Sunday, February 22, 2015

Week 33 (Feb. 22, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

Hey Mom! :D Ogenki desu ka?

I'll know the payment next Monday. Payment for packages is subtracted out of our monthly support.

With my comp? It sort of just depends on the day. Things have been alright though. I still wouldn't mind a new comp next transfer, and I'm sure has no objections either, but I'll be happy with whatever happens.... I think :P

Hmm.... Interesting about Jung Won. So what's going to happen with her on Sundays? Will she just chill at the house while you guys are at church? That's cool I guess. She could do so interior design to increase our Feng Shui. Pretty sure we could use a big Feng Shui upgrade. We're sort of lacking in that category... .... ..... I think...

I'm not completely sure what's happening with the piano playing :P I texted the Sister in charge of the song choices Saturday night to find out what I'd be butchering/playing the next day, and she just replied with something like "Oh, it's alright. One of the young women and I will play tomorrow." Oh. Okay. Bahala ka (which simply means "It's up to you," but is usually used to end an argument or something. My comp indirectly taught it to me :P).
So anyway, the young woman got skerred and didn't play, and Sister Jean (The lady in charge) tried using the simplified hymn book and butchered it more than I butcher playing out of the REAL hymn book. HA! And again, HA! :D :P It wasn't terrible, but eh.... coulda done better #nbd ;) I don't know if I'll be playing anymore though :P
However, I WILL be teaching both the Gospel Essentials and Elder's Quorum classes next week... -.-

That's cool about Dad and the Sister Missionaries. I actually just have to laugh. Missionaries are such different people in general until you become one. We're all sort of a different sort from what ANYONE has witnessed :P Or maybe it's just me :)

I don't know if I've ever heard of Jane Eyre. Though I was pretty down when I found out Dixie is putting on Mary Poppins as Saxton's Swan Song. I know I've never acted a day in my life except for when I was in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade (Cinderella, The Grinch, and Virgin Valley Elementary's Flag Football team), but Bert has always been my dream roll if I were ever to become an actor. And let me tell you, I look EXCELLENT covered in soot *smolder* boom. Ah well. Maybe one day at BYU (Speaking of which, any news on applying for an academic scholarship?).

Something I've always wanted to do was have a set 20 or so minutes at the end of the day after Family prayers for Family Personal Study. Say prayers, and then stay in the Family room, but just take a seat and study the scriptures by yourself for a bit. I think that would be super awesome.

And so now about my week :)

We had a Zone Conference on Wednesday with President and Sister Clark and the Assistants, which was Super awesome. We talked about the meaning of conversion and how we need to make sure we're truly converted before expecting to be to assist in the conversion of others. I later went through the Christlike tributes in Preach My Gospel during Personal Study, and found out how they all, in one way or another, support and add to the process of Conversion: Conforming to and accepting God's will as a voluntary replacement to our own carnal views and desires. I just thought it was super cool how much more conversion is than Prayer, Scripture Study and Going to Church. Conversion is also about our levels of Faith, Obedience, Humility, Patience, Charity, Diligence, Virtue, and so much more. A true desire to gaining a testimony of the Restored Gospel of Christ should be centered on a true desire of Becoming more like Him.

And then on Saturday, we had a 1 Day Mission with the Branch, and I got to work with an RM from Utah!! His name is Michael Scott Olsen (or Scott Michael Olsen), and he served in the Philippines Angeles Mission back in 2003-'05! He reminded me So much if Erik. It was awesome :) Right now, He's a Sergeant in the Marine Corps stationed in Japan with his wife and two kids. He still speaks Tagalog pretty well, even after 10 years. He says he keeps up on it, because he gets a pay raise for knowing two languages, and he has to test every year for it. He came to the Philippines for about a week to visit his old areas. We went around after teaching our assigned families to find some of his old converts. They had all either moved away or become less active :/ Kawawa (Means something like "pity", but in the sense of "Too bad"). All in all though, it was a good day :)

Sunday, we finished our church meetings and then went to the House of our Young Men's President for lunch. He also served his mission here, and then decided to move in for good after he finished :) He's Filipino though.
Anyway, while he was cooking, I was doing my Japanese Language study while my comp watched Monsters Inc... -.- Though I guess neither of us were doing what we were supposed to. Technically, it WAS Language Study time, but I don't think they want me studying Japanese in the Philippines. But it's so fun!! (The thing I wrote at top is Japanese for "Kumusta po kayo" or in other words, an extra polite form of "How are you?")
Anyway, after lunch, the member came out and worked with us. He's awesome :) His name is Jayson Lazaro, and he says that ifI ever want to come back and visit the Philippines, he'll provide the housing :) Anyway, he took us around and introduced us to a bunch of other members and old investigators of his. We met a LOT of people, but didn't teach too many lessons. At least we know who we can go to now though. It was fun :)

