Monday, May 29, 2017

Reunion in the Philippines

Tuesday, June 16th

At the Mission Home with my Batch and President & Sister Mangum

All of my batchmates and I woke up early to prepare to go to the temple.  Of course all of us were excited to go to the temple and to go home, but I was especially excited to see my parents for the first time in 18 months.  We were ready and at the mission home by 8:00 am to eat a big breakfast of eggs, rice (naturally), and fruit.  We crammed all of our luggage and ourselves in three different jeepneys.  There were 25 of us missionaries going home, which is the largest outgoing batch that President and Sister Mangum had ever seen.

Elder Milligan & Me

Me, Sister Galbraith & Sister Johnson
Elder Perez & Me

In the Jeepney on our way to the Temple and Home

Elder Perry, Elder Perez, Elder Milligan, Elder Kikel, Sister Johnson, and I were in a jeepney together and we laughed and joked the whole drive to the temple.

 However, while we were trying to plot how they could distract my mom and dad while I snuck behind them to scare them, our jeepney was pulled over by some cops on the highway.  All of a sudden we notice our driver behind the jeepney looking a little uneasy as he talked to about 4 policeman.  We were trying to make out their conversation, but all we could hear was our driver apologizing over and over to them.  FInally we see him pull out a few thousand pesos, hand it over to the cops, and they walk away without any questions.  The whole thing was sketchy but characteristic of our experience in the Philippines.  We laughed it off and we were to the temple within 15 more minutes.

 Meeting my Parents at the Manila Temple
We get out of the Jeepney and I was hiding behind a few cars scanning all the temple grounds for my parents.  I was really excited to see them.  I hugged a few of my other batch mates from the MTC and finally I spot the gray and the curly, dark brown hair!  I run up to them, still trying to be sneaky, but it was too late.  They saw me.  It felt so good to see them, hug them, and hear their voices, but it also felt strange to see them in the land of the Philippines.  I talked to them, and to other missionaries who were also there going home.  I felt really excited and a bit distracted and overstimulated by everything and everyone around me.  I looked back at the jeepney, which was holding our luggage, and it was parked in the corner.  I figured that it would stay there until we left.  We went inside to make a reservation for a session, came back out, talked to more people, and all of a sudden I noticed that all of our luggage was out and the jeepney that we rode up was leaving the parking lot.
Everything would have been fine, except for the fact that on the way up I slipped my scriptures into a shelf in the back of the jeepney, thinking that it would be a good safe place for them.  But I knew that because they were put in such an inconspicuous spot, those unloading the jeepney wouldn’t have seen them or taken them off for me.
Sister Maagad, me & Elder Adamson
My heart dropped!! Would I lose my scriptures forever?  Of all my material possessions, those were the most important to me.  Not only had I had them hand-rebound designed in leather, but they were also filled with all of my precious revelations that I had received throughout my mission.  I looked at my dad in shock asking him if anyone had grabbed them, but of course he had no clue.  I freaked out.  I looked at the jeepney leaving and without any second thought, took off running after it.  Our nice driver, Edwin, accompanied me on this frantic jog.  We probably looked like lunatics running for our lives after it - me, a blonde american, and our little, middle-aged, Filipino driver.  I was NOT going to let that jeepney leave without making sure that I had my scriptures.
Sister Johonson, Me & my Mom
I was screaming, “Kuya! Kuya!! (brother! brother!)” to try and get his attention.  We ran the whole length of the parking lot when it started to slow down and I got my hopes up that I would be able to retrieve them successfully.  It stopped to pay for the parking, but right as we were about to reach it, it started to pull out into the highway for good!! I was shocked at the sequence of events.  I screamed all the more desperately and finally it slammed to a stop to look behind and see what a crazy american like me was yelling about.  I grabbed them, said thanks, and walked away hugging them and saying, “Thank you Heavenly Father!  Thank you Heavenly Father!!!”  I got back to my parents who weren’t the least bit surprised at what had happened.  They laughed and said, “Typical Haley; hasn’t changed a bit.”
That was a great miracle for me.

Sister Maggad & Me
We did a session with some of my batch mates, and Sister Maagad (who came to Sta. Cruz and Manilla just to see me and meet my parents).  Afterwards we took her to dinner at a nice american restaurant, dropped her off, and headed back to Pagsanjan in order to go to the hotel.
We were so lucky to have Edwin.  I don’t know what we would have done without him.  He helped us get to places fast and efficiently.  He was kind and courteous.  He would do everything in his power to make sure we were safe and happy.
By the time we got to Pagsanjan, it was very dark.  We pulled up to our hotel which looked a little bit scary.  But Edwin got out before us and checked it out.  It was all fine.  We got all of our luggage in there and went to sleep pretty fast because we were so tired.

Our Driver Edwin Partosa Redrino

Unloading at our first Bed & Breakfast, Edwin made sure it was safe before we went in.

A funeral procession

Part of the funeral procession

These churches are everywhere by the LDS chapels

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