Elder and Sister Hall, how would you two feel about getting an earlier start on the road and leave say 8 or 9?
That would be fine.
Okay, let’s say 8.
We texted Brother Marven and told him we would not be going to look for apartments that morning and asked if he wanted to go with us to Cebu City. He did. People here refer to Cebu City as “the city”. It reminds me of how the people in Eastern Idaho refer to Yellowstone Park as “the park.”
Elder Rose drove and Elder Hall enjoyed seeing the scenery.
I haven’t seen this much of this area in all the times we have driven this road.
We went to the mission office to turn in receipts, fill out an accident report form, pick up mail and supplies for the missionary apartments, and talk with President Schmutz. The Zone Leaders had several things to take care of and did their e mailing from the office. Afterwards we went shopping, then back to the office to load supplies, and then back to Toledo. We stopped for some pictures at a place where we could see Toldeo and Balamban from one side of the road and Cebu City from the other. We also took a shot of a native pig that was staked on the Cebu side of the road.
We stopped in Balamban to deliver a birthday package that had come in the mail to the mission office. As we were driving down a narrow side street to go to the sisters’ apartment, the unthinkable happened. Suddenly a little girl, who looked to be about four years old, darted directly in front of the pickup. As Elder Rose hit the brakes, we saw her frightened face staring up at the pickup. Then she disappeared. The mother began gesturing from the side of the road and to our relief, the little girl ran to her. We each took a deep breath and were grateful for the prayer for safety and protection that we had offered before we began the trip.
Thursday we hunted for apartments in Pinamungajan and Aloguinsan. We found a nice one for sister missionaries that just happens to be coming open this week. The timing was an amazing coincidence, but after all, a coincidence is just a miracle where the Lord prefers to remain anonymous.
Friday we went to Casoy to look for an apartment for some elders. Missionaries have not been assigned to live in the area before, and the people were very excited to have them come.
Elder Rose, will you be one of the missionaries assigned here?
I don’t know. I would sure like to be here.
We will go with you to find a place to live.
Several people piled in the back of the pickup.
Stop and park here.
As we walked down the street, a lady greeted our guide.
What are you doing here?
We are looking for a house to rent for missionaries to live in.
I could move out of my house and they could live here.
We looked at the house and it seemed to be just what we needed. She promised to make to necessary improvements before the elders moved in. It is amazing to watch the Lord at work.
We drove to Pinamungahan to confirm with the owner that we could get the apartment for the sister missionaries that will be coming next week. All was well there.
We drove back to Toledo and visited one of the sister missionary apartments.
We drove to Balamban to take some honey, cheese, raisin bread, cinnamon, and pineapple chicken to a young sister from Utah who needed a “taste of home.”
We went to check the elders’ apartment.
We drove back to Toledo to attend two baptisms for Toledo 1 branch and two baptisms for Toledo 2 branch. The Lord is pouring out His Spirit onto the people of the Philippines.
After church we drove to Casoy with a group of members who had made the long trip to Toledo to attend church. Elder Hall and I chose to ride in the back of the pickup. We loved bouncing along the mountain roads and smelling the fresh mountain smells. The ride was the nearest we have come to riding an ATV in the mountains this year.
We paid the first month rent and got a signed contract from the lady who offered to rent us her house, then gave the family a ride on past Casoy to their house. Elder Hall spoke to one of the sisters as she got out of the truck.
Sister, could we meet your husband today?
Yes, I think so.
We met his wife about three weeks ago when we went to Casoy to church. Elder Hall asked her where her husband was. She started crying, and said that he was home drinking. She wanted so much that her family could be together in church. Elder Hall committed her to pray for her husband each night before she went to sleep, and promised that we would do the same.
We walked up the path to her home. Her husband was under a palm tree with one of his sons. They were preparing lead sinkers to use in fishing in the lake. Elder Hall shook his hand and visited with him a few moments.
Brother, we are so glad to meet you. Sister Hall and I have been praying that we could meet you. Did you know that you are an answer to prayer? The Lord knows you and he answered our prayers to meet you.
The man looked at Elder Hall and then nodded his head.
Brother, we will come her for church next Sunday. Will you go to church with us then?
The man hesitated, looked at the elder who was translating for us, appeared ready to refuse, then looked again at Elder Hall.
Yes, I will come.
When we had visited Casoy the last time, we had talked to three sisters who live there. They said that there were twelve siblings in their family. Six are members and six are not. Their father and mother are not members and are antagonistic toward the church. Elder Hall asked the sisters to talk to their other siblings who are members, and ask them to pray together for their parents. They agreed.
Later we met one of the sisters in Toledo.
Are you praying for your parents?
Yes, we live in different places and have different schedules, so we all pray at 4:30 in the morning so that we can all pray at the same time.
Then I will pray with you at the same time.
Elder Hall began getting up at 4:30 AM to pray for their parents with them.
Before we got to the truck, Elder Hall asked if we could talk to their father.
Yes. He has been drinking, but I think he will talk to you. When he is drinking, he speaks in English.
Hello, brother. How are you today?
I don’t know what is happening. When I don’t see you, I feel like something is wrong. Then I see you and my heart is happy. You are in my heart. I am glad to see you.
We are glad to see you, too.
When we said our goody-byes, he held our hands as if he didn’t want us to go. We got into the pickup and started back down the road to Toledo.
Well, that was a drunk man talking, but even so, if he was angry with us, he would have been more angry when he was drunk. And he sure didn’t seem angry.
You can never discount the power of the prayers of their faithful children.
The lake in the evening light was even more beautiful than when we had seen it before.