Sunday, June 7, 2015

Carabaos lounging in a stream

I was standing outside a small church today, looking up at all the big mango trees with ripening fruit.  We were told one of the sisters, 86 years old, had attempted to climb one recently to get a few mangos.  Today dark clouds were gathering, but for now there was only a gentle breeze on a warm sultry day.  Members and investigators were slowly making their way to the chapel when I felt my phone vibrate.  It was my son and his family calling to wish me a happy birthday.  “Happy birthday, cha cha cha. .  . “ a new rendition I am not familiar with, but the unexpected call made my day.
Sweet ladies at the Ayungon Branch
President and Sister Ferrin invited George and me to travel south to pass out a couple of mission calls in the La Carlota District.  One calling was to Legaspi and the other one Quezon City; both missions are in the Philippines.  The newly called missionaries (in different branches) are excited to serve a mission and shared their testimonies.   In one branch when the call was announced, the branch members clapped.  Both branches are losing their piano player.
New missionary called to serve
Yesterday at a baptism, while waiting for the newly baptized to change clothing, the mission leader said, “Now is time to exercise our tonsillitis by singing hymns”.
Missionaries singing at Baptism
The big news of the week; 10 missionaries went home and 10 new Filipino missionaries arrived on Wednesday.  They could see each other and smile and wave through a glass wall in the terminal.  This is always a bittersweet time as we say good bye to seasoned missionaries whom we have grown to love.  Elder Nery, one of the departing missionaries, was looking forward to going to the Manila temple to be sealed to his family the following day.  He said many ward members would also be there.  The Lord has once again blessed the Bacolod Mission with missionaries who are excited to get started in sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.  One sister is from Iloilo (e-low e-low) and already speaks the language.  She can look out across the Sulu Sea and see the island where she calls home.
New arrivals pose with MassKara dancers
MassKara dancers welcoming new arrivals at airport
Lunch with Ina, Jane Anne, and Angelo

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