Sunday, February 2, 2014

Farewell Naga

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Relief Society group grew from 4 attending sisters (including Sister Campbell) to those pictured below.  They invited Elder Campbell to sit in on this group photo because this was our last time to attend the Pamplona Branch, before returning to the United States.
We will miss our association with these spiritual sisters.
Accompanying us are the Elders and Sisters assigned to proselyte in the Pamplona Branch of the Pamplona District
These two sisters came to visit us before we left.  Sister Ghori, on the left is from Pakistan.  She more or less adopted us as her family.  Sister I'loa is from Samoa. 
Every 6 weeks, at transfer time, the missionaries who are going to have birthdays during that time, are given a Snickers candy bar, which is a real treat! 
Accompanying Elder & Sister Campbell are the three people who work at the Mission Home.  Gloria, Willy and Rose Marie.
A typical fence that we see as we drive along is made from branches.
Carabao (pronounced carabow) are the work animal for the rice fields, hauling coconuts, bamboo, etc.

As we were walking along the driveway of our compound Elder Campbell found this small coconut that had fallen from a tree, lying on the ground.  He decided to crack it open. with a claw hammer.
The outer covering is half way off.
Finally, all of the covering is off and the coconut is just below the hammer.
Hmmmm, delicious!!
The Pili Nut replaces the peanut in the Bicol Region of the Philippines.  This is "Mr. Pili Nut", situated in front of the SM Shopping Mall in Naga.
Elder Quinco is being trained to be a Baptism, Confirmation Record recorder.
There was not a Senior Couple called to replace Elder and Sister Campbell, so Elders have to be trained to do their jobs.
Elder Sonderegger is being trained to be the Supply Consultant.
This is a picture of us, along with the Office Elders as we were getting ready to leave in the van for the Naga Airport and our return to the United States.  Pictured are Elder Manicdo - Secretary to the Mission President, Elder Davis - Assistant to the Mission President, Elder Simmons - Financial Secretary and Elder Colipapa - Assistant to the Mission President.
As we were getting everything in order to go to the U.S., we had to stop at the Missionary Training Center in Manila to get our passports and visas.
As we sat in the Tokyo, Japan Airport, we had an opportunity to visit with a sweet lady from the Philippines, now living in Indiana.  We were trying to convert her, and almost succeeded, but her plane left before ours.  Oh, well, the seed has been planted.
Picking up our luggage in the SeaTac Airport in Seattle, Washington, before going through Customs.
As sad as we feel inside - leaving the Philippines and especially the missionaries that we worked so closely with, we know that coming home is necessary at this time.

We would not trade these past 20 months for anything.  They were not always easy, but anything worth having is worth working for, and WORK, we did!  Elder Campbell would receive upwards of 20 texts a day from the Elders and Sisters requesting supplies of one sort or another.  We were constantly replacing closets, water filters, fixing leaky faucets, replacing door locks, wash tubs, scrub boards, plates, cups, rice cookers, stoves, etc.  Well, he replaced just about anything you can think of that might be a necessity.   It gave him (us) such a good feeling to be able to be a part of helping them to be able to continue their work for the Lord without their having to worry about the necessities of their apartments.
Sister Campbell worked as the Recorder and was responsible for recording all of the Baptism/Confirmation records.  Accuracy of the records she received was of the utmost importance, so she spent many hours contacting the missionaries to verify spelling of names and places, as well as dates and a multitude of other information entered on the Baptism/Confirmation records.  She also assisted Elder Campbell when he had trips to make to repair or replace something in one of the missionary apartments, or furnish new apartments and upgrading existing apartments to accommodate additional missionaries.
We have been so happy to be a part of the missionary work going on in the Philippines.  We thank you ALL for the support and prayers in our behalf as we have fulfilled this amazing calling.
Elder Jerry & Sister Carol Campbell


Sunday, January 12, 2014

As we were walking through an area that has many coconut trees, Jerry looked at the ground and picked up a "baby" coconut.  Below is a picture of it.
"Baby" coconut
As Jerry was coming to the office a few days ago, he stopped to take a picture of the beautiful clear, blue sky with the coconut trees along the northern side of our parking lot.

