Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Music, fabric and food...plus a little love!!

My mother raised me with the good old musicals of the 40's and 50's...she LOVED June Allyson, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Lena Horne and all of those great actors from that era.  I grew to love music from the cradle and when I was five years old, my parents bought me my first piano!  I say first because I have owned others but that one, which now lives in my youngest daughter's home in Texas, is the piano of my heart.  I took lessons from the time I was five until high school and was called on many times to accompany...I remember when I was 12, I was inducted into Job's Daughters and immediately was asked to be the 'musician'...that meant I played every Saturday for our meetings and I thought I was something special...that skill carried on through adulthood as I played for different events, taught for many years from my home when my children were small and now, here some almost 60 years later, I am still using that skill I gained from my mother's perseverance.   There is not a day that goes by that I don't think of her and silently thank her for my love of music!!  She played, not concert quality by any means, but she loved music and when she died, my tribute to her was to sing at her funeral...I also sang at my father's funeral in 1991 and gave them my thanks through the gift of music.

Upon receiving my call to serve in the Philippines, Sister Carlos told me one of my responsibilities would be the music education of the people here in this great mission.  I would have the opportunity to use the Harmon Grant that the church received to offer lessons, place keyboards in specific homes of the members, and through my skills [which are greatly lacking at times!], introduce them to music and help them gain the skill to play for their respective branch meetings.  It has been a wonderful experience for me and after my first recital in March, I moved on to two other branches.  We now have two more talented sisters who are willing and able to share their skills by teaching and Sister Carlos contacted the Harmon Grant people and they graciously sent us eight more keyboards!!  We will now have music education available in three districts!  What a blessing for these folks.

Another blessing of the grant is a 'permanent keyboard placement' program.  That program recognizes the skills and the student's willingness to share the gained skills with others and allows them to be gifted with a keyboard of their own.  In return, they need to be willing to teach others and continue to strengthen the branches by educating others.   I had one such student in Roxas.  Mark J came to me with an incredible ear...he played many songs without the ability to read music and even composed and arranged many beautiful pieces.  I saw in him such promise and when he told me he needs to learn to read music because when he comes home from his mission, his plans are to become a music educator.  Well, I applied for a keyboard for him and it arrived yesterday!  He was thrilled as was his little sister.  His mother died in 2009 and he has a younger sister who he had been teaching on the loaner I placed in his home for the lessons...when I 'pulled' the loaner to take it to another area, her lessons stopped.  She was just as happy as he was to see that keyboard arrive last night!
Could he be smiling any wider??

Alyssa and Mark checking things out..
I know we will see great things from this young man in the future!

Some of you know my carry on bag coming here to the Philippines contained my Bernina...I could not be without my machine for two years and so it traveled with it's mama...I have been SO grateful I have it for many reasons but the main one is to help these women turn on their creative brains and learn a new skill.  When Sister Mills arrived last month, she was immediately thrust into the fray!!  Her branch saw this warm, friendly, inviting senior sister and her first week in church [after the 20 hour trip here and trying to flip her body clock] they had her convinced that she was going to teach them to quilt....NOW!!!  This sweet sister told them that she couldn't do that yet but they insisted and she caved....last Saturday was their 'quilting activity' and Sister Mills was in charge.  Now I must interject that SISTER MILLS HATES TO SEW AND QUILT!  When she shared with me her situation, I, of course, volunteered to help her out.  I brought my 'Block Tool' with me so I chose a simple block [Broken Dishes] and we found scraps of fabric to make a few sample blocks.  They had a blast!  It was such a great activity and they enjoyed learning something new.  I have found that these women are so hungry for 'handwork' or 'crafts'..things we take for granted in the US.  We worked that day, in the 100* heat for 8 hours, teaching them how to measure, cut, press, and construct their projects and it was a success!

They were so fascinated with the electric machine-they are all trained on a treadle.. 
We love the youth!!  This April and May have been jam packed with opportunities for us senior couples to interact with the glorious youth of this mission.  They had their summer school break and each district hosted two separate activities for their young people...a three day camp and a three day youth conference.   All of the districts like to take the opportunity to travel to a different area for these activities and Nueva Viscaya is always a popular destination.  There are many beautiful resorts there and they provide a change of scenery to the participants.

Last week we were invited to teach a 'cooking' class as part of the Cauayan District's Youth Conference at the Banaue Resort.  We had been there many times before and because we were in that area of the mission helping the Russell's with apartment checks, we were thrilled to help out.  WE HAD A BLAST!!!  Sister Carlos helped me come up with two recipes we could teach in the designated 45 minute time slot [which we repeated four times], that would be inexpensive to prepare, easy and tasty.  Randy helped me by being the 'cooker or fryer' of the Elephant Ears [like Indian Fry Bread that was topped with cinnamon/sugar] and I headed up the 40,000,000 peso Cabbage Salad [the one with the ramen noodles].  We divided them into two groups and each group prepared enough for all to share.  All four sessions had about 18 youth total except one, where the teacher didn't show up, so they combined two smaller groups and we had about 30.  It was a wonderfully fun day and we really appreciated President and Sister Carlos extending the invitation to us.
Salad dressing in the making..

Elephant ears frying

I started out with a small lecture on cleanliness in the kitchen, explaining the different recipes, giving them tips on cutting or measuring and afterwards, having them all scrub their hands before entering 'my' kitchen...they all laughed.

What a glorious setting
When they were finished with their cooking and sampling, they washed up their dishes and got their areas ready for the next group.  I printed off the recipes for them to take home and they all remarked how simple, cheap and good the two dishes were...they all said they would cook them for their families.

Isn't love grand???  Do you remember that first time you saw the love of your life and how you glowed??  Well, this cute couple have waited a long time to find each other-both are in their 30's and after serving as District Young Men and Young Women's President in the Roxas District, decided they probably like each other a little...we knew them both, loved them and are so happy that they will journey to Manila in the near future and become an eternal couple...great things happen when we are patient and 'wait on the Lord'..
Sister Judith and Brother Virgo...soon to be man and wife!
Our week progresses and we are still melting...the temperature in our home is between 90-95degree F and the outside registers well over 100 degree F every day...we are so grateful for a/c in our bedroom-I don't know how the sisters and elders sleep!!  I am a wuss I guess but with the heat and humidity, we are thinking Texas sounds pretty good when we get home..our blood will be so thin, we won't be able to stand the cold!  Guess we will have more sympathy for Cristin and Chip, our two coldblooded kids...

Hope you all have a grand week...keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we continue to serve the Lord in this glorious land...

1 comment:

  1. I am a WIMP in the heat and humidity! I don't know how you're doing it. Your cooking class sounds fun. Hooray for getting the keyboards into the homes! You're doing such amazing work.