Wednesday, October 31, 2012

arrival at the mission home, Philippines

Elder Hubbard left the MTC on Monday, traveled over 28 hours by plane and bus to get to his mission home in the Philippines. He stopped in San Francisco, Hong Kong and Manilla then on to Angeles.  He called us on Monday night and we were all able to talk to him.  He is doing well, excited to put the tagalog language to work and to teach the gospel to these precious people he has been called to serve. We look forward to a letter soon and we will keep you all updated!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Week 8

 This picture is of our district. From left to right (Elder Morgan, Elder Germaine, Elder Williams, Elder Clark, Elder Wilding, Elder Bowers, Me, Sister Huddleston, Sister Mamea, Sister Leuluai, Elder Sugden on ground). 

 Provo Temple at 5:30 am.

Our walk on our way back from the temple!

Week 8                                                                                        October 23, 2012
This is it! The last week!
I am totally freaking out, but I'm so pumped to get out of here, haha.

We had our departure lesson on Sunday, and President Anderson (the branch president) got us all pumped to get going. He always tells us that we are so lucky to be serving in a part of the world where the people are humble enough to accept the message. Our flight plans came four or five days ago...we are in for a long trip. I am travelling with Elders Williams, Clark, Morgan, Sister Huddleston, and a few elders from one of the other districts. We fly out from Salt Lake Monday afternoon, and land in San Fransisco later that evening. I am allowed to make a phone call from the airport to home. I will be calling around 8:00...if you guys want, I can make a phone call home to talk to the family and then a phone call to Mom and Dad in Arizona, I just need the number. I'll be using a calling card to do that. After a 6 hour layover in San Fran, we are getting on a massive jet and leaving for Hong Kong...which will take about 14 hours, and then we have another 3 hour flight to Manila and a 3 hour bus ride to Angeles from there! It'll be fun; we are told not to proselyte in the airports but Pres. Anderson encouraged us to take one English copy of the Book of Mormon and have it with us in case somebody asks us about it. Our job throughout the flights is to be talkative and friendly and give people a good impression of the missionaries and the church. I'm so excited to talk to people!

This week went really good, we had a really spiritual lesson with one of our TRC investigators (BYU students). She was a returned missionary from the Naga Philippines mission. We had a lesson plan ready, but when we talked to her, it was clear that the plan wouldn't work, so we ended up opening up the scriptures and the verses just kind of popped out at us and we were able to teach from them and bear testimony of them. It was really cool, because we were able to talk to her about stuff that she could work on with Prayer and listening to the holy ghost, and she actually learned something! We were sao surprised, because she had a really strong testimony and we were nervous about teaching her, but as we used the scriptures, we were able to help her learn something more, and I was able to get a stronger testimony about the power of the book of mormon. It was the best lesson we've ever taught.

We went to the temple this morning for the last time in a while. I'm really going to miss going there weekly. This morning's session was great, and I felt the spirit really strongly in the Celestial room, which was really comforting for me. I've been trying to focus on feeling the spirit more and recognize its promptings in my life. This week has been really good for that, and I've been able to recognize it several times.

Oh, and I finished off the Christmas treats on Saturday. They were so good. Thank you all so much :)

I love you all, and I will send you a massively long email next week as well as a phone call. If you could email me back soon, I will check quickly tomorrow for the right numbers to call. 
Mahal ko kayo! Totoo ang Simbahan nito! (the church is true)

Love, Jared.   

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Week 7

Week 7                                                                                October 16, 2012

Pamilya ko!

I can't believe it's been a week since I last wrote you all. Time is flying by so fast. I'm sorry that there are no pictures this week...I didn't have time to take any. I'll try and have some next week though.

Thank you so much for sending the package...and thank you so much to the Zauggs for helping out with that. The mga korbata (ties) are maganda and the Christmas treats are delicious. I let my roomates each pick one out and they all went for the Russian Tea cakes. They are the best Christmas treats ever. Thanks for getting those together for me Mom.
Jared so happy to get packages! This one was from Lys!

A Tuko is this huge gecko that they have...the Filipinos are apparently terrified of them because they think that if one gets on you, it will stick to you and never come off. They also have teeth and like to bite [one of my teachers got bit on his mission]) won't get me in the Philippines.

This week has been super cool. Highlight of the week was last Tuesday night. Elder Bednar came and talked at our devotional! I was like, 50 feet away from him, close to the front. We got there like an hour early to get those spots. He had some sweet things to say about conference. He basically just went over several talks and then talked about how they were all related to conversion (His, elder Ballard's, Elder Eyring's). He then taught us a pattern to use for studying talks and scriptures.

1. Identify the doctrine, then find the principle. Ex. His own conference talk was the Doctrine of Repentance, and the principle of conversion.

2. Find the challenge. Most conference speakers will issue a challenge. We should find this challenge and then try to follow it. Following the challenge should mean that we follow the promptings of the spirit that we get relating to the challenge rather than just the exact words of the challenge.

3. Find the promised blessing. He talked about how every challenge that is issued comes with a promised blessing, and that when a apostle makes a promise in his talk, he is using keys from on high and that promise will be guaranteed to us if we follow the challenge.

It was a really cool talk, and I learned a ton. There seemed to be a really special spirit in the room as Elder Bednar entered, and everyone jumped to attention and stood dead still. 

He said something that was pretty funny, "There are no assigned topics in conference...President Monson didn't come up to us and say, 'Alright, Elders Bednar and Ballard - you speak on conversion. Elder Eyring, speak on prayer. Elder Holland...light it up.'" I love how someone can be so spiritual and then have a great sense of humor on the side.

We taught our very first Tagalog speaking family in TRC last week. The dad was American, and he served his mission in Cebu in the Phillippines. His wife is Filipino and speaks Tagalog. He can understand Tagalog, but speaks Cebuano. They have a cute little baby named Jacob. 

We taught them about the Holy Ghost and the feelings of the was pretty difficult, because the wife is fluent in Tagalog and speaks a million miles an hour. It was good practice though, and we were able to bear our testimonies and bring the spirit. It's just crazy to think that the people I will be teaching in two weeks are NATIVE SPEAKERS. Magalala ako, pero, sobrang excited ako (I'm worried, but really excited). It'll be pretty rough at first, I'm expecting major culture shock. Brother Ward, our evening teacher, is giving all of the Elders a talk about the native Filipino girls next week. Apparently there is a lot to watch out for. Yikes. He's already told us about the Tukos and the food and the cochroaches...those were bad enough, haha.

To mom and Dad: Thank you for everything. I love getting your weekly Dear Elders. Dad, I think one of my favorite things is reading about the food you are eating while is hilarious, and makes me slightly hungry, haha. When I get back we will have to have some more midnight snack times, haha. Mom, I love you. Thanks so much for getting all that stuff together just for me. I am doing great, and feeling healthy and loved. I can't wait to get out to the field.

Tell everyone else that I love them. I' think about you all often.

Just one more of these, and I'll be in the Phils!



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Week 6 Happy Thanksgiving!

I can't believe it's week six! I'd better start learning some Tagalog, haha.
Joke lang (joke only). How is everyone doing? Was conference incredible or what?
I was watching the first session of conference in the overflow room, but the sound wasn't working and it was very quiet for the beginning, so we couldn't hear President Monson make the big anouncement. We knew that it was something huge though, because the Senior missionaries in the front that were close enough to hear were really excited. I had to know what the big deal during the rest hymn I dragged Elder Williams out for a 'washroom break' and immedietly found one of the senior sisters and asked her about the big news. She immedietly put her hands on our shoulders and started to cry as she told us the anouncement that Elders could leave at 18 and sisters at 19. She was crying with joy because more of her grandchildren would have the opportunity to serve now. I was so blown away by the news...It made me so happy. Janae, I'm so glad that you've decided to serve a mission. It'll be an amazing experience for you - start getting the guys in your grade pumped up to go, haha. Josh, you don't have to wait a super long time now. Start preparing!!!! haha.
Conference was amazing. I love every single talk and I felt like lots of them applied to me. President Uchtdorf's talk in the saturday morning session was one of my favorites, along with Russell M. Nelson's (just ask the missionaries, they can help you). I really loved the messages about conversion, and how it is a process that we should never give up on, and how we can be happy regardless of our circumstances and the external factors of our lives. I was having a really hard time last week with feeling the spirit and I was looking for an answer to my prayers. I got that answer on Thursday, and I was able to feel the spirit in most of conference and through several teaching experiences. It is still tough, but I feel really good about this week and I know that I am on the path to conversion and things will get better as I go.
We taught a BYU student named Jason last Wednesday, he is Filipino and from Angeles, so we had a really good talk with him after the lesson. We taught him about how we can recieve revelation through church attendance and he shared some experiences with us about how he had recieved revelation in church. It was a good lesson, even though he didn't understand a lot of our Tagalog. It's funny, the American volunteers seem to understand us better than the Filipino ones...I'm not sure whether to be nervous about that or not, haha. He told us to watch out for cochroaches, as they like to chew on the soft tissue (lips and eyelids) of people faces while they are sleeping. I think I may invest in a bug net for my face when I get there, haha. We also commited one of our progressing investigators (Brother Ah Mu's character that he plays) to baptism. That wasn't the original plan for the lesson, but it seemed like a good time, and I surprised Elder Williams by reading 3 Nephi:11 (I forget the verse, but it's about baptism, haha) and inviting Brother 'Vargas' to follow Christ's example and be baptized. Now we just have to teach him about the Law of Chastity, and more on the Atonement, and he'll be all good to go, haha.
This week has been quite fantastic. Thank you to the Noads, it was really good to hear from you. Nick can send in his papers right now (put that you want to go foreign, is my advice, learning a language is so fun) which is super exciting. I have indeed had the chance to play the piano here at the MTC. I have played in sacrament meeting a couple of times and I occasionally have time after meals to slip into a room and play a little bit which is nice. I hope you're all doing well.
Elder Sugden and I celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving with Elder Watters (He's from Victoria  and he knows the Orregos) from the younger district. We scraped some food together on a little table in the hallway, hung a Canadian flag and ate the rest of Elder Watter's pumpkin pie that his family sent him. All and all, it was a good day (hope you like the pictures...Elder Watters is the elder in the middle). If you are wondering about the water-bottle pictures and the sticky note is part of a contest that our floor does every night. The contestants have to chug a 591ml Smart Water bottle full of water while being timed. It gets really intense, and the times are posted on the sticky notes. The best technique is to drink a little bit and then squeeze the bottle to push the water down your throat. The current record is held by Elder Moreno...2.81 seconds. My best time is 6.96...but there is still room for improvement, haha.

Oh! I got the package you guys was wonderful and nothing spilled. Most of the district tried the caesars but only a few people liked it. One the elder's from another district, Elder Walker (who's from new Zealand) saw the looks on everyones faces (except me and Elder Sugden, who probably downed two Caesars each) and asked if I would mix him a Canadian cocktail. I did, and he drained about half of it and made one of the best faces I've ever seen. I doubt anyone from the island nations has ever experienced something like that before, haha.
Thank you so much for all of that stuff. I loved it, and my district loved trying all the Canadian food.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Week 5

Kumusta po ang pamilya ko!

Hey everyone! I can't believe that it's been five weeks already! It's crazy that I'm headed to the field in less than a month!

This week was pretty busy...We taught three lessons, and got one of our investigators to come to church with us (well, one of our 'investigators'). We committed our other one to following the word of wisdom (we went in to teach Brother Ah Mu, our teacher, who was playing the role of investigator and he was smoking a piece of chalk like a cigarette). The lessons have been going pretty well, but we are still pretty awkward with our Tagalog. Brother Ward, our evening teacher, told us that in the 20 minutes that we teach, we use about three minutes worth of Tagalog (if we had been fluent). It takes us about five minutes to say something that should only take one minute, haha. But it's coming along pretty good.

Other news...I got called as the District Leader on Sunday. I basically just interview senior companions and get the mail twice a day and conduct meetings. The extra responsibility is nice.  We did initiatories today and then got breakfast at the Temple Cafeteria (Soooo good haha). It was a good experience.

I only have four weeks left here...which means in four letters I will be heading to the Philippines! I'm so pumped...but so nervous.
Thanks for the support and love.

I love you all,
- Jared.