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E-Mails/Letters

From Mom & DadJune 2009

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

Jen@fitzgarrald.com

6/5/09

Hi Kids,

 This is from my Skinner cousin in Oregon. She was born in Nebraska too so it's fun to have to talk about back home.

 Go to the very bottom of the EM & click on the link to the 50 States, it is very nice.  A Sister Graves just came in, she is a missionary from Murray. She is very sweet and as we talked about the Filipino people and the trials that they have, she told me that she & her companion were trying to save up $ to help a member who has only plastic and a clothes line for the walls of her home. It really made me cry because I know the missionaries don't have much $ & they were trying to save and I know the conditions that these people are living in especially during the rainy season. Dad gave me $20 to give her & she was surprised and happy. She said that they don't mind sacrificing to help because there are special blessings that come by doing that. We all know that is true.

Love ya,

Mom :)

Hi....be sure to click on these and see all of the beautiful scenery that is shown.  I have been to a big share of them.  The one that shows the Oregon Trail (Scottsbluff) in Nebraska is not very far from where my grandma and grandpa had their ranch and I use to go back and spend a summer with them occasionally.  It was so much fun.  They had no electricity, no indoor plumbing, etc and it was quite a challenge to live in those days.  I remember one summer my folks came back and dad put the plumbing in for their home, got the electricity in for them and they were so very thrilled!  As a child I thought it was fun taking candles back and forth to go to bed at night but that did get a little wearisome!  When my grandma got her first refrigerator she was so thrilled to be able to make ice!  She had an ice box and they had to have a cellar where they stored it after buying it earlier.  What a treat to have seen that as a child.

 My grandpa's place was a dropping off place earlier before his time...his dad, Richard Skinner had it... for the Pony Express.  He had a lot of cattle but kept only one saddle horse and the work horses.  When I was back there one summer, we had just moved from town to the country and I wanted a horse so badly.  One day I went out with grandpa to round up some cattle.  I was a Tomboy that is for sure as loved doing things like that.  Anyway, the next day he came in the house and told grandma that he had to go do some business and would be gone....she told me he was going to a farm sale later.   Anyway, that evening here he came, trailer behind his old pickup and in it was a saddle horse for me.  It was a dapple gray and just fabulous.  I hardly got off that horse the remainder of the time I was there with them :>)   Then when I came home to Oregon with the folks mom and dad bought me a saddle horse and I called him Snip.  Some of us use to go up on the hills behind Gray Blvd. and so riding all over.  Then of course, my dear friend, Doris, use to come out and go riding.  She learned how to ride UPRIGHT going up the hill one day.  We had a wonderful time her riding the work horse and me on my horse.  Remember Doris?   :>)    :>)    How could you forget huh? 

 We also had a horse when we lived below the folks.  We had a donkey too and one day Jay went riding with his dad and a friend and of course Jay had to go on the donkey.  Well, the guys went to the end of the field and their horses jumped across the ditch.  I guess the donkey got tired as it layed down right by the cement ditch....and Jay could not get it to move.  He was so mad.  So they took lasso's and pulled it up and took it back to the barn....

 

 6/5/09

Jen,

 How are things going?  Megan was so happy about going to see the Oquirrh Mt. Temple and take the children. It made

me cry again about the little children wanting to see Jesus!  Please tell me about the trip and what the children

felt.  Tell me your feelings too.

Last Sat. our Relief Society did an activity. We had Training in the afternoon so did not attend - wish I would have.

They made "Paper Charcoal"  which would be easy for you to understand because you have rolled newspaper

logs. To me, it is a super idea and one of the Sisters had actually used the paper charcoal to cook with for a year.

 Most here cook on make shift grills with charcoal or wood, but mostly charcoal.  Anyway, the sisters just shredded

newspaper and got it wet, made it into balls the size of charcoal and then will dry it. They had some finished &

showed us that they make hard balls like you can imagine. Then they cooked some food on a grill to show that it

worked - I really missed out! 

