Monday, September 29, 2014

Week 12 (Sept. 29, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Week 12....12?

Hello! Friends, Family, Acquaintances (That means I know you, but
we're not friends), and Random Strangers surfing BlogSpot that were
lucky enough to find this!!
It's Week <insert week number here> out in the Bukid, and life is
still just Handy Dandy Notebook. Yes. I'm on something right now. I
got a haircut earlier today and the place was full of fumes. I blame
that. Anyway, let's begin!

Monday was P-Day, just like every P-Day. We finished shopping, went
home, and taught a lesson to a recent convert. We taught her that we
belong to The Church of Jesus Christ of Later-Day Saints. Not "The
Mormon Church." I blame the previous missionaries. I did get to eat a
Krill pancake for dinner though!! Soooooo many little heads. The
antennae are like needles though. It was a depressingly painful
​(I had to look "Krill" up on the internet to see what he was talking about)​

Tuesday!! We decided to rinse out our pool of non-progressing
investigators and started OYM-ing.... or maybe just OOM.
​(From what I found on the internet, OYM means "open your mouth" and I'm assuming OOM is "open our mouths"​. You missionaries out there can correct me if I'm wrong, I'd like to know)
Anyway, we
found a family who were interested enough to let us in. At least, the
Nanay was. Her daughter and 3 granddaughters plus one boyfriend were
just hanging out. They decided it wasn't a very good idea after we
started asking them questions and inviting them to participate. One by
one, they would say "'Scuse Po," stand up, and walk into the back
room. After about 10 minutes, it was just us and the Nanay, but we
were no longer teaching. We were listening to her tell stories. I
don't know how it happened, but it did, so we said "Amen" and left.
Hmm..... -.- We saw the group of teenagers a little later while
walking down the street. They were more than a little embarrassed when
I waved to them and said hello. Haaawk-warrrrd.

Wednesday was a little bit more SUPER AMAZING o.O :D
We started off the day with a District Meeting and TRANSFER
ANNOUNCEMENTS!!! We're all staying.
After that was back to work. A lot of our Appointments were falling
through, though, and everyone either said "next time" or "not
interested." I said a little prayer to myself asking "Please just let
somebody come to us." I felt the urge to say it out loud, so I did. I
don't know why, and I don't know what would've been different if I
kept it to myself. But no more than five minutes later, a Nanay
stopped us and said "Do you speak Tagalog?"
Yup. She asked...... THE QUESTION.
So I said "Sort of."
Anyway, it's what she said -after- that the made the experience so
awesome. She simply told us "Come to my home tomorrow at 3 o'clock and
share with me your message. We will have snacks."
Also, my prayer was answered!!! It was such an incredible
feeling/experience. The spirit was SO strong within me, just because
of a few conversational sentences from an old lady on the street. We
gave her a pamphlet about The Restoration, and said we would see her
tomorrow. Gaahh!!! You can't tell how happy I was!! SOBRANG ASTIG!!

So Thursday, we went back at three to teach her, and the first think
she did when she saw us was hold up the pamphlet we gave her and say
"I read your Bible!"
Sure, she thought it was our bible, but at least she read it! Since I
got into the field, I've met maybe a total of 3 investigators who
actually read the pamphlet we gave to them. We taught her The Message
of the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and she answered all
of our questions, and seemed pretty interested. When we started
talking about Joseph Smith, she said "The Bible talks about a
Messenger of the Lord (Malachi 3:1?)... is this him?" Yes!! It's him!!
We confirmed her suspicion, and she looked me straight in the eye and
said "This is the man I've been looking for."
:D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D
:D :D :D :D :D
Let the Smiles shine on me!
She accepted our baptismal invitation, and we scheduled another
appointment with her. So excited!!!

