Monday, January 2, 2017

Christmas Typhoon and Shake Your Groove Thing

Our Christmas celebration started with Zone Conference in Lipa.  Afterwards  the senior couples met at the mission home for another scrumptious "American" meal prepared again by Sister Spencer.  Turkey, mashed potatoes, hot rolls, stuffing, etc.  It was so good!

At Zone Conference a whole pig was served.  A Filipino tradition.

Christmas Zone Conference, Mindoro Zone at Lipa 2016

As we journeyed home from Zone Conference we encountered miles of cars waiting to get on a ferry at the Batangas pier. This photo shows the cars behind us (in our new charcoal grey mission car), and there were as many in front.  We were a total 10 hours waiting in line before we boarded the boat.

A little Pepsi to help with the wait. Elder Bellessa says,"If there is sunshine in the bottle as well as on the label, there is sunshine in my soul".

A diversion while waiting in line was watching the progress of these men changing the tire of this cattle truck.

The bonus of getting on the boat finally was being given a tour of the pilot house.  We have been on the ferry enough lately they are remembering us.  We heard some mention of Elder Bellessa looking like Captian Jack Sparrow.

When we first arrived in the Philippines we would see workers we thought looked like Ninja warriors.  We soon realized this is how they protect themselves from the sun.  As you can see, the head opening of the t-shirt is pulled up to cover the head then the sleeves are tied behind the neck to protect the neck.  

This is another example of a man in his t-shirt coverings.  

We were able to provide food for some of the Mangyan people who come down from the mountains at Christmas time.

In addition to the food we gave, we bought gifts for needy families.  The gifts were really from our grandchildren.  They had agreed  for us to use the money we would have spent on them to purchase gifts for those who have so much less.  We took photos to let them know the happiness they provided.  Thanks to our grandkids we miss so much!

The branch Christmas party was privileged to hear a wonderful performance by the sisters and senior couple.  To check out some rather interesting moves check these out (or not).

I love this photo of the "angel" sisters bringing our gifts to a family.  They came with us on their "P" day to help us translate and shop for items they knew the family needed.   

We won't soon forget our "Typhoon Christmas" experience.  The storm began about 3AM and built power enough to get us up around 5:30.  To hear and see what 185MPH winds look and sound like click here.  It lasted around eight concerning hours.  Here  is what we saw as we drove around after.  Three member's homes were totally destroyed with 45 others damaged.  One of the first places we went was the home of the family we had taken Christmas to.  We were relieved to see it was still standing but was flooded with three feet of water.  The photo above shows what happened to the steel rebar on a project a block away from our home.

The owner of this tossed around structure brought some chairs while he and his friend made the effort to extricate it.  It was the very next day from the typhoon that everyone was out helping each other.  As Sister Bellessa went for her afternoon walk she recorded the following which was an indication  yet again of the resilient spirit of the people.

We've mentioned the faith promoting signs on the Jeepneys.  This one is a little different in that  it has a sports theme.  There is a Nascar race car on the side, the Nike swoosh on the back with the saying "God Speed" which gave us a chuckle.

On Saturday we attended our first baptism that was held in the dark.  There was no water or power in the chapel six days after the typhoon so the elders spent a good part of the day hauling water in with buckets.  By the time the font was filled and they had changed, it was dusk.  By the time it was over it was completely dark but the room was filled with the spirit as this ten year old boy stood and bore his testimony.

We were surprised to see the family we had helped greeting us as we came into church.   They were excited to be wearing the new clothes they were given and wanted to thank us for the gifts.   The wife is deaf, the husband has problems with his speech.  The ten year old is autistic, and the eight year old is blind in one eye.  

New Year's Eve Day was a big day for the local market.  Everyone was buying food for their celebration.  Many of these people are still without electricity but there was a spirit of fun and celebration.  Fireworks are a huge part of the festivities and as we looked out our window and watched the display in our neighborhood, it rivaled what we see from Memorial Hill in Midway on July Fourth.  Everyone from the Barangay (neighborhood) came out for the celebration (except for us since there was a 6PM mission curfew).  

1 comment:

  1. The footage of the typhoon was terrifying. I am still having a hard time seeing the whole pigs on the table. My host tried to get me to eat the prized skin. It was so fatty I had a trouble gagging it down. What a great service you are doing helping those people. Keep up the good work.