Sunday, June 28, 2015

Week 50 (June 28, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Hi Mom and Dad!!

SO sorry I didn't send my email last week! President Clark has asked us to spend no more than two hours on the computer each week, so I tell the person in charge of the internet shop to auto-kill my computer at two hours. It took me a while to finish our reports last week, so I was kind of rushed with the email. Sorry :(

Anyway, about the pictures you found: Elder Movilla is our Zone Leader and those were pictures from a zone activity. They asked where the Book of Mormon spoke of zombies, so I shared a scripture about where the dead will rise from their graves, and apparently that was "wrong"..... -.- Dough head. The "correct" one was about people eating the flesh of people. I tried to explain that that was cannibalism, not necromancy. I was still punished and turned into a mummy. Pssh. Amateurs. I was also required to smash a raw egg on another Elder's head because of a spelling error in a different answer. CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT. I asked if this was approved by President Clark. They said they didn't ask. :P

We've determined that Rhomel (with an "L") is evil. He's told everyone in his neighborhood/compound thing that we're guilty of idol worship. Not cool. So ya, we don't see him anymore, except for on dark stormy nights when the lighting flashes outside our bedroom window.... heh heh... yeah.....

Joseph is okay... we think. We told him how big of a help the Holy Ghost would be in his life to better resist temptation, and he said he understood and would prepare himself for baptism. Hopefully, we'll have a Baptismal interview for him along with two more investigators, Kate and Ivy, and the 2nd, and then they'll be baptized on the 11th. Kate and Ivy seem pretty sure, but Joseph wasn't able to attend church yesterday, and we haven't seen him again to ask how he is, so that may still be a while. Things are looking up though :)

I sort of miss St George heat. Of course, I despise all forms of unnecessarily high temperatures, but even though St George gets hotter than it does here, it's ridiculously humid hear, so it just feels like you're walking around in a steam room. You can literally see the road and sidewalks steaming after a rainstorm, and it feels SO nasty walking through it. Yuck. I want dry heat, or at least not steam room heat. PLUS, these steam rooms aren't very pleasant either. They're crawling with mold, cockroaches, maggots, spiders etc. The spiders are actually pretty cool, but the rest is super nasty. And that's why I love the Philippines. Always an adventure :)

I don't think we've gotten the June Liahona yet, which is weird, considering we usually get it about a week into the month. But I like the story. I feel like I can even apply that to myself as a missionary. Satan is really good at telling us how easy it would be to stay in the apartment with water, electric fans, food, and all the other luxuries of a missionary apartment (there aren't a lot :P), and sometimes, it's a little hard to step outside the door, but when we're out and about, you're just overwhelmed with such a rewarding and pleasing spirit, despite the heat and humidity. While others I've met will grumble and complain during/after a storm, I always find reason to scream and shout for joy and for the sake of craziness when no one is around to hear :P It relieves stress and it actually is really nice to get some cool winds, even if you end up soaked because of it. I've yet to get sick from working in bad weather, which in itself is a huge miracle. I just feel bad for our laundry nanay :P (I'd do it myself, but blood stains aren't part of Matching the Message :P). Find joy in the rain and the storms... like Utah people :P

So, something I didn't have time to mention last week was our Mission Tour with Elder Bowen of the Philippines Area Presidency. It was awesome!! His main focus was about a "Loss of Power" in the Mission because of little acts of disobedience or hesitation. It talked about the importance of obeying the easiest rules and commandments if we ever want to be consistent about obeying the bigger ones. He challenged us all to wake up EVERY day at 6:30, because that shows that we're ready to start the day with obedience. I don't have a problem with that one, so I was pretty psyched, but then he sort of crushed all of that by telling us to Testify to 30 new people every day. Dane-it. President Clark challenges us with 40 a week, but 30 a day?? Normally my companion and I will get about 7 or 8 in a day, but we've been able to double that since then, and are steadily rising. We're now getting an average of about 13 or 14 a day, and we've goaled to reach 150 in a week by the end of the transfer. It's SUPER hard for me because I'm terrible at talking to people, but I can already tell how much this has helped. Should be some excellent training for what's coming next.... :)

And TANNER'S HOME?? Daggum. Time moves TOO FAST! I can't believe I have less than a year left. I feel sick just thinking about it. Despite all the stress and the challenges and things, being a missionary is such an incredible blessing. You get to meet so many amazing people and watch as the Gospel literally reshapes them. I can't put it into words, so I won't waste time by trying, but just believe me when I say it's awesome :)

In other news, I finished Jesus the Christ a few days ago, which was super incredible. It was sort of a like drinking out of a fire hose though, so I'll probably pick it up again after a few months and spend some more time to actually dig into it. It's just that James E Talmage has already gone in way deep with it all, but it really puts into a better perspective Christ's love for all of us. Definitely a something I'll read again.

