Philippines Cauayan Mission

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

Monday, October 15, 2012

15 October 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta po sa lahat ng aking mga minamahal!
What a surprise, it has been another Pday with too much to do and too little time to do it. We have been busy cleaning the apartment to get it ready for inspection this week. Who knew we could make a box of stuff to give away to people and a large garbage bag full of garbage laying around our apartment? I guess that's why they have regualar inspections! Haha
It is strange to think that Halloween is just around the corner. I almost forgot about Halloween until I saw all the decorations Sis. Carlos laid out in the mission home. Halloween definitely isn't a big thing here, and very few people have some decorations. I think it is because most people are already focusing on Christmas. Most every store and restaurant I go in is already playing Christmas music (and has been for a while), and I even saw a fake Christmas tree in someone's house. I can get used to this "winter" weather though not being wet and sticky 24/7 and actually having to turn my electric fan down from 3 to 1 and use my sheet. 
Not only did we have Zone conference last week and have the privilege of being taught by President Carlos for several hours, I got to watch all 10 hours of General conference! That is a lot of conferencing, and stake conference is in 2 weeks. As expected, I think my favorite talk was by Elder Holland about "Do you love me?" It is a very simple question and caused me to think a lot more about what I do in order to show back my love for our Savior. It is a very simple concept-like it says in John 14:15 "If ye love me, keep my commandments". There are a lot of people that need the message of the Gospel, and now is the time to share it! I had to laugh at Elder Reyes because he was taking extra notes on all the stuff about family, spouses, life after mission, etc. because he goes home in 2 months. Glad I don't have to worry about all that garbage... Haha.
It is exciting to see that every week, our schedule is slowly getting busier and busier as we find new people to teach. Perhaps the most exciting for us is that we have started teaching 2 new families that include mother, father, and all of the children. I don't think that has ever happened to me yet on my mission yet. It adds a different spirit when teaching a complete family, and I find myself wanting to teach them about the temple right off the bat because I want them to go there. As Elder Oaks mentioned, it never ceases to amaze me how precious and smart some children are. I have found that children as young as 8 are the most "religious" people in the whole family. We just gave a baptism date to a 9 and 10 year old girl (siblings) whose parents have just been coming into re activity over the last few months. They always read our reading assignments for them in the pamphlets and Book of Mormon, and it is the cutest thing to hear them pray. When we gave them the date, the biggest smile came on their faces and they started jumping up and down. It was definitely fun to see a baptism invitation so well received. Before I know it, that will be Jenna and Gracie! Haha super weird to think that the niece I haven't met yet is already walking. 
Maraming salamat po for everyone that wrote me and for the support you are giving me!
Mahal Kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, October 8, 2012

8 October 2012

Magandang hapon po!

Kamusta po sa inyong lahat!
I'm glad you all had a good time watching general conference, I still have to wait for next week. That is super crazy though about the missionary age being lowered. I bet there is going to be a huge increase in numbers over the next few months. 
Last saturday we got to train the stake leaders and bishoprics again which was kind of weird. They made a ward to a practice ward council meeting and had me and Elder Reyes critique it to what they can do better, which was interesting seems how I've never been in a ward council meeting before. It was a great meeting though and they all left with a greater sense of urgency to hang on to recent converts. 
Tuguegaro North Zone Leaders
It was a busy week going to Cauayan again for Zone leaders meeting, but the home made pizza made it worth spending over 6 hours in travel for the day. I love having the chance to work with President Carlos more closely, he's definitely the best mission president ever. He is an excellent teacher and has a heart of gold.
Christmas is already in the air and it is super weird. A lot of businesses and people are blasting Christmas music already. People LOVE Christmas season here. The fact that pretty much every person living in the Philippines is a Christian might have something to do with that... Haha. I have yet to talk to a person that doesn't believe in God or Jesus Christ. I guess that is one reason why missionary work is so hot here in the Philippines. It is also getting colder here, which I am VERY thankful for. For over a week now, I haven't woken up in my sweat! What a weird experience. I am also having to pull out my sheet in the middle of the night. I can't help but laugh when I see Elder Reyes go to bed wearing a sweater and extra clothes all wrapped up in bed. People think I am crazy when I tell them it is perfect temperature. 
Dad would love talking to some of the old people here about their World War 2 stories. I got one lady talking yesterday about the Americans sneaking in during the night to evacuate them in preparations for bombing runs and how they couldn't use any soap or salt because the Japanese took it all. Made me appreciate living in America that much more! Most Americans really don't realize how blessed we are to have a functioning government and all the freedom that comes with it.
Mom, the English PMG will be fine because English is what most everybody reads here, especially in the church materials. Color or black and white will be fine, but I'm sure he'd like color more.
And dad, you are 100% correct in that facebook here is just a contest to see how many "friends" someone has. It is sad to see how addicted so many people are. But, Brenda is the other one that was baptized with Rashel. Not sure how she found your name, haha. I'll leave it up to you to decide if you want to add her or not, but I'm sure she would love support considering she is a single mother and not too many friends in the church.
Elder Reyes and I are still chugging away at starting this new area and finding new investigators and people to teach. It is interesting to see how prepared some people are to hear the message of the Restoration. This truly is a message that most people want to listen to, but some people don't quite know they need it yet. But then every now and then there are those people that literally come out of their house just to tell you "nobody is home". I can't help but laugh when I hear that though. 
Thanks for everything you do and for your support!
Mahal kita,
Elder Nay

