RIGHT NOW ........we are hanging in,
waiting for the final dregs of Typhoon Hagupit to come through Manila. We have been expecting her for about 5 days, and she has been a mass of contradictions. At first, it looked like it would be a worse disaster than last year, in Tacloban. But, she danced on the water for a long time, and gave us plenty of time to get prepared. The Church, of course, was in the forefront and on top of it.
While I wait, I will try to catch up a little bit on what we have been doing.
Turkey is expensive here, and they really don't know what to do with it. They don't eat it. And, of course, it is not a holiday here, either, so Thanksgiving Day is a work day for all of us. But some of the Seasoned Missionaries were determined to try again to have a fairly traditional holiday. So, we hired a caterer, and paid p500 each, (about $25 per couple), gave them recipes, and they tried. Really tried. This is the serving table.
In some ways, it was just about like home. All the Mama's in the kitchen.
The Turkey was good, the pies were better than last year. The Green Beans were in their sauce, but had not been cooked first. The stuffing showed up after the dinner was all over, (nobody knew it was inside!) . And, everyone ate too much.
However, we had fun, as we always do. We played a game on gratitude. But the highlight was the entertainment. There is, south of us, a home for children from the streets. No home or parents to care for them. At present, there are 80 there, ranging from 1 week old to 16. Eight of them came to sing and dance for us. The video is far too long to post, but here they are, posing with us.
As none of us had our grandchildren here, we borrowed some!
After the dinner,
Elder took me shopping, and I decided to buy some "South Sea" pearls. These are the better quality pearls, and I had not done that before. So, I spent "to infinity and beyond" on a couple of rings and some earrings. Two days later, back to the Bazaar. Quilt still not ready, but I saw something I WILL need, if I keep buying jewelry! Now, THAT is a jewelry box! (Closet? Room? )
Christmas is coming...
It was wonderful, of course. Here are Todd Tapp, our DTA (Director of Temporal Affairs for the Area) Elder Bowen, and President Ardern. Elder EchoHawk is away in the States.
The area choir dressed up in sequins and sang for us. (Filipinas like Bling. Me, too.)
And Sister Bowen played the piano and sang "Mary's Lullaby" for us (beautifully, of course!)
Then, back to the area fleet garage for a really special luncheon. All of the employees of the church, (there are a LOT) were celebrated and honored. Very nice for them.
CHRISTMAS IS COMING......
And, it is still the Philippines.
And, nativity scenes in every lobby, and most everywhere you look. This is one of the things I REALLY enjoy about the Philippines. It is a Christian Nation, and makes no bones about it. No one seems to be at all offended, or even disturbed. It just is what it is.
So, in the mood for a little Christmas, I began making treats.
These are the Glazed Almonds I have been making for years and years, since my Sister in Law taught me. My granddaughter wrote for the recipe this year. (I had to chase it down--didn't bring it.)
2 cups whole, raw almonds
1 cup sugar
2 T. Butter
In heavy skillet, combine butter and sugar, cooking over medium heat, and when the butter melts, pour in the almonds and begin to stir. Stir constantly, until the almonds are roasted and the sugar is melted and becomes a golden brown syrup. Remove from heat, and stir in 1 tsp. vanilla. Spread out as well as you can, on a sheet of aluminum foil. (Move quickly, it will harden). Sprinkle lightly with salt. Cool completely. Break into 2-3 nut clusters. (hitting it will a knife handle works well.) Store in airtight (and in the Philippines, BUG tight) container.
Everybody is cleaning up for the holidays!
And the Mall has a different holiday special going on every week. This week, it was SHOE MANIA.
(Marikina is famous for being the shoe capital)
in the middle of the holiday cheer and fun, we got the news of Hagupit, a Super Typhoon threatening to be larger and more powerful than Yolanda, and aiming right at the same place. So, emergency plans went into place. President and Sister cancelled their trip to Mindoro this weekend, with their kids, to celebrate her birthday and to hold the Christmas Zone Conference down there. All our vulnerable missionaries, (vulnerable to flooding) have been moved to safer apartments. Plans and flights cancelled. Parents notified and reassured.
And, an emergency call to come and put together 3000 emergency food kits for the area. So, back to the area/fleet garage, for a different kind of party.
Elder Accaling and I repacking rice. Hot, dirty work. It came from warehouses, I guess. I asked Elder Ferrin, "where did it all come from?"
"Well, you've seen those big green fields out there?"
I told him, I knew that was a lie. I have seen it all over the roads, and had to drive around it. But the church has storehouses here, as well. Your fast offering and humanitarian funds at work.
About 30 of the Seasoned Missionaries, our doctors, nurses, humanitarian people. MTC staff, etc.
My Team, our office staff. They were able to come because Saturday is THEIR p-day. I was so proud of them, and they were a great deal of help. Young and strong. And fun. Sister Oyler, Sister Felipe, Elder Accaling, Elder Malmrose, Elder Yourglich, Elder Gako, Elder Natural, Elder Hart, Daniel, an investigator, and Elder Kaitani.
Elder Olsen, our legal beagle, hamming it up with them.
Some results of the day's work. Hundreds and hundreds of bags of rice, with sardines, corned beef, etc.
We went that night to a baptism. Elders Yourglich and Accaling work about 50 hours a week in the office with us, but they are still missionaries.
Sometimes for them, it works out differently. This week, a woman walked up to them, and said, "CAN YOU TEACH MY NON-MEMBER HUSBAND?"
"Well, yeah! We can do that.!"
First lesson was this afternoon.. Because that is what we do.
Come holidays, parties, floods, typhoons, we baptize! .