Saturday, January 30, 2010
President Romero is the Branch President. He is really funny and a good leader. I enjoy being with him. He also includes me in. I haven´t being talking very much since of the language barriers, but he always comes and talks with me. We took a picture and he is the one with the matchete! This morning we did Argentine Farming. We cleared weeds with tiny spades. It was pretty cool and the tool was neat. The man we did it for is in-active, but maybe we can help him!
I was reading this week the talks at the funeral of President Hinckley and I think people loved him so much because he had some characteristics of Christ. I have been reading Jesus the Christ and I believe it has helped grow closer to Christ. One speaker said one time all the general authorities came in with their suits and President Hinckley said, ¨You all look like a bunch of penguins."¨¨ haha. I love the humor of our prophets. President Hinckley has been in heaven for almost two years now! Isn´t it a blessing to have a prophet?
We only wore a shirt and tie yesterday for three hours! Because the rest of the day we were doing service! We helped on Romina´s house again. This time we dug a whole for her bathroom. I don´t know how she is going to empty her toilet when it is full….. but it was fun and really big! As tall as I am and from my shoulder to my arm. We went to get lunch afterwards and we were in our work clothes because afterwards we were going to go finish the bathroom hole, and the lady asked what were doing. We told her and then we asked if she needed help with anything, she said no but my friend does. So she went and got her fellow co-worker and we are helping her. We are building a patitio. We dig really deep holes, put sticks in them, and then I think we are going to put a tin roof top.
We had hamburgers with pineapple for our new years feast. For a service project for New Years we cleaned the plaza. We were going to paint it, but the city wouldn´t pay for the paint so we picked up trash instead and afterwards had ice cream. A neat tradition they have here is they have these paper ball things and they light them and they float into the air! I have a picture of one. I think they're called globels?or something. They were really neat though! Missionaries are also not allowed fireworks or the globels thingies.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
"Success is measured by your willingness to keep on trying." This quote gave me comfort because I've never felt more inadequate in all my life. I don't know the scriptures. I don't feel like I can answer the doctrinal questions of my investigators. Sometimes I feel like I leave them hungry, and it literally hurts me. One, is because I dont' know what they are saying and so how do I teach to someone's needs when they're speaking another language...(!!) That is hard enough in english!! That is hard in enough in the MTC when you are surrrounded by not only members, but called servants of the Lord. That is when I remember that this is the Lord's work. I pray that I will be able to get enough of what they are saying, and then let the spirit guide my fingertips. I can't tell you though how much my very soul yearns to just have a healthy spiritual conversation with someone in Cebuano!
Don't we keep the commandments because we want to be happy? What if you didn't receive the blessing of joy from keeping the commandments-would you still keep them? Our Loving God wouldn't allow our obedience to go unnoticed. It's true that the greater(or harder)the commandment, the greater the blessing. So the greater the commandment, the more joy you will experience. The more commandments you keep, the greater happiness you will feel. I have decided to make a list of all the commandments. I've actually thought a lot about this my whole life but have never done it. When you read the many scriptures that say "If you keep my commandments...All that is required of you is to keep my commandments...If you keep my commandments and endure to the end you will have eternal life....?" There are so many. But have you ever thought about all the commandments that there are? There is obviously the 10 commandments, but there are so many more than that. How do we know we are striving towards keeping the commandments when we don't know them? So I need your help with that one....Will all of you send me one commandment that you think is most overlooked? That is most I guess you could say 'hidden'? Mosiah 2:41. :)
Saturday night we realized as we were walking home from the church after having had a baptism that we didn't have any food for the next day. So we went to the market but almost everything was closed down. So we had to settle for one of the many small little tindahans(means little store)(so what i just said was....the many small little small little stores....hahaha) So we say "Ayo..."(it's like... the american equivalent of knocking) and we start telling her we need a few of these noodle packs and 2 packs of tang, and 2 packs of these crackers. So we say ok, that's all. So she starts calculating our bill and then Sister Williams wants some brownies, and we say sister, can we get 2 brownies and she says "sige" (ok) then we say Tag Pila tanan? (How much for all?) and so she starts calculating again...but then I say wait, we should get some limes for your cold(that was suggested to us from a member to help Sister Williams) so we say wait sister, can we get 4 limes? ....anyways it turned out to be Taco Bell Drive Through Nightmare with the Dustin Family #2!!! Haha. It mades us laugh...and you may be saying, oh well it's not the same because there was no line...oh there was. And they were laughing at our Bisaya. (cebuano) Anywho, it made us a little less stressed, at least me.
I know that the happiest moments come from when we have given of ourself-when we have lifted someone else-when we have helped someone else-and what better gift to give than eternal life!!! Than giving someone else the knowledge they need so that they can have the chance to return to our Father in Heaven.
Now I have a few quotes from Joseph Smith because he is so incredible. I forgot my other little journal that had the exact words in it, but I will do my best. It is found in ch. 40 something :) in the joseph smith manual. He says: "I am a rough stone. You could not hear the chisel and hammer on me until the Lord took me in hand." I think that is so amazing. Its amazing to me because with all the work we need done, with all the chiseling and hammering and molding that we all need, we still feel love. We still feel how much Heavenly Father loves us! What greater being than God himself is there to mold and shape us. Joseph Smith also says in that chapter that really stuck out to me was, "What can't man do with God as my friend?"....and the answer is a resounding "NOTHING!!!"
We have eaten pineapple which is so good and apples, and this asian mango that's sour and you need salt and then one normal mango. We just barely bought a bunch of mangos- and also shark and calamari!!!! It'll be an adventure!
