Sunday, May 18, 2014

TOMORROW IS EXACTLY 9 MONTHS since we left home to fly to Utah and begin our mission.  Next week will mark our halfway point!    We can hardly believe it.
Here we are, as you can see, still standing!   A little older, a little wiser (we hope), and a lot more experienced than when we left.    
 One thing about our new office job is that we are pretty peaceful companions.  As it turns out, I have my responsibilities  and Elder S has his.  We have at least one thing in common with preschool children.  We "play" better side-by-side, than together!  

WE did have a sort of adventure last week.  When Sister Medina left, she could not take everything on the plane with her. Too heavy.  We promised to ship it.  So, she said to use the bus line.  OK, we can do that.  We took it, went to the depot, parked about 2 blocks away, carried it, and found the "shipping dept".  But, wrong terminal for Isabella, we were at the wrong depot.  Tried to find the other one.  No way to get where we thought we needed to go.  About 2 hours later, we were back at the office, no further ahead.  Elder S. was ready to give it up. An hour and half in this traffic just turns him into a bear.  But I got a taxi, put the stuff in the back, told him where to go.  Well, he took us to a different place, about 15 minutes!, parked and waited for us.  

This is the bus depot, and see all the stuff waiting to be shipped? Now we know why the buses are so tall and so huge---they carry a lot more than people.

Elder S., arranging to send her packages.  But it cost us about $6.oo, we sent it on Sat afternoon, and she had it on Sunday morning.  Everything looks so "rinky-dink" here, but it works!  They get stuff done.  
Then, we got back in the taxi, and about 45 minutes after we left we were back at the office.  That cost us about $5.00.   I am a BIG fan of taxis.  From now on, if we have to go someplace difficult, we are going to let them do the driving. (WE might be good New Yorkers some day!)

This is sort of interesting, I think.  File:Central temple.JPG
This is the INC Temple.  The Iglesia Ni Cristo, or Church of Christ.  
They are our :"Competition".  Although the country is about 95% Catholic, they are third behind Muslim, with about 2.5%.  
They were founded in 1914, by Felix Manalo.
WE were told, by people who know, that he was a catholic, but became disenchanted with it.  So, he studied several other religions, and found the LDS church.  He went to Utah, and told the church leaders, "Make me an apostle, and I will bring the entire Philippines to the LDS church".   Well, of course, that is not how it is done.  So, he came home and started his own church.  The buildings are everywhere.  Every single little neighborhood, has one, and they range from really large to very small.  They are often very near ours.  They are different colors, and I guess the color denotes the level of income of the members, so that you can go with your own "class".
They baptize by immersion, require tithing of their members, (as in, you are billed and they collect it at the door,) They also profess to be the only true church, as in a restoration of the church Jesus founded.  
Felix Manalo professed to be a prophet, his son followed him and his grandson now leads the church.  Of course, he also said he would live forever.  But guess what?  HE'S DEAD!

This is one of the smaller chapels. See, it is blue. 
And a bigger one.  It is pink.  They are also yellow, and green.  They are celebrating their Centennial Birthday this year.   When the floods came in Tacloban, they barred the doors and would not let their (or any) people in.  We sent our members to ours, invited anyone else to come.  Many INC members took refuge in our buildings, and have since decided they have found the "real, true church", and joined ours.   

On the way to church, we go through Angono.  Angono is the "art capitol" of the area.  So, here are some examples of the art you see there.  

And Saturday night we went to a shopping place I have been wanting to try.  Turned out, they were doing an "event", or a special weekend of lots of different craftspeople and designers.  I bought a few things, and this designer wanted to have my picture with her.   So, I got one, too.  Her name is Nicole. I think.  She made the skirt I purchased.  

BTW, did  mention that it is Back To School time, here?  The schools are out from mid'-March until June 1.  So, the stores are full of little uniforms and we are doing a service project.  
The Senior Missionary Couples are going to put together school supply kits for 210 children, the count for the total number of children in the six primaries in the Morong District.  As we know many of those children, OK by us!  It is a burden for the families, as it can be in the states, as well, for many families.  Remember when Public Schools actually supplied paper, pencils, crayons, hand soap, and tissues?  
IF YOU DO, you are OLD, like me!

 I HAVE been reading the conference talks, and enjoying them so much.  My Sister told me, "We are all enrolled in the College of Exaltation, and it is a course of individual study."  Conference makes that so clear to me, as we each listen and read and find the messages that are intended just for us.  Here is the quote from President Uchtdorf that I most especially learned something from:

Why does God command us to be grateful? 
All of His commandments are given to make blessings available to us. 
...those who set aside the bottle of bitterness and lift instead the goblet of gratitude can find a purifying drink of healing, peace, and understanding.

So, as grateful as I am for the blessing of being here, I am trying to grow beyond gratitude for "things" , to an attitude of gratitude that is part of my nature.

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