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" ?


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