Sunday, November 29, 2015

Week 72 (Nov. 29, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

Could you get me Kambree's Email?
Still no packages, but I got your letter. That's why I asked for Kambree's email. I said I don't know if I will because you said they got here to the Philippines over a month ago, right? Doesn't that mean I would've collected them by now? The next time we get mail is next Wednesday, so we'll see what happens then :)

This week has been good. Roger is still strong and hasn't lost faith, but he's just really weak. He was really happy to see us though, I'm glad about that of course, haha. The one companionship I mentioned last week is still struggling, so the Zone leaders had exchanges with them. Their finding efforts in terms of contacting people that day more than doubled the other 6 days combined. It seems like the Zone Leaders are the only ones keeping their heads above water :/ I'll be going on exchanges this week and hopefully addressing the issue, but I'm super nervous so just wish me luck. Ugh. Haha :P

We've got two investigators that we've got goaled for December, so keep them in your prayers. Ariel Manuel Sr and Rosalina Turalba. Rosalina has been attending church but has trouble absorbing the doctrine. Brother Manuel knows his stuff, but he hasn't attended church yet. We think our Bishop here would be a really good fellow shipper for him, so we've got an appointment later with him to coordinate schedules. Lots of work and really stressful, but I also love it so much. Being a missionary is awesome, and it only gets better as things get harder, haha. Makes no sense, but it's true :)

Anyway, love you!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 71 (Nov. 22, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mom,

I don't know if I answered last week, so I'll answer now. Still no packages. If I don't get them tomorrow, I don't know if they're going to show up :( Sorry :(

Anyway though, your week sounds awesome!! That's so awesome that they were all sealed together.Tell me again about Aria? I forgot her story. But seriously, that's so great for them.

This week has been sort of rough :/ I still love the work and being a missionary, but Satan is working really hard right now here in Talavera. I won't blame this part on Satan, but it's devastating none the less. Roger had a stroke. It was right after church last sunday, but we didn't find out until Tuesday. He was rushed to the Hospital and has been there since. He's still fine and alive, but his entire left side is compltely paralyzed. We visit him everyday or every other if we're short on time, just to encourage him and show our love for him, but he's understandably very down about his situation. His wife practically lives there in the hospital, but it's not like hospital rooms. I don't know if they have this is in America, but It's basically just a long hall with beds along the wall. It' interesting.

Work is dropping in our district because one of the Elders is close to going home really soon, and doesn't really want to work anymore. His companion sort of just follows along with him, so their area is suffering a lot. It's sort of stressful and keeps me from focusing as much as I should be on the work, so we're not doing so hot either. We'll definitely be making some changes this week though, so no worries. Not the end of the world, haha. We've just got some stuff put in order and we'll be back in action.

Sort of uneventful this week, except for the new McDonald's that opened yesterday, but besides that nothing incredibly exciting. Love you though!!

Love Elder Syphus

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week 70 (Nov. 15, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Hi Mom!

Sorry your birthday wasn't everything it should have been, but I'm glad you enjoyed some time with the family :) That's really all I want to do for a while when I get home. Daniel says he and Corinna are planning a trip to Disneyland for our old group of friends when I get back, but we'll see how that goes, haha.

Oh my goodness, reading about Saxton and the plays put me literally has put me to tears. It's incredible the kind of stuff that man has done for so many people. Even though I only ever worked under him backstage, he's still had a huge effect on me. It makes me so sad that I wasn't able to be there for the show and ceremony, but I know I'm right where I'm supposed to be, which I'm just as incredibly grateful for. Send him my love and best wishes, should you ever get the chance. He and his work were a huge part of my life in highschool, and maybe an even bigger part of me actually learning a lot about myself, things that I doubt I could've learned any other way. LOVE YOU SAXTON!!!!

