Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January 4th, 2016- Still in Tiolas

So, I'll maybe start with the biggest news.  We had an interesting transfer day.  I ended up not getting transferred.  Elder Crooks was the only one who got transferred in our district, even though he has only been here for one transfer.  Elder Layos was supposed to train, but President Aquino called the night before saying that Elder Layos' trainee went home.  We aren't really sure of the story on that one, but the ending result is that Elder Pajarillo, Elder Layos, and I are left in a tripanionship over all of San Joaquin.  I'm pretty excited about that because I really like the two, and work is way more fun with three.  And plus, we inherited all of their investigators hehe.  It's just nice to see some new faces too.  I have had some challenges here in this area, but this transfer will be the best for sure.  The area is really progressing right now.  

New Years happened this week!  That was really not much for us.  We had early curfew and then I just slept.  A lot!  It was awesome to catch up.   The other two didn't sleep much they said, but I didn't wake up once!  It was pretty loud with all of the firecrackers and trumpet kwans and the music, but I had a successful night rest.  

Sunday was great as well. I think besides branch conference, we set a Tiolas Branch attendance.  89!  whoo!  We usually average around 50 or 60 so it was a fun day at the church.  Everyone was excited, so it was pretty fun.  

Then that day of work, I also set a personal record in my mission for time waiting for a ride.  we waited from 4:30 to 7:30 for a bus.  We had 4 go by, but they were all full.  We ended up calling a member to come pick us up, and his tricycle is really old and slow.  We ended up getting back at 8:45 leaving us with no choice but to go home.  

The pictures for some reason today aren't uploading, so I'll get them next week. Sorry about that!

Elder Robertson

Sunday, January 3, 2016

December 28th, 2015- A Little Conversation After a Christmas Skype Hang Up

From Stuarts Mom: 
It was so good to talk to you on Christmas.... You look so good and we're so proud of how good of a missionary you are being.  We can tell you are trying really hard. 
Ummmmm.... You kind of just hung up on us abruptly... Lol!!!   I was winding up for a good little cry session saying good bye and then, poof,  you're gone!!!   My mouth kind of dropped open!  Everyone had a good laugh about that. 
We're having lots of fun on our little get away to Milwaukee.  Tomorrow our first storm is going to hit and we may decide to stay one more day of there is too much ice.  We'll have to see.  Tomorrow we're going to the star wars movies at an imax 3-D. Very excited about that and then we'll eat at that Safe House restaurant.  It was kind of spy themed.   Should be fun.
Well can't think if anything else to say.   It was so good to see you.   Mothers day will be here before you know it. 
Love you,  mom 

From Stuart to his Mom:
haha I new that the crying session was coming so I just turned it off haha.  Sorry, but I didn't want to do that haha.  I thought that that was a good skype session though.  The connection was good.  I totally forgot to bring my camera today, so I won't send any pictures this week, but I do have some good pictures.  We took some pictures on Christmas night at the plaza in Guimbal.  They have nice lights.   And then I have a bunch of pictures from our branch Christmas party.  I'll get those to you guys. 

Thank you also to Grandma (I can't remember if it was mama or grandma sue who gave money for lunch for me and my companion)  but we went to the city today and went to this new restaurant called Zark's Burgers.  It was great food.  And the burger was really really large.  It's a really cool place.  We enjoyed ourselves.  

Well, it's a short letter today because not much has happened in two days.  

December 20th. 2015- Mission Christmas Party

Hey!  So, this has been a really fun week!  Christmas conference was so crazy.  All of the missionaries came down. It was fun to see them all at one time.  President Aquino gave his opening remarks and said that whatever happened today stays here, so I don't really know how much of it we are supposed to talk about it haha. I love President Aquino.  Elder Larson and Elder Swanton were MC.  They did such a good job.  It was definitely a party.  The second day though was spiritual.  A couple missionaries put together a small play that did a good job of capturing the spirit of Christmas.  Then we had a small devotional where some missionaries spoke and then Sister and President Aquino.  Their testimonies of Jesus Christ are so strong and powerful.  They really are great role models.  President Aquino started crying during his testimony and he doesn't cry very often, and I was sitting in the front row and then all I can hear behind me is sniffling noses.  haha. It was kind of funny but I can't deny myself that I shed a couple man tears as well haha.  The whole thing was really awesome.
That drum corp competition that I told you guys about is OVER!  Thank goodness.  Those two days of the competition we literally had nobody to visit except at night, so those were kind of long days of tracting, but at least it's over now.
I feel like though that this year, I've really caught the spirit of Christmas.  I just feel really good even though the work is kind of slow.  People are busy.  But, I just feel really calm and just happy.  I've really also took some time to reflect on the atonement of Christ.  I feel such gratitude right now for him and for his sacrifices.  
I am really enjoying this Christmas.  I won't write too big of a letter because wee will be talking for a while on Friday.  

December 13th, 2015- Meeting baby, Lil Wayne and Investigator Committing to Sabbath Day Observance

So, we are in Tigbauan right now, but we headed down to Iloilo in just a short bit to go party!  I heard that there was a typhoon too, but it barely touched here.  It rained for like 5 minutes.  

