Monday, August 10, 2015

Summer's Going by Fast!!!!

August 3, 2015

Dear Family,
We are into another month. I guess the last “official” month of summer there. I can’t believe it! It has gone by so fast! I imagine not many of the kids are looking forward to starting school again soon. L  We had a great week last week! I can’t remember when I wrote you last week, so I may repeat myself, but last Sunday we went with the Corpuz couple (their family was sealed in May) to teach the Magsino and Uda families. They did a really good job! We have been so proud of these couples as we have watched them take charge of the meeting and teach the lesson. They usually have an opening and closing hymn and are just really prepared. The thing that I have come to realize with these members here is that most of them have never had any experience in teaching a group of people, children, youth, or adults, and it can be very intimidating. Growing up in the church, while it can still be pretty intimidating, we know that it is part of the way the church functions. One of the RS presidents in the district has trouble getting her counselors to teach or even conduct on Sunday because they are afraid. So, we really did not know how these teaching visits would go. But they have all done an outstanding job! And it has been, I think, really good for the families they are teaching, especially the parents, because they really  understand each other and can relate to each others struggles and trials living here and trying to raise a family here. They absolutely love the missionaries, but it is just good for both couples, actually, to be able to talk about their lives. Converting to the gospel can also be challenging so they can encourage each other. We saw that with one of the families. One father got emotional about a struggle they were having and the teaching couple just shared a similar experience they had had and how they dealt with it. As much as they love and respect the missionaries, I don’t think he would have opened up to the missionaries like that.
Tuesday we had our missionary luncheon – indian tacos, but without the lettuce and tomatoes. But we mixed canned tomatoes with the meat/bean mixture and it turned out pretty good. I love having them over, but I am really grateful it is only once a month instead of once a week, like we were originally doing. It changed because President Stucki changed their weekly planning time so we couldn’t do it at all for a while. But then it worked out that we could do it, but we decided only monthly. It just takes a lot of time and stress and once a month is perfect.
We were not able to go visiting with the Gattuds and Narra C elders because we had transfers on Wednesday. Now in the Narra district, which consists of 6 elders, we only have 1 American. We have one other elder that is from Micronesia, but the other 4 are Filipino. Don’t think we’ve ever had so few Americans. But they are all great! One of the new Filipinos is really good in English. If you didn’t see him you would not know he was Filipino, his accent is that good. I’ve been debating about starting another English class but I wanted to see if there would be elders that could help because that makes such a difference. He would actually be a great help because the class members could see that they actually can learn to speak English well. But, I still don’t know if we will do another one or not. It was good to go to Puerto. We haven’t been since last transfers, 6 weeks ago. We will go again in about 3 weeks for Zone Conference. Last September we had mission tour, which is when a member of the Area Presidency comes out and tours the mission. We had a meeting last year with him, like a zone meeting, so I guess is we have mission tour this year it will be the same. Haven’t heard though.
Thursday we went over to the Church property to start the rice hulls burning. I think I told you about that, but if not let me know and I will explain it. So we started a few little fires mostly around the edge of the hulls. The fire burns out but the hulls continue to smolder. Friday morning we went over and checked how it was going and were actually surprised that it had burned more than we exprected. So we started several more. However, Friday afternoon we got a really heavy rain, so we were convinced it drenched the rice. But we decided to check it out before our meeting with President Andres and, to our surprise and joy, it had continued to burn! There was quite a large area that had burned. There is still a HUGE area that needs to burn, but we were happy! Today things may change though. We have gotten rain most of the day. On Friday it was heavy, and lasted a while, but then stopped. We need the rain so we can’t complain, and the Lord knows what we are trying to do and He is in charge. It has been hard with all the set-backs on the property, but our goal is to at least have the property cleared and tilled and ready to be used as a teaching garden. Hopefully the Bebitas will be willing to teach other members about gardening. They have a lot of knowledge and experience and a great garden! They are really shy, quiet people but their experience will be a blessing in helping the members become more self-reliant. We have given away many trees though. Some Dad has started from seed, like the papaya trees, which are not really trees but plants, but they look like trees, and the avocado, and maybe some others. Some we have bought at the palengke as seedlings and he has planted them in pots. But the members seem to really appreciate them and hopefully they will care for them so they will produce.
Sunday we attended church in Sandoval, which is always great! And we visited the Tana family with the Abrigos, for a temple prep lesson. They did great! We love both of these families.
Well, sorry to be so long winded. We hope you are all doing great! We love and miss you all so much and pray for you always.
Enjoy the rest of your summer!
Love, Grandpa and Grandma, Dad and Mom

Monday, August 3, 2015


July 27, 2015

Some Fun Pics!

Elder Smith helping with donuts!

 Elders Merrill and Villoso - both of these elders go home next transfer.

Watching the movie, waiting for the donuts.

Service project at the Church property.

 Hard at work!

Tapos na! (done now!)

Another Week

July 27, 2015

Dear Family,

We love you all so much and hope you are all doing well. We are great here! Although it has been several days without rain. A couple of little cloudbursts but nothing significant. 

