Sunday, September 27, 2015

27 September 2015

I started my normal "time to do the blog WHINE" about noon on Saturday and Sister Hoopes volunteered to write something and that took the rest of the day.  You can see it on the post dated 26 September 2015.  We both decided it would be best to just put some pictures in another post and call it good for this week.

It was a busy week but it was also a  GREAT week!  It was transfer week which means we taught the Workshop for missionaries going home and were involved in the orientation of the new missionaries coming in.  We also attended a District Conference meeting in Pamplona on Sunday where an Area Authority Seventy was in attendance.  It is always fun to attend these things.

Following are some pictures and comments on the week.
Some Elders from the Pamplona District.  This is after the Confernece.
Brother Bautista, your son got his package this day.

The Elder with the glasses is from Henderson, NV.  He was in
for an eye checkup.  He was just made a trainer which is
great for him.

Sister Hoopes took some treats down to this group on Sunday
evening.  They were standing around in the parking lot
which is so common on Sunday night.  The next thing we
know, they are all at the door wanting water and ended
up with more of the treats.  Ummm???

This is during break at our workshop on Tuesday.

The group from the workshop after completion.

We received 25 new missionaries on Wednesday.  There were 10
North Americans this time.  It was really great to see and
visit with them.

Some interesting tidbits about this group from America:

One of them is a Teichert from Cokeville, Wyoming.

The other is named Sessions from Mt. Home, Idaho.  When he met us, he said, "Oh, I have relatives who are named Hoopes".
His mother's sister is married to Gary Hoopes.  Son of Tex Hoopes.  It is really a small world.
This is all of the new missionaries for the benefit
of the parents of some who may read this blog.
This was in the Presidents home just before the new missionaries
arrived.  This is a sister Missionary.  She stood there with her
hand on Sister Hoopes' shoulder the whole time.

26 September 2015

Who cares about the Shemitah?

(By Sister Hoopes)

Blood Moon.   On Sept. 28 will be a Super Blood Moon.
Super because the moon will be at it's closest point
to the earth.  Will be very easily seen from Jerusalem.
There has been lot of talk about the ending of the Shemitah Cycle of 2014-2015, which ended on September 13, 2015 THIS YEAR.  There has been talk about the possible crash of the stock market again, at the end of the Shemitah Year, as it did in 2008, 2001, 1987, 1931. But, for the naysayers, it didn't happen on September 13, this year.  All is well in Zion, let's move on! But, I am thankful because of all the talk. I have learned more about the Old and the New Testaments than I have ever done before.  I  have come to learn that God talks to his people and He warns His people and He has done it for centuries.  I have learned that the God of the Old Testament, speaks to us today and because I have  listened, I have studied and I have learned.  I have learned so much from the mouth of a Jew, by which I have come to understand more about the Jewish symbolism and the Jewish ways, and Jewish rejection of the Messiah and the signs of the times given to God's ancient people as well as His people today. I have been fascinated as we listen to the Words of Isaiah from the mouth of a Jew and find that those very scriptures were so important to Nephi that he included them in the Book of Mormon as another witness for our day.  So, are we going to keep on listening or are we going to dismiss the events of this month as all hype or drama? Do I believe tomorrow is the end of the earth? No way, there is still too much work to do.

Maybe, the signs of the times, are still there, but we may be failing to look for them and see them. God reveals to those who seek.  I personally saw many signs that I feel will change the world.  We listened and made changes that kept us personally from losses in the stock market.  We added to our food storage, we prayed for leaders to come forth and stand for truth and righteousness.  We looked inside ourselves and searched for the things for which we need to repent and we need to change.  And we looked to see how the Jewish Holidays and Gods Laws and warnings fit into our religious history and the Restoration of the Gospel. We pondered and studied the words of the latter day Prophets.

