Friday, April 10, 2015

11 April 2015

Time again for the weekly post.  My but how the time is flying by.

The ward which we are assigned to had an outing on Thursday at the beach in Pasacao.  It is just less than an hour from Naga and is a beautiful little community right on the ocean. The place they went to is a resort called Villa Consuelo.  The huts you see in this picture are all overnight rental units.  Others that are open air are situated on the beach and are for day use.  We were worried we would have to go and be in the sun but it was nice to have the huts to get in the shade.

This was quite a nice area.  The little huts each had a table and sitting places along the sides. They were actually quite cool as a breeze would blow through the open sides.    We spent our time sitting and talking in various huts with ward members.

This is our Bishop in the white T Shirt and the High Priest Group leader sitting on the sand in front.

This picture to the right is the young couple who were married recently in the Manila Temple.  We attended their reception.  There is a picture in a preceding blog post.  They had been out in the water and when coming back acted like they were cold as they immediately wrapped themselves in blankets.

It certainly wasn't cold for us but we didn't get wet either.

This scene actually shows the ocean.  The little huts make this place a very comfortable and enjoyable spot for the day.

As we were leaving, the owner of the resort was talking to us and we asked about Typhoons.  He told us that Typhoon Glenda which was just last summer had totally devastated the area.  He said that in January they had started rebuilding everything back to what they had before.  We expressed our sadness and he said, "That is what happens here".

This beautiful chapel is in the city of Pasacao.  We have been here before for a baptism. We came on a Saturday afternoon with the Reeders.  You can see by the vegetation that it is in a very tropical area.  Notice the trees on the hillside behind.

On the way to Pasacao was this site.  There were actually 2 water buffalo out in this rice paddy pulling machines which churn up the mud and rice stalks.  The machine is submerged below the water level.  Quite a common site here.  Just one we are not used to.

I try each week to put in this blog some thought or experience that we have had that might spur the reader to consider where they are spiritually in their lives.  This week, I want to mention the talk given by Elder Dallin H. Oaks in conference this past weekend.  By the way, the church here will show conference in it's entirety starting on Saturday (today) and then again on Sunday but we have already watched most of it online.  Elder Oaks spoke on the Parable of the Sower which compared the different kinds of soil in which seeds might be planted and how they grow; some never making it to maturity due to various conditions.  The parable, of course, is about how the gospel is received in our lives and how we accept the Word of God.  Elder Oaks asks, "How can we prepare ourselves to be that good ground and have that good harvest"?  He then said that Jesus explained that, "the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience."  He further stated, "We have the seed of the gospel word.  It is up to us to do the things that make our soil good and our harvest plentiful.  We must seek to be firmly rooted and converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We achieve this conversion by praying, scripture reading, serving, and by regularly partaking of the sacrament to have His Spirit to always be with us.  We must always seek that mighty change of heart..."  We pray every day that our families will be blessed  with the spirit and prepare our hearts (soil) that we may be converted completely to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Elder on the right is the friend of Westin Judd from Sacramento

This is our graduating class from the Career Workshop which was onTuesday.  6 Sisters and 4 Elders.  We spent most of a day with them.  It was a really great experience for us to be with them and they seemed very grateful for the things which they were taught.  I know they will probably forget everything they learned by the time they get home but I hope and pray that when they face a challenge or major decision, they will look back and remember some of the things which they were taught on Tuesday.
Acini de Pepe is not available in our grocery store so Sister Hoopes got creative to make some from spiral macaroni.  I think the picture tells all.  It was just macaroni so it tasted just the same.  We didn't have any little balls, just mashed macaroni but the salad tasted great.  Of course, we can't make very good whipped cream due to the temperature so the salad was mostly without cream.  It was still good.
 Easter Sunday after church at our apartment. These are the four current office Elders although the one on the left of Sister Hoopes went home this week.  He was in our Career Workshop.  The dinner was a Pork roast with mashed potatoes, gravy and peas and carrots.  The two American Elders just sat and looked at their plates for a minute in awe.  The Elder on the right at the back of the table said, "I haven't seen a plate like this in 17 months".  The Elder at the front across from Sister Hoopes said, "I have never seen a plate like this".  You figure it out.

The last of our Typhoon.  You can't see very much but it did rain pretty good for most of the day on Saturday and then a little more on Sunday.  Like I said, the Typhoon just turned into a rain storm.

We attended a baptism in the church house next door on Saturday last week.  The two sisters involved in the baptism had been to see us earlier in the day and told us about it.  It was actually in the other ward but we went to support them and then President and Sister Reeder came as well. They were really happy to have them.  Of course, pictures include all of us.  I don't know why they want us but they always ask us to come be in the picture.

We trust and pray all is well with all of you.  All our best.

Jon and Kathlene

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