For the Scripture this week, I want to share something from the 13th chapter of Alma, where he talks about how High Priests are called and ordained, but I want to relate it more to just how we are prepared and deemed worthy to receive all the incredible blessings God has in store for us:

3 And this is the manner after which they were ordained—being called and prepared from the foundation of the world according to the foreknowledge of God, on account of their exceeding faith and good works; in the first place being left to choose good or evil; therefore they having chosen good, and exercising exceedingly great faith, are called with a holy calling, yea, with that holy calling which was prepared with, and according to, a preparatory redemption for such.

4 And thus they have been called to this holy calling on account of their faith, while others would reject the Spirit of God on account of the hardness of their hearts and blindness of their minds, while, if it had not been for this they might have had as great privilege as their brethren.

5 Or in fine, in the first place they were on the same standing with their brethren; thus this holy calling being prepared from the foundation of the world for such as would not harden their hearts, being in and through the atonement of the Only Begotten Son, who was prepared—

After I read these verses, I was hit at first with a wave of guilt and a bit of sadness thinking about all the times I've screwed up because of the hardness of my heart or blindness of my mind. That although I was given the same opportunity in the beginning, I forfeited a bunch of the blessings I could've received because of and for things of the world. However, as I continued reading, Alma got rid of some of those feelings through the following verses:

10 Now, as I said concerning the holy order, or this high priesthood, there were many who were ordained and became high priests of God; and it was on account of their exceeding faith and repentance, and their righteousness before God, they choosing to repent and work righteousness rather than to perish;

11 Therefore they were called after this holy order, and were sanctified, and their garments were washed white through the blood of the Lamb.

12 Now they, after being sanctified by the Holy Ghost, having their garments made white, being pure and spotless before God, could not look upon sin save it were with abhorrence; and there were many, exceedingly great many, who were made pure and entered into the rest of the Lord their God.

He rewords the terms of high priesthood ship or blessings from good works to repentance. That's the big thing that stuck out to me here. That repentance is the greatest work we can do. That's our acceptance of the Lord as our Saviour and Redeemer, and our covenant with him that we are willing to change our ways and follow after him. A big part of repentance that I've learned about mainly here on the mission is the act of forsaking the sin, and looking on it only with "abhorrence." It's not a something we can abuse or play with, because it'll be taken away from us if we try. Through our faithfulness and repentance unto good and great works, we too can receive those blessings we may have once turned upon.

Anyway, love you so much!!

Elder Shayne Bowen and Sister Lynette Bowen- Mission Tour

Zone Activity....I'm turned into a mummy for not answering the question right...Doughheads :)

Elder Syphus

Monday, June 22, 2015

Week 49 (June 22, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Dear Mom and Dad,

First off, I feel like a failure for not thinking of writing to both of you earlier in my Mission. Sorry. But Happy Father's Day Dad!! I love you!! I bought 2 liters of Pepsi and a kilo of Ovaltine-ish powder to celebrate. It was delicious, and I thought of you with every glass. I even pulled up a couple blades of grass outside our apartment before I drank the Ovaltine :)
There's this house behind our apartment that plays music every morning just as I'm stepping out of the shower, and because there are no sound restrictions in the Philippines, it's really loud. But I enjoy it (is that a sin?), because it's the stuff Dad always listens to!! I don't really know the groups but I recognize some of the songs, so that's really cool. Plus, they've added some that are the same style of music, but are Filipino songs. I still think Dad would enjoy them, and I'd love trying to translate them, so I'll probably have to find out what it is and get some when I come home. Just for you :P