The Church is growing in the Philippines Naga Mission.

On Saturday, January 11th, the Mission President and his wife stopped by our apartment to take us with them to the groundbreaking ceremony for a new chapel in the Buhi Branch area.  The ride is approximately a 90 minute ride.  The weather was good, and traffic pretty light - for a Saturday morning, that is.

As we got near to the Buhi area, we weren't sure exactly where the groundbreaking was to take place.  We'd been told that it was near Buhi, but was in an area not too far from town.  Well, as we drove along, we drove past a cemetery, with a pretty large crowd just past that.  There were some Philippine National Police (PNP) directing traffic past, and as we remarked that it must be a "rooster fight" or perhaps a "funeral", since it was so near the cemetery.  So we continued driving on to the Buhi Elder's apartment.  We texted them to ask where the groundbreaking ceremony was, and if they were still in their apartment.  They answered that they were AT the area for the ceremony.  They directed us back to where so many people were gathered.  So, it was not a rooster fight or a funeral, it was the ground breaking ceremony after all.

The morning began rather nice, but as we were seated and the program started, the clouds gathered in and a light rain began to fall.  The wind picked up and the rain came down even harder.  There was not room enough for everyone to fit under the blue tarp that they had put up, but nobody seemed to mind.  They are just so thankful to be able to have a chapel for them to hold their meetings in. 

As the program ended, the wind began to subside, and the rain quit.  Then, as they were in the process of the ground breaking ceremony, the sun shined and the clouds, for the most part, disappeared.  It gave a feeling that Heavenly Father was there and in control of everything and that he approved of the proceedings.  As is customary, following the ceremony, sandwiches,(small slices of bread with chees whiz) drinks (in small pouches)and desserts ( A small football shaped cookie) were served to those who attended.                      

Here are a few pictures of the area where the new Buhi chapel will be built.

Hardhats and shovels ready for the Ground Breaking Ceremony
There were 169 in attendance, including members of our Church, as well as members of other denominations, plus local dignitaries.
Sister missionaries from the District with the Mission President's wife and Sister Campbell
District Elders with Elder Campbell with traffic control police in the background
Us sitting in a light rain shower
Those of us who were sitting outside the blue tarp were being rained on - thus umbrellas
Finally, the ground breaking ceremony.  (They actually only turn over some black sand that was put here for the purpose)
Yes, the wind was BLOWING!
It was a momentous occasion, one that won't be soon forgotten by us or any of those in attendance.

Elder and Sister Campbell

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Sunday, December 29, 2013

We had the most amazing experience today as we attended church with the Baao Group.  So far, there are not enough members in Baao to warrant having a Branch, but it is growing rapidly, and before too long, they will be a Branch.  The members who attend there are so friendly and welcomed us there with great handshakes, smiles and just plain love.

The "meeting house" is an open structure which has been built onto the side of the home one of the members.  It is a very humble "chapel", but it has everything that is needed, including a sacrament table, podium, clock.  The Gospel Doctrine class is held in the chapel, so there's also a chalk board.

As we sat listening to the talks (given in Tagalog), we had a dog walk down the isle, a chicken with 2 little chicks following "mom", and a crowing rooster that sang out as we were singing the closing hymn. 

We were surrounded by coconut trees, banana trees,  many different flowers, and everything so beautiful and fresh looking.

Two Elders assigned to the Baao Area, Elder Watson and Elder Stowe -  arriving at the Baao group meeting house
Elder Watson, Elder Stowe, Sister Padong, Sister Andres, Carol & Jerry, Sister and Elder Gardner.  The two Sisters are also assigned to the Baao Area.

