Sunday, April 12, 2015

Awesome Van Dusen week

We have been blessed to have a wonderful week with the Van Dusen Family.  It was a spiritual experience to be able to share our mission with them.  Norm and I left early Thursday morning, April 2nd, and took the ferry to Cebu.  Sister Tanner met us at the port and took us to their beautiful home.  We cooked and had a fun time together.  The Tanners are so good to us.  They just open their hearts and their home to us.  They took their van and a truck to go to the airport and meet the Van Dusens and all the things they brought with them to give away to these dear people.

President and Sister Tanner also invited Jake and his companion to meet us at the airport - Jake's area is in the same area as the airport so that worked out really well.  We all arrived at the airport at the same time.  Just unreal that we could all be together in the Philippines.  It was a wonderful experience.

Jake is doing so well.  He is a wonderful missionary.  It is truly a privilege to be here serving with him.  A GREAT FAMILY REUNION IN THE PHILIPPINES !!!!!!

Jake and his companion took the Van Dusens on a Jeepney ride to the mission office.  I might mention that Leanna took tons of pictures and they are much better than mine.  She will put them on line for the family in the near future.

In front of the mission office.  So great to be together.  From there we went to the mission home and ate and Jake spent a couple hours with us.  The kids played the piano and sang, Jake's companion played the piano.  It was just fun to be with all of them.
Friday morning we made kitty pancakes for Eden's birthday which is coming in a couple days.  We sang and whooped and hollered.  I think we were shouting hurray here!  You know the song "You've had a birthday shout hurray"  :)

Grandpa enjoyed time in the pool with the kids.
Afterwards he went back out with his ipad to take a few pictures and backed up one too many steps and fell in the pool - ipad and all.  The ipad never did recover.  No one was there to witness the occasion.  The next thing I knew he was standing at the door dripping wet.
Sister Tanner took us to walk around the temple on our way to the pier.
A light crowd at the pier because of Holy Week.  In fact we heard that the star craft wouldn't be running but we were glad it was.

First stop off the ferry is Mc Donalds.

Our landlord, Jon, has 3 apartments behind our apartment.  Two sets of sisters live in two of them and the one you see here is vacant so that is where the Van Dusens stayed.  It worked out so nicely.

After unloading we had to run to the market - Mike and Leanna had a goal to get their fill of mangoes and bananas.  We had to get started on it.
That night being Holy Week they had a HUGE parade in front of our house.  A mob of people came down - carrying candles and carrying statues of Christ and Mary etc.  We were about as big an attraction to them.  All these white people with blond hair standing at the side of the road.

The next day, Saturday, we left at 6:30 to go to Ubay to another baptism in the ocean.  5 were baptized.  That is always a very special experience.

On our way home we went to see where Jake served in Carmen, we went to his apartment and also to the church that he lined up.  Just loved being where he has served.

 We also saw the chocolate hills and Sagbayan Peak.

Sunday we went to the Calape Branch by us.  Even though it was Fast Sunday the kids sang a song "I Know My Savior Lives".  We loved being able to go to church together.
After church we went to see Sister Oncines, the sister Jake baptized and is struggling right now but she wasn't home.  We left her some goodies.  Hope her dog didn't eat them.  Then we stopped and visited a brother in our branch, Brother Kenneth, the kids sang for him.  We stopped to see Brother Gaspar who lives in a very interesting situation.  You follow a trail through other places where people live and there is a basketball game going on in the dirt.  The boys played a little with them.

We came home and got some candy and went back and shared candy with them. The kids were so friendly, they came running after our truck as we drove away.

Mike is working on his goal to eat as many mangoes as he could.
Our sweet Eden standing by her namesake store.

Couldn't believe Leanna spotted this sign as we were driving down the road.

Sister Palmieri was without a companion so she was companions with us for a few hours.  
She is a wonderful missionary.  They talked her into a card game.  I'm sure she hadn't done that for a while.
These bags were chucked full of things they brought for a school close by.  They had 3 of them.  There were 35 students and they made a packet for each one of them.  It was truly amazing.  They had a plastic folder which contained pencils, markers, erasers, scissors colored pencils, notebooks etc.
They also brought 2 other bags chuck full of clothes to give away.  They had to pay for 5 extra large bags on the airplane.  They were loaded.  This is in addition to their own luggage for 6 people.

We went to the school Monday morning at 9:00.  Mike could speak their language.  It was a great experience.  The kids also sang for them.

They also brought a sack of treats for each one.  The kids are handing them out.

Besides what they gave the kids, Leanna has sack of notebooks and crayons and extra things to leave with the teacher, Sister Amor, who is standing there in the white blouse.  She is a very good member of the church.  It is her father that has quit smoking after 61 years and he just loves Norm.  She always thanks us for coming on a mission.

They are holding their packets and saying goodbye.

President Saballa took them on a tricycle ride.

He is our District President - such a good man.  This is how he makes his living.  It was his house that Norm helped put in the cement floor.

We visited Brother and Sister Lanzaderas and Brother Villalon.  The kids sang at both their homes.  Brother Villalon has been offended and isn't coming back to church until the crows turn white.  I really think he was happy we stopped to see him.

We went on to Tagbilaran - bought Norm an ipad and Mike got him all fixed up again which we so appreciate.

Tuesday morning we left at 5:00 a.m. to go catch a boat at 6:00 to see if we could see any dolphins and we did - a lot of them.  That is our boat and boat people in the back.

They went snorkeling.  Eden and I elected to stay on the beach and she found a blue starfish. We  also went to another island which had a huge wonderful sandbar.  So fun.

After we got back to the truck we stopped at Garden Cafe and had a wonderful meal including Halo-Halo's.

On our way home we stopped at a Tarsiers Sanctuary and saw 4 Tarsiers.  Cute little things.

Wednesday morning we went to another investigators house and the girls gave their little girl a doll they had brought from home and a box of fruit loops.  We also went back to the basketball area and the boys had brought a frisbee which they played with a little and then left the frisbee with them.  The looks on their faces were so cute.

Then we drove out to Treasure Island about 15 minutes from our place and played a little bit on another sandy beach.  They had beautiful seashells here and sand dollars.

A wonderful privilege for us to be able to spend a few days with these dear people!  We so loved having them here!

Off to the ferry all too soon.  Such a fun fast week.  We did a lot and it was an amazing time together!

Aren't they just the cutest!  They went back on the ferry to Cebu and got a taxi to the airport.  Slept in a hotel close by because they had to leave at 4:00 a.m. to go to the airport.  Flight left at 5:55 a.m.  Such wonderful memories for us.  We so appreciate them coming to see us and share our mission together.

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