Monday, October 21, 2013

Earthquake aftermath...

Below are some pictures taken of the recent earthquake damage in Bohol which is located in the Visaya region of the Philippines. These pictures were taken by Benson Misalucha who is the LDS area welfare director. Shortly after the earthquake he was on sight assessing needs for members and non-members alike in the affected area.

LDS Chapel

LDS Chapel serving as an evacuation center

Relief bags ready to be distributed (not sure what organization supplied them)

As it was low tide assembly line to unload relief supplies

Sunday, October 13, 2013

We Need Backup Singers...

I was thinking late the other night, how cool would it be if we had music indicating for us what hat to put on before stepping into the next challenge. I imagine, prior to assessing a missionary, ‘which conversation do I jump into with this one?’ My personal favorite… ‘Buck up buddy of course it’s hard-we were created to do hard things’, yes I know it doesn’t sound very compassionate but really don’t we often think after we’ve had an elopement this is the way to go? Kaya kong gawin lahat ng mga mahihirap na basay… this is on my office wall. Then thank heavens for the spirit that whispers, ‘shut up Marcia, this is MY son/daughter and listen for 3 minutes’, then the spirit dictates and the softening of my heart begins. Don’t get me wrong, often it’s appropriate to say buck up, but as always, it’s not our call; we are here to represent our Redeemer. Thus, my theme of this month. Visualize for just a second what it would be like if, when one walked in our offices, the ‘Rocky’ theme would play giving us the obvious indicator, yes!, the ‘buck up’ message is great for this one; build trust, a relationship, add some humor and then give it to them! Or if there is someone in great pain and has been a total annoyance because they don’t know how to speak of their true pain a- soft rendition of ‘Be Still My Soul’ played in the background of them entering the room. I really think this would help! Ponder this for just a moment, what if two minutes before seeing your spouse at the end of the day you had ‘heads up music’ to their mood. Don’t tell me that wouldn't be great.

A sweet thought entered into my heart as I stood in Davao with President and Sister Pangan, listening to his missionaries practicing their song for the following day’s conference with President Ardern. Beautiful harmony filled the chapel as they sang ‘Dear to the Heart of the Shepherd’(Hymn#221). For me, the hymns are scripture. I love them, they offer the backup singers! They put to harmony words I may often brush over were I to read them. . As they performed their number for me the music rang in my ears of ‘make me the true under shepherd’.

Undershepherd is not found in the scripture dictionary or index (my favorite go to resource), so I opted to do a little chasing with the inspiration of the spirit in search of what this meant. The melody dictates not one of fervency and triumph but rather one of humility and submissiveness. Of us, the Lord requests ‘earnestly calling’ and ‘tenderly pleading’ for his dearest lost lambs. We then respond, ‘Yes, blessed Master, we will! Make us thy true undershepherd;…’. This is a role we are asked to take on as members of the church, children of God, and most assuredly as ambassadors and representatives of our Savior. To go to those who have kept their first estate and now are in harm’s way. We must ‘BECOME’ the shepherd working for The Shepherd; His eyes, His hands His heart.

In Luke 15:4-7 we see the asking of who will be the undershepherd. 1 Peter 5:2-4 answers this for us- “Feed the flock which is among you...willing...of ready mind...being ensamples to the flock.” That’s us!
Continuing with the music theme, Hymn #335 illustrates the calling of the undershepherd:

Brightly beams our Father’s mercy
From His lighthouse evermore,
But to us He gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore.
Let the lower lights be burning
Send a gleam across the wave.
Some poor fainting, struggling seaman
You may rescue, you may save.

A beautiful reminder of our stewardship and calling as undershepherds. The earnestness of our mission can be felt through the pleading lyrics of this song. It is inspiring.

Accompanying scriptures I've found include: Doctrine and Covenants 18:10-16 “Remember the worth of souls is great in the sight of God…” “Cry repentance to all people…repent”…bring others unto the Savior and how great shall be your joy!”. 1 John 2:10-“He that loveth his brother abideth in the light and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.”

