Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Week One

On Tuesday, we were up early to go to our first District Meeting, held in Morong.  Sister Jensen drove us in our car. 
I Promised to tell you more about them.  They are younger, and took time from his work in Real Estate to serve. They have been here 14 months and they are just amazing. She and Brother Jensen have been working hard to teach us survival skills as fast as they can. so that they can get back to work.  Did I mention that they live in our neighborhood?  They work in three other areas, slightly nearer home.  He drives a big heavy truck, which shows how hard he works.  He did not attend the meeting, as he spends most mornings doing his own "mission", which is building little 10 x 12 or 10 x 14 one room homes for people who don't have one.  They are done with cinder block and cement, for a foundation about 2 feet high, and then with wood and tin roofs.  Most have a cement floor, and a tin roof, and no plumbing.  They cost $1500- 2000 US, depending on whether he can purchase the land or they are "squatters" and are paid for donations from friends and anyone else he can beg from.  He builds them with the help of members who have no work that day and anyone else he can enlist.  He is amazing.  Two of them went to young families in the branch here who have so little.  Brother Jun, a counselor in the branch, works all night and then helps him all the time in the morning. They have four children, and his house was supposed to be bigger, but he insisted that they didn't need more, and that the extra materials should go to build another house for another family.  His wife, Marivic, cleans for me and for Sister Jensen every week, and we pay her P300/day, about $7.50 US.  She does laundry, and ironing, and cleaning.  I wish we could help more. It is so hard to see them struggle so much.  The Jensens are always taking medicine to someone, or giving away an umbrella, or just talking to people.  He gets buckets of referrals for the young missionaries. 

At our meeting, the missionaries planned a service project at Ondoy, which is a government build community for refugees from the 2009 typhoon and floods.  The place is really interesting.  You drive for several miles out of town, and there it is, with the houses all connected in streets, and several water pumps where people get their water.  I think they drink it; I wouldn't.  I know they use it to wash and bath and cook.  Some of the people have started little businesses in their homes, and in fact a member family living there has a small "tindehan", or store, and raise their children there.  The missionary work is just flying, there, but it is very hard for the people to get to church.  It is too far to walk, and the roads are mostly muddy.  The little trikes will pick them up and bring them, but they can't afford it.  They can't be baptized, if they can't get to church.

We took all the elders and sisters from our zone out there, and went to work picking up trash. 
 Our work crew.
 Filled the big truck with garbage, and played with the children.  It poured twice. There is a sort of community center, just a concrete floor with a roof, there, but the rain was so heavy it ran across the road the filled the place with mud.  Didn't keep the children from playing in it, though !  

 And bathing!

We came home so muddy and soaking wet, but we all met at Jollibee's, a sort of local McDonalds chain, but  cheaper, that the missionaries like, to refuel, first.  

 Do you think I can get the missionary department to add this to the website for suggested sister missionary grooming / styles Philippines style?

 Everybody still smiling!!
It was a wonderful day, and we loved it.  My white tennis shoes will never be the same.  Maybe Marivic has a solution. 

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