January 2012: Philippines

CLEF greetings!

We are off to the Philippines. The ILHP – Philippines (hymnal project) is gathering steam! We will work on finding a printing company. Also the Continuing Pastoral Education program will run for two weeks. The course for all the church bodies pastors will be taught in Quezon, Isabela, Philippines. You can find it at the following web site:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quezon,_Isabela And we will also be coordinating the Mercy Word Project – this year the building of a parsonage with the congregation in Quezon, Isabela.

And finally we will finish the necessary paperwork and such needed to bring one of the seminary professors, Rev. Abel Cesar Villos to Fort Wayne for him to pursue the academic Master’s degree.

So we have our work cut out for us. I will attempt sending regular reports as in the past.

These past two weeks have been a whirlwind – 4 days in Indiana, a wedding, the death of Eddie Walters of Glory of Christ (Eddie had accompanied me for four years to the Philippines) and catching up on a few things at home.

So, I’ll get on the ball and work on the Congress. Some of you have send me e-mails these past several weeks and I have not been able to get to them – I’ll work on that too.

And, please remember to pray for the five of us off to the Philippines! Two of our Philippine “work crew” were taken to heaven this past year. That means we have two new ones with us this time and that means I’ll have extra work teaching them the “rules of the food police” (that be me).



30 JAN 2012

It is Monday – here in Roxas and Quezon. This is listed as #2 because #1 was an email yesterday – that was Sunday. OK – where are Friday and Saturday? I’ll start with them but not in the present tense – the past – easier that way – I think.

Friday – Jan 27th

We all arrived at the appointed airport spot on time – at 10.15a. We had to rearrange some 5 suitcases for weight but in the end we all make the weight restrictions and got through the security. From there we went to the Sky Club in which CLEF has a membership – saves money. Our flight leaves at 1.20 pm. The first leg of the trip is 12.5 hrs to Narita, Japan on a Boeing 777. The flight was uneventful – the best kind. I did not eat.

Saturday – Jan 28th

Somewhere in the middle of the flight (not night because it never got dark as we chased the sun across the USA, Canada and then the USA again, Alaska, and then down the coasts to Japan) it became Saturday, now Saturday early evening. We only had 30 minutes in the Sky Club but the milieu inside them is 100% refreshing. Then on to the flight in a 747-400 to Manila – a mere 4 hours and 1 minute. K. Preus and I made it through Passport Control to luggage claim by 10.18 pm, Manila time. It took the others a little longer, they need to walk faster and catch up with me as I take the shortcuts in the airports. But, we were immediately met by President Cerdenola at the appointed spot and were soon in the van and off to the lowlands of the north in the Province of Isabela to the town of Quezon.

So, in the van we have the five of us and Pastor James and his cousin the driver who is also a Philippine National Police officer and finally his son – 8 in all, in a minivan, with ten big checked pieces of luggage and 5 carry on pieces and briefcases and backpacks – 14 pieces in all plus the luggage of the three coming back from Manila with us. We ended up stopping in Manila at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church (where The CLEF did a Mercy Work Project about 5 years ago) and dropped off most of the 100 books that were in our bags – we ended up leaving 4 big bags – a mere 250 lbs of books! They will be brought by the local pastor to the Pastoral Continuing Education course on Sunday or Monday.

Having left the books and having slightly more room in the van we headed to Roxas – this is where we are staying at night – the conference and work site will be in Quezon, Isabela. According to the President it is a mere 6 or so hour drive.

Sunday – Jan 29th

Somewhere north of Manila it became Sunday.
A few hours into the trip he said it was maybe more like 7 hours. That became 7.5 and in the end it was 9 hours and 45 minutes. We stopped three times to uneat and undrink and stretch. After arriving in Quezon we stopped to eat – we snarfed up the food like starved animals. Then to the hotel.

Can you spell “exhausted”? So after checking in, the whole lot of them went to sleep and I stayed up. We were picked up about 5 pm to go to Quezon (work and conference town) to scope out the situation and then to head off to the evening meal. Both sites look workable. So, we translate the hymnals, conduct a conference and then build a parsonage for the congregation in Quezon.


