Wednesday, June 22, 2016

He's Home! (June 22, 2016)

My heart is very tender right now, not knowing whether to be excited for Elder Syphus' return or to cry as I reflect on what he is going through. All I know is that I am SO VERY PROUD of him and his obedient, hard working, missionary service. He has loved the Philippine people, their land and their culture. It took him awhile to get used to it all, but now he doesn't want to leave it all behind. Hopefully someday soon he can return. Last night Kendyl wanted to watch "The Other Side of Heaven". I definitely didn't do my already fragile emotional state any better. At the end of the movie as Elder Groberg is saying good-bye to the Tongan Saints and to the island that he had served on for 2 1/2 years, my thoughts turned to Joel, going through the same thing and I cried. So, after leaving the Philippines at 6pm last night, he is almost ready to arrive in Portland, Oregon and then on to Salt Lake City. He will be at the St. George airport at 5:52pm and I'm a bundle of nerves. It will be a wonderful weekend though as we will finally have all of our family with us after 3 1/2 years.

Feeling so blessed!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Week 100 (Camiling, Philippines June 12, 2016 )

Don't take any of those in the literal sense :P
We just kind of had a bumpy week, hence the title :) It wasn't all bad, but just super stressful. The most stressful factor of this part of my mission isn't really with responsibilities or with the actual missionary work, but with my companion :/ He's too ingrained in the whole idea of "perks of being a zone leader" which means he doesn't think ANY of the rules apply to him. I don't want to go to deep with it, but that's what I'm working with right now. We're still buddies, but it's just a big struggle having that integrity to push for obedience, and the skill to do it without shattering your companionship.

We did have two successful baptisms however, and THEY are super solid in the gospel. If you remember, Marselle and Giselle Bautista were baptized a few weeks ago. Well, Marlon (the dad) was baptized yesterday :D We also baptized Jessica Simon, the cousin of a super member missionary, Renell. The Bautista family is solid, but we still worry about Jessica. She's got great support right now, but her cousin is planning on interning overseas in America, and she doesn't know if she'll go to church when he's gone. (she's 10)

The people here are awesome. I was kind of bummed that I got transferred and would only be given 6 weeks in a new area, but it's truly been some of the best 6 weeks of my mission, despite those "hiccups, hurdles, and hemorrhoids." I've made a lot of great friends and I'm really sad to have to leave them all, but know that it won't be forever (looks kinda flirtatious.... not supposed to be).

I'm sorry if this letter is kinda of panzee, but I can't really keep my thoughts straight or anything cause I'm uber freakin out right now. Kratelet's email was bomb diggity though, so make sure you tell her that I love her like a million red M&Ms.

Love you SO Much Mom!! See you in 10!!

ELDER Syphus

Monday, June 6, 2016

Week 99 (Camiling, Philippines June 6, 2016)

Dag'gum!! That's crazy to hear about Kendyl. I hope she'll be alright. She shoulda just gone ape on that rope and swung the crap out of it. That's what I would've done. Ya, prolly :D

I was a little surprised as well to hear about Family Camp, but it's fine. It'll be fun to just hang around with the family a bit wherever we are. I'm glad we still get most everybody home (I didn't really understand the whole work and school and other stuff thing. I think it means that some people are or might be or not there. I think)

So, sort of really rushed right now. Lot sof stuff to prepare for and get done with TOO LITTLE TIME!! Gaahh!! I can't believe next week's email will be my last :( Anyway, we had a really rough week in terms of work, but an awesome two day MLC meeting at the Mission Home with President Clark with a bunch of other missionaries. First time I've been back since my first day in the mission. PLus free breakfast lunch and dinner :P Anyway, we went over a bunch of stuff about improving the flow of the mission and the work and continuing to prepare people for the gospel at a steady rate, not random, unpredictable blotches or spurts. And a new dress code. Sisters get to wear slacks now. (look it up on Any, that was all on Monday and Tuesday, and then we shared all the stuff we learned with the missionaries in the zone on Wednesday. It was fun :) We had two of our investigators interviewed for baptism, and they will both be baptized on the 11 of June. Marlon Bautista and Jessica Simon. Marlon is 38 and is the coolest. His wife and son were baptized a few weeks ago, and now he's finishing the family. Jessica is only 9, and her cousin is a member. She isn't super converted yet, but what 9 year old is? She likes church, and has good support, so I think she'll turn out pretty well din.