Lehi, left Jerusalem in 600 BC. Was it a Shemitah year?  He heeded the warning of destruction? 
2 seven year cycles later, in 586 BC, Jerusalem was destroyed. Did Lehi enter the promised land in a Shemitah or a Jubilee year?  I don't know, but we know that they lived the Law of Moses. It was  the un-corrupted Law of Moses that they took with them. See Alma 25:16.They would have celebrated the Shemitah or Sabbath Year, during their years of righteousness. God warned his people to leave to protect the righteous in the Book of Mormon. How many times? Study and find out.

It has been a blessing to us to study and learn , again, by the mouth of a Jew. By the way, it was a Messianic Jew, a believer in Yeshua, or Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel.  Are we not the House of Israel ourselves?  Do we not have Patriarchal Blessings that give our lineage and give us blessings and warnings.  Don't we have God speaking to us in our everyday lives?  Yes, I do.  Am I thankful that I have signs and warnings given through the Gift of the Holy Ghost as well as the Gift of the Holy Scriptures and the gift of the Holy Prophets? Yes, I am.

My Patriarchal Blessing not only told me, that I was of the House of Israel through Ephraim, but also

"You shall be a blessing unto many and shall see the church grow and see many eventful things happen and shall assist His people to prepare for the great day of His Glory."

I testify to you that I have already seen many eventful things (9/11), and this Shemitah year I have seen eventful things that will change the world, just like 9/11.  They may not be as dramatic as the burning towers of 9/11 but they will be just as eventful and life changing. May we as a people prepare ourselves, so that we can be a part of the "Great "and not the Dreadful day of His coming. Whether it is great or dreadful will depend on our own preparation for the "Great Day of His Glory" ..

Watch on Sunday, September 28, the last of the 4 blood moons that have occurred.  Two last year and two in this Shemitah Year - all four on Jewish High Holy Days.  Is God warning us? Of course, He is and of course He has! And of course He will in the future.
We received this warning on September 23, 1995 from the First Presidency and the Apostles of God.

"WE WARN that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God.  Further, WE WARN that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. 
 WE CALL UPON responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society".

What did you see this Shemitah Year?  What are you going to do about it?  It starts with you  and it starts with me!

Sorry, but we'll do a blog later this week.  I just got carried away with my thoughts and warnings.  
May we listen and obey, that is my prayer for all of us, at this great and eventful time in the History of Gods world.  I bear this testimony of Gods love for us by His warnings to us, in the name of Jesus Christ Amen.
Joseph Smith received the 1st Vision in the Jubilee Year  1820( a year of blessing)
Joseph Smith received the plates on September 23, 1827. On the very day of the   Feast of the Trumpets in a Shemitah year.
1917-1918- A Jubilee Year, the British took Palestine, from the Turks, without a shot being fired. AND  The Vision of the Redemption of the Dead to Pres. Joseph F. Smith - A Jubilee Year
Jerusalem returned to the Jews in 1966-67, following the 6 day War.   A Jubilee Year. 
September 23, 1995: The Family:  Proclamation to the WORLD  by a prophet of God, Gordon B. Hinckley. The warning year following the Shemitah year of 1993-1994.

Who cares about the Shemitah??? We all should!!!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

19 September 2015

Sister Missionaries for dinner on Sunday night.  They
tend to get left out because they are not around the office
very much like the office Elders.
I am calling this VACATION WEEK!  I mentioned last week that there is a celebration here called Penafrancia.  It started a week ago Friday.  We have heard all about this celebration since we arrived here.  President and Sister Reeder told us to not plan anything this week and to just stay home.  Not because it is unsafe but because there are thousands of people who come in from outside areas to participate in the celebration and traffic is terrible.

When the celebration started last week on Friday the main road in front of our building was shut down just past us where it crosses the river and goes into downtown Naga.  All roads in downtown Naga were closed.  There is a statue of someone (probably Penafrancia) which is taken from the old Catholic church and moved in a procession to a downtown area where it sits for over a week while other festivities go on.  Then tomorrow, the statue will be taken in another procession back to the church.

