Sunday, November 27, 2016

Hope Springs Eternal

This is the sad tale of the little dog who loved us (or hoped we would feed it):  It was so skinny and sick it would slip between the bars of the gate and sleep beneath our car or at our front door.  It was so weak it could hardly walk and was covered with fleas and skin disease.  It was the hardest thing ever not to feed it.  We were told not to get close or touch dogs because of the health hazard it posed.  One day it didn't come and we haven't seen it for a whole week so we supposed it died.  What a hard thing it was to see it suffer.  Elder Bellessa knew he could be in trouble when Sister Bellessa started referring to the dog as "our dog".

The Stratford kids will be surprised to see that there is a whole aisle at the store just for different kinds of Mentos.  These candies are what Grandma Stratford gave them during church to keep them quiet.

The Tagalog translation is "Have a good time."

A daytime image of the Capitol Christmas Tree.

This Mindoro South District Meeting photo includes three of our new Elders.  To Elder Bellessa's right is Elder Jalova.  To Sister Bellessa's left Elders Duque and Yagomyom.  It takes us a while to learn how to pronounce the missionary's names.  To the right of Elder Jalova is Elder Fransico.  When Elder Fransico introduced his companion he said they were " the small and terrible elders from Pinamalayan" meaning that while they weren't very tall, they were mighty (and they are).

We had been planning on a very quiet Thanksgiving just the two of us but received an invitation on Tuesday to come to the mission home to share Thanksgiving dinner with the other senior couples.  President and Sister Mangum were in Manila for an area mission presidents training so Sister Spencer volunteered to do the food.  We were so happy at the thought of being with friends we love and admire.  President and Sister Mangum were able to join us as well.  We got to the Calapan pier in plenty of time so Elder Bellessa took a walk and ate some peanuts purchased from a vendor going car to car.

We appreciate the huge statue of the Savior watching over the pier and the usual prayer offered on a video as we depart.  When we arrive we are always met by these greeters.

Here is our group of senior missionary couples as well and President and Sister Mangum.  We feel so blessed to be serving with such wonderful friends.  Sister Spencer (front row on the end to my left) graciously volunteered to cook the meal which was delicious.  We loved visiting and sharing our love and adventures as well as seeing how our transferred elders and sisters were doing in their new areas.  We were served a delicious breakfast on Friday morning then made our way to the Batangas pier for our trip home.  When we got there we were told there would be no ferry that day and  perhaps none the next day because of a typhoon on Mindoro.  We had to go back to Batangas to find a hotel and spent the night (which was a treat).

King size bed, CNN, hot water, internet, very posh.

We got to the pier early Saturday morning...holding our breath, hoping the ferry was running and that we would get on.  This fellow standing next to our car presented a perfect image.  We're not sure where he got that shirt but thought it was appropriate for our circumstance.  Thankfully we got on the boat and made our way home.

Saturday evening we were able to teach our English class in Baco.  On our drive there we saw flood waters and raging rivers.  When we spoke to our class, we asked if anyone had been affected.  One of the girls said her home had been flooded up to their chests.  The water came all of a sudden, probably from a breached dike.  She was very matter of fact about it and said they had known the typhoon was coming so they moved everything to higher ground.  In her case, they had a second story and didn't seem to be worried.   She shrugged her shoulders and just said it would be okay but a lot of work to get their home clean again from the mud that would be left behind (photo from Google Images of a previous flood).  Resilience is one of the great qualities we admire in people we meet and observe in the Philippines.

1 comment:

  1. So fun to read. i'm glad you had such a fun thanksgiving with all the senior missionaries and the mission presidents (trying out that title for both the man and woman). We miss you!