Sunday, July 27, 2014

Water protection for Sikad--this is how people get in/out of our subdivision

Sunday, July 27, 2014

It is another cloudy Sunday afternoon in Bacolod.  We have had lots of rain in the last few weeks—after all it is rainy season.  I like the sound rain makes as it hits the tin roof.   I wish I could capture the unique kind of Philippine rain on film.  The rain may be as a soft and quiet as mist that feels good as it touches your skin or it can be a pouring rain that even an umbrella will not protect you from.

People here appear totally unaffected from the rain—they adapt!  Trikes, sikads, and scooters keep on rolling as they splash through the puddles often carrying precious cargo of human lives.   People try to stay dry in interesting ways including plastic sacks as hats tied in creative ways, rain gear and plastic coverings for their paying customers.  The plastic may be an old banner (outside signs are not paper as it disintegrates quickly).  We even saw a threesome on a small scooter and one passenger had a cardboard box on his head with an area cut out so he could see (I’m not sure how long that lasted).

Cleaning gutter after rain--people seem to spontaneously keep the gutters clean
Bride and Groom to be with Mission President Lopez & Sister Lopez
Highlights this week included a wedding, a baptism, and a music fireside.  Our office Sisters invited us to a wedding/baptism.   Couples who are living together must be married before they can be baptized members of the Church.  We were included in all of the festivities including being recognized as special guests, to sitting across from the newlyweds at their wedding dinner (we met them for the first time at their wedding.)  Many local foods were specially made for this joyous occasion.   The newly married couple exchanged simple CTR (Choose the Right) rings (like the children get in Primary with the green shield) for their wedding rings.  Later we witnessed the new bride’s baptism.  In her remarks she said several times “I am so happy”.
Baptism after wedding with Sister missionaries who taught them

We then rushed over to another building across town where we were invited to attend a musical fireside that included members singing Christ centered songs and the sharing of tender testimonies of the truthfulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We sat next to another senior couple when it was unexpectedly announced they were going to sing a song and then share their testimonies.  They later told us they were asked to participate as they walked into the meeting—it was their home ward.  We were spared the exercise ;-).
Our "Neighborhood chicken" outside our gate (it won't last long, in fact we haven't seen it since we took the picture;-)

Today (Sunday), we traveled to a small resort town north of Bacolod called Manapla to attend Church.  There we met another member visitor; a Dr. Williams, from Boise, ID, a retired pediatric plastic surgeon.  His foundation ( organizes several 'missions' a year to poor countries and performs free corrective surgery to children with cleft palates and other facial deformities.  He was here in our mission for 2+ weeks doing surgeries.  What a wonderful blessing to young children.  On his website, he said something like when he told his colleagues he was giving up his practice to donate his time/talents they thought he was crazy; something like 'you can't change the world' to which he replied 'maybe not, but I can help change the world for the individuals I help treat'.  We wish him the best and hope to meet him again.

Some comments we have heard in the Philippines:  “how old are you?”, “your height is impressive”, “you are tall” (I am 5’7”) but usually much taller than our native hosts.  “You have a tall nose”, I am not sure if they think I have a big nose or what?  “Your eyes are like a dolls” (blue eyes are not that common here).  People like to touch my hair (light hair color is also unusual here).  Today I was talking to a young Sister missionary from the U.S. and she said people ask her why her hair isn’t blond and why doesn’t she have blue eyes.  She said they are under the impression that all Americans have blue eyes and blond hair.  Her companion (from Manila) said that Filipinos think all Americans are beautiful.  Elder Mower told her he is not beautiful.  She smiled and said, “You are a child of God”.
Enterprising people selling their wares along a major street
We took this picture along the road of a resort town--very friendly people selling their dried fish
(the smell wasn't too fragrant ;-)

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