Saturday, June 6, 2009

Jeepney of the week. Elder Reed chooses them; I don't have a very discerning eye. I'm mostly paying attention to the antics of the guy on the back. For a car guy though--plenty to check out.

Jeepney fact: A jeepney passes by any given spot on the average busy street every 4 seconds.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

It was a quiet week in Lake Cebubegone, our temporary home town. Our weeks are greatly shaped by the whereabouts of President and Sister Hansen. They fly around (figuratively as well as literally) to the four islands, one week doing zone conferences, one week doing missionary interviews, one week planning and executing transfers, and one week preparing for all the above. They come to the office once or twice a week, and otherwise work from their office at home. This week was an interview week so they came to the office early on, then were off island, which left us to handle the details of incoming missionaries, outgoing missionaries, lost name tags, missionary support and new apartment lease agreements. That certainly isn't all we did, but you get the picture.

Some days are quiet. We might work for a full morning without anyone calling or walking through the front door. Elder Reed resides in the back corner office and I in the lobby area. After a few hours of work, we meet in the middle just to remember that we're a team--mission companions--and discuss our labors.

We aren't glued to the office, in fact our responsibilities require us to be out and about, paying bills and going to the bank, gathering supplies and checking on details. Much of the above takes place at the mall of all places.

We also go to the post office twice a week, which if you remember is in the vicinity of Carbon Market and Fort San Pedro. Post office trips are a good time to chat and make plans, as the trip takes at least an hour, most of which is travel time. Of course we're always on the lookout for the jeepney of the week; our current search is for a Barbie jeepney--hot pink or lavender. They do exist.

This last week was Kevin's 2nd week of English classes. He continues to refine his sessions, and they are being very well received by the 10-12 students who come each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evening. All participants speak some English, and probably understand more than they are comfortable responding to. His classes are definitely "doing" classes; they all repeat, practice, learn English idioms, and sing! When I walk by their classroom there is usually laughter coming through the door, and lots of smiles. In America we can hardly imagine that being able to speak English is a valuable asset. It is for these dear people for sure. If they have good English skills they are able to improve their economic condition. Good job Elder Reed! My companion is the BEST!

Kevin with one of his students, Rackielou Ramos who is preparing for a presentation she has to make at work tomorrow.

Here are a couple of interesting pictures. We Americans are a cautious bunch. Seatbelts! Car seats! Guard rails! Restraints of every kind for our own good! It's partly because we insist on going fast. Here the pace is slower--roads narrower--more traffic, and truly, less wrecks. Not that I can imagine having my toddler on the front of a motorcycle, but hey--it's their mode of transportation. Little kids know how to hold on and balance. And you already know that there are often 4-5 family members on board, with the little children sandwiched between Mom & Dad.

Admit it. He looks like he's having the time of his life! No worries! The commander of the ship! Mom is in the side car.

Plant of the week--Magnifera indica
English name--Mango

Mangos are the favored fruit and crop in Cebu, and the locals go to great pains to produce beautiful, flavorful fruit. The best fruit has developed inside a newspaper envelope that was hand applied. Check out this tall bamboo ladder! It's just leaning into the canopy of the tree. I couldn't really capture the size of the tree so you'd appreciate how tall the ladder is without making the person tiny. When he is finished, the tree will be full of paper envelopes, kind of like a woman getting a permanent--hair full of those white papers.

I've adapted a fresh peach pie recipe to fresh mango pie for a few mission events. Oh folks! Now, my loyalty is to fresh peach pie in September, but fresh mango is just as beautiful and delicious. Besides, there are no peaches in Cebu.

Sweet moment of the week--The shipment of General Conference Liahonas were delivered on the afternoon of City Zone interviews. There were LOTS of missionaries in the office, and I was mobbed when they found out what was in the boxes. The mobbing only lasted until they each had a copy in hand. As you can see, engrossed.

I wrap up this posting by introducing you to Sister Tripoli and Sister Buarao. They are companions in an area close by and we had them over for supper one night recently. Each shared their thoughts about the gospel and serving a mission. Elder Reed and I are strengthened by "young giants" like them every day.

Sister Tripoli--"As a humble servant of the Lord, I bear you my testimony that I don't know everything but I know enough! I know that miracles have not ceased, that Heavenly Father lives. I have felt his presence in my life. Jesus is the Christ and He invites us to know Him. I love the Lord and this is my way of showing my love for Him. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and it contains the fullness of the gospel. I promise you, that if you search, ponder and pray about its truthfulness, you will experience the miracle of receiving a witness for yourself."

Sister Buarao--"Each day of my mission is a testimony of the Lord’s love for us. The people we teach help me appreciate more of the blessings brought by the gospel in our lives. I know that Heavenly Father is a loving Father. He sent His only Begotten Son to redeem us from our sins. He has restored His gospel and opened the Heavens to us once again. It is reassuring to know of His love and to testify of these things to our fellow brothers and sisters. My life has been blessed; and hopefully, through God’s grace, I can share the blessings brought by the gospel in my life, to other people's as well."

Be well. Do good works. Stay in touch