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?  

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