Saturday, October 14, 2017

St Louis skyline with the arch

Two weeks have slipped by since we last wrote.  We enjoyed conference, but on Sunday, our 2 year old grandson became very ill and in a few short hours ended up in critical care.  We prayed through the long night of October 1st, that little Alex would survive.  Although Alex is still in critical care, he has passed some giant hurdles.  The social worker presented the family with a bag and as Alex makes steps in improvement, a bead is added to the bag.  There are many beads in the bag and more are added daily.  There have been many miracles and he is well on his way to recovery.  We were thrilled when the ECMO was able to be removed earlier this week and his mom and dad got to hold him.

Elder Haymore in his last day in Pagedale before going home

Tuesday, we got to go to the Temple with our missionaries preparing to complete their mission and those who have reached milestones of 6, 12, and 18 months.  Every six weeks, it becomes harder to say goodbye to wonderful young men and women.  But on a bright note, it is great to welcome new missionaries to the Missouri St Louis Mission.  This week we had fifteen new arrivals.

Walking with new missionaries behind the Mission Home

It was not our normal week; it was mission tour.  So our President and his wife have been in overdrive, saying goodbye, getting to know new missionaries and then having visitors arrive to not only stay with them but to help teach and strengthen the missionaries.  President and Sister Bateman shared wonderful messages.  We are thankful for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Pond behind the Mission Home

Today as we do every Saturday, we are in the Temple.  We have grown to love the people we serve with in the Temple.  Today I had a bride (probably in her sixties) who was sealed to her sweetheart.  How neat is that?

Changing leaves in front of the St Louis Temple

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Elders McIntyre & Burgoyne nearing completing of their 'masterpiece'
It has been a fun day; it is rare to have a free Saturday!  This morning we went down to "Paint Louis" and later met up with George's 1st cousin and his wife who live nearby in O'Fallon, Missouri.  We have an artist missionary who was accepted to paint along the flood wall of the Mississippi near downtown St Louis.  The Elders were finishing up their second day of painting the best scene of the entire mile and a half stretch.  Graffiti artists from across the nation come here to paint every year.  The men next to the missionaries were from the Netherlands.
One of the colorful graffiti scenes from Paint Louis
One young man from Chicago was having an artistic block.  He said normally the art he creates is illegal and he doesn't have time to think out his designs.  By the time we left, he had some beautiful colors working in his favor.
Typical of the scene along the stretch of the river wall today
Later we went to "The Hill", a long-established Italian-American neighborhood with lots of family owned eateries and beautiful refurbished homes.  Yes, we ate Italian for lunch (with enough leftovers for a couple of days) and then went to an Italian Bakery where customers were lined up waiting to buy treats.  I bought an apple strudel right out of the oven.  We will check it out tomorrow.
Nice free style drawings with paint cans
Okay, we do work weekdays in the office.  There are always opportunities with health, apartments and vehicles.  Friday afternoon we did apartment inspections.  The apartments we visited. . .were great. We are so fortunate to work with wonderful young Missionaries.
Sister Slagle & Mower at the service entrance of the Temple
We did help with cleaning the Temple earlier in the week (it is closed for deep cleaning) and we did deep cleaning.  Last time we cleaned crystals; this time we scrubbed walls, toilets and upholstery.  We were beat.
Small, but powerful Primary program

Since I'm going in reverse order here; we also had a delightful Primary program on Sunday.  The Primary is very small, and the children each took many turns reciting their parts on Choosing the Right.  Primary programs are always great.  When we called our children later on Sunday, they shared their parts they had given in their ward.
Elders add to help complete the picture

Sunday, August 27, 2017

It is already Sunday again and our outgoing missionaries are enjoying an evening in the Mission Home with President and Sister Bateman before they head home tomorrow.  Each transfer gets harder as we say our goodbyes to missionaries we know and love. 

Elder Hopkins, one of our favorite missionaries going home, but Elder Scott had to get in the picture

Thursday afternoon we were able to serve in the St Louis Temple as the Missouri St Louis missionaries attended the Temple.  Missionaries are able to attend the Temple every 6 months.  What a wonderful experience to be with forty missionaries including the seventeen missionaries leaving. 

Almost there
Watching with our Eclipse glasses

Monday, August 21, 2017 we enjoyed watching the eclipse.  Right outside the mission office we gathered and watched the bite of the sun get bigger and bigger until around 99% of the sun was hidden by the moon.  We were close to areas that had 100%, but there were many visitors and traffic was crazy so we stayed put.  When the sky darkened the cicadas, the familiar sound of summer evenings here, started their familiar noise of snapping their wings and were probably a little confused when the sky became light again and they quieted back down.  The street lights turned on and I could see one bright star.  It was a great day!

