Sunday, March 6, 2016

Together Again

The long awaited moment has arrived.  12:00 midnight on March 4th.  So happy to see those handsome men safely in Cebu.

                                                     TOGETHER AGAIN!!!!!
                                          A very happy Mother and Grandmother!

The ferry we took over to Cebu.  It was a sea jet.  Hadn't even heard of it.  It was a little beat up and rickity but it got us there!
                                                Our ferry ride back on Star Craft.
             Got us a tricycle to bring us home from the ferry.  Bryce is holding the luggage on top.

                                   No room for Jake to sit down.  Holding luggage too.

We headed right to Carmen to a baptism.  They were waiting for Jake.  We walked a long way down the river trying to find a good spot.

                                                They made a cute sign for Jake.
                               Brother Quiamco talking to Jake.  Getting ready for the baptism.

                      This little boy just loves Jake.  The other cute little guy was baptized.

And his father was baptized.  They used the stick to tell how far out they had to go to get the water deep enough.

          Such a spiritual setting and experience.  Something that we don't get to do very often.

                                  Singing songs while they were changing clothes.

                 Elder Halladay was called on to give closing remarks and he did a great job.

                                                All those who came to the baptism.

These are the first two days of our week.  There will be more coming but probably when I get home.  Today we went to church in Carmen and then Jake has spent the afternoon trying to get these people to get their recommends.  It has been very interesting.   We wondered for a while if it was going to work.  But it is.  We have spent much time in Carmen Saturday and Sunday.

We have tomorrow, Monday, and Tuesday to finish up things here in Bohol and Wednesday we all head to Cebu.  The people will receive their endowments Wednesday afternoon and they will be sealed on Thursday.

What a wonderful week to be able to spend with family.

                Sunday in Carmen.  Bryce had all the kids his lap could hold.  They loved him.

In front of the Carmen church.  They had about 70 people there.  Jake opened up the area with no church and no members.  A sister in R.S. bore her testimony and said how grateful she was that Elder Tolman had brought them the Gospel.  It was a humbling experience for me to realize he was the first Elder there and now there are many.

After sacrament meeting Jake loaded 3 sisters and several others to go to Pilar, where the Branch President could interview them for their recommend to go to the temple.  That was all suppose to be done before he got there but somehow it didn't happen so Jake was very busy trying to get it all together.

Then we had to take them all to Tagbilaran to meet with the stake president to get their recommends signed.  The night before Jake was told by the stake executive secretary that it would be impossible, that there wasn't enough time to get them to the temple.  But Jake called President Tanner and explained the situation and he called the stake president and made arrangements.  We were ever so grateful.  It took the rest of Sunday to get the recommends signed. Jake and Bryce had to ride in the very back of the truck with several children for over an hour on a very bad road.  Bryce got car sick, it about did him in. but he recovered quickly.

After the lengthy interviews in Tagbilaran they had to get the cards printed out so the deceased husbands could be sealed to their wives.  That took a bit of doing as well.  Then they were hungry because no one had eaten all day.  We ran to our apartment and got what food we could find for them.

I stayed home so Bryce could have my seat and after all that they had to be returned to Carmen an hour and 15 min. away.  A son of one of the sisters had been wayward but was showing interest and the dear sister wanted Jake to teach him.  So after the late night getting back they hiked back in to her home, up a mountain and Jake taught him by flashlight and candle light because they have no electricity.  A very humbling experience.

The next day, Monday we went to Inabunga for Jake to see some families there.  On the way we passed this Catholic Cathedral in Calape where we lived our first year.  They have just redone the outside and it is very beautiful.  One of Norm's favorite buildings.  We just wish it weren't Catholic but they certainly have a strong hold there.

                    Elder Tolman was checking out the bridge.  Don't think I am going there.

Sister Oncines and her daughter in the white. Jake baptized their family and after he got transferred her husband passed away.  She has really struggled since then but they love Elder Tolman.

The house she lived in when Jake taught her is nonexistent now and I think the church built this house for her.  I looked in the door and could see nothing but a floor, not a bed, nothing but a floor.  I know she cooks out back on a fire.  This is a mansion compared to the house she did live in.

Sister Oncines and her daughter.  She has two more daughters but they were at school.  When Jake was walking through the jungle to her home the little girl spotted Jake way off and started yelling to him and running to him.  He asked her how she knew it was him and she said she could just tell.  It was a very humbling experience.  That far away Jake wasn't even sure it was her, but she knew Jake.  She is 9 years old.

                                     On our way through the jungle to another house.

Several families live close together and they got together and Jake taught them.  He also gave them clothes that his family had put together.   And he bought treats for after he taught them.   It was a very happy time.

Jake and his companion, Elder Fox, had these tarpaulins made at Christmas and gave to some families.  This family keeps it up and dusts it and takes care of it.  You can see the picture of the temple between them.  It is very nice.

By now it is getting pretty late.  We made a quick trip to chocolate hills and got there just before the sun went down.  It was a pretty sunset view.

