Sunday, April 1, 2012

Painting eggs, the hunt, a little night music, a long awaited baptism and a sad funeral...

For many years in America, I had a fun tradition of 'painting eggs' with my grandchildren.  I pictured having this tradition for many years but somewhere along the line, life got in the way and the last few years we living in Utah, the tradition seemed not as important to the kids, they got older, and it peetered out...when I was a child growing up in Nebraska, that tradition was a yearly one with my grandmother.  When Sister Carlos asked me to help her 'color eggs', I almost corrected her and said..'do you mean paint the eggs?' but I was happy to help.  We have been friends for many years and have done many things together but this was a first!  Imelda [the housekeeper for the mission home] was fascinated with our project-in the Philippines, they have never seen this done before and had no idea how fun it could be.  After Easter last spring, Sister's sweet daughter-in-law found lots of eggs stuff at Wal-Mart, picked it up for 75% off [MY kind of deal for sure] and mailed it.  We had over 100 hard boiled eggs total, some were colored eggs, some decorated eggs, some wrapped eggs, all sorts of embellishments and it was so fun.  The mission compound employs about 7 or 8 full or part time employees and Sister had invited them and their children to come for the hunt and party.  She also was sent lots of plastic eggs that were filled with candy as well as some darling decorated boxes that were filled with treats so we had plenty of things to hide.  Sister and I [mostly her with me as her backup worker] designed and made cute bags for them to use for the egg hunt-half were decorated with bunny faces and the others with baby chick faces-they were darling.  She is SO creative!!
Sister Carlos as we start our project..

Imelda joining in the action

Some parents were helping

How could you resist this darling face??

See the cute bags??
Earlier last week, the night guard at the compound told Sister Carlos about a 'secret' that he he was walking the grounds in the middle of the night, a bird startled him as it flew out of the row of bushed behind the home.  He got his flashlight and upon looking closer, discovered a tiny REAL nest with three of the most glorious eggs..they looked so small and serene.  With the egg hunt in the works, she was a little concerned that the children, in their enthusiasm to find the plastic and colored eggs, might knock this precious nest from it's security in the bushes so...she told each of the children about the 'secret'...she explained about the nest, told them that the eggs in THAT nest weren't for them to find because they were real eggs and the mama would be sad.  She also [probably because of her competitive nature] set up a competition...everyone would look closely for the nest and if they found it, they weren't to touch it but to find the nearest adult and if they were the first to find it, they would receive 20 pesos!  For everyone who spotted it and didn't touch it after that, they each received 5 pesos!  These kids were stoked!!!  I was the one who stood closeby and handed out the money-I was so glad she chose me to do that because I loved seeing the faces of the children and adults as they saw that precious little nest nestled in the bushes...a fun idea for sure!!

Now each of you look for but don't touch the little nest...
See the little eggs??
 After the eggs were gathered, everyone, children and adults alike gathered in the kitchen for some great refreshments-she and I decorated cupcakes with dyed coconut, little jelly bean eggs [both from the states] punch and breads.  It was a grand feast for these people..
The treats.
In January, I think I told you all about the Galbandon family...they had a nice home in an area in Roxas that they wanted to rent.  We looked at it and ended up renting it and moving the sister missionaries into it with the help of the entire Zone of missionaries one Tuesday afternoon after our district meeting.  The night we saw the house and met the landlord, Randy felt prompted to ask her why she was an inactive member.  She was the only member in her family and when asked that direct question, did not really have a good answer so he invited/challenged her to return to church.  He told her the Lord loved her and needed her.  

The following Sunday she decided to try to come back and asked her family to come with her-she told them that if they didn't like it, they would never need to come again.....AND THEY ALL LOVED IT!!  They haven't missed a meeting since!  Last Saturday, after a long wait [according to the dad-he is so precious and was so excited to be baptized!] the father and the two teenage children entered the sacred waters of baptism on their way to becoming an eternal family.  They have one younger son who will be baptized in a few years when he turns 8.  It was a wonderful day and we were so blessed to have been there and part of their story.  We love this family-they have become wonderful friends whom we visit often.
Elder Griffin [he reminds us SO much of our Rob!] the family and Elder Rausa..the mom was
late arriving and missed the picture..

