It's more fun in the
have I mentioned that I miss my dryer?
The people here wash all the time, and they hang their laundry anywhere they can find. We stopped by the side of the road, and a lot of little houses were there, and little children, obviously not in school or really with anything to do. All the way along the road, if the sun is shining, you see wash hanging on fences, roadways, and even on the houses themselves.
This week, we began with splits. Elder Jensen and Elder Schlager went into the city twice on Monday to retrieve two trucks full of recyclable materials that they bring out to Maligaya for the people there to use or sell. This time, it was a lot of rubber backed commercial carpet, cut into pieces perfect for the people to sleep on.
While they spent their p-day doing that, Sister Jensen and I took our shopping guru, Vanessa, and Yanni, downtown to look for materials for handwork and also for white shirts for the Priesthood holders in the branches who don't have them.
This is Yanni, trying to decide if she wants her picture taken.
And This is my "I love the children here" story for this week. But, it begins with a story about, I'm sorry to have to tell you, Sweat Rags.
Sweat Rags are one of the first things you have to learn in the Philippines. Everyone has them, carries them with them, and uses them. They are in your car, in your purse, in your pocket, and they sell them on the roads when you stop for traffic, always impeccably clean and ready to use. I think they get old garments, wash them to spotless perfection, cut them into pieces, and sometimes put an edge on them, and then sell them. The young missionaries use small white ones tucked inside their shirt collars to catch the perspiration before it goes down their necks. The people use them to cover their faces from the highway smog, to wipe their hands, etc. Mothers tuck them into the back neck of the children's shirts, and they always look to me like they are wearing little angel wings.
This is Vanessa, an angel herself, and Yanni with her sweat rag angel wings ready to take us shopping.
When I mentioned that it has been a real blessing to me to have Sister Jensen here in the neighborhood while I got used to my new life, and that I will miss her when they go home in Dec, Vanessa said, "We are here for you, Sister!"
So, she took us to get the shirts, which she has found for P150 or less. (About $4) Sister Jensen had some money her ward collected to buy shirts and I decided to buy some too. We are careful to always tell the people that anything we might be able to give them is not from us, but from friends or family or other church members who want to help.
Anybody looking for a service project? Collect some ties from the guys you know who don't wear them anymore, and send them to me. They cost three times what the shirts cost here, and are hard to get.
Then, Vanessa took us to a shop that sells ribbons, and trims and steel crochet needles and cotton crochet thread in lots of colors.
After that, we went to a fabric warehouse. Emphasis on WAREHOUSE. But like a treasure trove to Sister Jensen and I. She immediately purchased some netting or tulle, and is teaching the women to make no sew tutus for the ltitle girls as a possible money making project.
They measure and cut with a yard stick and a pair of scissors, no counter.
But it is right here in Antipolo, and I can find it again. Thank you, Vanessa!
Tuesday, we had a fun day with the senior missionaries. MORE shopping! The American Women of the Philippines have a bazaar every month, in Manila at the trade center, and the local craftspeople come and sell their wares. Really nice, and a great place to get souvenirs, and gifts. We won't go much--too far and we don't have the time, but this was fun. All the senior Sisters buy skirts there. This is my first purchase of a Filipino garment. Afterward, we stopped at S and R to get the pork loins I need for our Zone Halloween Party Monday. Remember the "fake Costco?" Well, we bought a number of things, used the receipt to get out the door, just like home. Then, we tossed everything in the truck, drank a big bottle of water, and headed home. However, they attach your validated parking slip to the receipt, also. I had tossed mine away with the other trash stuff. Get up to the booth, need the ticket. So sorry, we have lost it. YOU can not get out of the parking lot without it---PERIOD!. There is a big sign there, says "No validated ticket----P100 ."
We said we would pay that. Sorry, sir, need the ticket. But it is LOST! Sorry, sir, need the ticket! Or go inside and talk to manager.
How do we do that? We have a big truck, no place to turn around. They don't drive, so they have no idea what the limitations are. We were tired!! Still had an hour and a half home in nasty traffic. Grumpy!! I got out to go back in, and thought, what trash did I shove into that empty water bottle because I couldn't find any trash cans?? Found it, found the receipt, pulled it out wet and ragged, drove back around, and handed it to them. The trouble here is that they really don't know anything about a lot of stuff. Although they try hard to be accommodating and to offer good service, they can only follow the script they have memorized.
Wed was a wonderful day. First we drove to Tanay, as Elder was helping the new Branch President there with some concerns. He was taking 5 people to the temple on Sat for their own endowments, but had no idea how to arrange that with the temple. So, Elder talked to them when we were in the city on Tuesday, got some numbers and things for him, and sent them, with an offer to come and help if we could.
He immediately texted back to us to ask us to meet him on Wed at the chapel. He came in his jeepney!!!
See the name on it?
We called the temple on my phone, handed it to him, and he made all his arrangements. Happy man! They ALL have phones, really. But no contracts---we all buy "load", or minutes and service days. They all text, as it is very cheap, but the calls are very expensive. I was glad I had just loaded mine, as it cost over $5 for him to make that call! The people here WANT to do their callings, but they just so rarely have the resources to do it. As Sister Jensen says, "They have NOTHING but TIME! They are often charging their phones at the building during Sunday meetings, anywhere they can find a place to plug it in. They will tell you, I got your text, but I didn't answer because I don't have 'load'.
