Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week 76 (Dec. 27, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

ELDER ARMATAGE IS DATING MAILEA??!?!?!?!?! THAT'S INSANE AND INCREDIBLY AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! Elder Armatage is pretty much super Missionary 4 lyfe. He trained 4 people, and probably would've been Assistant to the President if he wasn't too busy raising the next generation of super missionaries. Dang. I can't even get over how crazy that is. I only ever met him once, and not much was said, but he's a crazy good/ dedicated missionary, whether it be in-field or out, I'm assuming. Chuka friken Hamnida.

Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed the gifts! Do Shaun and Clel's belts fit

Rosalina Mariano Ambos Turalba was baptized on the 22nd of December and confirmed on the 27th. She's the sweetest little old Nanay ever, and I love her so much. We always catch her in the act of reading the Book of Mormon, or trying to get her less active friend to come :P I was supposed to baptize her, but I forgot a change of clothes (oops :P ), so we had Bishop Manucot do it. She's the coolest!!

Love you Mom!! I miss you so much! 6 Months for the Lord!!!

Elder Syphus

PS Maybe June 16th. or the 17th. Just to be sure.

Rosalina :) We took two pictures of us 3. My eyes were closed in one. Elder Chand's were closed in the other. I had to do fancy computer stuffs to make it work :P WOOHOO!!

Pictuer picture, pag may time! (Photos for the Christmas Conference)


Sister Shipley before she goes (She's prolly like the female version of Elder Armatage.)

Christmas Dinner, thanks the Mendoza family :)

Jhomel Dela Cruz

"Wocky!!" (Filipino tradition... I don't really get it yet :P )

Mga Pogi kasi :P


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Week 75 (Dec. 20, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom :)

Last week was awesome. We had a few more interviews for baptism, so between the 2 companionships in the District we'll be having 6 baptisms this coming week, and 22 as Cabanatuan Zone. Talk about White Christmas!! The baptisms were originally planned for Saturday the 26th, but then ward had the awesome idea of performing them right before the Ward Christmas Party tomorrow, so that's what's going to happen. It so's exciting, haha!
One of the interviews I got to conduct was super beast, just like last week. It's easily my favorite part about the assignment. This week's highlight interview was Jackielyn Cara, Teresa Cara's daughter (Teresa is the one I mentioned last week). She's just like her mom, haha. It was so awesome just being able to sit down and talk with her for half an hour!! Her testimony is already crazy strong, and you can just tell by looking at her how dedicated and devoted she is. She shared with me a bit of her backstory, and it's the coolest thing to see how far she has come. She is still facing bits of persecution and doubt from so-called "friends," but she's fighting hard and winning. Gahhh!!! I LOVE THE GOSPEL!! It's ridiculous how much it changes the lives of so many people, yet there are still so many who reject it!

"The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature." - Ezra Taft Benson (from a talk in 1985, "Born of God" - READ IT!!)

This quote means so much more to me now, and carries so much more truth that I just used to look over. I literally can't express how insanely perfect this all is!! So I'll just leave it at that :)

In our work, we have a really strong investigator being baptized with the others on Tuesday as well. Her name is Rosalina Turalba, and she's just a little old Nanay, but her Testimony is solid :) She has four kids, and we've tried to teach one of them, but she's not too interested. Hopefully she'll attend her Mom's baptism, and feel the Spirit there. Two of her other kids are always gone, either at work or play, and the youngest is still too young, but we let her listen and participate in the lesson when she's feeling particularly daring ;) So basically, Christmas is just going to be pretty much awesome :)

Now, less related to how awesome being a Missionary is (but still sort of related), I'd like to tell you about Elder Martel :) I actually first met him because of Sister Dalley. She ran up to me during a Zone conference and said "Elder Syphus! I just found someone who looks EXACLTY like you, except he's Canadian!"
At first I was like "Uuuuuuuuuuuuhhh... okay. I guess that's cool," but what I should've been like is "CANADIAN??!! You mean the master race of all mankind?! WHERE??"
So yeah. Elder Martel is my Zone Leader right now, and he's super awesome. He's the one that conducted Roslina's interview, and he's teaching me how to speak Canadian with words like "Wheeling." So ya. We're pretty much besties now. #nbd

And that's really all I've got for today :) I think we'll just do it how we've always done it, maybe around 10 am here or 7 PMthere? I'll send and email before I call you guys, and I'll find out if I can Google Hangout. Love you!!!

Elder Syphus

During their Christmas Conference, they also celebrated the December Birthdays.  
Glad he was recognized :)

I don't know if this is all of the Angeles mission, but I'm thinking it is?  What an amazing army!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Week 74 (Dec. 13, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Everybody!!
My name’s Elder Syphus, and I’m a missionary. Cool, huh? Being a missionary, we got to do some pretty cool stuff this week (we as in my Companion and I… I got one of those ‘cuz I’m a missionary). Starting with our Day of Preparation (a Day to prepare for the rest of the week), here’s how it went:
On Monday we got to go the Mall! It’s the NE Pacific Mall in Cabanatuan, and we actually went there for the sole purpose of getting Elder Chand’s (my companion’s) camera fixed. We didn’t do much but wait for the technician AND buy a month’s worth of food. This is worth mentioning, because as missionaries, we typically only get a week’s worth of food every week, but to rid ourselves of the weekly shopping hassle, we did the whole month’s shopping in a single day. This is what that looks like (on a Missionary Budget J )

