Sunday, February 28, 2016

Fun times - February 24th to February 29th.

We are stopped at a traffic light (very few of them) to turn a corner and very often there are beggars who tap on our window with their hand out.  We try to find them something.  Today, this poor guy was asleep.  This is in between traffic going both ways.
This is a bad picture of dear Aldren.  He is the most amazing piano student I have taught.  He is so talented.  This is the family that I teach outside under a light with mosquitoes.  He plays things once and he has it. He is playing for church.  The best thing I did was get a keyboard for the family to have in their home so he can practice.
His sister, Jessa Mae - she is in college and she has to work harder at the piano but she is doing well.
Two more sisters - Aldren has promised to help his sisters.  They are a great family.
A member of the ward bishopric passed away suddenly with a heart attack.  They had a viewing in the recreation hall showing pictures etc. and then they turned their chairs around and had the service.  Their viewings go for several nights in the home.  Different groups come every night and they have talks and they feed them etc.  He was a very prominent man and it was a huge funeral.  He was in his 50's.

                                        A baptism in Pilar.  The mother is a member.

Love the baptismal font outside.  This is all that attended.  There were 4 missionaries besides us.  It takes us an hour and a half to drive there.  I got to play the piano.
A cute sister Clave.  That afternoon we went to their baptism back in Tagbilaran.  All baptisms start at least 45 minutes late.

                               This dear sister is 18 and works for the Bishop in Tagbi.

I have never seen such a LONG escalator.  I was about to the bottom.  It is in a mall type store.  We go to the top and then another escalator to the next floor to buy mattresses etc.  Food is on the bottom floor and clothes etc. in between.  We don't go here a lot.  Parking is horrendous.  Parking anywhere is horrendous. I definitely will not miss that part of the mission.
Tricycle and jeepney - this is how they travel.  I think their electrical system is amazing.

                                                         Another tricycle.

                             We were driving down the road and came across a parade.

These are rooster hotels.  Each rooster is chained to a hotel.  They raise them for cock fights and to keep us awake at night.

Dear Brother and Sister Lanzaderas.  We started visiting them a year ago last January.  They are the dearest people.  He is the man that smoked for 61 years.  He has quit many times but not really.  But he did quit this time and hasn't smoked since a year ago last February.  We went to the temple with them last August.  He LOVES Norm.  Calls him his brother and says with tears, You changed my life.

I have taught two of their grandchildren to play the piano.  They live right by each other.  Today was my last day to teach and they had a party for us.  The four students I have taught came besides friends and they sang a song for us and they gave us presents and had cooked food.  It was a very emotional experience for me.  Sister Landaderas gave me her coin collection.  I think it was one of her most prized possessions.  I didn't want to take it at all.  Her grandchildren should have it but she kept saying it was for me.  They are in their 70's.  So hard to say goodbye.
This is their son Ondoy and his wife Arlene and two girls.  Arlene was baptized last April.  She is more active than Ondoy.  We are hoping they will make it to the temple before President Tanner goes home.  He is good friends with them as well.
It was a very special time for us to be with these dear people.  They notice and appreciate everything you say and do.
I taught the two girls behind me and the two boys.  The girl on the far left is their sister who is in college.  They are a marvelous family.  And dear Sister Lanzaderas is in front.  The sweetest sister ever.

Then we went to see Sister Segovia.  She is the sister that Elder Teh talked about in April 2014 conference.

To quote:  "Last January my sweetheart, Grace, and I received an assignment to visit the members in the Philippines who were devastated by a major earthquake and a super typhoon."

At the end of his talk he says:  "May I conclude with the story of a 73-year old widow whom we met during our trip to the Philippines:  "When the earthquake struck the island of Bohol, the home that she and her late husband had worked so hard to build crumbled to the ground, killing her daughter and grandson.  Now alone, she needs to work to support herself.  She has started taking in laundry (which she does by hand) and has to go up and down a good-sized hill several times a day to fetch water.  When we visited her she was still living in a tent.

These are her words:  Elder, I accept everything that the Lord has asked me to pass through.  I have no hard feelings.  I treasure my temple recommend and keep it under my pillow.  Please know that I pay a full tithing on my meager income from doing laundry.  No matter what happens, I will always pay tithing."

Since then someone has built this small home for her.  It is very meager but it does have something to sit on and I think a bed.
 Elder and Sister Bell and her sister and husband who just came to visit, built this chicken coop.  This week they are going to buy her 10 chickens.  This is her new way to bring in income.  But she said it is too hot in the middle of the day.  Don't know what they will do about that. I am not sure this project is going to work but I hope it does.  She also has to pay 100 pesos to rent the ground and she doesn't have anything.  Not sure how sue will handle that either.  We helped her out a little.
             This is where the house was and the tent behind.  The shack on the right is where she cooks.
                                 A better view of where she lives now.

