Sunday, March 1, 2015


On the 3rd, we were blessed with a Special Missionary Meeting", as Elder Durrant of the General Sunday School Presidency,  and Sister Durrant  came with Elder and Sister Echo Hawk to instruct us.  We were able to have all of our local missionaries, (excepting  the ones on Mindoro), with us.  They were wonderful and amazing and lots of fun to learn from.  

They taught our missionaries many things, but he was determined to spend some time on "Sisters are Amazing".  And, of course, they truly are.  We have about 40% Sisters in our mission, and they do so much to make our mission stronger and better.  
A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, told me that when he served his mission, the Sisters were his biggest headache.  He said he had to "separate them forcibly", or in other words, settle differences and problems for them.  
Interestingly, our Elders say such different things.  They often say, "I can't believe the Sisters."  Or "These women are the BEST missionaries".  
If you would like to watch something inspiring, there is a video from the church about the first Sister Missionaries.   They were asked for, by the Mission President in England, at the end of the 18th Century!


We actually had a date on Friday night, and went to dinner.  We ran into the Pecks, so we all had a very nice evening.   There are a LOT of good restaurants here, and Elder spoiled me and took me for Italian.  The next day, though, we had better things to do.  We met the Johnsons to see the project, and then they had us to dinner at their home.  We were invited to a Branch Party with them, but just sent cookies, instead, and drove home.

The Project!

Brother Rod Jensen came back from Canada with a work crew, to do some more building of houses in Maligaya, after the purchase of the new land was finalized.  They are building four new homes, two for our friends the Peraltas and the Candaris, which will be real homes, two stories, with real windows and doors, and a buried water supply.  Very exciting, but poor Jhun feels it is "too much", and says the money could have built homes for a lot more people.  (With us here is Alex, the teenage adopted daughter of Sister Josie.  She is the Sister we took to the temple last December.  They now live in Maligaya, with Beth, in a tiny house of their own built by Jhun.  That is what he likes to do--help others.)

In the meantime, though, it is providing work for a lot of hungry families.  As you see, the work is very manual, and simple.  But they will be lovely when finished.  
This one is for Vanessa and Dexter.  See the nice door and windows?

It is a long walk down there!   Advantage, no one around  them except each other, and the area is just gorgeous.   We were in the middle of transfer week, and so busy we barely got to see Rod, but we did make time to drive out and see the project on Saturday.  

THEN, we had a mission tour with Elder Bowen of our Area Presidency.   

Here are Elder and Sister Bowen with the Revillo family.   They flew to Mindoro on Friday, and stayed until Sunday morning, holding a conference and meetings down there with the APs.   

Then, they came back to Quezon City and Tuesday and Wednesday we held conferences for our missionaries here.   WE all had some interviews.  One of our APs was quite nervous.  He is wonderful, but he said, "Elder Bowen scares me!"   I just told him , "Me, too!"

Elder Bowen IS very direct and honest.  But he asked the missionaries to prepare by studying The Abrahamic Covenant, The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood, The Gathering of Israel.  And, he taught them, powerfully, on those subjects.  WOW!  Did I learn a lot?   We all did.  Have you read D and C 84 lately?  
As he taught, I watched our missionaries.  They just kept leaning further and further forward.  They were hanging on his words, and I thought some of them would topple right off the benches in their effort to hear everything and understand.  It was wonderful.

Here are some thoughts for you:
Are you a member of one of the "lost tribes"?   (If you are not Levi, Benjamin, or Judah, YES!)
There WAS no "pre-existence".  We always existed.  We refer to the "pre-mortal life".
Do you believe in a "plurality of Gods"? 
Abraham is our rich grandfather--and there IS an inheritance!

So, on Tuesday, they held meetings in the morning, then interviews, and then a quick trip to Antipolo for the afternoon Conference.   Elder Schlager and I had to help a little bit with getting everybody fed.  What do you feed a general authority?  A Subway boxed lunch, in his lap in the car, on the way to his next meeting.   My dear Sister would have been appalled.  
The next day, though, Sister Revillo did her usual amazing trick, and we had a lovely, catered lunch with dressed and decorated tables and chairs, goblets,  and wonderful food. 


