Friday, December 30, 2011
Thursday, December 29, 2011
On Monday evening (Dec. 19th) we had our Senior Zone FHE at the new MTC (Missionary Training Center)....the big remodel and addition had just been completed...and the MTC President, Pres. Taylor invited us to a one man (him!) presentation of Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Wow, it was so good and really filled us with the spirit of Christmas. Also, that day we finished getting out about 1000 Christmas cards and new 2012 Calendars, designed for our office....busy, busy!
On Tuesday we and the Goss' had put together a Christmas package for a former employee of the PAO, Nel, and we left work early to go to his home. Yes, even with all of the directions we were given, we had the hardest time finding his place. When we finally did, he was not home, but his mother was and also 3 of their 6 children. We loved meeting them and visiting with them and left our gift with strict instructions they were not to get into it until Nel arrived back home. Well, according to Nel, when he and his wife and their other 3 children arrived home, everything from the box was laid out on the floor of their small cement and cinderblock home just waiting! Then they divided up the minature candy bars and he said the children just ran around the room dancing and singing for joy. We had included some money, and he said his wife took off immediately to buy milk for the children.....they had not had any for weeks!! He had had to quit work because of health problems he was having. They had decided that his wife would go overseas (Taiwan) to work. A very difficult decision. She left the day after Christmas and cannot return for two years. Many of the Filipinos do this very thing to attempt to support their families financially. We went back to see them on Christmas day and took a picture of us with Nel. Also, some additional Christmas items were left for the family....now that we knew the ages of the children.
Wednesday was another favorite day. We have this group of maintenance workers that have helped us so much in public affairs. They move, lift, haul, clean, and just do lots of physical labor. So, we arranged with their boss to call each of them to the public affairs office for a job we needed done. Instead, when they arrived, we pointed them to the Director's office, and upon entry they found a reception of goodies and drinks set up for them. In addition, a gift certificate for one free lunch was presented to each of them. They were so surprised and we had so much fun doing this. Nel used to be one of this maintenance team. He calls us Mom and Dad.
Thursday we took a box of donuts to the Quezon City Post Office thanking them for how helpful they have been in getting our packages delivered to us. They truly love my husband and enjoy his visits there.
Christmas Eve (Dec. 24) was our Zone Christmas Social. It was a pot luck dinner with lots of "yummy" food brought. E/S Bell (Hermosa Beach, Ca.) helped so much with the decorations and games and a gift exchange. We had the conference room set up like a big living room/dining room with couches, Christmas tree, lamps, tables, etc. You would have thought it was a home. It was so fun. Randy got a small nativity and I received some candy which I quickly gave to the Malaya Branch on Christmas.
Christmas morning found us up early preparing to drive to Malaya for Church. No time for gifts. As we were sitting there ready for the meeting to begin, the Branch President got up and walked down to me and said,"Sister Bird, could you do me a favor"? Thinking he wanted me to lead the singing, I said "Sure, what can I do"? He said, "Would you be our speaker along with my wife....our other speaker didn't show up". I went into panic mode with my mind absolutely blank, and said "Sure, I would love to".....okay, a small lie! I did it...and I vow to be more prepared for things like this!! We made little gift bags for all the children (candy, pencils that said "I am a child of God" in Tagalog...thank you Julie, a little tablet to write in, and toothbrushes). The adults received toothbrushes and candy. Many of them were checked for what power of reading glasses they needed. We will then try to meet their needs with glasses sent from home (thanks to Petersons and Hemmings) or here. We had a horrendous drive home with traffic as bad as ever....I was determined to not let it affect the Christmas spirit! I kept pointing out to Randy that they were all FAMILIES that were in our way....what better thing....and then turned the TAB Choir Christmas CD up a little louder!!! We arrived home in time to leave again for Nel's home and then back here for a little time to open gifts. Then quickly off to Christmas dinner at the Bell's apartment. Who says it is more relaxing in the mission field? WHEW!! We loved opening our presents from home and each other. Things we needed were found in each box. It's almost as if our family planned it that way!! Hmmm!
To top our Christmas off, we skyped with each of our children and talked with my Mom. It was Monday here but Christmas there.
