Friday, September 5, 2014

Zone Interviews

     We spent two weeks traveling through the mission so President Mangum could interview each missionary. I would visit with the companion or a group of missionaries during the interviews. I brought cookies and treats and we had "Getting to Know You" sheets that we had them fill out. The two office elders came with us to do reimbursements and teach a workshop on budgeting. Many of the missionaries run out of money each month. I'm sure that's not too big of a surprise since they are young adults and many of them have never paid their own bills before. Although there were lots of early mornings, long days, and late nights we really enjoyed the interviews and visits. It was fun to meet one on one with each of the missionaries in our mission---227. After the first or second day I said how much fun it was. Then a couple of days later the office elders asked if I still thought it was fun and I said "yes" even though I was tired. We would pack a lunch and Bart would never take the time to eat until we were on our way home. I would have to eat my sandwich or something by 2:00 or 3:00 p.m. I finally gave Bart a bag of nuts so he would hopefully eat some protein now and then to give him energy. Each day our schedule got behind because he wanted to get to know the missionaries and he also wanted them to visit and not feel rushed. The first couple of days I kept thinking "you're getting behind" but then I just accepted that it was the way it was going to be. The Assistants added more time to the interviews the 2nd week but we still struggled to stay on schedule. The other thing that caused him to get behind was that at many of the chapels he had baptism and/or missionary interviews to do as well.

      Tuesday, July 22/Siniloan (14 missionaries) and Santa Cruz (18 missionaries) Zones. We had about a 2 1/2 hour drive to Pakil to begin our interviews; we then drove to the Siniloan District Center for more interviews; and finished that night at the Santa Cruz Chapel.

Some scenery along the way. Sisters excited to receive the "Pouch" mail.

      Wednesday, July 23/Batangas Zone (22 missionaries).We drove to the Calaca Chapel which is about 2 hours and then went to the Batangas Chapel for the rest of the zone interviews.

More scenery including a Filipino cow.

       Thursday, July 24/Cabuyao Zone (32 missionaries). We drove to the Cabuyao Chapel which is about an hour drive where we visited with 24 missionaries. Then we drove to the Calamba Chapel in the late afternoon turning to evening. That chapel was still without electricity from the typhoon so we visited briefly with the 8 missionaries there and told them we would see them on Sunday.
Taking some cute sisters home.

        Friday, July 25/Mindoro Zone (20 missionaries). We drove to Batangas (about an 1-1/2 hour drive) so that we could ride a boat to Mindoro. We left early so we could catch the 8:00 a.m. "fast" boat and then found out there was mechanical difficulties so we had to wait for the 9:30 a.m. boat. The interviews had to be pushed back. We enjoyed the one hour boat ride over and got to the island and drove straight to the Chapel and began interviews. We barely made it back to the port in time to board the "slow" boat which left at 8:30 p.m. After 3 hours we arrived at the port and drove the hour and half back to the mission home.

First boat ride on the Super Cat to Mindoro. I guess I didn't take photos on the way home.

        Saturday, July 26/Lipa Zone (34 missionaries). The Lipa Stake Center is only about an hour away but it is a large zone so we were there until late in the evening. Because it was Saturday there were baptisms and many other activities going on in the Church and it was pretty busy and noisy.

        Sunday, July 27 we attended our Church Meetings in Los Banos. Everyone was so friendly and we enjoyed three hours of great meetings. President then interviewed the 8 missionaries that we had had to postpone.

        Monday, July 28 we thought was going to be a relaxing day but Sunday evening it was decided that we needed to change our schedule and leave for the island of Marinduque on Monday afternoon. Since we still didn't have internet and we hadn't been able to visit on Skype with our children and grandchildren we went over to the Mabini Stake Center on Monday morning and Skyped with each family. We left around 1:00 p.m. to drive for 2 hours to Lucena to catch a boat for Marinduque. This time we took the mission van on the boat with us. Although it was a long ride it was a pretty and relaxing ride and it was a beautiful day! We arrived at the island just as the sun was setting and then drove up the mountainside as the sun finished going down. It was a beautiful drive and we decided we may have to buy a second home on this remote island. President decided to interview the two sisters that night. We then went to a quaint hotel in Boac. It was like stepping back into the 1940s. (There were magazines in a basket in the room that were dated 2003 but not any from the 1940s.) The stairs going to the third floor were almost like a ladder. It was pretty tricky carrying the suitcase down (fortunately we had our great office elders who carried it up to the room). If you closed the shower curtain it included the toilet. It was an interesting experience that I'll probably get to have a few more times in the next few years.

Our windy but fun boat ride to Marinduque.

The beautiful ride and sunset.
The quaint Boac Hotel on Marinduque Island.

        Tuesday, July 29/Marinduque Zone (9 missionaries). We went back to the Chapel in Mogpog and finished the Marinduque Zone interviews and then headed to Gaspan for President to do some interviews. We thought we would have time to eat but we were wrong because we didn't want to miss the boat. This time we stayed in the van for the three hour boat ride because it was raining. We all took a nap for part of the time. We arrived in Lucena, checked into the hotel, and then went to the mall and got some dinner and more treats for the interviews the next day.

Driving around Marinduque Island and the boat ride back to Lucena.

The hotel in Lucena was a little more modern--more like the 1960s or 70s, but nice.

       Wednesday, July 30/Lopez Zone (16 missionaries). We drove 3 hours to the Stake Center. There was no electricity here either so it was pretty warm doing the 8 interviews. After the interviews there we drove to the Atimonan Chapel for interviews with 8 more missionaries and then we drove back to Lucena.

Traveling from Lucena to Lopez and back.

        Thursday, July 31/Lucena Zone (34 missionaries)This is another large zone and as the day went on I knew there was no way President was going to get everyone interviewed so we had the office elders call the last 12 and tell them we would have to come back another day.

        Friday, August 1/San Pablo Zone (24 missionaries). This was a nice day because we only had to drive about 30 minutes to the Mabini Stake Center.

        Wednesday, August 6/ We drove back to Lucena and went to the Stake Center and then to the Lucban Chapel to finish the interviews.

        It was a busy 2 weeks!!!!! It took a while but Bart finally interviewed the two Assistants and two office Elders too. We both really enjoyed feeling like we got to know the missionaries a little and look forward to getting to know them better.


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