And finally, today! We had a District Activity today to celebrate Elder Quenzon's Birthday. We had Umo which is a Samoan anti- pit roast. I don't know what to call it. But it was pretty delicious :) We also had Cheese and Yam flavored ice Creams for dessert. The Philippines is weird. One of the Elders in our District, Elder Taula, is Samoan, so he was in charge of the whole thing. It was a really cool experience :)

Love you Mom!! (Still can't find out how to say that in Japanese. I've only got a dictionary, with no idea on Grammar :P )

Elder Syphus
Oh ya, I made cheese cake on Monday :) MMMMMM!!!!! :D

Happy birthday to me..... :)

Probably the Nicest dog I've ever met in the Philippines. Can you see it? In his soul?

That's not dust, those are Dead Mosquitoes. Seriously.

Leaves of trees outside our church.

Elder Taula doin Samoan stuff.

Using tongs he made with a coconut palm rod.

Nice and smoky.

The Reveal.

Here it comes....

:D :D :D Sorta dirty, super delicious :) But only sorta. :P

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Week 32 (Feb. 15, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

Hey Mom :)

I did :) I received one letter and the package. I already finished the jerky :P Not taking any risks with that one :D And I've been handing out the rings to anyone and everyone. Thanks Mom! :) Also, I LOVE the pecans. I can practically taste the cool, crisp St George air. It's a beautiful thing :) I don't know if I've ever eaten pecans by the handful before. It's always been crack one, eat one, crack one, eat one. It's been fun to just skip the cracking ;)
What happened with the knife? Not allowed I'm assuming? Ayos lang 'yan. No worries :)

We're also planning on making the cheesecake today. Yesterday was Elder Gallego's 1 year mark, and our other two kabahays (Elders Gemelo and Quinzon) will be celebrating their birthdays in the upcoming days. I found some mini 5 inch pie tins that I've decided I'll just have to work with. I'll just buy a whisk and try to use that in place of the electric beater. Yay...... :P

Haha, that's awesome about Shaun and Katie! I got some VERY disturbing pictures from the two of them. *shivers* But congrats to them :) Having Nephews is awesome. I want ALL the nephews!! Also, I think Oliver and I are going to be besties. He sounds like one of those super nerdy genius kids who's got like, a bajillion and a half friends. Sort of like me, except I'm lacking the bajillion friends... Still got the half friend though! Ya! (It's okay, I don't get it either)

About the magazines; yes, we get the Liahona every month. I just found and addition of the October 2004 Conference Ensign where I found the same Warren Marshall Johnson Story, but this time given by Elder Joseph B Wirthlin in his Conference talk. Woo!! Original hard copy! I was pretty happy :) I also learned that Dad and David A Bednar are 3rd cousins. That's super awesome too.

Alright, now for a bit of what I wrote down for this week :)

I ended up calling the Zone Leaders as well as President Clark about what was happening between me and Elder Gallego. We only had companionship study twice this past week, and didn't go out to work for almost a whole day. We taught what I felt was a pretty good lesson one that morning, and then my comp gets all upset about "no spirit" and grabs a ride with a motorcycle taxi, so I have to follow him or be separated. We went home an hour and half early that morning, and then he refused to go back out to work that afternoon until about 6:30 PM. We then had exchanges twice, once with the District Leaders, and then again with the Zone Leaders to find out what the problem was. Apparently, I'm the first obedient companion he's had in a long while, and he's more of a"do it my own way" (which means do nothing) kind of guy. We sort of got things sorted out, and things are running a bit smoother between us. We'll see how it goes.
But about the exchanges :) Nothing special with the District Leader, but I had a lot of fun working with one of our Zone Leaders. Elder Hedman is from South Jordan and his family lives on Shellbrooke. How awesome is that?? He says he recognized the picture of Kylie and Greg, but didn't know them personally. He said he was about 3 minutes away from the Jordan River Temple, and so we talked and eventually found out he was pretty close to where Kylie and Greg used to live. Do they know him or his family at all?
Anyway, it was super fun to finally work with an American. We attract a LOT of attention :P He was also quite the Gamer back home, so we had quite a bit to talk about :) During our dinner break, we were sitting down at a Sari Sari, drinking sodas. This group of kids coming home from school run up to us and all start shouting "What's your name?! Where are you going?!!" And a bunch of other questions in English. I answered the "What's your name?" and then replied with "Sika; Anya ti nagan mo?," (you, what's your name) which isn't Tagalog, but Ilokano. Being in Guimba, they all know Ilokano, but were shocked none the less. Americans NEVER know how to speak the less common dialects; just Tagalog. When I spoke Ilokano to them, they all got super quiet, and then started to whisper to one another "whoa, he knows Ilokano." It was awesome :P This 60+ year old tatay who had been watching the whole thing just started laughing. I'm pretty sure I made that old man's day :) After we finished with our drinks, we got up and started walking to a Member's house who was planning to feed us. The little kids all followed, but were too afraid to say anything. It was hilarious :P There were like 20 of them, just wanting to see where we were going.

