Saturday, April 25, 2015

An evening Walk. 4-17-2015

Sister Petersen and I went for an evening walk the other night. The photos are of thing we came across while on this walk.
Kids play in the street here. It is a little hard to tell, but these kids are playing marbels. In the evening, the kids gather together on the street in front of their houses and have fun. It reminds me of my childhood before TV hit town. Sister P had to stop and watch for awhile.

This is the Senior Center here in Molino. In the front yard. We are becoming friends with these guys. They have time to stop and talk with us. They know English quite well. I think we will be spending some time here.

Basketball is really big here in the Philippines. I can understand that. We have several courts like this one within walking distance of our apartment. The courts are covered with no walls. It is actually quite nice under the roof. Even on the hottest day, once you get out of the sun, it's not bad. This is an organized league playing right now, with uniforms and refs and an announcer on a loud speaker. I would have liked to stop and watch, but grandma had other ideas. Well we were out for a walk and not a set down. I'll be back.

We found our way to the local palengke (market). We have been here before, but did not take any photos. So here is our palengke.

The eggs are not a refrigerated item here. Even the big stores have them out on a dry storage shelf. We have learned by now that when buying eggs, the buyer beware. I grew up around eggs all of my like, so I already knew that eggs could be kept this way. But in our quest in the U.S. for perfect food, we have gone way beyond what is necessary. We could learn some reality from the Philippinos.

I had no idea there were so many different kinds of rice. This is even one of the smaller stores. Rice is king here and I couldn't be happier. I have grown to love rice even before coming here. We haven't tried all of this yet, but we are on course.

Open air vegetable stands. We know we need to exercise some care here. Fruits and vegetables need to be cleaned. There are things on them that our systems are not used to. But I love looking for things we have never seen before. 

We bought mangos and corn at this stand. We ran into the woman setting in front a few days later. She remembered us and we had a great visit with her. She is a good person, and a new friend. And the mangos were great.

On to the fish and meat sections. OK, I will admit, Sister P went in alone. I am still adjusting to the smell of open air meats. She will ask people if she can take their pictiure. Most say yes and will even ham it up some. For the most part, they are fun loving. Notice, one man hams it up while the other one hides.

Squid anyone?

He is armed for flies. 

This man is on the street in front of a meat market cooking the inventory. Notice, he put his hand in his apron like Napoleon when asked if we could take his photo. I wanted to taste his wares, but it's bawal for the missionaries to get food from street vendors.

This good woman is pealing hard boiled quail eggs. Quite a task considering the size of the eggs. We have already eaten some. They are like a chicken eggs, only a lot smaller. I once raised quail and pheasants. I ate the eggs from both then. Both same as chicken eggs.

A McDonalds!!! Well kind of. They sell the McDonnald's ice cream only. This one is at our palengke, the second photo is at the Bacoor SM mall. Needless to say, Sister P and I like this concept....a lot.

This photo is from a few days later at a dinner appointment. This is Jack fruit. We have never eaten it before, but it is great. I think it has a bubble gum taste to it. The fruit before being cut looks like a vegetable porcupine. 

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Update-The Family who lives under the Mango tree 4-18-15

The Elders who found and are teaching the little family who lives under the big mango tree stopped by our apartments the other night. They had something they wanted to show us that they clearly treasured. When they stopped by the mango tree earlier in the evening, the kids ran out to meet them, and gave them the following drawing that they had done for these Elders. I had to post this drawing in two parts because it's size.

This is the Sena family. They are the family that lives in the little shack that is located under the big old mango tree. Sister Petersen and I got to meet most of the family on our first visit to their home. Then they were at church the Sunday before General Conference. There we got to meet the dad.
The Elders continue to teach them the lessons. The bond that forms between missionaries and those they teach is wonderful. 

And this is Elder Hansen and Elder Matina. 
I love this drawing. I love the effort these kids put into this drawing, and I can see why the Elders treasure it. Those who know our beliefs may notice that there is something in this picture that seem o little out of place. But it's ok. This is how these kids would designate a religious person.
There was some concern expressed about how little this family has. Each member of the family would have at best two changes of cloths. The father does work. They do have money, but the yearly income of many Philippino families is low. A lot of what they make would go for food. They have so little, but the seem to ok with it. They seem to be happy. We in the U.S. have lots of stuff. Our drawers are full of stuff, our closets are full of stuff, our garages are full of stuff, we have storages sheds that are full of stuff. Some people have so much stuff in their homes that there is no room left there to live. A lot of our time and resources are used in stuff management. And we all seem to be on a never ending quest to get more stuff. A lot of this stuff we do not use, or is not used very often. And are we more happy because of our stuff? I vote no. There is a lesson to be learned from the family that lives in the little shack that is located under the old mango tree. Stuff accumulation does not equal happiness. More stuff is not an answer.

I wanted to show some random pictures of some things we have seen while we have traveled around. There are things I would like to have a picture of, but it took me too long to get the photo app up, and I lost the moment. People using their freedom to use their ingenuity.

How many people can fit on a motorcycle? At least 4.

If all you own is a Tricycle, load it up anyhow.

Zumba classes anyone?

I think I posted this one before, but it's worth a second round. 

I was a little close on this one, but believe me. This tricycle is loaded full.

Load of bamboo.