Yesterday we had more meetings with President Clark and the District Presidencies. I'm not really sure how that went :/ I sort of feel like my companion is in the mindset of "Well, he'll only be here for a few weeks, and then I'll have to train someone else all over again, so why bother?" It's rough, but we do have a better relationship now, just not really as missionary companions. Not much time to change it either :/

Anyhoo, all is good though, and today was a huge stress reliever. We had a bomb zone activity going on a hike and then having lunch on the river. Pics at the end.

Love you Mom!! I'll write again in a week, and I'll see you in two!!!

Elder Syphus


Elder Maestrado!! He's visiting his past areas and this just happened to be one of them!!! Plus, he's engaged! :D

This was earlier. Cheapest mode of transportation = back of District Presidency Counselor's truck :P

The lunch spot :)

This is how Sisters take buddy photos #realfriends

This is how Elders take buddy photos #batch #stalkerfrombehind

Half of our Zone is sister missionaries which is a large portion. Here they chill while the Elders go climb rocks.

View from the top of the rocks.


Group #1

Group #2 #segragated #Justkidding #wereallfriends

Truckin home

Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 98 (Camiling, Philippines May 30, 2016)

Mah Momma!!

No worries, Elder Smith is awesome :) It was just a little bit of getting used to one another. It just sort of took a little longer because we're both more on the quiet side. We're cool now though.

Not a lot of time to write today: we got LOTS of reports, haha. Kind of stressful but sort of fun? all at the same time :P I don't understand it either.

Sounds like you all had a great weekend :P I'm actually surprised you and Dad were down for it ;) but I'm glad you were. I joined in on a few of Krem's skype sessions with Jake, and I've got no complaints. He seems like a cool guy. Do you think he could teach me how to be swole? ;)

We actually do have lots of time to work and stuff. Mondays are pretty hectic, and we have a few extra meetings throughout the week, but we also get a lot of time with investigators. We actually had two baptisms on Saturday :) A mother and son, and the Dad should be in two weeks. Building families is the coolest :) John Marselle Bautista and his mom, Giselle Bautista. Left the camera at home, but I'll send pictures next week.

I got to conduct another interview for Baptism this week! As you should probably know, that's my ALL-TIME favorite part of having a mission assignment. Interviews. This interview was a girl named Girlie (original, right?). Her testimony is so powerful and she wants so bad to be baptized and to be clean and worthy and ready for it, and knows how important it it... which is why I didn't pass her. It was probably one of the hardest things I've done out here, and she was near tears, but she has some things she still needs to work out. I just know (and I told her it too) that she would be short changing herself and this experience should she be baptized now, without being properly prepared. She agreed, thanked me, and then offered a super sincere and touching prayer before leaving. She'll be awesome, but needs a few weeks.

In other awesomeness, we had exchanges with the Assistants, Elder Thacker and Elder Amparado. Elder Amparado was my old Zone Leader when we were in Cabanatuan, and he also leaves the mission with me. He's super obsessed with Kambree :P Elder Thacker is from Highland, and went to highschool with Jake Armatage, Mailea Dalley's soon-to-be husband. A lot of people say we look alike (I actually sort of see it too). I got to work with Elder Thacker, and I can't say I'm disappointed. He climbed the ranks here in the mission really fast, and for good reason. People always say "Work Smarter, not Harder" but he goes the next step and improves his efforts in both. He's super diligent, but doesn't waste time trying to go "door-knocking" at 8:45 at night. I learned a lot from him, and hope to maybe hook up after he gets home in August. He'll be enrolling in BYU's engineering program, so who knows? ;)

Anyhoo, love you so much Mom!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 97 (Camiling, Philippines May 23, 2016)

