Monday, October 27, 2014

Week 16 (Oct. 27, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Sige. Alright. Uh huh. Okay. Alright. Sige. Let's get to it!

Monday Morning was another "Zone Activity" I got to play the Piano for
about 15 minutes and then watch a bunch of other missionaries play
full court b-ball for the next 2 and a half hours. On the bright side,
they threw the ball over the wall and lost it :P Later that evening, I
got a haircut from a Members Uncle. The guy used to be a barber with a
shop about 20 years ago, but retired. Now he just loads up a wagon
with a stool and his haircutting kit, and drives around town in the
morning yelling "GUPIT!" (Haircut). He's like 70+ years old, deaf, and
walks around in Boxer shorts and a T shirt. The only things he's ever
said to me is "Matangos na Ilong" (Pointed Nose). Pretty much the
sketchiest/coolest haircut I've ever gotten :P

Tuesday was pretty awesome. We got three new investigators, two of
them we met at church the previous Sunday. I don't know how that
works, but it does :P Jeric, Kevin, and Roman/Omen. Jeric is the
Cousin of a Less Active who is returning to church, and Kevin and Omen
are friends of John Robert, our other investigator who brought the
Less Active to Church.

We got another New Investigator on Wednesday. Her name is Faith, so
naturally, I refer to her as Pam (Faith in Tagalog is
Pananampalataya). She's the neighbor of a Previous Investigator and is
interested in religion in General. We're hoping we can narrow her
interests a bit, or at least her beliefs. She seems willing to follow
up on any commitments we extend to her, but we've yet to follow up.
It's been a busy week. :)

Thursday's big Whoop-de-doo was another CSP! Jeric's cousin, the Less
Active (Jonah's her name) has a mom. Her mom has a garden. Her mom's
garden has weeds and random clumps of dirt. Missionaries have shovels,
gloves, garden hoes, and machetes. Sounds like a Service Project made
in Heaven, huh? Basically, we just went crazy with the machetes,
hacking at weeds and grass as if they'd disgraced a whole row of prime
planting ground. Then we got the shovels and hoes, churned up the
Earth, and removed the remaining bits of leaves and roots. It was fun

We found yet another New Investigator on Friday. Richard Barlis. He
has a Twin Brother, but he left in the middle of our lesson and didn't
come back, so we didn't count him. Richard is Jonah and Jeric's
neighbor. Raymond is Richard's Twin. I'll expound on this later.
Anyway, I got to try out an object lesson that is less for 22 year old
Richard, and more for 10 year old Jeric, but Richard enjoyed it as
well, and it teaches the doctrine, so I call bonus points. Ya!

We had yet another CSP on Saturday, but the ground wasn't so packed
and firm, so now fancy tools. Just pulling up weeds with our hands and
screaming at Fire Ants. Grrrrrrrr............... -.- We did move some
dirt around. We seem to do that a LOT as Missionaries. We moved it
from one side of a wall to the other. And then we moved different dirt
from the other to one side of a wall. Ya! Productive!
That afternoon, we had a reactivation meeting. Linggo Linggo, dow. As
we finished a lesson about Faith to a Family that was Active a month
ago, they got super offended, assuming we were accusing them of having
no more faith in the Lord. In reality, our Group Leader opened his
scriptures, read the first highlighted verse he saw, and we expounded
on it. Sheesh, chill-ax kid. Elder Maestrado and I just laughed
afterwards :P

On Sunday, we did that same thing my Home Ward did in St George. We
had Ward Conference and the Primary Program, all in one. We had some
investigators attend for their first time this Sunday. They said it
was more like a Market than Church :( The Primary Program was good,
they all spoke and sang in English, but it was super Chaotic. I hope
we can convince them to come to our normal meeting next week.

