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E-Mails/Letters

From Mom & DadApril 2009

If you get some that I donít post & want to just send it to

Jen@fitzgarrald.com

4/6/09

Dear Family and Friends,

We just arrived at the office and are enjoying the emails you've written.  It is quiet yet, here, so I am going to try to get this off in one sitting.

We spent our P-day, yesterday, on another adventure.  Three of us couples hired a driver to take us to the Taal Volcano, which proved to be a very enjoyable trip.  It is located south of Manila, close to Tagaytay (pronounced ta guy ty) about two hours from us.  It is a less populated area, with more undeveloped country and forests.  I haven't researched the site to know when it happened, but sometime, maybe centuries ago, the Taal Mountain was the tallest volcano in the world, at 18 thousand feet.  It erupted much like Mt. St. Helens, and now is only less than 7 thousand feet high.  It sits out in the middle of a huge lake, a little bigger than Utah Lake.  To get there, you rent a boat, with outriggers, which takes about 15 minutes, a beautiful ride.  After you land, you rent a horse that takes you up the mountain side. The climb is about 15 hundred feet and fairly steep. The horses have to work pretty hard and only make one trip a day, as do the guides.  A guide is with each horse.  My guide was a fifteen year old girl, out of school for the summer.  Her family lives there on the island year round.  The conditions are pretty meager, with no electricity or running water.  At the top, you look down into a huge cauldron to see the remnants of the cone sitting isolated in the middle, surrounded by a small lake.  It all is a spectacular view.  In scattered areas of the lake are fenced in fish farms, as the water is quite clear and clean.  We returned to the dock, a forked tree, sticking out into the water.  The people really try hard to find a way to feed their families.  We passed many fields of pineapple and lots of banana orchards.  They pretty much grow wild, and it looks much like jungle.  People with long, skinny poles harvest a number of small fruits and nuts wherever there is such growth.  They are a resilient people.

We had a delicious lunch and drove back to the PAO, and then on to the apartment.  It was really a fun day; the two other couples are so fun to be around.  One is from Sacramento, and the legal advisers of the mission, and the other, from Pleasant Grove, Utah, retired business people. 

This week will be a short one, as Holy Week begins on Thursday here, and the country about shuts down until Tuesday of next week, Monday being a national holiday. It will allow us a little more time to get some of the training of the consultants out in the field planned for the next month or two. 

Today and tomorrow will be very busy days, so I'd better get this off.

It is good to hear from you; we always look forward to the news.  Hope all are well, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, and taking good care of each other.  We appreciate your faith and prayers.  You are always in our thoughts and prayers.   Love you.

                                                      YFM E/S Fitz 

4/9/09

Dear Kids,

 As I turned out the bedroom lights, last night, I noticed the moonlight on my computer desk. I went over & sat down and thought about the same moonlight drifting into the windows of my children's homes and like it used to at the Farm. I have been rereading the 4 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John and the week leading up to Easter Sunday. I was raised reading the stories of Jesus and it brought back memories of Grandma & Pa & Grandma Bee & how they raised me with a testimony of Jesus from not only what they said, but by the example they set. You kids have inherited a great Legacy of Faith from both our sides of the family & we pray that all of our Grandchildren will have that same inheritance from you, their parents.

 Several years ago, I made a binder with pictures of the Savior and xeroxed off chapters of the Gospels depicting His final week. Our Liahona Magazine had the pictures from different artists about the Savior & that was really good to have in place of my book.

 Please take a few minutes and read the chapter headings from Matthew, Mark, Luke and John to easily summarize, for the grandchildren, what happened before Easter Sunday and the Resurrection. What happened each day?  Do you remember?

 These are precious days to remember our Savior, Jesus Christ & the events

leading up to His death and resurrection which gives us immortality and eternal life.

 In each of the Gospels, there are many of the same reports made about what happened

this week to Jesus. These vary and there are some extra insights also added. 

 *Jesus rides Triumphant into Jerusalem. Palm Sunday.

*The Passover - do you remember the Ten Commandments & what happened?

*The Last Supper with his disciples.

*The Sacrament administered to his disciples

*Judas leaves to betray Jesus.

*Jesus & the other disciples sing a hymn and go to the Mount of Olives.

