Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, December 24, 2012

24 December 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta at Maligayang Pasko sa inyong lahat!
Merry Christmas Eve! Pretty weird that I will get to talk to and see you in 2 days. It seems like I just barely skyped you like a month ago on Mothers Day! Somebody must have pushed fast forward on time. I don't like how fast time is going by. I can't believe Ben is already home. I still remember when he left just like it was yesterday. Make sure and give him an extra howdy from me. 
The Christmas package still hasn't come, so I'm guessing it is just being really slow because it is Christmas. There are also several other missionaries in the same situation, so I don't feel too left out. And if it never does come, at least it will be a nice Christmas gift to a Filipino postal worker. Haha. 
Mission Christmas Party
Last week was busy with ward and mission Christmas parties, and this week is also going to be busy with visiting a lot of people and their preparations for Christmas/New Years. Almost our whole day tomorrow consists of visiting people that invited us to eat. It should be interesting trying to work and share any messages because pretty much everybody is going to be busy with friend and family parties. 
We also have plans to provide a miniature Christmas to a super poor family. In this family, the Tatay was baptized many years ago but has been inactive ever since the local branch was merged with Tuguegarao Ward 2 and can't/not willing to make the extra sacrifices with time and transportation to go all the way into the city (a common concern we come across). Over the last couple of years, he has been bedridden due to some sickness and infection in his hip and is very weak. They have wanted to take him to the doctor for a while now, but can't afford it. He relies on his children to take care of him and make food every day, because his wife is working abroad and won't be back for another couple years. They live in a very small, modest bamboo house with no electricity, only using a couple candles at night. The oldest child is 17, married, lives about 45 mins away in the mountains of Penablanca with her husband, and is the one paying for the schooling of her 3 sisters and food for the family. Every time we go there to visit, we want to share a message to bring them closer to God and feel more happiness in life but we never have anybody to work with us, and tatay is too weak to join any lesson. We asked them if any members have been by to visit them, and they said not for a couple years. We then asked them what their plans were for Christmas, and they said they don't have any money to prepare anything special, but that is okay because the only thing that matters is that they are together. With the support of some other missionaries in the zone, we are going to carol to them and take some small gifts and provide a decent lunch. It should be a memorable experience for all involved. It is very humbling to see how blessed I have been throughout my whole life.
Earlier today we went to Cabagan to do a baptismal interview, and when we got to the church I was surprised to see many members and people I knew because it also happened to be the ward Christmas party. It is always fun seeing people I worked with before. And now I can actually have good conversations with them because I can actually speak Tagalog now. Haha.
Well, I will see you all in a couple days. Don't forget to take time and remember the true meaning of Christmas-giving simple acts of service to others because that is what Jesus Christ would want us all to do. Just like President Uchtdorf said, we can't expect to feel the Christmas spirit if we don't have it in our own hearts. 
Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Nay

