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.
WE ARE MOVING!
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.
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 ,,,,,,,,,