February 21, 2011
Magandang umaga po (Good morning),
This past week has gone by so quickly. Tonight we will have our monthly Family Home Evening with the missionaries and then Zone Conference on Thursday. Our time is broken into 6 week increments to coincide with the missionary transfer schedule and the time between transfers seems to get shorter and shorter. The weather is warming up again and we are headed into the dry season starting in about 2 weeks. My mind wants to believe that winter is now over and spring should be coming but the grasses and fields are turning brown like summer is now over. It will be interesting to see how the dry and rainy season work out here. I am wondering if they will plant after the dry season. This is all new and exciting to us. This is a beautiful country.
Most of our week was spent on trips to Manila as we welcomed a new senior missionary couple into the mission. We spent most of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in orienting the Spencers. The Spencer’s are from Oregon and will be a great blessing to our area. Sister Spencer was born in Naic just 30km away from us. She left with her family when she was 18 years old and has not been back to the Philippines until now. The people will love her. The Spencer’s live just a short distance from us in our subdivision. They have been assigned to maintain the missionaries’ apartments. That will be a big job. It’s nice to have them close by.
We are excited that Sister Briones (our tutor) is taking us to the palenke (open air market) on Wednesday morning. She has been teaching us about the Philippine foods and customs as part of our tutoring sessions. This will be a fun experience for us. We want to learn how to cook the various vegetables that we see in the markets. The people are so good to us.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to speak in the Carmona Branch. I was determined to do this in the Tagalog language but it didn’t happen the way I wanted. The meeting started late and there were three speakers (including a High Councilor) on the agenda so I began in Tagalog but realized that it was so slow that about half-way into my talk I had to speak in English. That only left the High Council speaker 15 minutes. I apologized to him for taking his time. The people were very kind. Br Jun told me that my Tagalog was very good. Maybe there is hope for me.
We were excited to see that Sister Cagas spoke in our Branch on Sunday. She did very well. She was very nervous but her smile told us that she was proud that she could do this. She shared her testimony about how grateful she was that she could go to the temple. After the meeting she told me that this was her first talk in church. The light in their eyes is just wonderful. The temple has been a great blessing to them. Their little children will wave to us now. It is really sweet. We are hoping that we will have another Temple Prep class starting again soon.
As you know, we gave the van to the Spencers since they will be doing all of the apartment checks and maintenance. We now have a small Toyota Corolla. I told the office elders that I could only get 8 people in the new car – they laughed (I was half-serious). We took the van to the local Shell station to have the oil changed so the Spencers wouldn’t have to worry about that. They also washed the car for free since we also had an oil change. We have never seen anyone wash a car like this before. They raised the car on a lift and rinsed the under carriage and then hand washed the under carriage of the car with a small sponge. They washed the inside of the doors and all of the windows inside and out. It took a long time but that was the cleanest that car has ever been. Regular price for the car wash is 180 pesos ($3.50). We probably made their day when we gave them a tip that was probably the equivalent of their entire days salary. It was worth it to see their faces light up when we told them they did such a good job on the van. They were very friendly also since I tried to speak in Tagalog to them and they saw that I had a Tagalog grammar book with me to read as they worked on the car. We were able to give a Book of Mormon to one of the gas station attendants the next day. We don’t remember if we told you about the gas stations over here but you do not pump your own gas. As you drive into the station the attendant directs you to the pump and then checks the oil and water and washes the windshield as the gas is pumped. It is full service like the good old days. We always make sure that we tip them because of their excellent service. I don’t know if that is good or bad but we appreciate the service and who knows that maybe we have helped them put food on their table that night. We are still amazed at how they survive on so little.
This next week is looking to be a busy week. The missionaries have projected 13 baptisms for Saturday. We have Zone Conference on Thursday and a trip to Trece Martires to help the Elders with a marriage license and birth certificate. This along with all of the routine things will make for a busy week. We love this work. It is very fulfilling and rewarding. We love you all. We pray for you each day. Thank you again and again for your prayers and love. Thanks to all the grandchildren for the Valentines. We love them. Please take care. Remember to DO good, BE good and be men and women of Christ. And always remember to say your prayers.
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Grant and Janene