Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rainy Season

A wave of water from passing cars
After 45 minutes or an hour of raining, some of the streets cannot handle the influx of water and they start flooding. Shops had sandbags around their doors and walls they were bailing water out with buckets. I'm told if it rains for 3 hours the streets are not negotiable. If the rain comes down for a day or 36 hours there will be 6 feet of rushing water.
Water can be a blessing or a curse.
The kids loved splashing snd swimming about in the pools created.

Visiting Teaching is where the Magic is

I talked with Rebekah on the phone and was telling her about some of my experiences and  trying to explain mu feelings about the different places I work. I could tell she understood what I was attempting to say when she said, "When you visit inside of their [Filipinos] homes, that's when the magic happens."
I am one of the lucky senior missionaries that actually visits inside of the homes of ward members. Usually it is only the single missionaries who go from house to house as most of the senior missionaries work on projects or take care of situations. So there aren't many who visit inside of homes. I am deeply grateful for the fact that Sister Nida allows me to go with her when she does visiting teaching. We go with Sister Villanueva also, so I am not really needed. Thats ok, I love being an accessory!
I loved the color on a rainy day and asked to take Sister Dalinda's picture. "Sure," she said as she turned away. I started laughing and took her picture.

A rainy afternoon with Sister Nido, Dalinda, me and Sister Villenuava
I love Dalinda's colorful umbrella.
We visited a lady who wasn't home and then went on to Sister Henry's home. She became a member of the church when her son got interested in the LDS church and now he is in Canada serving a mission. 
Sister Villanueva, I, Sister Nido, and Sister Henry
Sister Henry is good friends with Sister Ledesma who is having a difficult pregnancy and has to lay down for the next two months. So it was decided to go with Sister Henry and visit Sister Ledesma. When we got there she already had visitors, so we just added to the mix!
Khittie Domingo is bending down on the left side. She is the first person who I met in this ward. She translated a whole lesson in Relief Society for me the first week we arrived. Sister June Henry is next and is good friends with Sister Ledesma who is laying down to save her baby, I am on the right, Sister Jessie Ann Villanueva is the young one elected to take the large selfie and Sister Nida Nido is tucked right behind her.
Sister Henry and Sister Ledesma - good friends
Mike Ledesma and his son Adam were also there and they quietly absorbed a whole pack of women in their tiny home. At the conclusion of our visit Sister Nido asked Mike to say the prayer. It was a prayer that knocked my socks off with it's message and power.
I owe so much to Sister Nido for shepherding me around on visits when I can't contribute much to the conversation or even get around to homes. I appreciate the fact that she lets me go for the ride. It is hard to describe the deep well of spiritual strength I feel from these sisters. 
A pot of boiling water gives off steam. If this spiritual strength were harnessed like steam engine, there would be an explosion of awesome good works. I watch it in little ways. These women are faithful, creative, compassionate, and hard-working. It has been my deep pleasure to get to know each of them.
To top off a really great afternoon, Sister Nido took us to a small restaurant so I could try a new type of pancit and fish.
The fish looks whole but actually all the bones have been removed and then they fry it up and it is very tasty or masarap.

Friday, July 21, 2017

How to Clean an apartment

There is nothing like having a pro work for you!  I had asked around about hiring a housekeeper because I’ve realized I really don’t know a lot about cleaning in Quezon City. I never seem to get all the black grit out of everything and something is always off after I finish cleaning. So I was recommended to a lady who would clean my house. Her name is Maricar Eugene. She has two children 17 and 21 and lives a little ways away. She is really awesome at her job and knows just how to clean this apartment! I’m not sure how she got the floor looking so good. There seems to be all kinds of tricks to cleaning here. I’m glad I figured out how to get my whites clean, now I’m wondering if I can learn how to really clean a house. More importantly do I want to now that I’ve found Maricar?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Taking care of missionaries

July 19, 2017
Today a missionary waiting for an appointment asked some questions and then answered mine about how long he has been a member.

