Monday, March 23, 2015

Week 37 (Mar. 23, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

Hi Mom :)
Tell Kari Happy Birthday

We got a few pictures of the baptism, but no I didn't baptize any of them. Our Branch Mission Leader wanted the prospective Elders in our Branch to have the opportunity to baptize, so he basically just picked out a random elder and told him to baptize them. Yup... Luckily the random elder he picked happened to be an okay friend of the three, so it worked out well :)

Left to right: Paul Jhon Barcelita; Jimber Corpuz Granil; Patrick Gamora Barcelita.

The one on the far right is the random elder they chose. Miko Frondarina.

Their baptism was right in the middle of the Church Ball Practice, so we had quite a few attendees. The two on my left in the blue and grey are investigators. They're both progressing pretty well, so I'm pretty excited for them. Far left is Norillito and next is Jeremy. Our branch President is on the far right. He's 27 and about 5'4... Maybe :P

I think I love the Filipino people people the same way I love the American People. I like the ones I like, and don't like the ones I don't like. But were I to try to answer the question you're Really asking (and I'll try), I'd have to say.... not sure. As you said, the Filipino's are a very care-free people, and that isn't inherently a bad thing. I used to think before my mission that I was a pretty chill kid as well. I don't know how true that is now, but I like to think it was before. Anyway, sometimes I just get a little stressed that they may be TOO care-free. My new companion's favorite saying is that we need to be "flexible." Which basically means completely disregard the schedule given to us, just as long as everything gets done. He's a hard worker, and is a pretty happy guy for the most part, but he's made it very clear in very little words that I'm not allowed to suggest we follow the schedule. (But then again, I'm not really allowed to suggest anything to him. He asks for thoughts and then when I share, he just tells me why I'm wrong.) I think that's just how Filipinos generally are. They're very "flexible." I think that's what I'm having the most trouble loving. I haven't seen a lot of order in the Philippines, and it sort of gets to me sometimes. I guess that's just the part I need to learn to love.
Ironically, in the Fire Emblem game I played before my mission, the Antagonist was a Goddess of Order, while you're working with her Sister, a Goddess of Chaos. The big theme or whatever is that you needed the balance of both for the world to keep on turning. For things to keep on moving. I guess it sort of makes sense. I just struggle letting that little bit of Chaos into my life and still maintaining the image and dignity of a Representative of the Lord. Sometimes I'm afraid to have fun, afraid to laugh. I think back on my days with Caleb and Luke, and smile to myself, but then think "is that appropriate now?" It was never anything bad; as much as it was a little goofy or childish. I think that's the biggest thing I'm struggling with right now.

I can't think of anything I need or even really want. You're right, I'm not a huge candy fan, but I as long as it doesn't expire before I go home, I think I can get rid of anything you send me :P

Ya, I think I've been receiving letters all right. I think I've gotten up to Number 3. I still get Mark's weekly form letters, which I love, and Grandma White is really good at keeping me smiling through hers. I think hers are my favorite :) I get Dear Elders every now and then, but that's about it. I got a letter from Joel and Trish the other day. Tell 'em thanks for me :) Besides that, It's all just email though. Wouldn't mind a few more handwritten letters, though. That's always I gift for a missionary :)

Well..... Here's some pictures I guess.

This is the only picture I have of Elder Gallego. The two oldest kids are investigators, Hazel and Vince, but I don't know how long we'll continue with them. There's not a lot of progression :/

This is what a rice field looks like. Greeeeeeeen.....

View from our Study Window.

One of the less active members has a monkey. I'm awesome as taking pictures of monkeys.

This is a cashew fruit. It has a pit, like apricots and other similar fruits, but the pit grows on the outside

This is a picture of one we got still in the tree. The thing on the right side of the fruit is actually on the bottom. That's the pit.

This is the pit removed from the fruit. The cashew nut is inside. However, if you try to open it as it is, the acid will burn your skin. The fruit can be dangerous too if you eat too many. You can get burns in your stomach and on your lips. It's kind of cool.

Elder Llona.

Love you Mom. Sorry my letters have been pretty low on quality these last few times. Just trying to get some things smoothed out. Don't worry though, I'm fine.

Love you!

Elder Syphus

Monday, March 16, 2015

Week 36 (Mar. 16, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

Dad, Thanks for the letters. I love reading and receiving them, but still haven't gotten the hang of replying to them. 

