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!

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