Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Keeping Busy

It is September 27, 2009 and has been a while since I have had a chance to write. We have been here in our apartment now for over three weeks, and it is finally feeling like our place. We have hired a sweet little, and I mean little sister to help us clean and do the laundry. Her name is Socorro, she lives in the neighboring city, Daraga which is about 2 miles from here. She stands 4' 8" maybe not that tall and is just tiny probably a size 0 or 2 maybe. She can't reach the clothes line so she gets a chair to hang the clothes.

She is 63, a widow and has one son on a mission and one working construction in Manila, a daughter getting ready for a mission and also a son 17 living with her. She is sweet and I think hoping to make enough money to be able to go on the temple trip to Manila in November. Here they ride a bus that costs them P400 ($8.00) and P 800 ($16.00) if they hire an air conditioned bus which no one has the money to do. They ride in a non air conditioned bus for 12+ hours to the Manila temple.

We should count our blessings 100 times over for the chance to have the Sacramento temple so close to us. Socorro is a blessing to us and I hope the extra money will be a blessing to her.
We live only two doors down from the Elders one of which is from Arizona . We only have a block maybe even less to the church, never thought I would ever get to walk to church again. Our ward starts at 8:00AM and out at 11, and no other wards meet there, so when you have a church start time of nine feel blessed. The ward in Daraga starts at 6:00am and out at 9 and the other ward starts at 9, how would you like that 6:00 time? They don't change times every year either, only if the bishops want to, and they usually don't. I ask them why they start that early and the said the Bishop wants to.
We have been busy this last couple of weeks. On September 19, 2009 we traveled to Ligao for a meeting with the District welfare council where Lee presented the outline of what our mission was and what we hoped to accomplish serving here in this area. Of course while he was in the meeting I was invited to attend a Saturday Relief Society cultural day. The sisters had planned and prepared a wonderful day of dancing and food. They presented some dances of foreign and also some Philippine traditional dances. Some of these sisters were older than me and they all did a fantastic job. They had made costumes and made a beautiful backdrop for the stage. You will enjoy seeing the pictures.
On Monday the 21st we traveled to Naga, a couple hours away. Naga is a city about double the size of Legazpi. It has about 270,000 people compared to our 160,000 people. We arrived at the Naga Mission home where we had our first group of missionaries bound for home. When the missionaries leave the mission they arrive at the mission home about 3:30, weigh their luggage put it the luggage area and then come into a large room where we held a two day career workshop with them. This routine will happen every 6 weeks. We meet in a large room with some very large wide tables, which opened up and had all the elders' suits hanging in them. They would take them out and have them cleaned ready to wear home. In case I hadn't mentioned, it is too hot here to wear a suit, so when they arrive they leave their suit at the mission home. With 150+ missionaries where do you put the suits, inside the tables of course! The top lifts up and down the center of the long tables there is a metal rod like in a closet and the suits hang there for two years. Someone had a very good idea.
We had the workshop for 4 hours Monday night and then started again on Tuesday morning at 8am until 12pm. There were 7 missionaries, 4 from the states and three from the Philippines . What a great experience it was to teach those valiant young men. I was thinking how excited their mothers were getting, knowing that their sons were in the mission home and would be on a plane to Manila Wednesday morning.
Our graduating Missionaries:

We had a training meeting at 4pm in Naga with the Stake employment committee. Our graduating leaders:

We didn't start home until 7:30 and it is always a nerve wracking ride along these 2 lanes narrow and I mean narrow roads-at night. We have people walking along the side that have no lights or reflectors of any kind. Then you have the motor cycles and tricees have a light but I think they are trying to save the bulb because they only use it when a car is approaching them in the opposite lane and then they just blink it on and off a couple times to let you know they are there. If you try to pass a big truck you have to try about 5-7 times or more because you start and then you see the motor bike or tricee, or goats or dog and you have to swerve back in. It is treacherous and by the time we get home my blood pressure is sky high. These highways are just part of our big adventure here.

This is our car:

This is a tricee, it is a little motorcycle with a passenger seat on the side:

This is how they load up the tricee. They do this and more:

This is a pudjack, it's like a tricee but instead of a motorcycle it is a little bike:

Yesterday September 26 we had a career work shop here in Legazpi with the Stake, bishops and all the ward and stake employment specialist were invited. We were so pleased to have almost the whole Stake Presidency about 24 in all. This is on a Saturday and lasts 8 hours but we add hour training on to the front so 9 hours and all most everyone stayed. The saints here really are interested and working hard to try to grasp this church employment concept.

To top things off we survived our first Typhoon. We were lucky it only ended being a #1 light winds but a lot of rain. I looked out of the window a couple times during the workshop because I couldn't believe the intensity of the rain fall. We were lucky for this left it's fury for the Manila area. The church has been working round the clock in Manila helping all they can. They announced in church here today that they need clothes and blankets for the Manila area. It is hard to conceive of the people giving anything away because they have so little themselves. They are faithful and will do all they can to help there people. We are lucky we have a hill right behind the church and we will have to drive up there if things get to bad. We have some supplies in the trunk at all times.

That's not all the action when you could see the volcano this week; it looked like a lot more smoke than usual was spewing out of the top. It sounds like National Geographic here this month doesn't it?

Even with all the natural disasters it is beautiful and the saints are wonderful to work with and we enjoy them all. The gospel is a true gift to our brothers and sisters of the Philippines , you can feel the strength of their spirits and the testimonies are from the heart. We love and appreciate all they do for us. Just seeing the smile on their face will warm your soul. I have made friends with 5 young men . They always come up and shake my hand and put it to their forehead which means they honor me. It is very touching to me to see these 11 and 12 year old boys do this. I call them my four J's, Joshua, Joseph, Jericho , and another Joseph and Red.


  1. WOW, reading your entry brought me back to our visit almost 30 years ago to Olangapo...the jeepneys, the unbelievable roads (or lack thereof), and the great people. We are so proud of you and what you are doing to help there. We do miss you bunches but I told Amber anytime she needs a stand in gramma, I am glad to help. HEHE. Take good care, we are hoping you have not been negatively impacted by the storms we are hearing about. We will keep you in our thoughts and prayers. Much love!!

  2. It looks like you are having a great mission. We hope you are safe. We think of you often and treasure our friendship with you.
    The Lassons