Sunday, October 6, 2013


WE had a pretty good week.  Unfortunately, Elder Schlager contracted a bug of some kind, and was under the weather for Thurs and Fri.  He is feeling  better now, and we are moving again.  It is hard here, because at home I can call a friend and get out.  Here, until I get  more confident about driving, I am pretty much housebound!  Pretty boring, and frustrating.  I am glad he is better!  I spent most of Thurs watching an NCIS marathon.  (Yes, sorry to admit it.  I am sure I COULD have been more productive.)

In response to a specific request, here is more food news.  Adobo is VERY popular over here.  This tasted great to us, but we don't know what it is supposed to taste like!  If you want to try a pretty authentic Filipino dinner, this is a good start.  I actually chose a whole, fresh chicken, thinking I could make sure it was cleaned properly inside before cooking it.  However, the young woman behind the counter took it, unwrapped it, and chopped it to pieces with a meat cleaver!  I could recognize the legs, when it came back.  Everything else was a pile of meat and bones.  In the future, I will not let that happen.  The little bits of odd bone were in everything!

Filipino Chicken Adobo
4-5 lbs Chicken Thighs  (or pieces)    
4-5 garlic cloves         
½ cup white vinegar                             
1 tsp. black peppercorns
½ cup soy sauce                                   
3 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large pot.  Cover and marinate chicken for 1-3 hours.  Bring to boil, then lower heat.  Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Uncover and simmer until sauce is reduced and thickened and chicken is tender, about 20 more minutes.  Serve with steamed rice.  
The orange sauce on the side is Sweet Chili Sauce.  We love it!  I could eat rice all day long, with soy sauce and sweet chili sauce.  Really recommend it for Asian dishes.

Now, for some of the questions we get.  This is my washer.  Next to the internet, and the electronics that make it possible for us to stay in touch with all of you, it is my most valuable and favored possession over here.  WE ARE very connected!

 We purchased this when we arrived, and the church has reimbursed us for it. It sits outside, in our back porch area, and draws water from the faucet nearby.  It does a great job, and sits next to the counter with a sink in it for messier jobs.  (We have a lot of those. )  Unfortunately, next to it is my "dryer".   We have to hang dry everything, and I really don't dry much outside.  I have a line upstairs, and a few other places, like a hanging rack they all sell and use here.  Laundry is harder, takes longer, and Marivik actually scrubs things on a washboard with soap for us, when needed.  But, everyone always looks so clean.  I don't know how they do it.  
Incidentally, there is no hot water.  We have a small heater in the shower, which gives us warm water to bathe in.  All laundry is done in cold or sort of tepid water.  If you want hot water to do dishes, you have to heat it.  Like going camping!

We have a filter on the water faucet in the kitchen, and buy water in big bottles to use for drinking and cooking.  

I wash everything fresh that we buy, when we get it home, in a bath of filtered water with a little chlorine in it.  Then rinse and refrigerate.  As you can see from above, we DO eat salads.  And quite a bit of fruit. Meals also take longer, to prepare and to clean up. 

The good things in our week began on Sunday.  We attended in the Malaya branch for the first time.  We have four elders working out there, and it is way south of us, right on the lagoon, at the farthest point of our mission.  More about the Lagoon another time.

Sunday was the Primary Children's program.  The Primary President is Sister Santos.  She is a living doll.  In Malaya, the sacrament and announcements are in Tagalog, but the program was in English.  The little children spoke and read as well as they could.  The songs are ALWAYS in English, no matter which branch we are in.  This is the entire primary.  They were all wearing crowns announcing that "I am a Child of God".  Two of them came running out to meet us when we drove up, thinking we were the Baileys, I believe.  We all drive the same car.  They work in the city and attend there every week, but were away last week.  The little boy, about 5, opened our car door looking for them. We were not a good substitute  as far as he was concerned!

Monday we went back into the city to the mission office for supplies, the PAO to pay for our car and consult Doc Jackson  (Don't worry, all is well!) and to find the MegaMall.  I wanted to get some crocheting supplies.  We got lost again, big time.

  We spent 1 1/2 hours driving around in circles around the mall, and got caught in a line of Jeepneys waiting for riders, and NOT MOVING until they filled up, for about 30 minutes, and then got out of that and went around a corner that is an illegal right turn during the day.  Then we got arrested, again.  AFTER the cop directed us around the corner.  Same story again as last week, except he kept saying "writing ticket.   Writing ticket now, sir."   We explained, but he just showed us where to pay it. So Elder S. asked him if we could just pay him, as again, we have no idea where to go to pay these things.  He was happy to let us do that, and said, " five hundred".  So, we gave him the P500, around $10.  

