Sunday, October 21, 2012

Grab a Coke, pop some popcorn and settle back-this will be a longie!!!

It has been a LONG month and you all probably thought we dropped off the end of the world but alas, I am back! I don't have any excuses...just know that I missed visiting with you and sharing our lives. October has been incredibly busy and I will do my best to catch you all up on the life and times of these transplants!

October started with a major catastrophe for us! Arriving home one night the first week of October, we discovered we had NO water! Now our water for this property was supplied by a well so we knew we must have a serious issue. Elder Shaner took the flashlight and went out to check it out. It didn't take long for him to discover the pump had burnt out. [or that was his suspicion] He called the landlady and she promised to have her son here early the next morning. When he hadn't arrived by 9, we were getting a little impatient and decided we needed to take the bull by the horns and solve our own problem. Cely, who was our former neighbor across the street, told us we could form a bucket brigade to get some water.  Most Filipino's do not have showers like we do and most use buckets with a scoop to 'shower' themselves-when the Russell's were here, she used to call it her 'birdbath'. This house, as I said, was serviced with a pump and the pump was powered by electricity. When we had our frequent 'brown outs', there would be no water so she would do the Filipino thing. That day the beginning of the month, we did the same thing. It actually wasn't too bad... 

Sister Klien, Sister Saez, Elder Shaner and me during
the bucket brigade. Two of Cely's workmen in the background.
After the bucket brigade was completed, I fixed a pancake, oatmeal, bacon, juice and fresh fruit breakfast for those who had worked up an appetite...

The Sisters waiting for their breakfast to cook.
Earlier this year, we had the opportunity to teach a family with the the young missionaries. They progressed to a certain point then 'cooled off', which is not unusual. The missionaries stopped working with them for a while, allowing them the time they needed to decide if what we were offering would be beneficial to them and a couple of weeks ago, they wanted to resume the discussions. President Carlos allowed us to be involved again [our primary responsibility is strengthening the active members, not teaching investigators] but with our previous relationship, we were allowed to participate. Recently we celebrated a birthday at their home with a full-blown dinner! Elder Rostedt played the guitar for the singing. 

Elder Rostedt leading the opening song.
During October we have had two different opportunities to see the missionaries in the Tuguegarao area, first when we spoke at their Zone Conference and second, when we did our bi-yearly apartment checks. It is always fun to interact with the 'young pups' and feel of their enthusiasm. It is also great to see them reconnect with past companions and batch mates. 

Elder Nay and Elder Llorin were companions in Mallig-now Elder Nay
is Elder Llorin's Zone Leader.
We always have an amazing luncheon after the Zone Meetings and the aftermath is usually quite a mess. It is interesting to note that most of the time, the young missionaries are so busy visiting, taking pictures, etc. that they don't even notice how the area gets cleaned up but these two noticed me sweeping, grabbed a broom and helped! I told them their moms would be SO proud!!

Elder Rostedt and Elder Coleman
Apartment checks were great! We are responsible for the physical area in which they live, making sure they are safe, secure, have no landlord issues or anything that would prevent them from having the spirit reside with them. Most of the apartments this time received a Celestial Award...

Elder Robertson and Elder Llorin showing their award and their reward. This time it
was fresh homemade banana bread.

A weight bench and weights-Filipino style!!!
When we recently moved Elder Mousley and Elder Lasay into their new apartment, we met their neighbors totally by accident. I noticed them signing and when I signed back to them, they were thrilled and shocked-an American who signs!! We have become friends-the husband is actually the son of the landlady-a real sweet lady.

General Conference is always a treat here in the Philippines. We don't receive the conference until the week after the US but we do get together and enjoy it none-the-less. Because our native tongue is English, we sit in a separate room where English is broadcast and are joined by the American Elders and Sisters. With the announcement of the change in ages for the missionaries, we heard quite a buzz!! That will be such a great thing for our young people. Doors will open and lives will change for sure.

Elder Rostedt with the shocked look at the announcement and
Elder Coleman smiling at the thought...
During apartment checks we traveled a back road to Tugugarao and I fell in love with talahib. [pronounced ta LA heeb] It is a native grass that blooms this time of year and it is gorgeous! The first time I saw it I made Elder Shaner STOP!!  I hopped out and took about 6 waves in the breeze kind of like wheat, and is just fascinating!

Entire fields are covered but I especially liked this little road that was surrounded by talahib.
I have frequently mentioned the produce we get here-last week President and Sister Carlos traveled to Solono for interviews and brought me back a fresh pineapple. Now I am here to tell you that you will NEVER taste anything so exquisite as the pineapples in the Philippines!  I thought Hawaii had great pineapples but these are absolutely marvelous! President Carlos can cut one up to look like a picture and when I told President Quitola about that, he told me he could do it too. [it must be an inborn talent] I texted him when I brought this one home and he came over to demonstrate/teach me. I also got a Pimelo and he showed me how to cut it also. It is like a HUGE grapefruit but much sweeter.

We encounter many different vehicles in the Philippines and recently followed a tractor down the highway. I noticed a native 'hat' on the head of the driver and had to take a shot. The little rice hat is not worn much in the fields but looked very appropriate for him.

I have told you all so many times about the technology in this part of the world-we feel so many times like we are 100-150 years back in time. Many things that are automated in other parts of the world are still done by hand here. As we left after an apartment check this past week, we saw a field where corn was being planted. Two men with two cows were furrowing and behind them walked six or eight women, planting the next crop with their feet. They would walk in the exact same spot the men did and using their toes, drop a corn kernel then cover it precisely with their toes. It was amazing to watch.

Watching them from the road made me think of the paths we are walking here. We try our best to walk in the exact same footprints as the Savior has shown us, loving, nurturing, teaching, and lifting His children as we work with Him to bring them the truth of the restored gospel. What could be more important for us to do? 

1 comment:

  1. So good to hear from you! What a great mission!