Looks good, huh? ;) We actually typically eat better than just tuna, noodles, and oatmeal, but we wanted to see how much we could save by trying things a little different this month. So far so awesome :D

On 2s-D (Tuesday in a Utahn accent), we actually did some stuff worth mentioning to missionaries! We have an investigator Rosalina Turalba, who is very readily accepting the things we share with her (namely the Gospel of Jesus Christ- our main message as Missionaries!), and is progressing quickly to the point in her discipleship where she can make covenants (binding promises) with our Father in Heaven, specifically Baptism. Our concern, however, is being able to teach her as often as we would like with the fellowship she so rightly deserves. Our Elder’s Quorum President, Brother Malicdem (Local leader of all men ages 18 and up), though, was kind enough to clock out of work for a bit and teach a short lesson with us, before heading back. He’s probably one of my favorite members in the Ward (local congregation). He’s always super willing to take a short break and help us out in fellowshipping those we teach.

We were able to teach a few other of our progressing investigators on Wednesday. Sunil Shahani is strictly Indian by Ethnicity, but was born in raised in the Philippines. He’s insanely fluent in English and Tagalog, and is really smart, but also very religious and open. We’ve been teaching him for a while, and he keeps his commitments, but is currently struggling with testimony (a personal conviction of the truthfulness of our teachings). He’s very kind and brings us containers of traditional Indian food on a weekly basis, but has a hard time fitting in with the members. Not too social, but shows a lot of promise if we can just work out his concerns.

We were also able to teach Paul, a newer investigator of ours who also shows a lot of potential in progression and conversion, but is sometimes busy at work, planting onions. We found him during a contacting run one night, and he as very excited to listen. He is vigorous with his reading of the Book of Mormon, and truly believes in the Restoration of the Gospel through Joseph Smith, but has yet to attend church and struggles with daily prayer. He’s very welcoming and very spiritual, and it’s a huge blessing to be able to teach him. Ya, he’s pretty much just the best :P

On Wednesday, we also had a meeting with the Zone Leaders who had just gotten back from their Mission Leader’s Conference in Tarlac. They shared with us a bit about what was discussed in terms of strengthening the work and preparing for the Holidays. It was a really cool interactive meeting, and we left with a new drive and a few gifts and letters from home (thanks!!! :D :D )

Thursday, we got to meet the Gadores Family. The parents were baptized about 16 years ago, but have since fallen away from the church. They’re very welcoming, however, and we are currently in the process of teaching 2 of their children who have yet to be baptized, Alfie and Aiko.

On Friday we had exchanges with some Elders in our District. I got to go work in their area and interviewed a few of their investigators preparing for baptism. One of these was Rina Cara, a young Mother who heard about the Church from a friend. She’s INCREDIBLE. The Spirit was so strong while talking with her and her Testimony is Amazing. She has seen so many miracles in her life since she began receiving the lessons, and grown so much closer to God. She’s super excited and prepared, and just talking to her for those 45 minutes was probably one of the most spiritual experiences my whole mission. She’s “super great” J

We spent all day Saturday in Sibul and Caputican working with Newly Baptized members of the church. One of them says she has been hearing voices and seeing things, so we gave her a blessing, and things have seemed to calm down a bit since then, which we’re extremely grateful for.

Sunday was Sunday, an awesome day of Spiritual growth and enlightenment J After Church was over, we headed out on a contacting run and met this old couple who had a Pamphlet that we give to people hanging on their wall. We starting talking to them, and got permission to take a look at the pamphlet. It was given to them in 1992… Whoa. It was covered with but still intact, and they recognized us as those who gave it to them originally. They were really excited to listen to us again, but their age keeps them from doing too much besides sleeping and eating. We shared a short message with them though, and promised to visit on occasion. It was really cool J

So, sorry this letter sort of changed styles halfway through :P I don’t know what I was going for at first, but realized I wouldn’t be able to keep it going, so I cut it out. Interesting twist though, right? But ya! That’s my week! Let’s do it again sometime :P

Love Elder Syphus

Birthday Celebrations :)

Christmas = $4

Hi Mom!

Ya, I got the packages. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE OVALTINE!!!!! I mixed it with some hot powdered milk, and it tastes exactly like Stephens as far as I can remember. SUPER delicious :)
The Choir Tour sounds awesome! Can you send me some pics of all the Madrigals in their outfits? I've yet to see it, except for the pictures Kylie sent me.
Give my love to Zami and Kack! That's so awesome for them!! Has it already been 9 months since Kami got pregnant? It seems so fast!! That's crazy!!

That's sad to hear about Bro Fairy and Bishop Bennett. It does seem like it seems to be making its way around :( Kind of scary, but it's good that they're generally able to fight it efficiently enough. Send them my love as well.

Skype will be like always. Christmas evening for you, morning on the day after for me :) I'll let you know the specifics next week. Love you!!!!

Love Elder Syphus​

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Week 73 (Dec. 6, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mom of Mine,

Thanks for the birthday wishes! I haven't received anything yet, but maybe on Wednesday. We'll see. If they arrived at customs on the 24th then I'm not as worried. I though it was back in October or something that they got to The Philippines, that's why i got a little concerned. I trust this ladies reputation though, so all should work out :)

Rosalina is still going strong. She attended church again yesterday and whenever we stop by her house to say hello and check up on her we always catch her reading the Book of Mormon. She really love the story and everything, and will definitely be going places.... if we could ever teach her :/ That's the probably the hardest part of being an Elder, and by that I mean not being a Sister. It seems like the majority of people who are actually interested are female, and we ca't teach them as Elders unless there is another male adult present. Rosalina was originally goaled for baptism last Saturday, but we weren't able to teach her all week, and so we still technically can't have her interviewed because of lack of completion in terms of lessons. We try to have members come work with us, but they always flake at the last minute, so it can get kind of frustrating. She's not losing faith though, and that's all that matters :)

Ariel hasn't made much progression. He still isn't smoking, but he's also still not coming to chruch. We try to set teaching appointments with him, but he always leaves right before we show up to run different appointments. He actually is really busy, so it's not like he's lying to us, but it's just hard because he lives so far away, and the only way to get to him is to walk. The rain and stopped a bit though, so now we're just walking through dirt instead of mud. We'll see where we can get him though.

Roger is still really discouraged :( He's having Physical Therapy, and they've seen little bits of movement on his left side, but it comes and goes. He has one of those things that Kylie used during her shoulder recovery, where he grabs a handle with his dead arm, and then pulls another handle with his good arm, and then a Pulley System will move his dead arm up and down for blood flow or something. He's still always happy to see us, and the incident has put so much innocence into his... aura? Haha, I don't know what word to use for that :P Anyway, he's still going strong :)

We found new investigators this week!!! We went really hard on findings, and almost broke 100 contacts but got stuck at 99 when curfew struck last night. Grr... But the investigators we found this week are actually pretty promising. We haven't been able to teach any of them a second time yet, but I'll keep you updated on their progress. Paul, Mark, and Nanati are the most potential. Things should be fun :)

Anyway, love you soooo much Mom!! 19 days!!

Love Elder Syphus

Trying to be Ninja with one of my ties. Apparently, this is how Ninja outfits actually work. Just one super long piece of fabric that you just keep wrapping around yourself. My tie wasn't quite long enough :P

This is Sophia, right before throwing me the letter. I chose to send this picture because of her dachsund in the Background. Asterix :)

Here's a better pic. She's so funny and makes me feel like she would be a perfect sister for Linkon and them. Haha. Fun fun fun :)

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week 72 (Nov. 29, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

Could you get me Kambree's Email?
Still no packages, but I got your letter. That's why I asked for Kambree's email. I said I don't know if I will because you said they got here to the Philippines over a month ago, right? Doesn't that mean I would've collected them by now? The next time we get mail is next Wednesday, so we'll see what happens then :)

This week has been good. Roger is still strong and hasn't lost faith, but he's just really weak. He was really happy to see us though, I'm glad about that of course, haha. The one companionship I mentioned last week is still struggling, so the Zone leaders had exchanges with them. Their finding efforts in terms of contacting people that day more than doubled the other 6 days combined. It seems like the Zone Leaders are the only ones keeping their heads above water :/ I'll be going on exchanges this week and hopefully addressing the issue, but I'm super nervous so just wish me luck. Ugh. Haha :P

We've got two investigators that we've got goaled for December, so keep them in your prayers. Ariel Manuel Sr and Rosalina Turalba. Rosalina has been attending church but has trouble absorbing the doctrine. Brother Manuel knows his stuff, but he hasn't attended church yet. We think our Bishop here would be a really good fellow shipper for him, so we've got an appointment later with him to coordinate schedules. Lots of work and really stressful, but I also love it so much. Being a missionary is awesome, and it only gets better as things get harder, haha. Makes no sense, but it's true :)

Anyway, love you!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 71 (Nov. 22, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mom,

I don't know if I answered last week, so I'll answer now. Still no packages. If I don't get them tomorrow, I don't know if they're going to show up :( Sorry :(

Anyway though, your week sounds awesome!! That's so awesome that they were all sealed together.Tell me again about Aria? I forgot her story. But seriously, that's so great for them.

This week has been sort of rough :/ I still love the work and being a missionary, but Satan is working really hard right now here in Talavera. I won't blame this part on Satan, but it's devastating none the less. Roger had a stroke. It was right after church last sunday, but we didn't find out until Tuesday. He was rushed to the Hospital and has been there since. He's still fine and alive, but his entire left side is compltely paralyzed. We visit him everyday or every other if we're short on time, just to encourage him and show our love for him, but he's understandably very down about his situation. His wife practically lives there in the hospital, but it's not like hospital rooms. I don't know if they have this is in America, but It's basically just a long hall with beds along the wall. It' interesting.

Work is dropping in our district because one of the Elders is close to going home really soon, and doesn't really want to work anymore. His companion sort of just follows along with him, so their area is suffering a lot. It's sort of stressful and keeps me from focusing as much as I should be on the work, so we're not doing so hot either. We'll definitely be making some changes this week though, so no worries. Not the end of the world, haha. We've just got some stuff put in order and we'll be back in action.

Sort of uneventful this week, except for the new McDonald's that opened yesterday, but besides that nothing incredibly exciting. Love you though!!

Love Elder Syphus

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 70 (Nov. 15, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

Sorry your birthday wasn't everything it should have been, but I'm glad you enjoyed some time with the family :) That's really all I want to do for a while when I get home. Daniel says he and Corinna are planning a trip to Disneyland for our old group of friends when I get back, but we'll see how that goes, haha.

Oh my goodness, reading about Saxton and the plays put me literally has put me to tears. It's incredible the kind of stuff that man has done for so many people. Even though I only ever worked under him backstage, he's still had a huge effect on me. It makes me so sad that I wasn't able to be there for the show and ceremony, but I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be, which I'm just as incredibly grateful for. Send him my love and best wishes, should you ever get the chance. He and his work were a huge part of my life in highschool, and maybe an even bigger part of me actually learning a lot about myself, things that I doubt I could've learned any other way. LOVE YOU SAXTON!!!!

