Monday, July 25, 2016

25 July 2016

Well, this week was pretty short. We did have a very fun exchange, which I have lots of pictures of. I posted them all down below. There was lots of hiking through mountains there. We also saw a dog that looked like a teddy bear at a member's house.

On Thursday, we had weekly planning, and went out visiting. Nothing too thrilling happened.

Friday was the exchange. Elder Eagar had a district leader training, so I went with another companionship all the way out to the boondocks. We did a ton of hiking to reach one house, but no one was home there. So, we hiked all the way back. The rest of the day was fairly normal- we switched back at night.

Saturday was a good day. We managed to visit Roland, our old investigator, again. When we showed up, he was starting a fire. "I'm incinerating something. Don't ask what." Before the lesson started, he shared some recent world news, which was pretty startling. In some ways, I'm glad that I don't hear much of it on my mission. Anyway, we taught about the Word of Wisdom, and he gave an interesting commitment. "Cigarrettes? Sure. I can't afford them anyway. But I'm not sure about coffee yet..." Turns out he's super addicted. He did agree to try to stop, at least. Throughout the day, we taught 6 lessons! That's a lot for this area. 

On Sunday, we had 8 AM church, as usual. I ended up playing the piano during sacrament meeting, because the only pianist in the ward was absent. That was...interesting. I've gotten better on my mission, but not by that much. Afterward, we had a lunch appointment, and a dinner appointment that night. Score! 

The big news for the week investigator-wise would be the Guchierrez family. They are on date, and probably will be baptized in early August. What's more, the grandpa of the family just unexpectedly asked to be baptized, too! We are just finishing up the lessons, and they are ready!

That's all I got for the week- See ya!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

20 July 2016

Well, Taytay is a lot different than Quezon City. It's only 20 kilometers away, but still somehow has different weather. In Quezon City, it was cloudy and rainy. Here, it's sunny. That's it, hot and sunny. The work is also different- but better. It's really easy to find new investigators! And the view from most of the area is incredible.

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So, Wednesday, I went over to Taytay, which was a bit of an adventure. I then had a crazy whirlwind tour of half the area! We went all over. It turns out that nearly everyone here is Tagalog-speaking only. It really gives you an incentive to learn it. 

Thursday, I hit my 18-month mark. We also taught a whole lot of lessons. We started at the edge of our area, and slowly worked our way back to the apartment. We met with basically everyone in the area we hadn't met with Wednesday! That afternoon, we taught an old guy named Roland, who was hilarious. He speaks great English, which was a relief. He also doesn't hesitate to tell you exactly what he is thinking at all times! Thursday night, we found a family of 8, who listened to our message, and invited us back. It was a good day.

Friday was very interesting. We ended up blessing four people, a new room in their house, and their shop. I'll admit, I've never done that before. We also had some weekly planning, and taught a family whose house was up on stilts, in a swamp.

On Saturday, everything fell through. We'd planned about 10 appointments, only 2 of which ended up happening. I saw something interesting, though. Our Elder's Quorum President, Edwin, used to live in this one area, that burned to the ground. We walked through it on the way to an appointment, and it was pretty destroyed.

We started off Sunday with 8 o'clock church, which is really early. I was asked to give the opening prayer at church, and then halfway through, was asked over the pulpit by the bishop, in Tagalog, to come up and bear my testimony. That was fun. After church, we had to go over to our zone leader's area to interview one of their investigators for baptism, then came back. We ended up having 2 meal appointments that day! 

Monday was supposed to be p-day. In the morning, we went out on a mountain walk with a couple of members, which was amazing. You could see for forever from the top of that! When we got back and cleaned up, only then did the zone leaders text, saying it wasn't p-day. That was because we were having a surprise temple day on Wednesday instead. That kind of threw us for a loop, and so we had to replan our whole day. It turned out well, though. Roland, the same one I mentioned early, really opened up during the lesson we taught that day, and really started thinking. That's always good! 

