Sunday, August 30, 2015

Week 59 (Aug. 30, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mine Mom,

Dad's Birthday Dinner sounds awesome :) I miss real burgers, SO much, and pretty much everything else that doesn't involve rice :P Whether it be Pizza, Pie, Burritos or Enchiladas, they don't have it here. I guess you can throw some rice in with burritos and enchiladas, but I think that that may too complicated for the Filipinos :/ So yeah, super excited to eat again in a year :P However, what I've been craving most lately (and I actually got a tinge homesick thinking about it), is Roast Beef and Mashed Potatoes. We were teaching a lesson, and the rice the guy was cooking started to burn, but for a split second, it smelt almost exactly like Roast Beef. But then it smelt like burnt rice. Go figure :P Anyhoo, still loving it out here, but definitely missing you all like crazy.

The Basement is sounding awesome!! That's going to be so exciting to see. So tell me again; what's happening to the play room? Is that being finished and becoming something special for the two of them? And what exactly are you doing right now? When I first read it, I thought it was you and Dad painting, but now I realize you're just prepping for painting. Does that mean like dry wall and plaster? Or have I just proved that my knowledge about construction is completely zero? Still sounds cool :P

Send Maddison my love. There's a new missionary who just came the other day who's from the St George Area. Her name is Sister Ott, and she's from Little Valley. She said she knew Maddison at Desert Hills, so it was cool to talk to another Homelander.

And speaking of new missionaries... No, I'm not training! Thank goodness ;) :P What happened is we got a group of Missionaries who just came from there assigned missions in India. There Visas expire after a year though, so they sort of get crated to the Filipinos and told to fend for themselves... Just kidding :P They're assigned a missionary host, and i happy to be one of the those. So my new companion, Elder Chand, knows perfectly well how to be a missionary, but just can't speak a word of Tagalog. So I'm basically a translator for the next 6 or more weeks. It's actually been kind of fun :) Of course I'm trying to teach him the Language, but it's not something that will happen over night. He's from Las Vegas, but both his Parents and all of his Grandparents grew up in Fiji. BUT, his nationality is actually pure Indian. Cool beans, huh? So, even though the language of Gospel Sharing in India is English, he stills knows how to speak Hindi, and he's been teaching me as I teach him Tagalog. It's awesome :) We also have a neighbor who has lived in the Philippines for 25 years, but grew up in India. He doesn't speak English though, so I talk to him with Tagalog, and Elder Chand talks in Hindi, and we get along just fine :P HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE IF WE GOT TO TEACH HIM?? New goal before I leave this area. Even I just teach him once, I want to help him feel the Spriti in TWO languages :D
So yeah, not training. Just hosting. And Translating :) And yup. Still District Leader.

Anyway, as for what happened here in Talavera this last week, I'm sad to say not much :/ Because it was a tripanionship, we had to juggle 2 different areas, which meant we both sort of suffered. We had some good lessons in, and found a few new Investigators, which is actually a miracle in and of itself. Four of them were even referrals. Definitely the weekly highlight :)

We got the referral from a Sister in our ward. Her name is Rose Ann, and the Referral is her younger brother and his family. It's actually incredible how God prepared them to receive the lessons. Brother Valdez (Rose Ann's brother), actually got involved in a Motorcycle accident last week because he was drunk. However, he saw it as such a miracle that he lived through the experience, and knew a little bit about the church because of his siblings, so when Sister Rose Ann was prompted to approach her Brother yet again about receiving the missionaries, he was ready and willing. So we were invited into their home and taught them about the Plan of Salvation. Not your typical first lesson, but Sister Valdez had some concerns that we felt were important enough to address right away. They're a really great family :)

Anyway, that's it for today! Love you so much!!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 58 (Aug. 24, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mom,
First off, I would just like to say that yes, Kambree is a beautiful young lady. The Filipinos sure think so too :P Whenever anyone looks through the "Memories" book you gave me, they always see that picture of me and Kambree, and ask "Is that your girlfriend?" I tell them no. They say "Does she have a boyfriend?" I say "No." They ask "How old is she?" I answer "Almost 18." And then they just whisper to themselves "Yesss." Little creepy, but then they make it better by calling me their brother in law :P ;)
Shaun is also quite popular among the Filipinos. They just say he's really pogi, which is like the Filipino word for handsome, but means something more like cute. However, it's not a word that you would ever use to describe a girl. Kind of weird.

