Sunday, November 24, 2013

ISN'T it amazing how perspective changes??
I can still remember how I felt the day we arrived, in the airport and driving out to the mission home.  The whole country looked to me like the pictures of the dilapidated areas of Detroit and Chicago. Only worse, because they at least began with walls on the buildings, etc.  And for the first month or so, we would drive around and see nothing but garbage and things that needed painting, cleaning, fixing, or trashing.  
Now, we drive around and see thriving businesses, people working really hard to make a few pesos to buy rice, happy smiles, polite manners.  We say, "Oh, look, there is a really nice bakery (or  a car service center, or a bookstore, or a restaurant, or a tailor, or a shoe repair shop, or a dress shop or a dime store or a fruit stand or .........)"   

This is a bahay kubo, or basically a "cottage". They are made of bamboo, and are the souvenir of choice for senior missionaries.  Trouble is, of course, none of us has yet come up with a plan for getting one home with us!!  
We actually see them being built and for sale along the roads, and this is the one I love.  Can't you see it in my backyard? 
 However, we also see them in yards and sometimes even teach in one.   The man who built it is there, and I was sorry to tell him that I was "just looking", although he was still glad to pose for me.  

This is the one he wanted to sell me, and you COULD live in this, here, really, as it never gets too cold.

You can't really tell, but it is sort of a house. 

Notice all the pretty touches he has done with stain on the bamboo. 

The "kitchen", a small sink, and some cupboards,  is directly across from the door, and the "great room", or sitting area with benches all around a table for eating, is to the left.  

To the right is the bedroom, and it has a double bunk, so that the little window upstairs is for the the people who sleep on top.  It is really beautiful, and would make a great beach house, I guess, if you owned the whole beach!  

IT is a very good thing that tomorrow is "p-day", as we are pretty tired.  In fact, we think P stands for "we are too pooped to go another day".  Truly we love our life, and would not choose to be anywhere else, but some days it is really obvious that we are not so young as we once were. 

  Our adventures this week were really pretty unique, even for us.  
WE began on Monday with some shopping for some needs in the primaries.  I haven't told you too much about the shopping here, but there are several big malls on the way to the city.  Where ours are mostly clothing, though, these have very little of that.  They are mostly electronics and household goods and some restaurants and bakeries.  Also, services like hair stylists.  SHOES are a big item, though!  Interesting, since they live most of their life in flip flops.  Not the customer service people, though.  
Very often the young women are dressed to the nines in beautiful uniforms complete with high-heeled shoes and hosiery to match.  

These young people helped me buy a CD player.  They are on the floor, because they don't sell you anything without pulling it out of the box, plugging it in, and  trying it to prove to you that it works.  Then, they have you fill out the warranty card, and repack it for you in the original packaging.  (Sometimes, that is amusing for US!!)

They are polite, but on occasion the communication gets a little chancy.  When you are ready to pay, they always tell you the amount, and then when you give them the money, they say, "I received P1000," or whatever amount you handed to them.  

AFTER shopping our way into town, we went to the Mission Office.  There we found Pres. and Sister Revillo with the 17 new missionaries that were assigned to our mission from the Tacloban Area after the typhoon.  They were taking pictures with each of them and welcoming them to the Quezon City Mission.  
We were there to pick up the two that have been assigned to work in Tanay.  Sister Revillo had been looking after them and making sure they had what they needed and taking them shopping and generally just mothering them for about 3 days.  She took me aside to remind me that it was their p-day and whatever they needed us to do for them was OK.  As we drove off with them, she was running beside the car telling me what she thought I needed to know.    We took them shopping again, and then to Tanay, got on trikes, and took them to their apartment to meet the other three.  So, now they are five.  

Tuesday was district conference, with birthday cake, so they were there, with a new zone leader, also from Tacloban.  He is quite a drill sergeant, and will keep them all in line.  Because all the elders were busy, we took a car load up to Sampaloc, and then drove home.  Home before dark!!!  

 Wed we were in the city again for Zone conference.  Sister Revillo  (her name is Maritas   MAR e toss) had two of those to do this week, too.  Catered luncheons each day, snacks before they head home, and speak at least twice in each one.  She is amazing.  The local church members have been packing humanitarian kits for the people in the Typhoon, so the building was stacked, and they were still working on it that day at another building.

