Saturday, August 22, 2015

August 17th, 2015: Visit from Brother Waggoner and Service Project

Hello everyone!  

So first, I'll just answer your questions 

Dad: is the church emphasizing keeping the Sabbath Day Holy?  I would say so.  That was the topic this last Sunday.  I would say that for the most part, members are good at keeping the Sabbath Day holy as well.  Maybe the biggest emphasis is put on paying tithing.  It's something that members overall struggle with here.  As group leader back in Culasi, President Aquino asked that I was teaching it or at least emphasizing it every Sunday.   
Brooklyn: are board games popular there?  For the most part, no.  But, if they have board games, sometimes they play it. 
Mom: have you thought about what you want to do as a career?  I do think about it, but I'm really still pretty up in the air about it.  
Seth: how many lessons do you teach a week? And how do you get investigators? Members, tracking, media?  As a zone leader, we don't get as many lessons as I used to because a lot of the time, we spend time out of our area, but maybe an average right now is 30 lessons or so.  A good week is 40.  And investigators generally are really easy to find.  It's just a matter of getting quality investigators where you can teach them at members' houses and have fellow shippers.  We don't really use media at all though.  We used to have Facebook, but missionaries abused it, so there is no more of that. 
Stephanie: what was something that has made you laugh this week?  So, Elder Tracy's birthday was yesterday and tonight, we are having a ward activity that is kind of for his birthday.  He is buying all of the food, so the thing is he is expected right now to replace one of the other zone leaders who will be transferring early to the office for training, which would mean Elder Tracy would have to transfer early too.  We don't know anything for sure though, it's just gossip, but yesterday after church, they missed a call from the APs, which we all started freaking out because we thought it was because Elder Tracy was transferring.  It would have been perfect timing.  Anyways, he was panicking because it could mean that he would transfer right before his party that he has already put some money into for food. And all of the members are planning on attending.  Anyways, it was so funny because he was panicking.  Eventually the AP called back again and told Elder Tracy that he had something to tell him.  At that point Elder Tracy was about to give up hope, and then all it was was a birthday call because they apparently had the same birthday.  It was pretty funny because it was such good timing and we all thought that he was transferring. 

Bree and Chloe: how talk are the trees there?  They are normal height I guess.  Most of the trees though are coconut trees. 
Hey, so about the paper, the other paper he gave me was already three hole punched. i have a hole puncher here, but it's kind of cheap plastic, but it works.  It's just one that I got at the MTC.  If you could get three hole punched paper or just punch it there, I think that would be best.  As far as hygiene products, maybe the only thing that would be nice is deodorant.  You can buy good deodorant here, but its so expensive, like 7 dollars a stick-expensive.  Other than that, I'm good!  Thanks a bunch!   

That's a bummer about stake conference though.  That's a good meeting.  And that's so crazy that Madison Jones is already home.  That's so fast haha. 
So about school, I'm going to apply to BYU and I probably will need your help on that.  I don't really know when's the best time to go in though.  I was thinking fall just because I don't really see any reason why to wait, but it seems like you want me to go in for winter semester.  I'm fine with whatever.  I'm not really worried about adjusting at all, but it would be nice to work a little bit before.  I just don't know where I would work.  

I had a pretty cool experience this week.  I came home one night and Elder Tracy told me he wanted to show me a picture of someone he had met that day, so he showed me the picture and it was Brother Waggoner!  He was one of my teachers in the MTC!  Apparently he was in Kalibo and knew that Elder Tracy and I were in New Washington and came over, found some members and then called Elder Tracy (he taught Elder Tracy too)  and they had dinner together at the member's house.  I was pretty bummed because we had forgot a phone and they had tried to contact us, but it was ok because the next morning we met up with him and his dad and had breakfast together. It was kind of cool because we got to catch up and then we had a pretty lengthy conversation about looking back, how the MTC experience could have been better and then we talked also about teaching less-active members.  It was really good.  I actually learned a lot of stuff that I wish I would have known a long time ago.  In Culasi, there were no less-actives, so I had never had any experience teaching them and then I got to New Washington with hundreds of less-active members and my initial reaction was to turn to PMG and that actually has basically nothing about how to work with these members that have been offended, or became members for the wrong reason.  I really appreciated our conversation with Brother Waggoner because he is a really passionate person who really cares about the work and even though he was on vacation to visit all of his old converts and stuff, he was also getting feedback on how he can better do his job in the MTC.  He's a good guy.  Anyways, I was pretty excited over all of that.  

Anyways, that's all I have time for today just because I got a lot of stuff that I am working on right now, but I really liked all of the pictures you guys sent.  You all are goons haha. 

Ingat kayo 
Elder Robertson

The School Bus

Brother Waggoner

August 10th, 2015: Working with Investigators

Karter:  I do! I still have it! It's pretty much exactly like you said.  I use it walking through the jungle at night.  It works well. 
Seth:  haha.  It was kind of bad in Culasi just because I was one of the first white men they've ever seen, but here, the members are pretty used to having American missionaries.  
Dad:  To be honest, Filipino people don't read at all unless they have to.  
Brevin:  The hottest it's got here in about 105 degrees with 100 percent humidity which is basically the definition of hot.  
I've had a great week again.  It has rained a lot here this week though.  We had a storm go through, but it was far from us.  We just got a lot of rain.  It's kind of funny though because when it comes to rain, Filipinos are such wimps. They can't get wet.  I'm fine with getting wet, as long as my scriptures don't get wet. haha. 
So, this week, I did a bit of traveling.  We had MLC in Iloilo again and then I did a couple days of splits, so I didn't spend a lot of time in New Washington this week.  I was pretty exhausted too because most of the days I woke up early to get traveling.  MLC was great again.  Learned some great lessons.  Elder Beticon and I were asked to give a training again for the second time in a row, we trained together though this time on stress, our assigned topic. It was kind of fun.  It was the first time I gave a training with my companion.  
I spent a day in Ibajay this week to do a baptismal interview.  It was a lot of fun to walk around in the mountains and get wet in the rain again.  The interview was a little interesting though. I interviewed a 35 year old man and I noticed there was a something a little off about him and he told me that he had epilepsy, but he was still completely capable, but he actually ended up telling me that he had killed someone before, which was a little unexpected.  It kind of took me off guard.  I had to ask the question three times because I was a little taken off guard.  Anyways, it was a while back and somebody had drugged his drink and he ended up killing somebody, but I was really impressed with his faith in Christ and his understanding of the gospel.  We had to write a letter to the first presidency to see what we should do, but I think that they will allow him to recieve the ordinance of baptism.
Oh this is kind of for John and Connor and Dad, but last night in a lesson the song rhinestone cowboy came on in one of the next door houses.  It was a crazy moment in my head because I had totally forgotten that song and then I heard it and so many memories just came back from youth dances and listening to it in the choir room haha. It's such an epic song.  I kind of started grinning in the lesson and everybody was looking at me weird haha.  #LikeaRhinestonecowboy
We were supposed to have a baptism this last Saturday, but unfortunately our investigator got kicked out of her house because she was listening to us, so she went to Manila.  Her family is way nice to us when we are there, but apparently when they aren't there they say a lot of bad stuff about the church and really don't want their daughter to join the church just because it looks bad for their family if she becomes Mormon, but she said she doesn't care what other people think, but anyways she called us this week from Manila telling us that her parents made her go to Manila.  We were kind of bummed to here that, but it really doesn't matter where she gets baptized.  It's the same gospel and same church.  We are just happy that she was able to overcome her persecutions.  
We have kind of been losing a lot of our work because of persecution, but at the same time, the Lord has been blessing us by putting a couple people of families in our path that have of been prepared this week.  
And I don't really have any requests for the package. You guys have made some great judgement calls until now.  Thanks!
A big hello to Hannah and Karter and their family as well!
Elder Robertson

