Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bohol to Bogo

We traveled this week and have a lot of pictures, so hang on! Monday morning there was a special activity for the sisters serving in the Danao and Consolacion Zones.
After meeting at the mission home for a waffle breakfast, they had some games, starting with an egg toss.
This was a smashing success and egg-xactly what they needed to start the day.  If they weren't careful though the yoke was on them.   Notice the concentration on Sister Inlao's face as she levitates an egg.
Next was a water balloon fight. Don't mess with these sisters.
This was followed by Twister with a twist. They used a home made Twister board with spots of wet paint for the dots. As they covered a color the color covered them.
Sister Mariano, Sister Samoya
Sister Leopoldo, Sister Hinton (nice eye shadow)
A very colorful group.
A special thanks to Sister Loreto and Sister Cook (the Danao Sister Training Leaders) for planning this activity.

Tuesday through Friday we were on Bohol with Maughans and the two assistants, Elder Clark and Elder Cirunay. While President Maughan had interviews with the missionaries the APs were checking Area Books and we helped administer English tests to 13 missionaries who are going home soon. Sister Maughan also used this as an opportunity to learn how English testing works.

We started Tuesday afternoon in Tagbilaran, went to Valencia on Wednesday, Thursday morning we were back in Tagbilaran, Thursday afternoon in Calape and Friday in Tubigon. We stayed two nights in Tagbilaran at Bohol Tropics and one night in Calape at Isla Hayahay.

The English tests are computer based and require an internet connection. We are happy to report that with only minor problems the testing went well everywhere we went. There was even a 'brown out' Wednesday in Valencia. The power was out in the chapel but using a laptop on battery power and a mobile wi-fi hotspot the testing went on without a hitch.
Assistants with Elder Cabasag, Sister Tagi, and Sister Acosta...

and with Elder Goulding and Elder Lang.
Sister Fonua, Sister Gil, Sister Osumo, Sister Dela Cruz, Sister Lacerna
We were able to deliver a new pair of shoes to Elder Tyrell. His were a little worn. Elder Tyrell was having trouble finding shoes in his size so we asked Elerie if he could help. He was back with them in less than a day. 
Elder Tyrell
Elder Tyrell's shoes.
Traveling to Bohol allowed us to deliver always appreciated packages and mail.
Sister Anderson

Elder Johnson

Elder Salazar and Elder Crowley

We welcomed another new senior couple to the mission this week, Elder and Sister Wilding from Rigby, Idaho. They arrived in Cebu on Friday, were picked up at the airport by the Weatherstons and stayed Friday night in the mission home. We met them Saturday morning at breakfast.
Elder and Sister Wilding
They will be replacing Bocks in the Bogo area. The truck they will use was at the mission office and needed to be driven to Bogo so Elder Wilding drove while we rode along to guide the way. Nothing like diving right in! The Weatherstons also drove to take the Bogo Zone Leaders back who were in Cebu and to give us a ride home.
Driving to Bogo
Bogo Zone
We were not here Wednesday the 25th for Elerie's 30th birthday so we gave him his present Monday afternoon. He brought Wilma to the office with him to open it. He's always so excited.

Sister Weatherston had a birthday cake ready for him on Wednesday. We were told that the custom in the Philippines is for the person having a birthday to give food to others so for us to give him presents and cake was unusual (but appreciated).

Thought for the Week

"Hear the word of the Lord, O ye nations, and declare it in the isles afar off, and say, He that scattered Israel will gather him, and keep him, as a shepherd doth his flock."
Jeremiah 31:10

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Visitors Welcome

While waiting for church to start last Sunday we welcomed some visitors into the church yard. They came and trimmed the trees but didn't stay for church. One did manage to wander through the church entryway but there was nothing edible so he left. Notice how well a rope restrains a goat.

This picture was taken at one of the ward buildings in Lapu-Lapu. President Maughan had an interview scheduled there and we went with them to Sacrament Meeting. The plan was for us to drive our pickup truck to the mission home and then all of us go in their vehicle. It was good that we did because when we got to the mission home and started getting into their car President noticed it had a flat tire. We drove our vehicle instead and made it with time to spare. Fixing the flat tire was able to wait until Monday. Sometimes tender mercies are little things that remove unnecessary burdens from mission presidents who have other things to worry about.

Monsoon rains continued this week but the sun is back and things are drying out again - at least as much as they can dry out in 80-90% humidity. There was even more water surrounding our house as these pictures show that were taken just one day apart. As the waters rose we were reminded that if you wait until its raining to build an ark, it is probably too late.
This is a video taken from our little balcony showing our driveway and the street in front of our house.