“Brunch” in Roxas – white rice, deep fat fried parts of pig, pork soup, pork parts in sauce for the rice, long noodles smothered in pork gravy containing pork pieces and andante carrot slivers and small hunks of cabbage (the boys removed the cabbage and carrots and it was yummy), and a vegetable salad (off limits the us 5) along with water to drink.

Supper in Quezon – (at the home of Sir James cousin only 5 blocks from the CLEF MERCY WORKS) – RICE, vegetable medley of green, soy and black beans with okra and peppers, fried pork strips, boiled and then sauced chicken parts, hog organs in some black sauce, pig pieces in sauce – all to wash down with Red Horse beer. A few other things as well – I don’t remember them all.

The hotel we are staying in declares itself to prohibit: hard liquor, loose women, and unmarried couples. Drug use and homosexuality are not expressly prohibited – I wonder why? So why tell you this? – Simple: it is a lesson learned from those who live by the Law and not the Gospel. One must become a Pharisee or Mohammadan or Hindu or Buddhist or Pentecostal or Roman or Neo-Evangelical and begin to list never ending laws for your followers to learn and follow and then at the end of the day evaluate your goodness in the sight of your “god” on the basis of your keeping the rules of the house – but no one can ever list all the laws – just like the hotel we are staying in. So, in the evenings we are going to have “spirit” events in one of our rooms.

All of us were in bed – at least to start with by 10 pm.

Monday – Jan 30th

So here we are – up at 7 to be off to the work site at 8 – THE CONFERENCE STARTS TUESDAY MORNING AT 8.30 AM.

We grabbed a cup of coffee at the hotel (33 cents each – in USD) and then headed off to breakfast.

Breakfast – at the Jolly Bee – a “fast food” place like Burger King but 200% slower – took the sausage, egg and muffin for Preus some 15 minutes to produce. Others of us had “sausages” (aka – hot dogs) and pancakes, coffee, coke and water.

Rev. K. Preus decided to stay at the hotel for the day and work on the course. The rest of us left for the CLEF Mercy Work site.

The congregation in Quezon, Isabela has been working on the site for 5 days. They have four professional carpenters on site. In those 5 days they managed to dig and pour most of the footings along with 4 of the eventual 12 supporting posts. Also they had mostly laid the initial two rows of hollow block.

Our goal is to invest what The CLEF has been given in this project while accomplishing the most. I sat with the primary contact and we worked out a “need” list of construction materials and then proceeded to “town” (5 blocks away) to place the order. Our CLEF/GoC crew stood around for a while until they realized that we did not come to watch – we came to work. By noon they got it and our men were working hard – unloading 100 90# bags of cement, 1000 block, and all the other stuff. Soon they were mixing the cement and a full part of the crew. It was kind of funny – the unloading of the block – the locals were taking them from the unloaded piles to the positions they will be needed one at a time. Our blokes, inspired by Travis, started taking two at a time – the members followed suit. By the end of the day, four posts were poured and three layers of block in place!

Lunch – the ladies of St. John’s brought us food – RICE and all the leftover food from Sunday night.

Joshua, Barry and Travis stayed at the site all afternoon. I was gone for several hours with Sir James to get bids on the windows, doors, rafters and roofing materials. In the afternoon the sun was relentless – all of us much more “red” than in the morning.

By the end of the day more than 20 members of the congregation had happened by and worked as long as they could on the project. That is a part of this whole intent on the part of President Cerdenola – get the membership of the congregations to learn to volunteer and participate more in the life of the congregation. So far that goal has been accomplish and exceeded in each of the 5 CLEF Mercy Work Projects here in the Philippines. That is exciting!

OK – the “funny of the day” occurred on our way back to the hotel. As we approached one of the bigger bridges over a good size river we noticed hundreds of people with their vehicles: cars, vans, scooters, motor bikes, taxis, cars, trucks and such were lined up along both sides of the road looking intently to the other side of the bridge about a quarter of a mile away. I asked Sir James what they were all waiting for, someone important? He guessed that on the other side of the bridge was a police stop looking for violations relative to proper and up to date vehicle and driver registrations and that the 100s of them waiting on the road were out of compliance and were waiting for the cops to leave. Sure enough after we passed the cops (they did not stop us) about a half mile on the other side of the bridge were 100s more going the other way! Can you see that in the USA? NOT!
Arriving back at the hotel we showered had a short “prayer meeting in the Preus room” and then set off to eat a snack. We ran into Sir James on the way out and he accompanied us to the evening snack – lunch was big for all of us so we were not really hungry. We arrived at a place for supper.

