Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hello dear ones,

Thank you for thinking of us--praying for us--sending us cheery hellos. You can have feelings of being far from home at the same time you're living a grand adventure, and hearing from you helps us keep the balance.

I started writing a commentary on the week only to realize that it would be very long if I tried to describe it adequately. How about 10,000 words worth of pictures, and just a few words? Here goes:
**Lost power for the first time--we woke up to our apartment feeling like a sauna.
**Lost the Internet for four days--maybe connected to the power outage--who knows?
**Went across the mountains again, this time to retrieve supplies from a closed missionary apartment.
**Saw our first rice planting and harvest. (Part of the trip across the mountains.)
**Started teaching piano lessons (Ann).
**Got the internet back.
**Participated in a Jubilee service project.
**Had an even bigger power outage--whole region--multiple islands. Thank goodness the mall has backup generators so we had some place to cool off.
**Taught our first Family Relations class in Sunday School.
**Experienced a tropical rain storm--video and commentary to follow. It was pretty cool.
**Continued learning our office duties.
**A little more Cebuano.

I know we keep putting up pictures of the tropical mountains and they all look the same; can't help ourselves! When we're out like this one or the other of us exclaims "we're living in a tropical paradise" at least once. Now look out the windows to the right...

This rice field is being plowed in preparation for planting. Now look out the windows to the left...

This field is being planted. And further along on the left...

The harvest. We hesitate to take pictures of people--this is THEIR LIFE after all. But these folks stopped their work and enjoyed our interest in their work.

The village of Lamac is pretty much the end of the road, although there is a branch, a chapel, and missionaries serving there. Children are always very interested in us as we creep through these little towns. They come out to the road and look warily. We are so white, you know. We wave and are friendly; sometimes they wave back or call out "Hi Joe".

Do you ever feel like your laundry takes too long? I'm sure these clothes were hand scrubbed. It's all in your perspective.

This waterfall was visible as we worked our way up the road to the pool known as The Waters of Mormon where the local branch holds their baptismal services.

The Waters of Mormon, also known as a jumping, diving, swimming, laundry spot.

This is Elmer, my most driven piano student. That's not to say that the other 24 are only half motivated. It's just that he showed up for his first lesson and declared that he needed to be able to play the piano by Monday, because he's leaving for Manila to go to school. He already had a little musical background, so in a half hour he was playing "I Am A Child of God", slowly and carefully, and excitedly.

Saturday morning was a service project in a city park where we cleaned up leaves and trash. We met at the church (the one right outside our apartment door) at 6:00 am and took a jeepney to the park. These are some of the missionaries in City Zone--all great young men and women. The one in the very front--Elder Tecson is going home this week--Boo Hoo! Talk about a bright, optimistic, hard worker! We'll miss his capable leadership--jokingly threatening to keep him here until he looks at least 21!

Can't say I blame my star piano student from wanting to hang out with these lovely Filipina missionaries! We are still clean and cool here--before our labors began.

You may be across the world but you are close in our hearts. We love the gospel! There is great peace and strength in knowing it is true.

See you in the next blog.

Elder & Sister Reed in Cebu