Wednesday, October 16, 2013

October 7th and 14th 2013

NOTE from Jared's mom: 
Please keep Jared in your prayers and fasts as he has been experiencing some health issues. Thanks for all your love and support for Elder Hubbard. He is doing awesome and is still able to keep working hard despite his health. He comes home at the end of the day and crashes hard as he is so weak with exhaustion. 
All missionaries are reported safe since last earthquake on October 15th.

 Cool replica of a famous church here. There is a real famous church also in our area...I just haven't had the chance to picture it yet.

 Dad, do you recognize this? I was in a Japanese surplus store here the other week and I saw this and remembered you telling me about it once upon a time. It does taste weird, haha. 
 Elder Adorza and I with Sister Lenny Reyes...she was baptized a few weeks ago. 
Me in the Missionary Recovery Center with a few of the other misisonaries. SIster Clark, Elder Soriano (my companion while I was there), and Elder Crichton.
 Elder Adorza and I earlier today...we visited a cultural place called Nayong Filipino and bought all sorts of souvenirs. There were a lot of cool places to take pictures too. 
 Us walking around Nayong Filipino...the Elder out in front is actually Elder Palmer (he's in my zone). 
 Me in front of one of the village set ups in the park.

Dear Family,                                                                               October 7, 2013

I got the package that you guys sent this week! It came just at the right time (the day I ran out of my multi-vitamins). I've been using the M&M's to bribe kids into showing us where less actives in their neighborhoods live, haha. I love the nuts and Clif bars and especially all of the letters and pictures that you sent. I'm been taking tons of vitamin C and trying to keep a positive attitude about everything. I've been able to work full days still, but when I get to the apartment I feel like collapsing. 

Our week started out really tough. We've been trying really hard to find new investigators, but it's been hard working in the richer and middle-class areas. We tried a whole bunch of new places but with no success. We finally decided to pull out the ward directory and look up all of the Less Actives who are in our area and go find them. We have ten or eleven less actives who we visit regularly, but we decided to look for some new ones...especially part members. We didn't find any this week, BUT we came across the house of a member who has been dead for 5 years, and we talked to some of his grandkids (who are about in their early 20's) and they are willing to be taught. We also were able to meet some new people as we searched for them/ The other day we were walking and it just started raining like crazy - we ran under the roof of a house, just in front of the gate, and after we had stood there for a while a girl came out and let us into the driveway (which was sheltered from the rain). We met her grandma and some of her family and they seemed pretty interested in visiting with us again (they even invited us to come for the Grandma's birthday the next day, but we already had appointments set). We'll see how that goes. 

We decided to try working in one of the poorer areas, and we found a place that is like a giant vegetable farm in the middle of the city. There is a dirt path that goes for a ways behind the highway and then it opens up into a whole bunch of fields full of onions and stuff. There are probably 200+ people living in shacks through that area. It's pretty funny how we found it...we were just walking down the road and Elder Adorza saw this 14 yr old kid walking down the road. I don't know how he could tell, but he randomly just asked the kid if he was half american - which, as it turns out, the kid was. We asked him where he lived and he pointed to that path that goes to the fields, and then he took us to his house. I guess his father is American, but he has never met him before. He lives in a little hut with his mom and stepdad and a few brothers and sisters. It was funny, because as we were walking through the fields to his house a lot of the people came outside and yelled (in all seriousness), "Hey Jason (I think his name was Jason), is that your dad?" or, "Jason, your dad is here!" I don't think they realized that I'm only six years older than the poor kid, haha. Anyways, we were able to meet his family and set up a time to visit with them. We were also able to go back there yesterday and start teaching another sister from that area. We taught her about the Restoration and invited her to be baptized right away. We were really surprised when she accepted with no problems. She'll just have to start to come to church now. 
I wish I could write more, but we're out of time. I hope all of the pictures got to you alright. We went to a cool tourist place today and learned about some of the native peoples of the Phils and about the culture. I bought a coin purse made out of a frog (yes, a real still has the head and everything) and a cool tribal mask. I almost bought a native blowgun with metal darts but I restrained myself, haha. The lady was even going to give it to me for just 40 pesos. I was tempted, but I could just see someone getting a dart in the eye. 

Thank you so much for all of the emails. It sounds like things are going well for all of you. There are so many exciting things happening right now - here, at home, and in the church. It's so great to be a part of it all. I love this work and I know that the church is true. I'm grateful to be able to serve here at this time. 

Thank you also for all of the prayers. I'm sure that the way I'm feeling right now is just a way to test me and bring me closer to God. I'm thankful for the strength that I've received this week to be able to continue to work. 

