Wednesday, April 30, 2014

30 April
Seems like April Fools Day was about a week ago.

I got up pretty early and got over to the church and set up to do watercolor class. Not so many came and no investigators. I was a little bummed, but it was pretty fun and the time flew.

Maybe we will get more people, and maybe we will run the class again in June, or something.

We zipped up to Culasi to take cargo to the Elders in Culasi and Bugasong. We stopped in Bugasong to have lunch on the way back. It was terrible. I hate to wast my one meal a day on crappy food. We are learning where not to eat, but it may take a while. There are few good places, so we keep hunting and trying.

We got back to San Jose and tried to locate the Zone Leaders so we could go teach with them, but we haven't heard from them. I finally texted them and told them to try us next week. We are pooped out from the day.

Then, we received a text from an Elder the mission is transferring up to Culasi. You guessed it, we are heading back there tomorrow hauling him, his luggage, and pianos for the branch meetings. We are going to see Sister Lorna and Sister Mary Tess tomorrow afternoon, but we will have to hump as they are in the opposite end of the District in Hamtic.

We want to walk in the morning. Something has gotten in the way every
day since last Saturday. I am feeling terrible. When I don't walk, the arthritis kicks up. It seems counter to what one might think. Pics from the travel today:
It was about a thousand degrees today and look at how these construction workers were dressed. The guy in the pale pink coveralls kills me. The only way I could work in that get-up was if they were shooting me with a hose all day. All those clothes, and they were all wearing flip-flops for footwear. Cool feet . . . cool body? Nah. . .
Fishing boats anchored off shore above Bugasong. They fish at night with lights to attract fish.
Clouds captured my attention.
This Sister has a few miles on her. I had to snap the picture and I want to draw her in pencil. Wish I had the language to talk to her and ask her questions, maybe even share the Gospel with her.
This here's lefty. Poncho is down out of the picture. They hang around the outside light at night waiting for the bugs that are attracted to the light. These cats and there brothers, sisters, off-spring  are all over the house. They are fun and they keep the bugs down.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

April 29, Tuesday
We got out the door early this morning to get a cake from the bakery for Elder Bohman's birthday. We noticed the roads were very busy for a Tuesday morning. Before we knew it, we were in the middle of a vicious traffic snarl of cars, trikes, jeepnies and busses. San Jose is celebrating a "social festival" this week. I think it's just a way to celebrate something and have something to do. There were marching bands, sort of a parade, and hundreds of people walking in colored T-shirts. The shirts all said the same thing, but were of different colors. Those with like colors walked together.

Long story shortened, we were late for district meeting, but we finally got a cake for treats. Sister Raplye said, "thanks for having a birthday Elder Bohman."

We went to Sister Lorna's for a lesson this afternoon. She is a great member missionary. She invites her friendswhite and family to hear the Gospel. Today, her close friend, Sister Marysel was there. The lesson was extremely spiritual. Sister Marysel is looking and she sees the joy the Gospel has brought to Sister Lorna's . Sister Marysel now has a baptism date too. The field is white.

We got plywood boards ready for art tomorrow. Hope that is not a bust.

I read the Book of Mormon tonight, pondering and praying after each page. I received no startling revelation, but I loved the hour and the prayer. I read, starting at 2Nephi:17 where Nephi gives his Psalm. I love the Psalm. I read through 2Nephi 10. Jacob teaches the atonement powerfully, and he reads Isaiah to his family. Isaiah speakers messianically, so I read it as if The Lord was doing the talking. I could not believe how much easier it was to understand. Good study tonight.

Painting in the morning at 7:00. Then we are zipping up to Culasi to take cargo to them (cargo being mail and media). We will take the Elders to lunch, then rip back to go out teaching with the Zone Leaders. They have some they want us to meet. Busy days are good days.

Monday, April 28, 2014

28 April 2014

Sister S. and I went to Guimaras today to visit with Elder and Sister Taylor, the other geezer missionaries in the Iloilo Mission. They are from Salem, Oregon. We met them at the Ortiz Warf, after being lost for a while in Iloilo. We rode a pump boat across the straight and went around the island a bit, sight seeing. We stopped at he Mango Festival and bought a few and had a fresh mango drink. It was great.
Parked at the mango festival.
Pump boat. They load about 50 people and take them to the far island in this picture, around the point. It costs about 40 pesos each. The men who work on the boat run around the outriggers and help people on and off the boat. The engine vibrated so hard that my nose itched all the way across. On the way back, we sat a little further forward.    