Supper – RICE porridge with a boiled egg and a dark meet piece of chicken (obviously a baby chicken) and a white dinner roll. The place was a mere 5 minute walk from the hotel – they served no beverages at the rice porridge place (my first RICE on this trip!).

This was then followed with another short meeting in the Preus room.

I was in bed at 9.37 pm – amazing!

Tuesday – Jan 31

We were up at 6 am and off to breakfast at 6.30 am. All of us were ready and waiting to go by 6.12 and while waiting on the porch we ran into the Philippine Medical Association from the USA – offices in St. Louis, MO. Most of them are MD types of various specialties spending their vacation here in Roxas at the hospital. They are not a religion based group – just a group of former Philippine citizens now USA citizens returning home to do some good works.

Off to breakfast.

Breakfast – stopped about a five minute ride from the hotel – RICE or noodles topped with chunks of pork fat and cubes of hog organs in a dark sauce, cooked heart of banana (the thing that hangs on the end of a bunch of bananas while growing) and or a deep fat fried thin the size of a large pancake made of rice noodles and chopped up small fish – fish the size of small neon tetras – tasted like a fish pancake. To wash it down – some fish and chicken soup in a coffee cup. Definitely not my idea of “breakfast foods” but we all gave it a “10” in volume and taste. We will frequent it again.

We stopped at the conference site – greeted all the pastors and vicars and “evangelists”. While there we had some coffee and as if on command our baggage with all the books arrived with the Manila group of pastors. From there we went to the work site to continue the efforts. As we arrived we ran into a parade of grade and high school kids with police escort and marching bands and tractors pulling the queens of the competitions for the anniversary celebration of the Catholic – Juan Bosco. He had as his ambition in life to establish RC schools all over the third, fourth and fifth world – and he did.

More supplies coming – got to run. Just sand and gravel.

Yesterday we found the amazing worker of the decade. You have heard of a one armed paper hanger – right? Well how about a mason (block layer) with the right hand and forearm missing? In the USA he would be on permanent disability, collecting social security and on Medicare / Medicade. Here he is known as the father of President Cerdenola and member of St. John Lutheran Church, Quezon, Isabela, Philippines. Simply incredible!

Lunch – RICE, boiled fish heads, deep fat fried breaded fish filets (yum), boiled vegetable mix of cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, slices of diced lunch meat (hot dog like), green beans and small pieces of pork.

We have taken to take a walk to the conference site as it is yet another hour before the crew returns to work.

And now it is time to send this even though the notes for the day are not done – much has happened since but I need to get on Skype and deal with a few of the 100 emails I have not dealt with since I left there. All projects are beyond expectation! I know you will understand.

Have a great day – Florida voting and all!

Pray for us

ME (aka – Fehrmann)


JAN 31 2012 – Tuesday – cont.

At the end of the second work day all of the pillars / corner and support posts were poured and everywhere possible the block work was done up to window level. Folk are being amazed at the progress. Some of the town’s folk walk by and stop and watch – they can’t help but wonder about what is happening as they watch a building project on steroids. The parsonage is 28ft X 22ft not including a 10ft X10ft front porch. Yesterday and today we laid over 800 cement blocks (plus other stuff) – remember they did not arrive for use until Monday afternoon. 500 more are scheduled for tomorrow along with another 15 cu yards of sand.

A main purpose in this whole project thing is to assist the PLC in developing it’s congregational membership to more proactively participate in their local congregation. No, this is not like PLI – the liberal organization that inserts itself into the LCMS and her sister church bodies apart from and at times in opposition to the churches and their elected officials. PLI (so called pastoral leadership institute – a Jerry Kieshnick, Jesus first thing) functions like the Pentecostals in the Assemblies of God (AOG) church body. There they (the AOG) indoctrinate individual members of their congregations to be radical promoters of the AOG. PLI goes after the whole congregation and or church body. And yes, they (PLI) have come here and have tried to push their liberal church growth anti historic liturgy agenda on this Confessional church body. Of course – this is “my opinion”.

