Tuesday, November 20, 2012


   On an island in the middle of the Pasig River in the heart of Manila lies this sanctuary of love and hope. In 1778 a small hospital was built here. Over the years it was presided over by various groups until in 1866 it was permanently turned over to the Daughters of Charity of St.Vincent de Paul of the Catholic Church. On the island is a church, hospital, rehabilitation services and dormitories for children, battered women and children and HIV patients.
   It is the first social welfare agency in the Philippines. It is home to orphans, abandoned and special needs children and elderly.
  We were invited by the U.S. Embassy to supply needed wheelchairs to the children with special needs. Dustin Bradshaw (from Beaver, UT) is our contact in the embassy with a charitable group made up of embassy volunteers.

Upon our Saturday arrival, we met 15 children aged 4 to 18 that would be assessed for an intermediate wheelchair. Six assessors had volunteered their time that day to help.
The children were wonderful to meet. Loving and kind only begins to describe what they were like. Most of the people that work here are volunteers. The volunteers are doing everything for these children and the others that are housed here. I could really feel the Spirit here as we went about our work. Our Father in Heaven truly loves these wonderful children and all those that assist them.
Meet Angie. She is a treasure. With no arms, she struggled to find things she could do. She discovered that she could paint with her feet. Her paintings are beautiful and have been made into cards that can be purchased. She is so tender and kind. She constantly likes to be hugged and we did our best to accommodate.
Also housed there are elderly with no where else to go. We saw a need to repair and donate more wheelchairs for them. I have scheduled next week to return and collect an inventory of needed parts to get ordered. We will then schedule a day with the embassy to to the necessary work.
They lady with the red purse is 94 years old and still has a great voice. She sang us a song that she loves about Christ. I had never heard it before, but it was beautiful.
Our day was well spent as we collected necessary information to provide help. We will schedule two days here in the near future - one to fit the children to the wheelchairs that are being built for them and one to do the repairs of the wheelchairs and to donate more for the elderly.
I love what we are doing - PRICELESS !!


   I was coming home from church a few weeks ago and got held up by a parade. The challenge with parades here is there is only one road and they are using it. Might as well enjoy it because you're not going anywhere.
  This parade was down the main street of Angono and was in honor of teachers world wide. I have never seen so many marching bands and drill teams than are on display in the parades here. What a great opportunity for these talented kids to show off their skills

Angono is known as the art capital of the Philippines. The above caricatures lead the parade that ended at the city hall. There are many art schools here and they all have a full enrollment.
Nice to see cowboy hats so far from home. It is hard to see from the pictures, but the musical instruments are old and well used. But just like the the Energizer Bunny, they just keep going and going.
The bands and drill teams wear the school colors and they show their school pride by the way they perform.
Pink - Is this really a school color?
The Boy Scouts carry banners for each of the groups that tell who they are and where their group comes from.
Quantities of 100 are not uncommon for these school groups.
But all the groups are here to honor their teachers. Note the umbrellas - they are used here as much for the sun as for the rain.
Well, now we will wait for at least 30 minutes until the traffic begins to move. But the parade was great.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


  We were excited to go to Cebu, about 1 and 1/2 hours flight to the south. It is a beautiful area and known for Mango's. Now how can you top that, unless it's their famous Lechon (Barbecued Pork).
  We were each able to take a wheelchair with us as one of our pieces of luggage on the flight for free. This gives us a better training if we can have them with us to give to disabled people as we assess them.
We arrived on Thursday for a Friday and Saturday training. We were accompanied by RJ Tan and his mother. They have become our tour directors as we travel to new areas. They took us about 2 hours to the south to visit a Catholic Monastery. RJ's mom has made a commitment to go there whenever she goes to Cebu and pray to Mary. It is a beautiful place for them to worship.
We had several professional people in our group including Physical and Occupational Therapists. They proved invaluable in helping to assess 6 children for intermediate wheelchairs.
We had time to visit downtown Cebu on Friday night after training and saw the Cross that Magellan placed when he arrived in the Philippines. It is actually encased in the cross that you see above. Magellan died here during a mutiny by his crew. The crew wanted to go home, but Magellan had married a local girl and wanted to stay.
We then drove across town to the Cebu Temple and had a chance to show our friends our beautiful place of worship. We were able to share many things of importance in our faith, including the appearance of Christ in the America's after his resurrection.
There is always the 'One' that changes your life at each training that we do. Mark was brought in by his mother to be assessed for an intermediate wheelchair. He has brittle bone disease and is very fragile. Even the slightest movement causes him pain. He is 6 years old and very small. You call see the badly formed arms and legs. Bones break and heal very strangely. Becky made a new friend and spent a lot of valuable time with him in helping to comfort him during a painful measuring process. But he went home with a wheelchair that will be a great help in caring for him. His mother now can do part time work to help the family. She will take him to work with her.
The group consisted of 36 graduates and us as their trainers. You can see an empty chair in the center. That was for Becky who was still comforting a wonderful and loving little Mark.


