Saturday, July 30, 2011

EaRtHqUaKe . . . . .

We were awaken at 1:15 am on Tuesday morning by the shaking of an earthquake! Yes . . .here is the report from the earthquake website . . .

Magnitude 5.9 - LUZON, PHILIPPINES

2011 July 25 17:15:41 UTC

I think that I must have been dreaming that things were shaking when all of a sudden the shaking got harder and I woke up. Wade woke up (which is highly unusual) and asked what was going on. It was shaking the bed the dresser and everything else. I was waiting for something to fall off of the dresser or pictures off of the wall. When it stopped, I got up and opened the door and asked Jose what was going on. He said it was an earthquake. So I got on my trusty website to see what I could find out. The earthquake details are below. I watch this site almost daily. There has been a lot of shakin' and rollin' in the Pacific Rim area, Japan, Indonesia, New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, Alaska, South America and some along the California coast.

Earthquake Details

  • This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.
Location14.970°N, 120.119°E
Depth35 km (21.7 miles) set by location program
Distances24 km (14 miles) NW of Olongapo, Luzon, Philippines
54 km (33 miles) WSW of Angeles, Luzon, Philippines
102 km (63 miles) WNW of MANILA, Philippines
108 km (67 miles) WSW of Cabanatuan, Luzon, Philippines
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 4.4 km (2.7 miles); depth fixed by location program

From what we have been told, there was not damage or lose of lives. We were the closet to the epicenter in our mission and all our missionaries are safe . . . As we say over here almost daily . . . Welcome to the Philippines!

Treadmil Update . . .

I am happy to report that I have been on the treadmill for at least 20 minutes for 5 days a week for 3 weeks now. I started by just walking for two weeks this past week i started running slowly. I am now up to 7 minutes straight. Now for some of you, that might seem funny, but fore me it is a big thing! I hate to exercise! But I do feel better and I am enjoying listening to my iPod while I am on the treadmill each morning! (Remember this is also my journal and I need to keep my self focused on my commitments!)

Salad Dressing . . .

My girls sent me a couple of packages of Hidden Valley Ranch Salad dressing mix.. I can't find a good salad dressing here. So, I bought some mayo and mixed it up last week. I was so excited to have a good salad with real Ranch dressing. I sat down to dinner and poured on some of my newly made dressing. I took one bite and YUCK!! I couldn't figure out at first why it tasted so yucky. Was it because I used powdered milk? (Powdered milk is cheaper to use in cooking) No . . . So I pulled the package for the mayo out of the garbage to look at it again. It was called Best Foods Mayo Magic! In other words, it was the Filipino version of Miracle Whip! I dumped the dressing. I bought a bottle of Mayonnaise at the duty free store - the real American stuff! I am looking forward to a good salad again soon! Now I need my girls to send me another couple of packages of the dressing mix!
The other half of the double package . . .

A New Treat!

While doing apartment checks last month,one of the young Elders told Wade about this yummy spread that he found here that he puts on his bread. He said it was really good. So Wade found some in the store and brought it home. Since it is a chocolate spread he decided to try it on a graham cracker instead of bread. It is Choco Hazelnut and milk. It is made in Germany. It is delicious!!!
Goya Choco Spread Goya on graham cracker!! It is now our favorite treat!!

Stolen Bananas . . . .

There are some of you out there that have been following the bananas from the blossom to the end . . . Last week I had my grand kids on Skype and I took my computer out into the yard to show them the bananas growing on the tree. To my amazement, they were gone! So I walked around the house to show them the pineapples that were growing were just about ready to picked. They were gone too! I felt bad that they couldn't see them.

That afternoon, Sister Martino and I were talking about the fruit in our yard and I told her the bananas and pineapples were gone. So we went to Jose (our security guard). He said that someone stole them. I could not believe it since he is supposed to be guarding the property here at night. Then in Jose's way, he started laughing and said that they were stolen by him! Because of all the rain, he said he cut them so they wouldn't go bad.

The Thief with his haul . . .
Jose & Sister Martino with the bananas Bunch of bananas See the little babies at the bottom of the stem??Nothing like eating fresh bananas from the tree!!
Jose also gave each of us a fresh pineapple!

Testimonies . . .

This past Tuesday, we were invited to participate with the 14 missionaries returning home from our mission during their final testimony meeting. WOW! It was amazing to listen as each of the 11 Elders and 3 Sisters as they bore witness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They each expressed their gratitude for being able to share the gospel with the Filipino people and how much that they had grown from their experience over the last 18 -24 months. These missionaries were from the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia and the USA. What a great day to rub shoulders with these fine young people.

There are days that go by that I wonder what type of 'spiritual' experiences I could be having as I work in the mission office preparing departing books, orientation books, letters to parents, sorting mail and ordering supplies. But as we send missionaries home with the Light of Christ in their countenance and then receive new missionaries fresh from the MTC, in Provo or Manila, who are eager to get out to meet and teach the people and to bring souls Unto Christ, our testimonies are strengthened. We see how the Lord has a plan for each one of us.