So, about Rhomel... I don't even know. We finally found a time and place where we could teach him, and he accepted, and then out of nowhere, he texted us and said he straight up wasn't interested. We pushed him to at least just give it a shot, and he gave in. He told us it was going to be three days later though, so he had some time to prepare some questions to determine if we really knew what we were talking about. I thought it was gong to be some sort of insane debate battle, so I studied the Bible like crazy, and even had all these cross references, both within the Bible and then as well in the Book of Mormon. I was determined not to argue, and just to share testimony and let him reject or accept it. When we got in their though, everything was super chill. He's like, "I have some questions, but you guys can teach first." So we shared the Message of the Restoration, and bore testimony of Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. I felt the Spirit really strong, but he just nodded and then started asking questions, but they were like really weird ones. I guess a few were pretty valid, but others were just like.... what? He asked if we had ever lied before, or if we got angry. He asked if the picture of Christ on the pamphlet we gave him was what He actually looked like, and we just told him it was an accepted artist's rendition based on Revelation and historical evidence. And then he started telling us we'd be guilty of idol worship if word got out that it wasn't what Christ really looked like. We tried to explain to him that we didn't worship the picture, that it was just there as a visual aid and a sign of remembrance and respect towards Him. He wouldn't budge though. Apparently, that's why every other church I've ever heard of in the Philippines is wrong, because of Idol worship. He's a Catholic by birth, but not by any sense of affiliation, because of the 2nd Commandment. So.... ya. That's Rhomel. He won't let us teach him anymore. I don't really know if we could get anywhere with him anyway, so...

Joseph is also an interesting story this week. His interview was supposed to be last Saturday, but he backed out because he doesn't have a job and feels like it would be too easy to give in to temptation with nothing to do all day. So he wants to delay until he has a job, which could be a while :/ We're going to try and explain to him that he's already accountable for any sins he makes, and that Baptism is actually going to be a huge help in his life to resist such temptations with the guidance of the Holy Ghost and everything. Hopefully he'll accept it.

Little short on time again, so I'll end this with another scripture for you guys. I've been slacking the last two weeks, so I hope this makes up for it. Sorry :/
Anyway, This comes from the Book of Alma in the 7th chapter. Here, Alma is speaking to the people of Gideon. He says:
5 And I trust, according to the Spirit of God which is in me, that I shall also have joy over you; nevertheless I do not desire that my joy over you should come by the cause of so much afflictions and sorrow which I have had for the brethren at Zarahemla, for behold, my joy cometh over them after wading through much affliction and sorrow.

I feel like we can sort of relate this to what our Father in Heaven wants for all of us. Though His joy is great at the sight of a son or daughter returning after a time of sorrow and struggle off of the Gospel Path, he would still rather joy in us as we continue in righteous works. I think this is because although His Joy is complete in our Repentance, we still have to suffer from the guilt and memories of our sins. I feel like this is a powerful message urging all of us to follow the path of righteousness and avoid the pain and sorrow that sin causes to both the sinner and those he loves. Make good choices!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, June 15, 2015

Week 48 (June 15, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Hi Mom :)

Tell Mark thanks for me. I always love the letters that he sends and the pure faith that he has. He's an incredible example to me of what counting your blessings really means.

Elder Ortega and I are doing well :) We take turns cooking, and he even helps me out with cleaning the apartment, so that's definitely a plus ;) He has some sort of speech impediment (a really bad stutter, or maybe even minor tourettes), so people think he doesn't know how to speak Tagalog. I feel bad for him sometimes :/ I think he's better than I am at speaking sometimes, but he doesn't seem to understand very well. That or he just doesn't listen :P But all in all, he's a good missionary, and I like him a lot.

Sounds like Katelyn is still rocking the gospel :) One of my favorite ways of looking at faith is how Christ sort of described it in the Bible with his parable of the Unprofitable Servant. It's hard for me to put into words, but it's a really powerful lesson. We sort of show our faith in Christ by showing Him that we realize that no matter how much we do or have done, we still haven't done enough. Our entire salvation is dependent on His Atonement. We can never say we've done enough to repay such an act. As we continue to serve, and love, and act in diligence, and charity, and virtue, and obey his commandments, despite the private or public trials that we may be facing, that is how we show our faith in Him and His Eternal Sacrifice. I can't put it very well into words, but read Luke 17: 5-10. It's awesome.