While we were waiting for President, we watched a show. Next to the Tanay chapel is Tanay National High School. They use the church parking lot to practice for their annual cultural celebration. We are looking forward to attending next month. Sister Jensen says it is fabulous, all in costumes, and better than shows she has paid to see. They were working hard, but when we got there, they all turned around and waved to us, and then put on a fabulous show for us. After ward, they came over to meet us, and were just wonderful. Remember, High School? They shook our hands, welcomed us to the Philippines, cheered when we told them we were coming to the show next month. And showed off like crazy. I took videos, but haven't figured out how to get them from my tablet to the blog, yet!
Then, we went back to Morong to Zone Interviews with Pres. and Sister Revillo. He started with a short pep talk, and some teaching, but then he went in to the office to interview all the missionaries individually. She is the "hatchet man". She really let them have it if they are not keeping all the rules. They are sometimes tempted here to buy DVD's, as they are much cheaper than in the states, and most likely pirated. But, it is against the rules.
She said something about "watching the DVD's of Babylon on the Lord's equipment."
When one of the new Elders came in a little late, (they have to come from Malaya, and it is not dependable transportration,) she stopped talking and called to him,:
"Elder, Congratulations, You've lost weight!"
She told them they CANNOT have a machete in their apartments. Machetes are a favorite souvenir here, and even Elder S. has one, as we could not get out of a parking lot one day until he bought it. But they are Bawal (banned) for missionaries, and she said, "If you have one, bring it to the Mission Home and we will keep it for you until you go home." She told a story of an Elder there, at the meeting, who was recently chased with one by an angry husband, who didn't like what they taught his wife! She said, "Elder, what did you do?" When he said they ran, she said, "Yes, you run, and pray. You think you need them for protection. You don't need Protection. YOU HAVE protection." Then she fed them like the starving hordes, and went off with the APs to check on apartments. I am coming to adore her!
This is our zone, with President and Sister in the middle, surrounded by our 4 Sister Missionaries. Then the four seniors on the right. While all this was going on, the zone leaders conducted workshops. They are so confident, so skilled, and so polished. Many of them, a few months ago, were sleeping on a mat under a tarp or a leaky tin roof with all their family. It is astounding to me.
FRIDAY, we went back to Malaya to teach, and met with Josue. One week, baptized, confirmed, planning to receive the Priesthood on Sunday, and already has a calling. He is second counselor in the YM Presidency!! On Tuesday, he is going to Youth Camp as a leader! He wants to know how to go on a full time mission. We just told him, as he does his calling and helps the boys prepare, he will learn! He wanted to know how to tie a necktie. So Elder S. agreed to show him, but he only has one, and couldn't find it. They used the one Elder was wearing. We only brought about 6, or we'd share.
That branch has 5 missionaries out, and another one going in two weeks. They need P100 /month (about $2.50) to be able to go, or P1800 for YW and P2400 for young men. But that is a lot for them, and some need help from the branch to get it together. We can help with that, but we can not give it to them directly. One young woman was going, but when they did the physical, she had TB. She can't go, but had her money ready, I guess, as she is employed. So she gave it to the young sister who is going next month.
For those of you who keep asking us "But, what do you do for fun?" On Saturday, we went with the Senior Missionaries again on a quarterly activity. About 20 of us, (some have to work on Sat, like Temple Missionaries,) went on a three hour shuttle ride out to Pagsanjan Falls, to a resort. There, we got into small boats, 1 couple to each boat, with a man in the front and a man in the back.Just FYI: The Japanese tourists had three in a boat, mostly, but when they saw the size of us, I think they decided couples were a good idea. As you see, they ride VERY low in the water. Ours is the red, white, and blue one, and our front guy was young and beautiful and the Mario Andretti of the river boat men. We were all hooked together with ropes, (10 boats) and pulled with a small motor until we got out of the resort area. Then they unhooked us and we were all on our own!
And here is our Mario. Sometimes, he just road along, or paddled, with the guy in the back helping. We could not see the other guy, but they worked HARD. Bare Feet!
Sometimes, they jumped out of the boat and guided us around the rocks and through the rapids. Sometimes, they practically carried us over the rocks. At one point, everyone got out and waited while the boatmen carried the boats to the top of the rapids, EXCEPT US!! Mario just hopped out, onto the rocks with the other guy, and just worked us over them. We were very wet. But, we got to the falls first.
He kept saying, Good job? Happy?
We made it up there, safe and sound. Then, those who wanted to,
got on a raft, and went underneath the falls. We decided to wait that one out. There is a cave behind there, and if you don't know how I feel about caves, this might tell you.
But, it was beautiful up there, really fun and exciting.
The ride back was downhill all the way, and we went fast! Well, except when they had to sort of carry us over the bamboo poles they laid from rock to rock to get us through. I have to say, I even yelled "WHEEEEEEEEEE"
a couple of times!
It's more fun in the