Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Post Birthday Report, Animal Charades and Valentines Day

Hello Mom and Everyone!

Well Valentine's day has passed so happy valentines day to you!  They do in fact celebrate Valentines Day here.  Yesterday after sacrament meeting, they passed around flowers to all the Sisters in our ward with a card that said Happy Valentine's Day.  Tell Grandpa that I do not really care about the winning streak of the BYU ladies basketball team (no matter how many wins OR losses they have).  I am not the biggest fan of college teams after all.  

My birthday was pretty good.  I made sure to buy a lot of candy and was even able to get a pizza.  That was like the highlight of my birthday!  I do remember the game Thumper and on that note, there is a game I showed to the family we have family home evening with every Monday.  It was the charades game.  You should have seen how awkward and funny it was to watch the family play the game.  I of course, had to demonstrate the game so I came in acting like a monkey.  I have never seen someone laugh that hard in my life!  Half the people in the room fell off there chairs.  The real funny part though was when the members of the family began to do it.  You could tell they never had played the game because their faces were bright red as they played hahaha.  I also learned another game from them which is pretty hilarious to be honest, BUT I can't tell you how the game is played in case I want to play it when I get back home.  

Mom and Dad happy birthday to you too, may you continue to get older and gain more wrinkles like grandpa warren hahaha.  In Sunday school this Sunday I finally got to have Sister Leal or Mama Tin as my teacher.  It was pretty funny because I resorted to smiling the entire class period at her.  (Part of it was on purpose, the other part was because it was funny to listen to her speak English hahaha).  After about the first 10 minutes she noticed it and couldn't stop herself from smiling.  In fact,  it got to the point where she would laugh when she saw me.  I guess I might have been a little disruptive that class period, but I can now say without a doubt that smiles are contagious.  

Mama Tin is truly one of my favorite Sisters in our ward.  She loves to tell me about her future plans to put in a bunch of cabinets in her kitchen and supplies me with tons of snacks because I am always hungry.  I have become her "number 1 customer" as she says.  Her kids adore me, a little too much.  I literally have to exercise every time I go to there house because her kids like to make me lit them.  It's gotten to the point where they make me rep them like weights.  On the bright side, maybe I will have bigger arms by the time I leave this area.  

We are still working with our investigators, but the problem for most is that their husbands go to the Catholic church so they don't have a way to come to our church.  We are trying to find a way to meet with their husbands and teach them.  Sadly, they are almost always busy with work, but we will not give up!  Another investigator is still progressing, but the member we have had with him is in Manila for job training for 2 weeks!!!  It is a little bit of a setback, but I think we can find another fellowshipper to fill in for the next 2 weeks.  

Since this past week was valentines day, I focused on showing more love to everyone around me.  Even if it was just a smile and a hello po.  As I did so, I saw that more and more people around me were happier.  I offered to help people more and almost overnight I saw a drastic change in the attitude of members and investigators.  One thing I have definitely learned from my mission is that love is definitely the one thing that prevails and is the most powerful tool we as missionaries have to help bring the gospel UNTO the hearts of men. It is then their choice if they want to allow the gospel enter INTO their hearts.  

To end on a funny note, this week my companion and I learned a lesson about making sure we go back to our area by the time it gets dark.  We were in one of our farthest areas and were not having a very successful day.  We got to our last house and my comp wasn't really paying attention to the fact that the sun was setting.  He stayed and chatted with the member about life for about 30 minutes and then we went into our lesson.  Now it is perfectly fine to do this, but it probably isn't a smart idea when the last ride out of town is leaving by sunset...  So after the lesson, I got to walk for a good 45 minutes to get to a trike that then drove us another 10 minutes home.  This is a perfect example of why we as missionaries always need to plan ahead! Hahaha.  

Well I am doing well here and I hope everything is well over there!  

Love you guys,
Elder Warren

PS I totally slacked on pictures this week...

Jeepney Excitement and Cereal Straws!!

Hello Family! 
Well neither I nor my companion are getting transferred!  I can't really believe that I am turning 19 next week.  The only difference I can see is that I have to shave more, which is not fun.  I had a pretty crazy week to be honest. I don't know why, but these past few weeks have just offered more and more surprises! 
So we had a service project this week in our District Leaders area.  I had already previously met the member we were doing the project for and she is a pleasant old woman who is very kind and can really only speak ilocano.  Anyways the project in itself was quick, fun, and a great district activity.  It went crazy on the ride over there.  My District Leaders area is very far.  They are actually located closer to my last area Santiago and my area is the farthest area from there.  So it takes a good hour and a half to travel there, which is fine.  In fact, I am used to that kind of travel time.  Its weird thinking back to that trip in Oregon where we kept getting lost and I thought I was gonna die after being in the car for 15 minutes hahaha. 
Well anyways it all started off wrong when the jeepney ran over a dog.  It came out of nowhere I guess and even though the driver honked his horn and tried to slow down (he was going pretty fast by the way), he plowed through that poor thing.  The laws are very different here in the Philippines, so he continued on his way without stopping.  When I looked back cuz I didn't initially know what happened, I was very shocked at what I saw. 
 Then about 15 minutes later, the elderly man sitting net to me started repeating the same sentence over and over.  I didn't pick up on what he was saying, I assumed it was in a different dialect.  Out of nowhere a passenger next to him shouted for the jeepney to stop.  As the elderly man got up, to my horror I saw that he was going to the bathroom on the bench right next to me.  Using my muscle memory from basketball, I instinctively shoved aside the 2 Elders next to me so that it would not reach me.  Luckily, it didn't reach me, but I think almost 80% of it ended up in the jeepney.  Afterwards he proceeded to get back in the jeepney and sit back down where he was sitting.  I felt bad for whoever did his laundry that day.  That was quite the excitement needed to wake me up before I went to the service project. 
As far as work goes here, we are starting to make some progress.  Sadly, families that are making promises to attend church are still not making it to church.  We will continue to show love for them and invite them to come back.  We have made some progress with our investigators.  One Brother seems to be very promising as he lives with a family that are members of our church.  The Danao Family.  The Danao family is pretty hilarious.  We go over there every Sunday for dinner and it probably makes my week each week.  It always start with 2 Sisters who are in there 20s yelling at me and my companion.  They like to make fun of us and yell as they do so.  Then I end the arguments by showing off how tall I am com[ared to them and unlike them, I still have time to grow more.  Afterwards, we have dinner, which consists of people keeping certain dishes away from other people, and hogging other dishes.  I honestly feel right at home there.  We then leave a quick message for the family and leave with our final jokes.  They often like to teach me how to tell people in tagalog that they look like a certain food.  I don't understand why, but I guess they make for funny insults? 
My companion during fast and testimony meeting yesterday went up to bear his testimony in an effort to not be transferred.  Apparently a past Elder went and bore his testimony here and the next day he too was not transferred.  It was interesting to hear him talk about experiences he had gone through and realize that I too had gone through those very same experiences.  It made me realize that no matter where you live, we all can go through the same trials and tribulations. 
I got to help teach one of the classes like normal, because they do not have enough teachers for how small the branch is.  The rest of the day, I got to enjoy the big storm that has finally arrived here.  I am loving it because it is pretty cool right now.  Anyways, I am getting ready for next week, because multiple members have expressed to me that I will be going to their house on my birthday.  I love you all and hope you are all doing well!  As a quick note, this weeks picture is of my favorite snack ever that literally costs a peso each.  CEREAL STRAWS!
Elder Warren