Saturday, October 24, 2015

24 October 2015


It is Saturday afternoon and we have Sister Reeder visiting with us this afternoon.  She and Sister Hoopes are spending some time talking about health issues for each other and missionaries.  We always enjoy spending time with her as she is so positive and fun to be around.  We have been greatly blessed to be able to be with President and Sister Reeder frequently.

At Zone Conference on Thursday.
On Thursday we went to the Canaman Chapel for Zone Conference for the Naga and Canaman Zones.  This was the final conference  this period.  There is so much energy at these meetings as the missionaries just love to get together with each other and they love to be there and be taught by President and Sister Reeder.

Lunch this day was served by some members and was a "stand up" lunch with the rice, Adobo and some other stuff already on the table on banana leaves.  They were to eat it standing up with their hands.  (Plastic gloves were provided) Adobo, by the way, is usually pork pieces in a vinegar sauce.  Most of the missionaries really like it.

I, Sis Hoopes, nnocently started making cookies to take to district meetings and then it turned into zone conferences.   I had to have something so the Elders and Sisters wouldn't get tired of us coming.  But I created a monster,the Cookies Monster.  But, they love them so much I just can't stop.  So...............
Three pineapple cakes covered Zone conference this week.  The cakes are the lazy woman's way of providing treats.  I was going to keep track of the number of cookies I make but that was too much work and then making cookies got to be too much work, so now making cakes is.......OK.

It must have tasted pretty good - most all eaten.
Zone conference was really a treat in of itself this week.  Excerpts from the Leadership training sessions held before general conference April , 2015, was the basis for part of our sessions.  The Apostles and Prophets talked about what we can do to build and help people to keep their testimonies strong.  The strength to keeping or gaining a testimony comes from our committment to Keep the Sabbath day Holy.  The Sabbath has been a covenant day since the creation of the earth.  President Holland said , the Sacrament is an ordinance that we repeat every7 days for the rest of our lives. How important it must be, to be repeated every seven days throughout our lives!!! So with this thought in mind,  keeping the sabbath day means keeping a covenant.  The single most important thing we can do to keep our testimony going is to keep the sabbath day Holy.  Satan does not have a very hard time keeping people away from the Covenant of the Sacrament.  With people now working 7 days a week; stores and businesses open 7 days a week; factories and refineries open seven days a week; recreation facilities open seven days a week; we now have no time for the Sabbath. We are losing such a great blessing in our lives if we don't Sabbath!  There has been a lot of talk about the Shemitah year, or the Sabbath year, if it is important to keep a Sabbath year how much more important is it to keep a sabbath day each week? If we really want to learn to love God, if you have even the smallest desire to honor God, then let it begin and grow through your committment to honor the Sabbath Day.  Just try to approach the day as a day to honor God not just to go to church, but to go and renew an ordinance, that is so important that it is to be renewed, every seven days for life.
Ask yourself, what is the single most important thing I need to do to Honor my Sabbath observance, so I can Honor My God, then DO IT!

We buy Pineapples from this older woman several times a week.  She cuts the outside off and cuts around them to clean them up for our use.  They are all sweet and really good.

We enjoy seeing her daily.

This little shop is right next to the train track.

This is looking down the train track where we cross to go to the mall.  Lots of people live here.  We see them every day.

In every picture of these tracks, I can find a chicken.  Do you see him?

Another picture of the train tracks and 2 chickens.
Christmas is already here.  This is the ACE Hardware
Store in the Mall.  There is Christmas music now
playing throughout the mall.

Well, that is all for this week.  We stayed busy with English testing again; drove to Goa to pickup a Missionary Sister who had chopped her foot with a machete and get her back here for treatment; attended Zone Conference; worked with an insurance adjuster from Manila on the accident from last week....   It seems that we are always busy with something.... and then there is the BLOG to WRITE!
That is all for this week.  Take care all.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

18 October 2015

I am writing this on Sunday afternoon.  I normally try to write on Saturday but we got busy yesterday as I will explain shortly.

A scripture in the Book of Mormon jumped out to me as we were reading this past week.  Alma and his people had just been taken by an army of the Lamanites and were enslaved by them.  They were praying to the Lord for help and verse 13 says:  "The voice of the Lord came to them in their afflictions, saying:  Lift up your heads and be of good comfort, for I know of the covenant which ye have made unto me; and I will covenant with my people and deliver them out of bondage. Vs 14: And I will ease the burdens which are put upon your shoulders, that even you cannot feel them upon your backs, even while you are in bondage; and this will I do that ye may stand as witnesses for me hereafter; and that ye may know of a surety that I, the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."  We see so many people who suffer great afflictions of every kind.  We all know some and maybe it is one of us reading this.  He is always there to help in our times of trial and struggle.  It is up to us to ask for His help.  His promise is the same to us as to the people of Alma.  "I the Lord God, do visit my people in their afflictions."  We must ask in faith and be patient for there may be things we need to learn from the affliction but the Lord has not forgotten us and will lift our burdens and strengthen our hearts.

