Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, November 28, 2011

28 November 2011


The flood just outside our house

      Magandang Hapon po!

Gobble gobble gobble! Except all I heard here was rice hitting the plate. I know you're all jealous! Sounds like a good time was had by all with everyone being together and shooting away mom and Chala's birthday. Definitely no such thing as Thanksgiving and eating a lot of good food here. Just another day at work! It has rained here everyday for the past week and is very nice with a breeze and cloudy to keep the relentless sun at bay. I don't know if there is any such thing as a thermometer around here, but if I were to guess it has been between 60-70 degrees the whole week which has been very pleasant. Only to me and Elder Tangi though. All of the Fillipinos are complaining about how cold it is and actually putting on socks and long sleeve shirts and jackets and beanies. I only had to use a sweat rag once this week, which is a record low. Because it rained so much though, there are a lot of places that are flooded out. As soon as we step out of the gate to our house we are walking in an unavoidable puddle that is about 6 inches deep. After the first day of having my waterproof shoes filled with water I decided I'd switch to the Keens. Its been pretty fun. 
This week Elder and Sister Breese came to work with us again for the same tatay as last time (the eternal investigator). Its good having them come because they can relate to him and get him to think more about baptism much better than Elder Tangi and I can. When we go back, he asks us when they are going to come back. We are really hoping and praying that he will open his eyes a little more and follow through with our commitment to him to pray about it. Hopefully with the Breese's help we'll get him to commit pretty soon. The Breese's are pretty awesome-he is 79 and I think she is 72, and they are still kickin around like its not a problem. They also have a 2 year mission here but leaving in July, but then they're going to go on another one. What champs! It was kind of funny when they came because there was a miscommunication and president never told us that they would be coming for sure so they called in the middle of our weekly planning and said they were waiting for us. It all worked out though.
We went to Tuguegarao for 2 baptisms on saturday so that is always great. We normally take a van or catch a bus to and from Tuguegarao but seems how we ate dinner there we ended up not being done until about 9:15, when buses come only once or twice every hour. After waiting a police checkpoint for about 15 mins on the highway waiting for a bus to show up, the police stopped some delivery truck going to Manila and had us hitch a ride with them. It was nice because it was free! Too bad there's none of that back home if you need a ride.
Yesterday at church Elder Tangi and I got to bless the sacrament and give talks. Surprise! It wasn't too bad though. After the stake presidency coming in last week, the members are much more helpful in giving us referrals. I'm still not sure when we're going to be able to contact them though because we are already booked all week. 
This thursday is transfer day so we'll see what happens. Elder Tangi will most likely be getting transferred which will be weird for me to have a different companion here seems how he has been my trainer for 12 weeks. 
Today is Elder Tangi's birthday so with the help of some members, we're throwing a little party at a members house and inviting several of our investigators. Elder Tangi plans to buy several big tubs of ice cream for us all which is very expensive (at least for Philippine standards) so that should be yummy. 
Well thats about it for this week. Let you know what the news is with transfers next week. Happy baby blessing! 
Mahal kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, November 21, 2011

21 November 2011


More sewage

Fried Tillapia

      Magandang Hapon po!

