Wednesday, February 13, 2013


  I was given another opportunity to bless a new infant. These are wonderful experiences and really bring the spirit of the Holy Ghost to guide in the blessing of the child.

She was to be named Danara Daren Humirang. As the blessing was given, promptings were given to the parents on raising the child to believe in Jesus Christ and his gospel. To be strong in the face of adversity and hold strong to the Iron Rod. Great advice for all of us.
Two Lolas can't keep their hands off of this beautiful child. Love just radiates around a newborn. Ever seen the traffic jam in church when a new one comes in?
This is the whole family. Lola, Mom, Dad and FIVE sisters. Wow, good luck with that.
Following the blessing, Hillary Face Timed us and her daughters were able to talk to these young girls half the way around the world. Technology is amazing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


   This beautiful area was the destination for our Saturday Adventure. The Frenchs had been in this area before, so they became the navigators. I also got directions from Elder Bautista on how to find the Silang, Cavite Ward building. We were going to have a wheelchair training there the next week and I wanted to make sure of the location and also the time it would take to reach the building.

On a road that was supposed to be a shortcut, we found multiple farmlands growing all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Sister Hadlock is pointing out the bananas growing there. A banana tree only produces one bunch of bananas and then begins to die. A new tree springs up from the roots to make a new crop for the next year.

She had found a small pineapple in a field across the street. The owners showed up and told us that it takes 18 months for the pineapple to mature and be ready to eat.
Back near the banana tree was a Jack Fruit. It takes a long time to grow and does not have much fruit inside. I have yet to taste one. Better do that before I come home.
As we proceeded, one of us really needed to find a restroom. After a few kilometers OUT OF THE WAY, we found a gas station to fit the bill. OK, we could now go on. As we did we passed over a bridge and stopped to take pictures of the Jungle. While there we heard the chatter and laughter of children. Well we couldn't pass that up.
On the opposite side of the bridge we saw a trail that lead to the noise. Upon following it we saw a wonderful sight. A family of brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and of course Lola (Grandma) that suggested that they all go for a swim. Had we not gone out of our way to find a CR, we would not have found them.
We were having a lot of fun and taking pictures of all the excitement around us. They had prepared some food and offered us some. We declined because we had just eaten a short time ago, but they were so generous.
Sister Hadlock has radar for the cute children and loves to make friends.
As she was doing so, one of the uncles said, "She can't walk". He pointed out a 9 year old girl sitting on the edge of the water. Interesting comment to someone who can provide a wheelchair. We helped her up to the bench and took the time to do an assessment on her and determined that she would need a 14 inch standard wheelchair. It never seems to amaze me as we are lead to those that need help.
We took more pictures of the group and made arrangements to return the following week to deliver and fit this young lady with a much needed wheelchair. We got the address and more importantly a cell phone number to call to locate them. Addresses are very hard to find here. 
Just one more picture of this beautiful area that we got to visit. The nice part is that we were coming back next week.


  One of the real blessings for us is the opportunity to see and work with other Senior Missionary couples. Some couples don't get that opportunity. Sometimes they are spread great distances apart and have little contact.
Not so with us. Whether we are in Humanitarian Services, Public Affairs, Perpetual Education Fund or heading up Family History, we see each other on a very regular basis. This gives us the opportunity to share our experiences and find ways to help in the assignments that we each have.
For example, we have received requests from many of them for wheelchairs for members and non-members that they run across. We on the other have found stories that need to be shared through Public Affairs. My son James would call it being connected.
This lunch at a very nice Italian Restaurant helps us all to be more engaged in what we are doing. The Senior Missionary corps is truly amazing. Doing the Lord's work in an effective and wise way. Where else can you have those that have served in very responsible positions in the past serve the people of the world in a very meaningful way.


   I noticed on the MSN homepage, it listed 10 places that you should see on New Year's Eve. On that list was Metro Manila. Over 15 million people live and work here and they love their holidays. I think it averages 2 holidays per month.
  Well this is a big one. Catholic and Chinese traditions are a major part of the festivities. It may be midnight mass to pray for prosperity or it may be a lot of fireworks to chase away the bad spirits on this once a year celebration.
  It is not uncommon to hear and see fireworks from our apartment. Fireworks are a part of many different types of celebration, including weddings.

We are at the Bailey's apartment on the 25th floor because it looks toward Manila. Our apartment on the 28th floor looks the opposite direction to the East. No screens or safety measures, you can just hang out there.

As I searched my photos for that night, I am very disappointed. What we saw and what the camera caught are two different events. Because of the 2 second delay, I could not seem to get the timing right to capture the moment. The bright light was a ground display at the Mandaluyong City Hall. It is only a few kilometers from us.
To the south of us, a good fire got started by the fireworks. There were 7 people killed that evening and many dismembered by the assault of explosions. Some of the deaths were caused by guns being shot into the air and the bullet eventually coming back to earth driven by gravity. An 11 year old girl was one of those tragedies.
Looking from our 28th floor apartment to the East overlooking the cities of Pasig and Makati. It wasn't as intense on this side of the building, but still a great show.
The fireworks started about dusk with a boom here and there. About 10:30, the firing began to be more intense. By 11:30 the sky was a constant rapid-fire that lasted until 1:30 am. By then it started to slow and ran out of energy about 2 am. For those that have been to the Melalucca Freedom Celebration Fireworks, the intensity was the same, spread over an area much, much larger and continued for 3 and 1/2 hours. Simply amazing.
The smoke from the barrage was still lingering in the morning as we awoke for the new year.
I was told that the event was something to see, but I never imagined this.

