Friday, October 31, 2014


Sabado ang pang-una

Tagalog . . . I am studying Tagalog with Francis. Sister Sessions has lost interest. We missed lessons for about three weeks, so I am going on and she is okay with that. I had a lesson yesterday and this morning at the church. We went to the Family History Center, but there were no visitors. We cleaned up after last night's Halloween Party/Branch Evening.

The missionaries had me work in the spook alley. We had cold spaghetti, cauliflower for brains, peeled grapes for eye balls, dried prunes for baby ears, and I did the old finger in the box trick for the finale. I told them, "Welcome to the meat shop. I have several fresh parts for your enjoyment . . . many of these items will go well with your pancit, or just as a snack." I did a quick paint-up with some acrylic paints I have here at the house. There is a spider on my forehead, not pictured.  And, I didn't get to close to the eyes. I have enough trouble.

Sister Sessions ran a fish pond for 9 year olds and under. I think it was a big hit. I built some bamboo fishing rods with string and clothes pins to hook in the candies. The kids Filipinos have never seen that old game. We went through a ton of candy.
We cleaned the chapel today and mopped the floors. Then we drove over to Sibalom to pick up some hymn books we had taken over for repair. There is a family there that does a super, inexpensive job of repair and rebinding. We did three books for Culasi as a test and they came out so well that we too 11 last Monday and picked them up today. We took in 12 more to exchange. It is amazing how they can refurbish the broken, torn books. 
 There is a typhoon off to the east. I understand Panay will receive rain, but the major portion of the storm is slated to pass north again. I snapped this pic out the window on the way to Sibalom. The mist at the base of the mountains was pretty, so I just grabbed a quick shot.

We have nothing going on today. Sister Sessions is washing clothes for Elder Lungren and Sister Winward. They go to Iloilo to the mission home to end their missions on Monday. They are gearing up. Should be about 25 new missionaries arriving Tuesday or Wednesday.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Biyernes ang 31

We went to Iloilo yesterday and bought groceries and took hard copies of Sister Mila's mission papers to President Aquino. We picked up some cargo and went to the Atrium (grocery store in Day's Inn). We met Elder and Sister Robinson there and visited and shopped, then we met the Robinsons at Uncle Tom's Resto out near SM.

Sister Robinson told us about this place. It is an actual steak house, with Australian and local beef. We all  had a porterhouse from Australia, potato salad and a soft drink. It was very good and we loved it. I used A-1 sauce on the steak and it was great. I never put sauce on a steak, but it looked so like home.

We went over to see Robinson's apartment. I liked it. It is smaller than we have, but it is not in a compound and we just close off two bedrooms anyway. Robinsons are here on a mission for PEF/Self Reliance. They will teach members how to start a business and grow it and be successful with their skills, professions, hobbies. It is a great program and they are excited to help the Filipinos get it going. It will be a great blessing to them.

They are from Idaho, Utah, and Washington. He was in the grocery business and they have traveled widely. Nice people and they are well and doing a hundred.

 We got home a little late, but it was an enjoyable day and we had little to do in the way of missionary work, so it was a good prep. day.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Ang 29th

We attended district meetings yesterday. Monday evening, the district leader texted us and told us we were to teach Preach My Gospel page159 on finding. They seem to have a difficult time finding people to teach. If they were a bit more obedient, they would be busier than they could ever imagine. Sister Sessions taught first and used the scriptures in the section and told of a few stories she had saved of missionaries finding, or not finding because the did not talk TO EVERY SINGLE PERSON THEY MEET.

We put on the board when we arrived, for a meeting theme: "SELECTION IS DONE BY THE HEART OF THE HEARER, NOT THE MIND OF THE SHARER." Don't know where this was said, or by whom. I read it someplace . . .

