Friday, August 31, 2012

Baptisms YIPPEE!! Received-8-27-12

Happy Family
Soooo..... They randomly decided to change our Temple day and Pday on us again so here I am mailing on Monday again.  Sorry!  Don't feel bad at all about not being able to send stuff it's totally fine! :)  Our Temple day will be on Sept. 12 now. (Bummer.  He told us he wasn't emailing until Wednesday because of Temple day, so we were waiting to email him until Tuesday night. I felt horrible. Oh well, I'll just make sure he has an extra good email next week!)
Special Day- August 25th

We had a pretty good week and it all ended with..... Baptisms! :D  That's always fun :)  We got to baptize the Brillantes kids this week: Jastine (12), Manuel (9), and MJ (8).  They're all SUPER cool little kids and I was trying to think which is my favorite but I like them all too much haha.  Jastine is SUPER smart and likes acting and dancing.  Manuel is SUPER nice and a little quiet and shy.  He loves basketball and wants to be a missionary when he grows up.  MJ is SUPER makulit (ummm.... no english word... naughty? kinda but not haha) and loud but is really fun at the same time.  Their dad is a returned missionary but he and his wife have been less active for a while because his only day off work (bus conductor) and day home is Tuesday.  But he was able to get the weekend off and come be a part of his children's baptism, it was great.

Yesterday we FINALLY went to teach the Santa Marias' again.  They were the ones that were really close to being baptized but then their mom didn't let Alex go to church.  Then they started getting ready to get baptized again and were 2 weeks away.  Now?  They randomly missed 4 weeks in a row!  Awww man! :(
So we went to teach them yesterday and I'm trying to figure out what's up cuz they're great kids and seemed to understand everything.  Apparently they've been having trouble receiving answers to their prayers the whole time and every time we asked about it they were too shy to say anything.  So last night their mother helped them explain it to us and now I think we'll finally have them back on track :)  Awww man I hope that I can be here when they get baptized cuz they're super cool kids :)

So Elder Wu's still da bomb! :)  It's been fun having a Chinese companion so far.  I've even learned a little chinese! haha :)  Elder Wu is obsessed with animals so we've been getting a bunch of epic pictures with little kittens and stuff.
Cute and Cuddly

Sooooo.....  I'm out of time and my brain hurts a bit.... Think I'm gonna go take a nap. (Man I like the way those words sound:o)

Mahal Kita
Da Beej :)

The OYM Challenge! Received-8-20-12

Wow!  We had another pretty good week.  Elder Wu is a really cool, nice, funny dude and we're having fun together.  I'm glad you're liking listening to my spiritual experiences cuz I had a couple more pretty AWESOME ones this week :)
Elder Wu talking to the cows!

One of the things our mission is trying to get better at right now is Opening Our Mouths and talking to more people about the Gospel and getting more new investigators.  I love messing around and being with people but I have a hard time meeting new people cuz I'm really shy around people I don't know.  On top of that some people want nothing to do with us because we're missionaries.  Because of all this, I've had a bit of a hard time Opening My Mouth so far on my mission. Our Zone Leaders challenged us this last week to OYM to more people and start handing out at least 5 Books of Mormon each week. (Sounds like a  good challenge for all of us, huh?)  I was a bit nervous about it but knew that it was the right thing to do.

So the other day we went to an appointment but they weren't ready for us yet, so we said we'd come back in a bit. When we left their house I saw a 45-50 yr. old lady pumping water into 2 buckets so I offered to help.  She said no thanks and that she could do it herself.  So I introduced us as missionaries and told her about the Book of Mormon and how it helps us come closer to Christ.  I told her we'd like to give her one and she seemed happy about it.  After I gave it to her I offered to help take the buckets back and she still refused.  I told her she had 2 buckets and 1 book but only 2 hands so she let us take them home with her.
When we got to her house she introduced us to her family and asked us to teach them a lesson! :D  She has 8 kids and they're Catholic but don't seem to believe in statues and stuff.  They said they'd read 2 Nephi 31 and let us come back on Wednesday.

WOOOT! :D  It was amazing!  Heavenly Father definitely guided my words with the Spirit.  There were a lot of things I said that I couldn't have thought up on my own.  Not only that but this was my first time trying to open my mouth in a long time.  On the first try Heavenly Father blessed us with success.  Most of the time I just hear about missionaries getting rejected.  I really felt Heavenly Father's love and encouragement in this experience :)  (YIPPEE, it worked!!)

