Friday, March 20, 2015

WITH Transfers coming up again next week, we had a little bit of time to rest before the onslaught.   

Just as well, we both got sick again with the dreaded "looks like a bad cold, sounds like a bad cold, but most likely ISN'T a bad cold"  allergies from the air quality here.  It probably is a good thing we are going home in May.  We seem to be more susceptible all the time to the smog and mold, etc.  Anyway, we had a little fun, and are still getting better, but should be fine for the deluge about to hit us.

I have been trying to get straight information for President about the incoming missionaries this time.  We received notification of 3 coming on a temporary assignment---all Filipino elders.  Three extra new ones makes a major difference to the transfer.  Then, we learned one was not coming.  Then yesterday, the new IFR was STILL trying to find out anything he could about the other two.  (Not to mention somewhat tired of me.  I just told him that now he knows why Elder Ferrin ran away to another mission!  To rest from me!) We finally learned this morning, that the other two got visas and will be going to the US and not coming to us.  ARGHHHHHHHHH!   Poor President is in Mindoro for Zone Interviews.  But now he can complete his transfer, at least.  

Every transfer has a new challenge.  It if isn't immigration and no passports, it is travel and no itineraries, (last time), or storms and no way to get them out.  

This is one of Imelda Marcos' Palaces.  It is just down the street from the Mission Home, and a short walk from the Temple.  They have been cleaning it up and making it beautiful again for about a year.

We had an unexpected Branch Conference in Sampaloc.  Elder was supposed to speak, but instead he had to conduct.  All the District Leaders were there.  We filled the chairs and were upstairs and out the door.   

We taught two more classes to the people preparing for the temple.

We made another trip to the Almocera family, with the new wheels for the wheelchair.

This is Sister 
Almocera with her younger granddaughter.  She is three, and a pistol, believe me!   Her daddy is putting on the new wheels.

And here is Guianne, all buckled in and comfortable.   I tried and tried to get her to look at me, but she just couldn't do it.  We were able to meet  her mother this time, too.

WE had another Senior FHE, at the mission home this time.  I DON'T know how Sister Revillo does it all.  It was supposed to be a "planned pot luck"  of soups and salad and ice cream, and we all did our part and then some.  But she still cooked a full meal for us, as well.! (Her own soup and salad, plus rice, of course, and fried chicken and home made cookies)

Beautifully set and decorated table for us.  (This is the BEFORE picture)
Sisters in the Kitchen.

Elders standing around waiting to be fed like birds waiting for the worm to show up.
A birthday cake for Elder Johnson.

This is the "during" picture:  Sister and President Revillo, Sister and Elder Johnson. Elder and Sister Sheffer, Sister and Elder Peck, Elder and Sister Schlager, and Elder and Sister Jose. (They serve as missionaries, and he is the First Counselor in the Mission Presidency, but they live here and are still working.)

And here is the "after" picture.  Lots of fun, lots of information, too much food.  We all sort of staggered out to the conference room for a "write your own history" activity.  

Here is a true Senior Missionary story for you,

As you know, Elder Schlager and I try to get SOME regular exercise.  It is highly recommended to all of us, and most of us do have a plan we work at.  The church even has provided, in the past, some incentives.  Like the small trampoline in our apartment, which I immediately hid and then donated to someone braver.  

Before they came on their mission, one couple we love decided to "get in shape".  They told their children they were going to buy a treadmill, and asked for suggestions and did their research.  Then, the day came, and they went to get it.  All five of their kids were supportive and excited.  That night, they called:
"Did you get your treadmill?"

Mom:  "Come and see!"

So they all showed up, and this is what they found:
No treadmill!  Two beautiful recliners!   



Sunday, March 8, 2015


We have not missed too much over here.  Most anything we need is available, (providing we want it badly enough to find it and pay for it!)   

However, I DO miss Macaroni and Cheese. ' ( I am not talking about Kraft, which our family calls "yellow death")!!   
My mother made, and my daughter makes, the BEST Macaroni and Cheese.  That talent skipped a generation, because even with their recipes, I can't seem to get it right.  Today, I decided to try again, with a recipe for the crock pot that my friend put on Facebook.  Here it is, and we enjoyed it.  The texture was perfect, but the flavor was a little bland.  Elder ALWAYS tells me it needs onion.  It doesn't. But I will work on it a bit and try again!  We enjoyed the green beans from Baguio much more.  Sometimes, we eat steamed green beans and a baguette of french bread, and that is all we need.  Just FYI, the winter squash is fabulous here, too.  
And it is Singkamas Season again!   Last year, we saw these all over the streets, but we thought they were turnips or potatoes.  We finally met them at a branch party.  They are Jicama, and SO GOOD.   A little bit tricky to peel, but you just slice them and eat them like fruit.  Sweet.   The missionaries will nibble at a plate of them all day, just like my candy dish! 

