Quezon City Mission

Quezon City Mission

Monday, December 30, 2013

Letter Dec 30, 2013

This last week was really great! It was really awesome to skype you! But at the same time it was really weird haha. I had a really great week this week, and we ate a ton of food, the members here are just awesome! Not only because they give us food haha, but they are always willing to help us out and have so much faith it is incredible. 
So Christmas here is not as big as Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is a HUGE party, where as Christmas day they are just sleeping and recovering, and they eat a lot, but it's much more quiet. 

On Saturday we had the opportunity to go to a wedding for one of the member's son, and it was held at the church. The wife isn't a member, but the family really wants us to teach her, and it was even kind of awkward at the wedding. The husband's side is really strong in the church, the dad was the former branch president. The wedding was more like a baptism program to me, the bride walked in like we do, and then they sat down at a table in front of the pulpit. Then like 5 people gave talks, and then they got married, and then 2 more talks, then we ate. It was just different, and the awkward thing was that the speakers talked about how they were going to get sealed in a year... and we haven't even taught the bride yet, or even know if she is interested. Me and Elder Abel were laughing after, cause it doesn't seem like she has a choice, or we do either, we have to teach her- which we are happy about ha. 

Sunday was a great day, we visited a lot of Less Active members, and the hard thing is the only reason they are less active is because they don't have enough money to go to church because they live so far away! It's so sad! They know so much about the gospel and so kind, but they just can't get to church. It is really hard for me to tell them that they will be blessed for going, even though it would be a financial burden, and sometimes I just don't want to tell them. But I realized that is where faith really comes in. I believe if they made the sacrifice to go to church, they would be blessed, and so we talked about faith to them. 

One thing I have been thinking about this week is New Year's Resolutions, and how much I just absolutely hate them. I HATE New Year's Resolutions. I can't stand them. I have never understood why we need the beginning of a new year to decide that we are going to make changes in our lives. And the few people that actually make new year's resolutions don't end up following them through. Granted there are known to be few, but realistically in June no one remembers what they were going to try and change in their lives. We should want to change our lives every week, even every day, but by setting weekly goals, every day we strive to achieve that goal. I remember the talk from President Uchtdorf about the plane needing to make constant changes to fly on a straight path. If we only corrected our lives every year, and halfheartedly when we take the sacrament, we would miss out on so much! We miss out on blessings when we stray from the straight path, and a New Year's resolution which we end up not keeping wouldn't help us. 

I liked the an article in a Liahonna I was reading, and it talked about the great and spacious building. It asks the question what is so great about it? Well, it looks fun. "Who ever said that sin wasn't fun?" -Spencer W. Kimball.    I was shocked to read that, but then realized that sin does seem fun, but it is happiness. That is the difference. Sometimes the straight and narrow path doesn't seem very fun and we want to go on another more fun route, and that is where Satan wins. He isn't trying to get us to go down one specific path, but any other besides the one we are on. We need to constantly remember why we are here, and for me, it is a lot easier when we have a goal in mind every week. 

Don't make any goals seem like a restriction, but your own choice. If we want to follow the commandments, say "I won't" go shopping on sunday, instead of "I Can't" go shopping on sunday, then we feel empowered, and are more likely to appreciate the goals that we make. 

Well that's my spiritual rant for the week. I will leave with a funny story that happened on Saturday. We we're doing our personal study, and we heard someone at the front door (No one knocks, they just yell TAPO) So I went down and it was 3 girls, two older, mid 20's and one like 8. I couldn't figure out what they wanted so I got one of the other companions to figure out what they were saying. We went to the gate to talk to them and I saw a bunch of people in church clothes in the road in front of our house, and realized it was Jehovah witness missionaries haha. I didn't have my tag on the first time I had talked to them, but this time I did, and it got real awkward real fast for them haha. I went up stairs to get the other two elders and we were laughing so hard. They gave us a pamphlet, and we tried to give them ours, but they wouldn't take them. So we said if you don't take ours, we don't want yours, but they wouldn't take that one back either! They hurried and left haha. It was great. They were nice and we were polite to them, but it sure was funny for us.

I hope you all had a great Christmas! And hope you will have a great new year!!! 

-Elder Rock

Monday, December 23, 2013

Letter Dec 23, 2013

Hello Everyone! MERRY CHRISTMAS!

