Friday, July 25, 2014

Week 3 (July 25, 2014 MTC Manila, Philippines)

I'll be in the MTC for about 2 and a half more weeks until the August 12. That's 2 and a half right? :P
I haven't received the Debit card yet, but I did get a letter from Avy! It was really cool to finally get a letter :P I also decided I'm keeping everyone envelope I receive too, just because I'm weird like that :P I also got 2 Dear Elder's from uncle Mark forwarding Nik's letter as well as adding a bit at the end of him buying a new printer for his envelopes with Evan and Jill, breaking it, and then getting another :P
I went to the Temple last week and this week. I'll go again next, but it's closed for maintenance after that :( It's SO beautiful though!! It's really small, and a session can only fit about 25-30 people, but it's gorgeous! I've seen the same video 3 times now :) I've yet to see the other new one, but it's okay, because the one I've seen is still So incredible!! I learn something new everytime I go :) Sorry I forgot to tell you last week!!
Our teachers, Sister Hernandez and Brother Aracena, pose as Investigators (Sheena Lopez and Jaymar Tesani respectively), and we teach them as a companion ship. They portray investigators from their own mission's so they're real profiles, and they know a lot about who they're portraying. Even though they just act, they do really well, and it seems very realistic. It can be frustrating at times, but I don't let it get to me. I can't say the same for Elder Murdock :/ He throws fits and mini tantrums quite often. He's rough, but I'm not a walk in the park either :P He's actually watching over a Filipino Elder in the Hospital, so I'm doing a threesome with Elders Chan and Delamare for 24 hours. So excited! :D
Thank you SO much for highlighting the questions. It makes it a Lot easier for my crazy mind :P
So, on to the main stuff- I've been given quite a few look a likes :P All the RTM (Regualar Training Missionaries - Filipino Missionaries) Say I look like Elder Murrary and Elder Helpworth from the District :P One of the ladies that works in the cafeteria says I look like Harry Potter :D Elder Guttenbeil will part my hair (Tongans are very... friendly :P) after I get our of the shower sometimes, because he thinks it makes me look like Elder Holland!! :D :D And then sister Toai is just a psycho, and says I look like Mr Bean :P Whenever she sees me, she says "Hi Elder Bean :) " In her Samoan accent, just like Katelyn would sound. It's hilarious :D Even when I'm not a look-alike, though, I'm still not Elder Syphus. Most of the RTMs see my name as "Elder See-puss" or "Elder Sigh-Puss" they don't understand the F sound in Syphus :P I better get used to it though :P
Because of all the things I don't need while I'm here, I was able to repack my midsized suit case completely full :D Though I understand that it's better for your shoes if you switch them around every day, rather than every transfer like I was originally planning :P So I guess I have to unpack those ;)
Just because- word for word translation from Tagalog into English makes it sound like Yoda speak, because they use VAOL (Verb Actor Object Location) rather than AVOL, like Americans do. Just thought I'd tell you :P A Tagalog word I learned the other day is Bundok which means mountains. So when we say that we live out in the boondocks, we've been speaking Tagalog all this time! :D :D I thought that was really cool when I found the out :)
Do you think you'd be able to send me a copy of my farewell talk, a typed copy of what you can remember from me getting set apart (like what was said), and a really cheap suit from DI? Just as something to wear on Sundays, and to burn for my two year mark :P ( I probably won't really burn it, so don't worry.... but that's why I want cheap :)
Tell Mark thank you SO much for his Plan of Salvation Book! It's awesome!!
So, because we have a lot of Polynesian Missionaries here, every hymn sounds AWESOME. They have a really special way of harmonizing, that makes EVERYTHING sound Polynesian. It's beautiful :D
Elder Echo Hawk is speaking here at the MTC in a few weeks!!!! It's going to be So Awesome, and I'm SO excited!!!!!! BE JEALOUS :D
Elder Eves (one of the senior missionaries with his wife) does a intense workout routine every other day during Gym, which I participate in. It's Super heavy duty, but feels SO good :) During the off days, I found a Jump rope, so I gust go crazy with it :P. I've already broken one of the handles because of Double Unders. I'm actually pretty good at those now :) I want to get a jump rope out in the field, because I think it would be really good to use throughout my mission :)
For Dinner the other night, we had Burgers and Fries, but the fries weren't salty enough, So I thought of Kambree as I perfected my meal :P Just thought she'd like to hear that.... now that I think about it more though, she probably doesn't care :P I love you all!!! Miss you so much!! I'm going to try to send pictures again, but we'll see :P Ingat Kayo!