I have been reading the Book of Mormon. I started again three days ago after reading about Elder Clayton Christensen of he Seventy. Michael and Emily and the fam gave me a book for Christmas by him and I really liked the book. It is called, The Power of Everyday Missionaries. I started following him a bit. He is something of a scholar and  has written about his experience with the Book of Mormon. I am sharing it here: 

"I had been given a Rhodes Scholarship to study at Oxford University in England. After I had lived there for a few weeks, far away from the supportive environment in which I had been raised, it became clear that adhering to Mormonism in that environment was going to be very inconvenient. In fact, doing the sorts of things I described in the first part of this essay within the Mormon congregation in Oxford would preclude my participation in many of the things that had made Oxford such a rich experience for prior recipients of my scholarship. I decided, as a result, that the time had come for me to learn for certain and for myself whether Mormonism was true. 

I had read the Book of Mormon before – seven times, to be exact. But in each of those instances I had read it by assignment – from my parents or a teacher – and my objective in reading it was to finish the book. This time, however, my objective was to find out if it was a true book or a fabrication. Accordingly, I reserved the time from 11:00 until midnight, every night, to read the Book of Mormon next to the fireplace in my chilly room at the Queen’s College. I began each of those sessions by kneeling in verbal prayer. I told God, every night, that I was reading this to know if it was His truth. I told Him that I needed an answer to this question – because if it was not true I did not want to waste my time with this church and would search for something else. But if it was true, then I promised that I would devote my life to following its teachings, and to helping others do the same. 

I then would sit in the chair and read a page in the Book of Mormon. I would stop at the bottom of the page and think about it. I would ask myself what the material on that page meant for the way I needed to conduct my life. I would then get on my knees and pray aloud again, asking the Lord to tell me if the book was true. I would then get back in the chair, turn the page, and repeat the process, for the remainder of the hour. I did this every evening.
After I had done this for several weeks, one evening in October, 1975, as I sat in the chair and opened the book following my prayer, I felt a marvelous spirit come into the room and envelop my body. I had never before felt such an intense feeling of peace and love. I started to cry, and did not want to stop. I knew then, from a source of understanding more powerful than anything I had ever felt in my life, that the book I was holding in my hands was true. It was hard to see through the tears. But as I opened it and began again to read, I saw in the words of the book a clarity and magnitude of God’s plan for us that I had never conceived before. The spirit stayed with me for that entire hour. And each night thereafter, as I prayed and then sat in that chair with the Book of Mormon, that same spirit returned. It changed my heart and my life forever.

It was as if I had been looking out as far as I could see toward the horizon, and had been quite satisfied that I could see everything that there was to see. When I undertook to read the Book of Mormon in that manner, however, I discovered that so much more beauty and truth about who we are and what God has in store for us, lies beyond that old horizon. I did not know what I did not know.

I love to go back to Oxford. As the beautiful, historic home of the world’s oldest university, the town is filled with students and tourists. To me, however, it is a sacred place. It is there that I learned that the fundamental message of the Book of Mormon is in fact true – that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. It is there that I learned that God is indeed my Father in Heaven. I am His son. He loves me, and even knows my name. And I learned that Joseph Smith, the man who translated the Book of Mormon and organized the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, was a prophet of God in the same sense that Peter and Moses were prophets. I love to return to Oxford to remember the beautiful, powerful spirit that came to my heart and conveyed these messages to me." (Christensen, Clayton M., Mormon Scholars, December 2009)

I have copied, sort of, Elder Christensen's methods. I kneel and pray and read, making notes at the end of pages regarding the things I learn and feel are pertinent to my life. I read for an hour and pray again, asking for an undeniable, unforgettable, revelation from the Spirit that the book is true. It is a little redundant, because I have come to know it is true. I hope that I am not offending the Lord, but I want this and hope that He will manifest it to me. If not, well, I have had some revelations from reading the pages that mean a lot to me. Maybe that is my answer and it is not going to be a breast pounding experience. Reading through his description, I probably need to pray more. Maybe if I bug the Lord at the end of every page, He will just say,"Okay, Okay, It is true . . .go to bed."

