Monday, December 21, 2015

Let it blow, let it blow, let it blow.... Merry Christmas!!

Hello Everyone!

Well this week is Christmas!  I hope you all get all of your wishes and that all of your construction gets finished up sooner rather than later.  

Anyways I had a pretty good week too.  We had our ward Christmas party this week!  Wooh!  I was excited because I got a lot of food and candy.  The activities were super fun to watch haha.  They had an activity where all the adult couples had to feed their spouse a marshmallow using a toothpick that was in their mouth.  We also had nonmembers show up which was awesome and they had  blast!  

This sunday we had 2 new investigators come to church.  Their friends from church invited them to come and they seemed like they would love to return!  Also our canadian investigator has come back!!!  For a while we thought he might have been kidnapped! Hahaha but we have talked to him and he is excited to start coming back to church!  

We have had 2 typhoons this past week!  It definitely made for a wet and windy week and I loved all of it!  I also got a haircut today they way I have wanted it for 2 months and they just finally figured it out... (Should work on my hair cutting directions in Tagalog probably...)  But hey I am super happy now!  Mom I am glad to hear that you were able to accomplish your talk even with all that has been going on.  I hope that grandpa is ok.  Keep me updated on his status and if things get bad.  I am glad its something they can knock out with antibiotics.  
Now back to my week, we had a Christmas devotional on Thursday and I was able to see my Tatay Elder Canencia!  Man he missed me and I missed him.  He took some pictures with me and talked about how we were doing.  It was a really nice devotional.  We really dove into the Christmas story and learned a lot of background history about the birth of Christ and his apostles.  It was incredible what people have figured out about the birth of Christ.  I was really humbled when I found that Christ was most likely born in a cave that was carved into a small hill.  That was what was common for stables back in the day.  The whole devotional was amazing and the spirit it brought really had me pondering on the Spirit of Christmas.  

There was also an amazing video they showed about a man that had a son.  The man operated a Bridge for the Trains and one day the Train didn't notice the bridge was up.  They boy tried to tell his dad, but his dad wasn't paying attention.  The boy fell into a compartment of the bridge and his father had to decide if he would save his son or the bridge.  I guess for the first time in my life I really saw and felt just a glimpse of what Heavenly Father must've felt when he gave His son's life for all of us.  I can't even imagine what sorrow that would bring, but then I saw what good came from that action.  

I feel a renewed sense of commitment to really strive to be more like Christ, in order to show Heavenly Father that His sacrifice was, is, and always will be treasured by his other Sons and Daughters.  "Joy to the World, the Lord is come, let Earth receive her king!" This Christmas season, have joy, remember all of the talents and gifts you have been given, and spread your joy to everyone you meet!  

I love all of you and am excited to see you all soon!!!

Elder Warren

Ward Christmas Party!!

The Marshmallow Game

Merry Christmas!!

Reunited with Trainer

Striking a Christmas Pose!

Tis the Christmas Season!!

Hello Everyone!

Another week has gone by!  Time doesn't even exist anymore at this point.  Christmas does not feel like Christmas here, surprisingly it feels like summer.  I wonder why that is...  Anyways Elder Rebojo and I are gearing up our stomachs for the 25th because we are about to be fed by a lot of members!!!  

From the looks of it, I guess I am not the only person who is busy during the Christmas season!  Although I am glad dad gets to meet a lot of members, make sure he enjoys some family time too, after all that IS what me and my companion have been stressing for the past couple of weeks.  Christmas is a time to spend time with your family.  

I can't believe that you guys are redoing the house during Christmas, although it doesn't surprise me.  I am a little glad I don't have to help in cleaning that up...  We have not had as much rain as I would've liked this past week.  I think it only rained once or twice, which made for a very hot week this week.  Its ok though, I am just getting my tan on!  I can't believe I will be 19 either.  I feel like I could be 60 right now hah.  As for requests, I would love more beans aand mac and cheese.  I don't see that stuff here and it tastes amazing!  

