Sunday, August 11, 2013


  I had been looking forward to reporting our mission to the Stake Presidency and High Council this morning. It was a great experience as we spoke from the heart of the many things we were able to do, see and experience on our mission.
  Becky started and told about the closeness we gained by serving together. She also told of the last 2 months and how we are now focusing on her treatment. She bore her testimony of God's plan for us and that she is not concerned with what the future holds because it is according to our Father in Heaven's will. She has grow so much during this last year and I am very proud of her. I am lucky to have her as my eternal companion.
  I next told of all the things that are part of Humanitarian Services work with LDS Charities. I told of the great lessons I had learned regarding charity, service, relationships and helping the One. I am most moved by the help we can give to help that one person we are directed to by the Lord. We need to be mindful of others needs and listen to the Holy Ghost when it directs us. Then 'Just Do It'.
  The experience was wonderful as we were able to pour out our hearts to the truths that we had learned. We were very fortunate to serve in the Philippines at this time and season. This opportunity will continue to bless our lives as we now move forward in faith to do our next assignment as directed by our Father in Heaven.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


  We found out yesterday from President Stephen Collins (Our Stake President) that we are now released as Country Directors of Humanitarian Services for the Philippines. We were serving out of the Philippines Quezon City Mission.
  The past 15 months have been one of the greatest opportunities we have experienced in our lives. Being able to serve together in helping the poor and needy in the Philippines has changed us both.
  We have left knowing that the Filipinos are loving, kind and accepting. We have never felt so needed as we have felt in serving them and our Father in Heaven.

   We now move on in new challenges and opportunities.
   Becky had her second chemo treatment and did well. The only challenge so far is the fatigue she is feeling.
   Within the next few weeks we hope to find some normalcy as we adjust to change, the only constant in our lives.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


  We have now been back in the States for 5 weeks. A very long 5 weeks. It has been a roller coaster of emotions and thoughts.
  When we left the Philippines we did not know what would present itself for the short term future. We had been told that Becky may only have a short time. Even after several visits to the Doctors and various scans, tests and labs had been ran, we were still confused as to prognosis.
   This last Thursday helped to put things into perspective. We would able to again meet with Dr. Samuelson and have an "at length" discussion that included everything from diagnosis to treatment. He answered the questions that were most on our minds and gave us a better understanding of "the now and the future" of this beast called cancer.

Immediately following our appointment with the Doctor, Becky "got connected" to what will be a weekly event.. She was first given Benadryl to avert any problems with the drug infusion. She then received her first infusion of Torisel.
She has a smile on her face and hope in her heart. I have been a fortunate man to have such a wonderful lady as a companion for over 44 years. She lights up my days and gives great meaning to my life.
We now have a greater hope for the future as we have a better understanding of what is happening. But we still understand that this new adventure is a time to learn more about ourselves and our Father in Heavens plan for us.
We have much more to do and more life to do it with. Time to get started.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


   During May of this year Becky had a hard month physically. She lost 20 pounds, had a hard time keeping down anything she ate and just felt lousy. We thought that we should see Dr. Jackson and do a general checkup and find out what was going on.
   He thought it would also be a good time to do a follow-up chest x-ray. Three and a half years ago Becky was diagnosed with Renal Cell Cancer (Kidney) and had a kidney removed. At that time the Dr. felt that long term prognosis was excellent. If the cancer did return it would probably show first in the lungs and then in the liver and bones. Therefore a yearly chest x-ray would show any problems.
   After he got the results of the x-ray, Dr. Jackson asked Becky to do one more from a side angle to see a few things clearer. That was the first hint that something was wrong. He then invited us back into the room and pulled up the digital images. He said he say 5 circular lesions that he was not positive of what they were. He suggested that a radiologist read them as soon as possible.
   Our son Kevin has a brother-in-law that was trained at Johns Hopkins University and Hospital in Baltimore and is now practicing in the Salt Lake City area. Mark wanted us to get them to him as soon as possible. Upon receiving the copies, he saw 8 lesions and felt from his experience that the Renal Cell Cancer had returned and was aggressive. That all happened on a Wednesday and Friday of the first week in June.
   Mark suggested that we get CT Scans of abdominal regions and a PET Scan of the entire body. He felt that more lesions would show up. Monday we get the tests scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday, and with advice we received, we made plans to return back to the USA for whatever follow-up would be necessary. The scans showed 15 active lesions and the prognosis was months.
   We rapidly made plans to return home and packed as much as we could in the few days we could. We had the hope that we could return after we got everything under control.
   The Senior Missionaries had a wonderful party for us on Thursday to send us off. Many tears were shed that night in Becky's behalf. Friday morning we headed to the airport accompanied by the Frenchs who dropped us off. Saying goodbyes is one of  the hardest things there is to do. I am grateful for the knowledge that we will see them all again either sooner or later.
   The flight home was hard due to all the time we had to just think about the next steps we needed to take. The future was now a bit uncertain. We knew tests needed to be ran and Doctors seen before a plan could be formulated to move forward.
   We met first with Dr. Bishoff (Urologist) to confirm the information and then run additional tests. He felt optimistic as he arraigned our appointment with Dr. Samuleson (Oncologist). Dr. Bishoff is one of the nicest men I have ever met.
   The appointment with the Oncologist was the next week and the second week we have been home.
Dr. Samuelson said he would like another CT scan to focus on the lungs and liver. We scheduled that for the end of that week. The results come back and they felt the need for a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of Renal Cell. The biopsy was scheduled for the next week and it went smoothly. However they were not able to get a large enough sample to confirm. Therefore they want to proceed with the Renal Cell diagnosis.
   At this point we are in the US for 4 weeks and still don't have a firm plan on how to proceed.
   Several items are on my mind. How will the cancer proceed and what do we need to watch for and how will Becky be affected? What chemo are they planning on using, how effective will it be and how will Becky be affected? Also do we need to rob a bank to afford the chemo?
   So many questions and most are still unanswered. This is truly a time that we are reaching out to our Father in Heaven. We need strength and hope that only he can provide. This life is tender and can change at a moments notice.
   However as this proceeds, we know that the new door that has been opened to us will be another learning opportunity.
   I am so grateful for Becky. She is an amazing lady with wonderful abilities that were showcased during this last year in the Philippines. She will be needing all of those and more as we move forward.