Pics from the day: Pump boat captain, salty dude. . .
 Iloilo skyline with a few lines in the way of my lens.
 Pump boat rounding the point out front of us.
I got some good ideas from Elder Taylor. It was a fun, tiring day. Tomorrow we have district meetings and I think we are going with the Elders to teach. Looking forward to a busy day.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Sunday the 27th

The month is zipping past in spite of some slowwwwww days. We went to Hamtic for church this morning. It is our first time at church there. I was immediately nabbed to speak as the last speaker in Sacrament Meeting. I don't know if I bumped somebody, or if they didn't have one.

I spoke about the family, where we are from, then about the parable of the ten virgins and their lamps. I told about the lamps they had and how the oil was made and the wicks. We read the ten verses and talked about the oil being the faith and testimony of the virgins, and that their oil couldn't be shared; that it was earned a drop at a time, here a little and there a little. I finished with President Kimball's message:
"Attendance at sacrament meetings adds oil to our lamps, drop by drop over the years. Fasting, family prayer, home teaching, control of bodily appetites, preaching the gospel, studying the scriptures-each act of dedication and obedience is a drop added to our store. Deeds of kindness, payment of offerings and tithes, chaste thoughts and actions, marriage under the covenant for eternity- these, too, contribute importantly to the oil with which we can at midnight refuel our exhausted lamps." (198?)

Good Sabbath Day. We are going to have some dinner and then head out with the missionaries this evening to visit/teach (mostly share a testimony or two). Should be fun. In the morning we are meeting the other senior couple in the mission (Elder and Sister Taylot from Oregon) in Iloilo and taking a pump boat to Guimaras, where they are assigned. It is supposed to be the mango capital of the world. Should be fun too.
On the way to the chapel in Hamtic this morning. This has got to be a jeepney record.

Saturday the 26th

A bitter/sweet day today. We traveled to Bugasong and invited several young men and women to the upcoming conference. We lunched with the Elders there and then drove back to San Jose for a baptism.
The young man being baptized was taught by the San Jose Sisters.

The story is that the young man wanted to be baptized on the birthday of his older brother, today. A few days ago, his brother was stabbed to death. His brother was stabbed by some men and he was able to make his way to the hospital, but the doctors and nurses didn't seem to realize the seriousness of his wounds. While he waited for treatment, he died.

The baptism was a bit disorganized and started nearly an hour late. I don't know if the young man knew what was happening with all the preparations. Sister Sessions and I were a bit embarrassed. The thing is, when the opening song began, (I Am A Child of God) the Spirit came and the baptism ceremony turned out to be very special. The boy bore his testimony after his baptism, a common thing in the Philippines, and gave a beautiful, heartfelt, testimony. I couldn't understand much of it, but it didn't affect the Spirit.

He is the only on in his family in the church and nobody attended with him. He makes a great start for his family.

The Bible Dictionary says, "Baptism is a most sacred ordinance, which a person, having received it, can remember throughout life as a reminder of the personal commitment to Jesus Christ. Its symbolism is beautiful , and its consequences ever so desirable. . ." YEAH!!! It is the only way.I find many pearls in the Bible Dictionary. It isn't like the scriptures, but there are a good many explanations worth our time.

My favorite place that talks about baptism is in 2 Nephi 31, after Lehi died and the brothers split. He teaches his people about his revelation wherein he was instructed by God the Father and Jesus Christ regarding baptism and enduring to the end. We don't read the words of God the Father often.

Church tomorrow in Hamtic. We have not attended there yet and we look forward to doing so. We need a Sabbath. Good Sabbath to all.

Friday, April 25, 2014

One of the many fake jeeps in the country. For some reason, they adopted the look of the old army jeeps. This thing has a television in it and all the toys. Mazda, Toyota, Isuzu . . .all make replicas.

Thought I'd throw this one in. It is the guys working on the neighbors new house. They do a special stucco. The part on the left is yesterday and the right is today's. They will smooth it off and make it look pretty neat, but then it will have to be painted. Note the upright pieces of bamboo for the scaffold . . .strong stuff.