*Jesus goes a little further to the Garden of Gethsemane and prays.

*An Angel comes to comfort him.

*Jesus sweat as if great drops of  blood

*Judas comes with a multitude and betrays Him.

*Jesus is taken to the Jewish tribunal to be questioned.

*He is taken to Pilate, then Herod, then back to Pilate.

*Scourged & Crucified.

*Dies on the cross and is buried.

*Resurrection on the 3rd day.

 Start in Matthew Chapter 21 - Jesus rides in triumph into Jerusalem. The Jews who believed him hails as the Son of David and the Prophet of Nazareth - this is on Palm Sunday, which was last Sunday. Ch. 26 talks about the Passover - remember the Ten Commandments and the Jews in Egypt - they even celebrate the Passover today. Jesus institutes the Sacrament with his disciples. Judas betrays him & leaves. Jesus and the other disciples sing a hymn and go out to the Mount of Olives until they come to a place called Gethsemane where

Jesus goes a little further to pray. 3 times he returns to his disciples & finds them asleep - are we ever asleep when the Savior comes to us? Judas comes with the multitude and betrays Jesus with a kiss and they take Him away. In Ch. 27 the Chief Priests and Elders of the Jews counsel against Jesus and then take him to Pilate the governor. Pilate questions Jesus and finds no fault with him, but the Jews demand that Jesus be crucified and even say, "His blood be on us, and on our children." They ask for the thief Barabbas to be released. Jesus is scourged and delivered to be crucified.

 Mark 11:7 - rides into Jerusalem. Ch 14:14-18 eats the Passover & says that one will betray Him. v. 22 the first Sacrament. v.26  Jesus and the Apostles sing a hymn and go out to the Mount of Olives. v. 30 Jesus tells Peter that he will deny Him before the Cock crows twice. v. 32 they go into Gethsamene to pray and He took Peter, James & John with Him. v. 43 Judas came & betrayed Jesus. Ch. 15 Pilate judges Christ and has Him scourged.v. 22 they take Jesus to Golgotha. v. 33 darkness comes from 6-9 for 3 hours. v 37 Jesus dies. Ch. 16 Jesus is Resurrected.

 In Luke Ch. 19 it tells of Jesus riding into Jerusal and weeping over the City, He knew that it would be destroyed and the people killed or taken away as slaves. Here Mark says that the people said "Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord".  In Ch. 22 repeats the story of the Passover and eating the Last Supper with his disciples and giving them the first Sacrament. He talks to Peter about his denying Christ and Peter can't imagine this happening. They go out and pray....this is a very special verse 43 and I actually found a picture by Karl Block a German painter of the angel with Christ in the Garden of Gethsame comforting him. It is very touching and you can find it on the internet. Here in v. 44 is the only reference detailing the agony of Christ's suffering in Gethsame where "he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground."

This is where Jesus felt all of our sins, sorrows, pains, sickness, trials and troubles and it was so great that it was hard for Him to bear, but He did because He had made that

commitment in the Pre-Existance to be our Savior and He kept His promise to us so that we can all have the opportunity of immortality and eternal life if we will accept the gospel, be baptized, go to the Temple and live our lives with the companionship of the Holy Ghost.

Ch. 23 Christ is taken before Pilate, and here it talks about his being crucified between the two thieves & their conversation. v. 46 Jesus willing gives up His spirit to Heavenly Father and v. 47 the centurion guarding him even said, "Certaily this was a righteous man".

 John 12:1-2 & 13 talks about what was happening 6 days before the Passover where He ate with Mary and Martha and Lazarus their brother whom Jesus had just raised from the dead. 5 days before the Passover he rode triumphant into Jerusalem where the people said, "Blessed is the King of Israel. In Ch. 12:28 this is the only recording of Heavenly Father speaking about glorifying His Son. Thursday was the Passover. Ch. 13 the Last Supper and Judas left to go to the Jews. Ch. 18 Jesus takes the Disciples over the Book Cedron to a Garden. Judas betrays Jesus and Jesus is taken before Annas and questioned and then sent to Caiaphas - (both Jewish leaders who also want Jesus killed.) Peter denies knowing Christ and the Cock crows. Pilate releases Barabbas. Ch. 19 Christ is scourged and takes cross to Golgotha & is butied in tomb of Joseph of Arimathaea. Ch. 20 Christ is Resurrected.