In Julie B. Becks Conference talk, in April 2010, I found multiple notes which to me dictate how to BECOME a better under-shepherd. Personal revelation, daily prayer, scripture study, an undershepherd must nurture as Christ nurtured. An undershepherd will align their will with the Father’s; selfless; they are okay with not doing what THEY want to do. Undershepherds prioritize well and correctly; are capable of a great deal. They want to do a great deal; know that they are limited; and they seek the guidance of the Spirit to know what it is the Lord would have them do: talents, service, and free time activities included. I think, perhaps, sometimes we are good at many, many things but could be greater at fewer things.

In addition, Pres. Henry B. Eyring (GC April 2010 A.M.) spoke of ‘Rescuers’—people placed along the way to aid ’The Under-shepherd ‘. “Well done thou good and faithful servant [undershepherd]…you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.”
The undershepherd will “cultivate a relationship of listening to the Holy Spirit.” (GC Apr 2010—Schwitzer). Without that spirit I’m lost, 10 out of 10 times I will pick the wrong pep talk for your missionaries.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct thy paths.” When I wake up in the morning, I make the morning prayer a dedicatory prayer of my day unto the Lord. I do the things that need to be done throughout the day but I must do them unto the Lord because I love the Lord and He has blessed me with a home to dress and clean, food and laundry of plenty, cleaning supplies, indoor plumbing and sanitary conditions, a job, finances to pay off school debt, car debt, and a mortgage- making a regular, daily, routine a celebration of my blessings and a dedication of gratitude unto the Lord. By so doing, each day, we will begin with the blessings of the Spirit in our homes and missions. As we listen we will know what is needed of us, that day, in the Kingdom. We will know what needs to be top in our priorities for the day and how to best execute them. Our stress levels will be better managed be-cause we will be following the Spirit to accomplish necessary tasks. This is how the undershepherd does his/her job.

One last essential component is humility. It is understanding our position and situation with regards to and in relation to Heavenly Father’s. Humble people are not ignorant, nor arrogant. They have a full and complete understanding of their talents and their abilities and they use them to build the Kingdom and do the Lord’s work. They know what they are good at! The difference between the humble and the arrogant is motive and understanding of position. Humble people use the talents, they know they are good at, in ways the Lord prompts them to utilize them. They use their talents to celebrate, honor, and serve the Lord, our God. As I reflect, on second thought, maybe we do have backup singers!

(Taken from our September 2013 Newsletter to Mission Presidents and their wives in the Philippines)

Saturday, September 28, 2013

From our July, 2013 Newsletter

Removing ourselves to the ‘Exceedingly High Mountain’

A very warm welcome to our new Mission Presidents and their families!

While studying scriptures to prepare for the sessions of the day I
was cross referencing and found myself inspired in 1 Nephi 10:1
where it refers to desiring, believing and pondering and being caught
Laoag Sunrise-Northern Luzon Island
into an ‘exceedingly high mountain’. I pondered that as I realized
every word in the scriptures can be literal and symbolic and I reflected
on how I get myself to a state of mind of being in the ‘exceeding high
mountain’. To be elevated to a level of great heights and feel confident
of our ability to remain at that great height led me to ponder and
liken this unto my experiences and how they can assist me in using the
spirit as I prepare for each session, representing the Lord for His missionaries.

Starting with what I know. My father adored me and I thought he
thought I could do anything, (maybe except read). It wasn’t until
about 15 years of age I realized my mother and brothers were just as
important to him as I was (a painful lesson for another time). This
made it so easy to understand a Heavenly Father who adored me and
would send His only son down even if I was the only one the atonement
would save. I had all brothers and they hung the
moon and still do! The three of them taught me ultimate passion for life, submissiveness to the Lord’s
will without complaint or fear, and the way to find joy in the journey. I felt they would do anything to
protect me and I would walk through fire for any one of them. Thus, a loving big brother, who died for
me made complete sense in my mind. A talented and amazing mother and an adoring eternal companion
taught me all of what it felt to be adored and loved. Life was not easy, loss of jobs, family members to
early taken from this world, dad not a member for years, and all working early in our lives-as now I look
back, what a blessing all that opposition proved to be.

