Thursday, December 13, 2012

September 30 2012
Today is really November 1 and the Mission Blog of Elder and Sister DeGrange needs to be completed. There was a computer crash that caused several delays and then just busy getting ready to leave the Naga Mission.  Here is a recap of our last weeks in the  Philippines.
Our laptop died the last week in August. We took to Bitstop and they determined that the motherboard was gone. We purchased a Acer Computer because we needed a computer for a Career Workshop on Sept. 1.  The workshop was cancelled because no one came. This was to be our last time to work with Sis. Abonalla. We enjoyed being able to get to know her.
Thurs. Sept 6 was graduation for the Naga CES English class. Everyone came to class and we had a good time listening to them tell about their experiences.  We did Peas Porridge Hot and sang I Like Mangos. President Lucillo provided brownies. We handed out certificates and took pictures.   Jean said she could crochet a purse for me.
Jean and Kleene completed the class

Jean, Kleene, Kevin, Marilou, Jane and Sister and Elder DeGrange
The next week was graduation for the Legazpi CES English class. Again, everyone attended and we enjoyed that class also. We handed out certificates and took pictures and another last thing was done. DR attended several of the classes and we have enjoyed knowing him. He attended about 3 of our classes so we knew him quite well.
Legazpi English Graduation - E&S DeGrange, Nelma, DR, Icar, Kevin, Tara and Jenner.

Saturday was the last couples activity that we would be attending. We have come to love all of the couple missionaries and President and Sister Bliesner. This week is the PenaFrancia Festival so we watched a short parade and then went to the mission home and visited with each other.  Elder Miskins asked us what was the most important thing that we had learned. There have been so many things and I don’t remember what I said but this experience has been life changing for both of us.

 Outside the mission office, waiting for the parade. Elder DeGrange with the Campbells.
Elder Campbell is buying a pair of sun glasses
 The parade is over. From the back the Campbells, DeGranges, Lawhorns, and Miskins

At the Mission Home - President and Sister Bliesner, Elder and Sis. Miskins,
E&S DeGrange, and E&S Lawhorn.

 Monday and Tuesday was the last Career Workshop that we would be teaching. It was a small class but as usual we learn so much and enjoy being able to work with these young people that have completed their missions and returning home  to school and or employment. 

Elder DeGrange interviewing a Elder for a job.

Elder and Sister Lawhorn participated in the class. They will be teaching the next class.
Jomel arrived in Naga on Sep 19 for a Stake Employment training. He had a driver so we did not have to drive him around. Our computer also was not well so we had to make a call to Bit Stop. It had to spend the night so we went to the meeting with Jomel.

 The next night we had the same meeting in Legazpi.  We picked up the computer and it now seems to be working. We spent the next two nights  at the Hotel Venezia. Friday we had a day tour of Legazpi with Brian Dorasan. It was fun and we enjoyed Brian’s antics as we visited the zoo, Embarkadaro, Cagsawa and one of the oldest Catholic churches in the area.

Mayon, one of our last view of the volcano


Entrance to the park

Dinosaur swing


 Catholic Church that survived the bombing of WWII

Saturday, we attended Bea Adille’s 2nd birthday lunch and then it was off to Naga for the last time.

We had dinner at the Lucillo home on Sunday and the next days were spent packing.

Naga 1st. Ward Relief Society

The Such Family, Jeanette, Sis. Such, RS President, and Julius

Redith Cairnes and her son. We were invited to their home for FHE.

 Brother and Sis. Dela Cruz. Larry and Bro. DelaCruz shared the same birthday. They sat in the back by the door and greeted everyone that came. They made us feel very welcome.

 The Campbell, came out on Wednesday and took a load to the mission office where the Office Elders said it was like Christmas. I fell down the stairs and was so thankful nothing was broken but it sure did hurt. Mark came and gave us the deposit and we left. We had spent 1 ½  years and it went so fast. We had dinner at the mission home with the Bliesners and Campbells. Many fond memories with those special people. Dylo came over and gave us a big bag full of Filipino treats and 3 mugs to remember them and the CES students and President Lucilio. Saturday morning it was off to the Naga Airport for our flight to Manilla. Jomel picked us up and we had lunch at Chili’s.