Sadly, the government is making it very difficult to help the people there.  They want to control ALL the relief efforts.  Any guesses on why?

WE GOT Elder Tiongco (Filipino, the short one) and Elder Losaki (Tongan, on the floor).  Here they are on Thurs, already out teaching.  Neither one speaks Tagalog, so they have to learn another language, now.  The sister in front is Sister Precious, 22 and waiting for her Visa to go to Salt Lake to serve her mission on Temple Square.  She teaches English to Japanese Students.  These people are so incredible.  When I did a small prayer in Tagalog, they were all very proud of me---like proud parents when their child takes two steps alone!!

FRIDAY back to the city to go to the Bookstore and to arrange for the temple trip for Sister Perez.  President has given permission for us to take her and the Sister Missionaries from Morong on Dec 4.  We are all excited!  
Then out to Sampaloc to attend Sister Rowena's baptism!   Here she is with Elder Iosefa, Elder Magno, Elder McCoy, and Elder Purificacion.  And here is the baptisal font:  The swimming pool out there.  The guys had to drain it, clean it, and refill it, and were joking that it had to be done with buckets from the river.  

Not so--they had a hose.  It is so beautiful out there, and the guest house is fabulous.  Incidentally, while we were in the PAO that day, the man in charge of real estate for the church said, "Oh, you are the ones living in Antipolo and assigned to Sampaloc?  We have a house out there.  Your lease has to be renewed in Jan. Do you want to move out there? "  

Well, NOOOOO!  Although the pool table is a real temptation to Elder, and the lovely kitchen with a real stove and a dryer are tempting to me!  But as beautiful as it is, there is nothing there but a small public market.  You have to go all the way to Tanay just to buy a few groceries.  We were visiting with the owner today, and he would like it.  He will even do some minor remodeling to make the concrete steps and ramps safer for us.  We just told them that we are happy and settled where we are.  

WEll, maybe except for this!  We have spent the week in Cockroach hell.  We are not home much, of course, except at night.  But we were getting pretty good at keeping the critters out, or so we thought.  Not sure what happened this week---they exterminated in the neighborhood a few weeks back, or maybe we just got a little lazy.  Anyway, we have killed an army of these this week. WE find them in the morning, mostly, laying on their backs and looking dead.  But when I try to sweep them up or spray them, they are very much alive!  It is like they have had a big party in the night and are exhausted, and asleep. We have a great insect spray, kills them in their tracks!! I am pretty used to it, but when I open a cupboard and they run at me, I have had it!!

THIS week was the district Primary Christmas activity.  All of the primaries were practicing for weeks, and they came in droves to Morong.  They rented jeepneys, and carried food and Christmas presents and costumes and it was really a riot.  We went for a little while, to see some of our friends perform.  
Here is the Malaya Primary, 

And here is Marivic, arranging his costume for Tiguro, her youngest. Marjorie is next to her in the Santa costume.  We left before the gifts and food and all, to attend another baptism.  It was pretty loud and disorganized, but that is just how they do it!

Here are Elder Blessant, Elder Cendano, Elder DePaz and Elder Tipini, at the baptism of Brother Sarmiento.  He is the last in his family to join.  His wife is in the RS presidency, his son is preparing for a mission, and his daughter left for her mission last month.  The guys promised her when she left, that they would baptize her dad while she was gone, and they did it!

AT Sister Jensen's suggestion, I have a new baptism gift.  It seems to be very welcome.  I put a nice new white towel in a bag, with this verse to accompany it:

In spite of the hours we spend in the car, Elder S is feeling better, and his back is healing.  Who knew that he would be driving more now than when he was working??  But he is getting used to it, and to the traffic.  Several times a day, I hear a quiet little "DUDE!!" from the seat beside me.  

But just in case you think he does nothing but drive us, he is very busy too.  He repaired a leaking faucet for the guys in Tanay, is replacing a deadbolt for the ones in Teresa, delivers goodies to the sisters like new rugs and frying pans and fans, and talks to all the neighbors when we walk.  

In addition, he spoke at two baptisms, in Sac meeting, and at the Priesthood Preview today!! 

 Can you see why we are pooped   worn out?  

Sunday, November 17, 2013

66?   How did that happen?   

This post is rated PG.  l,v

HERE is my birthday present!  We finally were able to get the installers here for the a/c we were to told to put in.  Really nice to have it out of the dining room!  The part that goes outside is about as big as our car.  There is a small unit upstairs in the bedroom, and this is the cool season, so we have been OK with fans.  The ceiling fan you can just see here has run for 2 months straight, though, and I am sure it is tired.   We actually felt a little guilty, as we know how the other 95 % live!

WE did manage to take Bierocks (Cabbage Burgers)  to the FHE on Mon night, but not without a battle.  The oven and I don't understand each other, and it kept turning off.  We kept relighting it, until we realized that the temp in there was about 1000 degrees, which is why it turns off, but it is supposed to just cool down, not  GO OUT.  So, the first pan was overdone, and we had them for lunch.  The second pan went to Sis Jensen's for baking.  OH, the joy of having a sister in the neighborhood!

AT the suggestion of a friend, here is "A day in the Life", although every day is so unique that it won't tell you much.  However, here is my birthday:

About 5:30 I woke up and read my scriptures and said my prayers.   Elder usually sleeps a little longer than I do.  So, I went down and started a load of wash.  When he got up, we went for a walk.  That morning, we were able to talk to two different neighbors who were out.  One of them, Brother Rodolfo, was about 7 years old during the war, when my dad was here. His son was with him that day.  He told us some stories, and mentioned that he reads all the time.  I asked him if we could give him a book, and he was just so pleased.  So, we ran home for a B of M, and put his name in it, and ours.  He said he used to attend our church, and has actually read some of it before.  He wanted to know where the church is, pretty close to us, actually, but we don't attend there.  So we asked if we can introduce him to some missionaries that do.  He was pleased, and wants to introduce us to his daughter.  So, we have a referral for the sisters in this area, and an opportunity to get to know him better.

The other man, Tony, was very nice, too.  He told us "you are welcome here at my home anytime."  He admires that we are missionaries, although maybe less comfortable with which church we represent.  However, we will look for him, too, and try to build better relations.

We came home, hung up wash, had oatmeal and fruit for breakfast, and our Probiotic drink.   We have that or yogurt every day to help fight off the little beasties that upset stomachs.  So far, so good!  
I packed us a small lunch, and we put meat and vegetables in the crock pot so that our dinner would be ready when we got home.  
WE showered, left and took supplies to the Sisters in Dalaya,  a few kilometers from us, and then to the ones in Morong.  Part of our new housing responsibilities. 

Finally, we drove out to Sampaloc.  
First, we picked up the Elders, and then met AJ Aguilar, 15 and baptized in April, and Sister Rowena, who will be baptized next week.  We all went out to the relocation site again, to meet Victoria and Christian, and some of their friends, for another lesson. Remember them?  This is Victoria, with Christine, 3, and  Maria Chrisanta, 7 mos.   It had been raining earlier, and was very muddy.  

Of course, I was very muddy, too, and Elder had mud to his knees. The ladies with us, know how to keep their feet clean, or clean up as they go.  
The lesson went well, with two more investigators there.  The Elders have been there at least 3 times, now.  On the way back, as we slipped and slid our way down the hill and through the orchard, past the caribou, I saw these young ladies on their way home from school, cleaning up.   

THEN, I celebrated my birthday by stepping right into the middle of a huge, gooey, warm COW PIE!  I said, "OH.  Crap."  I was right.   The missionaries, AJ, and Rowena were so sympathetic, and trying not to laugh, but how do you do THAT???

So, I found a nice, warm, muddy puddle, and walked into it.  Thank Heaven for Crocks!  They are the tender mercy for Philippines Missionaries.   When we got to the car, I put my muddy, stinky, shoes and socks in a plastic bag, washed my feet with clean water, dried them, and put on fresh sandals. I had bottled  water, sweat rags, and antibacterial wipes. Yes, I am spoiled.  Don't care.  AJ and Rowena were still laughing, but wiped down my legs for me and helped me clean up.  