He said one day when it was raining he noticed two missionaries walking down the street. One of them did not have an umbrella and was very wet. He told his mother they needed to take care of this man with a tag and a smile. He said the missionaries taught them and he was baptized in a month. He has a firm handshake and bright smile and is excited to tell others about the feelings and conviction he feels.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Idea or spiritual nudge

A week ago on Sunday I had a really great lesson about how the Holy Ghost worked. The children pasted pictures next to words that explained some of the special aspect of the Holy Ghost's work, another paper told the children what they needed to do to have the Holy Spirit work in their lives. The lesson seem to flow and I wanted it to continue.  I asked them to take the papers home and talk with their parent/s and have it signed and bring it back this week. I told them I would have a treat for them.
When I opened the manual on Tuesday or Wednesday I realized the next lesson was on accountability. So then I wondered if I had a prompting instead of just an idea because a promise connected to an action is exactly how accountability works.
The accountability lesson seem to be working just fine, though not one of the children brought back their paper. I pulled out the slices of banana cake I'd made and told them maybe next time and put it away. We went on to the rest of the lesson with a game of right and wrong decisions and then I sat them down and asked question like who is accountable to teach them and who is accountable to learn lesson taught. But the flow stalled out when telling the story of the Anti-Nephi-Lehi's who buried their weapons of war and then died when a war came. One little boy could not get over the fact that all these people died. Who cares that many other joined the church.  He finally asked if it was a long time ago. Which I was able to reassure him. This is when I need a Tagalog speaker and someone who really knows the children to be there with me because I know I'm missing something. Sometimes all I can do is pray and leave it up to the Lord. He seems to be doing a really great job because I don't think far enough ahead of time to have things work out like He can plan.

The Power of the Hand

For Primary Sharing Time, Sister KC (or Cristina Crizel Grita) divided the children into groups. It turned out we can't have groups with boys and girls together as there is an objection, so it ended up girls on one side and boys on the other. The girls all said moo and the boys all baa. Sister KC would point to one group and then the other in rapid succession. Then she introduced the idea that when her arm was raised high they all would moo and baa and when she lowered it they were all silent. Then Sister KC read them the story in the Bible about Jesus Christ coming to his Father's house and finding the money changers. She raised her hand and all the mooing and baaing started and when she got to the part of Christ throwing the tables she lowered her hand. It was a very effective story and the children were all with her. She then explained that the house of the Lord needs to be reverent to feel the Holy Spirit. She was speaking in Tagalog so I understood a portion of what she said, but the children were riveted. Then Sister Eugene taught them "Reverence is Love".

When KC raised her hand I thought about the power of the hand in regards to the Philippine women. The very first day I arrived from the airport soaking in all the new sights, sounds, and smells, a mature woman with an umbrella stuck out her hand about eye level and brought all the traffic to a halt as she crossed the street. I was in awe. I have watched the phenomenon work quite a few times and Jonah has that knack also. The women here are quietly powerful in different ways. They touch their children to soothe, direct operations of their household, summon taxis, negotiate prices, reprimand a child, summon a waiter, encourage their husbands, lead music, play the piano, basically lead people to do good. I have felt the touch of a hand at my back when a short Filipino woman that goes to my shoulder and is half my size protects me from the traffic when we cross a street. Sometimes she will catch my hand to make sure I don't get lost in the mall traffic.

Then there is the touch of the Savior's hand. He asked all the saints at the Temple in Bountiful to feel and witness that he was the Redeemer of the world in 3 Nephi 11:14-15. That is a powerful hand that has reverberated throughout all the ages. The hand that stilled a sea, healed the sick. opened the eyes of the blind,  reached out to the sick and afflicted, lifted the dying, and beckons us to follow Him.

