Thursday, November 24, 2011

Aaron: Kinda sorta freaking AMAZING missionary:)

Hey! Hey! Hey! :)  Kumusta kayo lahat?  Things, are still pretty good here in the Philippines.  The last few days have been pretty tough because we haven't been able to teach as many lessons as we'd like.
On Thursday we had a GREAT day :)  It was the day after going to the temple, having a P-day with other elders in our zone and playing bball with some members.  On Thursday we taught some great lessons to our investigators.  I was able to open my mouth and express my testimony in Tagalog much better and we had asked one investigator if he would pray about getting baptized.  So things were going really well and we were in a good mood and really excited to get back to work on Friday.
Thursday night we had a great planning session and were hoping to teach 8 lessons on Friday, keeping really busy and getting a lot of work done.... But Friday was SOOOO pangit!!! (Ugly:P)  We ended up walking around to appointments and everything for 8 hours without teaching a single lesson!!  Every lesson fell through because people either weren't home, were busy, or even hid from us so that we would go away haha.  SOOO lame!  It was a rough day and I hope I don't have too many like it.

So last week I told you about Alma and how amazing he was as a missionary right?  So now I should be telling you about how awesome Ammon is right?  Wrong! :)  Even though Ammon is an EPIC missionary and I love his story, this week I learned a lot more from the story of his brother Aaron.
Ammon was super successful as a missionary am I right?  Chopping off bad guys arms, converting kings and queens, bringing an entire nation to a knowledge of their God.... WOOT! :)  But Aaron wasn't all that bad either was he?  While Ammon was the one who converted King Lamoni, king of the Land of Ishmael, Aaron converted the king of the entire Lamanite people!  How's that for a successful missionary? :)
Although Aaron's mission ended up being amazing, it sure didn't look like it would turn out that way in the beginning.  He and his companions suffered some BIG time trials before they found success.  While Ammon was in the Land of Ishmael working miracles and converting kings and queens what was Aaron doing?  Did he have the same success?  Nope!  In Alma 20:30 it says that he had "fallen into the hands of a more hardened people and they would not hearken unto their words."  They were "driven from place to place until they came to the Land of Middoni... where they were taken cast into prison."  Yikes!  Not quite as happy as Ammon's story, eh?  How do you think Aaron felt when he heard about Ammon's success?  Haha, I can imagine him saying, "You had HOW many baptisms while I was stuck in prison??" :)
Even though Aaron's mission started out tough, like I said, it ended up great.  From this I learned that even when you work your hardest you may not find success.  Don't get discouraged, better days are sure to come.  Don't EVER compare yourself to other people, in Aaron's case Ammon, this will only bring discouragement.
Another thing I respect Aaron for is what he gave up to become a missionary.  He was a prince!  If he had stayed in Zarahemla a couple more years he would have been made king!  He made a huge sacrifice and left a great life behind in order to become a missionary.  I wonder if he and his brothers ever became homesick like missionaries do in our day?  I'm guessing.... Yes! :)
In Alma 20:29 it talks about Aaron's trials in prison.  He went from living the high life as the son of a king to "all kinds of afflictions."  At home he had all the finest food and drink he wanted; on the mission he suffered hunger and thirst.  At home Aaron lived in a palace; on the mission he was bound in strong cords in a prison.  Do you think Aaron ever had the thought, "Why did I ever leave home for a mission?" cross his mind?  Again I'm thinking.... Yes! :o)
Even though he suffered through all these HUGE afflictions, Aaron was "patient in all his sufferings."  What a great example, eh?  In Alma 17:11 the Lord promises that if we will be "patient in long-suffering and afflictions...I will make an instrument of thee in my hands."  Aaron was patient in his trials and the Lord helped him find success and bring about the salvation of many souls.
(Yikes, sorry this is SOO long, hope you haven't stopped reading yet :P)

Many of you are starting new journeys like Aaron.  You're either in your first years of college, high school, or having new challenging experiences in Parenthood.  Like Aaron it may seem tough at the beginning.  Like Aaron you may wonder why you're even trying, and why you don't just go back to an easier life.  But I KNOW that, like Aaron, even though things may seem tough now, if you are "patient in long-suffering and afflictions" the Lord will help you and guide you to success as you rely on Him.
So when times get tough, think of Aaron, and know that although things may seem tough right now if you're patient things will be AMAZING in the end :)

I love and miss you all!  Happy Thanksgiving haha!

THE Elder Powell :)

Oh yeah..... this might be cool to know.....  We're having our first baptism this week! :D  haha Ingat!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Philippines Photos, Yea!