On Friday, we got to meet with another promising Investigator. This is
the one that I wrote about before, Miguel "Gil (Hill)"Garcia. He used
to smoke during every lesson, at least 2 cigarettes. We taught him
about the Word of Wisdom, and when we followed up with him Friday, he
said he'd gone down from more than a pack to a single cigarette a day!
Plus, his last cigarette had been the previous morning. More than 30
hours! He seemed a little cooky during the lesson, so I'm hoping he's
okay. We've yet to follow up again, but will be meeting with him again
tomorrow. The problem is that he insists on something warm in his
belly every morning, so he drinks coffee. He says Hot Chocolate is too
expensive, and Energen (sort of like a cereal drink) has too much
sugar and that it might give him diabetes. He smokes to get rid of the
smell of the Piggery nexy door (I've never smelt anything, and neither
has Elder Maestrado), and he doesn't come to church because he has a
"Kaaway." Basically an Arch-Nemesis that lives across the street from
the meeting house. That one is actually pretty serious. Apparently, he
carries the risk of getting shot if he's seen. They had an
"Eyeball-to-eyeball" the other day. Pretty intense stuff. Thankfully,
no one was armed. Anyway, we continue to pray for him, and hope
everything works out.

Saturday was a Reactivation Meeting for the Less-Actives. We were
supposed to meet at 3 at the meeting house, but no one else showed up.
So we taught the Lady that lives in the backyard. We waited after that
lesson for about another 30 minutes before we go a text from our Group
Leader saying he just got his Trike. It was 5 o'clock. At 5:30, he
showed up and we went and taught a few Less Active Families. We walked
in on one Brother as he was lighting his cigarette :( He had been
coming back to church lately as well, but didn't show up yesterday. It
can be tough sometimes, but we've just always got to do our best, and
hope they'll put in their part as well.

I think the fumes are wearing off.

Sunday was interesting, as always :P I still understand the lessons at
church, but there were pictures this time, so that helped :) I don't
know if it was taught like this, but this is what the pictures told
me. There was one with a man holding a single giant stone on his back,
struggling to stay standing. Another showed the same man, equally
exhausted, but he was now trying to keep multiple plates spinning on
sticks, so they wouldn't fall and break. It made me think that
sometimes, rather than a single huge trial in our lives, we're faced
with multiple smaller obstacles. Neither is necessarily more
difficult. Different trials try us in different ways, just as they're
supposed to. And, as we all know, they are for our benefit and
progression. I feel it important that we realize all of these trials
and tests in our lives as learning experiences because that's truly
what they are.

Well,that's all I have for you this week, and I love you all and wish
you the best!!
Merry Christmas!!
Elder Syphus
PS. Sorry... No pictures this week :(

​(Extra tidbits)
:D I'm still a little under the weather, but it's not
too bad. I just have to interrupt a lesson every now and then to clear
my throat. I've been taking my multivitamins and exercising every
morning. I was actually a little sad when I woke up yesterday morning
and realized I couldn't exercise because it was Sunday. Surprised? So
was I :P

It's awesome that the temple is open again!! Ugh, I miss the
temple SO much. I'm hoping I'll get to go in December and attend the
sealing of some recent converts in our area :) I'm also happy to hear
that the TV still finds its home in a bathtub. That will never make
sense to me :P

Who do I have for Christmas this
year? And what is everybody's shoe size? I'm thinking of getting
everyone a pair of Authentic Chinese made Filipino Tsinelas, but I may
not be able to afford that :P Still let me know though, and we'll see.

Brayden and Brittney are leaving already?? That's crazy!! Remind
me where they're going again? They're both going to do SO awesome!! :D

THAT IS SO INCREDIBLE ABOUT PACKER!!!!!! So, same birthday as
Kylie, huh? :P Anybody happy about that? ;) Still though, awesome!!
Honestly, the first thing I though when I saw the picture of Kari
kissing his hand, was "Bless, peasant" (Sort of a Filipino/Sam Smith
joke). The next thing was "Babies look like aliens." .........
Anyway, what's the news on Bjorn?? Ugh, this is so excited!!! I can't
believe I'm missing it all!!! :D :D I remember when Linkon was born. I
was still in intermediate school, Kambree and Kendyl were still in
Elementary, and when school got out, Kambree and Kendyl ran up to me
:D :D :P THAT was an exciting day :P Friday the 13th :)

