Monday, June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014 Fathers Day

Hey Dad,

Happy Fathers Day! We've been talking this month in the mission about being a visionary missionary and catching the vision from our leaders. One example that was given was Lehi and Nephi. Nephi definitely caught the vision from his dad, and I feel like you have always helped me to have a vision in my life of what I should do to be the most happy. And now I'm doing it, and I am happier than I would be doing anything else. Thanks so much for being my Dad. 

My companion and I ate a Japanese Fast food restaurant today and I ordered Chicken Oyakodon. I'm pretty sure you used to make it at home sometimes. Elder Tsunoda and I would make it at the apartment a lot too. We also had some california rolls which were good. My companion wasn't a big fan of the wasabi though, haha.

Thanks for everything Dad. I'm excited to catch up more with you after working like a wild man for the next eight weeks. 

Love you, 

Jared.   

Hey family! 

It's been a good week here in Tarlac. I'll find out tomorrow where my next area is. I'm thinking it will be somewhere out in the middle of nowhere like my fourth area was. I'm okay with that though. 

Thank you guys for all of the updates and Happy Father's Day to all of the tatays and lolos out there. 

I think the best experience this week came in the form of a simple miracle we had finding. I already wrote to President about it so I'll just paste it here: 

I had another small miracle happen this week with OYMing. We were looking for a referral that a member had given us and were having trouble finding him. A guy walked by and asked us if we were looking for something and we were able to get directions from him before he walked into his house. Once he was inside, we looked at his house and it was the exact house number that was listed in our planners. Thinking he was the referral we were looking for, we knocked and he came out. It turns out he wasn't the person we were looking for (we had been given the wrong address). I had the strong impression that I needed to talk to him, but I was embarrassed and we ended up apologetically leaving. As we walked away, I just felt sick inside. The ward missionary who was working with us felt the same way. We walked about a block and then stopped and looked at each other and decided to go back. I felt so bad for ignoring the first prompting but as we came closer to the house the words I needed to say popped into my head and when we knocked a second time (when he came out he looked a little confused by this point) they just came out, "Hello Brother, we're sorry for bothering you again, but we have forgotten something important." We gave him a Restoration Pamphlet and set an appointment with him. 

It was crazy to me how the wrong address turned out to be the right address. I'm not sure what will happen with him but I am happy that we followed the prompting because I know the Lord used us to bring something into that mans life. The chance to know his Heavenly Father's plan for him. 

We had our Stake conference this week and it was a special broadcast from Salt Lake. Elder Cook, Elder Teh, and Sister Mconkie all spoke about simple gospel principles and it was amazing. A sister from our ward also sang an arrangement of 'Because I have Been Given Much.' accompanied by the piano, three violins, and a bamboo flute, and almost had the whole congregation (probably over 600 hundred members) in tears. I was having trouble keeping them back myself. That was the most spiritual part of the meeting.

I love you guys. The church is true and we are so blessed. 

Love, 
Jared. 


Hey Mom!

I'm still in the same area but I'm leaving on Thursday. President hasn't told me where yet though. It'll for sure be my last area though. I'm really sad to be leaving here. Tarlac is my favorite area. I feel like I've felt the spirit the strongest here and had the most success. I'll be leaving a lot of good friends behind. 

Haha actually for Filipinos it's considered healthy to be chubby. Most of them are skinny though. Elder Evangelista's mom owns a carendaria (fast-food restaurant that sells cooked food to go on rice) and is an amazing cook. That's what he attributes his stoutness to, haha. 
  
I sure love you Mom!

Love, 
Jared. 


Monday, June 9, 2014

June 8, 2014 Jared's Birthday



 The Capas Death Memorial
 
 Cool Basketball Kid!


 Service project





Gud PM Family (Tagalog Text Slang),

Thank you all for the birthday wishes! The actual day of my birthday wasn't all that exciting but on June 4th we found three great new investigators which made a perfect birthday present. I don't like to make a big deal out of my birthdays, so it was good. I made sure to buy an ice cream though :)
 
The Sister Training Leaders knew it was my birthday (I tried to keep it a secret but they read it in the Mission Newsletter) and they surprised me with a cupcake and a match (I blew out the match). We also had a service project where we hauled buhangin (cement mix/sand) into a house. AND THEN (The best part of all) we went out and worked!
This week I had the grossest experience of my mission. I was on exchanges with an elder in the zone here in our area and it started raining super hard. We had appointments in H-Crus, which is this really filthy crowded area with hundreds of little hollow-block houses and really narrow little alleyways. I think I already mentioned canals (basically open drainage systems on the side of the roads...a lot of the sewage from houses just empties out into the canals). Anyways, we ended up trapped in H-Crus, knee deep in overflowed canal water. It looked and smelled like the black plague. When we got to our investigator's house we ran to their pump and washed everything...pants, shoes, socks, and soles. It was awful. We took antibiotics afterwards. So gross. Biggest loss though...I didn't have my camera with me :(

I have mentioned the Landingin Family before and how they are the greatest family ever but we just haven't been able to help their parents come out to church. All of their kids are members. We taught them on Friday and at the end of the lesson (as always) we invited them to come to church. Sister Landingin said (jokingly), "Okay Elders, if you come and pick us up for church, I'll come." We jumped on that opportunity, "Okay, we'll be here at 11 tomorrow," and she was all like, "No! It's okay, we'll just come!"

