Sunday, October 25, 2015

Week 66 & 67 (Oct. 25, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

Sorry that I wasn't able to email last week. We were in Home Arrest all throughout P-Day, and the signal went out on our phone so we didn't get the announcement that it was okay to go out and email Tuesday Morning until it was too late :P We're all good now though.

The last two weeks have been sort of crazy. Just a bunch of running around trying to get everything in place before the storm moved in, and then trying to get it all up and running again afterwards. We had 3 straight days without electricity, so by 6 PM we were blind without candles. It's all good though. I got to fulfill my dream of writing in my journal by candlelight :P

Ya, I know the photos are kinda cheesy, but it was still really fun :D This was after the storm had already passed. The electricity was just down for an extended period of time. However, waking up to it all on Sunday Morning was kinda freaky. It was really loud, and we couldn't even see anything, but not because of the rain. During the middle of the night, the wind blew down a giant tree next to our house and almost squashed us. Literally though. Our roof was all bent and dented. We look out the window, and this is all we see
That's the part that's supposed to be in the sky :P But nope, not in this picture. It was only like that though for another 2 or so days before a bunch of people came and chopped it all up. Not a big deal though. They were planning on taking it out anyway and putting in a BBQ House, so it worked pretty well for them :)

The REAL news, however, of the past two weeks is Anthony Valdez. Woohoo, He was baptized! It was really funny just because we had no idea how anything was going to work because we weren't able to Coordinate with him on Sunday(House Arrest), and he lives kind of far, PLUS our phone had no more load or data available for texting and calling. So we just went and filled up the font and hoped everything would work :P He knew there was a baptism so he still came, along with a few members, and then he just had some of the other Elders in our District share the lessons and then into the font. It was a little rushed and unorganized, but still really spiritual. There was also a member who had been baptized before but whose record was nonexistant, so I got to baptize him as well. The Spirit was really powerful and helped a really stressful day become a lot better :)

So some other random stuff that has happened is that we saw a family of Ducks.

And that we got to go to SM CITY CABANATUAN!! (Google it) Woo!! I think I already mentioned it yo you, but I don't know if I ever sent the picture.....

It's a fruit owl in the Super Market. Isn't he adorable? :D

Love you Mom!! Thanks for teh updates and pictures! :)

Love Elder Syphus

PS I'm 99% sure I'll be coming home on June 15. After the 4 week transfer is an 8 week transfer, so it all evens out. SISTER SHIPLEY GOES HOME AT THE END OF THE 8 WEEK TRANSFER!!!! December 30, and her mission is finished. That's so crazy!!

PPS. What's BYU looking like?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Typhoon Koppu Update #3

Parents Letter – Update on Typhoon Koppu (Lando)

We are pleased to inform you of the safety and well-being of the missionaries of the Angeles Mission this Monday morning,October 19, 2015. All missionaries are accounted for. All have endured well a soggy Sunday and are ready to begin our new work week. Your prayers on behalf of your missionary and our mission have been answered.

Our missionaries spent Sunday in their homes in safety and relative dry conditions. Today the typhoon is still with us so we continue to have restrictions on missionary travel outside the immediate area around their homes. Though we are on the back side of the storm, we continue to have strong (gale force) winds and intermittent rain. We have a great deal of high standing water, rivers are running very high and many streams are out of their banks. It is not a time to put down our guard. Much of the mission is without power, trees are down, homes have been damaged and other risks still exist. We remain vigilant so limitations on missionary conduct will be in place.

We monitor the well-being of our missionaries and their homes every few hours by text/phone call. We have been generously blessed by continued phone service. We are secure in knowing that all missionaries have food and clean water. Some homes had water ingress yesterday so emergency relocation was necessary. This morning water has receded from most homes and things are going in the direction of “normal”.

Today is Preparation Day but it won’t be a regular letter writing day. Missionaries will be mostly in their homes working on post-typhoon clean-up. They will also be allowed to help people near them who have problems. Because of massive power outage, we will move our emailing to Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. You will get a letter, but a few days late. Thanks for your understanding.

We are grateful for your fervent prayers. The Lord loves and watches over His missionaries (and their families). It will be several days before we are free of the typhoon and its affects. Please continue to pray for us.