That's my Weekly re-cap! I'll try to be more thorough next week. Love
you all!! Thanks for your love and support!!
Elder Syphus

I look like I am in pain because I am. Sunburns hurt. But Batman makes it better :)

The Conde Family upgraded their Christmas Tree!! Pogi Si Cliff

This is Janna, a little girl in our ward. I'm not sure what she's riding, but my first thought was either an Alpaca or Llama. Other opinions were horse and donkey. I think you could still put it in your farm. I would. That thing is a party by itself :D
 Janna riding her undetermined pink animal thing. I claim alpaca.
 I forgot to wear Sunscreen during our CSP on Thursday. I was in the sun for four hours. I know, because I had a watch.
 Zone Pic Pagkatapos ang CSP. Jonah is in yellow.
 They prepped a Fiesta for lunch. Here's everyone just loving life.
 Food :)
 What does this tree remind me of?
 When it's not a fiesta, it's this. Mmmmm :)
 Don't worry though. We slice it and fry it, and serve it with eggs.

Ward Fireside last week. 15 in attendance, 9 had to be there. Yay!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Week 15 (Oct. 20, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Where to begin, where to begin..... Oh! How about with last Monday?!!

We woke up extra early that day. That's the best time to catch frogs
:) One of the Members in our ward, Brother Allan Carpeso, offered to
teach us how if we wanted. We wanted :) We showed up at his place at
around 6. We thought that was the time we decided on, but apparently
he missed the memo :P We sat down and had Pandesal and Hot Choco while
we waited for him to get ready. At around 7, we headed out. He mixed
some laundry detergent in water and started pouring it on the ground.
I asked Elder Maestrado why, but didn't get an answer. So I stared at
the bubbling patch of dirt to see worms popping out of the ground like
daisies (why is that even an expression? Or am I just understanding it
wrong?). 'Cept the worms were lots faster than daisies. We got a nice
little cup full of 'em and went a fishin'. It was about 7:45 when we
actually started, but I think they retire to whatever they retire to
(are frogs nocturnal?) at 7:44, cause we heard 'em a'croakin, but as
soon as weez started to fishin, they beez quiet as a mouse (I
understand that expression. Those things are like delicious little
ninjas). Bouts 9 o'clock is when its came to quiten, and not one frog
was catched. Daggum. And that's how I a'came a hillbilly. 'Cept only
for that day.

Tuesday was much more sophisticated. I'm talking business/sells man
sophisticated. Or at least that's what John Robert Mactal thought when
we passed his house on our way to an appointment. He was in the middle
of his evening meal when he saw us passing by, and decided by natural
curiosity that he was going to follow us and find out what we had in
stock. SALVATION, THAT'S WHAT!! Thankfully, he was interested. I said
by natural curiosity, but I'm thinking it was more like "by divine
promptings." This kid's golden. Super focused and interested in our
lessons, asks wonderful questions, keeps up on commitments, and here's
the kicker. He came to church this Sunday. But he didn't come by
himself. He brought his cousin. And a Less Active. Our INVESTIGATOR
brought a MEMBER to church!! HOW DOES THAT EVEN HAPPEN?? So now we are
teaching his cousin as well, and apparently I'm holding Neck-tie tying
lessons every Sunday five minutes before church starts. Anyway, we're
pretty much super excited to continue teaching this kid. He's awesome

On Wednesday, I FINALLY got to bring up some personal concerns about
Mission-Wide Obedience issues, because we had Zone Interviews! Ya!...
ya. It was actually pretty great :) President and Sister Clark showed
up with their Assistants, we had opening remarks, and then had a
workshop offered by the Zone Leaders while President held Interviews.
After the workshop, we had Jollibee for lunch, which is basically the
nastiest burger joint in history, but has pretty good chicken. We had
chicken. After lunch, the Assistants gave a workshop and President
Clark continued with the interviews. I was called in, had my
interview, got some answers, and went on my way. All in all, it was an
enjoyable experience :)

On Thursday, we found another person who seems to be a pretty strong
investigator. It was actually a house I had tried to OYM a month
earlier, but my temporary companion, an RM even, hid. He literally
jumped behind a fence and hid. The contact didn't go well. Anyway, I
told Elder Maestrado I wanted to try again, so we did. Different
person answered the door, this time interested. Jessica Talana with a
squiggly above the n. She too asked good questions. Anyway time is
short so I'm going to skip boring old Friday and be very short. Sorry!