Obedience and hard work, then hard play were important concepts in our home. We were taught the 3
levels of obedience and work, though I would say my folks never gave an indication the first level, obedience
out of fear-the telestial level, was ever acceptable. They began at the ‘terrestrial’ level of why we
should obey and work hard, out of a sense of duty and honor for who we were and our name, the ‘Mount’
name, it meant something. No higher compliment could I pay than in my heart and mind to make someone
a Mount Brother…the ‘exceeding high Mount’ if you will.

Then as we matured it was to become obedience out of a deep sense of love. When you feel completely adored and loved you will do anything for those you love, and offense isn’t part of the equation! This is the ‘exceeding high mountain’ to be obedient and work as hard as you can out of a sense of love. My favorite leader in the Book of Mormon is Pahoran! Even when Moroni unrighteously slammed him he took no offense, he felt more love for him which made him look only for the good. This kind of blind love to others faults is my goal!

Now as I take these things I know and liken them unto our here and now. Many of our missionaries have no such orientation. To feel completely loved and adored is often experienced as fear and an ongoing fight to feel Christ-like love while their only memories are filled with abuse, abandonment and hopelessness. As they may never be able to understand my world where those few men make everything ok, I most probably will never comprehend their past horrors. Instead of adoring and seeking out those men of the earth who a loving Father gives us to provide, protect and preside over us allowing us to feel safe and loved, they fear further victimiza-tion. So we are it, we may be the only, or at least the first time, they get to feel totally adored and loved. Whether they are the best or least productive missionary in the field, we are what our Father uses to help them recognize their amazing worth. Sometimes the spirit has whispered when the most challenging missionary speaks to me, you have no idea what a miracle it is they even got their papers in, quit judging and help them feel my love! How do we help them feel the Savior’s love with the few minutes we have with them? Each one is different but I know that as I immerse myself each morning in the scriptures and prepare for each ses-sion, I have the right to call upon the spirit to lead those sessions, and he does! When I first arrived, even with my husband at my side, I too was overwhelmed, and had thoughts of desperately wanting to run back home to my family that loved me. Then I went to a fireside and President Neilson was speaking, I looked at him and felt his love, he knows how to represent the Savior! We spoke after the fireside and that feeling like I was the only one in the world and he would do anything for me filled my heart, he knows the spirit! How my heart jumped for joy as he was announced as our Area President! Then I spent time with my mission presidents, one working through the night and as I stood outside a bathroom door and listened to him with all the love of our Savior help his young missionary remember how to shower, clothe and dress, after a psychotic break. Another President working all through the night and sitting in my office with his arm around a Pacific Islander, whom it took all night for him to help his missionary feel the Savior’s love. Tears rolled from each of our eyes, as the spirit of our Savior sat in my office disguised that day as a mission president. I could go on for pages about the many experiences I’ve had with you mission presidents, but suffice it to say, my brothers are here! I testify to you when your missionaries leave this MTC they have felt that love, working with President Beck and Raul V. your missionaries have been ministered to, not just had the administering of their MTC provided for them. As with President Neilson, I have seen them connect, laugh, eat and teach with tender hearts with all the love of a big brother. These mentioned names and the Mission Presidents of the Philippines are my ‘Mount’ broth-ers, for your work is out of love, you are here representing the Savior and it is you and your beautiful brides that bring to these missionaries the ‘exceeding high mountain’ as our hearts are knit together in love! I pledge to do all I can to be worthy of your great spirits and example! I love you and thank you.

Your little sister,
Marcia French

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

What we do...

What do we do here in the Philippines?

We actually do quite a variety of things since we have been here. Marcia is busy counseling, teaching and searching for country resources to help our missionaries and members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints here in the Philippines. She either has the phone next to her ear or is talking with someone in her office. It is a job that is on call 24/7. It is not an easy task for her as she cares for the Lord's missionaries but the blessings have been tremendous.

My job is to support Marcia and am her faithful side-kick. One of the things that I do is put together a newsletter each month. This newsletter is then distributed to all the mission presidents and their wives and other leadership around the country. I am the nuts and bolts guy of the letter as I edit it, put in filler pieces, and pictures. Marcia puts together a monthly note that is addressed to the mission presidents to help them in working with their missionaries. Over the next few weeks I will post those notes on this blog to give people an idea as to what information Marcia is sharing. It is informative and worth sharing. For those of you who aren't dealing with LDS missionaries-substitute college student, teenager, aging parent, or yourself. There is application for you and your needs.

What follows is from November of 2012.



Happy Fall and Thanksgiving! 
Close your eyes and picture the beautiful colors, the crisp cool air, and enjoy these gorgeous Philippine Islands-see the best of both worlds.  I have chosen to take different concepts that are common among missionaries and share some insights on each.  This first month’s focus: homesickness and separation anxiety.  Please let me know if there are specific topics you would like me to address sooner than later.  This is not to give you the information and have you learn and implement, but rather to just give an overall insight on the topics.  I also have a great testimony of humor and feel it is vital to keep a reason to smile in our minds at all times. Thus I am adding a paraprosdokian each month.  As always it is such an honor to serve each of you… Mahal Kits!
Sister Marcia French LSCW, MSW, CPP
Philippine Area Mental Health Adviser

Picture by Sue Anderson

Homesickness often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  It commonly comes as a surprise to the individual involved.  Usually there is an absence of social supports.  There is frequently a brief window of opportunity to intervene.
Characteristics of individuals prone to homesickness/separation anxiety:
· Low self-directedness
· A highly tentative approach to unfamiliar situations
· Rigidity
· A wishful thinking coping style —dwelling on the wonderful aspects of home
· When homesickness takes them by surprise they may say, “I didn’t come out on the mission for the right reasons,” or “I don’t have a testimony.”
· Normalizing the homesickness—letting the missionary know feeling homesick is pretty normal.
· Help him/her build new social connections.
· Help them see their situation in perspective—typically they can see only two alternatives:
(1) go home; or (2) live in an unendurable situation.
· Help them use distractions- focus attention on current things-their work and relationships in the mission field.
· Sometimes it helps for them to speak with their family on the phone with the family reassuring
      them of their support.  One AMHA uses the phone call once, another may use several calls
      reducing the frequency and phasing them out over time.
· Give the missionary permission to go through the problem rather than going out of it (ie. home).
· Shrink the problem down to size (works for people with disabilities too).  Missionary has 324 new things to adapt to, but has already gotten the list down to 210.  The things he has already faced are familiar now and don’t require getting anxious over again.
· Affirmations are helpful.  Do in first person—“I will go, I will do. . . .”
· Review promise of God to Joshua (Joshua 1:5-9, be not afraid, turn not to the right hand or the left).
· Medication can be helpful at times.
· Tell missionary, “I’m here to help you-you’re going to be fine. I’ll e-mail material to you and then  I’ll call and we’ll go through it together.”  Call two days later.
· Give specific assignments to get the focus off home and the past to the present.  Examples of             assignments are:  (1)  learn the names of the other missionaries in your district; (2)  learn the   names of your local Church leaders (Bishop, Branch President, etc.); (3)  check out local grocery store; (4)  check out location of local barber shop, etc., anything to focus on the present and help the local environment to become more familiar.

Approaches which are not helpful include:
· Telling missionary, “If you don’t like it you can go home,” which gives the missionary the message that all he or she needs to do is wait you out.  The missionary may sometimes view you as an obstacle in the way of getting what he or she wants, i.e.. going home.
· Imply to missionaries that there isn’t anything they can do about homesickness.
· Saying or doing something mean is like “upping the ante” for them if they want to go home.
· Missionaries who are homesick or have separation anxiety are in the same state of mind as someone  addicted to a substance.  All they can think of is getting that substance (in this case going home).
Interventionsometimes doing an “intervention,” like is done with alcoholics or substance abusers, is  useful.  Have multiple people present—the Branch President, the Relief Society President, the zone leaders, the missionary’s companion, the Elder’s Quorum President.  Each of these can describe when they have felt the same way in the past.  Each can discuss how they can help the missionary  feel better.  The Relief Society President can figure out who can invite the missionary to dinner, etc.  The leaders can devise ways to get the missionary involved in the community and focus on other  things than going home.

