Friday, July 8, 2011

Week 35

May 23, 2011

Magandang hapon (good afternoon),

We need to ‘catch up’ on letters since we were without internet service for 3 weeks. It has been a fun experience for everyone involved. We would like to change to another internet provider but we are required to sign an 18 month agreement with a new provider and if our calculations are correct, we won’t be here that long. So we are stuck with this provider and their service. We were able to restore the service last week and then after one day the internet server went down again for about 36 hours. The new connection seems even slower than before the repairs. What can we do but just smile?

The weather has been rather warm here lately. One of our missionaries told us a few months ago to just wait until it gets ‘stinking hot’ and we are pretty sure we understand now what he meant. The temperature is around 35 to 38 degrees Centigrade (95 to 100 Fahrenheit) most days. We were doing ok until we found a weather site on the web that gave the actual temperature and the ‘feels like’ temperature. The feels like temperature is always around 105.

This is what we woke up to.



Feels Like: 99°

Humidity: 79%

We came home one afternoon and I took my shirt off and sat on the couch under the ceiling fan. I thought that if I could just sit there and not move at all I would stop sweating. Well, it didn’t work! The members just tell us to take a bath at night and you will feel cooler. There probably isn’t enough water here for that. All joking aside, we are adjusting to the heat pretty well. It is still warm but we can cope with it. We had to laugh this morning on our way back from District Meeting. We watched a tryke hauling ice to his vendors – his profits were literally melting away. We hoped that he didn’t have too much further to go because if he did, there wasn’t going to be any ice!

We are amazed that most of the plants and trees that were either burned or dried up no less than two weeks ago and now everything is green and the flowers are in bloom again. The fields that had been burned are now green. This is a remarkable and beautiful country. We were driving from our apartment last week and a farmer was in his field plowing and planting. He was using a carabao (water buffalo) to pull the plow and someone followed behind him planting the seeds. We stopped to watch and take pictures.

We see these contrasts in such a modern society and it reminds us of how simple life can (and maybe should) be to survive. Rest assured that teenagers are alike all over the world – they can all text messages at blinding speed on their cell phones – even in church!

Our San Gabriel District had their Jubilee Celebration last Saturday evening in an outdoor plaza (basketball court) in Carmona. Mom and I were the distinguished guests We were given a flower necklace (a sign of respect) made from the national flower of the Philippines (Sampaguita flower).

The young men and young women did so well with their dances. We took a lot of pictures and it is so fun in our visits to the different branches on Sundays to thank the youth for their hard work. We visited the GMA Branch yesterday and I went into the youth Sunday School Class and asked how many of them danced in the Jubilee Celebration. Most raised their hands and I thanked them for what they did. I told them what good dancers they were and how talented they were. They loved it (and so did I). They giggled and laughed but you could tell that they appreciated the recognition. The Binan Branch did a Muslin dance that was very difficult. We wished that we could have video-taped their performance because it was so intricate and remarkable. We found out today at our District Meeting that the young woman who choreographed their dance is not a member of the Church. She will be baptized on June 4th. That was part of the power of the Jubilee. The kids in our little branch did great. We were visiting a part-member family on Friday and one of their girls came out to greet us. We both mentioned how much we enjoyed the celebration and this young woman just beamed from ear to ear. They all have such beautiful smiles. The celebration will continue to be a blessing for this area for a long time to come.

Last Sunday we had another Missionary Musical Fireside. We have lost a lot of the musical talent (or so we thought) since so many missionaries have gone home over the past 2 transfers. This time the Senior Couples were invited to sing with the missionaries. It was really fun and provided a great spiritual boost to the missionaries. The theme of the fireside was Miracles and was dedicated to President and Sister Howard. We have a missionary in the mission that gave up a scholarship to the Juliard Academy in order to come on a mission. He is talented!