Happy March! Ito ang akin kalahati! Ano ba iyan! We are heading into Filipino summer… it has been hot, hot, hot this week and I have a feeling the heat is only going to rise from here. Although it was so hot this week it has poured rain today and that was probably a blessing and reminder to us from the heavens. For our district activity we went to the BEACH! There is a beach in the Elders area so we took 1 rugby ball, a cake we made for our district leader’s birthday, 12 cups of rice, chicken (went on top of the rice) and 8 flip flop wearing missionaries. We all piled into a tricey and headed toward the waves. I thought about those summer trips to Newport when we were younger and would visit the beach and on Sunday and would “only get our feet wet, we promise!” Of course we generally ended up soaking wet from head to toe. Since it is against the rules to go swimming, we really only did get our feet wet but the desire to jump in was still there. The water was really warm! The experience of diving into the ocean water in west coast California is more like my shower experience each morning - as I gasp at the freezing water. The experience of feeling the ocean water in Tigaon city is similar to the temperature of our swimming pool!
On Saturday we had another family home evening. The ward missionaries have become FHE addicts and we are running out of lesson plan ideas. I ordered a group of movies about the doctrine and covenants and one of the movies was the story of John Moyle - only a stone cutter. I know it is one of mom’s favorite and it is quite inspirational. We watched that for our lesson and I was so inspired by the dedication to the Lord of this simple man who faced so many difficulties. After his accident he was determined to walk the 22 miles to Salt Lake when his wife told him he was only a stone cutter and there were plenty of people to take his place. He replied to his wife that even though he was only a stone cutter it was his calling and therefore he would continue to serve.
One of the families that attended the FHE was the Enciso Couple. Brother Enciso is the 2nd counselor in the bishopric and Sister Enciso is the Relief Society president. They recently opened a small food stand on the side of the highway. They are not open on Sundays and so Saturday is an important business day to make up for what they won’t sell on Sunday. Although they would have many customers on Saturday night - they close shop to attend the FHE because of their simple dedication to God’s work. There are days out here when I feel that my efforts are insignificant. I feel that my Tagalog could be better, that people don’t want to listen, or that I am running in circles not making a difference. The examples of a humble stonecutter and an elderly Filipino couple remind me that there is power in one person’s sincere effort. Even though I am only one missionary - this is my calling and therefore I continue forward.
Jesrell and Jelissa passed their baptismal interviews! Yay! Their baptism is on Saturday. Earlier this week we were invited to their home for a small birthday party. They live in a small bamboo home with dirt floors and some sleep on the floor while some sleep in hammocks above. The mom had to work late. When we got there we started washing dishes and cutting onions, and boiling water to make spaghetti. As I held a flashlight overhead for Jezrell to wash the pan with a basin of water, I had the most nostalgic feeling of early trips to Lake Powell. As the night was ending the nanay (or mom) told us she had saved two days of work money to buy the cake. On Saturday we bought the same cake for the elder in our district. It wasn’t a big deal for us but for this family that cake resembles two full work days. I continue to be amazed by people here. They are so happy and loving in spite of the challenges in their lives. We bought a necktie and white shirt to give to Jezrell for his baptism. I can’t wait!
Story of the week: On Sunday a little boy was following me around at church. He was from the other ward so he hadn’t seen the white missionary before. As I was talking to his parents he kept pushing all my freckles on my arm like buttons. Then I felt a sudden tug on my hair and he had yanked out a strand of my hair. Apparently the novelty of freckles/moles and the white hair were more than he could resist.
Thanks for maintaining all the blogs. I love reading about Speen and Meg. It is good there are only elders in Spencer’s district so that the Hermanas are not subjected to the Elder stuff we had to endureJ. Meg’s hair is so cute. With that cut she is a sister mish for sure now haha.
Well love you all! Keep on Keepin’ on. We are doing great here in the bastion of Bikol.
Love from the Pines,