Sunday, October 5, 2014

I always love seeing Carabao!
Sunday, October 05, 2014

Missionaries waiting for us outside their apartment

Friday we came home a little early after traveling to visit missionaries.  We are helping to install carbon monoxide alarms in apartments.  George decided to take a little rest, I say little because it was maybe less than five minutes long.  First his phone rang.  After hanging up, he closed his eyes once again and the bed started to shake.  I really think he thought I was trying to be annoying, and he asked, “What is going on?”  I said, “I think we are having an earthquake”.  The room shook for what seemed a long time.  Long enough for me to walk across the room to the window and look out as neighbors were also looking around.  It was an earthquake; the newspaper says 5.7, but the epicenter was approximately 60 miles away.  Where do you go in an earthquake here to be safe?  Our apartment is concrete.  No visible damage noted.  Sister Lopez, our mission president’s wife texted that their chandelier was swaying in the Mission Home.

Outside baptismal font at Bacolod 2nd Ward Meetinghouse

Today we attended church at the first Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints chapel built on the island of Negros.  The morning was sunny and warm and all the windows were open and fans quietly turned to keep the humid air moving in the big open room which serves as a chapel and recreation hall.  Church started just a few minutes late and there were about twenty people present.  We were surprised to open our eyes after the long and thoughtful prayer to find nearly every chair taken.  One of the Sister Missionaries came and translated the testimonies for us.  Many people were eager to share their testimonies and the meeting lasted one and a half hours.  One sister told of meeting the missionaries thirty years ago and the blessing of the gospel in her family's lives, a former pastor told of meeting the missionaries a year ago and gaining a testimony, and one young man told of being baptized only a short time ago and the blessing of following the word of wisdom in his life.
Colorful mask of Masskara dancer
We have noticed excitement in the air.  October 1 was the start of the annual two week long MassKara Festival, symbolized by smiling masks.  This festival began over thirty years ago because of tragedies that affected the people of Negros.   The purpose of this celebration is to show they can “keep on smiling” no matter what.  We have seen groups preparing for some of the upcoming festivities.  Big ornate headdresses and masks, dancers, marchers, and it would not be a celebration without drums!
Floodwater in the entrance of our housing area after a heavy rain
Heavily loaded sugar cane truck driving along a sugar cane field

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