President and Sister Clark

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Typhoon Koppu Update #2

This of course, is wonderful news and we are so grateful for the love that Pres. and Sister Clark have for our missionaries.  However, my mother's heart just won't rest until I get a personal email from Joel himself.  And to think that he never liked camping while in scouting.  I'm thinking he's going to come home and actually enjoy a normal American camping trip.  Our prayers have been with the Philippine people, the saints and our missionaries.

Good morning Angeles Mission Parents and Friends:

This message is posted on Facebook because storm conditions make it difficult (lack of electricity at the Mission Home) to send out our normal email communications. Please forward this message to other mission parents if possible.

This morning Typhoon Koppu is pushing its way across the Angeles Mission. The storm came ashore at 1 a.m. local time near the city of Baler. This is the far eastern edge of Angeles Mission. The storm made landfall as a more powerful and intense typhoon than had been predicted.

Thankfully, we have prepared for a strong storm and as of 8:30 a.m. local time, all missionaries are accounted for and safe. Missionaries living along the eastern coast (Baler and Dingalan), were evacuated well ahead of the storm and will spend the next several days in cities safe from the storm surge.

Missionaries in the eastern portion of the mission are experiencing strong winds and moderate rainfall at this time. In the western half of the mission, winds are moderate as is rainfall. Forecasters predict winds to decrease and rainfall to intensify throughout today. The storm will weaken over land and as it turns to the north.

We are constantly monitoring weather forecasts and the situation with each missionary companionship. Our mission emergency preparedness plan is in place and each missionary has a copy of it. Approximately 20 typhoons pass through the Philippines each year so this is not an unexpected event.

We already see the hand of the Lord in caring for our missionaries and moderating some of the possible several conditions that may come to the mission. Your prayers are being heard and very much appreciated.

The Philippines Area Presidency is closely involved with the five missions impacted by Typhoon Koppu. We are grateful for their concern and wise counsel. We love our missionaries. They are obedient, faith-filled and safe.

President and Sister Clark

Friday, October 16, 2015

Typhoon Koopu Update

October 16, 2015
To the Families of Philippines Angeles Missionaries:

Most of you are aware there is a tropical typhoon LANDO (KOPPU) heading towards the Philippines. The storm is being closely monitored by the Church’s Philippines Area Office with regular bulletins to Mission Presidents. Currently the storm is tracking a path taking it over northern Luzon, impacting all of the Philippines Angeles Mission. The storm is forecast to make landfall this weekend in northern Aurora province after it traverses across the eastern part of the Philippine Sea.

Government weather forecaster say the typhoon is now packing winds of 130 kilometers (81 miles) per hour with gusts up to 160 kph (99 mph). As LANDO moves closer to land its winds will likely intensify to 185 kph (115 mph). It is expected to hit land early Sunday morning, and could linger in the country for several days, dumping heavy rains. We anticipate the storm will bring heavy rains (30 mm to 50 mm) and moderate to strong winds (gusts of up to 100 kph) as it passes over the island. Areas of the western side and southern side of the mission will have lesser rain and wind. Typhoons can be unpredictable and a sudden change of course may happen. We are watching closely to assure that we can react appropriately should the storm turn or suddenly strengthen.

Precautions have already been taken to protect our missionaries. Missionary preparations include checking and stocking their 72 hour kits, having emergency cash in hand, keeping their cell phones charged and staying away from flash flood prone areas and high standing water. Your missionary has been alerted to prepare for the storm in his/her specific area. Missionaries in low lying areas on the eastern coast of Luzon (Baler and Dingalan) have already been evacuated far inland to much higher ground and safer housing. All missionaries will be restricted to their secure houses while the storm presents the greatest risk. They know to stay in communication with mission leaders and report any situation they deem threatening.

Know that great vigilance is being exercised to protect missionaries and members in the Angeles Mission. We are prayerful and faith filled, knowing that God watches over us. Thank you for your prayers. We will send similar communication to you over the next 72 hours as the situation changes and circumstances permit. Once the storm has passed all missionaries will be accounted for. We will then provide follow-up communication to you.