"Nope, too late. We'll see you at 11 tomorrow."

"Elders! It's okay, we'll just come ourselves!"

"Yep. And we're taking you."

"Really! We'll just come!"

"Really?"

"YES!"

"I'm not sure if you're telling the truth..."

"I am!"

"Do you promise to come?"

"Well...I'm not promising..."

"We'll see you at 11 then."

"Okay, okay...we'll just come ourselves."

"Sure?"

"Yes."

"Really?"

"Yes!"

"Promise?"

"..."

That's basically how the conversation went. (We are VERY close with this family, and Filipinos love to joke around like that, lest anyone think we were being pushy or overbearing at all. This was all done with a great deal of jest).

AND...SISTER LANDINGIN CAME TO CHURCH! We had been praying and praying and praying that they would come. We talked to Tatay the other day too and he said he wants to come next time. Miracles really do happen.

We've seen another miracle with a less-active family we are teaching. They are very poor and just live in this little one-room house in the middle of H-Crus, but they have been coming to church now as a family. For me those are the best miracles of all...when someone decides to make the difficult decision to return to the church. We've been so blessed to see this family make that decision.

I am so impressed with the members here in Tarlac. Especially the Ward Mission Leader and the Elder's Quorum President. The Young Women's Presidency has been doing an amazing job do. They go and visit the people we are teaching and are always coming back to us with more people we can teach.

Anyways, that's about all the update I have for now. I probably will only be in this area for another week and a bit...we have a short transfer this transfer and an 8 week transfer next week because President Martino goes home this month. I will be really sad to leave here. It's been my favorite area hands down.

I love you guys!

Love,

Jared.

June 2, 2014

 

 
We went to the Monastario De Tarlac - it's a big monastery in mountains. There's this little mini castle thing up there too and we took some zone pictures there - there are more sisters than elders here.



 This picture (with the guy and his two kids) is really funny. There was this big group of relatives from another place up in the mountains and I guess they hadn't really seen foreigners before. They asked me in broken English if they could take a picture of me and were pretty freaked out when I answered in Tagalog. I took pictures with a couple of the men and their kids and then one of the Nanays came out with her daughter (probably about 15) and told me to get a picture with her 'Dalaga' (Dalaga means 'single girl'...and is usually used by mothers to show off their daughters). That was kind of awkward but I maintained an appropriate distance while being friendly. We were able to talk with the whole group though about the gospel and they seemed really interested, so it all worked out okay. It'll be weird coming home and not being noticed ever, haha. I think it's better that way though.
Elder Evangelista is a really cool companion though. I think I've trained him pretty good so far...the only real thing that needs training is all of the reports. I could never be an accountant or any job that handles numbers. It's way too stressful.


Dear Family,

 

CHIKI! (Cheeky)

WALI! (Wally)

HINDO! (As spelled)

PAK! (Puck)

TAMBO! (Tahmbo)

RIKI! (Reekee)

 

That's all heard for an hour this morning on the jeepney, haha. I learned a new Filipino game as we were going to our zone activity earlier. It involves a lot of shouting and slapping each others hands. I'm pretty sure some of the Elders hands were almost bleeding afterwards, haha. I'll have to teach you all someday. We went to a really cool monastery place up in the mountains today and ate mangoes with salt the whole way home while four of the Filipino Elders went crazy with that game. Then one of the Samoan elders joined in and they were all too scared of him and the game ended, haha. I love the Phils.

 It's been a good week with a few sad parts. One of our great new investigators who has been to church twice told us he doesn't want to meet with us anymore. I guess when his pastor found out he was being taught by 'Mormons' he started emailing our investigator and telling him all sorts of stuff like how there is no such thing as revelation and visions and that the Bible is the only source of truth. Does that sound familiar? I told him about Joseph Smith and how his pastor said the exact same thing to him, but Joseph kept on trusting in the Lord and seeking further revelation. We told him his questions would all be answered if he would just earnestly read and prayed about the BOM. Nope, he doesn't want to. We respected his agency and told him we would have to focus on other people who are ready to hear the Gospel. It makes me sad when people believe in their pastors more than in God. So many good people get misled by other people with good intentions. It's not something to get angry about, but it makes me kind of depressed sometimes.

 "Quench not the Spirit." I feel like most churches nowadays do that.

 On the bright side, the four investigators we have goaled for baptism this month all came to church. They are all teenagers from part member families. I am happy about their baptisms and their families are all supportive...but I really wish that some of the adults we are teaching would come to church. We have so many awesome investigator families that just won't come to church. The Mendoza family came to church though for the second time! And their daughter brought a friend named James. They come from a pretty rough neighborhood without much money, so I gave James a shirt and tie. The Mendoza's have been less active for a long time and it is such a blessing to see them come to church again. Brother Mendoza coming back was a miracle, and he's shown so much faith and courage coming to church again. I love it when priesthood holders realized their potential. It makes all other hardships and crazy pastors worth it.

I'm doing well. The Lord has really been blessing me :) It has started raining a little bit but nothing too crazy yet. Last Monday there was a pretty good storm though...the power went off in the whole city for about an hour. Tarlac floods a lot so I'm kind of hoping it won't rain a lot until August.
 
I love you all. I'll talk to you again next week!

 

- Jared.