Elder Gallego and I are cool now. I've humbled myself and grew up quite a bit since we were companions, and it's a lot easier now for me to realize that even though he may have some weaknesses, just like we all certainly do, him and I are both here for the same reason- bringing souls unto Christ. It's been fun talking to him and reminiscing on days and events out in Guimba, a whole 20 minutes away from our current area :P It's nice to talk to him again.

This week was interesting. We were able to talk some more to President Clark about Roger Arcilla's baptism, but because of some past transgression, chances are nothing will happen for Roger while I'm still here. And I don't mean here as in "here in Talavera", but here as in "here in the Philippines." Yup. I could be done with my two years and chillin' in Nauvoo before Roger gets baptized :/ He's definitely accepted the gospel, and is really strong and faithful in his testimony, but stuff has happened and any further progression with him is just really foggy. Ya. Hard stuff :(

We still stay strong though :) We've had some good work here, and have got some investigators who seem to be pretty serious and interested. They're keeping commitments and making lengthened strides to making and keeping some very important covenants :D Our next baptism, it seems won't be until December, but we're planning quite a few. Things excite :)

And for just some extra tidbits and stories, I met a deaf person!!!! And it was practically signing to an American. I've met a few others, but their Sign Language is different, but this one knew ASL!!!!!!!!! Her name was Cherry Alvarez, and apparently she got really sick when she was a kid and lost her hearing, but has since learned sign. It was so awesome though just because we were able to have a full on conversation. I'm definitely better with Tagalog than ASL, haha, but it was good, nonetheless. Her actions and energy and expressions were all exactly in line with the Deaf culture in America, which made it all the better.

In other news, I've got a not-so-secret admirer out here in Talavera, and I guess you could say we're pretty much besties. #nbd Her name is Sophia, and she is 9 :P Hahahahaha!!! I was out washing my clothes one morning on our back porch when a little wad of paper with a rock in it flies over the wall and almost hits me! I pick it up and there's a note on it from Sophia. Apparently she saw me one morning and just got super intrigued with the super white foreigner next door, and finally built up the courage to send a me quick note ;) So now during dinner or other times when we're not doing much we throw little rock notes back and forth. I've probably got like 20 from her so far :P Such an awesome little kid.

Anyway, love you Mom!!! Happy anniversary to you and Dad on the 18th!! Love you both!!!!

Elder Syphus

Zone Activity. I love these guys :D Our Zone Leaders are Elder Amparado and Elder Martel (Far left w/ Missionary Planner shirt, and 3rd from the left on the back row. Super pogi, and kind of looks like Daniel. From Canada)

I cooked :-)

​Elder Chand is teaching me how to take selfies. ..... >.>

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 69 (Nov. 8, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mother Mom,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! How are you guys planning on celebrating?? Dad got anything big planned for the two of you? Or are you saving that for your anniversary? I hope it's a good one!! Love you so much!!

And guess what. I'm still in Talavera!! With Elder Chand!!!! We both thought for sure that I was being transferred since I've already been here for three, but President Clark seems to have something else in mind. I can't say I'm disappointed, because I've really grown to love it here. We just had another investigator interviewed for baptism yesterday and he passed, but a report still needs to be sent in to President Clark. He should hopefully be baptized though within the month. Things are still rolling :) We've also got a family who is re investigating now that His older member sister is home from Japan. We've got them goaled for December. I'll be here at least until December 31st, and that's when SISTER SHIPLEY GOES HOME!!! All the sisters in my batch, that is, but I say Sister Shipley because she's from St George. Craziness, right??

Oh, and you wouldn't believe who our new housemate is. Elder Silva got transferred, so now Elder Valdez has a new companion. Elder Gallego. This will be a interesting transfer :P

Love you Mom!! Happy Birthday again!! I'll try to write a letter and send that as well. Thank you so much for everything!!

Love Elder Syphus

Haha, Love the letter Dad!! Thank you!! I'm assuming Linkon or Liam played a part in it. Tell him thanks for his role in it as well :) Wait how old is Liam now?? I thought it was Linkon because he said he was four, but you said Liam was random, so now I'm not so sure. Haha, it's crazy how much you lose track of these kinds of things. Any big plans for Mom's Birthday tomorrow? Or is she just going for a another shopping spree at Walmart? ;) Tell her to try the Mall by See's. I'm starting to realize why people like shopping, haha. I think we waste too much time just wandering around and looking at stuff. I always find myself stuck in the watch stores :P
Love you Dad! Thanks again!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Week 68 (Nov. 1, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mom (and all),

We had a pretty good week this week. We had Zone interviews on Tuesday with President Clark, and there were a lot of good workshops about more effective studies and planning. The interview was a good one-on-one time to just talk and give President an update on being a Missionary, but I realize that I should actually bring something in. It's sort of like my calls home. I never prepare anything to ask or talk about so it's just a bunch of silence (I accept full responsibility for that). I didn't really go into the interview with any questions or comments, so it was just a really quick one. Definitely learned something from it, though :)

On Thursday we had exchanges with the Talavera B Elders, but spent a lot of it in Cabanatuan City taking another language test. Thankfully, the only two that needed to take it were Elder Silva and I, and we were already planning on pairing up for the day, so it all worked out. We had a good day of looking over their area and any skills we need to improve on. Exchanges in general have always been a pretty good time :)

