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Acts of Kindness

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Aug. 19, 2013 - Chayote, Rambutan, My Address, 1 Nephi 17, and 25 Inches of Rain

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August 19, 2013 - Monday -  Today is Monday and it's a city wide holiday so we do not have to go to work.  It's a darn good thing as I am not feeling very well.  Terrible night of diarrhea and throwing up.  I think I may also be dehydrated.  All I do is drink but even that goes right through me.  
This past weekend was awesome as it was a time period where I received emails with lots of question in them.  I was asked about what new and/or strange things I have eaten, interesting places and things I have seen, and the most obscure but interesting question was about my address. It's a lot of questions to cover and so I will cover a few in every email to try and answer them all.  Keep them coming.  I love to learn right along with you.
I have eaten lots of mango and pineapple.  Also avacados, coconut, and papaya which you have all heard of.  You have probably even eaten some of those.  I had Sister Doig take a picture of me with my half of this mornings' papaya breakfast. I have also eaten several new things.  The most interesting and unique so far have been rambutan and chayote. I know just a little about each one that I can share with you. 
b2ap3_thumbnail_Chayote.jpgCHAYOTE (Sayote in the Philippines) - The vegetable is roughly pear-shaped, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles. The veggie ranges from 6 to 9 inches in length. It looks like a green pear, and it has a thin, green skin combined with the green to white flesh, and a single, large, flattened pit. Some varieties have spiny fruits. The flesh has a fairly bland taste, and the texture is described as a cross between a potato and a  cucumber. To me it seems more like a summer squash or a melon.  Although generally discarded, the seed has a nutty flavor and may be eaten as part of the fruit. The chayote vine can be grown on the ground, but as a climbing plant, it will grow on anything, and can easily rise as high as 12 feet when support is provided. It has heart-shaped leaves, 4–8 inches wide and tendrils on the stem. Sounds just like most summer squashes, cucumbers and melons to me. Maybe that is because it belongs to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, along with melons, cucumbers and squash.
The chayote is used in mostly cooked forms. When cooked, chayote is usually handled like summer squash, it is generally lightly cooked to retain the crisp flavor. Though rare and often regarded as especially unpalatable and tough in texture, raw chayote may be added to salads or salsas, most often marinated with lemon or lime juice. Whether raw or cooked, chayote is a good source of amino acids and vitamin C.
I have eaten only cooked chayote.  It was served much like summer and zucchini squash is served.  Lightly boiled with butter and salt on it.  I have also eaten it mixed together with other steamed veggies like carrots, celery, and onions.  It's very good.
It's grown and served nearly everywhere in the world except in our part of the United States.  How dumb are we?  When I found out all that I have learned about it, I felt really perturbed that I have lived so many places and never even heard of or known about Chayote or Sayote.
It's known by lots of other names throughout the world.
* Louisiana Creole and Cajun cuisine, the fruit, known as mirliton also spelled mirletons or merletons  is a popular seasonal dish for the holidays, especially around Thanksgiving, in a variety of recipes.
* Chayote is an important part of traditional diets across Mesoamerica, and can be found in a variety of dishes.
*In the Philippines, the plant is known as "Sayote" and is grown mostly in the mountainous part of the country. Sayote is used in many kinds of dishes such as soup, stir-fried vegetables and chop suey.
* In Indonesia, chayotes are called labu siam and widely planted for their shoots and fruit.
* In Taiwan, chayotes are widely planted for their shoots, known as lóng xü cài  literally "dragon-whisker vegetable".  Along with the young leaves, the shoot is a commonly consumed vegetable in the region.
*In Thai cuisine, the plant is known as sayongte or fak maeo  which literally meaning "Miao melon". It grows mainly in the mountains of northern Thailand. The young shoots and greens are often eaten stir-fried or in certain soups.
* In Brazil and other Latin American countries, it is breaded and fried, or used cooked in salads, soups and soufflés.
* In Nepal, the plant and fruit is called iskus, probably derived from the word squash. Its shoots, fruit and roots are widely used for different varieties of curries.
*Chayote is also popular in South Indian cuisine. It is popularly referred to as "Bangalore brinjal". It is used in vegetable stews.
Now that you know all about it, you should grow some in your gardens next year and enjoy it like I have.
b2ap3_thumbnail_Rambutan.jpgRAMBUTAN - The rambutan is a medium-sized tropical tree. The fruit produced by the tree is also known as rambutan.
