Saturday, May 31, 2014

31 Mayo

Saturday. They cleaned up the athletic fields, so Sister S. and I walked this morning for the first time in about a week. We did get exercise on the way to Dunito's yesterday though. I visited a little today and we went to a baptism of 5 in Sibalom this afternoon. We drove the Zone Leaders and all had a good time

Dunito brought Lilly to the baptism. Her own baptism is now scheduled for the 21st, if all goes well. Prayers are appreciated to keep Lucifer away from her.

Between things today, I drove down to the ocean. I needed to look out over the water and not see trees, cars, trikes, people. . .
Five young women who attended the youth conference in San Jose from Sibalom. All five were baptized this afternoon. President Weaver presided over the baptism and Elders Hopkins and Alforque were the teaching Elders. Zone leaders are on the right, Elder Ortiz and Elder Schaffer.

Tomorrow is fast Sunday. We look forward to the meetings and to reporting in PEC.

The weather is a bit cooler now that we are getting cloud cover and rain daily. It is tolerable and extremely welcome.

I put this on facebook, but few look at my additions. I hope all fathers in our family, close and extended will look at this wonderful Mormon Message:

Friday, May 30, 2014

Biyernes the 30th of Mayo

Pretty fair day. We went fairly early to Sibalom and picked up the Elders, then drove up to Dunito's place, crossing the river, and walking the rice paddies. The morning was not super hot, so it was nice. We met Dunito and Lilly and Lilly's brother and sister in law. The Elders taught two lessons actually; one to Lilly and another to Lucifar (sp? I'm sure this in not spelled correctly, but it sounds like this.), Lilly's Brother.
Just crossed the river. These are two very tall missionaries, so it was a bit higher up the legs of Sister S. and me.
Couple of little fishin' dudes. I asked them if they were biting and they looked back at me wondering, "What is that old fat white man saying?"
Back across the river and awaiting a cloudburst coming over my shoulders...
We dropped the Elders in the barangay so they could keep working and we drove back to San Jose to clean-up. We then met Francis at the church and took him to lunch. We have made a deal with him to spend two mornings a week with us, teaching us Kilaray-a, the langage of Antique. 
Francis is the one between Elder Shaffer and Elder Ortiz, looking back at me. I caught them heading out to teach.
Francis is a college graduate in criminology and is now preparing for the board tests in October. He plans to serve a mission right after boards. He doesn't want us to pay him, but we are insisting. We hope to see him save what we will pay him to teach us and he can use the funds for his mission. He is a very fine young man and I think he can help us . . . but, my memory is a big question. It is getting mighty slippery.

I went with Brother Kib to visit after lunch and we visited Rodney, and we tried to get a lead on Brother Loza, but were unable to do so. We were both worn out from the day, so we gave it up. It was a fruitful day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Thursday Morning, the 29th

We got home from Iloilo and Zone Conference about 8:30 last evening. The day was okay. The training by the Assistants to the President was very good. We had heard President Aquino's presentation at district leadership meeting a few weeks back.

President was asked by the area to present a portion of the training, I guess to leaving missionaries, about the Family Proclamation and their future plans. The training was a little disjointed, but the Spirit showed us several things. One thing called to my mind is regret that I feel from my failings as a father. I did some things well, but have fallen way short of the man in this short Mormon Message. Here is a father that the Lord Jesus Christ will meet and greet with open arms, for this man is like Him.

A Father Indeed (Mormon Messages)

President Aquino went over Elder Ardern's and Sister Ardern's message on finding a mate. He had the missionaries who are going home in a few weeks bear testimonies. We enjoyed the company of the missionaries and we went to Robinson's to get some groceries.

This morning we went to the track to walk. The Eglesia (sp?) de Christo has had a big revival meeting there the past few days, so they were taking that down. We couldn't walk. There was garbage strung everywhere and up and down the streets from a half mile away. What a mess. I wonder if garbage cans were put out, if people might use them? At the church, it is the same thing. People leave garbage all over inside the church, but the only garbage collection cans are in the restrooms.

 This appears to be another slack Thursday. I am going to go get the truck cleaned and hope to contact some local leaders to go visit. Sister S. will be cleaning the apartment. We are going with the Elders tomorrow morning to visit Dunito and Lilly and the girls. We hope we can get across the river. We will, but Sister S. is not the best swimmer, so  . . .

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tuesday Evening
Mayo 27

We had district meetings this morning and we have Zone Conference in Iloilo tomorrow morning. The lesson and roll play was great this morning. We talked about teaching the Doctrine of Christ. We planned to haul missionaries to Iloilo and back tomorrow. After meetings, we had nothing planned.

I went painting plein aire with Paulo and Rodell, two men I met in the Centillion Building uptown. We planned to paint last Tuesday, but they had too much work and couldn't get away. They turned out to be much better artists than I. Rodell is studying to become an art teacher and Paulo's mother was an artist. They taught me a good deal this afternoon.

We went to Sibalom and looked at a few paintings by one of Panay's famous artists. I can't read, or remember his name. He was a student of Fernando Amorsolo, one of the Filapino greats. He is nowhere near Amorsolo, but he was good, as can be seen.
This piece, painted in 1975 is an oil. It went through a major flood in 1985 when dams broke in the mountains because of so much rain and it flooded the towns below.
This is another painting by the same man depicting the arrival of the ten kings of Malay that landed on the island and traded a gold head dress for the island. The painting also survived the flood. This painting is about 48 inches by 60 inches and is now bowed. 
We went to the hills outside of town and started painting. The sky clouded up and it became comfortable. Then the rain and lightening started. Lightening struck about a hundred meters from us and we ran to a native hut and kept painting. I felt like a kid hiding in a clubhouse outside hearing distance of my mother. I sat in the doorway and watch the rain pelt the ground and trees all around us. It was comfortable, dry, and cool.
Rodell on the left and Paulo on the right, painting away.
We had a great time and they helped me learn a few new things. I showed them a few as well. We agreed to paint next week near Dao. We agreed to paint the same thing from the same perspective and share our methods and help each other. I loved painting with these two men and look forward to doing so again. They are serious artists. I even hope to share the Gospel with them. It has already started with Paulo.

This is actually a flower that we went to see and paint. I can't for my life remember the name, but it is the tallest flower in the Philippines and has no leaves below the bloom which startes at the green bulb on the lower side. We could only find these two. The second is on the left and amid the leaves.

Paulo is single, and is much like young men in the states. He has little interest in tying himself to a woman when he has all the freedom of a good job and all his time to/for himself. Rodell is married and has a 12 year old daughter and a 9 year old son. I have not met his family yet, but he is a good man. They are both good men.
When we headed back to San Jose, about 3:00 pm, the skies lit up with lightening and rain poured. I got them back to their businesses where they fled into the dry halls and drove through a flood back to our house. We had 6 inches of water in the drive and garage, so I waded into the house. We have a leak in the bedroom ceiling. It stormed like crazy for about an hour, then started clearing.

I took Sister Sessions for pizza. She likes it, but I do not. Pinoy food is not getting any more acceptable to me or my stomach. I am about to go straight fruit and vegetables. . . Good day all in all.
My thorn among two roses. I am not finished yet, but it is not good. Maybe next week . . .

Monday, May 26, 2014

P-Day the 26th of Mayo

Last day for painting class. Only one boy showed. Went to the ocean again and painted plein aire. He painted a wonderful simple picture of one of the fishing boats. His composition was great and I hope his mother frames it. It was that good.

After that I went to the telephone shop and bought a thousand pesos worth of load (telephone usage time). We ran out of load yesterday about mid-afternoon. Something I don't want to do again on the Sabbath. I got caught up on our texts and the Elders came over for laundry. Sister Sessions cleaned all day. She seems to like that stuff for some reason. I finished my painting from this morning.

We are going to a family home evening with the Elders tonight to an investigator's house. They have asked me to give a spiritual thought. The lady has two daughters and I got looking at some LDS thoughts and decided to share, "Daughter of God" by President Hinckley. . ."Of all the creations of the Almighty, there is none more beautiful than a lovely daughter of God who walks in virtue with an understanding of why she should do so, who honors and respects her body as a thing sacred and divine, who cultivates her mind and constantly enlarges the horizon of her understanding, who nurtures her spirit with everlasting truth."

It is probably a thought used by the young women's organization, but I liked it and I think it appropriate for tonight. I found another, by President Benson that nailed me. I believe this is true, but I am in no way ready to face Him. Well,  . . . enough for now.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Mayo 24 Evening

The baptism was very special. Lorna and her son were there. We wish that more of her family had come. The missionaries made a great CD of the history of her instruction and progress toward baptism. We look forward to the confirmation tomorrow morning.
Great day. I got got stood up with a brother I was supposed to meet to invite back, but the baptism made up for it all. Great blessing to Hamtic Branch.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Sabado Ako 24 Mayo

I was going to make an entry last evening, but we got working with the Zone Leaders, particularly Elder Ortiz who has just come back into the field from the office. He is expert in some of the minutia and bureaucracy of the church. He went to work on finding Dunito Dalute's records and on finding the ward in Tacloban where Dunito's relatives may still be living. We are so excited to see some progress.

Then, this morning, Elder Morgan texted us and told us the Lilly, Dunito's wife, has committed to baptism. She has been attending, so her date is June 7. This is big. If all goes well, they may go to the temple to be sealed as a family before we go home. SWEET! Naturally, Lucifer will kick it into high gear, but Dunito is dang faithful and I think Lilly is doing well. The daughters will be fine. What a great day.

I wanted to record a few strange pictures. When the barangays have fiestas, they are usually based on religious traditions, but the people turn out to parade and watch the parades. The parade participants dress up in outlandish costumes, paint themselves, get drunk, dance down the street, and wear spooky masks. (There is a lot of superstition here.) The cross dressors put on their finest and parade as well. Very interesting/strange to us. Some folks just walk in the parade and enjoy some notoriety.

These guys didn't look so beautiful, but there are a good many cross dressers in the Philippines and some are great looking women/guys. WEIRD!!!! Judgemental, I know . . . Sorry about that.
This guy is playing wildly on a oil drum drum. He and the dancing cat above were hammered. The guy above is about half way through a fifth of what ever it is they drink, rum I think.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Thursday the 22nd
Transfer Day

We went to the bus/van/jeepney depot and saw Elder Sparks and Sister Nonu off to their new assignment at 7:00 this morning. Their replacements are certainly here in San Jose now, but we don't know who they are. We left after saying halong and went to Culasi.

We hauled our mission leader , Kib Beriong, Jomar, Sister Percy, and one other sister from the other side of Bugasong with us. We met the Culasi/Tibaio Elders at their apartment. We are not sure that much planning went into this outing, but we had a good time.

We split into groups and Sister Sessions and I went with Elder Stacy and Elder Lopez and Sister Ortega (The Senior Sister pictured below) to the downtown area and tried to draw the Plan of Salvation on the walk and attract some attention and interest.. The bricks were so coarse and so far apart that I couldn't get the chalk drawings to resemble much. We moved down town to the plaza and I drew them on some painted panels on the stage. The drawings were not very good. I didn't have good colors, and the slick paint was a poor medium on which to draw, but we got it done and there was a good deal of interest. We showed a few folks through and Sister Ortega and Elder Inoke were very successful in giving out pamphlets and making appointments to teach.

I was literally soaking wet with sweat by 10:00 and got sick from dehydration. I punched down some water and an ice cream. We went to lunch and I got some salt and drank a bunch of fluids and felt better. We worked at the Plan stage for a few hours and for home at 4:30 pm. I was still wet when we came in our door. I showered up and do feel better now.
Sister Nonu and Elder Sparks are right in the middle of the group. Elder Sparks is from Rexburg and has been one of our zone leaders here. He is a good man and getting short. I think he goes home in August or September. He is Filapino and speaks like a native. We will miss him. Sister Nonu, we were just getting to know. 
Elder Shaffer and Elder Sparks, zone leaders.
Tough canvas . . .

Elders coloring in the earth for Earth Life. I drew in the Philippines in the South China Sea with a star on the island of Panay with caption "You Are Here"

Elder Inoke, Sister Ortega and Sister Sessions showing a sister around the Plan. Elder explains the central role of Jesus Christ. Pretty fun and very effective.
Doing the Plan of Salvation in chalk on the sidewalk, was done in New York City by Elders.  I checked it on the Internet. One of the AP's mentioned it to me some time back, and, we thought we would give it a try. I can't find sidewalk chalk here, so I used some colored chalk for teachers.

I think it was very successful for finding people to teach. The lady pictured above is a city official (white shirt) and she wanted to know where in the kingdoms that fire and brimstone come. I had fun talking to here and telling here that the fire and brimstone are our own eternal regrets for things we should have done and did not, like "like coming unto Christ".

 It is interesting how people recognize different things depicted by the drawings. Things sort of sound familiar to them and they sign-up for more information and lessons.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

21 Mayo

It seems a bit cooler because of the clouds. But, it is oh so humid. We painted this morning down at what is a warf/port. A ship was off loading cement and we painted there. There were kids and local adults all over us watching. I had fun, but in about an hour, I was totally wet from sweat. Got a pretty fun picture for plein aire.

Today we will got to Sister Lorna's house in the hills. She has a date for baptism Saturday, if her husband lets her go. We are praying that he will soften.

Many of the men in the hills drink coconut wine and get pretty hammered. They then talk about their wives taking lessons in the church. Lorna is leading and Lorna's children want to support her and three of them want to be baptized. The churchmen in the area are up in arms about it. We are sad that there is so little religious freedom in a country that brags about freedom. Lucifer is mustering all his forces. We pray for her to be able to exercise her agency.

After visiting Lorna, if we are not rained out, Brother Kib and I will go to find some of the less active brothers and check their addresses. Many are moved or dead. The records are sorely in need of updating. Working on that.
Couple of guapos . . . one missing most of his teeth.
Most of the painters chose other subjects around the place, but I tried this one.

Lunes, Mayo 19

P-Day. The young missionaries had a "Great Race" todasy for their zone outing in the quarter. We did not attend. I had watercolor class this morning. A couple of the older kids are doing very well. The younger don't listen . . . hard to believe. They seem to be having fun. We will go out to plein aire paint Wednesday.

After the class, Sister Sessions and I called home. We only raised Michael. We will try a few more tomorrow. Our window is pretty small with the difference in time. Other than that, we went to buy some eggs, it is raining, we are bored stiff. We are enjoying the scriptures, but we would really like to feel like we are doing something of value.

We are hearing that Sister Lorna's husband is putting pressure on her to not be baptized. We pray for her. We know that she has felt the Spirit and she has read widely in the BoM and has a testimony. We pray for her husband to soften. 

Carabao family. The man is riding the bull. The cow walks agean with the little one following.
Nothing else to share. Took some pictures for possible watercolor painting.
Second rider today. This guy is riding his bull home after a hard day in the rice paddies. 
Prepping a rice paddy for planting. The carabao pulls a harrow through the field, then they flood it and the carabao drags a float through, back and forth, back and forth. When she is smooth, the walk back and forth seeding by hand, then they flood it again and wait for the rice to grow. They they harvest by hand and start again.

Halong. District meetings tomorrow and maybe some visiting. We are hoping . . .
 Tuesday the 20th

The Elders were waiting for somebody to open the church this morning. They were across the street at a "chongi" (little store run out of somebody's hut. We let them in and we had good meetings. Sister Sessions and I usually leave right after meetings. The Elder leaders do interviews and then many of them usually go to some place for lunch.

We came home. I wanted to get ready to go plein aire painting with two Filipino men who have stores in the Centillion downtown. They called about 11:00 to let me know they couldn't get away, so we are going to try for next Tuesday. That was my attempt at missionary work today. We have nothing else going.

I went up to San Remigio, up in the mountains north of Sibalom to find a place to paint, nothing else to do. It was very pretty and I finally settled on a little scene to paint. I got the scetch done, then started to paint and the rain hit. I was rained out, but I have some photos from down below.

When I got back to the house, Sister S. and I e-mailed President Aquino to see if he could pull some strings with the mission president/presidents up around Tacloban to find Dunito's family. Dunito's records are also someplace up there and he can't advance in the Priesthood until they get his records in Sibalom. He and his family have been attending regularly and he has been paying tithing. That is big here. Many members don't pay any tithing and others make contributions. The big deal in becoming a stake is to have 20-25 tithe paying Melchizedek Priesthood men in each branch. We are far from that.

Pray for Sister Lorna to be able to be baptized. Lucifer is going wild in the mountains of Hamtic. We are going with the Elders to visit her tomorrow. We are excited, and we hope not to get rained out of there.

Anyplace to hang wash or dry rice is fair game.
Heading to work
Seeded paddies
Interesting that an area can be prone to accidents . . . these signs are all over the place here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

18 Mayo

Good Sabbath today. Some of the brothers we visited this week cam to Sacrament Meeting. None stayed for other meetings. We will keep visiting and inviting and hopefully, more will come back and hopefully we can help a good many commit to the Gospel.

President Guilingen and I went out today. We met one brother and got an appointment to meet him next Saturday. He seemed reluctant to even talk to us, but he agreed to next Saturday. We visited a brother that is a counselor in the Elder's Quorum who has not been attending. He promised to get back starting next Sunday. It is amazing how easy it is to fall away.

The weather is getting into a pattern. It is clear in the morning and get to about 95 Fahrenheit and 86% humidity . . . then it clouds up and dumps rain and clears up in the evening and most all night. Then, we are told, in June it will just rain ad rain and rain. Not looking very forward to that. This rain in a nice break, but it doesn't cool anything off at all.I'm not sure if I am losing weight, or just melting.

We got word that Lorna was interviewed for baptism today. She will be baptized next Saturday morning. I have been invited to speak. It is an honor and we look forward to participating. We will attend at Hamtic next Sunday to see her confirmed. This could be the start of something big in the hills of Hamtic. Elder Catabuando and Elder Christensen taught her for many weeks, then transfers. It is a baptism for the Hamtic Branch . . . The Lord will be/is pleased with the efforts of the Elders and members.

Some random pics from today:
Raining like a cow peeing on a flat rock. 
Not really out of focus, but the rain blurred the lens. It was drenching these two on the left.
Earlier in the day, looking over the abandoned airport walls. The clouds were just heading up.