Catching problems early is best.  Do not hesitate to call me at any time with this or any other issue!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Flush Phones....


It used to be in the "old days" (whatever they might be) that to get updated in the latest news and world events I just had to stop in at my in-laws. There, in their formidable reading room, I would be able to read the best of Readers Digest behind the solitude of a locked door.
(retrieved from:

Having younger children, and normally with nieces and nephews, running around it never can be overstated the importance of locks on doors with-in the confines of a home.

There, upon one of the few thrones I know, I would review the events in Laughter, the Best Medicine; Life in These United States; and, probably my favorite, Humor in Uniform. It was peace and solitude that only a father can enjoy.

Alas, as the kids got older, so did the age on the Reader's Digest issues in the library. Eventually reading the same article, joke, or anecdote for the sixth time wears thin. I needed to find an updated alternative to my library. Along came the "SMART PHONE."

(retrieved from:
What a wonderful idea. Somewhere in the midst of that technology I was able to download books, newspapers, and magazines to a device that I could take with me anywhere-even behind the locked door of my library. I didn't have to search through the magazines to see which article I hadn't yet read for the sixth time. I could find the current news, humor or what ever and read to my hearts content.

But....I am a little concerned now. I don't think the lock on my library door is effective anymore. Being in the Philippines insulates us somewhat from the happenings back home. Reading the news can be depressing (thank heavens for a wife who is a therapist!) but being 8,000 miles away I can put off dealing with it until it's time to return home. Then I got to thinking....

If they can do that with conversations what can they do with the video and camera capabilities of my phone? Suddenly the concept of being alone on my throne has vanished. For years I have been able to keep the kids out of my library through the means of a simple locked door knob. Unfortunately, it appears that 'BIG BROTHER' has picked that locked and made my time now a shared commodity.

I propose a possible solution to the problem. Most who watch TV know the terminology of a "burn phone." It is a phone purchased with cash with x amount of minutes on it that can't be traced back to you (theoretically...probably not anymore). I believe it is time now for the "FLUSH PHONE."  Sit in the comfort of your own personal library. When through just simply...flush! I think it will catch on....


(as a historical note-it adds meaning to "White House Plumbers." Google it...perhaps appropriate for the times...)
(pss-E/S H-think about buying a "Flush Phone" when you get home!!)

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Remember....D-Day (part 4)

It was back in December that I made these remarks:

              " I have come to realize that the conscience of a nation isn't necessarily the historians who spend hours, days, and years studying the past. They are the chroniclers of time and past. No- the conscience of a nation is its veterans. Those who have made some of the history of a country while defending its principles and freedoms over the years." (Click here to read the full post)

Today marks the 69th anniversary of D-Day. It is when the Allied forces began to land on the beaches in Normandy, France what was the beginning of the end of the power known as Nazi Germany.
(retrieved from

A young man who may have been 18 on those beaches would be 87 today. Our WWII veterans are dwindling fast from this life. These were true heroes.

I can't imagine the fear, the anxiety that a young man had as he waited for that door to drop on the sands. The bombardment had stopped moments before to allow the troop transports to travel without worry of friendly bombardment knocking them out of the water. The only sound was the noise of the engine of the LCVP and the waves as they splash the front of the boat over the gate. Soon the Germany batteries start their bombardment. They can see what is coming at them from a distance. It is not easy to hit a target that moves quickly, but they try.

(retrieved from )
The LCVP starts to scrape the sand at the rise of the beach. The front ramp drops and as it does the men begin to surge out of what for only moments had been a tenuous safe haven. The men in the rear were saved the onslaught of machine gun fire as the first wave of men stormed the beach. The men in the rear, though, weren't saved from the sight of seeing their comrades in arms floating in the sea, the first of many casualties that would rise that day.

