Sunday, December 14, 2014

We captured this picture of a carabao pulling this cart along the national highway

Karen and I are working with our friends, President and Dr. President Deyro to visit the pediatric ward in the local (poor) hospital on Christmas Day (we referenced in an earlier post).  I had sent the Hospital Director a letter requesting that we be allowed to visit and bring some small presents and snacks to any inpatients.  A few days later, we called the Director’s office and were told that we had to go through the Hospital Priest in order to make the visit.  President Deyro and I went to the Hospital this past Tuesday with some apprehension about being able to get to see the Priest (in his experience, an appointment was needed to see the Priest—and to do that you had to go through his deacon, secretary, etc.).  Anyway, we had a prayer and walked over to the Hospital.  He asks, ‘do you have any ID with you?’ I said, only my missionary badge.  He left his ID behind, and asked if we should go back and get it, I said no based on my previous visits to the Hospital.  We went to the Director’s office to get the signed copy of our request—with the Director’s letter; assigning the Priest to be our ‘gatekeeper’ for the visit.  The guard asked for an ID to take to the Director’s Office to get the letter—before I could react—President Deyro had pulled my badge off of my pocket and given it to the guard.  I told him—he better bring that back or you’re in big trouble!  He did, and we got the letter :-).
Bacolod Regional Hospital (normally VERY crowded inside/outside)
We then walked over to the Church to see if we could get in to see Father Mendoza.  Turns out, he was sitting on the porch in front of what I think was his residence.  He was very friendly and cordial.  I presented the letter to him.  He looked at it and asked if he could make copies.  We chatted about our plans for the visit, and invited him to make the visit with us.  He said he was one of thirteen children and was going home to visit his mother on Christmas Day after the morning mass.  He was a very well educated man, speaking some five languages (including very good English) and had several advanced degrees.  He makes the rounds to visit hospital patients twice a day—he’s a very busy man.  He very willingly approved our visit and sent instructions to the appropriate staff in the Pediatric Ward to grease the skids for our visit.  We gave him a special Ensign edition about Christ and he willingly accepted; A very nice man in the humble service of his God.

I’m growing what they call in the Philippines a ‘rice belly’.  Well before I get to the point where people start wondering if men can get pregnant (like some of the Filipino men appear to be), I talked to Karen about getting an elliptical machine and she readily agreed.  We loved to walk at home, but the outside air pollution here is so intense, we don’t really like to walk and breathe all the polluted air, unless we go to a mall.  I’m too cheap to buy a Nordic Trac machine, which was $500, so I bought a cheap China knock off elliptical machine which is cheesy, but allows me to get some exercise.  I think it does some good, but after a few weeks it developed major squeaks that bother me and are obnoxious to Karen.  You see, we only have a window air conditioning unit in our bedroom—so the machine has to go in there.  I purchased the only oil I could find—it was Singer ‘all purpose’ oil, I think for sewing machines.  Even with regular oiling, the machine began to squeak with every step.  I went back to the store where we purchased  and asked what they could do to help me.  They said, give us your phone number and we’ll send a service person over to fix it.  Well, that didn’t work.  So I went back again, and they promised to visit.  On a Sunday evening they called and soon came over.

My Elliptical

Two guys riding on a little scooter showed up.  They looked at the elliptical and told me that the oil I had been using caused the squeaks.  So they went outside and brought back a few tools to take the machine apart.  They apparently didn’t bring the right tools, so asked to borrow the cheap tools that came with the elliptical—and used them (and kept the wrench) to disassemble/reassemble.  And they didn’t bring any oil—so they asked to borrow mine (yeah, after they told me how bad it was—and used half the bottle).  To their credit, they did fix the squeaks but we were cleaning up pools of oil for weeks after.  Anyway, it’s fixed and I’m back working on reducing the rice belly.
Young man & his mother opening his mission call during sacrament meeting
Today we traveled to north to Fabrica and Paraiso for Church (about 1.5 hour drive).  Church was cancelled last week because of the typhoon threat.  At the Fabrica Ward during Sacrament Meeting a young man and his mother were called up to the pulpit where he opened his missionary call!  We hear this is often done here.   It was an exciting time for this small ward to celebrate together this special day of this young man and his family.   This small ward of about 150 people currently have six missionaries already serving.

Christmas tree exhibit next to the Cathedral (made of bottles)
We saw Christmas decorations all along the National Highway this Sunday.  Trees and tinsel in bright colors.  We stopped in Silay coming back to look at many Nativity Scenes made by different Barangays around the town Cathedral.  This is a Christian nation!  Near this area there were a couple of hundred people playing Bingo!
Nativity scene outside Cathedral

Nativity scene outside Cathedral

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