Monday, September 30, 2013

Funerals, rain and falling off motorcycles

HELLO!!! This week has been a really great week and has flown by, as they all seem too. I love seeing all of the blessings that the Lord has for us in our lives as we are serving here. It’s hard, it always will be, but it is definitely worth it. I think that the event of this week was, well a long line of events actually. Last week we contacted a less active family on our 15 focus and the dad wasn’t a member. The father is really sick, he has lung cancer and it has come so quickly. He only had it for 2 months. So we taught them twice last week and the dad wasn’t doing well at all. The mom and the daughter committed to come to church and then on Sunday, they didn’t come. It turns out that the Dad past away last Friday. So then this last Wednesday we went and taught about the plan of Salvation and they committed to come to church after all of the services and stuff and how it was really heavenly father looking after them by sending us to them right before all of this happened. They asked if we could come back Friday at 2 with President Quebedo…. Weekly planning…. We worked it out with the schedule so that we still got it fit in. SO then on Friday (mind you this is family week) President Quevedo texts and says that he can’t come because he is too busy. SO we went to tell them and hopefully share with them and we got there and then President came we got everything worked out for funeral arrangements for them. President Quevedo was a little stressed but he handled everything really well. On Sunday after church they had the funeral service and we came at the end to show our support and the mom and daughter both just gave us the biggest hugs (hopefully it wasn’t too bawal in the circumstance) and told us how they don’t know what they would have done if we hadn’t have come when we did and they promised to come back to church. Hopefully it will spark the fuse for the rest of the less-actives in their family.

After the service they all walk to the funeral and we were asked to join, so we started walking…. In the pouring rain, with only one umbrella. I got a little wet. On the way home it poured!!! We gave our bags to some members to take to the church for us so that all of our stuff didn’t get all wet and then we just started to walk. When we got back to where we could take a tryce… oh yeah, we gave our bags with our money to the branch. Just keep swimming. Literally we were drenched! Finally a branch member came and picked us up and took us to our apartment so that we could change. The funeral was definitely different.

Shout out to David and Jamee! That song by one direction is playing right now in the computer shop.

I’ve been pretty homesick over the past 2 weeks…. Thought that that would be over with, it’s not yet. L but hey! Only 5 months left!

We were finally able to contact a long term investigator. We weren’t sure what to do in this situation because she says that her “asawa” lives in Bagio and that’s why they aren’t married but that she is pretty sure that he has another  asawa there too and so he doesn’t want to get married to her. We told her to drop him and get baptized. J We will see how that goes. But she was way awesome and we are all basically best friends!

On Friday night, they had a show at the church for family week and a big dinner with the Mayor. When she arrived at the chapel, they has Sister smith and I greet her and the vice mayor, and then we sang an ilakano song for them. J We didn’t have time to stay for the dinner, but the show/presentation went over really well!

This Branch and the area has a lot of potential, the leaders are really masipag and they know how to get things done. I know that as the work of the Lord increases in this area and we are able to cover more area, that the branch will really grow and hopefully become a ward.

On Saturday they had a huge dance show at the chapel the entire day! Well until 5, and there were people there from all over Ilocos Norte. It sounds like it was really fun but it was against the rules for us to attend. We did anyways. Haha but before you think that we are disobedient, really we only taught an investigator at the church at the same time that it was going on, then we recorded Paoay doing there dance and then we left. Not really disobedient…. Just clever. Then after everything was over we went and cleaned the chapel…. Oh man! It was sooo gross! Who knew that people could be so messy!!!! It was almost as bad as cleaning our apartment the first day that we got here after the elders left this area….sickening!

I fell off of the back of a tryce this week…. It’s easier than you might think! It’s basically just sitting side saddle on the back of a motorcycle, so when we went around the corner, I sort of just slipped right off…. For falling off of the back of a tryce, I was PRETTY graceful! I just sort of stepped off and ran along side of it for a second. The only thing that hurt was my pride…. So no worries there!

Love you al! You only have like 2 and a half months to write me to be sure that your letters get to me before I go home, so better seize the day!

