Sunday, November 5, 2017

To Keep in Remembrance

Sister Bellessa has a ghost like quality since she is so white and pale next to these beautiful sisters.


Always such beautiful sunsets.  They only last a few minutes and then night time comes quickly.


Many Filipinos drink water from the neighborhood well and it is these children's job to bring it home.


We were able to find a much bigger, nicer apartment for the sisters.  We had members and one investigator help us clean the old apartment.  The zone leaders came with their van and along with Elder Bellessa did most of the heavy moving.  A hot sweaty, tiring day.


A family from the branch


This week there were three holidays, All Saints Day, All Souls Day and Halloween.  It is a time when families come back to their provinces and have family reunions.  They take flowers to the cemeteries and celebrate together.  There are flower vendors all over the city.  It is more of a religious time, not so many ghouls and goblins which is a good thing.

For the most part when someone dies they lie in a tomb rather than being buried.  (Cemetery in Pola up the hill)



Waiting for a Haircut  P100 which is $2


When we stopped at the gate of the Pola Elder's apartment these young boys were sitting on the ground singing.  There were three but as we brought out the camera to make a video one ran away and the others became quite shy but managed to finish their song.VIDEO


The patron saint of Pola is John the Baptist


A full life depiction of John the Baptist baptizing Jesus.



We're going to miss the big event of seeing Colonel Sanders come to Calapan.


Another Beautiful Sunset



Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Getting Nostalgic

We are going to miss these beautiful sights.


Banana Man


Property Manager of Sister's Apartment

These are the stores where used clothing is sold.  There are many around the city.  Most everything comes from U.S. thrift stores from merchandise that didn't sell.  If an item doesn't sell here it is sent to workers who save buttons, zippers or anything useful from the garment and the fabric is reused as much as possible to sew "new" items.



Family Owned Ukay Ukay Store


Ladies Who Run the Ukay Ukay Store Beneath Our Apartment




Christmas Lanterns


Lots of Beautiful Color


Nap Time:  Workers begin their day by 6AM so around noon they find a place for their hammocks and take a rest.  This is on the main road into Calapan.  One day as we were driving through a jungle area there were many workers in their hammocks hanging from the palm trees.  They looked like low hanging fruit.


Sunset on the Calapan River


Sweet Mangyan Lola (grandmother) She is from an indigenous tribe that comes down from the mountains at Christmas time.

She is watching as her family takes turns getting a bath.




We were the only people in the theatre to watch a first run movie.  Our own private screening room.



Getting the Camera Timer to Work


Sitting down and Smiling in Time


The Young Single Adults are the backbone of the church on Mindoro.

Parked in Front of Our Home Today




Thursday, October 12, 2017

Happy Days of Giving, Synchronized Dancing, Pig Visitors and Cock Fighting


The Mindoro District had an event for Family Unity Week in Socorro.  It was impressive to see the amazing attendance of so many of our members.  Many came at great sacrifice.  Each of the eight branches brought a banner to display and had prepared entertainment.  Socorro was chosen because it has the smallest group of members and it was felt the city would benefit from seeing what the church was doing.  Someone came from the city council.  There were speeches and formal greetings.  The government official gave us a special shout-out and asked to have their photo taken with her.

The council member's name was Vilma so we had something in common name wise.  Also in the photo are the  district leader elders from Victoria, the elders from Socorro as well and President and Sister Asis our district president.




The children from the whole district sang "I Am A Child Of God" VIDEO



The Baco branch performed an impressive synchronized dance with the two elders in front  showing their moves. VIDEO

The sisters came to our apartment to view Women's Conference.  They were thrilled to see the books that were sent to us and asked if they could have some to send home.  We were happy they loved them so much and were excited for them to share with their families. 


We shared books with several elementary schools as well as the high school but better than that was the chance to take some to some families that would never be able to own them.  This is the man who fixes the fans from the missionary apartments.  He has a little girl so we made her a special packet of books.  We were sad she wasn't home when we came but we know she will love them.  We included a beautiful hard bound Disney book "The Little Mermaid" since her home is right on the water.


This lady is quite an artisan.  She makes and repairs jewelry.  One day we were driving by and saw her middle daughter playing school with her sisters.  We could see how much the books meant to them.  They kept saying the could hardly believe we would give them so many.


There are four little girls in this family.  We're not sure what the father's business is but we did see a grinder tool in this little space.  They were very surprised and happy.  We are their best "foreign" friends right now.


This is their reaction as we drove away.

Beauty From the Walk



Sometimes when we are visiting the sisters these little pigs come for a visit.  They come from the pig farm across the street and are so small they fit through the fence.  The day will soon come they will  get too fat to get through the gate.


Elder Bellessa is like the "Pied Piper" when we go to communities.  We home teach a lady in a village quite far from the church so she can't afford to pay transportation.  She speaks some English but when we really want a good visit we take the sisters with us to talk to her in Tagalog.  We usually get plenty of attention but one particular day there were more and more children who gathered to look at Elder Bellessa and discuss him with lot of excitement.  When we left we asked the sisters what they were talking about and they said they thought he was Santa Clause coming early.


Little did they know he really is!



The biggest source of economy is education.  Each neighborhood has a school and the government subsidizes the families to make it possible for almost any child to attend. The families buy school supplies, the businesses near the schools thrive such as street food, internet cafes, clothing.  The Mindoro High School has 6000 students.  There are three shifts starting at 7:30 going to 7PM.  When we drive by during the shift change we say it looks like someone kicked an ant hill because there are so many students on the street and in nearby shops.  VIDEO

During a walk these men were encountered engaging in the favorite pastime of cock fighting.  As we stopped to watch they grabbed the cocks and hid them.  On a closer look they recognized us from a previous visit when we had taken photos then brought them copies.  They went back and got the birds and gave us a chance to video how it is done. VIDEO

Our time here is getting short so we savor the sweet relationships we have with these wonderful missionaries.



We look forward to getting hugs from our family when we get home.