Monday, June 15, 2015

A handsome carabao standing by a tubo (sugar) field
We have had lots of rain today and I am writing in a brown out (no electricity). 

Elder and Sister Kasteler, our medical training batch mates, who now serve in the MRC (medical recovery center) in Manila are visiting the Ferrins.  We were invited to attend a regional conference for the Philippines that started at 10:30 am with the Ferrins and Kastelers.    
Kastelers, Ferrins and us outside Mission Home
We traveled to Bago, south of Bacolod to attend the special meeting arriving shortly before 10:00.  It was great to see the 16 missionaries serving in this area along with many people we have met in the past.  The warm chapel and cultural hall was filled, but a bench near the front was cleared for us.    

The ward choir from Pulupandan (with matching scarves) sang a compilation of hymns and the stake president gave a message leaving only a few minutes to spare before the broadcast began. . .

After about 45 minutes of trying to get the broadcast to play without success, it was decided to have the first ever stake conference sacrament meeting.  Bread and water were prepared for the sacrament.  The speakers: Elder Mower, Elder Kasteler and President Ferrin. 
It appears the rainy season is upon us--this is a downpour at the Mission Home
We later watched the broadcast at the mission home.  Elder Nelson (of the seventy) recalled and it is true, Filipinos are kind and helpful and often use the words, “I will be the one” to indicate their willingness to assist.  We also enjoyed homemade squash soup and crepes with fresh mangoes, bananas, pineapple and whipping cream.  It was a great day even if we left before 9 and didn’t get home until after 5.
Fire Engine at La Castellana
This week was Independence Day in the Philippines.  Thursday afternoon we went to La Castellana to take mattresses for the missionary apartments.  All of the La Carlota zone missionaries were invited to sing in the Independence Day celebration and spent the night with the missionaries from this area.  We went to the town square and waited for the final rehearsal to begin.  As we waited the town fire truck sprayed water to clean the area, while others swept (bent over) with their short brooms in one hand and their other arm behind their back.  Street vendors came up to us individually selling cooked corn, boiled quail eggs, and punch.     
Missionaries enjoying a Halo-halo treat before the rehearsal
The practice was scheduled to start at 2:00 pm and at 3:00 pm, we were told this was “Filipino time” and probably wouldn’t start until 4:00 or 5:00 pm.  Well it was great to see dancers with their royal blue, scarlet, white and gold (the color of the Philippine flag) banners and participants with their interesting instruments gathering, but only our missionaries were there to sing!   Oh well, we didn’t hear them practice, but we heard it was a successful event.   
A beautiful, picturesque ride between La Carlota and La Castellana
On Saturday, the La Castellana Chapel was dedicated.  The Mission is so blessed to have so many beautiful white chapels for the people to worship in.  They seem to dot the national highway and stand out as beautiful places to worship.
Carabao plowing the sugar cane field

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