Thursday, April 28, 2011

Banana Update

In an earlier blog, I showed you pictures of the fruit trees that grow in the backyard of our apartment. The security guard, Jose, takes care of them. This as been interesting to watch since I have never seen bananas start from a bloom on a banana tree.

This is the blossom on the banana tree on April 5, 2011
This is what the blossom looked like on April 21, 2011

Notice the purple blossom falling away from the bananas. The are only about 2 inches long.
This shows a picture of the bananas progress on April 25th
The bananas are still coming out from the white part of the
bloom at the bottom of the stem that has bananas on it.


My youngest son, Charlie, was laid off from his job as an estimator at Sunroc in February. He had been applying for jobs in Salt Lake and the surrounding areas. Nothing was becoming available. He went to a job fair and talked to a company in So. California. They called him a couple of days later, flew him to LA for an interview and a week later was offered a job.

He bought a house in Cottonwood Heights this past September. He had great plans to get the yard in shape and just enjoy home ownership this summer. But with a great job offer, he packed up his car the first of April and moved to So. California. He has been renting his house to 5 of his friends, so he hasn't lost the house too. He will keep it at least until the economy improves, renting it to friends.

His job is in Glendale. He is currently looking for an apartment close to his work. He is renting a room from a woman, who also rents an apartment to the missionaries, while he looks for a good ward to attend and an apartment to rent. He is excited to live in a warmer climate.

Being a Senior Missionary

Well, for those of you who have read Wade's latest email, you learned that I finally had a melt down last Saturday - the day before Easter. I woke up Saturday morning after dreaming that I had gone home and was putting all sorts of spices and such in snack size Ziploc bags to bring back with me. (I have this thing with having what I need at my finger tips - not here though!) I had also been thinking a lot about my dad and wondering how my mom was doing last week. Also, since Mike (who everyone in our family refers to as the 'Golden Child') doesn't have the internet at home, we haven't been able to communicate with him much - of course that is what he likes best about us being gone!! Anyway, I started to cry and Wade was baffled. I told him I wanted to go home. (After all, I have been in the Philippines for over a month now, isn't that long enough??) Then I told him I just wanted to talk to my mom and my kids and hear their voices. I had put $10 on our Skype account the night before. So, I called Mike who was at Cafe Rio and couldn't hear me. I told him I would call back and then I called my mom. It was good to hear her voice and she sounded great! I called Mike back and he had picked Charlie up at the airport. While I was talking to him, Charlie told him to hang up on me- great kids, huh? At that point, my sweet husband intervened and told them to be nice to me that I had been crying because I wanted to talk to them. We have been able to Skype with Andrea & Ryan weekly so we can talk to them and the kids (mostly the kids). Patti and Charlie have Skyped as well. So we have been able to stay in touch with them. I am now glad that we have a way to communicate with Mike and my mom. I think I can go forward now! Why do I confess my melt-down to you all? It is to let you know that a mission is a wonderful experience, but it is also hard to be away from family. I think that is why so many people our age choose not to serve missions. It certainly was a concern for me! As a senior couple, we have been encouraged to keep in touch with our families through Skype, internet, facebook, emails, telephone calls and letters. It is important to know that our families are okay at home without us so that we can carry on with the work we have been asked to do in the mission field. Heavenly Father blesses our families and he blesses us. Sometimes it is hard to be with your spouse 24/7. But you just keep smiling and serving one another as you serve the Lord. I am so grateful for this opportunity to serve a mission in the Philippines. I'm not sure if I can go another 16 months (who is counting?) without another melt down, but for now I am doing great! The people are wonderful even if we can't always understand them - we just feel their love for us!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Easter Sunday

What a beautiful day here in the Philippines. We attended the San Fernando 2nd Ward today. San Fernando is about 30-45 minutes from where we live. The people are so friendly. It doesn't matter where we go to church, people will come from the back of the chapel to shake our hands. They always ask where we are from. Today someone asked if we knew President Monson. We told him that we had met him. They were so excited!

This week I have been reading the accounts in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John of the last week of our Savior's life. It has been so interesting to read and in my mind see those place where the events took place. We were blessed to take a trip to Jerusalem a few years ago and visit these sites. We even walked the path that Jesus took those last few days of his life.

We sat in the upper room.
We sat in the Garden of Gethsemane and we visited the Garden Tomb.