A couple of things we learned here: Christmas is celebrated at midnight on Christmas Eve with dinner, lots of time for prayer, and then gifts (for those that have them....they are not necessary). Santa does not play a significant role here. We are most grateful to be here and to experience Christmas in the Philippines.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
E/S Bird, Sister Bird and Sister Goss w/FVA Helpers, FVA recipients, Marides Fernando and Jo Imbong
The Manila Family Values Awards Dinner and Reception was held on November 29, 2011, at the Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong. The Area Public Affairs Office is completely responsible for this event....and it is a lot of work....and a very fun event.
The Family Values Awards are presented annually to community leaders in Asia, Europe and the United States. Notable recipients include Australian Prime Minister John Howard MP, anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia policy maker Jack Snelling MP, and Fr. Thomas Rosica, the National Director/CEO of World Youth Day (Canada). Okay, so it is a pretty big deal!
Atty. Jo Imbong, and Mr. and Mrs. Bayani Fernando were the recipients this year. Besides being the lawyer for the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, Atty. Imbong is an author, educator and a family activist. She is married to Manuel B. Imbong, also a lawyer. They have eight children and three grandchildren.....all were present for the award presentation. She was so proud of each one as she introduced them to the audience....I could truly identify with her.....the heart of a mother! In her acceptance remarks, our hearts were touched as she quoted from The Proclamation on the Family.....and considers it a most amazing document. She also said that being mother to her 8 children is, without a doubt, her greatest accomplishment! The Fernando's are both former city mayors responsible for the establishment of a yearly festival which honors
We met a number of other important leaders in this country, including the Archbishop of San Fernando, the head of the Catholic Bishops Council, Senators, the former presidential candidate that ran against President Aquino (he invited us to his home for dinner....hmm....still waiting for him to call..., and professors from the University of the Philippines. Also present were many leaders from our church. It was a grand event and I must say, we were quite happy when it was successfully over!!!
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday afternoon we flew to Legazpi City, Albay province, in the Bicol area, so we could attend the Church History Jubilee Exhibit on Monday. As our plane descended we noticed these strange looking little hills below us. (see pic above, top) We asked and eventually discovered they were pili nut hills. These harvested nuts are a popular selling item in this province. We arrived safely and settled in for a good nights sleep at the Venezia Hotel. It was a very nice hotel that even had hot water in the showers. Monday morning we were up early and off to Tabaco (about 1 hour away) for an 8:00 am opening of the exhibit. We hired a driver who took us there. We arrived on time and saw everything set up beautifully. We marvel that these small branches are able to do so much with so few people. When we arrived at the exhibit, there was an entire zone of missionaries waiting. They were full of excitement and ready to teach all who came to learn about the history of the Church in the Philippines. This District Presidency had chosen to not hold an opening ceremony and had just announced to the branches the day before, that the week long exhibit would open the next morning at 8:00am....but hardly anyone came during the 2 hours that we were there. A few members of the Branch were there, but more in the capacity of responsibilities. The District President was out of town because he works in Manila during the week, but his wife was there finishing up the pictures on panel 8, which is the history of the church in their particular area. We met a Sister Salve Opeda, age 82, who looked almost 70, and was there looking at the panels. She had plenty of ideas on how she was going to invite more people to attend. She had been involved in public affairs earlier in her Church experience (joined the church in the '70's) and had many interesting experiences to share. I will share a couple. She grew up in a very Catholic environment....many in her family are Priests and Bishops. She had many questions and frustrations as a young adult, because she studied the scriptures faithfully, and felt that the teachings of her church didn't match up with the teaching of the scriptures. She voiced her questions to several in her church leadership and each one told her these were the "mysteries" and not for her to understand,... and to continue wanting answers showed you were a very rebellious spirit. So she left the church and started wondering if there really was a God. One night she had a vision in which she saw the Stick of Judah (Bible) join with the Stick of Joseph (she had no idea what that was) but the two books came together. She could never forget this vision and continued to wonder about it for years. Then one day the missionaries showed up....and she discovered what the "stick of Joseph" was....and it was history from there. Her life has been so blessed. She was the District Relief Society President for several years.....it was the Cebu District.....not even on the same island where she lived. It covered half of the islands in the Philippines! She said she went on frequent bus trips to visit sisters all over. She was just the happiest woman and is so willing to serve the Lord until she falls in the grave!! We enjoyed our visit with the members and missionaries who were there. We hope that they will have much success with the exhibit as the week progresses.