I love you guys. The boys look great, haha. The temple is also beautiful. I can't wait to see it someday. 


 pictures from our Zone Activity last week. 
 here yo go!!!! maraming salamat so masayang zone activity!!! ingat sa lahat!! mua mua choop choop
Hey Family,                                                                               October 14, 2013

It's been an interesting week...a huge typhoon rolled through here and killed 13 people, but thankfully Angeles City only caught a little bit of it. The area I was in before probably got destroyed though. Some of the Sister Missionaries in Cabanatuan City lost the roof of their house in the wind. The zone leaders ended up running through the flying debris at 12AM to go and rescue them. Everyone was okay though. Here we just had some crazy wind that took a few shingles off the roof. We were fine though. 

The week hasn't been too eventful, but there's been some good success. We have always struggled with finding new investigators in this area, so we decided to check the Ward Directory and see if there were any new less actives we could visit. We found a whole bunch of names in our area and went out to find them. We only found one or two of the people we were actually looking for, but as we looked for them we were guided to a lot of other people who are ready to be taught. We found 9 new investigators this week, compared to 1 or 2 or 0 like we usually achieve. I know that it's because we used some faith and made a plan to do it. God will always help us if we have a plan and act in faith. 

Conference was also amazing. I remember being little and conference seeming to stretch on for an eternity, but this year it seemed to just fly by. All of the talks were so good. I really enjoyed Elder Dube's talk as well. I always look forward to Elder Holland's talks and Elder Uchtdorf's talks especially. Elder Hollands talk this year was a lot less fiery than usual though, haha. 

Transfers are coming up in a couple of weeks and I'm pretty sure I'll be transferring. There are something like 14 sisters coming in next transfer so a lot of areas will be white washed, and I heard Angeles will be one of them. I'm a little sad because we have a baptism coming up on the 27th (transfers is on the 23rd)...Aaron Van Merkenstein - he's the son of the Australian family that we've been teaching. I'm going to miss that family a lot. They are so cool. 

The other lessons we've been having with those new investigators have been going well too. We are teaching three siblings whose grandfather used to be a member (he's passed away now). They are about 17, 18, and 20 probably, and the oldest one has a husband who listens in on the lessons too. They live in a really crowded area in the middle of downtown Angeles, and are only available in the evenings, so last night we went to visit them. The thing is, we didn't know that yesterday was a Fiesta in Angeles (a fiesta is a day where everyone just throws parties and goes crazy). Since we were in one of the poorer areas, in a narrow street crammed with houses that goes downwards (as you go further down the houses seem to get smaller and multiply and the street seems to get narrower), there were literally hundreds of people outside drinking, singing on these huge karaoke machines and just causing a general ruckus. It got worse as we got closer to our investigators. A drunk guy came up to us and started talking to us, and then his friend came up too, totally plastered, with a little tinfoil bundle in his hand. He opened it and shoved it close to my face, and asked, "Alam mo ba 'to? (do you know what this is?)" Even though I've never seen drugs before in my whole life, I could see that it was some shredded marijuana and a little pile of 'snow'. I gently removed the guy from my path and we decided to leave and come back another day. 

I can definitely say I've seen the world now, haha. It's so sad how people turn to stuff like that because of poverty or other difficulties. 

I also got to go on splits this week with an elder from my district. One of the funniest things I've ever seen happened while we were on exchanges. For lunch, we went to this place called Mang Inasal, where you get an Inasal (a big chunk of BBQed chicken) a sili (way hot little pepper) and kalamansi (like a little mini lime thing). What you do is you crush the pepper in a little sauce plate and squeeze the lime stuff into it and add soy sauce...then you dip pieces of the chicken into it and eat it with rice. Delicious. Anyways, the best part about this particular restaurant is that you get unlimited rice. As long as there is meat left over, you can keep ordering scoops of rice. (one scoop of rice is about the amount of rice you would normally eat at home with your stir fry). I usually eat about three if I'm really hungry. The elder I was with ate 7. As he was eating, he managed to get a chicken rib or something lodged in his throat. It didn't affect his breathing at all, but he said it felt kind of like a fishbone or something. We ignored it and managed to work the whole day and go to bed. When I woke up the next morning, I could hear someone gagging and throwing up downstairs, and I went down and saw this elder sitting in front of a mirror, with a pair of eyebrow tweezers and a pool of saliva on the floor, trying to reach down and pull the thing out of his throat. We eventually ended up in an emergency room of this tiny, sketchy hospital in Bulaon. The Doctor there told us that he is not qualified for throat procedures, but that he could probably just reach in there and pull it out. He had this elder lay down on one of the beds and he reached into his throat with these huge tweezers and yanked this bone out the poor guy's throat. The bone was really skinny and probably 2 and a half inches long, haha. 

Lesson: Chew your food kids.       

