Monday, October 16, 2017

A Pencil in His Hand

Today I had a conversation with a man I had prayed over in the early days of my mission. He works very hard to provide for his family. I have often thought how unfair the work force is over here. Twelve hour days are normal and getting only 500 pesos (approximately $10) a day is average. Of course there are the extremely wealthy, but the average person gets more or less about 500 pesos a day. This man is a hard working man who doesn't dare ever rock the boat or stop for more schooling or even look at other jobs as the odds of getting a different steady job are slim. He is cheerful, creative, and goes out of his way to do a good job and find answers to any problems that come up in the dental clinic.
When I thought about his life, the service he gives the church (he's been a bishop and is now on the  High council) the time and effort he puts in for everyone and the limited time he has with his family I asked the Lord to bless him and his family. After a few heart felt prayers the answer that came back in my mind...not incredulous.....not dismay.........surprising is the work I'm looking for. The answer was, "you are the answer you are praying for." Ah, what? ......   So I looked at this man and his family with new eyes. If I was the answer, how was I suppose to act?  I adopted the family as my own and started acting as a grandmother. I hope he didn't feel too bulldozed over as I decided how to answer my own prayers. I gave his family gifts for birthdays and then gifts for fun and finally I straight out asked him how I could be of service as his family was so far away from the office I would never be close enough to figure it out. After a few days and some really serious chats, he told me of the need for shoes and a sewing machine for his wife. (Of course he was fine and didn't need anything - typical man.)
My Clayton Valley first ward came through for me big time in helping me give a gift from our Relief Society to his wife and their Relief Society (though I later came to find out she works in Young Women's - so her efforts help a little bit younger sisters). When I went for Michael's wedding in California, my ward sent me back with three suitcases full of sewing goods.  This man's wife cried when we dropped off the shoes and sewing materials to her and the family. I flat out asked her what her husband would need and she mentioned shoes for him (which I subsequently got).
Today I heard "the rest of the story" or maybe just another chapter. This man had some unexpected bills and found there was a gap between the times his salary would kick in. He explained the problem to his wife and she used the materials from the California ward to sew up some pillow cases which she took to the market and sold and bought food for the family. How awesome is it that the Lord provided the answer to a problem two months before the problem arose?
I am totally in awe of being a witness of the Lord's tender mercies and how He lets us be part of them. I really didn't have a lot to do with the whole thing except an idea and desire - maybe it was a prompting from God to act. Anyway, like Mother Teresa I know nothing really came from me - though maybe through me - a pencil in His Hand.

“I'm a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.”

― Mother Teresa

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Fascination with River Life

When I was a young girl, I watched episodes of "Bewitched" and wondered when the older lady would ever have time to peer out her window to see what was happening across the street. Now that I am the old lady, I can feel the irresistible urge to watch the magic out my window.
Life on the river changes daily and yet flows in predictable patterns. This little slice of provincial life within the crowded urban setting is enchanting.
I found there is a net in the left hand and a spear type pole in the right

This national squat is an amazing feat much less fishing on a moving boat in that squat
Of course I missed filming a capture of whatever it is he is fishing for when I saw him deftly flip something into the blue bucket. He only caught one (fish?) in the minutes I watched him. After his catch he sat down in the boat still fishing. The other man in the boat looks smaller and I could only speculate that this is a father son team catching dinner.
Sunday Fishing
Of course the swimming and farming always catches my eye too. What are they planting? How many people use one plot? How do you keep someone else from picking your vegetables? Do people live there? I know many visit back and forth every day and stream across the bank like flour through a sieve.

From this one picture I can find different sub sets of activity. I wonder who is related to who

The kids playing or bathing
One family? Maybe extended family members? Chatting, visiting and planting
This appears (at least in my mind) to be one or two different families from the other at the bottom. The umbrella group appear to be different from the group on the right. But really it is all my speculation
My next question is how long does it take to grow vegetables or whatever it is that they grow?

Friday, October 13, 2017

It keeps raining

I am here listening to the rain.
The "rain" keeps coming down in the news from home.
A niece has lost her baby and is in the hospital. All those dreams and effort gone when she has so much love to give.
A missionary friend from my first mission lost his battle with cancer.
Lives are changing because of the fires in California.
I have sisters and brothers in heavy trials of grief and pain.

I've been watching the farmers on the riverbank deal with all the rain. Some have had their efforts washed away. One created a place so a pool of water would develop - was it intentional? One team put up plastic sheets on the very edge of the river. I am wondering if they are trying to make a sandbar or something similar to capture silt as it flows along.

How is rain dealt with?
I will be witnessing how my family members deal with their typhoons.
I hear lots of stories about the fires and miracles of assistance and empathy and am so sad about the looters and those who profit in others misery.

Today I plan to be of the most assistance I possibly can. I am getting soup and supplies for a friend coming home from the hospital and sewing up some skirts for a wedding. Jeffrey just left for a meeting with Elder Haynie and other religious leaders and will be gone part of the day. Each of us contributing a tiny light in an ocean of need. Sometimes I feel as effective as a sand wall on the beach and sometimes I can feel God's warmth and approval.  I know my prayers for my family will only be as effectual as their appeals to God.  It would be nice to be bringing them soup - but probably as useful as a sand castle on the beach. Maybe I'll just pray for other ministering angels to be of assistance in ways that will really help.

Lots of rain falling

It is the typhoon season so it rains everyday. Sometimes for a little while and sometimes for a lot longer with lightening and thunder. Usually I love rain and storms - well inside looking out.

I got hammered on Wednesday with some type of virus. My head felt like it was in a vice and all my joints were painful and I felt too heavy. Moving was painful. Jeffrey gave me a blessing, he is such a thoughtful wonderful man.  On Thursday I stayed home, made some really great calls to family and napped and basically just started feeling a little better every hour.

I was startled and dismayed when I was asked about my siblings marriage. Having been a victim as a child of "keep-it-all-in-the-family" I am not a strong advocate of hiding issues. On the other hand speculation can destroy feelings and create ill-will of something only the principals really know anything about. I have watched the tremendous power of the atoning power of the Savior at work in life. There is always hope.
"I testify that you have not traveled beyond the reach of divine love. It is not possible for you to sink lower than the infinite light of Christ’s Atonement shines." Jeffrey R. Holland Apr 2012
Hearing something a world away shouldn't have happened and the speculation is offensive. Luckily I saw nothing on FaceBook. Thank you. My prayers to all concerned.

On Friday I pulled myself to work with a determined smile. I found out Jonah is not coming back to work and will be going home to get her credentials up as a nurse. She has decided to go a new route. Later, when I cried on Jeffrey's shoulder Elder Haynie happened to be walking by and stopped to check out what was wrong. I told him it was another daughter (that I'd adopted) leaving to go on to better things, so while I was sad, it was actually a good thing. He found out where she lives and said he had flown there many times and told me about some of the sites to go see. I am reading into that as permission to travel and we have started making plans to go and visit in a few months.

I am so sad about the fires in California. You really should have some of this rain over there. When it rains over an hour we have major flooding in all low areas and cars get stalled out and traffic is really a nightmare as people try to go around the pools of water.

Luckily I went home early and had a nap for two hours and woke up to more gentle rain, so I decided to go get more material for pillowcases. I've been sewing them up for all my friends. With material at $5 and $6 a yard I can't resist. I walked through the rain, uneven sidewalks and over a cement walk-way and wondered where my brains were at trying to walk around this slippery path. Still I have the material though now I'm sitting here trying to get the gumption to be productive.

I had an objective when I sat down to write this but I can't remember what it was. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. Bad things happen to good people. Good things happen that can make us sad. I'm done being sick. I watch the tremendous power of the Lord and wonder why others can't see it. The Elder with the two broken teeth went out of the dental clinic with a "Hollywood" smile. Things can be made better. Only God can truly fix them.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tender Mercies

About an hour or two after I arrived today, I had a chance to talk with Ernesto. He went home early yesterday and their family was having a Family Home Evening. Jhon Andre in his prayer asked Heavenly Father to bless Sister Adams and Jonah.
Ernesto didn't know about Jonah's last day until he came in and asked where she was. I had to tell him yesterday was her last day if they don't re-hire her for two more months on Monday. My heart warmed when he told me about Jhon Andre's prayer. It is so cool that the spirit can whisper to a young boy that blesses my life.
Another interesting though awful situation happened today. A Field Elder was in the CR and passed out. When he came to his front teeth were broken off and embedded in his lip. He went to the ER as the bleeding didn't stop for two hours. Somewhere along the line the broken bits of teeth disappeared. The mission nurse asked if he could have an appointment. Interestingly we had a 2 pm appointment open and then an 11 am appointment opened as another Elder in the MTC wanted to go to the temple today. I love how the Lord opens a way for the missionaries to be taken care of.

Last Day

It came as a shock when I realized that "Last Day" meant this was Jonah's last day at work. I didn't get it in the morning and preceded as if it was a normal day. At 11 Sister Stewart was making plans for a farewell lunch. What? "Just in case Jonah doesn't get re-hired," was her reply. I was aghast. Wait, I thought it was a sure thing that they would extend her employment.
So Sister Stewart and I went to the HR department where it was carefully explained just why the decision to extend her employment wouldn't be made until next Monday. Which meant this was Jonah's last day - though there is hope we'll have a welcome back party on Monday.
It started raining and the gloomy clouds rolled in matching my mood exactly. Not the heavy hard kind of rain, just the persistent sad rain.
It makes me realize even if they hire her for two more months there will be a day of sorrow, of parting. Jonah's Aunt Divine is moving to the province and her soon-to-be sister-in-law Roma will be married in December so life is changing no matter what way I stack it and Jonah will have no where to live without a permanent job. This was always a temporary job until Sister Stewart could get all the nuts and bolts of running a charitable dental clinic moving smoothly.
Some make a habit of not getting involved to eliminate the sorrow, but I've found the joy and love outweigh those days of sorrow. I'm reminding myself of that today. I dropped Jonah off at her home hoping that I see her on Monday - realizing there will come a day when I won't see her again.
I think I'll go take a shower - I've found there it is easier to mop up after a good cry.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Pictures from Sister Lorraine

Since I left my camera at the dental clinic, Sister Lorraine said she would get me some pictures for the Activity Day bread making.  Looking at the pictures makes me laugh all over again. Think of the images you see in pinterest and then the hilarious pinterest fails. I've got it covered!!!
The kids were right with me listening as I showed them what we needed to do

As more hands got into the dough - it just got better!
They were "shaping" the loaf - soon it was in pieces
So many helpers! when we started the real batch of Sacrament bread!

In between shaping loaves and making the real batch of bread, Miss Maryanne taught her speciality: Friendship bracelets

The little kids had to get in on the action as well as the kids from 8 to 11
Yup - life is great!!

Miss Maryanne showed the girls how to make friendship bracelets - Angelo left as soon as he heard about paper rockets

The little kids with Angelo leading the way made paper rockets that could be blown off a straw.
Both loaves were crispy charcoal on top and anemic white on the bottom

But with a little jelly (and cutting off the burnt part) it was a treat for all
I'm counting this as a success though not how I planned the night

I love Sister Lorraine!  She just rides through and helps me achieve whatever I dream up!