According to popular belief and the origin of its name, rambutan is native to Indonesia and Malaysia. The earliest record of rambutan trees show that they were cultivated by the Malayan jungle tribes around their temporary settlements, a practice still followed today. Rambutan trees grow naturally in Thailand. Vietnam, the Philippines, and elsewhere in Southeast Asia, although its precise natural distribution is unknown. It is closely related to several other edible tropical fruits. It is native to the Indonesian Archipelago, from where it spread westwards to Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and India; northwards to Vietnam, and the Philippines.
Rambutans are a non-climacteric fruit—that is, they ripen only on the tree. 
The name rambutan is derived from the Malay/Indonesian word rambutan, meaning "hairy". Rambut the word for "hair" in both languages, is a reference to the numerous hairy protuberances of the fruit. In Vietnam, it is called chôm chôm (meaning "messy hair") due to the spines covering the fruit's skin.
The fruit is a round to oval drupe - which is a fruit with a thin outer skin, soft pulpy middle, and hard stony central part that encloses a seed. Apricots, plums, cherries, and almonds are all drupes. A rambutan is  1.5 to 2 inches tall and 1 - 2 inches broad and grows in a loose cluster of 10–20 together. The leathery skin is reddish and covered with fleshy pliable spines.  The fruit flesh is translucent, whitish or very pale pink, with a sweet, mildly acidic flavor very reminiscent of grapes.  The texture when eaten is also very like a grape.
The single seed is glossy brown. The seeds are soft and crunchy, and they may be cooked and eaten. Some folklore regards the seeds as poisonous, but tests of the seed show they are not toxic.  The peeled fruits can be cooked and eaten, first the grape-like aril, then the nutty seed, with no waste.  I do not cook the fruit or eat the pit.  The fruit is great just as it is.  Too time consuming to dry and then cook them. More vitamins in the freshly peeled uncooked version. 
I have taken several pictures of rambutan growing on the roadside trees. Also a pictures of them with a normal sized apple to have a good reference as to their size and color.  Someday soon I will am will learn how to attach said photos.
MY ADDRESS - Two of you have asked what all the stuff in my address means so I will just explain it to everyone.  The words Barangay Bagumbayan
I wanted to make sure I explained what it meant correctly so I looked up the word Barangay.  The definition that follows is simplified from the more complex internet definition.
A barangay (ba ron guy  - the Americanized pronunciation) is the smallest administrative division and is the native Filipino term for a village or district.  In everyday language, the term often refers to an inner city neighborhood, a suburb, or a suburban neighborhood. The word barangay originated from balangay, a kind of sail boat used by a group of Austronesian peoples when they migrated to the Philippines. Municipalities  and cities are composed of barangays, and they may be further subdivided into smaller areas called  purok which means "zones", and sitio, which is a community inside a barangay, especially in rural areas. As of September 30, 2012 there are a total of 42,028 barangays throughout the Philippines.
The name of the district (Barangay) in which I live is called Bagumbayan.  It is within the city of Quezon.  I hope that made that all a little clearer.  I am learning a ton right along with you when I have to figure out the answers to your questions.
For those of you who want to participate in the "Read along with Miss Kate";  Today I read and studied 1 Nephi 17. I did an exceptional amount of writing about this chapter for some reason.  Maybe because in some ways it struck so close to home.  I also write, not always in the 1st person as might be expected, but in mixed styles as though I am someone else teaching and instructing me as well as adding in my own opinions and feelings.  More of a storytelling style which is what I am most comfortable with.
1 NEPHI 17 - From my reading/study I gleaned that the amount of time Nephi and his group spent traveling was fairly extensive given that many woman gave birth during their travels.  We all know it take 9 months plus from conception for a fetus to grow in to an infant ready to be born.  So even if the women did start out already carrying a child, time enough had to pass to finish carrying that child to its birth.  Later, verse 4 tells us that 8 years passed as they traveled in the wilderness.  In that amount of time a couple could have produced their entire family. It seems a great chunk of time to journey without murmuring. (whispering, muttering , mumbling, complaining, criticizing, whining, nitpicking, nagging, objecting, grumbling, carping, protesting, and/or finding fault. etc.) I feel like murmuring and I am only in this place for 18 months without the comforts of what I know.  But what I do know is, that like Nephi's group who were blessed because of their commitment to live and follow the commandments of the Lord, we (I) will be blessed if we (I) can follow their example. The Lord provided(s) the way for us if we will do his will.

