Sunday, December 28, 2014

Week 25 (Dec. 28, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Hi Mom! :D Skyping was awesome!! I loved seeing you all :) And I think I'm the type that gets reinvigorated :) Tell Kari I was happy to see her too :P

So, last week, after transfers, I spent a day and a half, over the course of 3 days in A whole different zone, out in Cabanautan :P We had a baptism, but I don't think you should count that one for me. I met the kid the night before :) Anyway, after the baptism, Jovin (the kid that was baptized.... age 9 I think?) and his family took us across the street for lunch :) The dad took pictures, and I was the only one with a camera, so I get to keep them :) Jovin and his family are at a different table, but this is everybody else that showed up for the baptism.

The guy in green conducted and baptized, the two girls in different shades of blue gave talks, and the girl in pink showed up after the closing prayer. It would've been sad if the kid cared. I think he was too upped on candy to notice. He practically dived in the baptismal font after shouting "SWIMMING!" Ah well. It was fun :)

Later that day, the guy in Green, girl in Dark blue, and girl in pink worked with us during our lessons. The girl in Dark blue and the guy in Green are sort of a thing, I think, and the girl in pink is a psycho, and is sort of my favorite :P She calls me "Baby Blues Eyes." Yea, she's sort of super nuts, and really loud and hyper and awesome :D She does fine between the oping and closing prayers of the lessons, but any other time.... ya :)

We had a Mission Conference on Tuesday with one half of the mission, and our Zone got to perform Silent Night. The Zone Leaders sort of gave it me to take charge of the whole thing, but I have very little to no creative ability, and we only had a single hour and a half practice, so I taught half the guys the bass part, and let the other half sing melody with the 4 sisters in our zone. I would've added the other parts if we had more sisters, but we made do. I thought it sounded nice :) I also learned to play Silent Night on the piano :D

Also, at the Christmas Conference, I met up with all the Missionaries out of St. George!

Sister Shipley, Sister Freeman, Sister Dalley, and Elder Bundy! I need a haircut.

Our whole group at the Christmas Conference

I also got a Christmas card from a "Fish. A Girl from Hong Kong" Tell Fish thanks. She's a pal :)
Jody Hughes from the Blooming Hills YSA 2nd ward also sent me a card. She's a pal too :)
(I actually have never met either of them)

The one on the far right is from the First Presidency. They're pals too :)

I made a Christmas Tree :)

And Christmas Dinner :)

These are the most ginormousest ants I've ever seen ever. Literally as long as your finger nail is wide.

So ya, those are the pictures.

Christmas was really fun :) We visited about 10-12 homes: investigators, less actives, recent converts, and our group leader for a work report. We were fed at all but one appointment. So super delicious :P The only one we were actually scheduled to eat was our last appointment, but I was so full that I just sampled everything :P

The Day after was just as filling, with a whole bunch of left overs. I also got to Skype you guys, so that's awesome of course :)

Anyway, My brain is sort of fried right now. The music wasn't as easy as I thought and it took a bit of time, but I've finally got it. Love you though!! So much!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Week 24 (Dec. 21, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

How long are you allowed for skyping?
I have 40 minutes for skyping, and we'll see how it goes. Erik will
have to guide both of us through it :)

Who is your new companion?
My new companion is good. His name is Elder Nalumen and he's from
Iloilo City. We've only been together for one full day though, so
you''ll here more about him next week.

Are you still serving in San Leonardo?
Yup, still in San Leonardo :)

Where was Elder Maestrado from and what are his plans now that he's home?
Elder Maestrado is from Bohol. He wants to be a seaman, but isn't sure
because that could lead to him becoming less active. I don't know much
else about it though.

Have you had a chance to make your birthday desserts yet?
I haven't made them yet. I'm planning on doing it sometime this week.
We don't have pie tins or cake pans/ the thing the Oreo dessert needs,
so I'll buy some today. And yes, I can buy milk :)

What is this I hear about the Madrigals changing their name to Aero something or other?
They changed there name at the beginning of the school year. Snow
still isn't completely sold on the idea, but she's willing to give it
a try,

Are you allowed to view little video snippets on your email from the family?
I don't really know. Sister Clark sends us a slide show every week, but
I don't know if we can accept them from our families. I would think
probably not :\