The people in Carmen wanted Jake to come to a home evening so we dropped he and Bryce off in Carmen to find their own way home and Norm and I left.  It ended up being quite the night for Jake.  The home evening went fine but the husband of one of the sisters who had her recommend decided he didn't want her to go.  He is not a member.  Jake talked with him for an hour and a half trying to reason with him but he was very difficult.  Finally he told Jake he would meet him the next afternoon.

So Jake met him the next afternoon and he was a completely different man.  Apologized for what he had said etc. and said his wife could go to the temple and he was on his way home to talk to her.  We were so grateful.

Elder and Sister Bell stopped by to tell us goodbye.  They are wonderful missionaries.  Truly an inspiration to everyone.  They are there to work and they are amazing!  Such a privilege to be on their team.

We took a quick picture to put in a Book of Mormon and give to a young man that Jake taught but was baptized after Jake left.  We got him a shirt and tie so he could pass the sacrament.  Jake got to meet with him and give him the scriptures.
These ladies live across the street from us.  Helen is in the stripped shirt and the other lady is her sister.  They are very friendly.  We never did dare eat there but they were full of hellos and we always waved going by.

                    The front of their eatery.  They open about 6:00 a.m. and go until 9:30 p.m.

Those were two packed days.  So Wednesday we get up early and catch the ferry to go to Cebu and the temple.  We left from Tagbilaran which is a two hour ferry ride away.  The people from Carmen left from Tubigan which is one hour ferry ride.  We were to meet at the temple.  On the ferry Jake gets a text on our phone saying that the man he had talked to for so long had now changed his mind again and when they went to pick up the sister he would not let her go.  Jake was sick.  He tried to text and call and see if he could work anything out about her coming later or coming the next day but nothing worked.  Her sister was one of the other sisters getting sealed to her deceased husband so the group had really looked forward to this occasion together.  But they had to leave her behind and we were very disappointed.

But three sisters received their endowments and two sisters were sealed to their deceased husbands and another couple was sealed.  It was a very spiritual experience.  One of the daughters who lives in Cebu had made this sign.

I was able to sit with the sisters through the endowment session and it was a special experience to be able to help them through.  When we got in the celestial room.  I gave each of them a hug as they came through and they just melted in my arms and just sobbed and sobbed. This shy sister just looked me in the eyes and said "I love you sister".  I will never forget this experience.

I wish we could take pictures in the temple because another favorite memory is these three sisters sitting on the beautiful couch and Jake was kneeling in front of them teaching them with his Book of Mormon in hand.  They were listening so intently and crying.  A very tender experience.

So they received their endowments on Wednesday afternoon after making the ferry trip over and going through the paper work etc. we made it through the 3:00 session.  Before this they were told that the sisters couldn't be sealed to their deceased husbands because they need a marriage license.  We were again struggling but we talked to the temple recorder and explained everything and he let them be sealed.  They had the pedigree chart etc.  Anyway, it did happen.  Jake was Proxy for the one husband and his companion that was with him when they were taught also flew in for Thursday and he was proxy for the other husband.

And a young daughter, 14 years old was sealed to her deceased father and her mother that was there.  There are more children but they seal who they can at the time.

It was very hard to say goodbye to these dear people.  After we ate they had to catch a jeeney to go to the ferry and then catch a bus from there home. I do hope to be able to see them again.

Eating at the temple with Sister Tanner.  The families from Carmen brought their rice and cooked it there.  Sister Tanner joined us for the Thursday session and it was wonderful to have her there.
Friday we checked in the mission office and had to square away with our financial account and weigh our luggage etc.  President and Sister Tanner were so wonderful to us.  We will always treasure being able to serve under their leadership.  They are hard working-inspired people.

A good map of our mission.  The green is Cebu East Mission.  The fattest island is Bohol where we served.  The long skinny one is Cebu.  We always served on Bohol and we know that island quite well.

Friday night we stayed in a hotel across from the airport.  It was very nice.  The airport is lit up across the street.  Jake and Bryce took a few hours to go snorkeling before dark and have quite the story to tell.  They didn't get back until after 11:00 p.m. and they were very happy to be back after their boat last two props and they were trying to get help by using the flashlights on their cell phones.  
                                                           On our way home.

                               This time I don't have to say good bye.  I get to go with them.
                              Jake is getting his fill of one last mango at one of the airports.  

                                                   Going to stand as long as possible.
I think this was the last airport.  We had 4 of them.  I was so thankful to be coming home with Jake and Bryce.  That was quite the adventure as well.  Jake speaking the language was a great help.

Many of our loved ones met us at the airport.  Afterwards we went to a church in Ogden and the family brought food and it was great to be together again.

We still feel quite numb from all of the traveling and jet lag etc. and getting adjusted to things here.

It is good to have running warm water and have a good shower, have a cold drink of water out of the tap and not be sticky sweaty all the time but we appreciate and treasure the experience that has been ours.  It has been a privilege to serve.

We appreciate so much all of you and your love and prayers.  We couldn't have done it without you.

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