Monday, September 19, 2016

The Father That Stayed Home With His Family

Visit a park in Hong Kong on any day of the week and you will see it full of Filipino domestic workers enjoying their one day off.  Stroll through a mall in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha or Kuwait and those staffing the retail stores are very likely to be Filipino. New York City and other large cities where both husband and wife have a career you will find Filipino nannies filling the gap for these too busy professionals.

In Hong Kong the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints holds Sacrament meeting and other church meetings for Filipino Domestic Workers every day of the week.  Workers are allowed one day a week off and it can be any day of the week.  When they are off, most are not allowed at their employers home so spend the day in the park or attending church.

It is estimated that more than 2.3 million Filipinos work abroad — and that is the official statistic. A recent article in The New Yorker estimates the number equates to a tenth of the Philippines’ population of almost 100 million people. Many work without the proper work visas, which makes them vulnerable to poor working conditions and human rights abuses.

What persuades a Woman to leave her husband and children to go work in Hong Kong.  Why does a man leave his wife and children to go abroad to Saudi Arabia or London or many other countries around the world?  Domestic workers in China are paid about $500 US a month.  Many at home in the Philippines struggle to find work that will pay them $200.  Salaries vary around the world with job and location are are very enticing to people living in poverty wondering how they will feed their children, and provide for their education.

I would like to introduce you to one of my friends in the Philippines.  His name is Jimmy De Guzman Cancino.  He is an educator and is currently serving as the Stake President of the Philippines Bayambang Stake.  This is his story about almost going abroad, in his words.

“Going abroad is not the solution to our financial difficulties.  To be honest with you, I was once an applicant in Mozambique Africa as a teacher.  Year 2007 when I applied in a certain school as endorsed by one of my friends.  She told me that the owner of the school will be coming to the Philippines to interview Filipino teachers who are willing to teach in her school.  Fortunately, I was given a chance.  I passed the interview and prepared my passport and other pertinent papers for the processing of my working visa.  This was the time where I am only earning little amount of salary each month.  In short, my salary was not sufficient to finance the needs of my family.  When the school owner offered a monthly salary of $800 without any thought I grabbed at once the offer and prepared all the necessary papers for me to go there.  I was really excited about it but after signing the contract, there was a feeling of loneliness in my heart because I will be leaving my family.

            My heart was really saddened every time I thought of leaving my family and my job here in the Philippines as a permanent teacher.  While I am preparing my papers going abroad, I also filed my application for a Master Teacher position.  I am so much troubled and bothered with my decision to go abroad.  So, I inquired of the Lord about my decision if it is right.  I prayed earnestly and even do fasting for me not to regret on my decision.  I went even to the temple for the confirmation of my decision.

After some time, the ranking result in our division came in and I was rank number 1 in the division.  I got promoted for the position I have applied for.

            With this promotion, I offered again a fervent prayer unto the Lord, because I am so confused as to what decision will I take for me not to regret later.  
After so much time of prayer and fasting, our Heavenly Father answered my prayers in the form of a vision.  In my vision, I saw myself in the place where I will be teaching, night time when I went there.  As I entered the house where I will stay, nobody welcomes me and I felt very sad.  I felt that I made a great mistake.  I thought it was not a dream.  I felt really discouraged and disappointed with my decision.  But when I woke up, I thank the Lord, because it was just a dream.

Bayambang Stake Self-Reliance Committee
            With all of these experiences that I have had, I’ve learned to listen to the promptings of the spirit.  And know for myself that God will never forsake us in making our righteous decisions in lives.  It’s comforting to note that even through a vision God answered our prayers.  I am ever grateful for His divine guidance each day.  I am thankful for His love and care in all the difficult situations in my life.  Truly, going abroad is not an answer to our financial difficulties.  If not for His guidance and direction I wouldn’t choose the right decision for myself and my family.  Three years later, I was able to see the purpose why I was guided to stay.  I was called as a Bishop in our ward.  Four years after, I was called as Stake President in Bayambang Philippines Stake.  If I did not listen to the promptings of the spirit and counsels of the leaders I wouldn’t be called to such callings in the church.  I love my callings in the church.  I love my family so I stayed and  never thought of going abroad anymore for I know that God will bless me if I will do the best that I can do in magnifying my callings in my family and in the church.  Now that I am serving in the church as a Stake President I was again blessed by the Lord to a higher position in the DepEd as School Principal.  I am ever grateful and happy for all the blessings that God has given me.”
Self-Reliance Show Case & Graduation

Sister Anderson and I have been blessed to work with many other families in the Philippines who are struggling with working abroad decisions.  Some have already left the Philippines and are struggling to find a way home.  Others are struggling with the decision to go or stay. 

