Tuesday, April 4, 2017

2017-04-01 Coron is Alive and Growing

 President Ostler spent a couple of days in Coron last weekend.  We have four wonderful sisters serving there and an incredible Filipino/American couple, the Addurus, who serve as Branch President and wife.  They are doing a wonderful job there.  Attendance has more than doubled since they arrived.  This branch was led and sustained over the past 5 years by Arnold and Suzie Nepomuceno, a couple who spent their honeymoon in Coron, then decided to go back and live there to strengthen the church. Elder Adduru has been serving as Branch President since the Nepomucenos moved to Manila for their children's education. The branch has a church building and many dedicated missionaries have served there, including Elder and Sister Duford who really poured their heart and soul into the branch.

 These are the stairs up the hill to the Sisters' apartment.

               It's quite a climb every day for them to go back home.

 One of the reasons President went to Coron was to look at the land the government is giving to residents of the island who want to settle the inner part of the island.  It is good farming land, but most of the island's residents are fishermen and live from day to day.  It would be a big lifestyle change.  There are many members of the Coron branch who live in shacks built out on the water illegally.  The government wants them to resettle on the farmland.  President was looking into how
this might work to bless their lives, and how the church and other members might be able to support them in making this huge change.

 This is Alvin and Cherie's home they built and take great care of.  Cherie has even planted grass and all sorts of flowers and plants around the house.  Grass is a very rare thing in the Philippines.

 One of the members, Alvin, and his wife, Cherie, bake pan de sal and other delicious baked goods.  He made this oven himself and his wife is a great baker.  The oven is made with a double barrel, so the smoke does not get on the food.

 Other than being extremely covered with jungle overgrowth, the land is perfect.  They even have a stream going through the land.

This brother has been working on clearing his land for months.  All they have to do the work is a bolo knife.  They work every day to get money to buy food to eat, and they try to squeeze in time to clear land.

 This is another family that is already farming the land.  We wish we had some more senior couples who know how to farm in this climate to help the members get a good start!

 On the plane on the way to Coron, President Ostler met a couple.  The lady is a member and her boyfriend is not.  President invited them to meet him and the sister missionaries the next morning at the top of Mt. Tapyas (700 stair steps up) for a brief devotional.  The next morning, they were there and everyone had a great time meeting them.

 One of the sweet blessings of this call is the opportunity for President to interview families as they receive the Melchezidek priesthood and prepare for the temple.

 Another choice blessing is meeting with returned missionaries.  Sorry, Sister Geronimo...we missed getting your picture!