I love this country.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Elder Toledo 4-14-15

This is Elder Bowen Calunod Toledo. He is a native Philippino. He lives in Zamboaga Del Sur. That is on the island of Mindanao. That is the most southern group of islands in the Philippine Islands. The Philippines is divided into three groups of islands. Mindanao is in the south, Visagas is the center group and Luzon is the northern group. We are on Luzon. 
It would not be safe for us to go to Mindanao. The church has three missions on Mindanao. All of the missionaries that serve there are native Philippinos. I am told that it is a beautiful  place. Much of the agriculture is grown there. Elder Echo Hawk told me that he has been to Mindanao on church business, but he was escorted by armed guards. This is Elder Toledo's home.
He is the only member of the church in his family. He himself has only been a member for just under three years counting the time he has served on his mission.  I have only known him for about two weeks. But the smile on his face, the light in his eyes and the firmness of his handshake tell me that he is a special soul. I asked him for permission to post about him. He wrote a little of his story for me. I have written it below. English is not his language, but he does well. I helped edit his story a little, but only with his approval. In my opinion, this young man is a modern day pioneer.

I am Elder Toledo. I was baptized on June 12, 2012. This is my conversion story

I visited the house of my cousin. He was a new member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. During this time the missionaries visited my cousins home. I met the missionaries at that time. This is the start of my conversion. It was not always easy. Sometimes I did not want to accept them, so I would hide from them. My cousin invited me to a few church activities like basketball. One of these activities that I will not forget was a Youth Conference. I learned so much at this Youth Conference, especially an activity called mini MTC (Mission Training Center). One Brother asked me at what age I wanted to serve a mission. I did not even know what a mission was. I answered, "I think at 21 years old". They did not know that I was not a member of the church.
After that the missionaries taught me in the house of my cousin every day at 6:00PM. I invited my friends and my brother and a few of my cousins. I was baptized on June 12, 2012.
After a month I did not attend church anymore because my parents were against it. My father told me that we had lots of things to do. Many times I did not follow what he said because I love God more than my father.
At about one month the missionaries found me on the basketball court on a Sunday. They taught me in the barangay hall about the Sabbath day. I remember the scripture they used,

 Mosiah 13:16-19,
16. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
17. Six days shalt thou labor, and do all thy work.
18. But the seventh day, the Sabbath of the Lord thy God, thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.
19. For in six days the Lord made the earth, and the sea, and all that in them is; wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it".

After that I attended church meetings and was active. I did not do what my parents told me to do, I attended church and I always prayed that God would help me.
After 6 months I received the priesthood, on November 18, 2012. After ten months of being a member, I prepared to serve a mission. I received many trails and challenges from my friends, my family, my uncle and from other cousins. But they did not win because I have a great desire to serve a mission.
I started my mission on July 4, 2014. 
I am here to serve the Lord. I have no contact or support from my family. I am the only member in my family.
I love this work.

This is his story. I feel humbled as I walk and work with such people. God truly is blessing the people of the Philippines.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Under the Mango tree 4/5/15

We have 4 sets of Elders that live next to us. There are 3 apartments in our building, and the Church has leased all three. One of these set of Elders invited us to go along with them to one of their lessons. They are teaching a family that is living under a huge Mango tree. They told us it was ok with this family if we took some pictures. We were very excited for the opportunity to meet this family.
We had to park on the Main Street and walk down to their house. Many of the poor people here do not own the land they build their shacks on. It seems to be excepted.

This is the lane we needed to walk down to get to this family. 

This is the tree, and this is the family. A father (who was not here when we visited), a mother and four kids.

The Elders visited with the family a little, but decided to wait until the father was there to teach the lesson.

The mother asked the older daughter to go get the "Aklak ni Mormon" that the Elders had given to them on an earlier visit. She had some questions about it. The girl got up and ran and jumped through the window that is shown below and returned through the door with the book.

The family is very proud of their tree. It is well over a hundred years old. The exposed roots are massive and is a very nice place to sit, and for the kids to play. It is a beautiful tree. 

We visited for awhile. We had some candy that I gave to the kids, which they were greatful for. This little family had almost nothing, but they had smiles on their faces. They were not miserable as we westerners might suspect. They seemed to be happy. 
They may never remember us, but I do not believe I will ever forget them. Today, they taught me. I have been thinking about them ever since our visit. I think this visit may be a life altering event for me.
A gift from the family that lives in the little shack under ths Mango tree. They are in a every way.....
Mga Anak ng Diyos (children of God).

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Fire 3/30/2015. Lunch with the Luyon family 4/1/2015

Things are getting dry here. We did not expect that here in the Philippinies.
Things started happening just as soon as we got into the office Monday morning. Later in the day we noticed smoke out side. I went out to see what was going on. The open area behind the mission office was on fire. We had a few anxious moments before we realized it would not reach us. I did think I was going to be a firefighter for a while. Maybe I could use my tie to beat out the flames. 

The next day, the area was still smoking.

The goat (can not see real well) did not seem to mind. 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, we were invited to lunch along with other missionaries to the Luyon family. They are some of the pioneers here in the Philippines. Brother Luyon is an engininger. He work out of the country and can only come home every few months. This is something many Phillipinos do. He was just released as a Brench President in the area where he works. 
What a great lunch.

These are wonderful people. There are many wonderful people here. I really like the people of this country.