Companion Elder Sidillo

Lunch meeting

Temple Trip

Getting around

Upside down house

Alma, Zone Conference, Mystery Meat

So this week was..... kinda sorta freaking amazing!  I'm catching the vision of what I have the potential to become as a missionary here in the Philippines.  Short on time though so scatter-brained, a few stories, and I'm out :)

Right now I'm reading in Alma about the Missionary Work of Alma, Amulek, and the Sons of Mosiah.  You know?  The best missionaries EVER? :)
Wow, Alma is an AMAZING missionary!  There are so many things that impress me about him but one of the greatest is his trust in God.  He and Amulek went through HUGE trials together.  When the wicked Ammonihahites are burning the believers and their writings Amulek expressed his fear that perhaps they would be burned too.  Alma shows amazing trust and says, "be it according to the will of God, but our work here is not yet finished, therefore they burn us not.  Wow!  Alma trusted that no matter what happened, even if it meant death, it would be the will of God and be for their benefit.  I really love his example and its strengthening my trust in my Heavenly Father.  No matter what trials or problems we face, we can take comfort in the fact that it will be for our benefit because God is looking out for us.
At our Zone Meeting last week Sister Sperry, our Mission President's wife talked to us about goals and asked a couple questions that really got me thinking.  She said, "When you are finished with your mission, what do you want to be able to say you've accomplished?"  I wasn't sure at first and was surprised I hadn't thought about it.  But I found the answer to this also in the words of Alma.  He said to his son Helaman in Alma 36:25-26 "Yea, and now behold, O my son, the Lord doth give me exceedingly great joy in the fruit of my labors; For because of the word which he has imparted unto me, behold, many have been born of God, and have tasted as I have tasted, and have seen eye to eye as I have seen; therefore they do know of these things of which I have spoken, as I do know; and the knowledge which I have is of God."  I want to be able to say, like Alma, that I have found success with the Lord's help.
Like I said... Alma?  AMAZING! :)

Oh yeah.  On 11-11-11?  I saw a cat catch a rat for the first time.  Pretty intense, just thought you'd like to know hahaha :P

Last week a member in our ward returned from his mission in Cagayan de Oro.  He came and worked with us on monday and was amazing!  He opened his mouth to everyone about the Gospel.  When he taught it was very clear and to the point.  I don't know how to explain it, but everything he did seemed to work out perfectly.  I got to catch a glimpse of what I will become in the next few months and it was really exciting :)

So another BIG thing happened on Monday.  It really rocked my world and I'm sure it will do the same to you.
My favorite food here in the Philippines so far is Tapsilog.  Tapsilog is a fried egg, the ever-present cup of rice, and a few strips of REALLY tasty meat :)  (Can you see where this is going?)  I eat it for basically every meal because we have a Tapsilogan (Restaurant) down the street.
So guess what kind of meat Tapsilog is made from (Let me give you a hint it isn't beef:)..... ASO????  Nope, it's not aso (dog) meat haha.  KABAYO!!  I have been eating HORSE (kabayo) meat and LOVING it for the last 4 weeks hahaha! :)  So cool! :P  They told me the other day what the meet was and I just about died laughing :)

So I found out a little more about my area of the mission haha.  Apparently it's the "armpit" of the mission, or the part noone really wants to go to :)  Not only that but we're in probably the smallest apartment in the Zone.  My mattress is SUPER thin so the bedbars stick in my back each night.  I've been paired with a native companion who's in his 4th transfer.  This is his first time training and we are in an area neither of us has been before.
Whew!  Sounds pretty tought eh? :)  The Lord must really be conditioning me for something great if he's starting me off in this tough of a situation.  Either that or I've got a lot to learn :)  Probably both haha.  I'm glad that I'm experiencing all of the tough parts of the mission now at the beginning so that I can LOVE the rest of my mission, knowing it's all uphill from here :)

Well that all folks! :)  Love and miss you all!  Hope things are good in the states!  Shoot me a Dear elder if you get the chance, I love hearing from y'all :)

BUGS! and more

So bug-wise this place is pretty boring (Thank Heaven!) :)  There aren't any big spiders or anything really freaky like that.  I've seen 1 or 2 BIG cockroaches in the street though haha.  And most houses have little lizards (Mga butiktik) crawling on the walls.  There are tiny ants EVERYWHERE too!  They drive me crazy! haha.  I haven't been using my mosquito net, repellent, sunscreen, or lip balm haha.  Sorry I'm a bad kid :o)  I have been using LOTS of Afterbite though haha :)  Maybe I should use the repellent instead eh?  The mosquitos weren't bad at first but now they're eating me alive!  No worries though, buhay pa.

Soo... we have running water (kind of) but not flushing toilets or a shower (We use a bucket and ladle for both.  I explained TP in Kylee's email) :)
Food I miss:  Mashed potatoes and Roast Beef
Thing:  Family, and America is SOOOO beautiful!!!!  We don't realize how good we've got it!  I'm deep in the city and it's SOOO polluted and there's a bunch of trash everywhere and I miss our mountains and everything haha.
Yep, there's plenty of water here, I should probably drink more but buhay pa :)
The hot dogs here are pretty strange haha.  Does that count? :)  Elder Sidillo wants me to eat balut and I almost did last night but I chickened out :P  Elder Cloward ate baked pig's blood though hahaha :)  He's serving in Fairview, it's a wealthier part of the city.  Elder Calinog's actually in my district! :D  I see him a couple times each week, he's great!
Our apartment is tiny!!!  Probably the size of the girl's room plus the downstairs toilet.  CRAZY!  I think we have one of the smaller ones in the mission too, Elder Cloward and Elder Calinog both have 4 elders in a 2 story apartment with 4 rooms.
I washed my clothes by hand the first week but I'm too impatient to wait for it to dry haha.  We found a laundromat and they do my clothes for 25 pisos(50 cents) per kilogram and I wash my garments by hand.