Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, January 30, 2012

30 January 2012

Magandang Hapon!

Kamusta na kayo?
As always, great to hear from you. Doesn't sound like nothing too much has changed over there-babies are getting bigger, people getting married, going to work and school. I couldn't help but laugh a little about dad having a 15 hour church day, but then I realized that everyday for me for 2 years is a church day. Gotta love training! I think you are officially old grandparents now, trying to visit the grandchildren (and since you're there, visit your children) haha. 
This has definitely been one of the busiest weeks I've had here. It was weird going on splits this week because for the first time, I was with an American thats only been here about 2 months, meaning I was the one responsible for understanding and saying everything in Tagalog that we needed to. It was interesting to see what I probably was like not too long ago, to where I am now and able to get around all right. On Wednesday we had the privilege of eating 3 lunches back to back thanks to the fiesta here in Cabagan. At each meal we had to pace ourselves to save room for the next one. By the 3rd one, we were nice and fat. This week we had so many appointments we went on splits with ward members for 2 days so we could cover more ground. Hopefully I'm not killing Elder Aguila by how busy we are and him being in charge of leading lessons when I'm not there. Each day he comes back completely exhausted and straight to bed as soon as he can. I guess I've just gotten used to it by now. I am always having to remind myself to walk slower so his little legs can keep up with mine. Tomorrow is the baptism of Peter. He's definitely going to be one of the "golden investigators" I'll remember. I started teaching him back with Elder Tangi and it has been great to see him make it to this point. He is 21, and already planning on serving a mission in a year. He could have been baptized a little earlier, but he wanted it to be this Tuesday because that is his birthday. In a couple more weeks will be the baptism of Frederick, the one that showed up to church with his girlfriend and basically asked us to be baptized. We finally got the Bacod family to come to church, even though it meant them leaving there work for a few hours and risk being fired. Still praying for a better job for them that is more flexible. If they keep coming, they'll be baptized next month, along with a couple other investigators who are progressing well. It's great to see the fruits of working hard. It has been fun to be in Cabagan so long so I can see many of these people progress from investigator to active members. Its also more fun to actually be able to communicate with people and say what I want to say-how weird is that? Haha.
Oh, in your next package, if you could send some of those little pushup bar thingies that would be great. There used to be some laying around at home, not sure what has happened to them by now though. Doesn't have to be anything fancy, just something to make exercise a little easier. 
Well I don't really know what else to say... Nothing too much has changed! Too many things to do and not enough time to do it. Good luck with everything on your half of the world.
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, January 23, 2012

