Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Week one is Done

It has been an eventful week for the Elder and Sister Wolcott. We left the MTC at 3:30 AM MDT, Flew from SLC to LA and then cooled our heels from about 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM. Our flight crew to Hong Kong had crew rotation issues so our flight was delayed five hours. This caused us to miss our Hong Kong to Manila flight so we had to stay overnight in Hong Kong. The accommodations were nice, but the night was short because we had to be at the airport at 5:40 AM for our flight to Manila. We arrived in Manila at 10:30 AM on Wednesday, just 12 hours later than planned.
In SLC we met our traveling companions; Elder and Sister Hansen and Elder and Sister Simon.


After arriving in Manila we stayed at a motel in Quezon City, a few Kilometers from the Manila Temple. Day One was a rest day and trying to adjust to the jet lag. Thursday we processed our immigration paperwork which took 20 minutes of time and about 3 hours of driving.  The traffic is interesting. 

This picture is from the front of our motel, during a relatively quiet period. My observations: Traffic lanes are suggestions only, even the center double striped lines dividing the direction; Blinkers are optional – probably an American; He who hesitates is lost – point your nose the way you want to go and … go; Give way as necessary; Don’t be in a hurry, it may take an hour to go a kilometer; Go with the flow; Don’t get wrapped around the axle when  motorcycles pass on both sides of you, or cut across between your car and the next; Philippines means patience.
On Friday morning, during rush hour (a period of time, no one is ‘rushing” anywhere) our driver pulled into this chaos with barely a pause, drove across three lanes and made a left turn.

Of interest: There are relatively very few accidents and no one gets angry. It works as well as possible in this metropolis. In short we Americans can learn a lot about how things can work differently.
After we finished our immigration processing Elder and Sister Simon and Sister Wolcott and I went to the Manila Temple. It is the same design as the Boise Temple, but is much smaller.

Members getting on a jeepeney at the temple

Friday morning we got our Philippines Driver license.  

For our friends in Libby and Missoula that are disappointed and frustrated spending an hour getting a license:  This is the processing line at the LTO: NO air conditioning, 6 stations, Three hours. And we didn’t have to take a test! But we now have a license! But again the people are incredibly patient, kind and gracious. I'm not sure I want to drive in Manila though.

On Friday afternoon we met with President and Sister Ostler. We reviewed our assignments and a little of what to expect on the Palawan island.  

After dinner in the mission home Sister Wolcott and I went on a teaching assignment with Elder Hadley and Elder Wilson. A young investigator has committed to baptism; we continued teaching her and her two LDS friends about the atonement of Christ and the Restoration. For privacy reasons we will not share the names.  The investigator has the blue top, she is a sweet spirit. We met several ward members and the children were excited to meet us and shake our hands. Just as we were told the Filipino people are warm, somewhat shy, but love Americans. It was a great start!

We spent about an hour Saturday morning at the American Cemetery and Memorial. This was a spiritual experience, very similar to Arlington.  The sacrifice to retake the Philippines in WWII was tremendous!

On Saturday afternoon we flew to Puerto Princessa where we will live for the time being. President and Sister Hiatt met us at the airport and we started our training on the way to our bungalow.

We really appreciated their preparation and the detail. We also really appreciated the full pantry and being able to move into our cozy bungalow. It is very nice.

On Sunday we visited four branches, Puerto Princess 1 and 2 and Santa Monica 1 and 2 after that we came home, spent time reviewing transfer material with the Hiatts then went to a Family Home evening at a members home.

Monday, September 14, 2015

THE Mission Training Center is over and we are on the way!

It is 6:00 AM Monday September 14, 2015 and we are at the SLC airport. We left the MTC at 3:30 this morning and are on our way to Manila, expecting to arrive about 9:00 AM Mountain time Tuesday morning. The adventure begins.

The Mission Training Center experience was excellent. We made some good friends, met some incredible people and felt the Holy Ghost testify of the work. We enjoyed many tender mercies of God, not the least of which was being in the MTC the same time as our grandson Jarom Wolcott Junior. We saw him nearly every day, usually at meal time.

Possibly the most important thing we learned as Sister Wolcott said “We can do this, if we rely on The Lord”. We particularly liked the devotional with Bishop Causse’ and his Wife Valerie, as he reminded us to be bold without being overbearing. We also enjoyed a short video clip of Elder Bednar in which he counseled those concerned about being guided by the Holy Ghost to “quit worrying about it. If you are good boys and girls and are living the best you can you will be guided by the Holy Ghost.” And following the final devotional Sunday evening we watched another talk by Elder Bednar discussing the character of Christ. It was a one hour incredible learning experience. To summarize for this BLOG it is that Christ always reached outward to others as opposed to the natural man which focuses on oneself. Our goal is to put away the natural man and become like Christ, reaching outward to others.

Our District at the MTC
Elder and Sister Roberts, Elder and Sister Turner, Sister Eliason, (one of our teachers), Elder and Sister Harvey (District Leader) and Elder and Sister Wolcott

We are also impressed with being around 2,000 young men and women who are dedicating their lives to Christ, as young as 18 years old, their enthusiasm is contagious.

There were many more things which are too numerous to include here, but let it suffice to say that we are leaving the MTC spiritually fed and more confident that we can do the work.

Monday, September 7, 2015

First Day at the MTC

Boise Airport
We flew from Boise To SLC this morning at 6:30 AM, arriving at the Mission Training Center in Provo about 8:30 AM, well before our assigned arrival time. We appreciate the send off by Justice, Joanna, Chris, Jaymalee and McKenna who got up early enough to be at the airport at 5:00 AM.

Today was primarily orientation and getting to know other Senior Missionaries, there are 54 couples and 1 single sister that arrived today. It is fun to meet and talk about the different assignments and mission locations.

Among many other things we were encouraged and counseled to trust that the Lord will take care of our families, that when we are on the Lord's errand we will receive the Lord's help and that after years of meeting needs of our family this is a time to grow closer together.

We need to have a clear understanding of our purpose which is the training topic for tomorrow. But to be brief our purpose is to "Invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end."

We enjoyed the spirit of the Holy Ghost as it testified to us this day that Jesus Christ is our Savior and the Gospel has been restored to this earth.