I can't believe it snowed 10 inches in Logan! Sheesh. Crazy stuff. I feel like it rained about 10 inches here over the week if that makes you jealous at all. We discovered several leaks in our roof so we were using buckets to catch the water. Thats exciting about Stu and Chala officially being back now! I hope they don't miss the sweat and pollution of Vegas too much. 
Well Elder Tangi and I didn't have a community service project this week...but we definitely had a cleaning project. Somewhere along our sewage line is plugged up, which means that a bunch of sewage came spewing out from the side of the house. When we first saw it it was all over the pathway at the side of our house, with some rather hefty piles in some areas. Imagine unloading the houseboat after a couple of days into a 4 foot hallway. It smelled really nice too. :) We went to our land lord to have him send someone, and a couple hours later a 65 year old tatay came up on a rusted little kid bike armed with a garden hose and a cigarette. He was all dressed up for the occasion too-tanktop, shorts, and flip flops. He had no shame whatsoever as he stomped through it and started moving stuff around with his bare hands. His idea of cleaning it up was using random supplies we had at the house to scoop it up and throw it in the field across from us. In his process of sweeping stuff up, sewage went flying all over the side of the house and the wall of the fence (not to mention his footprints everywhere he walked). After he shoved a garden hose down there a few times, he called it good and left. Luckily a few members came over to work with us, just in time to help us clean it up better. We made up several batches of big buckets of water with laundry detergent in it, and I was the one armed with a brush. I don't think I've ever been so up close and personal to poop before, scrubbing the walls and the walkway. It was definitely a day to remember! And no, it is not fixed yet. In the meantime, we just moved a cover to the gutter/sewage line on the side of the house so whenever we flush it just goes shooting directly into the gutter. Luckily in the Philippines we don't have to worry about the "we all live downstream" idea. 
Yesterday the stake presidency came and pretty much called the bishopric and ward members to repentance for not being more involved with the missionary work. There are about 460 members in the ward, and only about 100 that come each week. He also was on their case because there has only been 2 baptisms in this ward for the last year. The stake president was very bold during sacrament meeting by saying stuff like, "Can you not open your eyes? What are you doing? Do you not want a temple to be built in Tuguegarao in the near future to save you 11 hours of travel time? Why aren't you loving your neighbor by sharing the gospel to them?" Then he challenged each ward member to give us 1 referral within the month. I guess we'll see later if it made a difference. 
Last week on splits I felt like the senior companion because he knows just about as much Tagalog as me and we were in Cabagan so I was the one deciding where to go and doing most of the talking. It was a fun adventure. Under the new training program, all new missionaries are supposed to be prepared to be a trainer at 12 weeks so I guess this was good practice! Who knows, I could possibly be training Elder Allen! Haha
I feel like I'm a doctor already because people always ask me what they should do with their sicknesses and if certain things are bad for them. Its mostly just because I'm American-they think Americans know everything. Ha! Boy do I have them fooled. My favorite are when people ask what the laws are/how to apply to live or work in America. First of all, I don't think they really want to try to find a job in America right now, second of all, I've never had to apply for that before so I have no clue. But I have seen some pretty cool stuff here-tons of big bunions, chickenpox, and several big goiters/some other kind of tumor on the neck. Some of them are probably bigger than a baseball. I would love to get a picture of one but I don't want to be rude. 
Oh yeah-this is for Mom on saturday and Chala on sunday. Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you! Happy birthday to the worlds bestest ever mom/Chala! Happy birthday to you! I think I sound a lot better when I sing it this way. :) That should be a fun birthday present to you, having the whole fam over. Minus me. But at least you will have several other newcomers to fill my space. I keep forgetting that thanksgiving exists and to celebrate you a eat a lot of good food. Don't worry, I'll try to have my helping of rice and if I'm REALLY lucky, I'll get some chicken.
Well, thats about it for this week. Have a thankful Thanksgiving and eat a lot of good grub for me! 
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

14 November 2011

  •                                                              Service! 12 November 2011