I love you guys. I am staying positive and trying to get better. I'm sure I will get better soon. I definitely won't give up, that's for sure. It's such a blessing to be able to serve, even though the area can be hard and there are a lot of other trials at times. Looking back, I am grateful for all of the trials I've experienced. They all helped me come closer to Christ. 

Have a great week! 
Love, Jared.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

September 30, 2013

Hey Everyone,
I had a pretty big adventure this week...the Doctor here in Angeles diagnosed me with Rheumatic Fever and was telling me that I would need to get a deep injection in the buttocks every 21 days for at least six months. Needless to say, Sister Martino didn't like the idea of that at all (neither did I) so she sent me to Manila for a few days to get looked at. They have a place there right beside the MTC and the Temple called the MRC and I stayed there for a couple nights. They have a couple assigned there to help the missionaries and it turns out that they are from Edmonton! Elder and Sister Wood. It was good to be with some fellow Canadians. Also, the cook there is actually Elder Magno's (my trainee and one of my favorite companions) aunt, so we had some good talks too. Anyways, after a lot of embarrassing tests and ultrasounds and stuff they couldn't find any trace of Rheumatic Fever. The doctor at the MRC told me that I probably have a virus or something, but that I'll be able to keep working. 
The trip did have an upside though...I got to do a session in the temple. The Manila temple is pretty small, but it is absolutely gorgeous inside. I also loved the new temple presentation. I got to wear a barong in there (it's a traditional Filipino formal shirt with cool patterns on it) which was also neat. 
I got to meet a few elders from some of the other missions that dropped by the MRC. There was one poor guy in there who was finished his mission, but couldn't go home. He was from Isabella, a part of the northern Philippines. He had some sort of hemorrhaging disorder where he needed a blood transfusion every week and he bleeds from like everywhere. They don't want to send him home because his family doesn't have money for his treatment and he'd only last a week at the most. They say that he's starting to get better though, which is good. I saw an elder from one of the other districts in the MTC too. He's in the Quezon City Mission. 
Aside from all of my healthcare adventures this week, it was a pretty good week. Since sister Lenny has been baptized, we've really been trying to find new investigators. It's been pretty tough...people are so busy here and the ones that aren't are hardcore in other religions and either want to debate or just laugh at us or tell us to go 'mission the other people.' We went back to a lot of the return appointments we set just to find the grandfather or grandmother there telling us, "We were born Catholics and we will die Catholics." We knocked on one door the other day and a man came out and told us he wasn't interested because he is 'Born Again.' He asked us if we were Jehovah's Witnesses, and when we said no he seemed to lighten up a bit. He told us, "If you aren't Jehovah's Witnesses or Catholics, it means you are Born Again's just like us. Our beliefs are all the same." We tried to tell him a few times that, although we believe in many of the same things, there are a lot of things in our message that can help him gain more understanding. I tried to ask him about prophets and stuff, but he wouldn't listen. I just want to say sometimes, "OUR RELIGIONS ARE NOT THE SAME. IF ONLY YOU KNEW HOW MUCH YOUR POTENTIAL IS!!!" But we aren't really supposed to get agitated, haha. 
It's been hard finding here...but don't get me wrong - the people are so amazing and so friendly. We've found some really humble people that are ready to hear the gospel. We just hope that they'll be able to progress. The poorer people have the most amazing faith and are so humble, but sometimes it's hard to help them progress and stay active. We are going to start focusing more in the poorer areas here though and pray to have success. We're also going to go through the ward directory and try to find more less actives and part member families. I think I've realized here more than my other areas just how important members are. I've noticed that when the members have referrals and are involved in the work, things go well. All of the successes we've had here have come because of members. Have you guys been able to get involved with the missionary work lately? I know you are all doing so much to help out the ward and family history and youth already, but I invite you all to go work with the Elders. Give them less actives or investigators to visit and then go with them! They will cherish you forever! haha. 
Good News! I forgot to tell you all earlier, but I got a phone call from the AP's a while back and I guess six of the people we taught in my last area have been baptized. They are all in the pictures I sent a while back. Sister Beth, Sister Lyn Laos and her two older boys Hiron and Harry, and Sister Imelda and her daughter Katrina - the one that is Jianna's age. I was so super happy when I heard they were baptized. That area has grown so much now and they have a meetinghouse. I think they might put some Sisters in that area in the near future which will probably help the area a whole lot more. I was so excited to hear how much the church is progressing there. 
We are also probably moving into a new apartment this that isn't 100 years old and full of cockroaches, haha. I'm sure that will help me feel a lot better. I will keep doing my best to stay positive and work hard and I'm sure this bug will pass. Thank you so much for all of your prayers and fasting for me. I've really felt strength to continue this last week even though I haven't been feeling the best. 

I love you guys. 
Have an awesome week :)
Love JAred.