Anyway, just a few questions/requests. Could you send some recipes for
me? We don't have an oven, only a stove, and rice HAS to be a part of
it :P I've got a few from Sister Clark, but I never get the chance to
try them out. My comp won't let me cook :P I like what he makes
though, so not really any complaints. Also, I have a bag of cocoa
powder and nothing to use it on. Do you thing Shaun could get creative
and throw me some ideas? I haven't had a good desert since the MTC :P
Finally, how do you make home made rootbeer? I told Elder Maestrado
about it, and he wants some :P That's about it though!! Love you, and
I'll start the big letter now :D

Love you!!!
Elder Syphus

Monday, September 22, 2014

Week 11 (Sept. 22, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Week 11 - Come What May, and Love It.

Hey all!

This week has been as exciting as the rest of them, with more rain and
floods throughout our little Pacific Island. Sadly, my Eccos aren't
all the water proof :) Anyway, let's get started!

Tuesday wasn't incredibly special in the sense that anything life
changing happened, but I did get to practice my hand stitching during
my lunch break! :D So far I've patched up a pair of socks, rebound a
rod on my umbrella, and had to re-hem a pair of my pants. It's not to
difficult, but takes FOREVER. I think I'll just pay the seamstress
next door from now on :)

Wednesday, we had our weekly District Meeting, but this once was a
little sad. One of the Elders, Elder Jacobs from Bountiful Utah, has
nearly completed his two years and will be returning home tomorrow.
He's fluent in 3 different dialects, and occasionally writes to me
with the Ancient Tagalog alphabet, because I studied it as well in his
early days in the field and likes to continue to use it. It's always
excited trying to decipher the code :)

Thursday was the Trainer/Trainees Meeting, and we got to hear from
President and Sister Clark. ALWAYS a treat :D They're both so
inspired, and I always love what they have to say. Sister Clark was
especially helpful, in my opinion.
Ever the mother, her topic of comment is usually about health or
safety. Because this meeting was to a bunch of Greenies, though, she
made sure to help us stay happy despite being separated from our loved
ones for a short time while serving the Lord. For me, the highlight of
her teaching was a Mormon Message featuring Elder Joseph B Wirthlin.
It was an excerpt from his final Conference Talk before he passed
away. "Come What May, and Love It." Having been one who suffered from
depression before my mission (self-diagnosed: I never felt it was
serious to seek a professional opinion :P ), and still occasionally
having those "pensive" moments, this was a HUGE help for me. I've sort
of turned that into my Mission Motto. Just "Come What May, and Love
It" :)

We had our second set of splits and Friday, this time with the Zone
Leaders. I was paired with Elder Magno in his zone, and we had quite the
enjoyable evening :) We were in the splash zone of another typhoon,
and the drainage systems aren't great out in the Philippines. You'd
think that'd be a priority for these people, huh? :P Anyway, we were
wading through the murky street water once again, and Elder Magno
wasn't to pleased with the situation. I shared with him "Come What
May, and Love It." He didn't like that :D The circumstances, however,
just made him that much more determined to get inside someones home,
and it worked! We ended up meeting a family in preparation for a
birthday and were given the privilege to taste test. Everything was
delicious :D We shared with them the Message of the Restoration, and
all 5 of them seemed pretty interested, but as we were walking out the
door we found out that only one of them was a resident. The others
were only in town for the party :/ Ah well; we still got food and at
least one new investigator :) We had to end the night early though
because of the flooding. So we went back to the apartment, planned for
the next day, turned on some music (approved, of course :) ), popped
open a big of Mini-Mallows, and roasted them with a candle. It was a
fun day :D