    Elder Tangi's attempt to run across the mud without slipping

    Hauling wood

    • Magandang Hapon!‏

    I will start out by giving a wonderful suggestion to Kyle/Aimee and Nat/B about how to save a bunch of money on diapers. I know you are pinching pennies right now so I figured I'd try to help out. I got this idea from several people I have seen here in the Philippines. I call it the get out of the way method. Its pretty common to see naked little kids everywhere, and I wondered how people dealt with the loving pee/poop of the babies, especially when holding them. While talking to one nanay holding her baby, I came to understand how it works. All you do is hold the baby away from you and bombs away! Haha this nanay even tried to catch some of it so she wouldn't have as much to clean up on the floor later. It didn't even phase her while she was talking either, just instinct. Don't know if you are interested or not in my suggestion, but it's the best I can do to help you out when I am on the other side of the world. :) Haha I've had to dodge some surprise streams of pee, even during lessons. It makes it kind of fun. 
    I got your package of FHE ideas on Thursday, so thanks for that. I also got the Christmas package yesterday. Mail only takes about 2 weeks to get to the mission home, then a week or so after that by the time it gets to me. Usually I get the mail each Tuesday at district meeting, but this week we were lucky because we had Elder and Sister Russel (couple missionaries) come to teach with us and then the AP's happened to be through our area on sunday. It just depends on when people are going/coming from Cauayan, which is about 2 hours from here. We requested to have the Russels come teach with us for one of our Tatay investigators who is an official eternal investigator. He has been seeing missionaries ever since the first ones came through Cabagan in 1983. He is close to staying away from his coffee everyday, but not quite yet. We invited him to be baptized but he is "still thinking about it". He comes to church almost every week. It was a great lesson because they were able to connect with him and relate to him a lot better than we ever could, even though Elder Tangi had to translate the whole time. We could tell he really enjoyed it because he asked when they were coming back. 
    On saturday we went to Solana which is about an hour and half north of Cabagan to do another service project. This one was helping a member haul a bunch of drift wood from a field close to the river to a closer field that could be accessed by a jeepney. The mud was super deep and gooey. As you can tell in my picture, it was up to my knees. It was a very grueling but fun workout. 
    Elder Tangi and I are too busy that we don't know what to do with ourselves. People give us referrals and people come up to us and ask us when we can come teach them, but our schedule is already booked for the week so we just have to hope that someday we will get to them. We are trying to talk president into bringing another set of missionaries here but who knows. Our area is ginormous too, one of the biggest in the mission. If all goes well we should have 4 baptisms in December, and several more in the months after that. We have about 13 investigators/families that we are trying to see each week. It makes it a lot harder with E. Tangi being district leader because of the extra splits, baptismal interviews, and we have to attend baptisms of anyone in our district. This saturday we will be traveling/interviewing all day. 
    Well I am out of time. Have fun speaking in church this sunday! On the bright side, at least you know what your topic is and you actually have time to prepare. :) 
    Mahal Kita, 
    Elder Nay

Monday, November 7, 2011

7 Nov 2011

  • Planting pineapple

    E. Tangi & E. Malimali (both Tongan) staying in shape for rugby

    Pineapple racking with a stick

    Magandang Hapon po!

Well, another week of everybody still alive, thats always a good thing. I can't believe that itty bitty Jenna is already crawling around! Whats up with that?! Sheesh. She's going to be going on dates by the time I get home! Haha. I enjoyed seeing the pics of Gracie too-especially the snot rocket one. I think she got that from her dad! Haha. Thats pretty cool that mom is on a federal case. So much for never being summoned for jury duty! That drive to SLC everyday sounds pretty miserable. I hope its a cool case to make it worth your time. 
Earlier today I sweat my guts out playing basketball with some investigators. Everybody thought I was good because I am 6'2"... boy were they in for a treat! Haha they kept expecting me to dunk it, but I don't think they realize that in order to be able to do that, you have to have hops and be good at basketball-I am neither. We played at the church, and the first thing they noticed was how clean it was. So all of those dreaded cleaning assignments are actually worth something! Here though the church pays a member to keep everything clean and nice. Try talking your bishop into doing that at home and see where that gets you! Haha. 
Sunday was my first time going to church with no power, so that was fun. Of course that means no lights, no microphone and no electric fans. The power was out for almost 24 hours, but luckily it was cool and rainy the whole time so it didn't get too bad. Its going to be weird going home and actually having power pretty much 24/7, 365 days a year. 
Elder Tangi had to go to Cauayan on Wednesday for a DL/ZL conference, which means I got to go on splits on wednesday. And because of travel times, it was just easier for us to stay in Tuguegarao tuesday and wednesday nights. While on splits, I had my first experience with a really stubborn tatay that didn't want to accept that we need faith and good works to be saved-just faith. After sharing several scriptures and analogies about why that doesn't make any sense, we could tell he understood it but he was just being stubborn and not changing his mind. We finally just told him to pray and ask God to find out for himself, and he said no. I don't understand why people are so afraid to pray. I can't think of one good reason why people wouldn't want to pray and talk to God.
I also almost had my first dog kick. Most dogs just bark and are really annoying, but this one came out from nowhere and charging at us with the look of eating us. When it got close I swung at it with my foot as hard as I could but it stopped just a couple inches short. Maybe next time. 
I had the privilege of eating some blood soup again. Elder Tangi doesn't mind eating it so much anymore and he said this one wasn't as watery as the last one so it was better. I decided to try it again just to make sure the batch I had was just really gross. This time I had some intestines with it though to get the full effect-they are nice and chewy. Turns out... I don't think there is such a thing as a good batch of blood soup. Maybe someday my tastebuds will be as immune as Elder Tangi's. 
I had my first community service project too which was pretty awesome. There were 10 Elders and 2 sisters that went to help plant pineapple and clear up dead weeds from a field. Definitely my first time planting pineapple. I never realized how sharp the leaves are on them-they are like a saw blade. Back home they must alter the genetics or something to not make it so poky. Clearing out the field was interesting. Our only tool was a stick. There must be a more efficient way to rake up dead grass. 
Well, time is up. Ingat po.
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Saturday, November 5, 2011

