Monday, January 27, 2014

Sometimes, you look haggard!
That is what Sister Sarah Santos said to me today, right after telling me that I looked pretty.   But, really, if there was ever an excuse for me to look haggard, this week might have done it.   We began running and never stopped.  

MONDAY we began our new job in earnest.  Went shopping, put orders together, and set out to deliver them to the missionaries.  We spent a lot of the day lost, of course, and made 4 deliveries and got home for dinner about 8:00 pm.  This is the list of furnishings they can ask for and expect to find in their apartments:

  Looks pretty good, right?  To look at it, you might think they are comfortable.  The reality is a little different, though.  First, remove all the electrical appliances like toaster oven and rice cooker.  They don't use them, because they have to pay their own electricity bills, but they are reimbursed for the cooking gas.  So, they use the gas hot plate instead.  Laundry tubs and stools are because they do their washing in a big tub by hand.  A dipper is a small plastic bucket that they use to bathe--only a few actually have a shower and then the water is unheated.  They sleep in bunks, usually, on a 4 inch foam mattress with a sheet.  There is rarely even a chair in the apt that is more than a plastic stacking chair used for both kitchen table and at the desk.  

There is a new apt of office elders, as we have so many new ones coming in, 207  in total with this new transfer, and they have nothing, yet.  They have beds and they are practically camping out and eating with the guys next door.  We have barely begun furnishing for them.

I think I may have finally discovered why this change in assignment was made.  I spent the first two months in the Philippines shopping.  Not because I like it, but because we were getting what we needed and doing gifts for Christmas and other things.  We were actually pretty glad when Jan arrived, and mostly we just had to go to the grocery store.  But, now, perhaps all the experience I had was just training.  It looks as though I will be spending the next year shopping, all the time!  

TUESDAY we had to meet the lady who makes the pillows, to get the ones for the new missionaries coming in this week.  They all get a new pillow, made for them, to keep with them through all their transfers.  Then, we went to meet some sisters who want to move, and had found a great new apartment.  Trouble is, it is in a lease and the current renters want to negotiate it all without telling the Owner.  Can't happen, of course.  ARGHHHHH.  Lots of time wasted.  

WED, more new friends. 
Here are Elder and Sister Jardine, from Idaho Falls.  Parents of 10 children, and the youngest returns from his mission 10 days after they go home from theirs!  They are replacing us, and boy, are the people out there lucky!  We picked them up, took them to see the temple and the offices, then home to show them our  their house.  Then lunch, a drive out to their working areas, and back home to meet the Johnsons and get their car from the APs who drove it out for them.  (Sister Schlager is such a wimp!)  Brought the office guys home again, feeding them on the way, (actually, we are STARVING, they said) and got home about 9:30.  

THURS more shopping, while the Johnsons helped the Jardine's get settled, and then our first office meeting with Pres Revillo and the office staff.  12 of us, and guess who was the only one wearing a skirt?  (Well, until the APs went and picked up Sis Revillo and brought her to the office. Pres  got a text, and said, "Sister Revillo wants to come here"  Immediately, two APs got up and left, to go pick her up.)  Guess what, these young men are even more impressive as leaders than as teachers.  We were amazed and in awe.  Of course, they are kids, too, and at the end of the meeting pointed out to the President that the only ones who can drive are leaving this week!  Funny.  He thought it might be good if they took care of that!  

SO, on FRIDAY, we went to the LTO (land transportation office) to get all six of us and some elders our driving licenses.  It was a change of plans, and you need your passport, and a current visa, and a driving license from home. And copies of all of it.  I called the two other couples and caught them just in time to tell them to bring that, and then Elder S and I made the copies we needed here at home, and we set off.

First:  you need a physical exam.  Here we all are, in the "clinic", a short walk from the LTO.  We had to be weighed and measured and blood pressure checked.  They were very kind and polite, but what a joke it is!  Then, we paid them p50;   Now here, we are lined up again, for our eye exam.  You just keep moving along, one chair at a time.  

With the eye exam, they also have you pull up your pant legs and demonstrate that you can kick, move your ankles around, and step on the brake. Turns out, we were all "still kicking".  