This last week has been really awesome but challenging! I got a new companion, Elder Abel! He is from New Zealand and Australia, and this big Rugby player. He has been out for 17 months, and is really good in Tagalog. I almost like it better that he isn't from the Philippines because he can explain things a lot better to me, and why things are said a certain way. There are things I miss about elder Masula, but this transfer is going to be really good. This week was mostly showing him our investigators and our area, which I found out is the second biggest in our mission. \

It was challenging because I am the one showing him around the area, which I don't know very well. But I was able to do it! It was awesome, I just remembered how to get places, and that was truly Heavenly Father helping me out. My Tagalog is improving, things make more sense, and words are starting to replace words. And Elder Abel is super funny and likes to have fun, but he is really great at teaching and helping me out, he's an awesome missionary. 

We had our Branch Christmas party, and a lot of investigators came to that, and the party is a lot different than at home haha. They play regular music and have big speakers blasting and everyone dances it's hilarious and a lot of fun! But the thing I noticed was how hard it is for investigators to come to these events. We had all of the ones we really have been focusing on there, but they were all nervous because they didn't know anyone, and here it is a big deal for them and they dress up and everything. But the church is really a different kind of culture, it's new for people, and we tried to get a bunch of people to talk to them, but it was hard. I really saw how important it is for the members to get involved, because the missionaries can't make them feel welcome in the ward or branch they are going to be going to. We leave and new ones come, but the members are there. So I encourage you to talk and make investigators or new people at anything really welcome. 

It is Christmas time here, but not very cold, it's a weird feeling for sure. The thing that really bothers me is people carol for money!!! Kids go around and just carol for money, it's sad! But a lot of the homes have a tiny humble Christmas tree it's sweet. One of the things I miss the most is all the Christmas goodies, they don't have a lot of sweets here, the desserts for them have very little sugar, but it's alright. 

This transfer is going to be really great, Elder Abel is one of the coolest missionaries ever, it's a lot of fun. But don't think we aren't working hard, cause we are! 

Just one spiritual thought that I heard, everyday we wake up and we search for happiness. No matter what you don't wake up and want to do things that are going to make you sad. The things that make us happy, truly happy, are through the commandments that Heavenly Father has given us, and they are unchangeable. They will always bring us happiness, but Satan's ways are always changing. There are always new things that go against the commandments because they seem fun for a time. 

This Christmas Season we should rededicate ourselves to follow the teachings of Christ, maybe I said that last week. But I hate New Year's resolutions, I HATE THEM. Rarely do people actually follow through on them, so every week, even every day we should wake up and commit to follow and keep the covenants we have made. 

Merry Christmas to all! 

Elder Rock

Monday, December 16, 2013

Letter Dec 16, 2013

This Week was just super Awesome!!!! I apologize if yesterday you were freaking out because I didn't email anyone, this week is the end of the transfer and they move our P-day to today! So I'm sorry about that!

We had our Christmas conference this last week which was such a blast! We got good food, and heard from our mission president and his wife, and we all performed skits, some were just hilarious, and then we got to watch a movie! That was weird. And then we played games and exchanged gifts. It was such a great day.

On Friday I woke up sick though, and that was no fun, but I got through it alright, and we were able to update our area book during weekly planning. Some Elders are really frustrating because there are so many awesome potential investigators and they just gave up on them! So we are going to visit them this next transfer! 

Saturday we had my first baptism for a girl named Jenny Rivera, who is 13 years old and a referral from an older couple that are neighbors with her. 2 of her friends got baptized before I got here, who were also referrals of the couple. So Missionaries work way better with referrals from the members!!!! I was able to be the one baptizing her, and have a feeling I will do that more because I'm American so they always pick us to do it. It was really cool, but her family didn't show up which was kind of sad! You can really tell she sees how happy the other YW are and she wants that in her life and has found it! 

On Sunday we weren't able to go to the Christmas devotional which was sad because Elder Masula got a really bad headache after church, but we got invited to a dinner appointment with a Less Active and her son who we have been teaching. There we found out that Elder Masula was going to be transferred the next day to work in the office, he was kind of bummed about that. So that means I am getting a new companion, and I just found out this morning that it is going to be Elder Abel, from New Zealand! I'm really excited, I met him at the Christmas Conference and he just seems so fun and hardworking, and he's this big rugby player so we are going to do some great work outs haha. So tomorrow me and my roomates will go pick him up!

