July 27, 2015
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.
Mahal naming po kayong lahat sobra!
Grandpa and Grandma
Dad and Mom