Monthly Archives: December 2014

White Christmas — December 9, 2014

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We received a text:

Elder and Sister Hall, my friend told me that yesterday Sister Salvador is having symptoms of having a baby. I do not know how you say it in English.

The writer of the text was in Cebu. Another translator was in the hospital. Another was at work.

We stopped by the family’s home. We called, “Ayo! Ayo!” which is the equivalent of knocking on a door. No one answered and the door was shut. We found the sister missionaries and asked them to go by the home with us.

A child looked out the window and the sister missionaries talked to her. The sisters turned to us.

She said we should come in.

We walked through the gate and into a very small room in a very humble home. The mother proudly showed us the newborn baby boy sleeping on the bed.

Oh, your baby is so cute! When was he born?

Yesterday about 4 pm.

Look at that beautiful black hair!

He is so little!

Sister, how are you feeling?

I am doing well. This is my 15th baby, you know.

So you will need to rest. We can change the appointment for the temple.

Oh no! We still want to go on Tuesday.

But sister, I worry about you. You just gave birth. Tuesday is only four days away. That will be a hard trip for you.

We have waited so long. We really want to go Tuesday. I want to go Tuesday. It will be alright.

We checked on the details for the trip.

My husband will get off work a 6. I will get up at 3 am to fix breakfast and get the children ready. When we get home, my husband will go to his work for another night.

That is what the faithful here do. They will make any sacrifice necessary.

On Tuesday, we sat in a beautiful sealing room as the mother and father entered into a covenant of marriage that ended with the promise that they will be together “in time and through all eternity.”[i]

Then ten of their children, looking like angels all dressed in white, were ushered into the room. It was a sweet and powerful glimpse of heaven.

As the children sat with their parents, the sealer talked to the family about the importance of the ordinance of sealing. He told them that unless children are sealed to their parents, the parents can have no claim, legally or spiritually, on those children in the eternities. He went on to explain that the whole purpose of this life is to create eternal families.

The mother and father looked at each other and held hands. Their daughter Marianne, who had died at age 21, would now also be sealed to them, by proxy.

Tears glistened in the eyes of a close friend of the family as she later talked of the experience.

When I held that tiny baby in my arms, and listened to the words that would bind on earth and in heaven,[ii] I felt that Marianne was there. I just cannot describe the joy…I just cannot describe the wonder…I just cannot describe the feelings of that special moment.

As the world prepares to celebrate the birth of the babe of Bethlehem, on the other side of the world, on a beautiful green tropical island, we experienced a special “white Christmas” as a family of princesses and princes, all dressed all in white, became an eternal family.

The current humble circumstances of that family are not who they really are.

The words of the Savior Jesus Christ echo through the ages.

Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am[iii]

[i] D & C 132:19, 30-31

[ii] See Matt 16:19

[iii] John 17:24


Typhoon Ruby — December 3, 2014

Philippines avocado

Philippines avocado

Christmas decorations

Christmas decorations

We sent the following e mail to our family:

December 3

The storm is slowly moving through. Light rain today and light winds. Lost electricity for a while but it is on now. All is well.

Elder and Sister Hall

We received a text from the AP at 7:37 am December 7, 2014.

From all reports the storm has slowed in speed and came on land about 3:00 am this morning and is headed inland. This means it is coming. When it will arrive we do not know for sure but we do know if it is slow in moving then there will be heavier rains. We are being asked not to leave our apartments for church due to the risk. I know it appears that all is calm now but the storm is coming, when it will arrive we do not know, therefore, most church services have been canceled and the ones that are being held are for those already at the church. I would ask us to follow our leaders and remain in our apartments until the storm is over. I know this may sound unnecessary but we need to do as we are asked.

 At 1:15 we received the following message:

Newest update: The storm is not over yet but the storm has weakened and moved more northerly. This is a result of fasting prayer and obedience. Thank you. Let us be careful and continue to exercise extreme caution. We are not to leave our apartments without permission from the Mission President. If the storm seems to worsen and your area will be affected, please let President McCurdy know. As the day and evening progress we will give further instructions. We love you.

 We received a copy of a text in Cebuano English in from the District Executive Secretary to all Branch Presidents:

President, since our meetinghouses are evacuated with considerable number of evacuees our regular Sunday meeting will be affected. To address the concern our District President has decided that we will just conduct Sacrament meeting for those being evacuated and I would like to suggest to use the remaining time viewing church films and previous broadcasts and conferences. To those meetinghouses that have not being evacuated you must observe the regular Sunday meetings.

The messages were relayed to all missionaries. It was the third day of in-apartment assignment. All missionaries were to be in their apartments by 5 pm on Friday evening. We were to be in apartments by noon on Saturday. On Sunday we were to be in apartments all day and evening. It felt like The Cat in the Hat was about to appear.

So, what would we do? What could we do?

We used our phone to let others be our hands and feet.

The big project for the day was to get an amazing family ready to go to the temple on Tues. It has been our project for the last six months, but there have been many roadblocks.

At District conference the father was interviews by the mission president. He was ordained the next day but could not be interviewed for his recommend until the next week. On that day, his wife was sick and could not be interviewed. Only her husband was interviewed. The wife was interviewed the next week and the paperwork for the temple was started. In the meantime, the mother gave birth to her baby—her 15th –on Friday. The temple date was for this coming Tues.

The family still wanted to keep their appointment for Tuesday.

So today we had to get birth certificates for all children being sealed. We needed to get a death certificate for a daughter who has died. We needed to get ordination certificates for the father and two of the sons. We needed to have a baptism recorded for one of the daughters.  We needed a complete family group sheet. We needed to create a membership record for the child who has just been born. We needed a marriage certificate for the parents. We needed to find the branch clerk and ask him to come into the office to update the records. We needed to send over 100 texts back and forth to get it done.

Fortunately, neither parent had been married before, and they were legally married. Fortunately, all the children were from the same parents. Stepchildren cannot be sealed to one parent and new spouse without written consent from the other natural parent, which is often almost impossible to get.

Although getting all the papers in order is difficult, it must be done perfectly, for our Father’s house is a house of order.

And all the texts and paperwork did keep the Cat in the Hat away for the day….

It has been raining lightly most of the day, and there is a light wind.

Love you all.

Mother and Father