On February 3 we flew to Tacloban City on the island of Leyte. We arrived in a major down pour which lasted until Monday morning. On Saturday we did Public Affairs training. We so love meeting these people...they are truly our "favorite thing" in the Philippines. Sunday we attended church at the Tacloban 1st Ward and especially loved it because it was all in English! I just kept watching these 3 young boys sitting in front of us....ages around 9, 7, and 5 yrs.....they were so so cute. The oldest boy was so attentive to the speakers. The next boy was very attentive, but looked through the hymn book also, and the youngest boy listened, but folded a very nice paper airplane! I just felt that I was looking at the future of the church. Another thing that impressed me so much was the singing. Everyone sings!! From the young to the old, they sang with all their hearts....AND to top it off, we sang Hark All Ye Nations, which is my favorite hymn here. It's hard to sing without shedding a few tears.
After church our driver took us to the General McArthur Monument depicting his return to the Philippines toward the end of WWII. It was beautiful! Because of the week of rain, the ocean water was so brown from being stirred up and many waves were crashing on the beach. I imagined that it could have looked like this, as they came ashore many years ago, because they had just defeated the Japanese in the biggest naval battle of the war, right here in Leyte Gulf. Leyte is also where the first organization of the church in the Philippines was located, due to the American servicemen sharing the gospel. Inspite of the pouring rain, we loved visiting this area and just wandering around.
Monday morning was the Jubilee Exhibit in Tacloban. The rain had stopped. It was a beautiful day and they were well prepared for the exhibit. There was a large audience there with many of their government leaders attending. We had to catch an 11:00 flight back to Manila, so we were unable to hang around very long. We continue to be amazed at the service given by these saints and know that the church is in good hands here.