Monday, November 16, 2009

Editor's note: The timing and pacing of Elder and Sister Reed's mission responsibilities makes it impossible to post a report of every interesting experience they have in a timely manner. However, if you take into account the untimeliness of the timing they live with (15 hours ahead of home time--have they accidentally called you at a ridiculously early hour? Eeeeeh with a slight cringe) then a post about something a few weeks back isn't so bad.

A mission is a microcosm of life; you go along pretty regular-like, then all of a sudden you burst into high action. November has been this way for us. We continue methodically with our office responsibilities and piano/English teaching, and the high action peeks out here and there. Actually, high action isn't quite the right word all the time; this weekend was more like high spiritual contentment.

It started on Thursday with an island tour shared by Brother and Sister Sorensen, the In-Field Representative for 30 missions in our region. Elder Sorenson's assignment is to support the mission presidents in the challenging situations a mission president encounters. They came to Cebu for the mission president's seminar which was the following Sunday through Tuesday. Their home base is in New Zealand and wanted to taste the Philippines for a day or so. You bet! We headed across the mountains to the west side, then up the coast a ways, then back across the mountains to the east side and back down to Cebu.

It was a great day for a walkabout.

The Sorensons are avid photographers. (See our last post--here we are with MORE camera people!) They clicked their way over the mountain and up the coast. Elder Sorenson has "the big gun" and Sister Sorenson has a sporty little point-and-shoot. Sometimes we pulled over and got out for pictures, and sometimes they just put their wondows down, Kevin took his foot off the gas and they click, click, clicked as we drove. You can do that with "big gun" cameras, you know. They were cute together; both interested in the images of the island, coaching each other to "get this" or "get that" image. Elder Sorenson was very good at simply pointing his camera out the window, clicking and getting good shots.

I began the day taking pictures but figured out pretty fast that they had me out-clicked and maybe they'd share.

My fun was taking pictures of the picture takers.

Taburan was on the coast just before we turned inland again. The Catholic church was a stop-n-look:

Our drive back over the mountains was filled with scenic snapshots; rice farmers drying their rice on the side of the road, carabou pulling the plow; Filipinos about the business of life.

We stopped in one little community to see if we could visit with a woman sitting on the side of the road making jewelry. Elder Sorenson gave it a valiant try--he talked, she talked, he talked, she talked--I'm sure they were expressing important things! Only neither could understand the other. As you can see, there is a little difference in their size.

Indeed she was tiny little thing, barely coming up to Elder Sorenson's elbow!

Friday night was a single-adult fireside that we attended by invitation. It was an open forum hosted by Elder Quinten L. Cook, Keith B. McMullin, the Philippine Area Presidency and a few other big guns.

Saturday was a priesthood training meeting for bishops and stake presidents. Kevin, of course, is neither, but he attended anyway.

Sunday the general authorities divided and conquered, each taking a different stake for a special conference.

In three sentances I didn't begin to scratch the tip of the wealth of spirit we experienced over the weekend. How do you like that? We came half way around the world to experience this fine collection of apostles and prophets. Pretty fine.

And Julie Beck is coming the end of January.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

I Saw a Mighty Angel Fly

The day finally came. Gold-leafed angel Moroni was installed on top of the temple a week ago! The construction manager (who happens to be in our ward) must have been screened and tested for abundant patience, tact and diplomacy when he was hired. Mel Fajardo is his name--a lovely fellow, and indeed, patient to the many questions about when, when, when.

Mel--do you ever loose your cool?

Originally Angel Moroni was on deck to be installed in August. It was here, made it through customs (no small feat) and was waiting patiently in its shipping container on the construction site. The hold-up was in the steeple. Some of the granite--4" thick slabs that are pre-cut and fit together like a perfect puzzle was missing and that caused the delay. Not all the granite, of course, just the pieces at the top of the steeple.

I think if that was the most trying challenge of the construction project everyone would be jumping for joy. As it is, things are pretty much on schedule, but still no firm dates for the open house or dedication.

Our weather-reading skills have been honed to a high degree these last eight months, and November 5th was a nearly perfect day. Perfect here is not a bright, sunny, cloudless sky, but big, billowy ocean clouds coming and going, or even fine, gauzy clouds that save us from the searing sun. Cloudless is brutally hot.

