From Mom & Dad August 2009
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Just a little side note from one of the other couple missionaries here from Canada -
"For those who may not know, September is a Ber month, the first of four months ending in Ber and denotes the start of the Christmas season here. The Philippines is a nation with many Christians who are not ashamed to celebrate, speak of, and sing about our Savior. I can't help but think of 2 Nephi 25:26 "we talk of Christ, we rejoice in Christ, we preach of Christ, we prophecy of Christ...". May we be found doing all these things this season. It is a blessing it is to serve in such a land.
That's about all the families have over here is their faith in the Savior and Christmas music. It doesn't take a lot
to make them happy.
Driving home from our Branch the other day, alongside the highway was a steel building with big white graffiti letters. I had to smile though, because the Philippines is the only country where someone would graffiti a scripture on the side of a building. They also added the reference of John 3:3. ha
Dear Family and Friends.
I awoke this morning at just after 2:00 to booming thunder that rattled the windows and brilliant flashes of lightning. The rain began to pound on the neighboring metal rooves with a resounding roar. That all went on for about 40 minutes before it quieted down to just the roar of the rain. I does get a little spooky being 23 floors up; it seems like the storm is just outside our window. We got up about 5:00 to a peaceful, quiet morning, The air was cool and refreshing. The sun hasn't popped through the clouds yet, but it is a beautiful day.
We came to the Center and prepared for a group of about 40 from one of the provinces 3 hours away. They had come to the Temple yesterday and stayed overnight at the Patron Housing for an early start here at the Center. We had a full house for about two hours, before they got registered in New Family Search and their names processed, and left with lots of "Salamat po's" and smiles. They are such sweet, gracious people. Salamat po is the most often spoken words in the Tagalog language. Salamat means "Thank you" and "Po" is an expression of respect. We had all ten of the computers, plus our two office ones, being used, with a line of three or four behind each one. The group is gone, and now, there are about twenty new faces taking their place. I need to find a way to clone Sis. Fitz and the one volunteer Sister helping here today!!! Got any ideas?
Got anything going for the next 18 months?
Josh and Family have been in Orem for about the last two weeks, and left last Monday for North Carolina. They will be there for the next three years. But, they are fine; the kids are growing cuter every day. They thought it would take them about four days to drive there, so they should be there and settling in. They and their siblings and cousins in Utah had a wonderful reunion.
Yesterday was a national holiday of some kind. They have quite a few to celebrate. We are instructed not to attend them as occasionally they turn dangerous and violent, as anyone that stands out in the crowd for any reason becomes the focus of attention. Following my last email about the former president's death of cancer, a tv newscast stated that she had survived seven attempts on her life while in office.
We are fine, and things are going well.
We haven't anything unusual or exciting to write about, so I will close and send you a couple of emails of varying interest to keep you busy. Let us know how you are doing.
This story stirred my heart and soul as I read it and pictured my children with their struggles and challenges that come with life on earth and how paying Tithing is a way that Heavenly Father has provided for all of us to receive the blessings that he has for us. The blessings of paying Tithing and Fast Offerings come in many different ways, it may be spiritual blessings, health, happiness, safety, our children's well-being, comfort, & financial help. Just like this Sister, I see all of you kids & your love for the Savior, your determination like Mormon to testify that you are also a disciple of Christ. You go forward each day with the faith and hope that ways will be provided for each of you and your children to fulfill what is needed. Burdens are not always lifted right away, but the ability to shoulder those burdens and not be weighed down by them, can be felt as we truly trust in the Lord and help each other.
We are grateful to have all of you and the grandchildren forever - what more could parents want than to belong to such a wonderful family. Thank you, we love you, we pray for you and we believe in you that together with the Lord, we can all accomplish all things.
Remember, Together Forever Fitz's,
Mom & Dad :)
Could Tithing Ease My Worries?
By Nancy Kay Smith
Nancy Kay Smith, “Could Tithing Ease My Worries?,” Ensign, July 2009, 73
While my older children were at school and the little ones napped, I spread the household bills across the kitchen table. I began this dreaded monthly task by praying for wisdom and ability to stretch our meager income. The tithing check, as always, would be the first one written.
When I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as a young wife and mother, I had committed to pay tithing. I had never wavered from that promise. I was deeply distressed, however, by inadequate funds to cover yet another month of utility, mortgage, and insurance bills.