Things here are going just fine!  Our Canadian investigator, sadly, has just disappeared for the past three days and no one knows when he will return.  He missed church so at this point, I don't think we can continue with our baptismal date.  A new investigator showed up with his friend on church on Sunday, so I am very hopeful that he will continue to attend!  

I have been really focusing my attention on bringing families together for the past week.  I have felt that it is important to be with your family during this season.  So many people get focused in all the other distractions, that they forget what Christmas is all about.  On Christmas we celebrate the Birth of our Savior, that was also the creation of a family.  I feel that families are very important, especially to the season of Christmas, so spend some time to have some fun just as a family.  The family bond is the strongest thing we have.  Your family supports you and provides for you.  Now is the time to show some love and care back to your family.  

My preparation for Christmas has been taping up the tree that was given to me by the Deavers! Many thanks for that.  I love how we had to attach the star ourselves!  I have also begun reading the scripture passages about the prophesy of the coming of our Lord as well as the Birth of our Savior.  "For God so loved the world that He sent His Only Begotten Son..."  I often reflect on the 2 verses in Jon 3:16 and 17.  Those passages are possibly the strongest verses for the missionary work.  It focuses on the main beliefs of our church.  Love and being centered on the Savior.  

During this Christmas season I challenge all of you to really find for yourselves the true meaning of Christmas, being more gracious, and focusing your thoughts towards the Savior.  

Have a great week everyone and wish me luck as I prepare to cook adobo for the first time!  Yum.  

Love you,
Elder Warren

I have attached pictures of a bakery from a member who makes delicious breads and cakes, and me and my companion!

Visiting the Bakery

Freshly Baked Rolls!!

Me and my companion

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eating Balut and Giant Attacking Spiders!!

Hello Everyone!

Well it sounds like you have had a fun and relaxing Thanksgiving break!  I really miss Thanksgiving, especially the part about food! 

Speaking of food this week I tried one of the weirdest foods of the Philippines.  That’s right, I ate a balut this week.  I honestly didn't even have time to react.  We arrived at the family's house and the Sister told me that she bought me a ballot to try and become a Filipino.  This woman loves to make me a Filipino. Trust me, when she decides you are going to become something, you become it.  Anyways, there in my hand was the egg.  I opened it up and it was pretty dang warm.  The first couple of bites I took were small, but once I got to about a quarter of the way down, I knew I just needed to eat it whole, like I would do back at home.  So I put on a good amount of salt and vinegar and finished it.  It honestly just tasted like an egg yolk, except you could feel the slimy feathers and feel the tiny crunch of bones.  Although I would not go out of my way to buy another one of these, it tasted fine.  I also had duck today. Although I am pretty sure I have already had it so that isn't much of a story.  

Anyways, now to the important stuff!  My teaching with the Canadian investigator is going really well!  Now I understand why I wasn't placed in an English speaking mission; it would've been too easy for me.  I whipped through one and a half lessons in 40 minutes! Of course I asked questions and made sure he understood but dang did it feel great!  I actually felt like everything I said was correct and I had no doubts!  He showed up to church this Sunday and we sat and talked about a lot of principles.  Unlike most investigators, he really accepted the law of tithing, which was a surprise.  It came up during our Sunday school lesson so I explained to him the importance of tithing.  Before we even were able to talk about the Word of Wisdom, he gave up drinking and smoking.  And that was after our first lesson.  I am very excited to see him progress, because his desire to serve the Lord is very strong... As well as talk about basketball.  He repeatedly told me that he wants to be my manager and that I should be practicing ball everyday to prepare for when I go home.  Maybe I should teach him the Missionary Handbook Guidelines... Hahaha.  

Well besides that, we continue to work hard with our ward and less active members.  I am starting to feel more happy now that I have a good investigator with a strong desire.  It reminds me of all of you back home.  I hope everyone is doing well back home.  I am now
going to attempt to send a mountain of pictures so bear with me!  I hope this works!  

Love you all!
Elder Warren

PS - Thank you so much for the package!  I can't wait to open my Christmas presents!

