Sunday, September 11, 2016

Christmas Greetings

Last week when we were in Naujan we heard the Primary children singing Christmas carols.  We thought it was strange until we encountered this tree and learned that the season begins in September.

Public Transportation

This was a family history seminar.  We were surprised by the huge turnout.   Elder and Sister Davis came from San Pablo came to do the presentation.  We had an opportunity to talk with them and heard their amazing conversion story.  What great people we are meeting!

The sights and smells of the market

We attended a baptism at the Victoria District building.  Victoria is midway to all of the other branches of the district so they have a beautiful place where all of the other branches can come meet as a group.  The fairly large chapel has pews instead of chairs and it is very impressive.  Again, we are usually the only car in the parking lot but that is okay because the parking lot is actually a full size basketball court.  Basketball is huge in the Philippines.  NBA games are broadcast live.

We walked through the jungle with the elders to visit a less active, part member family.  It was quite an adventure.  The big event of the day was a popular activity called "spider fight".  There was a loud excited group of young men who put two spiders on a stick then bet as to which spider would knock the other off the stick first.  It seemed like a happy place in a small community where they were having a fun day when we were there.

We arrived in Pola around 7PM but by that time most everything was closed while the residents were out talking or playing.  We hadn't eaten and luckily found a kind hearted man who walked us though the town and convinced someone to make us a hotdog.  It is a beautiful spot but not a place that caters to, or sees, tourists so there were no restaurants and only one place to stay.  It is small and everyone seems to know each other.  They claim there has never been any crime there.  We got plenty of stares as we walked along.  A sweet sister from the branch saw us walk by where she worked and was excited to talk to us.  We saw her when we arrived at church the next morning.

The beautiful daughter of the maid at the hotel

Local Market

We arrived after the sun went down.  Since we are on the equator the sun comes up at 6:30 AM and goes down at 6:30 PM.  We had a harrowing drive in the dark where there were people and animals along the side of the road and many vehicles traveling without lights.  There were a few white knuckle moments but Elder Bellessa, the road warrior, got us there safely...but never again will be drive at night on the mountain roads.

There is beautiful color everywhere

Because it is a long drive from Calapan to Pola, we spent the night in the only hotel/resort in the city.  It was right on the ocean so we awakened to a beautiful sunrise.  The fishermen were coming in with their boats and worked on their nets right outside our room.

This is the branch meeting house.  It is literally a home that has been made into a meeting house.  The lower level is the chapel/all purpose room.  There are two small rooms upstairs.  One is for the Primary the other is for the investigator class.  The Young Men and Women meet on the terrace patio area.  It is a humble but sacred place where the members share their love and testimonies.

These are the beautiful children of the Pola branch Primary.  They sang sweetly, with gusto, "I Am a Child of God"  Their leaders do a wonderful job of teaching in their small Primary room.  

It is easy to keep spiritual thoughts during travel time since most of the Jeepneys have quotes, logos, or paintings suggesting good thoughts. This one says "Lord is my Guide." David thought this was a good one to follow but ended up passing it anyway.


  1. Thanks for the update! I love seeing how beautiful it is there and hearing what you are up to.

  2. It looks like a fun adventure you went on. It's so pretty! I like the idea of starting Christmas so early.