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Our trip to Cebu was two fold: 1. Attend the Family Values Award 2. Train the Multistake Public Affairs Councils. Everything else was extra. Elder Perez, of the 70, asked us to train him, also, since he is over the Cebu area and we would already be here. It is the Area Seventy that is the Priesthood Advisor to the Multistake PAC, whereas, a member of the Stake Presidency is the Priesthood Advisor to the Stake PAC. We spent two hours with him and loved his desire to learn more about his duties. He was so kind and gracious, plus he was scheduled to be our fireside speaker the next night to begin our Multistake Public Affairs Councils training. FYI.... There are eight multistakes in the Philippines. These multistakes are located in more metropolitan areas and each is over the Stake Public Affairs Councils of between 4-7 stakes.....they share many of the same government, community, business, religious, and media leaders.
It was so wonderful on Friday, as the various council members began arriving, to see the faces that went with the names of those with whom we had been communicating for so long. Each one is very talented and accomplished in their own lives and are very much leaders in their own communities. There are also another 80 plus stakes. We will start training those stakes next year. So much work to be done. The fireside went so well and many of the directors knew each other from previous training, and had a happy reunion catching up on news and friendships. One from Manila was the former mission president to Bacolod so all of the people from that island were so happy to see him again. They hung around and visited for some time after the fireside.
The training we gave the multistake councils was divided among the four of us from the area office and also some of the directors that traveled to be with us. I helped with the "working with the Media" classes, while Randy instructed them on "Working with Priesthood Leaders". The Goss's taught about working with Opinion Leaders (VIPs) and doing reports. The group taught each other a lot! It was really a great experience....and ended at 3:00pm and they were all off to the airport (except the Cebu people) to catch their flights home.
There are also another 80 plus stakes that DO NOT fall under the umbrella of a multistake. We will start training those Stake PACs next year. So much work to be done.
Following our tour of the city of Cebu, we hurried back to our hotel, got a quick bite to eat, and took a taxi to the Cebu temple just in time to catch the 3:00 pm session. Wow, this temple was soooo beautiful! The temple complex included a stake center, the homes of the temple presidency, a large temple housing building for the temple missionaries as well as for those who come from distances to do temple work, and a church distribution center. And, of course, the whole place was landscaped to perfection. The Temple President is President Gerald Mortimer, he was one of my doctors when we lived in Idaho (Drs. Robinson, Kindred, and Mortimer)! It is a small world after all! We enjoyed just walking around and breathing the FRESH air.
Thursday, November 17, 2011
We went home with an image (a picture) of Jesus and several pamphlets including one, 3 Simple Ways to Become a Happier Family."
Friday, November 4, 2011
Randy and I were invited to speak to the youth and young adults of the Tandang Sora Ward at their Youth Conference called "Camp Believe". We spoke on Tuesday, which was also a national holiday here in the Philippines. It was called "All Saints Day" or we would compare it in the United States to Memorial Day. The youth conference was held in the hills above Antipolo at a resort called "Phillips Sanctuary". This resort has all sorts of games, zip lines, suspension bridges, and water activities to keep the youth involved. Our message began the conference. I introduced Randy who took most of the time speaking about the 13th Article of Faith combined with Paul's counsel to Timothy to be an "example of the believer". The talks lasted for about an hour. The message was well received and then we enjoyed lunch with the youth. We ate a native Filipino meal of rice and a vegetable-meat soup poured over the top. The name of it can't be recalled, but is was good. You will notice a picture of what it looked like above. Following the meal, a drive back home was enjoyed as we witnessed the Filipinos paying respect to their kindred dead. They frequently come the night before and pitch tents near the grave sites of their dead. Meals are eaten, stories told, and then all go to sleep in the cemetery. The next day becomes quite the party atmosphere at the cemetery. Food and flower venders set up all around the cemetery to sell their goods to patrons in attendance. It's quite a site to behold. After driving by several such venues, we noticed that not only flowers were left behind to pay respect, but often food was left as well. We really enjoyed seeing this area that we probably would never have had opportunity to visit. We drove through areas that on a normal work day would have been a traffic nightmare. We had a wonderful time and enjoyed feeling the spirit of the youth that remind us of our youth back home.
The Jubilee Exhibit at Santa Cruz went so very well. On the first day when they opened the exhibit, they had over 50 VIPs, that they had invited, come. The Mayor of Santa Cruz spoke to everyone in the opening ceremonies......the funniest thing was to see a man at the pulpit of one of our chapels, speaking with a pack of Marlboro cigarettes sticking out of his pocket!! We love these people!! Then to watch their faces as they went through the exhibit......it was just so sweet.....many were so surprised to see what we REALLY believe.....it is truly a wonderful experience. Later that day, a jeepney arrived bringing 12 school principals to see the exhibit. Later in the week, those principals brought many classes from their schools to see the exhibit.....only in the Philippines!! We just love being here during this Jubilee year as the exhibits make their way throughout these islands. The drive from Santa Cruz back to Manila was so beautiful.....lots of green rolling hills close to a huge lake.....there are quite a few resorts in this area plus the traffic is not at all as bad. Several people that work at the MPAO live in this area of Laguna. Hard to believe that they travel this twice every day! It took about 2 and a half hours to get back to Manila.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
On October 16, we received word that my father had passed away. I knew when I hugged him the last time that it could be the last. It was. My mom asked me to write the life sketch since I wouldn't be able to be with them. Each of dad's five children gave a tribute to him, so I wrote mine and our daughter, Erika, read it at the funeral. Below is the life sketch and my tribute to my dad.
HERMAN AIKELE LIFE SKETCH
Just before midnight on March the 10th 1924, a baby boy was born to Andreas and Josephine Partington Aikele. The name they chose for him was Herman….a fine German name. As a young boy, Andreas had emigrated from Germany to the U.S. with his family. Josephine’s family had also emigrated to the U.S. from England. A common bond brought them together….their conversion to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Herman joined 3 sisters; Helen, Agnes, and Lucille. His older brother, Lamont, had died 3 years earlier from a heart disorder caused by rheumatic fever. Later, two more siblings would be added to the family....Don and Juel. Herman described his early childhood as a very happy time. A frequent activity in the summer evenings was a game of croquet with his sisters and mother. They played almost every evening while they waited for their father to return from tending water. Other activities they enjoyed as a family were going to movies on Saturday night, going fishing on Sundays, and singing together while Helen played the piano. He remembered his mother reading to him out of good books and his father reading the comics to him out of the newspaper every week when he was very young. A favorite of his was the “Will Rogers” column in the newspaper. By age 6, he was trusted to ride their gray saddle horse, named Flax. He loved to ride her because he could reach up and pull her head down to the ground and she would allow him to climb on her neck and then she would lift him up to her back. At that same age he was given the responsibility of milking one cow each night. He was quite proud of himself to have strong enough hands to accomplish this task. Herman also had a favorite dog named Scottie that was his constant companion. At age 6, he found one more thing he loved…..school. He really enjoyed going to school and learning through all of his years of education. The “Old Home Place” as Herm referred to their farm in the Lost River Valley, required a lot of hard work to keep up, so he was given many responsibilities at a rather young age. By the time he was 10, his father had taught him how to drive their Model A Ford. He drove all over the farm assisting with the farm work. Also, at that age, his dad bought him a .22 rifle and he was given the assignment to “keep sage hen on the table” and he did. It was his job to skin them and dress them out and then his mother would do the rest.
Herman was very active in the scouting program as he grew up. He also loved sports and played on the varsity teams in both football and basketball during his last 3 years of high school. At the same time he was playing sports and keeping up with school work, he had the full responsibility of running the milking machines morning and night for their 2 dozen milk cows. Each morning on his way to school, he hauled 10 large cans of milk to the cheese factory...then on his way home in the evening, he would pick the empty cans up and then drive around to the back where he would fill 10 old milk cans with whey to take home to feed to their pigs. This was a big job!!
