Friday, May 27, 2016

26 May 2016

It is a week today since we arrived home in Utah.  The trip home was without event but was long and tiring.  We had a very enjoyable time in Manila and this short update is to record some of our events while in Manila for a day and a half.   Following are some pictures of our time there with captions.
Dinner on Tuesday night at Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Manila.  We were
in the Newport Mall across the street from the Remington Hotel
where we stayed.  $$$$$$$ but worth every bite.

Outside the Tunnel on Corregidor Island.  They used this
as a place of security and storage.  Used both by Americans
and Japanese after they took over the island.

We had a very nice evening in Manila on Tuesday and then on Wednesday we left the hotel early to get to the port to go to Corregidor.  This is an island at the opening of the Bay of Manila.  It was a very important location for hundreds of years as military placements located there controlled the Bay of Manila.  Americans were there before WWII along with Filipinos but were bombed by the Japanese during the war.  Ultimately, the commanding officer for the US forces surrendered to the Japanese.  General McArthur had been here and was removed before the surrender to the Philippines and then on to Australia.  He vowed he would be back, and he did come about 2 years later and retook the island.  The island is now a Memorial to all those who fought and died there.

One of the many statues on the island commemorating the
soldiers who fought and died here.

A ticket to the island buys you a ferry ride to and from the island (about 85 minutes each way); a buffet lunch and a guided tour on an open bus over the entire island.  We left the island at 2:30 in the afternoon and got back to the hotel about 4:00.  Just enough time to pack and get ready for the next morning departure from the hotel at 4:00 am.  The plane left at 8:00 am. We had a 3.5 hour flight to Tokyo; a 9.5 hour flight to Portland; and a 2 hour flight to SLC arriving at 1:00 pm.  About a 23 hour day from when we left the hotel.
Another battery but this one was with long range guns.
Some of the bombed out ruins on the island.

A view of the extended tail of the island.
 The picture is taken from
This is Manila from the boat that took us to Correggidor.
Upon arrival at the airport with Kathlene's parents and 2 of my sisters.
I, Kathlene, would like to add my testimony as we finish our mission to the Philippines.  I am so grateful that we could serve the Lord in the Naga Philippines mission.   I know that the Lord blesses the lives of the people who serve Him.  I came back so grateful for all which I have been blessed with.  Most of the people have so little, yet they are so willing to share.    It was a wonderful experience to work with the people there.  They were so kind, thoughtful and gracious. I realized how the Lord loves all of his children.  I love the people of the Philippines.  I love working with the missionaries and listening to their strong testimonies, realizing most of them come from very poor circumstances.  We tried to teach them and give them hope...for a better life.  To quote Elder D. Todd Christopherson " It is God's will that we be free from the humilitating limitations of proverty".  I pray that the gospel of Jesus Christ can be spread throughout the Philippines, to bring the effects of gospel living to not only the members of the church but to all the Filipino people.  As we thought about what we can do to help this people, we realized that money is not the answer,  it is the principles of the gospel that brings about change.  I'm thankful for Apostles and Prophets who lead and guide us.  I'm thankful for my wonderful family which I have been blessed with.  I'm thankful for the Book of Mormon anad it's teachings and warning. I know that the prophet Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and is the prophet of the restorations.  I'm thankful for what the gospel has done to bless my life.  I say this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen

Saturday, May 14, 2016

14 May 2016

Last official post for this blog!

After dinner with the Reeders and Watsons.  This was our last
time together in the Philippines.
There will probably be a short update of our trip to Manila next week but this is officially the last post for this blog.  

We have had a very busy but enjoyable week. We went to Iriga with President and Sister Reeder on Sunday.  We had planned to go anyway and then found out they were going as well so we rode together.  We arrived back home in the afternoon and then had another song practice at the church with the Naga 3rd Ward.  

The week included a piano recital on Wednesday night; a ward going away party on Thursday night; interviews with President and Sister Reeder and dinner on Friday night as well as 2 zone conferences.
At zone conference on Friday.


The pictures tell the story.

Picture taking time after the recital.

Goa Zone Conference

Ward going away party for the Hoopes

Bishop and his family after the party.