  I leave this testimony and feelings of my heart about Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer to all you kids and Grandchildren. My love is real and deep for all of you. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 Mom/Grandma

 

4/10/09

Dear Jen,

 I cannnot tell you how happy I am to get your EM I miss you terribly and being able

to help with the children or anything, I always loved being with you.   I miss my little sweeties

& wish I was there to entertain Arianna so she wouldn't get into so many things. ha

 Go into our pictures and print off the one where we are standing with the Manila Temple in the background, maybe Arianna would like that one.  My Picassa has been a problem for a month because it will not let me click on it - it has like a film over it & the cursor just bounces off.

I was sending pictures from our trip to Bagio last month and it took forever to send, it was only

3 or 4 & then it stopped and I haven't been able to get it up since.  Do you have any suggestions?

I am still learning about all of these "gadgets" but I am trying.

 I am sorry that Iuli is such a pill - I think that I'd better have a talk with him - I know  that Megan

has but I don't know why he keeps doing it or where he gets the scissors. I guess that is one

way he gets attention and doesn't care about the consequences.

 The Area Presidency is gathering here at the Conference Room and will start with Priesthood Session here in a few minutes and then have Sat.'s sessions and a potluck and then Sun. we

will gather here again for Sunday's sessions. There is a nice group to meet with so we have

good friends here which is really nice.

 One of the new couples is from Pleasant Grove. They are the Jenkins & live up by the "G".

Sister Jenkins' brothers went to school with Sister Gunther, so it is fun to have a couple to

talk to that are from our area. There are tons of members on Missions here from Utah.

 I am sorry that you have not been having good luck with injuries - or should I say that you have

been having too much luck getting them.  Will this surgery in June correct all of your

knee problems?  That is great news about your track team, so happy that they are doing

so well - of course, we know they have the best coach

 We are really proud of Jayden doing so well, I want so much for him to be a happy little boy & he has so much to discover.  What are his favorite activities now?

 Thanks for the Easter wish and what will you & Jeremy be doing for this weekend?  How are

things going for Jeremy at work?  Are they going to be able to give him the raise that you two

were looking forward to? Are you still planning on quitting the paper soon?  I hope you can Jen,

I know there are enough other things to keep you busy, just wish they were all paying jobs.

 Love & hugs to you & Jeremy & the Kids,

Mom & Dad Fitz 

 

4/11/09

Dear Kids,

 Dad & I were watching the beautiful full moon rise again from the eastern horizon out our bedroom window. How fast it climbs the evening sky. I brought up lds.org & we watched the Easter video from Elder Holland, what a touching message about the Savior. I then started watching some of the other videos & wanted to share them with you & your families.

 The Savior's Resurrection and appearance in the Americas to the Nephites is really the "rest of the story", the week after the events in Jerusalem are some of the most glorious recorded. Jesus visited his Covenant People in America & would perform miracles like He had in Jerusalem, establish His Church, call Disciples and pray for the Nephites & minister to their children along with the Angels. All of these happenings recorded in "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" the Book of Mormon. You and your children are the "Children of the Covenant" and can have the blesssings, miracles and comfort that you need in your lives. God will help you through your challenges, over them, around them or take them away or give you the strength to endure them. You all have great faith & courage & determination to make "goals" - you know what it takes. Now, it is time to make Eternal Goals - you know the routine & you will have to give it your all just like out on the Soccer field. Remember, "Born to Win"! .

I know this is the time & place to defend your faith, your families & coutry. We are all here to help each other. I leave my Testimonywith you that with God all things are possible. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 Please see if these directions will work for you! 

 *After watching the Easter video "None were with Him" there are choices that pop up on the same screen. Click on "Jesus Christ appears in Ameica" (from The Testaments". It changes titles quickly, so if you lose it, on the right side click on the little arrow to bring it up. (If all else fails, start the Easter movie again, fast forward to the end & the 2nd movie title will come up again.)

 *When this movie ends, click on "What Mormons really Know" - each Apostle & First Presidentcy give a one - two liner Powerful Testimony about the Savior. It brought to mind how each one in our Family could also bear their Testimony about the Savior and record it for all of us to have - wouldn't that also be awesome with a picture & our testimony!