Our week was a little crazy with one major issue - One of the Elders, while driving one of the vans to an area for exchanges, hit a motorcycle with 2 people on it.  It was at night and about an hour away from Naga.  It is quite an issue.  The people on the motorcycle were taken to the hospital and kept overnight but released the next day.  Thankfully, no major issues that we know of.  The van is impounded at the Police station and we have a lot of paperwork to do before we can get it back.  I have been trying to reach our insurance representative (In Manila) for help.  Between Zone Conferences on Thursday and Friday, and a full day Saturday, we have not made any progress.  That will be the major focus on Monday (tomorrow).  Hopefully, we will get all the things worked out and get the van back so we can get it fixed.  The motorcycle also needs some repair.

The repair man and 2 of the FM guys who work out of the
church next door.  One is a member of the Mission
Presidency.  Great men and good friends.
For a couple of months, we have been hearing a terrible sound like something breaking up or a huge old garage door rolling up and down or even an earthquake. We thought the sound was coming from across the street and every time we would hear it, we would run to the window and try to see where it was coming from.  It usually only lasted 2 to 3 seconds.  Last week, we had just put clothes in the washer and our door was open and Sister Hoopes was outside the door when we heard it again.  It was our washing machine!!!  When it started to spin, it would bang and clang and literally jump around in the wash room.  We called FM (facility maintenance) for repair.  The repairman is a member and has been there numerous times before.  This time it took a lot of work but the machine is doing better.  Thank goodness.  Washing dishes by hand is enough.  To have to wash our clothes by hand - no way!

  We drove to Buhi on Thursday to attend district meeting.  This is a small city an hour a half away but a beautiful nice drive.  On the way, Sister Hoopes noticed this sign on the back of a Jeepney.  I got a little closer so we could get a picture.    It says: BUHINIAN RAPSUDEY

We were heading to BUHI.  Does anyone get this?  My brothers and Sisters should get this.  If you don't get it, check in next week for the "rest of the story".  A hint:  It is a play on words.
One of the many volcano mountains which dot the
landscape here in the Philippines.  This one is very nice.

The Zone Leaders were in Buhi the day we visited and so they rode back to Iriga with us.  We then treated them to lunch at Shakeys Pizza.

The Missionary on the left across from me is from Rock Springs, Wyoming.  I tease him a lot.  Quite a climate change here from Rock Springs but not much of a culture change.

The other one goes home in 2 weeks.  Both are great young men and friends.

This is from the program after the testing.  The students are
standing behind us although this does not show all of them.

We were asked again by a school to test some students on English.  This occurred on Saturday and they asked for 6 of us.  We took 4 Elders and the two of us to the Brentwood College of Asia International School.  We started at 9:00 and were to be done in 3 hours but we went until nearly 3:00 pm.  I think we interviewed about 20 kids ranging in age from 15 to 18 years old.  All were Freshmen in College.  After the interviews, they presented us with certificates during a special program which included some of the students singing. We were treated with great respect and it couldn't have been a nicer day. They were so grateful to us for coming and being with them.

This man is the head of the school.  He just got back in May from a trip to the US which included Utah and Wyoming.  He has a daughter who lives in South Dakota.  Those who have a chance to go to the US always love it.

The lady in the picture is a teacher at the school and is a member of the church.  She was instrumental in getting us there.

If any parents want pictures of their sons, please let me know.  I have pictures of most of them but I am not going to put them on this blog.

There is another TYPHOON out there and this one is a category 4 at this time.

We did not get hit by the Typhoon but were just on the outside edge.  This computer model is quite interesting.  We had rain for two solid days and then today was very nice but it is raining again now as I am writing this.  .

That is all for this week.  Hope everyone is doing well.

By the way:  Naga is in the lower area below the yellow color.  If you haven't found Naga yet on another map, it is almost straight across from the word SEA on the left of the Islands.  Go straight across right and in the white area just below the yellow is where the City is.  Actually, the mission starts about where the yellow ends.  The San Pablo Mission, where Jacob was, is just above our area in the yellow area.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Bishop's Message for Perry 6th Ward Newsletter

Note:  We thought that those not in the Perry 6th Ward might like to see the message we sent them. 
This along with the other letter to the ward will take the place of our normal post for this week.