Elder Syphus

​Pizza!! Every two weeks on Tuesday they have a "Birdathday Dainner" for the leaving batch. They serve Pizza, Spaghetti, and Cake. SO good, but it doesn't match anything from home :) They also give us...

​KNIVES!!! This was the very first time I saw a knife in the Philippines. They cut their food with a spoon or just tear it apart with their hands. We've had fish, chicken, and some other tastyish meats, but never a knife. They need knifes for pizza though... huh?

Well, I'm outta time, so I better go :( I love you all so much!! I'll makes sure to send NEW pictures next week :)
I really cool quote I find about missions that as beginning to hold true is "The Days feel like Weeks, and the Weeks feel like Days" It's true :)
Love you!
With Love,
Elder Syphus

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Week 2 (July 17, 2014 MTC Manila, Philippines)

Hey Family! I love you all!! I made a whole list of things to write about, so I wouldn't forget :P First is our first lesson with our new investigator. Manuel didn't work out so great, but now we have Sister Sheena Lopez and Brother Jaymar Tesani. Jaymar is still kind of blank and almost falls asleep during some of our lessons. It's hard to interest him when we can't speak the language :P Our first lesson with Sheena though, was SO amazing!! We went in planning on teaching her about the restoration, and instead, the whole 20 minutes was about how much God loves her. The Spirit was SO strong!! :D :D

Next, is the letter "A." All I have to say is that the letter a in the language is like rice in the meals. There's SO MUCH!! That's all :P

I finished the Book of Mormon again! It's such an incredible book!!! We have 30 minutes every few days as a district to just dissect it. We've spent an hour doing that so far, and we still haven't finished 1 Nephi 1. It's SOOOO COOOL!! I'm trying to go through it this time reading a chapter or two a day, but in Tagalog. I'll read a verse at a time and compare it with my English copy :)

I have some tie pins on the back of the Donald Duck tie in my room. would you mind sending it them to me with my first package?

Is there anything for homemade stain remover? So far, I've melted one shirt, got chocolate on another, and pen on another :P I got out the chocolate with my Kasama's stain remover, and I got the pen out with wet bar soap and a paper towel. It actually works really well! :D I don't think I permanently melted the shirt :P I think it came out after I washed it :) By the way, it was a GREAT call on getting 8 short sleeve and only two long sleeve shirts, because it since the typhoon yesterday (signal 3, compared to the signal 4 that hit Tacloban), the power has been on and off, and without AC, it gets SO hot around here :P I guess it's just prep for the field :)

Brother Aracena is awesome. He sings (incredible voice... Delaney would LOVE him :P), dances, plays piano, is Hilarious, and is super fun, nice, and can be incredibly spiritual. My mini hymn book I bought last week was burgundy, but he had one the same color as my scriptures, so he traded me! Also, this week I bought a cloth scripture bag for my additional Standard works of the Church :)

Elder Murdock (my kasama) has a great voice as well, but he sings a lot of pop, and I feel like it sort of hinders the spirit :/ I talked to him about it a little, but he just gets upset, so I don't worry about it anymore :/ oh well though :) I actually can't help but laugh when I look Elder Murdock in the eye.... The best way I can describe him is as a cross between a Lemur and a Turtle XD He's cool though :) He footsoned an Elder in our District today :)

I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket a couple times for the first few days, but just forgot to tell about it :P It's okay though, I never miss it :)

Thank you SO MUCH for the Silver Sharpie!! Everybody uses it, and it's really useful for writing on the black inside covers of things, Like my hymn book and scriptures :) It's awesome!! :D

Every week for Sacrament meeting, we have to prepare two talks, but we don't know who will be asked to speak. It's kind of stressful but really exciting at the same time :P On Saturday last week, we did a service project, which ended up simply being building a chapel inside the gym. It's AWESOME how it all happens :) It's a ton of different pieces and platforms, and the equipment they use for microphones is the SAME stuff I worked with at Dixie!! It's so Cool!! We did a lot of service after the typhoon as well. We carried Palm Fronds and broken pots from around the MTC ground to a shed where we just stored it all. It felt really good working out in the rain and wind :D

