Monday, September 26, 2016

A day late and 48 pesos short.

We were on the island of Bohol this last week end while our laptop was still in Cebu making it difficult to publish a blog entry for the week. To top it off, when we returned yesterday (Monday) evening and tried working on it from home we weren't able to connect to the internet. So it is now Tuesday morning in the mission office which is rapidly filling with missionaries who are here for Batch Meeting.

Batch meeting is held a month after the previous transfer for the new missionaries that came in on that transfer along with their trainers. The purpose is to see how their training is going, how the new missionaries are adjusting to missionary life and provide further encouragement, support and instruction. This is just some of the group coming in today.

Ready for Batch Meeting
The reason we were on Bohol was to attend the Calape District Conference on Sunday. While there Sister McNett also collected signatures on official exit documents from missionaries who will be leaving the Philippines in December. The requirements for obtaining an exit clearance are very strict. Only official forms are accepted, they must be properly signed and submitted with passport style photos of the right size. They are rejected when not done right so Sister McNett likes them to be filled out when she is there to make sure they are done right. 

Conference was nice and well attended. This was a little boy we were playing with waiting for the meeting to start. The kids here are so cute!
While there we also had a chance to relax a little on the beach (and try out the telephoto and panorama feature on the new camera).
For those who like to plan ahead we also had this little reminder when we pulled into SM Mall last week.
Yes, that's only 13 weeks away. We are in the 'Ber' months and reminders of  Christmas are appearing in the malls. There have been carols playing since the first of September and just this week we saw a sign advertising for the ordering of fresh cut Christmas trees to be shipped in from America. 
Ho, ho, ho.

Time to run. We have been tasked to get pizza for lunch.

Thought for the Week

"We love you!"
gma & papa

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Pacific Rim

All's well that ends well.  On Wednesday Elder McNett took Elder Velasco in to Cebu for a follow up visit with Dr Po, the surgeon who did the operation on him last week. Everything is looking good and he and Elder Goulding are now back again in their area on the island of Camotes (Paradise according to Elder Velasco).  Of course we 'had' to stop for lunch after seeing the doctor.
Elder Goulding, Elder Velasco.
What is not shown in the picture above is Krispy Kreme right across the street - what is also known as vitamin K. These eateries are located in an area of Cebu near the temple known as the IT Park where there are several technology related companies and we always see a lot of young people out walking, especially at lunch time. It is also home to that most elusive of street signs.
The Cebu Stop Sign.
This may not be the only one of it's kind in Cebu, but it is the only one we've seen in the last year.

It was time for Zone Conference again.  On Thursday the Lilo-an and Consolacion Zones met in the Lilo-an Stake Center. President Maughan spoke about his vision for the Cebu East Mission, the mission training plan and the importance of the restoration of the Gospel to the earth with Priesthood Keys. Sister Maughan taught about the importance of keeping study journals. Elder Baladad and Elder Grimpluma led workshop discussions. Sister Broughton and Sister Abril also gave an excellent, well prepared presentation on the need to reflect on our service and where we might improve. We are really grateful for the opportunity to participate in these missionary gatherings.

Of course there was lunch and pictures. Point a camera in any direction and the scene will instantly fill with missionaries.

This seems to be especially true with Selfies  - or what should probably be called Groupies.

In our mission there are several non-native missionaries that come from the Pacific Rim. We have, or have had, missionaries from Samoa, Tonga, Fiji, Guam, Vanuatu, French Polynesia, Kiribati, Australia and New Zealand. They are an important and growing missionary force here in the Philippines. Three of our missionaries from New Zealand were at the meeting and had a group picture. Their English accent is beautiful. We love to hear them talk.
Elder Tyrell, Elder Susi, Sister Broughton,, Elder Lag'aia
Three of the above are from New Zealand, one of them is from Portland, Oregon? Can you tell who it is?
If you said Elder Susi, you are right. Elder McNett happened to be walking by and for some reason they asked for a picture together. Then they wanted what sounded like wokie wokie.

The person in the middle was a bit confused until finding out it was wacky, not wokie.
Elder Lag'aia is a bit of a ham. Make that a big ham. He photo bombs every picture he can.  We even asked him to take a picture of the Office District, thinking if he was taking the picture he couldn't be in it. How wrong we were.

Also this week, Elder Calumpang and Elder Blanco helped deliver a washing machine to the future home of  Elder and Sister Weatherston who are entering the MTC this week and scheduled to arrive the first week of October.

And Lilo-an Stake Conference was this week. President Schmutz of the Phillipine Area Presidency was in attendance and presiding.  He was the President of Cebu Mission when the Cebu East Mission was created in 2013 and is back now in the area presidency.

President Lim was released after many years of service and President Juntilla was called to take his place. The extended family of President Juntilla sang for us at the Adult Session Saturday evening. There were 25 memebers and 4 generations of the family singing. It was wonderful.
Juntilla Family singing Count Your Blessings.
We also had a nice rain this week. We were on the edge of a typhoon so it was just wet without a lot of wind. This is how it looked from the office.

