Saturday, June 29, 2013

Generosity and Burned Cookies

Things are different in the Philippines Episode 2 (maybe 3?). We have this gas oven as part of our stove. It is quite small and only holds like one cookie sheet. I am not sure how it regulates temperature since once it is lit, it stays on. But, there is a temperature dial so Nancy picks a temperature and hopes for the best. The back of the oven is always hotter than the front. So the back cookies get extra brown on the bottom, the middle ones just right, and the front ones almost just right (usually pretty good). In fact, on the maiden baking adventures the back ones were quite black. As most of you know, Nancy is a really generous person, and the 4 missionaries next door reap the benefits of her baking. They are very often the grateful recipients of many goodies. That's the Generosity part of the post. Now the Burned Cookies part, guess which cookies go to the missionaries and who gets the other ones? Don't get me wrong, I too am grateful not only for the extra crispy browned cookies but also for the chance to learn whatever this wonderful gospel attribute is....I can't quite put my finger on it, but I know it's a good thing...right?.
 The missionaries cookies on the right, mine on the left....mmmmm really they are very yummy (it's an acquired taste)
Me acquiring the taste and practicing being uncomplainingly something?.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Fruit Smoothie To Go

So two sayings  here: Things are more fun in the Philippines. and Things are different here!. So today for breakfast Nancy made berry/mango fruit smoothie shake....yummmm. So I am helping by getting the shake from the blender to the table. So at home our blender requires like a quarter turn on the pitcher part to undo it. So first I try to lift and no luck, then I give it a quarter turn, no workie, another quarter turn, still no workie, one more turn and the fruit smoothie goes out the bottom and down the sides and onto the counter. My repeat quarter turns unscrewed the bottom and we had Fruit Smoothie To Go. I may be banned as assistant Smoothie Helper.

A Real Shiner

 Well, strange things happen in the Philippines. We were out for morning exercise, and out of the blue comes a big bird and tries to attack Nancy. She is totally freaking out and in her valiant effort to avoid being devoured by the carnivorous winged menace she took a tumble and did a face plant on the concrete pavement. This broke her glasses and jammed them into her face. There was blood everywhere. The final result was she was ok except she got a pretty cool shiner.
With regard to the previous narrative, you can decide how much was fact and fiction. She is still awfully cute even with a black eye.

It's a Jungle Out There!

We went with the Office Elders to teach a family who lived in the outback. Their circumstances are extremely humble. The trail was muddy and so our shoes got quite dirty by the time we were done.
 Above: Elder Rivera (back) Nancy and Elder Yost. Both of these missionaries were great helpers in the office, but are now back out in the field. Elder Yost is from Virginia and will be heading home the first of July. He is an exceptionally good missionary.
 There was a narrow bridge to navigate. Both of us were so focused on not taking a dive into the creek, we didn't notice all the ants running merrily along on the bamboo railing which by the way wasn't all that sturdy.

Just another nature shot of the adventurous jungle loving old ones amidst the greenery. That is a banana tree next to us on the right. The tall ones in the back are coconut palms and the coconuts are way up high.
This friendly cow ox water buffalo creature was lying peacefully on the ground, so I wandered over for a Kodak moment and up it jumped snorted and pawed and I am skeedaddling my missionary bones outta there. I was briefly kinda of scerred, the operative words being briefly and kinda.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Trip to Mindoro Island (May 7 2013)

Our trip to Mindoro Island was pretty fun. We took the "fast" boat instead of the ferry. The fast boat makes it in an hour, the ferry is 3 hours. Inside the boat the seeating is good and comfy. The six of us had a table, with 3 on each side. They even served snacks as part of the deal. We attended the Mindoro zone training meeting and President did missionary interviews.
 Here are two pictures of the fast boad. It moves along pretty good and we had nice calm seas.

