Thursday, November 1, 2012

Pineapples, people, places and possibilities...

There are many benefits from living in a third world country that is located within 1000 miles of the equator, has a tropical climate and is home to the most WONDERFUL produce I have ever seen, tasted or cooked with in my entire life!! People here take it for granted [probably like the beautiful mountains in Utah, the glorious beaches in Southern California, the brilliantly colored trees in Nebraska in the fall...etc.] but I am here to tell you there is NOWHERE on this earth that can compete with the quality and prices we find here every day! I have never tasted such sweet bananas, delicious mangoes, mouth-watering [with NO acidity] pineapple, crisp apples, juicy oranges, or exquisite grapes anywhere in the world. Most of our produce is grown locally but some is shipped in from Baguio. The vegetables are also delicious and some of the best salads I have ever made were created here in my home. My garden is producing some nice tomatoes [thanks Chip] as well as eggplant, okra, roma tomatoes, beans, radishes and squash. Most varieties we have in the US don't do well here because of the extreme heat and humidity but they have created their own 'breeds' who survive and actually flourish in this climate. We are semi-retired former middle class Americans who could live here like Kings and Queens with our current income...however, I don't think I could convince my children and their families to join us so I guess we will go home next summer after all!! 

It is getting much cooler the past month and that is a welcome treat. Growing up in the midwest, I am accustomed to the heat and humidity but I am also used to having a six month break every year...not so here. Randy says we have two and hotter, wet and wetter and he is right! For the next 4 months, we will experience a cooler climate, cool mornings and not so stifling during the days. By March, things will begin to become more uncomfortable and April and May...LOOK OUT! 

I purchased this all for about $10 US. I especially love the mangoes and
the Romaine lettuce [from Baguio].

I bought these 12 pineapple last Saturday at a roadside
stand in Nueva Vizcaya for 300 pesos..($7)
On the way home from speaking at the Young Adult Conference in Nueva Vizcaya last Saturday, we stopped and picked up 12 pineapples with the intention of taking the missionaries and visiting some investigators, less-actives, or new members. We planned to give them a pineapple and tell them how wonderful and sweet they were. We then likened the sweetness to the sweetness of the gospel in our lives and shared a scripture (1 Nephi 8:10,11) with each family. It was raining like crazy last Sunday morning (and many did not come to church because of the weather). Our attendance was really low so after church, the four of us gave up our afternoon, drove through the mud and yuck to deliver our pineapples. That was thrilling to each family. The Filipino people are, for the most part, so humble and teachable, a true treat for us!

We saved one for Elder Dagal and Elder Rostedt and they were so happy.
On our way to a far out area that afternoon we passed by a mama carabao and her eight day old baby...SO cute!! This was the youngest carabao we have seen in the 15 months we have been here.

By the time we went to deliver the pineapples, the rain had stopped and the air was so clean and clear. I loved this view of the mountains with the clouds still hovering at the top...just breathless scenery.

For those of you readers who might not know, I am married to an engineer by education. Now engineers are a different breed of human...they are not 'wired' like normal people, don't see life through the same eyes normal people do and instead, are constantly trying to find ways to reinvent the wheel when it comes to simple tasks. I have always wondered what they dream hubby has spent many nights flipping and thrashing around and I always thought he was fighting dragons but I have changed my mind...HE IS TRYING TO BUILD NEW WAYS TO ACCOMPLISH RELATIVELY SIMPLE TASKS!

This past week, we 'opened' a new apartment. You all know we are in charge of the missionary apartments in our mission and that responsibility gives us many miles of travel, association with all of the missionaries and a working relationship with vendors and sales personnel in various stores. We really love the job-it give us such variety to our mission. Opening a new apartment means delivering everything they will need from beds to dressers to a fridge, stove, tables, etc. to a new bare apartment. The Assistants to the President are assigned a truck like ours (theirs is blue however and has had the  topper removed) so we often borrow their truck, both Randy and I drive and we can take everything to 'open' in one trip. This past week we needed to take many things and were unsure how it would all fit. One of the bulkiest things we needed to take were two clothes racks. They would fit in the open bed truck but it had a fridge already loaded so my engineer 'had a dream' about how to work it so they would ride on top of our truck-he used two 6' long bamboo poles tied across the luggage rack then rested the two clothes racks on that. I do have to admit that it was clever and allowed us to take them the hour drive away without any problems. My smart engineer...

Tying the poles and clothes racks securely..
You all know about the fresh water pond I have referred to in the past-the time when we send beloved missionaries back to their families, welcome new fresh faced and enthusiastic missionaries early the next morning then have our transfer meeting where everyone is thrown in the air and they all land in new homes. That is always bittersweet for me. We love these Elders and Sisters. Some we become very close to and they are the ones who tug at our hearts as they either return to their lives or move on to bless another area of our mission. This week we bade a fond farewell to Elder Griffin...he was our Zone Leader in Roxas for many months and we came to love him like one of ours. He reminds both of us so much of our youngest son and that probably strengthened the ties we had with him. As I type this, he is in Manila making his last minute preparations, repacking his suitcase and will fly out tomorrow morning to return to St George to his loving family who will greet him with open arms. We will miss this mighty warrior...

Farewell to a faithful missionary and a great servant of our Heavenly Father.
Transfers usually affect us to some degree but this time we will see two move on and they will leave a hole in our lives. Sister Klein will experience her first transfer. She is in Santiago with Sister Morales and will have the opportunity to be a senior companion. Her leadership skills are amazing and she will be such a blessing to that area. (I did tell her she will have a McDonald's close by and she was thrilled!)

Sister Morales and Sister Klein
If you have been following my blog for the past few months, you have become acquainted with Elder Rostedt who has been transferred also. His new companion is Elder Sarcauga and they will be in Ramon. That is one of the nicest Elder apartments in the mission and currently is housing four Elders. They have to be self-disciplined young men to be trusted in a foursome. He will be a blessing to the Ramon Ward for sure!! (but will be missed in Mallig)

Elder Rostedt and Elder Sarcauga
I have mentioned before about is constantly changing and sometimes those changes are easy, sometimes difficult. I have learned about flexibility while serving the Lord in this part of His vineyard. I love my mission. I love serving in the Philippines. I love our assignments. I love my fellow missionaries. I love my Mission President and his marvelous wife. I love the experiences we are having. I adore my companion and thank the Lord everyday that I have him in my life, my health is good and my testimony is strong. I know this is the Lord's church and I am so thrilled to be part of this work at this time in my life. I know The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is Christ's church on the earth today. I am so happy that my life took a turn 39 years ago last Friday when we entered the waters of baptism and know it is because of that decision, each member of my family will have the opportunity to be together for eternity. My prayer, my SINCERE prayer is that each of them will want to be with us in the kingdom of our Father. That is MY goal...


  1. Sharla George Behan commented on your link.
    Sharla wrote: "You are a wonder, Cheri! What a marvelous job you and Randy are doing there. And it's so fun to read about your every day lives, too. I want to taste the fruit!! Ymm"

  2. Jana wrote: "Thank you for sharing. How awesome to be able to open up your blog and see my daughter. I'm so happy to hear about her transfer!! I know she loved the area she was in. I know more good things are still to come!!"

  3. Cheri your details are the best! My favorite Philippines blog for sure, and super hilarious! If you see Elder Reher, the tall blonde guy, tell him that Molly says he makes her proud!!

    1. I just saw him yesterday actually-he is a GREAT guy and a wonderful missionary. Did you see the one of him on my blog where he was riding on top of a jeepney?? A crazy fella but a super fantastic Elder! I will pass the word along for sure...

  4. Yeah I did, haha, what a fantastic picture!! And thanks a bunch!