So this week was interesting. First, remember that I'm writing these
emails to you specifically. You get to decide what's suitable to share
with the public if anything at all. Just a reminder.
Things have been sort of rough since Elder Maestrado left. He's the
one that taught me just about everything about being a Missionary, and
it was really hard seeing him go. My new temporary companion was the
Zone Leader in Gapan and is COMPLETELY different than my Tatay, and
the change was a huge shock. I had to spend about 45-50 minutes one
morning just laying in bed trying to control myself. Breathing and
breathing and just emptying everything out of my head. Elder Maestrado
is very quiet and lets me handle things by myself. More than a few times
he would walk up to me and say something like "Are you okay?" "Do you
need Something?" "Should I do something?"
I realize he was just trying to help, and I truly appreciate that, but
my only response was "Ssshhhhhhhhh.... Ssshhhhhhh..... Ssshhhhhhhhhh"
I think I was saying it to myself as much as I was to him.

I was hardly able to teach any of our investigators this week, because
half of the time we were in my temp comp's area. After coming home
from the transfer meeting in Cabanautan on Thursday, we went straight
to a ward Christmas party that lasted until 10 PM. It was very loud
and chaotic and had very little if any spiritual moments, and I felt
like throwing up more than once. The music was full of swearing and
innuendos that nobody but I understood because it was in english. My
new companion was enjoying himself though, so I just took a plastic
chair outside and sat next to the window, trying to get some air.
Friday, we went back to Cabanatuan and I was left with the Zone Leader
there to work with him, while his companion and mine went to Manila to
attend the temple. I had taken three 1-hour bus rides in 2 days and
was now working with another Zone Leader in a whole different Zone.
Four companions (two of which are zone leaders), three areas, two
zones, and one big mess of emotions, all in a week. I worked with him
Friday evening, and all day Saturday. Our companions didn't get back
to Cabanatuan until around 10 PM, so we had to take the hour bus ride
home Sunday morning before our 8 AM church meetings. I sort of fell
apart again after we got home from church. My falling apart isn't that
big of a deal to anyone watching. I just lay down, close my eyes and
breath slowly. It's pretty intense though on the inside. I just tried
to empty my head again until my alarm went off, telling me that I'd
been working at it unsuccessfully for about 2 and a half hours, and
that it was time to give up and get to work. So I did. I got dressed,
we left and I stared at my feet for the whole 15 minute walk to our
first appointment. Things got better after we started teaching though,
and I made it through the day.
I don't tell you all this to worry you, but I just needed to get it
out somehow. Sorry. I should be fine this week, but I'll let you know
for sure on Christmas. Love you Mom.

Elder Syphus


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Week 23 (Dec. 14, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Hi Mom :)

So ya, I got the packages! Thank you so much Mom!! I only opened the birthday one, and will wait for Christmas to open the other. I got it yesterday, right after Elder Maestrado and I parted ways. I was already a little sad because of that, and when I opened up the "Memories" book, all I could do was cry. They weren't necessarily sad tears, just "I-miss-you" tears. Thank you SO much though :) I've been really wanting pictures from home for a while. Easily the best Birthday Present anyone could've given me. Thank you!!

I don't know if I'm losing weight, but I'm definitely not gaining any. Exercising hasn't gotten any easier, and my appetite has gotten significantly smaller since I left home. I don't really feel sick, but I don't feel like the image of health either. We stayed home from work on Tuesday, because my stomach wasn't too happy with my cooking the day before. I don't know if that's really the reason, seeing as Elder Maestrado was fine, but that's the only thing I can think of.

Truly? Not sure right now. I miss Elder Maestrado, and wish I could've celebrated my birthday with him. I'm partnering up with the Zone Leader right now, which is fine and all, but his Polynesian heritage is a little loud. He is also the exact opposite of Elder Maestrado between him and me, we didn't talk a bunch at all. He just sort of left me to my thoughts, which I was fine with for the most part. I've always liked to think. Sometimes when I was up in my room at home and it was noisy downstairs for whatever reason, I would climb up on the roof and just watch the sky. Thinking about everything and nothing, all at once. It relaxed me then and it relaxes me now. Granted, being Elder Maestrado's companion could be sort of lonely at times, but I've been relatively "happy" for the last 3 Transfers. I feel like the Lord has given me two extremes. Elder Murdock at one end and Elder Maestrado at the other. I loved one and.... didn't love the other. Now I'm just waiting to find where the breaking point is. At what point in that spectrum will I not be able to handle a companion. I'm hoping it's lower rather than higher, but I'm not too sure...
Chances are I'll be staying, but both missionaries leaving in a single transfer isn't completely unheard of either; just sort of rare.