Friday was awesome, just because of one of our investigators, Ariel Manuel Sr. His wife and son are both members, and another one of his sons was baptized, but never went back to church to be confirmed, so that's definitely a big concern for them. However, Friday night, Brother Manuel told us that he was finally deciding on giving up smoking! Missionaries have been teaching him for at least a year, but there was any never any serious progression because of his addiction, but he's determined to give it all up now, and he seems like he's becoming a lot more receptive to everything we're teaching him. I think if we can continue to help him out and be baptized, it will be a really big help for his kids as well. The Mom is in Saudi Arabia, and so the kids aren't working with a lot of support right now, Gospel wise. I think this will definitely be a big step in the families Salvation :)

On Saturday, we had another baptism!! Jhomel Apolonio Dela Cruz is 16 years old, and the missionaries have been teaching him as well for about a year. The original concern was that the church was so far from his house, but now, he's determined not to let it stop him. He's and awesome example of the truthfulness of the old saying, "If there's a will, there's a way." The cool thing is that one of the original Elders who taught him in assigned here in the Zone again as one of the Zone Leaders, and so he was able to come to our area to actually perform the baptism!! It was a really awesome experience for all of them, and Jhomel is looking like he'll be a really strong member of the church.

Sunday was sort of uneventful because of All Souls Day. It a November 1st celebration where everyone gathers at the cemetery to visit their dead ancestors, and basically just spend the whole day in or around that general vicinity. A lot of people aren't necessarily in their... right minds, per se, because of the big gatherings, and so things get a little iffy, so President gave us a 7PM curfew. After studies and church and other meetings, we only ended up with about an hour and a half of Proselyting time :/ It was alright though. We got to contact a few people, and share with them God's plan to reunite families beyond the grave. It was good :)

And that's the week! Transfers are this Thursday, so we'll see what's happening, but I'm almost certain I'm transferring. It's all good though. Where He wants me, I'll go :)

And now, pictures!


Here are the pictures from Anthony's Baptism Last week. My camera was dead so I had to have Elder Chand send my the ones he took.

These are drawings of Elder Silva, from Sri Lankga. We're making a Zone Shirt and because Cabanatuan is the Tricycle capital of the Philippines I thought We could have a Trike Race on a shirt. These are the 4 Districts. We're #4. The Japanese Samurai one :D

Logo/ Zone Silhouette

The 4

Space Trike (The Districts decided what they wanted theirs to look like)

Food Trike

Pirate Trike

And Samurai Trike :D The writing translates to something like "Clan 4- Devious"

Jhomel's Baptism

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Week 66 & 67 (Oct. 25, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

Sorry that I wasn't able to email last week. We were in Home Arrest all throughout P-Day, and the signal went out on our phone so we didn't get the announcement that it was okay to go out and email Tuesday Morning until it was too late :P We're all good now though.

The last two weeks have been sort of crazy. Just a bunch of running around trying to get everything in place before the storm moved in, and then trying to get it all up and running again afterwards. We had 3 straight days without electricity, so by 6 PM we were blind without candles. It's all good though. I got to fulfill my dream of writing in my journal by candlelight :P

Ya, I know the photos are kinda cheesy, but it was still really fun :D This was after the storm had already passed. The electricity was just down for an extended period of time. However, waking up to it all on Sunday Morning was kinda freaky. It was really loud, and we couldn't even see anything, but not because of the rain. During the middle of the night, the wind blew down a giant tree next to our house and almost squashed us. Literally though. Our roof was all bent and dented. We look out the window, and this is all we see
That's the part that's supposed to be in the sky :P But nope, not in this picture. It was only like that though for another 2 or so days before a bunch of people came and chopped it all up. Not a big deal though. They were planning on taking it out anyway and putting in a BBQ House, so it worked pretty well for them :)

The REAL news, however, of the past two weeks is Anthony Valdez. Woohoo, He was baptized! It was really funny just because we had no idea how anything was going to work because we weren't able to Coordinate with him on Sunday(House Arrest), and he lives kind of far, PLUS our phone had no more load or data available for texting and calling. So we just went and filled up the font and hoped everything would work :P He knew there was a baptism so he still came, along with a few members, and then he just had some of the other Elders in our District share the lessons and then into the font. It was a little rushed and unorganized, but still really spiritual. There was also a member who had been baptized before but whose record was nonexistant, so I got to baptize him as well. The Spirit was really powerful and helped a really stressful day become a lot better :)

So some other random stuff that has happened is that we saw a family of Ducks.

And that we got to go to SM CITY CABANATUAN!! (Google it) Woo!! I think I already mentioned it yo you, but I don't know if I ever sent the picture.....

It's a fruit owl in the Super Market. Isn't he adorable? :D

Love you Mom!! Thanks for teh updates and pictures! :)

Love Elder Syphus

PS I'm 99% sure I'll be coming home on June 15. After the 4 week transfer is an 8 week transfer, so it all evens out. SISTER SHIPLEY GOES HOME AT THE END OF THE 8 WEEK TRANSFER!!!! December 30, and her mission is finished. That's so crazy!!

PPS. What's BYU looking like?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Typhoon Koppu Update #3

Parents Letter – Update on Typhoon Koppu (Lando)

We are pleased to inform you of the safety and well-being of the missionaries of the Angeles Mission this Monday morning,October 19, 2015. All missionaries are accounted for. All have endured well a soggy Sunday and are ready to begin our new work week. Your prayers on behalf of your missionary and our mission have been answered.

Our missionaries spent Sunday in their homes in safety and relative dry conditions. Today the typhoon is still with us so we continue to have restrictions on missionary travel outside the immediate area around their homes. Though we are on the back side of the storm, we continue to have strong (gale force) winds and intermittent rain. We have a great deal of high standing water, rivers are running very high and many streams are out of their banks. It is not a time to put down our guard. Much of the mission is without power, trees are down, homes have been damaged and other risks still exist. We remain vigilant so limitations on missionary conduct will be in place.

We monitor the well-being of our missionaries and their homes every few hours by text/phone call. We have been generously blessed by continued phone service. We are secure in knowing that all missionaries have food and clean water. Some homes had water ingress yesterday so emergency relocation was necessary. This morning water has receded from most homes and things are going in the direction of “normal”.

Today is Preparation Day but it won’t be a regular letter writing day. Missionaries will be mostly in their homes working on post-typhoon clean-up. They will also be allowed to help people near them who have problems. Because of massive power outage, we will move our emailing to Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. You will get a letter, but a few days late. Thanks for your understanding.

We are grateful for your fervent prayers. The Lord loves and watches over His missionaries (and their families). It will be several days before we are free of the typhoon and its affects. Please continue to pray for us.

President and Sister Clark

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Typhoon Koppu Update #2

This of course, is wonderful news and we are so grateful for the love that Pres. and Sister Clark have for our missionaries.  However, my mother's heart just won't rest until I get a personal email from Joel himself.  And to think that he never liked camping while in scouting.  I'm thinking he's going to come home and actually enjoy a normal American camping trip.  Our prayers have been with the Philippine people, the saints and our missionaries.

Good morning Angeles Mission Parents and Friends:

This message is posted on Facebook because storm conditions make it difficult (lack of electricity at the Mission Home) to send out our normal email communications. Please forward this message to other mission parents if possible.

This morning Typhoon Koppu is pushing its way across the Angeles Mission. The storm came ashore at 1 a.m. local time near the city of Baler. This is the far eastern edge of Angeles Mission. The storm made landfall as a more powerful and intense typhoon than had been predicted.

Thankfully, we have prepared for a strong storm and as of 8:30 a.m. local time, all missionaries are accounted for and safe. Missionaries living along the eastern coast (Baler and Dingalan), were evacuated well ahead of the storm and will spend the next several days in cities safe from the storm surge.

Missionaries in the eastern portion of the mission are experiencing strong winds and moderate rainfall at this time. In the western half of the mission, winds are moderate as is rainfall. Forecasters predict winds to decrease and rainfall to intensify throughout today. The storm will weaken over land and as it turns to the north.

We are constantly monitoring weather forecasts and the situation with each missionary companionship. Our mission emergency preparedness plan is in place and each missionary has a copy of it. Approximately 20 typhoons pass through the Philippines each year so this is not an unexpected event.

We already see the hand of the Lord in caring for our missionaries and moderating some of the possible several conditions that may come to the mission. Your prayers are being heard and very much appreciated.

The Philippines Area Presidency is closely involved with the five missions impacted by Typhoon Koppu. We are grateful for their concern and wise counsel. We love our missionaries. They are obedient, faith-filled and safe.

President and Sister Clark

Friday, October 16, 2015

Typhoon Koopu Update

October 16, 2015
To the Families of Philippines Angeles Missionaries:

Most of you are aware there is a tropical typhoon LANDO (KOPPU) heading towards the Philippines. The storm is being closely monitored by the Church’s Philippines Area Office with regular bulletins to Mission Presidents. Currently the storm is tracking a path taking it over northern Luzon, impacting all of the Philippines Angeles Mission. The storm is forecast to make landfall this weekend in northern Aurora province after it traverses across the eastern part of the Philippine Sea.

Government weather forecaster say the typhoon is now packing winds of 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour with gusts up to 160 kph (99 mph). As LANDO moves closer to land its winds will likely intensify to 185 kph (115 mph). It is expected to hit land early Sunday morning, and could linger in the country for several days, dumping heavy rains. We anticipate the storm will bring heavy rains (30 mm to 50 mm) and moderate to strong winds (gusts of up to 100 kph) as it passes over the island. Areas of the western side and southern side of the mission will have lesser rain and wind. Typhoons can be unpredictable and a sudden change of course may happen. We are watching closely to assure that we can react appropriately should the storm turn or suddenly strengthen.

Precautions have already been taken to protect our missionaries. Missionary preparations include checking and stocking their 72 hour kits, having emergency cash in hand, keeping their cell phones charged and staying away from flash flood prone areas and high standing water. Your missionary has been alerted to prepare for the storm in his/her specific area. Missionaries in low lying areas on the eastern coast of Luzon (Baler and Dingalan) have already been evacuated far inland to much higher ground and safer housing. All missionaries will be restricted to their secure houses while the storm presents the greatest risk. They know to stay in communication with mission leaders and report any situation they deem threatening.

Know that great vigilance is being exercised to protect missionaries and members in the Angeles Mission. We are prayerful and faith filled, knowing that God watches over us. Thank you for your prayers. We will send similar communication to you over the next 72 hours as the situation changes and circumstances permit. Once the storm has passed all missionaries will be accounted for. We will then provide follow-up communication to you.

President Scott Clark

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 65 (Oct. 11, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

When I heard Elder Holland's talk in General Conference, I just..... I don't know. I don;t even know how to describe how much love I felt for you. I definitely shed some tears, and started to miss you like crazy, but no worries, no thoughts of cutting the Mission short :) Just always know how much I truly love you!!

