Sunday, September 20, 2015

Giving a Helping Hand

Hello family!

Well here is my update from this week!  I had a good week this week!  I am starting to fit into my nutrition schedule.  I will mainly be eating egg and cheesedog omelets along with peanut butter sandwiches.  It is really all I will be eating for the next 2 years.  I am glad to hear that all of the weddings went well.  To Megan, thank you so much for your letter and thank you Jesse and Megan for the wedding invitation.  Sadly, I have to inform you that I will not be able to make it.  Something about being half way across the world on a mission.  

I got  the flu this week!  That was super fun, not.  I am still adapting to the Philippines, but it was ok.  Since then I have done so much better.  We taught a ton of lessons this week.  I am really trying hard to not beg for some of these people to come back to church.  They are a very stubborn people haha.  But because they are so nice they will just say yes so that you will leave.  I am still trying to find ways to make them really want to come back to church.  It will just take time and patience.  We get lots of help from the Return missionaries and the mission president, along with one of my favorite Nanaes, Nanae Mabeuti.  Her real name is Nanae Febrero but she loves to be called on her beauti hahaha.  She has helped us with a lot of lessons and she has a strong spiritual presence about her.  My first week here she made me sign her book of remembrance for missionaries.  It was a huge honor. We do a ton of work with less actives and recent converts.  We have a couple investigators, but our main focus is on this Brother who recently just started attending our church.  I am excited for the turn out of this investigator.  Hopefully all goes well!  

It is super cool to see how much more organized I have become.  I take care of stuff now.  I brush my teeth multiple times a day.  I mean, its like a whole new world has opened up for me.  My breath never smells bad for a change.  I am also rocking a new hairstyle because of how they cut it here in the Philippines.  It is pretty nice, and I don't really care what other people think about it since I am half way across the world.  

To close, I want to share an experience that happened to me last night.  We were walking home after a good day, when we were called by a man sitting on the side of the road.  With cigarette in hand, he called us over.  We started to talk to him when we found out that he was a member back in the day.  We talked about why he left and if he would come back.  At the end, he said that he would like us to come to his house and wants to come back to church.  These people are awesome.  They have an actual desire to come to church.  They just need a helping hand.  Us missionaries are that helping hand.  As well as the members.  We need to take a better look around us.  Listen a little longer.  Then maybe we will come to find that there are so many more people ready to accept our invitation to come unto Christ.  I have no fear here to open my mouth here, because I have found that through the Lord, I am made stronger daily.  A mission is emotionally, physically, and spiritually demanding, but through the Lord I receive more then enough strength to get through each day.  I will never stop hastening the work, and we can always invite.

The Matangkad Misionary,
Elder Warren or Warrrrren(roll the r)

Picture of me, an Austarlian, and an Elder from Tumaluu

Email sent on 9/14/15

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

My First Area!

Hello Family!!!
Well I am officially out in the field here in the Philippines!  My first area is the Rizal Ward in Santiago.  First,  I have to say I have come to love Pepto Bismol.  The food here tastes great, but my stomach doesn't agree.  I have probably overdosed on the stuff, but it is very important because no one really has bathrooms here.  A lot of people just kind of go on the side of the road.  Written on the walls here is "Bawal Umihi".  At first, I thought it meant, no soliciting, but I soon found out that I was wrong.  (English translation: Don't urinate here) The Philippines is a very different culture from here.  There are many tindahans, which are basically shops attached to the sides of houses.  The nice thing about these is that they are literally every other house, so we could go to them for breakfast items.  Two of my favorites are cheese dogs and croissants filled with cheese.  The cheese dogs are hot dogs that are filled  with cheese.  They are super good.  I usually have them with oatmeal and add brown sugar to the plain oatmeal.  
My area is kind of a jungle though.  There are actual huts and there are roads that are flooded with people just fishing in them.  I walk an average of 7 - 10 miles a day.  I have had to dunk for people about 10 different times already, and I think someone may have asked me to marry their daughter.  I here people say "tangkad"  everywhere I go which means tall.  The culture here is pretty lax.  People just ride on top of semis and kids will take rides on the back of U-Hauls as you will see in the picture.  My companion is Elder Canencia and he is Filipino.  He is super cool and he speaks English which is very handy.  He taught me how to wash my clothes today.  It was a long process and I sweated a ton, but my hands were fine.  They were just really sticky.  Dad, I can't believe you even thought about complaining about humidity.  I can't go anywhere without sweating.  I am sweating in this computer shop hahaha.  
I love the people here.  I have had some amazing lessons as well.  My favorite ones is this:  I was teaching Tatae (Father) Korpos.  We had just eaten dinner (rice and meat only for me) when I started to try to find a scripture on faith.  While I was doing so I flipped to 3 scriptures on pray to know if the gospel is true and receive a warmth for the spirit.  I told my companion and changed the lesson plan.  I read the scripture and bore my testimony.  At the end of the lesson I expressed our love for him and told him that we really wanted to see him at church next week.  The Spirit was super strong and I know I was given guidance in that moment.  Although this isn't the first miracle, I know it definitely isn't the last.  I will have a lot more to say in the coming weeks, but for now I love you all!

Elder Warren

President Rahlf, myself and Sister Rahlf

My trainer Elder Canencia

The Manilla Temple

War Memorial in Manilla

Getting a ride!