Thursday, February 5, 2015

December 8th, 2014: Super Typhoon Ruby, Epic Rat Hunt & Boligao Transfering

So, all is well here in Culasi, although I've had a crazy week. So, it looks like you were all well aware of Ruby, the supertyphoon! So, I'll basically just give you a run down of what happened.  
On Thursday, we were teaching, and these people told us that there was a storm coming, and that it was supposed to hit us the next day, Friday.  They said it was supposed to be pretty big.  After that lesson, we went home and bought some food and candles and water and stuff to get ready for the storm.  At this point, it doesn't seem like it's going to be that big of a deal.  We get a text from the zone leaders that night that there was a big storm coming that is bigger than Yolanda, which flattened cities.  And, that was basicallly the extent of that text.  We also recieved word that president ordered no work the next day.  At this point I was kind of freaking out because bigger than Yolanda?!  The next day came and went with no rain.  Nothing but a bit of a breeze.  We actually went to help a member who volunteers for a emergency preperation group.  We were supposed to help distribute emergency foods and stuff like that, but the shipment wasn't yet in when we got there.  They had the news on, so we watched it for a bit while we were sitting there.  This is kind of when we realized how big of a deal this storm was.  We see satalite photos and see that it's basically coming right for us.  Then we see the President of the Philippines giving an adress, and stuff like that.  They predicted 280-335 kph winds, with a ton of rain.  Signal 4.  The winds is kind of what scared me.  Yolanda was only 235 kph, and that did some major damage.  Yeah, so after that we were all a little nervous.  The news said not till Saturday night was it supposed to hit us now.  There also is apparently this thing called a storm surge.  As explained, it basically means like a mini tsunami at the beginning of the storm.  (Our apartment is almost right on the ocean)  All of the Elders were like packing their stuff up in the suitcases and putting it as high as they could. The Pinoy Elders were saying to maybe expect 3-5 feet of flood water in our apartment.  I was just like, are you kidding me.  I had no idea what to expect, but I figured it would be bad.  Saturday came and went, and it didn't even rain.  Although the skies were way dark and the waves in the ocean were pretty massive.  Saturday night, I was so nervous to go to bed,  the storm was supposed to hit us in the middle of the night.  I prayed pretty hard that night haha.  Eventually I fell asleep.  I woke up and it was already morning.  I was confused because I thought for sure I would wake up because of the storm, but I opened the window and it wasn't even raining, or even wet out.  No wind either.  I didn't know if the storm had already passed or if it hadn't come yet.  I started raining shortly after and rained almost all Sunday, and that was about the extent of the storm.  Not hardly any wind.  We even had church Sunday morning.  We heard that the storm changed directions and went North.  One part of me was like are you kidding me, I really  wanted to see what this was going to be like. And the other part of me was way grateful.  Thank you for all the prayers.  Me and my entire area is safe!  I heard that some of the American missionaries were really freaking out though.  Its kind of funny actually.  One Elder was telling me about how he was like writing his last words to his family and stuff.  Crazy.  But, yeah, we didn't get any updates except from the one text from the zone leaders.
I got the package from Mama, that was way nice of her.  I sent her an email today and also sent her a postcard. 
You guys are so lucky to go to the packers game!  I haven't heard anything about the christmas skype at all yet. I'll try and find out soon.  
So, actually Elder Boligao transferred out this week.  It was way weird.  He's assigned as the assistant to the president right now for the rest of his mission.  It's way crazy!  He was way bummed though because he really wanted to stay in Culasi.  He even asked president if he could.  Yeah, so Monday night he got a call that he should pack up and come down to the mission home as soon as possible.  And on Wednesday afternoon, he was gone!  So, this week, I didn't have a companion, and I won't until the transfer on the 17th.  It is way weird. We only worked two days this week because we were in San Jose on Tuesday, and then because of the storm. I just worked with the other Culasi Elders.  I have a strong feeling that I'll be training a new missionary after this transfer.  We will see though.  
So, to answer your questions.
Ang favorite scripture ko... hmm.  That's tough really. I wouldn't really say that I have a favorite right now, but have studied in Alma 17-27 this week, and I have really enjoyed it.  It has been some of the most powerful scripture study I have had. It is about the sons of Mosiah and their journeys as missionaries.  There are so many insightful things that I have picked up in those chapters that can be applied to me as a  missionary.  My favorite member might be brother miyagi.  I'm pretty sure I wrote about him in my first week when we went up to that waterfall with him.  He is so high energy.  He is so much fun!
To oliver,  to be completely honest, I can't remember, neither do I really care.  haha,  If you think I gave it to you, I probably did!
To connor, one thing that I'm really happy that I did, and thought that I did a pretty good job of is spend time with my family, with all of you.  Families are forever!  I already miss being a "kid" even though I basically still am, but now I have a lot more responsibilities. Trust me, it sucks not being able to just be with you all.  
 Funniest thing that has happened lately.  Actually, I had quite a few funny moments this week, but I think the greatest one we had this week was our epic rat hunt.  While we were taking shelter in our apartment we saw a rat.  We all arm our selves with mops, and flashlights and stuff like that.  Anyways, I wrote about this in my journal because it was so funny.  At one point we have it kind of in the middle of us, but there is just a bunch of crap anywhere. So, we're all swinging at it, and actually Elder Gan was trying to stomp on it and all of the sudden we realize that we  don't know where it is so, we will all pause, and its silent, and then Gan just starts screaming.  It's on his foot trying to climb up his leg!  He's just like flailing and knocking stuff over and eventually he flings it off, kind of at me.  Somehow I fall over onto some boxes and I'm just swinging randomly and still laughing so hard from Gan.  Oh man,  just complete chaos.  We are all screaming.  And the best part is that Elder Comilang got this all on video. The video is soo funny. We ended up trapping it underneath the mop, but at that point, it was dead.  Best rat hunt yet.  
Strangest Pinoy customs.  I don't know where they go to the bathroom, especially the woman.  Almost all the houses don't have a bathroom!  I have only seen one woman squatting on the side of the road, but I see guys peeing on the side of the road all the time.  I don't know if they just use the nearest house that has one or what.  No idea.  And they don't use toilet paper.  Way nasty.  Also, they eat with their hands.  Its kind of weird.  You walk into a restaurant and everyone is just eating with their hands. 
Miles walked every day.  Maybe like 3-5.  I'm not completely sure, but it is not easy walking.  The roads here are so rough and so rocky.  
Hardest part of the mission so far.  I don't know.  Being a missionary is easy. I get to do something I love everyday, all day.  And they people, for the most part, are way nice.  For me though, from the beginning, I would say maybe having a companion, that you basically have to be next to all of the time.  It's not that I don't like them, its just the fact that there is no alone time none.  I've adjusted, but sometimes I really just wish I could go on a walk by myself.  For the most part though, being a missionary is way easy.

Scared to go to bed because of Ruby


The Island of Panay was right in the path, but our prayers were answered!

Helping with the evacuation center

With his housemates at the Sea Wall

Filipino Christmas tree 

Panay playhouse

Elder Gau and Stuart

With his two companions so far...Elder Boligao and Elder Chapman
Another baptism in Culasi

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