Tuesday, June 30, 2015

June 29th,2015: Half Way!!! Wet and No Food

I've had another great week here.   I can 't believe that I am half-way done with my mission. It blows my mind.  I still feel like I should be a young missionary, but I am actually one of the oldest missionaries in our mission.  I think there is only 30 or 40 missionaries in our mission that are older than me in the mission right now.  The time is going by so fast.  
So Wednesday was a holiday here and maybe one of the coolest ones I've seen yet.  It is called San Juan, but basically it is a celebration of the start of the rainy season.  They celebrate by getting everybody wet.  So, we will just be walking by on the road and then an ambush of people come out and soak us with buckets of water.  It's so funny.  They don't care who you are or where you're going.  You're going to get wet.  Elder Beticon and Elder Palzario warned us though thankfully so our scriptures and stuff could be saved.  It was a lot of fun though.  We had a ward activity and had a MASSIVE water fight.  So much fun.   I'm going to adopt the holiday when I come back.  
This month, us 4 Elders in New Washington, have had a couple of unfortunate things happen this month financially, and now, we have like no money left.  We pretty much have had none for the last couple days after we got back from Iloilo.  Anyways, it's kind of a funny situation right now.  We are pretty much trying to survive of members and off nature until the first of July. haha.  Oh, and our stove ran out of gas so we have been trying to cook everything in our rice cooker hahah.  We have been climbing trees for fruit and all kinds of ridiculous stuff. It's bad.  
We went to Iloilo this week for MLC again.  I really liked this one though.  President had told us though in announcements though that it would be "full-scale accounting."  So we were panicking a little bit because we didn't really know what he meant by full-scale accounting, but it sure sounded serious, and he was serious.  In the mission, our monthly baptisms are going down right now, so President wasn't really happy.  He absolutely fried some of the zone leaders during their presentations though.  If they didn't know some things, they got chastised pretty good haha.  It was brutal.  haha.  But, the training's that were given were really good.  I feel inspired right now from it. I actually gave a training at MLC too on goal setting, but President talked to us about Buruanga, which is an area in my zone that opened up when I first got here, but right now, they are baptizing people like crazy.  They have gotten close to 50 baptisms I think in the last 3-4 months.  We don't see them very much because they are so far away, but I've heard some of the stories and miracles that are going on over there and everybody has kind of been asking, "What are they doing that we aren't doing?"  So President talked a lot about that.  Basically he just said that you have to expect to be successful.  And if you are not getting results, you need to reflect on yourself because if you are perfectly obedient, the baptisms will just come to you.  So, I've been doing a lot of personal reflection lately.  And I've made some goals for myself, but I feel like I'm coming up on my prime haha.  We have a lot of good stuff going on in our area right now and then after about 2 months, I'll probably transfer and then its another chapter.  I'm really excited though for the time that I have left!
I am really loving the work right now.  We have the best people to teach.  We have been teaching this one family for about 6 weeks now.  And their whole family is very Catholic, but we taught them last night and we felt prompted to talk about persecution and how often God makes righteous people suffer a lot of persecution because of the truth.  And then afterwards, we found out from a nearby house of members that this family has been getting a LOT of persecution lately from family and their church because they are letting us teach them, but we had no idea.  They didn't say anything about it.  Then we taught about temples.  We know that the father of their family has past away last year.  We taught about baptisms for the dead and missionary work in the spirit world.  And it was just one of those lessons where the Spirit completely took over and prompted us to say things that these people really needed to hear.  
We are teaching another young family where the father is the only member and they are knew to this area, but they are so great.  They are of course very poor, but the father quit his job last week because his boss wouldn't let him off on Sundays, and the wife has been running into a lot of trials lately too, but they are so faithful already.  I have seen a lot on my mission how the adversary really tries to make it hard for people to reach the waters of baptism.  People experience a lot of trials right before their baptism and after.  Anyways, my heart really goes out to these people.  

