Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Good, then the Bad and the Ugly

This was a week where lots of good things happened.  There was only one bad and ugly thing, and I'll save it till the end.  Let's talk about the good. . .

 Monday afternoon was got a text saying that there was going to be a family home evening/birthday party at the beach that night for any branch members who wanted to come.  We joined in the festivities and had a ball.  At least 30 members piled into a flatbed truck where they had put plastic chairs for some people to sit down, and the rest sat on the truckbed or stood up the 12 kilometers to the beach.  The sides of the truck were only 24" high, and it was piled with adults teens and little kids.  I should have gotten a picture.  You wouldn't believe it!  I was afraid someone might fall over the sides in the dark, but they all made it safely there and back.

The first order of business was to eat--massive pans of pancit, adobo, various meats, eggplant dish, and dessert.  I brought rolls and jam and lemon bars.  One of the sisters tasted the lemon bar and pulled a face like that was the sourest thing she'd ever had.  So cute!  But they cleaned up the pans, so it must have been all right.
Then they headed for the beach, and came in later soaked from the top of their heads to their toes.  They never wear bathing suits here--too immodest.  Everyone swims in shorts and tee shirts.  Really different from the States.

Tuesday during the day we attended district meeting, then
Tuesday night we celebrated late Valentine's Day at the Paradisio restaurant in the nipa hut.  We had steak Tagalog, which was Philippine steak with peppers and sauce,and chop suey, mango shakes, and of course plain and garlic rice.  Delicious!
The bamboo was growing on the grounds.  So amazing!

Wednesday we went visiting with Dola.  This carabou was near where we were going.  Notice the rope tied in its nostril.  I hope it doesn't sneeze!

This is one of our sweet sisters we visited.  Ten years ago her husband was working on a sky scraper and fell at least four stories and hit an iron beam which stopped his fall.  Unfortunately, he became blind because of the accident.  He was curled up in a ball when we came, sleeping
 on the wooden couch, oblivious to us.  She roused him when I wanted a picture, but she says he mostly sleeps day and night.  She makes a living for them and their two boys by doing manicures and pedicures.  She comes to your house and gives you both for $3.  She always has a smile on her face like she doesn't have a care in the world.
I had to show you her gate which she made.  Pretty ingenious use of twigs.

Then we visited this sister.  She has 6 kids, and these are the youngest two.  Her husband was working, so they were really glad.  I believe this was the humblest home I've seen.  It was bamboo stalks and cardboard. 

Her little boy is playing on a hammock, eating a mango.  That's a clump of bamboo in the background, and their cooking pot for their rice.  The bamboo shades the house, but she says they get snakes that crawl along the bamboo and fall into their house from time to time.  Great!  I'll try to add a picture of the house if I can figure out how to crop it.  Or I'll see if Marilyn can do it for me.

Next we visited this sister, and she picked some guava from her tree for us.  Dola is holding the guava.  It's so sad.  Dola lost her bridge in the front of her mouth and she can't come up with p8000 ($200) to replace it.  So now when she laughs she joins many other Filipino ladies who covers her mouth because she doesn't want to show the gaps in her teeth.  We hope she finds the missing tooth!

This is the guava.  It's a hybrid called apple guava and tastes somewhat like an apple.  Not my favorite, but okay.

The last place we visited was this sister and her daughter-in-law and baby.  The daughter-in-law wants to know more about the church, but her husband who is a member doesn't want her to.  We hope his heart will be softened and they will be able to be taught soon.

We had to pull over on the road to let this baka (cow) and driver pass.

Saturday we had a flower-making activity at the church where I showed them how to make fabric flower corsages.  They loved it and said they would all wear them Sunday.

The young people were having a post Valentine's dance,and we helped decorate and fix food for their shindig.  They were so excited to dress up and have this get-together.

The RS sisters helped prepare an ulam topping of ground pork, finely chopped potatoes, carrots, onions, soy sauce, ketchup, and. . .a few raisins!  We didn't taste it, but it smelled delicious!

Saturday it was announce that our mission will be split.  Part will remain the Baguio mission, and part will become the new Urdaneta mission.  I'll write about that in my email if you want to know more.  That is exciting news.


Hope you have a great week!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Slow Week?

We kind of had a slow week, and I didn't take a lot of pictures.  But here are some of the things we did.
We spent one afternoon visiting with Dola. 
Here is Dola walking down the path to a member's house.

This member entertained us in his outside nipa hut.  It was a really hot day, and a breeze came through the side of the shady hut.  It was a great place to be on a hot afternoon.  This brother spoke very good English, as he had been a houseboy for Americans at Clark Air Base for many years.  We really enjoyed our visit with him.  He is the only member of the church in his family.

This was another family we visited.  The lady on the far left and the young people are not members, but the one on the right is.

