Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Where's Jeff?

Many of you have asked where Jeff has been.

Well here's the story.

Jeff and I were here in the Philippines for General Conference in February. We were here to try and find a place to live for our family and then planned on coming back in a few months to stay. Well, little did I know I would be returning 2 weeks later with Melani and Kendra. My friend Melani was asked to speak at a Ladies Conference in Iloilo City. To make a long story short, I just couldn't let them come here all by themselves. I just had to come with them. So I did. That was on March 10th. We travelled to Manila, Bacolod, Iloilo and back to Manila where we met Jordan and Kori. Then we all went up to Baguio to spend some R&R time.

The reports that are coming in from the Ladies Conference are so incredible. I will be posting them shortly. There were miracles of all kinds. God surely met us there. They had a record crowd in that region. It was good to be with them all.

So, I left Jeff at home in Alexandria on March 10th. That was 3 weeks ago. I know they say to never say never, but I can safely say, "NEVER" again will I be gone from him 3 weeks. I miss him. It doesn't help that I'm in a country that loves him very much and everywhere I go they ask me, "When is Sir Jeff coming?" You see this country is where Jeff has spent most of his growing up days. He loves it here and so do I. Tomorrow is the day that Jeff arrives. I get a special pass to get into the airport, thanks to our friend Captain Mayor!!!!

We will be very busy the first couple of months here. We have a lot of ground to cover. We are scheduled to go from the North to the South in a very short period of time. We're excited though. Jordan and Kori are ready to go with us. I'm thankful that they are here with us. Morgan will be one day. He's starting to feel what we've been feeling for some time now.

So that's the answer to your questions regarding why Jeff is not in any of our pictures. Keep checking back, he'll be in pictures soon.

More Random Pictures

Jordan taking picture of place where youth camp is at in a few weeks and the speaker is Matt Maddix. Kendra, what were you saying???????

Jordan-the official photographer.

They always had time for smile. Keep smilin girls!

Jordan and Kendra having a heart to heart conversation.

We were sitting at a rest area McDonald's and in walked in about 30 church people, and instantly Kendra's table was full of "new" friends. She never met a stranger.

I think there were praying over their food at TGIF'S.

K & K--always friends.

Farewell hug.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Our last day in Baguio and some random pictures

Baguio City

Wood Carver

Kori and Kendra-K&K-

They always have the best times together

K&K on Jeepney

Riding a Jeepney was a highlight for all of us

Then the flood.....

Eating Strawberries from Baguio. They came straight from the patch.

Kori, Kendra, and Jordan at Starbucks at Robinson's Mall in Manila.

Me and my Doll Kori.

I love this picture. They always smile.

Kendra, Kori, and Melani at the American Cemetery in Manila.

Kendra, Kori, and Jordan at Krispy Kreme in Manila.

THEY SAID this was their scared face. We left them alone in the van to buy bus tickets.

Greenbelt in Manila.

Melani and Me in Manila.

Jordan and Kori at bus terminal in Manila.

K&K on bus to Baguio

Peter Rabbit the Porter

Mark and Kori. Read about Mark on Melani's blog at questmiles.blogspot.com

Melani checking in one of our hotels.

Wherever they are, they will be having fun and taking pictures.

Jordan at breakfast in Baguio

Church in Baguio. Pastor Eugene and Jimma Banez. Great people!

Kori, Kendra, Jimma and Eugene Banez

I love that girl!!! She is missing her dad....she said so tonight.

Strawberry patch in Baguio

The Manor in Baguio

We didn't even have to tell the restaurant we were coming they would just reserve us a table

Working thru computer issues together

Kori and Melani in the Strawberry Patch

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Things I saw on my 6:45 a.m. walk today. Jeff wrote some things about this area.

The Manor at Camp John Hay - Baguio, Philippines

From WWI to WWII to the Korean War and the Vietnam war, Camp John Hay was the oasis of peace in the wilderness of war. This Mile High retreat in the northern mountains of Luzon island is now the summer vacation spot of the Philippines. The typical heat of this tropical country is left behind the further you climb until you get the sense of Colorado in summer time. Cool evenings and glorious days.

Really cool chess set in lobby of hotel

It seems everything grows here. A walk over the rolling hills is quite a work out but well worth it for the views you will see.

Simply beautiful

When I was a boy growing up, this was the one place my family was able to truly escape to for a vacation. When the sun came up, it was father and sons, headed for the golf course. There was always a heavy morning dew on the ground and many days, fog blanketed the lower lying areas. It seemed impossibly calm, quiet and cool, to this lowland, city slicker raised in a city of 14 million.

