Philippines Cauayan Mission

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