|You guessed it--a carabao sighting in Manapla!|
|EJ, Brother John, Elder Shumway and Elder Minson|
Today we traveled south to Pulupandan. We have been here before, but wanted to attend the baptism of EJ a 17 year old we met several weeks ago. She has been coming to Church for almost a year and has a testimony of Jesus Christ. Her dad signed the baptismal consent a couple of days ago. When we walked up to the entrance of the 2 story Church, there was an older lady sitting on the ground. She looked up and smiled and greeted us. A chair was brought to the entrance and I helped her get up and comfortable in the chair. She spoke no English, but chattered away. She used a pvc pipe as her support and had flip flops on. Later I helped her climb the 20 steps to get up to the chapel. I felt the spirit as we carefully climbed each step. Two daughters of God from different cultures, arm in arm with a common thread.
|Ernesto in his new wheelchair|
Another experience from this small ward, Ernesto a young man has no use of his legs and needed a wheelchair. A private group of church members had arranged a way for members to get wheelchairs if needed. It does require 40 hours of service; the ward did the service for this young man and he was in his new chair today. With his new freedom, he was able to bless the sacrament, give two confirmation blessings and offer a pray at the baptism.
|Island between Manila and Negros Occidental|
|Elder Gang (serving in Baguio) and Elder Gang (ours)|
Yesterday George and I along with 19 American missionaries flew to Manila to fulfill emigration requirements. 23 million people live in the Manila area and although traffic is crazy, I think I have been here a long time, as I thought the traffic wasn’t that bad. What is abnormal about traffic from 4 different directions trying to cross, merge and turn without any direction control - all at the same time? It turned out to be a great day and although I think some missionaries were disappointed that the temple was closed, they were able to meet “batch” mates (trained in the MTC together) from other missions. My favorite hook up was Elder Gang from our mission meeting his twin brother serving in the Baguio mission.
Since the Manila Temple was closed, we had the opportunity to go to the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial. Many Americans gave their lives serving in the Pacific Region during World War II. It was very humbling to walk on ground hallowed by the burial place of some 17,000 brave men and 36,000 men and women lost at sea or missing in action whose names were inscribed on walls of the memorial who had given their lives to fight tyranny and oppression. Many young men who lost their lives in service Our Country during WW II never had the opportunity to enjoy many of the blessings that we enjoy, or families to raise, and were buried in a foreign land far away from their home. Humbling indeed.
|Some of the missionaries: (back:) Elders Nielsen, Archuleta, Gang, Minson, Powell, Carver, Pack, Walters (front:) Elder Turley, Sisters Judd, Davenport, Snow|
This is also the place where Elder Gordon B. Hinckley rededicated the Philippines for missionary work in 1961. We gathered and read about this experience and heard some of the words of the dedicatory prayer and felt the Spirit of the Lord and recognized the realization of many of the blessings that have already occurred.
|March 11 Departures|
It was departure and arrival week. Twenty seasoned Elders and Sisters have returned home and seventeen new missionaries are embarking as servants with a message of Jesus Christ. Our heart strings were tugged as our missionaries left and happy as we met and got to know the new arrivals. The incoming group included 11 missionaries from the Philippines and 6 Americans.
|March 11 Arrivals|
We brought two sweet Filipina Sister Missionaries to the airport. In addition to being “batch” mates, they are both converts to the Church and best friends from Mindanao. Their Branch President supported them on their missions. Sister Turtal sang “I Need Thee Every Hour” on the way in Ilonggo and it touched our hearts.