Thursday, June 10, 2010

June 10 - Jeepney rides – It is incredible the number of people that can get into a jeepny, one of the most popular forms of moving people here in the Philippines. You will see a Jeepny with a capacity of 21 pull up in front of the church and 30 plus people get out. Where did they come from? But a jeepny ride is only P7 ($.18C) compared to a taxi of P30 ($.75CENTS) just to get into the taxi. We have tried several times to ride a jeepny but with a lack of experience we chicken out at the last minute. To our defense we have ridden two but only because a more experienced individual flagged one down for us and did the talking. Elder Ganir who has previously served a mission in the Philippines and kind of speaks the language took care of that for us, but alas he cannot go everywhere just for us. Jeepny rides are P7 no matter how far you go but taxi’s are P30 to start and goes up depending on how far and how long it takes.
The Temple Open House is now over and by all standards it was a success. Over 7000 people visited the last day, at one point there was 14 groups of 30-40 persons each, waiting in the hot sun “feels like 122 degrees” patiently to see the temple. Over 45,000 total toured the temple. The numbers are calculated of those entering the gates of the temple, some would go through 3-4 times each time they came so in actuality there were a lot more going through. The members would come enmass to attend and then they would stay around the rest of the day. By the end of the day there is around 2-300 members just milling around the temple grounds visiting. They come in jeepnys, old bus’, cars, vans, you name it they're in it, as mentioned above a bus with sitting capacity of 60 drops off 130 people, the seats in the bus are folding chairs, the roof is rusted out but the spirit of the Saints is so overwhelming. One jeepny had a bunch of the small patio plastic chairs in the back and when they left they were all full and then some. They have come to see the “House of the Lord”. They are so poor that the few Paso’s it cost them to get here is a week’s groceries for them. But the whole family can come for the price of one fair so they came. Such beautiful people. The Children are just impeccably clean; in fact the whole population is impeccably clean. Never smelt BO on anyone, not in the malls after being outside and perspiring profusely, they are truly clean people. Their clothes are freshly pressed and clean, even though they have to do it in a wash pan or pond. Such a neat and clean people, despite the wild hairs. A lot of them have to go to the public water spigot and get wet, lather themselves – in their clothes then rinse off – to take a bath. A lot of them live in huts with corrugated metal roofs and do their cooking outside in a little propane cooker, single burner. Don’t ever smell smoke on any of them.
Our first Sunday here we attended the Stake Center Dedication here on Temple Square. Last week we went to Lapu Lapu 1st ward and then this week we went to the Arlington Ward. It seems like we have met all of these people at the temple open house, and probably so. One sweet lady gave Shauna 2 white handkerchiefs for us with the Cebu Temple in Silver on the corner of them. Shauna asked a lady, during the open house, where she got her fan because she thought they were nice and a few minutes later the lady came and brought her one. The Sr. Sister Missionaries told her to not mention how nice or where they purchased something or she would like one because they will give her the blouse on their body if she asked for it.
The Sr. Sisters are Sister Fulmer from Rexburg, ID. She thinks she knows the Sampson’s because she might have taught some of their children at the school just across the street from them. At least that was the school she taught at. The other Sr. is Sister Saunders; she is from the Houston, Texas area. She is the only one in her family who is a member, her children are not, but they tolerate her.
There are several other Sr. Couples in the area like: Brother & Sister Luke, Spencer, Smith, Reeds. The Reeds are from Boise, ID. She is the one in charge of the food for the Prophet and his group when they start to arrive as soon as Thursday.
//// Speaking of which we found out yesterday that we need to move out of our apartments from Wednesday of this week through Monday of next so they can be cleaned and readied for the GAs coming for the Dedication. At first we thought we had to move out on Friday, then it was moved back to Thursday and now last night it was moved to Wednesday. So far as we know Brother Burton (Presiding Bishop) is staying in our apartment. OH WELL flexibility is the name of the game.
Shauna has been terribly sick for the past 10 days with a cold, fever, chills etc. Sister Byrum, a Matron in the Temple, gave her some of her husband’s antibiotics which seem to be knocking it. Pres Mortimor, who is a Dr. approved of the medicine from Sister Byrom that was offered. This was on Monday and today, Thursday, she seems to be a lot better. Still has the hack and bark though.
Since the open house the construction company is franicly doing the last minute touch ups. The carpets are being cleaned, the furniture is all moved out, audio/visual from SLC Hdqtrs brought two semi’s full of equipment yesterday and installing it in almost every room of the temple. Next are the plastic chairs, 960 of them for the dedication starts tomorrow. Three Stake Centers in the Cebu area and 4 outside of the area are being readied for the live feed of the Dedication on Sunday. The last session is at 3:00 and over at 4:30. Then our job starts because those 960 chairs have to be removed from the temple (Temple recommend holders only), ALL of the furniture is brought up from the basement and the Temple restored to its original state by Monday morning. The Prophet will do a walk through early and then we open at 9:00 AM that day. Shauna and I have been asked to be the Baptistery Supervisors in the Mornings. Tuesday we have 40 kids scheduled to do baptisms. Shauna has never worked in the Baptistery and I have only spent 3 days working there before coming here. It will be challenging but the afternoon couple that are the PM Supervisors have worked at the Provo Temple for the last 7 years in the Baptistery so they have been a tremendous help in getting the plan formulated to run it. Their plan was a bit grandiose for this small temple and no. of kids expected compared to Provo. You would think the Church would have a A-B-C step by step but they say it is up to the temple to coming up with their own process. We have submitted our plan to Pres. Byrum and he says it sounds good to him; he has only worked in the Baptistery for a few months many years ago, so we will see Tuesday. Then Wednesday there will be 70 kids, I think coming from Mindanao Stake- the next island south, and they are staying over for 3 days to do baptisms, baptism by fire for us as well.
The SL GAs and the area presidency will be arriving tomorrow, except for two which is why we had to move out on Wednesday- they arrived yesterday. Security won’t allow us to go back to our apartments until Monday when the SLC contingency leaves. We are living in the Patron portion of the Housing Unit where our apartments are. Each room the Temple Missionaries are in has one room with 3 sets of bunk beds, bathroom 2 sinks and a chest of drawers plus 2 very small individual closets. One couple per room. I went and acquired a folding chair so we could have a place to sit without sitting on a bed. I have the computer on the chest of drawers.
Our love to all, we miss you a lot.


  1. Sounds like things are going well over there!!

    Those Jeepneys sound like clown cards. You should get a picture of one!

    Love you guys!


  2. I agree, get a picture. It truly sounds like an experience of a lifetime. How did the plan in the baptistry work? Was it a success?