Sunday, July 26, 2015

Hi y'all!

July 21, 2015

Hey! How's your summer going???? How has the weather been? We have had about 5 or 6 days without rain, which is not good. Hopefully we will get more soon. But, we are grateful for what we have received. We just keep thinking about what President Jones used to say, that when it stops raining in Nevada it forgets how to start again. We hope that isn't the case here. Things have been busy here, but nothing out of the ordinary. 

The highlight of our week was Sunday, with President and Sister Ostler here. There were missionary interviews on Saturday and then they stayed over and attended and spoke in Sacrament meeting on Sunday. After the meetings they met with all of the families and individuals preparing to go to the temple in December. It was really a wonderful meeting. Short, but so good! He asked each member, or a member of each family to just introduce themselves and tell why they wanted to go to the temple. The Spirit was strong and there was just this wonderful feeling of bonding. Afterwards we took some group pictures (we didn't have our camera but will get copies) and it was amazing to see all these people who will hopefully be in the temple together in December. We have visited most of them, but seeing them all together was awesome. There are also 2 other families and 2 other sisters that will hopefully be able to go as well. President invited all of them to the mission home, probably the Monday night before they go to the temple, to have dinner. They were pretty excited about that. President and Sister Ostler are wonderful people! After that meeting they went on visits with the missionaries and then, about 7:30pm came to our house for dinner. It was a good visit. We really love and appreciate them. 

Oh, and we had another miracle on Sunday. We have this wonderful family in our branch - actually they are all WONDERFUL, but some we know better than others. The Ordanza family, I think I have told you about them, they have a daughter serving in the England London, so for the past two mother's days and last Christmas they have come here to skype with her. Well their daughter is getting released and they had received a form that they needed to fill out and send back to her mission president. After it was filled out I told her I would scan and send it to him because it probably would not make it back before she is released, which is September 2. She was grateful to have me to do that. BUT, I LOST IT!!! She gave it to me right after meetings, and I didn't want to put it in my bag because I knew I'd forget about it and I wanted to get it sent as soon as I got home, so I just put it on top of my bag. But then we got involved in the Temple meeting and pictures, etc, and I forgot all about it. I even forgot my bag when we were leaving, but I remembered it and ran back in to get it but didn't even think about the letter. After we got home and were busy doing things somehow the subject came up and I realized I had no idea where it was. I went through my bag but it was not there. Dad ran down to the church but couldn't find it. He called to tell me that and to say he would start going through the trash. I, of course, had prayed about it, and continued praying about it. The thought came to me to text Brother Erwin Honrado as he is the branch clerk and I had seen him in the chapel stacking chairs. So I sent him a text asking if he happened to see the letter. He texted back, "Yes sister. It's in the clerks office." He willingly went back down to the church to get it for us. He told dad that one of the little kids had brought it to him. We have had, and continue to have so many witnesses that the Lord is watching over us, even when we are neglectful or forgetful. I guess He expects that with "Senior Couples". Anyway, life is GREAT!!! And I was so grateful I didn't have to contact the Ordanza's and tell them I had lost it. Oh, and also with them, on Sunday their son, Raymark, received his mission call. President Ostler brought it out. He leaves just 5 days BEFORE his sister is released. We are hoping something can be done about that. Anyway, I got some pictures from the missionaries, so I will be sending A LOT of pictures in several emails. I hope that is ok. I just have time right now and I don't want to forget.

We love and miss you all so much!!! But we are so thankful for this opportunity to serve! We loves these people here. We have learned so much from them. They are humble, hardworking, loving people!

Love, 
Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma

Monday, July 13, 2015

Kumusta po kayong lahat???

