Thursday, April 21, 2011

April 21

It has been quite a while since we have written anything. Internet access is sometimes just not available. We made the 14 hour flight to Manila with no problems except being really tired of sitting. We were on Cathay Pacific and while the seats were not very comfortable they really did feed us good. When we arrived in Manila we had a few problems finding our ride. We waited in the sun about 30 minutes until Elder DeGrange went back into the building and there they were. We went through customs so fast and must have just missed each other.We went to the Holiday Inn where we both took a nap.
We were more tired than we thought. Then after we went to bed, we woke up about 2 a.m. We are 10 ahead of time at home.. The next day we met with Jamel Villnueva and Pres. Dany. They are over the Employment Resource Center in the Philippines.We had training all day.There are 2 sister missionaries that work in the Resource Center, Sister Mcknight and Sister J. They are both from Orem. They had a very nice lunch for us of Philippino food except for desert which was brownies. It was all very good.We have found that rice is served at every meal. The hotel has a nice breakfast buffet. We don't recognize much of the food. The fruit is wonderful and we fill up on it. The next day was drivers license day. Yes, we both have Philippine
Drivers Licenses. We were so thankful for Clem who assisted us in every step of the way. We went first for the health checkup - UA, height and weight, eye check up and photo and pay. Then off for the next step where our photos were taken at least 3 more times and fill out paper work, show passports and wait finally pay more money and we have a drivers license. Only took 3 hours.
     Elder and Sister Bird and us finishing the first step in getting the licenses

We had lunch at a hamburger place, where we had the biggest hamberger ever. We were joined by 4 others who work for the church.Three of them had been bishops and stake presidents and they looked so young. The other brother was from Salt Lake and was doing a survey for the church on how to improve welfare services in Asia.
The next couple of day there was more training.Finally, on Saturday we were able to ride around the city and tour the American Cemetery. It is quite a sight to see all the crosses and read all the names of those who served in the military and gave their lives so we could continue to enjoy our freedoms.
    Elder DeGrange and Jamel looking at the maps showing military operations in Asia

      A small view of the American Cemetery

  All the states have their seals on the walkway in the memorial (I know it's backwards)

Sunday we attended church in a ward in Manila. It is where the Employment Center is located and is the largest church building in the Philippines. Church started at 8:30 a.m. There were just a handful of members when we arrived but by the time the Sacrament Meeting was over the chapel was full. The members sing and read scriptures in English and comment in Tagalog. They also would start in English and flow right into
Tagalog and back into English. We sometimes understood.

     Elder DeGrange walking across the parking lot

Monday, we left for a 8 hour drive to Naga. Clem was our driver and he brought his 8 year old daughter Gillian to keep Sister DeGrange company in the back seat of our Ford pickup. It was quite a ride. All the little towns were about 5 minutes apart so he would speed up and slow down and pass all the jeepneys and tricee's that were in the way. We stopped every 2 hours for a stretch and bathroom break. Wow! bathrooms are quite and experience. I have learned to always have tissue and hand sanitizer in my pocket. The restrooms are called CR's (comfort rooms)
 Clem, Gillian and our pickup
We have spent the last couple of day trying to find a place to live. Alex, a Facilitys Manager, here in Naga, showed us all the houses that were available in Naga and Legaspi. There were two that would work in Naga but we had decided that we wanted to be in Legaspi by the Resource Center.We looked at a couple and settled on one but in talking to the owner we could not move in for 2-3 weeks - too long.Thursday we decided on a house in Naga and hopefully we will be able to move in on Monday.
   Trices's are all over.
 Elder DeGrange has been doing a great job of driving and I watch and make sure there is nothing coming and where he needs to turn. The rule here is the biggest has the right of way and you just inch in where there is no room. I also just hang on.

We were following this bicycle. These guys work really. The speed is leg power.
Today is Good Friday and everything is closed so we took a drive to see if we could find the house we are going to rent - and we did. The town is full people for the holiday. One more thing, I am learning how to text. That's how they communicate here.

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