I used 2 Corinthians 9:6-7. Paul, being a super missionary, gave the key here. I added a few ideas about having fun "talking to everyone you see, looking at being punted as an opportunity to go talk to more people, the 90% principal (work 90% of your time, and don't sit at your apartment, or worry about social functions or planning same, or writing talks, or whatever else can occupy time that can be rationalized as important). I talked about talking to 100 people every day, without fail. If they do that, they will have meaningful OYM's and find those that are prepared . . . The wicked will be offended by your approach . . . The worldly will not care . . . The celestial candidates will welcome you and be thankful you found them. Mathematics: 100 each day, 700 a week, in a 30 day month . . . 2100 people you have invited to come unto Christ. Out of 2100, companionships are bound to find the elect. Think of this as minimum, not maximum.

I talked and demonstrated the BoM loan plan: Introduce yourself to people, ask them if they believe in Jesus Christ. Ask if they know much about him. Ask if they would like to know a great deal about Him. When you find one that is interested, tell them that you have a book . . . show them the Book of Mormon. Treat it with respect and handle it as a sacred text ought to be handled. Tell the person that they can borrow the book if they will read in it. If they are willing to read, get their name and address and check the book out to them, telling them you will check back with them to see how they are doing. FOLLOW UP ON THEM. If they are not reading, take the book back and check it out to someone else. If they are reading and are faithful to find out what's in the book, then give them the book as a gift. (I believe this process was suggested by President Ezra Taft Benson)

We talked about singing to people. Filipinos love music and song and they will listen to you and it is a fun opening to conversation.

We talked about the Elders tucking in their ties and playing basketball with the youth (they play everywhere here). They are to have fun with them, but never win. Always lose by at least 1 basket. Then tell the youth you will be back to try them tomorrow . . . Tell them who you are and what you are doing and ask if you can come back and play and teach them the next day... Be Creative. As Paul stated in 2Cor9:7, be a cheerful giver . . . smile and have fun sharing the Gospel with others. Be genuine, but have a good time. We offer the best message anyone could ever receive. Be happy.

We talked about using the day properly. In Antique, the place shuts down at dark. People don't want unsolicited visitors. So, plan your day to start early and do studies at night. Use P-day as a finding day. In your exercise activities.Include onlookers in your games and have fun with them and get to know them. You will make friends, and friends are great to teach and ask for referrals. President is okay with this, leaders just need to let him know what they are doing, then carry out their plan.

There were other ideas too, but it all boiled down to talk to everyone you see . . . I hope it was information that they will use. I hope it was valuable.

I told them the fun story of the Elders in Alabama practicing dropping the BoM into the hand of the companion Elder from a second story apartment walk. One would knock on the door, "Hello, I am Elder  . . .  from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and I have a special message from Heavenly Father, just for you." The Elder raises his hand and the Elder above drops the book into his had from above. It took practice, but the people in the apartment were surprised, then delighted, and the Elders had the fun of talking and often, teaching the people. Creativity is essential to having fun while remaining genuine. There are a zillion ways to meet and OYM people.

After meeting, we gathered the broken books in the building after meetings and took them to Sibalom to a book binder guy who does a super job, cheap. We had him do a couple of books from Culasi a few weeks ago and the guy made them look brand new for 140 pesos. We took about a dozen in yesterday and he will have them ready Friday. We will then replace and bring the others.

Last evening, I had the fun of helping President Gindap learn how to enter youth names into the computer to begin mission papers. He is a good man. There are now 6 entered into begin their paper prep.

This morning, Sister Sessions and I walked at the track. We were a little late and the sun was well up on the track. It dang near killed me. I took a cool down lap after my two laps of controlled staggering and began to  roast. I am still sitting in front of the fan trying to get cooled enough to shower. Today I meet with the District Presidency at 2:00. That, unfortunately, is the entire plan for the day.

When I read over this, it seems like we are busy. We are not. I suppose we need to be more creative ourselves.
Few pics from Cebu trip:
Squatter's huts under the bridge.

Cocaliong boats that run between islands. We traveled on one of these, or one just like them.

Magellan's cross, encapsulated in modern wood. I took the picture to show the art on the ceiling of the stone building that housed the cross.
My noon meal at the Patron House at the temple. It was pretty good actually . . . needed salt terribly. Sister Sessions ate a slice of watermelon.
Print of Minerva Teichert's painting in the Patron House. I like her work. There are several in the temple and a really cool painting in the Matron's office of children and their grandmother in a flower bed. Matrons seem to have the coolest paintings of children, The Savior, or He and children together in their offices. Of course, one cannot photograph them.
More Patron House art.

Saturday, October 25, 2014


Domingo ang 26

Just got home about an hour ago from our youth temple trip to Cebu Temple for baptisms for the dead. Sister Sessions has done these before, but I have never had the experience. I loved it and I felt the Spirit pretty dang quick.

Our leaders baptized with authority and the youth were extremely reverent in the Lord's House. I was so impressed with them and the baptisms. We did 2 hour shifts five times and Sister Sessions and I took in two endowment sessions in between. It was say sweet. Cebu Temple is like an oasis in the middle of a mass of people, buildings, garbage, cars, jeepnies, motorcycles and bicycles. The moment one pulls into the grounds, life changes. Our cab drivers were totally amazed when we had them pull in and take us to the front of the temple.

We stayed at a little hotel a few kilometers away. Our room was okay, but the beds were terrible and I didn't get much sleep until last night on the boat coming back. The boat going was another story, so I was pleased with last evening.

We started Wednesday evening, arriving at the wharf in Iloilo at 4:00 pm as directed. We had the normal Pinoy experience of being herded into a building with no air con, checked in, then we sat for 3 hours waiting for a bus to take us to the boat, about 150 meters away. We loaded and finally got away.

One of the bays on deck two where people slept in bunks. The sides of were open to the air thank goodness. There was no food or drink. You had to plan ahead for the 12 hour cruise. It is crowded . . . Americans say, "They are crammed in like sardines." Filipinos say, "There is always room for one more." 
Sister Sessions and I had a suite. It was about 10 X 10, but had a CR and a good air con. The bed was weird. I got the covers back, and there was no sheet. Only a narrow light blanked that covered either your waste down, or your waste up. They you use the dirty bed spread to cover the rest of you. I just could not do it and had a pretty sleepless night.

We cruised all night with no problems and got to Cebu area about 6:30 . . . it takes a long time to get up the channel and to dock, so we got to the docking area about 8:00 and we were at the temple by 9:00.
Cebu is a prosperous city, with large buildings, bridges, poor people and rich.

When we got to the temple, it was pretty spectacular. We checked in at patron housing, but it was dormitory style, and Sister Sessions and I were packed together. We did not want to stay with others in separate rooms with bunk beds. They were accustomed to this response and quickly got us hooked-up with a local hotel. They allowed us to rest for a while in one of the empty dorm rooms and then we did our first session of baptisms in the temple at 10:00. I wasn't needed, so I went to an endowment session.

We did another session of baptisms at 2:00 and it was wonderful. We were able to check into our room at 4:00, but there was another session of baptisms, so we stayed caught a taxi at 6:00. We got to our room and put our things up then went up to MacDonalds for some supper. It was all we knew, but it was fun.

Friday we went to a baptism session, an endowment session and another baptism session. Sister S and I went to the big mall that was actually about 50 restaurants. We went to the Mooon Resto (spelled mooon) for Mexican food. It was close, but no cigar. We had a good meal and went on back to the temple and did one more baptism session. Saturday morning, we did one more session of baptisms then loaded a bus and went sight seeing for about 4 hours.

That turned out to be a bunch of bus riding and listening to really loud karioki (sp?) singing on the bus. It about killed me. We went to see where Lapulapu and his people repulsed the Spanish invaders led by Ferdinand Magellan. Magellan returned and made a deal with Lapulapu, but when the big L realized that Magellan and the Spanish were there to rob them, Lapulapu killed him and many others and sent them packing. The Spanish kept coming though. They knew when they found a good thing . . .

