Friday, March 6, 2015

7 March 2015

A new friend during choir song
Last weekend was Stake Conference in the Naga Stake and we participated by singing in the Stake Choir.  We had attended some of the practices which had been held for 3 weeks previous to the conference but we missed a few as well.  The choir practices were not much to my liking.  One of the practices scheduled for 4 on Sunday afternoon did not start until 5 and then it was going to go on, as it seemed to me, forever.  So we left before they got done.  Still it was a different and good experience.  I doubt that I have mentioned before that the hymns here are all in English.  They use our regular hymn books and sing in English so it was a lot easier for us being somewhat familiar with the language.  In Germany, the hymns were all translated into German.  There were several young men who sang base along with me and they were quite good.  I was impressed as they enjoyed singing and weren't afraid to sing and they enjoyed practicing their parts.

An area 70 was assigned to be at the conference.  His name is Elder Cisneros and he is Philippino and a great man and he spoke almost completely in English.  I asked some of the members if he spoke in English for us Senior couples or if he would have done it that way anyway.  They responded that he probably would spoken that way anyway.  In the bigger wards in the city, mostly English is spoken and in the branches it is mostly in Tagalog. Elder Cisneros gave an excellent talk on Saturday evening on Fasting.  I would like to share some of his thoughts which were helpful to me.

Gardners and Watsons with us at Yellow Cab Pizza

                                                                               "Fasting without purpose is just dieting"

                                                                               11 Ways to make fasting a spiritual experience
                                                                              1.  Meditate on purpose                                         2.  Begin with kneeling prayer.  
     Tell God the purpose
3.  Go without food or drink for 24 hours
4.  When feeling hungry,  pray again to
      remind ourselves of the purpose
5.  Give a generous Fast Offering
6.  Bear testimony in Fast Meeting
7.  Study scriptures as you fast
                                                                                   8.  Deny yourself personal gratification
                                                                                   9.  End with kneeling prayer
                                                                                   10. Commit to be a better person
                                                                                   11. Fasting is a spiritual work to
                                                                                         overcome the natural man
After Stake Conference on Sunday, we met a Sister who told us that she was the Stake Public Relations Director (her name is Melvi) and wondered if I would be willing to speak at a school regarding communication management in the work place.  I agreed that I could probably do something.  It turns out that she is a Professor and that the school is the University of Naga.  The class is graduate students in teaching and also some who have MBA's and are already out in the work place.  She asked if we knew anyone else who is International and I suggested Elder Watson who is from Canada and was a School Principle.  He has agreed as well and has done a lot of motivational training in his career.  This week, we received an email from Melvi asking if Sister Hoopes could speak on "America's communication values taught to children: It's impact to the nations progress". Wow.  We have really become inundated with things to do.  We will be speaking in the auditorium of the University which holds 250 people.  I don't expect anywhere near that many but who knows.  We will find out in due time.

Needless to say, this week has been busy with preparations for these presentations which will be coming up on the 21st of March.

We have heard that the church has a CES building in another part of Naga.  We found it on Tuesday and were able to visit the director and get a tour. This is a very nice "stand alone" building in downtown Naga and it is intended as an institute building and also for activities. Notice the parking lot is painted for basketball.

Two of these kids are the Stake Presidents kids who just happened to be there when we were visiting.

This picture is of the reception area and the Director who is the second councilor in the Naga Mission Presidency.

This building and schedule function much like a Center for Young Adults in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.  They have regular institute classes as well as activities, internet.  It is a very nice gathering place for these LDS kids to associate with one another.  We were very impressed.

We did some training with the missionaries from the Naga Zone on Friday.  It is always fun to be around the missionaries.  We ate lunch with them as well.  They love the cookies that Sister Hoopes brings to each meeting.  They were so excited and these Elders acted like they were the guardians of the cookies.  The one holding them is from Samoa.  Notice the cookies in the hands of the sisters (above).

The lunch was prepared by members and was pork with mushrooms, stir fry vegetables and rice.  Always rice......

It has been a busy week for Sister Hoopes.  She started giving piano lessons to the daughter of our Bishop in the Naga 3rd Ward.  The girl is 7 years old and got her first lesson on Monday and then again yesterday.  She is doing very well.

Sister Hoopes also tried her hand at cooking German again.  There is a German butcher shop here which we visit now and then.  This is one of my favorites called Rouladen which is thin strips of beef rolled with pickles, carrots and mustard inside.  Then browned in a pan and cooked in a sauce which is used for gravy.  Along with that is the Spaetzle which is a homemade noodle.  The pizza pan in her had is used to push the dough through the holes into boiling water beneath.  It was really good.  I think this last picture will go on to Facebook so our German friends can see.

We are headed to Iriga today with a Philippino couple who are assigned to work in Area Family History and they asked us to be with them.  They have presentations in every district and stake on every Saturday and 1 Sunday in March.  We are going with them each time.  We are going to Cotnogan, a small branch in the Iriga district with President and Sister Reeder tomorrow.

Sister Hoopes:
We had two catastrophe's this week!  In our fitness craze,  Elder Hoopes tore a calf  muscle very badly and could hardly get up the stairs to the apartment.  He thought he would be down for several weeks with it.  But, through our therapies and personal prayers, after 1 1/2 days of rest he is  completely healed.   Miracles really do happen!

The second catastrophe is that the Kitchen Aid mixer I have been using to make dozens of cookies that I take out to the district meetings each week died!  Right in the middle of cookies for the Naga Zone.  I was able to finish the cookies but my attempts at first aid on the mixer failed!  We are now praying for another miracle that it will heal itself.....oh I mean, I hope it gets back from the repair shop before the end of our mission!!!  I long for my little German Bosch!!!

See you next week.


  1. I see from a review of my post that the 11 points are all messed up. When I go into Edit, they look just fine but the final posted result is a mess. Sorry! I would fix it if I could.

    1. No need to fix anything. It's great just the way it is. I'm loving reading your posts from this mission. It sounds like a great experience.
      I'm not sure how to do this. Hopefully you can get my comments.

  2. What a variety of experiences you are having! You will be able to whip out extemporaneous talks all the time now. I give Kathlene a lot of credit for the cooking she does out in "the field". I thought you quit cooking years ago, you told me!

  3. If she quit cooking we'd starve to death!!! She does a great job with what is available and her food is loved by all the missionaries. It is becoming more common for us to eat here as we can't find a lot in the restaurants to eat (that we want to eat).