Monday, November 23, 2015

November 15th -November 22nd - Thanksgiving

On one of our ventures this past week we passed these unique Chocolate Hills.  I love them!!

We had to deliver some bikes for Elders and they weren't home.  This is what we found!   Work to be done!!

They are really good Elders - I don't know what happened to their apartment.  They promised it would be clean the next time we came and it was.

I have mentioned before they celebrate Christmas for the "Ber" months.  This was along side the road.  It was so pretty. We have been listening to Santa Claus is Coming to Town for two months or maybe three.
Last week was our Stake Conference.  Very few cars are in the parking lot but you see lots of tricycles delivering.  It was a wonderful conference.  Norm and I were asked to share our testimonies during the Saturday night meeting.

Norm is trying to find something in our frig. It is pretty small and not very convenient.  We do this a lot.
The Elders asked if I would cook a dinner for them to celebrate Thanksgiving.  It took me all day.  There were 14 missionaries.  Didn't have room to feed them in our apartment so we had to load it all to the church 15 minutes away.

I used sheets for table cloths, took my dishes - had to haul everything. They have no frig, or stove in the church - just a sink that does have water.

I got up early and made 5 dozen rolls, put chicken in the crock pot, had rice, corn salad (Yep, new recipe, open a can of corn and put in mayonnaise, green onion, tomato and basil) did cooked carrots and a cabbage salad.  Made fruit salad and cookies for dessert.  We stuffed them.  Two other Elders were late coming - Elder Caro and Elder Cabrero

This is his 2nd plate full.  They ate a lot of food. They ate 3 rice cookers full of rice.  We loaded up everything and brought it home to wash.  It was an all day project but I like those kind of days.  These two are our district leaders.  Elder Nelson lives in Pleasant Grove and will be going home the end of December.  He was an AP but wanted to finish in the field.  Good Elders!!!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

November 8th to 15th

We have had a good week but not a lot of pictures!
We started off Monday bringing some Elders in to the Doctor.  It was a day of waiting and waiting.  We took them to lunch in between things, and then back to Duraro which is an hour and a half drive.  The next day we did a repeat as the Elder needed to have an ultra sound.  They actually took a bus in and we met them at 8:30 because the clinic opened at 8:00.  Couldn't believe when we got there they said the doctor wouldn't be in until 1130.  ANOTHER wait.  So at 11:45 the ultra sound is done but they can't get the results until after lunch. 1:00 we go back and get the results but have to talk to the doctor and he won't be in until 2:30. Then it was another ride back to Duraro.  The whole thing ended up with they couldn't find anything wrong with him.  Guess that was good to know.  Just live with the pain.

A CSP - community service project.  4 elders asked for a ride and there ended up being 10 elders and 4 sisters.  I don't know what they were thinking or just not thinking.  Norm just packed them in the back and drove for a half hour. The other 4 were in the back seat.
The girls were chosen to stay behind and wait for the next trip.  That gave the Elders an hour start on the project which was ok.

This was our project.  Pretty cute little place.  It was actually down a long terrible road.  Can't imagine anyone coming here.  It is by the Loboc river for those of you who have been here.

They were suppose to clean the yard so they are sweeping the leaves etc.  Love the straw brooms or whatever they are made out of.

In the back the Elders are to cut down the brush.  Absolutely no equipment but a few knife things and Norm had some shovels.

I thought it was really quite pretty the way it was.
They did make a little progress but will have to finish another time.

This week I started teaching a brother and 3 sisters piano lessons.   They are so excited.  The lighting in the house was terrible so they put the keyboard on a piece of wood outside which had a brighter light and then they gathered around.  Cute brothers and sisters in the background.  There are 8 in the family.
We are right in to it.

Not ideal but it works.

Elder Halladay loves to treat the kids with suckers.  Wish the picture weren't so dark.

We don't have a picture but on Friday the Elders asked us to teach with them.  The sister was a member but hadn't been to church in 4 years.  Her husband is a member as well but hasn't been to church and the Elders said he was an addict.  They had never met him because he was always working.

