Monday, May 30, 2016

Week 98 (Camiling, Philippines May 30, 2016)

Mah Momma!!

No worries, Elder Smith is awesome :) It was just a little bit of getting used to one another. It just sort of took a little longer because we're both more on the quiet side. We're cool now though.

Not a lot of time to write today: we got LOTS of reports, haha. Kind of stressful but sort of fun? all at the same time :P I don't understand it either.

Sounds like you all had a great weekend :P I'm actually surprised you and Dad were down for it ;) but I'm glad you were. I joined in on a few of Krem's skype sessions with Jake, and I've got no complaints. He seems like a cool guy. Do you think he could teach me how to be swole? ;)

We actually do have lots of time to work and stuff. Mondays are pretty hectic, and we have a few extra meetings throughout the week, but we also get a lot of time with investigators. We actually had two baptisms on Saturday :) A mother and son, and the Dad should be in two weeks. Building families is the coolest :) John Marselle Bautista and his mom, Giselle Bautista. Left the camera at home, but I'll send pictures next week.

I got to conduct another interview for Baptism this week! As you should probably know, that's my ALL-TIME favorite part of having a mission assignment. Interviews. This interview was a girl named Girlie (original, right?). Her testimony is so powerful and she wants so bad to be baptized and to be clean and worthy and ready for it, and knows how important it it... which is why I didn't pass her. It was probably one of the hardest things I've done out here, and she was near tears, but she has some things she still needs to work out. I just know (and I told her it too) that she would be short changing herself and this experience should she be baptized now, without being properly prepared. She agreed, thanked me, and then offered a super sincere and touching prayer before leaving. She'll be awesome, but needs a few weeks.

In other awesomeness, we had exchanges with the Assistants, Elder Thacker and Elder Amparado. Elder Amparado was my old Zone Leader when we were in Cabanatuan, and he also leaves the mission with me. He's super obsessed with Kambree :P Elder Thacker is from Highland, and went to highschool with Jake Armatage, Mailea Dalley's soon-to-be husband. A lot of people say we look alike (I actually sort of see it too). I got to work with Elder Thacker, and I can't say I'm disappointed. He climbed the ranks here in the mission really fast, and for good reason. People always say "Work Smarter, not Harder" but he goes the next step and improves his efforts in both. He's super diligent, but doesn't waste time trying to go "door-knocking" at 8:45 at night. I learned a lot from him, and hope to maybe hook up after he gets home in August. He'll be enrolling in BYU's engineering program, so who knows? ;)

Anyhoo, love you so much Mom!!

Elder Syphus

Monday, May 23, 2016

Week 97 (Camiling, Philippines May 23, 2016)

Mom :D

Ya, it was kind of a bummer that I got transferred out, but I'm glad I was given this opportunity. It's definitely tough, but Elder Smith is a champ and helping me out. I feel like I kind of slow him down, sometimes though, which is super humbling, considering that I kept praying for a companion that already knew what he was doing and could just get out there and do it :P That definitely describes Elder Smith. He got pretty upset at me earlier this week, and I still don't know why, but we're good now. He's a really good missionary, but everyone has their weaknesses of course. He's definitely got his fair share of strengths to make up for it though. He single-handedly put together a fireside last night, that I didn't really have any idea about :P I just hope I can show him that he can trust me with some of his workload... actually, I just hope I can be trusted with it! Elder Smith was saying that when you become a Zone Leader, you're no longer a missionary in the typical sense. You're a leader now, playing with the big boys, coordinating with the Missionary President, Stake Presidents, multiple wards, etc. I haven't even gotten a taste of it!! Super nervous/anxious/excited all at the same time, haha. So yup, definitely not a natural. Ha. Ha. Hooooo............ ;)

As for camping, I'm super down!! I think that would be a ton of fun.

Quick update: Bautista Family (Investigators) are doing good, and 2 of them were interviewed and passed yesterday for baptism. The father still has a few weeks to prove that he's off alcohol. He's strong though. He'll make it :D
We had a district firesdie last night (thanks to Elder Smith) and I got to see Joseph Torres again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He was one of the people I taught in Pindangan and got SOOOOO close to being baptized before I left, but he's a member now and is the Young Men's President!! He hits a year in either July or Augest, and then will go to be endowed. Kate Prado was also baptized, and is now the Young Women's President. I'm hoping to get some pictures with them and some other members in Pindangan before I leave.

