Sunday, October 19, 2014

This video, aptly named "Pure and Simple Faith" exemplifies the people we have met here--we highly recommend that you take a few minutes to view it.

Yes, we couldn't help but taking another close up of a worker/son on their carabao on the highway

Sunday, October 19, 2014

We had a visit in the mission office from four Elders that were in Bacolod for their preparation day from Colonia Divina (~3 hour trip by car or truck).  They planned to start the trip back later in the day and go as far as Sagay.  Since we were going to Sagay the following morning, they graciously accepted our invitation to ride along.  Our day started early and everybody was aboard by 6:00 am.  Our truck was pretty cozy with four Elders smashed together in the backseat of the truck.  They did say it was still more comfortable than riding in a crowed (non air-conditioned) public Ceres bus, and the price was right (free).

Two of these Elders will be returning home in a couple of weeks.  One of the office Elders’ told me that Elder Sablan was a “local” and needed to take the English Proficiency Test.  I told him, I was pretty sure he was from the U.S.  I asked Elder Sablan where he was from; his reply, “Washington State”.  I share this because often by the time the Elders and Sisters return home, they speak like a local.  Many missionaries called here already have beautiful brown skin and eyes (not Filipino features).  And the funny thing, the office Elder who told me he needed the test, is from Manila.

Scene in front of missionary house
Our first stop was in Manta-angan to make a delivery.  The time was 6:30 am: the time for missionaries to rise and shine.  We discussed whether to stop on our way back or do a wakeup call.  It was unanimous that we should stop and make a surprise visit.  The four Elders climbed out of the truck and started singing “As I have loved you”.  It’s not every day you get woken up by a serenade—especially in the jungle!  Soon, out came one Elder in shorts and tee-shirt, then two, three… and when we were ready to go, out came the final Elder with sleepy eyes.

We went to the Sisters apartment in Old Sagay.  It is in an area not accessible by truck.  So we loaded up the treasures from home and stuff to install a CO detector and saw that we would be walking in mud, deep mud.  And just as we were deciding how to best make our path, a weathered young man drove up in his sikad (bicycle with side seats) and offered his services.  He spoke no English, but was willing to take us through the mud for five pesos.  We climbed in; two big Americans with our boxes.  We fit very snugly sitting  on the worn plastic covered seat.  He took us through mud and puddles on a very uneven road.  When we finally arrived I gave him ten pesos for his hard work (about a quarter).  We later found it was well worth the cost—as we walked back through the mud puddles.  I’m afraid it would’ve been an ugly picture.

Elders wait for us outside their house
By the time we had finished most of our scheduled stops in Sagay, Old Sagay, Paraiso, Fabrica and Cadiz, it was early afternoon and we decided to visit Himoga-an.  We have attempted to visit this out of the way place before, but found out, we would have to go by boat.  We came a different way and although I am not sure the Elders were too excited to have us come, they kindly waited for us by the road.

Beach view of ocean setting
I am so thankful we came to this beautiful place.  Following a short path from the Elders apartment we came to a setting that was breathtaking to view.  We live on an island—less than a mile from the ocean and this is the first time we have been in an area that we could walk along the ocean since we have been here.  The sea was blue and inviting.  And unlike any beautiful beach we have been to before, we were the only ones walking in the dark sand.  There were many fishermen placing and gathering their long nets in the shallow warm water.  They smiled and waved as we took their pictures.  Near the ocean were many small bamboo squatter homes with million dollar views.

Fishermen walking along the beach
Workers setting their nets (the closest boat smiling and waving)
Workers laying nets the old fashioned way
Village along beach (beach front property!)
I must say, these trips to see the missionaries are many times the highlight of our week. After being ‘cooped up’ in the office all week, we’re happy to get out and be with the missionaries and the people.  Most people are friendly and helpful—even when George goes down a one-way street in the center of town—and then gets out to ask directions.  They politely give directions, and then have a good laugh as we drive off.
Busy street traffic along our route
Busy traffic by where we live

Street banner in preparation for MassKara festival

Karen poses next to a colorful MassKara mask

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