And speaking of our missionaries:

 Here they are outside of the Mission Home Friday night. Once in every transfer, President and Sister host MLC (Mission Leadership Council) at the mission home.  All of the ZLs and STLs attend, with the APs and TAs.  (Okay, the Zone Leaders, 20, Sister Training Leaders, 8, Assistants to the President, 2, and Training Assistants, 2)   We have to arrange to bring the ZLs from Mindoro, and they stay two days. They begin at 10:00 am, finish at 5:00 pm.  Sister does a large and very fancy lunch for all of them.  Then, she feeds them again in the evening.  We had to run over last night with their mail and orders for their zones.  Boxes and boxes of literature, etc.  
Here is Sister Revillo with her STLs,   Sisters Ordakowski, Osumo, Dudas, Oyler, Anderson, Avila, Zollinger, and Verdeflor.
Then, they changed their clothes, and we all walked down to a neighborhood park to let off some steam.  

Ready to play!

And the Sisters, looking very different.  These women are athletes!  And, they planned the fun.

Choosing up the side, for a hotly contested game of Steal the Flag.  

Which went into the dark.

While that was happening, Jenny was preparing the evening meal for them. Cooking the tuna sauce for the pasta------This is the BACK kitchen.  Not the main kitchen.  Jenny had already cooked about 500  lbs of spaghetti.  
Cutting the brownies to go with Ice Cream.

Another table setting for 36 people.  And the dishes to do afterward.  All in a day's work for them.  In between, Sister Revillo ran into the kitchen to prepare the pasta sauces.  
What was I doing while all of this was going on?  Well, Immigration still plagues us.  Last week I was sent a list of 34 missionaries who had to go back for more fingerprinting.  We called all of them to tell them to get 6 photos ready, and wait for instructions.  They did that on their P Day Monday.  Then, on Thurs I was told to have them all at the Area Offices at 8:00 am on Saturday.  More phone calls.  Too late to get the Jardines up here from Mindoro.  Elder Yourglich had a very important baptism scheduled.  We worked hard to put them into two or fours  to travel, so their companions could stay home and work.  Ahh, gotta love the government!  And, in the end, they put all of ours LAST, because they are closer than other missions, and our Sampaloc Elders didn't get home until 10:00 last night.

News from Sampaloc Twig  Branch:

We continue to feel needed there, at least.  I prepared my Primary music and sharing time, and Elder prepared his Temple Preparation lesson.  WE packed a lunch. We arrived on time.  Things went okay until third hour, when Sister Tapiador asked me if I would teach Relief Society today.  And so, I did. 

  And, the auditors arrived for the financial audit and they needed Elder Schlager.  Immediately following the Block, we had another Baptism. In the swimming pool, of course.  Elder Schlager conducted it. Little people running all over the place.  Yikes!  

Pretty much the entire branch stayed and attended.  The small Elderly man with no tie is our new Brother Manuel.  
  This is Sister Roselyn.  The little boy in blue is her Gabriel.  She was baptized last Saturday, Confirmed on Sunday.  Today she was sustained as 2nd Counselor in the Primary Presidency.  She also did the talk on baptism at the baptism.  

Then, we met with our four students for the Temple Class. Elder started to teach, but the President came to get him to help the Auditors.  So, I finished the lesson for him.  It was fun, and our darling Elders stick around and translate for us.  (Elder Hart and Elder Buhler, above.  As one famous line says, "Everybody works here!"  That is no joke in the Sampaloc Branch.
Then, we went to see Sister Almocera again.  Here is her son, and little granddaughter Guianne.
And here is her special wheel chair, provided by LDS Charities.  It has no wheels-----they are in our trunk,  on their way to the Haslems tomorrow for replacement.  She can not do anything for herself.  Even sit up, without support.  But her Daddy was so loving with her.  I was quite impressed with him.  
Then, we drove back to the office.  Elder had a Presidency Meeting with Presidents Revillo, Jose, and Barlow.  We got home about 7:00 pm.  
Tomorrow a new week begins!   
Who knows what that one will hold!!!

