Sunday, April 26, 2015

Oh where, oh where, have the Seasoned Missionaries Gone?....
It was time to say goodbye to the Barlows.  They came a year ago, went almost directly to Mindoro, he served as a counselor down there to President.  They each lost over 40 pounds, they took cold showers for a year, and they came back smiling.  We had a dinner together for the Presidency Saturday night, and they flew home on Sunday.   He is in front across from Elder S, she is in the back next to Sister Revillo.

Between now and July 8, 8 more of us go home (4 couples)  There is one couple coming next month from New Zealand.  I really don't know what is going to happen.  12 seniors do a lot of important work in a mission.  I can tell you this, things will change here.  Missions do manage, without senior support, but why should they have to?  There is a lot of experience and man/woman power available out there.
(End of advertisement)

We went to the dentist.  

Dr. Delos Santos is an excellent dentist, and it has been a while.  So, Elder had 6 gum line fillings done, and I needed two crowns replaced.  Not cheap, but cheaper than at home with no dental insurance.  Well, she put a temporary on them, and two days later one fell. off.   Back to the dentist.  My fault--eating sticky candy!
 Her office is very nice, down the street from ours, and in a reasonable area as far as safety.  They still have to keep the doors locked, though, and you ring to be admitted.
We got up early, picked up Elders Smith and Martin (our Training Assistants, or Traveling Assistants) at their apartment.  I had in the car breakfast for all of us.  Also a lot of Pancit and Fruit Salad and a watermelon (pakwan) for later, the Primary treats I take every week, etc.  We enjoyed them all the way to Sampaloc, where they planned to stay and work with the Elders there.  I taught Primary music and sharing, did the treats, and then taught RS.  We drove down to Antipolo, and the Johnsons kindly took us in for a  few hours, and gave us a wonderful dinner.   Then, we all went down to Jhun's new house for a FHE.  They had been there earlier in the week to help with the move and "bless the house".  They brought out the TV and DVD player, and the missionaries taught a lesson.  Brother Dingle, who moved into their old house with his wife and baby, read a message to the branch from the Jensens.  
 The white haired lady is Sister Josie Perez.  We took her to the temple in Dec 2013.  Now she is living in her own little 8x10 house in Maligaya, and plans to begin serving as a temple worker soon.

It started about 2 hours late, but worth it.  The two missionaries there, and Jhun, were all busy teaching the gospel.  They had so much work, they split up .
  Elder Manquiquis took with him the young man, Jonmar Bustamante, that Elder Schlager baptized last year.  You should see him.  He is great, and doing great in school, now that he is off the street and can go regularly. He wants to go on a mission as soon as he can graduate. It won't be soon though, as he was homeless for several years.  He is 16 and in the 8th grade.
Elder Karawa took with him the young man they baptized the night before.  The work is so exciting here, watching lives change from night to day in a few weeks.  
Poor Elder Schlager got up to take a few pictures, and ran into the supports for the unfinished porch.  He was slightly wounded.  As you see, it got very dark.  They brought more and more chairs and tables to hold food, and at about 8:00 they finally put out all the food.  We were all dreading the climb back up to the car on the dirt path in the dark, so we grabbed a piece of watermelon and made our excuses. Jhun got flashlights and escorted us back up and we made it without injury.  Then we took Johnsons home to Antipolo and drove home.  We were tired! Dropped into bed about 10:30.

We were working at the office when my tooth fell off.  So, a quick trip back to the dentist,  But my dentist got married Saturday, so I had to wait for the "associate".  Okay, except they were busy.  And guess what I learned?  Children in the Philippines run all over at the dentist just like they do at church!   I was in the chair two hours for about 10 minutes work, with little ones wrecking havoc.  No one else seemed to notice.   oh, well,   
But that night, ANOTHER FHE.  This time, Elder and Sister Sheffer had planned a FHE at Mabuhay House for the seniors.  Pecks were in Utah for a wedding, and Elder Johnson got sick after our outing on Sunday, and couldn't leave the house.  So, We, the Sheffers, the Revillos and the Joses went.  Remember Mabuhay Deseret?  That is the foundation that arranges for surgeries here for the indigent and poor.  They bring them in, with a "caregiver" or family member, and put them up.  They do crossed-eyes and also cataracts for any age. Also cleft palate up to about age 16, and club foot up to about 18.  There is a lot of that kind of thing here, which would be repaired at birth mostly, at home.  And, sadly, some parents are not receptive.  They feel that the child was born that way because that is the way God wanted them to live their life.  There were not a lot of patients that night, but we took dinner, and had a blast,.
Coming in, we walked down the driveway, and it was full of equipment and supplies (under the roof) for the work they do there. It is not a really fancy medical center, believe me!
But, as you can see, it is clean and cheerful and a good place---a really good place.
We did a regular FHE, with songs provided by Elder and myself and my trusty tablet and speaker.  Everyone sang.