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

17 December 2012

Magandang Hapon po!
Elder Lasay and Elder Nay unloading their new fridge.
Well, between transfer week and moving apartments, I think we have spent more time traveling and sitting in meetings than actually working in our area. My new area and companion is really awesome. Believe it or not, I am still here in Tuguegarao Ward 2 and still with Elder Lasay! Haha I think I am destined to stay long periods of time in my areas and with my companions. By the end of this cycle, I will have been in this area for 6 months. I love staying in areas though because I get to know people a lot more and see their progression. The good news is that I get to stay in our new apartment that we found! We are almost all settled in by now, and it is a much better place. Now we actually live in our area and within walking distance to a lot of our appointments. And we don't have to try to go to bed with drinking parties right outside our bedroom window all night and living in the hot and stuffy city. It really is a miracle that we were able to find our new apartment. Finding potential apartments here is a lot different than from back home because it is 100% off of people knowing other people that are renting, or seeing it yourself-definitely no real estate agents or any kind of public advertisements. We had been asking everybody we saw and asked all the members to help us look for several months, but nothing was working out. We even made it a conversation starter in our tracting efforts, "Excuse me, do you know of any houses for rent around here? Oh really? Thats too bad... By the way, we're missionaries...." Haha. Eventually, President Carlos even politely reminded us that we NEEDED to find a new apartment sooner than later, so one night we set our entire schedule for just looking and asking people for a place we could rent. Before we left, we prayed that we would be guided to find an apartment we could rent. As soon as we got off of the tricy about halfway into our area, we went to the first house we saw which happened to have people on their front porch. We were surprised when they told us that there was one just a couple houses down the street. On our way to check it out, we joked among ourselves that it would probably be like all of the other ones people had told us about that were far from church standards-no running water, unsealed roof, sketchy surroundings, etc. When we saw it, we were shocked because it was a legitimate rent-able place, and even had a contact number on the front door. We immediately texted the number and they agreed to come and meet us within a few minutes to check it out. The landlord is even super nice and easy to work with, which is another rare thing here. After a few days, the Shaners came with the paperwork and final approval, and the rest is history! We definitely had a little extra help from above finding that one.
First off, that is way cool that Aimee is pregnant again! And I should actually be home to meet my new niece/nephew after birth (just barely...haha)! 
I had to give a talk yesterday in church, and it is weird to see how used to speaking I am now in front of people. I remember the good ol' days of Young Men's, and getting assigned to talk in Sacrament meeting was the worst nightmare ever. Now it is surprisingly easy and not nearly as intimidating. 
Just yesterday, we were blessed to find a great new investigator. Even more exciting, it is a male so we don’t have to worry about not being able to teach him if there is nobody else present. We found him by making our usual rounds of follow up visits with some of our last contacts, and getting the same usual result of them not being home or not being able to teach because they are busy or there is no other male present. After following up with one of our last contacts, he said we couldn’t teach him, but just as we were leaving he told us to go to his friend’s house across the street because he was interested in learning more. He told us we had talked to his friend before, but Elder Lasay and I knew neither of us had talked to anybody else in that area with his description before. Nevertheless, we were happy to have a new and unexpected referral and contacted him immediately. When we arrived, a young man fitting the description saw us and immediately stopped what he was doing and let us into his home. After some conversation, we realized that he had been taught by missionaries several years ago and had apparently seen us walking around his friend’s house and mentioned to his friend that he wished we would visit him too. We only taught him a simple first lesson and focused on the How To Begin Teaching, but he was eager to set a return appointment. It is interesting to realize that even if we are walking around and seemingly being “punted” all day, no effort is wasted and the Lord is still preparing people for us. The Lord's work is hastening and it is a pleasure to be a part of His army of restoring Christ's church on the earth. He hears our prayers, and is always there to help us despite our problems. The best way to serve Him, especially at this time of year, is going about "feeding His sheep" and doing good deeds for other people.
Well, it is time to head, but I am looking forward to our skype on my Dec. 26 about 8:30 in the morning. Hopefully I will get to talk to every one! 
Salamat po sa lahat,
Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Nay

10 December 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

What a week. I think every time I say it was a busy week the next week just gets busier. I feel like we barely had any time to work in our own area this week because of going to Cauayan for training, Christmas devotionals, and a day of attending baptisms in the zone. The Christmas Devotional by the First Presidency was awesome, hopefully you got to watch it. If not, it is always online. I love listening to the music just as much as the talks. They've got some skills! Haha. The Cauayan mission is also sponsoring a Christmas Devotional for every Stake/District in the mission, which was last Friday for us. It was way cool (but then again, everything is planned by Sis. Carlos!), and the missionaries had to perform a couple songs, and the Shaners tagged along with their great musical abilities. Elder Shaner played his violin, and they did several songs which were awesome. I was super happy when we had 2 of our investigator families show up, because even though it is a sacrifice for people to make a trip to the stake center from our area at night, they were definitely in for a treat. The last song we did was "I Believe in Christ", which was kind of fun because its not a typical Christmas song, but then again its a perfect Christmas song because that is what Christmas is all about-Christ. The Spirit was super strong and it definitely helped build my testimony that Christ truly is our one and only Savior.
Not really sure why everyone is freaking out about the whole typhoon thing... If it was up to me, I wish there was a typhoon every week because it makes the temperature to a blistery 65 degrees and a nice breeze. Just as long as it doesn't directly hit Cauayan... Haha. I have loved the cool days and good nights sleep. There really hasn't been much rain here, just perfect temperatures. 
Earlier, we spent several hours getting our apartment all ready to be packed away. Tomorrow, the Shaners are coming with their truck to help us move into our new apartment. It will definitely be a nicer place and keep us from having to travel so much everyday. At last, I will be able to live in an apartment that I found! Haha. But, transfers are on Thursday, so I may only get to live in it for 1 day before being transferred. It will be nice to just spend Christmas here, but, it's not exactly up to me. I've been here for 4 and a half months, so odds are starting to add up against me. I'm guessing the package should be here by then so I can probably pick it up this week. 
I'm happy to Skype any time that the most people will be available, because I do want to be able to talk to everyone at least for a couple minutes-even if everybody is scattered across the U.S. If it works out for everyone, maybe lets just plan on my December 26 about 9AM. Probably be about 7PM for you... Just let me know if that is okay with everyone. If your Christmas eve will be better, we can do that too.
Anyways, thanks for your letters and support. Good luck to mom having her neck hacked at this week.
Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Nay