A main drag in San Jose. I painted on the corner early this morning. This was about 7:00 am and not very busy.
Friday, the 25th

Pretty much a sucky day. My painting was cheesy and we did absolutely nothing all day, beside read the exercise and read scriptures. I didn't feel particularly well and took a nap. We didn't get to go to Dunito's. He was working with the young Elders on a welfare project, so it was fine that we didn't go. He was in a good place.

Hope we don't have too many more days like today. Seems like we hit one, sometimes two of these each week. We start wondering what we are doing here, we get down mentally, and we are bored stiff. Tomorrow we go with Brother Kib up to Bugasong to help the ym/yw. We look forward to the time.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursday the 24th

Good day. We got up late this morning, worn out from yesterday and the travel. I went to walk anyway and even jogged a little. It has been a good many years since I did that.

Today has been the hottest day since we arrived. We often tell people when we are visiting that we did a mission in Alabama a few years back. We tell them it was humid, but not as humid as here. We tell them it was hotter in Alabama with the relentless sun. Today was an Alabama day with Philippine humidity. 

We went to Dao and to Sibalom, two towns that are about 40-50 KM apart. We were helping Kib Berion take money and information to two of the branches for YM/YW conference in a few weeks. The leaders are to arrange for transportation and a few other items, like life skills budgeting. It ought to be a really fun conference.

President Gingery wrote a great e-mail to us this morning. Don't know when he wrote it, but we read it this morning. He described how districts become stakes and how they are often built by return missionaries as their leaders in these 3rd world countries. He described this place perfectly and it gave Sister Sessions and I a real lift and a bit of a direction to help "build leaders" here in Antique. We are thankful for his advice and encouragement.

It is nice to have an experienced church leader to contact when we need help. It is amazing that this sort of information is not readily shared to missionaries that are told to support leaders and help build stakes. We have been wondering how the heck to help build a stake and build leaders in Antique. Maybe it is common knowledge, but Sister S and I are sort of in the dark. That could very well be the case.

Brother Berion's plans/vision goes right along with the program Dave described. He and the youth leaders are working to build missionaries from the local youth, then get them to stay here when they come home to strengthen the branches and build wards. We told him about the e-mail and told him we knew he was on the right track and asked to help any way we can.

Tomorrow we are visiting Dunito and buying a bag of peanuts from him. Sister S is becoming pretty masterful at the cinnamon peanut cooking. They are a treat, and I am sure Dunito can use the pesos. Couple of pics from today:
Native hut where two ladies live that work for the landlord here in the compound. Pretty typical.

Not sure why, or when I took this. The tree is pretty cool. This is the only one I have seen. Maybe Sister S. took the pic. I'm fried.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wednesday the 23rd

We left early today for Iloilo to check apartments. We met the Iloilo South zone leaders in San Juaquin, the southern most tip of the zone. We met them at the plaza in San Juaquin. It is a really pretty barangay and  it appears that they are relatively prosperous there. It is clean and pretty.

We met the zone leaders and proceeded toward Iloilo, visiting apartments of Elders and Sisters along the way. The apartments were pretty nice except one and they are in the process of changing. It was a tiring day of driving, but it was fun to meet the Sisters and Elders. I helped the sisters fix a sink that fell off the wall and we took the Elders to lunch, after we met with the zone leaders for the Central zone. We then parted ways with the South Elders and checked the two assigned apartments in Central. They were both pretty good. One was an original when the mission was started some three and a half years ago. It was interesting to learn the the mission is pretty young. Sister S rewards the Elders and Sisters for clean apartments with packages of Oreos or Chips Ahoy, their choice.

We went to the mall/grocery store under the Days Inn and got some groceries and headed back to Antique. It has been a long tiring day, but at least we had something to do.

I think we are pretty much a taxi service for the Elders to visit some of these members we have been visiting with them, and I am not sure it is helping. But, we do love to get out and do something, anything almost. We do feel like we are needed at Dunito's. We are scheduled to accompany the missionaries there Friday. Time to get a member involved from their branch. We have talked with the Elders and they concur.

We still hope to find a place in the mission work.