Saturday was a BAPTISM!!! :D :D Sister Juliana Alexis Salimbot Conde
is 10 years old and was baptized on September 20th by Elder Syphus
(that's me!). She was confirmed the following Sunday as a Member of
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the San Leonardo
Group. Elder Maestrado and I were able to teach her from the very
beginning, so we've all gotten pretty close :) Though definitely
spiritual, it was also a little stressful for Juliana. A lot of
Filipinos actually don't know how to swim, swimming pools are
uncommon, and bathing is done with a bucket over the head, not a tub.
This means that being completely submersed in water is a new
experience for a lot of new converts who don't live near the Ocean.
The first attempt freaked her out a little bit, and she came up
spluttering before she was completely immersed. We reassured her, gave
her a few more tips, and tried again. The witnesses approved it, and
she was gone. I don't know if she would've let us try again :P Anyway,
Elder Maestrado and I congratulated her with a Snickers Bar. American
candy is Heaven for Filipinos, but it's pretty pricey as well, so they
don't have many chances to indulge. We figured it was a special
occasion, so why not? :)

Juliana, Elder Maestrado and Me. Not in that order :P

Sister Conde and little Julianne. Julius had the flu :(

Group Picture!

Church was a little more civilized this week, but then again, I got to
attend a Ward Missionary Meeting rather than Gospel Doctrine class.
Thank goodness :) I also learned a lot more, because there were less
people, and the majority knew English or speak very clear Tagalog :)
After our Block Meeting, we went to the Zone Leaders Ward to get the
Bishops signature for Juliana's Baptism. We are apart of their ward,
but meet as a separate group because of the distance. Anyway, we were
able to sit in on the last 30 minutes of Sacrament Meeting, and enjoy
as much as I could understand of the Talks :P The actual church
buildings have Air Con, and the Members are happy to take advantage of
that. It was FREEZING!! And I loved every second of it :D

This morning (Monday), we met with some Members and other Missionaries
and played Basketball at the Church. They played full court rather
than just half though, so I stepped off to the side with another
missionary (I'm sort of a stickler for the rules), and we did our own
little workout. My personal fitness goal is to have a Six-Pack by
Christmas. I actually think I can make it happen :P

Anyway, that's all for this week! Love you all!!

Elder Syphus

PS. I also got to try Rat this week!! It's probably my favorite meat.
SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO Delicious. The meat it actually super high
quality, but it has to be a field rat, not a house rat. That will kill
you :P

This isn't fuzzy camera quality. Those are bugs.


I almost forget to tell you all about my super foods this week! This is called Kiti, or Day-Old. As the name suggests, it's a Day-Old chick that's killed and deep fried. I thought it sounded a bit inhumane too, until I remembered what eggs were.

You eat the head first, then the legs, then finish with the whole body. It's crunchy like a cheeto, not like a bag bones. :P

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Week 10 (Sept. 14, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Week .....10?

I'm actually not sure how long I've been out :P However, I DO know
that my release date is June 15, 2016. JSYK :)

This week, like all of them, definitely had its highs and lows. One of
the highest happened last Monday though. We got to have Family Home
Evening with the Carpeso Family! :D
After our P-Day ended around 6:30 PM, we headed over to their home.
Their 10 year old Jam-Jam conducted, and was very formal about all of
it :P We had an opening prayer and song, of course, and Sister Carpeso
shared with everybody a Spiritual Thought. Elder Maestrado and I
taught the lesson, using the science of vacuums to represent how the
Doctrine of Christ and the Atonement helps families return as one to
our Father in Heaven. It was pretty cool :P We then watched the John
Tanner story (INCREDIBLE), and played a couple of games. Elder
Maestrado taught the rules in Tagalog, so I didn't know how to play,
but I had a great time laughing and enjoying it all with the rest of
them :) Of course, they fed us Dinner after that :D

Tuesday was a bit slower than usual. We got our notice to pay the
Electric Bill Tuesday Morning, so we went off to the office at about
9. They were helping number 68, and we were number 351. yay.... So we
we sat outside for 3 three hours, practicing Tagalog, before it was
finally our turn. We got back home at around 12:30. The rest of the
day went smoothly enough :) As we were leaving the office, we saw one
of our Investigators there to pay his bill as well. We taught him
later that evening right after he got home at about 4 PM :P