Before we visited Lapulapu's site, we went up to the Taoist Temple and looked around. There was not much of interest at the temple, but the view of Cebu was exceptional.
Yes, this is a typical Filapino sky and clouds.
We went into town to the Santo Nino (Spanish ninyo. . . don't know how to make that in blogger.) It was the first church in the Philippines and Magellan's Cross was housed outside in a little gazebo type place. It is not the actual cross. The actual cross is beneath a wooden covering, so it looks like a pretty new cross.

The most interesting thing there were people taking "selfies", some old women who we loved and took their pictues, and a guy oil painting behind one of the metal gates. I watched him for a while. He was so slow and meticulous and patient. I suspect he is a good artist.

The old ladies were selling candles to light for worship. They were really fun. Here is a face to be drawn . . .
To me this is weird, but some Filipino will see it, make selfie rods from bamboo, and make some pesos.

This guy was literally in a corner behind the door. I suppose he wanted to be seen, and not disturbed. I would have been cramped.

Beautiful flower outside the Santo Nino. couldn't resist and I am not a real flower fan . . . There are so many beautiful forms of plant life here.
It was a long ride home and we were pleased to get back into the air conditioned Ford and drive on home. Sister Sessions is napping and I am about to do the same. It was a good trip and so very nice to be in the Lord's House once again. We constantly pray that all our children, their spouses, and children will be temple worthy and go often. It is a place of revelation and the Lord's peace. We were really jealous of the senior missionaries who worked in the temple. What sweet duty.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Martes ang 21

We went to Iloilo yesterday to help with CLS testing for the going home missionaries. It was good to see several of them again and to help them toward a certificate for English speaking. Hopefully it will assist them in finding jobs. English speakers here have the better jobs, for certain.

We went to MacDonald's with the other senior missionaries and we went to the Atrium for a few groceries. We deposited Taylors near the wharf for their boatride home. I forget how many times they have ridden the boats over their time here. over a 140 times thus far, I believe.

When we got back to San Jose, there was a brown-out going on. We opened the windows and sat and read by flashlight. It was actually pretty fun. When the power came back on about 9:30, I just kept on going with my Sherlock Holmes. I sit on the bed, read and snack on some gummi bears. Pretty fun. It was nice to get the air con back though.

Iloilo pics:
Worker on his way home from work.

Worker still at it. Not sure why they cover their faces . . . it may be the Ninja look.

There is a Chinese influence in the architecture and much Chinese blood here. I believe they have been the most prosperous financially and it appears that people of Chines descent own the banks and businesses and much of the land. There are several old mansions that definitely have Chinese influence. This roof just caught my eye when we dropped the Taylors off.
I am always watching for people and things to photograph and landscapes. Often what I thought was something really cool turns out to be pretty mundane when I get it loaded on the computer. I want to paint much of what I see, so I hope to use it in the future when I get looking for subject matter. Many of the native artists have painted some really neat pictures of native women, nepa huts, carabao, workers . . .

I took these while driving along. The little camera takes pictures that the computer will not download to Facebook, so I am using the big camera. But I have taken some I wish I could share.

We are preparing to go to Cebu tomorrow to the temple with the youth. I hope to have lots of pictures of the travelers and boat travel that I plan to add to my journal Thursday.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Djalute Bapti

Sabado ang 18th

Djulito baptized Lilly this afternoon. The ceremony was late and I was frosted totally, but it came out alright and he will confirm her tomorrow. She bore testimony and it was pretty sweet.

This is very cool. The beginning of a celestial/eternal family. We were glad to see Lily accept the Gospel enter the waters. The little girls are next. They are afraid of being under the water, but they will likely come around in time.

We went to the church this morning, as usual. Nobody came, but I went on an assignment for the President helping Sister Maila Gallarga get her papers off for a mission. The Hamtic Elders helped and Pres. Nabong, her branch president. I gathered them all up and we went back to San Jose and got on the computer in the Family History Library. We got everything done and I got everyone back to their starting points with no problem. Elder Chapman is a bit of a computer whiz. I love to go on these things and sort of direct traffic.

When we went to pick up Pres. Nabong, I parked the truck along side the road. The Elders crossed the rice paddies to go collect Pres. N. There were  some people working in a nepa hut across the road. I kept watching them roll a palm log back and forth. A lady was stirring a wok over a fire. She was using a long stick. I walked over to visit and see what they were doing. I thought perhaps they were trying to cut off the end of the log.

When I got closer, I discovered they were very friendly and I notice the log had a long wooden handle attached. They were rolling the log back and forth over a large table of wood and the log was grinding rice. A man kept pushing the rice up under the log and they rocked it back and forth over the little pile. The lady with the wok was drying the rice and then they brought the hot rice over and put it on the table and ground it with the log. (It cuts out the cost of having a mobile rice grinder do the job.) They were grinding black rice. The husks just blew off the table and then they scraped the ground rice into the sack hanging at the end. It is a community effort. They told me the logs last about 4 years, then they make them into benches. The log the ladies in the picture are sitting upon is an old rolling log. They told me the new log was about 4 months old.

The old nanay (senior woman/mother) gave me a small hand full of the rice and I started in on it. The ladies told me to keep chewing on it and it would get tasting pretty good. It turned out they were right. A little grinding, a little saliva, and I got a cud going and liked the stuff.

I sure liked the people. The old toothless guy thought it was great when I said a thing like "Salamat guid," which just means thank you very much. He laughed and repeated it over and over. He asked me if I spoke karaya. I said, "An itty bitty bit." He again laughed and repeated "itty bitty" over and over, showing his toothless grin.

The old nanay is a stogie smoker. I have seen the old women with rolled up tobacco leaves like cigars. It is weird, because we have seen no men using tobacco in this way. We have seen lots of cigarette smoking men, but no stogies. Anyway, with our limited English/Kinaray-a, we had a fun time talking about rice, and Mormons, and children and America.

I tried to get the missionaries to talk to the people, but they wouldn't . . . bunch of light weights. I don't know how they find baptisms. They ignore a lot of people and I imagine the people think, "Well, I guess they don't think we are worth teaching." I hope that is not the case, but what else could be inferred. It is not like they don't know what the missionaries are doing in their barangays. Hope they get reading Preach My Gospel under finding. They are good guys and I love them, but they ought to be having more fun with this.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

October 17

Biyernes and 17th
We went to Iloilo South yesterday, checking apartments. We started in Tiolas and worked into Molo and Arevalo. The apartments were quite good. The Arevalo Sister's apt was okay lang. Three companionships live there and a couple of the sisters are getting a might trunky, so obedience is slipping a bit, but they all earned cookies from Sister Sessions for "celestial" rating.

We saw some of our favorite guys yesterday and had a fun lunch at MacDonalds and bought groceries.
Elder Mondragon on the left. He is one of the "Dao Angels" and a favorite of ours. He is a good man and fun. He lost his badge in a jeepney about 15 minutes prior to his picture. He was doing a split in Miag-ao with Elder Victoriano, another good man, but it was the first time we met him. These are veteran missionaries and Elder Mondragon goes home in December. We will miss him.

Elder Ortiz with a new Elder Stevens. Elder Ortiz is an AP and he and his AP companion, Elder Singley, have extended and will not go home until December. Elder Stevens is new here. He is from Hawaii. His parents were born in Hawaii, but are Filapino blood. He seems a good man. Elder Ortiz is training him to be the mission secretary.
We bought some groceries and loaded a little cargo at the mission office and drove on back in the late afternoon. I had planned to swim, but when we got back, but we were bushed, so we just stayed in the apartment and read and went to bed.

Today Djulito is cleaning the place and we will go to lunch with him. His wife is being baptized tomorrow and we look forward to that ant Church in Sibalom on Sunday. We are scheduled to teach James in Hamtic with the Hamtic Elders this afternoon. Reading the BoM this morning and writing a bit.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Wednesday the 15th

Miyercoles ang 15

Thinking about Conference. Elder Christofferson's talk I really enjoyed, along with several others. He said something that ought to have dawned on me long ago, but he did make it clear. . .

“We know that it is “the sufferings and death of him who did no sin, in whom [the Father] wast well pleased; … the blood of [His] Son which was shed”. . . . that satisfies the demands of justice, extends mercy, and redeems us.

 “Having ascended into heaven, having the bowels of mercy; being filled with compassion towards the children of men; standing betwixt them and justice; having broken the bands of death, taken upon himself their iniquity and their transgressions, having redeemed them, and satisfied the demands of justice.” (Mosiah 15:9)

“Christ died not to save indiscriminately but to offer repentance. We rely “wholly upon the merits of him who is mighty to save”19 in the process of repentance, but acting to repent is a self-willed change. So by making repentance a condition for receiving the gift of grace, God enables us to retain responsibility for ourselves. Repentance respects and sustains our moral agency.”

I always think that He died to overcome death (which he did with His resurrection) and to take upon Himself all the sin and hurt and sickness and anything that was hurtful to us. It follows that repentance was the reason, but I did not follow far enough. Elder Christofferson makes it so clear. 

Enjoying the talks again these few days after.

Sister S and I walked this morning. I jogged 5 straight-a-ways. (double-timed actually)


14 Oktubre, Martes

Yesterday I got the truck serviced and washed. I found my medicine and w searched and found a few mangoes that I love for breakfast. We found some T-shirts that the Elders want to use to make a district t-shirt. We found two at the market for 20 pesos each. Sister S washed them and we got them to the district leader. Lunch and Guisano's, and that was pretty much our day. I walked to and from taking the truck around, so I did get some exercise.

Today we had district meetings. It was not so great. They asked me to do the presentation from the handbook. I did page 36, Communicating with Converts.  I encouraged them to add using texts and facebook to keep in touch and share spiritual messages to assist others to stay "in the way." After that Elder Chapman led us in recitation. I am worried about that young missionary. Can't put my finger on it exactly, but he is struggling and I don't know if he has the wherewithal to handle the situation. But, he seems to be getting better.

The lesson was about having a vision. We have a Mission Vision, and the Zone Leaders went over having a Zone vision last week. I know strategic planning is valuable, but I believe we are going a bit overboard. The DL played some baptist minister recording/CD to talk about vision. I was pretty uncomfortable with the whole thing. We have a vision for missionary work recorded in the Handbooks and in Preach My Gospel. I believe that if the missionaries work the strategic plan the Lord has laid out for them, life will go well. They claim to be struggling . . .  Back to basics.

We didn't have time to exercise this morning, so I went to the track to walk after meetings. When I went past the pool, I noticed it was open and the sun was getting pretty strong, so I stopped and inquired. In short, I paid the 20 pesos and had the pool to myself. I put in about 55 minutes of swimming, jogging, and exercises in the water. I really enjoyed it and got their hours of operation and will certainly go back. We will try to walk some and swim some. I am like a noodle right now, but I am not stiff yet. Swimming is a fine work-out for me.

NIce cool water and all by myself.
 We went to the hospital art show yesterday afternoon. I took 6 pieces, cheaply framed. There were a good many pieces, but Rodel and Paulo didn't enter any. I don't know if it is a competition, but we are allowed to sell the art. There were a lot of acrylics and a few pastels. There were some really neat oils and cross stitch, I think it is called. Few watercolors, mine only, and the drawing of the old lady. It was fun to see the art.