23 January 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta kayo na!?
Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat para ang mga sulat nyo! It was great to hear from you. Also thank you for the game/trick ideas. I will probably be testing some of them out later tonight at an FHE. FHE's are great because it always includes dinner. :) As missionaries, we're always looking for free food! It's kind of funny how much money I spend on food compared to most other missionaries. Every time I come out of the grocery store with a huge bag, people just look at me weird because most Filipinos don't have the money to buy food for a whole week in one trip to the store. I think I also get the reward for buying the most junk food to always have on hand. With how little food they buy (even the missionaries that SHOULD have a decent chunk of money for food), Its no wonder they are all so small! Haha. There really isn't such thing as a breakfast for them, just a lunch a little earlier. Elder Tangi has taught me well in that area-being Tongan, he always had food! Haha. Even Elder Aguila refuses to eat breakfast, even though he knows how to cook and has the money to do it. Even after my breakfast I'm still hungry-I'm not sure how they do it!
Speaking of food, the Tuguegarao zone went to Cauayan on Tuesday for interviews with the president and to hang out at the mission home, and I figured out why they always have so much good food-Sis. Carlos wrote a cook book! She was showing it to me and as soon as it got to the dessert section, I couldn't help but lust after some of the pictures of desserts (is it bad to lust after food? Haha).
For the next couple of days, it is Fiesta time in Cabagan. This time it isn't just one barangay, but the whole city of Cabagan. Pretty much everywhere we go we're going to be stuffed to the rafters. It's a pretty big deal here and they even closed the schools for the occasion. Basically, its just a big party with a bunch of activities and performances and such. It's the busiest I've ever seen the city center. For the rest of the P-day, we're going to go hang out at the park/city center where all the action is which will be fun to see some culture. 
Training is going fine, I don't really feel like all that much has changed. I'm just going back to the same schedule I was on for 12 weeks-which really wasn't that long ago! Except this time, it is a little more weird being the one responsible for making sure the lessons go a little smoother and teach the right stuff. It is definitely nice being with a Fillipino still while I am still figuring out Tagalog. Elder Aguila is really good at understanding English (I tested him by purposely speaking really fast in English), but like most Filipinos, he's a little shy to speak it. In their culture, if you mess up a sentence or don't know the right words, they just laugh at you-so most Filipinos understand English (at least the basics) because it is required in school, but they don't want to speak it. It's good though, I'm pretty sure I would die if I had to train a greenie American that doesn't speak any Tagalog. I'm just glad to have a companion that's willing to be obedient and work hard. He's also really good with talking to people and building relationships, which is great seems how I can't go into that deep of a conversation yet. 
This week there really wasn't anything exciting that happened, just studying, walking, studying, teaching, sitting, and more studying. Good luck with everything you're doing on your half of the world! 
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, January 16, 2012

16 January 2012

Magandang Hapon!

Kamusta po kayo diyan?
Well, it was a week full of surprises. You won't believe how awesome my new area is. Its very similar to Cabagan. Maybe thats because I havn't really moved anywhere, and I am still in Cabagan! haha. I thought for sure I was getting transferred so last sunday and monday I started saying goodbye to people, then when I found out Elder Sister was the one getting transferred and not me, I was pretty surprised. Later in the day one of the Assistants to President called and said I "had a meeting in Cauayan the next day". Basically, thats just a fancy way of saying you are going to be a trainer and you need to be trained how to train. Meetings are us! Haha. It wasn't too bad though because president bought us all lunch afterwards. Elder Landeen (batchmate in the MTC) was there too, which means 4 out of the 5 of us in my batch are now training. I guess I can stop laughing at the others who started training 6 weeks ago. I think President is trying to kill some of the old habits and traditions of the older missionaries by having the newer and younger missionaries take the leadership positions and train. Because the Tuguegarao zone is in a land far far a way from Cauayan, we slept in an area a little closer to the mission home seems how we had to go back the next morning. Because I'm training under this new 12 week program, there's a good chance I will be here for another 6 weeks after this cycle, which means I will have spent my first 8 months in the field in my first area. That's alright though, I like it here. Not to mention it's the nicest apartment in the mission. Now that I'm actually able to communicate with people, I'm just getting to become closer to the members and investigators here. When I brought Elder Aguila back with me to Cabagan, everyone was very surprised to not only see that I'm still here, but as they say here in the Philippines, I also now have my first anak (kid). (That means Elder Tangi is my tatay). It is really weird to think that I was trained here, and now I'm supposed to be the one that knows how to teach and what to do so I can train here. Its going to be a good cycle and I'm definitely going to learn a lot. Because I'm with another Fillipino, my Tagalog is going to get better pretty quick. He is a very hard worker and wants to be obedient, so I can't ask for anything better than that! I can already sense that between the 2 of us, we're going to get a lot of good work done here. He is from an area in the Philippines called Bicol and also went to school to be a food tech, so hopefully I should be getting some yummy meals this cycle! Haha. FYI-I weighed myself again at the mission home and am 170. What a surprise. 
It is starting to get pretty hot again. The "winter" was nice while it lasted. I'm actually having to use my sweat rags again. Tuguegarao is supposedly the hottest city in the whole Philippines, so I can't wait for it to be summer! 
Life over in your half of the world sounds busy and fun, like usual. I couldn't help but laugh when I read that you had to spend 2 whole days looking for a wedding dress and still only able to narrow it down to 4. Call me a little crazy... but I think I would have gone hunting with dad and the dogs. Haha. I also laughed to hear that there are actually some things called an "engaged couples fireside". We must live in Utah or something.
Thats also great to hear that Uncle Bill has a new pet elephant, but a little sad to think that it is sitting on his chest the whole time. Hopefully he'll decide to move sometime soon so you can actually breathe and move.
I could use your brains though trying to think of little games to play with families/groups of people. Doesn't necessarily have to relate to anything about the gospel, just different games to play for activities with family home evenings or in group settings. Just general group games that take very few or no supplies/preparation. Stuff like simon says and duck duck goose. Several times people have looked at me for an activity/game and I have no idea what to do. 
Thats about it on this part of the world. I havn't done much this week except travel a bunch and sit in the apartment and study (part of training means 2 hour companion study).
Ingat and Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, January 9, 2012