On our way there it started pouring - so by the time we got there we had nice mud to go through.  Such very modest, poor circumstances.  Wish it weren't rude to take pictures.  We were introducing and visiting etc. and to our surprise, the husband walks in.  Because of the rain he had come home from work early.  I worried when I saw him with the red earring in his ear etc.  But when he smiled I could see a tenderness and his wife was really a sweet lady.

So the missionaries taught and the husband really started talking a lot.  Of course we couldn't' understand a word but the Elders told us later that he had had a dream the night before of a white building and he thought it was the church and was impressed he should  start going back to church.

I put it all together in my mind, it rained so he came home from work, we were there, he had had a dream, and he told the Elders they would come to church on Sunday.

The Elders texted us this afternoon and they were all in church!  We have an appointment to go back and visit this week.

Today we have been to Carmen and to Sagbayan to church.  A long time to sit and not understand very much.  As I was leaving the Sagbayan church, they meet in the Elders apartment I decided to make use of their CR (comfort room or better known as bathroom).  The one that is there for the church didn't have a handle to flush the toilet and no water in a bucket and when you tried to turn the water on in the sink the handle came off.  No water there either.

So I decided to go upstairs to the CR the Elders use.  There was no door knob, just a hole so I just went in and closed the door only to find out that when you close it, it locks.  There was some metal thing in the wood and there was NO getting it unlocked.  So there I was upstairs looked in this cruddy CR.  I tried everything to no avail and ended up pounding and screaming.  It worked - obviously -  I am now home thank goodness.

Hope you are all having a good week.  Love you BUNCHES!!!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

November 1 - 8th

                                                          November 1st  -  8th   2015

This is the view out our kitchen window.We live with roosters crowing ALL the time.  Here a couple of them are perched on the fence.  There is also a goat further over but too hard to see.
We were trying to get home and ran across this problem.  There just wasn't room for the two of them.  Quite the slab of cement they do.  It was an inch at a time deal.  
This week was transfer week.  A very busy week for us.  We have a BIG area to cover.  We didn't know until they arrived that we had 4 Elders going to the same apartment where 2 Elders were and there were only 2 beds, 2 desks, 2 fans.  We had 5 sisters staying where there were 2.  We had a little bit of heads up on that one.  It takes an hour to get to their apartment so we spend a lot of time on the road.

The day started by leaving at 4:30 a.m. to pick up missionaries and take them to the port to go to Cebu. We spent 15 hours driving in the truck that day.

And in the middle of it all, like 1:00 p.m. we get a call that the zone leaders had been in a BAD accident and totaled their van.  It was all so bad.  It was a mechanical failure on the van.  The wheels or steering wheel I am not sure which locked and they took out an electric pole which went over the top of the van and they went down a very steep embankment that was unreal and did not roll which was a total miracle.  There were 4 Elders.  One was wearing a seat belt and it was his first day in the field.  It was truly a miracle they were all unharmed but for a few cuts and bruises.
These are two of the Elders that were being delivered to their apartment  They were about 5 minutes away when they crashed.  The Elder on the right is the new Elder and he said he would not be writing home to tell his parents about it.
The pole they took out.  The picture doesn't do it justice but they were at the bottom of all this greenery.  They said greenery was flying all over the place.  It was very steep.
This is the poor van.  They said if they hadn't hit the pole square in the middle it would have been very bad for the Elders in the front.  Truly it was a miracle.
Brother and Sister Smalley, Norm baptized her, the first Sister on the left, last weekend.  Brother Smalley is working on getting back in to the church.  He wants Norm to baptize him before we go home.  They had 5 sisters missionaries and us over to eat.  He barbecued ribs which were absolutely delicious and barbecued chicken as well.  Then he made apple pie with vanilla ice cream.  It was all so good.  We can't buy vanilla ice cream here but he did and since then Norm found some.  We are eating out on their patio.  They are so kind and gracious.