Now I was a single mother of six young children. I frequently felt overwhelmed by the constant workload, financial worries, and endless decisions involved in my efforts to be both mother and father with no extended family to give me relief or support.
As I sat at the table pleading with the Lord for His help and mercy, the Holy Ghost opened to my view a beautiful and comforting manifestation of the Savior’s love. I was able to see the money owed for household expenses with a new perspective as the sacred priorities of life were brought to my remembrance. I knew that our Heavenly Father wanted me to have the blessings promised to those who faithfully paid tithes and offerings. I also knew that tithe paying should be a joyful act of love, devoid of fear and worry.
As the Spirit of the Lord filled me, I found myself bearing testimony of convictions I had long held firm and sacred. My voice broke the silence of the kitchen as I declared that I would rather lose the water source to my house than lose the living water offered by the Savior. I would rather have no food on our table than be without the Bread of Life. I would prefer to endure the darkness and discomfort of no electricity than to forfeit the Light of Christ in my life. I would rather abide with my children in a tent than relinquish my privilege of entering the house of the Lord.
The burden of worry immediately lifted. My love for the Lord overcame the weakness generated by my fears. Our Heavenly Father is our deliverer, our benefactor, and our protector. He truly does supply all our needs. His promises are sure and unfailing. He commands us to pay tithing on our increase so that He may shower down blessings from heaven—including peace of mind, freedom from worldly and material worry, and confidence in His holy name.
From that day forward I have counted it a joy to pay my tithing, without reservation or fear, to Him and for Him who first loved me.
Please take a minute when you get this and send Mae Yao a message from all of you on Facebook. She is the girl from our Branch who is leaving Sat. to go into the MTC. She knows all about all of you and will be a great missionary. Mae joined the Church in 2006, her Mom & brother are non-members and have been negative for her going on a Mission until just lately. Her parents are divorced and she never sees her Dad. She has a
Grandmother that she never sees and no aunties and uncles - in other words, she has adopted our family!
We bought her scriptures from all of our family and gave to her for her mission. Mae is very shy but it is easier writing so there is just a couple of days left and any messages from you all to her will mean a lot - more than you can imagine. Whoever can write - Kailei and Mariana - she knows all of you. I think she may have sent some of you invitations to her facebook. Take a look and take a minute to write, please.
We are going to help contribute for her Mission, probably $100 a month which will only be $10 from each of you, for any who would like to participate. I know the Bishop wants her Mother to help even if it is a little bit because there are Missionary Blessings for those who do. I know Mae prays each day that her Mother and brother will join the Church. The Branch will help some too.
Anyway, I love you kids and smile as I think about you all together. God bless.....we send lots of love,
Mom & Dad :)
Dear Family and Friends,
We just got back yesterday afternoon from our trip north. We were at the very top of the Island, in San Fernando, Vigan, and Laoag. We saw some beautiful country and some great sites. One was a 1591 Cathedral in Vigan; another, the bell tower, built when the city was settled in 1590 and used during the war as a lookout and warning center. We were accompanied on our trip by Loy, a wonderful computer technician at the FHC. He had been the one to photograph the parrish records in Vigan, where he became closely acquainted with the Archbishop, who was on a trip. His private secretary, who immediately recognized Loy from his stay there six years earlier, gave us a tour of rooms in the Archbishop's mansion that few are ever shown!!! The rooms contained early pictures of the Cathedral and churches, artifacts, altars, mannequins wearing robes hundreds of years old, original paintings from the early 1600's, and etc. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to photograph there. It was amusing when Loy said that when the Archbishop and his staff would leave the city on short trips back when he was there, the Archbishop would say, "Everything will be fine; Loy's a bishop, and he will be here." Loy was the Bishop of his LDS ward in Baguio and still is.
We headed back south on Friday at noon, and arrived in Baguio later that day. As we left the north, the rain, that was intermittent, got heavier. It came and went until we got to Baguio later that day. Then, the tail of the typhoon that had hit MetroManila the two previous days struck. It wasn't a constant downpour, but came and went. It made the tin rooves of the neighboring homes and businesses sound like a drum. Fortunately, we had to travel only short distances for the training we conducted and to the hotel. Baguio is so high in the tops of the mountains that it was covered with fog, and only on several occasions on Saturday afternoon did we see brief sunlight. We got about 8 inches over those three days.
We left Sunday morning after Church, and drove straight through to Manila, about five hours. The traffic was light until we reached the flat farming country. The rivers, several at least a mile wide with only a shallow and narrow channel in them previously, had experienced some flood waters, clearing the wide expanses of flood plain within its banks of most of its thick vegetation. Near Manila, the rice fields were often five to six inches underwater for miles, and about 15 of the 32 barangays (large suburbs) of Zambales had experienced some flooding. Several had areas where homes were destroyed. That area had received nearly 30 inches of rain in 3 days. It sprinkled on and off most of the way, but we found everything fine in Mandaluyong. It was nice to be home. What an introduction to the typhoon season in the Philippines.
We are here at the Center this Monday morning, so Carolyn can participate in the on-line training and I can catch up on the emails. Maraming salamat for your prayers. Take care. Love you all. E/S Fitz
Dad and I just got back from Baguio about 4:30 this afternoon, it is about a 5 hr. drive if you don't stop & if you let Dad drive - the Indy500 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Anyway, he had his head covered up and trying to get some much deserved rest! What a guy. :)
It was still raining in Baguio, not as hard as the first couple of days because the typhoon had pretty well gone over by today. We had light rain til we got down from the Mt. range and into the Valley and then even had a little sunshine back here in Manila. We saw the swollen rivers and flooded rice patties the closer we got to Manila, so it definitely got some heavy rain. I'm sure that the T.V. showed pictures of the devastation to villages
here in Northern Manila before the typhoon moved on over to Taiwan. I told Josh that now we know a little more about what it was like for him in Taiwan on his Mission when these storms would move in - right Josh?
I went onto Facebook, but my computer is still not letting me send much out, so hope this goes. We will leave early and head for the office in the morning for a while. We will try and get ahold of some of you - How was Jen's birthday weekend Jeremy? How's your vacation going Josh and Brit? What about Gavin's birthday? Gabe, how is Ryker doing - we need another picture because I know he is growing and changing.
Send me another link to your page. Thanks. Hey Zak & Rachael, what did you do this weekend???
Love & hugs to all. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers, we were safe from the storms,
Mom & Dad :)
Magandang umaga akin Pamilya at mga Kaibigan,
That's "Good morning, my family and friends." Hope this find all of you doing well. Here, it is a Tuesday morning, and we are finalizing our trip north tomorrow morning. We will be meeting with two of our Couple Support Missionaries, provide some updated material and training, and hope to see some beautiful country along the way. We have been getting a lot of rain these last four or five days, so the rice fields should be doing fine.
We got an email from Josh and family; they are in Orem for a few days, and then will head back east to North Carolina. The kids are growing like weeds, so cute, and I know they will be getting reacquainted with their cousins in Utah. It will be a wonderful reunion for all.
We are closed here at the Center while the Temple is closed for two weeks, and only take care of patrons with problems with research, and special tours and orientation. We are here each day with so many things to do, though. In two weeks, we will have 350 students from a local high school on tours over two days.
Tomorrow will be a national day of morning for a past President of the Philippines, Corizan Aquino, who died earlier this week of cancer. She was considered a marvelous President, who had wrestled the presidency away from Marcos, who had taken over the govt. by declaring martial law. He prevented elections and "served" for twenty one years. Aquino got the country on back on its feet. Her husband had been considered a strong candidate for the Presidency, but, as a Senator, was exiled by Marcos and upon his return, was assassinated. His wife, Corizan, won a snap election, supported by a revolution, and became President. She served her six year term, and there were two presidents that followed, Ramos and Estrada. Estrada only served two years, and was ousted by another revolution. Gloria Arroyo became and is still the current President. Such events of the past haven't exactly inspired the confidence of the people. We can be thankful for the govt. we have.
We've got lots of things to get done, so I will write of our adventures when we return. Take care; I will forward a couple of funny emails to keep you entertained. Sige, E/S Fitz
We are getting ready to go to Church and I was searching for more information about the Nauvoo House that is in our Sunday School lesson today. It is now owned by the RLDS Church but Dad and Gabe & I saw it on our trip to Nauvoo.
Anyway, this story really touched my heart because the Prophet was right there in the Nauvoo House and had this experience.
It reminded me of last month when we met with our Mission President Hong Ching and he was bearing his testimony to us about our Missionary work. I think that I sent this to all of you, but let me say it again. He looked right at me when he said that if we counted up all of the grandchildren from the 15 + Senior Missionary couples sitting in his living room, we would have a lot. He said that it was because of the prayers of these grandchildren that we are all able to fulfill our callings as Missionaries and be watched over & protected. I know this is true and I am grateful for the prayers of my children and grandchildren because they all reach the Heavens and Heavenly Father is honoring those prayers.
As you all know, there is nothing like the innocent, fervent prayer of a little child talking to Heavenly Father. Please remember to say prayers with our grandchildren that they won't forget us. We need all your prayers because there is much that can be done here as far as teaching and encouraging. This is a golden age for the Philippine people when they are just beginning to have the Spirit of Elijah. They only have the computers at the Family History Centers and the small, noisy internet cafes' to use and yet they are tackling doing the names for millions of their ancestors. They cannot afford the extra trips to the Family History Centers during the week. They do not have computers in their homes while families in Malaysia, in contrast, all have computers in their homes because the schools require the students to do their homework on the computers.
But, with this said, the Philippine people never give up or complain and they will find a way to do what the Lord has asked them to do and that is Temple work. I have a testimony of this because it is the only way to raise these people out of the temporal and spiritual poverty that besets them. These people never complain, but just go forward day to day and do the best they can and sacrifice to get it done just like all of you kids.
Yes, it is important to pray that we will be safe and each day that the Holy Ghost will continue to teach us how to understand and teach the programs of Family History. There is much involved here and Dad & I are responsible for 9 Couple Missionaries in 9 areas here in the North of the Philippines. This month is really vital that we get everything running as smoothly as possible, we have a big training meeting on Aug. 28th.
We are happy here being together on this incredible mission. We love all of you and miss you so much. We are grateful when you think of us during your day, when you remember us in your prayers as we remember you in ours because there are many trials and challenges that face all of you - kids & grand kids alike that some we know about and some we don't know about but God does and that's what counts. We can all do this together and that is what families are all about, praying together and pulling together through the good times and the hard times.
I leave my testimony with you that I know my Savior, Jesus Christ, will prepare as way for all of us to overcome whatever is needed in our lives if we seek him and are where He can find us when He has an answer, a blessing or a miracle to give us. He knows the Fitzgarrald family and our worth and the faith and sacrifices that go on each day, the angels record all of them. Dad & I are striving to do our best to fulfill the Mission that a Prophet of God, President Monson, called us to do because we know that he is a living prophet today. I am grateful for the Prophet Joseph Smith and his restoration of the ancient gospel of Jesus Christ. I am grateful for the appearance of Moses, Elias and Elijah in the Kirland Temple to the Prophet Joseph and the restoring of those ancient keys to the Gathering, the Gospel & Missionary work and the Sealing Power of the Temple ordinances. It is especially close to my heart that Elijah would come with the keys that would enable me to seal me to Grandma & Pa, and to Grandma Bee & Grandpa Clarence and so on back for generations. I think Bette has some generations worked back 45 generations. Precious to me is that Dad and I were sealed in the Temple
with Carmen and that all of you were watching from Heaven, holding your breath, til it actually happened and you would all be born in the Covenant and be ours forever. Is the Restoration of the Gospel important to me - YES! I am also grateful for the scriptures that as I read the Bible and the Book of Mormon especially and find verses and parables that answer my questions and strengthen my resolve to go forward.
It's all true Kids, Dad & I did the right thing by joining the church and being sealed in the Temple and by going on this Mission. We miss you and if it wasn't a call from God, I could never leave all of you - you know that.
Now, we pray for all of you that you will feel also of the Spirit and that your children will pray for you. Gabe, please say prayers with Ryker. He is used to being with Jesus and needs the Spirit to be around him here on earth too. He will bring blessings to you that you would never be able to realize otherwise - he is truly sent from God at a time in your life to bless you.
May a loving Heavenly Father acknowledge your prayers and pleadings and fastings with the companionship of the Holy Ghost and the 2nd Comforter that is Jesus Christ himself, for the Savior says in John 14: 16 -18 also that "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you." A promise from Jesus.