Sunday, December 15, 2013


Jack Frost nipping at your nose,
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,

And folks dressed up like Eskimos????.

WELL, maybe not.  Yes, they are dancing in the fountain.  
But, we had the chestnuts, and the carols. and lights and gifts and fun and excitement.

Have you ever eaten chestnuts?  My grandmother used to talk about them with nostalgia, but  they are not going to be a holiday favorite for us.

This is at the Market!! Market!! Mall
A very nice regular mall, but with outside and inside market stalls for the upscale vendors to come and sell their wares.   Here I have found real fabric stores, (but ONLY fabric, don't expect to find the necessary materials for sewing), and rows and rows of fine pearls,
and many different knds of Filipino foods.  WE have to ask " What is this?"

We went to find some gifts for the many parties to which we are invited.  Like, a nice souvenir for a senior couple to take home with them, for the gift exchange at our party on the 23rd.

AND So, the parties began.   

The Jensens leave for home in Canada on the 23rd.  Elder S keeps telling them that if we can accomplish 1/10 of the good they did, he will be a "happy camper".  They are such good, kind people, and Elder Jensen is a man who never quits.  So, here are some of the people who now live in homes of their own because of his work.  They wanted so much to have a surprise party for them.  We got them there, and then they all marched out singing a lovely little song about Thank You.
Then, everyone spoke, and they finished with a lunch of Pancit made by Vanessa, and ice cream sundaes, furnished by the Schlagers.  

This is Sister Erna.  Do you remember the woman on the side of the garbage dump, living in a wagon and picking trash to survive?  Well, she got moved into her house in Maligaya last week, with her kids, and is so grateful.  And the members of the church there are welcoming her and already teaching her the gospel!  They are trying to help her get a better source of income going, too.
Next to her is the quilt that everyone wrote messages on for the Jensen's to take home.  They will need it!  After being here, they are going home to - 35 C.

There is a lovely, historic church in Teresa, right behind the Jollibee!  They have decorated for Christmas, too, as you can see.  The tree is made of pink umbrellas.  

(By the way, if you haven't already discovered this, you can click on the pictures and see them larger and more clearly.)

We DID work this week, on Tues and Wed, but on THURS:


Because the mission is so large, they have to hold three separate Christmas Zone Conferences, dividing into about 100 missionaries each.  We attended the one on Thurs, at the Aurora Chapel in Quezon City. The Senior Couples did the first act, a spiritual presentation in the chapel.  Then, on with the fun.

  All set up for the lunch and the show.   

The office people and Pres and Sis Revillo sang and danced!

Every district did a song and a skit.  Ours were spectacular, of course!  Elder and I were cheerleaders, not performers.  After lunch, they all sat and watched a fun Christmas movie.  

Then, games!   Here is Sister Revillo directing the games.  Simple, and fun.  

Then, thinking they MUST be hungry again, she served another snack of cookies, drinks, and Buko Salad.

Finally, a gift exchange.  Plus gifts from the Pres.   Here is Elder S demonstrating a Filipino Fan.  Sort of a circle of silk fabric sewn to a wire edge.  Everyone got one, and they are useful!  Plus fun to toss at people.  They fold up into a pocket fan, easy to carry around with you.  

Yes, Sister Revillo did three of these parties!   But the young missionaries had such fun, and they need it at Christmas time.  For many, they have never been away from home before.

And then, they went back to work with renewed energy and dedication.  On Saturday, after a baptism in Morong, the Morong District had a zone activity.  We all went to the baptism, first.  
They had all pitched in from their meager resources, and bought enough treats to make about 140  treat bags.  

Here they are with their loot, ready to pack up and go caroling.  Sister Medina is in the front.  She came last transfer.  She is a girl of high expectations and high energy, and her companion is a talented and steadfast Maori woman who uses few words and less drama.  Night and Day!  But Sister Medina is fun, and funny, and a fabulous missionary.  She has had a number of health problems, and has been offered the chance to go home.  She won't go.  She wants to go serve on Mindoro, before the end of her mission, but President just keeps telling her,  "There is no St Luke's on Mindoro".  She needs to be near the hospital.  Under her very energetic and capable direction, we have a lot of fun.