July 13, 2015

Dear Family,
Not a whole lot has happened since I last wrote because I wrote later in the week. We did have a good service project with the elders at the Church property. Dad decided on how big of a teaching garden he wants and we all spent about an hour and a half using large trimmers or bolo knives cutting down the grass and weeds. You wouldn’t believe how many weeds and how much grass had grown back since we had it cleared before! We should have just waited, but we had no idea that it would take so long to be able to till it. Anyway, it was hard work, but we had one elder, a native Filipino who is a brand new missionary, and he really knew what he was doing. He worked so fast and so hard and he took the weeds and grass right to the ground. We were just trying to get it cut down some because now we will bring the rice hulls in – they will bring it in in truckloads, and then we burn it. Actually what we have seen is it just smolders, but the man next door said that is the only way you will kill the weeds and especially the roots so that it can be tilled. So, I guess we will try it. Not sure how it will work because of so much rain, which we are thankful for. Everybody burns here. That is how they get rid of their trash – or whatever. It surprises us, sometimes they start their fires right next to their little bamboo fences, but they never start on fire, at least not since we’ve been here. Sometimes you’ll go down the street and there will be several fires burning, and sometimes just smoldering off the side of the road. I remember when I was growing up my dad, and lots of other people would burn the trash, but he had a big incinerator (that’s what he called it), it was like a big 55 gallon drum that he would burn in, about once a week. I’m sure it was pollution that put a stop to that. 
On Friday we took care of a couple of missionaries, one of whom had been really sick, until the Hiatts came to pick them up and take them to Puerto. 
Saturday we had district meetings, me with the district RS presidency and dad with the branch presidents and the high council. It was a good day. Sister Belmonte, the RS president, has a son serving a mission in Alaska. He was in the Philippines for a while waiting for his Visa. He left in February but has only been in Alaska for a couple of months I think. I thought he would have a really hard adjustment to the cold, but she said it is not too cold there right now, which is good. Anyway, it was a good day, except that I started getting sick. I thought it couldn’t be from the elder that was at our house on Friday because it was just the next day, but then I remembered he had been at our house on Monday night as well, using our laptop for a presentation for district meeting. I think that is where I picked it up. Nothing serious, just a cold, but feeling pretty miserable. I didn’t go to church yesterday, most especially because I didn’t want to spread the germs. There are several older couples in our branch and none of them can afford to go to the doctor or to even buy medication so I really didn’t want them to get sick. 
Dad went on a temple prep teaching visit with the Palos. They taught the Gineza family and Dad said they did a great job! I am so proud of them because Brother Palo is kind of shy but he took charge and they even sang an opening and closing hymn. President and Sister Ostler want the missionaries to at least have an opening hymn at each teaching appointment. It really does invite the Spirit. I wish I could have been there. We just really love these families – the ones who have gone and the ones who are preparing to go to the temple. 
Also, good news today, we think there may be 2 more families and 1 more sister also going in December. Our branch president has really caught the vision. It seems like it should be the natural step, after baptism, at least for a recent convert family, but sometimes we think that we get them to baptism and that’s the goal – that’s the end. We are really grateful for the vision of President Ostler. And we hope the other branches are catching the spirit. We did a training at the district meeting (not the missionary district but the Stake/District) on the Temple Patron Assistance fund on Saturday. Actually, we trained 2 of our missionaries here and they did the training so it could be done in Tagalog, so hopefully they all understand it and are excited to get members to the temple. Anyway, that is about all for the week. Hopefully I will feel better tomorrow and can go to district meeting. We got some good rain today!
Well, we love and miss you all so much! And we love hearing all about what is going on with all of you.
Love, Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma  

The Rice Field

July 8, 2015

It has been a crazy week this week so far, and this is the first chance I have had to email. 
On Monday the DL planned a fishing activity but as a back-up plan he asked if they could come over and learn how to make donuts and then watch a movie. We said yes, but were really hoping they could go fishing! We love the elders but we had things we really needed to get done. When I got up Mondaymorning it was raining, and it rained until about 5:30 or 6am. Then it stopped and kind of cleared off and was dry right up until they were suppose to go fishing. And then it rained with a fury! So we had the elders over. Mostly they wanted to EAT the donuts and watch a movie, which was fine. It was fun having them over. 
Then yesterday was zone meeting and visiting in Sandoval and Bagong Sikat. This morning we went to the Church property to check on the pumpkins. They really don’t like all the moisture. Dad still has 2 plants that are ok, but the others, the roots rotted because of all the rain. Tomorrow, if it is dry, we are having a service project with the missionaries. We are going to use bolo knifes or large hedge trimmers and cut down all the tall grass. Then the neighbor told us we needed to have truck loads of rice bran brought in and spread over the ground, and then burn it. That will kill all the roots and in about a month it will be ready to plant. You may remember we had the ground cleared and burned a few months ago and have been waiting until we got rain so we could have it tilled, but in the mean time, all of the weed, grass, etc has grown back. You would never believe it was cleared a couple of months ago. So, that’s why the neighbor told us to do it this other way. We hope it works. (I hope this is making sense – probably  not!) 
Anyway, last week we had quite an experience. We had a service project to help a member plant his rice field. It was HUGE!! I had no idea. But we really didn’t plant. The rice fields here are sectioned areas that are tiered so the water will flow from one field to the next. So we went from section to section building up the little “walls” that divides the sections. They are not really walls at all just dirt piled up maybe a foot or so. I don’t really know. We did not have shovels, just used our hands. But, all the sections are flooded because that is how you plant rice, so we sloshed around in mud and water up to about mid calf. After I was in there for a while I started thinking what was probably in the water – karibou droppings – like cow pies only bigger, dead snakes, insects, bugs, snails, and who know what. It kind of made me sick to think about, so I tried not to. The worst part was that, of course, I fell down in the mud and was covered in mud from the waist down.  We really only did a very small part of the sections. There were other workers there doing the tilling with a little hand tiller, and also doing something with a karibou pulling something behind him that kind of breaks up the soil. Also, some were planting. They actually just throw the seed out. I am not sure if they go in afterwards and thin out the plants or what, but with that big of an area, probably not. But with no big, modern equipment, it is A LOT of work.  After about 2 hours (we could only stay for 3 hours) the son of this member took us to the far end of the field where there was a stream and little lake. It was kind of fun, and I was able to wash off a little bit. After that we went back to the house and sister had made some lunch for us. Really, I’m not sure we were much help. I think it was more giving us the “experience” of a rice field. But I am glad we had the opportunity. I am grateful I do not have to work in a rice field!
Last Sunday we started our visits with the families preparing for the temple. I think I mentioned that this time around we are going to take the couples that just went to the temple with us – one couple to each family – to teach the “living the gospel daily” lessons. We took the Abrigo couple to visit the Tana family. Brother and Sister Abrigo did a wonderful job! There was a good spirit there and I think everyone enjoyed it. Brother and Sister Abrigo volunteered to visit another family if needed, so that is great!
Well, sorry that I jumped around so much. But you get the gist of what is going on here. We continue to get rain, which is nice, but we have breaks of sunshine which is also nice.
We hope you are all doing well and hope you had a fun 4th of July celebration.
We love hearing from you all!
Love,
Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma