Monday, March 22, 2010

Evenings of fellowship and a Sunday Wedding

March 15 – 21, 2010

Not that I've been feeling anxious, but Judy's turn at staff devotions on Monday morning were calming, as we pored over 4 scriptures telling us not to be anxious or worried. “Cast all your cares...” It's a blessing to be part of this group of Christians who work hard, accept us as we are, and are willing to share their concerns with us and with each other. 

We were excited that “the girls” would be coming to our house for dinner tonight! Dan took me home from work a little early so I could finish preparing our meal, then he went back to give them a ride so they didn't have to take public transportation to get there – Judy, Olive, Faith, Marnie and her husband Mitch. Some had been to this house before (when other missionaries lived here), but all were glad to see how nice it looks after having 5 feet of mud in it less than 6 months ago after Typhoon Ondoy!  

I had prepared a shepherd's pie, this time with ground beef, and served it along with cheese grits (and, of course, rice). I think they all enjoyed both, seeing as they all went back for seconds and asked lots of questions about how to prepare the cornmeal grits! We cleaned off the table after a while and went into the sunroom for some Wii games! What a riot! Everyone participated and we all laughed and shouted encouragement to the one playing! Back at the table later, we all enjoyed chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream before they decided it was time to start for home (being a week night!)... We all piled into the car and took them back, close to the campus.

I left Celia a note on Tuesday morning before we left for work, thanking her for the hard work she put in during last Thursday's cleaning. I wanted to make sure she knew that we noticed her extra effort to make things nice! We got to see her when we got home; she was finishing putting away our laundry upstairs. After hugs, we talked a little and sent her on her way home (no, you don't have to stay and put away my breakfast dishes!) to her family.

Dan spent Wednesday and Thursday evenings on our tax return, grateful that most of our records are in the computer and we don't have to rely on paper. My chore was filling out the medical insurance forms from Dan's 2 visits to doctors here.

Also this week, we're sitting in (with Danny, Olive, and Faith) on the interview process for a new payroll software that will integrate with the accounting program. Thursday morning, one fellow demonstrated his company's product and, Friday morning, another company rep demonstrated her company's product. There may be a third product to look at before a decision is made.

Thursday evening, on our way into the subdivision, we were stopped at the security gate and told we needed to get a 2010 sticker. We agreed and asked in the Field Office Friday morning about the details. All we had to do was ask and, a few hours later, Tata(the Field office worker) had purchased and installed the stickers that the car needs...

Only 2 weeks until APNTS graduation, students are working hard on their final papers and exams...

Our friend, Joel Arro, his wife Nona and kids Sean (almost 7) and Hanna (almost 3) came over for dinner Friday evening. They didn't realize they'd be the first Filipinos to try our chicken horseshoe sandwiches! They enjoyed them; the kids decided to sit at our little kiddie table when they weren't investigating the rest of the house! 
We started up the Wii and all took turns playing the games – Sean and Nona are great bowlers!! We enjoyed banana splits, then Joel prayed for us before they left for home. These are special friends God has placed in our lives through a interesting set of circumstances over the last few years.

Saturday, it was just hot!! Init! (“Heat” or “It's hot!” in Tagalog.) Dan worked on our tax return almost all day, sitting at his computer. I cooked pancakes for breakfast, read a book, heated some leftovers for lunch, until – finally – he had to take a break. Having dripped all day in our windows-open house, we each showered, again, and took the eveing off to go visit Tiendesitas, an open-air shopping and dining place in Pasig... The Saturday evening traffic really was a challenge, taking 25 minutes to just go the first couple of kilometers, but we finally got there and started walking around. There are quite a few little store-front restaurants and several large areas with tables and chairs. You order what you want from any place(s) and eat wherever you want. It was too hot to eat a large meal, but the mango-pineapple shakes were really refreshing! Walking around the stores, we meandered through a clothing area, an area of antiques, and some excellent little stores that handled native wood items – we'll come back here soon (for gifts for people at home) ... On the way back, we tried to avoid the congestion of Ortigas Avenue, but after some frustrating turns (and a tour of an area we'd never seen before!), we ended up back on Ortigas and home safely around 9:30.

Sunday was the day we'd been waiting for all week! Danny, our boss at APRC, and his wife Weng, had invited us to join them at the wedding of one of his male cousins! Dan offered to drive, as we have a GPS, so we picked them up early (along with Charles, Richie, and Miriam - 2 nephews and a niece), and headed to the C-5 and south to Batangas! Breakfast was on the way, at a McDonald's in a very nice rest area, and we arrived in the town of Malvar with plenty of time. It was about a 2 hour drive.

Others in Danny's family had started out even earlier and they'd been in contact by cell phone. There was already 1 wedding going on in Immaculate Conception Church, so we watched from outside through the open windows, while some of the nieces' and nephews' hair and outfits were completed for the ceremony at 11. 
We met Danny's mother and sister, the groom's sister, their children.... you get the picture – all very warm and welcoming people! You'll just have to see the photos! After the first wedding was done, we watched a young man run up the aisle with a (truly!) red carpet that he arranged on the platform and a much longer one down the aisle; several other people fussed with the flower arrangements on tall, white, wrought iron stands and added bolts of white tulle, draped all the way from front to back!  Sparrows flew around inside and light came through the stained glass windows – what a memorable location! 

(here is the link to all the wedding photos we took

 Finally the ceremony began and we stood to watch the parents being seated, the 10 bridesmaids (in aqua dresses with fuschia sashes), groomsmen, 8 flower girls with aqua dresses and fancy hair ornaments (and make-up: eye shadow and blush and lisptick!), the “little bride and little groom”, 3 ring-bearer boys, and maybe 10 sponsor couples all escorted to their seats in the front rows! (Sponsors are rather like godparents, with financial and emotional support required for the couple.) 
The bride came down the aisle with her parents until the “official hand-off”, as Danny called it! The ceremony included lots of standing and sitting, a small choir of teens with beautiful clear voices, the ring exchange, candle lighting, the bride and groom greeting their sponsors (with a handshake that ends with the elder one's hand being brought to the bride or groom's forehead in respect), the children walking around the church, and lots of photos at the end. 
Danny's family even insisted that we be included in the his-side-of-the-family photos! (They'll just have to say we were the American cousins!) 
 When all that was finished, we got back in the car and drove a few blocks to a subdivision with a park and gazebo set up for the reception! It was decorated with lots of aqua and fuschia fabric draped artfully; tables all set with plates, glasses and food; and chairs with pink fabric covers. The food was catered (several meat dishes, rice, flan, buko with fruit) and there was an MC orchestrating the ceremonial greetings, toasting, cake-cutting, speeches, bouquet/garter traditions followed by kissing (quite funny). 
 The sponsors were given gifts, then all the guests were given gifts as well! We received a statue of the Mayon Volcano that included the church that was buried up-to-its- steeple in lava (it's near Legaspi, where the groom's family is from, and we've seen it; Nancy Detalo took us there last September!) and a small photo of the bride and groom!

The trip home seemed short, although we stopped for ice cream at Tiendesitas (the kids didn't mind waking up from their naps in the back)!

Hope I can sleep tonight after all that sensory overload! What a delightful day! We'll never forget how much fun this was or how kind it was of Danny and Weng to include us in this rich experience!

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