Sunday, 12 April 2015

Home, Sweet Home! 4/11/2015

Magundang Umaga!  Kumusta?

It has been an eventful week here for us.  We had a zone conference, went on a senior missionary tour cruise on a yacht, got our driver's licenses, moved into our own apartment in our zone, went to church once, went to a member's house for dinner, bought groceries, drove a car, have met our neighbors, rode on a Jeepney, did cleaning checks on missionary apartments, went out with the elders and many more things.  We are trying to figure out how to serve best and adapt to the culture as quickly as possible.  We still have a long way to go, but it is coming and we are enjoying the adventure!
Mission home and Sister Dahle.

Elder Wood with the guard
for the mission home.
We were glad when Holy Week was over.  There was a ton of traffic and lots of places were closed.  I am not including a picture, but we would see processions constantly for 2 days.  On Good Friday we saw groups of men that would whip themselves on their backs over and over as they walked.  Their backs were covered with blood.  That is their penitence.  It is just horrible.  Stephen commented that it makes going to the bishop look easy!

We were expecting a typhoon, but it decided to take a turn and miss us completely.  We gathered with all the senior couples from our mission, 7 couples total, and went on a yacht tour of Subic Bay.  We really enjoyed meeting the other couples.  One of the couples lives here and one couple goes home in 2 weeks.  If any of you out there would like to come to this mission we are in great need!  Here are some pictures from our tour:    

We didn't get General Conference until this weekend because of the 14 hour time difference, so we went to church in our area even though we were still living at the mission home at the time.  We were waiting for the couple in our apartment to move to the office.  It was nice to meet some of the members.  The Branch President asked us to introduce ourselves and bear our testimonies.  We had everything written down and spoke in Tagalog.  I don't know if anyone understood us, but we made that attempt!  We saw lots of smiles, so we take it that they got a kick out of hearing our bad Tagalog!
Caribou and people working in rice fields
Rice fields
We were invited to dinner at the Lubau 1st Branch President's house.  Their daughter had gotten married in the temple the day before and we think they were having people over for a celebration after we left.  It was the most delicious food!  They had killed a goat and chickens for the feast.  Masarup!  Their house was in the country, so we got to see people working in the rice fields with their caribou.

Goat and chicken meal
Branch President's family and
the senior couple we replaced.
First thing on Monday we were able to get our licenses, pack up our brand new mission car (Toyota Corolla sedan) and head to our apartment.  We met some neighbours who were watching us move our things inside.  They are very nice and have been very helpful.  We brought some muffins to one of the neighbour families and came back with some delicious lumpia that they insisted we take.  It was nice to unpack and get settled!  They call this an apartment, but it is more like a townhouse.  We have 2 floors- 3 bedrooms (one bed), 2 bathrooms, laundry area which is an outdoor covered area, kitchen and living room that doesn't have any furniture besides a table.  We are in a gated area and have bars on all our windows.  We are all settled in, but we need to find a couch to sit on.  We have air-conditioning in our bedroom and office.

Our washing machine.  We
are spoiled!  The young
missionaries have to wash by hand.
Our kitchen.  See the filters for our
water at the sink?  Our water trickles out
and it's only cold water.  To do dishes
we need to boil water.

I call this my Easy Bake Oven.
The oven control only says high and

Tuesday was our Zone Conference.  It took us 3 hours to get about 50 kilometers!  Our average speed was 15 km/hr. because of bridge construction in 3 places and the fact that 1 lane of traffic turns into 4 lanes and then everyone has to merge back into 1 lane to go over the bridge...oy!  Mike handled it like a pro!  I have my license, but I really hope I never have to drive!  Zone Conference was great.  We have a very diverse missionary force.  Only 1 Canadian elder that leaves in 2 weeks from Lethbridge- Elder Wetterstrand.  There are very few Americans and most go home in 2 weeks.  70% of the missionaries are from the Philippines and others are from Marshall Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, Sri Lanka, India, Hong Kong, etc.

Our first zone conference

Tuesday night we met our piano and conducting students.  The senior couple that had been teaching the class before, moved to the office.  Sister Winters told the students (before we got there), that a real piano expert was going to be teaching them.  One person was wondering where I got my music degree from.  NO PRESSURE!  I don't know where she got that information, but I quickly dispelled that rumor!  Nothing could be farther from the truth!  I am looking forward to teaching the keyboarding course however and getting to know the youth that are taking the course.

