December 31 – Happy New Year
The year 2015 is drawing to a close and has been a very good year for us. Wanted to relate a special experience that happened while working with the small Malinao Branch leaders. After speaking with the Branch President, it was important that we contact Stake Pres Quejada and get a copy of the Branch Directory that week. We weren’t sure how to contact him but as we left church and drove past a nearby chapel, Sister Jex saw some people in the parking lot and wanted me to stop. We went back and found that one of them was Pres Quejada, the very person we wanted to contact. We had never met him before. Not only that, but he had a church computer with the Malinao information there in the Atimonan chapel. We went inside and within a little while had a copy of the Branch Directory we needed. The Spirit works in marvelous ways. Sister Jex felt prompted to stop there. The Stake Pres just happened to be there. That was where the records we needed were. It all happened so fast – within minutes of the need being understood. It all fit together too nicely to be a coincidence.
We are always impressed with the creativeness and ingenuity of the people here. As an Engineer, I’m impressed that they find simple solutions that are efficient, cost effective, and easy to implement. Sister Jex wanted to share some of her photos of their creative solutions. In 2016 we hope to be as creative and ingenuitive with our situations.
Cement Truck with Crew Cab
Coconut picking catwalk
Abandoned RR Reclamation with a “Skate” for local transportation
Highway has multi-use, includes drying tray for rice and corn.
Weed Eater / Bush Hog
Double Decker Bus
Cattle truck with crew cab and goat balcony
December 25 – Merry Christmas
Hope you have a very Merry Christmas wherever you are. Christmas here is exciting for the 44 missionaries in Lopez and Lucena zones that we help with. They make a phone call home today and on Mother’s Day. With a recent typhoon that passed below us and the following tropical storms we’ve had a lot of wet apartments to keep us busy. Nothing serious – just exciting adventures to write home about. One companionship spent the night sleeping at the church because their apartment was next to the ocean. Another came home to find their beds (foam mattresses on the floor) had become giant sponges. While visiting member’s homes during the storms, we move slightly here or there to avoid leaks in the roof. It’s part of life, like ghost ants, and everyone remains happy and cheerful.
December 7 – The Po Family on Old Zig Zag Road
“Till we all come in the unity of faith…” Ephesians 4:13
We drove along old Zig Zag road to attend the Malinao Branch across the mountain. It has hairpin curves, bolder and tree encroachments, and road slides. Many volunteers along Zig Zag road wave their red and green flags to help vehicles not collide or fall off. All work together to keep safe and progress to their destination.
At church everyone was very friendly and happy to see us, the first missionary couple to visit for a long time. We couldn’t speak much Tagalog but could feel their strong spirit. They told us, My name is Salud Po or My Name is Laurel Po and so forth. We thought Wow, Everyone’s last name is Po! When asked if we could call them Brother Po or Sister Po, they laughed and say no. Found out later that they put Po at the end of everything to make it polite – even in English: Good morning Po, Welcome Po, Thank you Po.
We told them about the Po family mixup and that the Malinao Branch family is like a large Po family with everyone helping each other to progress safely, just like the Zig Zag road people.
The Filipino Banduria instruments in the video have 14 strings, more strings than the children playing them are years old. The video was taken during a Recital at the Luban Chapel. Notice the piano keyboards in the background that were donated by Harmon foundation through Elder and Sister Lambson to all those who graduated from the program.
December 2, 2015 – Speaking from the Dust
“Behold, I speak unto you as though I speak from the dead; for I know that ye shall have my words.” Mormon stating just before he buries the plates that he realized he is fulfilling Isaiah’s prophecy about the voice of a people speaking from the dust. Mormon 9:30
We were reading this scripture today and thought it related to us. Unlike our Guam mission, we have a senior couple here before us, Elder and Sister Lambson. They have stayed for a few days to show us all the places we need to go and tell us what we need. It is great to “have their words” and not struggle to learn everything ourselves the hard way. Even if all our GPS locations get erased (which happened today after a map upgrade) we have their drawn maps and written directions.
Isn’t is also great that we have the written scriptures left by prophets to similarly guide us. Heavenly Father wants us to be successful in our life’s mission and be in the right places. The scriptures tell us what we need. We can follow the prophets and keep the commandments instead of struggling through life blindly.
P.S. The photo is of a Carabao (water buffalo) cart we rode on P-day at Villa Escudero.