Low on time, so I'll leave you with that :) Love you!!!

Elder Syphus

PS: Also, is the Asian Girl a member? Just a thought I had.
PPS: Tell Link Happy Birthday for me :)

Rice Fields.

Elder Gemelo trying on the Security Guard Uniform a member gae me in my last Area :P I tried it on too, but thought I was going to die. Sooooo small :P
A bunch of little kids following Elder Hedman and I. The one in the green skirt is Japanese but refused to talk to me!! How rude!

Fancy Pepsi in the Philippines. It's garbage. It tastes nothing like Freedom in a bottle :( *single tear*

Elder Quenzon sort of reminds me of Erkel. I never really watched the show, but just remember that he was super nerdy :P

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week 31 (Feb. 8, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

Woah!! That's awesome that you found Wyatt! I remember trying so hard to find him a couple years back, but never had any luck. Where are they at these days? Wyatt kind of looks like Weston Lamoreaux. That's who I thought it was at first before I read the email. I'll have to try and meet up with him maybe after I get him. Now you just need to find Clayton Bowler. Us 3 and Aaron were all really close in elementary. Wyatt moved after 1st grade, Aaron moved after 2nd, and we moved during my 4th grade year. I never really did hear much about Wyatt and Clay, if anything.

And an Asian is living in my house!!!! :D :D :D How long will she be there? You should tell her how to write me letters in Korean, and then Rob can translate them into Tagalog. It's perfect!! :D :D Really though, will she still be there when I get back? I've always wanted to live with a foreign exchange student. My dream was a Japanese kid my same age that was like a master at Karate and other martial arts... A true Ninja O.o

And now about my companion..... He is fun, but he can anger quickly sometimes. He's generally obedient with the big rules in the mission, but sort of struggles with all the little things. He wakes up late, doesn't have personal study, delays companionship study, makes us late in getting out to work and insists we get home unnecessarily early. When I ask for things I could improve on, he refuses to tell me, but has no problem making fun of me for whatever reason. He even does it during lessons with members as well as investigators. He would rather visit the same Recent Converts everyday rather than spending anytime searching for new investigators. I don't really feel like I can talk to him about it, because chances are he'll just get really defensive and mad at me. I don't know what I should say, if anything, to President Clark, because I don't know if any of it is big enough for him to worry about. It can be frustrating sometimes, but I still stay on top.

We also have another companionship in the house. Our District Leader and his greenie (he's also training right now) are both Filipinos as well, so it's three of them and me. None of them really know how to clean, but are great at making messes, so it's usually left to me. I've tried to speak up about it a few times, but nothing really ever helps...

Guimba is SUPER pretty. There are a ton of really green bright trees, and the people are generally pretty kind. A lot of their signs for streets and government buildings are stylized to look like etched logs with leaves or ivy hanging off of it, so it sometimes feels like I'm in some sort of National Park or camping site with no real attractions :P It is really cool though. We have a two story apartment, and my study desk is on the second floor next to the window with a huge tree right outside. It's really nice in the morning :)

I actually played the piano yesterday for Church and got the right songs this time :P I played the first two alright, but then they announced a suprise rest hymn that I completely butchered. I don't know how to sight read! I've told them this, but it doesn't really ever stick :P I played the closing hymn alright though, so all is well :P

Not much time for adventures, sadly, but I guess I did sort of have a "crazy experience." I was petting this big dog, and he was all happy and his eyes were drooping and his tail was wagging and we were havin a real great bonding time. And then Elder Gallego had to ruin it all and yanked on the dog's tail. The dog freaked out and tried to rip my hand off with his fangs, but I used my super ninja cat like reflexes and dodged him. He tried again, but I raised my clenched fist half an inch and he just rammed my hand with his face and gave up. So just to be clear: I did not punch a dog. He attacked me and hit my fist with his snout and then ran away.