Apparently, Pentatonix are in the Philippines right now, preparing for a concert this Wednesday and Thursday in Manila. I sort of died a little bit when I heard about it. I want to VIP to a couple more of their concerts after I get home. Definitely worth the money, I'd say. Just as long as it's not like, every month. Maybe 3 or 4 times year at most, but I'd be happy with even just 1 :P Tell Kendyl that I said she needs to go. It'll probably be a once in a life time thing for her. Plus they're Pentatonix :)

Congratz to Katelyn!! That's awesome! I actually like the rose ring a lot, but ya, doesn't really look like something to put on the wedding finger. And I see Clel is still rockin' the boots. That's cool :P I've always been more of a Sneakers kind of guy, but I know Shaun likes Boots as well, so I'll respect that :P I think I may have to get a pair of Vans when I get home and try those out, cause I like those too. I've just never owned a pair. And that's how you go from an engagement announcement to shoes in less than 5 seconds! :D Ya, I still get distracted super easily. Anyway, I'm super excited for them. They're incredible together :P So (hushed tones), has anyone started placing bets on whether or not Erik will be the last to marry? Poor guy :(

Anyway, this week was fun :) On Monday night we had a family Home Evening with the Navelgas family. Frances and Mary Angel Navelgas are our investigators, and their step-mom and step-aunt are our Less Actives. Frances is 13 and he's really cool. He's the youngest and most progressing in their family, yet he struggles with praying about Joseph Smith. He still wants to be baptized, but I don't know if I want to go through with it if he has no testimony. So that's our main focus for him right now. We have him goaled for July 25. Should be good :) We also celebrated their step-mom's birthday last Saturday. She turned 25, so it was a quarter century blow out sort of thing. Fun times :)

Joseph is still progressing pretty well, and he's coaled for next Saturday, so I'll tell you about how his interview went next week. However, he has now birth certificate apparently, so I don't know how that is going to work :/
Ivy is..... interesting. We haven't seen her in a week, because she says she's sick. She hasn't gone to church twice now, and we weren't able to teach her all last weak. Hopefully things will improve and I can give you some more updates next week.
Kate is still good and interested, but is still too shy to attend church without Ivy, so she hasn't gone for two weeks either. We've been able to teach her though, so things are still going well :)
We also found another potential Investigator that could be a SUPER strong convert if we could just find out how to meet with him. His name is Rhomel, and he's 18. He's super good with the Bible, but claims no religious affiliation. He doesn't try to debate with us, but has lots of questions. We've only taught him once, and when we were sharing about the Prophet/Dispensation portion of the Restoration, we slipped up on accident and mentioned too early that we have a living prophet right now. Most people don't take any note, but Rhomel isn't most people :P He immediately say "Wait. You just said we have a living prophet? Like Moses? And Isaiah?" We said yes, and he asked "Do you have proof?" I sort of told him about how Christ did a bunch of Miracles and stuff and people still denied him as the Christ, so physical evidence wasn't going to force him to believe anything he didn't to believe. I said the only proof he could ever obtain was a personal testimony through prayer and study. He smiled and said okay, then told us to continue. I like him. However (there has to be a however... yuck), his mom isn't a big fan of us, so we're not allowed to teach him in his house, and we can't find any other place to go. Kids are noisy in his compound, the church is too far, he says, and he's too shy to be taught at a member's house close by. He texts a lot though and asks questions, but we're not allowed to go to his house, or anywhere near it, so it's sort of like a forbidden relationship.... Ooooo, scandalous! :P Ya, I feel uncomfortable too :P

Anyway, love you so much!!! One Year left?? O.o

Elder Syphus

Monday, June 8, 2015

Week 47 (June 8, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Dear Mom,
I am in the middle of a crowded computer shop, and just shouted out "Law of Sacrifice!" for everybody to hear. I'm getting a lot of weird looks right now. President Clark sent us a talk to print, and that happens to be the title. I asked to have something printed, the shop owner said what, I shouted "Law of Sacrifice!" Weird looks. And that's what it's like being a missionary :)

I've always liked writing. but I've never thought I was all that incredible. I have a decent sized vocabulary, but I have trouble expressing myself sometimes. Example, I try to write people hand written letters, but I can never think of what I want to see or how to say say anything. You know that blue notebook you gave me before I came on my mission? That's full of unfinished letters :P I don't take them out, hoping that one day I'll find out how to finish them :P

The mission sort of felt empty after Wednesday. Sister Dalley went home and I realized it half way through the day and was like "Oh." Daggum. I don't know why. I've seen her like 4 or something times since I've been out. Maybe it's just cause she's going back to the place I left less than a year ago.... If that makes sense. You know. Incapable of expressing myself :P I only lasted like a few days though, and now everything is back to normal :) Plus, I still get to party with the other St George Missionaries. Is there anyone else you know coming in from St George? And who was the guy in the 2nd Ward that served in the Philippines Angeles Mission? He's the first name on their plaque by the Bishop's office.

