Sunday, September 24, 2017

Activity Days - Philippine Style

The children gathered around the piano in the gym to learn the song for Sunday

The children learned much more quickly with a piano

This is a nice picture - the reality was very hot and humid

As usual there were those who got in and learned the words and tunes quickly and those who were mentally somewhere else. In one case the boy just ran around the gym
Sister Eugene is gifted musically and teaches the children all kinds of songs though she is the counselor not the music leader
Sister Stewart starts out telling about a shy visitor who comes when the children are revenant and loves to hear them sing...notice the kids aren't mentally with her just yet

But in seconds she has full attention
That's when the fun began!  "I like to look for rainbows....."

The kids were totally in and singing with the actions

Joy and happiness singing with actions!  She also taught them how to sign - but that is on video


In the other room the children were making corner page book markers and also writing letters of appreciation to their teachers
It was a little tricky, but most of them caught on fast

Christmas trees, panda, and monsters were the favorite today

Most of the teachers were given Christmas trees as the Philippines are setting up for Christmas right now

The first time we had Activity Days two weeks ago, we talked about Oral hygiene - probably evident the reason why. My heart aches for the missionaries who come in the door with serious problems in such young people.
We all walked into the bathroom where I gave a demonstration of flossing, they enthusiastically followed along

Some of the supplies from the Clayton Valley 1st Ward were given out at Activity Days

Sunday Night

I'm sitting in the quiet of the apartment emotionally feeling satisfied, happy and content; physically I am feeling like I've had too much sun and been running all day. I have done neither.
On Friday after work I picked up Sister Stewart and took her with me to Activity Days. All of the Primary children were invited instead of just the older children because they needed to practice a song to sing in church on Sunday. Sister Stewart was of tremendous help because she could play the piano and knew how the songs should go and could 'coach' the song leader about little things like rising together and sitting at the same time. Sister Stewart didn't use many words just a few actions and of course having a piano player was fantastic in helping the children learn the song.
But the whole church building was very humid and hot and the air-conditioners we turned on were as effective as ice on a hot stove. I could feel the sweat rolling down my back and watched Sister Stewart's hair slowly plaster to the back of her head. Even the children complained that it was too hot to sing.
I divided the kids into 1's and 2's and sent them downstairs to other rooms (that we hoped were air-conditioned by now) to 1- learn some songs from Sister Stewart in sing language and 2- make corner bookmarks and write notes of gratitude to their teachers. On Sunday the ward was going to acknowledge all the teachers.  This fit right in line with an activity in the Faith in God booklet.
Well, the rooms were not cooled off there either though my room with the book marks was better. We switched the kids so they could learn both and then finally cleaned up and went home.
That sounds like a small quick thing but instead we talked for about 45 minutes in stop and go traffic for about 3 maybe 5 kilometers. The air-conditioner sucked in all the exhaust. Sister Stewart told me you could get some water from a man in the street for 20 pesos (about 40 cents) and I started looking around. We found a man sitting on the median and got our water bottles which we drank straight down as I inched a bit further down the road. We laughed when we talked over how every one of our senses had been assaulted by children yelling, heat, exhaust, hunger, thirst and time crawling.
I personally do not deal well with heat. I took a cool shower while Jeffrey went and bought take-out salads after which I fell into bed. Around 3 in the morning I woke up not feeling quite the thing and started making book markers for the teachers. I had to prepare a sharing time for Primary and write a talk for Sacrament Meeting too. At five its was wonderful chatting with Andrew. Though Jeffrey and I spent a little time together he had to go into work. Jonah came over at 11 with a dress she needed to lengthen. I prayed silently for the ability to accomplish my tasks. I quickly typed up my talk to email to Jeffrey to print off. I asked for two copies so Jonah and I could have one as I asked Jonah to translate for me on Sunday.
Jonah and I had such a delightful day! We walked a few blocks over to choose material to lengthen her Sunday dress and choose some material for her brother's wedding. Then we walked back over to the mall and  had a fun time running around trying out new foods and shops. Jonah loves spicy food and they were having a chili festival. Wow, who knew a touch of chili would make chocolate taste great?!!
Then back to the apartment to finish her dress, the markers, sharing time. When Jeffrey got home a little after dark we were hand hemming her dress, she on one side and I on the other. I took her home had to inch back home, and again fell into bed early.
On Sunday I woke with one of those hollow headaches. The ones that aren't really an ache just an awareness of something off with yuck feeling. I asked the Lord if he could please help me out with my responsibilities. I had packed everything up the night before in my church bag, so in the morning I went over my talk again, re-read the sharing time lesson and re-read the conference talk I had been assigned for the talk, then decided to add a few more things to my talk. Then I relaxed and prayed again. We went off to church and found the Stake Presidency had come for a visit. We thought they would speak but they decided to hear what we had to say. I realized I'd left my talk on the kitchen table. Luckily Jonah had her copy of my talk with translations in Tagalog, so I got out my iPad with the scriptures and conference talk in English. It all worked out!
It was interesting how the talks all meshed together. The first young woman talked about the power and effectiveness of prayer, I talked about throwing yourself into work for Christ and Jeffrey talked about rising beyond the basics and striving for another level of understanding and strength.
Then it was off to Sharing Time. The children went fishing for fish with letters and then talked about how to respect and love one another. They talked about how serving each other is showing respect and love for the Lord. Then the children who had been to the Friday activity taught the other children the songs they had learned from Sister Stewart in sign language. The Primary president gave out the page book markers and a sheet of quotes that Jeffrey had assembled for me to all the teachers in the ward.
When I got home I dropped on the bed and slept for two hours. Now that it is dark outside I was wondering why I am tired even after a nap early afternoon and realized that the Lord has been enabling and sustaining me all this weekend when I asked for help.  It is so awesome and wonderful to work for the Lord!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Lightning and Rain