Conference in general was awesome, and I'm really realizing how awesome Elder D Todd Christofferson is. Of course, they're all amazing, but I was going over my other Conference notes, and saw how much I've been getting from his talks, and how much it has all helped me.
President Monson seemed really passionate about his talk which was beautiful, but it's kind of worrisome how weak he is getting. He had to be helped from the Pulpit, didn't he? It's just an incredible blessing to know that they won't be taken till their duty is done.
Elder Bednar's talk was another one of my favorites, with him sharing those quotes from those past Prophets and Apostles. What really hit me though was how right after he ended while I was still pondering over what he said, the choir started singing "As I have love you, loved one another," and it just hit me so strongly that that was an admonition coming not only from the Savior but from all those Elder Bednar had just spoken for, as their final wish and admonition to all of us. It's incredible to think how much they truly do love all of us, despite having never met hardly any of us. They truly can see us as God sees us, and it makes their love for us so much more powerful. Gaaaah!!! I can't put into words how incredible it all was!!! I LOVE GENERAL CONFERNECE!!!

Anyway, I'll answer your question now: Yes, I'm still in Talavera!! :D However, I don't know how many baptisms we'll be able to experience, because rumor is that this is a 4 week transfer instead of the typical 6 for some reason, which means the 4 or so happening in November will be just out of my reach :/ Roger still seems like he'll make it in October, but some things came up that we need to fix before he can be baptized, and Anthony hasn't been attending church for the past couple weeks because he's out working with his dad, so we'll have to move his baptismal date until he better understands the importance of attending church. His Mom is progressing really well though, so we'll so what happens with her. They really are and awesome family, they just don't have the paternal support they need, which is sending a crushing blow into their progression. Things will all work out, though :)

So, Elder Chand and I get another 4 weeks at least with each other, which should be fun. Not much else happened this week, or no that I really remember just because I filled up my Journal and need to buy another one :P Not many people were transferred though, which is surprising. For the most part the zone seems to have stayed the same. A few went home, and a few are training, but besides that, we're all the same.

Anyway, love you!! Thanks for the letters and emails and things!! :D

Also, if you could just let my friends and others know that if they'll email me their home address, I'll write them a letter, just because I don't have a ton of time to email them all. Thanks Mom!!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Week 64 (Oct. 4, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

This week was good, but I'm short on time, so here's a quick update.
I cheated in learning about the new Apostles. That's incredible!! Elders Rasband, Denlund, and Stevenson, if those spellings are right. It's crazy to think that there have only been 100 ordained apostles in about 200 years. Cool stuff, huh?

Thursday was a training meeting we had with President Clark and a bunch of other Elders on the East side of the mission. President Clark's workshop was basically about how we need to be more involved in workshops and meetings if we want the Spirit we say we do. The Spirit won't be able to get to someone who's half asleep, so we need to wake up. It was kind of intense but I loved it and learned a lot. The Assistants also gave a workshop on how District Meetings should work in order to be a more edifying, spiritually uplifting experience. I thought it was awesome, and helped me a ton. Definitely some interesting stuff to try out and apply :)

The Valdez family is still really good :) Anthony wasn't able to attend church this Sunday because his Dad took him out on some errands even though he didn't want to go. He felt bad about it, but he's committed to come to General Conference this weekend. I love this kid :D His interview should either be this Friday or Saturday with President Clark because of some stuff that happened earlier in his life, but he's awesome, so I'm sure everything will be fine. His mom is pretty close too, and Elaine starting attending church, so things are moving :)
We had an interview last Saturday with Roger Arcilla, the old Tatay we've been teaching. He felt the Spirit so strongly and walked out so happy and smiley. Old People are so cute :P He gave awesome answers and bore great testimony, but he'll be having another interview with President Clark as well because of some things, but he doesn't mind at all. He's so ready and willing to do anything he needs to do in order to be baptized. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE :D :D

Anyway, that's all I've really got time for today, so I'll leave it there. Love you!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 63 (Sept. 27, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom :)

The week has been good, even if the work continues to be a bit of a struggle. We're still making a lot of progress with our Investigators though, and we may even have a few interviews this week! Anthony Valdez and Roger Arcilla are both doing a great job keeping commitments and everything, and so we'll have a mock-interview to review principles and commandments and see if we can get them okay-ed for baptism either on the 10th or the 17th. Maybe the 17th because of Conference on the 10th and 11th. So ya, super excited :D For both General Conference and for Roger and Anthony. I REALLY hope I'm still here for their baptisms, and I've got a feeling I still will be, but if the Lord has any different plans for me, I guess it'll just have to be "Come what may, and love it" :P
So, here's a day-by-day rundown:

Monday: We had a really fun Zone Activity and just played a few simple games like signs or Missionary Tag, and then Elder Chand and I headed off with the Zone Leaders to do some work at their house and then just did the typical P-Day stuff with them. We went to Greenwich, which is the really good Pizza Place, and then got to do some shopping in SM! SM is THE mall here in the Philippines, and it's awesome. This one was only a MegaCenter, so it wasn't full-blown SM status, but an official one is opening on October 9, so that'll be fun :P I spent most of my time inside looking at watches and not buying anything, but it was def a good time :P After we got home, we went and taught Kathleen Cababat, a Part Member in the area. We don't focus with her because she doesn't really progress, but she's really nice and welcoming, so we stop by every now and then to share a message and hopefully get her to become more committed.