Monday, December 3, 2012

3 December 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

I will have to be quick today because we went on a hike this morning and don't have much time to email because we still have to wash our clothes (by hand of course) and be ready to work in less than 2 hours. The hike wasn't anything too long or strenuous (at least for me and my Nay legs haha), it was just up a "mountain" (really a big hill), but it did have a really beautiful view. We got up at about 4:30 in the morning so we got to see the sun rise above the mountains and saw beautiful sun rays coming out of the clouds on the valley floor below us. It felt good to get out and go on a little hike again and see some nature. On the top of the hill there are some really primitive houses probably smaller than our food storage room. We had a little barbeque up at one of the houses and then we had to go down a steep hill to the stream to fetch some water to use to wash plates and stuff. Glad I don't have to do that every day. Haha. We even saw 2 little kids leaving to walk down the huge hill to make it to elementary school. Quite the hike just to go to elementary school. One of the most memorable parts though is I can officially say I have ridden in the back of a big dump truck  Haha there were 12 of us waiting on the side of a rural highway forever so we could flag something down and the dump truck with no load in the back was the first thing that stopped. It was pretty awesome. I am getting quite professional at hitchhiking because we have to do it several times a week just to get back at night. We just stand out on the side of hi ways with our thumbs out waiting for someone to have pity on us.
I think the highlight of our week was on Saturday, when we spent the entire day doing a baptism interview, witnessing our own baptism, and training the Stake leaders and bishoprics. We probably spent 20-30 minutes training them about the importance of hanging on to the recent converts and the importance of keeping them involved. Several years ago, I would have just laughed at the idea of presenting training to a bunch of church leaders for that amount of time. But, everything turned out well and I never even seemed nervous about doing it, and we wished we even had more time to train them even more. I suppose that is one of the extra blessings of serving a mission-makes you a lot more self confident. It was definitely a day where we both couldn’t help but go to bed a few minutes early because of such a mentally and physically exhausting day running from place to place. We were able to have a very spiritual experience as we witnessed how prepared this individual was and the strong testimony he has. I had the privilege of performing the interview while Elder Lasay just sat in the room, but during the interview his desire to become a member was made very apparent by his testimony he shared of each principle in the baptismal interview questions. There was no doubt in my mind that he was ready to be baptized. The Spirit was definitely in the room to confirm it, and even Elder Lasay could feel it. Being the one entrusted with the responsibility of determining this person’s readiness for baptism makes me appreciate my own baptismal covenants and desire to fulfill them better. 
It was very rewarding to see that the Tatay of these 2 primary girls (ages 9 and 11) made the commitment to make himself worthy and prepared to perform the baptism on his children. Elder Lasay and I had to practice with him several times the process of the baptism and helped him memorize the baptism prayer, but it was super awesome to see him come from being less active, quitting his smoking, and making the extra sacrifice to come to church. This family is very poor and it is a big sacrifice for them to make it to church each week. Whenever I think or hear of an excuse of not being able to make it to church, I will always remember the Pader family.
Well, sorry I don't have time to write more. Maraming salamat po for your emails and support. Not going to lie though, that is kind of cool mom got to cut open dead people and practice amputations-because I'm sure that is a skill she will use often... Haha. Makes the term Graveyard Grace sound even more fitting. :) 
Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Nay
P.S. be thinking about which time and day you want me to skype

