Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sister Jorgensen carving up the roast pig, President & Sis Mortimor, Bro & Sister Jorgensen Happy birthday party after hours Saturday 6/26. Pres Mortimor doing post mortum surgery on the roast pig for his dinner. Pres M B'day was Saturday and Sis J B'day on Monday.

6/27 – HAPPY

FATHERS DAY 6/20/10 - We attended the Cebu 1st Ward, Cebu Stake for church today at 1:30, “Father’s Day”. What a relief not to have to go somewhere for church other than across the parking lot. We were able to just sit around the apartment and relax, doze if we felt like it for the day, a true day of rest. It is in the Stake Center located on the Temple Compound. It had as a theme Happy Fathers Day for the program. Afterwards the Young Women passed out to all of the Fathers a White Wash Cloth tied with a white ribbon. In so many other cultures this might be an insult to receive a White Wash Cloth but not here, it is an honor. The temperature here is so very hot most of the time and perspiration just runs down your face and down your back just standing around. The locals just grab rags to “mop” their brow, this is literal, or put around the back of their shirt collar to absorb the perspiration running down their back, some even just drape their heads to absorb the moisture before it runs anywhere. To think they have been given a nice Wash Cloth to do this with is impressive from this perspective. The lessons today kind of centered around the Temple since it is the most major event in their lives at this time and the White symbolizing purity as a constant reminder to the brethren of the purity of the family. I can’t decide if I will keep mine as a memento or use it as it was intended to be used. The kids all contacted us to wish me a happy Father's Day also, happy to report.

GO AND DO! Here at the temple we have 6 American couples, two Filipino couples, 1 couple of Chinese extraction-tho Filipino as a member of the Temple Presidency and another 2 couples from Idaho the President and a counselor from Idaho Falls and Rigby. Of the 11 couples we are the youngest except for the Byrums from Rigby. We all marvel that we are still alive by the end of the week and have stamina to party. Our day starts around 5:00 AM to get ready to be at the Temple by 6:00 AM. (The commute is killing us, it is all downhill so we can get a running start, approximately 300’ which we need to get through the day.) We get home around 8:30-9:00 PM. Maybe a ½ hour for lunch if we are lucky. We haven’t got time to grumble; even if we did no one would listen because they are in the same boat as we are. We have all stretched as much as we can and then the Lord stretches us even more and carries us a little bit of the way. The Saints here are so happy to have a temple in their midst. They come out to support us in all that we do. The first week the Temple was opened there were upwards of 400 people waiting to take in a session so we had to limit the sessions to a manageable size, fortunately this is somewhat abated this week and most sessions are to the manageable size. There is a small but mighty cadre of Temple workers, outside of the Temple Missionaries, that are really pitching in to fill in the spots we can’t all cover. In addition to just doing the sessions and sealings for live people and such this week we have been able to expand a little to do some initiatory and sealings for the dead, but couldn’t if we didn’t have that cadre of local workers. Our job here as requested by President Mortimor is to work ourselves out of a job so that in 16 more months we will have sufficient locally trained people to turn the operation of the temple over to and I know we will be able to do it as we see the hand of the Lord amongst the Filipino people. The temple Pres announced that starting next week our schedule we will be changing, starting at 7:00AM for the workers and the first session at 9:00 and then a new session every odd hour thereafter with the last session at 7:00 PM to be more assessable to the members. No more time changes in the near future are planned. This will allow us an extra hour of rest in the morning but loose that hour in the evenings.

This past week we had a group from Mindanao (sp) that came here on Monday after a 2 hour bus ride, a two hour barge ride from their Island called Negros and then another 6 hour bus ride just to get here to attend the Temple for 3 days and then the reverse trip. They have saved for over a year so they could do this. Here again the bus is a 45 passenger one and there were 45 kids, teenagers, and 35 adults, plus their entire luggage that made the trip for 10 hours each way. We are the Baptistery coordinators in the AM shift and when they, the youth, came they were so orderly and well behaved. We divided the kids into two groups; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. They were well prepared by having 14 Adult Mel. P’hood holders to assist along with 2 adult sisters. Things just went like clockwork. They were only supposed to do 15 Confirmations and baptisms each, each day they were here (Tuesday through Thursday). They slipped in a few extra confirmations and baptisms when I wasn’t looking because they had came so far to do this work. I kind of looked the other way until I couldn’t-we run out of names for the girls to be confirmed, and we started with a lot of extra just in case. The kids would do baptisms for 2 hours and then the adults would attend a session both morning and afternoons. Talk about dedication. We couldn’t even drive 3 miles and attend the Lords Temple in IF. The hand of the Lord is seen in every effort these people make.