Love you all!! Busy Busy, but it's all crazy fun :D
Less than a month...

Elder Syphus

Monday, May 16, 2016

Week 96 (Camiling, Philippines May 16, 2016)

Hey Mom :)

So, I guess you already know. President Clark called me Wednesday morning before Transfer announcements and extended the assignment which I of course accepted. I'm serving with Elder Smith now, and I'm back in Camiling Zone! Which means that I may or may not get the chance to go back to Pindangan and see the members again. I've already gotten to see a few in the Bayan, and they were all happy reunions :)

The new assignment is actually really exciting, haha. And yes, there's a lot more work to do. On my second day in the area, Elder Smith and I had to give a 90 minute workshop to a bunch of Stake Leaders about Member Missionary Coordination efforts, with President Clark doing the same thing next door. It was actually a well spent 90 minutes, and we got a lot of good input from them. We're hoping to see things pick up out here. We've got another meeting with the Leaders and President Clark again in a few weeks, but I don't think we'll be giving any workshops at this one, haha. Just discussing the work in the Stake/District with everybody. We've also got to arrange a Musical number for a conference by Sunday, and then have a Training with President Clark a few days after that. Sort of super stoked #mnb :P

The area is sort of struggling right now, but Elder Strebe and I learned a lot from each other, and I feel more prepared to get the area moving in the short time I've got left. Of course, Elder Smith is going to be a HUGE help (he already has been), and so I'm really excited for these next 6 weeks. Love you Mom!!

Elder Syphus


I trust Mr Burr. He knows what he's doing, at least, more than I do :P We can do what he says, but I really want that Japanese class :D


Elder Smith and I. It poured our first evening here, and neither of us had umbrellas. It was awesome. We walked into peoples homes drenched and dripping and they were all like "wat evs."

ELDER MAESTRADO WAS IN THIS AREA BEFORE!!!! I opened up our area book, and saw the map, and then the handwriting. I was like "I KNOW WHO WROTE THIS!!" :D :D

Elder Strebe and I with Amparo and Mateo. Don't worry. They're super fun and happy. They just don't understand the whole "say cheese" thing :P

Leonardo Facon

For Erik. These are our weekly pizzas, but we've got another place here in Camiling, and It's pretty bomb.

Elder Strebe in the beginning stages of his "lamon". It gets kind of messy ;)

For Erik as well. This is the current Dupinga River from the bridge
Love you!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Week 95 (May 8, 2016 Gabaldon, Philippines)

We loved skyping with Joel last night and he is enjoying his mission so much. In fact, when he talked about coming home he said he felt bad that he wasn't even excited and then he started to cry. Of course, we all teared up with him knowing of his tender feelings for his mission. It's going to be hard for him but he was advised from Pres. Haynie to come home and go to his bishop and start working in the temple so this has him at least looking forward to still serving his Heavenly Father in some way. We are so proud of him and the joy that he has felt in serving the Philippine people. As much as we are excited to see him soon, we also have heavy hearts right along with him. All will be well though!!! Love to all of you!​

Quick Email:

I have 6 weeks left, and I will NOT let it go to waste. I am super excited to work miracles with the help of the Lord, and finish with a bang. For Katelyn, and Mom, and Shaun, and anyone else I talked about it to: this really has been the BEST 2 YEARS, that everyone talks about. I really struggle finding it at first, but I've found it now, and it's blessed my life like crazy. Thank you so much for all of your love and support and advice, and HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY to all of you mothers!!

We had a good week this week. Fair share of trials and road blocks, but I guess those never really go away. Like I said, we didn't have any investigators go to church which was rough, but we're hopefully going to get all of them there next time. Amparo and Mateo struggle betwixt themselves, but we got things running pretty smoothly, so it should all be good. If the Lord's a miracle worker (and He is), our district could have 7 more baptisms this month of May, but that of course also has to fall in line with everyone's agency. It saves 'em and breaks 'em.