Elder Gallego and I are cool now. I've humbled myself and grew up quite a bit since we were companions, and it's a lot easier now for me to realize that even though he may have some weaknesses, just like we all certainly do, him and I are both here for the same reason- bringing souls unto Christ. It's been fun talking to him and reminiscing on days and events out in Guimba, a whole 20 minutes away from our current area :P It's nice to talk to him again.

This week was interesting. We were able to talk some more to President Clark about Roger Arcilla's baptism, but because of some past transgression, chances are nothing will happen for Roger while I'm still here. And I don't mean here as in "here in Talavera", but here as in "here in the Philippines." Yup. I could be done with my two years and chillin' in Nauvoo before Roger gets baptized :/ He's definitely accepted the gospel, and is really strong and faithful in his testimony, but stuff has happened and any further progression with him is just really foggy. Ya. Hard stuff :(

We still stay strong though :) We've had some good work here, and have got some investigators who seem to be pretty serious and interested. They're keeping commitments and making lengthened strides to making and keeping some very important covenants :D Our next baptism, it seems won't be until December, but we're planning quite a few. Things excite :)

And for just some extra tidbits and stories, I met a deaf person!!!! And it was practically signing to an American. I've met a few others, but their Sign Language is different, but this one knew ASL!!!!!!!!! Her name was Cherry Alvarez, and apparently she got really sick when she was a kid and lost her hearing, but has since learned sign. It was so awesome though just because we were able to have a full on conversation. I'm definitely better with Tagalog than ASL, haha, but it was good, nonetheless. Her actions and energy and expressions were all exactly in line with the Deaf culture in America, which made it all the better.

In other news, I've got a not-so-secret admirer out here in Talavera, and I guess you could say we're pretty much besties. #nbd Her name is Sophia, and she is 9 :P Hahahahaha!!! I was out washing my clothes one morning on our back porch when a little wad of paper with a rock in it flies over the wall and almost hits me! I pick it up and there's a note on it from Sophia. Apparently she saw me one morning and just got super intrigued with the super white foreigner next door, and finally built up the courage to send a me quick note ;) So now during dinner or other times when we're not doing much we throw little rock notes back and forth. I've probably got like 20 from her so far :P Such an awesome little kid.

Anyway, love you Mom!!! Happy anniversary to you and Dad on the 18th!! Love you both!!!!

Elder Syphus

Zone Activity. I love these guys :D Our Zone Leaders are Elder Amparado and Elder Martel (Far left w/ Missionary Planner shirt, and 3rd from the left on the back row. Super pogi, and kind of looks like Daniel. From Canada)

I cooked :-)

​Elder Chand is teaching me how to take selfies. ..... >.>

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Week 69 (Nov. 8, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mother Mom,

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!! How are you guys planning on celebrating?? Dad got anything big planned for the two of you? Or are you saving that for your anniversary? I hope it's a good one!! Love you so much!!

And guess what. I'm still in Talavera!! With Elder Chand!!!! We both thought for sure that I was being transferred since I've already been here for three, but President Clark seems to have something else in mind. I can't say I'm disappointed, because I've really grown to love it here. We just had another investigator interviewed for baptism yesterday and he passed, but a report still needs to be sent in to President Clark. He should hopefully be baptized though within the month. Things are still rolling :) We've also got a family who is re investigating now that His older member sister is home from Japan. We've got them goaled for December. I'll be here at least until December 31st, and that's when SISTER SHIPLEY GOES HOME!!! All the sisters in my batch, that is, but I say Sister Shipley because she's from St George. Craziness, right??

Oh, and you wouldn't believe who our new housemate is. Elder Silva got transferred, so now Elder Valdez has a new companion. Elder Gallego. This will be a interesting transfer :P

Love you Mom!! Happy Birthday again!! I'll try to write a letter and send that as well. Thank you so much for everything!!