Another less than large dog tried to attack me, but I dodged him too. I don't like Filipino dogs. They're very angry and aggressive, and NONE of them are tied up. Just packs of them roaming the streets at night. It's stressful, but I can tell God is protecting us. I actually have super fail reflexes, so it's sort of a miracle that I've yet to be bitten. The Philippines is......different. And not for foreigners :P

Mangoes here are DELICIOUS. The Caribou Mangoes are my favorite. They also have Indian ("In'jin according to the Filipinos) mangoes, and Apple Mangoes and others too. The only ones that I like a ton are the Caribou. Super soft and juicy and sweet and incredibly delicious and they have a really fancy way of eating them that I'll try to teach you guys when I get home.

Speaking of food, when you think of coconuts, what do you think of? They're brown and furry and have little holes like a bowling ball right? Or am I all on my own with that one? Of course, they got that fancy water juice stuff inside, but It was't all the great the one time I tried it at home. Here, they have two kinds. The nyog, which is the brown furry one, and is used mainly for coconut oil/milk used in cooking. Not for drinking. Then they have the Buko which is not brown but green, and is completely kalbo (bald). The buko has the delicious edible meat and juice inside, but I always that coconuts were just brown. Hmm.

Was it the Dalley's Valentines Concert? Or just for fun? Anyway, I remember them singing that song as well at the EFY devotional last year maybe. It's really good :) And ya, Avonlea has an INCREDIBLE voice. Because she was just in my branch, when
e​ver people hear I'm from Utah, they ask if I know her. I say yes and that I was in choir with her. They get all super excited and tell me to sing for them. I'm always just like, "Yaaaa, that's okay. No thanks." I'd just disappoint them :P Though I may be in a quartet with some other Zone Mates for an upcoming conference. That should be fun :)

Love you Mom! Thanks for the updates :) My comments on your letters seem to be the only thing I can use these days to write letters. Too exhausted to keep up on my journal. Being a Missionary is fun :P

Elder Syphus

Love life and all those in it. They've all been placed in your path for a reason. And use President Monson's Formula W: "Work will win when wishy-washy wishing won't."

February Guimba Zone Conference

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Week 30 (Feb. 1, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

Hello mine Mom whom I love so much :)

This week has been good, and I like my new area a lot :) I'm now in Guimba District, Guimba 1 Branch. My area is Guimba 1B. Guimba 1A are the Sister Missionaries in our Branch. That's where Sister Dalley just was, but is now a Sister Training Leader out in Tarlac. Our area boundaries were just changed a little bit too, so now I'm teaching some of her old investigators. It's pretty cool :P She was also the Branch Pianist, but because she's gone, I've taken the job. We showed up 1 hr and 15 min early so I could practice the songs first. I had all of them down, when the Branch President walks up to me 5 minutes before the meeting started and told me that I had been lied to. The song list I was given the night before was for next week :P I was doing sort of alright with the first song, but then realized too late that I was missing the other page :P So I stopped playing and sat down. We didn't have a pianist the rest of the meeting. Ah well :P
Our church building out here is an actual church building! It's two stories, and the sacrament hall is up top. There were a TON of Mosquitoes. I'm wearing long sleeve shirts to church from now on. The Senior Couple is also in our ward, so it's fun to see them and talk a little bit in English. Elder and Sister Hobbs are super nice :)

Anyway, my new companion is Elder Ezra Gallego. He's nice and fun, but is ready to go home and he still has more than a year left. He refuses to contact people, and I still really struggle with it, so we don't have a lot of people to teach. Things are alright though.

Most of the people out here in Guimba speak Tagalog as a second Language. Ilokano is their first, and so I'm currently trying to learn that :) It's a lot of fun. We have this one recent convert family that loves to help me learn and use it, so I'm getting it down pretty quick :D

Not much else to say. A 15 year old investigator of ours just had her baby the other day. That's......something.. I guess.
Love you lots!!

Elder Syphus