Monday, September 23, 2013

The work will go on

This  week was a really great week, but kind of slow at the same time. It seems like the weeks always go by a lot slower when you have a couple of days when you aren't working. Monday night we had a really great family home evening at one of the members house. It was really good because we invited one of our investigators (her relative) and she came with her mom! we were so glad that we had prepared a really great lesson about the Plan of Salvation because they all really loved it! What we did is we met with all of the family members and everyone that was there, and then we presented a plan to them where they were going to go into the other room while we hid five pieces of paper for each of them (they each had their own color) and when they came back into the room, they had to find the pieces of paper to get a treat. They came back in and they were all really excited to find the papers. On these five pieces of paper we wrote faith, repentance, baptism, gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. And for some of the colors, we took the pieces of paper so that they couldn't find all of them. The came back in eagerly searching for the pieces and some of them found them easily, while some searched hard, but couldn't find all of the gospel. At the end we gave out the glories (or size of candy- haha ) and explained to them that this is how that Plan of Salvation is and sometimes we don't know where the fullness of the gospel is, and we can't reach our highest glory in the kingdom of god. |Then of course we told them about missionary work and how we can  help others to receive this glory by giving referrals to the missionaries.... we didn't get any referrals.... but it was still effective because the mother of our investigator said that we could teach her now too.... self referral?

On Tuesday, the branch was involved in this walking this super early in the morning. I'm all about walking and stuff.... but whose idea was it to tell us that it started at 4:30 and then not start until 6... I definitely could have done with some more sleep, but it was really fun and it was a good opportunity for the community to get to see the Mormons and get a little more familiar with the missionaries too. I'm sure we were a sight in the back as it was me, Sister Smith about 6 feet, Elder Payne, about 6 feet, and Elder Erickson.... about 7 feet. And we are all super white! for those of you that know me.... I was probably the darkest out of us all....

 The other exciting thing was of course on Saturday. We were supposed to have a baptism, but the weather was super bad..... as in typhoon bad and so obviously we didn't go out to work. But at three, we were supposed to have a baptism.... no power, when there is no power.... there is no water. We spent the good part of the morning praying that the power would come back on.... At 5 PM, the power cam eon and we filled the font! Success!!!  Take the Satan! You can't frustrate the work of the Lord! Maybe he should have read Helaman 5:12 before he tried to mess with us.

This week we had ZTM…. Again? And it was awesome! Okay…. It was just okay, but we did get to see a ton of other missionaries and that’s always awesome! I got to see Elder Ostler and Elder Reber! Go batch! And Elder Castillo and Sister Webb! I love them! AND Sister Dillman and Sister Richards!!! I LOVE THEM!!!! Man! And what/who I love even more is Kristi! She sent me the best package ever! She is the best friend ever!

I was pretty homesick this week…. That sucked.

Haha yesterday we had a song practice at the church and some of our investigators were there so we were trying to figure out what they could do since they were just hanging out at the church and we had already taught them. So we remembered some of the YSA were in the family history room doing family history work of course! SO we went to ask if our investigators could come and join them, when we got to the door, we heard music and they were being loud….. we thought, oh maybe they are practicing a dance (cause there is some performance thing coming up) well we didn’t want to walk in if that was what was happening so we decided to go around and peek in the window to see what they were doing…. They were playing cards! In the church! Man! We told them all to repent. It ended up being gold fish, but it was still pretty funny!

Sister Smith was sick this week. She still worked though, She is the best!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Ilakano and 7/11

Beside from that we have been doing really well in the area, we have still been finding a lot and every now and then we find that someone that is willing to listen to us. J That’s always really nice. Sister Smith is still doing really well, she’s kind of hit that stage where she thinks she doesn’t know anything and doesn’t want to teach sometimes….. but I will always just make her anyways. She’s a trooper she can make it through anything.

Our branch said that this week they are having a getting to know that missionaries with all of Paoay at this fun walk thing, so I am really excited for that! I think that it’s a really great idea to combine it with an activity to really get the people’s attention.

Man it would figure that President finally gives me a good companion and an area that I like from day one and then tells me I will get a new companion after 6 weeks….. how is that fair?!?! Hopefully at least we will stay in the same area! I love it here in Paoay! The members are so great! And working with Sister Smith really helps to speed the time along as well!

And this week we had 9 investigators at church! They were all older too! Which is so awesome! 7 of them came from a family that we found the other week after we had been punted the whole day and just decided to take a tryce as far away as we could. It worked we found some interested people who were ready to hear the gospel!

WE learned a new Ilakano song this week! It’s so awesome! I love it so much! It’s super hard to memorize because we have no idea what any of it means, but it is super fun to sing! Also this week!!!!! SEVEN 11 opened! We are going there right after we are done emailing here! I'm sure we are working it up to be a way better experience than what it is going to be, but I'm still excited!!!

We have two baptisms this weekend! I'm sooo excited! Man I love Paoay soooo much!!


