August 11, 2014
Kumusta po kayo? Mabuting kami. Abalang-abala kami!
On August 2nd the senior couple who is over the Self-Reliance program and the Perpetual Education Fund for the Manila and one other mission, came out from Manila to do some training. These are both really good programs and we are hoping they can get established here. We are not over the program but hope to be able to assist in getting them going and keeping them going. We will see when our District and Branch President decide how they will proceed. They showed a short video of a Branch here in the Philippines that started the SR program. It was very successful - helping the members produce more food for themselves and also, I think, having some extra to sell and earn a little money. As you would imagine, Dad would really like to help with a program like this. I think this is a new SR program and it is set up so that the Branch can organize SR groups in three different areas. Those who want to be in the group meet together weekly. There are lessons that they take turns teaching and they help each other to achieve their goals. There is a facilitator that oversees the group, but that person does not take charge, they just facilitate. Anyway, it is a good program. And they have made some really great improvements to the PEF program as well. After the changes were made they said the number of people taking advantage of it went from like 300 to into the thousands, I don't remember how many. But they said there was only 1 person from Narra that applied. So, we need to really get the information out and encourage the young people, I think up to 30 years old, to apply.
We have been doing a lot of visiting in Bagong Sikat. I think I told you about that, but last week we had kind of a cool experience. We go with the Gatuds. They are just an amazing older couple. They really want to see the Sandoval group continue and eventually become a ward because it saves them 120 pesos each week just going to Sandoval instead of Narra for church. That is only about three US dollars, but that is a lot of money for them.
Anyway, Bagong Sikat is part of the Sandoval Branch. We were visiting a less active family and the sister started talking about another less active sister. She told Brother Gatud where she thought she lived and we were going to try to find her. In front of this little group of houses was a little store ( I need to tell you about these little sari-sari stores - but that's another email). As we were leaving Sister Gatud had to go talk to another sister in the little area so we walked to the van. As we were walking I saw a woman with 2 daughters buying something at the store. I felt prompted to talk to her, but I thought, oh, I'm just telling myself to do that so I can practice Tagalog, and I really don't feel like doing that, so I hesitated. The Spirit got a little more forceful and said, Go talk to that woman!. So I did. I introduced myself, explained that we were missionaries for the Church and had she heard of our Church. I did it in Tagalog, so she started talking to me in Tagalog, and, of course, I didn't understand much of anything. But by then Brother Gatud came over and started talking to her and it turns out she was the VERY woman we were going to go looking for! No coincidence that she was there and we were there at the same time. And we found out that she does not live where the other sister thought she did, so we would not have found her had we looked. Brother Gatud explained to her about the group meeting in Sandoval and invited her to come. I don't know if she committed to come or not, but she didn't come. However, it was a very powerful testimony that none of us are lost to our Heavenly Father. He knows where each of us are, physically, temporally, spiritually, emotionally. He knows us personally and loves us and wants us to return. It was also a very strong witness that He is in charge of His work, we are just instruments in His hands. AND, I, we, need to ACT when we receive a prompting. We need to open our mouths, and not just try to explain away or excuse ourselves or tell ourselves that it was just ourselves telling ourselves to do that, not really a prompting. That is very easy to type, but not so easy to do. But I am determined to do better. It is not so hard to invite people to hear the message of the Gospel, it is hard and often embarrassing to do it in Tagalog because I get tongue-tied and frustrated. I just need to exercise more faith.
Anyway, we have been having some success with some of the less actives there in the Sandoval area. Last Sunday I think there were 5 of the ones we have visited in the last few weeks there, and most of them have come for a couple of weeks. I say we, but really it is the Lord and the Gatuds. They are very well respected and they love the Lord and the people. Mostly we are just their transportation, but it is such a blessing to be able to go with them. We are planning to start going out with the leadership of the Narra branch to visit less actives here as well. We are planning on sharing a SHORT message with them in Tagalog. We will see how that goes.
We were going to start this week but we have had 2 flat tires in a week. Both were repaired but neither of them would have been in the US because they were both really bad. The one we traded with the spare because it has a big chunk of the tire out of it and the other one is on the van, but neither are really reliable and we decided we didn't want to be taking people around and have a flat and then no spare. We have been planning on getting new tires on our next trip to Puerto, but now they are saying they are going to get us another vehicle, probably a 4 wheel drive, because the roads are so bad out here and the van is really taking a beating. So we will still get new tires, or the couple who takes the van over will, but we will have another vehicle soon. The extra time gives us time to work on the message we want to share.
Anyway, everything is just going along. English class is good. I had a YW cooking activity here last Saturday. It was a lot of fun, but it is hard to understand very little of what is being said. Oh well. Maybe someday.
Well, we hope you are all doing well. We love and miss you so much! And we love hearing about everything that is going on in your lives. So, please keep writing. Again, I will try to do better about writing each week. I always think I will and then something comes up on Monday and then the week just zooms by. But, I will try!
We love you all and look forward to Skyping with you again soon.
Love, Grandpa and Grandma