Investigators are doing alright. King was out of town yesterday, and I've yet to hear from Denmar, but neither attended church yesterday, and so won't be being baptized until January at the earliest. Mary Rose still seems to be progressing, but we'll find out for sure a little later. We found another investigator, Victor Riego, who asks good, legitimate questions, and we're able to give pretty good answers. He seems pretty interested, but wants to know more before he commits to attend church and be baptized. We'll keep working with him :)

All I know is that you're not supposed to send them through FedEx or UPS. The fee for me through them is close to $50 dollars a package, I think. Also, don't be super specific in the declaration thing. "Missionary Supplies", "Non-Perishable Food Items", "Birthday Gift", and/or "Christmas Gift" should suffice for just about anything.

I'd love some music. The only stuff I have right now is BYU Men's Chorus. If you could, my wishlist is Instrumentals (Piano Guys should have some good ones), Pentatonix (just their Christmas stuff), and MoTab. If you can think of anything else that would do me good, you can send that too :)


And now, for the rest of the happenings this week :)
On Wednesday, President Clark visited our district meeting to share a short message of encouragement. He says we're on our way to achieving our goal of 1650 by December 31st, but if it doesn't happen it doesn't mean we're all damned. We need to do our best, of course, but the Lord doesn't work in specific dates. Time is our problem, not his. If we baptize 1649 by December 31st and then 1 on January 1st, all the Lord sees is 1650 souls returning to him and our Heavenly Father.

Thursday was a birthday party for Tatay Pepe (72) and a farewell party for Elder Maestrado (22). There was cake (chocolate) and spaghetti (tomato.... I think. It could've been banana. They do that here). They also had a live karaoke machine for anybody who wanted to, and EVERYBODY wanted to. I don't know why :P

Saturday was Elder Maestrado's last day of work and we worked till the end. 10 lessons and 10 contacts. The Standard of Excellence in a week is 40 lessons and 35 contacts. It was a good day, and ended pretty well too :) We went to a Member's house for their birthday and they ended up giving us gifts. A pair of tsinelas formy birthday (19), and a pair of tsinelas for the soon departing Elder Maestrado (22). Fun fun :)

We went to Church early Sunday morning, had lunch at the Carpeso house, they dropped me off at the Gapan Stake center where Elder Maestrado and I parted ways, and I teamed up with the Zone Leader. He's my companion now until Thursday :)

That's my week! Love you all, and thanks for the letters of love and support!

Elder Syphus

 Happy Halloween/ Happy Birthday :)
 Garcia Family
 Conde Family
Brother Denmar

Monday, December 8, 2014

Week 22 (Dec. 8, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

Hello my Lovely Mother!! :D

I got the Envelope, but no package yet. No worries though :)
I cooked for my birthday :) More Details later :)
No news about the typhoon besides we don't need to really worry about it.

So, I actually wrote in my Journal this week!! :D About everything I did last week!! :D Which means pulling blurry memories from the back of my mind..... Yup, I've got nothing.

We still have some good investigators though :) Denmar and Mary Rose are still progressing towards the 27th, but King has to be pushed a week back. He got sick yesterday morning and wasn't able to attend church :\ We also have a family! Lyka, Leonardo, and Mrs. I don't know her name, but Leonardo is her husband, so she has to be a Mrs. Leonardo is set for January 10, but none of them have been able to attend church yet. We'll see how it all works out :)

I'm low on time today, sorry :( I blame all of the AWESOME Birthday Wishes I got (Thanks friends and family!!!!​​! :D ) So I'll cut to pictures.

Went birthday shopping on Monday. Boom. Blue na Blue :D Yay for $5 gift packages :D

I got a puzzle from a friend! I don't get it... (I also don't have a window to put all of them on) :P

Sometimes, I feel bad that I'm not a better artist. I then I think of Shaun. And then I say. "I am a top-notch artist."
Top 3 (in no order) - Shaun, Erik, Katelyn :)

Carpeso family made me dinner for my birthday. Thanks friends :) (That's not a Carpeso. That's a Jerald. He was working with us :)

Cake! :D

Story about the cake- The Carpesos gave us a ride home from Stake Conference and Sister Carpeso asked what my favorite Cake was. I didn't really answer because I'm not all that fond of cake. Brother Jerald in the back jokes "coffee cake!" Remembering a Coffee cake given to my dad and I a few years back by some members, I said "Ya, that's delicious." (It's a normal thing to say in Tagalog). Everyone starting freaking out saying "That's not allowed! Against the Word of Wisdom!" I clarified saying that it's not really coffee. It's not even coffee flavoring. I don't know why it's called a Coffee cake. It's more of a crumble cake. Anyway, they understood me, but then I showed up at there house later that night to teach a lesson, and they handed me this cake. It's coffee colored, smells like coffee, and the box is marked "MOC" Mocha? Long story short, I ate the sugar flowers, and put the cake in the fridge, waiting for a definite answer from a reliable source. 

