Thursday, March 22, 2012

An awesome Zone Meeting, Happy Birthday Relief Society and a funeral..

Every month we have a Zone Meeting instead of a District Meeting...what is the difference you ask?  We are assigned to the 'Roxas District' and if you combine our six units with the five units in the 'Burgos District' [which borders our district] you will have the Roxas Zone.  We have a young set of Elders who are the Zone Leaders and each district has a District Leader.  If our meetings are Zone Meetings, the Zone Leaders conduct and train..when we have our weekly District Meeting, our District Leader will have that responsibility.  Last Tuesday was a Zone Meeting day and our two Zone Leaders, Elder Griffin [from St. George, Utah] and Elder Rausa conducted an amazing training.  They focused on the need for simplicity in our teaching, emphasizing that many times we, as members, have so much more knowledge about the gospel of Jesus Christ than the investigators or the less-actives.  To demonstrate this and help us learn how to simplify, they talked about our need to teach like we are teaching a child and invited the 'parking lot kids' in for practice.  These little kids live close to the church and every time the gate is opened, they appear.  I have sometimes found them wandering through the building but they are always nearby, playing in the grass on the church property, running through the parking lot, etc.  The Zone Leaders went outside and using a sweet bribe, invited them in.  We then divided up and each 'team' had an opportunity to try to teach a principle to the children.  When the time was up, the Zone Leaders questioned the kids to see how well they understood.  It was a great lesson and was one of the most clever and thought-out  lessons I have seen.  Each missionary learned first hand how to simplify and reach each child with the topic assigned.  

The 'Parking Lot Kids'...

Last Saturday marked the 160th anniversary of the organization of the Relief Society, the women's organization in our church.  In the US, we always had a big program with music and such and these women are NO different.  If there is a reason to party, they are always ready.  Sister Aida Saddul, the District Relief Society President, wrote a great play [all done in Tagalog so I only caught a little of the script] and used the women and some young adults, in costume, to play the parts.  Sister Aida cornered me and used me as her English/Tagalog consultant.  She took the body of the storyline from our 'Daughters in the Kingdom' book and even though her English is superb, she still had a few questions.  They did a great job.  Following the 'play' we had a dance presentation from each unit.  Because of the Asian heritage from some of the members here, we had a fan dance with costume from Roxas I, a Islander dance with pretend fire balls from Roxas II, and other dance presentations from the other units.  They were all great and each group had practiced for hours.  

When the dances were done, we had a 'fashion show'..impromptu but fun.  I have been working with my senior sister friend who lives across the street and serves in a different area to empower these women and one way she discovered to accomplish that is to teach them how to crochet using plastic bags!  Many in her district have actually been able to create items and sell them, earning much needed income for their families.  I know, it sounds dumb but the purses we have made are amazing!  You cut the bags and connect the loops together to form 'PLARN'...yes, there is actually a word for the plastic.  If you google plarn on the internet, you can find many fun patterns but the ones I have made I just created...they actually evolved as I tried to follow a pattern and became frustrated.  It really is fun but the main problem we have here is not being able to find the hooks!  We need a 'K' or 11 and the largest they have available in the Philippines is maybe a 'C' or a 3.  Wish we had a Hobby Lobby or a Wal-Mart!!!

Sister Gaspar modelling my green purse and 'juice box' hat
These Filipino people are the kings/queens of recycling so this project is right up their alley!

The cast of the Relief Society play..notice Joseph Smith??

My display-purses and bags made from recycled materials..

The gentleman next door died last week so we had the opportunity to visit the family and be close-by for the funeral activities.  I think I have talked about Filipino funerals before but having it so 'up close and personal' was a real event!  They open their home for the viewing of the deceased...there is no embalming here so they are encased in a casket and put on display for 8 days.  The area set aside for the viewing is decorated with candles, banners, flowers and a brief history of the deceased along with photos and other remembrances.  The family accepts visitors during that time in the home while outside, there is a party happening...they gamble, sing kareoke, have a live band and carry on all night for many nights-any proceeds [like from the gambling] always go to the family to help with the expenses of the funeral and burial.  It is really interesting and very different from our culture.  We respect their grief and their customs and wanting to 'do something' and not really understanding their funeral etiquette, I asked the Assistants to the President what would be appropriate.  They visited with me and gave me options and I really was I bought a nice vase, bought and arranged some fresh flowers and purchased a huge box of mixed breads to take to them. Because of the language barrier, we asked the sister missionaries who live across the street to go with us to the house to visit-they did and we had a nice visit, meeting the people by name who we had only waved and nodded to in the past.  Another bridge built..

Only the wealthy can afford a brass band for the processional..

Bringing the casket out-notice the carriage??  They are sometimes pulled by a horse.

I guess when I was born my paternal grandmother was obsessed with 'does she have curly hair?'..I loved this grandma and remember when MY daughters were born, she kept asking me the same thing. She even bought me some kind of cream to rub into their scalp that would, supposedly, give them naturally curly hair but alas, my hair and theirs, much to her disappointment, was straight as a stick...until......
Only in the Philippines in this humidity..
Bet she is smiling down from heaven..she finally got her life-long wish!!!

1 comment: