Monday, December 7, 2009

A spiritual high!

It’s quite a deal when one of the highlights of our mission takes place in the Las Vegas Temple! Our daughter Heather and her husband, Nathan and their two boys were sealed on December 1st. We are so thrilled for them! Such a beautiful family and blessing for us all. Many others in our family were there with them to represent us and we certainly appreciate that. Congratulations Kids!

It was Zone FHE again this week and we had a good one. The Tanza Elders were in charge of the games this time and they had some wild ones. We haven’t heard so much laughter in years! We always have lots of fun but this one was almost out-of-control fun. We fixed some Beef Kaldereta and Sister Smith’s chicken ulam for dinner. Beef Kaldereta is just a spicy beef stew that can be eaten alone but is usually served with rice. The chicken ulam is a progressing recipe that we’ve been inventing and the Elders love it. They finally named it “Sister Smith’s Chicken Ulam” at this last dinner. They all say it’s the best whether they are American or Filipino. I’ll be posting the recipe on the family recipe blog site. It is best with calamansi juice in it so will have to substitute for that. The next FHE will be on the 14th and we are going to go caroling. Can’t wait!

Not quite as many baptisms this week but have included a picture of one held at Ternate yesterday. They (Ternate) have 8 baptisms scheduled for Christmas Day and every other Branch has several baptismal dates throughout the month. Our Manila Mission had 200 baptisms for the month of November. Not sure how that compares to other missions around the world but we think it is pretty dang good.

Another month, another fruit. Okay, so this isn’t really a strange or unique fruit but it is different here than in the US. Bananas are our featured delight. We went to the palanke (market) on Friday and bought 5 different, common varieties. The ones in the US, like Cavanagh, are imported here also from South America or wherever so we didn’t count them. These are all native bananas and can be found growing all over the place. A. is saging na saba and is used for cooking in soups etc. B. is saging na berde and is green even when ripe. It is a firm and sort of pithy variety. K. is a saging na senorita and must be yellow before eating. D. is a saging na tundan and is for eating. E. is a saging na lakatan also for eating. We like the tundan and lakatan. Lakatan tastes most like the banana we are used to eating. The tundan has a hint of apple-ish flavor. The berde is nasty (our opinion), senorita is alright and the saba is pretty good too. (F.Y.I. There is not a letter C in the Tagalog alphabet instead they use K. So, A,B,K,D,E is actually correct.)

Just had a group of carolers at the front gate. We’ve been getting “caroled to” since the 3rd week in November. Mostly it is younger kids but the other night we had a group of adults. They had guitar accompaniment and sounded really good. They sang “Whispering Hope” as one of their songs. I hadn’t thought of it as a Christmas carol but it was done beautifully and we enjoyed it. We keep candy on hand to give out after performances. According to the locals this will continue and get more frequent until the holiday.
The local lawn mower:

Cutting grass in the Philippines requires a machete and being able to squat for hours

Piles of waste after the trimming in our front yard. They spent several hours cutting grass for P250.00 (about $5.00).


Ginger said...

It was so neat to go to the temple with Heather. I can't believe the grass cutting guy... ugh! You two are so amazing and doing a marvelous work! Love you!!!

Willis said...

You've got to give me the recipe blog site address. I'm not too good without a pinoy giving me hints...