Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27th, 2015: Combined Zone Conference and the USS Mercy

I enjoyed looking at all of the pictures from Utah.  I'm just a little jealous... haha.  Actually I really wish I could have been there!  The pictures looked fun!  I also really wish I could have been at the cabin sacrament meeting.  That just sounds    If possible too, if the kids are going to Nauvoo this week, if you guys could take some pictures of that too, that would be awesome!
And yes, Gary and I did get to go to the SLC temple, which I'm really glad we did before I went in.  It's like every Filipino member's goal to go to that temple someday haha, and then I can tell them how awesome it is.  
I had a action packed week this week.  One Wednesday, we had a combined zone conference with Roxas in Roxas city.  It was great except for the fact that we had to get up at 2:30 am and do a bunch of traveling.  I was dead for a whole 3 days after.  We rented two vans for our zone.  We planned to leave the terminal at 4:30, but the thing is, as soon as we got to the vans I was crashed and next thing I know, we were already on the road.   We got to Roxas 1 and a half hours early, which President Aquino was thrilled about (He really hates when meetings start late) but I wasn't so thrilled because that meant I could have slept for an extra hour and a half haha.  But, a couple minutes before the meeting started one of our companionships walked in and my stomach kind of dropped because I knew that we had left them in Kalibo.  I felt pretty bad, but I was just so tired, that I couldn't think when we were leaving and they said they were like 30 minutes late.  Anyways, they were there before the meeting started.  
We had a guest speaker at conference who is in the American military.  He is the head of worship (from what I understand his job is to make sure that everyone who works on the boat can worship in whatever religion they are on Sunday) on a boat called the USS Mercy.  The USS Mercy is a big white boat that goes around the world and gives free hospital services to countries where people aren't really given services like that.  Anyways, its really cool.  He was a good speaker too though.  He had a cool conversion story too. At first he was really against the church and didn't believe in God, but because he really liked a Mormon girl, he investigated the church and got baptized.  He spoke to us on obedience, but usually in this mission, if missionaries know that the topic is obedience they will just plug their ears, but he did it really well.  I learned a lot. and the other missionaries liked it a lot.   
I just worked with Elder Lafaele, from New Zealand, in his area Buruanga.   Buruanga is a brand new area, but it is so beautiful.  I loved it. 
Just to let you know, Christmas has officially started here.  We sang Christmas hymns in sacrament meeting.  hahah.  It's July.  
Other funnies... I just found out today that Elder Tracy has been taking bucket showers ever since he got here.  He never knew that both the shower heads worked.  He just assumed that they were broken.  Until now, he still can't get over the fact that he has been taking bucket showers for over 3 months for nothing.  LOL. I'm still giggling from that.  
Yesterday at church, our lesson was about Personal responsibility or something like that and we got on the topic of male vs female roles in the home.  It was so bad, but so funny because all of the men here are just saying that a woman's responsibility is to just clean the house and cook food and the women were saying it's not like that.  Basta, Elder Tracy and I were laughing so hard because some of the members just don't know when to cap it.  Nobody was seriously offended thankfully, but I did have a good laugh.  
I also got a good laugh in priesthood meeting too.  Elder Beticon was walking in a little bit late because he was talking to someone in the hall way and right as he was walking in, a little six-year old boy was running out, who is not the best-behaved.  As the kid was running out he just jumps up and punches Elder Beticon right in the mouth.  Elder Beticon didn't see the kid run out, so he was just so shocked.  The look on Elder Beticon's face was just so much shock and pain.  Oh man, I laughed so hard.  Only me and another guy saw it and we were both dying with laughter.  Yesterday up until now, I just keep getting the giggles replaying it in my head.  
Sadly, yes, I chewed my nails off again :(.  We were playing a card game on P-day, and it got intense and next thing I know, I had chewed them off haha.   I'm going at it again though! 
Well, that's about all I got today.  Have a great week!