Wednesday was a Zone Conference, so we got up early to catch the 7:30
bus so we would make it to Cabanatuan by 9:00. President and Sister
Clark both shared wonderful lessons, about how we need to be more
Diligent Disciples of Christ. That means it is expected of us to make
a Lesson Plan for each lesson, everyday, and ALWAYS (unless surely
prompted by the Spirit to do otherwise) extend a baptismal invitation
on the First Lesson. It was invigorating :) Because of the long travel
time, we didn't get much opportunity to apply it that night, but we
did get to use it a little bit later :)
Also, there is a Sister Knudsen in our mission. Relative of Dad's friend?

Thursday, both of our Morning appointments fell through, so we went
after a Referral we received from some other Elders. Brother Sebastian
Pangelan, but he just goes by Bobby. He explained to us that he had
been invited to be baptized in to a few other churches, but always
declined. He was happy being Catholic. The spirit was SO strong in our
lesson though, and when we extended the Baptismal Invitation, he
accepted! I felt prompted to testify of the Holy Ghost, which I did,
and the effect was immediate. There was Such a powerful feeling in the
room of Peace, Comfort, and Truth :) This incredible optimism stayed
with me throughout the day until we got home that night and saw
literally HUNDREDS of ants, devouring the remainder of my Oreos. I'll
admit that I was pretty ticked ' XD I went straight from planning to
bed. No journal, dinner, nothing. Grr....
I've decided I like flies and Spiders better than Ants now. I've
gotten pretty good at catching flies lately :) After I've got them, I
tear off a wing and toss it into a spider web. It's actually REALLY
cool how the spiders wrap them up. If I can't seem to get the fly to
stay in the web, I just grab the spider and coil up some web myself.
Spiders can be pretty fun :P

Friday, we had splits. I got to lead the area with our District
Leader, Elder Cancel. We got lost more than few times :P It's really
interesting how he OYMs people. He just walks up to a random person
and asks if they know another random person. I'm going to have to try
that sometime :P
While he was in our area, he interviewed Sister Juliana Conde for her
baptism next week and she passed! :P She still hasn't decided who she
wants to perform the ordinance, so no news on that yet. She continues
to progress though :)
We also taught one of our investigators the Word of Wisdom, which was
kind of awkward, because he listens to every lesson with a cigarette
in his mouth, and this time was no different :P He flicked the
cigarette away after we told him, but, like everyone here, asked why
we weren't allowed to drink tea and coffee. We've been counseled to
simply ask them to think on their Testimony of Joseph Smith as a
Prophet of God, and therefore as one entitled to receive revelation
such as the Word of Wisdom. He said he'll stop drinking coffee if we
buy him milk and cocoa every week... Let's just say he still needs a
bit of work :P

Saturday was Really fun :D We had another little down pour, and this
time we got to wade in flood water up past our shins :D The splashing
pretty much got us soaked up to our waists though :P I felt obliged to
carry around my sandals for the rest of the evening, because I felt
those were a better alternative than to entering homes with soggy
socks :)

This was the aftermath of the storm. You can see the line near the top of my pants :P
It sort of blends, but just know it's not the lighting :)

Church on Sundays continues to be very political. There was another
argument yesterday, about whether the Atonement IS the Gospel, or is a
PART of the Gospel. I'm happy to just tune it all out and do some
personal study.
We had a Typhoon last night, continuing on to this morning, so
President told all Missionaries in our Zone to be inside by 5. It
would've turned out that way anyway, though, cause I was hit with a
pretty killer Bug Saturday Night. Cough and cold, complete with
Runny/Stuffy Nose, Headache, and a blazing chest fever. It hurts :P I
ended up sleeping most of the day yesterday, and throughout the night.
For some reason, though, I waited until this morning to take the
Drowsy Drug that would kick out my runny nose. The runny nose has
subsided, but I've been ready for a nap since I took it :P Hooray for
being too sick to think :D