We had a busy week last week. We had some really good visits with Brother and Sister Gattud. There are a lot of less active members there in Bagong Sikat (by the way, Bagong Sikat means New Rising or New Splendor. I'm not sure which definition they use, but I like the name.) Anyway, there are a lot of less active and not too many of them are interested in coming back to church. Years ago they had a little branch out there. But when they built the chapel in Narra people wanted to go there so the branch was dissolved and those that couldn't afford to go just got out of the habit and it's hard to start back up. The other day I was thinking about all the visits we have made out there and just wondering about how effective the visits are. Then I remembered the Uda family. Sister Uda was baptized with the rest of her family when she was 12. At some point they all became inactive. Brother Uda was not a member. But we started visiting there and then the missionaries started teaching Brother Uda, and now they are preparing to go to the temple. So I think every effort we make, whether serving a full-time mission or just as members, is important and valued to our Father because we are trying to bring His children back to Him. We may not see any results of our efforts, but He knows our efforts and you just never know. And it is amazing to see how the gospel changes people.

We did apartment checks in Quezon, Rizal, Brookes Point, and Cabar. The Cabar elders now have water! They do not have running water in their apartment - they have to buy drinking water. But the outside pump that they use for showering, washing clothes, etc dried up because of the drought. The owner dug another well but the water was really bad. But it has gradually gotten better and is now usable. There are so many things that we take for granted! Cabar also has rats! While we were there we could hear them running upstairs. We got them some rat traps before, but they didn't work. They would eat whatever they put on the trap but not snap. So we got them some sticky traps. But they sounded like pretty good size rats so I don't know if they will work either. Rizal also has rats. Well actually, I would imagine all of the apartments have rats. At least outside of Narra.

We had a good visit with the Narra A elders visiting one of the sisters preparing for the temple. Again, it is amazing to see how the gospel changes people. Dad and I also went to visit another sister by ourselves. We don't do that too often because most of the members do not understand much English. Even if they do understand English, they don't understand OUR English because of our "accent". Mostly the only English they hear is from other Filipinos, and it is definitely different than our English. When Elder Wilkenson's mom was here and we had some of the branch members over she asked me if it took a while for me to understand their English. I hadn't thought about it before, but yes, it did take a while. Now I can pretty much understand their English. And some of their Tagalog. Not much though, of the native Filipinos. They talk fast! But then they say we talk fast so...

We had a baptism on Saturday. The step-son of one of our members. He hasn't lived here very long. Hopefully it will be a good move for him. And we had a branch activity afterwards. It was fun!

Yesterday we had the Family History training which was good. And then we went on temple prep visits with Brother and Sister Corpuz, to the Magsino and Uda families. All of these couples that are doing the teaching - I think I told you that they are the couples that were sealed in the temple in May - they are all doing a wonderful job! I wasn't sure how it would go, but it has been great! They are so prepared! We have told them they are in charge, so they visit for a while and then they begin. Most start with a hymn and a prayer and then they teach the lesson. I think it is really good for these families. In all of the families the parents just seem to open up a little bit more. They LOVE the missionaries, but it is just different talking to someone a little older who is experiencing the same challenges and trials that you are with raising a family and trying to provide for that family, etc. I am so thankful for the inspiration to do that, and that they were all so willing to participate. I think it benefits both the family and the couple teaching. 

So, that's our week. Oh, before I forget, did you get any of the pictures I sent last week? I sent several emails but the computer was really having a problem - probably the internet. So, let me know if you got any. I think I will try to send more in another couple of emails. Dad has someone over trying to fix our generator, which would not start, BEFORE I was able to do my hair. So that was interesting.

We love you all so much! We are proud of you and so very thankful for each one of you.

Ingat palagi!
Mahal naming po kayong lahat sobra!
Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom

English Class Graduation!

 July 27, 2015

English Class Graduation!

Group picture of our English Class

Brother Erwin Honrado

Sister Andrea Once 
(both of these members are fairly new. Bro. will be going with us to the temple in December.)

Sister Ordanza

Brother Raymark Ordanza

Sister Jae Angelic Palo - She and her family were sealed in the temple in May. Her parents are now teaching and helping to prepare the Gineza family and they are doing a GREAT job!

Elder Smith 
I gave the elders certificates too, because they were a big help and really made the class fun!

Elder Villoso

 I gave Dad a certificate for being so supportive and I also gave the missionaries one for being so helpful. 

Working in the Rice Field!!!

July 21, 2015

Anyway, last week we had quite an experience. We had a service project to help a member plant his rice field. It was HUGE!!

 Us and the Narra A and C elders by the rice field.

Dad and I at the lake, which is part of the rice farm.

Elders Tabanou and Jervoso drinking what they claim to be fresh water. 
Dad and I didn't take a chance.

Elder Smith with a turkey. 
This family, the Malabuets, who own the rice farm also raise turkeys. We thought about buying a couple to raise for thanksgiving but it would take too much time.

Elder Tabanou standing in the rice field.

The rice farm, well, some of it. It's huge!

Mostly what we were working in were areas like Elder Tabanou was standing in, but there were some just really muddy places. And the mud is terrible. I told you that I fell down in the paddy and it ruined my shirt. Even soaking it in straight bleach wouldn't touch it. And of course my pants are stained too.