Friday, February 20, 2015

21 February 2015

Well, we have now been in the mission field for a month.  It has been a big change from our mission to Germany.  Maybe the biggest change from Germany  is what we are doing.  In Germany, we were assigned to a specific ward and we went to church there nearly every Sunday.  We got to know the members well and worked alongside the missionaries.  In this assignment we are not going to be in our home ward very often.  In fact, it will be seldom.  We are going out nearly every Sunday to branches to get to know the leaders and offer to train and assist them.  We are not really working with any missionaries other than in groups as we are doing a lot of training of missionaries as well.  We realize that we have to look at this differently and find other ways to find fulfillment.  I hope that you can see from the following that we are enjoying what we are doing.  So, please stay tuned as there is more to say and report.

We have been reading a book that Amy and Jon Forsberg gave us just before we left.  The title is "The Continuous Atonement" by Brad Wilcox.  It is a marvelous book on the Atonement of Christ and the significance of it in our own lives. He quotes from the Book of Mormon in Alma a scripture which we just read.  It is Alma 34:10 where Amulek said, "For it is expedient that there should be a great and last sacrifice; yea, not a sacrifice of man, neither of beast, neither of any manner of fowl for it shall not be a human sacrifice; but it must be an infinite and eternal sacrifice".   The sacrifice for our sins and to redeem us (make us like Jesus) must be an "infinite and eternal sacrifice" (Alma 34:14) "and that great and last sacrifice will be the Son of God, yea, infinite and eternal".  We all know about the Plan of Salvation but I wonder how often we think about the sacrifice made for us by the Son of God and that he did it out of love.  I challenge every one to think and study about the need for an atonement and why Christ was the only one who could do it.

We drove to Sipocot (see po coat) on Tuesday to get an
Elder who is from China (Cheng Du) where we visited on our trip to China over 10 years ago.  He is due to go home in 6 weeks but his VISA was not renewed by the Philippine government so he has to leave now.  We were happy we could spend some time with him.  He is a Zone Leader and a very pleasant young man.  He has been a member for 5 years and has a very interesting story.  While there, we spent a little time with the other Elders and Sisters working in the area.

These Elders were all in this basement apartment.   Looks beautiful down there until it rains.   Like Sister Reeder said,,she's learned to just ask the missionaries "How High is the Water in your apartment?   Now you can see why.  We haven't really been here in a rain storm but it doesn't take long to get flooded, especially if you rent the bottom apartment.   The good news is......these Elders moved to another apartment  closer to the church yesterday.  We didn't go in this apartment, and are certain we would have been appalled.   I thought it better that I didn't go look.  Our Chinese Elder told us it was the worst apartment in the mission.  We have seen some bad ones so this must be pretty gruesome.

After picking up our  Chinese Elder and saying goodbye to his friends and companions, we headed over to the Sisters apartment.     Their water filter was leaking and their hot plate stove didn't work right.  We exchanged filter system, determined that their hot plate burner was NOT going to work correctly and they needed a new one; and observed their issue with termites,etc.  Elder Z said goodbye to the sisters and here comes the Elders again to deliver money to the sisters.  So he had to say goodbye AGAIN!   We left and about 10 minutes down the road we get a call from the sisters reporting that there were no filters in their water filter system.  So we turn around and head back to Sipocot.  We take the filters out of the leaky filter system, put them in the newer filter system and say goodbye AGAIN!  What a hard day for Elder Z, who did not want to go home anyway.  Too many goodbyes makes leaving really hard.

We were very blessed to spend time with Elder Z.  Such a meek, humble missionary, so pleased to be around fellow members of the church.

Thursday we made our weekly drive to a District meeting.  This one was in Iriga and there are 12 missionaries in this district.  It was very large as 2 districts were combined during the last transfer.  We really enjoy our time with these young men and women.  They are great examples to us.

We did our training and participated in the district meeting and then left for Buhi which was a half hour further south and east from Iriga.

A picture of Mt. Iriga, an extinct volcano although the picture makes it look like smoke coming from the top.  This is on the way to Buhi.

We were in this branch last Sunday for the entire block time and then met with the Branch President after the block.  On Sunday, we got there quite early but the Branch President was there and welcomed us.  He said several times, "I am so happy you are here".  He was referring to our coming to help with member records.  But he also asked us to speak in Sacrament meeting which wasn't a surprise. And Sister Hoopes was asked to teach primary which she did and said it was a good experience.  

 They had several investigators there including a young family there. This area really has a lot going on with many baptisms planned for the next few weeks.  We know
they have a baptism today in a swimming pool but we are not planning to go as it is a long way and would require us to return later tonight.  We try not to drive at night due to poor road conditions, etc.  And we have to be back out to Iriga tomorrow at 9:00 am for their block meetings.

Right is the Branch President of Buhi.  We spent time on Thursday afternoon training him on the use of the computer for Member Leadership Service.  He said to us again, "I am so happy you are here".  Even though they have a computer and printer, they don't have internet in this church and he has to download everything to a flash drive and take it to a public internet service to update any information.  They are building a new building in Buhi which is supposed to be done in May.  This is a picture of it under construction.

This will be large enough to house 2 branches and/or wards if they get to that point.  They are teaching a lot of people and having great success.

We have really enjoyed going to these little branches and working with the people.  They treat us like we are special and we know we are not but do enjoy being around them and helping where we can.
We had an enjoyable evening with the Reeders and Gardners yesterday.  We went to a restaurant in the downtown area called The White Bean. 
we have heard that it was really good so we were anxious to go and were able to get the other couples to go with us.  It is a small but very nice restaurant.  I got Chicken Parmigiana which at home is my favorite dish and I think it is my favorite dish here also.  In fact, this the only place where we have seen it on the menu. Usually, anything with chicken has the bones in it.  This didn't and was very good.  They also had a Pumpkin soup which we ordered and it was excellent.  Very much like we would get from members in Germany.  Others had Mushroom soup, Chicken Carbonera; Caesar salad; vegetable Panini... We plan to go back here again and often.

This next week in Transfer week and we are involved with a class on Tuesday for Missionaries going home.  A life skills class.  We will be teaching it the next transfer after the Gardners go home in May. 

Until next week.


  1. I think you probably are the most special missionary couple there. You have so much to share and are great examples. I will have to read that book; sounds like what I need right now.
    And that sweet Elder going home. At least his family will be happy!

  2. The food at the restaurant sounds delicious!
    I've read that book, it was very good, and reminds me of the current VT message about the Savior being without sin.