   In August we visited with the Marikina Vice-Mayor and scheduled a wheelchair training with the health care workers in his city.
  Marikina is the shoe capitol of the world. Every kind, size and style of shoe is made here. When Imelda Marcos and her husband were in power, she was known for the 5000 plus shoes she had purchased all over the world. After she and her husband where taken out of power, all of those shoes where found. Interestingly, a great many of them were made right here in Marikina.
  We had worked with very few cities directly because of the great temptation of the mayor or vice-mayor to use such an event for political gain. We proceeded with much care to avoid such a problem and we seem to have pulled it off.
Marikina is one of 16 cities that make up Metro Manila and is very close to our office. It was convenient to get all of our instructors and teaching aids there with little effort.
This is Vice Mayor Cadiz. He is very fun and outgoing. He is the one that sang to us when we first met him. Here we are assessing him for a wheelchair to show how we are teaching the health care workers. He really enjoyed the training and knew of the help that it would be to disabled persons in his city. At the conclusion of the training, he sang - to me! Wow was that uncomfortable. But we took it in stride and had fun with it.
We incorporated an intermediate assessment with this training. These are for children that have cerebral palsy and can not be fitted in a regular wheelchair. We had not done this before, but it was so successful that we will do it more often. Since putting Elder Bautista in charge of the intermediate wheelchair (specialized) part of the program, it has blossomed. Doing the assessment is Wennah Marquez. She is wonderful to work with and does a lot to further the work we do.
This man was the best part of the training. He showed up to be assessed for a wheelchair. He has his own business and was texting people that work for him while he was here. He has cerebral palsy and has no real use of his arms and he can't speak. All of his communication is done with a cell phone that he operates with his feet.
He holds it with his left foot and texts with his right. He is very fast and accurate. He answers all of our questions with either the phone or he moves his foot up and down for yes and side to side for no. I regret that I didn't take a video of him. I am amazed at what disabled people can do. It is all about their personal will to accomplish things. I have no reason ever to complain. If he can do it, anyone can.
This training came to an end with 32 people getting their Certified Wheelchair Technician Certifications. One of the larger groups we have worked with and one of the funnest. Every training is unique and memorable. We make friends and we leave a positive impression of the church through the power of the Holy Ghost. The next time they see a black name tag with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, they will be more apt to say Hi.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


  The new program with the Rotary is working very well. We are doing great trainings and we are placing a lot of wheelchairs from these events.
  This training in Mandaluyoung City is the last of three events close to our offices in Quezon City. We have trained 42 participants and assessed 28 disabled persons, most of which received a wheelchair at the close of our trainings.

We trained at an LDS Chapel on Shaw Ave. This is a favorite place to train and I can now see why.
They have everything we need to do a great training. The building is convenient and close for participants, has a large parking lot with stairs and ramp for teaching, and has all the correct tables and equipment for our trainings.
This class consisted of 12 participants from Rotary Clubs, Zonta Clubs and a motorcycle club (our first). There were eager and fun to be with. They did very well in all the activities we have them do.
And a first, five of the participants got 100% on my test. Sister Hadlock thinks it is too hard. Goes to
show ya, they came step up to the task.
We had 14 disabled people show up for assessing, all in this little open bus. They also had family members come with them.
We gathered them all into the cultural hall and began to assess them. We had four that did not need a wheelchair and one that was able to use a walker. We do not want to put them in a wheelchair before their time or the ability to walk is lost prematurely.
This man was thrilled as we fit him into a 14 inch Rough Rider wheelchair. He couldn't talk, but we all know what thumbs up means.
Graduation is a fun time. But I really had a hard time giving the certificate to Orindo (the guy in the red shirt). He's a lawyer !!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


  OK a little play on words.
  When I got to church, I had the Bishop approach me and ask is I would be willing to give a baby a name and blessing. Without hesitation I said 'Yes'. I had always been taught that if you when asked to help, you said yes.
  After a quick response, I though of the fact that I was fortunate for such an opportunity.
  This little baby girl of Ruth Abasta will be named Lianelle Abasta. She is a beautiful little girl and comes to a single mom, but is well loved by Mom, Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles.

