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.


  WWII left scares to country and infrastructure. But no scares are bigger that what it left on the people that survived it.

   While at the American Cemetery, we had the opportunity to meet this 96 year old man. He had been captured by the Japanese and held in a prison camp. He is dressed in a traditional loin cloth and hat with a cane that helps him to move very slowly. He also had with him a framed picture of an American Airman that was with him in the prison camp and was liberated at the same time.

   US Ambassador Harry K. Thomas Jr. took time to meet and converse with him through an interpreter. The older gentleman spoke a dialect I had not heard before.
   I can't even imagine what the war left with him. He was one of only a few that survived the camp and even now one of the very few that are still alive to remind us.


   We had an opportunity to visit the American Cemetery in Bonifacio Global City for a Memorial Day Service. This is one of the cities that make up Metro-Manila. Over 38,000 names are listed on the walls of this memorial as missing in action and over 17,000 are buried here as a remembrance of the atrocities of war and in particular WWII. Most are Americans at this site, but many Filipinos are also recognized here.

On Saturday morning the day before the Memorial Service, we had the opportunity to help other groups in placing American and Filipino flags at the site of every grave in the cemetery. People would go ahead of us and plug the ground so we could easily put the flags behind each grave marker.

It was a spectacular site to see this view as we completed the placement of flags that morning. This is a memorial day I will never forget.

    Sunday morning was the day of the Service. Many writhes were placed at the monument for the service and were given by many American and Filipino groups in remembrance of the WWII memorial.  This one was given by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Another was given by the Makati Fourth Branch Boy Scouts of America and another by LDS Charities.

  Each represented a time to recall the great sacrifices by Men and Women of great courage and commitment in the Armed Forces of both countries as they fought for freedom in this far off land.

Traditional military uniforms were wore by many of the Filipino Armed Forces that day that represented years of commitment our two countries have had.

Tradition uniforms were also worn by the elite band assembled for this day. Modern uniforms were worn by others that participated in the service.

A writhe for the unknown soldier was placed by representatives from both countries. I missed a photo of a young American Girl and a Filipino Boy that paid tribute in similar fashion.

    We heard very encouraging words from the US Ambassador to the Philippines Harry K. Thomas Jr. as he spoke of our commitment to each other in protecting the Peace that came at a great price. He also spoke of today and tomorrow's effort to continue our strong bond with each other.

I truly see the strength that our commitment to each other is having and  is working in a day to day way. This is the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts that were assisting the audience that day that is comprised of both American and Filipino youth. Being an American, I am truly grateful for the sacrifices both countries made in the cause of Freedom. The Filipino people have really sacrificed for the tremendous damage of life, lives and country due to the brutalities of war by the Japanese. But they are strong and making things better even to this day. They continue to grow as a people as they have opportunities presented to them. I love the Filipinos more each day.

Sunday, June 30, 2013


   One thing we have learned in our opportunities in the Philippines is how important relationships are in the Asian cultures. If you try to rush things and not develop a good relationship with people and organizations, you are destined to fail. Such is the point with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD).
   This is a government organization that oversees and works with the PWDs (persons with disabilities). They are in every community and are the workhorse and watchdog for NCDA (National Council of Disability Affairs).
  DSWD has worked with us for a long time in helping us provide mobility devices for the disabled. We have trained many assessors from their group and encoders to enter in the orders for the proper device. However, lately we have let communication slide and not done what we needed to keep our relationship a high priority.

They asked to visit us to find out what is going on . The head of the department is nearest the camera. She is herself in a wheelchair and has been disabled for her entire life. She helps us gain a better perspective on what the disabled are dealing with.
The meeting is very successful and preconceived ideas are corrected by the talking out the challenges we both face. We find we are again on the same road and going the same direction.
Gaining mutual understanding is a much desired thing and appreciated on both sides. I am grateful for their willingness to work with us and by doing so help so many that need the disability aids we can provide.
As missionaries we must learn to do as their culture does. We can get more done if we listen more and talk less.


   December 4, 2012 will ever be remembered as a life changing experience for those people that live in Davao Oriental (southeast side of Mindanao). Many lives were lost, homes and businesses destroyed and livelihood gone. The effect was far and wide as Typhoon Pablo destroyed everything in its path. Mindanao has historically been calamity free for 100 years, but this event took everything.
  This calamity has put to the test the capabilities of many organizations helping in immediate response, rehabilitation and long term planning to aid the wonderful people of this area of the country. LDS Charities has been one of those organizations. We had the opportunity to work with dozens of organizations including Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children Foundation, Muslim Relief Services and many others in this large effort. It also gave our Helping Hands Volunteers the opportunity to give service to those in need.
   We have responded to two large projects involving food, water, temporary housing, generators and buildings. The relief and building effort in the barangays of Boston, Baganga and Cateel is going to take an estimated 10 to 12 years to return this area to normal.
   To a country that sees more calamities than another other country in the world, this was unforeseen and especially harsh.

This area was full of homes prior to the storm. They are gone but the other side of the street seems minimal in damage.

The large home stood because the large homes are made of concrete and rebar. Anything made of wood and sheet metal where leveled. You can see how the trees became the battering rams that leveled property.

   The coconut, banana and palm plantations were leveled. The debris ended up everywhere and blocked transportation until it could be cleared. Early on in the cleanup attempts, we were able to supply chainsaws that helped to clear the area and also to cut lumber from the coconut trees to supply materials for rebuilding.

