So, how has everyone's week gone? We had a busy week, but I think every week will be busy, and that is good. We had a couple of disappointing days, but I imagine that is pretty normal too. We had an appointment with a man who is the leader of a tribe here. The"re are about 300 people in the tribe and he wants the missionaries to come and teach his people. He has read the B of M and believes it is the word of God. So we were set to go out with the elders but they got word that he had gone on one of his, I don't remember what they called it, like he just goes off wandering or something. The elders have met with him once or twice before but he is just hard to follow up with so don't know if it will happen. Then we were scheduled to go with the elders back to the family where the beetle attack took place, but they had to cancel. I am anxious to get back there because the man seemed really sincere about reading and praying about the B of M and I want to see how that is going, so hopefully we will get back there. We were able to visit a man who is the grandfather of one of the families we are teaching. (I say "we" but we really don't do the teaching. Usually the elders will ask us to share something, but we really don't teach, but we really enjoy going with them.) Anyway, he is the father of the mother of the Mondares family. They are very strong catholic. In fact, his wife was at the catholic church that day, planned to be there all day. But he told his daughter that if she has found out that the Mormon church is true then she should join. But he was very receptive to message of the missionaries. He said that he would read the B of M and ask the Lord if it was true and if he should switch (his word, but he pronounced it sweetch) churches. He was receptive to the idea of Joseph Smith being a prophet and there being living prophets today. He was just a really cute little old man, and he spoke English quite well. He would speak tagalog and then translate it into English for us. On Saturday we had kind of a scary thing happen. Actually, it was VERY scary! You know how Dad does not like drinking water. Well here they really stress it obviously, because it is so hot. But Dad still drank very little. At breakfast he got really lightheaded and felt like he was going to pass out. His heart was pounding out of his chest. He went and laid down, but things got worse. At first we thought it was one of his "episodes" but as I said things got worse. He started throwing up and looked really bad. He was having trouble breathing and said later that he was afraid he would pass out and then would stop breathing. I was scared. I asked if he needed to go to the hospital, which would be about 2 hours away. He kept saying lets just wait and see, but he didn't get better. I thought, I'm going to get ready to go because we are going to need to get him to the hospital. Before I started getting ready I knelt down and prayed. I really just said, Heavenly Father, I don't know what Thy plan is for us, but please help me to know what to do. I got up to get in the shower and the thought just came to me - dehydration. It came so, I don't know the word, nonchalantly but I told Dad I thought maybe it was that. I looked up symptoms and all of his symptoms were dehydration. Course they could have been a heart attack too. But anyway, he just started drinking water and stayed down for the morning until ourappointment, and he has been doing fine. The rest of Saturday and Sunday he had a headache and was a little weak, but has been really good today. He said as he was going through all of that he had the thought that I would be returning from the mission early, and I would be coming back alone. I was also feeling that that might be the case. I know that he was very serious. The difficulty breathing was a symptom of severe dehydration and it said the person should be taken to the hospital immediately. I know that it was very serious, and that it was the blessing of the Lord that he recovered so quickly and without medical attention. Anyway, he is converted to drinking water! Just a quick word about hospitals here. Our trainers told us to die before going to the hospital here. We drove past it once. The outside of the building is covered with what looked like black mold. They said that the outside looked good compared to the inside. And, the way hospitals work here is that you cannot leave until you pay the full bill. Of course no one has insurance here and so if you can't pay you just have to stay and you continue to accrue charges. I'm not sure what they eventually do if you just really can't pay. But there are guards at the doors so you cannot leave without the appropriate papers. Sunday was a great day. We had 2 baptisms, relatives of the Magsino family. I will have to go into more detail about them another day. Well, I've rambled on. There is just so much to tell.
I am going to attach a couple of pictures. One is of a caribou (the ou is pronounced like in "ouch"). Anyway, there are a lot of rice fields here and they use the caribous a lot. They fields are planted and harvested by hand. It is back breaking work! And there are often several older people doing it. The only big piece of machinery they use is a thrasher. You drive down the street and there will be huge tarps either off the side of the road or by the house that is covered with rice. They put it out to dry. And about every 30-60 minutes they have to "stir" it so you'll see someone walking through it, back and forth.
They just work so hard, and make so little. The government is so corrupt here. But the people are so good. We love them.
And we love and miss you all.
The 2 green things were fruit - the bigger one was called Lanka, or Jack fruit. the other is guyabano - I think that is right. We don't care for either of them.
But the mangos here are AMAZING!!!