Wednesday, May 24, 2017

White Shirts

I'm posting about laundry......again.
For the last two weeks I've been trying out an idea my visiting teacher gave me on how to make whites white. I have this ongoing fascination watching all the white white shirts hanging in alleyways, fences, doors, and trees. Lots of those people live in what I would term camping situations. At the same time regardless of the cycle I use on my machine, my whites just get a little dingier each week.

The key is something my grandmother did all the time. Soak the clothes overnight or for a few hours in water and a bit of bleach and soap.
This is a bathroom with just a toilet and water nozzle. I don't know if it qualifies for the title bathroom. Anyway its a great place to soak clothes out of the way of traffic.
There is a section in the grocery store that has all the laundry supplies and containers anything you need with regards to laundry.
The bucket is much too heavy to lift and pour out the water, this scoop is handy to dump about a liter and a half out at a time.
Success!!! Well I count it as a success as the whites are not getting dingy and smell so much nicer.

Since I am a missionary, I will liken this to how the repentance process and sin works. When there is something off or amiss in life, take corrective action. Sin means missing the mark. Finding a solution or change is the first step, the second is following through and the last step is making sure the correction continues or gets better.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Sunday morning started out great with a video call from Michael. He introduced us to Julia who now lives in Monterrey though I understand she grew up in Fresno. He explained that they met in a Stats class (awe goes up 25 points!) and she is a Spanish speaking return missionary from Idaho. What a combo. She has 4 brothers and is beautiful. I could see why Michael is smitten.

So after that lovely call I went to church. In Primary today I couldn't figure out why the talking and distractions just never ceased. I don't believe anything was taught at all and I'm not really sure what my roll was in the class. Maybe next time I'll just take the 4 or 5 that are listening and leave the others at another table, at least then I'd be able to feel like something was accomplished. In sharing time it wasn't any different. Maybe it was the electricity in the air or weather or something........just one of those days.

Then Nate called out of the blue I loved talking with him. It has been several months since I've talked to him personally. The gratitude I feel for the role he and Kelsi are taking on is huge. They are keeping a home base for family members to come to and taking care of all our business so Jeffrey and I can have a really good time here. Of course he immediately shifted the conversation to Andrew when I mentioned it. Andrew is the caring man whom everyone loves and likes to talk to.

Jeffrey and I are loving the time, chats and interactions that we have never had time for besides our dating days.  But it is better now because we know each other and aren't just getting to know each other. I highly recommend a mission! It is better than a honeymoon and more interesting and fun than a vacation. Maybe more work than either of those, but there is a great satisfaction in flopping on the bed tired and knowing you've done a good job.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Owns the road

I've only seen one type of short haired cat here. They live in apartment and mall garages and seem to have territories of their own. All of them are shades of white, black and brown similar to a Siamese cat - that has been mixed.
A Tom who lives near the Area office
The cats do not seem seriously feral but they aren't pets either. I see food put out for them but wonder where they do their business in a concrete world. Mostly they lay around on the road. One mama cat nurses her young in the middle of the road and she doesn't move when cars come up.
Kittens of the mama I shooed to the side of the pavement
Do I see myself as the center of the universe sometimes with the idea my concerns are paramount?

Taking out the trash

There are different norms here and taking out the trash is one of them.
Early morning 
Is there a protocol when burning your trash? At night on the same morning the trash burned, the fence on the other side of the wall was filled with laundry. I suspect the foul smelling clothes on my rack may have resulted from someone's trash pile.
Notice it doesn't stop the early morning ball players
This gives a whole different meaning to , "Hey hon, will you take out the trash?"
I do wonder where my trash goes. Every day I set my bag outside of my door and someone comes picks it up. Where does it go?

Watching the Wall

A wealth of life goes on out of my window. I especially love watching the wall that runs alongside the river. On one side is a narrow strip of farm and rural type living by the river. Then on the other side, a road with no traffic and beyond that densely packed neighborhoods.

