Saturday, September 30, 2017

What am I suppose to feel?

The missionaries warned the Bishop after Sacrament Meeting that the new investigator couple with the three dead daughters have been going around to different wards giving their story. They feel the couple is doing this to get money from the Mormons.

Visiting Teaching is where the Magic is at

On Friday evening I went visiting teaching with Sisters Nido and Villanueva to a few sister's homes. Sister Nido had been visiting in Europe the past month so we had two days to visit everyone. The September message is really awesome "Of One Heart" and in sharing the message I gained a huge insight and will look at the scripture in Moses differently from now on.

And the Lord called his people Zion, because they were of one heart and one mind, and dwelt in righteousness; and there was no poor among them” (Moses 7:18). How can we become one?"  This is how the lesson starts out.

Sister Henry asked the question, "What does poor mean?"  The quick reply was that no one would starve or go hungry. Bus she persisted and asked about poor in spirit and poor in heart. Whammo, my mind started to realize that are a lot more poor(s) than financial. I pondered that in my mind the rest of the visit and Saturday morning too. Talking with the women I realized that if we are all relying on the spirit then the hidden not-easily-seen needs can be taken care of as well as those that we can visually see.  If we truly lived with and by the Spirit of God would we be able to address mental illness and the huge big concerns?  Now I have lots of questions to a scripture I thought I knew.
The Before picture
Sister Henry in the middle was kind enough to let us help her when we came over. She has had cataract surgery and could not get her eyes wet - which made it difficult for her to wash her hair.
Sister Villanueva washing Sister Henry's hair as she leans back on a chair in the bathroom and I help support her head.

Came Early to Church

Jeffrey is off working again, so I came to church early. The second counselor introduced me to a couple, her name is Princess something and they both come from Davao. The counselor told me their story, they had three daughters ranging from age 27 to 18. They had all joined the 'Mormon" church and were targeted, raped and had their heads cut off by the terrorists in the civil war down there.  The parents have fled up here and are in church today. It is Princess' 68th birthday today.  They have no sons. The husband said that Jesus Christ was in his heart. They are investigating the church.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Piaya - Street food

I tried a taste that brought back memories from 10 years ago. Rebekah brought home some different foods from her mission to Bacolod. One of them was a package of Piaya. I'm pretty sure it was the pancake sandwich with figs in the middle as that is the bite that triggered my memory. The trouble is we ate them cold when Rebekah took them out of her suitcase. Just like a melted cheese sandwich loses it's peak flavor when eaten cold, so do these delicacies if served unheated. Pipping hot off the grill and put into a little sack, it is delicious to eat in the sunshine walking down the street. Jonah and I had two kinds, one made with figs in the middle and one made with the sweet purple yam - ube. I had to turn back and buy two packages of the piaya's to bring home - they reminded me of Becka.
Trying out some street food - Piaya - delicious when hot off the grill

A food from Bacolod

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Good and Bad

Today we got to the office early and it's been slow all day. So we got out the Christmas decorations and put up some color.
September 27 and we are late with the decorations!

Then the Bad happened.  The Kosters (Mission President's family) were to come in but someone(s) in the family were ill. Sister Koster stepped out of her car and slipped. We think she broke her ankle. Lots of commotion here and that is just bad - having sick family members and top it off with a broken ankle.
Finding a stretcher, watching out for the ill members, getting the help they actually needed it has been a different morning.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hey Look what I found!!

Sitting in Jeffrey's office I noted a poster with some cute kids - hey I recognized them so I uncovered the poster!  I asked Jeffrey when it had come and he said, "oh about a month. I meant to show it to you."
It is wonderful!! I'm glad I came to his office today, it made my day.
Look at this fabulous future missionaries!

Sometimes this is just what I want to see - Thanks so much!!!

Joen - The Man Who Does the Upkeep

In a damp, hot environment everything breaks down quickly versus the cold dark environment of Alaska were things stay the same year after year. I've noted ladies who sweep certain streets every morning rain or shine and the malls are swept and cleaned every day.
The Area, MTC, Temple compound is continually being updated. Who does this work?
Over the months I've gotten to know Joen (Joe-N) who works on a lot of the upkeep and replacement work that goes on here.
Shoveling special sand to mix in cement for the facade of the MTC
Joen doesn't speak very much English but we communicate anyway
Most of his work is up high on thin boards replacing the rocks pressed into cement for the unique look of the MTC

Note the red and white "blocks". They use different colors of rocks in the cement to give it that look
After all the cement and color was washed away, Joen repainted all the short walls underneath to be white again and then repainted the caution on the steps
He worked for two days on this all by hand

2nd day with the black paint - I could not understand why the brushes and paint were left out in the hot sun - there is probably something I don't know
It seems he has all kinds of jobs that he does around here
Joen - I wish I knew more about him
There were about 4 or 5 other men who work with Joen, he just was a friendly guy who would smile back and stop for a picture. I have a few pictures of the other men who work with him. I don't think he is the boss, but who knows?
After watching him and his buddies, I started looking at the environment in a different way and saw the mold that grows in 2 days where the water drips and how everything gets a coat of either grit or mold as soon as the project is done. Building look new and being built or they look aged. It is very hard to tell the ages of most building because of the grit or mold that settles on them.
It is nice to have men like Joen who do the heavy lifting of upkeep.

Monday, September 25, 2017

This is Us - Every Once in Awhile

Marianne Whitehead working away on her service projects
Patiently one strand at a time

There is just something about paperwork

Always so much of it to do

"Paper"work can be off line or on-line

It is still all paperwork

Lots to do for everybody!

Then we recruit Sister Tucker from the ICS department to help out with the 'paper'work also!
Does life evolve around paperwork?
I can't help but think how organization goes on in heaven. How are things recorded there? Matthew 10: "29 Are not two asparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.
30 But the very ahairs of your head are all numbered."      Are we going to heaven to do paperwork? If so I'd love to know a streamlined process.......hummm.......maybe I need a different prayer.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

This is Us Almost Every Day

Barbara and Kenneth Stinchfield Missionaries in Action

Marianne making friendship bracelets for Missionaries, dedication of Grace and Gordon Whitehead saving teeth

Jonah Magno assisting Dean Stewart in his tireless quest to make missionaries whole before they leave the MTC

Debra Stewart answers questions and organizes of a magnitude I only want to glimpse

Kathy Hoem keeps the front desk running by putting together schedules and taking care of patient charts

Then there is me who would be at a computer also - except when I go walkabout and take pictures of unsuspecting persons.

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.