Thursday was Transfers! Elder Ronquillo left Pindangan, and is now in Cabanatuan. I have mixed feelings, but he definitely wasn't okay with it. This was his first area, and in most cases, Missionaries get pretty attached to the first. He had a rough time leaving, but I think he'll like Cab. My new companion is Elder Ortega. He's sort of for me what Elder Knudsen was for Dad. If I remember correctly, Elder Knudsen is the closest thing Dad got to a native companion in Norway. I think his parents were pure Norweigan, but Elder Knudsen grew up in America. Sort of like Elder Ortega. His parents are pure Filipinos, but Elder Ortega grew up in Baltimore (sometimes he sleeps in, so I wake him up by singing "Good Morning, Baltimore!"). He didn't know Tagalog when he got here, but it must be in his blood, because he caught on really quick. I'm his "First Senior" which means the companion after his Trainer and Follow up. Everyone kept telling me I was training this transfer, but it didn't happen :) Still safe :D Elder Ortega is cool. He's pretty new, but he's not shy about sharing his ideas. Elder Ronquillo wouldn't do much if I didn't initiate it, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It strengthened my realization that I wasn't being a missionary because my companion told me to be. He puts in suggestions about what we should teach investigators, he'll share with me when something we've planned doesn't feel right to him, and he knows how to cook :) Sort of. So far he's only made corned beef and eggs. But we're a little lacking on "his" ingredients, so we'll see :) I like him. Should be a fun transfer.

Speaking of a fun transfer, we will hopefully have a few baptisms this month. They're all sort of wild cards, but that's what makes it exciting :)
Joseph Torres is 26, and has been attending church for about a month now. We've taught him all the lessons, and he's excited for baptism, and is now in Mosiah in the Book of Mormon. The problem is that he still hangs out with some of his old friends who are kind of a rough example on him. They drink and he has trouble sometimes saying no, but we gave him a blessing and he's been clean for about 2 weeks. Pray for him,
Ivy Lorica is 30 something? Maybe high 20s. Can't really remember. Anyway, she was taught before but wasn't allowed to baptized because she wasn't married to her partner. Anyway, they split up, she showed up at church one day and asked if we would baptize her. So now we're teaching her again and helping her prepare for baptism. She has the testimony, but is just struggling with the whole repentance thing at the moment. She seems pretty committed, though.
We're also teaching Ivy's cousin, who happens to be our Branch Mission Leader's girlfriend. Her name is Kate Prado, and she's in her early 20s. She admits that she doesn't have that strong testimony yet, but she's genuinely interested, and isn't saying what we're teaching is false, but that she doesn't yet know for herself if it's true. The problem is that she won't pray about it like we've asked her too, and I can't figure out why. Plus, she's sometimes a little shy to attend church without Ivy, so when Ivy gets sick, like she was yesterday, Kate doesn't go to church either. However, I think that if she gets baptized, she'll be our strongest convert of the three I just mentioned. She's really cool :)

In each area I've been in, we seem to have a really strong specific Priesthood fellowshipper. Here, it's the 2nd Counselor in the Branch Presidency, Kennette Banabatac. In Guimba, it was the Branch Young Men's President, Jayson Lazaro. In Gapan, it was Gerald C... I can't remember his last name :( Anyway, I saw him today!!! As I was walking out the post office, someone yells out "Elder Syphus!" I turn and it's him!! We're like 3 hours away from San Leonardo, but here he is in Camiling selling Tsinelas :) We talked for a little bit, and then he was on his way. Short visit, but I loved it. I can already tell how hard it's going to be to leave the Philippines at the end of my mission.

Out of time, but I Love you so much!!!!

Elder Syphus

PS For any and ALL future packages, just feel free to send cereal. I realized that that was something that doesn't exist in the Philippines that I miss. Any kinds of Cereal, except Froot Loops and Cookie Crisp. They have that here at least :)

Pictures next week, promise!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Week 46 (June 1, 2015 Camiling, Philippines)

