Philippines Cauayan Mission

Monday, March 26, 2012

26 March 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta po sa inyong lahat!
Welcome to this new and wonderful Monday! I've recently had a couple people ask me what time it was back in Utah and it's still weird to me to think you are still in Sunday night when it is Monday afternoon here. It has been a great break from the heat these last couple days. It reminded me of Utah and how the weather can change so quickly. Several days in a row I was starting to think it was the hottest I've ever been and wiping away so much sweat, then later that night an unusual cold front came through and it has been like winter again for a few days with a decent wind all the time, and probably about 75 degrees with constant cloud cover and light rain every once in a while. The last couple nights I've even had to turn off the electric fan and close the bedroom window! Except turning off the fan can always be a risk because if the fan is off, the mosquitoes are able to find their way to the ear and waking up to that wonderful noise of a bug flying in your ear. Everyone else is having to bust out the jackets and hats, but I'm loving it! 
That's kind of funny that the old scooter is finally in working order again. The real question is, even though the oil isn't spraying on the legs when you drive, does the speedometer work? That would be a bummer if it did-I was just getting good at guessing speed! But that's great news that the old Potato is still clunking (literally) along. Who knows for how many more days though! Haha. That's pretty ridiculous that gas is about 4$... I think I would drive the scooter everyday instead! Here people are complaining about how gas is high being about 60 pesos for a liter. Pretty sure I'd much rather pay that than the 4$! 
That's weird to me that conference is this week. Well, at least for you folk. It will be weird to see so many white people at one time again when I watch it next week. 
It's kind of fun for me at this time of the year because now all the fruits are coming on in full force and are everywhere. Earlier this week one of the Less Active families we were visiting grabbed a couple of big coconuts from their trees then chopped it open for us as a snack. After drinking the juice inside, they gave me a spoon to start scraping out the insides. I had never realized that papayas were so big! I'll probably start diving into some mangoes this week. 
Not too much has changed in that we are still completely booked all the time and the whole week for me is just turning into appointments that are all meshing together. Some of the investigators that we got from referrals are pretty awesome now and even though we've only met with one of them a couple times, she was excited when we finally gave her a Tagalog Book of Mormon and now she is already well into it and taking notes in the back. It's interesting to see how something that seems so simple as a book can change a person's life. I taught one of our new referral's for the first time and even though he was slightly drunk from coming from a fiesta, he still was very interested and asking questions such as why the Book of Mormon was important. It's also surprised me why so many people are afraid to pray for the first time. I frequently have to spend several minutes trying to convince people why they need to pray at that time and how to do it correctly. 
I tried to send a few pics but as luck would have it, the computer doesn't want to cooperate. Maybe next week.
Good luck with everything you're doing on that side of the world. 
Mahal Kita, 
Elder Nay

Monday, March 19, 2012

19 March 2012

Magandang Hapon po sa inyong lahat!

It has been quite a week for us here in the Philippines! As a result, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing you last. I'm sure mom feels the same way. :) We have been busting our butts off out here and it was interesting to count up our lessons and totals for the week to see the fruits of our labors. This has been the busiest week I have had, teaching a total of 27 lessons. For several weeks now every hour of every day has been filled with appointments and study or some kind of meeting. Tracting is now a thing of the past, as we just go straight from lesson to lesson because if we stop and talk we'll be late. But sometimes, we have some people come up to us and start up a conversation. We are still waiting for our order of extra Books of Mormon and pamphlets to arrive because we have now run out and some investigators keep asking us, "When are we going to get our Book of Mormon?". It's always a challenge during our weekly planning sessions to figure out who we are going to go to and how many times during the week. Because of so many different investigators and less actives we are visiting, we are having to reduce the number of times we visit them to 1 or 2 times a week, and sometimes even on an every other week basis. It has been fun to see the Cabagan area just explode with people that want to be taught and learn more. The average church attendance has also increased by about 35 since I have been here. But, a lot of that is also due to the members here having an increased desire to go out and do missionary work too. We always enjoy having members ask us if they can join us and as a result of some of them working with us so often, they have said their desire to go and serve a mission has increased, including the recent converts. I think my days here in Cabagan are numbered seems how I've been here for 7 months now and it will be sad and weird to leave this area to experience a different one. We didn't really realize how tired we were from working so hard until we started falling asleep during studies. I can't really think of any particular hysterical or spiritual moment this week because it has all just kind of blended together. 
It sounds like your week has been similarly busy with going to Georgia and such. The whole flying out of Provo thing sounds like a pretty slick deal! Hopefully by the time I go home next year the Church will be able to just ship me there instead of Salt Lake. I have to laugh at mom for being famous for her southern accent. A while ago a met a new Elder and couldn't help but ask where he was from because of his accent and turns out he is from Tennessee too. I'm glad you were both able to make it to the top of your grueling "hike" to the top of Stone Mountain. That's fun how you got to come home to a big snow storm. Reminds me of when we got back from the cruise last year and we were in our flip flops and pajamas driving through the huge snow storm from Vegas. Good times. You'll probably be in better shape than I am by the time I get home! I guess the only advantage I'll have is being an expert sweater. With the summer coming into full swing, the sweat rags are being used more and more. 
That's awesome that Mom is renewing her EMT again. I think Mom is going to die as an EMT for Mapleton Ambulance. I don't know what the city will do without you when you finally decide to pass on the batan to someone else! 
Well, sorry to be boring this week. Nothing but lessons, lessons, and more lessons, with a lot of sweat in between. Ingat!
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