Connor: do you have any questions for me?  Who are you hangin out with now-a-days?
Brevin; do the pit toilets ever overflow?- I haven't heard anything about that.  I'm pretty sure that if they need to, they just bury it and did a new one. 
Chloe: Do Filipinos people wear deodorant?-Very rarely.  They sell this stuff that really isn't antiperspirant, but, it makes it smell better. I was in Iloilo this week and saw old-spice American stuff.  It is so expensive, especially here. It's like 7 dollars per stick.  
Kayden: how much do miss exercising or do get regular exercising? I just miss running.  One of the downsides to having a companion haha :(
Owen: how much do you weigh? Right now I'm about 140 lbs. 
Dad: do people ever wear socks and if so, what color do the men wear? People almost never wear shoes.  Construction workers...flip flops.  Sometimes though, people will wear socks if they wear basketball shoes.  or if they are a business person.  Probably black is the color. 
Seth: do the chickens have large talons over there? haha Yes.  Chicken fighting is really big here.  

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

June 22nd, 2015: First Filipino Wedding and Father's Day Flowers

Hey guys!
I have had a lot of fun this week!  On Thursday we got to go to Tangalan to attend a wedding of an investigator and a member.  It was pretty cool because right after they were married the investigator was baptized.  It was a really big day for them!  The wedding was so funny though.  In attendance was 6 missionaries, the couple missionaries, the Branch President and one counselor, a couple members, the father of the bride, two little kids (ring bearer, and flower girl) and that's it.  haha. It was kind of sad, but it seemed like I was the only one who thought so.  I don't know.  It was my first Filipino wedding.  Then there was a lot of other things like "branchy" moments, but maybe my favorite was the Holy Bible was a Book of Mormon with white paper scotch taped over the cover haha.  It was awesome.  The Branch President gave a whole hour talk on the power of procreation and why we need to make families.  It actually started out way awkward for obvious reasons, but he made a nice comeback, except for the fact that it was over an hour and we were only like 15 in the congregation. 
Oh, I wrote this down so I wouldn't forget it because it was so funny, but I was talking to this one man on the street and he asked me, completely seriously if J.R. Smith was the founder of our church.  hahahaha.  I laughed so hard! I'm pretty sure you know who that is, the NBA all-star player.  hahah.  Too funny.  That might be my favorite weird thing that I've got about the church yet.  President and Sister Aquino and the AP's came up to Kalibo this week and did interviews with our zone.  It was actually really nice because last time, in Antique, Elder Coronel and I got the chastisement of a lifetime from sister Aquino because we didn't bring our 72 hour kits.  It was brutal, but this time it was nice.  We did companionship interviews with each of them and because Elder Beticon was assigned in the office, he has a pretty good relationship with all of them.  President gave us an assignment though to scout out Caticlan, which is the area by Boracay!  We have to figure out how big the area is, find potential apartments and find out how many members are living in the area, and there are actually quite a few members living in Boracay and they would all go to church in Caticlan when it is opened, so I'm not sure, but we might have to go to Boracay haha!  We will see.  
Yay.. just got your email haha.  I've been wondering if you guys forgot about me haha! joke.  Yeah, but I just want to throw a big Happy Fathers Day to all the fathers over there in America, especailly to my dad. You're the best!  I actually have a funny story for you guys.  Yesterday at the end of Priesthood class, the primary came in a did a surprise presentation for all of the dad's and then after gave out flowers.  I seriously had 3 kids give me flowers and wish me a happy father's day.  None of the other 3 other Elders, just me.  I don't know if they think I'm a father or what but it was kind of cute and funny.  Everybody was calling me Tatay (father) Robertson.
Just for the record, I haven't heard of any shark attacks here. 
I'm glad you guys are enjoying the weather there because me, not so much.  It is raining a lot and it is soo humid.  Just ridiculous.  I sweat so much haha.  

Oh, I'm actually running out of journal paper.  Maybe you can talk to Papa.  I remember him saying before I left that if I ran out just to let him know.  