We took Wednesday to do some more shopping and to discover our area.  We tried out 2 grocery stores and the palenke which are all the little vendors that sell food and wares out of little stands.  They were fun to see.  We bought some fresh mangoes from a sweet toothless (very common) lady that loved talking to missionaries.  She knew some missionaries from the past.  She was impressed that we could speak Tagalog to her.  We find that if we put both our brains together we can usually come up with a few sentences!  We also found some hot pandesol for 2 peso's a piece.  Those are fresh buns that are wonderful!  We like walking around in our area and talking to people along the way.

Thursday was apartment check day.  We made it to half our area and it took 6 hours.  There was a difference between elder apartments and sister apartments, to put it mildly!  All the missionaries have to do their wash by hand.  They only have hot plates to cook on and if everything isn't completely clean there are spiders and ants all over the place.  To get all their missionary work done and to keep everything clean is difficult.  It is so dusty and dirty here so there is always a layer of dirt that needs wiping down twice a day.  We also have to boil our water to do dishes as we don't have any hot water.  It is easy to get behind, but who wants bugs in their apartment?  I had made some banana muffins to bring around to the missionaries, so even though we asked them to do a little better on their cleaning, they were good sports when they saw the muffins!

Friday we went out tracting with a set of elders.  We didn't do very well as they got "punted" on their 2 appointments we were joining them on, but we did get to ride on a jeepney.  These are little buses that about 20 people squeeze into.  There is no such thing as personal space here!  It's pretty funny- people just tell the driver where they want to go and pass the money along from person to person until it reaches the driver, then the driver makes change and it gets passed back down the line back to the person.  When people want to stop they just yell, "Para!"and off they go.  We practically have to fold in half to get on and off.  We also studied language and I spent time trying to get to understand the keyboarding course so I can at least pretend to look like I know what I'm doing!

Today and tomorrow is General Conference for us.  The Saturday sessions were wonderful!  We felt like many of the talks were tailored for us- one of the miracles of conference.  We have responsibility in 5 branches.  Today we went to Lubau, but tomorrow we will head to Dinalupihan and maybe Guagua so we can meet more people.  We forget everyone's names.  They are hard to remember!

So, that's it for now.  Life is good in the Philippines and we hope it is for you as well!
(More pictures below!)

Mahal kami kayo!

This is the entrance sign into Olongapo City.  Mike made me
pose under this sign and add it to our blog! Back when there was
a large US Navy base you can imagine why Olongapo
had this notoriety.  There are still plenty of "Joe's"
that make their home here.

Lots of religion on cars and other transportation.

We are in the one OFFICIAL lane and
getting squeezed by the 2 Unofficial lanes!
This picture won't fully load.  Hope
you can tell!

Rice is dried on the road.  Cars drive over it.  It is shoveled up
and put into bags after it is dry.  

Typical housing.

On our way to church.  Downtown Lubao.


  1. Dear Sister Wood, thanks for sharing all your new adventures in the mission field! Tell Elder Wood that I'm VERY impressed that he's driving there! That takes a lot of courage! Your blog is bringing back so many memories! I love that I hear your voice in my head as I'm reading! I'm looking forward to the next post!

    Ingat kayo diyan! Mahal rin namin kayo!

    P.S. Awesome pic of the carabao in the rice fields! You're so blessed to have a washing machine, oven, AND air-con! :)

    1. You are absolutely right! Young missionaries don't have air con or ovens either. Neither do most people that we have seen.

      We forget which mission you served in. Were you right in Manilla? THAT'S where the traffic is out of control! We wish you could come join us for a little while! Love you!

  2. Great to hear if your adventures. Knew the two if you would be off to the races right away. Looking forward to further posts. God bless you in this great work.

    1. There is so much to do! We will barely scratch the surface in all that needs to be done, but it is great to be here! We hope you are well!

  3. Love the pictures and your stories. Sounds like you are making a good adjustment. We remember our first weeks on our mission-now we can hardly remember the hard parts because the months that followed have so many happy memories. We know your experience will be the same. Thanks for sharing your experiences!