My vision test.  Sister Jardine and I both have an issue.  They certified us "fit to drive" with restrictions of needing glasses!   Elder Smith is beside me, awaiting his turn.  He is the new Office Secretary.

Then, here is your chance to laugh at us this week.  We went over to the LTO office, and the first thing they needed was the original of our passports.  Everyone had theirs, as I had reminded them.  Except us.  OURS were in the copy machine in our apartment!  So, they all stayed and finished the process.  We went back to collect our van, being serviced, and went home before we got into trouble for driving on our CODING day.  
Separation of Church and State?
Well, not so much.

So, when we went into the big open hall to get our license, there was a Catholic Mass going on.  This is Friday afternoon.  The people on the right are waiting to be called up to the windows for license processing.  The ones in the center were part of the church service, complete with hymns and sermon and prayers and statues and candles.  ISN'T THAT INTERESTING?

This story has a happy ending, though.  Monday is another day, and VOILA!!  WE are both licensed to drive in the Philippines.  ( I am pretty sure that is not a Filipino word.)

SAT we went with both couples to two baptisms, with seven new members.   First, Elder S baptized Sister Erna and her sons in Teresa.  
What a happy family. She bore her testimony, and told us that she was married, but her husband found another woman and left her.  She was so frightened, and not sure how she would take care of her kids.  She began "picking garbage", and her sons lost respect for her.  One day, she found a Book of Mormon in the trash, and began reading it.  She did not know which church it was, but she liked it and read and read.  Some time later, (years), Sister Suarez and her companion came to the area where she slept, and told her about the Plan of Salvation.  When she saw what book they were using, she was so excited.  She knew she had finally found her church.  Then, the Jensen's came to talk to her, and here she is, now, a member of the church, in her own little house in Maligaya.  She says already there is a major difference in her home, and from her sons. They certainly seem like a loving and close family. The little girl is 4.  the boys are 14 and 10, and both got new shirts and ties.  Thank you everyone!

All of us then took Jun and a load of recycle to Maligaya, while the rest of the branch cleaned their building for the weekend.  We hiked down the "Jensen Road" we helped to build, and the new couple missionaries saw how and where the members live.  Actually, Maligaya is pretty good.  Sister Jardine looked around at Vanessa's and said, "this is so pretty.  I could live here".  
Lunch at McDonald's, the 6 of us.

Then, we went out to Binangonan, where Pres. Revillo has assigned us to attend now,  and saw 3 more people baptized.  A YW, a YM, and a sister who was baptized by her husband.  Here they are, with the Elders, Abel and Rock.  
Sunday, back to Malaya to introduce the Jardines, and say goodbye.  Then to Sampaloc to take primary snacks and say goodbye.  

Then, we came home, and witnessed ANOTHER baptism.  There was a lot of cheering and clapping going on, so we looked out, and 15 floors below us, in our pool, saw this:
See, right in the middle of the pool, just to the right of the palm tree?  They do it by immersion, too, but they have two baptizers helping.  We are told it was probably, "Born Again" Christians, as they use immersion similar to ours.  See the witnesses standing beside the pool?  I wonder if they had to reserve it?  

SO, I guess I might look a little "haggard" now and then.  Sister Sarah's English, though, is not always dependable.  Maybe she meant "harried" ? Or "happy" ?


Monday, January 20, 2014

A New job, a New life, almost a whole New mission!   
And Elder's new job comes with power tools!  Well, one power tool.  And a big truck, and a small parking space.  
Mine comes with candy for the missionaries, a room with a view, and books to study.  Sister Revillo has asked us (me) to look at and oversee the English Study program for the Filipino missionaries.  I also got 200+ teenagers to look after!  Of course, Sister Revillo is their mother, I am just the dorm mother.  We are supposed to inspect every apartment every transfer, for cleanliness, safety, health issues, etc.  

When I mentioned that it might not be a good sign that we have been reassigned twice in 4 months, our son said, "It looks like they have learned that Dad is pretty handy and Mom falls  down  stairs".  

