August 3, 2015
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