Melanie's comments: She sent this picture, but I'm not sure what kind of fish this is. Do they have piranhas in the Philippines?
Monday, January 4, 2010
During personal study I read a talk that I think everyone should read! It is in June 2009 Ensign. It is called the 20 mark note from President Packer. President Packer was in Europe setting up a servicemen mission and then was going to Germany with President Monson, his wife, and others to visit a branch. They were supposed to fly there, but the fog was too thick so they had to take a train. Two elders came and picked them up and took them to the station. They got on the train and as the train was leaving one of the elders asked President Packer if he had any money, he replied "no", and the young elder ran up and gave him money. Later the crew switched and one of the crew noticed President Packer and his wife were not German so they asked for their passports. For some reason they were going to reject the passport of President Packer´s wife! President Packer then had inspiration and gave the 20 mark note to the crew member and the crew member left without rejecting Sister Packer. Later President Packer was talking with a member and the member said this was a Miracle! They should have kicked off Sister Packer, but with the money she stayed. The young elder who gave the money was Elder David A. Bednar! President Packer´s point was our lives are guided. We don´t even realize we are being guided.
I don´t know if I mentioned this last week, but we made tamales!!! With a sister in our Ward. It was really fun and I was really slow, but I was glad to help! We have helped for three weeks and I am thinking we are coming back every week!!
Melanie's commentary-he looks like he's dripping wet in every picture. I bet he'll be glad when winter comes!
Christmas was Amazing!!!! Talking to you Mom and Dad and what we did. We sang at the hospital Christmas hymns. We had 10 elders and visited people and sang for them. My favorite was the kids, I felt it helped them the most. They seemed more happy after we visited them. The spirit was very strong and meaningful. Afterwards two elders cooked meat on a grill in our apartment. I got really smoky because they couldn´t light the coals so they put it on the stove and lit it on FIRE! I couldn´t believe it, but that is how we cooked our meat. I also loved the stocking mom. I sent a picture of how excited I am with it.
Melanie's commentary-this story is evidence that the Lord protects his missionaries even if they don't use all their thinking ability!
Something else that is so funny to me about the culture-one of the sisters in our apartment-she is so funny-she wants to be fat. Here it's unattractive to be super skinny-it means you're poor and you never eat. She said her self confidence is low if she is getting skinny-and yes, of course, she is this little stick, but she says-when I go home in February my family will be dissapointed-they'll be sad, that I am so skinny. It's so switched from American culture! This morning as we were leaving for Ormoc(where we are now to do some shopping and email) she said, my bite is getting better(she had this really huge bite that turned into an infection that she got pills for later) and it's not as pussy as before...now my only concern is how am I going to get fat? She says, 'I want chubby cheeks! I am so skinny! Ew! It is so crazy. I just look at her in disbelief. when we take pictures and she;s in it she wants to look at it so bad so that she can see if her cheeks look fat or not. So interesting.
I really needed and wanted to hear about your struggles and your trials.That is something that I am learning on my mission-that when you go through hard things-and you have really good miserable days for a few weeks...months...you are that much more sensitive to others pains, and struggles and their experiences-because you've been there! You are more soft-hearted towards others. I want to know about other people's missions! I want to know what their conditions were like and what their companions were like and what was hard for them. Just like Joseph Smith said after he was tarred and feathered, "We had not suffered in vain, for our hearts were made more tender." Wow. He truly was a prophet of our Heavenly Father.
Josh had e-mailed and told us his mission president had instructed him to buy a 30 minute calling card and he would call us. He called and talked to Rick the Monday before for about 10 minutes to 'set up the call' and then he called us on Christmas Day at noon. The connection was great, but the 20 minutes he had left flew by and I hadn't even asked 1/10 of the questions I had when the line went dead...and so did my heart! Then the phone rang a couple of minutes later and he said his companion was letting him use his calling card to call back just to say good-bye. Oh, the pain...Here are the highlights of his call:
He does lots of service projects-not just on p-day.
He is constantly sweaty as he is not used to the heat and humidity.
He has a refrigerator and a hot plate to cook on.
The members are very good to the missionaries and feed them often.
Their apartment has a gas hot water heater.
He lost his glasses and his contacts burn his eyes for some reason.
He got to practice being the 'senior companion' for a week and realized the intense responsibility that comes with that position.
As with Megan when we actually said good-bye, we were all choked up and couldn't even speak. In his next e-mail he apologized for making me cry. Josh, the most compassionate person I know!
Megan sent us an e-mail with a phone number and time to call her. We had a little difficulty making the connection and part of the time she sounded far away, but in all it was great considering she is more than half way around the world. Here are a few highlights of our conversation:
Bus rides remind her of the scene in Harry Potter movie with the magical scary buses in London
Riding in a 'put put' reminds her of how the Flinstone's car worked (man power). She says they don't run on gas, they run on rice and water (the food the driver/runner eats)
She saw her first baptism in the ocean and it was wonderful
She sits cross legged in most all situations, therefore the full skirts have turned out to be much more practical than the a-line dresses
Her feet are covered in blisters on top of blisters
Common foods: mangoes, coconut, calamari, shrimp,
Toilet paper is rare and the bathroom is called the CR (comfort room)
Drinking water is delivered to their apartment in a 5 gallon jug
Sister Marci is cooking shark for them for a Christmas dinner
She loves the hymn "Faith of our Fathers"
She feels like a geisha girl-umbrella, hair in a bun, pearl earrings
All she wants is for us to share the gospel with someone before she comes home.
The conversation went wonderful until the dreaded good-bye. All of us were speechless and didn't want to be the first to hang up!