Thought for the Week

"My beloved brethren, may I remind you, if there were a perfect woman, do you really think she would be that interested in you?"
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Monday, September 12, 2016

What a week.

Sorry for being late - a lot happened this week.
Before passing judgement prematurely and coming to the wrong conclusion, we should explain why Preident Maughan was caught sleeping in Elder Velasco's hospital bed.

The week started with a meeting Monday evening at the Mission Home for all 12 Sister Training Leaders, followed on Tuesday with the monthly Mission Leadership Council (MLC) meeting in the Lilo-an Church building. MLC includes the Sister Training Leaders, Zone Leaders, Assistants to the President and President and Sister Maughan, a total of 34. This meeting starts after breakfast and goes until about 3:00 in the afternoon. It is for leadership training and provides an opportunity to discuss challenges and issues that come up in day-to-day missionary work. President and Sister Maughan and the Assistants put a lot of time and effort into preparing for MLC.
President Maughan giving instruction at MLC.
Elder Baladad and Elder Grimpluma conduct and train at MLC.
Wednesday was pretty much a normal day in the office for us, and we had just finished dinner when we got a call asking if we would help transport a missionary to the hospital in Cebu.  This was about 7 PM.  Next thing we knew we were off to Danao which is about 30-40 minutes north (depending on traffic), We picked up Elder Velasco, who was suspected to have appendicitis, Elder Goulding, his companion, and Elder Chavian, a Zone Leader who also came along, and set off for Chung Hua hospital in Cebu which is about an hour or more to the south of us (depending on traffic, of course). Chung Hua is the best hospital in Cebu.

On the way in Sister McNett asked Elder Velasco how he was doing. He replied that he was enjoying the pain. As long as they can joke about it we know they are OK. The roads here are rough in places and we know he felt every bump. We made it in pretty good time and took Elder Velasco to the emergency room where it was determined that it was, in fact, appendicitis and he would be operated on later that night or early the next morning.
Enjoying the pain.
We made sure Elder Goulding and Elder Chavian were able to eat dinner and worked out insurance and payment issues so that Elder Velasco could be admitted to the hospital. About 11:30 PM we returned home leaving the three elders there. The drive home was 30 minutes compared to the hour+ it took to get there. We decided from now on we will do all of our driving here between midnight and 6 AM.

Elder Velasco had the surgery Thursday morning and is recovering nicely. He was even able to leave the hospital Saturday and is now under the watchful eye of Sister Maughan.

Along with Elder Velasco, President and Sister Maughan were also dealing with major health issues involving three other missionaries. These issues required a great deal of their time and attention along with help from the Assistants and two other Office Elders. There were a couple of long days and really short nights. By Friday morning when Maughans were able to visit Elder Velasco in the hospital they were pretty beat. Thus the picture above with President Maughan borrowing the hospital bed. By the way, he did give it back.

On Friday while Maughans were at the hospital we met a landlord to finalize arrangements to rent a house for the Weatherstons - our new office couple coming in October.

House for new Senior Couple
Avocado Tree
It is a very nice house not far from us with a large open living area and landscaped yard. There is even a guava and avocado tree.

On Saturday we traveled to Bogo with President and Sister Maughan to attend a District Conference there. The drive is beautiful passing through a mountainous area.  We haven't been up that way for almost a year. We returned on Sunday afternoon but may have to save those pictures for another day.

Before we end this week we want to share a picture of Sister Osumo (batch!) and Sister Inlao who are assigned in Lilo-an and visit the office regularly (who is that in the background?).
Sister Inlao, Siser Osumo, Elder Blanco (photobomb)
We love our missionaries!

Thought for the Week:

"What we choose to believe begins with who we choose to believe."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Conference Month

It is true that October is the month for General Conference, but here in our mission September is the month for Stake and District Conferences. There is a conference every week this month, and they will continue into October.

This week we attended Stake Conference in Consolacion Stake which was organized as a stake just two years ago. We went to the Saturday evening adult session and the general session Sunday morning. On a good day the Consolacion Stake Center is only about a 20 minute drive from our house, but when traffic is heavy it can take over an hour to go the same distance.  Traffic was light, however, and driving both days was good. We arrived with time to relax before the meetings started.

The presiding authority was Elder Jairus Perez, an Area Seventy who lives in the Cebu East Mission. Along with Elder Perez we heard from members of the stake and President and Sister Maughan. We even understood almost everything they said (President and Sister Maughan, that is). The Consolacion Stake Choir was amazing. They put their hearts into singing and sounded like a choir twice their size.

We started another round of zone conferences this week. The first two zones, Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, met together with more to follow in the coming weeks.

This week also found us looking at houses near the mission office for a new senior couple scheduled to come into the mission about a month from now. We are so excited to have a couple come work with us in the office and hope to have things in order for them when they arrive.

Thought for the Week

The Prayer