Baao Group "Meeting House".  Notice the thatched roof.  All other "lumber" is made from bamboo.
Outside area of the "Meeting House".  Sitting on the table is the "drinking fountain" - a 5 gallon water jug.
Members arriving for Sacrament Meeting
Group Presiding Elder walking down the aisle.  Note the roof rafters of the meeting house are made of bamboo.
Primary children carrying a table to the Primary "classroom"
"Classroom" for the Primary children.  If it rains, they bring out their umbrellas and continue as though nothing unusual is happening.
Video of the Primary children's "Classroom" area
We hope you enjoyed the pictures and the video.  It was an awesome experience to be able to attend Sacrament Meeting in an area that makes us feel like we're in a camping area.  It is simply beautiful. Although this is a very humble meeting house, the Spirit is very strong.
Wishing you all a very Happy New Year.
Elder and Sister Campbell


Sunday, December 15, 2013

15 December, 2013

Getting close to Christmas and still NO SNOW!!!!!   One of the trees in our compound developed some blooms that look like ornaments on a Christmas tree. 

Such a pretty red among all of that green.  We'll take what we can get to get us in the holiday mood.

This is a coconut grove that was part of a plantation.  It is much smaller now as the adjacent land is being used for different purposes. We took a video of this area and have attached it below but we are still unsure about how our video efforts get processed.   At the end of the scene there is some highway noise but it gives a better view of the coconut grove.

At this time of year, our thoughts go to the birth of Jesus Christ and how the restoration of the Gospel affects each of us. 
We hope you are all well and happy and that you will take time to give thanks for all that you have.  
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of you!!
Elder and Sister Campbell

Monday, November 18, 2013

Addition to blog.  We're still having trouble uploading our videos, so we're giving it another try.

Have you EVER seen such a huge papaya?  This was so juicy and sweet.  It is lying on the tip of a banana tree leaf (which was wrapped around it) when it was given to us.  We're really going to miss all of the various fresh - home grown - fruit when we return to the United States. 

It is not unusual to see Jeepneys loaded with so many different things such as this one  Sometimes, they'll be totally filled with fresh harvested pineapple. 

Now, here's a "travelling Salesman" tricycle (tricee).  As you can see, it has fans, wash tubs, blue 5-gallon water jugs, brooms, stools, chairs, and much, much more.

As we were at one of our newest apartments, the children gathered to have their picture taken.  Elder Finley, one of Jerry's Supply Assistants, wanted to be in the picture, too.
Hopefully, you will be able to open the two videos below.  The first one was taken from our apartment window, which is above the Mission Office.  It shows how the wind was blowing the coconut trees, and also some of the rain.  The wind and rain weren't much to speak of since we were on the very fringes of the Super Typhoon - Haiyan.  It is also called Yolanda.  We had a better video, but for some reason we weren't able to upload it.

Jerry took this video where we stopped in the National Forest.  It was a breathtakingly beautiful area, and we thought you would enjoy seeing it.  The roadsides are "manicured" by hand.  You never see litter of any kind, and there are no visible homes.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Sunday, November 17, 2013

We have a few random pictures and a video we'd like to share with you.  Hope you enjoy them.

Just look at that happy face.  The Office Elders have found the way to Jerry's heart - Krispy Creme Donuts will do the trick every time, but they have to come all the way from Manila!
We followed this Tricee down the highway that has 3 pigs in the back along with it's human cargo. 
All highway markings are painted by hand.  Check out the bucket of white paint and the paint brush in the hand of the 2nd painter.
We attended a baptism of a 13 year old girl, who was converted by these two missionaries, Elder Davis and Elder Datu, who are Assistants to the Mission President.
This is the baptism, with Elder Datu performing the ordinance.
This is her bearing her testimony - in Tagalog, of course.  You can see the happy countenance in her face
Every chair in the Philippines that we have found in the chapels have this printed on the back.  Sometimes the translation loses or gains something.
Following is a video that Jerry took as we decided to stop along the road in the only National Forest that we get to drive through.  It's refreshing, in that there are no visible dwellings for at least 25 kilometers. 
Below is a video showing how the Super Typhoon, Haiyan (Yolanda - local name for it) and it's affect on us here in the Naga Mission. The video was taken from one of the windows in our apartment.  Needless to say, the typhoon missed us except for some wind and rain.  The missionaries were put on total "lockdown" on the 8th of November, when the brunt of the storm was to hit us.  Everyone survived very well.

We are keeping busy and the time is going quickly. 
Thanks for all your prayers and concerns at the time of the typhoon.
The Campbells