Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christmas 2015 in Bohol

 We started off the week with this motorcycle running into us.  We were  on our way to a district meeting in Jagna an hour and a half away.  We were stopped in the road for something and this guy was going fast I guess anyway he ran right into us.  We spent the next 2 hours at the police station.  What a drag.  We were blessed that no one was hurt.  The bike was caught under our truck and they had a hard time getting it out.  He and his wife were on the bike.  He was the nicest man and we found out he lives here in Dauis as well.  We will pay for our damages and he for his.  It kind of messed up our bumper.

And here we have the police station.  I sat in front in the truck for a LONG time. So we didn't make it to the district meeting.  We went anyway to deliver some things and got to the meeting house and no one was there.  It was that kind of day.  They were meeting together with another district.  We finally caught up with them after everything was over.
We have been to 5 different Christmas parties.  They love to party.  Each party lasts at least 4-5 hours.  Here they are dancing on the stage and everyone is trying to follow them.  I thought they had cute decorations.  They dance a lot, sing, play a lot of games, eat and start all over again.  It just goes on and on and they are so uninhibited.  They just love being together.
This girl is jumping the rope which you can't tell.  They got 4 of them in there at a time.
They have the missionaries helping out with a game.

Just having a good time!  We can never eat the food.  It is grisly pork that is impossible to chew and swallow.  There is always rice but one can only do so much rice.  There are other things we nibble on but always glad to get home and have a piece of toast maybe even with some peanut butter.
This is Elder Schnoor from Canada.The leader and everyone was blinded folded.  They had to go up and around a chair and back and pick up another person by bumping into them.  It was really quite fun.

Another party on the basketball court by the church.  We leave all of the parties early.  Usually with the excuse that we need to take missionaries home.

Thought I should share our Christmas decorations.  I tried to make something green on the bottom to resemble a tree.  The green boughs are wrapped on a pillow.  Thanks to Leanna and Julie they brought presents which is against the rules but they did it anyway.
This is Norm's Christmas Card - he is very talented.

We bought us a nativity set and used the step for our table.

This is my Christmas present from Norm - he loves to draw. We didn't spend a lot of time shopping and decorating and making candy and singing carols and all of the fun Christmas traditions.  I will be happy next year to sit on the couch around the Christmas lights watching a Christmas movie.  But we did have a very nice Christmas.  We visited several families and had a wonderful Christmas dinner with our senior couple on the island, Elder and Sister Bell.  She is a wonderful cook and it is very nice to visit and spend some time with Americans and compare notes of how we are handling life as missionaries in Bohol.

They have many parades going down the road.  We just drive through the middle of them.  This was on our way to church this morning.

Just part of the traffic.

We had a baptism from Carmen at Pilar.  The three in front of the door were baptized.  The sister in white is still investigating.  We had 14 in our truck.  6 missionaries in the very back.  6 investigators and members in the back seat and the two of us.  It took some time gathering everyone up and it was an hour and a half away.  We furnished the treats and then made the return trip home.

Another baptism that afternoon in Tagbilaran.  Such a sweet sister.  These sisters are actually singing.

When we went to church this morning these cute little goats were running ahead of us.  The church is on the left.

That is another week in the life of living in Bohol.  It is cooling down a bit which is so good but it is still plenty hot.

Hope you all had a very special Christmas day and have a very special Christmas holiday.  Love you all!

Monday, December 21, 2015

December 14 - December 21 2015

We attended a funeral in Carmen.  A member was shot, a man who was 60, by a couple men on a motorcycle.  That is all the detail they know.  He had been baptized a few months.  His wife is so sweet.  The body is in the home for days. People just come and visit etc.  The funeral was in their humble home.   We were outside because of space but couldn't understand anything anyway.  Then they walk to the cemetery which is hot and long.  Maybe two or three miles.
 The group leader (it isn't a branch yet) is on the motorbike.  He and his wife are planning on going to the temple with us in March.

You can see the casket in the back.