We also got some new friends this week.  This is the Johnsons, outside their home in Antipolo.  They are replacing the Jensens.  They are wonderful.  We spent most of Wed, Fri, and Sat with them, introducing them and shopping with them and showing them around.  Elder J took to driving here like Mario Andretti on a new race track.  No worries!  He likes it.  She is embracing every new experience, and so ready to go to work.  We showed them where to go to church, helped them with their calendar, and sent them off. They have a busy schedule already.  

MONDAY night FHE with the seniors.  We had a really wonderful presentation from the man who is hired by the church to oversee humanitarian services here in the Philippines.  He has done a slide show of what happened in the Typhoon in November.  He and Elder Ardern of the Area Presidency were down there, finding and evacuating our missionaries, and working with the Mission President.  
One of our new jobs is to be the "junk man" for the PAO.  We pick up the recycle they collect, tons of it, and take it out to Jun to sell or distribute in Maligaya.  Here they are in front of the new tindahan they built and just opened.  
Some weeks ago, I had a picture of Sister Erna, the woman the Jensens found on the side of the road with a wagon, picking garbage to support her children.  She worked there every day from 1:00 to 10:00, finding things to sell.  They promised her a house, and here she is, in her home with two of her children.  There is a teenage son, too.  We went by because it is attached to the new tindahan, the walls are shared.  She had everything neat and clean, there is a couch inside, where they sleep. (This is outside, where they cook and eat.  But covered with a small roof.)  That is a picture of Christ on the door.  She and the two  boys will be baptized on Saturday, and she has asked Elder Schlager to baptize her!  We are so glad to be able to attend that.  The little girl is not yet 8.

On Thursday, Marivic and Jun came to the city with us, to help us move in to our new home.  Remember your last new calling, when you inherited the books and agendas and paraphernalia of the previous leader or teacher(s)?  Well, that is what happens, I guess, when you move into an apt that the senior couples have been using for a while.  Our house was pretty bare bones, except for the furniture the owner left.  But here, the apt was already full of the things the other couples purchased to make them comfortable and then left behind.  
2 minor problems with that:
1.  I purchased a lot of stuff to make US comfortable in the house, and some of it I like.  So, I packed it.

2.  We are REALLY "a place for everything and everything in it's place" people.  We have to be.  We are too absent-minded these days to have things out of place.  We can't find them!  
So, we went in first, and put away what we will not be using, like exercise equipment and heavy dishes and extra bedding and books and such.  We have a trampoline!  It is stored under our bed.  We will not be "trampoling".  
Then Marivic rolled up the blinds and went to work, cleaning windows, wiping out shelves, and washing all the floors.  I think that is a waste of time.  This city is SO laden with smog, there is a fine black greasy grit on everything.  But, she did it.  Then, Elder and Jun moved in OUR things, and we put it all away.  Now, we are back in the "have you seen", or  "do you know what we did with" stage of things.  WE HAVE NEARLY DRIVEN OURSELVES (AND EACH OTHER) MAD  getting all settled again.  We lost stuff, we forgot things, we tried again. 

It must be Saturday, we are off to another baptism.  
The man in the center in yellow was baptized in Sampaloc, Brother Bong.  In the pool, of course.  All of the recent converts up there attended and were happy for him.  Pres Dolleti told them about our transfer, and we also had tears.  We just kept telling them we would be here when they go to the temple.  They have loved us far more than we deserve, but we love them too, less than they deserve!
We got to go back up on Sunday for another Temple Prep class with the Aguilar family, after attending in Malaya.  Had a wonderful day all day.  Got home about 9:00 pm.

There were a couple of jeepneys loading up in 
Sampaloc to come down the mountain.  Can you imagine riding about 20 miles on winding, downhill, narrow mountain roads like this?  They do it all the time!

