Thursday, May 17, 2012

Sunrise in the Philippines

 I am so sorry you haven't heard from me in TWO weeks...I have been very ill and am now just getting back to normal.  I picked up an intestinal bacteria from some food I ordered at a restaurant and it took it's toll on my body.  Because I am so infrequently ill, I don't do it well.  I had a great 'nurse' who took good care of me and things are up and running again BUT I MISSED SO MUCH!!!!  I feel like my time here is so precious and it really bums me out when I have to spend it 'down'...

Recently, Elder Shaner went shopping...not something he does often, and bought himself a hat!  He was surprised that he could find one that fit him as his head is quite big but he got this and loves it-he looks so cute in it..John Wayne he is NOT but he is MY hero...

cooking dinner while I was sick in bed...

isn't he cute???
Last Saturday Sister Russell helped me in San Pedro as we taught the sisters the basics of crocheting and how to make 'plarn'...Sister Lundy [her son is serving here in our mission] sent me some hooks [I have another 100 coming in a box from Chip and Stephanie] so we began the teaching process with their branch.  Sister Russell has this down to a science and is a great teacher-I just sat back and observed.  When she goes home in July, I will be on my own..haha!  These sisters were so excited and they even got some of their hubby's to help.  Brother Gaspar became an expert at cutting the was a fun day and has given them a new craft plus a way to build a skill and create an income stream for their families.

busy room as they all scurried about..
Two weeks ago my piano lessons started in Aurora.  That branch is so precious and the people are wonderful.  22 people signed up as interested, 19 came to the first 'organization and informational' meeting and when we started classes, we had 14.  Last week 11 came [one girl and one couple told me they would not be there] and when it is all done, I think I will have 14 students.  That is about normal-many are interested but when the program is explained to them, they realize they will have to practice and that progress will be expected, sometimes that commitment is overwhelming.  We meet for three or four group lessons where we  begin with theory and then after the keyboards are distributed, they meet with me individually every week.  It is a huge time commitment for me but when I see their progress and their enthusiasm, it is all worth it!

Aurora piano students
One of the little girls is only 6 but I think she will have her cousin's support and will do ok.  Her English comprehension is not as good as some of the others but we will work through it-she wants to learn!

About a year ago, Sister Larsen [who is no longer in the mission] bought a wonderful orchid and the mission gardener grafted it to a palm tree in front of the mission office.  We have all enjoyed watching it bloom and bloom and again this week, it was in full bloom but THE BLOOM HAS BECOME HUGE!!!!  Look closely-I wanted to stand in the picture with it to give you a perspective of it's size.
See the huge bloom???? You would love it, Judy!!
Monday nights we are often invited to Family Home Evenings in different branches or homes.  They are always fun and the one in Mallig was no different-we were invited to bring games and the lesson.  We used Don't Eat Pete and Cops and Robbers, two of our favorites we have learned.  These people LOVE games and all were involved.

Randy explaining the rules of the game..
Because we were way in the middle of the 'bukid' [rice paddies accessed only by using small roads that are only a raised 'hill' surrounded by water...] and this road was not as familiar as some to us, we decided to leave earlier than later.  Driving on those roads in the pitch dark can be unnerving.  Randy was told of a different road that was wider and better so we decided to take that one back to town..

Driving along in the dark, we noticed an intersection [and that is a broad exaggeration of the word] coming up and were focused on not missing that turn.  He was driving [ALWAYS!!] and as we were slowing down, we suddenly felt and heard this HUGE NOISE that was a THUMP, DROP!!!  Guess what???  He had driven right into a ravine!!  [if Cherlyn is reading this post, he and I are now even!  Some of you might remember my post from last summer where I backed my SUV into a huge ditch at Girl's Camp!]  In his defense, when we were looking at the road, we noticed a small darker area and just thought it was a small dip, NOT A HUGE WASHOUT FROM THE SIDE OF THE ROAD!!  There we were-night, pitch black, scary...we texted the Elders and they jumped on a motorcycle [driven by a member-they are not allowed to operate vehicles and these are obedient Elders] and they came racing out to find us but in the meantime, a man stopped and got off his motorcycle.  His English was good enough to realize we were in trouble so he took charge.  Every vehicle that passed, he flagged down and within 5 minutes, he had returned home to get a crowbar and shovel, had a team of maybe 12 men and by the time the Elders arrived, we were out of the ditch!  These are the most helpful people - we were hearing them repeating 'missionaries' 'americanos' and we imagine they were talking about those stupid American missionaries that drove into a ditch...but they came to our aid anyway...what a blessing!!

the front of the truck was buried to the bumper
While we have been here, we have seen a harvest and planting and harvest again of the rice fields.  This is the life of the Filipino people, plant, harvest, dry, till, prepare fields, plant, harvest, dry, etc.  They are amazing people who have such tremendous stamina.  They work in this oppressive heat, covered in clothing, and do it 7 days a week for their entire lives.  They do have a few week break as the rice is growing but very soon, the cycle starts again.  

As the fields are harvested, those who are very poor will go back into the fields and sift the chaff...the 'tailings' of the harvested rice is piled in the fields and families will go through those piles, sifting and sifting to find the remaining rice that was missed the first time.

Entire families set up their umbrellas for shade and sift the chaff.
It always makes me think of our work here-we sift through the people to find the ones who are ripe for the picking...those who have been prepared by our Father in Heaven to hear His word and accept his commandments, change their lives and become a part of His kingdom.  Many are not ready...many have not been prepared...for many, it is not their time but when we find the ones who will accept our challenge, what a glorious experience that is.

The sunrises here are so beautiful...I love the early morning, the beginning of a new day and a fresh start.  So many of our Father in Heaven's children are also searching for that fresh start...our glorious responsibility and privilege is to find them, teach them and bring them into His fold...what could be more important or have more impact on our lives or the lives of these wonderful people...this is the best two years for sure!!!!!!!!!!!!!

sunrise in the Philippines


  1. Cyndi Austin commented on your link.
    Cyndi wrote: "glad you are feeling better also Cheri, I love to read your blogs!!"

  2. Ronda Ingraham commented on your link.
    Ronda wrote: "I am so sorry you have been sick, Cheri! I am glad you have recovered, and boy, do you keep busy! I am happy that you are so happy!!"

  3. One good thing that came from me being sick was that Randy learned to make 'chicken and rice soup'. And boy was it good!!!! He is the official new family chef for Chicken and Rice soup!

  4. Karen Ludlow commented on your link.
    Karen wrote: "Amazing stories - thank you for sharing with us"

  5. As always, I love your updates. I'm glad you're feeling better. I love Randy's new hat. I'm glad you got out of the ditch and I remember your post last summer about getting stuck in the ditch! You are wonderful and we love you! You're amazing for keeping up with all of that work.