Wednesday morning waiting for parade to start.  In
front of our building.
 What goes on during the week?  There are parades nearly every day.  The first parade was on Wednesday and the road in front of us was completely shut down starting at 6:00 am.  People were already gathering at that time and the road was completely full by 7:00 but the parade didn't actually start until later - about 9 to 9:30.  Then it went until early afternoon.  Mostly younger kids from girl scounts and boy scouts; elementary schools, etc.  All of them wore uniforms of some kind and many played drums and a portable xylephone.  We heard many familiar tunes including the Hymns of the US Marine, US Navy, US Army, and US Air Force.
Waiting for parade to start.  The leader of these girls is a
member and she brought them to our parking
lot to have chairs and wait for the parade to start.
 We also heard Stars and Stripes Forever; When Johnny comes Marching Home Again and some song that we didn't recognize but it made us feel like we were in Disneyland on the "It's a Small World" ride for 8 hours.  That was all on Wednesday.  Our apartment overlooks the road below and so we could see quite well. We are somewhat obstructed by a large tree and the stairwell.  So, when it was too hot or wet, we could still watch and certainly hear from our apartment.  The parade on Thursday was not so eventful and didn't last as long but the Friday parade made up for everything. There were groups from High Schools, Colleges, Universities along with military, ROTC and anyone else who could get in. There were 750 groups which participated and it started at 7:00 am prompt and went until 2:30 in the afternoon without a break of any kind.  The only slowdown was a huge downpour mid day but all the groups kept going.   I will post more pictures of the parade further down.

Our Bishop and his family.  The tallest girl in between was
the one who got baptized.  
On Monday, the Bishops daughter, was baptized.  It was her birthday that day and another little girl from the other ward in our building was also baptized that night.  This is the little girl who Sister Hoopes started teaching piano lessons to when we first got here and who has done amazingly well. She and her sisters speak English as if they were Americans because that is their language at home.

Isa came to our home on Monday night after her baptism with her mother to bake some cupcakes for her birthday party the next day.  She was here without her sisters and just helped a little; chatted, smelled all the DoTerra bottles; and looked at all our pictures.  She had a lot of fun being here by herself.  At one point she kind of skipped into the kitchen and I heard her kind of sing or say outloud to herself, "I feel so good"!!!
Isa and her sisters with her mom behind.

We were invited to the birthday party on Tuesday night.  Sister Hoopes offered to help bring something and was asked to make some hot dog buns for the party.  She spent all day on Tuesday working on the "pigs in a blanket" style hot dogs for the party.  It was definitely different from our birthday parties.  There were a lot of her friends there but apparently when you invite a child, you also get his/her parents and all the family.  So there were lots of older people there.

The "pigs in a blanket" prepared by Sister Hoopes.  80 of them.

Besides a full spread of food in the other room, Sister Bigtas
made all these cupcakes and cookies.  Very nice!!!
Right at the beginning fo the parade on Friday.  They stretch back
a long way.

Parade watchers taking shelter under our awning to the office.
We were watching from the stairwell above.  

The Stake Presidents Family side business.  This is
called a Tricie (???) most cart people.  This one
is a cart for selling Shomai.  A chinese item with pork and vegies
in a pastry wrap.  I think they are boiled.  We bought them heated
and they are very tasty.

Stake President selling the Shomai to us.  You can see what
they look like.  You add soy sauce, or sweet, or HOTTTTT.

A picture of one of the brass bands.  Most were drums and Xylophones.

A lot of things happened last week but nothing that I really need to comment on.  I will point out that there was a 8.3 earthquake in Chili; Europe is being invaded by thousands of Muslims; continued weakness in our financial system; China's economy imploding and they have started "dumping" US Treasuries of which they hold or held 1.2 Trillion $.  Perhaps I should comment on what didn't happen.  While I was expecting a major market crash that didn't really occur on a given day, it is interesting to note that the Dow Jones Industrial Avg is down over 2000 points in 3 weeks. Interesting!!!  By my calculation that is over 10%.  So not a single day record drop but certainly huge over the course of a few weeks.

 Also, we are approaching Sept. 23 which is the Day of Atonement for Israel or Yom Kippur (the most holy of days for the Jews) and then on Sept. 28 is the Blood Moon which is the last of the 4 (2 from last year and 2 from this).  The last time this will happen for 500 years.

There is still a need for our country to repent and turn back to God and again be a support and strength to Israel.  Short of that, we will come under judgement.

Until next week.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

12 September 2015

This is Baao after a rain storm.  We came home
from an Iriga District Mtg and drove through this.
Yesterday, Friday, in Naga began a week long celebration called Penafrancia.  That is the name of a very old Catholic church here in Naga that is supposed to be quite the tourist site.  We haven't been through it yet but is the Penafranchia church.  Yesterday, all downtown roads were closed so no traffic could get into or through the downtown area.  Our main road in front was closed further up before it went into the downtown area so we still had access to our church, apartment and parking.  We are supposed to be okay until Wednesday of next week when our road, Panganiban, will be closed for parades on Wednesday through Friday.
This rice field we showed a few weeks ago just before planting.
This is with the rice now tall and green.  It is a really beautiful
rice field.
Apparently, there will also be something on Saturday but I didn't hear about any parades that day.  This celebration is for the whole region of Bicol and it usually brings thousands of people in from all over. We have been told that we should just stay in the apartment and not try to drive anywhere next week.  We are planning to do just that.  It could be a long week but our apartment looks out on the road where the parades will go so we could have an air conditioned box seat for all of the parades.  It would be a good site except we have this huge tree which obstructs most of our view of the road.  I am sure we will have some interesting pictures next week.

Last week I wrote about this weekend of the Shemitah.  We are now on Saturday and wondering what this coming week or weeks might bring.  Some of the things we have read concerning this refer to the Lord's judgements as a "shaking".  That is a very descriptive word in that it might mean a way of getting someone's attention or even a warning.  Jonathan Cahn, who we have talked about previously refers to the events around the Shemitah as a shaking.  I remembered in our reading of the Book of Mormon when Nephi was commanded to build a ship and his brothers thought he was crazy and refused to help him.  Nephi tried to change their hearts but they were even more angry and were going to throw him into the sea.  The Lord told him to stretch forth his hand and that He (the Lord) would shock them.  1 Nephi 17:53.  vs. 54: ...I stretched for my hand unto my brethren, and they did not wither before me; but the Lord did SHAKE them... and in vs 55 his brothers said,"for we know that it is the power of the Lord that has SHAKEN us."  This was a shaking that the brothers of Nephi felt and recognized as coming from the Lord and it changed their attitudes.  At least for the time being.  But they repented for a while and did what the Lord wanted them to.  I can only hope that we will recognize the "shaking" which is coming as a warning from the Lord and let it be the moving force to help this nation and each of us individually desire to repent and return to God.
Elder Legler on the left is leaving the office and we
had a lunch which he helped prepare.  These
are all office Elders.

We buy pineapple from this old lady as we come home from the
mall.  She is really sweet and friendly.  Her granddaughter is always
with her.

 We drove to Calabunga on Thursday to a district meeting.  We had never been to this area or chapel before.  The views are quite beautiful as you can see.  This is the large mountain which is called Isarog.  Of course, an extinct volcano.

An old Catholic church that we passed on the way
to Calabunga.  This was really old and looks
very Spanish.

This is the District in Calabunga.  We always text a few days ahead of the meeting and ask if we can come and have some time on the agenda.  When we got to this meeting, they informed us that in their previous meeting, they had decided to speak all English in this meeting.  At the time, they were unaware that we would be attending but they were really excited that we were coming to be with them and it was a really great day there with them.  One of the Elders is from Australia and so they have someone to really help them with their English even if it does sound a little funny.

We hope all is well for all of you and that you are learning what the Lord expects of you.  Until next week.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

5 September 2015

September already !!!