Dear Mother Dearest,
Yup, the mission is pretty much super great. It can still be super challenging and frustrating sometimes, but then knowing that it's because of other's moral agency, and not necessarily (or fully, at least) your lack of diligence makes it a bit better. We had a District Conference yesterday where President Clark spoke. He shared a story about Project Noah in Zimbabwe where these rescuers went out trying to save animals stranded on slowly sinking islands. Despite the good and pure intentions of the rescuers, the animals got sort of freaked out because of everything that was happening and would attack some of the rescuers. A lot of people were hurt, and a lot of people wanted to quit. "They're not worth the pain they inflict," they said. And then President Clark related that to us as missionaries. We go to people, offering rescue and salvation. People get freaked out and sort of annoyed that two little kids are at their doorstep asking if they want to "learn about Jesus", so they yell at us, or throw things, or Bible Bash. Others just waste our time by running and hiding (which is absolutely super funny when it's the little old nanays... just image great-grandma White literally running from the Missionaries). President Clark says that sometimes we want to give up, but that's not an option in this rescue mission. The quality of their rescue will in even the smallest ways, affect our own. Cool thought.

Well, I experienced another super miracle this week... I wrote in my Journal!! :D Which means I have stuff to write about :)

I tried another cool food thing this week. It was fried squid. It was actually pretty okay. Their lip things are kind of hard, so I didn't eat that, but I ate the tentacles and the body and the battle axe hat thing that they have. They're just super chewy, so it took me a while to eat it, even though he was just a little guy. The best part about it though is that an investigator cooked it for us. Actually, I guess she's a less active, but her kids are investigators. The Navelgas family. Frances is 13, and is progressing super well. He's goaled for July 11. His older sister is really friendly and likes to listen, but still is too busy at work to keep commitments very well. Maybe with time.

During this week, I also discovered some Kokori. It's a Legend of Zelda Reference. Basically it's a group of kids that live in a Mango forest, and when we met them the first time, their were no adults. These little kids were cooking lunch, and washing their clothes, and doing everything adults do, and living happy lives. So I've begun to refer to them as the Kokori. Anyway, it turns out their dad was just at work, but when we came back, he was there and so we were able to teach them about the Restoration. The three little kids attended church, but the dad was busy. However, he seems really interested and willing, and they don't live far at all from the church, so I'm super excited for them. There real names, starting from the Dad and going through to the youngest child, are: Romeo Aguilar, Rommel, Raymond, Rochelle, Romeo Jr, and Rjour. Romeo Jr and Rjour are too young for baptism, but they still like to listen. It's a good family.

On Tuesday night, we walked for an hour (no exaggeration), to get to one of our more progressing areas. When we got their, we weren't able to teach one of the three families we were planning on because some punks forced the family's 10-year old son to drink a whole bottle of beer by himself. The kid couldn't stop throwing up, and so the family just told us to leave. I kind of wish we would've offered a blessing, but the family isn't super receptive or progressive anyway, plus the kid was drunk. The kid was alright, though, when we went back three days later.
Our other investigator in the area hit a bit of a rough patch because he was the only one in his family interested, but wasn't too keen on switching religions against his parents and siblings. He still wanted the lessons, just not the commitments. This is Jonathan by the way, whose mom was super against us teaching him at first. However, when we went to teach Jonathan this specific night, we told his mom about the situation, and asked if she could just sit in, so her son wouldn't feel so alone. She agreed, even if hesitantly at first, but as we were teaching about how the Gospel blesses Families, she started paying more attention, asking questions, and ended up with tears in her eyes. It was a really powerful lesson. She said she's going to try to get her husband to listen as well tomorrow. I love the Gospel :)

So in general, Missionary life is just like I described it earlier, regarding President Clark's story. We hit a bunch of rough patches, and want to turn back, but if we'll just keep moving forward and striving to help those we meet, we find more of the beautiful views along the way. That's something I'm starting to appreciate more about the Philippines in general. Sometimes I focus so much on staring at the ground, trying to not step in the mud and puddles, that I miss the beauty that's literally all around me. We're hitting rainy season now, which means we're trudging through knee deep flood water every afternoon, but everything looks super incredible after the storm :)

Sorry, rushing now, out of time.

Scripture for this week!
Mark 4
26 And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground;

27 And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

28 For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

29 But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.

I found this in my study of Jesus the Christ. James E Talmage talks about its relevance to Missionary Work. As missionaries, we plant a lot of seeds, but our job isn't to grow the plant. The plant grows all on it's own. We can make the effort to provide a good doctrinal foundation, show them the light of Christ, and help them progress to the waters of baptism, but the growth can only happen within themselves. We can not force conversion on anyone. We can simply provide a healthy environment for growth.

Anyway, love you all so much, and I'll try to send some pictures, but no promises beacuse of time. Love you!!

Elder Syphus