September 26, 2011
Dear Family and Friends,
Time seems to be going by so quickly. We have spent a few days in the office to learn what we must do. There is so much to understand in such a little time. We have our first test this coming week because we are getting an ‘off cycle’ transfer of missionaries from the Manila MTC. We don’t know why we are getting the ‘off cycle’ transfer, but we will do our best. We hope to be able to help President Stucki with the load of work that he has. If we can lighten that load in any way we would be satisfied. The challenge is to keep the office running without a hitch, prepare the office to move to another location and understand all of the procedures well enough to teach them to the new couple coming in December. No sweat. We will do our best. Mom is doing really well with the details. Hahahaha - isn't he sweet!
Not much else has been happening in our lives except for the move to the office. We will be getting a new senior couple this week to take our place in Naic so part of this week we will be packing, moving, cleaning, learning and training. ‘And a good time was had by all’! We are doing well and enjoy the diversity of learning the office procedures. We do look forward to be out once again with the members soon.
We thought that it would be fun to let you see some of the things we see as we are out in the countryside. This is a beautiful land (probably because of the rain) and we have come to love and appreciate it more and more each day.
We have watched as the workers have planted the rice and now we are seeing them begin to harvest the rice. It is fun to watch as this process is all done by hand here. The rice fields are beautiful and the green color of the rice plants is difficult to describe.
In many of the little villages, we have to be careful as we drive because they are drying the rice on the road.
Recently we watched as the rice was harvested and days later the farmer was out with his carabao plowing the field and preparing the field to be planted with a second crop. Many of the farmers are not fortunate enough to plant 2 crops because they are not able to irrigate. This farmer was close enough to the river that he could irrigate and plant a second crop. All in all, it is an interesting thing to see. Here we have pictures of a corn field being plowed by carabao for the second time.
There are many worries that there is not enough rice to feed the people in the areas here. The Philipines does not produce enough for their population and so they import a good portion of their rice needs. We decided to purchase about 50 lbs of rice and ‘dry packed’ it to have on hand in case there is an emergency or we can just help someone if needed.
One day in our travels we noticed that the grass had blossomed or formed heads. We have not been able to find out what kind or grass this is but the heads are a beautiful white. We had to stop along the road and take a picture. It truly fits the reason we are here – ‘for the field is white, already to harvest’. Just thought that you would enjoy the picture.
Banana trees fascinate me. I have found out that they are not really trees. They are a rhizome. The shoot will grow and produce bananas and then die. Another shoot will then grow and do the same thing. The plant flowers and produces a ‘heart’ and then the bananas form in ‘hands’. We discovered that they sell the banana heart and steam it and eat the center of it – much like an artichoke. People say it really doesn’t have a flavor but it is something to eat. I love the bananas here. The little senorita bananas are ok but my favorite is the ‘pink’ banana. It really isn’t pink but it has a slight pink color when it is peeled. These bananas are not as moist and mushy and they last longer.
Finally, we have to include some body humor- -right? Well, most men and children just use the restroom (called a CR or comfort room – it’s not a bathroom because no one has a bathtub) where ever they want to. Here in Manila we found that they actually have places on the side of the road where one can use the ‘facilities’ and they don’t urinate on walls and buildings. Notice that there is no drain on the urinal – it is just a wall that is semi covered so you don’t urinate in open view. It still stinks as it runs down the sidewalk. Thought you’d get a smile out of this. One last story – we were in a large grocery store recently. There was a little boy that needed to use the ‘facilities’ and he did what just comes naturally. He squatted right there in the store and left a present. The workers saw what happened and because the store was so crowded and busy, they placed a flattened box over the present and then taped it to the floor. EWWWWW!
Well, enough of that. We are fully into the Christmas season here complete with the karaoke and decorations. We started singing Christmas songs in church last week. Remember that there are only 88 days until Christmas. We love you all. Please take care and be good. Thank you once again for your love, prayers and support. Remember to BE good, DO good and BE men and women of Christ. And always remember to say your prayers.
Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, Janene and Grant