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.  



  1. Jason was very happy to hear the duck survived!!

  2. What a story! Their ducks must be more robust than our flimsy US models.

  3. Wow are you having quite an adventure! :) Happy late birthday we love you and the girls are so happy the duck survived lol
    the marlers