At times during the day, whether during teaching, finding, or just simply walking to the next appointment, the thought has often crossed my mind, "how did my Dad do it on His mission?" I constantly find myself looking to you, or Erik, or Shaun for advice, even though you aren't there to give it. However, I still receive it somehow. I think of the things you would've learned on your mission, and try to think of ways I can learn it too. Learning has become one of my greatest goals, now-a-days. Not just here on the mission, but in life generally. I think of learning to play the piano, sing, act, play guitar, juggle, dance, and bunch of other similar things. Then I think of you and wish I knew how to cook, clean, fix a car, lay down a lawn, fix the sink, and everything else like that. I want to learn, but sometimes I get distracted with learning the things that aren't going to be much use in the long run, no matter how fun they may be. Thanks for keeping me grounded and showing me the important things in life. Love you Dad.

Elder Syphus

Hi Mom.

The baptisms were all right. Paul Jhon Bobis Barcelita, Patrick Gamora Barcelita, and Jimber Corpuz Granil were all baptized on March 13, 2015, and set apart as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints on March 15, 2015.

Transfers were on last Thursday. Elder Gallego is now in San Jose, and I'm still here in Guimba with my new companion, Elder Llona (like Liahona without the H). He's a really hard worker and I like being his companion. I sometimes get stressed out with everything happening or not happening, and I think it bothers him sometimes, but I let him now that I'm fine, and that he's not at fault.

We have a couple people that Avonlea taught, but we're thinking of dropping the area. There is very little progression. Everybody thinks that working next door to the church would be the easiest thing ever, but it's super difficult. It's like being a missionary in Utah. You're either a Mormon, or you know who they are and aren't interested. So we might just drop it and open up a different part of our area.

I'm short on time again so this is it. Sorry.

Love you Mom.

Elder Syphus

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Week 35 (Mar. 8, 2015 Guimba Philippines)

Really short on time, sorry :(
Straight Lecture is a monologue.
Package was free as far as I know, but it might be withdrawn from next months support.

Could you pay my tithing on the $15 Joel and Trish gave me? I've been meaning to ask for a while, but kept forgetting.
Tell Shaun and Katie Happy Anniversary! :D

I still look like I'm 12. We played basketball this morning and a Police Officer drove by and asked why I wasn't in my School Uniform.... The real question is when was the last time he saw an American attending a Public school in the Philippines... Dough head...

Things are getting pretty stressful. Although I'm Jr Companion, and have been in the area a transfer less than my Sr, I've been leading since week 2. He has no desire to do anything :/ It can be tough, but I do my best to endure.He also gets upset with me because he feels like he should be leading because he's Senior Companion. The only problem with that is that if he leads, we don't have Comp Study. We don't have Daily Planning. We don't teach more than 3 lessons a day. So yeah, it's a tough situation. I'll keep working at it though.

We have 5 investigators that are progressing pretty well. Paul John, Patrick, Jimber, Jeremy, and Norillito. The first three are scheduled for baptism on Friday, and the other two on April 18. Paul John and Jeremy seem to be the most interested, and are always really happy and willing to hear the lessons. Let's hope their interested in the Gospel more than Church Ball and the other activities.

Well times up. I'm SO so so so sorry :( Next time.


Elder Syphus

(His testimony that he emailed to a good friend)
It is my personal belief and dare I say knowledge, that there is a God. He is all loving, all knowing, and all powerful. He is the Eternal and Literal Father of our Spirits, and even the Father of Christ in the Flesh. We lived with him and in his presence during the eternities before this life, and will live in a kingdom of his glory and creation for the eternities ever after. This life and Earth were given to us because of his great love for us as his children. "Behold, the Lord hath created the earth that it should be inhabited; and he hath created his children that they should posses it. (1 Nephi 17:36)"
Throughout the millennia, God has continued to reveal his plan of our Salvation and Happiness through his chosen Prophets, starting with Adam and including others such Noah, Abraham and Moses. The Son of God and our Savior, Jesus Christ, himself was a chosen Prophet of our Father, and as part of his Earthly mission, took upon himself our sins and sufferings. He was sinless and merciful, providing us, through his Atonement, a path back to our Father in Heaven. As a son of Woman, he succumbed to death on the Cross, but as the Only Begotten of the Father, he took it back again in the tomb. He overcame death and sin for all of us, in a very personal and individual way.
At the time of the death of Christ, persecution raged and the Apostles were killed or forced into hiding. The Church established by Christ fell into apostasy, only to be restored nearly two millenia later, through an uneducated farmboy, Joseph Smith. As God did before, he has done again in our day. He has called a prophet to lead and guide us in this, the Dispensation of the Fullness of Times. Thomas Spencer Monson is that prophet, and holds the keys to initiate the ordinances for our Salvation.
We are not perfect. No man or woman ever has been, nor ever will be. But Christ and our Eternal Father are not simply Men. They are Gods, and forever will be. This is my personal Testimony, which I feel honored to have been able to share with you, and do so in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Elder Syphus

