Friday, September 26, 2014

Whew !!!

What's been going on?

Typhoon Mario came to town.  Friday AM looked like this:

Several areas in our mission were flooded.  Two houses of sisters were completely out of our reach. The APs drove though flood waters, picked up 2 of them from one house,  and  got them out and moved to another house just in time. They texted to President and said, "we have the Provident Sisters and they are safe."  He said, "Good. Get out of there NOW!"   6 in Cainta however, four living there and 2 STLs staying there on exchanges, got caught.  The lower floor flooded to above their waists.  
OKAY, here is your funny hero story. The six of them carried their refrigeration upstairs to "save" it.  We could not reach them very well,  because they had no power and had to keep their phones turned off to save the battery.  By Sat afternoon the water had receded from the lower floor, but was above their knees outside in the street. They began cleaning their apartment.  (Every surface has to be disinfected).
Elder and Sister Sheffer drove over as close as they could get in the truck, and the six sisters held their bags above their heads and waded out to the truck.  They went to Sheffers, she fed them everything she had in the house, (They were HUNGRY), took the STLs home to their apartment, kept two with them, and sent two to us to stay.  Poor things,  they had to be bathed in alcohol.  
Here are two of them, Sister Pau (left) and Sister Strebel.  SIster Pau is from Independence, MO, and is related to some of our friends at home.  She came in the last batch. (Aug 27).  She said, "I have been here three weeks, and so far I have been through a typhoon, waded through flood waters, and carried a refrigerator."  

It's more fun in the Philippines

Immigration continues to plague us.

 It is costing the church a fortune, but we are still trying to work with the legal system, to get permanent visas and easy exits.  We are the least of the problems, because we are right here.  But we have to get all the foreign missionaries (foreign to the Philippines) in for fingerprinting and photos to get ACRI cards.  So, we took 20 of us last week, another 29 yesterday.  Everyone has to travel in to the office, get on a shuttle, and go in to Manila personally.  Other missions have to fly them in, put them up in hotels, and fly them back.  

We went last week, and we got kind of a kick out of it.  Our missionaries did a lot of OYM that day, got referrals.
 Elder and Sister Sheffer went, and here they are next to the sign warning you not to pay anybody to "help" you with your immigration/visa problems?!?

  It's more fun in the Philippines!

Measles Campaign

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in working with the Department of Health to get all children under the age of 5 vaccinated for measles (and polio).  Guess who paid for the vaccine?  And the publicity?  But, our missionaries can, and are, helping in the clinics, barangays,(local political areas like precincts, sort of),  and some even are done in our buildings, so that all the people know they  can come and get their children vaccinated for free.  

Special Temple Trip

Aren't they beautiful?This is Sister MarajGill, of our mission, from Pakistan.  She came in July.  Sisters can not be missionaries in Pakistan, so all the Sisters come out of the country to serve.  This is her brother, Elder Daraz, who is serving his mission in Pakistan.  But he is in his third transfer, and could not get to the temple until now.  He came for 12 days, to get his temple blessings.  While he was here, they got permission to meet at the temple to do some family names.  They could not get them all cleared in time, but they did get to do baptisms, and Elder Daraz was baptized for their deceased father.  Well, to do it, we had to get 5 Melchizedek Priesthood holders to work in the baptistery.  

So, it became a sort of Senior Activity.  We had a great time.  We helped with confirmations. and as witnesses.  Elder Daraz had his companion, of course, and they took turns doing the wet work.  Sister MarajGill had her companion, Sister Rupp, as well.  And the pretty woman on the left is the Pakistani teacher at the MTC, who helps the Sisters who come to the missions here, as they don't speak English OR Tagalog.  Usually, only Urdu.  It is rough for them.   

Serving in the church

This is Sister Botista, and Louise, her 15th child.  They are there every week.  Louise is about 5, I think.  They wanted a picture with me.  The typhoon flooded them out of their home.  
On Sunday, two things happened.  Elder Schlager and I had to speak in church again.  Not our favorite thing to do, and President Revillo and President Jose were there.  ARGGGGHHHH.
That was because, they traveled all over the mission that day to sustain Elder Schlager as the Mission Executive Secretary and Clerk  
Kind of a big deal, I guess.  Our little branch thought we were leaving them.  No, but as Elder says, "it's another meeting I have to attend".