Cooked breakfast this morning :D French Toast, Bacon, Eggs, and Orange Juice. Don't worry, my comp's plate looks the same :)

Apparently this is called "Southwest Chicken." I was told of a magical dish wish involved "black beans, corn, and shredded chicken on top of corn chips, with sour cream, cilantro, tomatoes, lettuce, and cheese on top of that." No instructions, no portions. So of course I tried it :D Turned out all right. :)
These are all of the missionaries who had birthdays in October, November and December.

Anyway, little short this week, sorry :( Next week will be better! I promise!!

Thank you, love you!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, December 1, 2014

Week 21 (Dec. 1, 2014 San Leonardo, Philippines)

MERRY CHRISTMAS MERRY CHRISTMAS MERRY CHRISTMAS :D :D :D :D *happy dance, happy dance, oh what a happy dance*
A few minutes ago, a motorcycle taxi drove past playing Christmas music. I said "stop it." I then I stopped. And thought. And then smiled. A big, happy, beautiful (always beautiful) smile. Like this :D 'Cause it's December 1st!! It's Christmas time!!!! :D :D :D :D :D
I miss people that know how to sing :(

So, this week won't be as detailed or long as normal because I didn't write in my journal this week :/ I opened up "Our Heritage" during Personal Study one day, and have been spending all of my free time this past week reading and then finishing that, reading and then finishing "Our Search For Happiness," and then reading but not quite finishing "Jesus the Christ." I feel like Joel again. I'm reading :D

Here's some updates though, of what I can pull off the top of my head. Mary Rose had her BGD moved to December 6!! And then they scheduled stake conference for that week. And a ward temple trip the next week. And the Ward Christmas Party on the 20th. So now she's getting baptized on December 27 :P I just hope she continues to attend church. She had the flu yesterday and missed it, and can't miss it again. That tends to be the hardest thing for investigators out here. It's the only meeting house in about a 25-30 mile radius.
Our other progressing Investigators are Denmar, and his cousin King Leonard (that's his legal name)! They're both scheduled for December 27th, and both attended Church yesterday :) This is Denmar's second time in attendance. He's probably one of our smartest investigators we've/ I've ever taught. He catches on really quick. Last Sunday, our Gospel Principal class was about the Priesthood, and then back on Wednesday, we taught him the Gospel of Christ (Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Holy Ghost, Endure to the End). After we showed him the picture of the laying on of hands to receive the Gift of the Holy Ghost, he asked how he could get the Priesthood. His cousin, King, was there and asked him "what's the Priesthood?" Denmar says "It's like God's power. If your family gets sick you can heal them with it, and baptize people." Elder Maestrado and I just looked at each other like "What? Where did he learn all this?" Turns out he actually pays attention in church. Right-O good sir. Right-o.

We also stopped by Jessica Talana's (squiggly n) house this week. She let us in, and we talked, but she wouldn't let us teach. She says she wants to become a Mormon, but wants to decide for herself. She says that when we were teaching her, we almost had her convinced, and she doesn't want to be convinced. That wasn't conviction (right?), that was CONVERSION!!! She thinks we're like, brainwashing her or something. Danielle Stergis, I blame you.

Also, I've started subconsciously comparing the work to a Harvest Moon game. In Harvest Moon, in order to build relationships with people, you talk to them every single day and give them something they like a lot, like an eggplant or a turtle....dove..... feather (It's a magical blue feather, I know. I just wanted to implement turtle somehow). Sometimes, the person isn't at home, and so you go to the only other place they ever seem to go to. That's what it's like here. Everybody seems to be in one of two places. We go and talk to all of our investigators every day to build relationships an give a spiritual thought. When they're not at the first place. They're at the Second place. Always. It's actually super convenient :)

Anyway, love you so much!!

Elder Syphus