We attended church in our own ward this last Sunday and met a couple who are called as Area Family History consultants and President Reeder had told them we were coming and that we liked Family History. We met with them later that day to discuss Family History but also were invited to their home on Thursday night for a Homecoming Party for a son returning that day from a mission to Australia. This picture is taken in their home with the Father on the far right with the returned missionary next to him. This is quite a remarkable family. They have 8 children, (6 boys and 2 girls) and all but the 2 youngest at home have served missions. Three of the kids have been on missins at the same time. This boy returning home still leaves 2 out on missions. The parents are both returned missionaries and the parents for Bro. Gamil served a mission as a couple. They have a world map on their wall to show where everyone served. Bro. Gamil has been a bishop and also a younger brother currently serves as Bishop in another area and another brother is the Stake President. The home that night was visited by numerous relatives, friends and members who came to greet the returning son. We were very impressed to be there and see the love and closeness of this family and the emphasis that is placed on missionary work. I believe that members of the church in the mission field such as here in the Philippines actually exhibit more faith and trust in God than we ever do where the church is strong. I wish that we could all be more like these good people. They are a great example to everyone.
This is most of the family in Naga. The oldest son lives in Sandy, Utah with his wife and 2 kids and 2 are still out on missions as mentioned above. The wife/mother is not in this picture as she is behind getting the food prepared. Sounds familiar.
The man in green is a brother in law to the returned missionary.
Here is Sister Gamil with Sister Hoopes and President Reeder. Sister Reeder is holding a plate but didn't get in the picture. She is on the left. She actually has some food on her plate. This was a large table filled with food of all kinds. Jacob might remember a food called Adobe. It is pork with a sauce that tasted of vinegar, ginger.... Sister Gamil made it especially for my wife. We don't know why??? But it was very good! Pres. Reeder is helping himself to the Adobe in this picture.
We had a big week. We went to a baptism on Saturday in Sipocot which is a branch about an hour from Naga to the North. We were planning to go on our own but President Reeder called and invited us to go with them. We had a very nice day and witnessed 9 baptisms in the Pamplona Zone. All of them were baptized in the Sipocot church house.
I was standing back taking pictures watching and looking around and I heard my name called. I looked back and the Branch President was calling for me to come get in the picture and then asked, "Where is your wife?" She was in playing the piano so they ran to get her and we are both in the picture. When I got up there, I whispered to President Reeder, "Why am I up here?" He said, "Because you're a celebrity". The Philippino people do treat us like celebrities.
On Tuesday I went with Elder Gardner to the Northern most end of the mission (almost) to install some screens on apartments for Elders. I think it is to keep mosquito's out but one of the issues in an apartment had been a bat coming in during the night and landing on an Elders face. Thus the screens make sense. Otherwise, there are too many other places for mosquitos to get in like through open doors. On Wednesday, I went with Elder Gardner and some other Elders to move some furniture to a new apartment. It was a fun day for me. Not the moving, but when we got to the Elders new place, out walked a blond guy. I said to him in English, "You don't look Philippino" and he said, "I am not, I am from Germany". He is from Muenchen and lives here with his wife and daughter and he is the landlord of the new apartment. We spent the next hour talking in German which was really fun for me and he enjoyed it although he speaks passable English. I hope I get to see him again some time.
While in Daet, which is the Northern most city in our Mission ( I think there is a branch further north) we drove out to see the ocean. Always a powerful site, regardless of where you are in the world.
That's all for this week.