Saturday, June 6, 2015

6 June 2015

This week was the same as last week so you can stop reading now if you want to.  We went to a WARD on Sunday; English tests on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday; a visit to a Zone Training on Thursday and office work on Friday.  So I am not going to give a run down of our days but a few little hi-lights of the week.

English Tests:  Continue to be a huge factor for us.  It is all on Sister Hoopes but it requires us to be here and it takes a considerable amount of time.  There are 35 missionaries going home in 3 weeks and there are 23 non-English speaking missionaries who need to take the test.  Each test takes nearly 1.5 hours by the time they do the pre-test; and get all the explanations, etc.  Some can go a little faster if they have been around and can get the explanations ahead of time.  Many have to come from distant areas of the mission and so they try to do the test when they are here for something else. Tuesday was a meeting for the Mission Leadership Council and many of them were here for that so there were several scheduled on Monday night and Tuesday night to accommodate them.  There are still about half left to do in the next 2 weeks.  Sister Hoopes is now discussing the need to study English and the value of the test as we go out to the various District Meetings and Zone Training along with her other concerns about health and cleanliness.

Wednesday was our wedding anniversary.  We stayed home and ate stacked Enchiladas which is our favorite food here.  We can't buy anything that even approaches it so we chose to stay at home and fix that for our anniversary dinner.
We did get President and Sister Reeder in the afternoon to go with us to Shakeys where we each shared a Banana Split which was actually really good.

Language tidbit:  We were shopping this past week and some young person said to me, "Thank you, po".  Po is a word that is meant for respect which was nice but that is not the point of my thought here.  She said "thank you" and I responded with "bitte".  I should have said, you're welcome or something in Tagalog which I don't know but I said "bitte". Bitte is German for "you're welcome".  We both do this all the time.  Sister Hoopes is usually in Spanish. Our minds must be thinking that we need to respond in a foreign language so it grabs the most recent experience.  But why didn't I just come out with the English?  It is beyond me but I laughed about it for a while.

Saturday afternoon we drove to Pasacao, a little branch on the coast to attend a baptism we had been invited to by the Elders.  It is a nice drive and it was a beautiful day.  It is always fun to go to these baptisms.  We were surprised to have President and Sister Reeder show up there as well.  They had a couple of RM's with them (upper right on the photo) who had both worked in Pasacao and knew many of the people there.

MLS update:  Last Sunday we went to an actual Ward in the Naga Stake.  It is in Pili about a half hour away from us.  This Ward has had some real issues with a large number of members who are on the records but no one knows where they are.  We had been there about 2 months ago but they now have a new Bishop and we thought it would be a good time to go back and check in on them.  They sustained 2 YM to receive the Aaronic Priesthood in Sacrament meeting so when I had a chance to talk to the Bishop, I asked him, "How do you get the information on AP ordinations to your Ward Clerk so he can put it in the computer"?  He answered me saying, "I don't know".  When I asked if I could show him how to use the forms and where to get them, he got really excited.  I realized that this probably would have been another situation where ordinations take place but no record is kept. Happens every Sunday across the Mission and probably the country.  Maybe we made some small progress last Sunday.

Brother and Sister
We were invited to a members home on Thursday evening for the Homecoming of their daughter who just returned from the Mindanao Mission.  She is pictured with her brother who got back in March from Australia.  We mentioned this family a few months ago as a missionary family.  They still have a son in another Philippine mission.  He won't finish until next July.

CARS:  Church Automotive Reporting System
I will give an update on this if I ever get going good on it.  (The new reporting system I was trained on and mentioned last week)

The missionary family with us and the Reeders
and 2 Sister Missionaries

Thought for the week:  Some day I will need to describe the challenge of driving in this country.  At times, it is beyond anything you could imagine.  And yet, we see relatively few accidents and the traffic generally does move.  I have found myself getting really angry with the way drivers pass and cut in and I decided last Sunday that I am going to just take it easy and enjoy the ride.  Most of these people have grown up like this and cutting people off is how they drive.  At home, we are so proud and competitive that it makes us angry.  Here, it is their way of life.  If I can make this change in my life, I will be much happier; my blood pressure will be down to normal; and I will be much more in tune with the Lord's way.  Pray for me!!!
Baking cookies for 30 Missionaries at Zone Training

This is how they move a refrigerator in Naga.  Look close.
Just got in from a Piano recital which has been a big thing for my wife.  She played a solo, "A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief" which was just beautiful.  I will give more with pictures next week.  Otherwise next week will be more of the same but the following two weeks are huge.  We have a visiting Area Authority Seventy with a special request for dinner with the Senior Couples and a special twist for us (really Sister Hoopes)  and then transfers with 35 going home. (more next week or the week after)  We will have 2 days of Career Workshop training.  Although we love doing it, it is very draining.  

That's all folks!!!

The Elders took some pants to be fixed and this is
the bag the pants came back in


  1. Elder Hoopes, Thank you so very much for detailing so many wonderful experiences of your mission in Naga. Our son will be entering the Naga mission in August. We feel like we already know the people and areas he will be serving thanks to you.

    1. Hi Brother Davis. Thanks for the comment. We look forward to your son coming to the mission. Let us know a little about you - where you are from, etc. If you have questions that you would like answered, let us know and I will send you my email.

    2. We are from New Mexico, though familiar with some parts of the Philippines having served in the San Pablo and Cebu missions years ago.

  2. I'll pray for you. I sure miss both of you and I know that you are making a big difference in the lives there.

  3. Thank you Elder and Sister Hoopes for this blog we just saw the baptism photo in Pasacao you posted and our son, Elder Bautista, is on it.! How happy and grateful we are upon knowing that he is serving with great leaders. We're always looking forward reading your blog each week. It gives us idea what it looks like there. Thank you for looking after the well-being of our young missionaries. It means a lot to us parents. Continue enjoying your missionary service.

    1. Thanks Brother Bautista for letting us know about your son. We were helping President and Sister Reeder a few weeks ago with all the new missionaries who came in and we had one from Canada. If I am correct, it was Elder Bautista so I think your son is just new here. Let me know if I am wrong. We did say hi again in Pasacao and I can tell you he is doing well and seemed very happy. Pasacao is very beautiful with a nice church and lots of good people. He has a great companion for a trainer and they are teaching a lot of people. It is a place that all the missionaries love. In the picture you refer to, there are 2 RM's who were visiting that week with the Reeders and came to the baptism with the Reeders. Both had served as companions in Pasacao and loved it there. We will pay special attention to your son when we get around him again.

  4. How I wish I could try your "Crispy Hoopes Donuts". I'm so sorry about our driving habit. I think that's how we stay awake behind the wheels. It also keeps our heart active. Mind if I give you my email?