Work has begun on the house for the
They are so excited.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, to those of you who made charitable "donations" to this project.  It will be 10 x 14, with a concrete floor, cement foundation, plywood walls and a tin roof.  AND he will still have the shelter behind for his business.  Eventually, he will probably add other things.  But see how lovely the area is?  And they are out there by themselves, no one to bother them.  

And, Jhun and Dexter and Abba have work, so several families are helped.  


  Our trip to immigration took us out of our mission, to places we had not seen before.  This building is across the street from the Immigration bureau. This is the Santo Tomas Internment Camp ruins.  When I read "We Band of Angels", about the military nurses that were imprisoned here by the Japanese, I was so impressed by their dedication and valor.  This is the hospital they were kept in, for 3 long years, and they continued to care for the wounded and to take care of each other.  66 Army nurses, 11 navy nurses, one anesthetist.  NOT ONE DIED.  .At the end, the rations were cut to less than 500 calories per day, and many of the prisoners died of starvation. This is the time when my father was here.  For the last year of the war.  I think of him so often, when I think about the war and the suffering and the courage of these people.  i DON'T THINK THEY WERE HAVING MUCH FUN.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Binangonan Branch Primary Sacrament Meeting Program

Saturday, Sept. 14, 2014

And there they are ---my primary. They practiced for 4 weeks, and they were totally awesome!  They came dressed up for the program, boys in white shirts with ties, and girls in white dresses,  and the presidency then put bright bows in their hair and little sequined butterfly pins on them to make them sparkle.  The one in yellow in the middle, Jhasmine, was baptized the night before and confirmed that day.  (Convert baptism.  She did not get the memo about wearing white.)  
We were so proud of them. They knew their lines, they sang like troupers for me, and they tried so hard to do it right.
How long, in the US, do you think a primary would have to practice to learn their lines and their songs in Tagalog?  

As they were filing off the stand, arms folded, reverently (!),  one of the counselors said to me, "they really are angels."  And they are, of course.
Here is our naughtiest  littlest angel.  She is nursery, and she announced the songs for us.  Good thing I knew what was coming next!  

Then we went down to the Primary Room and I taught them a cheer:

We learned our lines
We sang our songs, 
We made our teachers proud of us.

While they were practicing that, the presidency served a lunch they had prepared for them.

Spaghetti with hot dogs in it
Egg salad sandwiches
Ice cream!
They were really, really, hungry!  
Here they are, enjoying their reward. BTW, we were all directed to dress up, too.  White skirts and pink, blue, or purple blouses. I didn't eat any spaghetti.  Guess who was the only one to manage to get spaghetti sauce on her white skirt?

They were so proud of themselves, that they were really, really happy, and full of love that day.  It just kept spilling out all over me.

Lucky me!

Hello, Elder Hall?

Please tell President that he will need to change our assignment again. We are not coming back!

Anniversary Trip, Mindoro Island, Sept 5-8, 2014

Elder and Sister Horsley, serving down there since January, picked us up at the airport at about 7:00 am and took us to the hotel.  We checked in, changed, went out to see the island.  Pretty, don't you think?  Rice fields, mountains, and ocean surf.  
 Planting the rice.  

This was the view from the veranda of our room.  

Walking on the beach the day we arrived.  The island out there has a name, but we did not learn it from the natives.
Main steps of the Hotel? Inn? House? B and B?  Not sure.  It was nice though.  Very clean. We all stay in the same room when we go down there--room 4, right  by the office.  Ocean view, veranda, big clean CR, TV (the first we have seen in a year.  We watched about 5 minutes.) 
We watched this much longer.  The people living right on the beach, trying to launch their fishing boat.

