Monday, July 23, 2012

Elder and Sister Teh's visit, cheesecake and antiques

Have you ever felt like you were sitting at the feet of the Master and being taught?  That is exactly our experience this past week as Elder Michael Teh of the Seventy and his wife visited our mission for our yearly mission tour.  Currently, his assignment is Area President and they are located in Manila.  The schedule they kept was grueling and we were so grateful to have been able to experience his one-on-one association for a short time.  The senior couples were invited to the mission home on Monday evening for dinner with the Teh's after he and his sweet wife took the time to interview each of us that afternoon.  It was a marvelous experience and definitely a highlight for us.  We were able to attend two of his Zone Conference training sessions, each a little different, because we volunteered to help serve the luncheon with the Mills on Thursday.  Our zone met on Wedensday and he trained in Santiago on Tuesday.  Every day was filled, each evening they conducted a Fireside in a different area and when it was time for them to fly home on Friday, the weather shut down the airport so they had to be chauffeured the 12 hour drive back home.  It was a marvelous experience having a General Authority in our midst.  We also found out that the end of August we will have another choice experience as Elder Quentin L. Cook, Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, who will be accompanied by Brother Davies [from the Presiding Bishopric] and our own Elder Nielson will come to conduct a Fireside for the Young Adults/Single Adults.  What an opportunity!

Elder and Sister Teh with our 'team'..
Moving into this new home has been more work than I had earlier anticipated-I thought [naive me] that we would just walk things across the street and VOILA!!!  We would be settled.  I have spent way too much time this morning looking for a particular item that I now need and cannot find-I just need to take the time to completely unpack, put things where I want them and get on with my life!  

In this home, we have a 'housekeeper'...I use that term very loosely but she is a big help.  The landlady wants to protect her investment so she pays Agnes to come and clean the inside twice a week [Tuesday and Friday] and on Wednesday's, she works on the grounds.  The Russell's lived here for 18 months and I never heard much from them positive or negative about having 'help'.  In my other life, when I was extremely busy in my business, I would occasionally hire someone to come clean now and then but I have never had regular cleaning assistance.  HOWEVER, that being said...I could get used to this!  teehee...

Behind the kitchen building of this home is another kitchen that is called a 'dirty kitchen'.  It was set up in the original construction to handle the cooking of a pig, cow, or other butchered animal on an open fire/wood stove setup.  [I just got this info by asking Agnes who is dusting in this room as we speak..yawn..]  Elder Russell used this building for storage of old, and I mean OLD, mostly cast-off furniture or other mission supplies/inventory.   I am not a clean freak by any stretch of the imagination but I could NOT abide the filth that was in that area!  When the men were here helping us move, they had extra time so they unloaded that area, hosed it out and cleaned up the things that I decided to keep before replacing them into storage.  There were tables and plastic shelves that had been there since the beginning of time that I allowed them to take home.  Elder Russell had taken me out there and explained what belonged to the mission and what belonged to the Ramos', our landlords.  There was this huge piece of furniture that at one time must have served as a wardrobe in a missionary apartment.  Some of the elders had signed it and it was dated long ago.  Needless to say, it was not something we wanted to keep but it was a big piece of furniture.  Well, Agnes wanted it!  I told her that she could come get it [not knowing HOW she was going to move that monstrosity to her house].  On Friday of last week, she was going home and asked if she could take it that day-I had NO problem with getting rid of it but couldn't imagine how it would be moved.  She left and was gone for 15-20 minutes when all of a sudden, I heard a trycie coming down the lane.  She had found a nice man who was willing to help her load it and deliver it and her home.  She is now enjoying a new piece of furniture and we have room to store the important mission supplies..

Agnes watching the loading...
And away they go down the lane!!
Enjoy, Agnes and family..

The Filipino people do not have ovens.  I have told you in the past that they cook on open fires or if they are lucky, a gas burner.  [like we use for camping but a little larger and more sturdy]

The San Pedro branch Relief Society asked me months ago to teach them how to make cheesecake.  I thought, at first, they wanted the no-bake kind but OH NO!!  They wanted to learn how to bake the real New York Cheesecake!  My first response was WHY??? YOU DON'T HAVE OVENS.. but they quickly answered that ONE of them had an oven and that's all it took.  We had our activity last Saturday and they all learned about preparing and baking cheesecakes.  I made two New York Cheesecakes and two Chocolate Cheesecakes.  We prepared and cooked them outside at one of the sister's little restaurants.  It was a hoot!!  Everyone loved them and asked me when I would come back and teach them other baking recipes...sigh..

Watching the cheesecakes being mixed.  See the black oven in the foreground?
Getting it leveled was a challenge!
I love old things.  That is probably why I love my hubby so much...but seriously, I do love things from the past.  In my other life, I had quite a few antiques that I had gathered here and there and when we decided to serve this mission, I drastically scaled down on my 'things'.  Some were sold and most were given to my children.  The old things I had were, for the most part, not handmade but manufactured many years ago. 

Some of you know how I love to garden.  In my other life, I had beautiful flower gardens and I always was looking for 'yard art' items.  I found an antique pitch fork at a garage sale [which now lives in my cousin Judy's flowerbed], I had a couple of very old wheelbarrows, some old pots, shoes, etc. but nothing like the discovery I made this past week.  My vegetable garden is planted on the side lot of this home and before I came and cleaned it out, nobody had been in that area for many years.  It was very overgrown and full of weeds and rocks.  When we were clearing the land, some things that President Q found were set aside and I had not noticed this old rake and hand truck.  While visiting with my landlady this morning [my clearing of part of her property has spurred her on to cleaning up the rest of that property-a plus for us!] she told me the history of this piece.  It was handmade by her father-in-law in the early 1950's and was used to haul cinder blocks then this home was built.  She told me I could have it to take home if I wanted and when I offered it to Judy for her garden, the shipping charges brought her to an abrupt decision-'I will enjoy the picture, thanks so much!'

Don't you wish you knew where this had been and the stories it could tell?
Sometimes when we get to Elder Shaner's and my ages,  we think of ourselves like this hand truck-past our longer useful..full of holes, dents and totally rusted.  These are not signs of no longer being useful..these are signs of a wonderful life of experiences..these are signs that we worked hard, did our duties,  fulfilled our responsibilities, and continued to labor in our jobs until we completed, to the best of our abilities, the tasks assigned to us.  A mission is hard.  A mission is lonely sometimes.  A mission is full of laughter and tears but most of all, a mission is hard work for the Lord.  I wouldn't trade this mission for a million bucks!!!


  1. I continue to enjoy your adventures. That wardrobe being hauled away on a tiny little trycie is quite the feat. I'm sure her family will get great use out of it, though! You're wonderful and we love you much! P.S. We got to see Sis. Beech in RS yesterday for Branch Conference.:)

  2. That house needed your TLC and organization skills. So it's not only people who are benefitting from your many talents, but also houses. Miss you!