Who you Know

Around the first of July, I got a brainstorm to go to Greenhills with Jonah and get some pearls for the girls.  I sent an email to the other sisters in the Area office for advise on where to go. It ended up that Sister Almeida the DTA's wife (Director for Temporal Affairs) wanted to go with me. I had no idea that I would be included in the VIP treatment. First of all a secretary called and told me Sister Almeida wanted to go and then arranged for a driver. When I got to the Area office and waited for the driver I found there were no drivers available so arrangements had been made with Jim and Jean from the Presiding Bishops Storehouse (the store that sells the church books and clothing articles) to come take us. Jim drove and Jean turned out to be a translator at the pearl market.  Having the details all whisked away is heady stuff!
I felt like a bobbing headed toy being pulled along by an invisible leash when we got to the Mall. Imagine acres of stalls one after the other of colorful goods.......No, you have to experience it. I had been told about it, but you have to be there to see, hear, and smell. It's an experience. I quickly learned not to make eye contact and especially not smile because every singe booth had a deal and a sale. I just kept my eyes on the goods as I followed the ladies and gentleman in front of me. I memorized the hair clip so I wouldn't get lost in the sea of dark haired heads. My head was in constant motion and I had given Jonah my wallet because I knew she could take care of it better than I in a crowd known for pickpockets.
Jean and Sister Almeida - ladies who know what they are looking for and where to find it. Sister Almeida had some favorite vendors and went straight to a stall in huge block of about 80 stalls- each looking exactly like the other. About 2 minutes into the mall I wondered what in the world I was thinking to head out with just Jonah. I realized I'd been greatly blessed and watched over by someone.
Sister Almeida was able to get me to a good vendor and Jean was able to talk her into a much better price than I would have gotten on my own. 
Luckily for me they loved shopping
We ordered a pizza (it was huge!) and then went out for another half hour while it was being prepared and wended our way through the stalls so Sister Almeida could get some bags for her grandchildren. Then we zigzagged through the mall again to eat pizza and roamed once more through the mall to pick up the pearl earrings and the necklaces that had been lengthened. The vendors do all they can to give us exactly what we wanted by finishing and touching up everything right there in the stall.
It took two people to carry this pizza! After the five of us ate what we wanted, the extra pizza was put into boxes to feed another four families.
After dropping off Sister Almeida off at home, we went to another mall and picked up a chart for the PBStorehouse which only took about 20 minutes and then went home in the rain storm.
Herre are the three J's Jim, Jean, and Jonah
I would love to go again someday, but I don't think I could do it without this team.

Father's Day Dinner

We went to dinner at the Albos home in Antipolo with some of the other members of the Quirino 1st ward. It was so nice to be with Rose, Jimmy and their family and touch base with them. Rose is an excellent cook and has her own business of catering. I can't tell you how happy I am not to have known that fact before we invited them over to dinner so many months ago. I owe my Primary job to her and also an introduction to ward members to this family too.  Thanks!
The Bishop and his family came a little later, but there was plenty of food and treats for all.
Everyone brought something to share, but Rose had the most fantastic dishes
After a wonderful dinner, we came over to the piano and couches and had a little Father's day program and sang to all the Fathers
Just a wonderful gift of friendship to be acquainted and known by the Albos Family!

Write in your journal!

I talked with Andrew this week and shared some of the things happening in my life and he told me a marvelous story about Marvin and some of the prayers that were answered on his behalf. So Andrew asked if I have been writing down the things I have witnessed.........well, life has been happening so fast the last 6 six weeks......I have pictures!  Not good enough. I will have to keep a better record of the many tender mercies of the Lord.
I have a list of the stories I want to write but if I don't get them down, I'm going to lose the details.

Ahead of Time

On Wednesday or Thursday I came into work and noticed a manila folder laying on the desk with a Sharing Time and Singing Time outline. As I read through the ideas and program I felt our Primary really needed this. I asked Sister Stewart if this was for me and she laughed saying no she was planning her week. I loved the detail that was numbered. I told her this would be perfect for our ward and asked her for a copy which she gave me.
On Friday after work I was excited to talk with the Primary President about this cool idea I'd heard about. When I messengered her she let me know she wouldn't be there on Sunday. That threw me for a loop for a few minutes as she hadn't been there the last Sunday either. I'd had a successful Sharing Time the week before but had gone home with a terrible tension headache trying to teach a lesson, listen for the other children getting out of classes and setting up and doing sharing time. After I thought about it for a time, I realized that Heavenly Father already knew of my need ahead of time and that things would work out.
On Saturday I asked for help from two other sisters (Primary president's referral) and on Sunday they came through magnificently.  I thought the children learned something good at sharing time today,  I  could definitely feel the spirit of the Lord. I know He set up the answers to prayer before I even knew I needed to pray.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Prayer Answered

Walking through the early post dawn MTC grounds, I noticed Ernesto Solera walking on a convergent path towards me. We met at the corner and I said hello. He told me about his son Jhon Kyle getting the 1/2 birthday present I had sent with Ernesto on Friday. He said Kyle opened the box and had a tear in his eye. Ernesto asked him if he didn't like the basketball. Kyle said the Primary was having a basketball tournament and he had prayed for a basketball. Ernesto told him that "Nanna" had been inspired by the Holy Ghost to get him one. Then he told me the banana cake had gone to Relief Society and been cut up in little pieces for all to share.
My prayer of thanks to God was that I was able to be part of that wonderful experience.