Sunday, November 30, 2014

Here's our carabao picture--a nice boy willing to pose for us

George: I was asked by the Mission President to go to the ‘poor hospital’ this week to give a blessing.  All we had was, what I assumed was a lady’s name.  I took one of the office elders, Elder Cudac, (a Filipino who is a licensed nurse and speaks Ilonggo) with me.  We were led to a pediatric ward, where we found a young girl, perhaps 10-years of age.  She was afflicted with Typhoid Fever.  She was a cute girl— she was receiving IV fluids by gravity and had an oxygen mask on (the oxygen was connected to a large metal cylinder).  Her Mom was sitting up on the bed with her.  We proceeded to give her a blessing.  After saying goodbye, we walked out of the ward.  I had an uneasy feeling that we had left something undone.  I said to Elder Cudac; “Let’s go back”.  We turned around and went back to the ward.  Not sure what to do, we went back to the bed where the little girl lay, and Elder Cudac asked the lady in the next bed if she would like her child blessed.  She immediately broke into tears, and said YES!  She was an inactive member and very much had desired her child to be blessed.  We did.  It was another reminder that Our Heavenly Father watches over and is mindful of all His children.  We didn’t know she was there, but Heavenly Father did.

Karen:  When I was preparing to quit my job earlier this year, I worked at a large community hospital.  We were invited to visit new bed displays and give our input on the pros and cons of each bed.  The hospital was always upgrading and the individual beds cost thousands of dollars.  The hospital was always making improvements for the safety and comfort of the patients.  I share this because when I returned a couple days later with George and the office Elders to the public government hospital, I wondered, is this legal, especially in a gastroenterology ward?  (Our missionaries only visit a private hospital and select physicians).  There were fifteen beds in a big room; no dividers of any kind.  The paint was chipping off the beds, the side rails were permanently in place and people used plastic chairs to climb in and out of bed.  If you wanted to sit up higher, you rested your back on the metal back of the bed.  Even babies were in these beds.  Family shared the beds with the sick children.  There was one bathroom for the entire area to share.  The little girl that was blessed was improving and had a big smile for us; she no longer needed oxygen.  A woman ran up to us and asked us to bless her little brother.  This petite young woman with a contagious smile wore a badge that said “watcher” allowing her to stay in the hospital with her mother and little brother.  She held my hand and talked as we walked to her family.  I had to keep reminding her I did not understand and she smiled and continued her conversation.  Her family was baptized a couple of months earlier.

Saturday, we were invited to a baptism of a family of 7 in Santa Fe Ward.  There was a wonderful woman and her family (with daughter, grandchildren, etc.).  She shared her conversion story at the end (in English!), which was very touching.  Someone had given her a Church pamphlet at some point.  One night, she happened to pick it up and read it.  She felt a very strong feeling that what she was reading was true.  She called the missionaries and asked where and when they held church services.  On Sunday morning she got her whole family up and asked them to get ready—for she was taking them to a special place.  The driver pulled up to the L.D.S. Church.  They got out and asked what are we doing here?    This is a Mormon Church!  She said, ‘follow me’.  They did and they loved it!  She was ready to be baptized after the meeting, but she said they made her follow the prescribed path; she had to have the lessons and come to church regularly for a few weeks.  Well, they all followed her—and they were all baptized.  Another wonderful experience!

Fruit stand along the road (Karen loves fruit stands)
This “ring leader” as the Sisters called her, as she was bearing her testimony during the baptism service said, “Sister Mower, you are beautiful” - Only in the Philippines!  After the service she came up to me; a small feisty women who didn’t even reach my shoulders (I am 5’7”).  She pinched my cheek with her hand and looked into my eyes and said “I want some of your nose”.  My nose is long and has a dent (like my mom’s did); finally I am happy to have that nose!

One-lane road leading to the dirt road where the missionary apartment is
Today we traveled to the mountains and visited the Minoyan group.  It is a very rural area.  The missionaries met us at the end of the one lane dirt road where we were directed to park the truck and walk with them to where the church service was held.  There were about 75 people attending.  The meeting was held in the house where the Elders live.  One young sister gave a message about gratitude; it was a reminder of it doesn’t matter if we have a lot or a little, we are blessed.   
Minoyan meeting place
George and I celebrated Thanksgiving by eating spaghetti at one of our favorite restaurants and working a normal day.  Our turkey neighbors, I am afraid were eaten.  Thanksgiving is not celebrated in the Philippines.  I told one young missionary that it was Thanksgiving in American, and he said, “Yes I know, but tomorrow is black Friday”.

We are thankful for our loved ones and the opportunity to have this adventure.  The Lord has made our backs strong.
I couldn't resist capturing this electrical box attached to a tree!

Hey, if you got to go... (it beats showing the frequent males doing it on the side of the road)

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