Monday, April 6, 2015

Week 38 (April 6, 2015 Guimba, Philippines)

This is an email we received from Joel's mission president.....
Families of Philippines Angeles Missionaries:

The typhoon that wasn't. Today is Preparation Day in the Angeles Mission and we rejoice at the safety and well-being of our missionaries and members. Tropical typhoon MAYSAK (CHEDENG) made its way to and through the Philippines over the weekend. The storm was closely monitored by the Philippines Area Office with regular bulletins to Mission Presidents over the past week. The storm was once a super typhoon over the Pacific but as it approached Luzon it drastically dissipated and finally sputtered across the islands. Early forecasts called for a direct hit in the Angeles Mission. In the end, Chedeng landed a glancing blow to a very small portion of the mission. Ironically, we didn't even get badly needed rain for the farmers in our area.

We believe that divine intervention protected the missionaries of our mission and the good people of Central Luzon. Thank you for your faith and prayers in our behalf. Great vigilance paid off and we were ready for what was thought to be a severe storm. We were safe and we are not sorry for the precautions that we took. We followed the counsel and example of our Area Presidency and count ourselves blessed for obedience. The storm has passed; all missionaries are accounted for.

We are gladly back to work.

President Scott Clark


Dear mine Mom


I sort of forgot it was Easter. Not really "forgot" forgot, but just normal forgot. But I sang Happy Birthday to Erik on his Birthday :)

Easter Traditions in the Philippines are awesome. It's like a whole Easter Week. The week before, they build all these little houses on street corners, and then decorate them with pictures of Jesus and stuff. And then starting Monday of their "Holy Week", they go inside the houses and sing songs into microphones from their little prayer books for the whole neighborhood to hear. Most of the words are just "nai nai nai nai nai nai nai nai nai nai nai nai." So whenever we passed one, I would start singing Numa numa yay numa numa numa yay. Anyway, their little prayer song chants end on Wednesday, and then on Thrusday, in remembrance of the Crucifixion, they tie shards of glass and rocks to little ropes they have, and whip themselves in the back as they walk down the street. We're not allowed to walk by them, because if we do, we're going to get a bunch of blood splatters on our shirts. Not everyone does it though. The other people just nail each other to crosses and then they hang on the side of the street for maybe an hour or so, and then they get down. On Friday and Saturday, everyone takes the day off work and sleeps and recovers from Thursday, and then on Sunday they get back up and party, which means alcohol and gambling. So ya, I guess you could sort of relate it to Easter Egg hunts..... maybe.... if you tried REALLY hard..... maybe.......
More Fun in the Philippines :D

Concerning General Conference, we have Priesthood Session very first on Saturday Morning, and then a one hour break, and then the Morning session, another one hour break, and the the Afternoon Session. On Sunday, they show the Sunday sessions with an hour break in between.

And about the food, I'm still living on rice. Although I'm starting to like it more now. And eating more like a Filipino. Being civilized can be so hard sometimes :P Example, for lunch today, we had smoked fish and rice, but my spoon wouldn't cut through the skin, So I just dropped my utensils, and used my hands and teeth. SO much easier :P Even with the rice,sometimes I prefer just using my hands, depending on the ulam (viand in English? as if that helps at all.... a bunch of weirdies). And speaking about eating whole fish... :) That was lunch. Tinapa. First, you eat the tail fins, then the body, including bones, and then the head. I'm still not the best at eating the head. Kind of itchy as it's going down, but it's still super delicious :)

And in other news..... hmm..... other news...... ... ......
Oh! So, I've decided that $25 out of $175 from monthly support just to have my clothes washed is too expensive, so I've resorted to doing it myself :) For some reason, I feel as though Shaun will get the most joy out of that little bit of information, and even more so with the pictures (unfortunately, I left my camera at the apartment :( ). I now know how to hand wash my clothes :) I even have my own washboard :D Super sore on the back though. Ugh.

Anyway, I think that's about it for me. Work was sort of slow because of the Holy Week, so not a lot to update in that area.

Love you so much!!! Thanks for your love and support!

Love Elder Syphus

PS. After reading the Liahona for April, I've decided I still want to be part of our Family Home Evening, even if I'm just the scripture every week. For this week:

From 1 Nephi 17

7 And it came to pass that after I, Nephi, had been in the land of Bountiful for the space of many days, the voice of the Lord came unto me, saying: Arise, and get thee into the mountain. And it came to pass that I arose and went up into the mountain, and cried unto the Lord.

8 And it came to pass that the Lord spake unto me, saying: Thou shalt construct a ship, after the manner which I shall show thee, that I may carry thy people across these waters.

When I first read these verses, I found it a little strange that the Lord would speak unto Nephi, only to tell him to "Arise, and get thee into the mountain", especially because after Nephi obeyed and "went up into the mountain" the only thing the Lord did was speak to him some more. At first, my thoughts were <Why didn't the Lord just tell Nephi then and there?>
After these thoughts, I remembered a verse from Nephi's preaching of Isaiah in 2 Nephi 12:

2 And it shall come to pass in the last days, when the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it.

In this verse, Isaiah is talking about the Temple of the Lord, so it makes me think that the Lord was asking Nephi to go somewhere the Lord had designated had holy and sacred; a place where an honest seeker could find direction and truth, such as our Latter-Day Temples. As I reread the verses from 1 Nephi, I noticed something else I had missed the first time. Nephi doesn't just go up into the mountain and then the Lord all of a sudden (Brecken) just starts speaking to him. After he got there, it says he "cried unto the Lord" first, and then "it came to pass that the Lord spake unto [him]."
What impressed me even more was something in the next chapter, Chapter 18:

3 And I, Nephi, did go into the mount oft, and I did pray oft unto the Lord; wherefore the Lord showed unto me great things.

Nephi didn't stop after that first visit. He went again and again to the Temple to receive further guidance and revelation from the Lord. I like to think it wasn't so simple as stepping outside his tent and then walking into the cave next door to pray. I like to think that Nephi actually took the time and the effort to climb an actual mountain, pray, ponder, and await the guidance of the Lord before coming back down, and then doing it again, time after time.

The Temple is an incredible gift to us from the Lord. Let's not treat it like the Skateboard Grandma White gave me when I was 7 that I never once really used. Let us go again and again to pray and receive guidance from the Lord. To accept his will in our lives, and show him our willingness to be dedicated seekers of truth and direction. We're so incredibly blessed out there in Utah to be surrounded by so many Temples where we can go and worship and strengthen our relationship with the Lord. My invitation to us all is that we make better use of the Lord's Holy Home for his Eternal Work.

Elder Syphus :)

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