After graduating from high school, World War II was in full swing. He worked for a year with his dad and then in November of 1943 he enlisted in the Navy. Incidentally, this is when he saw that his birth certificate said he was born on March 11 instead of March 10....of course, his mother knew the 10th was correct, but he decided to follow the legal date and celebrated his birthday on the 11th for the rest of his life! Herm scored very high on the eligibility tests the Navy gave and they assigned him to an Electronics School in Chicago. He had very intense classes in electricity, math and science. He was shipped to Hawaii for more training but before he had had any combat experience, the war ended. He made some great friends during this time, and received a top notch education. He also gained a great love for his country and was very patriotic throughout his life. After his service was up with the Navy, he went home to pursue a relationship with a gal he had met during the summer of ’43. Her name was Atha Pearl Murdock. He was pretty much “smitten” from the first time he met her. They dated seriously the summer of ’46 and were married in the Idaho Falls LDS Temple on Oct. 2, 1946. Herm’s mother had passed away after a long illness the week before their wedding. Herm and Atha took up farming, gradually buying their own land from his father, building a home, and eventually added 5 children to their family....Andra, Eric, Carla, Kurt, and Lin.
The Aikeles were very industrious.....Atha sewed and canned everything, and Herm knew how to build and repair almost everything. They had many enjoyable activities as a family, such as; fishing, camping, swimming, ice skating, 4-H projects, and just working together on the farm. Herm always enjoyed music and he became involved in singing with a barber-shop quartet with Paul King, Burns Beal, and Vernal Jensen......he sang baritone. They sang together in many places for several years. (They could actually be back singing together even as we speak!!) Much of the families’ “schedule” centered around this quartet. It was a very happy time. Herm and Atha held very dear the friendships they had with other couples, beyond those in the quartet. Among some of the closest associations are friends such as Lynn and Gloria Barnes and many members of the Lost River Ward and Johnny and Wanda Palmer, with whom they spent many great vacations together. Palmers and Aikeles went together on a time share house boat at Lake Powell. The Aikele children and grandchildren share many fond memories of the summer vacations at Lake Powell!
Herman was very community minded.....probably influenced by his father who served as a state legislator for several terms. Herm served many years as chairman of the school board and also as a Butte County Commissioner. He also served on the ASCS Board and the Eastern Idaho Ag Hall of Fame Board. While on the School Board he took the entire family twice on trips to pick up new school buses. They rode the train to Chicago and then went to Indiana and picked up the bus and saw sites all along the way back home. These trips were pretty big deals!!!.....to make up for NEVER taking the family to Disneyland!!!! Hahaha!
In 1964 they struck out on a new adventure and started a business in Arco called Arco Feed and Fertilizer. That pretty much dictated their life schedule from then on! It was a good business and they really enjoyed the friendships they developed with so many people. In 1973 their son Eric joined them and together they worked hard to serve the people of the Lost River Valleys. Today Eric manages the business Herm built and manages the farms as well.
Herm was always glad Atha had come into his life.......his mother had given him strict counsel when he left home, that he was to “find a good Mormon girl and marry her in the temple”. His family had not been active in the church during much of his youth, so meeting Atha brought with it a desire to go to church and see what it was all about....he is eternally grateful. He held many callings in the church including serving in the bishopric, on the High Council and in the Young Men’s organization, but his favorite was always teaching.....especially the Elder’s Quorum class. These callings helped to increase his testimony and helped to develop in him a testimony of the work of the Prophet Joseph Smith for the restoration of the Gospel in the latter days. The “icing on the cake” of his church service was the opportunity he and Atha had to work as temple ordinance workers in the Idaho Falls temple for 15+ years. In 1994, they were called to serve full time as missionaries in the Wellington, New Zealand Mission.
Dad was always so grateful they had gone on their mission at the time they went, because soon after this, he began having health problems.....first with his eye sight, which ended up being Macular Degeneration..........and later he was diagnosed with Congestive Heart Disease. Soon he was unable to drive anymore....but that didn’t set him back too much.....he could still tell Atha how to drive....and that he did (he became quite obsessed with the importance of seat belts)!! She was learning much about patience during this time! This also allowed him plenty of time to listen to talk radio....he and Rush Limbaugh became very close friends....soon he added Shawn Hannity and Glenn Beck to his circle. He learned so much valuable information from them and was more than happy to share his knowledge with anyone that would listen. He also loved to watch his favorite movie, Roman Holiday, over and over and over again!!! Atha helped add balance to his days by reading to him; he loved to listen to the scriptures, the Ensign, or great historical novels, he especially enjoyed reading about American History. He really enjoyed this time with her. In his later years he is fondly remembered by his grandchildren for his “patent, award-winning duct-tape shoes” built strictly for comfort.
