Friday, September 8, 2017

Happy Mission News

A mission miracle is having the Stratfords from NYC come half a world away to visit us in Calapan City. It was very hot on this day as you might be able to tell from looking at Elder Bellessa.

Crossing the ocean bringing the Stratfords to Mindoro.

After taking an urban hike around Calapan we drove to Puerto Galera.

We didn't stay at the Infinity Resort

but we had dinner there to replicate one we had with the Barkers during their visit in March.

Zone conference visit to show off our wonderful missionaries.

Selfie by a selfie expert.

Walking the Beach



After five glorious days, off they go to Manila, China and home.

Christmas season starts September 1st

Out come the ski hats and sweaters to ward off the chilly 85 degree temperature.

Sweet Spirit of the Mission VIDEO

Colorful homes abound.

Outside of Socorro

The front gate of the Pola elder's apartment has this beautiful plant that is ever blooming.

You don't want your photo on this poster.  It is displayed prominently in each town square.  It is possible, with the approval of some government officials,   for citizens to render punishment and judgement without due process on those who are "wanted"

We had a medical emergency with one of the sisters who was rushed to the hospital and admitted.  We're happy to say she is back at her apartment and doing well.  We were impressed with the hospital and care she received.  This statue was a good reminder to all who enter.

Church Ball is a very serious event.  Basketball is the favorite sport.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Filipino Fashion, Bowling and Coconut Croquet

Walking photos:  After a night of deluge it became tricky to find a way though the water.  Right next to this is a field and as Sister Bellessa walked by there were thousands of frogs croaking.  The frogs have a very deep croak that sounds like a cow mooing so it sounded like the Egyptian plague of Moses' time.  She decided to record the noise but they had stopped by the time she came by on her way home. 

There have been groups of Mangyans down from the mountains.  This is a photo of a man who is very proud of his outfit.

Clothing by the ton is sent to third world countries where they are picked through, organized and hung up.  The stores are everywhere and you never know what treasure you might find.   

"Rag pickers" sort through the bales and organize and display the clothing.

Who would have thought...right here in Calapan!

Cloud beauty as we drive the island.

Sister Bellessa is an unusual sight around town.  There are very few caucasian women so she gets lots of stares and interest.  She was getting some photos printed at a photo store and noticed several people taking pictures of her from their phones.  One girl came up to ask if she could take her photo with her.  Taking selfies is a real art here.  There are even special classes you can take to be good at it.  It is obvious this girl has a special app on her phone that makes Sister Bellessa unrecognizable without any age spots or wrinkles.  Once she had her photo, there was a lineup of others who wanted one with her.  It is fun being a rock star.

  There is another apartment below ours which is now a used clothing store.  Across the street there is a food, shoe,  and clothing store.  It seems it is possible to open almost any kind of business you desire.  In our neighborhood there are many "Sari Sari" stores, auto repair shops, restaurants, sewing and welding shops.  It is a one stop shopping neighborhood. 

This is a political comment we encountered at a local restaurant with a good message.

This is the latest convert in the Naujan branch.  This brother is an 85 year old very fit man.  He works out everyday and  was once a famous boxer.  He said he has been to many churches in search of the one he felt answered his questions and brought him closer to Christ.  His daughter wanted to know why, at his age, he was being baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He said the minute he entered the chapel he felt a spirit that let him know he had found what he had spent his life looking for.   

Usually a branch activity is planned after a baptism since the font is a swimming pool.

Senior Couple Fun Day:  Our new mission president, President and Sister Davies,  organized a fun day for all the senior couples to visit and get acquainted.  The newest couple, Elder and Sister Harvey, are from Vancouver, British Columbia.  We feel so blessed to be part of this group.  Most of us are far flung from each other so it is a treat when we can gather.  We always want to do better as we share our experiences and learn from one another.

Part of the journey off the island requires a 2 to 2 1/2 hour ferry ride.  Most people know Sister Bellessa loves blue and white.  There is always a lot of beauty to see. 

After a delicious breakfast at the mission home we drove to a Christian center ran by an American family who have lived in the Philippines for the last 35 years.  They provided a wonderful lunch then presented a lecture and show on tops. Tops were related to our relationship with God.  This is a photo of the world's largest top, verified by the Guiness Book of Records.  It actually works being spun with a cable.  We drove back for dinner at a wonderful restaurant were there was more conversation and celebration of President and Sister Davies' 38th wedding anniversary.

This is a good size top that is spun with a heavy rope.

There were lots of activities but we all decided to do Filipino bowling.  The balls are smaller with no holes.  As you can see the pins are set by hand.  It was men vs women and the women were tough competitors.

For all the golfers who have been missing their sport there was a chance to play croquet using coconuts. VIDEO


Monday, July 31, 2017

Cuteness Alert!

During Sister Bellessa's walk about this morning she encountered these children getting ready to parade around their neighborhood.  Their costumes were made from local produce.  Cuteness overload!

A crown of beans and greenery.

Here is a watermelon hat with lime and salad greens.  (He doesn't look too happy.)  The little girl is carrying string beans (which grow really long) as a scepter with a cabbage skirt.

Flowers, corn husks, corn and beans

Carrots, lime, white radish, peppers and dried spice plants

Tomatoes, beans, squash, and cabbage

Cabbage, carrots, peppers, beans and salad greens.

Pineapple crown, avocado and lime necklace.  String beans and banana leaves.

This sign shows the state of employment in the Philippines.  Many people work abroad and are away from their families for years at a time.  The economy depends on the money sent home from other countries.

As Sister Bellessa walks about she has made some special friends.  Tess (to her left) has become someone she greets and visits with when she goes by.  She works sewing at her machine by 6:30 AM and hardly looks up until 6:30 PM when it gets dark.  She has mentioned her daughter, so Sister Bellessa dropped by a little headband for her last week but come to find out her daughter is seventeen not three like she thought.  Tess looks like she is seventeen.  The others in the photo are "boarding mates."  They are paying money to sleep in this one small space

Sweet Sisters

Neighbor Cow

Street Art

Lobster Street Vendor

Mangyan Family

Roadside Bathing

There are always interesting sights to see.  This whole roof is a religious art piece.

Transfer days are here again.  Goodbye to some and welcoming others.  We neglected to give Ronald McDonald a copy of the Book of time.

McDonald's Grimace was after me but he gave me the traditional hand to forehead sign of respect.

Our favorite beach day is a baptism.  This is in Pinamalayan

Seven baptisms in our zone this last week.