We have been here three weeks, been arrested twice, and bribed a cop!  Interestingly, it seems to have earned us some street cred with the other seniors.  Some of them have paid as much as P2000.  That is funny story number one.

Tuesday we drove out to Sampaloc again, and taught some of the same people, met some new ones, and took materials to Brother Besario.  They had been to church on Sunday, and brought 3 investigators with them!  So they arranged for the elders to teach them in their home.  This was all in Tagalog, so Elder and I were following along as well as we could, trying to keep up.  We frequently are asked to pray or bear testimony of something in these lessons, and we are trying to do it with more of the language.  We DO study.

One of the investigators was a lovely women, about my age, and a lifelong Catholic.  She listened to the Elders as they taught her all about the need for the Restoration, and what things had been corrupted by the passage of time after Christ was crucified and the apostles were killed.  She was really receptive and interested, and then said, " Well, I see that we are not supposed to baptize little children.  I am going to start teaching that in my class at church next week."   We all chuckled about that.  It will go well, don't you think?

This sister has now been to church twice and set a baptism date!

On Wed, we went to Malaya to teach.  It is a lovely, LONG, drive out there.  The Elders live in an apartment about a football field from the lagoon. If you look at a map of our Mission, you will see the big lagoon, or lake, that much of the mission abuts.  Malaya is in the very bottom little finger, on the side of the lagoon.  The people there fish in the lagoon, when they can, or farm in the rice fields.  We live somewhere near the middle of the mission, and Tanay is on the way to Malaya. Sampaloc is in the little finger to the east, in the mountains.  

We drove out to Malaya, and then picked up two elders and the Relief Society President, and continued driving down the little finger that runs into the lake.  There are little areas along the road of houses and businesses, but mostly it is either forest or farm land just off the road.  The fields are planted with rice, and these are the tractors!  

We taught several lessons, including a young man, Josue, who is scheduled for baptism this month, and his mother.  The elders had a pretty good audience:  Aren't they adorable? They sat for the entire time, just listening and smiling at us.  

Along the top of this picture, you can just see that there is a little village in the trees.  The Relief Society President, Sister Camungao, has been a member for 7 years and does not speak much English.  She wanted very much to go visit a sister who has recently sent her youngest son on a mission, but who is not attending now.  So, we set off across this rice field, along with Sister Santos, the Primary president, to walk about 1/4 mile to the little neighborhood.  There was a concrete irrigation ditch, about 15 inches wide, running with water.  We walked back and forth on a muddy little path that ran along one side or the other.  Sister Santos, in her impeccably clean flip flops and bare feet, never so much as picked up a drop of dirt.  So, I of course, fell flat on my face!   

Now, I have two young elders, horrified and picking up my broken glasses and apologizing all over the place.  And the RS Pres. and Primary President trying to fix me.  Not that Elder Schlager wasn't concerned----he is just used to it!   I handed Sister Santos some wipes from my purse and asked her to clean the mud off my face and tell me if I was bleeding.  I was, a little bit, and I have some scrapes that are healing.  My hair mostly covers them!   

Poor Elder Loste and Elder De Paz.  Neither of them speaks English that well.  Only about three of our elders are foreign, the other 9 are natives and speak varying degrees of English.  Elder Loste, says, "Sister, are you still going on to the visit?"  I told him, I was fine, and of course.  
So we went in, saw this sweet women, the elders taught  her the importance of keeping her covenants, and she just looked at them and thought, " They have no idea  what I am going through". She had invited us all in to her little front "porch", found us seats, and brought a fan to keep us cool.  But she cried.  She is raising four grandchildren, her youngest son and the only man in the house is gone on a mission, and she gets scolded because she can't bring the little ones across the field, catch a trike, and make it into Malaya for church every Sunday.  I suggested that a Priesthood blessing might be something that she would desire.  She asked Elder Schlager to give it, and they all went inside her little front "room" and the blessing was offered.  

Then we all hiked back through the rice fields into a beautiful sunset, happy and ready to go home.  On the way home, Elder Loste says to me:  "Wow, Sister, you are TOUGH!"
That is the second funny story from this week!

I don't know why we have been so blessed as to be here, in this place, with these amazing people.  I am trying to learn everything we are here to learn.  But, honestly, we are having SO MUCH FUN!!

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