Just FYI, ELDER slipped through one of these nice surprises in his crocks, too. WE spent a lot of time the next morning washing shoes and all our clothes.  

FROM there, we went out to the Aguilar home.  Elder Iosefa says, "Do you know what happened in the branch Sunday?".  Well, no, as we were in Tanay.  As it turned out Sampaloc had its own little typhoon, (Bagyo) last week.  There was a lot of damage.  Remember, new branch.  Very new members.  One of the counselors to the District President spoke to the people and was misunderstood.  Women left in tears, investigators cancelled their lessons and baptism dates, even new members told the missionaries they can't come out anymore.  Really pretty bad.  So, we spent the rest of the afternoon with Elder Iosefa and Elder Magno, trying to look sympathetic while they spoke in Tagalog to angry people.  Even Judith, Eva Aguilar's mother.  

I finally just put my arms around her, and bore my testimony.  I explained that if the Lord wanted me to only be a missionary to rich people, he could have kept me in the states, there are a lot more there.  But he sent us here because these people have pure hearts, and can hear the Spirit when He speaks to them. When they accept the gospel, and will do what they are asked, He will bless them with the means to do it.  
I said, "I didn't leave my own children and grandchildren to come here because I just wanted to.  (Her family was all around).  I did it because the Gospel is true, and has blessed my life, and I have been asked to share those blessings with you and your family."   She just cried and then said she will come back and give it another try.  Then down the hill, to another one just as hurt, with three boys ready to be baptized.  Rough afternoon.

FINALLY, we drove 1 1/2 hours home, and washed from top to bottom in hot, hot water and lots of soap!  Then we had dinner, really welcome.  Then, I get a call from Sister Jensen, who is tied up in Quezon and has a tiny hungry kitten at her house.  So, back in the car to take care of that.  (Now, we are not supposed to have pets.  But remember her, the one woman rescue mission?  Well, Elder J brought home a kitten last week, grabbed from the middle of the road,  wobbly and filthy,  not even weaned yet.  She has been caring for it until it is big enough to survive on it's own.  Weighs about 6 ounces, I think.) Walking past the AC in their yard in the dark, Elder tore another pair of pants. OH WELL!  Oh, I also bought two Dunkin Donuts in Tanay for my "birthday cake".  Happy Birthday to Me!  Then, we went to bed about 8:30.

That was the night they began bringing all the missionaries, 204 of them, into Quezon City to the PAO from the Tacloban area.  About 70 arrived that night, and they had a hard time. There is a lot of information at newsroom if you are not aware of what happened over here.    They are all here, and doing fine, and will be going to new assignments tomorrow, we think.

SOME of the senior missionaries we are coming to know are called to Public Affairs, and they have offices over at the PAO.  We didn't know that mission existed, until we went to the MTC, and met the couple called to go to Taiwan.  We said, "pheww, glad that isn't us!"  YOU all probably know how bad that choice would have been.  But, just in case you don't, here is a prime example:
                       I sincerely hope and pray that Wed this week was the worst day of my mission.  We went to Malaya to work with Elder Blessant and Elder Cendana, new to our area since the transfer.  Their plan was to call on less active families, and we had Sister Rose with us.  We drove nearly into the lake, which was so high from the typhoon that the road just ended, and we could not get to the family we were seeking.  Turns out, they went to Leyte anyway, to check on their family in the typhoon area.  However, at the edge of the lake was another family.  Also, members, and not coming. 

 This is Joann, isn't she lovely?  13 years old, baptized in 2010.  Doesn't speak much English, but I can say "Ano ang pangalan mo?"  And she could tell me, and spell it for me.  I was really excited to meet another Joann over here! She was playing with a baby duckling, cuddling it and talking to it.

She ran to get dad from the fields, and we waited for him.  

This is their home.  As I said, it is directly on the lagoon, with just the road between, only now the road is flooded from their place onward.  

While they spoke to her "pa", I tried to talk to her.  I asked her if I could take her picture, and she was OK with that.  I didn't realize that she had put the duck down on the road by us, and I turned around to go get a camera and 
stepped right on the tiny thing.

Truly, I wanted to die.  It was hurt, and she picked it up and tried to help it.  But it appeared to have a broken neck;  Could not hold up it's head.  Remember, no English, so Elder Cendana had to translate for me.  Besides, she was not talking to me much, and who can blame her?  She said to her dad, "duck is dead".  But it wasn't, quite.  I was trying to apologize, and she told Elder Cendana, "its ok.  only 15 pesos" ;  she bought it last week at the festival.  Then she said, "start boiling".  We think that was a reference to cooking it ???  

Elder Cendana took the poor little thing, see it here, and began blowing at its beak and rubbing the little chest.  He grinned at me and said, CPR!   Then he tried to help it straighten its head.  Not happening.  He said "it needs a cast".  

I said, maybe a splint?  So he broke a twig into two little pieces, and held it up to the neck.  I went to the car and got some gauze and a small bandaid.  We wrapped the "splints" against the neck and held it together with the bandage.

Here you can see the baby duck. bandaged and holding it's head up.  She kept speaking to it softly, and it would chirp back at her. 

Now, SEE why we are not in Public Affairs?  Can you imagine the damage I could do?  I am quite sure, even serving where I am, killing a little girl's pet duck is not good publicity for the church.

We told her we were coming back on Friday, and would come by to see how the duck was doing.  (I also gave her pesos to buy another duck, as I was sure this one was not going to survive).   I left bandage materials, too.  Just in case.  Sister Rose felt so sorry for me, she had her arm around me the entire rest of the afternoon.  

Friday, we went back, and it was really hard.  But, when we got there, Elder Cendana went to see, and  said to me "He lives'".  (the duckling is actually a girl, but the Filipinos have almost as much trouble with our pronouns as we do with theirs!)   Sure enough, I was invited in to see Joann and her duckling.  almost well.  One little eye is damaged, but who knows what a duck can see?  

Happy Ending to this Story!  

And then, there were trikes.  The elders we work with in Tanay, live down in the center of town, where the streets are narrow and dangerous to drive in.  One of them was ill, and we made a compassionate visit with some things they needed.  So, we took a trike, and it was FUN.  Of course, we got lost, even though Elder has been there twice, and we had written directions.  If we do nothing else for the Filipino people while we are here, we are a huge source of entertainment to them.  Getting on the trike, Elder S.  caught his pant leg on something sharp.  As Amelia Peabody would say, "Another Pants ruined!"  

Unfortunately, our learning method of choice has always been "trial and error."   Sadly, that often results in pain for us, and sometimes for other people.  But we learn;  we do learn.  In that vein, I made a mistake.  I told you the young missionaries can't ride trikes.  That is what I was told, but it is not true.  They can, and do.  But it is expensive for them, so they don't often.  I think they NEED trikes, so that they can go where they need to, and pick up a few pesos along the way.  But, Pres. Revillo doesn't always like my ideas!  

THIS is Mary Jane, the branch missionary we worked with.  She had a happy day on Sat.  as her first baptism is her mother!  

We had a baptism in MALAYA ,  three people baptized.  The little girl in front is Sister Francisco, 8 years old.  Sister Bumaga, Mary Jane's  mother, is next to me.  Beside her is Sister Gagatam, a young mother from a member family, who were what they call "Philippine Pioneers", here, That means, some of the first members, when the church was organized here in 1961.    The senior missionaries always say, "remember, it is 1880".  Or, in other words, the church is only about 50 years old, here. so we need to compare it not to what we know, but to what it was like in the US in 1880.  

I have to tell you, MANY things here are reminiscent of that time!   We went out to teach Sister Gagatam, and this is what we found.  Ever tried to teach a lesson to a turkey?  (Well, we all have, I guess.   Not usually one with feathers!)   
We were sitting on a bench, under a canopy, in her kitchen!   This is not all of the goats.  Some were over on the fire pit where her dinner was cooking.  
But, there is just so much beauty amid the squalor.  Everywhere, flowers and trees and vistas and beautiful people and handcrafted furniture and garden nurseries.   The pictures don't do it justice-  they make still life photographs out of a world that is NEVER still. 
This week, I am especially grateful for the resources that are available to us through the church to make our work easier and to help the people here.  As it turns out, we don't speak Tagalog, but we print it beautifully!   Elder has discovered how to print talks, lessons, etc.  in the language they need, to be able to understand and read what we are talking about.  We have a computer and a printer, which they almost never have.   It costs us so little to make their lives a little easier.  