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Week 34 (Mar. 1, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

Hey Mom :)

That's scary about Grandma and Axel. Every week when I log on to email, my heart always drops, fearing I'm going to be reading about a death or something :/ I don't know why that always enters into my mind, and I hate it, but I can't help it. I'm glad to hear though that they've recovered a bit. I'll keep you all in my prayers. How's Kylie and her Osteoporosis? I prayed for her this week and fasted for her yesterday. Sickness and disease is a scary thing, and it's even scarier when you can't be there to do anything. I know I wouldn't be able to do anything even if I was their, but I just worry is all. And please don't take this as a sign that I don't want you to tell me about these things. I really do, so I can add my prayers and faith to their health and safety. Love you all :)

So no more Korean? Hm. I guess Thailand's pretty cool too. I think. The only thing I've really ever heard about it is from Sweet Life of Zack and Cody. I guess anything Asian is fine, as long as it's not the Philippines. The Philippines is an Asian lie. They speak more Spanish here than Pure Tagalog it seems. But as long as you're not hoping for Asian, The Philippines is fine :P

Haha, I like to think I'd make a pretty good Bert too :P I want to take all sort of lessons when I get home. Piano Lessons, Singing Lessons, Acting Lessons, Japanese Lessons, etc :P I just love to learn, I've discovered.

I'm all for BYU, but my problem is that I don't completely know what I want to go into. I've been telling people Computer/Electrical Engineering, but I've got a bunch of batch mates from the mission (including Elder Chan) studying Accounting at BYU. Also, I seem to be pretty good at delivering straight lectures, so I could probably make it as a Math Professor. Ugh. But sure, go ahead with the application :P

So anyway, this week has been alright. I gave the Workshop in District Meeting, and delivered a straight lecture in Elders Quorum. President Lina seems to have enjoyed it, and so he asked me to be the concluding speaker on Sunday. Fine. Besides that, I can't remember much of what else has happened. Work is pretty slow out here in Guimba :\

We've got a couple of good investigators. Paul Jhon Barcelita and his cousin Patrick are both on goal for March 14, along with their friend, Jimber Ganil. They attend church every week, and are old enough to be baptized without Guardian Permission. Good thing too, because their parents disapprove. At the same time, though, I don't know if that's such a good thing. I don't want to break a family :( Any ideas? And speaking of Ideas, do Dad and the other RMs have any tips or tricks for Finding People? I seem to have absolutely no skill at all with people. I tried Robert's prayer with exact obedience equation, but I think it has to be exact obedience in the companionship, And my kasama doesn't seem to have much or any desire to be any kind of obedient. I've talked to him, and he's all for it until it's actually time to do it. I can't talk to our District Leader cause he's no better, and nothing seems to have happened since I talked to the Zone Leaders. Thoughts?

And for the good stuff that's actually good stuff, BAPTISMS!! But not here :P In my last area, but I helped out quite a bit with them as well :P Anyway, here's the pictures. It's up to you if you put their names on the chart. I don't know if they really count for me, but I'll let you check it out anyway :)

Alright, from left to right. Elder Birth (new ZL; never met him), Elder Nalumen, Mary Rose Ramos, Shiella May Alcantara, Victor Riego, Elder Porter (greenie; also haven't met him), Elder Hernane, and Christian Espejo.

Elder Maestrado and I began teaching all three of them. We began with Mary Rose within the first week of opening the area. We started teaching Shiella about the last week of Novemember, and met Brother Victor about a week before Elder Maestrado finished his mission, mid December. They were baptized on February 28, 2015 (says the picture file). Boom :)

Love you Mom! Thank you!!

Elder Syphus

PS: 1 month until General Conference again!!!! :D :D :D It feels like the October Conference was just last week :D

PPS: 8 month mark :)