Our new bedroom and office
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Guest room
New Kitchen

We have been lost a lot, AGAIN, and will be for about 6 weeks, while we learn our new job.  But there is so much here to make us happy, we just get up every day and have a few new adventures.  This week, we went to the office and Elder put his phone in his pocket.  Then, when he saw one on the desk, he thought that was his.  Put IT in the holder on his belt.  Pretty soon, we hear a cat meowing all over the office.  We are asking, "Have you got a CAT in here?"  The Elders are snickering, and tell us, "We can't get him out".  They were looking under furniture, etc.  Well, it turns out the "cat" was the AP's phone, safely tucked in Elder Schlager's belt.  Elder Crisanto couldn't find it, so he called it.  Even the missionaries are thinking, "they are pretty nice, but boy ARE THEY DUMB!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

January in the Philippines is really nice!  It has been dry, cool and sunny.  WE are still using our A/C, of course, during the day.  But the people here think it is cold.  All the little ones are dressed for the cooler weather:
Those of us who want to knit or crochet now understand why yarn is so hard to find and comes so small.  The only thing they use it for is baby caps!  See the mothers, all still in warm weather clothes? But the thinking is that babies get sick if their heads are cold.  

I haven't given you a recipe for a while, so here is a new one.  I was asked to bring Macaroni Salad to the Birthday Party in Sampaloc, but it turns out I don't make it the way they do.  So, here it is:




2 Cups Macaroni, cooked and drained and cooled
¾  cup mayonnaise
1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk 
1- 1 1/2  Cup Heavy All-Purpose Cream (over here, it is very heavy)
1 medium-sized can Del Monte Fruit Cocktail  (Try to get tropical)
1 cup Cheddar Cheese, diced or shredded  (Optional)
1/4 cup Raisins(optional)
1-1/2 cups Nata de Coco(coconut gel), drained(optional)  find this in Asian markets 
1 bottle Kaong(Red), drained(optional)
1 bottle Kaong(Green), drained(optional)
Part 1
1. Cook macaroni noodles according to package cooking instructions. Set aside and let it cool down for about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, mix the cream, mayonnaise, and milk together to make a smooth sauce.  I did not drain the fruit cocktail, and the juice makes it better, I think.
Part 2
1. In a large mixing bowl, transfer the macaroni and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well.
2. Cover the mixing bowl and refrigerate for at least an hour.
3. Serve cold. Enjoy!

The Nata de Coco is a coconut gel that is very easy to find here.  Don’t know about the states, though.  Kaong red and green are the same thing—coconut gels.

The birthday party was for Sister Eva and Sister Rowena, best friends and exactly 10 years apart.  When we arrived, Judith and AJ were just removing the Biko from the fire.  It is rice and cream and brown sugar and cooked into almost a fudge and served in squares.  See the banana leaf?
This party was held at the Senior Aguilar home, down the hill from the other family.  They "caretake" a large piece of land, for a family member, I think.  

 They had it all set up for the party, with a serving table and see the curtains all around the "patio' area?  Sister Rowena looks a little grumpy, but she wasn't really.  We brought the birthday cakes from one of the good bakeries.  There isn't one in Sampaloc.
Lots of good food.  Lots of Pancit, and spaghetti, as that is birthday food, here.  Also, coconut salad, called buko pandan, of course, and macaroni salad, and sticky rice, made with chocolate.  
Two of the elders, and my "Elderly".  This is Elder Pincock and Elder Jones.  We only have one Filipino serving up there, right now.  Elder Cubbage is from Alaska.  Here is your funny story:   On the way up the mountain, he tells us that he ate his first Iguana the day before, at the Aguilar home.  They trapped it.  They do that because they are big, and eat the chickens.  But they cooked it adobo style and he says it was very good.  "Just like chicken"  WE have all heard that one before!  He got three of the feet and part of the neck.  
The pancit was very good, and on the way home I said to the guys, "If that was iguana in the pancit, just don't tell me!"  But Elder Puficacion, from Mindinao, told me they wouldn't put Iguana in pancit (or feed it to  me!)   Apparently, that would be a waste.  He says, Iguana has it's own recipes!