Sunday, November 10, 2013

WE  have received a lot of positive comments from those of you who are taking the time to read our blog, and we are really glad that you enjoy it.  We love sharing the things we are doing with the people we love most.  Can we ask one favor, please?  The pictures and stories we share are special to us, and sometimes sacred to the people who so generously allow us to be a part of them.  If you like them, or can teach something from them, that is wonderful.  Please, however, don't repost anything we put on our blog to another website or network.  We don't use facebook or twitter for a number of reasons.  Thanks!

What did YOU see on your way to church today?  We are thinking, Not a jeepney, trying out for a part in UP?  *That is a huge bag of balloons, on it's way somewhere.  Sorry, Niece, about the photography.  It is hard when both you and the target are moving!*

THIS week began with a challenge.  Poor Elder S. woke up on Sunday 1 year older, and feeling like 90!  His back went out, and he was in a lot of pain.  We had commitments  though, so he took pain meds and we drove out to Sampaloc so that he could teach a class and we could begin teaching the Aguilar families the lessons they need to prepare for the temple.  He had a hard time, and after church, the missionaries gave him a blessing so that we could go up to the Aguilar home.  It has been a long week for him, but he is healing, and slowly getting back to normal.  

Monday we had to go to the city to meet with Pres Revillo, but we sent a text to Doc Jackson, and asked for a recommendation for pain pills and muscle relaxers.  Easy to get here, just go into a pharmacy and ask for what you want. 

 Then, in the evening a really great thing.  The Sister Missionaries in Morong, had planned a FHE for the branch, to teach them and help them understand the idea.  So, we and 6 other couples of seniors went.  We invited Pres and Sis, but he had 15 exit interviews to do, poor man.  It was well attended.  They prepared all the materials so that every family could make a FHE chart to take home, with all the assignments, etc., decorated to their own taste.  Then, they followed the chart and began:
 Just like a FHE, a song and prayer,  then did a role play to show how to do the lesson.  They had a video on the birth of Christ, then a game:

The YM and SA organized all the little boys into two caterpillars, and they raced around the chairs, inching along with the legs and feet of the one behind in the lap of the one in front.  It was hilarious!

The Relief Society provided a branch dinner, rice (of course) and Ulam, which is whatever you serve with the rice.  This night, it was a delicious looking chicken dish, but not adobo.  Also, a big pan of macaroni salad.  And a pan of brownies they cut into tiny pieces and served about 100 from!

Then, with the help of the YW, all the families made their charts.
A good time was had by all.  Good job, Sisters
Maagad, Kahui, Tingey, and Dudas.

These are all the YM, showing off for me.  The sign they make is to frame their face, and it means, GUAPO, or  "I am so handsome I should be in pictures".  They did a great job with the game, though, so I let them be a little proud.

Another transfer week, and we lost two elders in Tanay, plus had three replaced in Malaya, and went back to four in Sampaloc.  I felt like I had been robbed!  We work with these people and learn to love them very much in a short time.  Then, they are gone!  OUCH!   That hurts!  

Thurs began with the first of many emails from our family and friends about the Typhoon that was here in the Philippines.  We really were touched by how many of you were watching the weather and concerned for us.  We had a lot of rain Friday and Sat, and quite a lot of wind, but it was not bad here at all.  I know there are places south of us that are in serious need, and we may be asked to help with relief efforts as soon as things can be assessed. 

 But we were in Tanay, and we took the Elders to meet the Sisters, who needed to provide a Priesthood Blessing to Sister Josephina Perez.  She is a convert, all alone except for a sister who provides a small income for them, about $100/mo. She had prayed that she had no one to turn to.  Then, the Sisters found her, and 7 of us trooped into her tiny house. Here she is with Sister Tingey, Sister Dudas, Elder DelaSerna, Elder Aydelotte (on his knees in the back, he's about 7 feet tall) and Brother Espiritu, the branch mission leader, in the front.  We were so happy to find her, and will be working with her for the next few weeks.  She wants to go to the temple, has prepared, and is ready.  Just has not been able to make it happen.  So, I may ride a jeep after all, to get her in there!  She is 72, and has done the work for her parents.  Lots of blessings ready for her to come and take them.  

