The past month has been a difficult one for us, both physically and emotionally. We have had our regrouping time and now...let's get back to work!!! Both Randy and I have missed our working schedule. On Tuesdays, we go here and on Wednesdays we go here and so forth. Well people...IT IS TIME TO GET BACK ON SCHEDULE SO...........onward and upward.
President Carlos has decided to make a dramatic change in our assignments for our last year here-yes, it is almost our 'hump' day...it is so hard for me to realize we have been out on our mission for almost 11 months!!! It goes by so fast! Our grandson's birthday on July 14th will actually be our half way point-we can celebrate together, Ike. As of next week, our focus will change and we will welcome [maybe that is a bit strong as we will really miss the familiar] our new challenges and opportunities as we move to a full-time assignment in Mallig. We have loved the saints in the Roxas area but there are some struggles in the Mallig branch and President thinks having a senior couple there to focus on them and only them for a year may make a significant difference in their lives sssssoooooo...here we come Mallig!! Currently Elder Nay and Elder Llorin serve there and we absolutely LOVE both of these fine young men. Elder Nay is actually in our batch from the MTC.
A few weeks ago we were in the Mallig area working with a branch member missionary and the Elders had a couple of special cases they wanted us to help with. Both families were new investigators with many questions. The first couple lived in a very humble home in the middle of the most gorgeous field-when I saw it, I wanted to sing 'the hills are alive...with the sound of music...' It was such a glorious setting. We left them after their appointment and because we still had energy, they invited us to visit another investigator family who lived across the highway. As we walked up to cross the highway, the young pups [the nickname Elder Ward gave to the young missionaries when they were working with us old cronies] noticed the tatay [father] sitting in a waiting shed, just chillin...they approached him and were informed we couldn't meet with them because they had JUST had new piglets and the nanay [mom] was busy with that. Curious me...I asked..'can we see the babies?' Now this city girl had never seen brand new anything except kittens that were born in her daughter's sleeping bag [with the daughter in it!] in 1979! I was so amazed-the nanay was protecting the piglets so the mama wouldn't roll over and crush them-she had already lost four to smothering in the 20 minutes before we arrived. They handed me one and that little gal just squealed and squealed...reminded me a little of Sister Carlos when we are playing cards!! Those little oinkers were so darling and we look forward to meeting the family and watching them grow as we serve in Mallig.
|Isn't this the cutest little gal???|
|The upside of our new assignment is being able to work with|
these amazing young elders...Elder Llorin and Elder Nay.
|Nanay watching over the babies and keeping them safe|
Time went on, we became involved in our branches and our projects but in the back of my mind I was always remembering that sweet sister who had lost her husband and she was confined to a wheelchair. Fast forward to about two months ago. President Munoz, one Wednesday night as we went visiting members with him, brought us to this house of a lady who had a tragic story. She was in the outside CR [toilet] in the mid 90's when a huge typhoon was bearing down on this area. A nearby coconut tree was toppled and fell directly on the CR, trapping her and crushing her vertebrae in her back, paralyzing her from the waist down. At the time, she was a young mother of active boys. Her husband gave up his life to tend to her every need and between them, they raised a family of good boys who have become good men. When I walked into her bedroom to meet her that night, I SUDDENLY REMEMBERED THIS WOMAN!!! I had thought about her so much, not remembering where she lived or even her name and because of this good branch president, I had the chance to meet her again! She and I connected and formed a friendship. Weekly, I go visit her, sit with her, take the computer and show her General Conference in Tagalog, etc. and recently, I taught her how to crochet using the plastic bags. She is having such fun! I don't think she realized how creative she was and is enjoying her new skill. She hopes to market them and give her a little income. Now I must tell you one more thing about Mina...she is the most positive, happy, adjusted, contented person I have met in a long time-she always meets me with a smile. A couple of weeks ago when we were visiting, I commented to her on her attitude, praising her for not being angry, hateful, bitter, etc. Her response was 'those feelings would do me no good-I have accepted the will of the Lord and decided a long time ago that my attitude will make all the difference in MY life'. What a woman! She is an inspiration to me and so many others who have the opportunity to meet her and feel her great spirit.
I love dirt...well to me more specific, I guess I should say I love soil! I love to work with it, play in it, stir it around and watch the earth give back! We lived in Utah for a few years and one of my neighbors was [and still is] a master gardener and boy was she!! Her yard was like something out of a magazine. Gorgeous..well, my skills are not that grand and I have mostly tinkered with flowers but moving to a tropical climate that would allow me to plant year round...hhhmmmm. Think I will!
|Sister Mina with her first completed purse-she is SO proud!!|
We will be moving across the street from our current home in a couple of weeks and on that property is a perfect place for a garden. However, the area was so overgrown and untended, I thought NO WAY!! Then we had a brainstorm...the young branch president in Cabatuan was laid off from the FM group job in March and has been out of work. His training is landscaping so we offered him a temporary part-time job and he jumped at the chance to earn some income for his family. He is amazing! In two weeks time, he trimmed up the vegetation and the trees at our property then moved across the street and cleared, burned, hauled away, tilled, prepared and had my garden spots ready to plant! I was so excited. In March also our son was sending us a box and I asked him to include some US sweet corn and beefy tomato seeds. I was able to find other seeds here and my garden has: corn, okra, onions, carrots, tomatoes, eggplant, cucumber [green and the native white], sitao [pronounced see-tow, like cow] which are native string beans, green peppers, red peppers and hot peppers. I have been babysitting for it when I have a few minutes and yesterday, some little greenery poked through! I only planted it last Thursday so was surprised. I am an early riser and Randy isn't so this will give me a great opportunity to get out when it is cooler and work. Thanks son for the great seeds!!!
As I look at this beautiful area that I will be enjoying, I remember back a few weeks ago to a tangled, weedy, scrubby mess. It was not even possible to walk through that side of the property because it was so impassible.
It reminds me of the process our lives go through as we change and accept our Savior into our lives. For many years my life was a tangled mess, full of weeds [sin], thorns [anger], tangles [bitterness] and lots of insects [the little things that prevent us from fully living the lives our Heavenly Father has wished for us.] In 1973 all of that changed as I was baptized and got a fresh start. Our souls are like my garden, if we nourish them with prayer, fertilize them with the scriptures-word of the Lord, cleanse them with daily repentance, and continue to water them with service to our Heavenly Father through church attendance and ministering to each other, we will all gather together in the greatest garden of all to have an eternity to plant and reap the rewards we have earned here on this earth. My responsibility here and now is to help the Lord with His ministering in this part of his glorious vineyard...what a great blessing and privilege for this old midwestern lady!!
|Cabatuan branch president planting the sitao|