It is STILL so much fun in the Philippines!

Sunday, March 1, 2015


On the 3rd, we were blessed with a Special Missionary Meeting", as Elder Durrant of the General Sunday School Presidency,  and Sister Durrant  came with Elder and Sister Echo Hawk to instruct us.  We were able to have all of our local missionaries, (excepting  the ones on Mindoro), with us.  They were wonderful and amazing and lots of fun to learn from.  

They taught our missionaries many things, but he was determined to spend some time on "Sisters are Amazing".  And, of course, they truly are.  We have about 40% Sisters in our mission, and they do so much to make our mission stronger and better.  
A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, told me that when he served his mission, the Sisters were his biggest headache.  He said he had to "separate them forcibly", or in other words, settle differences and problems for them.  
Interestingly, our Elders say such different things.  They often say, "I can't believe the Sisters."  Or "These women are the BEST missionaries".  
If you would like to watch something inspiring, there is a video from the church about the first Sister Missionaries.   They were asked for, by the Mission President in England, at the end of the 18th Century!


We actually had a date on Friday night, and went to dinner.  We ran into the Pecks, so we all had a very nice evening.   There are a LOT of good restaurants here, and Elder spoiled me and took me for Italian.  The next day, though, we had better things to do.  We met the Johnsons to see the project, and then they had us to dinner at their home.  We were invited to a Branch Party with them, but just sent cookies, instead, and drove home.

The Project!

Brother Rod Jensen came back from Canada with a work crew, to do some more building of houses in Maligaya, after the purchase of the new land was finalized.  They are building four new homes, two for our friends the Peraltas and the Candaris, which will be real homes, two stories, with real windows and doors, and a buried water supply.  Very exciting, but poor Jhun feels it is "too much", and says the money could have built homes for a lot more people.  (With us here is Alex, the teenage adopted daughter of Sister Josie.  She is the Sister we took to the temple last December.  They now live in Maligaya, with Beth, in a tiny house of their own built by Jhun.  That is what he likes to do--help others.)

In the meantime, though, it is providing work for a lot of hungry families.  As you see, the work is very manual, and simple.  But they will be lovely when finished.  
This one is for Vanessa and Dexter.  See the nice door and windows?

It is a long walk down there!   Advantage, no one around  them except each other, and the area is just gorgeous.   We were in the middle of transfer week, and so busy we barely got to see Rod, but we did make time to drive out and see the project on Saturday.  

THEN, we had a mission tour with Elder Bowen of our Area Presidency.   

Here are Elder and Sister Bowen with the Revillo family.   They flew to Mindoro on Friday, and stayed until Sunday morning, holding a conference and meetings down there with the APs.   

Then, they came back to Quezon City and Tuesday and Wednesday we held conferences for our missionaries here.   WE all had some interviews.  One of our APs was quite nervous.  He is wonderful, but he said, "Elder Bowen scares me!"   I just told him , "Me, too!"

Elder Bowen IS very direct and honest.  But he asked the missionaries to prepare by studying The Abrahamic Covenant, The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, The Gathering of Israel.  And, he taught them, powerfully, on those subjects.  WOW!  Did I learn a lot?   We all did.  Have you read D and C 84 lately?  
As he taught, I watched our missionaries.  They just kept leaning further and further forward.  They were hanging on his words, and I thought some of them would topple right off the benches in their effort to hear everything and understand.  It was wonderful.

Here are some thoughts for you:
Are you a member of one of the "lost tribes"?   (If you are not Levi, Benjamin, or Judah, YES!)
There WAS no "pre-existence".  We always existed.  We refer to the "pre-mortal life".
Do you believe in a "plurality of Gods"? 
Abraham is our rich grandfather--and there IS an inheritance!

So, on Tuesday, they held meetings in the morning, then interviews, and then a quick trip to Antipolo for the afternoon Conference.   Elder Schlager and I had to help a little bit with getting everybody fed.  What do you feed a general authority?  A Subway boxed lunch, in his lap in the car, on the way to his next meeting.   My dear Sister would have been appalled.  
The next day, though, Sister Revillo did her usual amazing trick, and we had a lovely, catered lunch with dressed and decorated tables and chairs, goblets,  and wonderful food. 