 So we all trooped down the street to the Rizal Provincial Hospital.  There we went in to carol to the patients.  We began in the children's wards.   

Ill infant. 

 Exhausted parents.

Many women here have their babies at home. due to poverty.  But when they can, or have to. go to the hospital, it is not what we are used to.  See the baby here beside her sleeping mother?

A fairy typical ward.  But, we were welcomed and saw smiles as we sang and passed out little bags of treats.

Sister Tingey asked me if I had seen the little boy in the pneumonia room all by himself with no parents?  When I told her no, she said, "We are going back to see him  before we leave."  So, after all the treats were passed out, and we went up and sang to the few people in the "private rooms", still very basic and bare, but with a door, we went to meet her little friend.    Here he is, sitting on a bare pad, still all alone, with his little treat bag in his lap.  We never did get a smile, but whenever we put our hand out, he would slap it, with the tiny hand with the bandage on it.  Sister Tingey tried to explain that the bag had "chocolatte" but he just watched us.  The woman beside him, tending to her own ill child, said his grandmother and mother were there, but trying to find a way to go home.  He had been released, but they had no fare to get home to Antipolo.  (About 10 miles, I think.) 

About then, his grandmother came, and spoke to Sister Tingey and Sister Dudas.  Sure enough, they just had no money to go home.  So, we asked about the amount needed.  About P40, or $.95.  I gave her p50, and they told her to take her grandson home.  Poor little mite.  

ONE sad thing:   Just like in the states, at this time of year people get a little desperate for money to do things they think they should do.  That means you have to be very careful with your personal belongings.  We purchased a GPS system from Jensens when we came, mostly because they are very hard to find here, and while the Jensens no longer needed it,  we were still trying not to get lost on the way to church.  Sadly, it has disappeared, and most likely, was taken by someone we know, to sell.
On Saturday, while we were all together getting ready to go carol, AT THE CHURCH, Sister Tingey's bag was stolen, and Sister Medina was robbed of all her money, which is for medications.  There was a woman there at the building that no one recognized.   But the Sisters just  looked hard for what was lost, and then went on to the hospital with us as planned.  We lent them some cash until President Revillo could take care of them.  

One funny thing:  Since we retired one year ago, we are not much richer or poorer, but we are MUCH smaller.  I have lost 40 lbs, and Elder has lost 55. Between us, we have lost a whole Filipino Family!  Droopy Drawers is his nickname.  So, when I asked him what he is missing, he said, "Pants that FIT".   We finally found a good tailor in the larger mall, and had some pants altered for him.  He looks great!  They have three more pair on their way to fitting.   

One Sweet Thing: 

This is Sister Eva Aguillar, the Primary President in Sampaloc.  Baptized in February, she and her husband are preparing for the temple.  He is the only counselor in the branch presidency.  Today, while I was assisting her in Primary, she said to me:  "When I study, my goal is to be teacher, but no money.  Now, in this church, my dream comes true"   And she has a gift for it that is so evident as she leads this little primary.

And this is Jhazelle Ann, their daughter.  Two years old.  Just imagine how different her life is going to be, because her parents are embracing the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One wonderful thing:   Buko Salad
Sister Revillo always serves this, and it is heaven!   Did I already mention that it is young coconut season here?  Anyway,  the tender shreds from the inside are BUKO, which you need to make the salad.  We have not yet attempted harvesting our own, the only reason I am not living on the stuff and gaining back all 40 lbs.  They usually make it with a tropical fruit cocktail, but she uses fresh fruits like apple and grapes, too. Sometimes it has small cubes of cheese in it.   Then, heavy cream AND condensed milk, all stirred together and served either cold or frozen.  There are a lot of recipes, but first you have to catch your BUKO!  

 Another wonderful thing here is the custard.  Of course, with all the chickens, eggs are plentiful and used in many things.  For instance, if you order a meal in a fast food restaurant, the chances are it will have the option of a fried egg on the plate.  

Anyway, We have discovered that the Egg Pie in the bakeries, is really a fabulous custard pie.  Elder feels like they do it just for him.  So, all he wants for Christmas is Egg Pie, and all I want for Christmas is Buko Salad.  

And, of course, a camera call with our family .  


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