Quick update about Amparo:she's the coolest. She can't read a lot of the time because of her eyesight, but whenever she's able to borrow glasses, she does incredible. She said that she borrowed a pair from her neighbor after we taught her a lesson, and started reading from a verse we read to her. (I actually don't remember the verse) Anyway, we ask her about what she learned, and she goes crazy in depth about Alma and Amulek's story in Ammonihah, with all these details, and so we gave her Jacob 5 to read and ponder over, and when we followed up with her there, she started talking about the surface story of the chapter, but then moved into what it meant with all the symbolism and everything!! Scattered israel, nephites and lamanites, gathering of isareal. E'rythang. She's the coolest.

Anyhoo, love you so much!! See you in 6! I'll make it worth it!!!

Elder Syphus

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Week 94 (May 1, 2016 Gabaldon, Philippines)

Happy Birthday to all of my Siblings!! ALL OF THEM. There, that takes care of that for the next year ;)

Dear Mom,

This week has been kind of rough, but awesome at the same time. Everybody is starting to get sick, and so the work in the District has been down. I'm pushing through a cold right now, but feel fine except for a clogged nose. There was an emergency transfer in the District, and so Elder Flores is now in Cabanatuan, with Elder Pulu from Tonga taking his place here in Bongabon. I've never worked too closely with an Islander before, so I'm actually super excited. He seems super nice, and hardworking, which Islanders typically are, but maybe a little bit too fun-loving if you know what I mean, haha. I really am excited though. Haven't met him in person yet, but have had a few good talks with him on the phone, so we're pretty much bffs already. #mnb

So, about progress with investigators! Amparo and Mateo weren't able to make it to church this week because there was no one to spot him for the hour he needed, so that was kind of a bummer, but both Jemmalyn Paminutan and Leonardo Facon were able to attend, which is awesome, because Jemmalyn has only been once, a long time ago, and this is Leonardo's first time. We followed up with them afterwards, and Leonardo says he really enjoyed it and is excited for next week. Jemmalyn really likes it too, but struggles with her son who isn't quite used to Primary yet. He'll stay and play with the other kids there for about 20 minutes before having to come find his Mom. The Gospel Essentials class has pretty much become a 2nd Primary, anyway, haha. The kids are fun, if not a little bit rambunctious. It's okay though. I've learned patience :P

This week, we also had Zone interviews!! It was crazy awesome, because it wasn't your typical gathering in the stake center as a Zone with President and Sister Clark, but instead, they went house to house throughout the mission, interviewing us in our homes. It was sort of crazy stressful just trying to get everything clean before Sister Clark showed up (I really want to go off into a tangent right here, but I'll control myself), but we passed, no problem. It's a good thing the lights were off though, because I forgot to erase my pencil drawing off the wall next to my bed, haha. It's okay. I'll erase it later ;) The actual interview, was totes my favorite part of course, and here's why: 1-on-1 Q&A with President Clark. Normally I don't really take advantage of this opportunity, but there were a few questions I really wanted answered, and he was more than willing to appease me. There was only one question I was dying to ask him, and his answer was the best. I simply asked him about his favorite part of being a Mission President. He old me that it was in seeing Missionaries mature. From seeing them move from being this dorky little kid right out of high school (not necessarily talking about myself, so don't be too quick to assume) to becoming an effective minister of the Gospel. He says that ya, baptisms are nice, but his experience would be a lot less bearable and enjoyable even if it were a bunch of programmed robots getting done twice as much work as we are, rather than us stumbling along,tripping into success every now and then as we go, haha :P President Clark is the coolest.

But he sure does have sucky timing. He dropped off some mail before he left that I really didn't want to receive. Too make a long story short, it's been confirmed! I'll be seeing you all next month!

Anyhoo, that was the week. It was a good one....ish :P

Love you Mom!! We can use Google Hangouts again and it'll be Sunday evening for you guys at approximately 8 pm. Talk to you then!

Elder Syphus

This is a couple of pictures and an excerpt from Sis. Clarks (MP's wife) blog....
"We combined all of the Third Chair pictures onto one large tarpaulin poster and display it in our office. We love this "quilt" of pictures that reminds us to live our lives in such a way that we can always have the Holy Ghost with us in lessons.
We are in awe at the goodness of our dear, dear Angeles Missionaries. Thank you for the most memorable round of interviews!"