The Philippine Navy and Marines met with us early on to see how we could help in that devastated region. They came in early January with a presentation of constructing multi-purpose halls in the barangays of Cateel, Baganga and Boston. These were the most destroyed of the populated areas.

 Progress was being made by the time of our next meeting in the DTAs conference room. By then we were able to get preliminary approval for the largest project I was ever involved with. Not long after this meeting, the formal approvals from the Area Presidency and The Presiding Bishopric allowed us to proceed with the plans.
The plans were numerous and in a two part approach. Part one was for immediate need and included food (Rice, Sardines, Corned Beef and Noodles), temporary shelter for 800 families and collected clothing for all ages. Step two was evening more aggressive as we provided for temporary shelter for another 750 families, generators for 3 communities and 3 multi-purpose halls for the communities of Cateel, Boston and Baganga. The projects are all going strong, but the completion date will be August or September of this year.
One of my learning experiences had to do will all the 'Legal Work' that accompanies all the work we do. Nothing of any size that is donated, gifted or paid for by LDS Charities must have legal work to go with it. The photos now are those that show an event that kicks off the actual work that has been approved.
Elder Benson E. Misalucha is addressing the beginning of the event that will highlight the signing of the MOA (memorandum of agreement). This event was held in the Area Presidency Conference Room.
The head of our Legal Dept in the Philippines is Bro. Doug McCallister. He is the Area Legal Counsel. Because of all the legal connections we have, he has become a close friend. He is a church employee and has his wife with him in the country.
Our event is attended by the top officials of the Philippine Navy and Marines. You can tell which are Marines by the yellow and red patch on the left shoulder.
There as the Flag Officer in Command and the head of the Navy is Vice-Admiral Alano. He will sign all documents on behalf of the Philippine Navy and Marines. This project will have the oversight of the Philippine Seabees for both manpower and organization with the volunteers from the various communities involved.

The signing takes place with many witnesses as all the major networks are represented for the entire ceremony.

Also attending is Mencie Silvestre in the red. She is a well known celebrity from TV 5 and a strong supporter of all humanitarian projects around the country. She has been instrumental in helping fellow countryman in hundreds of ways for calamities to school needs for the children.

Following the ceremony, the Public Affairs group give a tour of the Temple grounds to all those that attended.
Part of the tour included a visit to the Philippine Area MTC and introduction to Pres. and Sister Beck, the MTC President and his lovely wife.

They also viewed the MTC Gym that is just a few steps away from the MTC. It is a beautiful facility and gets more use than just physical activity. With the increasing number of missionaries coming, it is also used for assemblies and devotionals.

The event ended with a wonderful lunch and the final gift exchanges. It seems like a lot of fanfare, but the opportunity to host such high ranking officials is truly a blessing. They are able to learn more about our projects, get an introduction to the church and have an opportunity to feel the Spirit that is present. I am always amazed at the doors that seem to be opened even in the midst of calamities. 

Saturday, June 22, 2013


  Being in the right place and being prepared will bring many opportunities to use the Priesthood.
  As we got to church on 5-5, I was preparing for fast meeting and enjoying the time in reflection of all the marvelous opportunities that have come our way.
  The meeting started with the usual song, prayer and announcements. Then they began to do the confirmations and baby blessings. As I looked up Bishop Urbano said, "Elder Hadlock, Sister Salgado would like you to confirm her a member of the church". OK, then.
  As I approached the stand I felt how fortunate to be asked to help. This young lady had felt the Spirit as she was taught and could not deny it. She is the only one in her family to join the church and will probably feel some rejection from her family. Following the direction the Lord has prepared for us is not always easy. For some it is a big challenge.

"Sister Aliza Yule Salgado, In the name of Jesus Christ............................". As I finished, I felt such an overwhelming feeling of Peace. Doing the Lord's work is such a joy. Whether a blessing or a major project in helping the poor, the end result is always the same. A wonderful feeling of peace for doing good to others.

Thursday, June 20, 2013


  Our guide had planned a river lunch before we left.  We had arrived just in time to catch the river barge. The food was good and very typical Filipino. Rice, Pork, Chicken, pasta salad, and fruit for dessert.

This had been a great trip with Elder Benson E. Misalucha, the Welfare Services Manager for the Philippines. He is our director and mentor.
These barrages are moved around with the aid of a small boat attached to the barge and having a good sized outboard motor to push it.
As we went up the river, small communities (barangays) put on live performances on floating stages as a way to earn money. We pulled up along side and were able to put money into a small box that we felt was appropriate for the entertainment.
This is the end of the river channel ride where many streams came together to form the river we were on. It was very beautiful and very peaceful and quiet. Something not often seen by us in our usual surroundings in Manila.
Also at the end of the river was the Life Guard. His assignment was to help where needed and be sure at the end of the day that no one was left stranded.
Our last stop before departure was a Muslim Community in Tagbiliran City. This was a very poor community and in great need of many things.
However, they wanted the need met to have 2 more classrooms added to their poorly constructed school house. They existing classrooms needed finished and they also needed chairs, tables and other essential items to teach.

They had more than enough space to accomplish their dream and children more than enough to fill the classroom space.
As I have mentioned in the past, there always seems to be the One that we come in contact with. I shared some wonderful thoughts and teaching with this young Muslim girl as we held hands and walked back to the van. She is bright, kind, loving and in need of a school that she can be taught in. We have work to do to make this a reality.