Monday, August 29, 2016

Week 2 of Pneumonia

Hello Everyone!

Well I decided early on that I was gonna be positive in any situation that I faced.  Don't get me wrong, the pneumonia has probably been my biggest challenge yet in the mission field.  But I decided I wasn't going to let it get me down.  I have probably spent more time reading and praying than I ever have in the mission and I now see the importance of both.  Prayer is our way to communicate about anything we want or need to with our Father in Heaven.  I have felt his love and presence every time that I have gotten on my knees and asked him for help and guidance through this time.  As I have read my scriptures I have gotten even closer to him still.  I love the stories in the Bible.  I love how I am able to play out all of the things that occur in my mind like reading a movie kind of.  

Right now I read about King David and all of the trials that occurred in his life for the sin he committed with another woman.  He was given all he could ever ask for from the Lord but he still desired more.  It taught me more on being thankful for what I have.  

Being a missionary in the Philippines is not easy, and being my size is even more difficult.  I always seem to be hungry and can't satisfy my ever ending hunger, but it has also helped me to become more and more thankful for the basic things I have in life.  I am now so grateful for the bed I have, the clothes I can wear everyday, the clean purified water I am able to drink, and the food I am able to afford.  I may not be able to eat as much as I once used to, or be able to eat all of the foods I like to eat, but I am that much more thankful for what I am able to have.  I have less than I did, but I am happier than I used to be. 

Well I am happy for Spencer.  It seems like we have someone else in our family going on a mission every year.  Jacob will be following suit next year!  I am excited to see where all of our family ends up going!  Any area we are assigned to is where we truly belong and God has prepared certain people just for us to preach the gospel to.  May we all fulfill our 2 years honorably.  

I may be at a rough point right now in my mission but if I put my full trust and faith in the Lord, I know I can get through this.  I'm still alive and breathing and I am in the best place I could be!  I will continue to heed the counsel of my President and try my best to recover quickly.  I'm never going to give up.  I may not be the strongest or the best, but I know that through Our Lord all things are possible!  I wish I had more to report on work for this week, but sadly beside a couple of hours of work, I was mainly couped up inside the house!  Well hopefully I can give you a better report next week!  

I love you all and will talk to you again soon!

Elder Warren

Hey dad I am alive!  So they sent me to the Missionary Recovery Center which is basically the Manila MTC.  I have now been here since Wednesday evening.  They finally figured out that on top of pneumonia I got plaricy.  It is an uncommon case (of course I get this) and so of course the doctors over in Cauayan didn't know how to treat it!  On the bright side within 12 hours of me arriving here at the MRC, they found what was wrong, got me the right medicine that I actually needed, and then started to actually have me rest.  For the first time in weeks I can breathe all of the way normally!  They said that most likely I will be able to go back to my mission on Wednesday which I am looking forward to.  Although I love the fact that I can just eat a ton of food here, I am missing the field and doing more than eating, sleeping, reading, and eating again.  On the bright side, I have read about 4 books in the Bible since I have been here! Pretty impressive huh?  

Love ya!  Your son,
Elder Warren

Returning back from the MRC! Ready to get back to work!!

Hanging out with my Mission President

Pneumonia Scare

Hello Family,

Well I am out of the hospital!  I got out yesterday at about 10:30 am.  But wow, has it been quite the week.  So apparently, I have had pneumonia for over 2 months.  A word of advice to anyone who ever gets pneumonia, dont wait 2 months to get it taken care of!  If you saw the x rays, you would probably have a heart attack mom.  My left lung looked almost all the way fine, but then my right lung... Well needless to day the area of white that took up the space of my lung was pretty big to say the least.  

It all started on Tuesday evening.  I got home with Elder Estuaria in Solano Zone and felt like I had a fever.  I really just wanted to sleep it off, but I kind of messed up.  Instead of taking off clothes, I put on more clothes, which is not what you do in the Philippines.  To break a fever in the Philippines you have to get cold.  So when I put on clothes I made my fever go up to 38.5 degrees Celsius.  Then I finally did the right way and went to sleep, on and off sleep anyways.  Then at 3:40 I woke up and the fever was gone.  I felt good, except there was a little pain on my right side.  Well in the next hour the pain in my right side kept getting worse and worse to the point where I could hardly breathe.  

