Sunday, January 31, 2016

Slow Week - Not!

So what happened this week? Let's see...

This was transfer week, Sister Tanner had a birthday, Elder Head left the office to become a zone leader in Bogo, Elder Miranda and Elder Remer are now assisting in the office, one of us got a ticket for making an illegal U-turn, we delivered a load of stuff for apartments to Lapu-Lapu and took the zone leaders there to lunch at McDonalds, one of us also ran over a dog, and we visited both the Giasano Grand Mall in Mactan and Pacific Mall in Mandaue for the first time. I believe we have mentioned before how malls are big here, both in size and popularity. We may not have mentioned how many dogs there are - and how they like to sleep in the road...

One of the joys of being a financial secretary is the opportunity to meet with every departing missionary one-on-one to take care of a few finance related items. Sister McNett is in contact with these  missionaries several weeks before they leave as travel arrangements are made and other related items taken care of.   It is a chance to get to know them a little better, find out their feelings about going home and what some of their future plans are. We feel privileged to be a small part of the transition to the next phase of their lives and are grateful for this contact with them. The situations they return to are as varied and unique as each missionary, but we wish them well as they continue with their lives.
This was supposed to be a transfer meeting.
Happy Birthday Sister Tanner
To announce transfers the two districts in our zone meet together after their individual district meetings to hear of new assignments from the zone leaders. One by one they will write the names and new areas on the white board for those who are being transferred. Needless to say the other missionaries are very attentive during this process and there is generally a lot of verbal interaction.
Transfer Meeting
So it was a little odd that Sister Cook didn't react when they wrote her name and new area on the board. About 10 minutes later we hear 'What! Am I being transferred?" from Sister Cook. The area here is called Lilo-an (pronounced Lee-low-ahn) and her new area is Loon (pronounced here as Low-oon with long o's). She thought that the zone leaders were just kidding with her and had written an abbreviation for Lilo-an on the board and that she was staying here. The next thing we hear is "Am I being transferred to Loon?" (Loon pronounced as you would expect it to be pronounced in the US.)  We will hate to see her leave the area but know she is going where she is needed and will do well where ever she is.
Looking over the transfer list.
So what do people here associate with Mormons?  We were having a conversation with two young women wanting to sell us something at Pacific Mall. After reading our name tags they asked us which church we were with. We asked them if they had heard of the Mormon Church. One of the girl's face lit up and she said "David Archuletta?" We told her, yes. that's the one.  

Monday, January 25, 2016

Zone Conference

On Monday we attended Zone Conference but our camera did not so we will have to paint a verbal picture. Missionaries from two adjoining zones were in attendance, Lilo-an Zone and Consolacion Zone - around 50 all together.  We heard from President and Sister Tanner and the Assistants to the President in the morning, had lunch together and then in the afternoon the Elders met with President Tanner and the Sisters with Sister Tanner for additional instruction. We can't cover all that was said but one thing President Tanner talked about was the 'smoke screens' that are the good things we do that can keep us from doing what is most important, especially when done to excess. 

This is Art Sabatin and his son Kyle.  Art is a local church member who is a plumber. He brought Kyle with him last Saturday to look at fixing our crooked bathroom sink. It hadn't been installed properly and sat at an angle. It turns out that by raising the sink a bit and placing new mounting bolts in the cement wall (all our walls are cement, inside & out)  it now sits straight and level. They did a really nice job with it and now water doesn't collect on the back of the sink. Salamat kaio.
Then on Saturday evening there was another baptism at the Mission Home. It was scheduled to take place at the church but the church's water tank had developed a leak and there wasn't enough water available to fill the font.  So we  helped shuttle members and missionaries to the Mission Home where there just happens to be a small pool. Lourdes Olmedo was taught by Sister Herdegen and Sister Cook and baptized by Elder Head.
Lourdes Olmedo sitting between Sister Herdegen and Sister Cook.
Sister Olmedo and Elder Head
Somehow it all worked out and turned into a wonderful evening.

Early Sunday morning Elder McNett drove to the city of Danao which is about 30 minutes north of where we live. He met the bishop of one of the wards there and drove with him and his first counselor to the village of Cahumayan where a small branch meets under the direction of the Danao ward. It is a strong and growing branch in a rural area in the mountains about a 40 minute drive west of Danao. The area is absolutely beautiful. The building the branch meets in is the humblest I have ever seen. The strength of the members is a living testimony of their faith. It was an unforgettable experience.
Cahumayan Branch

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Temple Week

Homeward bound - almost.
This week we were able to attend the temple in Cebu with the batch of departing missionaries. Normally they would have gone during transfer week, but the temple will be closed then so they gathered and went about two weeks early. We were scheduled to go next week anyway but took this opportunity to attend and were glad we did. The tradition with departing missionaries is to stop for dinner after the temple at 'Army and Navy' - a hamburger joint near the temple that they really enjoy. They do make good hamburgers and fries but we have yet to find authentic American milk shakes.