Naga Zone Conferenece
Canaman Zone held on same day as Naga Zone
 We had a great week and it was fun to see so many missionaries again.  Wonderful to hear all the kids play songs at the recital who couldn't even find middle C on the keyboard a few weeks ago.  We had an enjoyable interview with President and Sister Reeder.  President Reeder said that we should just consider that we did 18 months of work in 16 months and go home pleased with what we have done.  And everything we had been working on is basically completed.

We have been sorting and cleaning all week.   It is amazing what we have collected over the time here.  Now all has to be reviewed and processed.  Most everything will stay here and be given to someone who can use it.  We intend to come home lite.

It has been a marvelous experience and we are grateful that we had the faith to come here and serve.

We hope to see many of you again.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

7 May 2016

The time is getting short!

Mayon is the name of the perfectly formed volcano on the far left. We have
pictures of this from the other side which is near Buhi where we were
last week.  This picture is taken from the shore east of Goa.  See on the map
below that the road goes along the coast.  We went to where the road turns
straight north to the city of Caramoan.  That is a resort area but too far to
go on a short day.  You can see the mountain Mayon on the map below
in a green circle south of Iriga.  It is outside our mission.

I am starting this post on Saturday but it usually takes me into Sunday afternoon to get it finished. Not that I write for a long time but that there is usually not much to tell about that is different from the past.  This week is a little better. We have been with the Watsons to do some fun things and see some beautiful sights. The rest of the week that I am not going to write about was filled with English tests; piano lessons and meetings; sick missionaries; hospitalized missionaries needing medication, etc.

The mission goes south to about the dotted line near the cities of Iriga and Bato.  On the north it goes clear to the top of the
picture but does not go west.  Lopez on the map is outside our mission.  Buhi is east of Iriga right next to the lake you see on
the map above.  Ibayugen, which we visited a couple of months ago, is on the other side of the lake on the east.  The coast
we are looking at in the picture above is just below that.  See the green circle.  It says Mayon volcano.

The massage therapist is a member in Pasacao.  We didn't
know she did this until just last week.  Elder and Sister
Watson had been once before.

On Tuesday afternoon we were in Pasacao again but not for piano lessons this time.  We were there for some massages.  This lady is a member and she and her brother both do massages.  We didn't opt for a full body massage.

My first time driving a Padyak.  Thank
goodness I didn't go anywhere. 

This is a Padyak.  It is literally a bicycle with a cart attached.  They will haul about 2 people at a time. Sometimes 3.  These things are all over in many of the smaller cities. We really dislike having them on the roads because they are so slow but that is the Philippines.

This is Willy pointing out something to us but it looks like
he is pointing to the volcano Mayon.
Wednesday was a big day for us.  We left at 9 in the morning with the intent to go to Caramoan, a resort area northeast of Naga.  It was supposed to be about a 4 hour drive to get there and we knew ahead of time that we would probably not have time to go all the way.  We took with us, Willy Mayao, who is the security guard at the Mission Home.  He is from Caramoan and was really anxious to go with us. He provided directions on short cuts and all kinds of information about trees and cities and people. We saw some beautiful beaches and some great pictures of the ocean and mountains as shown in the first picture above.

On the way home we saw this truck that was loading Brahma cattle.   Willey told us that the farmers from all around brought their cattle to this point to load on the truck to send to a slaughter house in Manila.  We didn't get a complete understanding of the process but you can see they load some cattle in on a second level.  There is no room for them to stand up. So, of course, it is the smaller/younger ones. They are laying down and then the bottom will be filled with larger cattle.  

If you look close, you can see how they get them up on the second level.  If you get enough men/boys in there, I guess they could lift anything.

Us and the Watsons with Mayon in the background.
Tess Lopez can to teach Sister Hoopes how to make some
Filipino dishes.

This is 2 of the 3 FM group that are our good friends.  Their wives came to lunch with them. The two other faces there are Elders who came to see Sister Hoopes about a medical problem.  Elder Powell on the far right had a bite on his neck which was swelling and he stopped in to have her look at him.  They were just in time for dessert which was Cherry Cheese cake.  Elder Powell said that he thought Cherry Cheese cake could cure anything.

We hope he is doing better today.

That is all for this week.  We have a big week ahead of us.  Activities nearly every day and night. Next Saturday will be the final post from the Philippines.  Take care.  We will be seeing some of you very soon.