Dear Perry 6th Ward Members,

We are honored to be asked to write the message for the Ward Newsletter this month.  Our humble message in this newsletter will follow those of the Apostles and Prophets at General Conference.  What more can we say than to “Follow the Prophets” and sustain them by listening to their words and following their counsel.
By the time you read this, we will probably have sustained 3 new Apostles of the Lord.  What an unusual occurrence for this to happen. Pray to have the witness of the Holy Ghost that they are truly called of God.  Learn for yourselves, that all of these men have been called, ordained and set apart to lead us through these wonderful last days in this last dispensation of time.
If you really sustain them, then you will follow their counsel. You show through your actions what you really believe. King Benjamin gave his wonderful message to his people,, it can be read in Mosiah 4.  We would suggest that all of you open your scriptures and read his message.   This message was for us, just as it was for the people of his day.
He tells us “Believe in God; believe that he is, and that he created all things, both in Heaven and in earth; believe that he hath all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend…Believe that ye must repent…and now if ye believe, see that ye do them”.
In this day and age, the world is depending on MAN to solve the problems that we are experiencing. How can we look to man to solve the problems that man created.  We need to look to God to help us get through these troubling times.  Our problems are bigger than our wisdom.  But God knows all things.  He has taught and warned all of his children since Adam and Eve in the garden.  He is still teaching and warning us through his prophets and apostles.
Our message to you faithful Perry 6th ward members is this “Believe in God; that he is, ….that he has all wisdom, and all power,” that he wants the best for us and that he speaks to us today, through His Apostles and Prophets  and “if you believe these things,   See that ye do them”.
We say this in the name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.  Amen

For those of you who wish to know what we are doing on our mission we have a mission blog that you can read. (  We love working with the missionaries and love the people.  We only need to come live in a country such as this to realize how blessed we are at home in Perry. Not one of us has any right to complain.  We have truly been blessed to live under the protection of the gospel principles in our family and community.   There will soon be a post on our blog just for the Perry 6th Ward which will contain more specific information about our mission.

Thursday, October 8, 2015


8 October 2015

Hello to all the wonderful friends of our Perry 6th Ward. This started out to be for the Ward Newsletter in October but after I had it done, I thought it wasn't quite appropriate for the Bishops Message.  So, we are sending it as a special letter to the Ward through the medium of our blog.  

Our going away party with the Augsburg Ward in Germany.

How the time does fly! 

Our mission to Germany flew by and was over so fast.   Our 2nd year anniversary since coming home from Germany was in February and we were already here in the Philippines. Our mission here in the Philippines is now half way over.  When one is busy and enjoying what they do, then the days just disappear.

Many of you probably do not know that this is our second trip to the Philippines.  Over 20 years ago, we traveled here to pick up a son who served in the San Pablo mission which is just north of this mission.  We had a nice visit but after seeing the living conditions; heat and humidity; and all the challenges, we thought that the Philippines would be the last place we would ever visit again.  In fact, when President and Sister Reeder asked us to come and join them here (just after we returned from Germany), we answered “no thanks, we’ve seen the Philippines”.  We are here to testify that the Lord really does soften hearts and change perspectives because a year later, we decided that going back to the Philippines might not be so bad after all and perhaps we might be able to help and assist in some ways.  So, here we are and we have very much enjoyed this opportunity to serve.

Our kitchen whch is quite nice.
We have been very blessed to have nice living accommodations.  In fact, they are better than we had anticipated.  We have running hot and warm water and air conditioning which none of the missionaries have but those who work in the office.  There is also a generator for when the power goes out which is often.  The only drawback is that we have no air conditioning while on emergency power.  

This is the Naga Mission Office.  We live upstairs in the front.
There 2 apartments upstairs.

We do have an old washer and dryer for which we are grateful.  All the missionaries do their clothes by hand as do most of the Filipinos.  If we could just eliminate the bugs and lizards that frequent our living quarters, life would be much more tolerable.

It is amazing what they carry on motorcycles, bicycles,
Jeepneys and Tricies.
We do have a car and it is a blessing as it would be so difficult to get around anywhere on a schedule that we would be terribly unproductive.  But that little blessing also brings its' own set of challenges.  Driving here is like nothing you have ever seen or experienced.  Imagine a little road with 2 lanes – one for each direction.  But that is frequently turned into a 4 to 6 lane road.  How they can squeeze a Jeepney and a car side by side into a single lane with a motorcycle is simply amazing.  

