Sunday, April 26, 2015

Oh where, oh where, have the Seasoned Missionaries Gone?....
It was time to say goodbye to the Barlows.  They came a year ago, went almost directly to Mindoro, he served as a counselor down there to President.  They each lost over 40 pounds, they took cold showers for a year, and they came back smiling.  We had a dinner together for the Presidency Saturday night, and they flew home on Sunday.   He is in front across from Elder S, she is in the back next to Sister Revillo.

Between now and July 8, 8 more of us go home (4 couples)  There is one couple coming next month from New Zealand.  I really don't know what is going to happen.  12 seniors do a lot of important work in a mission.  I can tell you this, things will change here.  Missions do manage, without senior support, but why should they have to?  There is a lot of experience and man/woman power available out there.
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We went to the dentist.  

Dr. Delos Santos is an excellent dentist, and it has been a while.  So, Elder had 6 gum line fillings done, and I needed two crowns replaced.  Not cheap, but cheaper than at home with no dental insurance.  Well, she put a temporary on them, and two days later one fell. off.   Back to the dentist.  My fault--eating sticky candy!
 Her office is very nice, down the street from ours, and in a reasonable area as far as safety.  They still have to keep the doors locked, though, and you ring to be admitted.
We got up early, picked up Elders Smith and Martin (our Training Assistants, or Traveling Assistants) at their apartment.  I had in the car breakfast for all of us.  Also a lot of Pancit and Fruit Salad and a watermelon (pakwan) for later, the Primary treats I take every week, etc.  We enjoyed them all the way to Sampaloc, where they planned to stay and work with the Elders there.  I taught Primary music and sharing, did the treats, and then taught RS.  We drove down to Antipolo, and the Johnsons kindly took us in for a  few hours, and gave us a wonderful dinner.   Then, we all went down to Jhun's new house for a FHE.  They had been there earlier in the week to help with the move and "bless the house".  They brought out the TV and DVD player, and the missionaries taught a lesson.  Brother Dingle, who moved into their old house with his wife and baby, read a message to the branch from the Jensens.  
 The white haired lady is Sister Josie Perez.  We took her to the temple in Dec 2013.  Now she is living in her own little 8x10 house in Maligaya, and plans to begin serving as a temple worker soon.

It started about 2 hours late, but worth it.  The two missionaries there, and Jhun, were all busy teaching the gospel.  They had so much work, they split up .
  Elder Manquiquis took with him the young man, Jonmar Bustamante, that Elder Schlager baptized last year.  You should see him.  He is great, and doing great in school, now that he is off the street and can go regularly. He wants to go on a mission as soon as he can graduate. It won't be soon though, as he was homeless for several years.  He is 16 and in the 8th grade.
Elder Karawa took with him the young man they baptized the night before.  The work is so exciting here, watching lives change from night to day in a few weeks.  
Poor Elder Schlager got up to take a few pictures, and ran into the supports for the unfinished porch.  He was slightly wounded.  As you see, it got very dark.  They brought more and more chairs and tables to hold food, and at about 8:00 they finally put out all the food.  We were all dreading the climb back up to the car on the dirt path in the dark, so we grabbed a piece of watermelon and made our excuses. Jhun got flashlights and escorted us back up and we made it without injury.  Then we took Johnsons home to Antipolo and drove home.  We were tired! Dropped into bed about 10:30.