At each place we would stop and read scriptures that pertained to that site and our guide, Matt Chipman (an Institute teacher at the U of U), would give in site and history of these places. Stan McConkie, the son of Bruce R. McConkie, was also on the trip and gave additional information to us. One of the special moments was at the Garden Tomb. We listened to the last testimony of Bruce R. McConkie and then sang "I Believe In Christ". We then had a testimony meeting. Our Jewish guide had watched from afar. After we sang he must have thought we were done and he came closer to where we were sitting and listened to the testimonies that were born. Later on the bus, he told us, that 'we had brought tears to this old Jewish man's eye." The spirit was strong that day.

We need to always remember that we are examples to those around us, regardless of their religion or where they are from. We need to love as our Savior did and show kindness to others. Today in Sunday School, we were discussing John 7 & 8. Chapter 8 tells the story of the woman who was brought before Jesus in the temple because she had been caught in the act of adultery. By Moses' law, she should be stoned. Jesus told these men that 'He that is without sin among you, let him cast a stone at her.' Then Jesus stooped down and began to write in the sand. When he got up, it was just him and the woman . He told her that she should go and sin no more. I love that part.

Elder Marvin J Ashton explained this story this way, "The scribes and the Pharisees brought before the Savior a women taken in adultery. Their purpose was not to show love for with the woman or the Savior, but to embarrass and trick Jesus . . . Jesus did not condone adultery; there is no doubt about His attitude toward proper conduct. [But] He chose to teach with love - to show the scribes and the Pharisees the need of serving the individual for her best good and to show the destructive forces of trickery and embarrassment."

May we always remember to love as our Savior did! I am grateful for the sacrifice He made for you and me so that we can return to live with our Heavenly Father someday.

Holy Week

This past week has been Holy Week in the Philippines, much like other parts of the world. However, they take it pretty seriously here. Thursday and Friday, everything is closed, I mean everything! We went to the store to get some milk and the whole mall was shut down! A lot of the Filipinos go to Baguio or to the beach to spend the Easter weekend. But there are many more who stay right in town and celebrate by re-enacting the last days of Christ life. They carry crosses - some with their faces covered. We caught these photos at the end of the day on Thursday.
This is a group of men carrying crosses with others walking along side to help them if they need it. Some go barefoot on the pavement which is hot - it has been between 94-98 degrees this past week!
At the churches, many will end their journey there. There are people singing the scriptures over a loud speaker that can heard around the city.
These kids wanted their picture taken. They were walking on the opposite side of the street from the guys carrying the crosses - celebrating.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Goats, Church and Mangos . . . .

Sunday April 17, 2011

As we were driving into the church on Sunday, we were greeted by these sweet animals . . .

Goats on the way to church . . .

The church is tucked back in off of the MacArthur Highway which is the main road through Angeles. (It actually goes from Manila to Baguio winding through the towns as it goes.)

The church is beautifulWade in front of the building

This is the chapel.

We have been in 3 different buildings here and the chapel is similar with the marble like floors and wooden benches (no padded seats here). Like I said above, the church building is back from the highway. You get to it by going on dirt roads. . . .

This is where the goats were before church . . . An empty lot here.
This is looking from the church building to the homes across the street

The dirt road in front of the church looking towards the open lot.

Going back to the highway. It looks like an alley way and if you didn't know it, you wouldn't think that a church is back behind this area.

On the way home, we drove by some mango trees here on base. They are loaded with mangos. I had asked if anyone could pick these and was told they were fair game . . .

I had Wade stop so I could take this picture. As I went to pick one mango, this guy comes running from a tent that had been erected a few trees away. He told me not to pick them and tried to get me to 'buy' some that he had at his tent that tasted good. I think he was trying to get me to not pick a green one. I am still having a hard time understanding the people here, especially when they are speaking Tagalog Wade made a big deal in his letter this week about me 'stealing mangos', But, I can assure you all that I didn't steal anything . . . After all, it was Sunday . . .

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Bataan Death March of World War ll

Saturday April 16, 2011
The Bataan Death March of World War ll took place in this part of the Philippines. Bacolor is one of the towns that the soldiers marched through as they made their way from Bataan to San Fernando. The trek was more than 100 kilometers, "leaving a trail of the most inhuman treatment accorded to patriotic soldiers who offered their lives in defense of country and freedom." There are markers along the roadway in memory of soldiers who died during the march. These markers also mark the kilometers of the march.