The water pressure here is sort of... interesting :P :D It goes on and off randomly, and seems to happen more often when we're showering :P It's fun though. It's like a little surprise every few minutes :D

Was I supposed to convert the $50 to Pesos? Cause I did :P

Hand Sanitizer here is HUGE There's dispensers EVERYWHERE, and we're supposed to use it every time we pass one. I guess they're just really careful with disease, which is good :)

Handwritten letters would be SO MUCH appreciated! There's a board with all the missionaries who received letters, and it's always a split second downer to realize you're names not on it. But then you forget because the bulletin board is write next to the cafeteria :P But ya, handwritten letters would be nice just because of the short time we have for letters.

Speaking of food, we've a LOT of fish lately :) We had one the other day, that looked like the dropped off the hook into a deep fryer and threw it on our plate. Eyes and all :D It was actually pretty good, but the bones were a bit of a nuisance :P We had fish and chips last night, and that was delicious :) Fresh Mangoes here are INCREDIBLE :O I'll probably miss those more than anything. We had a birthday dinner the other night, and they served pizza, spaghetti, and cake. It was really good, but the pizza and spaghetti were really sweet, like everything here :) still delicious :D

There 's some missionaries here going to Phnom Penh. Thought Kambree might wanna know :)

Sister Toai is SO FUNNY!! She reminds me so much of Katelyn, it's hilarious :D She's Samoan and has the same exact sort of Persona. She's great :P

Well, that's all I have written down to share, so I'll throw in a few pictures and be off. LOVE YOU ALL!!!!!!!!

​Ammon District!! -
Elder Laulu (Somoa), Sister Bishop (Texas), Elder Guttenbeil ( Tonga), Sister Shipley (St George! :D), Elder Murdock (Willard), Sister Ufua (Somoa), ME, Sister Toai (Somoa. Reminds me of Katelyn. She's hilarious), Elder Chan (Singapore) and Elder Delamare (Lehi).

Samoan Sister Toai

HUGE snails here

Friday, July 11, 2014

Week 1 (July 10, 2014 MTC Manila, Philippines)

Thank you so much!! Everything's okay here :) My companion's name is Elder Murdock.  He's really friendly. We have 6 people on three bunks in our Room. Elder DeLaMare from Lehi, Elder Chan from Singapore, Elder Guttenbeil from Tonga, Elder Laulu from Somoa. Elder G and L are Hilarious and they're loud. Elder Chan is Awesome! He's so calm and cool, and is always super nice. He's pretty funny too. Elder DeLaMare is really cool. He's our DL and lived in the Philippines for 3 years because his dad was the Mission President for Quezon City, so he's already pretty good with the language. The sisters in our district are Sister Bishop and Sister Shipley, and Sister Toai and Sister Ufua. Sisters T and U are really quiet, so I don't know much about ​them. Sister Shipley is my closest link to home, so I like her alot, and Sister Bishop was at the MTC for 6 weeks but went home for some reason. She's back now, and is still pretty good with the language. She's spunky, and sassy, but she's fun :)

My guro (teacher) is Sister Hernandez. Starting Saturday, we had to teach an investigator every day (except Sunday) who only knew Tagalog. It was really rough, but things went okay. We failed to connect with him as a person, which was REALLY disappointing, but we've learned. We met our second investigarot tonight. Manuel (our first) is now another of our teachers. Brother Aracena. He's a LOT of fun as a guro, and not as Manuel ;) He always seemed so disinterested. Elder Murdock is seriously like Elder Calhoun​ (from Best Two Years movie...we thought it was funny that he'd refer to it ;)​. First, he told Manuel that "Jesucristo is ang aklat ni Diyos" rather than "Jesucristo is ang Anak ng Diyos." Yup. He called Jesus Christ the book of God, rather than the Son of God :P Then, he told him we'd like to share a mesahe, but ​t​he sisters tried to say we love you, but said "you're expensive." Elder DeLaMare even makes mistakes and invited Manuel to drown rather than kneel. Lot's of fun, speaking Tagalog :P I have been struggling a little bit lately, but it's okay, I'll get through it :)

Elder Chan was feeling sick earlier this week, so I anointed him, and Elder DeLaMare gave the blessing. The spirit was SO strong. It was an incredible experience :) I forgot nail clippers, but bought some at the super market down the street for about a buck. I also got a Triple combination in Tagalog and a mini hymn book for about 10 bucks total. I like the prices here :) No snacks in our rooms, so I haven't had the Peanut Butter yet, but I'm planning on getting a bunch of stuff the week before I leave to take into the field. It's exciting!!

