Sunday, April 25, 2010

Did I mention RATS!!

Monday we enjoyed FHE with our Zone. We always appreciate the time we spend with the Elders and they are so amazing. It was transfer week so we went to Makati on Tuesday. We took the car to the PBO and they fixed the bumper owie while we went across the street to the Temple. It was a full session with the Senior Couples, 12 going home missionaries and a few extras thrown in. That evening was dinner and testimony meeting at the Mission Home. Two of our Naic alumni went home. Elder Vaka and Elder Arrelano will both be missed. They were hard working and dedicated missionaries and a pleasure to serve with. Wednesday and Thursday were spent getting stuff ready for our special dental project. On Saturday we attended the District Kiddie Conference and did a workshop on dental care. It was great fun and the kids were pretty dang good even if the topic was a bit boring. Dental hygiene is a real issue here. Many children exhibit early signs of decay and tooth loss. We taught about proper tooth brushing technique (with the help of 3 lovely Laurels from Tanza Branch) and pretended to brush our teeth and played some games. We were near the end of the conference so as the children were leaving we gave each one a bag with a toothbrush, toothpaste, instruction sheet, tooth brushing record chart, coloring pages and crayons inside. They were all excited about them and we’re hoping it will encourage some of them. We handed out 230 bags. Aunt Faith and Uncle Devon sent some money to help pay for the supplies and we surely appreciated it.

Friday night we went to the Tanza branch for a FHE. There was lots of fun with entertainment from the Primary and YM/YW and games for everyone. Elder and Sister taught the song “Horsy, Horsy” and then danced a jitter bug. Yes, we were a hit. Isn’t that what it means when everyone is laughing and applauding?

We were blessed to attend baptisms for 6 new members this weekend. It is such a pleasure to hear the testimonies of those new converts. We look forward to those moments. It was especially nice to see several of our alumni who came back for the baptisms. With transfers this week we lost 5 and gained 5 but the departing Elders will have a special spot in our hearts even as we learn to love the new ones.

Yes, we did mention rats! For some unknown reason they’ve decided once again to visit our back room. We’ve been on search and destroy missions and have terminated 2 so far. Not certain why there has been an influx but be assured, it won’t last long!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Showering with Frogs

It’s hot!  The natives are even complaining about the heat!  Sister Smith thinks heat is a four letter word, not the good kind.  Elder Smith does great and even takes his afternoon nap with the temperature in the bedroom at 95 degrees and higher.  Our aircon isn’t very efficient and only cools a bit and costs a blooming fortune to run so, we just complain lots and sweat! 

                We were invited to the Cavite Zone for a Family Home Evening on the 12th.  It was so fun.  There are 24 Elders and Sisters in the Zone and they had also invited the Hussey’s and Thomas’s and investigators and recent converts. 

With 50 of us in attendance it was a real treat.  Elder Smith was the concluding speaker and did a nice (short) talk. 

Sister Betts and Sister Garcia with some investigators

Elder Richwine (Naic alumni) and Elder Hubert

Tuesday we had choir and then spent the afternoon visiting less actives here in Naic.  Wednesday we picked up and then delivered a stack of chairs to the Hussey’s for some apartments. 

Thursday we spent on-the-road looking at possible apartments for the Maragondon Elders.  We also contacted their landlady about some of the problems in the current place.  Friday we met with her and ironed out things and repair work will be starting on Monday.  The four Elders will be moving into the ZL apartment next door until the repairs are completed. 

Saturday we met the Hussey’s at the Maragondon apartment to review all the things that were happening and then came to our place to pick up a sofa.  We then followed them to Cavite City and unloaded it into an apartment there.  It is so strange here because it isn’t that far in miles from place to place but it takes forever to get anywhere.  We were traveling for 5 or more hours and it is about 20 miles each way.  At least it is cool in the car so we don’t whine too much.  Didn’t do much missionary work this week but helping the Hussey’s and the Elder’s with the apartment situations is part of the job also.

Elder Adamson and Elder Ramos our Mission TA's.  They came for dinner and a visit after training here in Naic Zone

"Tim Tam Slam"  Tim Tam is a cookie made in Australia.  Elder Mahe got some and was nice enough to share.  When Sister Jeane saw them she was so excited.  In her mission (Hong Kong) they had a tradition with Tim Tam's.  You make hot chocolate and then use the cookies as a straw.  They are chocolate covered wafers with caramel inside.  Really yummy!  The cocoa melts it as you suck and it is a real treat
Mexican Fiesta FHE  The taco casserole is sooo good.  Will be putting the recipe on the

It will be a very busy week ahead with stuff packing nearly every day. Oh yes, the frog!  Last night Sister Smith hopped into the shower and there was a frog sitting in the corner.  His eyes were really bugging out which is understandable.  Someone that big and naked would scare anyone.  Elder Smith came to the rescue and escorted him outside.  It’s not even the rainy season yet so this is not a good omen. 
Yes, we still have our Tuko.  He serenades us all the time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Loved Conference!

We had a terrific week! Monday night was FHE and our Elders did a great job and had lots of fun. We fixed Sister Smith’s version of Pepper Steak with rice, corn, rolls and ice cream for dessert. All you have to do is add calamansi and it becomes Filipino! Love those little green babies!

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent visiting and choir practicing and all sorts of good stuff.

Thursday we went with the Tagg’s, Hussey’s and Thomas’s to Tagaytay to visit the Peoples Park there. It is up on a hill and has an amazing view of the surrounding area.

Giant Pineapple in Peoples ParkWe rode in a Jeepney up and down the mountain which was fun. After walking, visiting and sight-seeing we went to Alfonso (a nearby Barangay).