Although it is not a national holiday, there are a lot of Chinese Nationals here, so it is pretty widely celebrated.   The stores are full of it, and our neighborhood mall decorated and had a lot of fun things going on.   
And here is my "Dog".  If you look closely at this one, you will see that Elder Schlager has a bruised and swollen eye.  He actually was bitten by something, and reacted as some of our family does---badly.  He said, "everyone will think you hit me".  I said, "I will tell them that if I ever DO haul off and hit you, it will look a lot worse than THAT!"
One day, there was a band, and all these furry dragons dancing around.  Each one had two men/women in it, and they performed for about and hour.  
 See this one, pretending to be a giraffe?  

Serving in Sampaloc (AKA:  The Elder and Sister Schlager Variety Show)

1.  Elder Schlager has been called and sustained as the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency.  They have never had one before.  
2.  I am teaching music and sharing time in Primary now. This is Pananampalataya (Faith)   She is 8 years old and always greets me with a big smile and a hug.  She has some challenges, and can't read.  But she has a phenomenal memory, and sings all the songs with us, with joy and every word correct.  She was baptized recently, although it was probably not necessary for her.  But she wanted it SO much~~~~~~~~
3.  We had a branch Temple Trip on Saturday, and were able to be in the temple with 13 youth to do baptisms.  Because we have so little Priesthood, and the branch is so young, we had to recruit help in the baptistry from the Senior Couples.  Four of them came to help.  So, we got to share the joy---or feel like Tom Sawyer, depending on your point of view! 
( 30 branch members came down early in a jeepney. They brought a big bowl of cold spaghetti and rice, to eat before the temple session.  We added pandesol, bananas, and drinks. They were really grateful--it's a long day.)
 Some of my Sampaloc Sisters.

4.  I spoke in Sacrament Meeting last week on "Self - Reliance".  Yes, I do recognize the irony!
5.  We have been asked to teach temple prep classes and have 3 people ready for the temple on the 28th of March.  We are doing the first one tonight. (Saturday). 
6.  After our class, there is a baptism.  I am the speaker. 

This is Sister Roselyn and Elder Hart and Elder Buhler.  His first baptism.  Done perfectly!
 We didn't want to drive down the mountain at 10:00 pm, and have to go back up tomorrow morning at 7:30 am.  So, we are staying the night in the guest house there.   This is the bathroom.  Huge, and complete with a bidet!  A country of contrasts.  
7. Our poor little primary still has hungry children, so now I do the snacks for them again.  Today, I am taking egg salad, as I will be up there early to put the sandwiches together.
8.  After, church, we will teach another class, and then go with the President or RS President to make visits.  
(Last week we saw a sister who just lost her husband.  She is the grandmother of a special needs 6 year old, and a three year old.  Parents work in Manila and come out on Saturday.  The 6 year old needs a wheel chair, and hers is broken.  I called the Haslems, our area humanitarian couple who do wheelchairs here, and she is arranging for a special one, that the child can not fall out of, so that they can come to church.)  
We actually went to visit with the Aguilar Family, Anthony's parents and siblings.  They have not been coming.  One daughter, three sons.  They want to come, but it costs P60 each to take a trike, and they just don't have it.  It is all they can do to get the boys into high school every day.  AJ, the older Sister, had to quit College--not enough money to send everyone in to town.  Brother Aguiler said, "P60 is a Kilo of rice."  I can't imagine having to choose between taking your children to church or feeding them.   Sometimes, he sends just the kids.  Please pray for them.
9.  One of the first things we noticed is that most of our Aaronic Priesthood comes in a white (ish) t-shirt.  They are new converts.  So, we asked Sister Dollete for a list of sizes, and stopped at the Palengke on the way out yesterday, to purchase white shirts.  Still had a few ties from our "tie drive" last year.  

WE decided to join Sheffers for dinner one night, at a buffet called "Something Fishy".  We had heard it was good, but not been there.  When we walked over, they had already ordered from the menu---Seafood platter.  Small crab, with eyes.  No way to crack the claws.  Mussels, clams, calamari, squid, and fabulous shrimps, still with head and legs!  We ate with our fingers and it was delicious.  We ordered another one!   Just fish and ice water, no rice, no bread, no veggies. (Elder Sheffer  has been dieting and doing great!  No carbohydrates.)

Goodbye, February.  Hello March---I understand it is coming in like a "lion" at home.  Hopefully, out like a lamb!  Just FYI, boy are we glad we did not go home last week, to move in ice and snow!