Saturday, October 29, 2016

Missionary Zumba

We were able to get a few more pictures from the Sister's Activity two weeks ago on Bohol and wanted to tell more of what took place there. The day started with Missionary Zumba. Elder Caindoy, a District Leader there, is a certified Zumba instructor and called out the Zumba moves with things like TC to the right, 2, 3, 4 and back, TC to the left, 2, 3, 4 and back (TC is for Testifying Contact).
Ready for Missionary Zumba
TC to the right, 2, 3, 4.
Elder Caindoy, CZI (Certified Zumba Instructor)
wokie, wokie
After Zumba there was an excellent workshop on scripture journaling led by Sister Bell followed by lunch at the local McDonalds and a trip to Sagbayan Peak for a view of the Chocolate Hills,Tarsier watching (mentioned last week) and a walk through the butterfly garden.
On Sagbayan Peak
No missionaries were hurt taking this picture.
Butterfly Garden
Word on the street is that it was a fun and educational experience that will be long remembered.

This week was a bit crazy as Elder McNett took an unexpected flight to Manila on Monday in order to escort Elder O'Rullian there for health reasons. We first met Elder O'Rullian in the MTC in Provo last year.  He came into the mission with the batch last October, just after we arrived. He is an excellent missionary who has experienced more in the last year than most do in two. Unfortunately he had to return to the US this week in order to receive the rest and medical care he needs. We love him and wish him the best with whatever the future has in store.
Elder O'Rullian at the airport (sorry about the blur).
It was a beautiful day for flying. The combination of clouds, sky, water and sun on the flight home Monday evening were amazing. We would also like to put in a pitch for Philippine Airline. They actually have a sane boarding policy of starting from the rear of the plane. Other airlines should try it. It's not rocket science.
Things have been busy in the office. Weatherstons are catching on and are starting to drive places we didn't venture to on our own for a month. There is a lot happening in November. We have a busy month ahead.
Yes, Christmas is rapidly approaching.

Thought for the Week

"Although it has only been a year I am happy to say I have done my best ..."
Elder Blake O'Rullian

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Tarsier Sighting

From Infogalactic:
"Tarsiers are haplorrhine primates of the family Tarsiidae, which is itself the lone extant family within the infraorder Tarsiiformes. Although the group was once more widespread, all the species living today are found in the islands of Southeast Asia."

One of the islands of Southeast Asia where Tarsiers are found naturally today is the island of Bohol. This island just happens to be in the Philippines Cebu East Mission. Sister McNett saw a Tarsier this week. Elder McNett saw a picture of the one that Sister McNett saw. This is the same picture we will show now so that readers of this blog can say that they saw the same picture of the Tarsier that Sister McNett saw that Elder McNett saw!

Tarsiers are very cute and Yoda like. It was surprising how small they are - about the size of a fist.

The reason Sister McNett was on Bohol while Elder McNett was not is because of a special activity day for the Sister Missionaries. Sister Maughan, Sister Weatherston and Sister McNett took the ferry over Sunday evening, had dinner with Elder and Sister Bell, stayed the night, and then met with about 30 young sister missionaries for the activity on Monday.  
With Sister Weatherston and Sister Maughan at the ferry terminal
Something almost as rare as seeing a live Tarsier is seeing Sister McNett pedal a tricycle.
For church today we decided to travel to Danao which is about 30 minutes north of  Lilo-an. During the meeting we received a text from President Maughan asking if we could continue on up to Bogo which is about another 1 1/2 to 2 hours further north. Our assignment was to help transport a missionary and some luggage. We gladly agreed and had a very pleasant drive up and back traveling along the coast and through the mountains of Northern Cebu.

We are sorry to report that we have no picture of the toy soldier telling how many days to Christmas. If we did it would show just over 60.

Thought for the Week:

"Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath."
James 1:19

Saturday, October 15, 2016

The Waters of Mormon

Elder and Sister Weatherston have been with us a week now. They are still settling into their home away from home and Elder Weaterston has been driving -  which is a major milestone in the transition to missionary life. MLC (Mission Leadership Council) was this week which provided the opportunity for them to introduce themselves to the Zone Leaders and Sister Training Leaders.
Elder and Sister Weatherston
Making introductions
They are learning to do some of the office things that we haven't dealt with directly and our goal is to train them in what we do as well so that they will eventually understand the whole office operation.

We captured this impromptu quartet singing 'The Spirit of God' during one of the breaks at MLC. Missionaries like to sing as much as they like taking pictures.
After lunch is group picture time.
 For some reason it was pick on Elder McNett day.
Wokie wokie
There is a local business that delivers bottled water to the office about every two weeks or so. We will collect the empty bottles for them to pick up and they will then bring full bottles back later in the day, usually 15 or 20 at a time. Some of the bottles have 'Mormon' written on them to indicate they were picked up from us. So as I was changing out bottles this morning we noticed someone had added to the bottle.
We thought it was pretty clever.

As we approach Halloween...
 temperatures continue to plummet, actually dipping below 80,...
and there are daily reminders that Christmas is fast approaching.

Thought for the Week.