August 3, 2015: The Magsico Family is an Inspiration

Natalie: what's the best advise your mission president has given you? And what do people think of Obama?  haha.  I like these questions today..   So maybe the best advise that my mission president has given me is that I should have a goal of how many people I want to baptize and then write it down.  When he told us this it really kind of just made me realize that I really didn't have any expectations for what I wanted to accomplish for my mission.  But a lot of the advice he gives us makes me just laugh.  Like he tells us that if we don't honor our covenants that God might strike us with lightning, like literal lightning and he tells us that if we work hard on our missions and use our time wisely that the Lord will for sure bless us with gwapa wifes haha.  He tells us that one all of the time.  And most people know who Obama is but they don't really have any opinions of him.  
Lacy: what is a popular toy kids play with? Kids have a lot of cool things that they play with.  They make this thing by wrapping plastic a sertain way around a coin and play a kind of hacky-sack game.  then kids always take used tricycle tires and race them by hitting it with a stick.   People play badminton a lot too in the streets (with no net)  I don't know.  Kind of make-shift stuff like that.  
Chloe: are the schools nice? Do they have to wear uniforms?  The schools are ok.  They aren't nice, but yes, everybody wears uniforms, even college.  
Mom: can you get descent basketball shoes there?-  You can buy real basketball shoes but they are the same price as America, around 100 dollars, otherwise its fake ones, which are actually ok.  They just seem to fade really fast on the bottom from playing on concrete. I could probably make a pair last for 5-6 months.  It would cost around $15.
Oliver: how tall is the tallest Filipino you've seen? Maybe around  6-6. We one time played one of the college basketball teams and they  had like a 6-6 center and I was guarding him.  He was good and dunked on me a couple of times.  
Dad: what's the political/electoral scene like there? Do they advertise? Knock on doors? Politics over all are very sketchy.  Elections aren't very often though.  People advertise but it's not nearly as much as America.  I've never seen knocking on doors either.  It's so corrupt though here.  There is an election coming up here next year and so what happens is that the current mayor and stuff just start becoming passive on everything.  They don't enforce any laws just so they can get votes to be put in again.  It's bad. 

Don't worry about the package!  I'm fine, I just didn't want you to feel bad that I got it and didn't say anything!   If I can request one thing it's the journal paper from Papa.  What's happened is that a lot of missionaries here have been converted to the papa style of journaling that he showed me before I left and people are requesting some of that paper that he gave me.  I'm running out. Maybe like 400-500 pieces of paper would be good.   Thanks! 

So, this week was a lot of fun and I have had some inspiring experiences as well. 

We did a service project this week on our yard of our apartment because we were going to have an apartment check and our yard was like a jungle of weeds, so we called over some of the members  to help us out.  It's really not that big of a yard, but it took forever to finish because again we were using machetes to cut down the weeds.  So ending result for me was so nasty blisters, a sore back from hunching over and hacking with the machete, and some pretty nasty ant bites.  We still have those fire ants in the back of our house.  They hurt other people when they get bit, but I have kind of a bad reaction to them.  They swell up so big.  I had one on the back of my elbow that seriously swole up like a small egg.  

The Magsico family, our last baptism, are going through some pretty crazy trials right now.  Their house owner, who is actually the father's sister, is giving them a pretty hard time because they joined the church.  I'll make a long story short, she just told them that if they keep going to church that she's going to kick them out of the house, but there are actually a lot of people right now that are not being nice to them and telling them a bunch of stuff about the church, but I'm still just so impressed with their family because they have defended the church through all of this.  They don't have any other family in the church or close friends because they are new in New Washington and have only even been going to church for 6 weeks but have defended it through all of this.  They didn't complain at all to us except for that they felt bad because it seemed like they were the only ones who knew God.  They just told us how they had been comforted so much through their prayers and through the Book of Mormon.  This family really has inspired me.  It's only been 6 weeks and they have more faith than I do.  It's kind of like the quote you sent me. It's pretty major stuff that we do as missionaries, and to have a convert like this family brings a lot of inner happiness and peace.  It's kind of hard to describe, but it feels really really good.  

That's about all I've got for this week.  Halong!