Wow, TP!!  Happy Days!
Sounds like you guys had a pretty great, busy week too.  You're kinda the coolest parents ever taking care of us kids so well and doing such great stuff on our birthdays haha.  Wow!  You got seats in the Orchestra section?  That's pretty up close and personal! :)  Glad you had a great time.  Sounds like everyone, especially Chelsey, loved it :)

That's a pretty awesome idea Bishop Sanford had for y'all to get together. (Missionary families got together to share about our boys.) I hope you all had fun showing off to each other and talking about and missing us hehe :o)  Really crazy that you'll only have one more of those parties before I get home eh?  I'll hopefully get that HUMP/Bday package next week.

Sounds like you're keeping plenty busy and still running like a chicken with it's head cut off :)  Don't worry Mom I know you're doing a lot and you're doing it all very well.  They love you at work, they love you at home, and we love ya here in the Philippines :)  In our District Leader meeting with President Sperry last week he talked about delegating our responsibilities with others.  Don't forget that those kids back home can get a lot done for ya ok?

Also don't forget an AWESOME talk by Elder Matthew O. Richardson in Oct. 2011 Gen. Conference.  He said he climbed a Mtn. with his young kids.  When they were near the top it got really gravelly and steep so his daughter was having a hard time.  They felt like for every 2 steps forward they had at least 1 back sinking in the gravel.  His daughter wanted to be carried but he was tired and weak and couldn't.  They decided to take breaks every once in a while to turn around and look how far they'd come.  We should do that too when times get tough or we feel inadequate. I love that talk, it's helped me a lot of times on my mission :)

Yup!  We still have a baptism this Saturday :D  MJ, Manuel, and Jastine Brillantes are getting baptized.  Pretty excited.  I'll send pics.

Again Elder Wu's awesome :)  Learning a little Chinese from him.  He's struggled a TON with the language on his mission though.  Hopefully it won't bother him too bad.

Elder Wu

Transfer Day was changed to August 10 instead of  9 because of the floods.  The next one is Sept. 20.
DL's still ok.  I have 4 sisters, me, and Elder Wu in my District now.  The sisters are RIDICULOUSLY hard working.  They're great :)  Giving workshops is stressful sometimes but I'm excited to give one on finding tomorrow after my experiences with it last week.
Elder Hicken's awesome and he's still here.  The apartment's pretty quiet without Elder Miller and Elder Blotter, but Elder Hicken and I started talking and laughing and messing around a lot more. No weather problems... Just HOT :o)

HUMP day was great! :)  We burned a shirt and tie in the middle of street.  All the Philipinos that passed had "Crazy Americans..." written all over their  faces haha :)

Can't believe it's already been a year!

Don't ever be sorry for being long winded!  I LOVE getting news! :D

Hump Day Already?!! Received-8-13-2012

Hey-Ooooo, Listen what I say-ooooo......,

It was quite a GREAT wet week :)  Even though there was a ridiculous amount of rain here in my area it didn't flood much at all.  Just the rice fields were affected.  The rest of the mission was underwater for about a week though.  I'm pretty sure the members in my last area (Batasan Hills) were affected really badly because they all live right next to a really big river.  If their houses flooded hopefully it wasn't too bad.  Since there wasn't much flooding in my area we didn't have any service to do, we just got back to work after Transfer Day last Friday.
Like you said, the people are pretty used to it.  I've been told there is a HUGE storm every year on September 25, 26 or 27.  Pretty crazy.  They just pick up, build a new house and move on with life.  One of the problems is that people always build their shacks on the edge of the rivers..... bad idea cuz it floods maybe once a month during rainy season.  It's pretty sad but it's just the way of life here.
BJ, Elders Blotter, Miller, Hicken

Sooo.... Since there was a transfer day Elder Blotter is gone.  We had a blast last Thursday going around and getting pictures with everyone.  He got transferred to my last area! :D  With Mama Bagang, Novelyn, Aleli Keil, the Monreal Family... He'll have a BLAST and get a lot of work done. Elder Miller also transferred.... Bummer!  Haha, I had a blast having him as a house mate.  He got transferred to Valenzuela, really close to Meycauayan.