31 October 2011

An unfortunate butiki that didn't escape the door jam in time!

Diyos da fugag!

Glad to hear everyone is still alive and doing well! Of course thats no surprise though because our family is the best in the world. The horse ride sounded like a blast! I see horses here all the time used for pulling a little cart as a way of transportation (its actually pretty sweet because its only 5 pesos to go anywhere in the city rather than a tricy which is 10) and the drivers seem pretty ruthless to them. I can't help but wonder what Kimbal would do if he saw the way the people smacked them around. 
This week I got to try a variety of interesting foods-some good, some not so good. I guess I'll start with the best which was fried banannas, then rolled in brown sugar. I could have eaten tons of them they were so good. I also had some fried peanuts which wasn't quite so good. Not sure if its because the peanuts are weird here or if the frying made them taste bad. I'm not sure where to place the last 2 because they were both pretty terrible. I was on splits in San Bernardo eating at a members house when they served 3 things: rice, water buffalo, and blood soup. The water buffalo would have been good if they actually served any meat with it... After grabbing a couple pieces, I quickly realized the only thing on my plate was bones, skin, and fat. I knew it was skin because I could still see the little hairs. Not wanting to be rude, I tried to choke some of the fat and skin down, but after chewing it a couple times I couldn't bring myself to swallow without gagging. It was just very chewy and not much flavor. Luckily there was a dog nearby where I could throw it to. Blood soup is just made out of blood from some kind of animal, then intestines. I couldn't bring myself to eat the small tubes that I knew were intestines, so I just stuck with a little bit of blood and it didn't taste very good at all. It was mostly just the texture that ruined it. Basically, for dinner that night, I just had a plate of rice. Yum.
Yesterday was stake conference and the Philippines area president Elder Teh was there because they split the stake and created a new one. He is a great speaker and he talked about tithing and was pretty blunt when he said that God doesn't ask us to pay tithing because he needs money-he has all the money ever imaginable. It is to prove our faith. And even though He is merciful and understanding about our lives, he doesn't appreciate people altering his commandment to only pay a couple percent rather than the 10% He asks for. It was also nice to see Pres and Sis. Carlos there to give us some Oreos. :)
Mom-the FHE ideas you supposedly sent never came through, so if you could resend them that would be nice.
Its pretty sad to see how young people start smoking here. If they only knew how much money they would save and how much longer they could live and how much happier they could be if they quit. I saw one little kid smoking so I asked him how old he was and he said 13. I wanted to just grab the cigarette out of his mouth and stomp it to pieces. I don't think that would create the best image for missionaries though... It was also really disgusting to see a group of teenage baklas holding hands and trying to look like a girl in every way imaginable. Its just sad more than anything to see people's lives ruined at such a young age. 
Well other than that nothing too exciting has happened. This week every hour in our schedule is booked out, mostly thanks to doing splits 2 days in a row and doing a service project. More on that next week. It will be really weird to see Elder Allen when he gets here. Elder Tangi will most likely be getting transferred so I should be in the transfer meeting to see him on his first day. But that isnt until Dec. 1. 
Hopefully the pics I sent came through. Time is up which means its time to say Ingat po! 
Mahal Kita, 
Elder Nay