On "Omaha beach" ..."the official record stated  that "within 10 minutes of the ramps being lowered, [the leading] company had become inert, leaderless and almost incapable of action. Every officer and sergeant had been killed or wounded [...] It had become a struggle for survival and rescue". (retrieved from

There was no turning back for these men. They didn't have the convenience of modern technology that would allow a smart bomb to take out a cement bunker that was raining death on their unprotected comrades. It took individuals working as teams to take out those bunkers so that their comrades and friends could continue forward. They saw their friends fall. They could not mourn. They had to keep moving forward. That is what we do as US Military personnel.

If you see a Veteran thank him or her for their service and for their love of country. A free country is never free-it is paid with the blood of its young men and women who believe in its principles, believed in its religion, and believed in their loved ones.

To see further information on the D-Day landings go here.  


Tuesday, June 4, 2013


"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana

"Those that fail to learn from history, are doomed to repeat it" Winston Churchill

Serving a mission does lend itself to some downtime. At times my downtime is constructive, and at other times not so much. Where ever I am and with what I am doing it leads me to read something. 

Last night was a long night in our office. Marcia was counseling several missionaries and interacting with two different Mission Presidents. That left me some downtime. One of the blessings of technology is the amazing storage capacity that is found in these small cell phones. I have a new phone that allows me to download some pretty cool apps. One of those apps is Gospel Library that is put out by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I was able to download on to my itty-bitty phone 42 years of General Conference talks! Perhaps it leaves me little excuse to squander my time since now I can go way back to read what modern Prophets and Apostles have said over time.
Elder Mark E Petersen

In a talk given in April of 1971, titled Warnings from the Past, Apostle Mark E. Petersen details to what happened to other civilizations living in this hemisphere. It is a very interesting read. I'll quote directly from his talk as an introduction: 
                    "Three great civilizations have occupied the Western Hemisphere. Two have passed into oblivion.Those that disappeared died by virtual suicide. They brought about their own extinction as they defiled the land and defied their God by extensive crime, sexual deviation, and other loathsome sins of almost every kind."

What follows are some quotes directly from his talk that some say could be prophetic in nature.
From Roger Babson- at one time a leading economist: 

                   "Only religion can prevent democratic rule from developing into mob rule. A nation can prosper only as its citizens are religious, intelligent, capable of service and eager to render it."

                    "Every great panic we have ever had has been foreshadowed by a general decline in observance of religious principles."

Abraham Lincoln:

                    "(America) need not fear no danger from without....If danger were ever to threaten the United States, it will come from within. 'As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide...."

                    "We have grown in numbers, wealth and power. ...But we have forgotten God. ...It behooves us then to humble ourselves before the offended Power, to confess our national sins,and to pray for clemency and forgiveness."

George Washington:

                     "...we ought to be no less persuaded that the propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right which Heaven itself has ordained. ...." (First inaugural address, April 30, 1789)

Daniel Webster

                     "If we and our posterity reject religious instruction and authority, violate the rules of eternal justice, trifle with the injunctions of morality and recklessly destroy the political constitution which holds us together, no one can tell how sudden a catastrophe may overwhelm us, that shall bury all our glory in profound obscurity."

It is not too late to remember....


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Remember....(part 2)

What is the collective memory of a society? Does it wither away as our ancients pass through the "valley of the shadow of death?" Is it shrunk to data size bits and bytes to be shelved away in a database to be extracted....whenever? Can it be conveyed down to the size of 140 characters- the maximum amount for a 'tweet?'

Memorial Day brings up many memories in my mind. As a young boy I remember as local veterans (I'm not sure if they were VFW or Legion or good ol' boys with guns) performed a Memorial Day service beginning at St. Clement's Catholic church in Hammond, Minnesota. Words were spoken and a gun salute was given at the cemetery at the church. Then a small parade walked down the hill to the bridge spanning the Zumbro River.
Hammond Bridge over the Zumbro River
There a wreath was dropped commemorating those who died at sea. I remember today these events.