Drew Olson's Eagle Project

We brought the office Sisters along to help with our only young man in the Pagedale branch needed some helping hands to finish with his Eagle project.  The Frontenac ward youth helped out and many hands make work go quickly.  We tied 70 quilts earmarked for the Shriner's Children's Hospital in less than an hour.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

We made an unexpected trip to downtown St Louis
We just finished talking to our children and their families.  We love them and it's always good to see and hear from them and catch up on their busy lives.  It was a momentous weekend in Tucson, Arizona with the dedication of the Tucson Temple.  Nathen, our 9 year old grandson, said the cultural celebration held last night was better than "Star Wars".   George and I enjoyed staying up late last night and watched the celebration; we saw a lot of youth from the Vail Ward. Unfortunately, we missed the Temple dedication today, but feel a great protection and power that comes from having a local Temple.

Last Monday I was feeling a little out of sorts, but my spirits were buoyed up by all the Elders who visited the office during the day. The best part of our mission involves our interactions with the missionaries--they are wonderful, and for the most part, striving to serve the Lord.

George received a wonderful tender mercy from the Lord when he received the following message during the week:
Barry was the first person I baptized on my mission!  He was a bartender and worked and lived in a Pub. We were apprehensive to teach Barry about the Word of Wisdom because it meant he would lose his job and housing.  He was what we would call a 'golden investigator' because he accepted the Gospel and had great faith to accept the Gospel and leave his job.  It was wonderful to catch up with him; he was married in the London Temple and has 6 children--one served a mission and 3 were married in the temple; and 12 grandchildren.
East facing view of the beautiful St Louis Temple

Saturday was a wonderful day in the St Louis Temple!  There were many visitors from all over the Midwest. We love working in the Temple and it really lifts and cleanses our spirits after a week dealing with the tasks related to health, apartments and cars.
West facing view of the Temple

The weather has been perfect; not too hot or cold.  But with the cooler weather the fireflies are not as visible.  We have loved watching the fireflies outside our window all summer long in the evenings.  We didn't even need fireworks on the 4th of July. 
George facing view of the Temple

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rainy day on our way to Springfield, IL Zone Conference on Thursday

This week was Zone Conferences.  We love, love yes love being with the missionaries.  On Thursday we dropped off a new four wheel drive truck in Illinois.  The Sisters spent "two and a half hours" cleaning up their old (2015) truck; they did a great job (I think George threatened them that if it wasn't clean enough they wouldn't get the new truck ;-). 
Zone Conference Car Inspections

We can laugh now, but the Tuesday conference location was changed with short notice.  We arrived so early to the original location that we decided to buy Egg McMuffins for the missionaries who had arrived early for car inspections.  When we arrived, there were no cars in the parking lot. We called some missionaries and asked for help and were directed to another area in downtown St Louis, which wasn't' the right place either. We stopped at a gas station in a rough part of town to call again for directions.   While we were stopped, we handed out some of the breakfast sandwiches to some homeless people in the parking lot.  They commented 'why are you doing this?  Can we have some water too? Thanks so much!'.
Zone Conference Car Inspections (cont.)

We finally ended up at the right place, shortly before the conference was to begin.  We had driven around for over an hour, but we saw parts of St Louis, we have never seen and probably won't again!  It kind of went along with my theme, "I can do hard things".

Friday evening we went with our Branch and did baptisms at the Temple.  We had one Sister who has been a member for many years and it was her first time.  Although she found "all that water" a little daunting, today she said she couldn't wait to go back!

We had a special visitor to the Branch today; Elder Gifford Nielsen of the First Quorum of the Seventy and his wife.  And my favorite BYU Quarterback of all time.  He was the quarterback when I was at BYU and really put the BYU passing game on the map.  He was very humble and modest about his sports achievements.  They both gave wonderful messages to the Branch.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Missionaries respectfully remove their shoes and bags before entering mission home

When we arrived back in March of 2014, there were approximately 250 missionaries serving in the Philippines Bacolod Mission; now there are 189.  There has been a gradual downsizing to make the mission more manageable; allowing Mission Presidents to focus more on the needs of the missionaries.