Tuesday: We had exchanges with the Zone Leaders, and I was with Elder Johnson, which was awesome. He's really good at Tagalog, and so I was able to get a few pointers from him, and he gave me some advice about helping the Elders in our District, which did a LOT. It was a lot of fun, and we ended the Night with a Ward FHE which is basically a couple really crazy games and then the Relief Society dances to a sketchy song that they don't understand :P It's actually sort of funny, but really uncomfortable at the same time. Oh, Philippines :)

Wednesday: We got the news about Elder Richard G Scott :( It's crazy to see how many of them are going, and in such a short amount of time, but it's a huge blessing knowing that their work here on Earth is done, and that our Father in Heaven is preparing to bless us with 3 more inspired men that he has called or will call as Prophets and Apostles. It's making General Conference a lot more exciting :P

Thursday: We had a Stake Open House which just means that the Stake Center is open for 6 hours for people to come in and learn about the Church Groups and Organizations. We invited Anthony to come and he of course said yes, so we accompanied him and went through for about an hour and a half. The Priesthood and Auxiliaries weren't all that well set up or maintained, but the PEF, Job Help, and Family Search Presentations were awesome. The 1st Counselor in the Talavera Bishopric talked about Family History, and the Spirit was so strong, just testifying about the importance of the work and blessings it will bring to both us and those we do the work for. Anthony is really excited to try it out and has already throwing done names and dates on paper while he waits for access to a computer. Cool stuff :)

Saturday: We were able to get a lesson in with all of our Super Investigators in a single day, so that was awesome :) Roger, Anthony, and Frank Valdez's family, and they're all responding incredibly well to the Gospel, which isn't surprising in the least. It's a HUGE blessing to be able to work with all of them, especially at once, and really helps with the struggles we're facing in other areas of the work. Things are really looking up for these people, and we're doing all we can to help them gain that lasting conversion and be committed to the Restored Gospel. They all attended Church on Sunday as well, and so we're looking at getting interviews set and scheduled to move them on towards baptism :)

So, that's the week, and the rest of my time, so I'll write some more again next time :) LOVE YOU!!!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 62 (Sept. 21, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

So I decided to throw the Pictures down first just to make sure they get there :P
Dear Mom,
I love you :)

Love, Elder Syphus

PS. We had a pretty good week this week. I actually wrote about it in my journal. But I didn't bring my journal :P I'll tell you what my planner says though-

Monday- Elder Silva's Birthday. He's from Sri Langka and was baptized about 2 or 3 years ago. He's 24 now (we had to give him a hard time about being the old man in the mission. All in good fun :) ), and so Elder Chand and I decided to get him something, so we stopped by a bakery and bought him a birthday cake. Lucky for me/him, I just so happened to have a box with exactly 24 birthday candles (thanks Mom!!), so we made it extra special for him :) He seemed to enjoy it, and the cake was good, so we all had a good time :)

Tuesday- We had exchanges with Talavera B. Elder Valdez and I were in our Area with Elders Silva and Chand in theirs. Elder Valdez is an awesome missionary and it was really cool to work with him. When it comes to contacting people I can get a little stressed, especially when they're in big groups. I attract enough attention as it is, and when passerby see me talking to a fellow countryman of theirs, they feel it their obligation to come in and interrupt us. However, Elder Valdez was excellent at just going for everyone, even if it was a group of like 10 grown men cock fighting. He showed me that I didn't need to worry about the people, and just remember exactly why it is that we talk to them. Good guy Elder Valdez :)

Wednesday- We started teaching the Manuel Family again because their son who is an active member in the Ward is now living in their home again, so we have some very needed member help :) Sister Manuel was baptized just as I came into the area, but she's in Saudi Arabia right now for overseas work :/ Right now we're teaching her husband and 2 sons who haven't yet been baptized. They're really receptive and do a good job at reading the things we give them, but haven't attended church yet because of Brother Manuel's Job. The thing is that hes his own boss though, so it's truly just based on whether or not he wants to. We're focusing right now and helping him understand the importance of church attendance.

Thursday- We got 2 new investigators, Kevin and Jonna. Good people so far :)

Friday- I got to deal with a missionary not wanting to take up till 1 PM. Silly disobedience, always causing problems :) (It's alright now, though. We got him some good help.)

Saturday- We taught our 2 super investigator families, which was wonderful. The Frank Valdez Family, the Anthony Valdez Family, and Roger Arcilla. All looking towards baptism in early October :D I hope I don't get transferred!!

Sunday - Bishopric got reorganized. That was exciting. The old Bishop is now on the Stake High Counsel. Cool stuff.

Sorry that Thursday through Friday were so short, but O've run a bit short on time again :P Love you though!! Next week!!

PPS. Do you want a clay carved scripture case? It's almost like a combination of Book binding and pot making classes. Really cool.


Don't know If I already sent you these pictures, but I bought $18 shirt the other day for $1.50. It's a Fish Tank. Get it?

My new super Sandals.

Want a pair Erik? They've got Really nice tread and they have kinds with ankle straps so they're basically open everything shoes. Really good quality and really popular in the Pinas.

We had a Zone Activity. Here we are :)

Before the Zone Leaders showed up.

What a little cutie :P

Old watch

New Watch

Queen Caterpillar

Demon Caterpillar

A Zone shirt design I presented. This is it on paper, thanks to an Elder in our Zone.

I bought some awesome face towels, but the Persa Gel bleached them :( This is what they looked like before they got ruined.