Had been chatting with Larry, crew member of the Tawash, a pump boat based in Jordan, Guimaras, as we headed home from the Ortiz Dock in Iloilo. It's about a 15 minute journey from Iloilo City, and after discovering my new amigo's name and the fact that he had six children, all girls, a home in Jordan near the dock, and was co-owner of the pump boat I was on, Larry asked me if I was a Catholic.
- "I was baptized Catholic." I informed him, "but I was raised a Lutheran. My asawa is Catholic." Then came Larry's surprise.
- "I'm a Mormon." Larry announced.
This came as quite a revelation to me. I had wrongly assumed that since Larry had a big family and lived in the Philippines, which has almost 90% of the population professing to be Catholics, I thought my new friend would be Catholic. He had become a Mormon in 1994 and told me that there weren't even any Mormon churches in rural Guimaras at that time. There are three now, one just outside San Miguel where we reside.
- "I don't mean to offend you," I asked, "but weren't your parents (who were Catholic) upset with you when you became a Mormon?"
- "No," he replied. "The Mormons are strong believers in the family like the Catholics, and they were happy."
- "Well, that's true. I've always heard that the Mormons strongly believe in families." I said.
And then the Tawash approached the Jordan Wharf in beautiful Guimaras and Larry had to attend to the docking of the boat. I told him it was a pleasure talking to him. And it was. I came away a little better person. Made a new friend. A Mormon one. And after my past experiences with Mormons in Iloilo, I think I gained some insight. Here was a hardworking man that loved his family. Always smiling. So typical of many Filipinos. Didn't matter to me that his religious beliefs clashed with mine. We had a lot in common. Loved to talk. Loved our Filipina spouse. Loved the Philippines. Loved our families. What more could you ask for?