Downtown San Juaquin

This is a large cathedral around which the barangay is built in San Juaqine is built. The cathedral was finished in  1862. The plaza is surrounded by sandstone busts of past mayors.                         

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Martes the 22nd

We did P-day yesterday. Not much of a day, but I painted downtown and could not believe how many people came to see what I was doing. I tried to talk to as many as possible, but it was tough. Next time I will load my bag with brochures.

This morning we had a Zone Conference, with the zone leaders training. They taught about obedience, pride, and working together without prejudice and contention. It appears that there has been some contention and problems between foreign missionaries and natives. I had no living idea.

I stood and spoke to the group after regaining my composure. I was stunned and saddened by the news and told them so. I told them that I loved them and that the Lord loved them even more and that he cannot be well pleased. I took them to page 150 and discussed companionship inventory and encouraged them.

After, a few came up and told me they ". . . enjoyed my insights." I said, "Let me give you another insight . . . there is only one race . . . the human race. We are all children of our Heavenly Father . . . our parts are interchangeable. We may look a bit different on the inside, but we are virtually the same, designed by the Master. Get over this stuff about somebody being better than another."  They seemed to think about that some. There were several good comments on what to do to make a change. I am just sorry to hear a change is needed.

Sister Sessions then stood up and told them they were on a mission to share the Gospel, but they were also in training for the rest of their lives and marriage. She laid it out for them pretty clearly and they had never thought from that perspective for learning to get along and love each other despite of minor differences. 

We went to the hills of Hamtic again  this afternoon and taught Lorna and Sister Helen. It was a good day. Kib Berion went with us and he is a great guy, with about 4 callings. He is waiting for the opportunity to be a teacher. Kib took pictures and told me he would e-mail them to me this evening. I will add pictures later.

Regarding becoming a teacher . . . strange practices and politics here for teachers. When you graduate and have done your practice teaching, you fill out a resume and application for your local school and test for them. You then are put on a list and when an opening comes, if you are not bumped by someone with political ties, you may get a job. But, you cannot apply in other towns, only the one where you live. Man, I would have never landed a job. Kib and Brother Johnathan, a really good man in our local branch, are waiting for a job and may never get one. Sucks
This is Robert, the husband of Sister Lorna. He is using a machete go cut open buko (coconuts) for the water and meat to share with us after our lesson yesterday. It is pretty good, but . . .
Elders Catabuando (left) and Latchman, enjoying some buko. Elder Lachman has been in the mission about two weeks. Elder Lachman is from Malaysia.

Heading to Helen's from Sister Lorna's place. . .

The Elders think I look like a chubby Galdalf.

Sister Lorna's new family home along the river bottom. It is strangely comfortable, built above ground with a good roof and the air moves through the walls and floor nicely to keep the family cool. It is a pretty neat place.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Linggo Ako 20th
Easter Sunday. These two pictures were taken Thursday afternoon. The people were creating 14-15 of these stations depicting the crucifixion. They held a huge procession Friday where they walked from station to station, starting from station 1 at the Catholic Church and ending there.

Today is Easter Sunday. The celebration was over. I thought it odd that the horrid days of Christ's life were celebrated, and not the day of his resurrection. All transportation is running again. All stores are open. It was like the Sabbath ought to be from Tuesday to Sunday morning, then BAM, back to normal on the Sabbath.

We went to Dao for church this morning. The branch is very small and there are few baptisms. It seems dominated by one family. The meetings were okay and it was sure good to take the sacrament. The missionaries there are doing there best, but the old branch president died and the people don't like the new one, so they stay home. This is one weird place to Sister S. and to me.

We had potatoes and meatballs for dinner today; a family favorite. It is always enjoyed, but Sister Sessions has never figured out how to fix enough meatballs, the best part. She used our last can of Campbell's tomato soup, so we are pretty much stuck with Pinoy food after this, and we are certainly tired of that. We went to a new restaurant yesterday as very few were open. They had some pretty good tempura. Pickins have been slim this week.
A few pics from the road to Dao:
The farmers pile their rice husks in the fields and then light them afire. They burn for days, filling the air with smoke. The smoke, humidity and heat are sometimes overwhelming and we have to get in the truck, turn on the ac and just wonder. .