President Scott Clark

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Week 65 (Oct. 11, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

When I heard Elder Holland's talk in General Conference, I just..... I don't know. I don;t even know how to describe how much love I felt for you. I definitely shed some tears, and started to miss you like crazy, but no worries, no thoughts of cutting the Mission short :) Just always know how much I truly love you!!

Conference in general was awesome, and I'm really realizing how awesome Elder D Todd Christofferson is. Of course, they're all amazing, but I was going over my other Conference notes, and saw how much I've been getting from his talks, and how much it has all helped me.
President Monson seemed really passionate about his talk which was beautiful, but it's kind of worrisome how weak he is getting. He had to be helped from the Pulpit, didn't he? It's just an incredible blessing to know that they won't be taken till their duty is done.
Elder Bednar's talk was another one of my favorites, with him sharing those quotes from those past Prophets and Apostles. What really hit me though was how right after he ended while I was still pondering over what he said, the choir started singing "As I have love you, loved one another," and it just hit me so strongly that that was an admonition coming not only from the Savior but from all those Elder Bednar had just spoken for, as their final wish and admonition to all of us. It's incredible to think how much they truly do love all of us, despite having never met hardly any of us. They truly can see us as God sees us, and it makes their love for us so much more powerful. Gaaaah!!! I can't put into words how incredible it all was!!! I LOVE GENERAL CONFERNECE!!!

Anyway, I'll answer your question now: Yes, I'm still in Talavera!! :D However, I don't know how many baptisms we'll be able to experience, because rumor is that this is a 4 week transfer instead of the typical 6 for some reason, which means the 4 or so happening in November will be just out of my reach :/ Roger still seems like he'll make it in October, but some things came up that we need to fix before he can be baptized, and Anthony hasn't been attending church for the past couple weeks because he's out working with his dad, so we'll have to move his baptismal date until he better understands the importance of attending church. His Mom is progressing really well though, so we'll so what happens with her. They really are and awesome family, they just don't have the paternal support they need, which is sending a crushing blow into their progression. Things will all work out, though :)

So, Elder Chand and I get another 4 weeks at least with each other, which should be fun. Not much else happened this week, or no that I really remember just because I filled up my Journal and need to buy another one :P Not many people were transferred though, which is surprising. For the most part the zone seems to have stayed the same. A few went home, and a few are training, but besides that, we're all the same.

Anyway, love you!! Thanks for the letters and emails and things!! :D

Also, if you could just let my friends and others know that if they'll email me their home address, I'll write them a letter, just because I don't have a ton of time to email them all. Thanks Mom!!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Week 64 (Oct. 4, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

This week was good, but I'm short on time, so here's a quick update.
I cheated in learning about the new Apostles. That's incredible!! Elders Rasband, Denlund, and Stevenson, if those spellings are right. It's crazy to think that there have only been 100 ordained apostles in about 200 years. Cool stuff, huh?

Thursday was a training meeting we had with President Clark and a bunch of other Elders on the East side of the mission. President Clark's workshop was basically about how we need to be more involved in workshops and meetings if we want the Spirit we say we do. The Spirit won't be able to get to someone who's half asleep, so we need to wake up. It was kind of intense but I loved it and learned a lot. The Assistants also gave a workshop on how District Meetings should work in order to be a more edifying, spiritually uplifting experience. I thought it was awesome, and helped me a ton. Definitely some interesting stuff to try out and apply :)

The Valdez family is still really good :) Anthony wasn't able to attend church this Sunday because his Dad took him out on some errands even though he didn't want to go. He felt bad about it, but he's committed to come to General Conference this weekend. I love this kid :D His interview should either be this Friday or Saturday with President Clark because of some stuff that happened earlier in his life, but he's awesome, so I'm sure everything will be fine. His mom is pretty close too, and Elaine starting attending church, so things are moving :)
We had an interview last Saturday with Roger Arcilla, the old Tatay we've been teaching. He felt the Spirit so strongly and walked out so happy and smiley. Old People are so cute :P He gave awesome answers and bore great testimony, but he'll be having another interview with President Clark as well because of some things, but he doesn't mind at all. He's so ready and willing to do anything he needs to do in order to be baptized. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE :D :D

Anyway, that's all I've really got time for today, so I'll leave it there. Love you!!

Elder Syphus