Cars, motorcycles, jeepneys, etc. pass on the right or left side as desired regardless of oncoming traffic. 
This is a family going home after Stake Conference.
All on one motorcycle.
Everyone just seems to know that someone will move so they can go where they want to.  If this system were tried at home, there would be all out war every time you got into your car.  Here, everyone just lives with it and it is okay.  There are no stop signs and only 2 traffic lights in this entire city.  The system works, however.  When you come to a cross road, you just poke your nose out a little at a time until somebody stops for you and then you go on through.  Easy!

We have been blessed to meet many wonderful people here.  We love them all.  The members are so humble and gracious and just love to have us visit at church whenever we can.  We do travel around a lot and visit branches mostly on Sundays.  We try to go to a Missionary District meeting or Zone training meeting every week and support and teach them.  We love being around them and they treat us with the same love back.  Maybe it helps that Sister Hoopes feels it is her duty to supply home baked cookies, cake, or brownies each time we go to a missionary event. 

Piano lessons in Pamplona.
 We stay busy with piano lessons (Sister Hoopes); English testing for non English speaking Missionaries; Mission Vehicles; training for Branch Presidencies in MLS; teaching in workshops and other missionary leadership training; visiting and helping sick missionaries; shopping for groceries and everything else we need; washing clothes; washing dishes; cooking food including treats for missionaries and traveling to branches for church on Sundays. 
A baptism in Sipocot.  Of course, they want us in
their pictures every time.  
We try to go to as many baptisms as we can which are generally held on Saturdays.  We love being out and around the people.  They are so kind and humble and pleasant.
We see President and Sister Reeder often and it has been a blessing to us to be able to serve with them.  They are doing well and know the time is progressing rapidly.  Unfortunately, you will see us before you see them as we are being released on June 16, 2016.  Yes, we already know the date and will be home in time for Fathers Day.  The Reeders will not be leaving until around July 1, 2016. 
Out to Shakey's for a Banana Split for OUR anniversary.

We have been greatly blessed and know that we are where we should be right now.  Our eyes are opened every day to how much we have compared to these wonderful and humble people who have so little.  We love them and are grateful the Lord opened our hearts and blessed us to come here to serve.  We love all of you and miss you and pray that the Lord will watch over and bless you.

In the name of Jesus Christ,  Amen.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

3 October 2015

Already October!

President and Sister Reeder have been moving all week.  A new Mission Home has been built next to the Canaman Chapel (Stake Center) and they are finally in it as of today.  Things were being moved from the old Home on Monday through Wednesday.   They spent Thursday and Friday nights in a hotel in Naga and have finally moved into the new Home today.  We had them over to our humble apartment last night for leftovers and then we were at their place today with dinner provided by Sister Hoopes again.  It was an effort to help them out with all they have going on.  The new Mission Home is very nice but we all miss the old one already.  The old home is actually bigger but it also has an outside annex which is used to sleep missionaries who come in for meetings and to also hold meetings.  That is no longer available and all meetings will have to be held in the church next door to the new Mission Home.  Missionaries coming in for meetings or going home will have to stay in hotels or with other missionaries as space permits.  It is a lot of change for everyone but more especially for the Reeders.

The other change that is happening is that the church next to where we live is going to be torn down and replaced.  That will start sometime in December or January so we are told.  It has been decided that the annex at the old Mission Home will be converted into the meeting house for Sunday meetings and the Mission Home will be used for offices and classrooms.  We will stay where we are but there will be construction all around us.  We just hope they leave us some room for parking the mission vehicles.

Two Elders from the office came home on Wednesday night
after being out all day moving things from the old Mission
Home.  Sister Hoopes invited them in for left overs.  They
seemed quite grateful.

In reading from the Book of Mormon last week in 2 Nephi 33: I was touched again by his words.  This is one of the last things that Nephi writes to his children and to us "as one crying from the dust".  In verse 2, he writes that "there are many that harden their hearts against the Holy Spirit that it hath no place in them...and cast away many things..." It is so clear to see that it is always us who pulls away. It is not that the Spirit leaves us as much as it is that we push it out and won't allow it a place inside of us.  It comes down to what we really want. Let's strive to push out our defiant attitudes rather than the Spirit of God.  We do that by humbling ourselves and praying that the Lord will help us to open and change our hearts that there may be place inside us for the Spirit to dwell.

We went to Iriga Zone Training on Friday.  This is a picture of the entire zone and some of the pizzas that were ordered for lunch.  We enjoyed being with them and seeing so many of the new missionaries who just arrived the week before. They all seem to be doing well.

We started English testing again on Monday and will be busy for the next 4 Mondays with these tests.  Some days will be very large.

That is all for this week.  If you want to see a review of our lives in the Philippines, read the Letter to the Perry 6th Ward which will be posted here later this week.