July 20th, 2015: Showing Charity to Your Companions, Even When It's Hard

So, I just want to start out by saying that I'm still here in New Washington with Elder Beticon after transfers, but Elder Palzario transferred, so we have a new housemate, Elder Daniel!  I was pretty excited when I found out he was coming here because we were together in Culasi, and I really like him a lot.  He works hard and he's focused.  We found out that Elder Palzario transferred to one of the hardest areas in the mission to be companions with an Elder that he doesn't like.  And there is only two of them in that area, so they are just isolated together.  We kind of laughed when we heard that because we were teasing him that he was going to get transferred there, and then it actually happened haha.  I'll miss him though. 
Gary & Greta: what do you do if you feel a lack of charity to your companion or other people you have to work with? How do you deal with that.
Well, a lot of times I feel that.  It's really easy to get frustrated at your companion.  There will be times where there is a bad spirit between the two of us, even though we never actually show that we are mad.  But, honestly, I like to wake up a little early and just do something nice, even though that sounds really dumb, but it really just helps.  You don't have to say anything, but then there is a feeling of forgiveness between us and then we are both ready to work a little harder and it feels good.  I don't know.  Service helps.  We people that we teach, I just stick to what it says in PMG.  The best gift we can give people is teaching them the gospel. 
Keith: what was the topic of the last talk or training you gave?  The last training I gave was about sanctification.  I based it off of D&C 43:16.
Emily: do you have fungus free new shoes? Did you get Janes wedding invitation? I do have new rubber shoes.  They are nice right now for the rainy season.  And I did get Janes wedding invitation!  Thank you so much!  I'm so excited for her. That's awesome.  
Papa: do they have lots of venomous snakes? I know there are, but I've only seen one snake on my mission.  It was maybe like a 10 foot python looking snake in a rice field.  
Isaac: how many infestation of anything have you had in your house? And a favorite Filipino candy?  Um, well my house right now is pretty clean and tame, but my first one had a lot of cockroaches, spiders, and rats, stuff like that, but this last week, I walked out into our main room and there were two goats that had just walked into our house.  It kind of surprised me.  
Oliver: what is you new favorite ugly tie? Elder Beticon's grandpa sent him some ties and they are pretty ugly.  Elder Beticon is not really the person to sport ugly ties, so I now have them hehehe.  
Eliza: was are some of the tender mercies you've had this week?
Connor: what exotic fruits have you eaten lately?There is this fruit that grows off of the trunk of this tree.  I don't have a picture and I forgot what it's called, but I'll describe it.  It is a large blob shape (they can be different blob shapes, but they really can get quite large, like 10-15 pounds)The outside is covered by a thick, green, spiky skin.  The inside is yellow and it's kind of like a sweet flavor with a crunchy texture.  
Chloe: what's the craziest thing that has happened in the mission?  In my mission or in the Iloilo mission?  I found out that Sister Aquino had thyroid surgery this week.  That was pretty crazy to hear. 
I did have a pretty epic experience this week that I need to tell you.  So, we were tracting, and we wanted to go to the beach from the highway, so we found this path that was sided by two long tall concrete walls.  We walked in and found a large fenced in piece of property that was neatly kept.  The house was really big too, but we kept walking even though it actually felt like we were trespassing (which I haven't felt in a while.  We are always just cutting by people's houses or even through them if necessary)We wanted to go through to the beach.  We walked to the back fence by the beach, but didn't see an old man sitting in a little hut.  This guy had long straight white hair and a long white beard, but he was filipino.  He asked us in English if we were looking for something, so I told him in tagalog that we were trying to find a way to go through to the beach, but he couldn't understand me.  Anyways, apparently he doesn't speak Tagalog, just English.  He asked me where I was from so I said America.  He asked where in America and I said Wisconsin.  He asked where in Wisconsin so I said Green Bay.  Anyways, it turns out that this guy is from Kenosha Wisconsin!  It blew my mind!  He's a Green Bay Packers fan!!!  I couldn't believe it.  Anyways, we talked to this man for about 20 minutes.  He told us very clearly that he had met missionaries like us before and he was not a fan of them.  He was convinced that we are a cult/business church that marries a ton of women.  Anyways, he has a lot of different philosophies about religion.  It was kind of nice to talk with him, even though he was pretty rude to us.  Anyways, I just needed to tell you guys that I met somebody from Wisconsin.  I was pretty pumped about that.  
I have another funny experience the other experience with Tatay Almanon.  I sent a picture of him to you, but he really wants to be baptized and understands the gospel well, but we are having trouble getting over the cigarette addiction with him.  Anyways, the other night we were following him up to see if he had smoked.  He told us that he didn't, but then the Nanay comes in and just stares him down and says, Are you sure.  And he says yes, of course.  And then she told us to close our eyes while she forced the truth out of him, so anyways she goes over to the chair and puts tatay into a headlock and like is pinching his thigh or something for like 2 minutes until he finally admits, that he had one.  Anyways, it was so funny.  You kind of have to know their personalities haha.  They are so funny.  
Elder Beticon and I had a baptism this week.   Sister Magseco, who I sent a picture of.  Anyways, this family was really prepared by the Lord to recieve his gospel.  The father had been baptized as a kid, but has been less active for a long while. Anyways, this family is very young. The have a little boy who is a little over one year old and the second is on the way. They are from Negros, and just moved to New Washington, a couple weeks later, we met them and found out that Tatay is a member. They told us that they were so grateful we had found them because they were thinking a lot about God lately and wanted to change their lives. I remember in one of the first lessons we had with them, I forgot what the topic was, but they both just started crying and the sister was said something to her husband like, "did you feel that?  I feel so good.  It feels better than I've ever felt before in my whole life."  We just told her that that was the Holy Ghost telling her that it was true.  Anyways, we met them and four weeks later the Sister was baptized.  This family has just eaten up everything that we have told them.  We teach them about a commandment and they instantly want to follow it.  We taught about missionary work and the next day we go there and they have a jar with couple coins in it.  They explained that this is now the mission fund for their one year old son.  They put the money that Tatay would have spent on cigarettes into his mission fund so that way they will be able to pay for his mission when he gets older.  It's like that with this family.  I just wish everybody we taught would except the gospel with such readiness haha. 
That's about all I have time for today.  Have a great week!

July 13th, 2015: A Family Built on Gospel Principles is the Way to Be Happy!

It's ok for the email because honestly I feel like this is going to be a bad letter. My mind is totally blank from this last week. I feel like now, I've emailed you guys about a lot of stuff, nothing really new.  Just new people.  I've been trying to keep a list of things during the week that maybe you guys would like to hear about, but I always forget!  
I am actually really interested to hear the story of Kayden getting pulled over haha. 
So, let's see.  We had a couple families go to the temple this week from our ward.  Our stake set it's record for most people going on the temple trip, so it's been pretty exciting.  This last week and the week before at church, everything was temple related, the talks, lessons, and the stake leaders lately have really been pushing hard for members to get serious about going to the temple.  The two families came home this week after a five day temple trip(you should all be grateful how available the temple is, even though it's far for America) and bore their testimonies in sacrament meeting, and the spirit was really strong.  They were telling us how emotional their family sealing was after all of the trials that have come in their life and their journey in the gospel and this family has also lost two children while they were still young.  It's a really good feeling to have the spirit confirm to you that families really can be together forever.  I feel lucky to have gone to the temple a bunch of times before I came over here.  I know of the peace and strong spirit that is inside the temple.  It was a nice reminder for me though to make sure that I am focusing on the temple in the way I do my work here. 
By the way, I haven't chewed off my fingernails for a week now!!!  Elder Tracy while on splits, were talking to this family for the first time and some of the girls were doing manicure things and then gave us one.  We just talked to them while they fixing our nails or whatever is the purpose of it, and anyways, they made a big deal of how short my fingernails were so I committed to stop biting them if the promised to read the Book of Mormon haha
We met a less active family for the first time this week.  We went to their house and there was one 18 year old girl and a 5 year old girl and a 3 year old girl.  We asked them who all lives in their house and it's just those 3.  The girl with her two nieces.  Their mom works in Manila and is too busy for the kids.  The mom is divorced from the husband.  The mother of the 18 year old girl only comes home every couple of months because she works about an hour away.  The father is dead.  Anyways this 18 year old girl is so nice and polite to us, but it's really just a sad situation.   It's kind of one of those times where she is telling us all of this and I'm speechless because I am so blessed to have the family I do, and I really have no idea what these people are going through.  I don't know how they feel because it is so unfair that this girl has to raise these two girls with no family support or anything.  Anyways, we shared with them a message and invited them to church and the next day, there they were, 45 minutes early, all dressed up going to church, and the feeling I had a walked in there and saw them sitting in the chapel was a really really good feeling.  I guess why that girl wasn't going to church was just because she probably thought that everybody forgot about her.  All she really needed was for somebody to show interest in her life and to just be a friend.  All I know is that a family built on gospel principles is the way to be happy.
Also, by the way, transfer day is this week.  There is a chance that I get transferred but I calculate the chances of that happening as not likely haha.  I'm almost positive I'll stay here another transfer, but I'll make sure to let you know where I am next week. 
I'm talking with Elder Tracy and we can't really think of anything funny to send home, but I just have to quote his email lol "Nothing funny this week, just still wiping with my hand" hahaha.  too funny.  Don't think I'm depressed though of anything.  We laugh a LOT and have a lot of fun, there's just a lot of moments where you'd have to be there.  
That's about all I got.  Halong kamo permi!
Elder Robertson