 *Use the back arrow at the top of the page on the left to bring the screen back so you can choose "Jesus Christ Appears in America, the Book......" The title is on the right side as an option. It shows the children & Jesus from 3 Nephi and the miracles that Jesus performed.

The children in these movies remind me of the grand kids and tugs at my heart as their little hands touch the Savior's.

 There is probably an easier way to get to these few movies, but this is how I did it and I hope that you will all take a few minutes, because they are only a few minutes in length each, and watch them with the grand kids since we are not there to watch it with you and them.

 Thank you,

 Mom & Dad Fitz  

 

4/11/09

Dear Kids,

 We just got through listening to the Sunday morning session of Conference. We are here at the PAO office with the other

couple missionaries and are listening to the rebroadcast of Conference. Dad & I had listened to Sat.'s talks last week

and then again yesterday, but not Sunday.

 So, you imagine my delight as Elder Uchtdorf  started his talk off with reminding us about the last week's

happenings in the Savior's life.

 Then, the Easter talk by Elder Holland was one of the greatest I've ever heard and between Elder Uchtdorf and Elder

Holland, they really said what I was trying to tell you kids about my testimony of the Savior. What a witness to me

that the Spirit also spoke to my Soul and brought back to my remembrance the Savior's life & this is what they were

feeling also.  I wasn't repeating their talks, I hadn't even heard them til this morning.

 The talks of Elder Holland, Pres. Uchtdorf and Pres. Monson were so powerful and touched our hearts, everyone was

very touched and we will never be the same because the Spirit was so strong and they are truly especial witnesses

of the Savior.

 Now, we are going to watch the afternoon session & I know the Spirit will continue with us. I am grateful, very

grateful to my Heavenly Father for all of you, for my Savior, for His Gospel and our Ancestors and to have America

as the promised land to live in and for our Mission here in the Philippines which is filled with people who love Jesus

Christ.

Hugs and kisses,

 Mom

 

4/13/09

Hi,

 When can we Skype call and wish Jayden a Happy Birthday?  We can call on a morning before we leave for

work, which will be 4:00 or 4:30 your time.  Later, we have meetings all day. What is your schedule for this week?

 Hope you had a nice Easter.  What did the kids do?  I really missed being with everyone coloring the eggs and

watching the kids find them. I know last year we were in Colorado and California -who would have dreamed that

we would be in the Philippines for this Easter!  We should have made some eggs & then made some deviled

eggs.  Jeremy, do you remember Gabe & all of the Easter eggs he used to eat???  I think that you used to eat

a lot of them too.  And, all of the eggs Grandma used to make and you kids hide and found at the Farm?

 Let me know what will work out for talking with Jayden.

 Love & hugs to you all,

 Mom & Dad Fitz 

 

4/16/09

Dear Family and Friends,

We got your pictures of the Thursday snowstorm there.  Even our American friends here don't believe us.  Keep your snowblowers and shovels handy; it may not be over yet. 

We had a marvelous experience this week.  A neighboring city, Marikina, asked the Church late last year if we would be interested in helping them set up a Family History Center in one of their city buildings and make it available to its citizens to do family research.  The mayor, a very determined lady, had been instrumental in changing the complexion of the city, clearing out the squatters, resettling them, helping new businesses move in, repaving streets, upgrading city buildings, and etc., making it an unusually attractive place for people to live.  There is a sense of pride there like nowhere else in the Philippines.  They are celebrating the 379th anniversary of the tribal clans' festival.  She wanted badly to open the center for this celebration.  Much work has gone into the center.  We were among the guests invited to the ribbon cutting ceremony that took place yesterday.  This is the first municipal center of its kind in all of Asia.  The Church furnished the computers, readers, printers, desks, the microfilm records, and a few other things for the center.  The Mayor was very complimentary of the Church for its contribution.  It was a wonderful ceremony.  We hope it will be just the first center of its kind here.  We will furnish the city from our library of 80,000 rolls of microfilmed records. 

We held a conference with our couple service missionaries yesterday afternoon.  Some of them traveled for ten hours by bus to get here.  They are so dedicated to the work.  We are getting our center ready for a tour of 50 youth tomorrow morning at 7:00 A.M.

