Anna Lenore H. Pilobello (1959-2011)
Cebu Temple Dedication
Top Left to Right 1. Bro. and Sister Pilobello and E/S Bird 2. Leni's casket at viewing
3. Floral Arrangement from Department of Public Affairs 4. Elder Bird w/ Leni's Father at Leni's casket 5. Internment of Leni (workers filling in the grave) 6. Balloons let fly following burial 7. Casket at funeral
Leni's Last Appearance at the Office
Leni's Casket Prior To The Funeral
Fun Times on Leni's Birthday
On August 19, 2011, Anna Lenore H. Pilobello (Leni) passed on from mortality. She had been the director of Public Affairs for the Philippines for the past 15 years. She fought a tough battle with cancer for 2+ years. Although we only knew her for 4 1/2 months, we learned so much from her and have many wonderful memories. I will share a few:
- Sense of humor--the first day we walked into the Public Affairs Office, we were shown where our work stations would be, and Leni had left a "welcome" gift in front of Elder Bird's computer. It was a nice wooden box about the length of a pen.....he opened it and was very unexpectedly surprised by a box of very fine cigars!! Everyone had a big laugh...including us. They were a thank you gift to Public Affairs from a mayor in Manilla. Leni said, "I don't think he did his homework on the church before sending those!!" She was always copying to us funny little cartoons or stories she had read....usually from the U.S. At her funeral, many of her friends commented about the times her big smile would suddenly become a "mischievous grin" and they knew she was up to something.
- Filipino Culture--Leni took every opportunity to teach us of their culture. When it was her birthday and we wanted to have a party for her, she taught us that in Filipino culture, the one with the birthday gives the party...preparing the food and planning all activities and invites all of their family and friends. Hmmm...if only I had known this "birthday tradition" earlier, I could have saved myself a lot of work and money!!!
- Always Be Prepared--We learned about a day at the Cebu Temple Openhouse, when a very boistrous man wanted to cause a scene out in the parking lot. Leni walked right over to him, and in a kind but firm way, proceeded to defend and set right every false accusation he was charging the church with.....she not only knew correct doctrine but also facts and figures about everything he brought up. He was so shocked that he couldn't say anything. He got on his bike and rode out of the parking lot.
- Intelligence---I have learned that not All of the most intelligent people are born in the U.S. (not that I ever thought they were!) Leni had a brilliant mind and a photographic memory. When we went through the seating arrangements for 225 VIP guests, she looked through it once and could tell us after that, where every single person would be seated!! It was amazing!
- How to send Formal Letters--I have never been a secretary, and although I did get an A in Beginning Typing in high school, I did not arrive in the mission field prepared. Leni would say something like, "Sister Bird, I notice Senator So and so had a child die. Would you please prepare a letter of condolence for her from this office "...that meant she would sign it. Then I would say, "Yes! I will do it right now". Then I would walk out of her office and say....."Randy! Help!!....I only know how to create agendas for relief society meetings!" He taught me his way and I learned a few things from another secretary at the MPAO, and now I know the CORRECT way.....and, yes, I do keep a copy of one on file just in case!!
- Poverty is no Excuse for Failure--Leni told us of growing up in poverty. Her father held a very good position in the Philippine Army and took out early retirement. He had a very good pension that would provide well for their family. An Aunt talked him into investing his money in a "sure" deal. He unwisely invested all of it and lost all of it! They had 5 children and 1peso a day to live on (the Aunt gave them the peso each day). Her father was a very proud man and this was so hard on him. A short time later the missionaries taught the family and all were baptized. Leni said that when things like youth conference and girls camp came up and they needed some money, they would scour the neighborhood for weeks doing odd jobs to earn the money. In school she studied very hard and went through all of her schooling on scholarships. Her mother had such faith. She would tell all of the children to get ready for church on Sunday morning.....they would wonder why, because they knew there was no money for the jeepnie ride. Once they were ready, her mom would say, "now, let's find where the money has been left". They would look through the drawers, furniture, cupboards, and purses and every time someone would find pesos where they knew there had been none before. This happened many times in their family. Leni said she learned at a very young age that she needed to do her part and the Lord would take care of the rest.....and He always has.
- Rice-- It is not a meal unless rice is served! Anything without rice is "merienda" (a snack)!
- Endure to the End: Right up until the day before she died, Leni was on her computer emailing us at the office. She was on top of everything and gave it her all until the very end. She loved her job, but she loved the Lord more and was willing to submit to His will.
- "Ingat"--And finally, the last word she spoke to us as we left her hospital room a week before her death......"Ingat".......the Filipino word you say to your friends when departing....in english it means..."Take Care...see you later". Ingat to you dear Leni.