The CLEF and GoC have been blessed to be a part of teaching the doctrine of God and His Gospel here in the Philippines. The teaching of the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions has resulted (in my opinion and as has been told to me by many pastors) in bring the pastors of this great church to an even greater unity. Many years ago the more confessional LCMS missionaries were in the south and the more moderate in the north. Today the doctrine, fellowship and confessional practice is stronger and the unity is genuine.

Remember, you are the difference – no matter where “it” is.

So, let’s try this for a set of numbers these first two days (excluding us 5 USA folk from all numbers) we have (CLEF’s LCP’s Pastor’s Continuing Education course – “PCE”) and the CLEF Mercy Work Project combined):

Monday 25 volunteers

Tuesday 33 volunteers (I counted 7 new ones not counting 6 year old Christian who carries the sand bucket, fills the buckets with wet concrete and works at mixing it as well with an adult shovel – a true little man just like my grandson who is also Christian.)

I’m working on getting you a short description of the PCE course subject being taught by my parish boss.

The Hymnal project stuff starts this weekend when classes are out.

FEB 01 2012 – Wednesday

This morning we decided to go to breakfast with the lot of pastors out at Quezon (“K zone”) (word means – cheese – almost just like the Spanish word for cheese). There is no cheese to be found – Travis, Josh and Barry found something like cheese-wiz in a jar but it lacked salt and was not really cheese. Actually this part of the country is called, “The Rice Bowl” of the Philippines. The whole place is nothing but terraced rice paddies. That reminds me – food report.

Breakfast: RICE, fresh tomatoes, hunks of cooked head cabbage and little pieces of pork in some dark sauce.

Travis took me into town (eight blocks) on a pedal bike with a side car. We went for a group of ice cream bars for the work site folk. I had a shirt tied about my head cause of the sun and many thought I was an Indian (from India like Indian). We got a lot of laughs.

We worked from 8 am till 5 pm. Only 19 more blocks and the exterior is all done – only 30 left and all the interior walls are done! Front porch supports and footings tomorrow am.
High school kids – about 500 each day – walk past the work site to the main road a block away in order to catch a ride home by public transportation – no school buses – in a jeepney or a bus or van or motor bike of various kinds. They stop and watch – most of the ones walking by attend the Catholic school. Today we caught up with them at the corner where they wait for their rides. The PCE is held in the building on that corner – and they were letting out. So, you have 30 Lutheran pastors and vicars of the LCP and these five guys from the USA and all mingled together with 30 plus high school kids on the corner. Yes, they had a hundred questions – of us – Lutherans from the USA from Glory of Christ in Minnesota and CLEF from the world.

Quote of the day: (after nearly driving over a motorized tricycle) “These tractor type things – they are called ‘Kulilig’ and they are illegal to drive on the highway but that does not matter it is really just a suggestion anyway.” My take is this: 15% of the folk obey 15% of the traffic laws 15% of the time.

Wednesday 34 volunteers

FEB 02 2012 – Thursday

We decided to give the breakfast with the pastors another shot – just to be fair.

Breakfast: RICE – plain white and also white rice with pork grease drippings to be topped with a corned beef like sauce which was very tasty (seriously – I don’t get the sauce stuff cause the French did not do it here – it was the Spanish who were here for 300 some years – which is evidenced by many who are very light in skin color and then came the Japanese who killed, raped and pillaged followed by the nearly 60 years of USA help and assistance after getting rid of the Japanese. So what is the source for the love of sauces?)

The morning was productive – I had the opportunity to catch up on some stuff – I went back to Roxas (“Roe hass”) with Rev. Abel to purchase building stuff with Pastor Cerdenola who was on his way there. He had a few things to do first so I went to the hotel and worked through some internet stuff regarding the Congress on the Lutheran Confessions – April 11–13 this year at the Ramada Mall of America, Bloomington, MN (this is THE confessional event of the year – you really need to attend!). SOON all the details will be at TheACL.org.

Lunch: RICE left over pork flavored, portion of deep fried milk fish and chicken chunks fried and sauced.

Wood doors arrived – I have no clue as to why – can’t use them till they are finished and there is a roof on the joint. I had them put behind the altar – the only dry and “clean” and safe place for the moment.

Afternoon worksite snack: we don’t know what is all was – it came to us in a cup – in it was a creamy sauce with some brown banana slices, marble sized dumpling like balls and cubes of potato. That was followed by a “different recipe” – a cup of milky cream of chicken and hunks of pork fat with carrots and shell pasta soup. And you think we don’t sacrifice for this CLEF stuff!

All the exterior block walls are done. 12 interior left to do – just did not want to mix more mud today.

Dinner: we eat at President Cerdenola’s father’s house, Evelyn, the president’s bride (he calls her, “my roommate”. Evelyn is a great cook. RICE (surprise!), “egg rolls” – the best in almost the whole world – period! Sauced hunks of cow parts with potatoes & carrots – almost like a stew – tasted great, cooked spinach and mushrooms, pickled paw-paw (you might call it papaya) – better than even my mother made when we lived in Papua New Guinea!), a missed vegetable dish with quail eggs and baby corn cobs and green beans and red bell peppers and onions and pork and cauliflower and broccoli, and then the fruits: awesome tropical bananas, adequate watermelon and perfectly ripened mangoes (Preus almost ate all the mangoes himself – I had to “step in” and save some for the rest of us). Red Horse beer helped it all down.

Tonight we will again suffer while here on behalf of The CLEF and GoC because of the food – we ate too much.

Thursday 41 volunteers (including 4 for evening meal with James)

We began on Tuesday to hand out “Tebows” to the 5 of us when we do something really great, cool, neat, beyond the average and such. And yes, you get to assume the position. The local crew raugh out roud each time the position is assumed. Here, presented alphabetically, is the present score:


The pastors attending the PCE courses have enjoyed (at least so I have been told) discussing in the evening the authority of the Bishop of the World relative to the Bishop of Rome and the LCMS president who lost to Harrison. The majority understand the BOTW wins – good times.

Pray for us

ME (aka – Fehrmann)


FEB 03 2012 – Friday

So we determined to not go out to the conference for breakfast but stay in Roxas. The eating place ended up being the Jolly Bee. So, five of us, five orders, 4 came wrong, two got fixed, one remained a partial order and mine never came. Discussing it with management was pointless. Simple solution – there are other places from now on. So I ended up eating with the pastors after dropping the “boys” off at the work site.

Everyone misses Eddie and Mike – each day someone asks me privately about their families and how they are doing.

The work on the parsonage at St. John Lutheran Church, Quezon, Isabela, Philippines is moving along. We are to the point where some things will take a little longer as we wait for the skilled folk to prep the next task. Each day at lunch time some of the pastors walk over to see the progress. Today one of them whispered in my ear, “This is going to be one of the best parsonages in the LCP.”

I spent some time discussing the status of the hymnal project – the chairman is not here and one of the committee members from Mindanao is not here. But we will move ahead anyway.

I’m attaching a description of the PCE course from Preus so all y’alls have a better understanding of what is being taught. What The CLEF is doing along with those of you who support what The CLEF does (like Glory of Christ, Plymouth, MN) is most appreciated – actually needed. In the main, The CLEF with your support, and that of GoC, accounts for almost all of what folk connected with the LCMS (including St. Louis) are doing in the Philippines. You are not just making a difference – yes that you are doing. But – YOU ARE THE DIFFERENCE whether you do everything or nothing. And the Triune God be praised! You are the difference in every positive way – ALL FOR THE SAKE OF THE GOSPEL!

The Apostle Paul wrote three letters to pastors; I Timothy, II Timothy and Titus. From these epistles pastors learn what is their calling as men of God. We learn what qualifications God expects from those who are stewards of His mysteries. We learn the strength which comes from the confidence that it is God who has placed men into the ministry. We learn the importance of holding to the word of truth and opposing false doctrine of all types. We learn the importance of the Scriptures and the way in which we are to handle these inspired word of God. Especially we learn the comfort of the gospel which applies to Paul “the chief of sinner” and to all. “Christ gave himself a ransom for all man.” What great words we have from these “Pastoral Epistles.” And so it is always advisable that pastors take the time and energy to learn and learn again the content of the “Pastoral Epistles.” That is the topic of the pastoral theology course taught to the pastors of the LCP at the fourth continuing education course sponsored by CLEF and Glory of Christ Lutheran Church of Plymouth MN and held on January 30 until February 9, 2012 in Quezon Philippines. – PreusThis is the END of the Attachment.

