Magadong umaga (good Morning) from the Philippines. We have had an interesting October so far. First we started the month off with the 13th Typhoon and our second one since we have been in Legazpi. The first one, Pepeng, left Manila in shambles, and three weeks later there are parts that are still under water and no end in sight since it has been raining off and on for three weeks now. No thanks to the second typhoon (Melor) that came through on Lee’s birthday. It seems like the people just expect it to hit and they do what they can to prepare, but it is never enough.
The day before it hits you should go to the market it is filled with people buying food, water and emergency supplies. They box up all their personal belongings and store it in a friend’s house that has two stories or they put it in some rafters they have built in the top of the house, and of course this doesn’t do much good since the house wouldn’t still be standing with much rain or wind.
This typhoon brought more wind than rain so when we went to the hotel to celebrate Lee’s birthday they had boarded up the large windows all across the top of the hotel. They had also brought in their guests from their island resort.
After dinner, the hotel staff all marched in with a special dessert with candle aflame singing Happy Birthday. We have a special bond with the staff and friends we shall cherish forever. The chef added a special touch, he wrote “Happy Birthday Elder Cooley with strawberry syrup around the edge of the plate.
We had the opportunity to visit with Pres. & Sister Smith, the Naga mission president, have them in our home for lunch and dine with them at dinner when they can break away from interviews and Zone Conference. They introduced us to a new place to have dinner. It is a good thing because McDonalds, Shakey’s Pizza and the Hotel Venezia have been our only choices, but now Biggs Diner and Chile Peppers are the on our list.
We have October as Clean up Month. We have seen some improvement in the past two weeks, but every day here should be clean up day. We have had a man doing landscape maintenance for a solid week now. He, Jun, has been working all day long and uses mostly a knife to cut and dig the weeds. He cuts the grass with some hand shears. This whole street could have been done in a day with a weed eater.
Jun is the man’s name and he has three of the cutest children. One little girl is 6 her name is Christi and 3 year old girl, Darling and 7 year old girl. Christi always comes to the gate to collect her juice and crackers or cookies that I give her. She acts like she has never seen cookies before. One package had blueberry filling and she played with the jam for a long time before she took a bite. She would stick her finger into the jam and then taste it and get a big smile on her face.
These are the precious moments I would like to have on film. Since the first day of treats, I think now I have a friend for life and a visit everyday, she will be sad when her father is done here. I love these precious children and wished I could take them home with me.
We enjoyed conference and thought the talks were so strong and powerful with the message that our Father wanted us to receive this month. It was so touching to hear the saints here sing along with the Tabernacle Choir, the love to sing and it didn’t make a difference where the choir was singing or the congregation some of them sang every song. I love hearing from the leadership of the church and have a testimony of the words that they spoke. They are true and if we can follow their council we will have a greater understanding of our Saviors love and plan for us.
We can hardly wait for the Liahona to come. By the way is anyone is sending a box we would love the past two issues of the Ensign. We get the Liahona but it isn’t the same they only have a couple adult articles and the rest to the youth. They have all three magazines in one.
We have found that Legaspi has an item that is on every restaurant menu in the area and maybe the country. It is item not available. It doesn’t matter where we go or what restaurants we are in they always have some item we order that is “not available.” Now when we go to eat we wonder what exciting item will be “Not Avaliable”. Today we were in Shakey’s and I ordered a glass of coke zero and guess what “Item not available.” In the Philippines it is safer to drink soda than the water. The bacteria can’t live in the carbonation. Of course my favorite drink is the mango shake and yes the bacteria can live in it, but it is sooooo good.
We will be traveling this week end to the northern part of the mission so be ready for our next road trip adventure when I write again.
Love to all,
Elder and Sister Cooley