Hello Family and Everyone Else!
Well this email is coming in later than normal because I went to the Banaue rice terraces today! It has been a long day to say the rest. I feel like it should be 8 at night right now haha. We had to wake up at 2 am to go to Banaue because a couple of people wanted to see the sunrise. Now I was not opposed to this idea, but after the sacrifice of sleep I made, I was expecting to see that sunrise. Sadly, since Banaue is in the mountains, the MOUNTAINS blocked the sunrise!!!!! Oh well, at least the weather was very cool, I actually felt like I was back home for a second!
We hiked a long ways. Elder Ishibashi wanted to go to this little hut way up in the terraces. Basically, we trekked down into a ravine with a river then climbed up the other side to past the elevation we had been at to finally arrive at the hut. It was a pretty good hike. l've learned that I am out of shape recently, but I will get into why a little later. Anyways, my journey to the hut, included me almost falling off a terrace three times, getting half my body covered in mud, and of course when I reached the top the other Elders started to think I was going crazy because I was very dizzy and singing about hiking. I think I may have made their days with that one, but man that was a good hike. I also have many pictures of the terraces, so you will be very happy!
While I was in Banaue, I bought a dragon carving, I took a picture of it, and a special kind of blade! I got both for under $10 bucks which I call a successful day! Overall, it was a fun trip. I enjoyed doing some good exercise and joking around with the other Elders. So this week was the week of CSPs or service projects! I had 2 service projects in a row this week on Friday and Saturday. The one on Friday was pretty dang brutal and is the reason why I say I definitely need to be doing some more cardio exercises! On Friday morning at 8 am sharp we went to a members house. It was just Elder Tabudlong, me, and the member who was a heavier set man. Our job was to shovel out a huge pile of dirt and rocks. I'm talking it was chest high on me and was about the width of the road. It was one huge pile! Now I was working pretty hard like I normally do. What I didn't realize right away, was how physically demanding shoveling rocks is. After an hour of working hard, I noticed my heart was pounding and my stomach wasn't feeling too good. So I took a 5 minute rest, but its still really hot that morning. I get a burst of energy and start going hard again. About 5 minutes later the first urge came... Now I pride myself in being able to say I have never puked from working out. Never! Until Friday at 9:08 am. I puked 3 times into a small stream. The rest of that day was pretty hard but I stuck it out!
When we got home that night, we received another text from one of our Leaders giving us two options, we either go to an emergency service project the next morning or help out with the one day mini mission. At this point I was laying on my bed thinking about how much a wheelchair costs in the Philippines. My companion and I decided it was better to go to the CSP, so we would have about an hour break before we went out to work. That CSP was a little easier, I only had to move cement bags and paint. I learned that I can really push myself to my limits when i want to this past week. It was pretty cool.
I never thought I was pushing myself hard enough, but now that I have come on a mission, I have changed and my will and determination have increased! Now I am not saying it was good that I puked, but the fact that I alone pushed myself to my absolute limits showed me just how much I have come along on my mission. I truly believe that I can accomplish anything I want in my life as long as I have the desire!
Our work is going pretty good too! We are really getting help from our Single Adults and Return Missionaries to come work with us and fellowship. We do not have any baptisms yet, but I know that it will come. I just need to keep bringing the desire and motivation to do so! It has been a pretty full week and I am just a little tired right now, but this has been a great learning week for me. It is so awesome to see first hand how I have changed. I am no longer the weakling who puts down my dumbbell when I have 2 more reps to do! I do 5 more reps instead! We all need to keep building our faith daily, and the best way is through constant prayer and a positive (humorous) attitude!
Well everyone enjoy all of these beautiful photos of me surviving the rice terraces and I love you all!