The Galbandan family after the baptism
Before I came to the Philippines, Sister Carlos decided that this mission needed music training as many of the units have nobody who can play for their meetings and so they sing accapella or use a tape of the accompaniment to the hymns.  After some investigation, she found a program that is sponsored by the church whereas a mission [mostly in third world countries] can apply for the Harmon Music Grant.  Our mission was awarded this opportunity and we received 8 electric keyboards and the teaching materials for students to learn the basics on the piano.  Knowing we were hoping to come here, she closeted the materials and waited...

Now I must put forth a disclaimer...I am not an accomplished pianist by any skill is intermediate at best but an amazing thing happens when you are set apart as a full-time missionary..the Lord makes up the differences in our weaknesses when our desires are righteous!   It has been many years since I have taken or had the time or inclination to play often-I have always defaulted to another pianist when I could because there were always many more skilled than I.  We arrived and voila!  That skill is needed ssssoooooo....I started practicing again and lo and behold, the skill is slowly returning.  My sight reading has never been a strength but I am finding I am able, when needed, to sight read the hymns and accompany as asked.  My hands were SO stiff in the beginning as I hadn't played daily for 45 years but it is getting easier and we are having fun-we didn't realize we brought one particular book of violin/piano songs and have had fun working some of them up.  Last Saturday afternoon, after the baptism, we had our first recital!  NONE of these people have ever been to a recital of any kind in their lives, none had been to a performance like this and it was awesome!  Sister Russell helped me make corsages and boutineers for the performers.  That was my tradition when I taught in the 80's in Omaha, and the students shone!  They all did a great job, Randy and I played a few numbers [the final one was my children's favorite when they were little-a medley of waltzes that really clips along and brought the audience to for Randy to get that immediate feedback.  His skill has improved immensely with so much practice..]  We enjoyed the evening and ended up with banana bread with a peanut butter glaze, lemonade and little candies for the refreshments.  I couldn't have accomplished that evening without my team...all of the senior couples came and lent a hand to set up the goodies for me.  I love these senior couples-they are all so wonderful and we have established a great friendship.  

Raymar and Femia are best friends and I invited them to play a duet-they loved it.
They actually both played in church yesterday for prelude!!

This is my first class-the students to my immediate right are both leaving soon for full-time missions.
I presented both with a simplified hymnbook that I will sign for them as they will leave and I won't
see them again...
About a year ago my friend and dentist, Kathy, gave me the most wonderful gift!  She got herself a new electric toothbrush and she asked me if I would try her old one.  She knows my teeth issues and thought, being gone for 2 years, my plaque issues would be helped by use of this device and never having used one before, I said I would try it AND I LOVED IT!!!!!!!!!!  My teeth felt so clean and I think the plaque was less and easier to scale when I used it daily...I bought and brought 2 years worth of little replacement toothbrushes and was set, or so I thought! toothbrush died this past week!!!  I was SO sad...I loved this toothbrush.  I guess I will go back to my old handheld unit that most of you know well and live like the rest of the world was a sad day indeed...
my old companion...
Alas, another week is gone-it is so hard for me to realize that we are starting our 9th month of our mission...when I said that last week, Randy remarked..'we could have had a baby in that length of time'...oooooohhhhhhhhmmmmyyyyy  I am SO glad I spent the past nine months here and not doing THAT again!!!


  1. A baby could be fun!!:) Hee, hee! That's funny that he said that. I always love your updates. It's just so wonderful to hear how you are doing.

    1. A great report, so enjoy hearing of your travels and happenings! In a blink of an eye the time passes, you are making use of every instant! That is so wonderful. 23 months and no regrets!

  2. I just UPS'd you a new Sonicare. They said it should arrive next Tuesday, but I'm not sure if that's next Tuesday our time or next Tuesday your time. I love your posts, and am glad to hear the people of the Philippines are enjoying your wonderful talents.

  3. Karen Ludlow commented on your link.
    Karen wrote: "Loved reading these accounts and seeing the pictures. Truly a delight to see the gospel in action. Thanks"

  4. Carol Pratt commented on your link.
    Carol wrote: "I so enjoyed your post! How fun!!"

  5. Belinda Morgan Heimann commented on your link.
    Belinda wrote: "Cheri, This Mission looks good on you! You look wonderful."

  6. I love reading your blog. I don't comment often but I visit!

  7. Banana bread with peanut butter glaze...sounds yummy - but I love anything peanut butter. I agree with you on the Sonicare - we have been using one and love it!