In terms of the work out here in Talavera, Things are moving at a strange rate, and one of the Elders in my district, Elder Tejada, became an Assistant to the President, and so he left the area a week before transfers to be trained in his new duties. Because of this, Elder Silva now has no companion, and we are now a tri some. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, however, we know have to work in his area on one day, and then in ours the next, so we're not able to see all the peple we want to be seeing, and the numbers are really suffering. However, the people we're teaching are too awesome to be held back by a few stressed missionaries, and we had quite a few people attend church yesterday, even though we haven't been able to teach them all week. So EXCITING!! But here are our super investigators for the week.

Tatay Roger Arcilla was supposed to be interviewed for baptism on Friday, but he had the Flu, so it was postponed. e also wasn't able to attend church, which he was determined to do even with his flu, so that's kind of worrying. However, all should be fine and his Baptism should be either this Saturday or the next. It's so awesome how prepared he his!! He's sort of quiet when we teach but will go off on a tangent every now and then, but in turns out he's just silently soaking everything up, and then sharing his own personal experiences from being touched by the Holy Ghost. I love him :)

Anthony Valdez that I mentioned last week is super awesome as well. He attended church yesterday, and was dressed up nicer then most of the members. I was really impressed. He's a classy guy. He also wasn't shy at all. People would ask questions in Sunday School and Elder's Quorum, and he would always be one of the first with his hand up, if not the only one. He's got such an incredible story, and is so intent on finding the truth.

Jhomel Dela Cruz has been taught for a while, and was even interviewed for baptism, but an unresloved concern arose, and it was delayed. He was a little crushed by the situation, and so fell away from investigating seriously for a while, but now he's back :) We haven't been able to see him all week because his house is really far, and our schedule has just been super hectic with the extra area, but he attended church yesterday!! Super proud of him. He's been through a ton, and is making HUGE steps and changes in his life for the sake of the Lord and His church, and I'm so glad I get to be a part of it. It's awesome being a missionary :)

So quick scripture for you all:

In Alma 51, there is a split among the people. The King-Men want to overthrow their free government and establish a king to rule over them, but the Freemen were content with keeping Pahoran as their chief judge and being led by his guidance and that of the government as a whole. Pahoran then calls on Governor Moroni to help put the King-Men back in their place, which Moroni gladly does, but here are the scripures:

22 Behold, it came to pass that while Moroni was thus breaking down the wars and contentions among his own people, and subjecting them to peace and civilization, and making regulations to prepare for war against the Lamanites, behold, the Lamanites had come into the land of Moroni, which was in the borders by the seashore.

23 And it came to pass that the Nephites were not sufficiently strong in the city of Moroni; therefore Amalickiah did drive them, slaying many. And it came to pass that Amalickiah took possession of the city, yea, possession of all their fortifications.

And then in Alma 53

8 And now it came to pass that the armies of the Lamanites, on the west sea, south, while in the absence of Moroni on account of some intrigue amongst the Nephites, which caused dissensions amongst them, had gained some ground over the Nephites, yea, insomuch that they had obtained possession of a number of their cities in that part of the land.

So, what I got from all of this, I'd like to relate to our Families. In this account, there were contentions within the people, and they suffered from outside forces because of it. So it is true within our own homes. We can't expect to have contention and darkness with the home or family, and then go out searching for light and happiness. Anything we think we may find will not last through the eternities, because the only thing that can truly become eternal are our families. If we are weakened on the inside, we'll become so much more subject to the wickedness and sin from without. I regretfully admit that I was a very large part of the darkness that once existed in our home, and am actually brought to tears by the thought, but I have changed a lot our here in the field, and am determined to never allow it again on account of my actions. We will be more blessed and protected by the Lord from the filth of the world if we'll make the Personal efforts to keep it out of our homes.