We went to a Bed and Breakfast called Sonya’s Garden. What a delightful place! They grow their own veggies, chickens, eggs and fruits so everything is wonderfully fresh. We had a late lunch there which consisted of: freshly picked salad greens, boiled egg, pineapple, olives, cucumber, broad beans, mango, jackfruit, papaya and who knows what else. The salad bowl was surrounded by the toppings and you piled on whatever you wanted. The salad dressing was Sonya’s secret recipe and was great. With the salad there was fresh baked whole wheat sesame bread with homemade dips and toppings including: basil pesto, white cheese (fabulous), anchovies, bruschetta, mushroom pate, black olive tapenade and fresh green peppercorn in olive oil. Then they served pasta. There were two sauces: sun dried tomato and chicken cream with mango. Then, more toppings: ratatouille, salmon belly, shitake mushrooms, black olives, capers and grated parmesan cheese. As if that wasn’t enough, then came dessert. We had glazed sweet potato, banana rolls with sesame and jackfruit, and dark, rich chocolate cake. Everything was served with freshly-squeezed dalandan (green mango) juice. Now for the really good part: it was all-you-can eat! So, if you like pineapple, have some more. Cake? Yep, just ask. It was an explosion of flavors that we have rarely enjoyed before. The cost was P610 per person (about $12.00). After lunch (2.5 hours) we went on a tour of the gardens, greenhouses, and cottages. It really felt a bit like we were in an English garden. Everything was very Victorian and so many beautiful details!

Elder Hussey in one of the green houses We can’t wait to go back.

Friday we left for the Mission Home. Pres. and Sis. Howard and the Golding’s joined the rest of the seniors and we went to Tony Roma’s for dinner. (No, we do not eat all of the time!) Well, maybe we do. The weekend was a big sleep-over with viewing of all 5 sessions of conference and the YW broadcast. What a spiritual feast! We were in charge of preparing breakfast for both days and dinner on Saturday evening so we did get in some cooking time. We even baked Bisquick rolls (first thing we’ve baked over here) on Saturday evening and then served them with sausage gravy and beef gravy (SOS) the next morning. We spent lots of time discussing Mission happenings and working on solutions and ways to improve the Mission. Great company! Great Conference! Good friends! Spiritual Feast!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Happy Easter

We had a lovely and busy Easter Sunday.  We went to our regular meetings in the Tanza Branch this morning and enjoyed the fast and testimony meeting.  Elder Smith taught the YSA class and then I went to YW and rounded up some volunteers for an activity we’re planning later in the month.  We met with the District Primary president during the afternoon to work on ideas for the Kids Conference on the 24th then headed back to Tanza for a missionary fireside.  The fireside was well attended and everyone seemed excited about the suggestions to increase branch activity and encourage missionary work.  Our full time Elders were in charge and did a great job.  Elder Afaga and Elder Avincula are such a dynamic companionship and are working very hard.

Our week was hectic with Area Book checks in 3 Zones, Tuesday in Cavite, and Wednesday in DasMarinias and Thursday in Naic. 

During the next couple of weeks we will be visiting two more Zones and getting their books in order.  It is always fun to meet the missionaries and to see our Naic alumni so we look forward to this assignment.

We had a visit from Elder Tadeo (former ZL) on Thursday and he stayed with us overnight and was able to visit with some of his old converts etc. 

We were so happy to see him and proud to see how well he is doing.  We’ve been blessed to hear from several of our released Elders and we love it. 

Early Friday afternoon Elder Smith went with the Ternate Elders, Elder Homer and Elder Hart to visit inactive and recent converts in Ternate.  Their first visit was a recent convert who the Elders had been encouraging to go to the temple to do baptisms for the dead.  Somehow she thought she had to wait a year before she could go at all.  Elder Smith shared the Family History program with her and she seemed excited to start on her genealogy.  They then went with President Ramos and his recently returned missionary son to visit several other inactive families. Friday evening  we went to Trece Martires to witness Sister Jovie being set apart for her mission.  She went into the Manila MTC Saturday morning and will be serving in the Bagio Philippines Mission.  President and Sister Howard were here and after Pres. did the honors we went to King Bee (a senior couple favorite) for dinner.  The Hussey’s and Thomas’s were there also. 

After dinner we headed back to Naic and as we were going through the main intersection in Trece we got “kissed” by a speeding SUV.  Elder Smith hit the brakes with a vengeance and stopped just short of disaster. 

Our front bumper and license plate look pretty pathetic but there were no injuries and only superficial damage to the SUV.  This preceded our first experience in a Philippine police station.  Now that was interesting! 

No citations were issued and we will be forwarding the police report to the PBO once we get it on Monday afternoon.  It was fascinating to be seated next to the driver of the SUV.  She started asking where we are from and why and how long we’ve been here.  So, being a good missionary, Sister Smith OYM’ed her.  We reviewed the Articles of Faith and she has her own copy now.  She is Catholic and one of her bosses is LDS but she really didn’t know anything about the Church.  Once the accident stuff is settled we’ll be turning her name and address over to the Elders in Trece.  Saturday we attended a baptism for the Maragondon Branch.  Baptisms have been down this month for the entire Mission.  Not sure what the problem was but there are a ton scheduled for April.

Another new month and new fruit!  This one is Chico. 
Yes, it really is brown and has a rough leathery skin.  The inside is also brown and leathery (kind of tastes like leather too).  Actually it is juicy and sort of sweet but chewy and dare we say it again, leathery?  Once it has ripened it has an aroma like beer.  Yes, we sniffed it.  According to Sister Jean if you eat 5 or more ripe ones you’ll get pretty hammered.  No, we didn’t try it.