Street vendor pushing his wares down a busy downtown street

Working as the nurse specialist I remember the first day I was handed the phone and how frightened I was.  A hospital telemetry nurse is different than being a community nurse.  But it is apparent, this is the Lord’s work and we have been blessed greatly in working with our young missionaries.  He watches over His missionaries with a special interest—as we have seen many miracles come to pass.  Some days have been non-stop and others pretty quiet.  George and I never imagined that we would love and care for the missionaries so greatly.  George has often accused me of blessing each one by name in my private prayers.

A barker trying to line up more business for his jeepney

We have served under President Lopez, a great teacher and tireless worker, President Ferrin, kind, loving and understanding and now President Barredo, a great leader and role model.  We have visited from the top of the mission to the bottom of the mission in inspecting apartments, delivering supplies, and meeting with the missionaries.  Today was our last Sunday in the Philippines.  We were blessed to be able to share our testimonies of our Savior, Jesus Christ and the restoration of the gospel.   We truly feel blessed that the Lord would allow us to come to the Philippines.

A Sister Nanay at Church this week--she still chops her own wood

A funny incident happened this week.  We dropped off the truck for a maintenance service and walked over to a nearby mall.  We saw three young women standing taking ‘selfies’.  As he often does, George offered to take their picture.  Well, you know we have a little language barrier here—the girls lined up to have their picture taken with him!  Haha.  As we walked away, they yelled ‘thank you sir’.

Mobile banana vendor offering his wares

We have compiled this list over the 18-months we have been here:

Things we will miss about the Philippines

1. The people (missionaries, members and people)

2. Salamats (thank you) in prayers

3. Visiting 72 different sacrament meetings; groups, branches, wards

4. Beautiful country sides, fields, trees, plants, flowers

5. Friendliness of people

6. Resourcefulness of people

7. Hardworking people

8. ‘Ready, sing . . . ’

9. Listening to people singing (accents).

10. Rain
Things we won’t miss about the Philippines

1. Driving

2. ‘Out of stock’

3. ‘Sit and wait a while’

4. Brown outs (we are on the 2nd one for today)

They have so little, but thank so much. We have so much, but thank so little.

Among the many missionaries we've come to love so much!
We have been blessed beyond measure by our small service.  This is such a wonderful part of the Lord’s vineyard we have been able to experience.  We are thankful for the wonderful missionaries who serve here and only pray that our grandchildren may have an opportunity to serve here.

We now leave here with mixed emotions.  We have loved our time here, but now move on with grateful hearts to the many people, members, and missionaries we have associated with and learned so much from.  This will be our last blog post, as we are leaving the Philippines this week to be reunited with our children, grandchildren (2 new grandsons we haven't yet seen), parents, and family.

The Victorias Milling Factory--largest sugar cane factory in the world
Inside the Church of the Angry Christ (Catholic Church inside factory property)
Karen thought this mural was a little scary looking

Beautiful grounds outside the church

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Cute little girls posed for a picture after Church today 
Busy, busy day at the office (we love seeing the missionaries)
I like Mondays at the mission office, because a lot of missionaries show up for one reason or another.  But this was transfer day and we had missionaries from all over the mission here to accept new assignments and meet new companions before traveling back to their areas.  Some of the missionaries from far away, left at 1:00 am to get to Bacolod in time.
Departing missionaries: all Filipino with President and Sister Barredo
Tuesday:  George and I were invited to be part of the departing missionaries’ farewell activities as we really don’t have a ‘batch’ (a group of missionaries we came out with), and our time here is coming to a close.  We sat with the eight departing Elders during our last meal in the mission home and enjoyed hearing about their missionary experiences and future plans and dreams.  This was a great batch; pioneers from the Philippines with strong testimonies.  We pray for their continued success.
Newest batch with an international flavor
Wednesday eight new missionaries arrived.  They came to Bacolod from Samoa, Tonga, Australia, New Zealand, England, US and a two from the Philippines.  When they were sharing their testimonies I looked around at the Elders and Sisters from all around the world; we have such different back grounds, but share a common thread, The Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Lunch with some of our favorite missionaries (they're all our favorites)
George picked up the new missionaries Thursday morning to take them to meet their new trainers and go out into their new areas.  On the way to the office with all the missionaries he stopped to let a parade go by.  After considering the importance of this new group of missionaries--he pulled into the middle of the parade and joined them!  It reminded me of the experience Heber C. Kimball had when he first landed in England and saw a parade with the banner “Truth Will Prevail”.
Young boy playing prelude in Sacrament meeting on Sunday
My greatest compliment this week was when an Elder texted me, “You understand my text thank you sister mower”.  We will miss this time in our lives; and the many friends and wonderful experiences we have been blessed with here.
Youngster entertaining himself (and us) at a baptism