Thursday, 28 May 2015

Time is Flying By! 5/27/2015


What a week we have had.  Time seems to be flying by!  Mike and I are having so much fun together.  24/7 is working just great for us!  We love the variety of things we do everyday and continue to meet the most wonderful people!  We are so thankful to be here!

Children playing outside, posing for a picture.
It's so much fun to show them the picture on my phone.
They squeal with delight!
We were involved with a service project that the Guagua Branch did.  So many members showed up to clean up the school grounds of the school next to the chapel.  The principal was so grateful!  By the time we left it looked like a new place!  It was so overgrown with weeds and long grass.  Summer break is almost over and school starts in a week.  This school is K-12 and has 2,000 students.  The classes have up to 60 students in them!  That one principal is in charge of all those grades and levels of learning.  She's a busy woman!  Of course it was another hot day, but everyone worked so hard starting at 7am and didn't stop until 11am.  The principal of another school in the area saw us and begged for us to go do the same thing over at his school.  He was actually crying when the branch president told him we would be happy to do that!  We head to that school this Friday.  How wonderful is it that the church can gather so many willing volunteers in a matter of minutes?  We love it!  
Here are some pictures from this day of service:
Halfway through the cleaning.  I didn't get a before and after

Part of our group.  They also, are super happy about gathering for
a picture!  Such wonderful young adults!

A couple of our missionaries with
the Branch President's wife.
Sister Villaveles with the School Principal.
We joined the fun!

All ages worked hard!  This little boy is
holding his broom.  He was hard at work
sweeping the sidewalk.

One of the teenagers that came out to help.
We went on lots of teaching appointments this week.  We love sharing the gospel and meeting such incredible people!  We are having some great experiences and are learning so much from them!  New lessons about faith, humility, love, generosity to name a few things.  Here are pictures of some of the people we met:

We stopped by to visit the mom of these cute kids.
They are standing by their house.  

This is Narissa, her three children and
a couple of nephews.  Her husband works in Manila
and comes home some weekends.  He is a returning member
of the church and Narissa is being taught.  We got to teach her
the first lesson.  We are showing her a video.

Narissa's family

Elder Wood with a couple of members from the Lubao
Branch.  Isn't this the greatest nipa hut?

Although related, there are 3 different families represented in this picture.
3 whole families are getting baptized in June!  It is so much fun to teach
outside with such beautiful surroundings!

Sister Manloc and Jericho.
When we met this family Sister Manloc was
feeding their 2 pigs.  She saw us, dropped everything and gave us such a warm welcome.  Her son Jericho, joined us for a visit and lesson.  Brother Manloc was in the fields.  During our visit we found out that Jericho will not be attending school this year due to a lack of funds for school registration.  Jayson, the member we visited with, was able to tell them that the branch was using fast offering to cover school tuition for those in need.  They were SO happy!
It is amazing how many children are not put into school due to a lack of money for registration or uniforms.  There are no laws to keep children in school and some drop out in elementary school.  Of course, it will be so much harder to rise above their poverty without education.  We wish everyone would take advantage of the Self Reliance programs offered by the Church.  We are going to be doing more work with that program.  

We always do visits with a member, but we also picked up
4 great elders along the way and a dozen donuts to go visit
a teenage boy that has stopped going to church.  We had a fun visit
with him.  

We have seen many creative games being played by the kids.
This is a game of Stones.  We aren't quite sure about the rules,
but the 3 stones are lined up and then 1 tries to hit them.  When
the stones are hit they all run to the next spot and try to hit his

The kids loved this game of stones.

That's it till my next post!  We are happy, HOT (I know, I said I wouldn't complain about that anymore!), busy and thankful to be serving here in  the Philippines !  The Church of Jesus Christ is a message of hope and we love sharing that message!  We miss you and love you!!

Kita kits sa linggo!

Monday, 18 May 2015

Families Can Be Together Forever! 5/19/2015

Magandang Tanghali!  
The Mendoza Family after they were sealed
as a family for eternity in the temple.

Coming out of the Manila Temple.

My artistic photo of the Angel Moroni.  Look
up, waaaaay up!

