Another week has gone by and we realized yesterday that we have been here 5 months!!! It doesn't seem possible but yup! 5 months in this marvelous country. The things we have seen, touched, smelled, tasted and heard are so different from anything we have ever experienced in our lives...never have I been awakened every morning by a rooster! or pigs grunting outside of my bedroom window! or the sounds of small bike horns beckoning all to come get their breakfast from the street vendor's portable carts as they push them down the back streets of our little town, Cabatuan. It is definitely an experience of a lifetime and not one for the weak for sure. I have slept 'harder' here than ever in my life. I arise before the sun and by 9, I am usually ready to call it day, having the greatest memories and feeling of service in my heart.
This past week has been another amazing one beginning with a Family Home Evening in Quilling a week ago yesterday. It was held on a huge cement parking lot attached to a rice packaging business owned by a member. They invited inactive families as well as the active ones in this little community and when we took a rough headcount, think there were over 66 in attendance. Probably a balance of 20 adults and 45 or so children!! The tatay [father] of the family presented the lesson and then the games began. If you will look closely in this picture, you can see me in the purple on the left-I brought one of the keyboards and was playing for the meeting but when the sun went down and that light over my head was turned on, OH MY!!!!!!!! Bugs like you have never seen before-I didn't want to interrupt the lesson but quickly got on my feet and out of that area. They reminded me of termites in the US...little flying ants but when I got home and washed my hair, many went down the drain. One interesting side note-as soon as the nanay [mother] of the family who was hosting noticed my fight with the bugs, she got up, pulled a huge leaved branch off of a nearby tree, propped it up there by the light and the bugs all went to it and left me alone. These people here definitely know how to survive in this environment for sure!
|Brother Cortez trying to follow Randy's instruction...|
|The creating of the slippers|
|Our cute sister missionaries making themselves a pair..|
Well, last Saturday they entered the waters of baptism and what a glorious and precious experience that was to attend. As they were all dressed in white and waiting for the meeting to begin, tatay, who speaks very little English, came up to me and putting his arms out to display the white clothing, said:
"FINALLY, Sister" His wait was over and his new life could begin.
|The Maducduk Family with the Elders and the Sisters. Also pictured are Sister Diaz with Sister Mimi who was also baptized .|
The harvest is over and the rice is planted for the next crop. Notice the beautiful green fields for as far and the eye can see. I liken this picture to our work here in the Philippines. Our first crop is harvested with the baptism of the Maducduk family and our next crop is planted. Missionary work is like rice...we plant, harvest and replant. What a wonderful way to spend the next 18 months!!