Electronics haven't been a struggle for me, surprisingly ;) The weather has been nice. It's really temperamental. It'll pour for a few seconds, then sprinkle for about a minute, than nothing. The worst was the night I stayed in the hotel :P

That's awesome to hear about everyone's' mission calls!! Thanks for the pictures as well :) The plane ride was SO long, but fun :) My mind is moving a million miles a minute, so I may have forgotten to answer a few questions (I haven't been to the temple yet. I had to do immigration stuff today :/ :P Next week though :) ) So it's up to you to organize this into a real letter for everyone to read :D :D :D Have fun!!!! I love you so much!!! Thanks for all the Pictures!!!
Elder Syphus

Oh ya!! We have rice for EVERY MEAL. It's okay though. I sort of enjoy it ;) Oh ya again!! PICTURES for YOU!!!!! :D My kasama ( companion) fogot his camera, so we had to run up two flights of stairs just barely to go grab it before time runs out :P
No time, and email cant send more, so I'll try to send the rest in a weak.... Ugh that seems SO far away. It'll be good though I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!! Some arent sending

Manila, Philippines Temple (on same grounds as MTC)
View of Courtyard outside our window

Friday, July 4, 2014

Manila MTC (July 4, 2014)

Kamusta ka! We arrived at the MTC safely this morning after a breakfast at the hotel. I'll give you in depth step by step next Friday :) Nothing went missing, I got it all, as far as I know. I got a haircut and shots today :P He used a straight edge razor. It was intense ;) I got TWINRIX for Hep A and B because it was so long ago that I got the original. PEANUT BUTTER SHOTS :D It's awesome here. Everyone is super nice, but the roads are INSANE. People don't honk at bad drivers. They honk to say "Hey, I'm about to cut you off, so here's a heads up." It's cool :P I bought a Pen at the Tokyo Airport!! It has black ink, red ink, and a pencil. $10.20. Ya... expensive :P Anyway, love you! I just had this opportunity for a quick hello. I tried calling at each stop, but couldn't figure out how at the Tokyo airport, or in Manila. I had to walk through a pond coming back from the cafe last night. my socks and shoes were DRENCHED. HOORAY FOR SANDALS!! :D I realize that I end these emails about four or five times before finally clicking send, but it's okay. It's like a quintuple encore ;) More and more, even after it's over. I better finish though :) LOVE YOU SO MUCH!! Ingat kat

Elder Syphus
Everyone from the Plane-
 Elder Van Tassel, Mitchell, Jacobsen, and Williams. Sisters Bishop, Shipley, Koford, and Peavler. And Elders Murdock, Delamare, myself and Manes
We all made it to the Manila MTC....all 12 of us!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

28 Hours Later

28 hours of flying and lay overs, he made it to Manila, Philippines at about 9:40 pm on July 3.
They are 14 hours ahead of us, so he got there about 7:40 am our time.
He called us from the SLC airport and was in good spirits. He now isn't afraid of flying since he made it from St. George to Salt Lake in one piece. In fact, he thought it was fun. He was also excited to find 10 more missionaries at the SLC airport heading to his same mission. He and Sister Shipley were together from SG to SL and now have 3 more sisters and 7 more elders. I'd love to be a fly on the wall to see all of them coming off the plane together.
What a sight it would have been!
He also called from Portland but wasn't able to figure out the international codes from Tokyo and Manila so sleeping with my phone in my hand didn't make a difference in the end; however, I did track his flights all day and all night just to make sure he landed safe and sound.

AND we did receive an email when he got there.....

