One year ago last week our plane landed in Cauayan City, Isabela and our experience in the Philippine, Cauayan Mission began. It has been a year of many joys, many sorrows, many laughs, and many tears but all-in-all, I would not go back and do anything any differently. I have done the very best job that I know how and although I feel many times that my offering does not measure up or is not exactly what is needed, I am just plugging along doing what I feel is right and hope the Lord accepts my service. This past year has gone very fast and in less than 10 months, we will be hugging our short people again, having this whole 23 months only a marvelous memory.
Up to this point in our mission, we have only taken one 'P' day. Last January, President and Sister Carlos went with us to Magat Dam for an afternoon. Oh, I take that all back...in December, we went to Banaue the first time with President and Sister and spent part of a Monday also...I lied...sorry...our THIRD 'P' day of our mission!! At any rate, this past weekend we traveled to Solano to do our Music Workshop while the men did leadership training. The Gottfredsons and the Mills chose not to go this time so the three of us did the workshop by ourselves-that was a little bit of a challenge but we did fine. After the workshop, we went to a local Greenwich for pizza then found our hotel for the night. Bali Gloria turned out to be a fantastic place and we totally enjoyed the time we spent there. They have a restaurant that is marvelous-we played cards while we waited for our dinners then retired for the evening. Before going to bed, we took a little stroll around the property and were in awe of the glorious, resort feel. We will definitely stay there again, especially with a nightly price tag of less than $20 and it has a/c, hot water, internet and a marvelous restaurant. [it is amazing what, because it is rare, has become more important this past year-hot water is something we have not had up until we moved into this new home...haven't used it much yet but plan to when the cooler weather hits!]
|Notice this little fella we found on our walk-he was moving sssooooo ssslllllooowwwwlllyyy|
just like I supposed a HUGE snail would-that is MY foot [size 10 shoe] so you
can see how large they grow these in the Philippines..
|This picture doesn't even begin to show the beauty of the colors..|
|The land owners actually live right down there and grow their own|
food, raise their own meat and totally live on the side of the hill
|A goofy bunch..we had such a grand time together. We chartered a Jeepney to take us up the mountain|
to the shopping and lookout areas-much safer than us driving ourselves!
|This is a hut [called a bahay kubo] where a farming family lives. You|
can see their vegetable crops on the next plateau down from the house.
|This is mainly for my cousin Judy-the foliage here is so different from|
the US-this is a flower [probably the size of a serving platter] that
grown on a bush-they were all in bloom and were amazing!
|King Benjamin on his 'tower'|
|Sister Laker was selling fruit kabobs and had|
quite a few 'takers'..
|Sister Mills was selling juice boxes..|
|Elder Laker was complete with chains...as Abinadi|
|I made cookies and offered a game of chance-a roll of the dice could|
provide your entire team with homemade chocolate chip
cookies-some actually succumbed..
|Alma was near the Waters of Mormon....ala Elder Mills|
|Elder Mioli was a great Captain Moroni|
|Elder Gottfredson is a good sport as Samuel the Lamanite|
|Sister Gottfredson's fresh out of the oven cinnamon|
bread sticks were very tempting for all...
|Elder Huffstutler made a great Nephi|
Later in the evening, we were invited back for the presentations where the different groups put on their adaptation of the scripture and prophet they were assigned. It was such fun to see these normally serious young men enjoying each other as they acted out their scenario.
|Elder Elgan with his shield of faith|
|Elder Oliver was the good shepherd gathering his sheep [Elder Nay and Elder Averion]|
|I loved the headdress! This was Elder Nay's first time to attend|
Zone Leader Council.
Last Friday was spent pulling up the stalks, burning them, turning the dirt and preparing the area for something else. Three weeks ago I planted six more rows so this time, I will be more educated and hopefully will have a bountiful harvest!
|Out with the old, in with the new..|
There are so many times in my life, mostly my 'life before', when the everyday minutia takes over and I know I missed the butterflies. Here, in this marvelous country with the most beautiful people on earth, things are normally at a much slower pace. They are not in any hurry...most are late to arrive to appointments, church, meetings...they gather along the side of the roads, on benches outside of their homes, in little Tindahon stores along the way and visit, laugh, talk, and enjoy one another. I remember as a child growing up in the 50's without air conditioning, the evenings when the entire neighborhood would be in the street, in the yards, on the driveways, visiting, watching their children catch fireflies, and just socializing. In the US, we have gotten away from that..we don't know our neighbors for the most part and most families spend no more than 20 minutes a day, bolting down a quick dinner so they can rush off to whatever. Where is the world of the past when everyone on your block knew you, wanted to visit, wanted to share their day, brought you a plate of whatever they baked for their family...where is that slower paced but more humanly connected society??? I can tell you where-IT IS HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Philippines is comparable to the US in the early 1900's in technology [except for cell phones] and they are a social culture who love each other, enjoy each other and for the most part, support and defend each other to the end...wish we could go back to that 'at home' because I think families would really benefit..that is what this life is about-families. Families are the pattern of Heaven and I, for one, want mine for eternity!!