Just a couple of beach bums!
 The Hotel will cook breakfast for you if you tell them the day before.  Elder and Sister Horsley came early on Saturday morning and ate with us on the veranda.  Really good.  
Friday,  we went driving out of the city for some sight-seeing, went to the open market, picked up lunch at a small Mexican restaurant, 

The Carabao and I both felt pretty relaxed.  Just chilling?
WE drove out to a school, built for the Mangyan minority, who number about 55,000 on the Island.  They are still quite isolated, send their children to school only until they can read, and live off of the land.  Not farming-- weaving and fishing from the natural bounty there.  The men often wear loin cloths and they look very different from the Filipinos we are used to seeing.
This was the garden area at the Hotel.  My view from the hammock.

Then, that night, we walked around the block to another resort and had a very nice dinner on the porch.  They "wined and dined" us like royal guests.  Well, maybe no wine!

Saturday, a little shopping, a lot more sightseeing, and then the Horsleys and the Barlows took us to dinner (again!) for our Anniversary.  Happy 46th!  We have certainly had anniversaries that were not so happily memorable.  (#1, for example.  Vernal, Utah : Small baby, small hotel room, no place yet to live, and no family around to get settled.)

See the little person in the middle, behind the gate, watching us?

This fishing boat was getting ready to go out.  They are loading the hold with ice, carried from a truck, in laundry baskets, down the sand and through the water to the  boat, lots and lots of trips!

There was a man in the ocean, washing the pallets they sleep on, and then he lays them out on the beach to dry in the sun.

Sunday they picked us up really early, and we drove out to two branch Sacrament Meetings.  First to Rizal, who meet at 9:00 in a lovely little house the church leased and remodeled for them.  

While we were there, we were able to deliver a mission call to a very excited young man leaving soon.

Then we drove out to Calintaan, another branch that meets for Sacrament Meeting at 11:00.  And, we had 2 more mission calls to take there!

The People mostly farm, raising rice, or fish, to survive.  A few, of course, have small businesses as well. 

 The counselor in the Branch Presidency happens to have a tractor for farming.  On Sunday, though, it has another job.

Church Bus!  

Two Sunday nights per month, the Barlows entertain the missionaries serving there in San Jose for dinner.  They provide, but the young missionaries do most of the cooking.  Here they are, after a great meal (of rice, of course, with Adobo)  ice cream, and other goodies.  We loved it. 

And on Monday Morning, Elder and Sister Horsley picked us up early and took us back to the airport.  Time to go Home, and back to work.  They are truly one of the blessings we have received for our service on this mission.  We love them.
They go home in October.  The Philippines will be a little bit "less fun" with them gone.

Thursday, September 4, 2014


WE passed our one year mark!

On exit day, August 26, we took a minute to brag that it was one year since we ENTERED the MTC. But that was all the time we had to think about it. 

We were with the exiting missionaries all day. We lost some of our favorites this time. Elder Tipene, on the left, and Elder Harris, Elder Blackham, and Sister Sikotilani. Here is the funny story. Elder Froud went home about 5 months ago. Sister Wilson went last transfer. Both amazing missionaries. At the Exit Meeting that morning, Sister Revillo mentioned that Elder Froud and Sister Wilson  are "courting". So, we get in the van with some elders to go to the Memorial, and the first thing anyone says is, "Froud and Wilson! Wow!" And then Elder Harris says to Elder Blackham, "Do you want me to pull the knife out for you now?" 

Apparently there was a small crush there. The missionaries tell us that when they do their exit interview with President, he asks them if they have any "crushes" in the mission, and he tells them he will  "Fix Them Up". He and Sister met in the mission. They were in the MTC together, Both left a "steady" at home, and she went home 6 months before him. When he got home, they were married three months later.  

Motorcycles are the worst!