Saturday: We had another Service Project! We moved Rocks again!! There
was a flood at a school, so we basically just filled in the flooded
area with dirt and rocks. We had lunch and the sisters painted the
classrooms. After the CSP, we had a reactivation meeting. I thought it
went pretty well :)

On Sunday we had 4 investigators attend church! John Robert Mactal
being one of them. I sat next to him, and had the most incredible
experience. When he took the sacrament, even though it was just bread
and water to him, my heart flooded joy. It was incredible and
inspiring. I hope to be able to see him do it again next week :)

Well, gotta go. Love you all!! Thanks for all your support!!

Elder Syphus.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Week 14 (Oct. 13, 2014 San Leonardo Philippines)

Something hit me this week. I'm a Missionary. Of course, for the past
3 months I've woken up, got ready, and slipped on my name-tag. I've
told people, "Hey, we're missionaries. Wanna get baptized?" It wasn't
until this week, though, that the word "missionary" didn't bring
thoughts of The District, The Best Two Years, or even just the Elders
that would stop by our house back home every now and then. Instead, I
saw the same face I see when I look in the mirror each morning (I need
more gel. And another haircut). So ya. Guess what, ya'll? I'm a
missionary :)

And as a Missionary, I get to do fun stuff with fun people, fun stuff
with not fun people, not fun stuff with fun people, and not fun stuff
with not fun people, all week!! Let me tell you about it!

On Monday, we sort of had an appointment spent with a Recent
Convert/Less Active Return Family: The Carpesos! I say sort of because
they were under the illusion that our appointment was to attend their
now 11 year old sons birthday party, and since they ended up only
having enough extra money for Celebration Soup, they thought we
wouldn't come. Well they were WRONG. We did come, and we came bearing
gifts :) We bought the kid pizza and Sisig (basically deliciously
roasted pig face with peppers and onions. It's super wonderful and
such). You wanna know the best part?? After we said "Ho Ho Ho" and
walked in unannounced, we caught them reading their Scriptures as a
Family!! Woo!! (((On a very unrelated note (hence the triple
parentheses), there is a Security Guard across the street staring at
me right now who looks almost exactly like my brother-in-law,
Robert.))) They welcomed us in their home, we sat down, and let them
finish their Scripture Study. Oh happy day :) After that, we all sat
down for a dinner of Celebration Soup, Pizza, and Sisig. Of course, no
Family Home Evening is complete with out activities, and every
birthday needs a cake (*wink wink* *nod nod* (I'm poor)), so we
whipped out a bag of flour, a metal cup, and a cough drop. Pack the
flour in the cup. Dump it upside down on a plate. Top with Cough Drop.
Now cut the cake! We took turns cutting the cake, with the intent of
keeping the cough drop on top. Jam Jam, the birthday boy, is the one
who dropped the cough drop, and had to pick it up with just his mouth
amidst all the flour. His dad plays dirty, and shoved his face in it

We had to pay our Electric bill again on Tuesday, so we went to the
office, pushed the little red button, and took our number, 1263. They
were helping number 27. I cried a little bit. But then a nice little
lady (They're all nice and little, especially the ladies) gave us her
ticket, saying she would just go up with her friend. We were now
number 85! We still had to wait 2 hours :P
In other news for the day, we were teaching an investigator, and
things were getting excited, so I started using hand gestures. I put
my hands forward, palms up, explaining that God will "give" (the hand
gesture meant "give") us gifts and blessings if we follow his
commandments. I got a gift too. From a bird. Right in my outstretched
hand. I cried a little bit. But then I composed myself, flung it away,
wiped it with my pocket hanky, and sanitized with 70% Isopropyl
Alcohol. She didn't notice a thing :) (((The Security Guard is still
staring at me )))

On Wednesday, we went a searchin'. We had dropped basically all of our
investigators, because none of them were progressing, and we needed to
find those Children of God that were ready for the truth. Imagine our
surprise when we found an unlisted Member in our group. They still
thought the nearest church was 20 miles away! The Sta. Maria Family
have been inactive for 12 years, and only the parents are members.
Their oldest is 19, but she's spatial, as the Filipino people say
(basically it just means she has a form of a mental handicap). She's
really sweet when she's smiling and happy, but most of the time she
just stares. Usually at me cause I'm white. It's a little unnerving.
Anyway, there next oldest is 14, and she's our main focus right now in
the family. The father and mother were ecstatic to learn that there
was an LDS Meetinghouse just a block away, and asked us to teach there
14 year old daughter, so that's what we're doing, as well as working
to bring the family back into activity :) It's actually crazy how
often we just find random people that happen to be members. I think
this is our fourth. There are no concrete records, because we're just
a group, and so we don't know how many members we actually even have
within our boundaries. It's always really exciting to find them :)