I thought I'd start out our blog with the highlight of the last two weeks since I last wrote.  Last Friday we were able to go with the Mendoza family, to the Manila Temple.  Brother Mendoza was not active for many years and his wife was not a member until one year ago.  Brother Mendoza is now in the bishopric and Sister Mendoza serves in YW.  He is a rice farmer and she does what she can to help out.  Such a humble family!  They were SO happy to know they can be together forever and it was such a pleasure to see their joy and to be with them on their special day!  We're loving every minute here!  We get to be among such wonderful people that we love so much!  We fall into bed each night and wake up tired, but somehow we are given all the energy we need to get everything done the next day.

We have started teaching a couple of English classes in different towns that are a lot of fun.  I can't remember if I've already said this, but there is a funny expression here that people use all the time.  They say they are getting a nosebleed if too much English is spoken to them and when they try to respond in English.  People laugh at other's attempts to speak English, so people are really scared to try.  Of course, being on the other end of the stick, we understand the feeling of being afraid to try to speak a new language.  The thing is that most people really WANT to learn to speak English as it can qualify them for better jobs for much better pay.  We promised that there would be "No Nosebleeds" in our English classes!  One of the classes has been running for 2 weeks, and the other one for only 1 week.  We are having so much fun with the classes and people seem to really enjoy them.  We teach conversation, proper pronunciation and grammar.  It is open to members of the church and non-members.  Here are a few pictures of our English classes:

Some of our Lubao class.  We have 20 students.
The other half of the Lubao class.

We love visiting members of the church that don't come anymore.  They are always so friendly and open.  We love sharing a lesson and visiting with them and we always commit them to come back ("babalik") as they are missed!  Some of them are coming back and it's always so exciting!  I need to get more pictures of those visits, but here are a couple:
We went to go see the Galveson Family.  It was Fiesta time in
their barangay (community).  Their daughter Shyra, was getting
her hair and makeup done for a beauty contest which is always a
big thing in the Philippines.
These are the Tiksay's.  We are in front of their summer
house.  It's called a bahay kubo.  I wish we could bring one home! Sister
Tiksay is a teacher and has 57 grade 4 students!  They split the class
when they have 60 students.  Brother Tiksay is a rice farmer.

Here are a couple of pictures from a fiesta parade that happened in our barangay.  When the parade participants would see me taking pictures the ENTIRE parade would come to a stop and pose.  I kept having to tell them to move on!  Everyone wanted to be sure to be included in a picture.  This was especially true for the 'bukla's" (gay) participants, who would really put on a show for the camera!

The Fiesta King and Queen

We love going for walks around the neighbourhood and feel like tourist attractions when we do.  By now, the kids know that we have a camera and they love posing for pictures and then looking at the pictures.  We have a basketball court right near our house which is always in use.  

The kids play in barefeet or flip flops and can run as fast as kids in North America
wearing expensive, high tech running shoes!  Notice the courtside
houses.  Box seating!

See the bag of brown liquid?  They sell Coke in plastic bags.
There are little stores that people run out of their
homes that are called sari-sari's, for extra income.

Mga kaibigan (friends)
These little kids were playing a game when we walked by.
They were trying to get a paper plate with the centre cut out, over a
bottle.  Their own version of ring toss.

We love working with the young missionaries.  They are so great!  We go to the zone and district meetings and we also get to go to appointments with them sometimes.
These Sister Missionaries had one oc the cleanest apartments
on apartment check day.  This was supposed to be the "funny
face" picture, but apparently I'm the only one that got the memo!
Birthday dinner for Elder Hunt.  He's from New
Zealand and we found some New Zealand beef that
we cooked up for the 4 elders in his apartment.
Elder Furniss (from Utah) and Elder Fepulea'i (from Australia).
The small guy in the middle is Jayson, a local member that
is leaving on his mission in 2 weeks.  He went out visiting with us.
We brought some birthday cake to Elder Furniss and enjoyed it
along the highway together!
The Elders and Sisters in our zone.  We have 1 Canadian
in our mission and he's in our zone!  (Elder Wetterstrand from

We buy all our fruit and vegetables in the palenke's- the outdoor markets.  Fresh mangoes, bananas, watermelon, coconuts, string beans, eggplant, tomatoes, sour sop, and other fruits that we can't remember the names of.  Everything is so fresh and delicious!  We could also buy our meat and fish that have been laying out on tables in the hot sun, but we choose to go to the real markets for that!  We also love running down to the fresh pandasal shops.  Pandasal is fresh from the oven- buns (or rolls).  All the breads from the bake shops along the street, are so good!