Many Grandparents have been put in a situation of raising the children as parents while Mother is away in a foreign country.  Not only are the children deprived of a loving mother to nurture and care for them here but they are denied the blessing of having Grandparents in their lives as it is almost impossible to fill the role of Mom and Grandma at the same time.

Self-Reliance Graduation in Bayambang Stake
 In the scriptures we read in Doctrine and Covenants 104:17 For the earth is full, and there is enough and to spare; yea, I prepared all things, and have given unto the children of men to be agents unto themselves.

The Philippines is a beautiful land, full of resources and food and opportunities.  In teaching Self-Reliance here we help families find ways to use these resources to improve their lives and sustain their families.  

In THE FAMILY, A Proclamation to the World we read:

HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children. “Children are an heritage of the Lord” (Psalm 127:3). Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

Families can only achieve this by being together.  By working together.  Fathers and Mothers can only accomplish their purpose on earth by being together and working together to build strong families wherever they may be.  

Monday, September 5, 2016

Oh by the way, we have moved!

 From time to time I have heard of family situations changing while their missionary is servicing such that they are required to move and relocate the family.  When I was a 19 year old missionary serving in England I knew of some and felt sad for them.

My parents knew exactly what they wanted for a place to live and raise their family.  They rented apartments until they found the perfect piece of land and then they built a small modest home to which they continued to add onto and expand as their family grew.

They never had any intention of moving anywhere.  My Mother often said, that she was going to stay in her home until she died and they could take her out "feet first".

And so it was, for almost 70 years that was home.  When I serving in England I had no doubt about going home to the same home I had left.

You can almost see Wendell, then Karen and my Mom at my Niece Mary's Wedding Reception
Wendell and Karen

Rebecca in her home next door to ours

After my Mother died two years ago we received a mission call to the Philippines to serve in Self-Reliance.  That year was a major year of changes.  Mom passed away living a big hole in our hearts and many things changed.  My Sister Karen and her Husband Wendell moved to St George and sold their home in South Jordan just minutes from our home.

My daughter Rebecca and her Husband Lance found a home in the neighborhood of his brother and moved to Layton.  Their home was next door to our home and now we had a 40 mile drive to visit.  It was so fun having Riley and Brea right next door to come over and see us all the time.

We began adjusting to this change before we left but there was not sufficient time it to all sink in.  I am still expecting to go home and find them living next door, just like before.  I will get used to it but it may take a little time.

Lance, Riley, Brea & Rebecca Coming Home with a Christmas Tree

Isaac, Rachael, Davis (Jessica's Baby) & Matt
Matt and Rachael and their children, Christopher, Megan, Nathan and Isaac moved back to Utah from Columbus Ohio shortly before we received our mission call. 

I worried that if employment did not work out in Utah they might leave the state before we returned home.  Our prayers were answered with a new job that allows Matt to live in Utah and work from home and travel as needed to Connecticut.  I am so thankful for this blessing.

The Horstman family has just purchased a new home in Draper.  It will be fun to visit them in their new home and hear about all the changes in their lives when we return home.

My Family at the Airport when we left for the Philippines

So I thought we were done with all this until about a week ago when Tracy and Lynette called us and announced that Tracy has accepted a new job and they are moving to Nevada, about 8 hours away.

While the Moore family is not on my genealogy family chart, they could not be any closer to our family if we were brothers.

The good news is, I can drive 8 hours to see these forever friends and the memories of all the good times we have shared are always there for me to enjoy.

Life is full of changes.  All of them make us stronger.  When the Moore family moved into my neighborhood, I was blessed with friends who have always been there when I needed them.

This summer I learned that my sprinkler system was not working properly.  I called Tracy to ask if he had any contacts of someone who could repair them for me.  I was looking for someone to hire to do the work.  Tracy went to my home, figured out what the problem was and repaired it.  That is only one of countless times he and his family have been of service to me and my family.

Tracy and Lynette, I love you and I will miss you, especially your impromptu visits.  You always have a place to stay when you come to South Jordan.  Mi Casa Su Casa.