This is the last day for Joshua Christian – he returns to the USA beginning tomorrow.

Lunch – RICE, boiled fish, boiled egg plant with peas and other unknown vegetables.

The afternoon was soooooooooooooooooo slooooooooooooooooooow at the work site – still waiting for the “carpenters” to build the header boxes. Oops – could it be the BOTW was mistaken? Seems they are adding 3 more course of block – what is this about?

So tonight is a “fiesta”. The main attraction will be a whole roasted hog and a whole cooked goat. This afternoon we took a break from the work site and went to watch the pig being readied for the 10 ft long spit and the goats (seems we got two of them) readied for cooking.

The five of us USA blokes stayed at the home of Sir James father while the hog and goats cooked – Sir James tended to the cooking of the goats. The banquet entertainment consisted of a karaoke machine, a really, really big one. And sing they did – in competition – the machine handed out a score at the end of every song sung – singing Hey Jude – the five of us got a score of 98 (out of 100)! No matter how hard we tried we could not get past that 98. Sir James did – singing by himself – yelling into the mike he got the 100. Great fun was had by all – I had to drag the guys away. And yes, the food was awesome – especially the pork.

Friday volunteers: 41

TIEBOW SCORE: Here, presented alphabetically, is the present score:

Barry got his 4th Tiebow during the singing – he did one song like he had been a rock star singer in a band his whole life – all were impressed – hence the Tiebow.

FEB 04 2012 – Saturday

Joshua is off to Manila early this morning via a big bus – the newly hired Human Care local manager is going back with him – he works out of Manila.

So today is a “day of rest” according to the President. Rev. Abel was here at the hotel last night and is headed back to Quezon mid morn. But first we went to eat breakfast / lunch. Ended up at a fast food hamburger joint. We kept it simple – we all ordered the same thing – a cheeseburger, fries, iced tea and an extra regular burger. And suplize (pronounced like you are in Asia) they got it right. But the funny? There was only one other customer in the place – already eating. Nevertheless, regardless of that and regardless that we are like 4 “Americans” – easy to spot in an empty dining room they gave me a number for the table so they could find us! Seriously – there must be a set of them there rules you just must follow no matter how silly. But we actually got real service – not like the Jolly Bee. Regarding the burgers – Barry and I call it mystery meat – yes it was meat but something about it was very strange – don’t think it was the family cat or puppy.

We all stayed here at the hotel through the afternoon. About 3.30 James arrived and offered to fulfill one of my humble requests – to go to his father’s place out in the rice paddies to get a close up view. As mentioned earlier, this whole valley is nothing but rice paddies, terraced at that – all irrigated with river water. We took off at 4 pm and were there at the place at 4.30 pm. We had to walk the last 60 yards on the ditch head. The whole system is almost exactly like that in the Snake River Valley of Idaho where my wife is from and where her side of the family farm is. There is the river, then water is diverted into a canal and then into laterals with all the same configured head gates and then into the feeder ditches and finally onto the paddy. That is the difference – Idaho runs the “flood irrigation” waters down the corrugates from the top of the field to the bottom. Here the whole paddy is flooded with water that then stands on the crop maybe 4 inches in depth and stands there till the water is moved off to the paddy immediately lower. Each paddy is flood irrigated once a week – the row crops of Idaho get water as needed. Here the water never stops – it goes all year long. In Idaho one only gets a measured amount of water between the spring and early September.

I thought it was interesting.

From there to the conference site for the evening eats and then back to Roxas for bed. Sleep has been early each night this trip – usually we are all tucked in by 9.30 pm.

So that is that. All is well – just need more money – we could get so much more that is needed done.

Pray for us, The LCP, St. John LC in Quezon, Glory of Christ in Plymouth and The CLEF.