We then visited Ft. Santiago, a very old military fort.  This place represents freedom to the people. The Japanese also used it as a prison during WW11. We took a carriage ride around the area first. I have always wanted to do a house and buggy ride. We had a very nice room at the Holiday Inn. We didn’t sleep very well. Anxious to go home and yet not really wanting to leave.  The emotions did not allow for much rest. Our driver, Clem, arrived at 5:30 a.m. and drove us to the airport and we were off for the next chapter in this journey we call life. So thankful for the opportunity that we had to serve in the Philippine Naga Mission. So thankful for the wonderful people we were able to meet. We are so thankful for the increase in our knowledge and understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been truly blessed.
It was a long flight. We flew on Delta to Hong Kong and from there to Portland, Oregon.There were several Elders in the Hong Kong airport along with Elders Tae and Nielson of the Philippines Area Presidency. They were on their way to General Conference. We made it through customs with no problem and soon we were on our way to Salt Lake City. We were met with balloons and signs and the greatest looking family ever. Bryan, Sariah and family, Steven and Ruth, Pat and Dot and Boyd were waiting for us. After collecting luggage, we were off to lunch at Texas Road House where Larry had his steak!
Saturday evening Sariah and I drove into Salt Lake for the Relief Society Broadcast. Dot had invited us to go to her Stake for the broadcast. Even in Salt Lake you go to a Stake Center for the broadcast. It was so nice to be my sisters and to just visit and enjoy their company. Sunday, we spoke in Bryan's ward. Monday we headed for Emmett. It was so good to see our house. We were greeted with all the bedrooms and office furniture in the front room. But, the new carpet looked great. President Walker met us at the Stake Center that evening and released us from our mission. and invited us to take off our name badges. It felt like part of me was ending as I took off that badge.

We reported our mission on November 25th in the East Valley Ward. This completes this chapter in out Book of Life, The Philippine Naga Mission - March 2011 - Sept. 28, 2012.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

August 26, 2012
Aug. 20 and 21 were holidays which meant the Church was closed. On Tuesday we drove to Tabaco, which is almost as far as Legazpi so we could do some shopping in the public market there. I have wanted a woven pointed hat that the native farmers wear. Larry has wanted to buy a knife. The market is so big with so much stuff. We wandered down several aisles and finally found the hat that I had seen earlier. It is woven like a basket with different colored reeds.

Larry looked at lots of knives and finally found one that will fit in the suitcase. The knives are made in Tabaco and are used for everything from cutting grass, pruning trees and digging in the garden. It is a very useful tool. The Miskins ,the couple severing in Tabaco, joined us for lunch. We enjoyed visiting with them and then it was time to head back home.
Friday, we were in Legazpi. We had the English class in the afternoon and 5 attended.  We attended the birthday party for Sister China that evening.  She must have cooked all day. There was so much food. People would just drop in and eat and leave. We enjoyed being a part of her birthday celebration. She is a member of our ward.
            Sister China with Elder and Sister DeGrange
            Rice, Chicken Adobo with new corn and noodles
 Taco fillings chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, cole slaw, ground beef, cheese with the homemade taco shells pictured below. They were soooo good. Larry didn't care for them because of the cucumbers.

     Sister China, DeGranges, Sister and Brother Evangelista (back by the mirror)

Saturday was a Missionary Meeting in Legazpi. The Zone Leaders in Naga asked us for a ride. We had a delightful ride with Elder Bacera from California and Elder Catalan from Manila. The special meeting was with Elder Cook, Elder Callister and Elder Ardern and their wife’s. It was a pretty impressive group. The meeting was a spiritual feast. Elder Cook gave an apostolic blessing and part of it was that our families would be blessed by our serving a mission. That is a wonderful promise. We took the Elders to eat at Jollibee’s and when we got back to Naga to Shakeys. It was a wonderfully full day.
Sunday was a special conference for three stakes. Elder Cook was in Legazpi. Elder Ardern was in Goa and Elder Callister was in Naga. We arrived an hour early and the chapel was almost full. Elder and Sister Campbell were already there and had a seat saved for us. Again, we were filled spiritually. Those that are called as special witnesses for Christ surely make the scriptures live and help us to see just how they apply to us. I took lots of notes on both days, now if I can just read them.  We were invited to lunch at the mission home and had a physical feast. We were truly filled in every way. We enjoyed just visiting with the Callister’s and Ardern’s and hearing of their experiences as mission presidents and as members of the Seventy. Then it was off to Manila for them and a fireside that night. They really have a rigorous schedule. I am tired after two days of meetings.
We now have 5 weeks remaining and have all the flight schedules. Now to keep busy for these last few weeks.

The Philippines Sec. of State, Jesse Roberto was killed in an airplane crash. He had been the mayor of Naga for several years. His body was in the Catholic Church for the community to pay their respects. This was on a Friday and it took us an hour to get out of Naga. There were police every where and blocked roads and traffic jams. The streets were lined with people all the way to the airport along with the police on both sides of the road. The funeral was on Tuesday. Again the police lined the road to the airport. He was reportly one of the few honest men in the government

 The road lines are painted by hand with a can of paint and a brush. It is amazing to me how straight they can paint the lines.

Larry decided that he would get a tailored suit while he was her. We went to Marantz's and he was measured everywhere and we came back in a month and here he is in the new suit.

The man in the back is who measured and then made the pattern just to the measurements. The lady showed us all the fabric and is the official greeter. There were so many choices. Doesn't he look good?
The girls are getting the suit ready for us to take. We enjoyed the experience and everyone was so very nice.