As I mentioned last week, we will be moving this week.  It necessitates a lot of work and planning, and we also have to welcome a new couple on Wed and begin training them.  So, here is the balance sheet so far:

The wins:

NO mud!  No Caribou!  No baby things to step on!  This is directly across the street from our building.  We will be living on the 15th floor in Tower 3 of Olympic Heights, in a condominium.   Frankly, we were a little apprehensive, as we have become fond of our  house, and some of the sisters in the city have been just a tiny bit "whiny".  dissatisfied.  Not the Horsleys though.  I would fight to be in her wagon train.  She is a valiant and wonderful woman.

It is quite nice, with two bedrooms, both with built in closets and storage.  Two baths, so I can have my own counter! and Mirror!  Warm water in the sinks as well as the showers.  Wow! Well, still no warm water in the kitchen. Isn't that INTERESTING??  And, there is a room for the Househelp, which is another very small bedroom and bathroom, but the washing machine is in there and the drying rack.  I have no idea where she dries her sheets and towels.  There is a small back porch off the kitchen, but it scared me to death.  15th floor!  Don't think I will use  it!

Elder and Sister Horsley, while preparing themselves for the move to Mindoro, have been very generous and kind to spend lots of time with us, helping us learn our new job and preparing us.  On Sat, they invited us to come and see the  apartment, and took us to lunch there.  
Learning the ins and outs of apartment management.

Our new kitchen.  Oven works, bigger refrigerator..    
Two nice pools and an exercise room.  

 View from the bedroom window.
They took us to Johnny Rocket's, an American style hamburger joint in the 50's diner style.  YUMMY!  Way too much temptation to have across the street!
See the Jukebox?  And they break out and dance and sing for you every few minutes.  I got some really darling video.
Finally, President has decided to not assign us to Binangonan Ward, where the Horsleys attend, but to allow us to keep attending, full time in Malaya, as they have no other senior couple and we have a lot of relationships there.  This is a Win, because beginning today, I felt like I had a Home Ward again.  No longer just an occasional visitor in three places.

But, this is also a WOE for us.  It means we will not be seeing our friends in Sampaloc and Tanay as often. 
The woes:

          There is no office space in the apartment, so we will have to make a spot in the living room or bedroom.  The costs are quite a bit higher. Rent, from $385 to $715, plus $75/mo parking.  Internet from p1000 to p4000.  Water from p300 to p1300.  And that doesn't even consider what it will cost us to eat at Johnny Rocket's every night!

                 We may lose our "househelp", Marivic.  She is willing to travel into the city each week and continue to clean and work for us, but it is a very long trip and difficult for her, and it may not be practical.  The travel costs are also part of the equation.  The big trouble is, she has spoiled me, but completely ruined Elder.  Now, he thinks his shirts need to be IRONED, something I had managed to break him of in 40 years.  I DO NOT want to iron 7 white shirts every week!  As my sister once said, "IRON?  Oh, you mean that heavy thing?  I got rid of that years ago.  It scared my children."

            We never got Philippine Drivers Licenses.  We got international ones from AAA in the states, and so far they have been fine.  Interestingly, no one even asked us when we arrived.  Just gave us a car and let us go.  When we were stopped, they didn't like it much, but we were still very new and under the “30 days” law, and they were really only interested in getting a bribe because we are white.  We have been told conflicting information about needing to get a Philippines license.  Now, though, we will be driving in the city all the time and Elder feels like we should do that.  So, we set out to get it done.  Nothing is easy in the Philippines.  You have to go to a transportation office  in Manila, and have a medical test first.  The young missionaries say there is nothing to it, but the seniors are more realistic about the difference between 19 and 65+.  Then, you have to have your passport and visa.  Well, we thought that was in order, but when we went to the PAO travel office to get them, turns out, the visa is expiring AGAIN.   Right now, the Immigration office will only renew them for 60 days.  Ours were renewed in Nov, and now will have to be done again before we can apply for the driver’s license.

The church has thousands of people here on visas, so the office people are over there every day, getting them renewed as they pass their dates.  We were told today that 30% of the immigrants in the country are here as missionaries for the church.  And things are such a mess at the immigration office, that it is a real challenge to stay ahead of the problems.  Plus, this week was the “FEAST of the BLACK Madonna,” or something, so all the offices were closed in Manila.  I guess we will try again next week.  