Hi Mom! :D We just finished dinner at KFC. The flights were good. 10 hours from Portland to Tokyo, with a screen for each passenger to watch Movies or Television. I played Sudoku and read my scriptures :P We're doing good! There's an Internet Cafe down the street and we bought an hour for all 8 of us, so this will be short. Love you!! Love you!! Ingat ka! Share my love with everybody you know ;) I'll try to see if I have a real P Day tomorrow :) Love you! Ingat ka! Bye!!

Elder Syphus

Love that boy!!!!
Sis. Shipley, my flying companion from St. George to the Philippines
Beautiful Mountain on the way to Portland I think... Great view!! :D
Everyone on the Plane. 
Strangely enough, the most prominent person in the picture is my to be compaionan, 
Elder Murdock
The hotel we stayed at for night Number one in the Philippines

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Departing from Home

Got up at 3:30 this morning and finished the last minute packing, had breakfast, prayers and then we were off on the 45 min. drive to the new St. George Airport
 We tried to take a picture in front of the airport door but they automated system kept telling us to get off because it was for loading and unloading only so we had to call this good.
 Joel wasn't his usual happy self.  I think the nerves were finally getting to him but he was still able to keep the tears away.  His sisters, on the other hand, seem VERY happy, even at 5:30 in the morning :)
 And then there's me (mom) trying so hard to keep the tears in.
 Kylie, Greg & Axel made the early morning hour with us.  It was SO good to have them there!
 And Katie and Shaun.  Kari was working and couldn't make it with her family.

 Good byes were so hard.  I cried the whole time and made it hard on everyone else...especially poor Joel.  I wish I were stronger.

I think the hardest part was him standing on the other side of the glass after he'd gone through security to the gate.  He finally let loose and set there crying.  It totally wrenched my heart.  He and Kylie signed a few goodbyes to each other and I just cried.
I made Dan stay until Joel's plane was finally up in the air. 

As a mother who has sent 3 missionaries out I have to say that 
In fact, Joel leaving may have been the hardest yet, at least the same.  
I will miss his early morning snuggles during family scripture time,
his beautiful happy smile,
his laugh, 
his easy going attitude, 
his "promptly I'll obey" whenever asked to do something,
his "good-night mom, I'm home"
his "love you" WHENEVER he called from his phone,
his getting up in the mornings to keep me company when the girls were still sleeping,
his love of music and always trying to pick out his bass part,
and I'll even miss his teasing towards his little sisters.
The thing that tears at me the most is the "boy" that is still in him that most likely won't be there when he comes home.  But he will surely be a great young man!

It's such a hard thing, especially for mothers; however, the good and great things in life often don't come easy and Joel will do good and great things on his mission.  
We are so proud of him!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Set apart as a Missionary of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

July 1, 2014 (by mom)
Joel was set apart at 5:30 tonight.  I can't believe it has already been almost 4 months since he received his call.  I hate to see time go by so quickly, especially since I'm getting older and my kiddos are leaving, however, I hope these next 2 years go by fast.

We had an extra special surprise when Joel's sister, Kylie, and her husband Greg and little boy Axel came walking through the door this afternoon.  They drove all the way from Boise to be with us these next few days.  It was such a nice thing for them to do to show Joel their love for him.  We met with Pres. Stucki at the chapel.  Rob & Kari, Shaun & Kate, Kylie & Greg, Kambree & Kendyl, Joel & Trish, my parents and Kyle's family were all there with us.  Pres. Stucki gave him such a wonderful blessing.
A few things he mentioned were that the Lord is mindful of him and our family; that he would be protected and through his obedience on his mission, his family would be protected and prosper as well.  He would also have the gift of tongues and faith.  He would have the ability to love and serve his companions and would be a powerful teacher to all.  There was much more, but these were the high lights.  It was a beautiful blessing for such a great young man.  His Heavenly Father truly does love him.

Our immediate family went to the Brick Oven for dinner afterward.  It was fun for him to see his good friend, Delaney, there working.  He has been blessed with such great friends!
I could tell that Joel was finally getting nervous or tired or both, but he hardly ate anything.   Since I've never been on a mission, it's hard for me to know what these awesome young men and women go through, but I know it'd probably be terrifying for me.  So proud of him and all of the missionaries in the world.

A few silly last pictures with Kambree.  You wouldn't know that they are often times a tad bit mean to each other.  I think they realize it will be awhile before they see each other again.  I had to get some pictures as proof that there truly is LOVE between them :)