Monday, October 1, 2012

1 October 2012

Magandang Hapon po!

Kamusta po sa lahat ng aking minamahal!
Well, its been a busy day and we don't have too much time to write, so I may have to cut this short. We had to help the new elders that took the other half of our area move into a new apartment because of weird problems with the landlord. Good times. 
Last week was family week celebration throughout the Philippines, so as part of a big celebration, the missionaries teamed up with all of the members in Tuguegarao (both stakes) and had a parade. Turns out, parades here a lot different than back home. Haha. None of the other side streets were blocked off or anything, so we constantly had other tricys and motors making our parade a little bigger... Haha. It was fun though. We gave out a bunch of Articles of Faith cards along the way. After the parade, there was some activities and food at the stake center, and a lot of investigators and less actives ended up coming.
I can also check off the list eating some worm/bug things that come from fields. Don't worry, It was cooked up so it was brown and crunchy. For me the weird part was eating the little legs. It was ok though. Not terrible.
We were just informed that once again, the Philippine Cauayan mission is officially number one through all of Asia and Pacific in: investigators with baptism date, investigators attending church, lessons taught with members present, and highest number of baptisms per companionship. Just a little fact Ben in Taiwan or Lauren going to Japan might want to know. ;) haha just kidding. It is fun to see so much growth here and extra areas being opened. 
Mom, you have a special assignment. It is now your turn to be a missionary! I told Rashel (one of the people baptized last week) to add you on Facebook because she is moving to Canada this week and nervous because she said she doesn't have any friends in the church over there (and only a couple here) and still worried about trying to find the church. We showed her with the locate a meetinghouse thing and told her to contact the bishop, but I think she is too afraid/too expensive to call there. Her fiance is a returned missionary and planning on joining her there in about a year after he gets his paperwork and things settled, but we are worried the transition will get in the way of her activity in the church. She has a great testimony and wants to stay active though. I realize there is only so much you can do with you being in Utah and her in Canada, but we think it would be very helpful if you could answer any questions and help her get settled into a place where she has absolutely no support. I honestly don't know how good her English is because I've never spoken it with her, but I know she understands it just fine because she reads the Book of Mormon in English (which is pretty typical for Filipinos). I wish you luck on making sure a recent convert that I taught stays active! Let me know how it goes.
Also, special assignment number 2, the stake president that we work with so often here put in a special request for a miniature PMG, just like the one you sent me in the MTC. He even offered to pay for it and shipping, but I told him I don't think that would be necessary and I'd see what I could do to have it sent in the Christmas package. :) He also wants one of those little keychain oil vials, because I don't think there is any place to buy them here. I figured you might be able to put in a good word to Santa's elves...
The Fall colors are looking nice over there. Make sure and enjoy them while they last! I'm enjoying all the different shades of green and rain.
My regards also go to Kimbal with his mother just passing away. The sting of death never is a good thing, but it is great to know that God has an eternal plan for all of us.
Maraming salamat po sa lahat,
Mahal kita,
Elder Nay