                        Foundation of what use to be home, chicken coop and where she cooks.

         This is how she cooks with a fire.  But she is now out of rice.  We gave her some pesos.

                                    When we left she insisted on walking down the hill.
That is quite the slippery hill she goes up and down.  I noticed an older boy there and she said that was her grandson.  She said he is a member but he doesn't always go to church.  And then she said, I can't say anything because I wouldn't be worthy to take the sacrament.

Very hard to say goodbye.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Sharing Mission With Family


Julie and Katie planned a trip to come see us.  Because they were flying standby I wasn't sure when they would arrive so when I got an email entitled "Surprise" I immediately thought that meant they were on their way even a little early.  I was totally shocked when I opened it up and saw this picture!  I didn't squeal, I sat there stunned thinking, "That is Marie, how could that be?"  I looked and looked wondering if my eyes were playing tricks.  What a beautiful sight!  I will love this picture forever!!!

My next favorite picture!  How blessed we were!!!!   It is a long flight and I so appreciate them being able to come.  They flew in to Tagbilaran.  It was a very rainy Sunday afternoon.  We quickly drove to a sacrament meeting close by and got in on about half or maybe more.

                This is Katie's bed!  It was wonderful!  She got better audio of the roosters!

                 About every morning we took in a walk and enjoyed the sun rise and sun sets.  

                         They all swam in the waterfall.  Somebody has to take pictures !!!!
                                                   Awesome swinging bridge.

              After crossing the bridge we followed a little path and it was so jungley and fun.

                                        Trying to make friends with the Carabau.

                      Katie trying her luck at climbing a coconut tree.  I think she can do it!

                     Another bridge on our path.  A little too make-shifty for me.

                                    Love the chocolate hills.

                                      Over 200 steps up and the same back  :)
                         We discovered a new zip line in Duero.

                                                    Ready for the take off.
                                                       Julie being courageous.
                                                       Marie ready to go.
                                                       Katie on her way.
                                          One of them coming back - take your pick.
                                                               Julie made it,
Went to Hayahay and they snorkeled.  It rained so hard - just pelted down for quite a while.  They said they couldn't feel it under the water.

At chow king eating a halo halo.  Definitely Norm's favorite!  I'm afraid it won't be repeated in the states.  Strictly Filipio!  A lot of ice and fruit, beans, coconut, sweetened condensed milk, ice cream and whatever else you can find.

                                                      Another morning walk.

                                                  Just love all of the green.
Norm and the Elders were moving some sisters into a new apartment so we took a tricycle and went to the Bee Farm.  I think it is suppose to fit two but there you have it.

                                              Julie was behind the motorcycle driver.

                                   We had a delicious breakfast at the Bee Farm.

                                           Wonderful view of the ocean - fun place.

                                   Norm joined us later and gave us a ride home.
                   Marie is patiently teaching Norm some new tricks on his ipad.
                                          And Katie and Julie are just hanging out!
We got to take in a baptism in the river in Carmen -- this dear sister and a little girl who is not related.  The little girl's father will be baptized in two weeks.

                                           Elders trying to get it all together.

                                                        I got to lead the singing.

                   A fun little group gathered together.  They sing and talk and enjoy it all together.

                             Not much on padded chairs. The climb down was a little precocious.

                         We furnished treats of pop, bananas and pastries that we had purchased.

It took two truck loads to get everyone to the baptism.  We opted to stay in this cute little place and wait for Norm's return trip.

                                           It was a little too much driving for Katie.

                  We had a wonderful walk along the Alona Beach and then had our dinner.

                                 Katie had the biggest hamburger I have ever seen.
 We attended church in Panglao.  It is really a resort but they rent it out for Sunday only.  A very nice group and they just got word they are big enough to become a branch.  They will need a new place to meet.       
Accommodations at the Halladay apartment.  Jake and Bryce, this is soon to become yours.  That is as good as it gets here.

Our neighbor across the street sells food all day long from like 6:00 a.m. to 9:30 at night.  They are the nicest people.  Behind the sign is tables where you can eat.

                  Another morning walk across the causeway coming to our home.  Beautiful walk!

                                  Norm is quite sure he should build one of this for us.

                                        A scrumptious breakfast - love the memories.

                       Outside our apartment.  We are the middle one, down by the truck.

                           A common sight.  We are ALWAYS toting bikes around.

Crazy picture.  We were just driving along and saw this.  It is a jeepney - their common mode of transportation. The driver is taking a siesta.

                                      At the port telling these cuties goodbye.

I am so grateful to be able to share the Philippines with family.  This is a beautiful country and we will always treasure the experience.

I am so anxious to come home but it is getting more and more difficult to leave.  It has been a very special experience.