Sunday, October 16, 2016

Prayer, Christmas Decorations and Chalkboard Art

  Here you see the labors of a "master" gardener with just the size yard he likes.  Elder Bellessa trims the greenery in front of our apartment with the best tool available (a knife) and picks up garbage left by people as they walk by. 

Elder Bellessa's basketball buddies.  Whenever we visit a branch, Elder Bellessa tries his hand at hitting a basket or two.  When that happens, there are cheers and gleeful laughter all around.  

We are told there are multiple electric companies vying for business and each one requires access to their clients, thus a  massive tangle of wires.  It is hard to imagine how one would go about repairing a broken line...although it all seems to work with only an occasional brown out.

This is a very small house at the edge of a rice paddy right off the highway. A family of six lives in this 8x10 house.  It is amazing how the mother cooks on the porch with the children playing happily around her. 

This painting greets the patients as they enter the lobby of one of the hospitals.  There is also a waiting room TV that breaks programing every once in awhile as someone comes on and says a prayer for everyone watching.  We also noticed when the ferry leaves for its crossing, a prayer is televised for the passengers.  Comforting and a bit unnerving.

We pass this rice field and large sign as we drive out of Pinamalayan.  

  We see reminders for good character on public buildings even when we are waiting in line to pay our utility bills.

Our first Christmas decorations are a far cry from the usual frenzied holiday decorating at home.  We value these because they were lovingly made by a grandma out of plastic pop bottles.  David is sure he must have contributed the bottles by drinking so much Mountain Dew.   Nothing goes to waste and they think of many ways to utilize the simplest objects in creative ways.  We need to do a whole blog on the creative use of old tires.

Honoring our new convert, this chalkboard art greeted us at a recent baptism.

Baco Branch baptism of Marvin Hernandez.  Marvin is a wonderful young man who has plans to go on a mission in one year.  He has the support of a great group of young adults and will be a force for good as he moves forward in his faith.  We drove the district president to the branch this morning and on the way home he told us about the devastation of the typhoon one year ago.  The city of Baco was under water with over 150 fatalities.  Livestock, crops and homes were destroyed.  It says much about the resilience of the people as they  have come back and rebuilt what was lost.  President Mones, the District President, told how the church sent relief aid and supplies to help.  The members of the Calapan branch packed 5000 boxes of relief supplies for their  neighbors in surrounding communities.  He said their service was a great blessing to the branch members as it united them and helped them forget their own problems.  

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