March 17, 2014
Hey! How is everyone doing??? There are some I have not heard from for awhile so I hope all is well. I know everyone is very busy but drop us a line where you get a chance. We miss talking to you all and enjoy hearing about what is going on in your life.
Please forgive me if I repeat some things. I can't remember what I have shared with you. But we had a disappointment last week. Brother Edwin Magsino fell off the wagon. From what I understand he went to a birthday party for a friend and they blocked his tricycle and wouldn't let him leave until he had a drink. So then I think he just thought, "oh well", and went back to smoking too. They have to abstain for 4 weeks in a row, but they can have one relapse. However, the Elders don't like to tell them that because, well I'm sure you understand. However, it might have been good for him to know it in that situation. We went out right after we heard about it, but it was a couple of days after it happened, and he had started smoking again. It is the smoking that is the hard thing for him. He is such a good man, and has a wonderful family (I'm going to try to send a picture of them if I remember at the end of this). We went to see them again last night and he is recommitted. His sister-in-law, Maricris Magsino, (the one I told you about, although at that time I didn't know her first name, but she is the one that is on fire doing missionary work), anyway, she is always at the lessons, they live next door, and after the lesson and he committed to a baptismal date of, she spoke up and just really talked to him. Of course, we could not really understand what she was saying, but I asked the Elders afterwards and they said she said, in essence, that even though he has 5 weeks to the date that he needed to start Monday and just commit himself that he was not going to have another cigarette for the rest of his life. It was, of course, much longer than that, but I am so glad she said that. As we worked with him in the past each week it was, oh, he's down to this many cigs a day, etc, and I just kept thinking, he needs to just quit now. So, I hope he does that. You just cannot believe how much you can come to love these people! It was a busy week. We had our first transfers. We, of course, were not transferred, but we have to take departing missionaries to Puerto and pick up the ones coming into the area. Even though we only spent about 6 weeks with these missionaries, we really grew to love them, most especially the ones here in Narra. The other ones we see once a week at District Meeting, but don't have a lot of interaction with them. But they are all great missionaries. It was a long day, but good. The Jagmis family is on schedule for baptism on the 29th. Again, they are just truly a wonderful family. We get to go see them tonight. And the Mondares family is committed for baptism on the . He has w of w problems, but is really working on it. I guess the missionaries taught them a while ago, but none of them but the oldest boy, was interested. He was really interested and asked the missionaries what he could do since his family wasn't interested. I think they told him to read the B of M and pray, and maybe that is why they are doing so well now. That, and they have neighbors that are members. They have been friends with the Corpuz family for quite a while. Bro Corpuz and Bro Mondares use to get drunk together. But about 9 months ago, I think, the Corpuz' joined the church and are doing really well. So they invited the Mondares family over for an FHE, and it has just progressed since then. We were not able to find Bro Bert at home, which was disappointing because he is so cute! But hopefully we will be able to get in to see him. He did not come to church the he said he would try :( , but coming to church is a really hard thing for the people here. We are still hopeful for him. Mostly the Elders do not set a - ppointments, they just show up because people don't keep the appointments anyway. But the people are always (almost) very hospitable when we show up. was a VERY busy day! We picked up 4 of the Elders and went to Sandoval to work on the meeting house. I'm not sure if I explained about Sandoval or not. Narra Branch covers a HUGE area. Sandoval is to the South and is about 20-25 minutes by car, which no one has. There is also another barangay (little town) called Bagong Sikat, which is I think west of Sandoval, and further from the chapel in Narra. There are many inactive members in both areas because they cannot afford the cost of transportation. So we got permission from Pres Stucki to start a group here that hopefully will become a Branch soon. We looked for a place where they could meet but really couldn't find anything suitable so our BP, President Quiniones, asked the Zardomas, if we could build a little meeting house on their property. (She comes sometimes but he has pretty much been inactive). They were willing. So we have been working on it. It was kind of funny, or rather eye-opening - Bro Zardoma ordered the materials, and I expected 2x4's etc. NOPE! The materials were branches and smaller logs, still with the bark on them. And the roof, of course is the grass stuff. Actually I don't think it is grass, but that's what they call it. I think it is giant leaves, maybe from Palm trees, but I'm not sure. Anyway, we were out Sat to help. They had 1 shovel, 1 taped together rake, and a pitch fork kind of thing. Oh, and they are not the full size shovel and fork, they are the short handled ones. And a broken bucket. We dug up dirt and dumped it on the floor of the meeting house and then they had a little bigger log to which they attached a stick on either side and that is what they used to pound the dirt to get a smooth, even surface. Hard work, but it is coming along. I plan to send you a picture of the meeting house too, but it was from the first day they worked on it. When it is finished I will take another picture. They plan to have their first meeting on . General Conference is a week later because of the time difference. So once they start meeting out there we will go there for Sacrament meeting (that's all they will have to begin with) at , and then back to Narra Branch for Sacrament meeting there. Both places start at because that is what works best for Pres Quiniones as he will be over the group until they become a branch. Dad has to take him as he does not have a car. I will probably go with them because it will be fun to get to know the saints there. We also want to focus on getting families to the temple. There are many who are active but have not been sealed, so we have ordered materials to start the class. We are also checking into teaching English. We will see. We, mostly Dad has a lot of things to do with the missionary apartments and monthly reports from the Branches and he is unofficially a member of the high council, but there is so much that can be done here. We had our orientation last week for our infield language training. We are excited to get started with that. That is going to take extra time - 2-4 hours daily for 6 months, but I really feel it will be worth it. I can't imagine serving here for 2 years and not being able to really communicate. No new wildlife stories. Geckos, actually here they call them butiki, are our constant companions. It is so in every home we have been in. I really don't mind them now, as long as they do not jump on me. Tomorrow we head to Quezon, Cabar, and Brooke's Point to do apartment inspections for the missionaries, and then get a couple of contracts signed for the apartments, and so Dad can do some training on the monthly reports.
Well, I' m sorry I go on and on. There is just so much! Probably after we're here for a while there won't be so much to tell as we will be use to it.
Anyway, we love and miss you all and hope you are all doing well.