9 January 2012

Me and JR


From Sis Carlos's blog: Christmas Zone Conference
     The Elders of Tuguegarao did the Haka. 
                                       Wow it was sure fun to watch those white boys get down
                                            and ugly. They were led by Elder Brown from Samoa!

 Elder Daluman leads Tuguegarao zone in a beautiful Christmas Carol.


Re-gifting to some members

The bridge to San Bernardo
(closed to vehicles because it is broken.  Still alive enough to walk across it though! haha)

Some nice debris caught on the bridge, notice the dead bloated dog.

Eating at a member's house

Our neighbor's dog that likes to hang out with us.  When we leave
the gate open, he invites himself in.  He's one of the cleaner and
nicer dogs around.

         Magandang Hapon po sa inyong lahat!

Kamusta po Kayo diyan?
Last week went by just as fast as all the last ones did. It was a good week though. Saturday was the baptism of JR, my first convert baptism in the mission. He didn't quite understand the concept of having to bend the knees in order to go under the water all the way, so we had to redo it 3 times. I would have used my knee to buckle his but the problem was that my knee came up to his back instead of his knee. For some reason he wasn't able to come to church the next day so he still hasn't been confirmed. Even though he is the only member in his family, he seems very happy to accept some church members as part of his new family. Later in the day a member brought her boyfriend to the mutual activity and he said he had been taught earlier in the year and wanted to be taught again by the missionaries. After teaching him the first lesson, we invited him to be baptized and not only did he say yes, he asked who would baptize him and what time the service would be. Why can't everyone be like him!? Haha. I most likely won't be here, but he should be getting baptized in 3 weeks.
I have now had duck and catfish. The duck tasted alright, but the little bones are annoying to chew around. The meat was a little tough too. The catfish was okay. I'm not ready to call it a favorite, but it didn't taste as bad as I thought it would. I couldn't stop thinking about the nasty catfish in Lake Powell with the lovely whisker things. 
In about an hour we are going Penablanca to have an airsoft battle with some fellow zone mates. We all bought some cheap airsoft guns, but they are still surprisingly powerful. Something tells me its going to hurt a little. For some reason, the sisters are going to just stick with waterguns. Wonder why....
Mom-there really isn't much fresh fruit here yet because its "winter". Just recently I saw a bunch of really green bananas on some trees and little coconuts. They still have the fresh fruit, its just more expensive because they import it from farther south, which means the yummy bananas are 60 pesos/kilo instead of the 40. I love the prices here compared to the US dollar.
We also have a new investigator that seems really interested and has a lot of questions, and when I started speaking in Tagalog to her she just asked me to speak english instead. Haha. I'm not going to lie though, it was really nice to be able to say what I actually wanted to say and everyone that was with me said the spirit was a lot stronger than when I usually speak. At the same time, it was kind of weird speaking so much English, and I couldn't help myself from using bits and pieces of Tagalog. I can understand pretty much everything now, its just my grammar thats terrible. Even the fillipino's say I'm ahead of the game with the Tagalog for only being here 4 months. 
Well, the others are all done and impatiently waiting for me. Until next week.
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, January 2, 2012

2 January 2012

  •          Diyos ta Fugag!