Thursday, we took the opportunity to teach Nanay Gelma. Her Daughter,
Arlie Conde is a Less Active Return (LAR), and her Granddaughter,
Juliana Conde, is a Recent Convert. She asked us about the Word of
Wisdom a few nights before, so we gave her a pamphlet, and set an
appointment :) She accepted what we taught, and agreed to strive to
live this Commandment of God :) Because, we hadn't gotten much of an
opportunity to get to know her yet, we sat down and helped her tie
newspapers and just talked :) She was thankful for the help, and I
think it helped her trust us more :)
Later that night, we were teaching a sister (sibling) of one of the
Members, when her daughter, about four years old, walked up to her and
whispered something in her ear. The Mom picked her daughter up, sat
her in her lap, and started breastfeeding. Uh..... ..... ......
..... Elder Maestrado didn't bat an eye, just kept teaching. I guess
that's normal here. Ya....

Friday! Friday was actually pretty rough, because most of our
appointments fell through, and no one we talked to was interested. We
only ended up teaching 3 Recent Converts that day :( The kicker
though, is that after we closed our last lesson of the night with a
prayer, the Sister offered us some Red Wine. We laughed, but then she
stood up, went into her room, and brought out a bottle of Red Wine. We
continued to smile but didn't completely understand. She offered
again, saying it wasn't really wine. She reinforced her case by saying
that some previous Elders tried it too. Elder Maestrado poured some in
the bottom of the glass, smelt it, and said "Ya, there's definitely
alcohol in this." :P Her husband took the bottle from her, smelt it
and agreed. Her nephew, also a member, took the glass we had poured,
and drank it. He agreed too. I still don't really even know what was
happening that night :P Needless to say, I didn't drink it :)

Saturday and Sunday- General Conference. So Incredible! :D We watched
it as an entire stake, with the Priesthood Session Saturday Morning,
and a one hour gap between each Session. It came and went So fast :(
My favorite talk was probably from Lynn G Robbins of the Seventy,
about Which Way Do You Face. I've become incredibly excited for the
Conference edition of the Liahona to come out so I can add to my only
very basic notes :P It's crazy to think that I only get to listen 3
more Conferences while on my Mission. The talks and music were so
uplifting and inspiring, and it's such a blessing that we all have to
hear and grow from living Prophets of God. All of our lessons those
days came directly from the talks. Just re accounting everything
brought the Spirit so strong :)

Anyway, that's my week! I Love you all, and am so thankful for all of
your continued love and support!! Until next time!!

Elder Syphus
 Herons. Prolly my favorite Bird :)
 These are hanging from Every Single Street Light. -.-
 This is what a chapel in the Philippines looks like. Ya. They're small.
Jam Jam with flour :)
 Time to wash the Bed Sheets, but a laundry load takes 3 days. So I used a blanket and T-Shirt in the mean time. Basically I just took this picture because I blue :P
 Creepiest floating, glowing Santa in an unfinished cement building I've ever seen.
 Yup. Still creepy. And out of season
This is a trike. 
This is me inside of a trike :P

PS Linkon looks sharp, Liam's uber cute. And yes, GENERAL CONFERENCE WAS AMAZING!!! So sad it's over :( I didn't catch Elder Oaks talk though, because the English room hadn't been set
up yet when it started. I heard somethings about Peanuts, Charlie Brown, and Schultz, but that's about it :/ I'm just excited for the Conference Liahona to get here :)
Some other random things: Is there anyway you could get me some MoTab
music? Also, what's the Hymn that Greg told us to sing Stocatto? Or at
least the final verse. That's all :) Sorry, my mind is sort of Going
haywire right now. :P Tell Kratelet I love her, and the new babies
too! LOVE YOU MOM!! :D :)

Monday, October 6, 2014

Week 13 (Oct. 6, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

So I have now officially been serving for 3 months. Wow. That's 1/8 of
my time out here. TOO FAST! In other random news before I spout off my
Day-by-Day, I have begun to collect Marbles. So far, I've found four.
I pick it up, dust it off, drop it in my pocket, then soak my hands
with alcohol. When I get home, I boil them. I've found 3 cat eyes and
a jaw breaker. I'm hoping for a Steelie before I go home. My very
first collection of anything, besides maybe video games :P

My emails are basically my Journal Entries for each day, but I wasn't
able to write in my Journal this week, so I'll try to pull some stuff
out of my memory. Don't expect much this week :/ Sorry!