Saturday, October 8, 2016

The Mighty Ton

This was transfer week again. The six weeks from our last transfer feels like three. This was a relatively large transfer too with 14 leaving and 16 coming in. We were able to attend the temple and have dinner with the departing missionaries which was quite a treat. All the missionaries who have worked with us in the office and who leave the mission before we do are now home - except one. Elder Baladad is the only hold out and he departs next week. It is hard to believe that so many are now gone.
October Batch at the Cebu Temple...
and at the airport (most, anyway).
Speaking of Elder Baladad - he has a reputation for the ability to eat large quantities of food. It may not even be possible to cook enough rice to satisfy him. This week, however, Elder Baladad's hollow leg was pitted against The Mighty Ton.

Most everyone, at one time or another, has seen what they thought was a large hamburger. For their departing dinner this time the missionaries chose to go to a restaurant other than Army Navy which has been the traditional go-to restaurant for the final meal together, at least while we've been here. Apparently there is another place named Casa Verde that has also been used in the past. We heard that this was also a nice place and that they had a large specialty burger. We thought it would be fun to go somewhere new.

We ordered a sandwich to share and didn't really look at the burger options so when a large hamburger appeared with a super size milk shake we thought, "This is it. This must be the big one that the missionaries had talked about."
Boy were we wrong. This was only the Big Bang Burger which the menu describes as a "9-inch burger topped with onions, tomatoes, lettuce, mayo, American cheese on a sesame-seed bun. Sharing recommended".

It was indeed a big burger, but then...
Elder Baladad VS The Mighty Ton
Now that is a hamburger! We were full just from looking at it.

From the menu:
The Mighty Ton - We take a kilo of our USDA tenderloin patty and stuff it in our homemade 12-inch bun with all the trimmings of 125 grams of bacon, an overload of american cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, sauteed onions and mushrooms and paired with your choice of barbecue, cheese or sour cream fries.

That's over 2 pounds of hamburger with about 1/4 lb of bacon.

Although he made a good showing, even Elder Baladad was no match for The Mighty Ton. A take out box was needed.
For any scientists reading, this is an actual picture of what it looked like after the Big Bang.
And for the record, The Mighty Ton did not make it through the night. With the help of an unspecified number of missionaries it was devoured before sunrise the next day.

We have another office couple! Elder and Sister Weatherston are now here. They arrived on Thursday and are from Logan, Utah. We are looking forward to working with them and getting to know them better. They will be a welcome addition to the mission.

And this is an actual unmodified picture of our outside thermometer at 7:30 AM one day last week!
It hasn't been this 'cold' outside, day or night, in over a year. Of course we attribute it to a day of global cooling. Time will tell.

Thought for the week.

"Keep trying. Keep trusting. Keep believing. Keep growing. Heaven is cheering you on today, tomorrow and forever."
Jeffrey R. Holland

Sunday, October 2, 2016

GPS Not Required

Imagine driving in the Philippines in an unfamiliar area with no map, no GPS and only the vaguest of ideas on how to get where you need to be.
Do you:
  a. Panic
  b. Cry
  c. Swear Feel like swearing
  d. Act like nothing is wrong and drive in ever widening circles.
  e. All of the above.

Actually this is a trick question because the answer is all of the above unless Sister Maughan is in the car in which case she will roll down the window and do what may be called a 'Mobile Shout Out' to a passing motorcycle asking something along the lines of  "Can you help us find ICM?"or "Which way is the port?".

It turned out that two Mobile Shout Outs were required last weekend on Bohol. The first to these two young men. They were more that happy to help us find our way. If you look closely at the picture you will see that pesos were offered for their help which they would not accept.
Our guides to Island City Mall
The second time was when two young ladies on a pink motorbike led us to the port where we caught the ferry back to Cebu. They also helped without hesitation and did not want to accept money for doing it.
Our guides to Tagbilaran Port
The trick when looking for help from a motorbike is to find one with two riders so that the passenger can keep an eye on your vehicle so that you don't get left behind. They are much more mobile than a car or truck.

This week was preparation for transfers next week. There are 12 leaving and 18 coming in so there is quite a bit of preparation needed. Some missionaries came in on Saturday to take an English test.
Sister Lappy talking to Ava the Avatar
Hi Ava, this is Elder MIna. The weather today is hot.
We can't remember if we've mentioned English testing already but if we have this will be a refresher. If not then you can ignore the previous sentence.

All missionaries have time allocated in their daily schedule for language study. Those who come from an English speaking background study Cebuano, those who come from a Cebuano speaking background study English and those from a non-Cebuano, non-English speaking background study both.

As they approach the end of their mission we administer a computer based English comprehension and speaking test to those who are not native English speakers. They are graded on how well they do and receive a certificate showing their skill level that can be helpful when applying for school or jobs.

After doing an introduction and practice test the actual graded test takes about 30-40 minutes. Ava the avatar will ask somewhat individualized questions based on background information provided by the one being tested and their responses are recorded and evaluated later by a real live person.

This is the entire staff of the local Post Office minus one. They are always helpful and very friendly. We go there at least once a week to pick up packages and drop off letters to mail. This week there were letters going to the US, Australia, Brazil, Samoa and inside the Philippines. We literally send out letters all over the world.
Lilo-an Post Office Staff
Watching this man work in the coconut tree, maybe 30 feet off the ground, was one of the coolest things we've seen here. He was using the machete to trim off dead branches while supporting himself with his legs so that both hands were free to work. It was impressive.
Look closely for the machete.
Sister Osumo wants her family to know all is well and thanks for the package.
Sister Osumo came by to pick up a package.
Last but not least.
The countdown continues.

Thought for the Week

"Our days will be happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind."
(Thank you Debbie)