    Kamusta po kayo?
    This is probably the slowest internet I've had here and my keyboard is very annoying, so this may be a little short. I have a few pictures to send too but for some reason it won't work. Not sure if my card got a virus from being plugged into these virus filled computers or if it is just the computer. I'll try again next week. 
    It sounds like a good week of having a test run of being empty nesters! Thats going to be fun for you. Pretty soon, it will be the first time nobody else lives in the house! That will be really weird. I guess I don't need to tell  you that though. :) I'm guessing the biggest adjustment is going to be cooking for 2 people. I remember mom had a hard time with just 3 people-too much food and too little people! 
    Coming up this Saturday we should be baptizing JR. He is just 12 years old but his love for the gospel is very clear, and he's always asking us when our next appointment is. I started teaching him back when I was with E. Tangi. We also had the baptism of Peter for this saturday, but we had to move it til next saturday, which is too bad because that is 2 days after I will be getting transferred (most likely). President told me he has "plans concerning me" on transfer day so I guess we'll see what that means on January 12th! 
    Today was fun because it was "mission wide clean up day", meaning everyone was to deep clean their apartment. Who knew our sink was supposed to be stainless steel rather than brown? Haha. Our place was actually already one of the cleanest I've seen. Some of the other apartments I've done splits in have been absolutely disgusting. I've been very lucky to be in Cabagan so long because everyone says its the nicest and biggest apartment in the mission. 
    It has been a little weird in church the last 2 sundays because there hasn't been any sunday school or priesthood. It feels pretty weird just going to sacrament then going home. I can understand why they just had sacrament on Christmas, but I was kind of surprised that it was just Sacrament on New Years too. Probably because everybody was too tired from staying up all night! Haha. 
    New years here is definitely different than back home. I think its a requirement that everybody buys a bunch of fireworks to launch off during new years and new years eve. Everybody has the little annoying ones like firecrackers but louder, and some rich people launched off a bunch of big ones like it was 4th of july. It was pretty much impossible to sleep, so I climbed up on our roof  and watched them for almost an hour. Right around midnight the whole sky was glowing and flashing. Everybody has a party and a bunch of food, and all of the men get super drunk. One drunk guy came and tried to talk to me in English, but he was so drunk and his sentence structure was so terrible I couldn't understand him. At midnight, the tradition here is that everybody eats a big meal. It is a nice tradition because everywhere we went for about 2 days, people fed us. And dad-yes there are those floating candle balloon things here too. It reminded me of the movie Tangled! Haha. I only saw a few of them though. It was a great week for food because earlier in the week, it was a fiesta in one of the barangay's. The city government is kind of weird here in that within the city of Cabagan (or any city in the Philippines), there are several barangay's, which is basically a neighborhood. Then each barangay is run by a seperate mayor with councilors. It would be the equivalent of our ward boundary being run by separate people under the direction of the City mayor. Kind of weird and confusing. Anyways, once a year each barangay throws a fiesta, which basically means everyone that lives in the barangay has a bunch of food. Pretty much all week, we were fed everywhere we went. 
    Since Christmas is come and gone, I decided to regift a lot of the stuff I obtained from Christmas and put them in the stockings to give away. I gave away one stocking to a family with the CTR rings you sent and bunch of other random stuff like jacks and bouncy balls and the old 2011 calendar I had with the nice pictures in it, and it was great to see how excited they were over something so simple and useless to me, and to see that they are actually using the stuff and wearing the CTR rings. I plan on giving away everything else I can before I get transferred to make my load a little lighter. 
    Well, thats it for this week. Keep on doing what you're doing and have fun being empty nesters! Haha
    Mahal Kita, 
    Elder Nay