To close off, I just want to share some stuff I've learned from the
Book of Alma this week.
In Chapter 47, Amalickiah sets forth his plan to become King of the
Lamanites. After Lehonti and his people descent from the Lamanites in
order to avoid war, Amalickiah tracks him down to take control. He
calls for Lehonti to come down from his Mountain camp to talk with
him. Lehonti refuses, knowing the obvious danger of this. Likewise, we
are often able to avoid the more obvious temptations of the Devil.
However, Amalickiah eventually offers to meet Lehonti half way, even
allowing him to bring his guards. This, Lehonti accepts. After they
talk, Lehonti eventually goes down with Amalickiah.
We need to be wise enough not to meet Satan halfway. Because when we
do, it's a lot easier for him to bring us all the way down. Some
things may not seem inherently evil. But that's how Satan plays. He's
cunning and patient, and, like Amalickiah, will "poison us by degrees"
if we allow it. The sooner we understand this, the better we'll be
able to recognize those things that equate to meeting Satan halfway.
Even if we don't follow him down, we will have to make the trek back
to the top. Instead, just Stay on top.

Well, I hope you all enjoyed my week! I sort of did :P I'd love to
hear from all of you, so WRITE ME!!! :D :D

-Elder Syphus
PS. Something quick I forgot to mention. I tried Chicken Feet this
week! :D The taste was fine, but the bones were a bit too crunchy for
my liking. Ah well. I guess it's not for everyone :)

You can buy a glass bottle of Soda about every 10 feet, but if you don't want to drink it at the shop, they pour it into a little sandwich bag so they can recycle the bottle :)

We walk past this statue every few days. I don't really understand it, but it's fun to look at :P

Merry Christmas from the Conde Family!! Juliana, Julius, and Julianne, with Mom at the right :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Week 9 (Sept. 7, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

The "Ber" Months

Hello. From from the One and Only Scrooge the Philippines has ever
known. It's Christmas time out in the tropics, and my only reply is
"Stop it." Christmas is for December, and December alone. Take down
your decorations and turn off the music. IT'S TOO SOON!!

;) :P :D

In all honesty, it's not that bad :) Though celebrations truly do
start out here on September 1st, and go throughout the rest of the Ber
months. Really, I just can't help but laugh whenever I walk into home
and see a Christmas Tree and/or "MERRY CHRISTMAS _ HAPPY NEW YEAR"
banners, hung across the walls. My celebrations will be held off until
December, but I'll let everyone else have their fun :P

OF TARZAN!!!!!!!!!!! I can already tell it's going to be amazing!!!!!
Shout outs to the leads!!
Zack Grob as Tarzan and the Father!! (of course :D )
Sara Glauser as Jane and the Mother!! (another obvious pick :D )
Cameron Holdaway as Young Tarzan!
Caleb Smith as Terk!
Alex Easson as Clayton!!
Stockton Meyers as Kerchak!
Kiarra Dalley as the Leopard!
Mailea Dalley as Kala!

So! Let's start from a week ago. Right after I left you all with my
previous letter. I went out and got my first haircut. But not just any
haircut! A 78 cent hair cut!! Things are ridiculously cheap here. As
missionaries, we get about $185 a month total to pay for food,
transportation, utilities, laundry, and personal care Items. I use
about $125 of that. McDonald's is one of the more expensive places to
eat out here, and the prices are pretty similar to America's. So,
uh... hooray for fluctuation? I don't really know...