Finding a way
The wall seems to be a meeting point, a play ground, an avenue, a path to and from, a laundry rack, and a basketball court. Tonight I watched a big pack of kids/people playing some kind of game that would cause them to run back and forth but I am too far away to see if there was a ball involved. Smaller kids would jump over the wall and run into the bushes and trees and then run back up again. But they couldn't all jump up, grab the edge and pull themselves over the wall. One larger fellow jumped back down and boosted his friends up. Some of the creative ones stacked up debris make a running start and then grab the wall and pull themselves over. They never left their buddies behind.
Helping friends
There is usually always a basketball game going on except certain times on Sunday and sometimes in the heat of the day just after noon.
Large groups of people playing appear in the early evening just a few hours before dark. When night falls, street lights do not penetrate as far as the wall. But before the sun sets there is a multiplicity of happenings on the wall.
Participants and spectators

Timing, it is all in the timing

How do you know it's God's tender mercies? It's all in the timing.

Today I started out with a prayer as I am the one responsible for scheduling because Sister Hoem's is off at the Mission President's seminar or whatever for the week. My prayer was that if a missionary needed some dental work that they would be seen by the dentists. The first thing was a senior missionary needed to be seen after his wife, so we squeezed him in. It was fortuitous that his wife's appointment didn't go as long as expected. I got another call from a field missionary that she had gotten her work taken care of by a dentist near her and wouldn't be in at one today. I told her great. Then I told Elder Stewart that instead of a 1/2 hour lunch he could expect an hour and a half break.

Elder Stinchfield just had a patient in the chair when a missionary from the MTC came in the door and indicated he was having problems with his mouth in the place that his tooth had been extracted before his mission. This missionary had been categorized as a 4 meaning we would not have schedule him for an appointment.  I took his chart to Elder Stinchfiel and asked if he wanted this missionary scheduled or not and he said to put him another operatory and he'd take a look while his patient's mouth was getting numb. He discovered the walk-in had a cavity developing close to his missing tooth. I was getting set to write his name down when Elder Stewart came in and said, "No problem, I can see him right now."  I asked the Elder if he wanted to be taken care of now or another day. He elected to have his work done right then.

The only hour all day there was time available this Elder happens to walk in, Elder Stewart came back from his break early, the other field missionary decides to have her work done elsewhere today. There is no way I could line up anything with the finesse that God does.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

It is Nice to Be Here

Moon by the MTC in the morning
Most mornings I get here before the missionaries are playing basketball in the parking lot. This past week I've been chasing the moon when I walk up the hill.
Moon over the flags
Sometimes when Jeffrey really wants an early start I don't even see the sun until later.
Moon in dawns early light
It is really nice having the major portion of your work done before noon. Of course it makes it a little difficult to be with night owls. I don't like any party that starts at 7. I tend to nod off.

Temple Views

So the deal is I'm trying to stay awake long enough to call my daughter-in-laws to tell them how much I appreciate the fact that they are such great mothers. I know it is only 7:26 pm here but I am tired. When the sun goes down it can be almost anytime and I start to feel tired.  If the sun were shining I wouldn't be tired - but try telling my subconscious that.

Here are some pictures of the Manila temple - mostly when I arrive at sunrise. Usually at the end of the day I'm scrambling for a ride or finding Jeffrey and what not, so I don't even think about what kind of picture I want to take. The first two are in the middle of the day - sometimes I walk around doing errands and take my camera with me.

Coming up the road.

They were so small they looked like G I Joe figures

Well, it's now 8 pm so 8 am on the East coast. Too bad it's 5 am in California. I'll have to wait longer for that call.
I really do have the most terrific daughter-in-laws a mother could ask for. Happy Mothers day!

Soft Pretzels........without Rachel

A family home evening ward style was called for Friday night. They were going to welcome two elders home from the mission field. I thought it would be nice to bring some soft pretzels. The dough rose so fast, I realized again how cooking is different from my normal.
divided dough
It was only as the baking sheets were coming out of the oven that I woke up to the fact I did not have a brush to use. You can not believe how resourceful I have been since I arrived. I used some paper towels to 'brush' the pretzels with butter, and a fork to sprinkle cinnamon and sugar, my fingers to sprinkle salt.
Just out of the oven
Salt covered soft pretzels 
Rachel, Rachel, how many hundreds of pretzels did we make a year or so ago? I didn't shape any of them and it is evident! I need practice shaping them to look like pretzels - maybe next time.