Monday, November 26, 2012

26 November 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Thanksgiving here was just about as awesome as Thanksgiving can get in the Philippines. We went to lunch at McDo, and even splurged for a cake! Pretty close to the traditional Thanksgiving meal if you ask me. Sounds like a fantastic time was had by all back on the home front. Must have been a rare sight to see with everyone together for a couple days (except me, of course). Pretty weird to think that pretty soon, I'll be joining you on all of those activities! Which reminds me, Pres. Carlos just informed us that due to the recent surge in missionaries, all missions in the Philippines will be having to change the transfer days 2-3 weeks earlier. That means that whether I like it or not, I will be sent home about 2-3 weeks earlier. I'm sure Mom will be really upset about that. Don't worry mom, if you want, you can petition to have me gone longer! Haha. I'm not really not sure what to do when I get home anyways while waiting for school to start, but I guess that gives me more time to make up for lost time in the mountains and on horseback rides. Kind of weird that I only get to miss one 4th of July on the mission. Haha. It will definitely be weird not being a missionary anymore. Good thing I don't have to think about that for another 7 months! Insane how fast time has/is flying by. By the time I get home, my 2 little nieces are going to be talking and throwing fits at me.
It's already time to start thinking about Christmas skype call! I'll let you decide what is best for you-me skyping on your Christmas eve, or your Christmas. Doesn't really matter to me, just whatever time works best for the most people! It would be nice to see everyone for at least a minute or 2 if possible. 
This coming Saturday we will have 2 baptisms. They are baptisms as a result of reactivating an inactive family, 2 little girl siblings aged 9 and 11. They are super cute and have been really engaged in applying whatever commitments we leave behind. Their mom said the 9 year old is the one to get up early on Sunday morning and wake everyone else up so that they can have time to get ready for church and make the 30 tricy ride. They read their scriptures and any assignments we leave them everyday, and are even good about reminding the family to have family scripture study and prayer before going to bed. :) Sometimes it amazes me to see how much "ahead" little children can be compared to adults when it comes to spirituality stuff. I suppose that can be a piece of evidence that we all really do come from a loving Heavenly Father and how perfect heaven must be. Then as time goes on, we tend to get molded by the worldly temptations and ever decreasing standards.
As we were spending one of our days tracting last week, we were inspired to walk down a little pathway that opened up into a family compound. After calming down a pack of guard dogs, we kind of just stood there waiting to see who would talk to us first, not knowing who else to talk to. Then one lady came out and insisted that we follow her to her house so we could talk. She mentioned how there have been several different religions/missionaries by their place before, but her and her family have never had time to actively participate in any of them. That is a really common excuse, so we just proceeded to the usual routine of sharing some simple information about families and the Restoration and tried to set up a return appointment of when her husband would be home. She said that he is a tricy driver (which is never good news because that means he is busy all day every day except for one day a week), and that even on his day off he is busy with a part time job. We mentioned how hard working he was, and she went and got her baby boy that was maybe 6 months old. As soon as I saw the baby, I recognized the blue baby look. His skin was whiter than mine (obviously unusual for a Filipino), and had blue fingernails and lips. She said the doctors told her that he has 2 holes in his heart, and it was a miracle he is even alive because he was flat lined for several minutes after being born. The reason her husband is busting his butt off working is that so they can afford a surgery only obtainable in Manila. It makes my heart cringe to see people in such situations, not being able to afford necessary medical care. The typical tricy driver maybe earns about 200 pesos (about 5 dollars) in one day. The spirit of the contact obviously changed to a more serious level, and we left her our testimonies that no matter what happens, God loves her and her family and they can all be together again. How grateful I am for such a simple knowledge that too few people know. 
Maraming Salamat po for all of your support and being awesome.
Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Nay

The following was taken from Sister Shaner's blog.

Elder Nay and Elder Lasay sitting on their new front porch.