For the past two nights the storms have come about an hour before dark. Yesterday the whole sky lit up with a wonderful red orange glow. Tonight I looked out and saw all these people jumping and swimming in the river while the rain and lightning thundered around. I guess when you're wet you're wet. No worries about electrocution?  Maybe the risks are worth it.
The light, color, smell and sounds of this awesome country are incredible.
Just at sunset during a storm. Sometimes in the mornings the world has a blue haze.



These guys would take a running start and jump in and then all slide back up the bank to do it again

Sheet lightning and forked lightning, freight train collision sounds of thunder, nothing fazed them

Just after the rain when the colors are all deep and shiny
I loved the glint of the setting sun on the wet houses

Storms are rolling in the background, but the rain has stopped for a few minutes right now.


Sunday, September 17, 2017

Words that Jump Out

I've been thinking about what I want to accomplish in Activity Days this coming Friday and I think one portion will be about scriptures that jump out for attention.  Obviously Joseph Smith had James 1:5 jump out for him when he was young. On my last go around with the Book of Mormon several versus jumped out and now on this second time through a few more have jumped out.
I think I'll use the verse in Ether 3:5 "Behold, O Lord, thou canst do this. We know that thou art able to show forth great power, which alooks small unto the understanding of men."
Too many times the tender mercies and prayers that are answered are over-looked as answers from God because they 'look small' to us or those we explain our miracle to. 
For instance my former companion, Sister Littler had a story about two children who were lost when it was getting dark and knelt down to pray for an angel to guide them home. They soon heard the cowbell of their milk cow on her way back to the barn and knew if they held on to her she would bring them home. They were very disappointed that their prayer had not been answered. 
A little six-year old boy in our ward heard the story of Joseph Smith and went on his knees to pray for an angel and was surprised when young woman asked him what he was doing? Neither of them thought about the fact that God answers every prayer and as Jeffrey R. Holland has explained, "we are reminded that not all angels are from the other side of the veil. Some of them we walk with and talk with—here, now, every day. Some of them reside in our own neighborhoods." That young woman may have come as an answer to this six-year-olds prayer though neither thought about it. 
My activity for Friday, will probably be making pillowcases and showing the kids how to make a quilt. We have been asked to make comforters as a service project for all those who have been distressed by typhoons and those affected in the civil war going on in the southern islands. I may have missed the quilts at girls camp this year but it looks like we will be making quilts here!
The last thing I'd like to have happen next Friday is Sister Stewart teaching the kids a song that they can go and teach their family. 

If those who read this blog would like to contribute their favorite scripture that has jumped out lately (and why), I would love to share it with my Activity Day kids. Answer before Friday!  (ah your Thursday) - Thanks:)

Unmindful

I'm having a great time sewing again. But every once in awhile I am brought to the stark realization that I am not going to be saved from myself.
Technology here is not for the forgetful or inattentive. Hence, the holes in my ironing board. I'll bet no one has sued anyone over hot coffee in the Philippines (and won).
A light touch with a hot iron instantly melts the fabric on the ironing board cover

It is especially irritating to do it 3 different days

This iron (well all the irons I've seen) have no safety turn-off or even steam. Turn it on and it gets hot. Now I'm trying to scrape off the melted material without scraping off the teflon. 


River Review

Two blue poles - the man in orange - that he would swish over the water towards the lines with debris
Ah, what are they doing? Is this a type of fishing or are they checking something out? The man in orange would paddle with the big paddle and then when they got close to the lines he would take both of the blue poles and flick them over the water towards the lines with debris caught in them. What are they doing?
It was very hard to figure out why they would paddle slowly along and then stop or coast while the man would "fish" or something

All down that side of the river checking things out with the blue poles

I love how helpful the kids seem to each other in helping friends over the wall
I did realize today I'm going to have to be more careful - they young boys seem to have a more European attitude toward nudity and I inadvertenly got several shots of swimming boys who didn't get their clothes wet

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Happy Birthday Elder Stewart

It's that time of year - Happy Birthday

We had the trimmings for a party

And all the guests turned up too!
Nice to have a reason to party

With lots of good friends