Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sagbayan group and ocean baptism

More Happenings on the Island of Bohol
These Elders live here - Elder Mata and Elder Espiritu - and they were so excited to open up this new area and meet in their apartment. The big doors is where they hold church and you will see that on the inside - you go in and face the street.  They don't use the doors.
Inside their door.  This is where they hold Primary and up the stairs is their apartment.  This dear Sister has 13 children I think.  Her husband is the group leader.

This is set up for Sacrament meeting and we are facing the big doors.  Kind of noisy but they are so happy to have a place to meet.  The Elders totally set this up to every detail.  Elder Halladay and I spent a few days hauling chairs, pulpit, blackboard etc.  We got them what they needed but they organized and took care of everything and did a wonderful job.  They had about 25 come.
The back of the room is their kitchen.  They cleaned EVERYTHING off and covered it to make it look nice.  The door leads to the "dirty kitchen".
The worst part was the "comfort room" they call it.  The shower leaks - the drain is up in the corner where you can't see it.  We hope they will change the shower into a sink and it will solve the drain problem as well.  Feet get wet as you use this facility.
In case you think this is in a fancy area - this is across the street.
And this is also across the street - looking from the balcony of the apartment.
This is a dirty kitchen they call it.  You can see the sink, the gas cooker is on the side and the water jug is the blue.  That is the only water you dare drink,  They don't have drinking water in any church.
Another view of the dirty kitchen.   This is out the back door of their apartment.
When we first got to Calape where we live I had HUGE bad thoughts about our apartment.  I wondered if I could make it work.  When I saw what others live in ours looked better all the time.  This is the 2nd place we saw and it is the zone leaders apartment.  The toilet is about a foot and a half off the ground.  There is no seat.
Christmas Eve at our apartment.  Sister Tanner's daughter came over from Brigham and Marie sent a few things from home with her that I had requested.  I wrapped in garbage sacks as it was the only thing I had.  Norm was short on ties so Marie sent 4 more out of his closet.  Soon as I got the package at Thanksgiving I just hung one of the new ties on Norm's rack.  It was a maroon one which he didn't have any that color.  He wore it the next day and never said a word.  So a week later I add another tie and he wears it and never says a word.  The third week I add another tie and the same thing.  For Christmas I wrapped the last tie.  He couldn't figure out how I got that tie.  Marie also sent a package of tapioca which I can't buy here and he loves and she sent a few more CD's to add to our 1.  It was a fun Christmas.  Wondering if I have enough energy to put away my decoration !?!!
Another earthquake disaster from a year ago.
Saturday, December 27th we went to Ubay - 2 hours away for another ocean baptism.  They are very precious occasions.  They asked us during the week if we could come and help transport people as it takes about a half hour to get there.  The baptism was at 10 and they wanted us there at 9 so that meant leaving at 7:00.  They also wanted me to give a talk on families are eternal.

The night before I get another text which says, sorry Sister but we have to change the time of the baptism to 8:00 - can you be here at 7:00.  That meant up at 4:30 to leave at 5:00.  The loss of sleep was well worth it.  It was a lovely ride that time of morning.  It started raining before we got there.  This is the long, bumpy, muddy road to the ocean.
When we got there the tide was way out.  I just didn't think it was going to happen but after a little bit the sun came out and it was a lovely day.
This is the dear sister who was baptized - Sister Esterlina Mendez Bulabox and her brother who baptized her.  He is very active.  The week before in church he was giving the lesson and talked about the Philippines being Zion.  He had been to the states but he said the Philippines was the best.
This is the group that attended the baptism.  The branch president is on the front left.  Then two missionaries and the sister missionaries who taught her.  Other members and friends etc.
The sister is standing by her husband who is going to be baptized in January if he lives the Word of Wisdom.  Those are the sister missionaries and her brother.
We have already walked out quite a ways and they are still walking.
Beautiful scenery and a beautiful day.  A very spiritual experience.
They were quite delighted to gather star fish.
The Branch President's wife always furnishes food.  That pot is full of Bihon which is very thin-like spaghetti cooked with soy sauce and a few carrots, and a little meat - this had liver :(  You will notice the stack of plates and glasses.  They are all glass and they bring everything on a motorbike.   They have a bag with a drawstring that the dishes go in and another bag for the pot.  They totally amaze me.  Our landlord runs a bakery and is always bringing us goodies.  In the box is a BIG custard cake which we took to share.  Worked out perfectly.  They ran out of plates and some took the lid of the cardboard box and tore it in pieces and used for plates.  Everything was totally devoured.
This is the church we went to this morning in Loon  (pronounced low-own) 25 minutes away from where we live.  Those are two of the sister missionaries that live behind us.  I gave 5 piano lessons after church.  I think 3 of them are pretty promising.  This is our second week -I so want to help them.

