Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March 24, 2013

 These two panoramas capture some of our area. We walk all the way past the highways on both sides. I took this picture up on the top of the mountain that is in our area

 Guyabano! It's like this big green spiky cactus thing. It tastes super good's kind of tart and the texture is really different. Apparently it cures cancer too or something like that. 
 Mangoes! My favorite thing in the Phils! I eat about 2 kilos of them every week, haha. 
 Some of the jungle up in the mountain that we climbed. 
 Me! I lost weight! But I've gained it back now! haha. Also, I know I'm really sweaty in this picture and it is gross...but I'll have you know that that is nothing compared to how much I sweat in one day, haha. 

District 2! Yes, this is my whole district, haha. Elder Olsen and Elder Espinoza are the elders from Anao (where we just had our baptism).

Me and James...probably the coolest kid ever, haha. I have a video of him singing, but I don't know how to transfer it here. 
 Another good pic of the spiders...

 Check out these spiders...I guess they are super poisonous...but that didn't stop the Filipino elders from letting them crawl all over them, haha. 

 Also, some really cool birds. They are like herons but they fly in big flocks. Apparently they migrate over here from China
 Us in front of the church right before the baptism. Sister Anita is standing next to me, and the other sister is the investigator that the Anao elders baptized. The guy on the end is the Anao bishop. 

District 2! It was nice that Elder Olsen and Elder Espinoza could be there too and have a baptism too. (They've had about 10 together in Anao).

Dear Family,
This week has been really stressful. It’s also been pretty good. I am officially transferring next Thursday, and I will find out where I am going and all that on Wednesday. At the moment, I am super busy figuring out last minute remembrances (letters/pictures) for the members and investigators and packing and organizing all of my stuff. I’m a little bit sad because my airsoft gun will probably have to stay here L But I think it’s for the best, haha (it was only about $3 and it looks like a submachine gun). I’ll just say that all of the dogs in Cuyapo won’t come near me anymore, haha.

We had our first baptism on Saturday, and it went pretty well. I was really worried at first because when we got there (there is no baptismal font in Cuyapo so we went to Anao, the closest place that has one) the room wasn’t arranged and nobody else had showed up. Thankfully the Elders in Anao also had a baptism that day, so their bishop and his family came along with the person that they were baptising. We went ahead and started the meeting and then finally the branch president of Cuyapo showed up with five or so of the members…late and in casual clothes, which made me a little bit frustrated, but when it finally came down to the actual baptism things went smooth. As Sister Anita (our investigator) came up out of the water she had a huge smile on her face, and she bore a powerful testimony of prayer and of the church. It was so nice to be able to be there and be part of that change that she made in her life. She is truly a gospel convert…and she is diligently searching the scriptures and fasting and praying to gain more of a testimony. She was confirmed yesterday in church and is starting to mingle with the members a lot more. I am so happy for her. I am also grateful that, even though Cuyapo is a pretty difficult area and there are a lot of difficult less actives and investigators that just don’t progress, the Lord helped us find somebody who was truly being prepared to hear the gospel.

I am excited to leave Cuyapo, but I am also a little bit sad about it…I will miss a lot of the amazing people that I’ve met here…especially the Oliveros, Arguesa, and Agustin families. They are all so strong in the branch and it’s been wonderful to get to know them. I’ve learned so much from teaching brother Oliveros, and although he isn’t quite ready to accept the gospel right now, I know that the day will come that he will be baptised and Sister Oliveros’ prayers will be answered. The Arguesa family is also amazing…they have a daughter who is serving a mission in the southern Philippines right now, and sister Argueza feeds us dinner three times a week, despite our protestations, haha. Her and her husband are both super active in the church and will do whatever they can to help the branch. I’m so grateful for them. They are like my Cuyapo grandparents, haha. The Agustin family is incredible too…Brother Agustin used to be less active and have all sorts of problems with vices, but he returned to the church and is now the 2nd counsellor in the branch presidency and his family were all baptised last year. They have a temple goal date for this summer. Brother Agustin always comes out and works with us and he is just an amazing guy and an amazing fellow shipper to the less actives and investigators that we visit. I’m going to miss all of them, and everyone else that I’ve met here.

I learned how to cook monggo this week (it’s this type of bean that tastes like lentils, but better). We mixed them up with some pork and squash and it was really good. I’ve also been eating less rice and I hope it will make my love handles go away (I switched to street vended hamburgers instead). We also helped some farmers harvest corn last week as a service project, and it was super fun. What they do here is they go through the corn row by row with a little sharpened bamboo stick, and they grab the ear of corn, open it with the bamboo, throw it in a pile and then stomp down the plant. It was pretty difficult at first but once I got into a rhythm I didn’t want to stop. Me and a few other Elders in the zone kept going while everyone else left for lunch, haha. It was like a ‘corn harvesting high’ or something like that. It felt good to stab and stomp corn plants and release some stress I guess, haha.

Another cool thing that happened this week – we were walking through Tutuloy and it was really dark. We were in an area with no streetlights and no houses – just fields and a road – and as we were walking we passed two men, who were clearly drunk. As we passed them they bent down and picked up some rocks, which was unusual so were both started to walk faster. As we sped up, we could see two more guys waiting at the end of the road, and they also had rocks in their hands. One of them ran off into some trees as we got closer. We were just starting to feel a little bit alarmed, because we were standing in between what looked like four drunk guys with rocks in their hands, but out of nowhere a trike driver drove down the road…he happened to be the one trike driver here that we are good friends with. He saw us and stopped and we climbed onto his trike and got out of there. I don’t know if something would have happened if he hadn’t happened to drive by at that moment, but we were both grateful that the Lord protected us and got us out of what could have been a dangerous situation.

That’s all for the big email this week…I’m sure I will have a lot of good stories next week about my new area. I’ll send you guys some replies to your emails when they come.

I love you all,

The church is true.



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