Jack Nicklaus' Golden Bear International redesigned this course a few years back and everyone says it is awesome. However, I will miss the old layout that I knew so well. Back in those days they would let us bring our two German Shepherds, Apache and Raider, to run while we golfed. On holes 8 and 9 there were some agressive blue birds that didn't like our dogs and without fail, every day, they would swoop down and peck our dog's heads while screeching out a warning.

And... I will miss the 3rd hole, the infamous, dastardly, diabolical "Cardiac Hill." The green was at least 400 feet ABOVE the tee box! It was so steep that there was a large hemp rope that wound around pulleys and would literally pull the golfers up the hill. In those days there were no golf carts either. They would not have been able to navigate the extreme hills. Good thing Cardiac Hill was early on in the round because if it were later, I am sure there would be some that would have just said, "Forget about it!! I ain't doing that!!!"
One day my dad and I were on the tee box waiting for the sun to come up and we finished out 54th hole of the day as the sun was going down. What were we thinking?!!? 3 times up Cardiac Hill in one day?

I remember that one day my brother Gerry had an errant shot and it skipped across the road at a high rate of speed (maybe this very road) and smacked into the back of an unsuspecting jogger. "Wack!!!" We could hear the sound of that ball hitting the poor lady in her back from a long way off.
When we got to the lady, she lay on the side of the road, in the grass, writhing in pain. I heard Gerry say, "Shoot!! That's my math teacher!!"
And it was. Gerry has some 'splanin' to do.

On the way up the winding road to Baguio you are greeted by many sights. One of them are waterfalls. (Not like this man made one, but real torrents spouting out of various mountains and cliffs.

I'm so glad they posted that sign....

Also, on the road to Baguio, you look over the edge, (no guard rails in many places) and can see the rocky ravine so far below. You can see the mangled, rusting remains of buses, jeepeny's and cars that sure would have appreciated some guard rails.

Brenda literally anointed all four bus tires with oil before she got on. She also found a way to sneakily anoint the bus driver with oil. He didn't know what that oily spot on his back was, but vaguely remembers a white lady clumsily tripping over something and her hand hitting his back. He thinks to himself, "The weird thing is that she said, 'In Jesus Name.'" as she stumbled.

There are many legends of Japanese gold bried up in these far,
blue mountains. In fact, as legend has it, President Ferdinand Marcos,
(husband of the woman with all the shoes) purchased his way to power
in the early 1960s with some of this fabled treasure. It does make sense
since this former WWII solider, who had no great political connections,
family wealth, or power, could suddenly, one day have enough money to
do ANYTHING he wanted.
I heard from an old man who claims to have seen that very treasure
with his own eyes that there was a solid gold Buddha that must have
weighed a ton or more and gems and artifacts from all over the South

In the closing months of World War II, in the Philippines, several of Japan's highest ranking imperial princes hid tons of looted gold bullion and other stolen treasure in caves and tunnels, to recover later. This was the wealth of 12 Asian countries, accumulated over thousands of years that they had robbed in the early years of the war. Expert teams accompanying Japan's armed forces had systematically emptied treasuries, banks, factories, private homes, pawn shops, art galleries, and stripped ordinary people, while Japan's top gangsters looted Asia's underworld and its black economy. When American tanks were close, the chief engineers of those vaults were given a farewell party 67 metres underground in Tunnel 8 in the mountains of Luzon, stacked with row after row of gold bars. As the evening progressed, they drank great quantities of sake, sang patriotic songs and shouted banzai (long life)."He went on to say, "At midnight, General Yamashita Tomoyuki and the princes slipped out, and dynamite charges were set off in the access tunnels, entombing the engineers. Their vaults would remain secret."
Apparently the young Ferdinand Marcos was watching from his hideout as this drama was being played out, and years later, it financed him to power.

Now imagine a young boy, (me) growing up hearing of stories like this, from old men
over faded and worn chess tables, on countless evenings... oh yea, when I looked out
cross those mountains I wondered every time, "I wonder if I am looking at one of those
sights right now." Gold. What an allure it has.
I must admit that at time I might still might wonder if I am looking at the very spot
where those treasure tunnels were.

The history between the Philippines and America is long and complex, like crazy
cousins who love each other but at times, MAN do they bug each other! For the most
part, the love between the Filipino and the American is strong. WWII saw some of the
greatest stories of loyalty and dedication being on exhibition between the Filipino and
American soldier. Their mutual respect was high and the Filipino Scouts were some
of the most courageous fighters in the entire war, according to those who fought beside

Statue of Abraham Lincoln

Manuel Quezon

The path I took on my walk this morning.