Monday, October 14, 2013

The Almanza Congregation - Monday

So today was our day to work in the ministry with a nearby congregation.  We went down to eat breakfast at 6:45 am and met in  the lobby at 7:30 am.  While we were down there waiting we got to meet a lot of other delegates for the convention.  Some from Texas, A lot from Atlanta GA and from Charlotte, NC.  One person knew Jennifer and Daniel Montana when they served her congragation in Mt. Giliad (? I think that's the name of it)  ( but we didn't find that out until half the day with her) . It is funny how you can go across he world and still find someone that knows someone you know.  So anyways , we met a lot of delegates , but only 8-10 delegates were assigned to each congregation in the Manila area because there are a lot of congregations in the city.  That way they could all get a chance to be with us delegates since they aren't all invited to the special convention (since there isn't enough space there at the venue).  Each congragation was assigned to take us delegates in the ministry then out to lunch and back to the hall to show us a small program they prepared for us.  

The Ministry 

       So we made it to the hall.  And again, everyone in the hall was so friendly and came up to meet us.  When I say everyone , I don't mean like a majority, I meant - literally, everyone.  No wonder we got there early.  So the meeting for service starts and I don't really understand what is going on at 1st because they were talking in part Tagalog, part English.  Then I realize they are making groups up.  We were assigned our groups . It was about 7 to a group - however many could fit in the car .  And then after an hour they said they would switch us around , so more could get a chance to work with us.  So since I woke up that morning I still wasn't feeling the best , but I figured I'd make it out and just be able to deal with the queasy stomach.   I took my ginger pill and thought I just needed to eat.  So I continued on. Getting to the hall it was really warm and I felt really weak and still sick to my stomach.  So when they started to pray for going in service I realized -  I don't think I could do this.  It was really sad and when they were done with the prayer I couldn't stop crying.  And those who know me-  I don't cry in front of people.  Haha.  So now I have a lot of the congregation wondering what is wrong and a couple people come up and ask what's wrong.  I really wanted to go in the ministry with them and now I didn't think I could do it.  Especially cuz it is walking territory and I felt like I'd pass out in the heat.  So they talked amongst themselves and said I could sit in the car if I wanted to.  One ran to a nearby stand and got me bottled water and medicine.  (It was a lot like a chewable peptol bismal tablet).  It was so nice how they wanted to help.  So John went out and I layed in the car the whole time and rested. A sister stayed in the car with me. It was really sweet. And she was excited to see my Bible and looked at it the whole time.  
After about an hour and a half it started POURING rain.  And we got the group together again, some were soaked and laughing a lot.  The streets were flooding quickly even though it wasn't raining long.  After we got our car group they took us to a near by Kingdom Hall being built .  It will be done by the end of the month  and it will be their hall.  They started in May so i wouldn't call it a quick build . But everyone was so excited to see us they stopped what they were doing.  I got to see the kitchen and I told them I do that on our Kingdom Hall builds.  It was really neat to see.  Then i used the restroom on the site. By the way , they bathrooms are really weird here at certain places .  There was no toilet paper - not that they were out - they just didn't have any. And no lids - like just sitting on the porcelain toilet. And then no soap, just a bucket of water .  Uhhhh, not what I'm used to. Haha  .  Thankfully not ALL of them are like that here.  So when I get back everyone is wanting to take pictures .  They keep saying "1 more, 1 more" I heard that a 100 times.  And then people were literally running and sliding across the floor so they too could be in the picture.  Someone said a Filipino hobby is taking pictures.  We probably took pictures for about 30 mins.  And again , I started feeling weak and sick to my stomach so I had to go sit in the car.  I'm glad I got to see it though.  


So we all go to lunch at the nearby mall.  The brothers ordered for everyone. It was crazy, it was like the whole congragation was in the restaurant with us.  They set up a really long table.  and they brought many different kinds of food.  And Rice , of course . Rice is with every meal here.  So I just had tiny tastes of everything and it was good what I had .  Unfortunately, I still didn't feel good.  So after lunch an elder was asking how I felt and if I wanted to go back to the hotel.  Well I really didn't want to cuz I didn't want to miss out, but I figured I should.  So they gave me a ride back to the hotel but John stayed and said he'd film it for me.  So I pretty much slept the whole time after I got back- from 2 pm to 11 pm . Woah.  So John will have to tell you what I missed out on.  ...  