We stopped by the hospital to visit this sister who was there with her young son who had been in the hospital for four days with a bad case of asthma.  He had gone into convulsions one night, so she brought him to the hospital.  Her husband had died there last month from diabetis, so it had bad memories for her.   He didn't get medicine because he said they couldn't afford it, so his body deteriorated and he died.  He drank heavily, so that was a factor also.  Notice the open ward in the hospital.  It reminds me of our hospitals in the 1960's.  No privacy.  Sheets were dirty.  It was pretty sad.  Many Filipinos refuse hospital treatment because the hospitals are so bad.  They think if you go there, you might not come home.  In many cases, they are right.

Another day we did apartment checks.  The front lawn of these elder's apartment was covered with corn drying in the sun.  Our "corny Elders" decided to let me take their picture in the corn.  Anything for a little excitement!

I did another bread class for the Mangaldan branch RS.  Only 5 sisters showed up, but we had a good time making scones and no-bake cookies.  They were "masarap".  Delicious!  My favorite word.  One of the sisters said she was going to make cookies to sell in her shop.  She said she could get 15 pesos for each of them, and was so excited. She kept thanking me for showing her how she could make money.   Any way they can earn money, they'll try!
This is the contractor who has been painting and remodeling this apartment for the Elders.  We are having him do another little job in a different apartment where he will replace a door and install 2 new doorknobs and deadbolts.  He asked for 300 pesos to do this, which is about $7.50 for a day's work.

This apartment looks so much better than when we first found it.  I love the paint color.  One of the Filipino elders told me it is the color of my eyes.  Pretty cool, huh!

Our landlord brought over bananas picked from the tree in back.  You cannot believe the flavor these little things have!  They have twice as much flavor as the ones we get in the States.  Anyway, I made banana cream pie from some of them, and it was masarap!
Sorry there aren't many pictures this week.  Elder Dinkel had a cold, and we kind of took it easy and let him rest.  We'll visit again with you next week.  Mabuhay!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Week Sixteen

We started out this week by going to Baguio on Sunday afternoon and coming back Monday morning.  We spent several days hunting for  apartments.  We had some successes and some failures.  Anyway,  these are some scenes from this past week.
On the way to Baguio. . .

View from our hotel in Baguio.  They offered horseback rides nearby.

One of the beautiful spots near the hotel.
We found a beautiful apartment for the sisters.  We were so excited because it was clean and beautiful.

Gorgeous living room. . .

Two bedrooms with built-in beds that will have to be removed.  They're small and they will have to use bunk-beds, but it can serve four sisters.

One of 2 nice bathrooms-- for the Philippines!

A great view outside the living room window.  The water comes to the house, but it's built high enough that flood water won't come inside.
These stairs might be tricky getting a bunk bed up them.  Oh well, we'll figure it out.

The Sisters were excited for such a nice apartment.

The Zone Leaders were just excited.
 Zone Leaders putting a spell on barking dogs.  The dogs totally stopped their loud, annoying barking and just looked at Elder Shaw with a quizical expression, like "What in the heck is he doing?"

We'll have to always take him with us for animal control duty.
Elder waiting patiently for a landlady to open an apartment for us to check out.  The apartment was good, but the lot in front was the neighborhood garbage dump, so we told the ZL to keep looking.

One area where we're looking for apartments is really wet, and many houses are built on stilts right in the water.  A couple of boys were swimming here in front of their house.  Notice the boy on the roof.  Not sure if he was ready to jump in, or what.
Our branch had a Valentine's Dance on Friday, but I didn't get the message that it was formal attire, so I wasn't dressed for the occasion.  I made scones for the dinner, and everyone said they were, "Masarap!" 

Dola and Pope

Elder and Sister

Maribel and President

Brother and Sister Conception.  She is the one that was at Virgin's Well when the rich lady came and accused her of stealing rice.  They could really dance up a storm!  She wouldn't take her baseball jacket off because she had come in a low-cut dress.  She was so cute!

This couple won the best dressed award.  Her dress was amazing!

These are the men goofing off.  I don't know why, but I didn't get a picture of the ladies.  I'll try to get one from some of the others who had cameras there that night.
This is Iris, and it was her baptism Saturday night.  That was probably the highlight of my week--hearing her testimony.  She was his college teacher, although she is only 21, and he is a member. Actually, he's the branch president in another area.   She took the lessons and decided to join the church.  They are planning to get married after a year when they can be married in the temple.  She bore a powerful testimony of her joy in finding the gospel.  It touched my heart.  I am impressed with their desire to follow the Savior's way and be married in the temple. 

Another girl was also baptized when Iris was.
These are the Sister Missionaries who are serving in Manaoag now.  Sister Lagrimes (center) is the only one of the four sisters who were here when we came, and she was transferred today.  What a sweet sister she is!  We will miss her.  The sister on the right is Sister Edwards from New Zealand and is new.  Sister Montoja will be a great teacher for her, as she is a great missionary.  The district gave me a card and thanked me for baking them cookies and being their mom.  They know how to get to my heart!  A little flattery works every time.
Well,, this was our week in pictures.  We are enjoying the opportunity to serve these people, and we love them so much.  We pray for all of you back home and hope you are doing well.  Have a great week!