Later, as we lived in Fishers, we would take our children to Crown Hill National Cemetery in Indianapolis. Every Memorial Day a wonderful ceremony was presented remembering those who fought for our country over the years. The first service at Crown Hill had over 10,000 people in attendance. This was just a few years following the devastating Civil War. Fittingly both Union and Confederate soldiers are buried on that sacred ground. Each year individuals come dressed in period costumes remembering those who gave their all during that tragic war.
Crown Hill Cemetery, Indianapolis, Indiana

Each year a somber roll-call is presented. All branches of the service are represented. The names of those who have died in the past year from Indiana are read off. As their name is called out their service branch representative acknowledges his/her name vicariously.

Sadly the number that come to witness this service has dwindled down to less then 500 each year. The echos of those who have sacrificed all wonder why?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Remember....(part 1)

It is a simple word. In itself it can aptly stand alone without supporting clauses, clinging adverbs, self focused subjects or even proud nouns.

To some it forms the foundation of who they are. Generations before speak quietly from behind the veil of the past to remind remind them.

How well do we build upon that foundation? Do we raise a structure firmly attached to that foundation? or do we allow the corrosive breeze of time wear down our the point that that which remains is dust?

And what of that Cornerstone? To what can we square our foundations to if the Cornerstone has been eliminated from the building process? Can we as individuals stand strong without The Cornerstone? Can marriages and, thus, families endure the buffetings thrust upon them without The Cornerstone? What about our communities, our cities, and, thus, our nation survive without The Cornerstone?

It was Paul to the Ephesians who said:
                  Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the   saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone.(Ephesians 2:19,20)

Do you remember?


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Up close with the locals....

(r-l) Elder/Sister Jackson, Marcia, Sister Taylor, Sister Fleming, Elder Armstrong
There are a lot of pictures in this post. It is well worth looking at. These pictures were taken over the last six weeks in various activities. I will try my best at identifying all.
(r-l)E/S Jacksons, Me, Marcia, Sis. Taylor, Sis. Fleming, E/S Armstrong
The pictures on the right were from a Thanksgiving dinner at the MTC President's apartment. President and Sister Taylor had a wonderful meal for us and great conversation.
Public Affairs Missionary Elder Dupaix

PEF Missionary Elder Bell
The day after our meal with the President and Sister Taylor we had a Thanksgiving meal at the Quezon City Mission home hosted by President and Sister DeLaMare.  All the seniors in the mission showed up, with the exception of the missionaries on Mindoro island. Fun was had by all.

Humanitarian Missionary Sister Hardick and Marcia

Elders Hardick and Jensen
The picture on the right is of two Canadians. Perhaps that might explain Elder Jensen (Member Leadership Support Missionary) on the right. Elder Hardick (Country Director Humanitarian Affairs) didn't know how much he was cared for!

Sister Hadlock with resident

These next few pictures are from a visit to Hospicio de San Jose. It is located on a small island in the middle of the Pasig river in Manila. It cares for abandoned children, seniors, and AIDS patients. It is supported by Catholic Charities. We were their inspecting wheelchairs with Elder and Sister Hadlock who are the country's wheelchair specialists.

Elder Hadlock, Nurses and Seniors. The one holding
Elder Hadlock's hand loved to sing to us!

Department Mgr. Gilda with an Angel's Trumpet
The remaining pictures are from a planning meeting that we had in the beginning of December. We traveled to the province of Bataan. It was my chance to show Marcia Subic Bay as well. When I was in the navy that was the port that my surgical team (Surgical Cadre 13), it was similar to a MASH unit, was sent to pick up our ship, the USS Bellawood. 

"You talkin' to me?"

This fella was with a group of like minded monkeys looking for a handout on the side of the road as we were around Subic Bay.

"You Talkin' to me?"(2)

"Seriously,  you talkin' to me?"
The two animals are called Caribou. White caribou are supposed to be good luck. We refer to them as waterbuffalo.

The remaining pictures are from "Zoobic." It is a park with many attractions. With some we were able to get quite close as the pictures show.
There was a cage between us

"You talkin' to me?"(3)

There were more attractions there then just the animals. Marcia attracted quite a lot of Montessori students who were their as well.
Marcia sharing the Gospel

Marcia and Montessori Kids

Up close and feeding a tiger

Canines on a feline

These last two pictures are of people from the local native group. They were performing the 'monkey dance.' It was quite impressive...