It is really nice having a temple within driving distance - about an hour away when traffic isn't bad. Elder McNett drove in with just a little bit of guidance from Sister Tanner and learned a new route while doing it. It is a miracle but we are finding our way around.

The names of newly called mission presidents were announced and this July President and Sister Maughan from Cache County, Utah will be coming to preside over the the Philippine Cebu East Mission. We are grateful for our time together with the Tanners and don't want to see them leave but at the same time look forward to working with the Maughans. The crazy thing is that there are only four transfers between now and July (and the first one of those is in a week). July will be here before we can blink.
Gekko Cup
This is the designated cup for catching gekkos and transporting them outside. You will notice that we don't have a cockroach cup. That is because we have a cockroach shoe.  It is really good that we have more need for the cup than the shoe.

Friday, January 15, 2016

New Year - New Experiences

(We are a bit behind with our posting, so when this week is mentioned, it is really last week. We are not sure how this happend living in the future as we do.)

Q: What do you get when you drop a five gallon container of purified water on a tile floor?
A: A floor washed with five gallons of purified water.

Notice the bottom of the water container. We had a late night mopping party this week when the bottle slipped out of my hands as I was changing it.
I may also have said unkind things about the part of growing old where I seem to drop everything I pick up.

Q:How many senior missionaries does it take to change a bottle of drinking water?
A: Only one, but it might take two bottles of water.

Speaking of water, on Thursday Sister McNett went with Sister Tanner and a local member about an hour north of Lilo-an to Danao to help clean a missionary apartment that had been closed. This picture was not taken at the apartment, it was taken where they had to go to get water to clean with as the water had been shut off already at the apartment. As much as we love these young missionaries sometimes it is apparent that they are still young and are still learning.

On Friday Elder McNett went with Elder Jimenez to visit the dentist. Dr. James Flores is a member of the Mandaue Stake. His office is located in Mandaue which is not far from our office distance wise but sometimes takes an hour or more travel time depending on traffic. We dropped a mission vehicle off at Goodyear to have new tires put on and then went to the dentist office less than a mile away. It turned out that Elder Jimenez needed to have a tooth pulled. Notice how he is smiling before the procedure.

Elder Jimenez before...
This is also before.

Wait. Is this Elder McNett on a jeepnee? I do believe it is. We actually rode three times that day. It was a good thing that one of us knew what they were doing and which ones to get on and when to get off. To let the driver know you want to get off you tap your ring or a coin on the metal handhold rod on the ceiling.

Angry Birds seat covers? How cool is that?
Two posts ago we mentioned a special visitor at the mission home on Christmas day who sang for us. Her name is Windey Prado-Avendano. She and her husband, Eric, put on a special benefits concert on Saturday evening that we were privileged to attend with President and Sister Tanner. It included dinner and about two hours of music by Windey and three others.

These are our entertainers with family members and friends. The tall young man on the left is Ralph Mallapre. He is leaving on a mission in February.  The young lady in the center with the red and white dress is Lala Aloba. She is only 10 years old. The man standing next to Lala with the big smile is Zeanith Rivera and is Windey's singing partner of almost 20 years. Windey is in the center in black. It was really an amazing group of talent performing a wide variety of music. It was fantastic. The concert was to raise money for a non-profit group providing rice to families with children.


Windey - Let it Go (Frozen)

Windey - All I Ask of You (Phantom of the Opera)

Ralph Mallapre - When I Was Your Man

Ralph Mallapre - Ikaw (Cebuano)

Ralph Mallappre - Hagawhaw (cebuano)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Happy New Year!

We can't believe it is already 2016.  Seems like only yesterday it was 2015 when actually it was the day before yesterday. Except in America where it still was yesterday. 

Our New Years Eve was the best. We had our whole zone over for dinner and a movie. We brought home chicken from KFC and pizza from Pizza Hut and had a super special desert. The young missionaries all brought something to share and I don't believe anyone went home hungry. The movie selected by popular vote was Disney's "The Good Dinosaur". It was much more entertaining watching the missionaries watch the movie than it was watching the movie. One or two may even have shed a tear in the sad parts.

Kelly's Special Cake
Sister McNett is becoming quite good at baking in a crock pot. So far we have enjoyed brownies, chocolate chip cookies, and the chocolate cake used in the 'Kelly's Special'.

2016 - here we come!