Before I continue in this vein, I will tell you of our new record...FOUR APARTMENTS FOUND AND CONTRACTED ON BEFORE TUESDAY OF THIS PAST WEEK...FOUR IN FOUR DAYS!!! Everything is not finalized on all of them yet but we feel confident that there will be some moving going on in the future with a few companionships. Most of you are aware of the increase in the number of missionaries applying for service to the Lord and He knows there has to be some place to put these young Elders and Sisters. We have seen His hand in our apartment efforts the past month and this past week set a new record. The Zone Leaders in Tuguegarao South Zone have been searching for MONTHS for an apartment in their proselyting area. They were successful in finding one for their newest set of missionaries but were not finding anything for themselves UNTIL last Sunday. Now for those of you who have been followers of this blog, you might remember Elder Nay. He served with us in Mallig and we became well acquainted with him at that time. Currently he is one of the Zone Leaders I was speaking of and I have to tell you-this young man has faith!
 Last Sunday he and his companion Elder Lasay decided they were going to get serious about an apartment so they decided to ask the Lords help and walk through their area, knocking on doors and asking people. As they walked, they visited with the different people, adults and children, who were outside and lo and behold! They came upon an apartment. They called the number on the posted sign, waited for the landlady to come over and looked at the house-it is a darling house and will be just PERFECT for these two patient young Elders. We are not finalized but we all have faith that in the next 24-48 hours it will be a done deal. The apartment they are currently in is a 20-30 minute commute from the area where they work and by moving, they will be able to work into the evenings and save at least an hour each day in commute time. I am proud of their faith and know they will be rewarded.

Monday, November 19, 2012

19 November 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Pretty crazy that Thanksgiving is already here. It seems like just a few months ago you were telling me about LAST Thanksgiving. There is certainly no such thing as Thanksgiving here, but President Carlos reminded us all to make it a special day and buy some yummy food. That should be a fun several days though to have the gang back together again. Make sure and shoot off a few guns in my behalf. ;) 
Last week I had the chance to go on exchanges back in my first area, and then go back again to observe some baptisms. It was fun to see many of the old people and members I used to work with and some of their progression. One of the people that was fun to teach and then observe the baptism of, was the older lady I told you about a while ago that had a stroke then asked for a priesthood blessing. At the time I didn't think much of it, but when she saw that I would be teaching her that afternoon she was very happy and thanked me again for administering a blessing. At her baptism, she bore a powerful testimony that she knows this is the only true church. Because of her stroke, she can’t talk very strongly or walk very well or use her left arm. But, she still has the faith to pray and ask our Heavenly Father to provide her husband with a job so that she can have the money to pay for transportation to and from church every week. And wouldn't you believe it, she always has money to come to church. If she can do it, so should everybody else! 
I have definitely been doing a lot more "tracting" here than ever, but one thing I realized is that for some people, it only takes a simple visit and a little friend-shipping to bring somebody back to church. Often times, it really doesn't take that much effort. Just a little letting them know that you care for them. 
We have also been busy trying to find an apartment (what a surprise... haha) for a couple of areas, including ours, and have resorted to walking into the city buildings in order to talk to people that might know of something. It was kind of intimidating, but it is definitely making me more used to talking to random people! 
Well, thanks for your emails and enjoy a Thanksgiving weekend! Congratulations to Mom too for growing a tumor thing. Sounds like fun. 
Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Nay

