Thursday, August 4, 2011


Sister Bird at Binalbagan Stake Center Where Jubilee Exhibit Was Hosted

Our Hotel Room And A Funeral Procession (next 3 pics)

Elder Bird, Pres. Antonio (stk. president), Old Catholic Church,
Fisherman At Work, and Sister Bird and Stake P.A. Director, Sis. Presas

Bacolod, Unusual Sign, Panel Committee, Children And
Elder Bird, Vice Mayor of Isabella, Grand Opening of Open House,
Sister Bird and VIP's at Opening Ceremony

Saturday morning, July 23, we flew to the city of Bacolod. The travel department had arranged for a car to pick us up and drive us to Binalbagan, about a 2 hour drive south along the northwestern coast. The airport is a ways north of Bacolod and I had just mentioned that I was quite impressed with the roads, when we hit the first pot hole! And that was it......pretty bad roads all the rest of the way. It would not have been such a worry if the van that picked us up hadn't been on its last leg!! Oh, yes, the driver would have to shift down constantly and then many times he had to work and work to get it in gear again. Whenever there was a stretch of open clear road, he would floor it, and we were literally flying.....and no seat belts!!! I did have a constant prayer in my heart and I must admit that I did not feel nervous! It was quite funny......and one more new experience! We were staying at the Southgate Inn in Kabankalan (another 30 minutes south of Binalbagan). We stopped at the Stake Center in Binalbagan for an hour. They had just completed the setting up of the exhibit.....they did it perfect. They were so gracious and welcoming to us. The Stake President was young and so competent. Randy used a couple of Tagalog greetings with the members and they all had a cofused look, then President Antonio told us they speak Ilongo on this island!! Most of them spoke pretty good English....we were very grateful. Anyway, they had things very under control so we visited and then headed for Kabankalan. The Inn where we stayed was quite new and seemed just fine. The only down was that the shower would only give you a dribble of water. It took forever to wash my hair! Randy didn't tell me until we got home that he had killed two cockroaches in our room!!! It was pretty rainy the whole time we were there. On Sunday morning we attended one of 3 wards there. The bishop was 36 years old and had been the bishop for 8 years! He was just the neatest guy.....he spoke very good English and was the final speaker in Sacrament Meeting. He bore such a strong testimony of this church and the gospel of Jesus Christ......the Spirit was so strong in this meeting. We met his wife, who is pregnant and due in Sept. and his 5 yr.old daughter. He then told us that last April, their 7 yr. old daughter had died very suddenly from a brain aneurism. He and his wife were both gone at the time. Their nanny and the 5 year old were there. He was emotional telling us about it. He said their 5 year old keeps asking them when she will get to see her sister. He said that now they look forward to the 2nd coming of our Savior even more....they know she is theirs.In gospel doctrine class, we asked how many had grown up in the church (this was a good sized class) and not one of them had grown up in the church......ALL were first generation converts to the church. The former stake president asked us to share what it was like to grow up in a family that all belonged to the church....that was humbling.
The children were so adorable, as usual. I will tell a little about Sacrament Mtg. a little 4 yr. old girl sat on the end on the pew where we were sitting. She sang the hymns and kept looking at me. After the sacrament, I motioned for her to come sit by me. She did. I had a couple of children's books and some paper and a couple of pencils. Soon a couple of her friends were by us also.....and the children behind us had longing looks on their faces, so I passed them a book, which they started to read out loud all together.....I had to shh them!! Basically, I had to make an effort to not be a disruption to the meeting......OH, those Senior Missionaries!!! Several of the children came into R.S., and were a distraction to their mothers, so, of course, I dipped into my bag and soon they were all sitting by me. I took care of a total of 5 AND tried to listen to the lesson...reminded me of years gone by!! Anyway, they looked at all of the books, drew pictures for me, ate a bag of Cherrios, and had several squirts each of Mango Hand and Body Creme! The little 4 yr. old was named Trixie and her grandparents are raising her because both of her parents work in Manila. She kept looking at me and asking me questions. All I could do was smile because I had no idea what she was saying.....I am sure she wondered why I wouldn't answer her! After the meetings, we were in the halls just visiting with people and this little Trixie came and found me 3 different times to hug me again and say "bye". I felt sad to leave her.
Monday morning was the first blue sky for the official Open House to begin. There were several VIPs from the neighboring towns.....mayors, councilmen, barangay leaders.....and everything went perfect. As I have said before, the exhibit really is beautiful, and prior to going into that, we viewed a short film about the history of the church in the is so good!! Our hearts were so touched by the dedication of the members here.....they are saints! Here was our missionary experience of the weekend: The man that was our driver spoke little english so we didn't talk much, but he was very polite and punctual. We met the owner of the vehicle when she came to the Inn to get half of the money from us. Well, Monday morning when we got in the van, there was this lady and a friend of hers in the back.....they were riding to Bacolod with us. We told them, sorry, but we would be stopping in Binalbagan for awhile on the way. They smiled and said no problem. When we arrived at the church, I told them they were all very welcome to come in....that there were some beautiful displays about the Savior. We were then busy with the people we needed to see and when the meeting started in the chapel.....sure enough, all three of them came in and sat down. Later, I noticed them viewing all of the panels and then they were invited in with the VIPs to have refreshments. They really enjoyed it. We definitely had a language barrier with them, but I saw lots of the members of the ward visiting with them and answering their questions. It was good. We were grateful to arrive back in Manila, because a tropical storm moved in and it has been raining ever since. We feel so blessed all of the time. I am truly inspired by the members here.....their Stake Public Affairs director was 51 years old and has taught early morning Seminary for 25 years.
Below is a copy of the text we received from their Stake President the night after the exhibit was over. It is typical of these wonderful saints.

"To our beloved missionaries: We had great experience and joyful feelings to be remembered ever more that we were part of the 50th JUBILEE EXHIBIT. In spite of the heavy rains of 5 successive days but it didn’t stop the people to visit in the exhibit. There were 730 attended. 430 nonmembers and 300 are active members and few were less active. 44 VIP’s including 2 vice mayors and 5 SB. Everytime when I viewed the 7 mins. video, more tears came out in my eyes as tears of joy for the restored gospel. As we say goodbye to panel board, we say to ourselves, see you in 2061. Truly our faith strengthened, and motivated us to dedicate ourselves in building ZION. We will send our narrative report regarding JUBILEE EXHIBIT. Thanks and good evening."

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