Something neat I have noticed is throughout all the houses I visit I can feel the spirit in a Christ centered home. I have been in some really nice houses for America here, but I have felt more peaceful in a house with no floor and cardboard walls because they have the spirit. It is a weird feeling, but I learned that making Christ the center of your home is one of the most important things you can do, no matter what your situation is or how nice your house is.

There was this quote on the Program from the Christmas Conference I really liked, 

"There is no better time than now, this very Christmas season, for all of us to rededicate ourselves to the principles taught by Jesus the Christ. It is the time to love the Lord our God with all our heart—and our neighbors as ourselves.

 It is well to remember that he who gives money gives much, he who gives time gives more, but he who gives of himself gives all. Let this be a description of our Christmas gifts."

I really love this quote and how we need to remember Christ during this season. How when we strive to be like him, our lives are blessed, and in order to strive to be like him, we need to study his teachings. I will leave with another quote I heard at my zone training yesterday, 

"All Satan has to do to win is get good men to do nothing"

I hope that none of us get to complacent and we can give ourselves this Christmas. To not look to do it to be recognized, but privately. Make it a big deal for the person being served, not for yourself, that is when I feel the greatest joy. I sometimes want to shout, "I was the one that did that!" but by helping someone and not taking credit is so much sweeter. 

I hope you have a great week! Choose to be happy, and Let the Lord bless you!

-Elder Rock

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Letter Dec 9, 2013

I'm glad to hear that you all had a great Thanksgiving!! This week was sure a good one!
On P-Day last week I got to play basketball with some of the youth and it was fun, but really frustrating because they just leave a player at the other end of the court and then throw the ball down to him, so they just cherry pick. And that's how they play. So, not really fun haha, but it's okay.
We had the opportunity to do a service project for two women in our ward, and what it consisted of was digging out trash and making a trench/gutter type of thing. It's really sad because people just throw their trash anywhere, and this had just built up and was nasty mud/gunk kind of stuff. We cleared it out with shovels and made it pretty nice, water can flow down pretty well now. I was reminded of all the times working for Bishop Scott and how much that helped me, two of the other Elders didn't really know what to do haha. After the service project they gave us this dessert called Biko, which is like a sticky rice dish, and it was soooooooo good! Pinika Masarap! It was warm and to me is the equivalent of German Chocolate cake frosting, but with rice instead of all the coconut, but there is still coconut. Anyway, I'm going to try and be an expert at cooking it by the time I return.
We have two investigators that are being baptized, one this saturday and the other next saturday. I am really excited, and their families are interested now too. One of the girls older sister lost her job and was really having a hard time and the other day I was talking to her (trying at least) and she was just so worried about life, and didn't really have any idea what to do. She is 21 and can't afford school so it's hard for her. I realized the love that Heavenly Father has for all of his children, for all of us, and how he just wants us to reach out to him and trust him and through that action we receive help, and comfort. We have taught her a couple times and she understands a lot and asks really good questions, so we are working on her.
We also met with a Less Active member who we ran into a couple of weeks ago, and met with them. The father is not a member, but his wife is, and is actually endowed. Their son went on a mission too! And right now he is working in the Cebu temple! The whole family are members except for the father, but sometimes he will go to church. To be honest I don't know the details of the situation because I had no idea what anyone was saying. But when we arrived at the house the father didn't want to come out on the porch and Elder Masula was really persistent and got him to come out! I would've just let him stay in there, but I think that is part of the culture, or not rude to be persistent, I don't know. But basically it got really spiritual and I was really bummed I couldn't understand anything, but the wife said to him, "Don't you want to be with your family together forever?" and then Elder Masula talked about his dad, and his conversion and how they ended up getting sealed as a family, and I thought of Dad and how he decided to be baptized and we were sealed. It was a really cool experience, and the Father was just so, prideful I guess you could say. He would never really answer questions right away, and just mutter something, but when Elder Masula told his experience and about his father, and then the wife asked if he wanted to be together he started crying and went inside to hide his tears and came back, and his heart was softening. He let us come back again and Elder Masula challenged him to be baptized and he agreed. The family was not really sure, they have the "I'll believe it when I see it attitude" but I was still really neat to see how much this man loved his family. He wanted to know why his son left for 2 years and has a very deep love for his wife, I can't wait to go back again and teach him, and see him progress.
YesterdaySunday, I had a very fun experience, I was asked to give the concluding talk because the speaker didn't show up. And I was asked 5 minutes before sacrament meeting started. Luckily I had brought the Ensign and was able to talk about two talks and give scriptures about them and things I learned from my personal study that week. I t was in english, so the Senior Missionary couple were really happy about that haha. I talked about trials and why they are given to us, and about President Monson's talk, I will not fail thee or forsake thee, and Elder Vinson's talk at the sunday afternoon session. Basically, The Lord can prevent anything, but he allows things to happen to test us and to allow us to grow. That is why he had the Brother of Jared think of the idea for getting light, and that is why he was going to send the waves and the storms to get them to the promised land. We need to always remember that the Lord is with us, and knows what we are going through. And I love what President Monson says how we need to take the trials we are given as an opportunity to refine ourselves and grow. That should be our purpose and goal. We may be tempted to ask, "Why Me" but we need to remember to have patience, and when we make the gospel of Jesus Christ the center of our lives, we will be able to endure all.
I love it when investigators come to church, and the Galang Family- The one with the really tall kid- came and are going to play basketball with him next sat. We taught their family on saturday, and they are so into it, it is awesome! We talked a lot about The Book of Mormon and read with them, and Patrick read and knew a little bit and he just seems to have such a strong desire it is so awesome, I can't even explain the feeling I get when I see his face and the look of intent he has to hear more!
Thank you for all of your support! I encourage you to always remember the Lord, and not only remember him in times of trouble. When we make our lives centered around him we begin to align our will with His. I had this great aha moment about aligning our will with His, and hope you can all think about that, and strive towards it. I go into different homes, some nicer than others, some a lot nicer than others, but no matter the circumstance, you can feel the spirit in the ones who go to church every week, you can tell which members are reading their scriptures, and who really have a love for the Savior and His gospel, and those are the homes I look forward to be in, even if I have to crouch in them:)
Have a Great Week!
Elder Rock