Love Elder Syphus

Haha, Love the letter Dad!! Thank you!! I'm assuming Linkon or Liam played a part in it. Tell him thanks for his role in it as well :) Wait how old is Liam now?? I thought it was Linkon because he said he was four, but you said Liam was random, so now I'm not so sure. Haha, it's crazy how much you lose track of these kinds of things. Any big plans for Mom's Birthday tomorrow? Or is she just going for a another shopping spree at Walmart? ;) Tell her to try the Mall by See's. I'm starting to realize why people like shopping, haha. I think we waste too much time just wandering around and looking at stuff. I always find myself stuck in the watch stores :P
Love you Dad! Thanks again!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Week 68 (Nov. 1, 2015 Talavera, Philippines)

Dear Mom (and all),

We had a pretty good week this week. We had Zone interviews on Tuesday with President Clark, and there were a lot of good workshops about more effective studies and planning. The interview was a good one-on-one time to just talk and give President an update on being a Missionary, but I realize that I should actually bring something in. It's sort of like my calls home. I never prepare anything to ask or talk about so it's just a bunch of silence (I accept full responsibility for that). I didn't really go into the interview with any questions or comments, so it was just a really quick one. Definitely learned something from it, though :)

On Thursday we had exchanges with the Talavera B Elders, but spent a lot of it in Cabanatuan City taking another language test. Thankfully, the only two that needed to take it were Elder Silva and I, and we were already planning on pairing up for the day, so it all worked out. We had a good day of looking over their area and any skills we need to improve on. Exchanges in general have always been a pretty good time :)

Friday was awesome, just because of one of our investigators, Ariel Manuel Sr. His wife and son are both members, and another one of his sons was baptized, but never went back to church to be confirmed, so that's definitely a big concern for them. However, Friday night, Brother Manuel told us that he was finally deciding on giving up smoking! Missionaries have been teaching him for at least a year, but there was any never any serious progression because of his addiction, but he's determined to give it all up now, and he seems like he's becoming a lot more receptive to everything we're teaching him. I think if we can continue to help him out and be baptized, it will be a really big help for his kids as well. The Mom is in Saudi Arabia, and so the kids aren't working with a lot of support right now, Gospel wise. I think this will definitely be a big step in the families Salvation :)

On Saturday, we had another baptism!! Jhomel Apolonio Dela Cruz is 16 years old, and the missionaries have been teaching him as well for about a year. The original concern was that the church was so far from his house, but now, he's determined not to let it stop him. He's and awesome example of the truthfulness of the old saying, "If there's a will, there's a way." The cool thing is that one of the original Elders who taught him in assigned here in the Zone again as one of the Zone Leaders, and so he was able to come to our area to actually perform the baptism!! It was a really awesome experience for all of them, and Jhomel is looking like he'll be a really strong member of the church.

Sunday was sort of uneventful because of All Souls Day. It a November 1st celebration where everyone gathers at the cemetery to visit their dead ancestors, and basically just spend the whole day in or around that general vicinity. A lot of people aren't necessarily in their... right minds, per se, because of the big gatherings, and so things get a little iffy, so President gave us a 7PM curfew. After studies and church and other meetings, we only ended up with about an hour and a half of Proselyting time :/ It was alright though. We got to contact a few people, and share with them God's plan to reunite families beyond the grave. It was good :)

And that's the week! Transfers are this Thursday, so we'll see what's happening, but I'm almost certain I'm transferring. It's all good though. Where He wants me, I'll go :)

And now, pictures!


Here are the pictures from Anthony's Baptism Last week. My camera was dead so I had to have Elder Chand send my the ones he took.

These are drawings of Elder Silva, from Sri Lankga. We're making a Zone Shirt and because Cabanatuan is the Tricycle capital of the Philippines I thought We could have a Trike Race on a shirt. These are the 4 Districts. We're #4. The Japanese Samurai one :D

Logo/ Zone Silhouette

The 4

Space Trike (The Districts decided what they wanted theirs to look like)

Food Trike

Pirate Trike

And Samurai Trike :D The writing translates to something like "Clan 4- Devious"

Jhomel's Baptism