I love you all so much, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY KAMBREE!!!! I LOVE YOU!!! Sorry for being such a jerk all the time before. That's one of many regrets that tears at my heart at even the thought. I really do regret acting the way I did, and hope both you and Kendly and everyone else will forgive me for it. But I truly do love you all!! Next week ulit :)

Elder Syphus

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 57 (Aug. 17, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!
In the packages, you just sent me little powdered juice mix. THere is the country time Lemonade and then the Strawberry Crush. They are both for a 500 ml bottle of water, but I'm using a 1L bottle, so I just mix one of each and get strawberry lemonade :D
My favorite cereals are Reeses Peanut Butter Puffs and Smorez Cereal, but don't feel like you need to get me anything. I'm more than happy eating Quaker Oats for breakfast and just receiving letters from you guys :) There's nothing I want that would be of any use here on the mission.
Aimmy comapared to Kambree and Kendyl make me think of Missionaries :P When a missionary comes brand new into the field, they usually do everything they can in order to be exactly obedient, but the ones who have been here longer don't usually care as much. Be careful with Aimmy though. If she sees the girls get away with slacking off, she'll feel more comfortable lazing off a bit as well ;)
Feel free to take any pictures you see and post them on the blog. I don't have a lot of time to go through all of them, so I just expect to look at them when I get home or something :P It was a blast though, and I've got some of my own that I'm sending to you today :)
Real quick cause no time :P - New investigator named Anthony. Super awesome, and asks a lot of questions, and highlights parts and sections of the Book of Mormon as he reads, even though we hadn't yet invited him to try it. He's awesome and we see him going places. His baptismal goal date is Set 12.
Tatay Roger Arcilla went to church yesterday! We should be having him interviewed this week, but depends on how well he still understands what we've taught him so far. Exciting! :D

Looks like something from a video game. I though I could make a game called "ORGANIC" in that writing, and then make it about a robot in a post-apocalyptic world trying to find organic matter and restoring life... then I realized I was reinventing WALL-E ... :P

Elder Fresnoze doing Elder Fresnoze stuff :P

High Def camera and little bugs.

I love the moon :)

DRAGON FRUIT!! Actually really good, bust mostly water. I expected a mango kind of texture, but was met with more of a watermelon like thing, but a very different flavor

Yum :)

Beautfiful sunsets :)

