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!