  Anyway, I wanted to tell you the idea and then maybe also tell Sister Gunther & ask if

it is a project that someone could do and send to 3rd world countries alongwith the other Humanitarian?  I am wanting

to find someone who would do it on a large scale, because we are saving the shredded paper from our machines to

give to our Branch. If someone made a form the size of the balls & could squeeze out the water, etc., it could go

really fast. In the meantime, youth groups or Scouts could use it as a project to help the poor. We could make

Kits with paper charcoal and some ramen noodles and rice to give away.  What are your ideas?????

 Pass around the hugs and kisses to Jeremy & the kids.  Love & hugs to you all,

 Mom & Dad Fitz :)

 

6/6/09

Hi Kids,

 Just a note tonight. I wanted to ask if you will all join us in fasting Sunday for the many needs of our Family. Without a doubt, you all are already constantly praying, thinking, doing, & fasting without me asking & I truly recognize this because you are all the most caring children & grandchildren that parents could ask for. Thank you.

I wanted to ask that we remember Gabe & Amber & Ryker, & the many of you in  the family who have been ill or injured; anyone in the family who needs extra love and comfort; & all who are in need of personal revelation to know how to resolve difficulties or find answers to prayers.

The story was told to me last week about two men in the Church in one of the Provinces that were known to fast 48 hours. Since this is not what is usually asked of members, someone was sent to that Branch to find out what was going on.  Come to find out that these two members were keeping the law of the fast as best as they could. They knew that they were supposed to fast for two consecutive meals, so since they could only afford to eat rice once a day, it took them two days to be obedient..... 

 Heavenly Father is the only one who can bless us according to our needs, temporal and spiritual - who else could you trust to know us' so well & have the power, mercy, love & grace to see us through?  Fasting & prayer has great power - I know that you all already know this & have a testimony of it, so do I Kids, so do I.  I love all of you so very much & wish I could make life easier for you because Iknow that many of you go without - you go without food because someone else needs it more, you go without sleep because someone needs to be taken care of or prayed for or there is work to be done, you go without buying something for yourself because there is something that will make someone else so happy, you are too proud to say you need a hug because you don't want to bother someone else.  You all remind me of Grandma & Pa & Grandma Bee.  I do know you Kids & I love you & am grateful for your prayers and thoughts & fasts for us because we are able to be successful because of you.  And, look at the Grandkids - what a crew!  They are dynamite & just need to follow the right directions and they are the leaders of tomorrow. You have loved them & are giving them that chance - thank you.

 The power of a Family praying for the same needs is an awesome tool,& blessings and miracles will continue to come.

 Thank you all for caring for each other & Dad & me, that means a lot always.

 Love & hugs,

 Mom & Dad :) 

 

6/9/09

Jen,

 Wow!  When you send an EM - there is a lot to it!!!!!!   Congrats on the baby - wow - what a lucky little child to get to come to your family. :)  I am really excited and pray that you will have all of the blessings each day that you need. I love you very much, you know. :)  I really do miss you a lot.

 What does Jeremy say about the baby?  He had a dream that there were more children before, right?  What does he think the baby will be?? Is he excited too?

 If we aren't busy, I will try and call you. I am really speechless because it is truly all in God's hands. He plays chess you know and is certainly moving the chess pieces around in your life!

I think about you all the time and look at the clock when we get up at 5:30 and wonder where you are on your paper route. I always pray that $ will be provided elsewhere so that you will not always have to do the paper route - even though it is just second nature to you. I don't think you would have quit on your own because you are so dedicated

& sacrifice so much.

 I am thrilled that Jeremy got his raise & am happy that the craft endeavour has been going well & will continue to pray for that to increase so that you & Jeremy can have the financial security that is so elusive right now for so many.

I am sorry that your knee surgery will not be realized because I know that you have suffered for so long with it Jen. What can they do for you in the meantime?

 I am grateful that you took the kids to the Temple - one of the Conference talks quotes Pres. Monson talking about the children going and even touching the Temple that there is power in doing so. Yes, I think it is wonderful to take them wherever there is a Temple, I wish all of my grand kids could go.

I'll sign off for now & see who is waiting to do their Family History.  :)

 Love & hugs & kisses to everyone,

 Mom & Dad Fitz :)

 

6/9/09

Dear Family and Friends,

It is a bright, sunny Tuesday morning here in MetroManila.  It hasn't rained since Friday night, so things are drying out and warming back up.  The rain last week came down in a unique way; the soft breeze would cause it to drift like folds in a curtain. Curtain after curtain would pass by.  Friday, it had let up, so I was going to walk to a nearby shop to inquire about a new set of scriptures for a young sister in our Branch who has received her mission call.  As I left the front entrance here at the PAO with my umbrella, just in case, it began again.  I thought, "It is only a block." I walked about thirty yards and turned around and returned.  It was coming down so hard that I was wet from the waist down before I got back.  

It really affects the poor here as their little shanty homes just can't keep it out.  Many of them are just corrigated metal and plywood.  So, on Saturday and Sunday, the little lines were out and filled with the family's clothes drying in the sun.  They were hung on or spread out on anything that the sun hit: fences, cinder block walls, piles of tires, anything.  They are a very resilient people, and they keep on smiling through it all. The months of June, July, and August are the rainy months, and though that exposes many to the elements, without heavy rainfall, the new rice crop does not get planted or flourish, which of course, impacts millions.  One heart-rendering story about a family of eleven was told to us last week.  One of our missionary couples helped to bring in a young girl, whose family they had just met, to be treated by our doctor here.  She had been to a doctor out in the provinces earlier, but her condition was serious. They were told that she was having seizures, and she was down to just a skeleton.  While the girl was being examined, the couple asked the father about the girl and the family.  Thinking that it might be something other than medical, they inquired as to what she ate for breakfast.  He said, a handful of rice.  What does she have for lunch?  He answered, I don't make enough to feed the family anything for lunch.  What does she have for supper?  A handful of rice, he said.  She was not having seizures; she was in the last stages of starvation.  Her father worked in the rice fields, where they typically are paid about 2 to 3 dollars a day when they can find work.  Though the Bishops and Branch Presidents of the Church are taking care of the needs of member families, there are just not enough agencies to help all of the poor.  And, there is no such thing as govt. welfare here.

School will start here in about a week, and so we will see the last of families from all over the Philippines this week.  Several groups have scheduled tours for later this week.  We will miss seeing these faithful people, who sacrifice much to come here to the Center and the Temple. 

They carry such a sweet spirit about them. 

Rachel, Zak's wife, took wonderful pictures at the Fitz Family Reunion.  I am sure she put it on the family website, so if you want to see them, pull it up and enjoy.  It looked like everyone was having a wonderful time.  The children are all so cute and growing so fast.  If you don't know the website, Zak and Rachel's email address is fitzgarrald@gmail.com  We missed everybody and look forward to the next reunion that we can attend, probably in 2011, as we will not get back to the US until the 1st of July, 2010.

We are doing fine and still having fun.  Every day is still a new adventure.  Hope everyone there is holding down the fort.  "Carry on, McDuff," as the Scots would say.  We love you all.  God bless.                                          E/S Fitz

 

6/14/09

Hi kids,

Love you all & miss you so Dad took a couple of pictures for me to send to you. It was sweet to dream about all of you this morning that when I woke up & went out in the Living Room - there you all were!I cried of course. :)

Dad took me out to breakfast at this fancy hotel across the street where we took the pictures I'm sending.It's our day off, so we are going to get a taxi and go to one of the big malls & walk around.

Tonight the couples will all be getting together for FHE & treats and then Thursday we will all be going out to a restaurant to celebrate the June birthdays, so that will be fun.

