August 15, 2011The rain continues to pour out of the sky. We are beginning to understand what the rainy season really means. Everything in the apartment is so damp even down to the paper that comes out of the printer. The apartment has a mildew or musty smell so we have to wipe all of the hard surfaces with Clorox to prevent the growth of fungi. We also purchased some desiccants to put in the cabinets to absorb the excess moisture (we’ll see how long those things last – I’ll give them 2 days). We’ve never had to deal with this problem before but this is the first rainy season we have experienced here. It should last for another month then the amount of rain should decrease dramatically. The average rainfall in July is 17 inches and August is 15. We are looking forward to ‘drying out’ in September and October.
We are enjoying the Naic area. It is a slower pace than our previous area since it has more farmland and not as much big business. The city has about 18 thousand residents so traffic is not as crowded but it is just as intense as the Bulihan area. There are however fewer jeepneys but many more of the smaller buses. We have managed to get stuck in a couple of traffic jams on the Coastal Highway.
The people are wonderful here. We enjoy meeting them and trying to teach them. We went out with our full-time missionaries this week and had 5 lessons. I was able to bear my testimony and teach a small bit in Tagalog. The people here seem to understand English but do not speak or want to speak English. So we are diligently trying to learn Tagalog better. In one home that we visited the missionaries talked about the Fall of Adam and the Atonement. As they finished, one of the Elders looked at me and asked if I would like to say something. I asked the investigator what were her feelings about Adam and then what were her feelings about Jesus Christ. She spoke very sincerely about Christ and then I asked her if she believed that He was our Savior and Redeemer. She responded positively and then I shared my testimony with her. As we were walking away the Elder stopped and asked if we could come with them on other visits. He said that your Tagalog was okay but the spirit was better. That made us feel like we were doing some good. We are excited to be here although it is difficult to ‘start over’ in a new area – learning the area, making or finding maps, finding members and trying to find out where the Lord wants us to work.
On Sunday the Branch President announced in Priesthood meeting that I would be getting the ‘mapping’ done of all of the members and would work with the Area Office to submit the request for their new building. That was a surprise to me! So we will be going to the Area Office in Manila this week to see what we can do. There is a lot of work to do here. Even though our overall retention rate for new converts is about 87 percent, our particular area is well below that, so we are quite certain that we will be working to reactivate many members. Mom has worked with the District Family History Consultant this week while I was in District Meeting. She will need assistance but the program is functioning pretty well.On Thursday we had the privilege of having President and Sister Stucki attend our District Meeting. I was asked by our Zone Leaders to teach a segment on goal setting. It was fun and I enjoyed helping with the meeting. President and Sister Stucki went on exchanges with the missionaries after the meeting. That has been a wonderful opportunity for the missionaries and for President Stucki to see what the Elders really do. That night after the exchanges we asked our Zone Leaders how things went. They were very excited about the opportunity to work with the president and said that their investigators were grateful that the Mission President would take time to visit them in their homes. That will have a great effect on the work here.
There is one other experience that we should share. Last Tuesday evening we had a return appointment with a family from our previous area. We are now living about 1 hour away from them so as we went into the appointment we thought that this would be a good point to kind of ‘write them off’ and let the Branch work with them. Our previous discussions centered around the importance of the family and the plan of salvation. They loved this information and had sent us a text message telling us how thankful they were that we would visit them and teach them. Tuesday evening as we were teaching them about priesthood and authority we said that they had been members for over a year now and they should begin to prepare to go to the temple. We expected them to say that they weren’t ready and that would end our discussion. As we told them about going to the temple, the husband became quiet and them looked at us and said, ‘Okay, when?” We had to explain to them that they had to begin doing some things in order to go to the temple – attend church regularly, live the Word of Wisdom, pay tithing etc. We asked them if they remembered what the missionaries taught them about these commandments and then we taught them again. It was a wonderful meeting and we will keep working with them.
We are doing well in spite of my complaining about the rain. We love this land and the Philippine people. We are excited to see what we can accomplish in this area. We hope that this letter finds you well. We pray every day that you are safe, healthy, and happy. Thank you all so very much for your love, prayers and support. We couldn’t do this without you. We love you all. Remember to BE good, DO good, and BE men and women of Christ. And remember to always say your prayers.
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant