From Mom & Dad† July 2009
If you get some that I donít post & want to just send it to
Dear Family and Friends,
Hope this finds you all well and getting ready for the celebration of the 4th. Being away from the USA makes me more appreciative of what a marvelous country America is. Carolyn and I have grown to love the Philippines; it is a very beautiful place, populated by a unique people. One of our friends, who arrived a short time ago, commented after but a few day here, "I think the Filipinos must have invented the smile." He may have been right, or at least, they raised it to a higher level than we have ever experienced it. There is a sense of peace being in their presence that is so comforting. That peace, however, does not extend to the overall country.
Reading the paper the other day, I felt a deep concern for these people. There were four or five articles on assassination attempts, several of which were successful, of officials at different levels of local and national government and six or eight articles on ongoing political corruption, along with other disturbing news. The general consensus is that about forty % of govt. revenues finds its way into administrators' pockets, and in many areas in the provinces, businesses expect to pay about 10% to organized crime for protection. Health care for about 70 % of the population is non-existent. Having employment, even at extremely low wages is a blessing.
In spite of its many failures and weaknesses, America remains a great place to live.
Pictures like I am forwarding to you and going to the American War Memorial Cemetery arouses that patriotic spirit once again that makes one grateful to be American.
Here, the 4th of July is celebrated as Filipino-American Friendship Day. It was designated that following WW2; to commemorate the liberation of the country by Filipino and American Forces. The Philippines was a U.S. territory from 1898 to 1941, after having been freed from Spain. The country was given its independence on July 4, 1946. The nation's Independence Day was moved to June 12, to jointly celebrate its independence from Spain on that date in 1898. Filipino-American Friendship Day was created in its place and celebrated on July 4th. These people are one of the few who have not forgotten the sacrifice of thousands of American lives for their freedom. We enjoy that same freedom; I hope July 4 is not wasted on us. Every time I play this 3 minutes of music and look at those beautiful scenes, which I have done numerous times now, it is like a cool, refreshing breeze blows over me. I hope it does for you, too.
The wonderful news is that Josh is on his way home from Iraq. He could very well be back by now. We are grateful for his safe return and his many sacrifices.
The work here continues. We are doing fine, and enjoy hearing from you. You all mean so very much to us. Your success and happiness gives us hope, and we pray that the Lord will bless us as a nation, a people, and a family. Keep smiling. Itago ang pananampalataya. (Keep the faith) E/S Fitz
Let me know if the video doesn't come through.
I have told a couple of you already that Cara is going into the Hospital on Wed. to have surgery because of a large
turmor in her stomach. It is not cancerous, but is serious surgery and will take 4-6 weeks of recovery time for her.
She asked all of us to pray for her and I told her that we would be glad to. I think that was a compliment right there
that she knows that we believe in the power of prayer and it will bring her comfort and the blessings she is in need
of like you all already know. Thank you for your examples and willingness to help each other.
Cara's two boys are really active and she has 3 doggies that are also. Rob has been promoted to a manager of his
restaurant but it is in Loveland, Colorado and they will need to move there in a couple of weeks, before Cara is
really ready to do a lot of helping. Aunt Donelle will be there in Lincoln with her this week and Katie is going next
week, but please pray that there will be new friends that will help them in Loveland.
We love you all & your prayers and the prayers of your children really do make a difference.
Mom & Dad :)
How are things going with you? Are you still feeling pretty sick? I am really sorry and hope that it will pass soon!
I called Nat and Megan the other day when they had all the kids at the pool - I asked if anyone took pictures of that "gang", but they were too busy with watching kids - I can believe that. I hope Jayden and Ariana have a good time with their cousins. I sure do miss those two little kids, please hug them for me and tell them how much I love them.
Are you retired from both newspapers and track now? I think they both wore you out pretty good! What are you doing in your spare time? ha, ha.
I keep forgetting to ask you about Ancestry.com - do you still have a subscription? It lets me log on, but won't let me see any of the census. If it has run out, that's ok, I will ask Deanne Roberts if she has it to look up something for me. It is way too expensive anyway.
Megan said that you all were getting together with Gabe on Tuesday at your house. Thank you so much for getting together with everyone. It is so nice to hear and I am grateful that little Ryker is doing well and I sure would like to hug him too, so give him an extra squeeze for me - if you ever get to hold him!