Today, I was standing in line at the bakery. An American man came up to me and asked if I was part of the church in Cabanatuan. (He was looking at my name tag as we spoke.) I told him that we didn't attend there (it is about 2 hours from Angeles), but we were the same church. He was trying to tell me about the political stuff going on back home. I told him we hear about stuff back home, but we are here to tell the people about our church. I told him that the Gospel of Jesus Christ was taken from the earth after Christ died and that Joseph Smith had restored the Gospel of Jesus Christ back to the earth. I told him that we have a book that tells of the history of the people who left Jerusalem and settled in the Americas. He stopped me and asked if that was the twelve tribes. I told him that these people were from one of the tribes and that we are all from the either the tribe of Ephraim or Manasseh. He told me had one of our books - the Book of Mormon - that the young Elders had brought to him. He said that they had been to his home several times. I asked if he had read the book and he said no, he hadn't even read the King James Bible. I challenged him to go home and read the book of Mormon and then call those young Elders who have stopped by his home before. He said he would as he walked way . . .

Wade was asked to speak in the Angeles Stake Conference last week on Finding Joy in Service. I was asked to bear my testimony. One of my friends here told me that she loves to serve the people who are serving the Lord. She is the house help here at the mission home. I had never thought of serving in that way before,. But what a pleasure it is to serve the Lord whether it be serving those who sever Him or if you are working in the office. There are opportunities for 'spiritual' experiences. We just need to open our eyes a little more and look around at all He has blessed us with!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Hills are Alive . . . .

Beyond the wall surrounding the old Clark Air base here in the Philippines where we live, are some beautiful green covered hills. I have longed to go see 'what is out there'. On Saturday, July 16th, Wade asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I wanted to take the road that we have passed many times and see what was in tree covered hills. So we hoped in the car and off we went.
We first crossed the river and then started winding down a road lined with green orchards and rice fields.
The grass was so tall, you could hardly see what was behind it. But I didn't
want to get out and walk through it . . three just might be snakes!!
We started up a road until it turned into a dirt road.
We turned around and started back down.
I saw this cute family on the side of the road under some trees . . . The mother said they lived down in the trees but I couldn't see a home down there.
We found this grove of bamboo trees along the road way as well.
Wade was excited to see the bamboo
We saw a carabau (water buffalo) taking a rest in the mud.A mama goat was feeding her kids.Another carabau eating the bark from a tree.We also met this cute mom and her two boys.
Actually the oldest one was waving at us so I asked if I could take some pictures.

They were showing me their house
and their outdoor kitchen (typical of most of the homes in the country) Then I saw a shed and asked what it was.They told me they had pigs - 9 of them.
So they helped me down so I could see them.
Aren't they cute little pigs? And they didn't even stink!!We came upon 4 guys going home from work.
Their attire was interesting, but I really liked
the basket that one of them was carrying . . .

It was so beautiful and green up in the hills.

There were different types of houses,
from shacks . . . .
to a very large home in a grove a trees.
We found the local Catholic church - very old.
More cute little kids along the road . . . aren't they cute!
Our trip down that road turned into a interesting afternoon of finding that
the hills really are alive. I hope we can take that drive again someday . . .

Treadmill . . . . .

On Monday several guys carried the treadmill from the mission home down to our apartment. The new president and his wife are not using it and let us have it in our apartment. It takes up quite a bit of space when down, but luckily it folds up.I just use a fan next to it to keep me cool. I don't like to get up early and Elder Jewkes goes to the park at 5am. I like my extra hour of sleep! When he gets home from the park, he jumps in the shower and I jump on the treadmill.I have my Ipod with me so, I just turn on the music and walk . . .
Elder Jewkes told me I wouldn't use it so I will prove him wrong! So in front of the president I committed to use it at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week. I am happy to report that I made my goal for last week . . .
It takes 21 days to form a a habit so I still have a couple more weeks . . .

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Lawn Mowers in the Philippines . . .

With the rainy season comes grass growing taller. As we have been traveling within the mission recently, we have seen men clearing the long grass along the road sides. On July 5th we thought our neighborhood was invaded.
But lo, it was just the lawn mowers . . . these guys look like someone from the middle east in the clothes that they wear to clear the grass. It was pretty interesting to watch them work. They did a good job!

Shall We Gather at the River . . .

On Saturday July 2nd, we went to the town of Burgos to witness four men being baptized in the river nearby. It was a beautiful day for the drive. We called and picked up the zone leaders in Tarlac so they could show us the way to Burgos. It was fun to visit with them and get to know them a little better.

This little branch meets in this building.
This is Sister Nanay Presca. She is 80+ years old.
A active member in this little branch and so sweet! She even spoke some English!
We had a short meeting with songs and talks about baptism at the church and then we all traveled a couple of mile to the river where the baptisms took place. There was our car with 4 Elders and one of the baptismal candidates and then 2 tricycles with the rest of the people who attended.
We parked the cars and walked up a small hill and then down to the river. What a beautiful setting for a baptism.Before the ordinances took place, the Branch President and a couple of the older women washed his laundry in the river. . . . that was a new one for me. The little kids were all jumping in splashing and swimming. Then we had the baptisms of these 4 men. Elder Leishman is on the left.
It reminded me of our Savior being baptized in the river Jordan long ago.
Branch members attending the baptism ~ they were all in 2 tricycles!
Singing before a talk was given on the Holy Ghost and then we returned to our cars.It was a beautiful day for a baptism after all the rain we have been having. And a great day to Gather at the River . . . .