Monday, February 11, 2013


     Members drop off used clothing to our office on a regular basis. There are no Deseret Industries or Bishop's Storehouses here for such contributions. We then store it in an old chapel that houses a lot of items, including an overstock of wheelchairs.
  Typhoon Pablo in Mindanao has left tens of thousands of people in need of everything. Colonel Manzano contacted us to let us know the Marines are taking a large ship with relief goods and wanted to see if we had anything to send.

We responded that we had two classrooms full of used clothing and many bags of rice that could be sent. The Marines showed up with a large truck to gather the requested items. Most of the clothing was already to go, but we did bring empty rice bags for the rest to be loaded.
With many hands it did not take long for the large truck to be loaded.
A familiar sight is the M16. Both military and security have weapons everywhere in the country. You don't enter any mall or large shopping area without security check that includes metal detectors, bags checked and pat downs all done by armed personnel. A first is was concerning, but now it is just a way of life. We feel very safe in the Philippines.
Well the truck is loaded and collection of clothes is on its way for a second life for families in need. It is always a pleasure to work with Colonel Manzano and the Marines. They are well organized and hard working.

Sunday, February 10, 2013


  World War II left a mark on the Philippines that will never be forgotten. Areas of destruction still remain everywhere.
  Corregidor Island is one of these areas devastated by the war. Located at the mouth of Manila Bay, it is a small island where a lighthouse for ships was placed as well as many large guns that helped protect Manila from intruders.

  This was the destination that was scheduled for the next Senior Outing. We arrived at Manila Bay at 8am. Elder Enderle had made arrangements with Sun Cruises for the historic trip.

After one and one-half hours of the ferry ride, we could see our landing point. The island is very lush and green. But that wasn't the case prior to 1988. It was nothing but rock and dirt. The heavy bombing from World War II had left it baron. Then in 1988, funds were made available to plant and re inhabit with native animals. It was fun to hear and see monkeys as we took the tour.
This is the 'Mile Long Barricks' that housed hundreds of enlisted men. It is still in the state of destruction as found after the war.
Many large guns still remain. When the Japanese overtook the island, the allied troops removed all of the massive springs used for recoil. This left the guns unusable.
At the up most point of the island (about 700 ft.) is the lighthouse. A climb to the top reveals a beautiful view of the provinces of Cavite to the South and Bataan to the North
We finally arrived at the Pacific War Memorial were we saw the eternal flame. The US gave the Marcos government 3 million dollars to create the memorial of which the eternal flame is a part.
It cost them 1.3 million to built the memorial and Marcos pocketed the rest as revealed to us by our guide.
As the fighting began that took the Philippines by the Japanese, General MacArthur was ordered to Australia. This statue depicts him leaving and saying his famous words "I shall return".
This tunnel was built in 1932 and was made as a stronghold for the Philippine government officials in case of emergency. Prior to WWII, it was expanded with many branches and included a 1000 bed hospital that was used in the war. It also served as a bunker during the Japanese shelling.
The history here is amazing and should continue to remind us of the brutalities of war. May we remember and never repeat history.After 5 hours on the island it is time to return.
This is the Manila skyline as we return to port. Hopefully a trip never to be forgotten.


Saturday, February 9, 2013


  Christmas Eve brings us all out for a celebration that mostly involves wonderfully prepared food. Hosted by President and Sister DeLaMare, the Senior Missionaries get a chance to visit and eat. These are two activities commonly enjoyed by all.

