Thursday, June 30, 2011


Inner Courtyard at U.S. Embassy

View of Embassy with Manila Bay in Background

View from Ambassador's Office Balcony

Ballroom at U.S. Embassy--War Crimes Trial Held Here

Gen. MacArthur and His Troops Raising the Flag

Bombed U.S. Embassy During W.W. II

U.S. Embassy in Philippines

Seal of the U.S. Embassy

We visited the U.S. Embassy this week for a tour just prior to the 4th of July. It is located right on the edge of the Manila Bay and is beautiful. This was our first visit to the bay and this area. One of our guides was a returned missionary from Utah and it was good to have him along. This experience was very touching as we learned of the shelling of the embassy during W.W. II. The original flagpole still stands in the front courtyard with holes in it from the arsenal that hit it. WE also visited sites where Gen. Douglas MacArthur stood and raised the flag once again following our victory over Japan. We also stood in a room where the war crimes trials were held. We saw pictures of "High Pockets" , a woman, at the risk of losing her life, gave the Americans valuable intelligence during W.W. II. We gave the Ambassordor's aid a gift packet of a picture of Christ, a picture of the Ambassador which was taken at the Memorial Cemetery during Memorial Day, a Mormon Tabernacle Choir C.D. and information about the Church in the Philippines. This was a nice experience.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Inmates Listening to a Motivational Speaker

View of the Correctional Facility

Entrance to Correctional Facility

On June 13, we were invited to accompany the Humanitarian missionary couple (Elder and Sister Smith from Washington state) on an assignment for LDS Charities to the Women's Correctional Facility (Women's Prison) in Mandaluyong City. We contacted the Makati Stake President, who wanted to come, along with the Stake Relief Society President and the Stake Public Affairs Director. In the end, President Arzaga, was the only one able to come with us. He was very happy, because the prison lies within his stake boundaries. We were going to deliver wheel chairs and computer printers. It was a very erie feeling going through all of those steel gates. There were quite a number of smaller buildings all connected with courtyards. There were many trees and foilage......a prison in a tropical climate!! We were informed that the inmates in blue t-shirts were minimum security and those in orange clothing were maximum security. There were many women in this prison. They were all very polite to us......when they would see us approaching they jumped up from whatever they were doing and smiled and said, "Good Morning, po" (po shows respect) or they would say, "Good Morning, mam/sir, po". Some were young and some were old. It truly touched our hearts to be there with them. I wanted to sit down with each one and hear how they ended up in this place and give them hope. Many had their bibles out reading them. One inmate we met in the hospital was so sweet. She told me she was from Cebu and had been in prison since the year after her one and only child was born. He is 14 now and she has 2 more years to serve. That broke my heart. I thought of all the things she had missed. She said she just lives every moment for the day she will be able to be with her son and her husband again. While I was visiting with that inmate, Elder Bird was visiting with an older inmate being fit for a wheelchair. She wanted to know if he knew Larry Bird....he was her favorite pro-basketall player! I think he said they were distant relatives!! I visited with her also for some time. When it was time for us to leave, she just cried and cried and kept saying thank you for coming to visit her. I think she has very few visitors. I thought about the Savior's admonition, "I was in prison and you visited me". President Arzaga told us there are 4 sisters in there from his stake. We met one. She seemed so her twenties and she is in prison for 20 years. We learned that when she was 17, she helped kidnap someone for ransom!!! I kept thinking....."aren't we all just a few bad choices from prison?!!!" As we were leaving the prison hospital, we met a group of ladies called the British Women's Organization. They were aware of a little 6 year old girl in an orphanage in need of a wheel chair. She had not been off of a bed since last October. Elder Smith said, "We just happen to have a wheel chair that size and it is in the storage area back at the office." They arranged to give it to them the next day. There are no coincidences......just sweet tender mercies going on all around us! There is a little shop where the inmates sell the things they make there. With the money they earn, they can buy school supplies for their children, hygiene supplies, and more craft supplies. Everyone wanted us to buy their particular home made items........I tried...., but was brought back to reality by my good husband! We were looking for the sister that was a member of the church, and soon all of those inmates in the store were saying they were Mormons also!! I thought, "hmm, they still may have a little problem with lying!!" We loved having this sweet experience. We hope to come back to visit again.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Elder Bird with Malaya Branch Father's Day gift ties

Elder Bird with Primary children of Malaya Branch

Father's Day was different for us here in the mission field. We have always had some of our family around us. It was a special day, though, to be out serving the Lord, and reflecting more while celebrating less. The tender mercy was that the drive to Malaya was actually pleasant, even for the one driving. A light but continual rain was falling, thus there were less people out and about. The foilage is so beautiful and plush. There were about 60 members and investigators in attendance. It was the first Sunday that the heat was not an issue. A nice little breeze blew right through the building. The primary children had had an activity the day before, and made ties for all of the fathers. There were more ties than fathers, so each had several to wear!! Then they all sang to the fathers. It was very sweet. We are starting to know more of their names. The young boys (8-12 yrs.)started saluting Elder Bird last week, because they think he looks like a military officer. He is so nice and fun with all of them. When we returned home, we had roast beef (from Australia) with mashed potatoes, fruit salad, and rolls (no, not home made or Rhodes)and since I always make him an apple pie for Father's Day....I purchased an apple turnover from McDonalds on Saturday!! Hey, it worked!! We are very grateful for all of the fathers in our husband and father of our children, our earthly fathers, our 6 sons that are the fathers of our 25 grandchildren, and most of all, our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Friday, June 3, 2011


The paper currency ranges from a 1000 peso note down to a 20 peso note
In the Philippines, coins of 1, 5, 10, and 25 centavos (officially called sentimo), and 1, 5 and 10 pesos (officially piso) are in use
32,000 pesos pays the rent
All these coins, added together, ALMOST equal $1.oo American
43 Pesos equals $1.00

The unit of money in the Philippines is called pesos. The current exchange rate makes it about 43 pesos to an American dollar. The ATM machines and banks only allow you to take out 10,000 pesos a day ($250) and everything you buy must be paid in cash. This makes it very difficult when you have to pay rent, which comes to about $725 American, and becomes one huge stack of money, since the largest bill in the Philippines is a 1000 peso note. That means you would need about 32, one thousand peso notes, to pay your rent, which would require at least four separate trips to the ATM. Imagine having to buy everything with cash in the U.S. It is also interesting to note, that each time you withdraw cash from the ATM, there are fees attached, such that by the time your mission has ended, you have probably paid $1000 just in fees! That ought to aid the Philippine economy.