Monday, November 12, 2012

12 November 2012

Magandang Hapon po!
Kamusta na kayo jan?
Well, nothing terribly interesting happened this week, except we set the record for our fastest trip from Cauayan to Tuguegarao. We were coming home from the monthly leadership meeting and the bus ride that normally takes about 3 hours only took about an hour and half. It was pretty intense. Just imagine Gibby driving a big bus and then turn it up a couple of notches. I couldn't help but laugh as we were making tricys and cars swerve off to the side of the road as we shot gaps that I didn't think could be shot. 
We were also informed about the election results and needless to say, there were A LOT of disappointed people that day. We were honestly shocked that he was able to win. I asked President Carlos if I could extend my mission for 4 years but he just laughed. Maybe that means yes? Haha. I am debating on exchanging all my personal money now before the economy crashes and burns even more. When I got here it was about 45 pesos to the dollar, when I checked earlier it was 40 pesos to the dollar. It is what it is, better just hang on for 4 years and see what happens.
This is the most "tracting" I've done my whole mission and it has been interesting. In one of our areas, we have found that there seems to be an inactive member in almost every house, and we had no idea. And almost every one of them was baptized by the same Elder about 20 years ago. It gave me a new appreciation for "owning our converts". Every baptism is a serious responsibility and not to be taken lightly. I think too few people realize how important baptism actually is and that it involves making a promise to our Heavenly Father. 
Good luck with your competition on who will be the wuss to turn on the heater. That is pretty crazy to have that much snow in November. 
Thanks for everything you do. You are the best in the whole wide world! 
Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Nay

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

5 November 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Well this week was transfer week, which is just weird to think that another 6 weeks went by. Elder Reyes got the boot out of Tuguegarao for his last 6 weeks so he can train. The trip to Cauayan was pretty exciting because the van we rented was not only air con (a rare commodity with cheap public transportation), we had 2 roadkill points. We flattened a dog that wandered in the middle of the road at the wrong second, and then we hit a chicken too. Pretty rare to get 2 points in one trip! 
When my new companion was announced, most people just started laughing because Elder Lasay just switched from one side of Tuguegarao ward 2 to the other. It takes about a 3 minute walk to get from his new apartment to his old one. I was his companion a lot in his first week here so I can show him where to go when he came to steal all of our investigators and people we were going to. Now, I am going to be his companion for at least 6 weeks! Pretty funny because he already told all the ward members bye, and then they were all surprised and confused when he came back. He lives in the part of the Philippines that has a bunch of Muslims and non-Filipino missionaries are not allowed. :)
I had a fun couple of days this week when I lost my voice again after getting a little runny nose thing. I had to teach lessons and talk to people in a raspy whispering voice for 2 days and I didn't even try sing the hymns in church. Luckily, it decided to come back by now. One of the older members told me I must have lost it after drinking too much cold water when it was hot and I needed to go to the doctor and get some antibiotic. But seems how I've been drinking cold water for 20 years of my life, I'm going to guess that it just came from a little cold. I'm going to miss hearing really funny and weird wise tales. 
I really love teaching whole families and helping them learn the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a family. It makes me appreciate growing up in such an awesome family that has the benefit of the knowledge of the truth. It makes me appreciate the simple things a lot more like having access to a Book of Mormon my whole life after going to an inactive family for many many years and they beg us for a copy because theirs was lost in a flood. How blessed we are to live where we do and the knowledge that we have. 
Maraming Salamat po sa lahat.
Mahal ko kayo,
Elder Nay

This is a letter from Michael for the Missionary Christmas letter exchange for his friends currently serving a mission.

Giving letters to old friends sounds pretty good, so I'll try to write a few thoughts together… Thanks for your help and participation!

I have been in the same Tuguegarao South Zone here in the Philippines Cauayan mission for almost 12 months now. It is pretty fun to get to know people on a more personal basis rather than being transferred every 6 weeks. I have only had 3 areas for my whole mission, so I really haven't seen too much of the mission other than the hottest city in the Philippines. After being out for almost a year and a half, it is fun to surprise people by speaking Tagalog after they try to talk to me in English first.
I'm not really sure what the weirdest food I have eaten is...probably a tie between dog, snails, and some weird beetle thing. I must say that frog is actually pretty good though. The Philippines is pretty much awesome. Not too many places can you just pee off the side of the road and be okay. Eating with hands is also proving to be effective. There are only 2 traffic laws: don't kill anyone, and don't get hit. 
Some of the greatest success from my mission so far, have been from reactivating members that have been inactive for many years, usually after being offended by someone. Whether teaching inactive people or investigators, it is all the same work. They all do not understand the basics of the Restoration and they need to gain a testimony. The joy from seeing an inactive person come back to church or an investigator come to church is the same. If there is one thing I have learned most from the mission, it is what the meaning of the baptism covenant is and the importance of keeping it. Too many people do not understand what enduring to the end really means. It is really cool to see people change before your eyes just from understanding the gospel of Jesus Christ better. I've seen coffee addicts turn away from coffee just to be baptized, fathers give up smoking and drinking just to set an example for their family and be the first one to be baptized, and people with nothing to eat somehow find a way to pay for public transportation to get to church. I've learned to never be upset when people reject the message because they just simply don't know what they are missing. Success doesn't come from having baptisms or a certain number of lessons in one day, it just matters that you did your best. The thing my mission president is always teaching us to do is only one thing: just love them. 
Just like they say-the more obedient and diligent you are on the mission, the better looking your wife gets. :) At least I hope that's how it works.... Haha.
Go get 'em boys. 
Love ya
Elder Nay

