Sunday, November 16, 2014

Okay, no carabao picture this week--Karen was fascinated with this man riding a mule

When we filled up the truck diesel tank this week (most everything runs on diesel), a small boy (probably 8-years old) stood on the median where the pumps are.  His dirt smudged face was hard to look at as he peered dolefully through the tinted window of the truck.  His shirt, which was once white, was now different shades of brown.   We carry Skyflakes (soda crackers) for times just like this.  George lowered the window and handed the young boy packaged crackers.  His worried look changed to a big smile (minus a few teeth).  He then waved to another young boy to come and get his prize.  George handed a package of crackers to the boy who also wore a worn dirty shirt and he smiled.  Filipinos can light up the day with their warm smiles.  They both said Salamat (thank you) and stood there smiling and opening their crackers until the attendant scooted them off the property.

Elder & Sister Ardern and President & Sister Lopez
It was a busy week with Mission Tour!  The missionaries look forward to this once a year event.  They gather from the far reaches of the entire mission to come to Bacolod and hear a general authority and the mission president along with their wives share insights.  Many of the missionaries also participated through music or answering questions related to their experiences.  The mission is large enough that half the mission attended on Thursday and the other half started arriving Thursday in Bacolod for the Friday activities.  It was wonderful to see so many missionaries together and shake their hands and visit briefly.  We not only were physically fed, but spiritually nourished.  Last night, Elder Ian S. Ardern, Area President of the Philippines Area said of his ‘mission tour’ in Bacolod that he felt the missionaries were the best prepared he thought he’d ever seen.

Seniors with Elder & Sister Ardern
President Lopez arranged for the senior couples to have dinner in the Mission Home on Thursday evening where it was our privilege and opportunity to spend some time with Elder and Sister Ardern.  They are very down to earth people and certainly well grounded in the Gospel.  We quite enjoyed their New Zealand accents.  They told of their call to full-time service in the First Quorum of the Seventy.  On a long-distance call with President Uchdorff, Sister Ardern’s reaction to the call was: “But we’re just ordinary people!”.  President Ardern was very frank and open with the questions and discussions we had.  He told about General Authority meeting at the October General Conference and shared some of the counsel given.

At airport with departing missionary Elder Mamona Tyson Joseph-Auga-Matamata (Elder JAM)
(George) We had a funny experience in attending the Gospel Principles class last week.  The topic was “The Lord’s Law of Health”.  As typical, the teacher taught in Ilonggo.  We can pick up a few words here and there, but it’s hard to stay focused so we usually read the lesson (or watch the stats of a BYU game ;-).  Anyway, I’m sure the well-intentioned teacher had me pegged for being in my 70s or 80s.  He decided that he was going to use me as an example for being ‘well preserved’ for my age.  He asked me how living the Word of Wisdom kept me in such great condition for my age.  He then asked me how old I was.  When I told him I was 62 he kind of awkwardly skipped on to the next topic :-).

Freshly pumped water from water tank

We have had rain the last couple of weeks, but it seems to be less intense and less often.  We actually ran out of water in our apartment and it took a day for us to be able to fill our tank.  Every morning George turns on the pump to fill our approximately 200 gallon tank.  Some mornings it takes a long time and the water can vary in color from clear to yellow to brown.  We are thankful for the water filter in kitchen, although we shower in varying shades of tubig (water).
Water filter system and clean water we purchase from a water station in blue jug

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