Our favorite coconut vendor.  He is a master with the machete!
The husk is off in seconds and then he leaves enough on
for us to get it home and cut a little hole in the top to pour out the juice
and scoop out the tender meat inside.  It's so maserup!

Two of the vendors where we bought our mangoes and bananas.
They are so much more tasty than what we buy in North America!

The members are so good to us here.  They invite us to many events in their homes.  This was  a debut (18 yr. old birthday party).
The Ibanez parents with the birthday girl!

We see these types of signs everywhere!  They are all over the jeepny's (I think the real spelling is jyipni), buses, family cars, motor trikes, stores, etc.  Christian faith in the Philippines is publicly expressed in ways that you would never see in America.

Well, that's it until next time!  I can't promise weekly posts anymore, but we'll do our best.  We are so happy here.  It is such a privilege to serve here as missionaries.  We love sharing our testimonies of Jesus Christ and we love the people!  We also love you!  Thanks for taking time to stay in touch with us!  Ingat!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

105 degrees in the shade...wait, what shade? 5/3/2015

Sunset through the smoke

Okay, okay...I think you get the point that we are melting here, so I will spare the complaining again.  I have told Mike that I will never complain about the cold again, but he doesn't believe me and I probably don't either.

These are 2 of our great missionaries Elder Villamer and Elder Hunt.
We got to go with them to teach Irma.  The woman on the left
is Irma's mom.  They live in such a beautiful spot!
Another great week as missionaries!  We are meeting so many sweet people.  We are so thankful for this opportunity!  We love going out with members of the church and finding people that haven't been to church for months.  They always appreciate our visit and we love meeting them.  Here are a couple of pictures we took on one of our visiting days:
 This is the home of Erlinda.  She is in the pink shirt and is the grandma to all these teens!  They either have deceased parents, parents that work abroad or a combination of both.  My favorite was Jericho who is 13.  He is hiding behind Clariza, the girl in the greed striped shirt.   Our visiting partner is Sister Malig, the woman I am leaning on, with the red shirt.  I don't know where everyone fits in this house, but it seems to be filled with love!  When we left this house we met another woman who saw our name tags and told us she was a member of the church who had moved to the area 5 years previous and had just never bothered finding the church.  We hope she comes back as well!
Brother Malig picking the perfect apple mango for us!  It's like
the Garden of Eden there!
The land near Malig's house.  
Sister Malig and Sister Abelya came visiting with us and they would squeal with delight after each visit.  They would just say, "This is so much FUN!  I love this!"  We would never be able to do the visits without them as there are absolutely NO addresses here.  Have I already said that?  You have to find out the barangy (neighborhood), and then just stop and ask people where the family lives.  There is no rhyme or reason to where people build houses.  Of course they also help us with the Tagalog.  We go visiting for hours and love every minute.
This is Sister Malig and her husband as well as
Sister Abelya. Brother and Sister Malig have lived here
for years and have SO many fruit trees.  They gave us
some apple mangoes- who knew there were so many types of mangoes!
They also picked some of the mangoes we are familiar with.  YUM!

Cocoa Tree
Beautiful rooster.  Yes, it is on a
sort of leash.  How else will it stay in the yard?

This is Ronnie and Michelle on their wedding day.

We were asked to speak at a wedding this week.  Ronnie is a returned missionary and Michelle is getting baptized in a couple of weeks.  They asked us to give them advice.  We spoke in English, but they said they understood.  Who knows!
We always have some meetings to attend.  This was MLC-
Missiionary Leadership Council, held in Olongapo.
It was very uplifting!

Just a funny story of the week:  Our English classes will begin in one of our branches, this coming Saturday.  We designed some flyers that took a lot of time for us to do, but we thought they looked very professional.  We took them to the printer and he told us they would be ready the next day.  When we picked them up we thought they were great, then later we looked at them again and realized the printer must have lost a couple of the words when he was moving it around on his computer or something, so he just put his own word in there instead of asking us.  Now the flyer says:  "Learn conversation, proper grammar and conversation."  The second "conversation" was supposed to say "pronunciation!"  Now we sound like we don't know English!

That's it for another week!  We love you and miss you!  Ingat!