Monday, September 9, 2013

All good things must come to an end :(

The weeks are really flying by here in Paoay, although the work still continues to be difficult we are pushing through and learning a lot as we continue to work hard. This week, Sister Smith started taking the lead in daily and weekly planning and she pretty much did it like she has been doing it all along… she is a professional.
On Monday we got punted from about 6 appointments all within an hour so we might have been feeling a little bit on the bitter side and decided that we just wanted to leave! So we went to a barangay that has no 15 focus in it, no former investigators, as far as we know it has no members or anything in it! And there we decided to start planting. It wasn’t too hard because everyone there was super nice to us and after we got done teaching them…. The referred us to more people. WE like teaching over there. J
I think that Sister Smith was having a bit of a rough day on that day because she wasn’t feeling well, so that night we came home and rested a little and then we were right back to it on Tuesday!
We have discovered that our new favorite thing is teaching at the church when it is open. It quiet, the investigators can feel the spirit, and there are ALWAYS fellowshippers! Plus the investigators get to feel more comfortable with being inside of the church. AND our chapel has carpet! What more could you ask for!
This week we did get lost in the other sisters area…. It should have been a straight shot… but we definitely got lost. We don’t like to walk on the main raid because people always yell at us as they are driving by so we always take a back road. This time we were walking home and decided to take the sisters side because “It would lead straight to our house.” Well…. We ended up walking about a half a mile past our house walking out to the main road and walking back to our house. The moral of the story…. Don’t cross areas.
We had a really great ZTM this past Thursday. Elder Bledsoe and Elder Meyerhoffer really have a way of getting people excited about the work and trying to do their best to make the work progress forward! We have been applying what they have taught us to our personal and companionship study and we have noticed so much a difference that it has made in our teaching and our planning.
We also had stake conference this past week and we had a lot of really great musical numbers that we were working on. There was this one musical  number that Sister Smith and I would just laugh through every time because we thought that the words were so silly. After we sang the song though every speaker got up and cried about how beautiful it was and how that is their favorite song and then they pretty much just talked about that for the rest of the time…. Haha Sister Smith and I were dying! We also sang I am a child of God in Ilakano… that was pretty awesome we are pretty much profesh now. J
We finally taught WENDEL!! Haha he is this investigator that we met forever ago and have never taught yet but we always say his name because it makes us laugh and then we finally got to teach him and everything went really good and he was a really receptive…. Who knew all of these things that we laugh about would actually be the things that make our weeks go so well.
Speaking of the week going well we taught this one man named Chester…. We have been trying to teach him since we got here but only kinda sorta…. He’s afraid of the missionaries so we decided to kind of build relationships of trust first and not even try to teach him for the first couple of weeks, so that is what we did. THEN on Thursday or whenever that was that we went there we were like okay today is that day that we are finally going to get to teach CHESTER! (I know… the names here in the Philippines!) And we got there and his wife who is a member was totally ready for us! She coached us on what to say and what not to say (he doesn’t like to be asked a lot of questions. He just wants to listen) Then we tried to teach him and e wouldn’t come out of the house. So we set an appointment for the next week and his wife was way bummed. Then we went and tried their neighbor and she wasn’t there so we were about to leave when we see his wife Rona practically jumping out of her hammock waving us over because he was outside! So we hurried over there and said, “Ah ha! Here you are brother! We are going to teach you now!” Which sounds a lot less lame in Tagalog…. And he laughed and FINALLY let the missionaries teach him! He is totally gonna get baptized I just know it!
We have 2 baptismal candidates that are going to be baptized this nest week. J Ellen Mae and Maykene. They are so great! I love them!
I want to go to Disneyland so bad!
Man! At the stake conference, don’t get me wrong, I love other missionaries, but when they all flock around me and sit by me and latch on to me and Sister Smith, I get a little bugged. I told Sister Smith and I thought that she was going to be like, Wow you’re over reacting…. But instead she felt the same way! No culture gap there! I like Sister Smith more and more the more that I get to know her!
OH! One more thing sorry this is so long! Yesterday it was a zillion degrees outside and we were walking out in the blazing hot sun, And while we were walking it wasn’t so bad, but if you stopped walking the road basically burned your feet and your turned instantly crispy! Well there we are minding our own business when a crazy man in a tricycle comes up to us and starts talking to us…. Right in the middle of the highway! For like 10 minutes! He was trying to prove to us that he had lived in America and taught music and that he wasn’t crazy! Meanwhile we are standing there trying to be nice while our bodies slowly melt away! By the time that we got done…. We were both soaking wet with sweat and our feet were burned so bad! Crazy old man!
I miss you Sister Woahn and Sister Tauti! Take care of my RC’s for me!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Thieving magpie

Sometimes. Missionary work is hard! We have been going through all of the former investigators and everyone that is in our area book, but they are all coming up short. L There were definite reasons that they were all dropped. So we decided that it would be a good idea to do some finding but the problem is that our fellowshippers all hate finding and they will just take us to less actives houses…. Which is fine and all if they are on the 15-focus but most of the time they aren’t so it is a little difficult. When we got to the area everyone could only talk about how great our BML was…. Well I’m sure that at some point he was…. But at this point, I’m not too impressed with him. I think that he has a serious phobia of American girls. He will talk to Sister Buduan alright, but when it comes time to talk to the rest of us, it seems like we are the biggest burden in the world. He has yet to put forth any effort to accept our invitations for him to work with us. But despite that, we do for the most part have fellowshippers that always work with us. One of our fellowshippers, Sister Harline, she is the greatest! She works with us all of the time and she has such a love for the work! She is preparing to serve a mission.

