This past week has been an amazing one...the one thing that sticks out in my mind is how I have personally come to realize the Lord knows us each individually and wants to help us meet our needs. He knows us...by name...he knows our sorrows, our concerns, our joys, our frustrations, and most of all, he knows our hearts.
Thursday we will experience another transfer meeting after the new batch of missionaries arrive. Transfers are always a time of stress because these young people have become friends with each other and have come to love their area and their investigators. The middle of December we had a group of Elders and Sisters leave to be home for Christmas with their families and because they were not being replaced until this week, some unusual situations popped up...in two of our areas, one of the companionship went home from two different ones and that left two to cover until this week. We have seen such growth in the 'jr' of that companionship as his Tagalog improved, his need to 'lead' in his old area, and we saw such a development of his communication skills, probably largely due to his increased confidence with the language. We hope they will remain in their old areas with new companions...we aren't 'done' with them yet! lol
We live across the street from the Russell's, another senior couple, and on their property is a cute guest house where the sister's serving here live. Through their work, they found a deaf young woman whose sister is on a mission and whose mother is a member of our church. Not knowing I sign, they didn't think there was a way to teach Zenida. [the sign language used in the Philippines is ASL] To make a long story short, she started the discussions a few weeks ago and is moving on nicely but she attends here and Randy and I work about 20 miles away, in another district, where he serves as a counselor to the District President. Saturday, we found out that Randy would be out of our normal branch for the next three weeks as he travels with President Agustin and me, not wanting to wait 4 hours after church for a ride home, asked President Carlos for his permission to attend the local church here where I could just walk. He agreed and yesterday I went and was able to interpret for Zenida...the first time she has 'heard' Sacrament Meeting. After that meeting was over, she and I sat for 2 hours as I went through the LDS Sign book Kimberly sent me [thanks, Kim!] and it gave me the opportunity to teach lots of doctrine and fill in some blanks for her. What a blessing...and she committed to baptism! The one thing I realized yesterday is...the Lord knew my situation...he knew Zenida's heart...he placed ME here [probably the ONLY missionary in the 2000 or so who serve the Philippines who could communicate with her] for her. I remember when I started learning to interpret, I came across a huge bump in the road in my ability to learn and was pleading with the Lord for help. I promised him that if he would give me the strength I needed and the ability to learn this language, I would use it for Him. I always thought I would use my sign on a mission but we were called here where I thought I would just learn some Tagalog and use my English. I realized yesterday that all of the thousands of hours I put into my interpreter training [3 years], if it was only to find Zenida...it was SO worth it!
Ok, my friends...Volume 2 of 'ONLY IN THE PHILIPPINES!' Thanks to Sister Carlos for sharing some of her photos for you...
|A common sight-pile as many as possible on a trycie...|
|A typical home..very humble surroundings. They launder on the back porch.|
|I remember buying one of these one time for a joke for my friend Bertie...|
|Notice the head covering-very typical..they are scared to get their heads wet|
|Notice the unique basketball stand-a dead tree..love it!!!|
|This road is one we frequently drive on to get to 'the bukid'. Glad to have a truck!|
|Hands-free has a whole new meaning here.|
|This riverbed is filled with gorgeous waterlilies!!|
|This is called a Calisa...|
|Fish store here has a whole new look...|
|Banana tree..see the green bananas in the middle of the photo?|
|Flooded rice field being plowed by their 'tractor'|
|Not the greatest command of the English language...|
|Planting season has begun...|