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Working Hard

Letter Dec 2, 2013

Hello Everyone! Happy Thanksgiving, I hoped you all had a great day eating lots of great food! Mine consisted of 5 peanut butter and jelly sandwhiches and rice and adobo. I think My body just knew it was Thanksgiving time cause I was eating like crazy this week haha. 
This week was really great, we walked a lot and got to see some really beautiful places of our area. We have been teaching the same people and not having much success getting return appointments, or we will get them and they aren't there or interested, but yesterday we taught 8 people and a few of them are bound to keep listening!
The coolest thing was teaching two investigators who have a baptismal date in 2 weeks, and their cousin, a boy, was home and we taught him too, about the plan of salvation. At the end, he said this is awesome, It makes so much sense, I didn't realize that there was a full plan for all of us. I really liked that and have been thinking about that a lot this week. We all have a plan, and I think sometimes of members knowing of where exactly we came from, why we are here, and where we will go after we die and how we get to the celestial kingdom, we take that for granted. We are going to continue teach him.
We also had an open house of the renovation for the new chapel here in the Branch, and a lot of members came, but hardly any investigators came. I just thought if they put a sign or something that said open house more would come, but oh well. We had 3 people come, who came because their teacher is the district president and would get extra credit, but they seemed interested. The actual dedication of the church was really cool, that happened yesterday, and Elder Ardurn of the quorum of the 70 spoke to us. He talked about how like this church is being rededicated, we need to rededicate our selves. He said we need to rededicate our hearts to the lord, and look in the mirror and see what we can change, where can we improve. And he said we need to search and learn about the lord's ministry more, and become more like him, and as we do that we will receive an increase in happiness.
President Revillo spoke there as well, and talked about the storm in Tacloban, and how we need to prepare not only physically for disasters, but spiritually as well, cause that is a lot more difficult than making a 72 hour kit, it takes more time. There are going to be spiritual storms coming our way and we need to make sure we are ready for them.

I have been enjoying my time here, and have eaten some really good food, Adobo is the so good! I love rice too haha, it goes with anything and everything. We had a couple of cockroaches in our apartment this week, they looked like the fake ones they sell at the 99 cent store, they were so big! The language is bugging me cause I can't speak how I would like but I am picking up new words everyday, and can understand people for the most part, unless it is about everyday life, I only know gospel terms really well. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and got to think about things you are grateful for. They don't have Thanksgiving here which I was bummed about, but I realized that everyday is a day to give thanks here, they are so humble and awesome!
Have a great week!
-Elder Rock