Sooo...... Since there was a transfer day I also have a new companion...... Elder Wu. :)  He's a Korean from China and is super nice and funny.  I'm excited to work with and have fun with him.  He's been on the mission for 8 months but since he has to learn Tagalog and English he struggles a bit with the language.  He's been bearing testimony at the end of lessons in English most of the time.  Like I said he's super cool and funny :)

BJ and Elder Wu

The investigators are going pretty well.  The other day at church I had 1 that wasn't progressing much walk up to me and tell me she wants me to baptize her haha, That's always a nice thing to hear from an investigator! :)
The Sta. Maria kids were gonna be baptized on the 25th but they didn't come to church the last 2 weeks so we have to push it back a month.  When I asked them why they didn't come they said they've made a deal with their mom.  If they don't finish their work at home they can't go to church........ GAAAAH!! :P  Their mom is LDS and everything but she's held them back a ton.  They're totally ready to be baptized but now we'll hafta wait a while... aww man!  But no worries, they're still doing and being awesome :)
The Brillantes kids are gonna be baptized on August 25th.  They're SUPER excited and so am I :)

BJ, Elder Blotter, and the crew.

This week we'll hopefully give a baptismal date to 3 more people.  Alyssa Calderon (SUPER cute and smart 9 year-old girl we met 2 weeks ago, her Gma is a recent convert and is bringing her to church now), her Gpa, and Nicole Pastrana(SUPER cool 13 year-old girl. Part of the family that owns the Carabao we rode.  We don't walk through the stream to get to their house, just to their rice field and carabao:)  Things are going pretty good here :)
[With the rain the last week my shoes have been SOAKED and haven't had time to dry out.  The Merrel's that I love are molding a little bit cuz they were wet but I'll take care of it.]

Things are starting to go well with Less-Actives as well.  My favorite family here finally started coming to church a couple weeks ago! :D  They're the Rivera family.  They have 2 young kids and have taken in Sister's 2 nieces because their mother died.  We joke around with them all the time and love visiting them.  I'll try and get a picture with them this week to send y'all.

Holy oh my freaking HUMP?????  Time flies but goes sooooooo slow haha :)  Can't believe I've been out here so long.  I'm actually one of the oldest missionaries out here now haha.  It's gonna be pretty rough looking back at where I was a year ago and having it be on the mission instead of home haha.  Gonna try and make this last year be just as STELLAR and STUPENDOUS as the first.  Thanks for all your love and support, love y'all tons :)
Hopefully I'll get that package tomorrow at Zone meeting, candy and goodies sound great right now :o)

Love Ya!
Da Beej

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rain, Rain, Go Away! B-) Received 8-08-2012

Soooooo....  From what I heard, we got hit by like 8 typhoons at the same time!  Kinda sorta freaking crazy out here right now.  A typhoon sounds REALLY bad and it can be but this one wasn't super windy like a hurricane.  It's just been raining REALLY hard for a REALLY long time.

Sorry if this is super jumbled.  Just gonna quickly tell you about the rainy stuff.... in a detailed way :o)  Apparently it hasn't rained like this in 17 years.  It might not be the most damaging or the biggest or most deadly storm in 17 years but it has rained 9 days in a row.  Yesterday it rained for at least 32 hours straight without stopping haha.  Kinda crazy.  And that's just here in Baliwag.  Apparently we're really lucky.  Where we're at hasn't flooded at all.  The rivers have raised a ton but it all went into the rice fields.  The places where the rice fields used to be look like the ocean or a lake.
Flooded Home and Rice Fields
Kids having fun in the water!

Since transfers are this week we actually had a pretty great adventure with the rain :)  Elder Hicken and Elder Blotter are training next transfer so they had a meeting Tuesday morning at President's home about 2 hours away.  They left at 4am and........ got stuck :)  That was the day where the heaven's absolutely BURST and did not stop.  All of the big city areas, including near President's home were flooded to the waist and all the jeepneys and buses had stopped going anywhere.  They ended up staying there for a day with the office elders making transfer announcements.
Me and Elder Miller were already excited to get to be companions while they went to Manila.  We ended up having a blast for a day and a half haha.  We still worked hard and taught lessons but we had a lot of fun hanging out together and messing around.  We also didn't have a cell phone so we were kind of isolated from the world.  It was quite the adventure :)

So we're not sure if Transfer Day is going to happen tomorrow because the whole mission except for our zone is flooded but we do know who is transferring.  Elder Blotter and Elder Miller are both leaving which means Elder Hicken will have a trainee and I will get a new companion.
Kinda bummed that this transfers ending. We had a BLAST as 4 Americans in one apartment! :)  It'll be fun to see what happens next transfer.

Glad to hear you're all keeping busy back home!  Can you believe it will have been a WHOLE YEAR this week?  Pretty crazy.

Da Beej

P.S.-We were at an investigator's house and let the kids go crazy with the cameras..... Woot :)