Sunday, July 7, 2013


 July 1st will bring a new Mission President to the Quezon City Philippines Mission. President and
Sister DeLaMare will be completing their mission and returning to Taylorsville, Utah.

We arrived at the Mission Home to beautifully decorated tables to begin the conference.

We had all of the Senior Missionaries in attendance for the Zone Conference.

The DeLaMares started off the evening with a welcome, instruction and off to the Buffet to fill us up.

They gave wonderful instruction on things we can do to support the local wards and branches we are assigned to. Then we heard from them on a farewell to all as they prepare to head home. The Senior Missionaries presented them with a few gifts to remember the great leadership they gave us.

And as always, a group photo to capture the event. The Senior Missionaries groups is still growing but more are needed.
We truly love the DeLaMares and the wonderful legacy they left as Mission Presidents extraordinaire. (Boy I'm glad I had spell check on that word.)
It won't be long and we will see them again in Utah. We all wish you well.


  The opportunities that are provided by Pete Manio to LDS Charities is truly amazing. This wonderful man continues to see opportunities for us as he goes about helping disabled people in his country.
  So, I get a call from Pete who tells me, "I have been talking to Senator Guingona about the challenges of getting wheelchairs into the country and having to pay taxes and duty. Do you want to talk to them?". OF COURSE !!

He sets up the appointment, but the Senator wants us to talk to his chief of staff. That works. In the Philippines, there are only 24 Senators for the whole country and they really have a lot of persuasion.

So we meet with the his chief of staff. She has been with him for many years and is a very bright and knowledgeable lawyer. Her first question to me was, "I thought you already had duty free status?" I explained to her what that meant. It takes 6 weeks of time to get all the legal paperwork together from both our country, China (where the wheelchairs are made} and the Philippines to be able to just apply for the duty free opportunity. She did not realize that the duty free status only gives us the right to apply for duty free on each order that comes into the Philippines.
I then took her through each step that needed to be completed and then all paperwork filed. And the order has only 5 days once it hits the Philippines to have everything completed on ground or you have to pay duty anyway. And this doesn't eliminate paying VAT (Value Added Tax) besides. Wow, was this a good meeting. This set the ball rolling on DSWD, Department of Finance and Bureau of Customs to all be audited on the process.
To show how important that is, it costs us 25% to pay all these fees. I suggested to her a new registration process for charities as ourselves, that would stop the red-tape and the fees and allow qualified groups to just show the certificate and get the items out of Port. Then that 25% would go directly to helping the poor and needy with more wheelchairs, etc for the same amount of money. Much more good would come out of it.
Pete, you have opened doors that we can't seem to get to, let alone through. I am praying that it won't stop at this office, but move forward to be a true benefit for their country.

After we are done, they let us into the Senate Chamber for a few photos. The 24 Senators sit in the 24 chairs directly behind us.

Pete, trying to get me into trouble I'm sure, convinces me I need to sit in the President ProTem's seat. I must admit it is comfortable while no one else is there. Fill up the room and it's a different story.


  It has been months since we worked directly with the wheelchair program. But it continues to be a big part of what LDS Charities does.

This member is part of the Angono Ward that meets in the same building that our Tayuman Ward meets. But word spreads when someone is in need. He has been a Tricycle driver for most of his life to provide for his family. But just a short time ago he had a stroke. I am still amazed at how many people have strokes in this country. And I have seen it even in 20 something year-olds.
As you can see he is grateful for the opportunity to move about and especially outside. Elder French is behind him and has been very helpful in finding, assessing and fitting individuals for wheelchairs. 

  Elder French's Teresa Ward is the next stop in this P-day adventure. This lady is in his ward and has had a similar issue. Her appreciation is shown in her heartfelt tears to her Heavenly Father for such a wonderful gift of hope.
  We have truly taken for granted all the wonderful things we have in this country of ours and the great blessings we have because we live there. In the Philippines, this is a major blessing in a family's lives. It changes the dynamics to such a large degree. They can now live a more normal life.