12 March 2012

Tuguegarao Zone with Sister Monsalud as the chef of the day!

Tuguegarao Zone 

Zone Days at the Mission Home

Each quarter President Carlos interviews each missionary. During this quarter President Carlos decided to invite each zone to come to the Mission Home. The zone traveled by jeepney or vans and arrived by 10 am. While president was pulling out one missionary at a time, we asked one of the best cooks in the zone to teach their fellow zone missionaries how to cook one or two dishes. Everyone helped and lunch was prepared. Each day brought a whole new recipe of delicious food.
After the cooking class and lunch we showed 17 Miracles (a great movie about the Wiley Martin Handcart Company). Missionaries could play board games (Uno, Mexican Train, Clue, etc.) We also played Concentration on a giant concentration board. As teams matched musical phrases or tempos we would stop and talk about them or beat out the pattern. By the end of the game missionaries felt more comfortable leading the music in our meetings. It was a full day but so much fun to spend a little time with each zone! (copied from Sis. Carlos Mission blog)

A dog with some awesome eyes

Frederick's baptism

Frederick's baptism

Fireside with Elder Nielsen

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta po sa inyong lahat!
I am in the process of sending a few pictures but it is slower than molasses so hopefully you'll get everything before I have to go to sleep. 
From all the pictures I saw that you sent, everyday seemed to have a smile on during wedding day so I guess that is a good sign. Maybe its just because after about 6 hours of pictures smiles just get plastered onto the face! Haha. I feel bad I couldn't help participate in the car "decorating" but I'm glad it managed to get done without me. I guess by the time the next Nay wedding takes place will be when I am on the receiving end of the "decorating". Can't wait! Kind of weird that I'm now officially a lone ranger. But, I guess I don't have to say that to the EMPTY NESTERS. I guess you really aren't empty nesters yet because you still have Milo, and he is pretty much like taking care of a little kid. I'm going to have to agree with Dad and say that the fun part sounds like it was the day before the wedding when all the boys got to go shooting guns! Haha. Sounds like a "blast" was had by all. Hopefully you got to say hello to my glock for me in the process, it's probably feeling a little lonely. I feel honored that Jenna spent a little time talking to me during the week. That must have been weird to have 2 little babies in the house at once! Mom was probably feeling a little overwhelmed and ready to see them leave.... Joke! 
Things on this end of the world havn't changed too much. Still fully booked every hour of every day. We did have a one day mission here in Cabagan which meant all day Saturday we had 10 other missionaries and all the stake high council and several members that decided to tag along from different wards. In all we probably had about 50 people helping us out to visit the less actives. It was also miserably hot and not a breeze to be had, but everybody stayed around. I think the water we were drinking was going straight out into sweat. By the end of the day, we were very exhausted but it was a great turnout. It is kind of fun to slowly see the number of less actives come back to church. The new focus is starting to pay off. 
It was also great to see the Nanay of Peter finally come to church. She has been listening and has always participated in the lessons ever since we started teaching Peter back in October or so, but for some reason has never made it to church. This last week I got a little more annoying and bold with her and she told me that she was perfectly fine going to the Catholic church in the afternoon and listening to our messages because she always loves to hear the word of God. I told her to try coming at least once and just because she came it doesn't mean she would have to be baptized. But just like in all the past times she gave a definite, "I'll try". I then told her that we would be coming by at 8:15 to help her "try" to get to church. She told me she would just see us there but I knew exactly what that meant. After telling her we were coming by whether she liked it or not, she said ok! She seemed to really enjoy it especially because it was ward conference which meant that the sacrament meeting was actually conducted like it should be and had good talks. 
And about my goretex shoes-if you can scam a warranty out of it awesome but if not, I'll just wait until they are a little more destroyed then get some tire tread put on the bottom for a hundred pesos or so. 
Well I think that's about all I have to share this week. Have a fun week and don't forget who you are and where you live!
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, March 5, 2012