We were working at the office when my tooth fell off.  So, a quick trip back to the dentist,  But my dentist got married Saturday, so I had to wait for the "associate".  Okay, except they were busy.  And guess what I learned?  Children in the Philippines run all over at the dentist just like they do at church!   I was in the chair two hours for about 10 minutes work, with little ones wrecking havoc.  No one else seemed to notice.   oh, well,   
But that night, ANOTHER FHE.  This time, Elder and Sister Sheffer had planned a FHE at Mabuhay House for the seniors.  Pecks were in Utah for a wedding, and Elder Johnson got sick after our outing on Sunday, and couldn't leave the house.  So, We, the Sheffers, the Revillos and the Joses went.  Remember Mabuhay Deseret?  That is the foundation that arranges for surgeries here for the indigent and poor.  They bring them in, with a "caregiver" or family member, and put them up.  They do crossed-eyes and also cataracts for any age. Also cleft palate up to about age 16, and club foot up to about 18.  There is a lot of that kind of thing here, which would be repaired at birth mostly, at home.  And, sadly, some parents are not receptive.  They feel that the child was born that way because that is the way God wanted them to live their life.  There were not a lot of patients that night, but we took dinner, and had a blast,.
Coming in, we walked down the driveway, and it was full of equipment and supplies (under the roof) for the work they do there. It is not a really fancy medical center, believe me!
But, as you can see, it is clean and cheerful and a good place---a really good place.
We did a regular FHE, with songs provided by Elder and myself and my trusty tablet and speaker.  Everyone sang.

Sister Sheffer did a great lesson on friendship.
We played Simon Says.  Here is Oliver Revillo leading it for the team.  His parents sit to the left.  He also prepared a scripture for the opening part.

 This is Jared, He was waiting for surgery on his feet, planned for Thursday.  He and Oliver got on like old buddies. 

Then it was time to eat.  We brought a lot of rice, fried chicken from Jollibees;, fruit punch, and a lot of ice cream.  
They are ALWAYS hungry.  No one, and I mean no one, gets enough to eat here.  (Well, except us.  WE get too much!)
 Both of these children were there for cleft palate surgery.   There was a man who had cataract surgery that day, as well.  

Oliver very sweetly asked Jared where he wanted to eat, and what he wanted.  Then he went and got dinner for Jared, and brought his own to join him.  Oliver is a really nice little boy, baptized about 3 months ago.  Most of the time, he shares his parents with all of us without complaint.  (But he IS only 8!)
On the way out, I asked him if he had fun.  He said YES,  and I told him I thought my grandchildren would have enjoyed it also.  But I overheard him asking his father about Jared, and his feet, which turn backwards.  Oliver was trying to understand how the boy could walk like that.  (He was trying it himself, not too successfully!)

We set our alarm for 4:30, but I was up earlier.  We had to be at the temple before 6:00.  It was a beautiful summer morning.
For those 7 zones that are close enough, (not the districts), President plans one temple day in each quarter.  Because they move around, most of them get to go about 2-3 times  in the year.  We went to be the witness couple for one of our zones in the 7:00 session, and for something MUCH more special.  
Most of our missionaries were there early and excited.

We were excited, too.   This is Elder Tampac, with his companion Elder Delfin.  We have known him for nearly all of our mission.  He is from Mindanao, (no temple there), and he is an orphan.  He lives with his Uncle, who is a Stake President down there.   A few months ago, he told us that President had given him permission to get the work done for his mother, (father already done previously)  then get them sealed to each other and to him.  He is their only child.  He wanted us to be proxy for his parents.  We were honored and blessed to do that for him.  
So, we arranged for the baptism of his mother and aunt, last week, after his regular temple day. Then, this week, I took the names for both to initiatory, and arranged for another sister to do the endowment for his Aunt.  I took his mother.  
Afterward, we waited for him to take care of the necessary forms for the live sealing.  And finally, at about 12:00, we were able to be in the sealing room with him.  He cried all day.  But he was happy, as you can see:  He goes home next transfer.   It was a great day for all of us. On the way to the office we took them to McDonald's.  They were hungry! We truly love these young people.  I suppose it is one of the blessings or tender mercies, or graces we receive for our sacrifice.  Anyway,  love is pretty much all around us, all the time.  

Thursday:   Zone Conference.  More about that next week!

So, WHERE ARE the senior  seasoned missionaries?  

Come and join the army---you will love it, and you will be loved. 

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