Dad: how many miles do you walk in a week?  I think the most walking that I've done was in Culasi.  I would say that maybe 40 miles is my highest.  Right now though we kinds of have a nice schedule where we aren't walking a lot.  We have groups of investigators where they live close together.  Elder Tracy and I had a day where I know we walked 16 miles.  That was a rough day haha. 
Mom:  I need a funny story... Read above about JR Smith haha so funny.  
Paul: do you think you you still run a fast mile? I don't think so.  I was wondering, but I really can't do any running unless my companion is on board.  I would say that honestly I probably could only run a 5:30 mile.  
Seth: do you play the center when you play basketball (hehe) and do you remember the last basketball game you played against his uncle? Yeah I pretty much play center.  It's fun.  I get a lot of blocks and rebounds haha.  And I do remember that game at the youth club.  Good times. 
Kayden: Joe Bruno's and his mom were asking how you are. (Kayden ran in the Summer Solstice yesterday with him)  You can tell them that I'm doing great haha.  That's nice of them to ask though. 
Lisa: are Packers famous over there? No
Steph: are there sports there that are not here in America? It mostly just basketball here.  Like, that's it.  But there is a little bit of volleyball and a game called sipac-tacra (sp?)  but I've played it once in gym I know.  But it's like soccer and tennis combined.  It's really hard haha. 

The housemates.

Girl on far left is in their ward and just got a mission call to another mission in the Philippines.  The other girl is waiting to get baptized but she's going to get married first.

New convert, Carla, who is now going to seminary,  Stuart is so excited for her.

Stuart and Elder Beticon with a girl they're fellowshipping, name Love Joy.  Love her name!!

The "Guapo", Elder Beticon

They had a combine birthday party for Stuart and another girl on their ward.  How nice!

Monday, June 15, 2015

June 15th- Happy Birthday, Elder Robertson and the Flying Cookie

So, I'll send you an email.  My hands are already tired from typing because I was surprised at how many people sent me an email this week.  People from the community, from church, family.  It was really nice of them.
Mom: Have you had to choke down any disgusting foods while eating at a members house? And how do you handle situations like that? I haven't had too many bad situations like that.  The food is overall very good, but I remember in Culasi this one lady fed us these cookies and after one bite, I realized that it was super moldy.  She was just talking our ear off.  I was sitting by the door with it to my back.  And then I directed her attention behind her and then chucked it out the door. The funny part was that the 6 year old boy caught me and he wanted to tell his mom so bad and I was signaling to him to not tell her.  haha.  Just the look on his face though at first was so funny.  
Dad:  Do Filipinos have frosting on their birthday cakes? Yeah, cakes here are pretty normal, they have a little different taste though. 
Connor: Have you heard about the new season of The Office with the original cast?Um no, we don't really here much on missions. (*A trick question from Connor to mess with Stuart*)
Matt Bluett:  How much pineapple do you eat on an average day?  Some days we will just buy a pineapple sliced up and eat it while walking.  A whole pineapple here costs maybe 30-40 pesos or a little less than a dollar.
About the foot insole thing.  I don't really have any excessive ankle pain.  It's kind of more stiff when I exercise. I kind of feel like it has healed itself over except in a bad way, like a callus or something.  I don't know how to describe it.  There isn't a lot of pain but it is stiff and not natural.  Anyways, it's fine don't worry.  Just if you talk to a doctor. 
I think that I will spend 6 months in New Washington, just like Culasi.  That's what it is looking like, but I think Elder Beticon will transfer in July to go to a new area in Buruanga.  The work is going really well right now though.  It looks right now that we might have about 8 baptisms in our area in July.  We have a lot of really cool investigators right now. I really enjoy visiting them.  These are investigators that I have good relationships with too.  I'm excited to be able to stay in touch with my converts after the mission too.  I'll make sure that they are faithful! haha. 
With the thing about the anti-mormon mission.  My area right now is actually considered one of the hardest areas in the mission because its what we call a circle of faith.  There are so many different churches and a lot of them are very active in missionary work as well.  I have had so many people that approach us and just want to bash and tell us all of the evils we do as missionaries and why our church is false and honestly it has been a big testimony builder for me just because of how foolish they sound haha.  It must be really hard for people here though to listen to us because they just see us as another sect among many.  It is a lot easier to see how true the church is once you have already accepted it and studied the scriptures.  I don't judge people though.  I think about where I would be if I was born into a different family, not of our faith.  I feel very blessed to have been born into the situation that I have. 
I'll tell you guys one of the funny/embarrassing things that happened to me.  We were going to ride a jeep to go to Kalibo and all of the drivers are sitting there and they love to talk to us Americans and use their English.  One says to me, "Hey, Mr. Elder, you have your fly there is open!"  And everybody was laughing.  Anyways, yeah, my fly was down.  It was just funny with this guy who can't speak English well.  Anyways, you had to be there.  
 I hope you all have a great week!
Cute boy, ugly tie!