One of the joys for me out here, has been the opportunity to help in the primaries in the branches.  Now, these primaries have some minor and major challenges to deal with, but they are so much fun!   I don't want to mention names, but I am pretty sure I have found the naughtiest primary in the church!  Also, the most miraculous.  They are not the same.  (Surprised?)  This is the Malaya Branch Primary.  Sister Santos has been Primary President there for five years!   That is heroism, in my mind.  She is on the right in the sweater.  Next to her is the only teacher, Sister Rose.  14 Children, from 3 to 12. Sis Santos had a lot of questions and problems.   Her 10 year old daughter Mai Mai tries to play the keyboard, which we have at our house now, since the Baileys left and they have to come on a trike.  

This is the Tanay Primary, the entire crew!  7 children and 4 leaders.  Sister  Sacramento, with the baby on her lap, is the President, and she has two counselors, and one teacher.  After sharing time, they divide up and two go to Valiant class and the other two stay to do CTR.  Again, no nursery, so the little one is there.  She is Truly Scrumptious, and that is her name, not my judgement!  No music at all here, they sing Acapella.  But they sing--see the songs on the flip charts behind them? 

I taught them for a few minutes from the sharing time lesson, and then put them to work drawing their "temporal blessings".

Here is the Sampaloc Primary.  Pres Dolleti has asked me to help in Primary whenever I am in the Branch.  OK by me!  The Primary President is Sister Aguilar, in front on the right, baptized in April and planning to attend the temple in May, 2014.  They live way out of town, and you have seen pictures of their home from our teaching there.  Her counselor is in the back with her baby on her shoulder. There is no nursery here, so her baby, and the two little Aguilars, run about while they try to hold Primary.  Last week, they were practicing for the Sacrament Meeting Program, held today, but I was in Tanay.  I felt bad to miss it.  On Sunday, we really wish there were three of us, as we have to choose where to be.  

 They have more materials, and a room set aside for them that they can hang things on the wall.  Sister Aguilar had all the parts written out on colored sheets of paper, and she handed them out to practice, and then collected them again.  She taught a short lesson from the Friend, and then they were done, with 25 minutes to go.  So, I asked if could teach them for a little bit.  They gathered around me and the chalkboard, and were darling   Again, about 15 of them, 1 year old to two new deacons.  They have a CD player, and teach the songs with that.  No one leads music very well, including me, when I don't have the book in front of me to help me with the time!  She had crayons for them, and pencils, and gave them worksheets for the older ones to write and the younger ones to color.  

About 11:15 things got quite unruly, in spite of the well prepared leaders.  I mentioned that their challenges were "steep", and she said,

"Sister Miller (the couple who lived up there but have gone home) used to  bring snacks.  But we don't have, (she was embarrassed, ) no money.   And the children are hungry." 
Some of them come a long way, walking or on a trike, and many just don't have anything to bring for their kids to eat.  
I immediately asked Pres Dolleti if I could do that, and he said, "if you can manage, Sister, it would be a blessing".  So, from now on, I will take snacks for three weeks, each time I go.  Sister Jensen and I have been brainstorming about what I can take that they can keep for three weeks, without refrigeration.  The week I go, though, I can take fruit or little sandwiches or maybe a boiled egg.   

If they come on a trike, they have to pay for it, which may be all the money they have.  I wonder if sometimes they don't even eat before they come.  The Aguilars do have a trike, it comes down the mountain with about 10 people on it! That is how he makes their living, as a trike driver. 

This is my first attempt to bake in the little gas oven here at the house.  Elder has to light it for me every time.  We want to take Bierocks, ( or Krautburgers) to the senior FHE tomorrow night, so I had to practice to see if I could make bread here.  Turns out, I can.  These little rolls were great.  We ate about 20 before bed last night.  My own Hot Pandasal Tindehan!