Now for another jumble of thoughts and memories. Enjoy! :P

First off, this place is sort of like a death trap. Even when it's not
rainy season, we get "light showers" once or twice a week. Light
showers, as in the water is only up to my ankles, rather than my chest
:P The rain results in mud, so I've got to watch my step, but then I
can't watch my head. Since very few people have washing
machines/dryers out here, they wash by hand and then hang them out to
dry. But the drying lines are EVERYWHERE. They aren't much trouble for
your average Filipino, but I'm not your average Filipino, despite my
diet. I've literally been clothes lined over a dozen times this last
week. But if I focus on the sky, I lose a couple inches, and a shoe
once or twice. Every step is quick sand if it's not on a stone :P Even
when I'm lying flat in bed, I've got to keep an eye out. Mosquitoes
like to celebrate the Holiday Season just as much as the next guy (as
long as the next guy isn't me (sorry Amy Jensen :P )), and their main
course is the exotic white American. Really, my native companion has
NO problem with the bugs. A bunch of little racists.... ;) :P I'm
beginning to understand what Pleakly from Lilo and Stitch feels
like... minus the constant urges to cross dress, of course :D

Also, I was able to officially eat Balot this week!! It actually taste
pretty good, as long as you add plenty of salt and spicy vinegar :)
It's quite a fun and expensive story actually :)
Every few nights, Elder Maestrado and I go over to a Recent Converts
home, and have a group Scripture Study with them. Nanay and Tatay Diaz
were baptized last December, and are preparing to go through the
Temple at the end of this year! Anyway, they live with their Niece and
Her Husband, AJ (April Joy) and Gerald. All four of them are insistent
on making me try Balot, so at our most recent visit, they sort of
forced a little 7 year girl to stand outside for an hour and flag down
any Balot vendors passing by. To my obvious despair, they found one...
They ordered 8 servings of these creepy little Duck Embryos, and gave
me the honor of paying for them! Yay!... Again though, things are
cheap. It was like, $1.50.


So I payed and we went inside. Nanay taught me how to eat it. You peel
off the very peak of the shell, add some salt, and drink the "soup"
inside. Take a bit more of the shell off, pull out the solid yolk
(they're boiled before sold), and eat that however you want. It's a
yolk. Next you remove more shell until it's just like a bowl, except
this bowl has a creepy little duck embryo inside staring at you. You
can make out the beak, eyes, wings, and feet, and since it hasn't been
fully formed, it's sort of translucent, so you can see the bones,
brain, and all the other insides too. Fun stuff!! You add a couple
splashes of spicy vinegar and slurp it down. It's literally a slurp. I
don't know how else to describe it :P The Embryo is the Climax to the
story with a gentle little resolution. At the very bottom of the egg
is what used to be the Egg white, but it's become very dense and hard.
It's still edible though, so you down that, just to say you ate it
all. And that's balot! :D :D
 Inside the shell- Balot. Not a great pic, but you can tell it's not your traditional hard boiled egg :P
 Gettin' ready to slurp it down!! Ya, you actually have to slurp it. It's still an embryo remember, so it's not all that solid yet.


So obviously, after all that, the Diaz Family are one of my favorites
:) Another really popular family in the eyes of a missionary are the
Carpesos. Brother Carpeso was baptized January, and the Rest of his
family are marked as Less Active Returns. Every time we go and visit
them, they bring out treats and drinks, as I may have mentioned
before. Lately though, they've been allowing us to join them for
entire meals :P Few Filipino's actually use utensils, and the White
Bible says to accompany the Host in their use of utensils, so we ate
Rice and Fried Chicken/Fried Milkfish with our bare hands. The
Chicken/fish wasn't anything different, but eating rice with your
fingers is understandably pretty difficult :P
We stopped by their house at about 6 PM yesterday after we had closed
our fast, to drop off their son, Jam-Jam, who had been doing splits
with us. Before they let us leave though, we had to finish two pizzas
and a liter of Mountain Dew. I was more than happy to oblige :P
Because we get soda so often at members homes, I've decided to only
buy it on Christmas and my Birthday. It's still probably more Soda
than I had at home though :P

Anyway, we returned last night for an actual teaching appointment, and
they fed us again!! I feel sort of bad, but they're one of the more
wealthier families in the Philippines, so I doubt we're even putting a
dent in their bank account. After all, a whole pizza is only about $2