We will no longer be going out to teach with the Elders.  We are going to miss that a LOT!  The experiences we have had are absolutely unique to our former lives, and we have learned so much. Now, we will be almost exclusively working with the missionaries and the President, and making sure they have everything they need to do the work they do. 

It is a country of contrasts, and we are feeling quite grateful that we will now have many new experiences and opportunities to learn and grow and serve.  We are loving life!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

New Years Eve is a big deal here.  We were warned to expect lots of noise, lots of drinking, lots of parties.  The missionaries were told to be in their apartments at 6:00 and STAY THERE.  So, we went out on Monday to do our deliveries and to prepare for the day.  The traffic was TERRIBLE. This is what the middle of Antipolo looked like:

And there were fireworks stands everywhere.  

 We couldn't get to the store we use to purchase items for the apartments, so we went on down to the mall. Not a good choice.  We spent the next day with the Horsleys, who were helping us learn some new responsibilities.  We had a late lunch, and all of us were in safe and sound before dark!!  Our Neighbors had a great party, but if you have been with us for the Fourth of July in Missouri, you know that it is hard to beat THAT show!  

Usually, the parties are accompanied by 
Videoke, which is very popular here.  Some of our neighbors should give up singing for their new year's resolution!   But this year, the biggest part of the party was children with horns, that they blew steadily from about 8:00 until they fell asleep about 11:30.  Then the big guns began, they woke up, more horns.  Dancing in the street.  Boom, Boom, Boom!

New Years Day we got up at 4:00 am and met the seniors at the PAO to catch a shuttle to the docks.  This was our first opportunity to see Manila Bay, and we had a wonderful day.  

We went out to Corregidor Island, the site of two of the bloodiest and most important battles of the Second World War.  It was a very interesting tour for me, as my father was here during that time.   He never talked much about it, and I am sorry that I didn't ask him more questions, so that I would know more.  But there were some fun things, too.  

We got on the ferry, very reminiscent of a WA state ferry, except there were no tables to play cards on!  This ride out took about an hour. 

All those old white faces, and the badges we wore, did excite a certain amount of curiosity in the other passengers.  

Then, when we got to the Island, we got on little trolley buses to travel around.  Our tour guide was born on the Island, and was FUNNY.  
For instance, he called our attention to one bus with only about 6 passengers on it.  That was , seriously, the bus for the Japanese tourists.  They have to segregate them, and then they have a different tour and a different set of stories than the rest of us.  They like the part where they won the battle of Bataan, and made General Wainwright and General MacArthur surrender to their colonels.  They skip the part of how brutal the Japanese occupation was, and ignore the ignominious defeat they suffered at the hands of the Americans when General MacArthur kept his promise "I shall return".   

There is a Memorial Garden there for the Japanese, where the Americans buried them after the final battles.  When the graves were finally found in 1974, the bodies were dug up, cremated, and RETURNED TO JAPAN!

The Philippines people did not want any memorial to them, at all. But, it is there, and has a place for prayer and some strange statues.   Our guide says this is the Virgin Mary dressed up as the Buddha? 

This is the Corregidor Lighthouse, with all of us in front, or course.  It was constructed first in 1853.  It is operational now, and is solar powered!  It has a range of about 35 miles, I think.  

We saw the tunnels the Japanese used, and the huge tunnel system that the Americans built in the 1920s (!!!) which housed the hospital, the military operations, and a lot of other things.  Pretty spooky, really.  I didn't like it at all.  They did a drama diorama in there, to explain what happened.  Dark and creepy, and I hate caves.  

And the Pacific War Memorial.

The Flame of Peace
  It was a really fun and special day, and a great trip.  Then, back to WORK!  

We went to see a number of apartments, as we have a new assignment.  


President Revillo called last weekend, and told us he is moving us to the city, to be (out of the office) missionaries.  
Just a minute, President.  Are SENIORS supposed to TRANSFER?

