Elder and Sister Hall, it is our daughter’s birthday. She is one year old. You will come to the party, okay?
Okay, we will be there.
A birthday requires food and lots of it. A large table was covered with delicacies of all kinds. The centerpiece was special lechon, a whole roasted pig. After everyone filled their plates, the family requested a picture.
Before the previous couple missionaries went home, the Magbago family had prepared a special meal for them. The daughter had drawn pictures of all the members of the family to send home with the couple. Then she had drawn pictures of Elder and Sister Dover. She called the pictures the “flat Dovers,” after the book, “Flat Stanley.” The daughter brought out the “flat Dovers” to be in the picture.
March 4, 2014
Sister Hall, I can’t find my slippers.
We walked out onto the porch and looked around.
Maybe they are under the box.
The young lady who helps in the house tipped the box while I looked underneath. His “flip-flops” were there.
What is in the boxes?
Clothes and other things that have been donated to the mission. Sister Schmutz had them in her garage. She asked us if we could take them and get them to people need them. We what to sort them and decide what to do with them.
Can I sort them, please?
When we returned from District Meeting, the living room floor was covered with sacks neatly labeled with names. The young lady excitedly told us what she had found and who might need the things.
Can we deliver them now?
You only have an hour before you need to be at school.
It’s okay. I have time.
We drove to a nearby neighborhood and parked. She gave a bag to a young man holding a small child.
These are for your sister and her family. Will you take them to her?
The man smiled broadly.
Yes. Of course. Thank you so much, Elder and Sister Hall.
The things are not from us. They were donated to the mission. We are just the ones to deliver them.
Thank you so much, Elder and Sister Hall
As he walked towards the house, he called out to his sister.
Look what we have!
We walked down a narrow path into a neighborhood across the road.
We were invited into a house and asked to sit down. A young lady and her mother took some baby clothing from the sacks. They talked excitedly and smiled and exclaimed. It was like Christmas morning.
When is your baby coming?
In two months.
The mother-to-be smiled to herself as she smoothed the small shirts and pants and lovingly folded and refolded the clothing into small piles. It was the only clothing she had for the coming baby.
As we walked back up the path, our helper turned to smile at us.
Can we go some more places?
In another neighborhood we were invited back into a small room where a mother sat on the bed with her new baby. Her eyes widened in surprise at the package. She pulled the items out one by one and exclaimed over them. We exclaimed over the beautiful baby.
We stopped by a roadside tinedahan with another bag.
They have three little children.
We went through a neighborhood to the seashore. A bamboo hut perched on stilts over the edge of the seabed. A man repaired a boat at the edge of the water. Several small children eyed us curiously, then ran for their mother when they saw the sack.
Do they own the land where their house is?
No, they are squatters. They only get a little money when they can catch fish to sell.
Do they eat the fish?
No, they need money to buy rice.
When we walked back into our house, our young helper pulled a nice red blouse from the bags that had not yet been delivered.
Could I have this? It will be my birthday present.
When is your birthday?
Will you get any other presents?
March 7, 2014
The owner of our house had promised to have a water storage tank installed for our house. We made a trip to Cebu City to buy the tank and the fittings. After our errands were completed, we treated ourselves to lunch at McDonalds. We drove home over Manipis Road, the oldest road in Cebu.
When we arrived home, we found a small bouquet of baby red roses on the table, and a card on the refrigerator. Our helper gave me the handmade card and wished me a happy birthday.
You spent your money on a present for me?
But you have so little.
It is okay, Sister.
I received many birthday greetings through the internet, but it was nice to have one with a personal touch.