Elder Leo and Sister Pilar Fonbuena serve with the Area Presidency. He is the Executive Secretary. I have really grown to appreciate this couple. Both Filipino, they will return to California where they have their home. If you want an assignment completed, let them know. They are kindly persistent until the the job is completed.
Elder Rod and Sister Laura Jensen are from Canada and serve in the Marong area as Member and Leadership Support. If I had to write a book on how their assignment is to be done, it would be how they perform their duties. He is hands on involved with everything he does. He is truly blessing the lives of these wonderful people.
Elder Guy and Sister Linda Hatch have been serving as Directors of Family History. They have been to most of the Philippines in teaching the priesthood leadership on the implementation and direction of the new Family Tree program. They come from Park City, UT and are returning home the end of February.
Elder Roger and Sister Johanna Hardick are from Redwater, Alberta, Canada. They have been the Country Directors of Humanitarian Services and they returned home the end of January. We have been assigned to take their place. They have left large shoes to fill. I personally will miss Elder Hardick. I have learned a great deal from him.
Sister Cherie Fahrner was assigned to Employment Resource Services. She just returned home to St. George, UT. She is an inspiration to me. She felt she needed to do more than she was assigned. Upon prayerful consideration, she felt impressed to teach English to sisters in her ward. The ability to speak English opens up opportunities. She started to teach the sisters and before long the brethren wanted to learn. But she continued to focus on the sisters. She has been and will continue to be a beacon of light to those she has taught. She also focused on books for children and helped them see the opportunities they would have if they sought education.
The Senior Missionaries in our mission are a wonderful and committed group. I love the way they go about their duties with such love and kindness for all they serve. They make a big difference in how the work of the Lord goes forward.
President and Sister DeLaMare's son Ben is here also. He stays here and attends school at the International School. What a fine young man and so supportive of his parents.
President George and Sister Debra Taylor are just completing their 2 year tenure of presiding at the Philippine MTC. They have done an outstanding job and are returning home the end of January.
The Senior Missionary Zone of the Philippine Quezon City Mission is growing. More and more couples are coming to serve. We are the fortunate ones to be able to see the impact that they have.

Friday, February 8, 2013


      Just before Christmas, we had two special visitors come to our office unannounced. It is always fun to have someone show up with a special request or story.
This young lady was told by her sister that she should come in and visit with us on about solving a problem. As you can see, she has no legs and would like to visit with us about getting a new wheelchair that would fit her needs.
Upon looking at her 15 year old wheelchair, we knew we could help. The wheelchair had been repaired in every way possible. Packing tape held the backrest and seat together. The front caster wheels came from an old grocery cart. The bearings in the back wheels were wore out to were the wheels wobbled. No brakes were on the wheelchair at all. The cross member frame had been welded several times and wire held many parts together. This is a wheelchair looking for an accident to happen. I am amazed at how they can repair and repair to keep anything going.
We did the required assessment and determined that she should get a 16" Rough Rider. When I looked around the office, I found a 14 inch. We placed her in it and found it was too small but I wanted to see if without her legs it could be stable. Its going to work. But I couldn't get her out of it to find a 16 inch. I talked and talked to assure her it would be better to have the larger wheelchair. I did locate the proper wheelchair downstairs and helped her make the switch. I told her that she couldn't take it home until she stopped smiling. She tried, but she couldn't do it.
Come to find out, she is a non-member, but her sisters are members. She said she was in the process of investigating a church that could be so generous. The Lord works wonders.
I helped her out of the building and as I did, her old wheelchair totally fell apart. Coincidence? I don't think so.
Just a few minutes after she left, a young Elder Missionary from Australia came in to say good bye. He had broken is ankle playing basketball on his p-day. Go figure. At first they thought he had only sprained it, but an x-ray determined it was badly broken. I had originally set him up in this MRC wheelchair and repaired a few things so he could be accommodated to get around. He was very disappointed because he only had 3 months left on his mission. He was going to have surgery.
They had to place 5 screws and pins in his ankle to make it right. The surgery was a great success and he was healing fine in the MRC (Missionary Recovery Center). We learned he is a Rugby player and a very good one. Come to find out, the break was a bad weakness in his ankle that would have certainly broken in the near future. Having it happen on his mission allowed him to have the best of medical care that couldn't be provided once he got home.
Even though he was now heading home about 6 weeks early, he has had a serious problem taken care of.  Coincidence? I don'think so.


  On the lowest level of our office building is the parking garage. But it also happens to be the only area where we can all fit for any kind of get together.
  All the cars have been removed, the floors cleaned and mopped, tables and decorations set up and food prepared for an army. Once a year, all of the people that work in the Philippine Area Office celebrate the holidays and are recognized for the valuable work they perform. The atmosphere is fun and light hearted.
  It is wonderful to enjoy each others company and stuff ourselves on a feast of pork and chicken and all the side dishes. Salads, potatoes, veggies and great desserts.

The line looks long, but moves fast as everyone makes their first trip through. Seconds abound due to the abundance of prepared delicacies.
Sister Hadlock holds my place in line as I take many pictures of the event.
Everyone seems to migrate to a table of fellow workers. This is our IT Gang. Without them we will have more downtime than we want. Any problems with computer or phones are directed to them. But they love to help us because we are always bringing treats as a bribe.
Members of the Physical Facilities team are great to work with. Whether we need to find a location for training or discuss a place to store wheelchairs, they go out of their way to help.
We were serving food, so of course the Area Presidency shows up. From left to right, Todd Tapp (Area DTA from Salt Lake City) and wife, President Brent Nielson (Counselor from Twin Falls, Id) and wife, President Ian Ardern (Counselor from New Zealand) and wife and President Micheal Teh (Area President from Philippines) and wife. A more wonderful group you will never find.
The delightful group from finance and accounting get together and plot ways of getting more funds from the Senior Missionaries, I'm sure.
Entertainment and presentations for excellent work highlight the afternoon. I am always grateful to have the opportunity to work with such a great group. From top to bottom of our office, everyone is dedicated and talented.