Cinamon and Sugar soft pretzels
Jeffrey and I left early from the ward home evening as we were so tired and had to get up early to go to work the next day. I don't even know if they liked them or threw them away. Ahh well another day.

The way Visiting Teaching is done

This time Sister Nido (lady on the right) asked me to go visiting teaching with her on Thursday afternoon. Sister Villanuevo (lady on the left) went with us instead of the Relief Society president that went last time. Last time I gave sunflowers to grow but I don't think it was a big hit. It is too hot and who cares?  This time I gave out little bags of different colored rice. I'm fascinated with the variety of rice you can find and want to get recipes on how to cook rice. The recipe I came home with was hot to fry up pork bellies - very interesting.
Our message was President Monson's talk about the power of the Book of Mormon. Sister Villanuevo  urged her to read the Book of Mormon every day.

Our second appointment is with ____linda. Sorry I can only remember the linda part of it. I told her I'd get her picture at church on Sunday with her son.

She is doing a great job raising her son. He just started summer seminary.

The third house we pulled up to was a small (dinky) courtyard that was filled with running children - most of whom where in my Primary class. After hugging the children, chairs were pulled up and we sat in a semi-circle to give out the message. The husbands picked up the infants and the women just sat talking for a bit. When I was asked my testimony of President Monson's talk I replied that this is a prophet of God and he is giving us blessings and promises if we read and apply the Book of Mormon. I likened it to Moses making a brass serpent on a pole and asking the people to do an action - Look. We are asked to read (action) the Book of Mormon every day and build our testimonies. It will save us as surely as the people Moses saved from serpent bites.

Sister Nido on left, next mother of infant and one of my Primary kids I think, nest me, next Sister Villanuevo mother of M Dale in my class, next Sister Jay - first home we ever visited, next mother of a missionary in Edmonton, Canada and reason she joined the church, and last the mother of Jet Adam who is in my class. She is pregnant and hoping all goes well.
I gave out bags of rice to everybody and asked if they would give me a rice recipe
 - hopefully sometime I'll have some great recipes to share.

If you break a tooth...

There isn't a better place to work when a tooth is broken, than a charity dental clinic.
Tooth broke away under an excellent filling
There is nothing like two dentist looking over a wisdom tooth molar
How about nothing happening for another 2 years.....or more. Now both Stewarts have had there hands in my mouth.

Joy in the Morning

After a long night with normal aches, pain, and pinches the idea is that sleep is overrated. When I got up and looked out the window, the song I had sung with Lisa Lambert's choir jumped into my mind. "Joy, Joy, Joy. There will be joy in the morning on that day. "

Jeffrey has been reading in 3rd Nephi when the Savior came. Jeffrey doesn't want to miss any of the promises the Lord gave to those people, so he reads the same chapter over and over again. He discusses his ideas with me and I've been thinking about the millennium and what that time will be like. Jeffrey is especially interested in chapters 21-23.
When I asked if I could quote him, he said, 5 "...Search the prophets, for many there be that testify of these things."  6. "....after he (Jesus Christ) had expounded all the scriptures unto them which they had received...", 14 "...when Jesus had expounded all the scriptures in one, which they had written...."
Basically he said a short paragraph wouldn't do it justice, but talking about quite a few scriptures in an hour or hour and a half would.  Sorry guys, I'm the bee skipping around from flower to flower enjoying all the aspects of my mission and not detailing everything.
Just know I feel "big much" thankfulness to the Lord for His tender mercies, answers to prayers, and blessings being showered down on our heads.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Did you know?

