Sunday, August 31, 2014

Week 8 (Aug. 31, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

2 months??

Wow, time sure is fun when you're having flies, and we have a LOT out
here :P (Have I already made that joke? I don't remember :P ) Anyway,
I was actually able to jot down some things I want to write about, so
this week's letter should be a bit more organized :)

EMAILS!!!!!!!!!! I try to email everyone I get a message from, but
returning letters may be a little difficult because the humidity sort
of upgraded my box of envelopes. They now come Pre-Sealed!!! :D It's
tricky, but I can be pretty handy with a knife :)
Something I forgot to email about last week was our Community Service
Project. Because we just barely purchased our meeting house which was
last inhabited when Spain colonized the Philippines, we have a bit of
clean up work to do. So While I was in the Priesthood Room peeling
Hulk Hogan And Princess Stickers off the door, the bishop was across
the hall playing songs from Journey, Chicago, Air Supply, Queen, etc.,
through his Stage Speakers :P It was difficult not to sing along to
those I knew, and I knew quite a bit (Thanks Dad!! :D )

So to this week!
We have a neighbor who always says hello to us every morning. He's
usually smoking or drinking with his friends (they range in age from
13-17, though most are 13/14), so we usually don't attempt to share
anything. Tuesday, however, he said hello, and then asked where we
attended Church. After we told him, he asked if we wanted to teach him
and his friends. There were more than a few groans from inside, but he
held the invitation, so we accepted. Out of 9, only 2 seemed to care,
one of which was our neighbor, John Irish Ku. We've given him a Book
of Mormon, and have walked by to see him inside reading a couple times
now :) It's exciting, and I'm looking forward to see where it will go
from here :)

Our neighbor across the alley (that's where we live, in a little back
alley with doors on both sides... it's better than it sounds, that's
just the best way I can describe it :P) has a son who we see playing
outside every morning. Whenever he sees us, he shouts "Oy!" and runs
away laughing to hide. There's not a lot of places to disappear to,
though. So we just peek out our door and "Oy!" back at him. He loves
it and it puts us in a good mood :) He's about as old as Liam and
talks just as well, but in Tagalog, so of course I have no idea what
he's saying. Even his name is just a bunch of noises, so I decided to
name him Dave. It's a good name

Dave....What a guy!

I'm attempting to learn the ancient Tagalog Alphabet at the moment,
just for kicks and giggles. I've got a feeling I'll get to use it
eventually :P It's a bunch of curves and hooks, and you don't write
out vowels. You can start a word with a vowel, or you just assume that
one exists between two consonants. It actually makes more sense, but
is just hard to explain :P It's cool though :)

Of our 4 Baptismal dates, all but 1 fell through :\ The investigators
now avoid us, and Elder Maestrado seems ready to drop just about
anyone :\ I'm reluctant to give up on them, but he probably knows
what's best. The one we are still preparing has her date set for
September 13 :) Her name is Juliana Conde, she's 10 years old, and her
Mom is a Less Active Return (as in, she attended church for four
consecutive weeks) as of yesterday! They're actually the first family
I taught, and one of my favorites. There's always a bunch of little
kids, so it can be a struggle to maintain the Spirit at times, but
it's a happy atmosphere :)

There's a Recent Convert in our Group who is preparing to serve a
mission in within the next year, so he's constantly going out on
Splits with us. He's really fun and nice, and enjoys the work. His
name is June Lester, but we just call him Lester. That's actually VERY
common in the Philippines to name your child after the month they were
born in, Boy or Girl. I find it kind of unfortunate, but I tend to
keep those kinds of things to myself :P

For my fantastic foods this week, I was able to Dugo ng Manok, as well
as Pituka ng Manok. That means Chicken Blood and Chicken Intestine.
Ask the Dalley's about the blood, they know :) They even grilled it up
fresh, just for me :) I feel so pampered :D The taste wasn't bad, but
the texture made swallowing a bit difficult. The blood is congealed
into a Brownie/Jello kind of consistency, and the intestine is just
rubbery. My biggest struggle is the "why." Do they have any sort of
nutritional value? Do intestines and blood contain protein? How do I
benefit from eating such exotic foods? Bragging Rights? I'll accept
that :P

Unrelated to my recent Vampirical tendencies (yes, vampirical is a
real word. I made it up, just now), I got a little feverish this week
and had to take a rest for an hour. I felt sort of guilty but I can
tell that it really helped for the following days. I basically just
downed a liter of water and wrapped up in my blanket without a fan to
try and sweat it all out. It actually worked :P Hooray for Uncle

Speaking of Vague references, I really like Elder Zierenberg's
letters. Cambodia is actually VERY similar to the Philippines. We get
the privilege of sneaking strange little foods through the bamboo
slats, as well as riding the nifty motorcycle things. I can't remember
what he called them, but they're just trikes here. There's plenty of
fascinating foods, but the demonic bugs are more like toys than
weapons out here. People are constantly kicking around the dogs and
cats, unless they're in a particularly grumpy mood and decide to just
shoot it, like last night. Bye-bye kitty kitty.

I'll end this letter with my Prime Spiritual experiences from the past few days.
During Personal Study this week, I read a talk given to us at the MTC.
"Master the Tempest is Raging" by President Howard W Hunter. It is an
INCREDIBLE talk, and I advise all of you to look it up and read it. It
has so much truth and power, and I've made it my goal to read it at
least once a week. I am CRAZY excited for Conference in October. A day
doesn't go by that I don't think of it and just start smiling :)
From another Conference address given by Elder Jeffery R Holland (I
don't know what it's called, it was part of a clip from The District),
He testifies of the Book of Mormon in what is now one of my favorite
quotes. In his voice of Thunder and Flame, he says:
"No wicked man could write such a book as this. And no good man would
write it; unless it were true and he were commanded of God to do so."
just typing that up again fills me with the Holy Ghost. It's SO
powerful and true. I can't even express how grateful I am for the
Prophets and Apostles we have in our church, and the revelation they

During one of our lessons with a 10 year old Recent Convert, Trisha
Heron, her Less Active father, Riko, walked in and decided to listen
in. He's a Security guard who works from 4 PM to 4 AM, and so spends
the rest of his days at home resting up. He had a few days off though,
which is why he was available. Anyway, throughout our lesson Brother
Heron would add something, or would be constantly nodding his head. He
helped us in keeping Trisha's attention, and allowed us to share with
him afterwards. The Spirit was SO strong, and I have no doubt that
even after these years of inactivity, he still has a Powerful
testimony. He says he continues to read the Book of Mormon, and prays
when he can, but Church Attendance is a struggle. Sadly, he wasn't
their again yesterday, but we're still going to try to meet with him.
And now to end with my Favorite Scripture.
D&C 121: 7-9
"7 My son, peace be unto thy soul; thine adversity and thine
afflictions shall be but a small moment;
"8 And then, if thou it endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high;
thou shalt triumph over all thy foes.
"9 Thy friends do stand by thee, and they shall hail thee again with
warm hearts and friendly hands. "

Stay strong everybody!! I love and miss you all!

Elder Syphus

"ANG AKLAT NI MORMON" sa Sinaunang Alibata

Our Bedroom

The other room of our house: Study Area, Dining Room, Kitchen, and CR to the left of Elder Maestrado

The famed WalterMart :D

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