Love you!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 56 (Aug. 10, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!
The wedding looks awesome! That's so exciting for Katelyn!! I got the "wedding invitation" a few days ago, and I have posted it up on my wall :) I also got the packages!! Thank you so much!!! Like you said, the knife wasn't the one I was thinking of, but I'm actually glad I got the one that I did. I've already used the can opener a couple times :P I'm also loving the juices. Very delicious. The dried apples were also a hit with my housemates, so all is well :)
Sorry about last week. It was kind of a race against time that I terribly lost, so I'm trying to do some better prioritizing this week. I thought 1 hr in the MTC was rough, but put report updating in the 1 hr and it turns into a little bit of a nightmare :P
The last two weeks have been SO great, though. We had Zone Interviews with President Clark a while ago, but he was short on time, so I was called in as one of the last and it seemed kind of rushed, but the advice he gave has been SO helpful. I think it would be helpful to us all, so I'll share with you. He told me to have more meaningful prayers and Sacrament experiences, and I've been trying SO hard. I literally starting tearing up during Sacrament yesterday thinking of all that Christ has done for me, and how little he asks of me in return. It's been a really big booster. Prayers have definitely gone up in quality as well. I think it really helps if I actually just picture myself kneeling before God in person, and speaking to Him my thanks and desires. It's helped to strengthen my faith so much, and I love the feeling of peace and approval that comes afterwards :)
In other news, we have some SUPER awesome investigators :D Roger Arcilla is 72, Josephine Dela Cruz is about 17 or 18, and Rommel Del Rosario is 20.
Tatay Arcilla used to work in Saudi Arabia on a construction crew, and was able to stay true to his Christian beliefs. He's accepted everything we've taught him, and has gone to church two weeks in a row. The first week, he noticed he was one of the only people with a mustache, and so he shaved his just to show more respect to the church. He can longer see well enough to read, but when we suggested we come by everyday and read for a few minutes with him, he got super happy and excited about the idea, so that's what we do :P He's just a super humble, genuine, kind old man. We're trying to prepare him for baptism on the 29th.
Josephine Dela Cruz is the girl friend of one of the members in our ward, and she already seems to know more about the gospel than her boyfriend :P She's always really
​excited and eager to receive the lessons, and tries SO hard to feel the Spirit. She said that after she prayed about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, she starting "floating." She's taking that as a definite "YES" that it's all true. She's also moving towards the 29th for Baptism!
Rommel Del Rosario is a new investigator, and we've only been able to teach him twice, but I definitely like what I've seen in him already. He always has lots of comments and is really good at comparing or "likening" the things we teach him to his or our daily lives. I love how he pieced the Book of Mormon and Bible together :P He said the Bible is sort of like Elder Fresnoza, my Filipino companion. He's a native and has been around for a long time, and so can help me with stuff that maybe I'm not too familiar with. He said that I'm sort of like the Book of Mormon, in that I'm a little new in the Philippines, but come from a First World Country, so there are things the Elder Fresnoza doesn't know or understand that I could help him with. So basically, even though the Bible and the Book of Mormon come from two different backgrounds, they still are extremely important to each other in strengthening and adding upon the truths each contains. It was awesome to hear coming from a New Investigator :D We have him goaled for the 12th of September.
Cooking seems to have moved a little stronger in to my mission life as well these past two weeks ;) Two Saturdays ago, our ward held our own little cooking show for the area. Basically we just handed out a bunch of invitations to people to come a free food processing course, where they could learn how to make all of these different frozen foods and such and use it to start their own little businesses. We were able to talk to them all and invite them to listen to us as well, or to attend church with us on Sundays. We haven't been able to return to any of them just because we don't spend a lot of time in their area, but we're hoping we'll see some of them at church next Sunday :)
Today we also had a Zone activity, which was a lot of fun for my "inner-chef," if I've actually got one of those :P It was sort of like Chopped where we have mystery baskets and have to use all of the ingredients in our dishes. My group made my Filipino specialty which is just a basic adobo, except we added some Ginger to it this time. I also just used the remaining ingredients last minute to make a cream of Mushroom stew with pork, chicken broth, tomatoes, and ginger, and chilis. It was actually super funny how delicious it was :P What we ended up doing when all of the food was cooked, was a BOODLE FIGHT!! :D :D We just spread out a bunch of banana leaves on the ground, dumped a bunch of rice on it, dumped the ulams on the rice, and went crazy. No spoons, forks, pots or pans. We didn't even use any plates :P Sounds kin of unsanitary, but it was SO much fun :) We'll definitely have to do it when I get home :D

Anyway, that's all I have time for today. Thank you for your love and prayers!!
Love you!!

Elder Syphus

Zone Activity

Cooking party!

All the ulams. The stuff in the pot is my mushroom magic :P

HAving lunch :P

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Week 55 (Aug. 2, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

How has your week been? We've been seeing a lot of progression here in Talavera. It's kind of interesting, because sometimes I'll think of how few lessons we were able to teach this week, but then at other times I think of how many of our investigators are progressing towards baptism, but only now while emailing you have I suddenly thought of them both at once. It's sort of helped me realize that the Lord doesn't look at numbers in the sense of statistics. He looks at them more as an indicator of the dedication and devotion of his servants and children. I feel as though that even though we haven't had the highest numbers this week, the Lord and our Father in Heaven have seen how hard we worked, and is granting us incredible blessings because of it :)
Last night was a lot of fun. We went to a member's home to teach one of our progressing investigators, and we had a few priesthood holders from the branch their to assist in the teaching. While we were waiting for our investigator to show up, the Priesthood holders starting joking around with each other, and it was so funny! It's just a bunch of nonsense that they throw back and forth at each other but their execution on it all was perfect, which made it so hilarious. When are investigator showed up we calmed down a bit and taught her, but I was smiles the whole time because of the joking around earlier, which I think made the Spirit a lot stronger. Sometimes I forget to smile while I'm teaching, which probably inhibits the Spirit a little bit. People have been telling me my whole life to smile more often, and I can't seem to get the hang of it, but I feel like the mission is helping quite a bit :) I'm definitely smiling right now :D :D

Sorry Mom no time. Still alive. Still happy. Still love you

Elder Syphus