Now, I REALLYYY didn't want to go back to a hospital because it is no fun here in the Philippines, so I procrastinated calling Sister Hiatt until 4:50.  I called twice and got no answer so I called President and he answered.  I got to talk to Sister Hiatt and she told me to just go get a check up at the hospital.  We went and got a check up and then came back home around 6:30 am.  I felt great by that point.  I was gonna just go back to the hospital after getting ready for the day, pick up the medicine I needed and go wait for my new companion and all will be well right???  WRONG.  I went to the hospital and they gave me the death sentence, "You need to be admitted sir."  The first thing they did was put a gas mask on me.  (They made me look like Bane and sound like him) So while I had the mask on, of course I did Bane impressions to Elder Estuaria.  The doctor in charge of me was looking at me in shock.  I didn't know why he looked like that until about an hour later, when I couldn't breathe.  Long story short the first 2 days were painful.  It was like having a cramp in your lung that will not go away and it makes it very difficult to breathe.  

My new companion was very good about the whole thing though.  He came in and we just had fun talking, listening to my bane impressions, watching the nurses try to speak English to me because they never expect me to know tagalog, and watching church movies.  I can't complain though, besides not being able to really breathe those first 2 days, the rest were pretty good.  I just did what they told me to do, and made sure I rested a lot.  When I was transferred to Cauayan they put me on antihistamines and until now I feel like I have caffeine in my veins.  I forgot what those did to me but now I remember.  My heart rate elevates and I get pretty hyper, which is a super downer because how can I rest when I have that much energy in me?!?  

Anyways, this week I took the time to really focus on prayer, and to be honest it really helped me to calm down.  It also helped me to feel at peace and feel the love that the Savior has for me.  I also really enjoyed some of the church videos.  The struggles that the first prophets went through were so great, but they persevered through them without faltering at all.  I remember one scene, where they literally buried the entire foundation of a temple so that the army wouldn't destroy it.  Then they re-dug up the foundation only to find that it had cracked.  And yet they still continued to build the temple in that area.  Our church had great trials in the beginning but look at where we are today??  We are a strong church that builds itself through the work of its own members.  Through the love and support we give each other, we help to continue the growth of this church.  

Although this mission will not always be easy, like last week,  I know that other members have seen harder still so I just need to keep working hard, besides now because I need to rest.  Well enjoy this last bit of summer and know that I am getting better.  I am on 5 different medications so as long as I continue to take them and eat a lot of food, drink lots of liquids (except for soda), and rest I will be back to normal soon!  

I love you all and thank you for your love and support,
Elder Warren

Pic of me in Cauayan hospital

Drumsticks and Service Projects

Hello Family!

Well it sounds like you have had quite the busy month! EFY and camps and the beach and Oregon!  Well I definitely can say my month has not been quite as exciting. My week was good but very busy!  My comp had more meetings for going home and has been struggling to find time to get everything ready to leave tomorrow.  I am going to be with my Zone Leaders tomorrow for the day which should be fun! I get a new companion on Wednesday and as always I am excited and I am also excited for my companion Elder Tabudlong.  He has endured these 2 years and is now returning home with honor.  That is the greatest honor and joy he will ever experience in this lifetime.  

This week was also a reminder to me just how fast these 2 years go by.  I really need to make sure I am fulfilling my duty as a missionary and inviting all to come unto Christ.  So this week on Tuesday at around 4 my companion went to Cauayan and I was with an Elder named Elder Estuaria and man was he a fun Elder.  He was so funny and he loved food as much as me. I worked with him on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Working went by extra fast those days because he just kept me laughing!  Also he brought me to the best fried chicken street shop ever.  I kid you not I bought 7 drumsticks and ate all of them with a heaping plate of rice all in one sitting.  I felt so great after that.  Along with that I had a liter of coca cola. 

As we arrived at church this Sunday, my companion got a surprise opportunity to bear his testimony for the last time as a missionary.  It was awesome to see how far he came in 2 years.  How fluent he was in Tagalog, how he could easily recount scripture passages, and apply them to every member in the church.  It always amazes me how much spiritual power we can have as missionaries.  