Sister Sheffer did a great lesson on friendship.
We played Simon Says.  Here is Oliver Revillo leading it for the team.  His parents sit to the left.  He also prepared a scripture for the opening part.

 This is Jared, He was waiting for surgery on his feet, planned for Thursday.  He and Oliver got on like old buddies. 

Then it was time to eat.  We brought a lot of rice, fried chicken from Jollibees;, fruit punch, and a lot of ice cream.  
They are ALWAYS hungry.  No one, and I mean no one, gets enough to eat here.  (Well, except us.  WE get too much!)
 Both of these children were there for cleft palate surgery.   There was a man who had cataract surgery that day, as well.  

Oliver very sweetly asked Jared where he wanted to eat, and what he wanted.  Then he went and got dinner for Jared, and brought his own to join him.  Oliver is a really nice little boy, baptized about 3 months ago.  Most of the time, he shares his parents with all of us without complaint.  (But he IS only 8!)
On the way out, I asked him if he had fun.  He said YES,  and I told him I thought my grandchildren would have enjoyed it also.  But I overheard him asking his father about Jared, and his feet, which turn backwards.  Oliver was trying to understand how the boy could walk like that.  (He was trying it himself, not too successfully!)

We set our alarm for 4:30, but I was up earlier.  We had to be at the temple before 6:00.  It was a beautiful summer morning.
For those 7 zones that are close enough, (not the districts), President plans one temple day in each quarter.  Because they move around, most of them get to go about 2-3 times  in the year.  We went to be the witness couple for one of our zones in the 7:00 session, and for something MUCH more special.  
Most of our missionaries were there early and excited.

We were excited, too.   This is Elder Tampac, with his companion Elder Delfin.  We have known him for nearly all of our mission.  He is from Mindanao, (no temple there), and he is an orphan.  He lives with his Uncle, who is a Stake President down there.   A few months ago, he told us that President had given him permission to get the work done for his mother, (father already done previously)  then get them sealed to each other and to him.  He is their only child.  He wanted us to be proxy for his parents.  We were honored and blessed to do that for him.  
So, we arranged for the baptism of his mother and aunt, last week, after his regular temple day. Then, this week, I took the names for both to initiatory, and arranged for another sister to do the endowment for his Aunt.  I took his mother.  
Afterward, we waited for him to take care of the necessary forms for the live sealing.  And finally, at about 12:00, we were able to be in the sealing room with him.  He cried all day.  But he was happy, as you can see:  He goes home next transfer.   It was a great day for all of us. On the way to the office we took them to McDonald's.  They were hungry! We truly love these young people.  I suppose it is one of the blessings or tender mercies, or graces we receive for our sacrifice.  Anyway,  love is pretty much all around us, all the time.  

Thursday:   Zone Conference.  More about that next week!

So, WHERE ARE the senior  seasoned missionaries?  

Come and join the army---you will love it, and you will be loved. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015


What is the definition of "trunky"?????

We are still having lots of fun, and managing to stay MOSTLY out of trouble.  

There was a zone activity: 

Elder Ah Hong showing off
All the guys enjoying the sun and the exercise
The other team, huddling for a game plan......

And another transfer:
Tables all set at the Mission Home for a brand new batch of heroes:

Resting and exhausted crew on their way home tomorrow  and the APs and TAs working out all the logistics with me.
 Another trip to the War Memorial. After we leave, there won't be a senior Elder to replace Elder Schlager and do this presentation every transfer.  He has done a good job with that.

Palm Sunday 
We had a FHE in Sampaloc the day before Easter.  Elder and I prepared the lesson, and helped with the food (we brought the Ice Cream, a challenge, all the way from Manila!)

