Friday, December 23, 2016

Trip to see large statues

One day we took a drive to see a different part of the countryside in our mission and went up north past San Miguel and then west towards the hills and mountains.

 We saw two carabao (water buffalo) wadding in some shallow water. They looked like they were enjoying being in the water.

 This poor horse had his wagon loaded down and then had to hold it back, on this incline.

 We came to a stream we need to cross and saw this truck we thought had gotten off the road and was stranded.  No, they just drove it in the water on purpose to wash it.  Only in the Philippines.

 We couldn't take the car any further and had to take this simple little ferry across the stream.    We had to stand on their bamboo raft while they ferried us across.

 Then we had a short hike to see these large religious statures we had heard of. 

 This is the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The one in red is Jesus, the middle one is Heavenly Father and the one in yellow is the Holy Ghost.

 Up close photo from the top of the hill.  The Father has an all seeing third eye, the Son has a red heart, and the Holy Ghost has a dove on his chest.

 A view of the scenery from the top.

 More scenery.

Children along for the ride on the bamboo ferry as we made our way back across.

Back at the church building they are replacing all the slats on the undersides of the eaves.  The problem was the bats.  The old slats had spaces in between and there were dozens of bats that made their home in the eaves.  Then there was bat guano droppings all over the ground around the building that people had to sweep up all the time.

One night the District had a Christmas Social.  Sister Swift with Sister Wendy. 

Friday, December 9, 2016

Young Women in Excellence

Sometimes driving around in the traffic, which is usually slow and crowded, we see some beautiful scenery.

  The rice fields are flooded and the young rice stalks are planted in the water. This field had not been planted yet.  Here you can see the reflection of the darkening rain clouds in the sky overhead.

These are the some of the Young Women and leaders in our branch at the yearly "Young Women in Excellence" activity.

Eliza Jane receiving her ribbons from two of the YW leaders.

 Hazel receiving her Young Womanhood Recognition Medallion.

 Micalyn  received her Young Womanhood Recognition Medallion. Sister Swift also received the same award and the "Honor Bee".

 Driving around we often see some interesting sights.  Even when the jeepneys are full, there's always room on the back. 

Here's a Nice Hotel, it says so right on the sign. (look really close)

 We went to the Mall of Asia in Manila which is the largest mall in all of Asia.  You can see the ocean in the background and a Ferris Wheel. We were mostly just looking around after shopping at the "American Women's Bazaar".

Inside was a cool Christmas display. The Philippine people do love Christmas out here.

 There was a Magnum ice cream store where you pick your own flavor of ice cream, flavor of coating, and 3 toppings. Then your ice cream bar is assembled for you.


 If you wonder why things are different in the Philippines, maybe it's the moon.  In the Philippines the moon fills in from the bottom up, not from the side.

Here is a picture of the moon a few days later.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Book of Mormon

Sister Swift set a goal for the Young Women in our Branch to read the Book of Mormon cover to cover this year.

 These are two of the first Young Women to finish, Micalyn and Hazel.

 We went to the temple one morning.  Tis is Elder Bremner who is one of the new Senior Missionaries from Canada.  After going to the temple we went to the Mission Home and had a Thanksgiving dinner with the other Senior Missionaries.  Sister Bertin cooked a delicious turkey and everyone brought some side dishes.

 They have Christmas decorations up at the Manila Temple, including these statues  depicting a nativity scene.

 Indoors at the mall by our house they put up this winter ice house display that is really pretty.

 They also have a tiny little ice rink set up.  Most of  the people we've seen willing to try it mostly just hug the walls.

 One day we helped a member of the Branch go and get some surgery from this charity, Deseret Cranio Facial Foundation.  She has been tongue-tied, where her tongue is not loose from the bottom of her mouth, since she was born.

 Inside I liked this wall mural that was painted by some US Marines that come by periodically to help out.

This is the doctor that did the surgery for free.  She let Sister Swift come in the operating room and watch.  The surgery was a success and the doctor said her tongue is now like normal, except the muscles aren't developed in her tongue so she will need to exercise them. She will be able to swallow and eat better and probably improve her speech.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Life in the Philippines

We opened our own hot dog stand here in the Philippines at the mall in San Jose Del Monte.
 We thought it might be a hit with the local Filipinos.

 We use fresh goat meat fresh from the nearby road side stand.

 Chicken of course.

 And pigs.  We find these small ones routing around in the garbage piles alongside the road.  To get a feel for how small there are, those are coconuts on the top of the pile.

 Joke lang.

 They really have started the Christmas season out here.  The sisters made snow men at this Relief Society Activity.

 Sister Swift put up two trees in front of the house.

Here's a closeup.  She spay painted the trees silver and hung Christmas balls.  Quite pretty.

One of the Bishops in a different Stake has a shop where they make products to sell from Carabao (water buffalo) horns.  He gave us a tour of his workshop.  This is the bishop by one of the stations in his shop.

 Another station inside the shop.

 One of the employees hard at work grinding or polishing a piece of something.  Do not ask me how how he could see and he wasn't wearing any goggles, gloves or hard shoes.  But the bowls and spoons and belts and things they make are quite beautiful.

 Another station that was partially outside with a lot better ventilation and light.

 The CR.

In Angat we ran across the Ten Commandments carved in stone in Tagalog.  Cool.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Missionary Farewell

Joyce Vitangcol began her mission on October 28th.

 She and Sister Swift have been good friends.  They were in the YW Presidency together and also Visiting Teaching companions. 

 The Branch had a farewell activity at the chapel for her.  There were games and testimonials and singing.  Sister Swift made cupcakes and got a pillow case and had everyone sign it.  Here's a picture of people at the activity with Joyce in the middle.

 We went with the family, and other friends, to the Mission Home, where she was set apart.  Then out to the Philippine MTC in Manila.  This is some of her family:  her sister, father, Joyce, little sister, mother, and grandmother.

 She will be a great missionary.  She is going to the Naga Mission in the Philippines.

 Some cute children were following us around one day and talking to us when we went to visit a member in the Anyatam Burangay.

We often visit people on their birthday.  It is a Philippine tradition to make food and invite people over and feed them on your birthday.  Here is a family picture taken at Charlie's birthday celebration..  We home-teach this family.  He's 59.