Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Week 88

May 14, 2012

Greetings once again from the Philippines. 

This has been a wonderful week of service and learning.  We began our week with a trip to Rizal on the west side of the island. 

It was a quick trip (if one considers 3 hours one-way a quick trip.) because we went down to do an apartment check and then turned around and drove back to see if we could make it back before it became dark. 

 The roads are fun during daylight hours and they become very adventuresome at night. As we have said before, the carabao do not have headlights or tail lights (although some have found a use for discarded CDs and DVDs – reflectors on carts and trikes). We made it back safely even in a rainstorm about 9:30 that evening. We were blessed and protected. I still have not developed a real interest in ‘off-roading’. 

We continue to meet regularly with members at the family history center at the District Center. We have been having fun helping the saints with their family history. 

This weekend was the District Young Single Adult Conference. Mom and I were the principle speakers for the Friday afternoon session. 

We spoke about ‘cleaving unto every good thing’ and used the iron rod demonstration to show them what it means to cleave to something. Then we talked about what the world considers ‘good’ and what ‘good’ means in a scriptural sense. We had an interesting time. The YSA participated and responded well in our training so we like to think that they had a good time also. As they were separating into their afternoon activities, the YSA rep came to us and asked if we would be at their Family Home Evening that night. We had not planned on attending but then something told us to ask if they need us there. Yes was their answer. We were honored to be a part of their Family Home Evening and talent show. They asked me to give the closing remarks for their conference.

Saturday was our Narra Branch National Day of Service. We had fun cleaning up the road by the chapel. It was a big project. 

first ones there
Everyone had a good time and worked really hard at clearing out trees and over-grown brush. The Filipinos are amazing to watch use their machetes. They are very skilled. 

Do you like the 'magic' ladder? heehee

There is nothing quite like that feeling of unity as we work in a group for a common cause. After lunch the missionaries had a wonderful baptism. What a great day – a service project and then a baptism.

Elders Chiong and Peterson and Narra Branch members
  After the baptism, it was decided that the priesthood brethren would go over to the branch president’s house and help him build his new home or bahay kubo. I was fascinated to watch the brethren put on the pawid shingles (pawid is a woven bamboo shingle – it looks like a grass roof). One of the brethren told me that the roof is guaranteed for 2 years and then it will need to be replaced. 

I wasn’t much help except to haul cement block, dirt and help mix cement by hand. But it was a great learning experience to see how this beautiful little home was built. One of the brethren asked me if we built houses like this back home – I responded that the weather was way too cold to have a house like this.  

The bahay kubo should be finished next Saturday. What a great experience this was. 

 On Sunday one of our missionaries came up to me and asked if I would confirm their new convert that was baptized yesterday. It was an honor for me to do this. She had asked specifically if I would do this for her. I explained that I could not do this in Tagalog but she said that she could understand the English. This was a very special experience for me to be a part of this new convert’s life. 

Well, transfer week is upon us once again. We expect to have numerous changes here in our Zone. Our Zone leaders have been on Palawan for 7 transfers (over 10 months) so there will probably be some changes there. We also have one Elder that has completed his mission and will be going home. We are also hopeful that the other Narra area will be reopened on this transfer. So there will be some more changes in store over this next week. 

We are doing well. It is truly a wonderful opportunity to serve here in the Philippines. We so love this country and most especially these wonderful and delightful people. They make us smile and appreciate life. President Stucki told us that 94% of the Philippine people have a belief in God. That is remarkable! We are so blessed to be here. We hope that we have done some good for them but it seems more and more that they have blessed our lives much more than we have blessed theirs. We love being missionaries and doing His work. 

We hope that all of you are healthy and happy. We continue to pray for each of you every day. Thank you again for your love, prayers and thoughts. We do miss you and are excited to see you again. Please give all of the kids lots and lots of hugs from us so they will be well prepared when we get home and smother them with lots and lots of hugs! We love you all! 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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