In the mission field, time is measured, not by months or weeks, but by transfers. A transfer is 6 weeks.  That is when they come to the mission, and when they exit the mission. 
When we ask the missionaries how long they have been out, they say, 2 transfers or whatever. For the past 4 months, people have been saying to me,"So, this is your first area".  And I have said, "This is my only area.  Seniors don't get transferred".  Shows you how much we knew!  There are two new couples coming, one Jan 13 and one the next week, Jan 20.   President has decided to assign them as MLS missionaries, and they will take our place, and the Jensen's place, and live out here in the two houses in Antipolo.   He is moving the Horsleys, who have completed 1/2 of their mission now, from the Housing Couple out to Mindoro!  She is excited.  He is resigned, willing, and okay with it.  
WE will be moving into the city, into their apartment, (In EASTWOOD!) and into their big van.  
We will have responsibility for all the missionary housing, about 45 apartments, which is what Elder S. was trained for in the MTC.  I will be his "sidekick".  Meaning, I think, that I can kick him in the side when he drives us around all day and drives me crazy at the same time.  
When we first got here, all we did was shop.  Trying to find essentials like the wifi router, the washer, the microwave, the crockpot, the hairdryer, pillows and sheets and kitchen ware.  Now that I have all I need, and have spent all my money!, we are moving into the middle of a huge upscale shopping mall.  That is temptation I didn't need.  Also into an apartment half the size of the house I filled up.  Remember when I told Elder Jensen, "This would have been my environment"?  Well, now it will be.  If you think there is no humor in Heaven, just take another look!

 Here is Elder Schlager with Elder Horsley, working on a new apartment agreement.  Aren't they cute?  The Sister missionaries said they "look like twins".  
These Sisters need a new apartment.  Theirs is not safe, and they were broken into while they were asleep !  So, they found one, we went out to approve it, and with luck it will pass all the hurdles this week and they can move before long.  Of course, by then, half of them may have been transferred.  
It is quite nice, with two baths and three bedrooms.  The baths are better than this. but they will still shower with cold water and a bucket and pail.
Elder S is learning to drive the big van through the city streets, and on the highways. One of our goals is to avoid interaction with the city traffic cops!  WE are learning the routes to all the apartments, as maps are not much help, they don't have addresses.  The Horsleys are providing us with detailed driving instructions to each one!
See this little bit of beauty we found in the midst of the city?  She nearly fainted when I waved at her.  

There is beauty everywhere, if you look for it.  We plan to do that, and find joy in our new life.  It will be almost like a whole new mission for us, and we are going to miss our elders and teaching with them so much.  We MAY not have to change our schedule for Sundays, and will still be able to see our friends in the branches we have learned to love.  

Sister Horsley gave me permission to share a story with you that she told me this week.  As they go from apartment to apartment, delivering things to the missionaries, and checking on their safety and housekeeping, she leaves them little treats, usually American chocolate bars.  One day, as she was getting ready to go, she saw a package of Skittles on her table, and picked them up and put them in her purse.  Just thought, "maybe I will take those."  But, there was no reason to do that, and then she never gave them another thought.  Later in the day, at one of the apartments, the elders were there.  She offered them chocolate treats, and one elder looked, and she had Snickers and Peanut M and M's that day.  He explained that he was allergic to nuts, so couldn't have any.  She said, "I remembered those silly Skittles".  So, she told him she might have a treat for him, too. She had just felt like she should pick up another kind of candy that day.  "Do you like Skittles?"   Well, of course he did! So, he got Skittles instead.  Skittles are amazing.jpg
She said, "Now, do you think the Lord really cared whether he got a candy treat that day?  Of course not.  But He did care that this Elder got a message.  He heard, that day, that the Lord knew him and was aware of him, and would take care of him. That was what I took to him that day."   

"Never ignore a prompting."  Pres, Monson  

Although we won't be teaching with them anymore, we will still be serving the young missionaries in our mission, all 200 + of them. We really hope we can be encouraging and supportive as they do this massive job they have.  

Credits:  Many of the pictures (the good ones) this time, are courtesy of my companion, his skill,  and his nice camera.  My phone does okay, but ,,,,,,,,,

Lots of changes coming!
Watch this space!