Monday, September 14, 2015

The Rainy Season

August 10, 2015

Well, we THOUGHT we were in the rainy season, but this past week has convinced us that we definitely ARE!! It has rained SOOO much!! And really, really hard rain. It does not rain like this back home. At least not where we have ever lived. It is so good and so needed. But a little frustrating because we are still trying to get the rice hulls burned at the property. We haven’t checked since Saturday evening, but even with all the rain they were still smoldering. Just not as much as before. Since then we have had even more rain, so not sure what we will find when we go there tomorrow on our walk. We have really been amazed that it is still smoldering. And feel very blessed! We have had so many set-backs with this self-reliance project that our goal is just to get it burned and tilled and ready to plant. Then if the self-reliance couple has been called and accepted we can maybe help them get a class or program going. There is still enough time, but the next hurdle is finding someone who will come in and till for us. It’s not a very big area because we had to change our plans and just have a teaching garden because of the cost of water, which is really wise. If the members are depending on some other source to pay for them to garden that is not really helping them become more self-reliant. But, because the area is small, we are not sure we will be able to find someone who will bring their kalibaw (I’m not sure that is the correct spelling, but it’s what we would call a water buffalo, or similar to that. We always pronounce it karabaw, with the r but someone told me it was with an l. I don’t know.) Anyway, not sure on that. If not, we will have to figure out something else. 
The internet was so bad last week. We were beginning to think it was our computer but it is better this week. Just slower than normal, but we are so thankful to have it. It is a blessing – we know that. 
We had some good visits with the Gattuds on Wednesday. We are really hoping the Sandoval group will be organized into a branch before we leave. It has been almost 1 ½ years since we started the group. There is a good, steady group that attends each week. We did a lot of work to get the forms filled out and do the mapping, but then they came back and said our mapping was not sufficient. All the members needed to be put on the map on line, and also it needed to be indicated who was still there etc. But, President and Sister Hiatt came out on Friday and met with President Andres and got it finished off so that is good. He said President Ostler wants all the paperwork done and to him by Wednesday, so hopefully it will happen soon. The members are anxious to be organized and to be able to hold all the meetings. It would also be really good for President Andres because he has so much going on in the Narra branch and he also has to worry about having someone conduct there, getting speakers, etc. It would be really nice for them to have their own leadership who could really focus on building and strengthening there in Sandoval and surrounding areas. We will see what happens. 
Dad and I were counting up yesterday - if all those families and individuals that have said they want to go to the temple in December are all able to go, we would have 40 people in the temple. That includes Dad and I, President and Sister Andres and Brother and Sister Bunquin (member of branch presidency), and the kids, but that is a great group. Hopefully they will all be able to go. We have a slight problem in that the temple patron housing is booked. We booked the 5 original families and 5 single members back in June. But when we called about these new families they said they are booked. We are trying to figure it out. I may have told you that President and Sister Ostler has invited the whole group to go to the mission home for dinner and probably a family home evening type of thing, when we get there on Monday. The members were really excited about that. 
Our branch is also starting a self-reliance group – “Starting and Growing Your Own Business”. The Church has come out with 3 different groups – this one, one about finding good employment and one about getting good education so that you can find a good paying job. That one is connected with the PEF fund, and anyone who applies for it must take the course first. They are really good courses. They have manuals that go along with each of the courses, and also 2 other booklets that they work from, called “My Foundation” and “My Path to Self-Reliance”. They focus on gospel principles as well as good business practices etc. We are really hoping this will take off and help the economy here. The courses don’t have a teacher, but rather a facilitator. I think it is really an inspired program. President Ostler asked us to attend the classes just to see how they are doing. He is anxious to have the members take advantage of these programs.
Well, I think that’s about all for us. With all the rain the weather has been a little cooler, which has been nice for us. We hope you are all doing well. When does school start? I guess it is probably getting close. I just have a closing thought. Something that I have been thinking about, as we have helped and are helping prepare these members to go to the temple. They have to really make sacrifices to be able to go to the temple, and even just to go to church and to serve in the church. Most do not have transportation and therefore have to pay the fare each time they come. The pioneers also sacrificed so much so that the gospel could be established. We have benefited so much from their sacrifices. I have thought about us. We really have never had to make sacrifices to do either of those things. And I wonder what we would be willing to sacrifice if we had to. Sacrifice is a law of the gospel, and I think the Lord expects us to sacrifice. If we do not have to sacrifice in these ways, then I think He expects us to recognize other ways that we need to sacrifice so that we can more fully and completely follow our Savior. I know we sacrifice time and money to serve in the church. But they did that also, and so much more. I guess I share this just because it has been on my mind and I know that I need to make sacrifices to become a true disciple of Jesus Christ. And, to be able to have an eternal family.
We love you all SO MUCH!!!
Love,
Dad and Mom, Grandpa and Grandma

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