Marker Kilometer 97
Wade reading the markerA closer look at the marker
The couple we replace in the mission office told us about the Bataan March and pointed out a few places in Angles City where the marchers passed. We are hoping to see many more historical sites during the next year and half here in the Philippines.


On Saturday April 16th, we drove to the city of Bacolor. This city was covered by the 'lahar' flow (lava) from Mt Pinatubo which erupted in 1991. The city was not covered until 1995. I was interested in this because of the time frame. I knew that the molten lava was still not flowing 4 years after the eruption and that a lot of the area around Angeles was covered by several feet of ash. I spoke with a lady at church on Sunday who was from the area. She told me that in 1995 they had heavy rainy season. The rain mixed with the ash to form a cement like mud with covered the city of Bacolor. The entire town was evacuated and all lost their homes. They have since rebuilt.

In this town is the San Guillero Parish Church which was about 50% buried by the lahar. I spoke with the Priest while we were there and he told me that you now enter the church through the windows which were originally the upper floor of the church.

The sign telling the history of San Guillero Parish Church
This is a picture of how San Guillero Parish Church looked originally
Wade in front of the churchThis is above the entry to the church. Notice in the picture where that this was located on the right side above where the entry doors wereThe bell tower of the church
An arbor of flowers outside the parish officeInside the church - looking from the entrance
A closer look at the front of the church
The building to the left of the main church in the original picture

Friday, April 15, 2011


There is a fast food chain here called Jollibee. It is a lot like McDonald's but cost a little less. They are on every corner and in all of the malls. They are always crowded. Wade stopped at one to try their hamburger the other day and was not overly impressed. However, a new Jollibee opened just down the road today, April 15th at 4pm. That is what the sign said . . . So after work Wade wanted to get a picture of the finished project.

We took our first picture of the construction this past Sunday April 10th. This is what it looked like . . . They had just started to build this restaurant when we arrived on march 22nd . . . When the Filipinos are constructing a building, all of the workers 'camp out'
next to the project. They eat, sleep, and do their laundry at the camps.
This was the camp on Sunday . . .

Here is the new Jollibee restaurant completed and opened today . . . And here is the workers' campsite today . . .There are just a few things to finish up I guess, like this building at the back of the parking lotAnd here is the mascot, Jollibee, himself entertaining the crowd in the parking lot . . .And just to let you know, Wade tried another hamburger today, the more deluxe one, and he enjoyed it. I had some fries and a chocolate sundae . . . yum!

~~And just a side note, the caramel syrup from last night is delicious!~~


A Beautiful Day in the Neightborhood

This is what I saw when I came out of the door this morning . . . another beautiful day with a clear blue sky.I also saw this like I do everyday . . . our mission car.
Today I decided to show you where I spend the entire day . . . at the mission office.Coming in the front door this is the 'reception' area.From the front door again, looking at the work area - the open door behind the desk is the finance office where Elder Jewkes spends his time.This is my work area - plenty of room to get my projects completed each day.Elder Jewkes working on the finances of the mission.Elder Jewkes taking a break . . .The President's office.

We are in the office from 8 am to 5pm each day. Elder Jewkes gets out to go to the bank and post office each day . . . I hold the fort down while he is gone.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Caramel Sauce

Since I haven't been able to find any caramel ice cream topping - one of Wade's favorite things - I decided to make some. Patti sent a recipe and I just tried it. Very simple. And it taste good . . . . . . . .

Easy Caramel Sauce or Ice Cream Topping

"With only very few ingredients and five minutes to make it just couldn't get any easier and it tastes so good! ---it goes great with bread pudding, over ice cream and with desserts :)"


1/2 cup butter (no substitutes) 1 cup brown sugar 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream - unwhipped 1tsp vanilla extract - optional
  1. In a small saucepan melt butter.
  2. Add the brown sugar; whisk until combined and thickened (about 2 minutes).
  3. Whisk in the whipping cream, until thoroughly blended (2 more minutes).
  4. Mix in vanilla (if using) until combined.
  5. NOTE; this sauce will thicken up more when refrigerated.
Butter and sugar
Adding the whipping cream Add Vanilla and you are done. Looks yummy! Philippine whipping cream This was the only size of vanilla that I could find. It is the size of a mini bottle of alcohol.
See what I can make when I have all the ingredients!! *smile*