Magandang Hapon (good afternoon),
This past Monday we had our Zone Activity in Tagaytay (Ta- guy-tie). This is a town on the southern most borders of our mission. There is a fresh water bay there and a volcano in the bay. Very beautiful. It is one of the tourist locations of the Philippines. There are 2 parks in the city and the missionaries wanted to go to a place where they could play some games and run. The area is very nice. The weather was cool (in the mid 70’s) and we all had a good time. We decided to bring some hot dogs (American hot dogs from the Sam’s here not the Filipino ones) to grill and some chips and we also stopped at a roadside market to get some fresh fruit. Tagaytay is where a lot of the pineapples grow here. They were delicious and cheap (about 50 cents each). I had a lot of help trying to get the fire started in the little grill. Too much help! We never could get the fire going because my helpers kept throwing all of the small stuff in the fire until it was all gone and we had no fire. One of the members decided he would help by getting some diesel fuel from the jeepney and some pieces of an old rubber tire to burn. That didn’t work! The smoke and fumes were horrible (that was exactly what I wanted my hot dog to taste like – diesel and burned rubber). After 45 minutes they all gave up – but I couldn’t (it’s a man thing). I rearranged the coals and found some cardboard and made another little fire- within 15 minutes the coals were almost ready, but Sister Spencer took the hot dogs and went to a little open store and paid them to cook the hot dogs on their grill. O, well! The dogs were great and we all had a fun activity.
We have had fun with ‘critters’ this week. We had a tree frog attach itself to the front window and we had lots of fun one evening just watching this frog on our window. We have a lot of frogs in our area and walking in the morning is sometimes a challenge trying not to step on the frogs that were trying to cross the road the night before. It is a mess. This is the first tree frog that we have seen. He was yellow and had big grey eyes and large feet. We could see the suction cups on his feet as he held on to the window frame. It was cool, but you probably know that it doesn’t take much to entertain us. Our biggest surprise came on Wednesday morning when we went out on the back cooking area and there was a stray cat in our porch and she had given birth to 3 kittens during the night. I had worked so hard to secure that area because I knew that with all of the cats around our neighborhood one would get in and have babies and we would never get rid o them. Sure enough, it happened. The cats here are not fun. We kind of feel sorry for them because no one really has a pet cat. The cats are on their own to hunt for food. They are very skinny and some really need to be put out of their misery. There is no way to know what kind and how many diseases they carry. We watched the mother and found how she got in and decided that once the kittens were big enough to walk out, we would close up the entrance and that would be the end. We had three different Filipinos tell us that you just put the cats in a bag and throw them in the river. We couldn’t do that. We would just wait it out. Monday our cleaning lady saw the cats and said she would get them out because they don’t belong in the house. She took them out and put them on the steps of a vacant house next to us. We worried that they would become food for another cat. The mother cat kept coming back to the porch and crying to us. They were gone the next morning. We don’t know what happened to them but we hope that the mother found another home for them. We hope this will be the last of the ‘critters’ for a while.
One interesting experience happened on Friday. Mom had asked one of the members where there was a place to have her hair cut and dyed. Well, mom found a sister (the Relief Society President) in one of the branches that said her stylist was very good and she would come to your home. We made the appointment and picked up the stylist and the Relief Society President and brought them to our home. She was very good and as we were waiting the stylist saw the Liahona on the table and picked it up. We asked her about the church and she said she was looking for something because her 12 year old son needed something to help him since he has grown up without a father. The Relief Society President just zeroed in on her and the discussion was good (I understood most of the discussion since it was about the church). It was a good experience. Mom’s hair is darker than she wanted because the dye was left on a little too long due to the discussion, but give it a week or two and it will be just fine.
We continue to work with the members on reactivation and retention. It seems like a slow process much of the time but we will keep going forward. We were able to find another less active this past week. He has a 10 year old son that has not been baptized. His wife is working in Saudi Arabia and will be back in October. He said he is waiting for her to return and they will come back to church. We told him that he should surprise her and be active when she gets back. We’ll see.
We were saddened by the news of the earthquake in Japan. From the little news that we get, that earthquake was a big one. We were glad to hear that all of the missionaries were safe. Just that thought alone is amazing. We know that the Lord takes care of His missionaries. We have seen that here. I am sure that the earthquake will cause a ripple in the economy back home. Gas prices here are now $5.12 a gallon. A bigger worry is a possible shortage of rice.
The work goes forward. We are blessed to be here. This is a very special place for the church. We enjoy the people and the customs. We enjoy the new experiences and wonders of this beautiful land. We love to look for the Lord’s hand in our lives each day. We are grateful for His many blessings. We are grateful for each of you and for your prayers and love. As we have written before, we couldn’t do this without you. Thank you for your love and prayers. We love you all. Remember to BE good, DO good and be men and women of Christ and as always, remember to say your prayers.
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant