Monday, August 6, 2012

LOST AND FOUND IN THE PHILIPPINES

Roehl
 
Elder Bird with Roehl
 
Roehl's Office Sign
 
Sister Bird with Merlyn

I have had a wonderful opportunity of helping to find a few "lost" aquaintances while here in the Philippines.  This has been a most rewarding experience.  I will share a few of them briefly.

Roehl:
When we arrived in the Philippines, Roehl had already been looking for “his missionary” for 15 years. He was employed as the Director of Purchasing for the Church in the Philippines.  Because his office was housed in the Manila Philippines Administration Office, he was used to seeing many senior missionaries come and go. Each time he would meet a new missionary he would ask them where they were from.  If any said they were from the state of Idaho in the U.S., he would ask if they knew anyone by the last name of Arave....he was looking for “his” Elder Arave.  The 2nd week we were in the Philippines, Roehl saw another new face in the hall, and stopped to introduce himself, and, of course, to ask where this new missionary was from...this new missionary happened to be my husband!  Randy had been asked by many Filipinos where he was from and he always said Utah, but when Roehl asked him where he was from, he said “Utah...but I am originally from Idaho.”  So Roehl asked if he knew anyone whose last name was Arave.  Randy knew that one of my college roommates (who later married my brother) had the last name of Arave.  I contacted her and she said she would do some checking.  A couple of days later I received an email from her, and sure enough, her nephew had served in the Philippines Baguio Mission and had taught and baptized Roehl.  Roehl had become interested in learning about the Church while attending LDS Institute with some of his friends. He had become friends with these guys because their values were in harmony with his.  He said he was a "tough case" and made the missionaries work hard...he wanted to be very sure he had his own testimony of the restored gospel.  He then served a mission himself and later married in the temple and now has a beautiful family.  The Lord has continued to guide his footsteps along the road of life. Both Roehl and his missionary friend have had much joy in becoming reaquainted!

Merlyn:
I met Merlyn at a Jubilee Exhibit in the city of Binalbagan on the island of Negros.  What a wonderful woman...so talented and selfless and kind.  I loved the brief  period of time we had together.  When Randy and I were ready to head to the airport for our trip back to Manila, she told me she had one big favor to ask of me... could I help her find her mission companion from almost 30 years ago.  Her companion was from the U.S. and had lived with a family in Idaho Falls by the name of Johnson....I thought...hmmm, that ought to narrow it down!!!haha  She thought this friend had moved to California and then they had completely lost contact with each other.  Well, I started doing some research, and with some extra resources I had here at the Administration Office, I was able to find her companion.  I called Merlyn for Christmas and told her I had a gift for her.  She started to cry and said it was the best gift ever!  I must say, that was fun!
 
Brenda:
I have decided the Jubilee Exhibit and our assignment to follow it throughout the Philippines has been a wonderful blessing in more ways than one.  It seems that when we have become acquainted with members out in more remote areas, they have been willing to approach us seeking assistance to solve their own frustrations. That was the case with Brenda.  I met her in the city of Laoag. It is located way up north along the west coast on the large island of Luzon.....a beautiful area...one of our very favorites in the Philippines!  She was a physically challenged sister that had to use a type of crutch fastened to her arms to aid her in walking...possibly the results of polio...I didn't ask.  She had 2 beautiful children with her. She had served a mission in Quezon City in 2003 and was looking for a senior missionary couple from Mississippi that had served in the Manila Temple.  They had befriended her as a young missionary and had truly been the greatest help to this young sister. She had tried to keep in touch so she could tell them how blessed her life had been....here she was now happily married and a mother to these beautiful children....but she wondered if they had ever received the letters she had sent.  Brenda wondered if perhaps they had died and she had no way to know....would I help her!  Once again, I could hardly wait to get back to Manila to start researching!!  This one was easy....she had been sending the letters to Hattiesburg and they were really in Harrisburg, Mississippi!! They are all still living and now reunited!
 
There has been one more "find" while serving here that I will not go into detail about...but perhaps the most joyous of all, and another in the works. Randy is now calling me the "super sleuth"!! Who ever knows the many reasons we are called to a certain mission....only the Lord knows. I am most grateful. 





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