Next is probably the weirdest part of my week. On Saturday, our Plans
A, B, and C all fell through, so we went tracting instead. We found
this little cluster of huts and OYMed the first person we saw. As we
were talking to her, more and more people started popping up to
listen. That's pretty common, but what made it weird was that they
were ALL sisters. Not necessarily siblings, just females... you
know... sisters. Anyway, we ended up teaching a group of about 13
girls the first part of The Restoration. It was a little hard to
concentrate though, because four or five of them kept pulling their
phones out to take pictures of me. And they weren't even trying to be
sneaky! One of them was literally no more than 3 feet from me, and she
held her phone up at eye level, pointed it directly at me, and I heard
the camera shutter noise. She didn't bother to turn the volume down.
Just took some more pictures. It was REALLY awkward :P That actually
hasn't happened to me yet, believe it or not. Being white can be
interesting in the Philippines ;)

A final tidbit before I move onto the spiritual part of my letters:
Nanay Pesita. We were Tracting and found a Nanay just sitting enjoying the day, so
we asked if we could share our message with her. She said okay and
pulled out some chairs. She seemed to listen well enough, but didn't
seem to be all there. At the end of the listen, we invited her to pray
for us, but she said she didn't know how. So we taught and she said
she'd do it if we helped her. Like a child bearing their Testimony in
Sacrament, she pretty much just repeated everything we said. Even
after we started her with "We thank the for..." she stopped, so we had
to ask her "What are you thankful for, Nanay?" but she didn't know, so
we told her. Same with blessings. It was interesting. I don't think
the's mentally here enough for us to continue the lessons. She was
nice though :)

And now for the more Spiritual part! Best for last! :D
First off, Fasting is SO powerful. Despite the extreme difficulty to
not drink for 24 hours in this kind of Humidity, it's absolutely worth
it. I know the Lord really is mindful of our needs and wants, and will
help us achieve them as long as we're willing to sacrifice something
in return :) Keeping those things and people you're fasting for
constantly somewhere in your thoughts, makes our purpose as
missionaries so much clearer. I'm personally grateful for the
opportunity we have each month to fast and grow closer to our Father
and Savior.

Also, we have two more Baptismal Dates! Ronald Garcia, and Hill
Garcia. No relation :) They both seem to be pretty interested in our
message, and have done well with their commitments. They've yet to try
and avoid us, so I think they'll make it :P They are both scheduled
for the end of October.

We also have some pretty promising Investigators without baptismal
Dates, but that should change within the week, so I'll keep you all

I love you all!! Thank you so much for your support!!

Elder Syphus

"In the Philippines Angeles Mission, we Chastise and Rescue!"
(Just kidding. That's a Zone joke :P -we Baptize and Rescue!!)

They load in reverse for some reason so the top is the most recent picture :) JSYK

Lovely Rice fields :) I've yet to earn the privilege to actually work in one, but it sounds pretty exciting from Elder Zeirenberg's letters :)

Clouds and corn. The Sky is beautiful out here.

"Ooh, fascinating.... AaaaAAAAAAaaahh!!!!" - Pleakly (Lilo and Stitch the Movie)
SO many bug bites out here, and sooooooooooooo itchy :P

My first sunset picture out in the Field.

My original goal was to just get a picture of the cool Tree Tunnel, but the lighting makes it look like the entrance Doom and Despair.Field shot!
This one is normal. The other one is zoomed in. JSYK

Carn fields!!

I'm not tall enough, but this is the best view I could get of over the top :)

My Budget list :D I felt so proud when I completed it, then realized how inefficient it was. It has since been upgraded :) I have it split into Support Funds, Personal Funds, and leftover funds to return to the church.

I hit the jackpot at Waltermart this week! I got Oeros for my peanut butter now, and some all Natural Grape Juice. Now if I could just find some Tillamook Extra Sharp Cheddar...

My new jump rope. The only ones they had in the entire mall were for 5 year olds, but it's strangely still long enough for me. It's even got a fancy little defective jump counter! I ended up trashing the foam handle covers. They just slip off and the rope goes flying :P

Here is San Leonardo.
The red star in the middle. A bigger picture for comparison by size and shape of the mission.