Friday, March 13, 2015

14 March 2015

Magandan umaga!

Finally!!!  We got our temporary drivers licenses on Tuesday. We have had some issues and it took a little work.  We didn't have time to get them in Manila when we first arrived.  Then we went the first week to the Naga office and they wouldn't give them to us because our passports said we were only good for 90 days in the Philippines.  We ended up sending our passports back to Manila to get the VISA's extended and when we got the Passports back, we went in Tuesday and got the licenses.  Now we have to wait a couple of months to get the actual card but we are good.  The issue for us was that we were legal to drive for 90 days with our Utah license along with our passport.  But we did not have our passports for 3 weeks while they went back to Manila.  We did have a copy and we had no accidents so we have clearly been blessed in getting this done.
                                                                                   We attended a District meeting on Thursday with
San Fernando District with 2 sisters missing
the Milaor District which included missionaries from the San Fernando Branch. We had taught these missionaries just a week ago in the Naga Zone Training but as we will be attending the San Fernando Branch a week from this Sunday, we decided to go back and meet with this smaller group and talk more in depth about what we will be doing when we attend the Sunday meetings.  San Fernando is a Branch that is part of the Naga Stake so we don't have any information on how they are doing with their records but the missionaries think there are big issues.  The building where we met for the meeting is not far away - about 15 minutes a little north of Naga.  There are 8 missionaries in this district, 2 sets of sisters and 2 sets of Elders.  One of the sisters has been ill and so that companionship did not attend the district meeting.

Milaor Ward church
The reason I mention this at all is that we had a very nice day with these missionaries.  Their district training for the day was from Preach My Gospel on "The Power of the Spirit in Conversion".  After they completed their teaching, they had a practice session which is always part of the training process.  The two sisters were assigned to teach the Hoopes couple and I could see the panic in their faces. These are two Philippina Sisters and have always seemed quite shy.  I am sure it is because they don't speak English very well. We told them they could teach us in Tagalog if they wanted but they went ahead and taught us in English even though they struggled a lot. Their assignment was to try to teach so that we, the investigators, could feel the spirit.  With really no time to prepare anything the senior companion started by asking us about our family and how they were all doing.  Then she said that they had a message they wanted to share about families.  She then proceeded to talk about the importance of families.  They were well trained in that the Senior companion would teach a concept and then the junior companion would testify that she knew that concept was true. The Senior then asked me to read Nephi 1:1 and the first thought in my head is "what does that have to do with families" but I did remember Nephi saying he was "born of goodly parents".  This sister asked me what I thought about the statement from Nephi.  I talked about how Nephi thought about his parents; that they were goodly (which could mean good in spirit as also worldly goods) and that he was taught in all the learning of his father. He definitely would have been taught spiritually as well as temporally.  She then asked us, "What do you think that your children would say of you"?  That was a question that hit me hard. What have we taught and/or not taught our children and what would our children say of us?  Would they think that we were "goodly" parents as Nephi spoke of his?  Needless to say, I was very touched and have thought of this often since the teaching.  It is really something that these young Sisters could touch me that much in just a few minutes; in a language they didn't speak very well; with no time to prepare and not even knowing us. The spirit was there and it spoke to me that day of the importance of families and our obligation as parents to teach, nurture and train as we raise our children.

For not starting with a busy schedule this week has turned out to be very busy.  President and Sister Reeder were at the Mission office early on Thursday on their way to a zone conference and sister Reeder asked if we could help a missionary who had wisdom teeth pulled the day before and was having some trouble.  The missionaries were to call us if they needed help.  We didn't hear from them until 4:30 in the afternoon.  We then drove out to the Stake House where we met them and found  that they had called the dentist and he was gone home for the day so they really couldn't get in to see him. But Sister Hoopes took over as she is so capable of doing - got some ice; some gauze to bite on to put pressure on and some do-terra oil to stop the bleeding.  By the time we got them back to their apartment, he was already doing better and was much better the next day.  Our reports are that he is now doing quite well - actually eating some and talking.  He was pretty miserable the first we saw him.
Mostly the Laurel YW class.  Teacher in middle is 14.

We went to church in a little branch on Sunday in a city named Cotnogan.  It is at the extreme southern end of the mission.  We met the branch president a couple of weeks ago at the Presidents home while we were there.  He had brought his daughter in to be set apart as a missionary.  She was leaving the next day for Manila and the MTC.  She is going to Rochester, NewYork. We got to talk with her father and he invited us to come out and join them for church.  He said that Cotnogan is in the mountains.  I really wondered how it could be in the mountains as there are only a few volcano "mountains" but we have heard it is beautiful there.  The Reeders were going Sunday and invited us so we went with them.  It was really a beautiful little place.  Of course, they needed a couple of speakers for Sacrament meeting and so because we hadn't been there, we were elected.  I had looked at the statistics and reports on this branch and I could find nothing that appeared amiss.  Someone has done an excellent job in keeping the records current. Apparently, it is the son of the branch President who works away for a few months and then comes back for a short time.  I think he is keeping the records current.  I guess it doesn't matter who is doing it as long as it gets done.  The above picture is of YW from the mutual class on Sunday.  The YW in the middle (tallest) is 14 and taught the class.

Branch President on the left with his brother in the middle.  On the right is President Flores who is the First Councilor in the Mission Presidency. He went with us on Sunday as the Mission Presidency interviewed and sustained a new councilor in this Presidency.  President Reeder also set apart a Sister Missionary who had come home for health reasons and was leaving to go back to her mission.  She needed to be set apart again.  

From Cotnogan looking to the west.  We are on a little rise which they called mountains.

Sister Hoopes went out on Monday to visit with some kids in the parking lot.  The boy sitting against the wall in the blue shirt left on Wednesday for a mission to New Zealand.  He will be going to the MTC in New Zealand.  This was a little going away party for him from some of his friends.

In the Naga 3rd Ward building.  Chapel in background.
Sister Hoopes just recently started piano lessons with this little girl who is the daughter of our Bishop.  She is only 7 and was told by someone that she was too young. But, in 1 week she can identify and play 3 octaves of written music from the notes on the scale almost perfectly - 99%. She is very quick to learn. 

These people LOVE music and are very adept. Most have no formal training but many self teach the piano and can do quite well.  

Bishop said the big problem with this is that he will have to buy a piano.  She has two little sisters.

The Elder on the right is from Idaho and had a terrible headache last week and eventually ended up in Manilla to be evaluated.  The headache was gone before he went to Manila but still, the doctor there wanted to have him examined.  He flew back to Naga on Friday and we picked him up at the airport and took him to his area in Goa where there is a stake.  We have never been there so we were glad to go and take him.  The YM on the left is working with the Elders on a temporary mission.  He is from Iriga and we met his father on Thursday at the building site of the new mission presidents home.

These are the District leaders from the San Fernando District and we took them home on Thursday.  This is where they meet on Sunday for church (branch).   You might ask, "what is that stuff on the blue tarp in front of the building.  Below is another picture.  It is rice drying and it is right out in the road.  We had to drive over it to get past the church.  We will be coming back to church here in a couple of weeks.

Enough for this week.  We go back to Goa today for another Quarterly Family History training as we did last week.  We will leave at 1:00 and not return until evening.  Tomorrow is a visit to another branch in Pamplona.

1 comment:

  1. This really touches my heart. I love how inexperienced, unprepared missionaries can rely on the spirit and teach you--someone with years of experience and knowledge. And what a lovely way to introduce talking about families. I hope our children would say they had goodly parents.