Called to Serve

We have loved traveling and being with family for the past two years but we felt the call to serve another mission so here we are in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania for the next year.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Weeks Happenings

Last Saturday we had a closing activity for Seminary and Institute. It seems the favorite thing to do here is to have a party at the beach. There is a really nice park situated on the beach between a couple of big hotels and they have some nice covered areas with tables. Fliers were sent out and we announced to all our students that we would gather at Ypao beach at 8:00am. Guess who has not adjusted to the island time schedule yet. We were there at 10 minutes to and of course no one else came until about 8:45. It is okay though because we had a nice quiet time to sit and meditate in nice surroundings.

It seems that the major activity at these gatherings is to just sit and visit but I had been asked to prepare some games. I had a Book of Mormon matching game on paper to have them do while we were waiting for enough kids to play the other games. These kids are so sharp. Every one of them got all the answers correct - I even had a hard time with a couple of the questions and I had the answer sheet!

I was simply amazed that the boys wanted to play football in the heat. Every time they would take a break from playing I would let them cool off a bit and then herd them over to play the games I had prepared. I wish I had pictures but someone else was taking them and I did not get copies. We played Gadianton Run Around, Teancum Tire Pull and Alma's Alphabet game. They were all team games meant to get the kids interacting with each other. This group loves games and these all went over better than I had hoped.

Towards lunch time food was brought in by one of the mothers and we had a feast. She is Filipino and so there was some great noodles and wonderful lumpia!

Last Sunday, before the Missionary Farewell, we had had all the sisters over to our house for dinner. I think I may have mentioned it in the previous post but I had not downloaded pictures yet. While the sisters were here, they noticed Wayne's ukalele and decided to sing at the farewell that night. They practiced in our apartment until we had to kick them out so we could go teach the temple prep class. It was so nice listening to them. There is a song called He Lives that seems to be a favorite here. It was sung at the Missionary Musical Fireside several months ago and since then has been sung at a baptism, branch activities, etc. It is especially nice sung with the ukalele.

Tuesday we were on our way in to the office when we noticed a big black plume of smoke off in the distance. We were still a couple of miles away from the office but we commented on how it looked like it was coming from that area. As we got closer it became apparent that it definitely was coming from that area. The fire was next door at the National Office Supply. We drove into our parking lot and found lots of cars and people there. Everybody always wants to see what is going on and we had a great place to watch from. We started to park in front of our office but were told that they did not want any vehicles by the building. I think they had been concerned that the Mission Office could catch fire. We were also told that we were not to go into the office.

You can see why they were concerned about our office. The buildings are quite close to each other. One of the counselors in the mission presidency was called at 5am and at that time there were flames coming out of the roof. The tree that you see in the background is quite brown and crisp on that side now.
This is the backside of the building. The biggest window that you see is where they think the fire started. It is the office of a member of the church. Everything was destroyed. The firemen fought the fire for 11 hours. It turned out to be arson. A homeless man had broken in and stolen all kinds of electronic equipment and then started the fire to hide the robbery. They actually caught the man. They found him in a jungle area living in a tent with lots of electronics inside. He had a camera that still had the memory card with lots of pictures belonging to the owner of the business. Sounds like an open and shut case to me.

Since we could not get in the office to work, we spent the morning looking for apartments to move the missionaries into. We have 5 elders in one apartment right now. It is two bedroom but only has one bathroom and they are anxious to have a little more room. We got back to the office about noon.

It was P-day and we felt bad that the elders had been told the office was closed so we did go in to the office long enough to get all the mail and set up shop next door in the branch meeting house. We thought we clever to have thought of that but when we went to turn on the air con we found that the power had all been turned off because of the fire. By that time we had sent out word to the missionaries that we would be in the church so we did not want to disappoint them. I don't know which was hotter, inside or out.

About 2:00 we decided that the fire looked controlled enough that we should not be in danger anymore so we went into the office with the idea of working. The backup generator had been going all day so the computers were working. Well, after being in there a minute or two I realized that there was a toxic smell. The smoke had seeped into the office and it was obvious that we should not be working in it. We decided to stay in the church and Elder Clarke opened windows in the office with the hope of airing it out. We did move the mailroom back in about 3:30 but after being in there for a half hour I was getting a headache and the office elders were saying they felt strange. We decided it was a good time to go to the bank and check out more apartments.

Thursday was our last Institute class for the Semester. Next Thursday we are having a going away party for a young man who is moving back stateside and another who will be leaving for a mission to Perth Australia. Then, starting the first week in June we will be having a Leadership class through the summer. It will be a short lesson and followed by an activity each week. I said these kids like to play games. They get all excited when you start talking about all the games we could do; spoons, left-right-center, etc. We are hoping that by keeping the kids active through the summer we will have a good group all ready to go for the Church History class next Fall.

Friday night we had a Branch party to say farewell to several families (one being the Branch Presidents), our young man leaving on a mission, one senior missionary couple and 4 of our full time missionaries attending the Barrigada Branch. There was lots of barbequed chicken and ribs, red rice and a ton of other food. Throughout the night people would perform impromptu. It was a fun evening but so sad to see everyone leaving.

Tonight we attended the Boy Scout fundraiser. It was a spaghetti dinner and Desert Auction. One of the other branches had theirs last week and made $900. I think we may have exceeded that amount.
Several items went for $100 or more and a lot went for around $50. My Mississippi Mud Pie went for $50. I was relieved that it was not ignored. The highest bid of $110 was for Banana Lumpia made by one of the Filipino brothers in the Dededo Branch. He made them for his branch last week. It was really interesting to see the action of the auction. One of our Institute students was the auctioneer and he did a great job. Most of the items were passed around as soon as they were bought. Very few went home with the winning bidders. All in all, it was a really fun night.

All of the scouts were involved and seemed to be having a great time.

There seemed to be a good sized crowd but the desserts outnumbered people and I really worried that they would not get enough bids. Boy was I wrong. The very first item went for $50. Nothing went for under $10.
This is our runner, Carlton and the auctioneer, Josten.

This was a $50 cake that was cut and passed around. Our missionaries made out great tonight. The sisters went home with a great chocolate cake from the bakery, cupcakes and various individual pieces of things that were passed around. The Elders had pooled resources and had $17 to spend. They had their eyes on a strawberry cheesecake and we told them they would not have enough money. Wayne gave them another $20.00. When the cheesecake came up, the Scout Leader egged them on to bid up to $50.00 and then he paid for the whole thing. The missionaries gave us our money back and then since they still had the pooled money, they kept trying to bid on things so they could get rid of the money. People kept bidding higher and so they never were able to get rid of the money. They too went home with piles of goodies which people had bid on then immediately took it over to them. We have some really wonderful people in our branch! They came to donate to the Boy Scouts and they had fun in the process.


kim said...

I love parties on the beach--makes me miss San Diego.

You are making a mission look like a lot of fun! Can't wait until we're able to go, too.

Renee Hart said...

Did you make up all those games? They sound so very clever.