We chose the 10-minute walk around the corner to the construction sight and knew other walkers headed toward the temple site as well. Meanwhile, traffic was vrooming along like usual. Kaikai came too, bringing his "big guns". I like camera people. I think I'd like to be a camera person some day. In the mean time I'll be happy to be the lackey of a camera person. They usually have a magnificent bag of tricks that captures images.

We had our point and shoot.

There were folks who came specifically to watch, and folks who happened to be passing by.

The construction workers were all doing their thing, but there was definitely added attention on the upper reaches of the temple. We watched the crane intently. At about 3:00 it dropped it's line with the attached belt, then slowly brought up Moroni. This is it! I wanted to shout and sing and clap.




We weren't the only ones tickled and joyful; even our mailman said he saw Moroni go UP

Elder Bernal--caught by surprise, Elder Deiparine and Elder Curtis (the president's assistants and our neighbors); Elder Clark.

The sister missionaries (on the left) with their investigators.

The hymnist expresses my feelings the best this time:

I saw a mighty angel fly
To earth he bent his way.
A message bearing from on high
To cheer the sons of day.
Truth is the message which he bears,
the gospel's joyful sound,
To calm our doubts, to chase our fears,
And make our joys abound.

Temples are the gateway to eternity.

Gone Batty

Do you ever wonder what you might be missing by sleeping late in the morning? Not too long ago we happened to get out the door earlier than usual--by maybe 7-8 minutes. We often experience those few magical moments of pre-dawn "dusk", but rarely have walked from darkness through pre-dawn dusk to daylight. This particular morning's darkness offered us our own National Geographic moment as we walked up Woolbright St. There were bats returning to their roost, a wood power pole on the side of the road, whose top is hollow.

Now for those of you who have lived around bats you might be thinking, "yeeeeaaaah, and the big deal iiiiisss?" Well, the big deal is that bats are under rated and under appreciated in their ecological role as bug eaters. They are my heros, not being that fond of bugs, yet knowing that they are part of our mortal existance. Frogs are my other hero for the same reason. Besides, bat guano is exceptionally good organic fertilizer.

Once we became aware of the morning bat landing we started watching for them, counting the bats that came home to roost, observing them as fast as our eyes could. They flit around for a moment, then swoop in and are gone from view. You really don't see much, like, for instance, when a dog walks by. Nevertheless, very interesting.

I suppose most walkers eventually look for diversion. Some become runners. Others look at the flora or inspect the home projects they walk by. Or plan a video shoot of bats coming home to roost.

Kaikai--we will miss him when we return home. He is a friend indeed, with many interesting talents, including photography and videography. We showed up early on the appointed morning with our little point and shoot camera, and he showed up with his video camera and all the trappings of a professional. It seemed like success was guaranteed, thanks to Kaikai.

We were there in plenty of time; didn't want to have all the the bats zwoop in while we were setting up. Kaikai kept adjusting everything for a perfect shooting as it began to grow light. We talked quietly and waited. And waited.

One bat zwooped in, then


We'd watched them as we walked by for a week--there were always eight or nine or ten. What's the deal here? Better question--how did the first one let all the others know that there were UHC's (unidentified human creatures) lurking suspiciously outside their roost? Skunked. Totally skunked. We hauled all our equipment back to the car and walked and planned our strategy for the next morning.

It seemed evident that our talking was troublesome to them. Actually, there are people walking up and down the street all the time; cars passing; regular city activity. I guess "passing" is the operative word here."

The next morning we set up early and were completely still. Didn't dare leave any equipment unattended, but did all we could to not spook the bats. This was on October 30th by the way.

As Kaikai's video owuld show if we could get it to load into our blog (RATS!), we met with success, seeing 10-11 bats zwoop in. Say it fast, okay? That's just what they do. You see them and then they're inside. Hopefully we'll figure this technical difficulty out and get the footage into this blog.

As a companion to our bat exploration, I'd like to recommend a book to share with your favorite---hmmmm---I almost said little people, but it's such a charming story I think anyone would enjoy it. It's called "Stellaluna", by Jannell Cannon. It's about a baby fruit bat and has themes of the love of mother and child, and being lost, then found. And don't forget to use your voice to make the characters alive. This book is very inviting and easy in this way.

I'd love to know whether there are Bats around Boise; we've lived there a very long time and never encountered any. Bye for now, and hopefully more bat adventures in our future.