Today, I am going to write a little about the Shemitah. You may not have heard of the Shemitah but in one week on September 13, 2015, it will be the ending of the Shemitah Year.  This is a Hebrew word and references biblical times where the Lord commanded all Israel to remember the Sabbath year.  They had their Sabbath day once a week, 1 day out of 7,  as we do. But they also had a Sabbath year. The 7th year was to be a year of blessing and renewal.  No crops were to be planted or harvested and all debts and obligations were forgiven at the end of the Shemitah.  In other words, all accounts to be wiped clean - a cleansing in essence and of course a symbol of the coming Atonement of the Savior.  It was a year of blessing to the Israelites if they were righteous but if wickedness prevailed, it could be a year of judgement.  The timing of the Shemitah is based upon the Hebrew calendar, not ours.  The Shemitah ends on the month of Elul and the day is the 29th or the last day of the month of Elul.  That day on our calendar this year is September 13.
So, what does this mean for us?  You decide, but it is quite interesting to note that the largest stock market crash in history happened on Elul 29 in 2008.  The largest crash before that happened on Elul 29 in 2001.  Going back in time it is fascinating to see how many things have occurred on, about, or during the Shemitah year.

A view of the city of Jerusalem from the BYU Center.  This is
from our trip to Israel in 2007.  See the Muslim Dome of the Rock
in the left center.  That is the old temple site.
As we consider the ending of the Shemitah year in 2015, We need to ponder on how the Lord looks upon this nation, the Land of Promise, the United States.  We have become virtually a "lawless" nation overnight; 52 million unborn infants have been murdered (the most innocent and defenseless of all); and we now know the unspeakable truth of what is being done with those little bodies in many instances; government is corrupt from top to bottom; the family is being destroyed and the nation believes that money is the resolution of all problems.  Perhaps the greatest concern of all is that America has turned it's back upon God's covenant people, not only the land of Israel but are we not His covenant people as well?   How can God stay the judgement that is to come?

The wailing wall at the base of the temple site.  Also from
our trip to Israel in 2007.
(For those who want to know more, read The Mystery of the Shemitah by Jonathan Cahn a Jewish Rabbi who is now a "born again" Christian.  Or go to YouTube and search for his name and the Shemitah and you will find two dozen videos of his speeches and interviews.  He also wrote "The Harbinger" (or the warnings) which Isaiah 9:10  prophecy's about Israel in ancient days but is manifesting again now in America.  Nephi includes this scripture in the Book of Mormon in 2 Nephi 19:8.   Also, the Shemitah is tied to much more than just the stock market. It has affected wars; the rise and fall of nations; plagues, and could even manifest in natural disasters and terrorist attacks) .

So what does this mean for us.   It is time for us to take a hard look at our own lives and make our lives right with God.  Isaiah 's call to Israel to repent is also our call to repentance.  May we listen and make our hearts broken and our spirits contrite, then we will not follow defiant Israels road to destruction.
I pray that the Lord will bless those who prepare themselves in every way for that which is coming.

Office Elders for leftovers.

In the land of coconut, there is no sweetened flaked
coconut so Sister Hoopes made her own.  She bought
coconut at the market and had them grind it and then she
 sugared and dried it.

Cookies with the new coconut and a pineapple cake for
Zone Training on Friday. One of the ZL's said to me
"I hope I get another piece of pineapple cake before I go home"
That is in December.

A picture of 4 Sisters as we arrived in Daet yesterday.  Notice
the face in the mirror.

Sister Reeder is always taking pictures of the missionaries.

The Daet Zone.
The week went by really fast as we had a huge day on Monday with 6 English tests completed that day.  Both of us were involved all day long with preparation and actual testing.  We did two more on Tuesday.  We now have a manageable number left before they all go home on September 23.

The other notable event was traveling to Daet on Friday with President and Sister Reeder for a Zone Training meeting and interviews.  President and Sister Reeder met with all the missionaries for their regular interviews and we participated in the Zone Training.  It is always a fun day to be around the missionaries! Also fun to be with President and Sister Reeder.

That is enough for this week!