Monday, October 29, 2012

29 October 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta na kayo?
As always, it was a pleasure to hear from all of you. Glad everyone is doing well and school is still kicking butt and babies are still growing. Seeing pictures of Jenna is just weird because I keep trying to picture as a little thing with a peach fuzz head. 
I couldn't help but laugh that mom noticed I must be a fillipino now because nothing is weird anymore. I guess it is kinda true. For some reason, I just don't get surprised anymore at seeing ridiculous things or eat weird food because I've been seeing it for so long. Oh yeah, that reminds me I ate some more snails yesterday. They were cooked differently than when I ate them months ago in Mallig. This time they were chewy kind of like a gummy bear. It was kinda weird but not too bad I guess. 
President Carlos told us some interesting facts about missionaries since the recent new age requirement. He said the usual average number of missionary applications before the announcement was about 700 per week. Now, it is 4,000. Obviously, those new missionaries have to go somewhere! Right now in the Philippines Cauayan Mission, there are 150 of us. It is anticipated that over the next year, that will go to 250. There is bound to be several new missions created. Pretty crazy numbers! The work of the Lord is definitely hastening. I'll forward you President's email about it. 
This week was stake conference in Tuguegarao South, and it was great to see the church building packed with people from the stake. It was just a year ago that the Tuguegarao stake was split into 2, and now it is obvious why. The work of the Lord is going forward, and it is going fast! What a privilege it is to take part of it. 
It rained for several days straight this week, and as a result, flooded the little bridge going to our area. That means instead of traveling 15-45 mins to get to our area, we have to take a huge detour for 1-1 and half hours on a tricy (through 3 different areas in the zone) just to get to ours. I couldn't help but laugh when I had to get out and help push the tricy we were riding because it couldn't make it up the steep hill with us on it. 
We are using the everyday tricy rides to and from our area as an opportunity to talk to the other people next to us because there is no better opportunity-they can’t avoid talking to us because they can’t go anywhere for the next 15-90 mins. I have observed a couple things in my talking to random people. First, some of the stern faced, intimidating looking people smoking a cigarette with an appearance of no intention to talking to anybody can often be very nice and easy to talk to. This has helped me in my recent efforts to look and treat people as they could become, despite their appearance or differences. After all, part of our message is that we are all loved by our Heavenly Father, despite our disobedience or differences. Second, a lot of people are interested in our message and they just don’t quite know it. Some people even offer, “Stop by our house if you ever have a chance”.  Almost all of these people would have expressed no interest or have the chance to learn more if we didn’t open our mouths to start the conversation. Earlier this week, looking at our empty schedule of nobody to go to, we decided to follow up with an OYM (open your mouth=talking to random person) I had in a van ride a few weeks ago. Because we didn’t have much time to talk, I wasn’t able to get her specific address but she did say her barangay and name as the van was driving off when we arrived at our destination. Luckily, here in the Philippines where everybody knows everybody in their barangay (neighborhood), we were able to ask a bunch of people to point us to her house (and in the process get even more OYM). When we found her and talked to her, she was utterly shocked that we actually took the time to track her down. As it turns out, she read the pamphlet I gave her weeks ago and loved everything in it. Even her 3 year old girl loved it because it had cool pictures! Haha. She immediately forced us into a merienda  (snack time, way of showing kindness and respect to visitors) with her and her relatives, in which we also happened to meet the barangay captain who also expressed interest after talking to him for several minutes. He even offered to help us in our efforts to find a new apartment in his barangay! Unfortunately, despite our contact’s begging us to teach her, we weren’t able to share an actual lesson because her husband refused to come out of his room and talk to us and we had to explain that we can’t teach if her husband doesn’t agree/participate. That is one of the saddest things for me to see-people that want to hear our message so badly, but we have to tell them we can’t teach them. We can only pray that God will soften the hearts of their husbands so that they can fully experience the blessings of the gospel. 
On the other hand, with the Lumawan family we've been teaching for several weeks now, they are now reading the Book of Mormon together as a family and they were the first to suggest that they get baptized as a whole family. 
If I'm not mistaken, it is Brian's birthday this week along with a wedding anniversary to my favorite sister! Happy birthday and happy anniversary!
Thanks for everything! You are the best!
Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Nay

