They have been assigned as Member and Leadership Support Missionaries in the Marong District to the east and south of Metro Manila. It takes about one and one-half hours to drive there on a good traffic day, even though it is only about 20 miles away.
Elder Jensen has on the sun glasses and shirt tied on his head. He has been helping some of the members build homes for their families. It took him awhile, but he can now work about 5 to 6 hours a day in the heat before he is exhausted. Starting out, he could only go for about one hour.
This home behind him belongs to 'Jun', an active member of the church and a strong leader in the branch. He has a partner and 5 children. It is our hope that they will be able to get married very soon. She has no papers for birth and thus must pay a goodly sum to get them. They are saving up the money to get the paperwork. This will allow them to get married, get her baptized and move them forward to the temple as a family.
Jun has turned this home into a collection place for the recyclables he collects and sells to Junk Shops to earn money for his family. A new home is being built for him on a piece of property near to this one.
All the Senior Missionaries in our zone now help Jun collect glass, plastic, paper and cans to help him in his project that will also earn he and his family enough money to go to the Temple.
Another family Elder Jensen is helping is near completion of their 12 ft. by 12 ft. home made of bamboo, tarpaulins and a metal 'tin' roof. This family is investigating the church and has been attending the branch for some time now. Baptism is very close. Their home sits on a lot they have purchased and is 15 ft by 30 ft. To most of us this would be camping, but to them this is a step forward.
Another home they are helping with is just up the hill. The foundation of concrete was poured and the simple structure of coconut wood is now in place. It should only take a few more weeks and they will have a completed structure. This will be the new home of the Branch President. Sister Jensen is in the pink. One of the opportunities they enjoy is the chance to get close to the branch members. Working together forms great bonds of love. Elder and Sister Jensen are truly an inspiration to us. They are giving their all in helping branch members be more self-reliant.
We all gathered for a picture in the newly constructed framework with a lot of children. The children come running when someone pulls out a camera.
We had one more family to visit. Romeo lived down a jungle trail full of vines, banana trees and most importantly bamboo. Our visit with him is to have him ask the owner of the land he lives on to get permission to cut down more bamboo for the housing projects. All the home projects have been completed because of Romeo's land owner's generousity in allowing them to cut bamboo.
Romeo, in the green, lives in the shelter behind and cares for the property of the landlord who has given him permission to be there. Most of the branch members here just live on a piece of land and either rent it or have an arrangement with the land owner.
Romeo is able to grow a lot of the food for his family here plus some casava to sell to the markets, an item used in making a Filipino favorite Casava Cake.