Sunday, April 6, 2014


Poor President Revillo left us on the streets just one week too long.  Monday was not a good day for us.   We had four apartments move, two up north and two down south.  We were running from one to another to make sure the apartments were alright, the missionaries were alright, and that the moving costs got paid.  As we left our parking garage to go back in the afternoon, we met another big van coming down the ramp.  We had to back up to get out of his way, and in the echoing space we thought he was honking at us.  By the time I realized it was ANOTHER car, I said, "Elder" and CRUNCH! We backed into a nice Honda, his right front corner with our left back corner.  (Not easy to do!)  But he was very nice, We didn't realize at the time, in the dark, the damages to our car, and we went back to work.
But we were upset, and not too clear headed, I guess.  Later in the day we got lost in an inner city neighborhood, finally had a trike driver lead us to where we could meet the missionaries and have them take us to their new apartment.  Well, in leaving that one, we found ourselves, at 5:00 pm, on a narrow city street full of people and traffic, and as we dodged small children and trikes, we squeezed past a big orange delivery truck with his tailgate down. But there was something protruding from beneath the gate that caught us again!   No damage to him, this time.  But, now the right side of the van is also damaged!  See the long orange scratch running halfway down the side?

This has been a difficult week.  In between training the Sheffers, teaching two workshops, and getting the new apartments in order, we had to make time to gather estimates, collect and find documents, report the damages to the fleet manager, the insurance company, and the mission office, meet with the poor man we crunched, and so forth.  Do any of you have the Original Receipt for your driver's license?  Fortunately, I kept that as a tax deductible expense.  You have to prove that you actually have a real license here, and that it is not counterfeit.  You do that with your official receipt.  

We had to report it to the office as well, as President has to sign both of the accident reports.  
Elder S always says "My goal is to be part of the solution.  Not part of the problem".  We didn't manage it this week.  When I spoke to Elder Smith, the Office Secretary, he said "Don't worry about it.  It is just part of the Philippines.  I had a scrape this week, too. We are just glad you are alright." 

But when I pointed out that most people probably don't manage to damage both sides of the car in two separate accidents in the same afternoon, he laughed and said, "Well, I will admit, THAT is a first!"  

 In fact, we know for sure of three other senior couples who have had accidents since we arrived.  We are just SO grateful that we didn't harm anyone.

The van had a damaged side when we got it.  President saw it, and told us to get it fixed.  He felt it looked bad.  So, we were without it for a week, and it looked perfect when we got it back.  It was perfect for about 3 weeks!!  I think he jinxed us!
Just FYI, the damages are about $800 for Mr Borah's Honda, and about $500 each for our two booboos.  If we could, I think we would have just paid for it and saved the aggravation.  On Monday and Tuesday, I would have gladly paid it to avoid the stress of dealing with people we can't really talk to .  

OF ALL the challenges of our mission, the worst is our inability to speak the language.  

Typical of the Philippines, however, there were some things that tickled us this week.

We drove past a motorcycle shop on a narrow street near the office.  At least, I think it was that.  A nice stock of new cycles outside, all lined up, and a counter to the left with a big display of helmets in several colors.  All new and shiny looking.  (Remember, these have no windows or doors, just open bays until they pull down the metal garage doors late at night to close up.)  So as I looked in, at the back was a beautiful white casket on a stand.  Don't know if they sell motorcycles and caskets, or if they were holding a wake there until the funeral.  Most likely, though, the second choice is true!

 While delivering to a new apartment, Sister Sheffer and I, who do NOT carry refrigerators upstairs, walked down the street to shop in the little stores.  This "shop" had aquariums, fish, and these little chicks, dyed for the Easter Season.  

 Our last purchase for the apartments before turning our fund over the the Sheffers.  A new refrigerator for 2 Elders in Taguig.

Sorry, I accidentally deleted the good one and kept the bad one, but she was lovely, honest.  When was the last time you saw an elevator operator?  I am quite sure I was a child in Salt Lake City, shopping at ZCMI with my Grandma Dunn.  But here she is, taking people up and down at the SM mall.
As you have seen before, the hospitals here are pretty basic and the services are worse.  But, while driving near the office, there is a large one.  We saw a young couple, with their BRAND NEW baby in her arms,  come out of the hospital gate and climb into a Jeepney to go home.  I caught a glimpse of the baby when the blanket slipped, and it was so tiny, and floppy, like they are for a day or so.  I don't think this baby was even 24 hours old.  Imagine in the States?  They won't let you out of the hospital until they strap the baby into a car seat that THEY have to approve!  But here, this baby was just really lucky to be born at the hospital.  

We were late for an appointment because we could not get through Morong on Sunday.  It is Summer Vacation here, but the schools still seem to have a lot going on.  Sports, concerts, etc.  So it must have been a basketball game that had just ended.  People, and trikes, and Jeepneys all over the place.  Here are some of the band. 

There were also about 15 young women dressed in white blouses and yellow satin skirts with white tennis shoes and pink laces for ?  Cheerleading?  Dance team?  Baton Twirling?  See this closeup of one of them?  Notice the little straw hat hair decoration.  Also, the women here almost always have long hair, but it is down their backs at play, and ALWAYS in a tight little bun for work, etc.  
Back to Primary on Sunday, and i finally met the Primary President, Sister Domingo.  She has been out for weeks with a difficult pregnancy.  Here she is, teaching her Primary in sharing time.  I was really glad to see her arrive, as the counselors were not there. 
It took her exactly one hour to ask me to be the second teacher for the Valiant class.  But i will encourage her to call another teacher, as we should not do for them what they CAN do for themselves.  There are other teachers available to her.  Wish i COULD PLAY THE PIANO, THOUGH.
Here is Janna again.  Remember,I cleaned her fingernails two weeks ago?  It turns out, she and her sister are investigators.  Their parents don't come, they come with another family.  I didn't mention that she doesn't smell very good.  Unusual with children here, at least in our experience.  But this week, she came freshly bathed, with clean damp hair, which she kept combing.  She had a little shopping bag with her, with her comb, and a bottle of baby powder, and her pamphlets from the Elders, and her Book of Mormon.  And she smelled like a freshly washed baby.  Sweet and clean.  She was waiting for me, and she stayed with me until she went to class and I went to RS.  I hope I am "ministering that matters" to her!

Well, we have turned all the apartment work, including the poor van, over to the Sheffers.  We have our pretty little Toyota home again, after a stint with the Johnsons and a tour with the Sheffers, and we are glad to have it back.  Of course, tomorrow when we go to the office, President may decide to put us in a taxi.  He already tried a tank---didn't work!  (He probably wonders why the mission department makes our young missionaries use public transportation, and gives cars to the seniors!)
If it weren't for having to drive for over an hour to church every week, I think we would prefer taxis.  Elder S had a rough week, and to make matters worse, Elder Johnson is calling him "CRASH".

When I read one of Elder Maxwell's books, he introduced me to a quote from C.S.Lewis that has become a Moment of Truth for me, to inspire me to do better.  

"Meanwhile, little people like you and me, if our prayers are sometimes granted, beyond all hope and probability, had better not draw hasty conclusions to our own advantage.  If we were stronger, we might be less tenderly treated.  If we were braver, we might have been sent, with far less help, to defend far more desperate posts in the great battle."

Here in the Philippines, I have met some of those braver, stronger souls, and I have seen some of the more desperate posts.  As Sister Revillo reminded the missionaries this week, we need to be kind and generous to each other.  We have no idea what some others of us have had to fight to get where they are!  

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