The plants are pretty here, and flowers. Today was a pretty morning. Dao is nice and the people a bit more prosperous. We saw many swimming at the beach and the cleaner homes and roadside looked much like California down along the ocean above San Diego. (Anyway as I remember it) It has probably changed totally.

Training yesterday went quite well, except I wanted to show "Ministry" from the 2013 Leadership Conference on It depicts leaders out visiting their members, loving them back into activity. Our technology didn't work because the branch had not paid their bill for WIFI as it turned out. I had to show it on my i-pad. It was a bit small, but they could hear it. . . not the same. Other than I taught from the handbook 2 about PEC meetings, the way the Lord teaches (one-on-one), home and visiting teaching, and had a pretty good time.

President Vilosso, a counselor in the mission presidency, taught after me. He is a great man and has a wonderful spirit. He has been a bishop and leader for many years. It was strange, because he kept looking at me as if to ask, "Is this right?" I had to grin at him, thinking, "You know way the crap more than I do about this stuff . . .why are you lookin' at me." Anyway, I really like him and hope to get to spend more time with him in the future.

Sister Sessions drove for the first time yesterday. Lucky for her, the roads weren't crowded. She had to run back to the house twice for the i-pad, then for the i-pad cord.

I have been wanting to go swimming in the ocean, but haven't had the time, or I get feeling strange at the last minute as it is wide open and nobody is around. I better get some water wings I suppose. First time I have ever had any qualms about swimming in the ocean. I'll go one of these days.

Friday, April 18, 2014

This is a Holy Week float constructed all of native shells, corn, seeds, rice and other things. I am not sure what is depicted, but it is a work of dedication.
Today is Friday. We drove with Brother Barion all over the place (seems to be how Filapinos like to do business), back and forth a few times. We met several active and inactive youth and invited them to the Youth Conference in May. It was fun to see them and their homes and their parents. It was a good day.

I am preparing for my presentation at leadership meeting tomorrow. I think I know what I want to say, but I pray that the Holy Ghost will step in soon and help me. I have been praying, and feeling some comfort in what I have planned, but I always wonder.

Few pics from today's travel.
These are fishermen, skimming the surface for eggs or tiny fish. They have some pretty creative contraptions.
I don't paint many flowers, but this looked like a good place to start. These were along side the road.
Family transportation, going to Holy Week procession in Hamtic

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Huwebes ako 17

Haven't posted for a few days. I better get a few things down. After all, this is our journal. We have had a not-to-busy few days, but we did go out Tuesday to Hamtic to teach Lorna Bertilano (sp?). We had a great time and she took the Elders and us up to the barangay at the top of the hill to meet and teach her cousin. That was fun too, and it is nice to be wanted. Sister Lorna's boy, Ralph, is reading the Book of Mormon every day. It is fun to see him diving in.

It rained hard all day and we had a scary time bringing the Elders up out of the canyon. I was cracked up, thinking of Amy on our family trips, and her not wanting to look over the side or sit by the side of the car that looked into the canyons. Elder Catabuondo kept saying, "Oh mama ma ma." He was serious. I was careful and we made it fine.

Wednesday, yesterday, was a day from hell. We walked, then got home and prepared to go to Iloilo to inspect apartments. When we went out to get going, we found the right rear tire of the truck flat. I had to get the manual out to find where all the jack parts are stored, and had to set a block under the jack to make it  high enough to lift the truck. This all took about an hour and I was sweating like crazy from the sun and rain making humidity. The old guy that lives here said, "You know to change a tire?"
"Of course", I said. He stood around and talked and watched the process.

I took the tire to the "vulcanizing shop" to get it fixed, but the guy was gone home, the lady in the chongi next door told me. I took the tire to a shop across from the bus/jeepney depot near the market area and they fixed the flat and put the tire back on and put all but the jack away. They charged me 120 pesos and I gave them a 100 tip; all totaled about $4.50, but it took about another hour and a half and I had to go home and take a second shower before we could go.

We made reservations for what looked like a nice motel/hotel in downtown Iloilo Tuesday night. We drove around to Dao and helped them put church signs up on their building and then drove along the coast to see what we could see:

Load of people going for Holy Week festivities we supposed. Maybe they are just going . . .