Popular dish: dried fish with vinegar dipping sauce

Ward Activity

Elder Tracy and Stuart trying to squeeze into a trike

Some of Stuart's favorite people

Out and about with the youth to help them with the work

A few minutes to relax in the hammock.  That's got to feel good!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

June 8th- Short Email and a Touch of Food Poisoning

So, first, Happy Anniversary!  That's awesome!
Elder Beticon and I took a trip to Iloilo this week for MLC.  It was a lot of fun of course.  We got to attend the transfer meeting which is so much more fun if you aren't transferring.  haha.  But, they played Meet the Mormons before the transfer meeting started, but I had actually watched it earlier in the week at a stake activity, so I watched it twice this week.  It was very good!  I enjoyed it and the members did a lot too.  The church is trying to get it out to the public as much as they can here.  I know that they are going to play it in the plaza of Kalibo sometime, which is cool.  It was fun though at the transfer meeting because I got to see a lot of my buddies from back in Antique.  Elder Coronel transferred to Guimaras, so he was pretty excited for that. 
Elder Beticon and I got to work in Iloilo for a day.  His last area was in the city, so we just went to his old area and visited all of his old recent converts and members.  It was a lot of fun.  
Oh, I don't know if you guys heard, but Elder Cuillard, in my batch got sent home because he hurt his back in a jeepney accident.  I felt so bad for him.  I couldn't believe it when I heard it. 
Oh, I got sick again yesterday.  I think it had something to do with the lunch we ate.  We went out to work after lunch and all four of us were back after a couple hours because 3 of us had thrown up, but I feel alright right now.  I slept almost 14 hours last night hahah.  
Well, my emails going to be kind of short today because I have to take some time to make a presentation for our zone training tomorrow. 
Love you all! 
Elder Robertson

Working on Iloilo for the day

June 1st- Still Being Chased by the Monster in the Jungle and Book of Mormon Placement Challenge

