Sunday, July 19, 2015

Carabao cart along the National Highway

Every 6-weeks we have scheduled departures and new arrivals—bringing with it constant change in the Mission.  Ten missionaries left Wednesday morning and eleven arrived shortly after (on the same plane).  There were also two returning missionaries who reside in the Mission Districts (one came by boat).  How wonderful to see the reunion of families; it makes me a little “trunky”.  One returning Elder was the branch president in his small branch before he left to serve his mission.
Sisters Gamit, Menguito, and Davenport on the way to the airport
George and I were thinking about how we would love to be at the departing missionary testimony meeting.  This experience is usually just for the missionaries and the Mission President and his wife.  We have known these fine Elders and Sisters for a long time and we love them.  We were asked to arrive at 7, following the dinner and testimony meeting, but when we arrived at the appointed hour, the testimony meeting had just started and we were invited to stay.  What a sacred experience to feel the spirit and feast upon the powerful testimonies that were shared by these valiant missionaries who have served and struggled and sacrificed for the Gospel's sake.
Wonderful new arriving missionaries
A few highlights of departing missionaries:  One Elder went home a couple of months ago to attend the funeral of his father.  He had the option of not returning; he said I desire to finish my mission.  One Sister went home for a few months to help her mother who was ill; George and I picked her up at the airport when she returned ready to serve for another 9-months.  One Elder, through good times and hard times; we never saw him without a smile and the desire to carry on.  One Sister was loved by every companion she had.  One of her last companions who is new in the mission cried when she was transferred, because this Sister was so helpful and caring in helping her to adjust to missionary life.  What wonderful young missionaries we have the privilege to work with!
Busy office during new arrival transfers
A Brother, who was the first Stake President in Bacolod and his wife came to the mission office this weekend shared the history of the church in Bacolod.  They are pioneers on the island of Negros!  The Sister told us that when the missionaries knocked on their door back in the 70s, she was taken aback a little by seeing two white men in dress suits at her front door and they asked for her father.  Suits are very unusual attire for this warm humid climate as well as white clean cut men!   She asked if they were from the “CIA”.  They spoke only in English and were searching for leaders to organize the first branch in the Church in her area.
Scenery from along the National Highway
Today we attended our 70th different sacrament meeting since arriving in the Mission.  We are now traveling longer distances to attend these wards/branches.  We left our home at 6:30 a.m.  When we first arrived in the Mission, President Lopez assigned us to travel to a different sacrament meeting every week. This assignment has been a great blessing to us.  We have grown to love the members; many of whom sacrifice so much to attend Church and to serve.  They are humble people who are grateful for the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Picture from behind carabao cart (shown above)
Typical trike with people hanging on from all directions

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