Friday was a difficult day. OUR transfers do not really finish until Friday, because we can not get our missionaries to / from Mindoro until that morning.  We had six come up that day, and the APs and Office Elders were taking them to their areas.  So our office guys put one in the car and headed out to the Taguig Zone, quite a few kilometers south.  At 3:00 President is in a meeting, and he came out and said, "Elder Schlager, can you help me? Elder Yourglich has had an accident and the man is hurt, and they are on the way to the hospital with him.  Please call the insurance people and find out what we need to do and help them."  So, he called the insurance man, I called the legal counsel.  We talked to the Elders, and they were upset.  (Of course, the man is hurt!, and they don't know how badly.)  The insurance man and the legal man both told them, "take him to the hospital and get him cared for.  DONT  say 'I'm sorry,' DONT offer to pay for anything, DONT say anything except tell the police exactly what happened."   
They were making a left turn, and signaled and did it all just right, but these motorcyclists just come zipping by on either side of you, trying to get through the traffic, and almost everyone has had some run ins with them.  Our medical adviser says they average 9 accidents per day, and five of them die!  Well, you can see how hard the cycle hit the car.  

It turned out alright.  The man on the cycle was bruised, but not broken, the insurance man got there and handled all the negotiations, the Police and the cyclist agreed it was his fault, our Elders paid P1000 pesos, and everybody signed and it was done.  Then, our APs called from somewhere and asked us to help them find the hospital and pick up our Elders.  So, that night, we are on the internet and using maps, and finally Elder sort of talked them to the hospital.  Later we got a text, "we have Elders Yourglich and Gonzaga, and they are OKAY."  So, we went to bed. They drove the car back, with flashers, following the APs carefully all the way.  The side mirror is their souvenir.  It sits on their desk!


That is the number of baptisms in our mission for the month of August.  They set a goal, some months ago, of 1200 for the year, which averages to 100/ month, or one baptism for each companionship each month.  Well, we have been close, but this was the first time we knew we would be over the goal.  President started calling the APs at 6:30 am Monday, and of course they called Elder Schlager, because the Zone Leaders report to him.  We were all really excited when it went over 100, but we didn't know how much it would be for a few hours.  Elder S and I took pulled pork to the office for dinner to celebrate with all the office guys.  A good day all around.
Here are eight of them--a family baptized on Mindoro, in the ocean!  Elder Culango just got down there this transfer.  Pretty good work!

  1. Typhoon Ketsana, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Ondoy, was the second most devastating tropical cyclone in the 2009 Pacific typhoon season with a damage of $1.09 billion and 747 fatalities,

THIS is the Lana family.  Chris, Chee, and their three little children.  They are both return missionaries.  He was employed in Manila, until 2009, when the typhoon destroyed their home and they were refugees.  So, they moved to Angono, and he began a welding business.  They were caretakers of a property there that the church rented for missionaries, and he builds beds, desks, etc. for the mission apartments.  They lived on the back of the property.  He was a counselor in the Bishopric. This year, we had to move our missionaries, and the property was listed for sale.  So, they had to move again.  They are now living, very roughly, on a piece of property that they own near the lagoon.  That put them in the branch we serve in, and he is the branch mission leader and she is a counselor in Relief Society.  They plan to build a small home on the property, but right now, it is all he can do to feed them and keep the kids in school.  So,  we have made a plan with him and with Jhun and Dexter to get a project together and get them under a roof as soon as possible. 

This is the deal--we need about $1000.  We have about $200 so far, from donations.  That will put them in a 10x14 hollow block and plywood home, with a cement floor and a tin roof.  He will also have a place to continue his business.   That will also provide work and income for three families for a couple of weeks.  Chris is very able, and he will do a lot of the work himself.  Our missionaries will help, too, as a CSP (community service project.)  

This is Sister Felipe, with her companion/ trainer, Sister Oyler.  Sister Felipe is from Mindanao, and she was not able to come and go to the temple before she came to the MTC.  Our temple was closed for the month of August, so our FIRST priority as soon as it opened on Tuesday was to get her there.  Elder S and I got to take them, and then we took them to lunch, too.  So many wonderful things happen every day.  

And now it is Thursday night

and tomorrow we will wake up at 2:00 am, catch a taxi to the airport, and fly to Mindoro to spend the weekend of our anniversary on the beach.  
More stories when we get back.

Happy Birthday to our Son in Law!!