Saturday, April 25, 2015

Hey!

April 20, 2015

How is everyone doing???

We had a great week last week! We had one day that it rained almost the whole day. We were hoping that it would continue, but it did not. And I was hoping that even if it did not continue, maybe things would cool off a little. But it did not. Actually the day after the rain was even hotter! But, we are hopeful that the rain we did receive is indicative of what is to come during the rainy season. We're not sure when the rainy season begins, some say May and some say June. We are hoping for May. So many plants and greenery are dying here.  We are waiting to find out if it was enough rain so that the Church property can be tilled. 

Also last week we had the opportunity to help some YSA get their PEF applications done and submitted. It's kind of a long story, but a sister asked me if we could help her to kids, both YSA, apply for PEF. We have a specialist in our Branch but she had not been trained and didn't have the current booklet. I checked on line and all the info is in English so I didn't know if she would be able to understand it. So I contact the brother in Manila who is over PEF for our area to see if I could be a facilitator for them, since they want to go to school in June and had to have their apps in by April 15th. He said yes, that would be great and then I could help train the specialists in the district. But, right after that he decided to come to Narra and do the training. So, our specialist was trained and took over the meetings. In order to qualify they have to go through a program that teaches a lot of principles, including self-reliance and how living the gospel can help them temporally as well as spiritually. It is a good program, and the facilitator doesn't teach. They go through the material, usually the class members take turns kind of being in charge of what they will go over, but then they discuss and find solutions to problems, etc. They also have to decide what they want to do, career wise, and then talk to people who are in that career. There's a lot of things they have to do. Anyway, on the 14th I got a text from one of the YSA asking if we could help with the apps because they were having problems. We had not had any experience with the applications, but we went down to see if we could figure it out. We could not. Our BP had called the help line twice and was told someone would call them back but he never did. I tried calling and got the same answer. These YSA were really stressing about it. Anyway, it was late so we told them we would get on it first thing in the morning. We finally got someone to call us back in the afternoon of the 15th. It was a very simple mistake, so they were able to correct it and get the apps sent. They were all so happy - they cheered when the first one got his app actually submitted. 

The PEF program is really a good program. Honestly, for most YSA here in Narra, they would have no hope of going to college, getting a better paying job and be able to get out of poverty without this program. For the program they are going into, something to do with computers, it is anticipated that they will make about 32,000php/month, which is about $800 us dollars. That is not very much in the US, but that is a huge amount of money for here. 200-300php/day is a good wage here now, which is $5-7.50/day. Our BP does on-line graphics for a company that has offices in US and Australia. He says they are very generous. They probably get a really GOOD deal having him work for them because they probably pay him about a quarter or less of what they would pay someone in the US. But it is good for him and his family - they are great people! 

This is what we are hoping for these YSA. That they can live here, make good money for their families to raise the standard of living, and help build and strengthen the church. Anyway, it was fun helping them, and we were so thankful that Heavenly Father blessed us to be able to help them.

Anyway, the missionary work here is kind of slow. But that happens. Our branch is having an open house on the 25th so hopefully that will spur some interest.

We are still working on getting a branch organized in Sandoval. Actually, we have nothing to do with it now, those in charge are working on it. They are also working on getting an expansion approved for the meetinghouse in Narra. We desperately need it. But we got word over the weekend that the Church now requires us to map and verify all, or as many members as we can find before they will consider the applications. We did a mapping before for Sandoval, but this is an online thing and they want to find out about the members, their status and activity. It really falls to the District and branch presidents, but we will be helping. Maybe that will help get things going as well.

We met with a member of our branch, a YSA, and he prepared 25 names for temple work. We need to get more members interested, but not sure how to do that. We will keep trying. President Ostler is also trying to get new computers and equipment for all the branches here. They all only have one computer, most of them old, and he was told they all should have separate FH computers. Things move slowly in the Philippines, but we will keep working.

We are getting excited about our temple trip. But we still need to meet with some of the families to get some names ready, and they are suppose to take a family group sheet and a pedigree chart with them. Lots to do.

Well, once again, I have  gone on and on. But I just read through it and it only took me about 3 1/2 minutes to read, so hopefully it is not too annoying. The kids have asked about food we like or if we've seen any more interesting animals. We have learned to like some of the Filipino food. Dad makes really good pancit. Some members make good Chicken Adobo, and we've had some pretty good fried chicken, but it is not in pieces like we do, thigh, leg, wing, etc. They just chop it up like they do for everything else. But we are careful.

We have seen some really BIG frogs. After the rain we could hear them. They are SO loud! It's a strange noise, but fun to hear. I think we've kind of adjusted to the wildlife here. Although lately we have had some REALLY BIG cockroaches! Those I cannot handle. Most kids, age 3 or 4 and under, where a shirt, and that's all. I think, but I don't know, that they can't afford diapers and they don't want to keep changing pants, so they just let them go without anything on the bottom half. I think we have adjusted to most things here. We have been here 15 months today! Hard to believe.

Well, I hope you've been getting our emails. I think I've been pretty consistent for several week, although I'm not positive, so please let me know if you are not receiving them. I guess if you don't receive this one then you won't know and I won't know.

Well, we love you all so much!! We pray for you EVERYDAY! EVERYDAY! EVERYDAY! Usually several times a day. And we appreciate your prayers in our behalf.

Ingat Palagi!

Mahal naming po kayong lahat!
Grandpa and Grandma,
Dad and Mom

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