Although it is not a national holiday, there are a lot of Chinese Nationals here, so it is pretty widely celebrated.   The stores are full of it, and our neighborhood mall decorated and had a lot of fun things going on.   
And here is my "Dog".  If you look closely at this one, you will see that Elder Schlager has a bruised and swollen eye.  He actually was bitten by something, and reacted as some of our family does---badly.  He said, "everyone will think you hit me".  I said, "I will tell them that if I ever DO haul off and hit you, it will look a lot worse than THAT!"
One day, there was a band, and all these furry dragons dancing around.  Each one had two men/women in it, and they performed for about and hour.  
 See this one, pretending to be a giraffe?  

Serving in Sampaloc (AKA:  The Elder and Sister Schlager Variety Show)

1.  Elder Schlager has been called and sustained as the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency.  They have never had one before.  
2.  I am teaching music and sharing time in Primary now. This is Pananampalataya (Faith)   She is 8 years old and always greets me with a big smile and a hug.  She has some challenges, and can't read.  But she has a phenomenal memory, and sings all the songs with us, with joy and every word correct.  She was baptized recently, although it was probably not necessary for her.  But she wanted it SO much~~~~~~~~
3.  We had a branch Temple Trip on Saturday, and were able to be in the temple with 13 youth to do baptisms.  Because we have so little Priesthood, and the branch is so young, we had to recruit help in the baptistry from the Senior Couples.  Four of them came to help.  So, we got to share the joy---or feel like Tom Sawyer, depending on your point of view! 
( 30 branch members came down early in a jeepney. They brought a big bowl of cold spaghetti and rice, to eat before the temple session.  We added pandesol, bananas, and drinks. They were really grateful--it's a long day.)
 Some of my Sampaloc Sisters.

4.  I spoke in Sacrament Meeting last week on "Self - Reliance".  Yes, I do recognize the irony!
5.  We have been asked to teach temple prep classes and have 3 people ready for the temple on the 28th of March.  We are doing the first one tonight. (Saturday). 
6.  After our class, there is a baptism.  I am the speaker. 

This is Sister Roselyn and Elder Hart and Elder Buhler.  His first baptism.  Done perfectly!
 We didn't want to drive down the mountain at 10:00 pm, and have to go back up tomorrow morning at 7:30 am.  So, we are staying the night in the guest house there.   This is the bathroom.  Huge, and complete with a bidet!  A country of contrasts.  
7. Our poor little primary still has hungry children, so now I do the snacks for them again.  Today, I am taking egg salad, as I will be up there early to put the sandwiches together.
8.  After, church, we will teach another class, and then go with the President or RS President to make visits.  
(Last week we saw a sister who just lost her husband.  She is the grandmother of a special needs 6 year old, and a three year old.  Parents work in Manila and come out on Saturday.  The 6 year old needs a wheel chair, and hers is broken.  I called the Haslems, our area humanitarian couple who do wheelchairs here, and she is arranging for a special one, that the child can not fall out of, so that they can come to church.)  
We actually went to visit with the Aguilar Family, Anthony's parents and siblings.  They have not been coming.  One daughter, three sons.  They want to come, but it costs P60 each to take a trike, and they just don't have it.  It is all they can do to get the boys into high school every day.  AJ, the older Sister, had to quit College--not enough money to send everyone in to town.  Brother Aguiler said, "P60 is a Kilo of rice."  I can't imagine having to choose between taking your children to church or feeding them.   Sometimes, he sends just the kids.  Please pray for them.
9.  One of the first things we noticed is that most of our Aaronic Priesthood comes in a white (ish) t-shirt.  They are new converts.  So, we asked Sister Dollete for a list of sizes, and stopped at the Palengke on the way out yesterday, to purchase white shirts.  Still had a few ties from our "tie drive" last year.  

WE decided to join Sheffers for dinner one night, at a buffet called "Something Fishy".  We had heard it was good, but not been there.  When we walked over, they had already ordered from the menu---Seafood platter.  Small crab, with eyes.  No way to crack the claws.  Mussels, clams, calamari, squid, and fabulous shrimps, still with head and legs!  We ate with our fingers and it was delicious.  We ordered another one!   Just fish and ice water, no rice, no bread, no veggies. (Elder Sheffer  has been dieting and doing great!  No carbohydrates.)

Goodbye, February.  Hello March---I understand it is coming in like a "lion" at home.  Hopefully, out like a lamb!  Just FYI, boy are we glad we did not go home last week, to move in ice and snow! 

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