 Above: Arrival at Mindoro. port. The town of Calapan is pretty busy.
 Above: Picture of the missionaries in the Mindoro Zone.  Senior Couple Elder and Sister Smith on the right. They are super fun an really help the missionaries on the island.
 Somme pictures of the local houses. Pretty typical of most of the peiople.
 The picture below is a zoon in on the top left of the picture above. Just wanted to show the solar clothes dryer wihich is quite popular here in spite of the rain.

Groundbreaking for New Chapel at Calaca (April 27,2013

I am trying to get some old pictures posted. As you can see these were April 27th, about two months ago. We drove with President and Sister Peterson to the groundbreaking in Calaca. It's about a 2 + hour drive if you don't encounter a funeral procession walking down one lane of the road which really backs up the two way traffic. An interesting tradition, kinda of a funeral parade right in the hiway in the middle of the day or whenever.
The Calaca branch currently meets in a rented meandering building. The members were so excited to qualify and be approved for a chapel.  They constructed a small roofed shelter with a raised platform for the rostrum. The crowd exceeded the capacity of the covered area. All was fine until as the last speaker was winding up (funny how winding could be pronounced like wind). Anyway the threatening storm that thus far had only flashed and rumbled let loose with a downpour sending all the folks crowding under the shelter. Nancy and I just opened our umbrellas and managed to stay seated and dry. Here are some of the pictures from the day.
 Above: Members under the shelter waiting to start. Below: the rostrum and leaders. We started aboutn an hour late. Seems to be the norm for lots of things. Travel is by public means and traffic can make the best intentioned planning go kaput.

 Above: the powwow before the meeting...l-r local sister, Nancy, Sister Pererson, Sister Wagner. Below the missionaries from the zone. A good group. Elder Wagner to my right is the other half of the senior couple in this area. They head home in August...vacancy available.

 Above: President Peterson with a counselor in the District Presidency. Below: Sister Peterson with our current AP's Elder Pasqua (l), Elder Burton (c). Notice the nice ribbon and paper "medallions" made by the members to celebrate the occasion.

 Above: Here we are huddled under the umbrellas. Never had much use for them in AZ. Below: After the rain stopped, the traditional shovels and hardhats came out and everyone wanted in on the act, including Sister H

Monday, June 17, 2013

Trip to Marinduque Island (April 24, 2013)

Marinduque Island is really a pretty place. Quite mountainous and covered with jungle. Coconut trees and banana trees and other stuff. As we drove the roads, I fully expected to see a T-rex pop up on the hills across the valleys. The towns have some interesting names, Boac (bow-ak), Mogpog (mohg-pohg), and Gasan (ga-san). We have 5 sets of missionaries and one couple on the island.

 We went over to Marinduque Island which is one of the mission zones during our third week here. Above is a picture of the office van on the ferry waiting to depart. Below is a shot inside the van, left-right, Nancy, Sister Packer, Elder Packer, and Sister Peterson. The Packers are the office couple we replaced and this was their last week. We stayed in the van most of the trip over and back. We roamed around on the upper deck where there are lots of passengers. On the way back we played Farckle and Quiddler.

 Above: Nancy on deck with Marinduque Island in the distance....almost there. It's a 3 hour ride on the ferry and really pretty boring most of the way. I mean the ocean doesn't change all that much. I did see a couple of flying fish. Below: Closer to the island and we enter the staight to the harbor.

 Above: Seaside resort??? Not so much. Some local folks with their home and fishing boats.Kind of pretty.
 Here are two shots from the road overlooking the harbor area. The one above obviously is the better of  the two pictures because....isn't it obvious....Nancy is in it.

 Above; some of the local members of the Santa Cruz branch. President Peterson and Sister Peterson on the right. President came over to interview the young man in the center w/ white shirt for his mission. His mother is just right of him.She was so excited and happy to have her son going on a mission. Elder and Sister Packer to the left, the Branch President in the yellow shirt and his wife (purple shirt). The sister in front of President rode for an hour via public transportation so she could get her temple recommend renewed. Below; this is a statue in the harbor. Not sure who it is. We should have got some info but were running late and had to get aboard the ferry. Maybe next time.