Our makeshift screen for the videos we showed (Because of Him, and Because He Lives) 
(our children used to love to make shadow puppets in our home movies, just like this little guy)

The talent part of the show:
Youth sang:

President Dollete played the guitar and sang for us:
These two little guys, sang "I am a Child of God"  (see Eunice Ann on the keyboard to the right behind them?)
They are the grandsons of a recent convert

Our missionaries did a "skit",  ZOMBIES.  
One of the things I love most about the Filipino People is their simple joy.  They know how to have fun with nothing more than a little time and a little ingenuity.

We played some games:
For this one, you need some raw spaghetti.  You give a piece to each team of two, and they hold it between their cheeks and walk to the finish line.  Elder Blessent and Elder Condesa are not the same size!  
We did it as a relay, and the team with the most unbroken pieces deposited at the finish line won.  

Can you find the spaghetti between the two teammates?  

Easter Sunday, of course, was not General Conference for us.  I took hard boiled eggs to Primary, and they colored them.  Here they are with their projects completed.  They were supposed to take them home, but.,,,,,,,even after their snacks, this was too much temptation for them.   When I asked one of them where her egg was, she just pointed at her stomach.

The Day after Easter, Elder and I decided to have a "spur of the moment" Senior FHE.  I went to the PAO and begged for a copy of the Conference DVDs from Production.  Then we invited Pecks, Johnsons, and Sheffers to join us for a "BYOT" (Bring your own toppings) Salad Bar.  I got some good bread, made a huge green salad, and we all sat down to eat and enjoy a session of Conference together.
Without mentioning any names, I will confess that there was a small amount of snoozing going on as well.  Monday night, in the dark, after a meal and a long work day, tends to do that to the elderly!

Speaking of the elderly:

Here is your first funny story this week.   Elder and I park in a garage under our building.  There are 4 basement floors; our rented space is in the middle of the second basement, B2.  We drive in and around and around to get down there.  Then, we park the car and walk to the elevator to go up to the 15th floor.  One night we must have been distracted, because we parked in space 128, got out, locked the car, walked to the elevator. When we got there, it seemed just a little odd to me.  I said, "Are we on the right floor"?   Elder, a little grumpy after driving, as always, said, "What makes you say that.?"  So, I looked around a little, and finally said, ,"We are on B3".  Well, he didn't believe me and I had to convince him.  Then we went back, got the car, and drove up a floor and parked again in space 128.   
Not a big deal, right?  Except, suppose we had not noticed?  Then next morning, (assuming no one noticed during the night, which here in the Philippines is not likely) we would have gone down to B2.  No red car in space 128!  We might have thought it was stolen.  Worse, we would have had NO idea where we left it!

General Conference in Morong District, allowed us to spend Sunday with our friends from all over the district .  Here is Marivic  with Moroni and Maria Jane.
Between the two sessions. Most people got on jeeps and trikes and went home.  The Sunday afternoon session was mainly us and all the missionaries.  We drove our four home to Sampaloc afterward.  They don't mind our small back seat with AirCon as much as a really crowded jeepney in the heat, and it is a much quicker trip for them.  We left home that morning about 7:30 and got home again about 6:30 pm.

We had a birthday cake for Elders Smith and Rawson.  Notice the blue furniture.

When we came in to the office one year ago, 

President Revillo asked me, "what does it need?"  I told him, "It's dirty!"  And is was.  Too many months since a woman had been there and too much instability with the young office Elders coming and going.  Well, we had it cleaned, they did some touch up paining, and I asked them to shampoo the furniture.  They did that, but the dirt was "clear to the bone", as they say.  The tables were damaged by hot and wet items, ( I found table covers to protect them)
the walls were grey from the air pollution.  This year, we got the news that it was our turn to get some help.  They have been painting the offices, (and if you think it has been fun working around THAT, you must be taking something really strong for your nerves!)  
Elder Rawson and I, at Sister Revillo's request, looked at samples and chose new upholstery.   
It is a beautiful Teal in a heavy Naugahyde that we can actually scrub.  Of course, that opens another whole area of concern for the mission "grandma".
  There are small signs around the office now, 
"Elder and Sisters,
Sharp objects will damage the new upholstery"

(Well, it could be worse.  I considered, "It if is sharper than your tooshie, don't put it on the couches!" 

One More funny story for you:

Can this marriage be saved?