Brother Smalley and Norm.  He absolutely loves Norm and said he is the reason we are here.  He talks non stop and has something to say about EVERYTHING!!!!  Very likable man.  He said if we need help with anything to just give him a call and he will be right there.  He actually has a home in California.  He has lived here for 5 years and has an adorable wife.  They are both wonderful cooks.
We went to Carmen to church today.  It takes about an hour 15 min. to get there.  This is Jake's territory and I just love being there.  I took a keyboard and played for them.  They were quite intrigued by it all.

When we got up this morning we had no power so it was a cold shower morning and a go "as is" hair do.  The power was on when we got home but has gone off and on a couple times tonight which means darkness and no air con or fan.  Very noticeable and very much missed.

Back to Carmen.  It looks like, if we understood them right, there are 3 couples and a sister in Carmen who are planning on going to the temple in March when Jake comes to pick us up.  I so hope that all works out.  One brother named Sonny, Jake picked he and his wife and family up his last Sunday he was here, and we took them to church, Sonny has been going ever since and he is planning on going to the temple.

I tried to speak to him today and said hello from Elder Tolman.  He smiled and said so humbly, "I miss Elder Tolman."  A very tender moment for me.  

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Senior Retreat and Baptism

                                                           October 29th - November 1st

We met for 2 days this week with the Senior couples. Starting at left: Elder and Sister McNeff from Coalville.  They just arrived two weeks ago and will be working in the office.  Next are the Halladays, 4 months left.  President and Sister Tanner who are absolutely amazing.  I could write chapters on them - truly a privilege to serve with them.  Elder and Sister Bell from Hooper.  They are much younger than us - have been here 2 months.  They took our place in Calape and they are amazing missionaries.  Very capable and very hard working people and they signed up for two years.  The last couple are the Bocks and they are from Australia.  They are serving for 2 years - been here 6 months and thy are on the Island of Cebu working in Bogo.   Wonderful people.  It was a privilege to be with all of them.

The first day we were in meetings all day discussing policies and what to do in different scenarios and got  acquainted etc.  It was a wonderful day together.

That night we went to Isla Hayahay which is in Calape and had dinner and we all spent the night there.
This is were we stayed.  It is in Calape and has good food.
They also have a swimming pool which Norm loves.  He swims night and morning and says the water is perfect.Friday we did some sight seeing with the new couples.  Saw chocolate hills, went to Mantacida and saw the houses we spent so long traveling back and forth and we cruised  the Loboc river and had all you can eat smorgasbord - food wasn't all that good but we ate anyway.  Two very nice days.  Just a strength to be with other adults that speak English.

Saturday we  went toValencia and Norm baptized Sister Emma Smalley.  I LOVE HER!  She is an angel.  We met her husband Bill in the mall several months ago and chatted with him.  He was excommunicated about 25 years ago and she is devout Catholic.  He gave us his phone number.  He is building his home which really interested Norm.  Well, we lost his phone number and never did see him.  We finally asked the Sisters in Valencia if they had met a white man etc. and they said we are teaching her right now.  We were so thrilled.  They set up a time we could all go together and it has been instant friendship.  He is working his way back and should be baptized before we leave we hope.  They asked Norm to baptize and confirm Dear Sister Emma.

They are tending their nephew from California for a few months.  They are the nicest people.  She is a wonderful cook.  He told Norm they are the reason we were sent to the Philippines. He really loves Norm.

Outside the church is a mango tree that still has papers on it. They are up very high and there are a lot of papers on the mangos.  It amazes me how they get them on and how they get them off.

This is the rice that they pull in clumps and plant each one at a time.
This is all done by hand.  An amazing amount of work.
After the baptism the missionaries arranged for a music fireside.  They did a good job and we enjoyed it very much.  They had a good crowd.

Meetings in Balilihan.  They had 22 there today.  They told us today would probably be their last meeting because they aren't progressing.  I am sad because these 20 people really enjoy it and I think they do a wonderful job.