I also find it wonderful and remarkable that when they got to their destination, despite all that they had been through, which included so many varied trials and afflictions that Nephi does not even have space to write about, they rejoiced!  I know when I finally got off the Airplane that went from Narita (Tokyo, Japan) to the airport in Manila and through customs, after having been on 3 airplanes for over 22 hours, I was beyond weary but I surely felt like rejoicing that that part was over.  I cannot even imagine what they must have felt like to know they could finally settle and recuperate.

After Nephi thinks things are finally settling in, he hears the voice of the Lord speaking to him and instructing him to do things he has absolutely no idea how to do. But, like the ever faithful and obedient person that he is, he just asks the right questions and then relies upon the Lord to lead the way.  Talk about the epitome of faith defined. I have a hard time imagining myself going forward with a project with no real point of reference or experience to guide me.  Then to top it off, to have others talking at me and giving me a hard time about the choices and plans I had made as though I had lost my marbles even though I was trying to be obedient to the Lords request. I think I kind of understand a tiny bit about how Nephi felt. 

When I was asked to serve this mission I just said yes and hoped and prayed it would all be do able.  Thank heavens that I, unlike Nephi, had nothing but the strongest and most wonderful support in my choice. except for one person. That was my own brother.  He is not very sympathetic regarding the Church.  In fact he is downright antagonistic.  He just could not see why I would choose to spend my time/resources in doing what a mission requires. No amount of explaining or testifying made him see it any differently.  I just finally had to accept that I was not going to change his thinking and that I just had to go without concerning myself about it.  I know that I would have liked him to see the value of this experience and embrace the blessings and joy it will bring.  At least he did not make fun of me or throw the whole thing into my face about me being vain and foolish like Nephi's brothers did to him. 

The brothers tried to make Nephi feel as though all their problems were because of him and Lehi and if everyone had just done what they had wanted everyone would be happy. No one would have suffered. They would all have had their material things and their "comfort zone".  Talk about a guilt trip. Poor Nephi.  What a burden to carry.  Just because he wants to be obedient and because he loves and trusts the Lord.

Finally, he resorts to telling them the story of Moses and the Red Sea incident.  He likens his brothers to the wicked of those times and how those folks, because of their wickedness, were destroyed. He reminds his brothers that the command to do what was done was from the Lord and that if they didn't soon repent they will be like those of Moses time who were quick to do wrong and slow to remember their God.  Nephi again reminds them of their earlier experiences in seeing and angel of the Lord who had spoken unto them calling them to repentance. 

It makes me super aware of the fact that Satan is always working to lead us astray regardless of what we know to be right.  Nephi is so upset that he calls them all to a mighty remembrance of the power of God.  When he said these things to them, it really ticks them off and they are about to do Nephi physical harm.  Throw him into the sea and drown him.  (My fear of the water raises it's big ugly head here and makes me feel petrified with panic.)  He warned them that they must NOT touch him for he was filled with the power of God. What a mighty and exhilarating and even terrifying feeling it must have been for him to realize that because of his obedient choices and his righteous living that God himself was protecting him from harm, that even touching him would be a death sentence for anyone who was that foolish.  (Sounds a little like a great plot and story line for a super Fantasy/Science Fiction/Action movie.)  What is particularly wonderful about the whole thing is that it was true and no Sci Fi special effects could come close to recreating the power of God. 

I particularly relish the fact that Nephi forbid them from murmuring (See the above definitions) anymore and would not allow them to go without helping him build the ship.  His knowledge that it was God's commandment, and his faith that anything he was told to do by the Lord could be done, is really inspiring. 

I think it's a great climax when the Lord tells Nephi to hold forth his hand to his brothers and it would not kill them but only shock them.  Then when it actually happened exactly as the Lord says, their eyes were opened (At least for a brief time) and they did as they were instructed. Even exactly as it was spoken.  Admonition from Nephi to his brothers: Therefore, worship the Lord thy God and honor your parents that you may live long in the land which the Lord God has provided.  

Nephi takes no claim, reward, recognition, acknowledgement, or credit unto himself for what has happened or for what has been bestowed, but gives it all to the Lord where it properly belongs.  What an incredible young man of such great faith, humility, and obedience!  I would love to be more like him.  He is a great example and I shall make a more diligent attempt to use him as a constant reference and mentor.

b2ap3_thumbnail_Flooding.jpg25” OF RAIN - It's been raining all day and the news says that Metro Manila City has had 25 inches of rain today.  Just today!!! That's a lot of water!!! Some other cities are slightly involved including Quezon City.  There are 3 dead and 94,000 people displaced. Tropical storm Maring is doing her stuff. We are on Yellow Alert.  A two ship collision off of CEBU that is blamed on the storm has killed 52 people and left both ships crippled.  Flash flood warnings. The traffic is insane! People just abandon their cars and walk away because they can't move their cars which are full of water. etc.  In some places the water is chest deep.  Many places in the country are considered in a state of calamity. Flights into and out of Cebu have been cancelled.  This is not a Typhoon.  It's called a Monsoon.  It's just tons of rain. (NO wind).
We have stayed inside all day on the 23rd floor in our apartment. Pretty boring.  I would love to see more of what is really going  but it is so unsafe that I will not go anywhere near any of it.  I just watch the stuff on the TV.  It feels like I should be helping in some evacuation center or something.  No.  Here I sit in comfort in my house. I am going to watch a movie with Sister Doig as she is does not want to watch the news any more,  She says it makes her crazy and depressed.

NEWSFLASH -7 feared dead, thousands displaced as rains swamp Luzon

Updated Monday, August 19, 2013 - 6:34pm
Three people have been confirmed killed and four more were feared dead on Monday as a large part of Luzon, including Metro Manila, was hit by torrential rains since Sunday.

Have a good day.  Be good.  Mahal Kital.
New Tagolog word for today - barangay  (ba ron guy) = neighborhood
Love, Miss Kate

Sister O'Reilly

"Blessed is the influence of one true, loving, human soul on another." -- George Eliot

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