In his later years he is fondly remembered by his grandchildren for his “patent, award-winning duct-tape shoes” built strictly for comfort.
After several years of pulling a trailer to St. George for the winter, they purchased a small home where they could enjoy the nice weather during the winter months and also be close to Andra and Jim. Their family, which had grown by this time to include 25 grandchildren and 65 great grandchildren, enjoyed so much visiting them there! It became the “stop over point” for those going to or coming from Disneyland!
In his final years Dad’s health challenges progressed but he proved to be a very strong willed man....always determined to stay here in mortality so he could take care of Atha. She was ever his vigilant care giver. One night when he thought he wasn’t going to live to see morning, he awakened Atha to tell her how happy he had been his whole life with her and that marrying her in the temple was the best decision he had ever made. He expressed his deepest love for her and the family they had created together. In early October Atha underwent a knee replacement surgery and it was the one time when she was away for any length of time. Herm’s health was rapidly deteriorating and he must have finally decided it was okay to go; he passed away very peacefully on Sunday evening, October 16, with his Atha Pearl beside him, holding his hand.
CARLA'S TRIBUTE TO HER FATHER
It is a privilege for me to pay tribute to my dad. I knew immediately when I was told that he had died, that I was to stay on my mission. This is where he wants me to be. I could write pages of memories, but I will share a few that stand out.
When I was 6 or 7 years old, television had become quite popular (it was the latter 1950’s), and my family loved to sit together in the evenings and watch whatever was on the ONE station! Actually, the rest of the family enjoyed television, while I enjoyed styling my dad’s hair. He had the nicest, thick, dark brown hair and the style of the day for men was wearing it long on top and combing it back.....it was perfect. As soon as he sat down in his comfortable chair, I pulled a chair up behind, along with my equipment....a comb, bobby pins, barrets, elastics, rollers, and a glass of water.....it was such fun for me.....and he was so nice to me.....turning his head a little this way or that....and even holding things for me until I asked for them. This was typical of his kind nature.
Christmas was always a fun and much anticipated time at our home. By the time Andra, Eric and I were all in grade school, it was just so hard to stay in bed on Christmas morning until the alloted hour when we were allowed to get up.....4:00 am......we just couldn’t go to sleep. Well, one year the 3 of us had a plan....we would sneak out and see if Santa had been there and if he had.....we would all go out and play with our new toys until 4:00 am, and then we would go back to bed and pretend we just woke up!! The door to our bedroom squeaked, but if you jerked it very quickly, it didn’t squeak....sooo...once we could hear that mom and dad had gone to bed, we all creeped to the door and, I am sure it was Andra, jerked open the door very fast, only to hear the biggest crash of pots and pans as they hit into each other and came crashing to the floor! Oh, yes, dad had rigged a booby trap so they would know if we tried to go out early. How do parents know these things!!!! We heard him and mom laughing and dad said “Back to bed!!!” It was the longest night ever!
As another Christmas was approaching, we had a very big secret with our dad.....and we could not tell our mother......he was building her a desk of her own for Christmas. He wouldn’t even let US see it, because he wanted to surprise us also! Every night he went in his work room in our partially finished basement, and locked the door, always winking at us kids because we knew the secret! We were so excited for Christmas morning to come....as we all went to the living room....to our unbelievable surprise...there was not a desk for mom, but three desks for Andra, Eric, and me with drawers and the whole works!!! It was the best surprise ever. To top it off, later that morning I was looking through the drawers and there in the bottom drawer was a bridle of my very own....I didn’t even have a horse....but when I would go to ride one my grandpa’s horses, the bridle would always be gone and I would be sad. This was one of the kindest and most thoughtful gifts I had ever been given.
Dad, I felt so privileged to grow up with you as my dad. You were honest, and kind, and loved our mom. You insisted we use proper English and have good manners.....and did I mention.....respect our mom!!!! Not showing respect to mom was the way to get in trouble really fast!!! You were always so kind to animals (except once you slapped our milk cow on the rump when she stepped right into the bucket full of milk!!) and I never heard you swear (except one time at Lake Powell and we deserved it!!!) You were such a great example of Christ like love.....nice to everyone and always willing to help others. You served faithfully in the Church and had a strong testimony of the restored gospel. Those last years when life could not have been that fun for you, you were ever pleasant and kind and positive. Thank you for your example. I absolutely know that you are now on the other side of the veil continuing in the Lord’s work. I look forward to when we will all be together again......we will have such a great time! I love you, dad....and from the Philippines.....Hanggang sa muli ('til we meet again).
