Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Music, priesthood, family home evening and CHRISTMAS!!!

See the tall blonde in the back??  She loves these people..
Do you see this gorgeous group of people???  Allow me to introduce you all to my FIRST piano class!  Originally, we had 11 sign up but by the second week [my cut-off time for any new enrollees] the class had grown to 14 and there it will stay.  I think the number is more manageable, especially once we finish with the theory foundation and start the performance part of the training.  I am planning a 15 minute performance lesson weekly once we get to that point and with that said, my basic math tells me it will take 3.5 hours to accomplish.  Hopefully I can find 4 students who can start their individual lessons at 4 and then we would finish for the day at 7:30 p.m.  School in the Philippines starts at 7 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. so it will have to be the adults who come at 4.  They are all bright but there are a few who stand out as motivated musicians.  Time will tell...

I think I have mentioned before how the Filipino's LOVE Christmas.  Well, there are lights everywhere, music in every possible venue [even our neighbor has it blaring night and day so we don't need to play ours at all!] Christmas trees with lights, yard trees that have been lit, etc.  We in America think WE love this season...we would lose in an 'enthusiasm for Christmas' contest with the Filipinos!
A tree in a yard on my walk..

My neighbor's front porch...

I have a hard time thinking that NEXT week is Thanksgiving!  It seems like we have been here such a short time and it is turkey time...Brenda did a 'formal' invitation to a gobble-day dinner at the mission home and afterwards, we will decorate the house with her Christmas decorations.  Last year, their housekeeper tried to get the Christmas thing going in October and tried again a couple of week ago.  These people love their holidays!

Monday night we went to Family Home Evening at the Munoz home.  He is our Branch President, a single dad to three marvelously talented children [his wife died in 2009] and we are so impressed with the way he has just given up HIS needs to serve his family.  He only works when the children are in school because the most important thing in his world is them!  We love this family and feel SO blessed to have them in our lives. 

You may recognize two of those boys in the piano picture seated here with us-these children are so talented.  Alyssa, who is 8, is the one Randy and I call 'Filipino Cora' because she reminds us in build and personality of Cristin's daughter.  Mark Jay [red shirt] and Mark Prince are both fine young men.  Their daddy is definitely doing something right!!  Randy took his violin and accompanied the hymns as well as did a special number for them.  A wonderful evening for us!

For some reason I can't caption today so will explain the above pictures-this is Sister Remmie and her son John.  You might remember Sister Ulep who was our first baptism?   Sister Remmie is her niece [pamumpkin] and lives across the road from her.  She has been taking the discussions and has set a date for baptism.  Her hubby was involved in one lesson and we hope will also join her in the waters of baptism.  The broken chair was the one I was sitting on and all was well until I tried to change position and cross my legs...thump!  Down I went.  I was more embarrassed than hurt and vowed to get back on my diet immediately!!!  Side note-the chair was very rotted because of the sun and weather but we went to the store and replaced it twofold, none the less.  NOW there will be two chairs there that will support Randy and me!

In our church, once a year the young boys who will be turning 12 gather for what we call a 'Priesthood Preview'.  Each of the boys will be ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood in the near future and this is a time for them to learn the responsibilities, duties, and history of the priesthood they will soon hold.   It is always done on a Stake/District level so many come from all over to attend.  Some of these families traveled 2-3 hours to support their sons.  Randy was asked to be the guest speaker and did a great job.  He also was asked to do a special musical number and played a few Primary [the organization for the children ages 3-11] songs that everyone enjoyed.  He is really polishing his skill, another blessing of extra time on his hands.

Monday as I was walking my normal route, I heard what appeared to be a chorus of children's voices down one road that I don't normally take.  I followed it and low and behold, there was a school and the yard was filled with children singing the national anthem and raising the flag!  I remembered doing that as a child and it brought to my remembrance so many fond memories.  It also made me realize something.  If you think of America about 150 years ago, that is where much of the country is stuck.  They have some modern technology [like cell phones and a few computers] but most of the homes we visit have dirt floors, no electricity or plumbing, no refrigeration, and none have an oven.  All the homes are made of cinder blocks [even the one we live in however, our walls are plastered over and painted to look like wallboard] and most have dirt or rock floors.   President Munoz has the nicest home we have been in-it is very warm and inviting and very secure.  He keeps it clean and orderly as do all of the people here-I am amazed!   They are very clean people in their manner, dress, bodies, etc.

Anyway, when the children spotted me standing there peering over the wall, they all turned around and waved.  The principal came over and invited me in to speak to the children!  They had a teacher sick and no teacher for one class and she suggested I stay and teach!  I assured her that with the language barrier, I would not be a successful educator.  Anyway, before we came here, I went shopping with Kayleen and while we were at the Gateway in Salt Lake, I bought a new pair of walking shoes-they are wonderfully comfortable and I love them and they are HUNTER ORANGE!!!   You should have seen the schoolyard erupt in giggles and pointing when I stepped through the gate.  It was worth the detour!
Notice the uniforms?  Every school has a different one and they all look so great!

One last treat this week was meeting Oyeen Dy Valcos.  He is a friend of Marcie Nielson who we knew in Omaha in the 70's when she was just a little girl.  We are facebook friends and I had actually visited with Oyeen a few times so it was nice to finally put a face with the name.  President and Sister Carlos met him shortly after arriving in 2010 and had him to dinner last week.  We were invited to join them and had a great evening.  He is such an interesting person...a world traveler for sure!!

It has rained since noon on Monday and I am getting ready to go purchase some lumber to start building our ark!!  Wish you were all here to see the umbrella parade!  Until next week...


  1. I am listening to some Christmas music, but don't have decorations out, yet! I am looking forward to pulling them out. We must have Thanksgiving, first, though. I love your updates. It is just wonderful to hear what you are up to.

  2. I love that she's your "Filipino Cora!" I miss you guys!