This is the cemetery.  They put boards on top of the casket and then will put cement on top of it.

Another picture of the cemetery.  The wife is on the left in black.
The casket before they put it in the ground.  Norm dedicated the grave.
A Christmas Party in Panglao.  Held at a member's home.  She married a white man who doesn't believe there is a God but he allows her to be active in the church. This is their driveway.
They had a wonderful party.  LONG   Over 4 hours.  They had "presentations" dance, sing, eat, and start all over again.  They LOVE being together.  They had a big spread of food.
We went to church in Pilar. This is their transportation.

The Pilar church.  There is a baptismal font on the right side you can't see.  A very nice chapel.
We had an American dinner for the two white elders.

They have the prettiest sunsets here.  And they also have the prettiest clouds in the day.  They are sort of white white against the blue sky.  But last week we had the results of a typhoon that was close by and it rained like no other.  NEVER have we seen so much rain here.  I think for 2 days it really rained.  So thankful we didn't get the typhoon.

We went visiting with the Elders.  The parents of this family both work.  The father is very much Catholic but the Mother is a member.  She can't go to church because she is working.  We gave them money so they could get a bus ride to church but they didn't go.  They had to go somewhere else but will go next week we hope.  We love these Elders.  The one on the left is Elder Hall from Idaho and the other is Elder Schnoor from Canada.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Family on mission

                                                           This is kind of a mix of pictures.
Brother and Sister Smalley told us about a wonderful hamburger place.  They said it was the best.  This is the outside of it.  The hamburger was very good.  It is a hamburger and bar and it is by the ocean.

We went to church in Duero. The meetings were wonderful.  You will notice the dog by the blackboard.  I don't know how many times they took that dog out but it kept appearing.
The sisters came home early one afternoon and said their door was open and someone had broken in.  Norm bought a new doorknob and lock but it was too big for the hole.  So back we went and bought a file and he filed and filed for some time to get the thing to fit.  They don't have very many convenient tools.
We are on our way on the tricycle to go to the ferry that takes us to Cebu to the airport to get OUR GIRLS!! Sister Tanner met us and we did some shopping at a fantastic new mall they have just opened.  Like 5 stories. It is huge and absolutely gorgeous.  Certainly doesn't look like it belongs in the Philipines.
We got caught in a terrible traffic jam.  We were over 2 hours and not making it to their home so we had to turn around and head to the airport to meet these two beautiful daughters.  We got there just in time.
Leanna had a special surprise for us - 4 1/2 months pregnant.  We had no clue.

We spent the evening with President and Sister Tanner.  They are so gracious in their very busy lives to make time for us.  We are fixing dinner.

We left early the next morning for the temple.  So love being there together.

Our ferry ride home in the open air.
Saturday we went to Loon and saw where we use to live - President Saballa took them for a tricycle ride while I gave a piano lesson to Elizabeth - we went to see Brother Kenneth but he wasn't home.

We stopped at Isla Hayahay and ate which was yummy and very beautiful on the ocean.

On our way home we stopped at a firefly river run.  It was so fun.  The girls had a kyiac and we had one and we each had our own guide in another one.

Before we started we each had our own coconut juice.  We didn't like it very much but they said it was good for you.  I was very obedient and drank the whole thing which wasn't very smart when you are leaving on extended kyiac ride.  I really got in to trouble and had to return early - sorry Norm.

Of course I am in a skirt and came back absolutely drenched.  Could wring the water out of my skirt.

Here are the girls taking off hoping to catch the sunset.  The fireflies were amazing.  They cover certain trees - they were on one big tree and it had hundreds of them.  We were just as amazed at the Plankton fish that lit up in the water.  When you paddle the fish would light up.  If you even put your hand in the water the fish would light up.  Julie and Leanna paddled hard and it was like a stream of light.  The timing was perfect because there was no moon and they really lit up.  Julie was sitting in front and got just as drenched as I did.  We had a great time.