Mom :D

Ya, it was kind of a bummer that I got transferred out, but I'm glad I was given this opportunity. It's definitely tough, but Elder Smith is a champ and helping me out. I feel like I kind of slow him down, sometimes though, which is super humbling, considering that I kept praying for a companion that already knew what he was doing and could just get out there and do it :P That definitely describes Elder Smith. He got pretty upset at me earlier this week, and I still don't know why, but we're good now. He's a really good missionary, but everyone has their weaknesses of course. He's definitely got his fair share of strengths to make up for it though. He single-handedly put together a fireside last night, that I didn't really have any idea about :P I just hope I can show him that he can trust me with some of his workload... actually, I just hope I can be trusted with it! Elder Smith was saying that when you become a Zone Leader, you're no longer a missionary in the typical sense. You're a leader now, playing with the big boys, coordinating with the Missionary President, Stake Presidents, multiple wards, etc. I haven't even gotten a taste of it!! Super nervous/anxious/excited all at the same time, haha. So yup, definitely not a natural. Ha. Ha. Hooooo............ ;)

As for camping, I'm super down!! I think that would be a ton of fun.

Quick update: Bautista Family (Investigators) are doing good, and 2 of them were interviewed and passed yesterday for baptism. The father still has a few weeks to prove that he's off alcohol. He's strong though. He'll make it :D
We had a district firesdie last night (thanks to Elder Smith) and I got to see Joseph Torres again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was one of the people I taught in Pindangan and got SOOOOO close to being baptized before I left, but he's a member now and is the Young Men's President!! He hits a year in either July or Augest, and then will go to be endowed. Kate Prado was also baptized, and is now the Young Women's President. I'm hoping to get some pictures with them and some other members in Pindangan before I leave.

Love you all!! Busy Busy, but it's all crazy fun :D
Less than a month...

Elder Syphus

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 96 (Camiling, Philippines May 16, 2016)

Hey Mom :)

So, I guess you already know. President Clark called me Wednesday morning before Transfer announcements and extended the assignment which I of course accepted. I'm serving with Elder Smith now, and I'm back in Camiling Zone! Which means that I may or may not get the chance to go back to Pindangan and see the members again. I've already gotten to see a few in the Bayan, and they were all happy reunions :)

The new assignment is actually really exciting, haha. And yes, there's a lot more work to do. On my second day in the area, Elder Smith and I had to give a 90 minute workshop to a bunch of Stake Leaders about Member Missionary Coordination efforts, with President Clark doing the same thing next door. It was actually a well spent 90 minutes, and we got a lot of good input from them. We're hoping to see things pick up out here. We've got another meeting with the Leaders and President Clark again in a few weeks, but I don't think we'll be giving any workshops at this one, haha. Just discussing the work in the Stake/District with everybody. We've also got to arrange a Musical number for a conference by Sunday, and then have a Training with President Clark a few days after that. Sort of super stoked #mnb :P

The area is sort of struggling right now, but Elder Strebe and I learned a lot from each other, and I feel more prepared to get the area moving in the short time I've got left. Of course, Elder Smith is going to be a HUGE help (he already has been), and so I'm really excited for these next 6 weeks. Love you Mom!!

Elder Syphus


I trust Mr Burr. He knows what he's doing, at least, more than I do :P We can do what he says, but I really want that Japanese class :D


Elder Smith and I. It poured our first evening here, and neither of us had umbrellas. It was awesome. We walked into peoples homes drenched and dripping and they were all like "wat evs."

ELDER MAESTRADO WAS IN THIS AREA BEFORE!!!! I opened up our area book, and saw the map, and then the handwriting. I was like "I KNOW WHO WROTE THIS!!" :D :D

Elder Strebe and I with Amparo and Mateo. Don't worry. They're super fun and happy. They just don't understand the whole "say cheese" thing :P

Leonardo Facon

For Erik. These are our weekly pizzas, but we've got another place here in Camiling, and It's pretty bomb.

Elder Strebe in the beginning stages of his "lamon". It gets kind of messy ;)

For Erik as well. This is the current Dupinga River from the bridge
Love you!