Take care and let me know how things are going.
Mom & Dad Fitz :)
WOW! I got tired just reading everything that you've been doing lately!! Wish I would have been there to help out. I'm glad that you can have that finished - and Holiday draw to boot - what an experience all these years - you could write a book on being a paper girl alright! :)
What a track event - you were "Wonder Woman" at her best to get all of that done Jen - all of that extra work even before you could get going with what they hired you to do! I hope they paid you good!! That is great about your Orem Track girls making it to Nationals - Congrats Coach Fitz! My brother, Harry, was always involved with the 4X100 & the 4X400 and the 100 yd. dash - he made it to Nationals & set the record in the 400 meters.
I am happy that Tat has found something to be involved in where she will be successful. She and Meisen need some self-esteem. When we talked to her before, she said that Shot Put is what she liked best. She did pretty good then considering she is just starting out & has a lot to learn about technique, etc. -she just has a lot of strength and that's a good start.
I'm glad your jobs are picking up in your shirt and banner business because I want you to be able to be at home! You have worked so hard Jen for so long, surely things will† work out for you to be with the children and get some rest.
We know everyone is praying for us & we are grateful that things are going so well. At our Missionary Meeting/Dinner at President Ho Ching's on Friday he told the group that it would be quite a lot of grandchildren if we added up the number from each of the 15 couples in the room. He said that the grandchildren are praying for us every morning and every evening - so, how can we fail. I told Megan that he looked right at me when he said they were praying every morning and night - I know that is true and we are so blessed with all of the love that pours out of each house over to us on our Mission. We are grateful to you, Jen, and Jeremy for your love and devotion to the children and the rest of the family. I miss being with you Jen, your enveloping spirit, the happiness that radiates from you even when you are tired, or sick - that indomitable Pioneer Spirit that will see you through any challenge!
We just got a letter from Roberts saying that they did get their call to serve a Family History Mission in Salt Lake like Deanne wanted which would have started on the 6th of July.
Hope you get a good night's rest tonight Jen.
Love and hugs to all,
Mom & Dad Fitz :)
Dear Family and Friends,
All is well here in Quezon City this umaga. It is a bright, sunny day, and we are here at the PAO. We thought things would slow down a bit, but it is as busy as usual. We are finalizing our plans for the trip on Friday morning to the Southern city of Naga, then on to Lagaspi, and then to Sorsogon. It is an eight hour trip to Naga, two hours on to Lagaspi, and one on to Sorsogon. We have not been that far south as of yet. The news is that the beautiful volcano of Mayon near Legaspi is showing some activity. It is a beautifully formed, near perfect cone, seen from long distances. It is continually spouting some, but has increased from a level one to a two on a scale of 5 in activity, over the past two weeks. Evacuation is only within 4 or 5 miles of it, but as we will be about 40, there is little danger. It does light up the sky with white plumes and some red magma. Such is life in the islands.
We are still getting heavy rains two or three times a week. We went up to the Mission Home Friday night to conference and dinner; Carolyn got sprinkled on a little under the umbrella, but as I shuttled her and another couple with us inside, I got soaked. Four of us Elders have formed a quartet, and we sang, all quite wet.
Something that I failed to include in a past email was the sign in the elevators of our apartment house back on Father's Day. It demonstrates their Christian attitudes here. The sign reads, "Happy Father's Day. May the blessing of being a father remind you of how valued and honoured you are in the eyes of the Lord!" How refreshing it is to be able to read such sentiment, without the ACLU suing and non-Christian protestors picketing the complex.
Yesterday, we went on a short tour of the housing development close by, a project of Tony Malola, whom I wrote about some time ago. His organization was donated about thirty acres of land on a very busy street, resettled temporarially several hundred families, and dozed the shanty dwellings. The city put in new water and sewer lines, as well as electricty and etc., and contracted the families to build their own homes with donated materials. These families had been illegal squatters of the poorest of the poor. Tony walked us through the area to see what the people had done. It had been a very dangerous neighborhood, where previously we could not have entered. Each home was only about ten by 18 feet. Most were one level, with a small living room, smaller kitchen, a tiny bathroom, and one bedroom.