Sunday morning we got up and went to church in Carmen - Jake's territory.  We loved being there.

Julie passed out candy to the kids.  This is their Primary.

This little boy LOVES  Elder Tolman and this is his Mom.

Our group in Carmen.

This family is hoping to go to the temple with Elder Tolman when he comes in March.  She was sick and didn't make it to church with the family but the Dad was there.  Very humble, sweet people in very humble circumstances.

After church we drove to the chocolate hills.  Very unusual and beautiful!

And we had FAMILY HOME EVENING in the Philippines.  Yesiree, it was the first Sunday night of  December and it was Family Home Evening.  We had  Mangos, Mango floats, and popcorn for dessert.

Monday Morning Norm took the girls snorkeling with the turtles and crab.  They had a wonderful time.

We stopped and saw the tarsiers.  There were 4 of them and they were all awake.  Cute!

As we were driving along Leanna yells "stop, there is a bridge".  And she was right.

We tracked down this waterfall but got caught in a tremendous downpour.  We got drenched.

Eating at the Garden City Cafe.  We do a lot of eating.  At least that is where we take pictures.

Tuesday morning we got up early and went to the Bee Farm and had a delicious breakfast.  Leanna had read on line that they had mango pancakes which sounded so good.  It is not mango season right now so they just had mango syrup I think but they had delicious eggs and ham and waffles instead of pancakes.  It was a good choice

From there we went to Garcia and met Bill and Emma.  That was a quick trip.  Absolutely love those dear people.  Norm baptized Emma and hopes to Baptize Bill before we leave.  They had company so our visit was short. We went back to the LoBoc river cruise.  All you can eat buffet on the water.

We saw this mango tree on the water.  The mangos are wrapped in paper and stapled.  I am always amazed at how they do this.  Never seen it done but it is always done.

There were lots of boys swinging from trees and dropping in the water.  Didn't get a picture of that.

This is close by our apartment.  We walked down early for the sunrise.
Wednesday morning the girls wanted to return to the waterfall when it wasn't raining.  This is the path down.

A BIG bench on the way down to the waterfall.

If you look closely you can see the girls sitting on the side of the waterfall.
The water was warm and they had a great time.
A couple of crazies!  They said there were jagged rocks and they were slippery.

In front of our apartment gate.  Our apartment is the middle one but you really can't see it.

In the Tricycle headed for the ferry.  Such a fun time!!

We had to get a couple of tricycles to take us to the ferry.  They stopped and let us take a picture.
Wednesday night was the Christmas devotional at the church by the mission office.  All the missionaries gathered to watch the First Presidency Christmas message.  Elder Borrego and Elder Santos - two of our favorite missionaries were there.  Elder Santos was Jake's last companion and Elder Borrego was a very close friend of Elder Tolman's.  They worked together quite a bit.
Thursday morning at 3:45 a.m.  at our very nice hotel that Leanna booked for us.  They needed to leave by 4:00 a.m. for the airport.

This time came all too soon.  We had a wonderful week.  They mostly entertained us instead of us entertaining them.  With all of our adventures Norm was busy handing out cards and doing missionary work.  Even at the waterfall he talked to two more who were familiar with the church and he has their names.  He is a wonderful missionary.
After our goodbyes we went back to the church for the Christmas Conference and party.  About 200 missionaries.
Sister Tanner had gone to so much work to decorate and make all the arrangements.  She was in charge of the activity and she did minute to win it.  They had so much fun!!!!  She really is an amazing lady.  She works night and day.
Lots of missionaries!  It was a real deal to get all of them on buses afterwards and to the ferry and get tickets etc.  And they all had to catch rides when we got off the ferry which was about 8:45.  It isn't easy to get around here but they make it work.

It has been a wonderful week!  We are so very blessed!  Thank you all for your prayers in our behalf.  This is a great experience and we hope to work hard and serve faithfully for 3 more months and accomplish all we can before we return.

Love you with all our hearts!!!!