With a new dentist in town I'm leaning new things. Dr. Stinchfield is an oral surgeon and had a different kind of practice, technique and instruments. His instruments need to be available all at once, so instead of being wrapped in individual pouches then autoclaved, the instruments are wrapped up in a towel all together. They have this amazing tape that lets you know when it is sterilized.
Tape indicates with stripes when hot enough to be sterile
An arrow turns from pink to brown when pouches are sterile
Tape in the before mode
Not your ordinary masking tape


LJ got cold with our air-conditioner set so low. Her mom and dad got a little bit of the blanket too.
We invited a family to dinner that I thought had an adopted older son. Instead one of the little girls from my Primary class LJ showed up at the door with her parents! It was so fun to see her in a different setting. Her father had joined the church in his late 30's and found his wife while taking an institute  marriage class (he was just making sure she got home safely).
I did not realize all the red tape, money and effort it is to adopt children here. They are so anxious to get her finally adopted so they can be sealed in the temple. We had an awesome experience with them.

Walked home on Monday

Monday afternoon I needed to get home and it was our code day. Code day means you can't travel in your car between the hours of  7 am and 7 pm on the main roads. Jeffrey and I had invited a family over for family home evening and I needed to get dinner on. I stood around for a taxi - well maybe I paused and walked on looking over my shoulder for a taxi. None arrived in good time, so I thought I'd walk a little further till I saw one. But then being too antsy I thought maybe I'd just walk a little adrenaline off and walk part way home. As I rounded a corner I realized it was one way and that when I did get to the two way traffic I would be on the wrong side of the road to get a taxi going my way, so I resolved to just walk home........I found am NOT acclimatized to this weather.

I saw a man watering some flowers and asked if I could use his hose. He replied, "Are you ok?" I just took the water and hosed off my head then walked home. I got some really weird looks, so I didn't look anyone in the eye - I just soldiered on. I was completely dry 20 minutes later.

I took a picture because this is another adventure (I'm recording adventures) and had a cold (no hot water at all) shower then quickly made a Zack's Mac and a Taco salad for supper.

When I downloaded my pictures later I realized that my smile was tight and my eyes were not smiling.

Maybe I'll try walking home in a month or two

Saturday, May 6, 2017


It is happening again. The day looked like it would be over fairly quickly with only four missionaries coming in. Instead we saw eight or nine before 11 am.

When I put the schedule together for Monday, I had one appointment at 7 am and three at 8 am. I didn’t feel I needed to call back and re-schedule because I “knew” it would be turn out all right. I felt one of the missionary companionships would come early and another companionship would be later.  What I didn’t foresee was a President and his wife who texted that they would be in for their appointment in five minutes. Everybody looked at everybody else. Whomever made the appointment hadn’t shown up that day, but because two of the appointments came early it was easy to slip them in. Addition emergency appointment came from the MTC on a missionary who needed help before he flew off and one of the companionships came late and both missionaries were seen. The missionary who had “a toothache” and maybe we could look at her ended up with double root canal.  Another man came in to see Elder Stewart and was taken care of too. Though it felt a little chaotic to make up patient charts at the last minute and scrabble to put trays together, it really wasn’t and I felt like the Lord had taken care of the details before we knew there would be something to deal with.

Tuesday was pretty much the same with only two appointments scheduled the day before and six missionaries seen as different situations developed. 

On Thursday we only had one appointment of a missionary at 2 pm - late because of the dentist’s immigration appointment downtown.He ended up coming back early because there wasn't an appointment. But the day before another missionary needed to come so that was going to be two appointments and before the day was out three more missionaries from Manila needed to come. Sometimes I sit back in amazement and watch events unfold that I can tell have been structured by the Lord because it is so orderly. The timing always works out and we never have all seven waiting in the office all in the same hour.  Even who the missionary sees can be impressive when we don’t know what is actually wrong and they end up with the doctor that can help them the best.  Of course each of us do the best we can - but still - there is no way we could work it all out on our own……..I can see the powerful hand of God at work.

New Faces

On the first day at the MTC the missionaries find that the buildings all look alike - because they do. They can and do get lost, so Dr. Stewart goes to find them. We call it finding the lost sheep.
Up this hill and down for hours on Friday
Missionaries and their translators
These are the new faces we see, they come from all over the Philippines and around the world and go to many places but mostly the Philippines.  In this picture I asked the missionaries to point to the mission they were going to. The missionary on the left is pointing to Thailand.
Waiting for panoramic x ray used to screen for emergencies

Lots of sisters this batch

The Stinchfield's first intake day of screening
Welcome to the first day of your mission!