Yesterday was also interesting. Elder Eagar was convinced that we were getting an apartment inspection in the morning, and he was right. We got a "Celestial" rating, the highest possible. We went out to district meeting, then out visiting. There, we found another new family- Jonathan and co.

Today started off at 4:30, with a temple trip. We'd planned an hour and a half for travel, but it ended up taking two and a half instead. We missed the session we'd planned on attending, but made it through in the end. After that, we had lunch, then went right back and emailed. That's been it for the week!

Monday, July 11, 2016

11 July 2016

Well, I'll get the big news of the week out first: I'm  transferring to Taytay zone, with Elder Eager. Funny story with that one: my first day in the mission was a zone conference, and guess who I sat next to? Yep, him. We just found out about transfers this morning. That makes this the 4th consecutive area I've served in for under 2 transfers. Also, this is the 3rd time on my mission where I've been transferred on the transfer day! My transfers have been all over the place for so many different reasons that, despite being out for 18 months and serving in 10 areas, I've only transferred on the scheduled day 3 times, counting this one. I've also only served in 2 areas for a full 2 transfers. Okay, fun facts over.

Last Monday was the 4th of July, which is not celebrated at all over here. We went to Burger King, and that was about it. 

Tuesday was interesting. President Koster, the new president, is really determined to shake things up! We had a zone conference where he said, in essence, "We'll be looking at the mission rules, and getting rid of the ones that don't help us focus on the missionary purpose." He also ignored basically all of the mission zone conference traditions- it only lasted till 1, as opposed to the normal 6, we didn't stand as he entered, all sorts of changes. We got to meet his family, who all moved from San Diego California to here. After the conference, we went up to our area, but it started dumping rain hard. I mean, really hard. We got trapped, and eventually ended up just running back. 

As a side note, we are officially in the middle of the hardest part of the rainy season. It's been raining, usually really hard, every day, multiple times, nearly continuously. 

Wednesday, we tried to go out to that same area as the night before, but Elder Dadis's wallet got stolen in the jeepney. That was a problem. We went back to the apartment so he could search for any money he'd left there, and went back out after a different part of the area. At night, we had an FHE with a recent convert family, which was fun.

Thursday wasn't quite as exciting as the other days. We spent the morning trying to break into the church, though. The other elders had the keys, 2 different sets, but the padlocks on the gates weren't having it. They asked us to come help, because they needed to teach an investigator there. Eventually, we got one to hitting it with a rock while turning the key. Later that day, the biggest news was visiting Venerando, the investigator I mentioned last week. He's still talking, thank goodness, but hasn't made too much progress. 

Friday, we had a thrilling weekly planning session in the morning. Then, we went out for a highly successful streak of missed appointments, which lasted nearly all day. Eventually, through sheer perseverence, we met with a new investigator, Dinesha, a member family, and finally the Batislaons. They are a recent convert family, and are doing great!

On Saturday, we had a temple tour with the Batislaons that took most of the day. We got to show them around the temple grounds, the MTC, and all the other cool stuff over there. At night, we were invited to another FHE at Bro. Patrick's house. 

Sunday wasn't very exciting. We tried to visit a lot of people in the morning, but all of them were busy. Then, we had church, and finished with another FHE at a member's house. That was interesting, at least. The member was Nanay Anne, and we had 3 sisters, one of whom was an investigator, attend with us. 

Yesterday was the real fun one. We had zone training in the morning, where yet more changes were announced. The previous 5 o'clock end of p-day was reverted back to the normal 6, and we heard President Koster was debating on ending the bag on one shoulder rule. Afterward, the first person we tried was home, Sammy Marcus! That was good, because we haven't been able to find him in a while. Unfortunately, the next plan failed. And the next one. And the next one. We started calling them Plan A, Plan B, and so on. That was a mistake, because when Plan J failed, it was pretty discouraging. Fortunately, at night, we managed to have one final appointment, with the Batislaons. 

