This is the most amazing story of a young girl's dream...
Many years ago a mother here in the Philippines along with three of her daughers and her son joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She has been a faithful mom, raising her children in the light of the gospel, serving where asked and in short, has wanted to bring her family to the knowledge of Christ. About a year ago, one of her older daughters decided to serve a mission and left for her assignment. She has been a great missionary but all along was concerned about her family. Her father was in no way interested in the gospel and was actually rude and argumentative to the missionaries who had visited his family in the past, wanted nothing to do with the Lord or anything to do with 'their church'. Her younger sister was unable to be taught about the church because she is deaf. She attends a deaf school in Ilagan, a nearby town and comes home on the weekends. This family lives in Cabatuan, the same city where we reside and the mom is a housekeeper in the house across the street from us. Now, mind you, I have no association with the church members in Cabatuan as we are assigned to another district, 30 minutes northeast of here.
Fast forward...the young missionary left with hope and dreams..she worked hard, was obedient to the mission rules, was prayerful and had the faith that her family would be blessed for her service. About a year ago, the senior couple who live across the street and ARE assigned to this area visited the family. For some reason, the senior Elder and the tatay [the dad] happened to connect. There was the usual language barrier but he would at least allow the Russells to visit. Over the course of the year, his heart was softening and he would listen to the sister missionaries who work in Cabatuan with a more gentle spirit than the experience of a few years ago. Enter the Shaners...when the sister missionaries found out that I sign,[the deaf in the Philippines read and study English so their sign system is American Sign Language] they just about came unglued! What are the chances??? There are over 3500 full-time missionaries in the Philippines and there is only ONE who would be able to communicate with this young girl [21 years old] and where is the house found for her to live in with her hubby????? CABATUAN!!! Long story short,,,,
|Zeniada and Dani Segovia-baptism day..February 25, 2012!!|
His countenance is so changed-he doesn't even look like the same man!
|Zeniada with Sister Pence who returned home last week...she was one of the|
first missionaries to teach this sweet sister.
Last week we had a wonderful treat here in the Philippines. Sister Rosemary Wixom and Sister Ann Dibb were here to present training and devotionals to the saints in this area. Sister Wixom is the General Primary President and Sister Dibb is a counselor in the General Young Women's Presidency.
|Sister Carlos with Sister Wixom and two precious sisters from Ilagan.|
Upon attending the Cabatuan branch, I have had the opportunity to meet and fall in love with many of the members. I also noticed they had nobody to play the piano so as my other class diminished in numbers because of attrition, I decided to start a small class in that branch. We meet on Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. so only the enthusiastic came. On the 31st, I will have more keyboards but will share the two that I currently have in my home with these cute students this Saturday. We have completed the foundation part of the program, having introduced them to time signatures, note values and such so I think they are ready for some music!! They are all great students and I am hoping for wonderful things from them.
Those of you who know us well are aware of our love of ice cream...when the kids were small, we indulged almost nightly, sometimes using mixing bowls to eat our treats. We LOVE ice cream and as we were preparing to come here, Randy asked me 'do you think they have ice cream in the Philippines?' I asked Sister Carlos and she assured me that we could get a variety of ice cream products and was Randy thrilled!! There are two main 'vendors', Selecta and Nestle. Both have a portable delivery system which is the Filipino answer to the 'ding ding' man. They ride around in these little cart/bicycle units and each have a different but distinctive song that is played to alert children and adults alike of their approach. Personally, I would go nuts riding around and listening to the same repetitive song blasting from my cart for 12 hours a day!! The little carts sell mostly treats whereas we purchase the containers at the grocery store of the flavors. We prefer Selecta most of the time but will indulge in either. So to answer Randy's question...'yes! Filipino's not only have but LOVE ice cream'..
This is such a marvelous place to be with such wonderful people. We are definitely blessed to be here at this time and place in our lives. A special couple that were in our 'batch' from the Missionary Training Center in Provo and were serving here in the Philippine, Angeles Mission sent us an email this morning and they had to return home. Not sure all of the story yet but it appears she has had a health issue that could not be addressed here so the church sent them back to Georgia...we are distraught waiting to hear. Keep Fae and Reggie McCary on your prayer list, please. They are precious friends...I know they left a huge hole in the lives of many people here whom they were serving. Have a great week and ingat [take care]...
|Klayrol, Mikee, George Bryan, Juanico, Ryan and Julius, my new|
students in Cabatuan
|The Selecta guy...|