Well I continue to try and find progressing investigators here in my area as well as invite all to come unto Christ.  We had another 2 service projects this week (holy cow I have never done this many projects in a single cycle.  I think I have done more than one every single week!!!) The first project was not well planned, but I did what I could.  We easily cleared brush, I lifted by myself entire planks of wood, and because I was so tall I got the opportunity to scrub the woman ceiling all through out her house.  I made Elder Ishibashi useful by having him rinse out my rags hahaha.  He is a great person to have around for service projects.  Then on Saturday we returned to our members house to finish shoveling rocks and dirt.  For 5 hours I hauled dirt from the humongous giant pile of rocks and dirt to behind the members house.  By the end, I thought I had a six pack on my back!  Right now, I feel like I could need a cane!  

This week also as I was reading in the Bible I started to read about prophesies of things that would come to pass in our time.  Its sometimes scary to see just how deceitful Satan is.  He really is a very sophisticated being.  We need to be ever watchful and beware of his masters of deceit.  They know how to change the truth so slightly that if we aren't careful, we may be fooled into his trap.  In the end he desires to destroy our eternal soul.  That why I have come to know just how important constant prayer, not daily prayer, constant, reading the scriptures and attending church is.  It literally is the shield that allows us to be aware of such forms of trickery and lies.  May we ever be watchful of Satan and his many followers.  I know that this is the true church.  I know that the work I do here and now can have a big influence on future generations and I am so happy to be a missionary!!!  

Love you all,

Elder Warren

Cell Phone Distractions and Family Time

Hello Everyone!

Well I had another great week this week!  We went to Cauayan this week for my companion to do his English test.  It was fun to be back in Cauayan for a little bit.  After his test we got banana splits which is always a bonus!  My favorite part was the bus rides though.  I bought so many peanuts.  The peanuts they have here in the Philippines are amazing.  The people who sell them on the buses have just cooked them so they are always warm and the flavor is just the best!!!  I think I bought 4 bags of them.  Anyways, it is so weird that another cycle has already almost gone by!  The time is really going by so fast now it is ridiculous!  Really though, I thought that by now I would be adjusted to the heat but that is just not the case.  I am sitting here sweating like always.  When I get home, I may construct a freezer and live in it until winter arrives!!! 

Well this week we had a family home evening with a family who is visiting from America.  The are Filipinos but they mainly understand English.  Let me tell you, I never realized how the Sister missionaries in our Ward used to feel when I wasn't paying attention until this week.  During the entire family home evening, everyone, including the little kids and some of the adults, were on their phones the entire time.  It got to the point where my companion would ask someone a question and they wouldn't even hear my companion because they were so focused on their phones!!!!  Man, at that moment, I am thankful I built up my patience because I was not very happy with what they were doing.  Really only 2 adults were paying attention to us.  The rest were totally focused on other things.  After our pretty unsuccessful lesson we tried to play a game with the family and that was worse.  We had to explain the game rules basically to everyone individually.  We would teach a person then when it came to the next persons turn we had to teach it again.  After we finally got around the circle, which took about 20 minutes, we switched games and it still wasn't working so we just closed it and had dinner.  

If there ever was a sad point in my mission, this would be it.  The fact that a family could be so obsessed with their phones literally sickens me.  They couldn't take 10 minutes of listening to us or 30 seconds of instructions for one of the simplest games ever invented.  I honestly left that family home evening a little frustrated but even more sorrowful.  It is honestly sad to see the way families are changing.  Now I know I was definitely never enthusiastic about family home evenings, but we need to give people more respect.  Family Home Evenings are an important thing to have very week.  Its a time to come together, feel the spirit, and bond.  How can we bond if we are so enveloped in our world of technology?  My challenge to all of you is to value your time together during family home evenings 

I am grateful that my parents invented the electronics basket for family home evening.  Now that I remember that, I might install that rule when I go to the next family if it is permitted by the parents because that was just sad.  I know I am not a perfect missionary, I still have many things to work on, and I am not even close to the best teacher or at speaking Tagalog. But I know as I continue to try my absolute best I can become the tool the Lord needs me to be.  Lets try to spend a little less time coming closer to the screens of our cell phones and a little closer to our Savior.  I know I can do it because I have been living without a phone for over a year now!  

Anyways, the rest of the week went pretty well.  We are really working with our investigators but they just stopped coming to church.  Hopefully we can pull them back!  My companion is still working with me to finish strong and I am happy to see him working with me.  I love all of my companions and I try to make them laugh as often as possible, because who wants a serious companion?  

Well, I love you all and will talk to you next week!


Elder Warren