Some had a room or two above for additional bedrooms. Constructed of cinder block walls and corrigated steel roofs, the homes were decorated simply, but neatly. Where unemployment had been the norm, now the men were out working. The wives and mothers we met were so gracious to us and proud of their homes. They just beemed. They hugged Tony, who they knew was responsible for their new lives. He had just returned from speaking engagements at Harvard and Princeton. He said he told them that they and goverment agencies needed to change they philosophies about helping the impoverished. They were throwing their money into building homes and feeding the people without restoring their dignity first by requiring them to be responsible for initiating the change. He had just sent several of his assistants to Salt Lake City to tour the Church's Welfare Square and The Ezra Taft Benson Institute in Provo. He has such projects going on in 400 villages. The local govts. are happy to partner with his organization because the new neighborhoods are clean and beautiful, crime is virtually eliminated, and people are working and paying taxes. Their investments are not costing the cities anything. He was meeting with Congress to help write up laws that would provide more land for project development that after noon. He told us that 70% of the population is landless, which he intends to change. We want to help him in whatever way we can.
I will let you know how our trip went and what we are doing. Take care of each other. Tayo ay maging nagpapasalamat. (Let us be thankful.) E/S Fitz
Hi Jen & Jeremy & Kids,
Thank you so much for hosting the BBQ the other night. Megan said it was wonderful and she was so happy that everyone was there together. As she talked about all of you, I could really see all of you there together and it made me so happy! I am so proud of all of you and your love and concern for each other while we are gone. There has definitely been a lot of bonding going on & I am very grateful for that because you are each so very precious and loved so much by us.
We are just about to leave the Office and head home to pack for our trip. We leave at 4: am & drive 8 hrs. south to Naga. We are taking a couple of the Sisters with us, they are good company† and will know the way better than we do! There is a freeway, the SLEX or something like that, for quite a ways. Some of the freeways here I just call "Free-4-alls"!!! But the NLEX & the SLEX are really good if they will just last long enough!
Love & hugs and we are taking out laptop. The training will be Friday night, Sat. and a meeting on Sunday too. The Couple Service Missionary planned and will carry out most of the program for† Family History but I think Dad is supposed to step in and speak for our Manager who will not be there. The Mayor and non-members are invited to some of the meetings.
We talked to Josh this morning, so glad he will be coming through to see everyone on his way to North Carolina in Aug.
Love & hugs and thanks,
Mom & Dad Fitz :)
Here are some pictures from the last couple of weeks. The colorful houses are from the projects of Tony Meloto that Dad told you about.
Mom & Dad :)
Dear Harry & Gabe,
Hello to All,
Just a note to let you know that we are back from our weekend trip to Olongapo and San Antonio this weekend. It was a shorter trip, but the traffic is always a drain on the driver - he always does a great job and hangs in there!!! We got home about 5:30 tonight, so that was great.
We took another couple with us to help with the Family History Training and then we picked up a young couple that had just been called to be Couple Service Missionaries. We met with their group Friday night and then they traveled with us to San Antonio for a meeting this morning.
I told Zak and Rachael that we always are saying that this place is the best - well, it really was pretty and we could see the South China Sea† where the Subic Bay Resort and beach is off the highway just a ways. We didn't stop but got a few looks through the trees and houses. We really need to go back when we can stay at least two days. They also have a wild animal park and something about the natives will take you in the jungle and show you how to survive! I don't think that it is toooo intense, just a few demos along the trail. :) Anway, sounds fun and the young couple would really be good tour guides if we can coordinate the trip.
I don't know if Dad got his letter written last week about our first trip or not- he was busy running around Metro Manila fixing microfilm readers & checking on computers, etc. in the Family History Centers. He went with a couple of other guys, one is a Bishop & also operates our Indexing/Digital Camera for taking pictures of old records from Churchs and government offices. Anyway, I guess they stopped off at one Office to talk to the Boss about signing a document and the Bishop said that she never bothers to come out of her office for anyone and they weren't sure if she was going to sign or not - but, since Dad was along (even in his slacks & white BYU T-shirt - work clothes) word spread through the office that† there was an American along & so the Boss Lady whips out of her office, nice as pie and says hello and signs on the dotted line! ha Dad is good to go!
Hope all of you are ok. Give us an EM and tell us what's going on.
Love & hugs to you all,
Mom & Dad :)