HAPPY TO REPORT Shauna is at last feeling better. She still gets a coughing spell every now and then but by in large it has run the course. We now have the 2 Filipino couples who are down with it. The one couple has been out of the temple for almost a week and the other off and on. One of the Anglo couples, he has been down but still tries to come. I had a weak afternoon on Wednesday when I was a little disoriented but mainly due to exhaustion and dehydration. We have all made a concerted effort to drink more water and fortunately we are all in better condition because of it. Here we are a bunch of old duffers working our hearts out for the love of the Lord and the people. The Lord richly is blessing us to accomplish what we are doing; it is not by our stamina but by his sustaining us.
I was working the veil on Thursday when one of the patrons had a name of John Frank Cummings, bn 17 DEC 1880 in Arkansas and wondered if this was a relative of some kind and what the relationship would be, there was also a Mrs. Mary Cummings but I couldn't get the rest of the info, (anyone care to try to connect the Dots Lorena). This work is taking on great significance since then. It is a small world when you really look at it. One of the patrons living here in Cebu is from Idaho Falls, here working to set up a call center, by the name of Manwaring. He came up to me at the temple the other day and told me that Dan and Jill Harwood were thinking of coming to Cebu in the fall. Seems that Dan and Jill’s son Justin and Bro Manwaring were friends in High School. He got a note from the Harwood’s telling him to watch for the Harwood’s aunt and uncle who were called to be missionaries at the Temple. Actually we had met the Manwaring’s during the open house but didn’t at that time know of any connections to the family. Jill and Dan if you are coming let us fill those empty spaces in your suitcases for us, we would start with the grandkids first, boy we really miss them. We would love to see you when you get here.

INNOCENSE OF POWERFUL FAITH. As couple missionaries we have all commented about the childlike faith these people have here. Some have been raised in the gospel, but regardless they are devoted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Almost all of the young women serve missions before marrying and the same for the young men. It is nothing for a 25 year old to be a Stake Pres or Bishop or counselors to them. They may not have what we call the “depth” of the gospel but they have the childlike faith that the Lord is in charge and they can do. AND THEY DO. Once you are out of the city you are living in paradise, you don’t need heating or a/c because you can acclimate to the weather. Most fruits grow in abundance with little effort and the same for veggies you don’t need a big beautiful home with carpets and hot and cold running water when you live in paradise, however there is a lot to say about a good bed. They are surrounded by the ocean and many streams and rivers in abundance to bath and clean in. Pound your clothes on a rock or, oops washing machines are a help also. Shauna is not the rock pounding type. We are doing our part to support the local economy by employing a young lady, a RM in her late 20s I think, who is struggling to have her come in one day a week and clean for us, as are a couple of the other missionary couples. Shauna is not having her do the laundry just yet, because she is in the rock pounding stage, but Shauna and the other missionary ladies will eventually teach the cleaning girl about the washers and dryers. She does do a pretty good ironing job on my shirts though and Shauna’s blouses and skirts. (That in and of itself is worth the $5 a day to have her come.) Now if we could just have her shop and cook for us WE might stand a chance of doing things on Monday, our P day, other than shop for the next week, clean, etc. Oh well first things first.

30 STAIRS. The area here is rather hilly. Our apartment is on the 3rd floor of the Patron Housing, which has a 2nd floor exit directly to the outside if you climb 10 steps to the street. Once on the street we go slightly down hill for about 300’ to the Temple and climb 15 steps to the Temple entrance. Once inside we can go slightly down an incline to the Baptismal area on the left which looks out through a large etched window back into the temples staircase-which is just beautiful. The recommend desk is just inside the entrance of course and behind it is the large open entry area. On the other side is the Temple Offices, Pres etc. To the right of the entry is a large grand hall leading to the staircase. Just before going up the staircase on the right is the clothing issue area, the youth center and an elevator and on the left is the Ordinance Workers dressing rooms. 30 stairs to the top of the grand circular stair case, to the left the men’s dressing room and to the right is the ladies dressing room. In between the dressing rooms, down the middle of the temple, are the 3 ordinance rooms end to end. The dressing rooms are on the outside walls and then followed by the two large sealing rooms, one on each side, that seat close to 50 people each. So far neither of these rooms has had more than 15 people in at any one given time for a marriage/sealing, but they have been almost constantly in use with marriages and family sealings. The stair case and grand entry is all marble floors with area rugs covering part of the entry area and the dressing rooms are all tile floors. The rest is carpeted. We have given up trying to count the number of times we traverse those stairs between the 1st and 2nd floors in a day but it is at least a double digit number at the least. In the basement are the storage areas, mechanical areas and a really nice laundry and dining area. The elevator goes from basement to the 2nd floor but most of time it is easier to come and go by the stairs. We have both noticed we have legs like tree trunks from all of the stairs and the up and downs and our belts are a little looser also.

Was just watching out the window as people are coming to church, a taxi pulled up and 4 adults got out along with 5 children and went into the church. A motorcycle with a man, his wife riding side saddle and 3 children, one an infant, on it coming to church. Love you all.

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