The Mom is the young lady in the stripped top and the Grandmother is holding the child.
After the meeting was over I went to the Mom and reviewed with her what was said under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. I encouraged her to go home and write down what she had heard and what her thoughts were of the day. The Lord had given her some instructions and writing them down would help her remember her responsibilities as per directions from the Spirit.
It never gets old to do something special when asked. As a missionary, this happens often.


  It is often said that we have the ability to change the world.

  It isn't often that we meet such a person. John Go Hoc is from China and has been in the Philippines most of his life. Living in Intramurous gives a person a different outlook on life. There are many little children there from families that have nothing and are transient at best. They live around the Port of Manila and may be gone in a short time.
  In the summer of 2007, John thought is would be good to give a daily Bible study to the informal settler children that were just hanging around in the streets by his home. Without much prodding around 100 children attended. After the week was over, many of the children returned and wanted to learn more. Impressed by their eagerness to learn he began to teach them on the steps of his home. That was the beginning of the Joy Kiddie Center and Foundation.

We found ourselves playing on the same things the children do.
This is a center for learning and is in addition to the school they already go to. But John has rules that affect the children when they come to the center.
1. Children must be 5 years of age. They must know the password to enter which is a Bible Verse that changes weekly.
2. Day starts with prayer, flag raising and National Anthem in the morning for the children that go to school in the afternoon and the day ends with prayer, flag lowering and National Anthem at the end of the day for children with morning school.
3. There is devotional time for 15 minutes daily with Bible verses and stories.
4. One hour of lessons in reading, writing and arithmetic and arts and crafts.
5. Special attention is given to those that need help with homework or special assignments.
6. Up to 1 and 1/2 hours of playground time is allowed for those caught up with their work.
John started by himself but now has 20 young men and women that teach the over 400 children that attend each day. He also has a bakery deliver day old product to give the children something to eat on a daily basis. He also supplies a daily vitamin to supplement their nutritional needs. He has affected the lives of many Filipino children and is changing the world one little light at a time. His motto is 'It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness'. He helps them get into college and even gives them 1000 Pecos each month to spend to be able to go out with friends and be part of the social part of academia.
In all he spends over 100,000 Pecos each month of his own money to give these kids an opportunity to achieve. Most of us do not have the ability to provide the financial means that John can, but we can all do something. Today is a good day to start.


  In the heart of Manila is the original "Walled City" of Intramuros. Built by the Spanish back in the early 1500's it is now a tourist attraction where daily activities continue even to this day. The government has many offices there and schools and universities operate within the walls. One university shows its roots to the mid-1500's. This is the area we find ourselves for our next training.

We had originally scheduled our Rotary training at a government building, but at last minute we changed to a small private school. Joy Kiddie Center is the subject of my next blog entry.
Two of our 18 graduates for this training are the Dupaix's. Edie is in the red. We met them in the MTC and have continued our friendship here. They are assigned to Public Affairs and are taking the training as part of an article they are writing on Humanitarian Services.
 This is Elder Roger Dupaix. He coached Skyline High School football in Salt Lake City and is the winningest high school football coach in the state of Utah.
We finally find a guy who knew the tricks of the trade in wheelchairs. He is a physical therapist and showed us all how to 'balance' a chair.
We graduated 18 and had a great time during this training. It's all about the people. Whether we train them or it's a person that gets a wheelchair, it's all about the one. Our Father in Heaven's work is one on one. We are each valuable in his site.


  We have had some great opportunities to meet people in our trainings countrywide. Whenever we teach, we have an opportunity to expand the work through our new friends.
  We have a great relationship with Rotary International of the Philippines. Through this partnership we have added many wheelchair technicians that can help distribute wheelchairs to the poor and needy. These are generally professional men and women that have connections to many other organizations that can find those that need help.

We have set up a new program with Rotary and it is working great. Rotary is comprised of 10 districts country wide. One club from each district oversees the workings of the 80 plus clubs in that district. That one club is under a national committee that works with us. We work directly with that committee for all training events and any problems. It is working well. This training is the first since we reorganized. This is a small training, but it averages out to be about 20 per training. The 7 here is one of the smallest groups.
The accommodations are working well. The only negative is enough room to practice skills.
This is Elder Jeffrey French from Indianapolis. He and his wife Marcia have been here about 3 months and are very close friends. She is the Area Mental Health Advisor and he has many hats depending on the need. He has volunteered to help us, so we are training him.
This is Tito. He works for the Internal Revenue Service as an auditor. He has a weekly radio show that teaches people of their rights concerning taxes. I am his guest speaker this week. I spent about 20 minutes on the air talking about LDS Charities and the things we are involved in. The station is government owned and monitored through the Philippine President's Office.
Great group that will yield great results. In looking at our orders, we have gotten several assessments from this group already.