Tide was in this morning.

I think this is a concrete ship. I know concrete ships were built for WWII as tankers, mostly. This is some sort of barge, and I think they still use it. The tug is pretty recent. We say no sailors aboard either vessel.
When we got to Iloilo, we stopped at the mission home to get a list of apartments and we headed downtown to find our lodgings. What an absolute zoo. The streets were jammed, we could not find the motel/hotel because the street whereupon we were told we'd find the place ended at a roundabout. We circled around and did a Sessions Adventure hunt for a few hours, then we stumbled on the Bureau of Tourism and I went in and asked an English speaker for help. We had been on the right track several times, but stopped, or turned, a few blocks short. We found the motel.

They were sorry, but they could not supply the room we had booked. They wanted to put us in a little room with no windows and I couldn't do that, so we left. We are waiting to find if they give us our money back as they agreed. We are not holding breath. . .

We went to the S&M mall to shop and I have never seen so many cars and people in one area. Brian tells us India is worse. I can't imagine.

The downtown driving had been horrid, but this place was killing me. We found a parking place, finally, and went in. We ate supper, the first food we had all day, at Shakey's Pizza. Sister S. had pizza and I ordered chicken and fries. The pizza had no pizza sauce, no cheese, but it was round. It had about 4 pieces of sausage and four little ringlets of onion and a few slivers of green pepper on it.

My chicken was a 5 piece meal. I could not actually tell the anatomy of anything but one wing and a drumstick. I think the other 3 pieces were portions of one breast. The breading piled to about 5 inches high on my plate. The potatoes were round slices and had no seasoning. The Coke Zero was fine.

We couldn't find much of what we were looking for at the stores. I have been searching for a pocket knife since we arrived and there are only these cheesy scout type knifes in any store. The blades wiggle and they are cheapo. If it was a Scout knife, I'd buy one. The  National Book Store was of art supplies, so I am trying to figure ways to get enough together to teach a class next month. The class is free, so I hope that not much is expected.

We drove on home to San Jose. The roads were much cleared in the middle of the night and we got home in about an hour and a half. We had a good night of sleep and got up to go walk this morning. The place where we walk was shut down for two days to honor Holy Week. The town has been pretty quiet and a lot of places are closed. The trikes and jeepnies are few. It is like the whole town is taking a rest.

We had a fun visit with Amy and her family this morning and an e-mail from Tommy. I needed a restful city after yesterday and a few other stressful items this morning. The Lord has chosen to refine the family a bit these last months. Our grand children are precious to us and the trials have hit the family hard, especially  the immediate families within the family. All will work out . . . (President Hinkley's quote) that I love and try to remember. Sister S. is looking at the big picture of how the Lord has blessed us, as he knows the end from the beginning, and His thoughts are certainly not our thoughts. Wish I could catch on. It is always a surprise how He carries out His purposes.

Tomorrow, we go to help invite less active youths back to young men and young women's. Saturday I am scheduled to teach the Branch leaders with President Villoso of the mission presidency. He is training on missionary work and I am training on Priesthood Executive Meetings, home and visiting teaching, retention and leadership. I will focus on Handbook 2 items. I am sort of looking forward to that. I am going to be a bit forceful, hoping they will get off their duffs and start working to become a stake, leading by example. Prayers would be appreciated.
The drive around the coast was pretty. We saw a family swimming and they waved and were excited to have their picture taken.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday, the day before conference in the Philippines:  Abril 11

Been a good one. We walked this morning and got the printer to the shop to reload toner. We had to go several places to find one that could help us. We need the printer to print fliers for the youth conference coming soon. Got President Aquino's agenda for Presidency Meeting Monday.

We picked up the Sibalom Elders and went to the hills to see Dunito and his wife Lilly and their two daughters. It was a sweet trip. I am going to add pictures and publish. Nothing more needs said . . . beside, well yes, we had to cross a shallow river twice on the way over and back, and yes, that is a dang cool hat on old Elder S.

Dunito calls me "father." I am not sure if it is because of my old age, or he has me confused with Catholicism. In this last picture, we are talking about getting his wife baptized and his family sealed in the temple. I was telling him that is what it is all about, what the Savior gave us through the atonement, and that heaven is a family place.