Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Week 97

July 16, 2012

Dear Family and Friends, 

We leave for Manila in three days. What happened in the past 23 months? We are excited to be in Manila again. President and Sister Stucki have planned a temple session for all of the Senior Couples on Friday afternoon. We will then go back to the Mission Home for dinner and a Testimony Fireside that night. We still need to get everything packed and ready. Today is our preparation day and there is much to do. I am writing this letter but I probably won’t be able to send it since we have no internet. I will try and send it when we are in Manila.

Showing how banana leaf can protect you from rain - while out burning garbage.
 This past week has been an interesting week. We began by spending another Monday at the Family History Center. Mom has been able to get many of the members excited about Family History and has helped many of them feel the spirit of this great work. While we were at the Family History Center our Zone Leaders called and asked if we like chicken and will we eat the chicken over here. We thought that was a rather strange question but they called us back and asked if we were going to be home today. We told them that we were at the church doing Family History and you could hear and feel the disappointment in their voices. I had to laugh and then told them that we would be finished around 1:00. They then told us not to eat lunch and they would call us back. It was fun. They wanted to cook lunch for us on their preparation day. Well, they called later and said they were going to be a little late because it was taking a little longer than they expected. About 2:30 they showed up at our home and we have a delicious dinner of chicken and rice. It was fun that they would do this for us. We ate and had a good time. They also wanted to know if they (the whole Zone) could come over for a farewell lunch at our home next Tuesday after the Zone Meeting. They didn’t want to be forward or pushy or anything like that but they invited themselves to our home for a farewell lunch! You just have to love these young 19-20 year-old boys!

Tuesday became our preparation day when we had to wait for the internet people to come and fix the internet. They were supposed to be here at 8:00am so we could be on our way to Puerto to meet with President and Sister Peterson and to travel to an area in the north part of the island to look at possible buildings for a new Branch. The internet people showed up at 4:00 so we had to reschedule our trip up north. Well, after a lot of climbing trees and scratching their heads, the repair team only had one solution – there are too many trees here and they are blocking the signal. (only in Manila would trees not be a problem). They couldn’t answer me why I could get a signal sometimes and other times I couldn’t. I asked them to put another 10ft of antenna on the receiver but they said that was not allowed – they could only go up to 30 feet. The good news was, they could climb up the avocado tree in the corner of the yard and see if they could get a signal there. Well, they got a signal and wanted to attach the 30 foot antenna to the top of the avocado tree. One of the repairmen said they would have to charge for the extra wire to get it over to the tree. I asked him about what would happen to the signal when the winds would blow or would I be charged for ‘roaming charges’. He didn’t understand until I began to wave my hand and asked how the signal would be affected when the winds would sway the antenna. “No problem sir, we will secure the antenna to the other trees!” I didn’t understand how that would fix it since all of the trees would be blowing in the wind. And then there was the fact that the antenna was now 30 feet above the top of the tree –much higher than the 40 foot antenna would be and even more difficult for low flying aircraft to see! (we have so many aircraft here in Narra – yeah right!). They were all smiles and ready to attach the antenna and then they told me it would cost me 2,000 to 3,000 pesos to have them climb the tree and attach the antenna to the tree. I refused. This seems to be the way many people make money over here – no set charges, no receipts, just a pay off. I told them to put the antenna back on the roof and to reset the internet the way it was previous to their dealings. Then I cancelled the internet contract. I refuse to do business this way. So – we now have no internet service at all. We have been cut-off from the outside world for our last 12 days. 

We were off to Puerto, Roxas and Taytay early Wednesday morning. It was a long winding and bumpy road. We decided that since we were this far north on the island we would continue on to El Nido on the west side of the island. El Nido is a beautiful little town. It is strictly tourism but it is still very small. They are building or improving the airport. Right now it is a gravel runway. We stayed in a little beachfront hotel. It was very scenic and very relaxing. It was nice to sit and look at God’s handiwork – what a beautiful country this is! 

That evening President Stucki called and asked if we could set up a SKYPE meeting to hold Presidency Meeting. After a few minor technical adjustments we were all logged on and were able to have our meeting from the deck of our hotel. It was fun. Rough life, huh – sitting on the beach, drinking a mango shake and soaking in the beauty of nature? 

Elder & Sister Peterson and us.

Early Thursday we began or travel back to Puerto. In one of the small cities, we stopped to look at some possible sites and buildings to rent for a meetinghouse for the group. Currently they meet in the yard of one of the members in a small covered carport-like area. They have about 30 members attend each week so it would be nice to have an established place for them to meet in. 

Spanish Fort

Elder Robison says, "Hi Mom & Dad!"
We arrived back in Narra late that evening very tired and well shaken by the bumps in the roads. Friday and Saturday we were back at the church doing more training in the Family History Center. 

Me and Sister Ruby
After speaking in our Narra Branch on Sunday, we were off to Bagong Sikat. We have received permission to begin getting these members formed into a group. We have much to do in a very few days to get this group organized. This will be a good thing for these members in that area since it is such a financial burden to attend church meetings in Narra. Bringing the church closer to them will be a wonderful blessing in their lives and for the town of Bagong Sikat. 

 It has been hard to say goodbye to the people so many times. It seems to get more difficult in each area we leave. It is difficult to think that we may never see these people again in this life. But, what a reunion it will be on the other side! 

We are doing well. We hope that you are also happy and enjoying life. We do miss you and are excited to see you again. We love you all. Thank you again for all of your prayers and support. Remember to BE good, DO good, and BE men and women of Christ. And always remember to say your prayers. 

Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant

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