Unlike many senior missionaries, we have the privilege of being in or at the temple fairly often and regularly.   One day there, I noticed this pretty bride, all decked out and ready for her sealing.  She really is lovely.  But when we came out, here they were, outside.  The photographer was waiting.  The guests were standing around, waiting.  Her groom, here, was holding her flowers and waiting .  The Bride was on her cell phone.  
This is not my idea of a good start---am I just old-fashioned?

So, are we trunky?  What do you think?

Thursday, April 2, 2015


This has been an emotional few days for us.

Some of the good:

Transfers meant saying goodbye to many friends, and a change in the office.  Elder Smith, my tutor, (in glasses) is back as a Training Assistant.  He is, just by the way, a very very exceptional musician, as well as a wonderful missionary.  Behind him is Elder Ballon, with Elders Houston and Martin in the front.  They make us laugh---and I am quite sure they laugh AT US, too.  

On Saturday, Sister Esponilla, Brother Marcellana, and Sister Nevares were at the temple to receive their endowments.  We met them there, but they traveled from Sampaloc in a Jeepney, with Sister Tapiador, RS President and mother to Sister Nevares, Sister Dolleti, and her husband  (Branch President), and their daughter, Eunice Ann, recently returned from her mission.  A few others came along, too, children and grandchildren of Sister Tapiador.  It was wonderful. 

 When Sister Esponilla was baptized last year, I hugged her and told her I would be there when she went to the temple.  She said, "Promise???"   Well, I was able to keep that promise.  I was so glad.
We got them back on the jeepney to go home, but I understand the traffic was TERRIBLE, (It is Holy Week here).  It took them over 4 hours just to the bottom of the mountain, and they did not get home until 9:30 pm.   

On Sunday,

 Little Jinjin Almocera was able to come to Primary.  They are still working on a way to get Guianne there in her wheelchair.  I think they will purchase a trike that it can be attached to.  Here is Jinjin,  a VERY TIRED little 3 year old.  But she was so good, sitting beside me, which is not the norm, believe me!   She did shed her shoes and socks about 10 minutes into Sacrament Meeting.  Her grandma kept trying to put them back on------NO WAY!

Rod Moroni came to help his parents clean for us today. 

He is finally catching up, I think, after his very premature birth.  He smiles at us now, and can hold his head up.  But it was a long way.  He should have been born about 6 weeks ago, not 3 1/2 months ago,   He is very much, now, like a 6-8 week old baby.  But so sweet.   I never want to put him down and go to work.    

AND the bad...........

There was a very funny missionary story circulating in the office today, among the Elders, of course.  

Apparently, there were two missionary Sisters in San Diego.  They drove out into the desert and ran out of gas.  So, they decided to put their drinking water in the gas tank, and pray for it to be turned into gasoline.   Sadly, they had to call the zone leaders and explain that their faith was just not strong enough to accomplish that miracle.   

Here is my broken (I think) toe.  I never bother to see a doctor about these, but it is swollen and black and blue and still screams at the sight of a shoe.  I can walk around fine, now, and it does go into a sandal, so all is well.  

And the truly ugly:

This is Sister Fuertes.  She completed her mission and went home to Cebu last year.  She has been dating another RM from our mission, Elder Bacad.  I did not know him, but we knew her  very well.  We used to go to Binangonan to church on Sunday, and then stop in Taytay on the way back to help her with her English Language study.  While she was serving there she had no American companion to check her workbook and score her lessons.  She did really well, and we got it all done and she scored very high on the exam before she went home.

I took this just before she left, as she needed to get a picture ID to fly home.  She had lost her wallet!

Well, she went home and got engaged, and they were planning a wedding next month in the Cebu Temple. 

Yesterday, Sunday, she and her fiance were traveling together by motorcycle and were hit by a big truck.  She was killed instantly, and we don't know yet whether he will survive.  President and Sister Revillo are so sad and shaken up.  (Well, we all are.)   How blessed we are to know the purpose of this life.   How grateful I am to know that she was keeping her covenants when she died.  


There is another super typhoon circling out in the Ocean, and aimed at Manila.  They tell us it will lose strength and come in over the (Easter) Weekend.   
Unfortunately, our Mindoro Zone Conference is scheduled for next week.  We have 11 airline tickets booked for this weekend,, including President and Sister and Oliver to fly on Sunday Morning.  
We hope everyone can go where needed, but we have had to make major adjustments for weather in the past, and I am not too optimistic.  Instead of a Zone Conference, we may have flooding and house-guests!

Gotta Love the Philippines!