Well, keep the home fires burning.  Take good care of each other.  Write when you have a chance; it is always  fun to hear how everyone is doing.  Love you,

                                E/S Fitz

 

4/19/09

Hi Everyone,

These are pictures from last Thursday when we had our Grand Opening for the Marikina Family History Center than I think Dad/Garlan told you about. The Mayor is very beautiful and is a very good person. She likes the fact that the LDS promotes the Family and researching the Ancestors. This is the 1st City in Asia/Pacific to ask for a FHC in a city building.

Love ya,

Mom & Dad:)

Hi,

These are pictures from the WW II War Memorial where Mike Hammon's grave is and Earnest Fields name is on the Wall for the MIA's. Grandpa & Grandma Bartling went here to visit the graves & memorial, I thought about them and the visit as Dad & I made the trip.

Love,

Mom & Dad:)

 

4/27/09

Saturday morning.

Dear Family and Friends,

It is a beautiful morning here at the Center.  Sis. Fitz is busy, helping the patrons, while I'm doing the busy office stuff.  We just introduced the center to about 18 or 20 primary children and their mothers a few minutes ago.  The children are so cute.  We close on Saturdays at 2:00, though it is usually later than that before we leave,but we are going to find something exciting to do this afternoon.  The markets are really interesting and have the most delicious fruits and vegetables.  They have a number of fruits and vegetables that we had never seen before coming to the islands.  We have salads and fruit every day, sometimes three times a day.  Wish we could share them with you.  We will have a late lunch out today. 

The fast food hamburger places are funny here.  They all have spagetti, rice, meat sauce, and etc., along with the usual hamburger and fries menu.  Prices are a little cheaper than at home.  If you order a hamburger though, you get rice and a little cup of gravy with it.  Everything comes with rice!!!  I haven't tried the spagetti since we have your mom's delicious spagetti at home. 

We just had a loud roll of thunder; I guess we will get another shower today, the sixth in the last seven days.  It doesn't normally do this in the summer, they say, but it sure has been soaking things here this week.  I love to see it rain.  It makes everything so fresh.  In the outlining towns, where the roads are only two lanes wide, and uneven, without storm drains, the water often gets four to eight inches deep and flows down the streets.  The vehicles send it cascading over everything close, with motorbikes and trikes getting the worst of it.  The sidewalks get vacant fast, as they are usually only four or five feet wide and border the curbs.  The open markets either shut down fast or put a cover above the produce or it gets a royal rinsing off.  Business goes on as usual though.  They start at first light and close when it gets dark.  What is really remarkable is that you might see workmen on the street with soiled clothes from their labors, but any other time, everyone is so clean and neat.  Only the nice hotels and the welloff have hot water in their homes.  Even apartments do not have hot water in their sinks.  We get hot water in the shower, where an electric heater warms the water as it flows into the shower pipes.  We heat water to wash the dishes.  Tap water isn't always drinkable, so we have a special filter system to be sure; we also buy bottled water to drink.  Ex-pats, as Americans who come here for various reasons are called, haven't built up an immunity for the various sickness that the natives aren't bothered by.  That is why we are careful not to eat from the vendors on the streets.  When you buy fruits and vegetables, you always rinse them off in water you have chlorinated. 

Tuesday morning.

We had an enjoyable weekend.  Last night, we had a speaker at our Monday night fireside, who started an outstanding humanitarian program that has enabled the poorest shanty town dwellers to build their own homes, so far, 1700 homes.  He recently received the Asian equivalent of the Nobel Peace Prize and an award of a similar nature from the Church.  Several years ago, he went to Salt Lake City to see the humanitarian program of the Church and to BYU to learn about the Ezra Taft Benson Institute efforts around the world.  We will send a cd of what his program is doing. 

He has long been partnered with Catholic Couples for Christ,  Maybe we as family and friends, can become involved somehow.  The fifteen or so couple missionaries here are excited to do whatever we can.  If anyone has an idea, we would like to hear about it.

Well, it is time to get after it here.  Hope you are all well and happy.  We are fine.  We think about you often, thankful for such a great family and wonderful friends.  Lord be with you.             E/S, Mom and Dad Fitz