So, I just have a quick funny story, we contacted this inactive member this week for the first time.  The branch has kind of been trying to reach out to them, and they asked us if we would pay them a visit.  They are a broken family, so the father is out of the picture, but she just had a kid the last month and so she just had her oldest son pick the name.  The babies name is Lil Wayne Ruel.  LIL WAYNE haha.  I laughed so hard, and then the Nanay was asking me what was so funny and I realized that she had no idea who was that was.  That what you get when you let an 18 year old boy name a kid.  hahah

One of our investigators came to church this week.  We had a lesson with him this week on Sabbath Day observance, and he wouldn't commit to live the Sabbath Day because it's kind of a thing here where people here think that only rich people go to church because they are the ones who can afford to go to church on Sunday.  This investigator fishes in the mornings and then feeds his cows, and then fishes again on Sunday.  He told us that it was impossible for him to not work on Sunday, but Sunday morning rolled around.  He was a little late, but yep, he showed up.  I was kind of shocked.  He just told us that he felt guilty from what we said and said that on Saturday, he had prepared some grass for his cows to eat, and decided not to go fishing and to go to church, so it was kind of cool.  Usually if an investigator doesn't commit in the lesson, you can guarantee they will not do that, but the spirit worked on this man, and I think that he will really be blessed for his decision.  

And we still have no news on the christmas call.  Our mission is really kind of bad at letting us know ahead of time what will happen.  I don't know if they do that just to make sure we aren't thinking too much about it or what, but anyways. 

I think that's all that I got time for today.  I just sent a whole bunch of pictures, hopefully you got them all.  

Elder Robertson

December 7th, 2015- The Drum Roll Competition is Competing with Missionary Work

Sorry about last week!  yeah, we had some problems with the internet last week.  I'm not really sure what happened but all of the internet shops in San Joaquin had internet problems, so the pictures didn't work last week. 

So Elder Crooks goes home next November I think.  He's still got a while 

That's weird that there is no snow yet either.  Maybe you guys won't be the only ones without a white christmas! haha.  But, yeah, the weather here is really tame right now.  It's supposed to be typhoon season, but we haven't had anything roll through yet.  It's not really raining right now either.  In fact, it's really hot here right now, which kind of scares me for the upcoming hot season.  haha, but there's nothing to worry about right now. Actually I was with Elder Mudrow a while ago and we were talking about that typhoon.  He was in Ibajay and he said that the office called them 4 days in advance and evacuated them out.  I don't know if they forgot about us in Culasi, or just didn't think it would be bad where we were or what. haha anyways.  

You know, there really isn't anything that I've been craving or anything that I would like to see in a package, but yeah, the white shirts and the ties will be nice.  Then just anything.  You've done a great job on all of them so far haha.  Actually there is one thing.  I don't know why but ever since I've got in the mission, I have had a craving for real maple syrup.  I don't know if that is possible to put in a package, but that would be sweet. 

The essays are not really coming at all to be honest.  I just wish we could email somewhere where it's not so loud.  Its hard to concetrate, but I'll keep on working on them.  

I'm still getting emails from some people.  At first though, when I got into the MTC, there was a lot of people that emailed me, but that died off pretty quick haha.

So, it sounds like transfers will be on the 31st, New Years Eve, and I'm pretty sure I'll transfer.  The AP's told me that if I wanted to stay another one, just to shoot them a text, but I don't know yet if I want to.  The area is pretty stressful to be honest haha.  

Right now in San Joaquin, people are preparing for the municipal fiesta.  There is also a drum corp competition thing for each school both Elementary and High school.  It's kind of like a marching band except no instruments except drums and bells and then there are dancers with batons.  It's like what you would see at a college football game at half time.   And they have practice every night until 10 pm, so a lot of the families that we are teaching are having trouble finding time to meet with us.We have some families where the kids just sleep at the school, so yeah.    A lot of the families we are teaching we are not able to visit until after it is done on the 16th so we are just kind of waiting for that to be finished.  It's kind of ridiculous.  

We only have one family who is seriously progressing towards baptism and that is the Valaquio family.  The rest are having trouble because of the drum corp thing.  Every body has practice on Sunday morning and then the mothers have to make food.   Their daughter is the wife of the branch president and then we are also teaching her uncle too, so those three are doing well.  We don't have a set date with them yet because we are trying to help the tatay with some word of wisdom problems, but it's looking like it's going to be in early January.  

That's all I've got again, and I really hate to say the usb portal on this but my computer that I am using is broke, soo no pictures haha.  I'm really sorry, but it's been a couple of unfortunate weeks at the computer shop.  haha

Elder Robertson

November 29th, 2015- The Work is Coming Along, Slowly but Surely

Hey guys!  