For sacrament meeting they had two speakers and then they announced Norm would be the concluding speaker.  He stood up and said he thought it would be nice if we stood and sang a song  The poor girl playing the piano is just a beginner and had no clue what was going on.  She asked me if I would play.  Totally putting her on the spot.  Then he asked the sister missionaries to speak and he asked me to speak which left him 5 min. to give his prepared talk.  Sometimes I feel like to squish him.  I guess he thought he was in charge and could do what he wanted and he did.

This is Sister Syballa and her daughter, Liahona, it was their house that they poured cement floor.
The District President came over and asked if I would be in charge of the music for our upcoming conference which is January 24 and 25th.  I am to put a choir together.  Now that should be interesting.  I haven't met one person that can play the piano.  They all live miles away. I have no clue how that is going to happen.

I am happy to say this past week has been cooler.  I don't have the air conditioner on right now - just a fan.  We always have both going.  December and January I understand are suppose to be cooler and even though it is hot - it is cooler.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

President Saballa house

This has been a special week for us.  President Saballa is our District President.  A year ago last October his home was hit with the earthquake.  For over a year he has lived under this blue tarp.  The new building is built on top of where his house was.  When we got here it looked just like this.  There is no floor and they can't do anything until the cement floor is poured.  Norm has offered several times to help but President Saballa had to get the materials and he didn't have money etc.  He drives a tricycle to get a little money.  He is a very devoted District President and spends a great deal of time helping people etc. which means he can't drive the tricycle.

Well, finally this week he told Norm he had the cement and so Norm made arrangements with some missionaries to help him and they took on the project.  My job was to take pictures and I did a good job of it.  There are a lot of pictures.  

There are 7 people that sleep under this tarp.  
This is the new house.  It is just one room.  The door and windows will come later - how much later no one knows.
These are our two missionaries that worked their bodies hard.  They were just dripping wet.
Elder Borrego and Elder Banham.  They live close by us.  Norm's biggest challenge was there were no tools.  Nothing to mix cement with.  There was a pile of gravel which you see here, there was another pile of sand and then he had bags of cement.  We had some shovels and a wheelbarrow.
I forgot to mention that the other Sr. Couple, Elder and Sister Caycayan came from Tagbilaran - 45 min. drive - every day to help.  They know President Saballa very well and they so wanted to help them.  Also notice our twin trucks.  We like being twins.  The other blue vehicle is President Saballa's tricycle that he drives people around in to make a living.  There are hundreds of these tricycles every where you go.  That is how people get around.  On the back of every tricycle the Catholic Church has mandated that they have a scripture written so people can read as they drive along.
This is Sister Saballa's dirty kitchen.   That is what you call it when you cook outside.  They have just put a roof over it.  This will not change.  This will still be her kitchen.
At the side of the dirty kitchen is where she cooks.  She makes a fire and that is how she cooks.  On the right is where they shower I think and behind the yellow things is the bathroom.  All that will remain the same.
Norm and Elder Caycayon starting to work.  Norm got some very sore knees from kneeling on the gravel.  We had only 1 10" trile to do the finish work.   Sister Caycayon is supervising.  She was also a picture taker but she actually did some shoveling.  I took one look at the shovel and my back started aching.  I was smart enough to not test it out.
They are mixing the gravel and sand and cement on the ground with shovels.
These are our Elders and they are mixing right in front of the dirty kitchen.
Elder Caycayan - first pour is under way.

They tried mixing in the wheelbarrow - that worked for a while.  The wheel on the wheelbarrow didn't work so they just hefted.  It saved them mixing on the ground and then hefting it into the wheelbarrow.
A neighbor climbed a tree to get some coconut.  They make a drink that is really a delicacy but I don't like it so much.  The juice is sweet but they scrape coconut into it and you drink chunks.
Elder Halladay has some real help.  This is their grandson that lives with them.  You can see the space between the dirty kitchen and the new addition.
Hefting our newly mixed batch.

A slow process and a lot of work.
This is our first day's work.  It took all morning plus and it is about a fourth  done.

It also poured our first morning.  They are catching the water.
They made us treats and we ate where they previously mixed cement because of the rain.  This is President Saballa.  His wife is in the background holding a grandchild.
We have now moved on to day two.  Elder Halladay saved a space in between for tomorrow.  
This is a daughter who lives with them and her two children but there is no father.  She is fixing dinner for us under a tree.  Cutting up chicken off a bone.
President Saballa and his daughter.

Table where they cook and the side here is a little more food.  The boards are the path they used to carry the gravel and sand over to mix.
Sister Saballa cooking our dinner.
Sister Caycayan helping Elder Halladay mix.  Notice how wet Norm's shirt is.  He worked so hard.
About finishing up the 2nd day.
Cute little chickees running around.

The sister missionaries joined us the 2nd day.  They were actually quite a bit of help.
President Saballa came up with a better plan to mix the cement.  They put sand, gravel and cement together and mixed and then made a whole in the middle, filled it with water and then started mixing the dirt around it.  Then it had to be scooped back into the wheelbarrow.
Oh such a lot of work.  We would never have made it without the Elders.  This is President Saballa showing them how to do it.  Norm was actually impressed with how they mix cement.  He said it was a pretty good way of mixing.
On the 2nd day the Sister Missionaries gave a lesson to their son, Wilhelm,  He is 13 and doesn't like to go to church.  This is inside the tarp.  They have a pretty nice mattress.  Then you can see a corner of a foam and that totally fills up under the tarp.  All around the sides is stacked everything else.  The girl is Liahona and I am going to teach her piano lessons.  We tried a little bit last Sunday and it is going to be a project.

The Sisters have to have an adult with them to teach so while the men were doing cement they invited me in to be with them to teach.  It was truly a humbling experience.  He sat on the bed with his Book of Mormon and the rest of us sat on the floor.  But as the Sisters were teaching the sweetest spirit filled my soul.  They asked me to bear my testimony.  I was so happy I could look him in the eye and tell him how important it was to be obedient and go to church and learn about Jesus because He loves us.  I was so grateful for this experience.
This is Sister Grigg from Springville.
Sister Caycayon is washing up.
This is after our 2nd days work.  There are two strips left for tomorrow.  You can see a stove in the background.  Sister Saballa took a cooking course lasting 12 weeks and they gave her an oven.  A first in her life.  It took a while to get propane but she now has that and she has been baking krinkles and selling them to a school.  I think this is helping out a little.  I think the new stove will go in the addition along with a bed.  They will still use under the tarp for a bedroom but President Saballa is moving his bed inside and he is so happy about that.  I will be interested to go back next week and see how they work things out on the inside.
Elder Borrego from Show Low, the Caycayons and the Sister Missionaries enjoy lunch.
Our third day.  We drafted in two more Elders and the work really did speed right along.
Elder Caycayon and Elder Halladay are filling in the spaces.
Norm came up with a towel to help the knees.
Elder Caycayon is making a front step for them.  This is Elder Banham from Hyde Park.  A wonderful conscientious Elder.
Finishing up.
They fed us lunch again.  This is spaghetti with hot dogs and macaroni salad made with sweetened condensed milk.
The long awaited finished project.  Truly a welcome sight!!!!
The missionaries are putting their hand prints on the step.

I have to say that no one was happier than I was to see this wonderful project come to pass.  It was the best Christmas present I could ever have.  I love these dear people and I am so grateful to see them start to get back on their feet.  It will still be a very slow long process but they couldn't do anything until the floor was poured.  Norm was truly a huge blessing to them to see this project completed. And the missionaries were a huge blessing to Norm.  He couldn't have done it without them.