This week we have had some pretty great planning…. And then it rained so we weren’t able to go out. It was a little bit of a bummer, but we were able to get through a lot of the training while we were stuck inside all day, and Sister Smith has started to take the lead in most o the lessons! She’s a rock star at missionary work! We are gong to have 25 baptisms in October! Prepare yourself… it’s going to happen.

We have one investigator… I think that he is an eternal investigator. We tried to get him to be baptized this weekend seeing as how he always comes to church and just wont get baptized. Sunday morning pops up and he doesn’t even come to church. After Sacrament meeting Sister Smith and I ran to his house to get him…. He was making pizza and said that he was just going to come next week…. He’s an unprogressing progressing investigator. :(

Then there is Denmark…. He was progressing…. Now he is persecuting. He hates us. But he did give us a great referral and she is gonna get baptized I just know it! Haha the other day we were down the road from his house and he yelled to us in a slight British Accent, “Mormons! I’m Here Mormons!” Well…. At least he is funny sometimes.

We contacted one of our 15-focus this week, Tatay Cu. Haha that’s actually a way funny story! So you pronounce his name, Tatay KO not CU and our fellowshipper said lets go and visit tatay ko… which means my dad in Tagalog…. So the whole time we thought that it was our fellowshippers dad….. nope…. Just the name hahaha we were very confused. He is the cutest little old man! I have never seen so many wrinkles in my whole life! But he is just sop great! The poor guy lives all on his own and doesn’t have a way to get to church. Luckily we have a really great Branch Missionary that will try to pick him up every Sunday, So that will help a lot. It’s nice to see that people are reaching out to others in all that they do.

One day we taught 10 lessons and did some finding at a really big house in our area. It turned out to be perfect! We were just there Tao-poing like crazy and then his son came and opened the door, he arrived at the same time as us. The Tatay turned out to be a college professor and he is very interested in our message and asked us to come back. Lucky to for Sister Smith and I that he speaks really good English! What a blessing!

Sister Smith is so great! I love being her companion! We talk like real friends and laugh like real friends! I haven’t had that since Sister Woahn in the MTC ( and of course a tiny when I shared a house with her and sister Tauti in Cam) but it really is just such a blessing! I love her!!! And she likes to go running! Which…. Let’s be real…. That alone could make me love her!

Church on Sunday was so great!!!! Everyone was being so funny! Even though we couldn’t understand a single word that anyone was saying, we were just laughing so hard!!! Man! I love some Filipinos! In Gospel Essentials the teacher taught in all English and he was like what is the one place that every Filipino wants to go? And the whole class answers, “AMERICA!” and he goes, “No. Croatia.” It was sooo funny! Sister Smith and I were dying!!!

We were also dying when I mouse climbed into our dish drainer. Which dish drainers here are a little different… they aren't just like a basket…. But its like a whole little plastic cupboard for all of your dishes…. So we had to carry the whole thing out with all the dishes in it and then I stood on a chair and poked at the little rat with a crusty old mop until he scurried out.

Sister Smith and I have just discovered how awesome our balcony upstairs is! We love it! We spend like every single night our there! It’s so awesome and quiet! All of our neighbors are working abroad…. So its just a lot of empty houses…. Always quiet. J I love it! I also love YEMA bread…. It’s the best! It’s so delicious! I don’t even really know what it is… I just know its good and super cheap!

We have been seeing these pink blob things all over everything everywhere that we go… it sorta looks like a big wad of bubbalicious bubblegum…. Turns out that they are snail eggs… I think there is going to be a plague of snails based on how many that we have seen!!!

We were looking for 2 two of our investigators this week. Josephine Duke, and Josie Pindoke. Take a look at those names….. yup we definitely should have played more mad gab before the mission…. Then we would have realized that they are the same person.

We taught a less active this week… I stole. His whole pack of cigarettes and his lighter. He was like Sister that’s against the rules for you to smoke! I was like freak I’m not gonna use it! I'm gonna dump em!!! Haha it was so funny! I am a little thief now. J I also stole some ashtrays from an investigator…. Oops!

Soda in a bag
Love you all! I'm about to reach my 6 month mark! I will be home before you all know it!