I'm doing great over here. The work is coming along, slowly but surely.  We had a handful of our investigators come to church.  We are teaching the parents of the Branch President's wife.  I've been actually teaching them for a while now, but it was so hard to teach them because they were just silent during the discussions.  We couldn't them to say hardly anything, but now all of the sudden, they have decided that they want to be baptized and the lessons are so much better.  Just this one lesson we went there and they had apparently decided that they wanted to become members and they were just talking to us as if they were already members haha.  They gave us like 3 referrals too. They were like, hey, we are going to talk to this person, they might want to become members of our church too.  Then, I was just thinking, our church?  haha ok.  Yeah, but it's looking good there.  I really enjoy teaching them now.  They are coming to church and stopping drinking and all kinds of good stuff.  The awkward part though before is that the Tatay and his son, who is a member, were drinking buddies together, but we got that situation covered now haha.  
Then we are teaching another family right now who is really awesome, minus that the father is a seaman, so he only maybe comes home once a month.  We still haven't met him, but the last week and a half they were in the hospital with their youngest child, but it seems ok now.  We actually tracted into them, and they were super polite.  Have four kids.  Three boys and the youngest is a girl.  The same as us!   But their kids are very smart and well behaved.  I think the oldest is 14.  But the mother just told us that they were already letting the missionaries from a couple other churches visit them, but she said we could come back and teach them, so we set a time when the other churches for sure wouldn't be at their house to avoid any awkward confrontations haha, and we had an awesome first discussion with them about the restoration.  The mother gave the closing prayer and just told Heavenly Father how grateful she was for the message and how she felt something that she had been searching for for a long time.  The spirit was strong during the lesson.  And ever since then, it's been going really well with that family.  They have a good family, minus the father is never home.
The next transfer day falls on Christmas eve, but I'm not sure if that will go through, but we had a zone conference this week, and I talked to the AP's.  It kind of sounds like I might transfer, but if I want to stay, I can just text them and it's no problem.  I'm not really sure if I want to stay yet, but if things are looking well, I might chose to stay because it's looking light we will have 7 baptisms in January, which would really be a blessing for this branch.  
By the way, our zone conference this week was awesome.  It was in San Jose, so I got to back to Antique for a day.  Lots of memories.  But, our AP's are doing really well.  Our mission is really improving right now.  There is just kind of an exciting atmosphere around here in the mission. The AP's in their trainings told us that the mission is shattering key indicator records and stuff.  It's just kind of cool because everyone is getting excited to do some missionary work!  
By the way, I totally forgot that it was thanksgiving again on Thursday.  On Monday, I was just thinking to myself that I've got to do something awesome, but yep, totally forgot about it by the time Thursday rolled around.
I took some pictures this week, so I'll try and get them off right now.  Wish me luck.  (*No pictures came through...sad...)

November 22nd, 2015- Dragging Poo-Poo in the Bus and Going on his First Run

That's interesting that Avery is taking the lessons.  Good for him though.  How are the missionaries in the branch right now?  Do they visit very often at the house?  Hopefully Chloe is doing good now.  That is a crazy high fever though. 

So I do have one funny story this week.  So on Saturday, we had a branch activity which I really enjoyed.  They had the women play basketball. It was almost just as funny as watching the aunts play the cousins at camp susan haha.  But then we were going to a lesson that was kind of far away and we were running the chance of missing a ride because it would be too late, which would mean that we would also be late to our dinner appointment that we had set up, which would have been really sad, but it turned out fine.  We finished about 7:30 which is about the time when the last trip goes by, so we just started walking not really knowing if the bus had already gone through meaning we would be walking for the next hour and half. We had a family of members that were with us too, but they lived a lot closer, but thankfully after walking for about ten minutes, we saw a bus approaching from behind.  I was pretty to see that bus, so we hopped on, but when I got, I smelled something terrible.  Everybody else smelled it too so we were looking around to find out what it was.  Yep, I had stepped in some sort of animal poop, and tracked it into the bus and all through the aisle, and it smelled terrible.  They tried to wipe it up with some newspaper and started up the bus again, but we had to stop four times to try and get sand and branches of leaves and water from the ocean and all kinds of stuff because it just smelled so terrible.  So, I felt pretty ridiculous.  It was kind of an embarrasing moment. 

The bad news is that I forgot to take pictures again this week.  Sorry!  Give me some ideas of what you want pictures of because everything for me now is like same-old same-old.  

So, I'm pretty excited for Thanksgiving.  We don't have any major plans, but we will be eating a lot of good food at the apartment.  I have Elder Crooks in my apartment right now from Wyoming.  He's an interesting character, but we are partying for thanksgiving. 

Oh, another highlight this week is that I went on my first run of the mission.  Elder Crooks likes to run too.  I actually enjoyed it a lot. I thought that after a year and half, that it wouldn't feel very graceful, but it felt really good though.  

So yeah, the essays.  I started on them, but I don't like my topics for them, so I'm scratching.  Do you guys have any ideas for me???  I know this is really pathetic, but I'm having a really hard time trying to right about one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  I think I've had a really easy life to be honest haha.  President Aquino didn't really respond to my email about the application either, but I'll see him on Tuesday.  If he doesn't talk to me about it, I'll email him again.  

So, that's about all I got this week. 

Elder Robertson