.

There have been lots of emotions in our home these past few weeks. My emotions  revolve around sending my child to a country that I'm completely unfamiliar with. It's not like I'm sending her off to college in another state. She's going across the Pacific to another culture, trying to speak another language and communicate with the people there, learning new customs, dealing with a completely different climate, and different living conditions.
She's never lived away from home, and I'll admit I'm a very overprotective mom. It will be extremely difficult for me to not be able to talk to her everyday, to kiss her good night at the end of the day, to take care of her if she's not feeling well or is sad. This will be a real exercise of faith to relinquish my control, but I know in my heart that it's the right thing to do for her and for me. I know the Lord needs her in the Philippines to serve the Filipino people in whatever way is needed.

I know AJ is experiencing her own anxiety about leaving. She wonders if she can live away from home for 18 months without Mom and Dad and her family? Will she be able to fulfill her call as a missionary and do what's needed of her? Will she be able to deal with the extreme heat/humidity? What if she gets homesick, how will she cope? Will she be able to learn the language? And, lots of other things too.

We've had some wonderful mother-daughter conversations lately, both of us sharing with one another our excitement about the months ahead as well as our concerns.  Twenty-nine days and counting....does anyone know how to slow time down, at least for the next month ?