Friday, July 10, 2015

July 6th, 2015: Explanation of Why They Lived Off Nature and Going on Lots of Spilts

Questions from the family:
Dad: Do the Filipino people like smoothies? If so, what are popular or weird flavors?  Yeah, there are a lot of smoothie places where they will just blend up some fresh fruit for you.  Popular flavors, um buko(coconut), banana, and Pineapple.  Other weird flavors, ube, which is a purple root potato thing, pandan, which is this leaf, yeah, they have normal flavors too, but it is usually artificial flavoring
Mom: Remember you used to always make ice water every morning? Do you use ice in the Philippines? Do people their like ice in their drinks?  What I do now is I have a 1.5 L water bottle where I will freeze half of it in the night, and then it is ready in the morning.  And yes, people usually actually like to put ice in their drinks, but they don't do it a lot because ice is kind of expensive here if you do it all of the time. (most people don't have a fridge or a freezer) Chloe: What is the most popular video game?Well, people don't have any video game consoles here so they just play cell phone games or computer games. League of Legends or whatever that game that Connor played is big here.  Also, Clash of clans on cellphone.   it's big.
Lacy: How far do you travel on average each day. And do you usually walk?  Maybe we travel 10 miles a day, most of which is tricycles unless we are tracting, then it's a lot of walking.  My area right now though is very small, so we don't walk too much.  Culasi though, we walked a whole bunch hahah
So, the thing with us living off of nature.  We had a couple things that happened that were expensive which ruined our budget, like our gas for our stove ran out, which doesn't happen that often and it's expensive.  Then we had MLC twice in one month, so we had to take two trips to Iloilo, so that was expensive, and then I live with two missionaries that are really not good at budgeting their money, so we ran out about a week short.  I could have used personal money, but I would have felt bad or ended up paying for the other two because they don't have any personal money, and I would never deny an adventure, so yeah haha. 
I heard that Boyd K. Packer died this week.  I couldn't believe it.  That's two apostles now that have died.  Do we know who are their replacements yet?
Anyways, we had another really fun week.  We did splits two days this week.  One day, I worked in Makato with two other Elders and the other day I worked in New Washington with Elder Paulite.  I really enjoyed working in Makato though.  It was fun to get out in the "bukid" again or out in the sticks.  Crossing rivers, muddy areas in the rain, climbing mountains haha.  They are teaching some cool people and we had the opportunity to give quite a few blessings.  
Sorry, my letter is short this week, but this computer is driving me nuts!  It won't work.  Better luck next week haha!  

Mayor of New Washington...a pretty jolly guy!

Waiting for the brown out to be over