The girl in the first picture is Mae Yao & she will be leaving on a mission in August. Dad picked out some scriptures and a songbook for her because that is very expensive for the new missionaries. She was so happy when we told her that they were from our family in America & she wants to write you. Mae said that she has no one to write her on her mission & asked if our family would write to her. Maybe Tat, Kailei, Mariana & Symone would enjoy doing that.

Anyway, I love you each with all my heart and am so grateful that you are mine & Dad's forever. What a great family to be part of.

Hugs & kisses,

Mom :)

 

6/17/09

Dear Family and Friends,

I will try to get this written and sent before things get busy here at the PAO.  The construction that is going on here, upgrading the disaster protection, interrupted things.  The power was cut off last Thursday night and lasted until Wednesday morning.  We had enough auxiliary power to run a couple of overhead lights, but everything else was down, computers, air-con, and etc., so we were basically shut down until yesterday morning.  Patrons would come in, but we could not access records, print out names, or etc. But, life is back to normal now.

Monday, we celebrated Carolyn's birthday with an enjoyable trip to a huge, fascinating place called MARKET-MARKET.  It's a mall that has about everything.  We had lunch, found some cute jewelry for the birthday girl, took a few pictures, and relaxed after a busy Sunday.  The weather is still unpredictable.  It looks so clear and sunny, and in fifteen minutes it will be coming down in buckets.  So far this month, we have gotten about 18 inches of rain. 

Monday, we watched the commemoration of another event, other than Carolyn's birthday, on June 15, which was the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991.  We, in the States, I don't believe, were aware of the magnitude of that disaster.  It took place about 60 miles north of Manila, in a small range of mountains about 6,000 feet high.  It had erupted about 500 years ago, which was about the normal pattern of eruption. The mountain is located about 10 or 12 miles from the old US Clark Air Force Base, which was partially destroyed and never rebuilt.  The eruption was 10 times the strength of Mt. St. Helens and blew away 2 1/2 cubic miles of earth, sending it 26 miles into the atmosphere.  Villages close by were covered up to a depth of 900 .  It destroyed 364 villages, thousands of homes, 800,000 livestock and poultry, 200 thousand acres of rice fields, and displaced 2.1 million people, most of whom had nothing left and no place to return to.  The National research center nearby successfully read the danger, which grew over a period of about a month, and evacuation of those in the immediate danger resulted in only 800 killed.  The destruction of many hospitals lead to soaring death rates, and the loss of schools interrupted the education of thousand of children for a number of years.  Ten per cent of the national economy was lost,  Ash several feet deep covered the ground for about 60-70 miles in about every direction.  A typhoon struck the area almost at the same time, which compounded the suffering of the displaced.  The area has recovered pretty well, with foliage again covering the mountainsides. The fields are farmed and villages built back up.  It is a unique experience seeing caribao pulling small plows out in those rice fields and people bent over planting the rice.  They are real survivors.

Hope you are all well, bright eyed, and busy tailed.  We are.  We are headed out to a neighboring city to deliver film to the new City Family History Center there.  I usually make the trip while Carolyn helps with patrons, but as it is rather quiet yet, she is going with me to see the green, open air market there.  Every day is a new adventure!!  Take care.  Keep praying for us.  Love you all.  E/S Fitz

 

6/24/09

Dear Family and Friends,

We came up to the office a little early this morning, hoping to get lots of things done, and I decided to finish this email and get it off to everyone.  We have some great news at the end.

When we arrived at the Center the other morning, the power was off, and our Center Director, Manny Baul, and three of our young technicians were sitting in the multi-purpose having a rice and noodle breakfast.  I sat down and enjoyed a conversation with them, which is something we seldom have time to do.  I asked Manny, who is in his late forties, and from the Bataan area of the Philippines about his parents and family, and he told me a little of his life.  His mother died when he was ten, and his dad's health was bad and was unable to work.  Manny quit school at the age of twelve to work in the rice fields for about a dollar a day, and at the age of 14 worked in the fields during the day and drove a trike at night for about the same wage.  It helped feed his eight siblings and father, who died a couple of years later. His family had joined the Church just before his mother died, and he filled a mission in the Philippines at the age of 19, learning English.  Upon his return, he began working for Craft Foods, and after about four years, he applied for a managerial position.  He interviewed, and was hired, but he told the head of the dept. that he wouldn't work on Sundays.  He was asked why.  He said, "Because I am Mormon, and I attend church on Sunday."  Manny went on, "Do you kill people?" 

The man said, "Of course not!!"  Manny asked, "Why not?"

"Well, because it is one of the Ten Commandments," he answered.

"What number is it?" Manny asked. 

"Oh, about 8 or 9; I don't know."

Manny replied, "Which one is 'Keep the Sabbath Day Holy?' "

"About 4 or 5, I guess."

Manny said, "Which one is more important then?"

Rather exasperated, the man said, "All right, if you can get your quota done by the end of the week, you can have the job, and you don't have to work on Sunday!!"

On Monday morning, when Manny came to work, there was a large sign on the bulletin board.

        "From now on, this department will not work on Sunday."  signed by the Dept. Head.

 He worked for about six more years as sales manager, earning about 10,000 pesos a month, which is about $200, a very good wage.  He learned of an opening at the Church Warehouse, which only paid 3,700 pesos a month or $74/ a mo.  He said he felt impressed to take it, so he resigned at Craft.  His boss at Craft offered him a generous raise, and told him he was crazy not to stay, but he left.  He began his new job as a deliveryman and spent quite bit of his time mopping the floors of the warehouse.  He wondered often if he had made a bad mistake, but trusted the prompting.  After a year, a position opened up in the welfare department, which he applied for, and was hired.  His salary went up to 6,000 pesos/mo.  He worked for ten years in that department and loved taking care of the needs of the poor all over the Philippines.   A fellow employee told him of an opening as the Director in the Family History Center here in the same building, at double the wage.  Though attractive, he put it out of his mind, feeling that he had found his calling in life,  The applicants were narrowed down to the final six, which included well educated, experienced employees, one of which was a friend, a lawyer.  Manny was called into the office of the Philippines Area Office by the President and asked why he didn't apply.  Manny said he was very happy where he was.  The President said to him,  "You know, these applicants are very qualified, but the one that needs to fill the position is not on the list.  Please fill out this applicatoin and come in and see us tomorrow.."  Manny said, "I prayed awfully hard that night about it and went in for the interview with mixed emotions the next morning."  The Presidency told him, "Elder Baul, we don't know you or your qualifications, but the Lord does and wants you in this position.  Do you understand?"  Over the years, the program has grown to 161 Family History Centers across the Philippine Islands, serving the 600,000 members and where non-members are beginning to come to research their ancestors, too.  The Spirit of Elijah truly is touching the hearts of these faithful people.  

We feel it a privilege to be the Advisors over the 95 centers on the main island here of Luzon.

Two weeks ago, sixteen young Elders from Mongolia arrived here at the Missionary Training Center.  They aren't the first, but the largest contingent to arrive.  Others, Elders and Sisters, we see have come from Saudia Arabia, Thailand, India, Singapore, and etc.  They are such delightful young men and women. 

This morning, we are relieved to hear that the typhoon that was to hit the MetroManila area has veered off toward the South China Sea.  We are currently getting the rain in buckets, but the winds have diminished.  The Center is pretty quiet, exept for a handful.  We are fine, feeling well, and ready for some new experiences.  Tomorrow will be a beautiful, sunny day.

Sorry, this became a book, but I thought you might enjoy the story of our Director.  Take care.  We send our love to all of you.         E/S Fitz

We just got the latest news from Orem.  Gabe and Amber have a 5lb.6oz. baby boy, Ryker!!!!!!!   All are doing well.