Saturday we were to have a Career Workshop. The cleaning crew of three were already there doing their job. They were a little short handed so it called for a broom in each hand. They had the floor swept very quickly.
As for our class, no one showed up - so we had a free Saturday.

This post was ready a couple of weeks ago and our HP computer decided it had enough and quit working. The computer shop said it was the mother board and that is very expensive. Everyone said it would be best to just get a new one which we did. The challenge came from loading most everything on a new one and relearning how to do things on a new one. It is up and working and the pictures are even here but it has been a challenging couple of weeks for us.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Here it is Aug. 15 and this month is half gone. Saturday Aug. 4 was a Stake Employment Training in Goa. We spent the night in Legazpi and left at 6 the next morning. We had Carlo and the two OJT volunteers with us. OJT is on the job training. Most college students have to do this before they graduate.

 Our two OJT students. They are majoring in Informational Technology.
Brian Dorason and Arsel. They have livened up the Employment Recourse Office. We are having lunch at Max's. Brian ate 3 cups of rice.

 It took 3 hours to drive to Goa and they were ready for us! We completed the training by 12:30 and Pres. Lim informed us that lunch was ready. Sis. Lim and other sisters in the ward had fixed a wonderful lunch for us. Every meal we have had always has rice, of course, and a green leafy vegetable that is steamed in coconut milk and usually has chopped chicken liver. It is made from the Taro leaf. I am finally able to eat the chicken liver, not my favorite but I can do it. There was also a pork adobo, fried lumpia, meat, veggies in egg wrappers,(I really like that), and a very good cookie.

The SEC Training at the Goa Stake

President and Sister Lim and some of the other cooks. It was a very good lunch

Monday and Tuesday was Career Workshop with Missionaries. There were only six but they were a great group. We had two Filipinos and 4 Americans. We always enjoy working with the missionaries.

 Elder Ruben and Conte practicing Power Statements. Elders Speight and Evite in the back

 Working Hard

 Elders Speight and Ruben, Sisters Hill and Laroza, Elders Evite and Conte with
 Pres and Sister Bliesner

Wednesday, we were blessed with a sunshiny day and we did laundry. Thursday, was English class in Naga, again a great group of young people. Friday, was Legazpi day. What a surprise, the chapel had curtains. The pews were padded a couple of weeks ago. What a difference in the feel of the chapel. Went into the RS room and there were padded folding chairs and curtains. The carpet is on the stage and will be installed soon. Elders Cook and Callister will be here on the 25-26 and the building is getting ready. English class was canceled because the choir had to practice for a YSA fireside with Elder Teh, president of the Philippines Area.
Saturday was another Career Workshop for Milaor Ward and San Fernando Branch. We had a good group, this one was different as it was mostly adults and not YSA. Sister Abonalla does a great job of teaching and it is so much more effective in the Bicol dialect. We do our part in English and they understand but they comprehend so much more in their own language. Bishop Sarto sat in on most of the class but he was dividing his time, checking on the lunch that was being prepared. These sisters are such good cooks. The rice was served in the middle of the table on a large banana leaf. The green leafy vegetable was served again only this time hot peppers had been added. Pork Adobo rounded out the meal. We also had wonderful mango juice. Soooo good.

  Lunch- Banana Leaves make a great serving platter

 The Milaor/San Fernando Career Workshop Group. Bishop Sarto, Joy, Chelo, Ivy, Sister DeGrange, Sister Abonalla,  can't remember the
rest of the names.

 The group working hard.

Sunday Aug. 12 we attended our ward and wow – there were curtains and the pews were padded! Monday was a missionary zone meeting with Elder Teh. Elder DeGrange made the comment that he is always amazed at how the general authorities are able to make the scriptures come to life and how clear they are. Again a wonderful lunch (no green vegetablesJ) That evening we were invited for dinner at the mission home. I just feel in awe to be seated across from the Area President, and having normal conversations. Now it is back to normal for a week until Elders Cook and Callister arrive.

Pres. Pangan of the Legazpi Stake ,
Elder and Sister DeGrange
Sister Eda Orling and Bishop Orling
of the Guinobatan First Ward. We got
to know Eda when she volunteered at the
ERC this past year. He is doing his Masters Degree in Manila and comes home  on the weekend to be Bishop.

Two large snails that were enjoying breakfast on our lawn. 

The couples in the Naga Mission enjoyed a activity day this past month
We had a devotional by Pres. and Sister Bliesner and had a chance to 
ask questions and to get to know each other better. We had a wonderful
lunch of lasagna, green salad and ice cream and banana cake. We then
went to the Penafrancia Museum and Catholic Church. We drive by this church
on the way to our house.

The Penafrancia Catholic Church

The  Museum. There is a big festival the
third week of Sept to honor history of
penafrancia. Naga becomes a very crowded
city for the entire week.
The  museum has dioramas depicting the
history of Ina the name of the statue that
is being honored. Each year she has a new
cape that is draped around the small statue.