5 March 2012

Magandang Hapon po!
Well I was hoping to send some pictures this week but it looks like I got one of the "special" computers that doesn't quite want to cooperate. Maybe next week. After spending about 20 minutes fussing with it I decided to just start typing instead! 
It has been another great and incredibly fast week. We had a real special treat as we got to meet with Elder Nielsen once again. This time it was a special training for just missionaries, and he did it in 2 different sessions so there were only half of us there (about 70). And don't worry, after thinking really hard, I was able to refrain from speaking to him in Tagalog again. His wife was there too and it turns out that her mom grew up in Mapleton too. Small world! He started off the meeting by introducing the concept of using agency to ACT and not wait to be acted upon. When we aren't active, we're just subject to have other people act on us, which makes us so much more vulnerable to do things that we shouldn't be. Then he gave some interesting statistics about the Philippines. In the last 50 years, there have been over 659,000 baptisms, 77,000 which have been in the last 5 years. That is a great number, but unfortunately only about 115,000 are actually attending church every week. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that there is a big difference between the 2... Which is why Philippine missions are now different as they are more turned into reactivation missions. The church isn't looking for quantity, we need quality. Everything we do is now revolved around working with less actives and trying to bring people back to church, especially the priesthood. The church here is lacking so much worthy priesthood that it is becoming more and more difficult to fulfill the necessary leadership positions. Looks like too many people have decided to wait to be acted upon rather than acting. They are confident however that the amount of baptisms will not suffer, because as people are reactivated, they will want to work on completing the family and getting them baptized. 
He also discussed the process of personal revelation, which is the most unique thing in our church. If He answered a 14 year old boy's prayer, He can answer anyone elses. But, it all starts with having the faith and actually asking for what you need/want. If we don't act, nothing is going to happen. Then it is up to us make ourselves more vulnerable to receive an answer by doing the things we are supposed to and searching the Book of Mormon. He brought up that all sections of the Doctrine and Covenants came from a prophet that ASKED in prayer certain things. 
The last 45 minutes or so was just dedicated to a question and answer session which was very interesting. Why is it that we can always think of things to ask a general authority, then when it comes time to ask, the mind goes blank? Any type of question was fair game so it was interesting what some people came up with. And of course, his answers were always enlightening.
It's hard to top that day of the week, so the rest of the week was just a regular day of the week booked with appointments and going on more splits to cover more territory. It's getting hard having people give us referrals and less actives that we want to be able to go to, but they are on opposite ends of the area and it is hard to justify the travel time and expenses, while we can have just as many appointments closer to our apartment. It really requires prioritizing the time and who is progressing the most. The sacrament attendance was up to 145 yesterday, so if that keeps up, there is a good chance that the ward will be split. 
Today we made a special trip down to Ilagan for their zone activity. It was more of a zoneS activity because there were missionaries that came from all over the mission. I think we tied for the longest travel time of about an hour and half. The ride down was fun because it was on one of the cheap "chicken bus" where the floors are rusted out that I could see the road beneath me. It is the last activity I got to have with Elder Tangi before he goes home next week. Crazy he's already leaving! He'll probably come up next week to visit Cabagan one last time. 
Happy Birthday to my favorite sister tomorrow! I guess I can take this time to point and laugh at all of you now for having to be in fancy clothes and have pictures taken for an entire day. It should be fun though to have everyone there for a little bit, including Bill and Carol! It will be interesting to see who Bill chooses to pick on since I won't be there. Ashley could be a fun and unsuspecting target. :) Haha have a fun day getting married!
You asked about my shoes-well, the gore tex ones are pretty much shot on the bottom but still have a little bit of life left. I only use them if it rains which doesn't happen very often anymore because it's not typhoon season. I only use the softer ones that seem to be holding up really well, especially since I've had them for about 3 years now. My heels have some lovely callouses on them from having to live in them all day and walk so much.
Well, until next week.
Mahal Kita, 
Elder Nay