Tuesday (I did last Monday last week. I'll do this Monday next
week): We got a referral from a family in our Group- the father's
sister. We met with her that night and taught her the Message of the
Restoration. She's really good at listening, and is one of the very,
VERY few parents that actually controls her Children. Ibig sabihin, we
can actually welcome in the Spirit :) It actually was a very spiritual
lesson :) She asked some wonderful questions, and my companion gave
some wonderful answers. I did a wonderful job pretending to understand
everything :)

Wednesday was not so wonderful. I woke up at about 5 AM about
ready to fall back asleep (but not so voluntarily) because of a
terrible pain in my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and coughed up
(that's saying it lightly, btw) Tuesday Night's Dinner. Thankfully, it
was just rice. I left the bathroom at around 7:30 AM, and got a
prescription from the Mission Presidents wife. A member bought the
drugs and kindly delivered it to us, as I wasn't feeling up to leaving
the Apartment. I spent the day in bed, reading the Scriptures, Church
Magazines, and the Teachings of President Joseph Fielding Smith.
THAT'S some good stuff. Anyway, I wasn't about to eat rice again for a
while, so our Member friend brought some fruits over with the
Medicine. Easily the most boring two meals I've ever had in my life.
Some of the hardest, as well. Eating Balot was easier. I was starting
to feel a lot better, though, by the end of the day, and retired early
for bed to grab an extra hour.

I needed that extra hour, because we had a Service Project
Thursday Morning. A Tatay in our ward had a pile of rocks next to his
house that he needed moved to behind his house. Don't ask me why.
Anyway, Elder Maestrado and I called up two other Companionships, and
we all got to work. 50 lbs is about the most I can lift off the
ground. I can do about 100 with my shoulders legs and back. Because of
this, I calculated that we moved about 2 tons of rock, dirt, and
gravel. It was rough work, but I've gotta say- The pile does look
better when it's behind the house, rather than on the side. We got
fresh hot Pandesal and Mountain Dew for Breakfast afterwards :)

Friday we went out to the Mall to withdraw our Monthly
Support. After the withdrawals, we stopped by McDonalds for Lunch. Imagine my
horror when I sat down across from my companion to hear "ELDER
SEE-PUSS!!" coming from the back of the Dining Area. Elder Murdock. I
flung into Ninja Mode and tried to hide, but it didn't really work.
Instead I just told Elder Maestrado to entertain him. It worked! :D
Don't worry, I still ended up saying hello to him :P

Saturday was probably this weeks highlight. No, it wasn't General
Conference. That's next week. Instead...HAPPY BIRTHDAY ELDER
MAESTRADO!! Celebrations began a bit after 8 when the Carpeso Family
showed up with a Leaf full of Sticky Rice. It was a big leaf :) Later,
we brought it over to a lesson for a lunch appointment with some
Roasted Chicken and Soda Pop. In a later lesson, Nanay Longalong, who
didn't even know it was Elder Maestrado's birthday, came out with a
bag of ties. We each got to choose two :D The night, we went to the
Carpeso's for a lesson and we're treated to Dinner (but that's not
really new :P ). After we got home that night, I pulled out some of
the nastiest fake vanilla Ice Cream ever and I made Oreo shakes for
the both of us. Oreo makes everything better :P

I don't really remember yesterday, plus I don't have anymore
time, so I'll just say that our Neighbor-child Dave insists on shaking
our hand as we go out to work every day, and that I the stray dog the
wanders around our alley is now named Charles. I asked Elder Maestrado
if he has rabies. He said probably. :D

Love you all!! Elder Syphus