John's turn 

So, I'm going to pick up where Gabby left off, well actually I'll start in service. We all went over to the territory in car groups. It seemed like we took about 3 or 4 cars and then a few motorcycles (which seem to be the vehicle of choice because of being able to get around in traffic a lot easier). The group I was in had 6 people in it, and we all worked on the same street in close proximity to each other. I stayed with one married couple and we began our street. The place where we were didn't have doorbells, and usually they had a gated porch that you couldn't enter. So as we come up to the house they would say "Magandang unado" which means good morning. So you just hope that they are able to hear you. They have  a lot of not at home there just like back in the states. The first person we found at home was a young guy who was about 20. He only spoke Tagalog but could understand English. So I was able to talk to talk to him a little(most people here speak at least 3 languages - Tagalog, English, and their native dialect). The next person was a 20 something girl washing clothes outside.  We just briefly left her a tract as she was busy. The next woman invited us in which was nice since it was really starting to get hot in the sun. We talked awhile, half in Tagalog and half in English. It was funny though, the wife had to keep reminding the husband to talk in English so I could understand. It was nice though because I could actually contribute some. The woman and the husband we were talking to ran a business making and selling handicrafts to Pier 1, Michael's, and Wal-Mart. So that was interesting to see. She was Catholic (a lot of people are here) but we had a nice conversation with her. As we left it went from sunny to a downpour almost instantly. Thankfully they all carry umbrellas for the sun and rain there, so we popped up our umbrellas and made for a nearby shop. It was a tiny little market and we huddled under the awning to keep dry. The shop keeper set out a few chairs and made us sit down as we waited for the rain to slow. Eventually the car we rode in there showed up and we got in and headed over to the site of their new Kingdom Hall.
    Everyone was very excited about their new Hall. There were many workers busy and happy to see and meet us as they showed us around. I'm just going to reiterate here how much they love taking pictures here, they could do it for hours! It had taken them 8 years to make this project happen. They expect to be done by Nov 15th. Just about 5 years ago they were one congregation and since then they have already grown to 3 congregations. And the congregation that was hosting us is already back up to 135! So you can see why they really needed a new Hall. And this is a double Hall.
   Gab covered lunch so I will skip to the program they prepared for us. We get back to the Hall and everyone is getting ready and getting in some of their traditional clothing. Before they start, a brother comes up to me and shows me a set of questions for an interview they want to do with me. So when it starts they invite me up first and ask me questions which would take too long to expound on. Just how long were you baptized, how my congregation is, etc. It was a privilege to be interviewed. Then they asked the other Brother that was visiting too. After that the children sang 2 Kingdom songs for us, it was very cute. =) I can't remember the order exactly but they also interviewed a pioneer sister who from her words had assisted an entire congregation worth of people into the truth. Then a big group of the Men and Women sang a song for us which was beautifully done. We then had a bible trivia game which everyone was involved with. And then they asked me to close with prayer which was another great privilege. Then they had snacks with alot of their native foods and some pizza from Pizza Hut and cheeseburgers from McDonald's. Was kinda funny, they just call that kind of food snacks. It's not a meal unless you have rice according to them. We then all exchanged gifts. It was such a neat experience. And regretfully after that we had to leave our dear friends. It was such a great time. 
    I just want to add on here how crazily insane the traffic and driving is here. I can't believe that they all dont die here everyday!! It's so funny. People just do what they want to, and pull out in front of you. It's hard to even describe. The brother said you can't have 6 inches between the cars, it needs to be 2 inches. And that seemed be the case. But for some reason I don't feel nervous, because somehow it's also orderly in an odd way too. If traffic was like this in America we would be extinct.
   Well it's now 2:45 am and I need to be up in 3 hours to get up for our Bethel tour tomorrow. My sleep schedule is still off. Good night!

Their hall now . 

At the kingdoms hall site 

I took a picture of them taking pictures of us  :) at one time it was about 10 people taking pics at once 


The sister from Charlotte  that knew the Montana's 


  1. Hi John & Gabby, Thanks for sharing! So exciting! We feel like we're there with you! Please give our heartfelt love to our brothers and sisters over there.
    By the way, what exactly are you eating in that first picture? :-)
    Lots of Love, Augie & Heather

  2. Hey guys we heard about the earthquake this morning. I looked up Almanza and it seems that you're pretty far away from the epicenter, but let us know what's going on as soon as you can.

  3. By the way, those of you having problems posting comments here, I found that you must have a Google account AND be signed into Google or it won't accept your post. You may need exit the blog first, sign into google or gmail, then return to the blog. The "Comment As" box below should show your google username or email address followed by (Google Account) if you've done this properly. Hope this helps.

  4. Oh, my dearest friends, i love you both and am so glad you got your rest Gabby. I'm so sorry it hasn't been the first few days you expected. The way it has gone, it sounds like you have been able toe xperience the brother's love in a very sincere and personal way. I hope and pray all the time through the day, that you will be feeling well and that the earthquake doesn't hurt you. Whatever you go through, you will be amazingly stronger and enriched spiritually by it. I hope you are ok. I love you, my friends!