Wednesday, February 16, 2011

It's Not All Beaches and Sunshine

In the past few weeks I have had the opportunity to go out on visits with the Relief Society President of our ward to some of the most poor and destitute of our sisters. It is shocking to see the situations that many people are living in.  Many children in a one room shantie with no water, no electricity, very little food to eat and no resources to make the situation better. The first time we visited I had this overwhelming feeling, wanting so badly to help them, but also realizing how many people are in these types of situations not only in our ward boundaries, but all over Cebu, all over the Philippines.  How could I help them all?   But this last time I realized that even just a visit, a couple of hard boiled eggs, some bananans, a smile and we have started to lighten and raise them up.  It is amazing to feel the joy of service and the love of people I hardly know.
The bridge leading over to the village where the Escarpe Family lives.  The actual bridge was washe away in flood waters, so this is the makeshift bridge for now. 

Part of the area where they live, in the hills.
Filipinos truly are a humble and happy people!
This is a typical basketball court, ones like this are seen all over the Philippines.  You thought playing on carpet in the cultural hall was hard, try playing on a dirt court in flip flops!
Climbing down to visit the sisters that live "under the bridge"
Member family in their home.  It was literally one room made from wood pieces.  This is the home of the daughter, husband, one year old son and one week old baby girl.  They live under the bridge to be close to the trees so they can take twigs and widdle them into bbq sticks.  They then sell them to local bbq "restaurants".  They are paid 600 pesos a month to do this.  That is the equivelent of about $15 US.
Grandma's house with some of the grandkids.
And you thought walking down the street to visit teach your neighbor was a pain?
This is the home of the Israel family.  They have 12 children, 11 boys and 1 girl and all live in this one room home.  They sell vegetables at the market to sustain themselves.
This family actually has seven kids.  You should have seen the excitement on the kids faces when we brought them hard boiled eggs and sweet bread. 

Their house (which was built by the father)

This older sister and her daughter wash clothes in the river for a living.  Their home was made of bricks, but had a dirt floor and no electricity or running water.

On our way up "the mountain" to visit another sister and her family.  (I slipped and fell on the way down haha)
Last time we visited this family they had no food to even eat that night.  They had spent their money on medicine for the baby and had nothing left for food.  We left a small amount of cash to help. 
This is their home.  It's one room for the four of them and then the "kitchen" on the side.  They make rice cakes for a living that they go and sell on a daily basis at the market.  Their profit is about 100 pesos a day, equal to about $2 US, enough to buy food to feed the family until the next day.

Sister Matthews, the RS President had the brother get us some coconuts.  We watched him climb up 2 trees to get 3 coconuts.  It was pretty amazing!  Coconuts are usually sold for 7pesos each, but she paid him 100 for the 3.  She wanted to give them the money, but wanted to give him the opportunity to earn it. 

Us enjoying the spoils of his labor.  We drank the juice straight out of the coconut and then he cut them open for us and we ate the "meat".  It was great.
After the first time I visited, I was really wanting to know and better understand how I and my family and friends who have so much could help these people who have so little.  I was reading in the Doctrine and Covenants and realized that the Lord has already provided us the answer on how to take care of the poor and the needy around us....we just have to be willing to do it.  Click here  I especially liked this verse: 14 Nevertheless, in your temporal things you shall be equal, and this not grudgingly, otherwise the abundance of the manifestations of the Spirit shall be withheld.

Whatever you do, I hope that you will look at the situations these people are living in and just be more grateful for what you have.  Be grateful that you have food to eat every day, clothes and shoes for you and your children, access to an education, money to buy things like phones, computers, cars, even bikes.  It is a great reminder to each of us to really notice those things that we take for granted every day of our lives.

I hope we can all find ways to serve those less fortunate than us. If you decide you want to help these people here in the Talamban Ward in Cebu, Philippines please contact me.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Other People's Children

Ben and I are coming up on our five year anniversary.  It's hard for some people to even comprehend being married five years and not having children yet.  Believe me, we get questions ALL the time, and some awesome and inappropriate suggestions (but that will be a whole separate post). 

As I look back over the last five years I do realize that through the struggle of infertility we are still surrounded by children. It hit me that many of the funnest, happiest moments for us are about other people's children.  We have had many opportunities to serve in primary, be nursery leaders, work at a crisis nursery and just to be an aunt and uncle to the best kids in the world.  We have been involved in the lives of our friends children, our families children and we have loved each and every one of those opportunities and look forward to more in the future.  I know that each of you appreciate and love your children more than anyone can even imagine but I hope you know that WE love them too and we are grateful to you for letting us be a part of their lives. It means more to us than you know.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Home for the Holdays (Post #8)

The best part of being in Utah was spending time with family and friends, probably 90% family and 10% friends, but my family are my friends so it worked out perfect.  We spent tonz of time playing games and making fools of ourselves playing "Celebrity".  We also spent tonz of time eating.  I got to shop with the girls and Ben got to play video games with the guys.  We did everything we wanted to do while we were home and seriously came back to the Philippines completely satisfied with our trip.  It was awesome!

video games with Aiden and Regan, I actually LOVED Super Mario Brothers on the WII.  Ben caught me playing it all by myself a few times, that NEVER happens.

Cute Jordan and Melissa, sitting at the table ready to play "White, Mormon games" as Ben calls them.

Ben and Hailey "sharing" a Dippidee brownie.  YUM!  We LOVE Dippidee.

Grandma and adobable Addy with her cute thumb sucking

Nice Face Jess:)


One on the left=my precious daily 44 oz Diet Mt Dew  One on the right: Large size here in the Philippines

Ben LOVING mom's chocolate roll.
GREAT friends, so glad we got to hang out!  We miss our friends, a lot!

Cafe Rio,  2x in 5 days, YUM!

Kevin and Tia Frazier, more great friends we are missing.  Next time we see them there will be another Frazier to love.  Cannot wait!
I had a few other pictures I wanted to post, Adam and Tonna, Rachelle, Kristen....but blogger hates me and would not let me add them for some reason.