This morning, we had transfer calls, where I heard the news. That's the news of the week, but I have one last fun thing happen. A few days ago, I saw a mouse running across the apartment floor, and I smacked it with a slipper. I'm getting really good at the squish move (grabbing the slipper off my foot and slapping the ground with it), but up until then, I'd only gotten cockroaches with it. That was the exception. And to make a long story short, Spencer got his wish:

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Monday, July 4, 2016

4 July 2016

Well, it's been raining frequently for quite a while, but this week, the weather really stepped it up. We've had at least a little rain every day, and usually a lot. That's not bad, though- when it's raining, it's cloudy. When it's cloudy, it's (relatively) cool! It's been cloudy fairly constantly  since I got here, which has been really nice. The only problem is when it's not...which is thankfully rare, especially this week.

We also had a couple exciting moments. One of them was just cleared up a couple minutes ago. We had district meeting this morning, but right before we left, I heard loud banging from the area behind the apartment. We had a little space behind there with a sink and washing machine, surrounded by 40 foot walls. I checked out what had caused it- only to see a very scared cat. We were just about to leave, so I just shut the door for then. After we got back from district meeting, we had to deal with it. I put on the big heavy coat I have, that I've worn roughly twice, some work gloves, and a lot of courage, and went out to confront the possibly crazy, rabid, and/or injured cat. That turned out to be fairly uneventful, thankfully. The cat was lying on a chair, meowing loudly. I tried to scoop it up; it ran off. I eventually just grabbed it, carried it through the apartment, and deposited it outside. It helped that the cat was sort of cooperative- no teeth or claws, at least. 

I hit a few landmarks this week. The first one is my fourth mission president! Pres. Koster just succeeded Pres. Revillio. I'll meet him tomorrow, during zone conference. Another was my 18th fast Sunday! The end is near...

We had yet more fun with our investigators, too. We have one family, the Batislaons, who love the message. They love the missionaries. All of them were baptized at some point in the last 3 months- except the father. So, Saturday night, we visited them, and asked him particularly, to come to church. Normally, he says maybe, or has an excuse. This time he said yes! But he still didn't come. Oh well, conversion doesn't always happen instantly. On the other hand, we found another family, the Baguios, who have quite a few interested people! They are Catholic, and have a few of the familiar issues. The final investigator I'll mention, Venerando, is an interesting case. He was involved in a mysterious accident with a bus a couple years ago, and has a learning difficulty. That makes teaching him an adventure. We've shared the message quite a few times, but only this week found out some news: He just doesn't believe it. We've taught the Restoration lesson a couple times, but for the first time he started asking questions and challenging it: How did Joseph Smith see angels? How did the angels get to him? All sorts of strange questions. Still, his opening up is the first step. 

There's still no visa-related news, but my Tagalog is really progressing. I even found an Indian restaurant! 

That's the exciting news for the week. Here's the unrelated stuff:

I'll have to replace my shoes soon. Remember how convinced we were they'd last the whole 2 years? Well, I'm still sure the soles will. Those are still great. The leather tops, on the other hand, are falling apart rapidly. I took them to a repair shop recently, and the lady told me they were beyond repair. That's discouraging when it comes from someone who only gets paid if they say otherwise!

About packages- it turns out to be 2-3 times more expensive to send packages here than India. You might have to wait to get one. Also, don't bother sending an actual package, if it's not too late. I've been trying to think of things I want, without much luck. Letters would still be highly appreciated! Please send lots of those!

You finished school again? That's pretty exciting! What's not surprising is hearing David loving Bahama Bucks. I still remember that place as being incredible. India had its own version of that- ice gola. It starts out more or less the same, normal shaved ice in a cup. Then they put in masala, salt, and a bunch of different colors, and pack it around a stick. It ends up like a spicy popsicle! 

See Ya!