A motorcycle leaving a wake driving down the road is a good indication that the drought is over.

We end this week with a picture of baby palm trees. Photos of these are rare as they are shy and their mothers very protective. This picture was taken by a pseudo-professional from a safe distance.
Don't be deceived by their docile appearance and remember - never get between a palmling and its mother!
She Palm

Thought for the week

Friday, January 13, 2017

Till we meet again...

Elder and Sister Bock
It is hard to believe that Elder and Sister Bock are no longer here in the Cebu East Mission. After serving for two years in the Bogo District on the northern tip of Cebu Island they have now returned to their home in Australia.  Bogo won't be the same without Bocks to help furnish apartments, transport missionaries, do repairs, move bikes around, and in many other ways lend an ear or a hand. They have been examples to us of Christlike service and oh, how we will miss their wonderful Australian accent. On the bright side, we look forward to October when Bocks plan to visit Salt Lake for General Conference. Who knows - maybe someday we'll have a chance to visit Australia.

Melvin Richins once told me that there are only two seasons in Coalville - Mud and Dust. From what we hear, this year should probably include a third - Ice. There really are only two seasons here in the Philippines. Ice is not one of them.

We are definitely in the rainy season and this year is definitely wetter than last year (it is raining right now). The vacant lot next to us was cleared for building around Christmas time and it has been so wet that all activity on the property has stopped.

This was the view next door one day last week followed by the same view a day later.
This is the same lot from a different angle. It is (or was) a field where neighbors often stake goats and sometimes cattle to feed. It may be a while before building on the lot can continue.
There are a LOT of motorcycles in the Philippines which is an understatement. Those who ride motorcycles here are very creative when it comes to protecting themselves from the rain. So what do many do to keep from getting wet when riding a motorcycle in the rain? They put the top up of course.

We end today with a picture taken on the way back from a trip with the other senior couples last year to Camotes Island. It is one of our favorite pictures of Elder and Sister Bock.
Sailing into the sunset...

Thought for the Week

Saturday, January 7, 2017

New Year - New Senior Couple

Elder and Sister Shamrell
Ready to catch the ferry to Bohol
On Friday we met a new senior missionary couple. They are Elder and Sister Shamrell from Gresham, Oregon. This is actually their second mission as a couple to the Philippines having already served in the Urdaneta Mission on Luzon. After a year and a half off they are back out again. They will be working with Elder and Sister Bell on Bohol helping support the missionaries and members there. They bring a wealth of church and mission experience and we feel fortunate to have them in our mission.

As it turned out, our mission had just received a new van that needed to be transported for use on Bohol, so the Shamrells took it over on the ferry for us. As they are not familar with Cebu and how to get to the ferry terminal, we drove them to the port, helped buy ferry tickets and made sure they were good to go. Bells were prepared to meet them on the other side and get them settled in their new home there.

The ferry was scheduled to leave at 7:30 AM and we needed to be there to buy tickets two hours ahead so we picked them up from the mission home at 4:45 AM. We didn't mind the early hour as traffic was light and the terminal not crowded - we almost felt as if we had it to ourselves. The ferry they took is a new one for vehicles and passengers that docks right next to the passenger terminal which will make it much more convenient for transporting vehicles to and from Bohol when necessary.
Sister Osumo, Sister Cook, Pop Tarts
This week also brought Sister Osumo and Sister Cook to the office. They are both serving as Sister Training Leaders (STL's) and came with all the other STL's and Zone Leaders (ZL's) to Mission Leadership Council (MLC). This is where all of the STL's and ZL's receive instruction from the Assistants to the President (AP's) and President Maughan (President Maughan) and Sister Maughan (Sister Maughan).

Sitting next to Sisters Osumo and Cook at lunch brought back memories of our second day in the MTC in Provo when we sat next to them at dinner and asked where they were assigned only to find out it was here!  At that time we also met Elder Crapo, Elder O'Rullian, Elder Lockhart and Elder Gervacio - all coming to the Cebu East Mission. It was certainly a nice 'coincidence' that out of 2000+ missionaries we sat next to them that day.

There are some interesting cloud formations here but these were the most unusual we've seen. These pictures were taken from the mission office.
There were actually two of these off in the distance that we were able to watch for about 10 minutes before they dissipated.

Thought for the Week

"One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes."
Saint-Exupery's  'The Little Prince'

It is never too early to plan ahead...