This is an excerpt from an email to the missionaries from Pres. Carlos:

I shared with some of you during district meetings last week the status of new missionary applications since President Monson's announcement.  Prior to the announcement, the church receives around 700 new applications.  Since the announcement, that number has risen up to 4,000 per week.  That is an astonishing 471% increase!

Then on Tuesday, I received an email from the Missionary Department with the following information:
1.  The Philippines Area will receive an additional 804 missionaries.  There is an average of 188 missionaries per mission so that  number is more than the equivalent of 4 missions!  No mention of new missions being created as of yet, but you see the writing on the wall.
2.  The Philippines Cauayan Mission presently has a complement of 180 (that's how many we are supposed to have if all of our slots are used.  Right now, we have 150 missionaries).  Our new complement is now 250!.  That is 100 more than we have now.  While the missions around greater Manila (Manila, QC. QC North) maintains their current complement, our mission along with the other "provincial missions" are going to receive the bulk of these increase.
Can you see how the Lord is truly "hastening the work"?. 
It is more critical then, for every single missionary in the Philippines CauayanMission to be prepared to welcome, train, and assist these new missionaries get productive fast in the field.  The Lord needs all of us to step up and be counted.  Now is the time to prepare.  We can not wait until they are here.  They are coming!

With love always---for each and every one of you,

President Rudy A. Carlos
Philippines Cauayan Mission
Mobile: 09175570259

Monday, October 22, 2012

22 October 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta po!
As expected, it's been another really fast week. I swear I just emailed you yesterday! Haha. Time is not slowing down at all. Every week seems to just be getting more and more busy. 
Elder Nay and Elder Llorin were companions in Mallig-now Elder Nay
is Elder Llorin's Zone Leader.
Earlier this week we got to hang out with the Shaners with a few hours as we showed them how to get to several missionary apartments to do inspections. Not only was the banana bread she made amazing, they took us to one of the nicest restaurants in Tuguegarao and it was also really yummy! Driving around the city with them made me think about how weird it is going to be driving back home and actually having to follow rules and laws.
Yesterday was very rewarding to see one of our investigators with a baptismal date (he actuallyhas one of the best names I've ever heard: Ourson. Makes it funny telling people about "our son".) come to church with his wife that has been inactive for 20 years and their 2 kids. They came to conference last week too and to hear them tell of their experience led me cheering inside myself. They said that there is no way the people that spoke aren’t called of God because they all gave excellent words and made them feel the Spirit and they said their hairs stood up while listening. The less active sister said she was touched by hearing Called To Serve by the choir/congregation because it reminded her of while she was in Primary and singing it. And after her 2 children came out of primary yesterday, they were still singing “Follow the Prophet”. As much as I might have been annoyed my Primary years singing those same songs over and over again, all of those primary songs actually DO make a difference in keeping people active and have a special spirit to them. Yesterday at church was definitely a great experience for them as a complete family and the ward was helpful with fellowshipping and many people were especially happy to see the Sister come back after not seeing her for so long. The field is definitely white and ready to harvest. It is up to all of us to "feed His sheep". 
Well, sorry to cut it short. Nothing else very exciting has happened and we are out of time. Thanks for your emails and pics-glad everyone is alive and well (including the little fur ball Milo). God be with you til we write again,
Mahal ko kayo!
Elder Nay