Hello Family!
I'll first answer your questions
Dad: Are kids as obsessed with their cellular devises as Americans are? Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, etc.... Actually yeah, but not as bad as America, I'd say. A lot of kids here obviously don't have any technology, but Facebook and Twitter are pretty big here.  I haven't seen snapchat really. 
Mom: What are you doing about your shoe situation or lack thereof?  I bought a pair of rubber shoes, which like 75 percent of missionaries use here.  I bought them for about the equivalent of 8 dollars.  They should last about 4 months I heard.  
Connor: *He's asleep.  No question from him*
Oliver: What was you latest dream about? Do you ever dream about being in America, or do you ever dream in Hiligaynon?  I actually remember my dream last night.  All I can remember is that I was on some small tropical island (I know, weird, a dream about a tropical island while in the Philippines) and then we were like these futuristic soldiers fighting some people but it was only for training.... basta, I can't really remember my dreams very well. But, yes, apparently, according to other missionaries, I sleep talk in Tagalog and Karay-a and Hiligaynon.  A lot of American missionaries do actually.  
Chloe: What is your favorite verse in the scriptures?  Um, that's really tough to say because I have so many, but I'll share one of the scriptures that I really liked in my studies this week.  Just to give you guys an idea, our personal study schedule changed in this mission lately.  So, we have a goal to read the 4 standard works in one year, which comes out to about 7 pages a day.  So for the first 35 minutes of personal study, we study the assigned 7 pages.  Right now, I'm in Ezekiel... Almost done with the Old Testament!!! Anyways but for the last 25 minutes, we study the Book of Mormon.  It's kind of interesting, we aren't allowed to study any other texts in personal study, just the standard works.  But, I read in Ether 6 about the story of the Jaradites after they had built a boat and they were crossing the waters to go to the promised land.   And it came to pass that when they had prepared all manner of foodthat thereby they might subsist upon the water, and also food for their flocks and herds, and whatsoever beast or animal or fowl that they should carry with them—and it came to pass that when they had done all these things they got aboard of their vessels or barges,and set forth into the sea, commending themselves unto the Lord their God.
 And it came to pass that the Lord God caused that there should be furious wind blow upon the face of the waters,towards the promised land; and thus they were tossed upon the waves of the sea before the wind.
And it came to pass that they were many times buried in the depths of the sea, because of the mountain waves  which broke upon them, and also the great and terrible tempests which were caused by the fierceness of the wind.
 And it came to pass that when they were buried in the deep there was no water that could hurt them, their vessels being tight like unto dish, and also they were tight like unto the ark of Noah; therefore when they were encompassed about by many waters they did cry unto the Lord, and he did bring them forth again upon the top of the waters.
And it came to pass that the wind did never cease toblow towards the promised land while they were upon thewaters; and thus they were driven forth before the wind.
For me, it just seems like to be in that boat would be kind of a terrifying experience, especially when you read verse 6, even though their boat didn't break, but they really didn't have anything to trust in but the Lord.  And they did trust in the Lord.  Even though they had to go through some time in a hand made boat with furious winds and being buried under the sea because of "mountain" waves, in verse 8 it says that the winds never ceased to blow towards the promised lands, and I think that we can learn a lot from this passage about the purposes of hard times or trials in our lives.  In this experience, God gave them trials, but those trials always pointed them in the right direction and lead them to their ultimate goal.  Anyways, you guys can get what I'm getting at, but yeah, that was one of the highlights from my personal study!
So, I had a great week!  It's still wicked hot and humid, but we are approaching the rainy season and also typhoon season, which is supposed to kind of start in June, but we have already had a couple of them. 
By the way, the cat-snake demon thing is there every night...expect for one night, the other two Elders wanted experience it, and it wasn't there, but we have actually figured out that it is actually two different creatures, and one of them is in fact a kitten. The other one, don't really know yet, but that's the one that sounds like a demon that wants to eat our souls.  It's so scary though, and funny at the same time,  we walk by and the kitten starts of really quite and gradually gets louder, meow, meow, meow, meow, and then when you get close, the brush starts rustling and then weird noises happen, and then we just sprint away hahahah.  I don't know.  It's their every night!
So, last week, President Aquino put on the announcements that there had been a Book of Mormon placement record in the mission at 54 Book of Mormons in one week.  We are supposed to give 7 a week, and that's all we are supplied with, but we found out that we have a bunch of English in our apartment which you can't really use, but we used it anyway.  We placed 65 in our area and the other two as well in our apartment, 65.  It was really a kind of a fun week though because, you know us, we took it as a challenge.  Every day, I would just pack my bag with Book of Mormons and then just go out.  We gave a lot to the members to give out as well because I think that might have been the most effective way to use English.  It will help them get excited about missionary work.  Any referrals we get, we can replace with Tagalog when we get cargo.  Anyways, President Aquino said that he would take anybody who could take down the record out to eat at ocean city in Iloilo, which is pretty much the nicest restaurant on this island, so yeah, we are pretty pumped hahah.  
Transfer day is this week, but President Aquino emailed me saying that he looks forward to seeing me at MLC, which is after transfers, which pretty much confirms that I'm SAFE from transferring haha, but we will see. 
Oh, I forgot to tell you last week. Do you guys know who tyler haws is?  He was the star basketball player for BYU the last couple years, and he is way good, he should be drafted into the NBA this draft, but he served his mission here in the Philippines, in Manila.  And he served in a unit where Sister Alberto is from, a sister missionary here in Kalibo.  She says they were pretty good friends especially because he reactivated her Dad in the church.  So pretty cool huh?  And then he gave her his jersey and now she said she's going to give it to me! haha, so I'm pretty pumped.  It's just kind of cool.  
Anyways, that's about all I got for this week. The picture sending thing wasn't working a while ago, but I'll try again.  
Oh, and about college things, if I work before winter semester, it would probably be in Algoma, right?
Elder Robertson

Loading up the Book of Mormons in the pack.