PSS - I forgot to mention a HUGE story back from last Monday.  Literally right after we finished emailing, we went to this place called AKIS. It is basically the best burger restaurant you will find in the Philippines haha.  As you can see, the burgers are huge there! Anyways, I go into the bathroom there and everything is fine.  When I am done, I look to my left right above the door to get out when I see a HUGE spider.  I am talking bigger than the palm of my hand.  I thought it was fake because it was like behind this flower decoration. Being me, I had to make sure it was fake, so I flicked its back.  To no surprise it MOVED!  It went behind the flower thing, but it was soo big that I could still see its legs sticking out.  I literally could not move.  I was shaking, hyperventilating, and sweating.  Spiders are my one fear.  I had to call my companion to help me out.  Of course first he proceeded to make fun of me, then he just killed it.  I thought I was gonna die.  The picture of it crumpled up and dead does not truly show the horribleness of the awful creature.  Yep that’s about it.  Love you guys!

Transfer Day

The HUGE Dead Spider

Where's the Beef?

Enjoying the Burgers

Getting ready to eat Balut

Down the Hatch!

Mmmm. Yummy!

New English Speaking Investigator from Canada

Hello Everyone!!!

Well you actually had QUITE and exciting week.  I have to be honest, you guys beat me!  My work was pretty solid this week, let me tell you.  So ever since I read your last email DAD, I am super trying to get an investigator to progress and be baptized before next cycle.  (By the way, dad I do read your emails every week.)  I haven't really eaten anything too interesting lately besides what I have already had.  The only thing I really have left is balut (duck egg) and I kind of want to save that one for a little bit otherwise there won't be anything fun out there anymore for me to taste.  

Anyways, back to work...  So I found a new investigator from a referral that Brother Rick gave to us.  Brother Rick is a very funny man by the way.  He is always sarcastic, kind of like Grandpa Warren!  Anyways the investigator is from Canada and guess what his first language is...  Thats right ENGLISH!!!!  Oooohhh you don't even know how badly I want this investigator to be the one to progress and become baptized.  He was super energetic too.  He told us he wanted to read the pamphlet on restoration that night and was gonna have a long list of questions for us for our next visit!  He also expressed his excitement to attend church this coming sunday.  Talk about a golden investigator!  I am going to give my English a run for its money for the next couple of weeks because I have a really good feeling about this Canadian.  

Along with that we have found a ton of Less Actives this week.  Many of them have expressed their desire to return to the church but somehow they ALL have something that they have a problem with that takes them away from church.  I guess my companion and I will have to solve those problems for them ;).  While we were going to a less active member's house with our two fellowshippers Nanay Febrero (Nanay Mabeauti!!!) and Brother Kevin, we stumbled upon my first illegal mining area.  The place was ill-hid with a fence covered by a black tarp.  I mean I guess it would be hard for short people to look over the fence, but I have no problem seeing what lied behind the gate.  Brother Kevin quickly advised me not to keep looking over the fence.  I guess he kind of made some sense with that decision.  

I developed a rash this week.  That isn't too much fun.  It is continuing to spread even though I put hydro cortisone cream on it.  If it doesn't heal soon I am afraid I may be out of the sun for a couple of weeks which means no work.  It also may mean that I have to go stay in Cuauyan for some time which would really be a bummer, so I continue to pray that I will become better.  I am glad to hear that Aunt Wendy's family is doing great.  That video was super funny and I really want to see that dog now.  I also super miss golfing.  That was like my life.  

I can't even believe it is already Thanksgiving.  Make sure to be thankful for just about everything that you have there, because it doesn't exist in the Philippines!  You know how hard it is to tell time here.  This is like a year round July here hahaha.  I even hear fireworks every couple of days because kids can get a hold of them for like 5 pesos.  I'm telling you what, if you ever wanted to do a lot of things without having to worry about the law, this is the place to do it.  All of the drivers here think we are shooting a fast and furious film.  My life is on the line every time I take a tryke hahaha.  

Anyways I love you guys and I hope all is well!  

Elder Warren

PS - I am the worst person in the world with cameras.  I don't have any new photos yet.  Sorry