On Tuesday, Oct. 18, we were privileged to listen to Elder Jeffery R. Holland (Apostle), Elder Tad R. Callister (Presidency of the Seventy), and President Michael J. Teh (First Quorum of Seventy and Area President), speak to us. Most of the time was left to Elder Holland. He taught us about the big picture of running this church. We sometimes feel like we are not that important, like a single dot on a page of dots, but when you step back and look at all the dots together they form a beautiful picture like the old dot matrix printer. He mentioned that most of us don't get to see the big picture---but the Quorum of the Twelve do...and it is an amazing experience. Sometimes small things can seem so insignificant, but later when you see the results of these seemingly insignificant events, it is so humbling to see how the Lord's hand is in all of the details of His church and of our lives, if we will allow him. We must trust him with our lives and don't get discouraged if things sometimes seem unimportant or mundane!! He also shared the story of Gideon from the Old Testament (Judges 7) to show how the Lord just needs the willing, dedicated followers to accomplish his work. Gideon told his little army to just "look on me and do likewise" and they would be successful. Elder Holland then told us to look to the prophets and we also would be successful. We need to follow their example. Our children should be able to "look on us" and follow our good examples. That was pretty much his message......it was very inspiring. He was a very personable and friendly man.....as each of us got to shake hands with him and he chatted with Randy and me for a few minutes about the death of my father that had taken place the day before.
Friday, October 14, 2011
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
The Bataan Death March was the forcible transfer, by the Imperial Japanese Army, of 75,000 American and Filipino prisoners of war after the three-month Battle of Bataan in the Philippines during World War II, which resulted in the deaths of 11,000 prisoners. The march was 97 km (60 mi) long. They were given no food or water for the first three days. The monument at Capis reminds us of their arrival by rail after the deadly march to Balanga and then on to San Fernando. At San Fernando, they were packed into train cars (100+ per box car) and taken to Capis. From there they faced another march of nine miles to Camp O'Donnell, which had been turned into a holding camp for prisoners, and there they remained until the end of the war.
Clark Air Base is a former United States Air Force base on Luzon Island in the Philippines located 3 miles west of Angeles City, about 40 miles northwest of Metro Manila. Clark Air Base was an American military facility from 1903 to 1991. The base covered 14.3 square miles (37 km²) with a military reservation extending north that covered another 230 square miles (596 km²).The base was a stronghold of the combined Filipino and American forces until it was overrun by Japanese forces in early January 1942. The base then became a major center for staging Japanese air operations. Japanese aircraft flying out of Clark participated in the Battle of Leyte Gulf, considered to be the largest naval battle of the Second World War. During the war, the Allied prisoners of the Bataan Death March passed by the main gate of Clark Air Base, as the soldiers followed the direction of the railway tracks north, towards Camp O'Donnell. Clark Air Base was recaptured by Americans in January 1945, after three months of fierce fighting in the Philippines. Clark grew into a major American air base during the Cold War, serving as an important logistics hub during the Vietnam War, and until 1975, it was a backbone of logistical support during the Vietnam War. The base was later closed due to the refusal by the Philippine Government to renew the lease on the base. After extensive damage from the Mount Pinatubo eruption, the Philippine Government attempted to reopen base lease talks, but terms could not be reached and the lease was not extended. In November 1991, the United States Air Force lowered the Stars and Stripes and transferred Clark Air Base to the Philippine government. With the United States military's withdrawal from Clark, the base was systematically looted and was left abandoned for several years. It finally became the Clark Freeport Zone and the site of Clark International Airport (CIA), renamed to Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) in 2003. It is also the home of a very nice Holiday Inn.....where we stayed during our visit to Angeles! It was amazing how it felt like being in the U.S. as soon as we passed through the main gate......wide roads, a 36 hole golf course, regularly spaced traffic lights, and well marked street signs, just to mention a few things we noticed right off. It was a great experience being here.