Friday, March 30, 2012

Week 78

March 5, 2012

HUGE black bee that joined us
 Wow, we have done some major traveling this week! We are trying to attend the District Meetings in each of the 3 districts within the zone twice each transfer period. We thought it would be good to go to each District and participate in their meetings and help them in whatever way we can.  All of the District Meetings are held on Tuesdays at 1:00 to 2:30. This also gives us an opportunity to bring the missionaries any supplies and also for us to check their apartments.  Tuesday we went back to Quezon to attend their District Meeting. It was a good experience. They learn new teaching skills and then practice teaching each other. When we attend we get to be the investigators. We have a lot of fun with them as we get into character and see how they handle different situations. 

Early Wednesday morning we traveled to Puerto to catch our flight to Manila for Mission Presidency Meeting. Unfortunately, the Temple is closed for extensive cleaning and maintenance so we were not able to attend the Temple this time.  Presidency meeting is always a good meeting and it is good to get back together with President and Sister Stucki and the other senior couples. It is always a satisfying feeling to report back that we have accomplished our assigned tasks. We are happy to do anything to make President Stucki’s load a little bit lighter and to help move the kingdom forward. 

While in Manila we also attended the Zone Leader’s Conference. As I looked around the room of Zone leaders there were 5 new Zone leaders and they all came from Palawan on this last transfer. That is a pretty good indication of the quality of missionaries that we have on Palawan. We love them all. 

President Stucki asked if I could take a few minutes and talk to the Zone Leaders about working with members. I love teaching the missionaries. I learn a lot from them and their excitement is contagious. It was a wonderful experience for me. Later as we were returning to Narra after our flight back to Palawan, our Zone Leaders thanked us for the instruction we gave and for being able to work with us in Narra. They are very good missionaries and you can’t help but love them.

Palm Oil Grove

Palm berries on tree
Sunday we were off again to Rizal Branch. This is the farthest branch in the Narra District and is located on the west side of the island.  It takes 3 hours to get there and of course the roads are the worst. We took Brother Rivera who is one of the District Auditors with us so he could do the financial audit for the District. 

gathering the palm berries for oil

Brother Rivera is another remarkable Philippine member. He is a rice farmer along with his father. Together they have 1 hectare of land. Of course my first question was whether he had a carabao. He replied: “No, but my father has one.” And then he smiled a big smile. A farmer can’t survive without a carabao. The carabao fascinate me. They are truly something that is Philippine and are a vital part of the economy over here in Palawan. They are everywhere on this island.  Anyway, we had a delightful 3 hour-long conversation about rice, farming, bananas, weather and of course the Church and his family. He was so excited to go with us because he had never been to Rizal before!  We learned that they can only plant 2 crops of rice each year. We had a lot of questions about that since we thought that you could grow anything year-round in the Philippines because the temperature and moisture were just about ideal. He reminded us that one can’t do very much in the rainy season here. Oh boy – what do we have to look forward to over here during the rainy season? We were told that there has never been a typhoon (or bagyo) reported here in Palawan. That is because the residents really don’t track the weather. They will tell you that some days it rains really hard and some days the wind blows with the rain and some days are worse than others but we have never had a typhoon here.  
During the Sacrament meeting Brother Rivera leaned over to me and asked if I would like to bear my testimony. I said: “Maybe”. He was excited and said that he would like to share his testimony. About midway through the testimony meeting he got up and walked to the front of the room and I followed right behind him. When he reached the podium and then saw that I had followed him he smiled this great big smile. I shared my testimony in Tagalog. That’s a miracle in itself. 

As we drove back to Narra, we talked again about his conversion to the church and his family. His parents are strict Catholic and attend mass every Sunday. Four of their six children have joined the Church and they are strong members. He said that his parents were not happy that they joined but they weren’t against it.  I can’t help but think that the children are so strong partly because of the example of their parents. One day I would like to meet them and thank them for raising such good kids.  Well, as we brought him back to his house he thanked us again and again for being able to be with us. We were the ones that learned the most. We love the Philippine people. 

Well, enough of the travelogue. Again, we hope that you are all doing well. We miss you and hope that you are safe, comfortable and warm, and happy. We continue to pray for each of you. We don’t have the words to really thank you for all that you have done to help us. We love you and miss you. Make sure that you give the grandkids lots and lots of hugs and kisses from us. We hope they are all doing well in school and are having fun learning new things.  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

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