Quezon City Mission

Quezon City Mission

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Letter Jan 28th

Kumusta po kayo lahat! 

This week went by pretty quickly, last week I was able to go up to a waterfall, I uploaded all the pictures, I hope you were all able to see them! 

This last saturday I had the brilliant idea to make french toast. I don't know why it never occurred to me before, but it's one thing that you can actually do here. The hard thing was finding cinnamon. My kabahay or roomate, is from fiji and he had never had it, or his companion who is filipino. They seemed to like it, but me and Elder Abel were just stoked to be having it! 

I found out this morning that I will be staying here in Binangonan with Elder Abel, so I am really excited about that!!! And this last week we had 2 baptisms!!!! It was so great because they were both part of families that were members, hopefully I can get pictures up. It was so awesome to see them be baptized and have their families there! I can seriously already see the difference in them, It is the craziest and best thing to see, and I feel as a missionary it is easier to see. 

This week was full of little blessings here and there that really touched me. The first was that we were eating at our favorite little shop and when we went to pay the man said that it was already paid for. We asked by who and he said the man that was sitting over there, which was just a few tables across from us, he said you guys were his brothers. The man wasn't there, he didn't even say hi to us or anything, I barely remember what he looked like, but maybe he was a member visiting here, or a less active, or had been visited by missionaries in the past. I thought that was really sweet. Then another day we hopped on a jeepney and passed our money up and the driver waved his hand to refuse the bayad and let us ride for free! I thought that was just super cool! Usually they will try to get us to pay more cause we are foreigners! 

The other one was something I didn't realize til yesterday. When I first got here, me and elder masula would walk by this one area a lot at usually the same time of day. There would be the same 3 little kids and they would always talk to me, and I haven't been back in a while, at least the same time of day. The other day me and Elder Abel were walking and they said HI ELDER ROCK!!! And said hi, and then at night we were walking home and one of the girls finished buying something at a tindahan and she said HI ELDER ROCK, and I thought we should go talk to her family. I told elder abel and he came back, and the girl kind of ran ahead up a hill and I kind of lost her, but went up anyway, and there was a house with a family watching tv and I just went up and said hi thinking it was the girl's house, but it wasn't. They looked at me amazed an american was there. I just left because it was the wrong house and couldn't find where the girl went, and just figured we could talk to this family, so they let us in and we taught them and the dad said at the end, it's weird I just feel happy. 
I ALWAYS here cool stories about how missionaries found someone and were guided to go to a house or it was a miracle they found someone and they were so prepared. I want one of those stories so bad, but when thinking about this story, I think it kind of was. almost 12 weeks ago these children were talking to me and remembered my name, and then I just figured that we should teach the one's family, and ended up at this other house. I don't know how things will turn out, but they just seem like a sweet family, and were so gracious to us. 

This week was just great, we had two baptisms, and found out I am staying. On sunday in Elders quorum the topic was on the message in the Liahonna this month, "The best time to plant a tree" and I have been reflecting on that. The saying goes that the best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago, the second best time is now. If we all had planted a tree 20 years ago, it is most likely to be big and strong, and maybe finished growing. It is a finished product, with more growth of course, but not dramastic, and maybe producing fruit. A tree takes effort to grow, but not a whole lot. Very simply you put the seed in the ground, and water it and nuture it, but that's about it. It takes an everyday effort to water, but not 100% attention every day. Maybe some days more than others, but overall simple. Sometimes I wish I had done things, like, ugh I can't believe I'm saying this, Practicing the piano. If I had practiced everyday for just 10 minutes, I would be a lot better than I am now. So if we want something, a trait, just start now, so in 20 years we will have this great talent or product. All goals don't need to be done in a short amount of time, but like a tree, can be done over little by little every day, with constant care. If you neglect the tree for a week, it may die. If you neglect the thing you are working on, you will be more inclined to not continue. If we start now, we will look back on our progress, on our tree in 20 years, and realize that sometimes it took more effort, but really it was pretty simple, it was just constant. 

I hope everyone has a great week! Thank you for all of your emails, and don't be afraid to send pictures!!! 

-Elder Roc

Monday, January 20, 2014

Letter Jan 20, 2014


This week I was asked how long I have been on my mission, and I realized it has almost been 4 months! That's crazy! And about 8 weeks I think here in the Philippines, actually maybe more, It's crazy! 

This week went by pretty quickly, but nothing super crazy exciting happened. We have been working with a lot of investigators that are progressing really well! It's so exciting to see them make and keep commitments. This last week we went by Jenny's house, who we baptized in my first transfer, and I have seen her at church, and follow up with her, but we were able to teach her and actually her mom too. I've noticed just how different she is since her baptism, and I really saw it in contrast to her friend and her mom, there is like this glow around her, and I brought it up, and asked if the mom noticed it, and she said she had. I just thought how special that was, and was really special to be able to see that. 

I have been thinking a lot about that, and really strengthened my testimony in how much the gospel blesses the lives of people. No matter what struggles we have, no matter what problems we face, even though they will try us, we can get through them if we have faith, and know that we can pray to Heavenly Father, and that no matter what, he loves us. He wants us to follow him, and to remember him, and is sad when we make mistakes, but he seriously loves us so much, and gives us a way to be able to repent for our mistakes, and feel his love, and peace in our life, and to be able to move forward in life, without looking back. I have had the opportunity to see a few investigators keep commitments, and there is just something a little different each time we go to their house, they are just happier and brighter. It's easy to tell who hasn't been keeping commitments, it's just a really neat thing I have been picking up on. And the happiness and Joy comes from the gospel, I know that with all my heart. 

This week as well we had the opportunity to hear from 3 members of the 70, or our Area Presidency here in the Philippines. They were really great to hear from, and the topic was on the new Area goals here in the Philippines. I really have noticed that goals are so critical, and I am not good at making goals. But the way they started was by reviewing last year's goals, and then introduced the new goals, and how we get there. I think they could have just introduced the new goals, but I thought it was interesting how they reviewed the last year's goals, and the result of them. But then they moved forward. It reminded me of the Talk by Edward Dube, about looking forward, not back. I had recently read a talk by Jeffrey R. Holland about Lot's wife, and the scripture "Remember Lot's wife". It wasn't necessarily that Lot's wife looked back at the city being destroyed, but it was that she looked back, longingly, and that in her heart she wanted to go back. He then said the "past is to be learned from, not lived in" to learn from experiences, but to move on. He then quoted Bruce R. McConkie (I don't thing that's spelled right) that "we want to build our house in zion, but hope to keep a summer cottage in Babylon" I just thought that was awesome. Especially for me, when I may get caught up in things that aren't entirely centered on missionary work. He said that being afraid of the future is not having faith in Heavenly Father.

So as I look back on the last 4 months, I have grown a ton I feel. But why stop? I have no idea when I am going to be comfortable with the language, maybe never. But that's not a reason to just stop and not continue to learn. These 4 months have been awesome, and I only have 20 more. So The thing I really took this week is to not be complacent, and be satisfied with what we have done. Don't live in the past, and don't be afraid for the future. And in relation to goal setting, setting goals helps you see the future in a more realistic sense that enables you to see that it is possible to accomplish and not so scary looking. 

I hope everyone has a great week! 

-Elder Rock

Monday, January 13, 2014

Letter Jan 13, 2014


Kumusta po kayo! 

This week was more normal because school started for all the kids, so the college right by our house (which is smaller than an elementary school back home) was busy with students and walking through neighborhoods I guess you can call them, were just parents, more normal. We got to teach a lot more people because no one was on vacation or anything, so we were really excited about that. We have a few scheduled baptisms, we are really excited, I love seeing the commitment people make, and the changes they make in their life, it's so awesome. It strengthens my faith so much when I see them give something up, or strive to live the things we teach them, because it is a bigger sacrifice for them to go to church or do other things, it's awesome! 

So you are probably wondering about the subject title, so I will explain. The second counsellor in the branch presidency offered to feed us this week, and the last time we went he gave us a ton of food, and made us eat it all or we couldn't leave haha. So Elder Abel was super excited, and I was too of course, but I don't look forward to dinner appointments because you never know what they are going to give you. So we get there, and he is cooking big sausages, and then there is some "spaghetti", a lot. They don't eat spaghetti hot here, at least I never have, and they don't put regular marina sauce, but it's still alright.AND THEN, they had a brand new oven. I haven't seen an oven since I have been here, it was so weird seeing one. The wife had made banana bread and brownies, so I was dying. So we start eating these huge sausages, and spaghetti, and we are getting pretty full, and then, maybe the greatest thing happened. Brother Decastro pulls out STEAK. Me and Elder Abel looked at eachother and the other missionaries, and just about died. Elder Abel hasn't eaten steak in 18 months, so imagine his surprise. The funny thing was, Brother Decastro had never cooked steak before, it was his first time hahaha, and he went on youtube earlier to learn how to cook it, I thought that was just really funny haha, and the wife went online too to learn how to cook banana bread and brownies hahaha. So he plops the steak on my plate, and it was massive, and tasted actually really good, especially for his first time. We ate so much, I could barely walk home, and he gave us spaghetti to take home, A LOT. 
But I said it was the greatest food WEEK right, well on saturday morning, me and Elder Kaitani, my kabahay, went and got this bread stuff called pandesal, I don't know how to explain it, but basically a breakfast roll, they have it hot for you, and is like 2 pesos, so we bought like 40 pesos worth and ate it at home, I'm addicted now. THEN on sunday, yesterday, topped off the week. We went into a member's home where we were teaching the son's new wife, and on their table Elder Abel sees this little piece of a cake, and says, "Bro, I'm pretty sure that's carrot cake" I was surprised he could even tell, but it did look like, and at the end of the lesson, they offered us it, so we split it, and it was already small, so it was basically bite size..... and I hate to say it but it was the best carrot cake I have ever had (sorry sister chase :/ ) it was so good, and I reckon the best in the philippines, and then after seeing how much we liked it, they pulled out two big pieces for us, Heaven on a plate, I shed a tear when I ate the last bite because I wanted more haha. So This week was a real blessing. 

But onto a more serious note, I really learned a lot this week, and the language really improved. One day we went on exchanges, and I went with Elder Kaitani, who has been out for 8 months, and is from fiji, and knows the language pretty well, but not great. We were in my area, and did a lot of finding, and I was able to speak really well, people were shocked when they heard I was out for 2 months, and I was shocked I could even understand them ha. It was so cool, and I was able to take the lead in most of the teaching, it was awesome. The Gift of Tongues is really real. To add on that, Elder Abel always says it's hard to teach in English now because he has taught in Tagalog it sounds weird in English, and kind of bugs me because I don't think it would be that hard, but the family that gave us carrot cake wanted me to teach in english because they could understand. I'm being serious, it was really weird, and kind of hard, I just kept going back to Tagalog, I was actually really excited that it was hard. So that was just awesome. 

I am really loving it here more and more, especially getting the hang of the language, even though I have SO MUCH to learn, but it's amazing at how much the Lord helps. I'll leave with something funny. Elder Abel notices when kids swear as we walk by and will stop and turn around. You have to understand that when they yell at us, they do it when we have already walked by them, so they aren't tough at all, but they act tough haha. And they always turn there head after they say it so you never know who yelled out, haha it's funny. So everyday when we are walking they yell "HEY JOE" or "HEY! WHATS YOUR NAME!!" They seriously yell like that haha, and you're just like, why are you yelling? So when we walk by kids, as we are walking away they will say stuff and elder abel will turn around sometimes and stare at them and they freak out that he can understand and run like crazy hahaha. So anyway, the other day we were walking and I knew one of the words the kids said, it was palpaker, which is slang for failures. And me and elder abel turned around, and I said What? and they got so freaked out and apologized and I gave them hi fives. So I felt kind of proud I could pick up on that. 

Have a great week! Do a kind deed this week! 

-Elder Rock

Monday, January 6, 2014

Letter Jan 6, 2014

Happy New Years! I hope you all have had a great 2014 so far! My New Year's Eve was kind of a drag, I woke up super sick, and had to stay home all day, and basically slept, read for a little bit, slept. The other elders went on splits so one had to stay in the apartment, and then two would go and work. The whole mission had to be in by 6pm, and they brought me some more medicine and gave me a blessing. I started to feel a little better at night, but not a whole lot. I slept through all the fireworks and bombs that they light off here, which was weird because Elder Abel video taped 6 minutes of it, and it sounded like a war zone. It was pretty crazy.

New Year's day was alright, I felt good enough to work, but everyone just sleeps and eats with their family, and is really hard to teach. We ate at a Less Active's house, we have visited them twice a week for the past 3 weeks, and they actually came to church yesterday! But they live in a pretty poor area, so it's hard for them to get to church. They showed a lot of faith going. We tried to teach a few more people and ended eating at a member's home, but I really didn't have an appetite cause I was still sick. 

Thursday was really interesting because we went to Elder Abel's old area to show the new Elder's around the area because they are both new to it. It was really cool seeing a different area and the people there. It just had a different feel that was hard to explain, and I started to think how I am going to be in new areas, it won't always be like Binangonan. I really like my area, but I am excited to move around and see more, and teach new people! 

Friday we had our follow up meeting for New Missionaries, and that was really cool. President Revillo is a really great man, and very spiritual. You can just tell he cares a lot about us, and wants us to do the best we can. He talked about our purpose as missionaries, and why we are here, and that kind of woke me up, or reinvigorated me. I remembered why I am here, and then thought about my purpose as a missionary, and need to always remember what I am called to do. I have been given such an important responsibility as a missionary it's crazy. After the meeting we went home, which is really far away, so we decided to take advantage of the city, and eat at Burger King, which again was a bummer because I didn't have much of an appetite, but it was still really good. Something I have noticed is the menu's are way more simplified. They only have like 6 things and that's it. McDonald's has a little more, but it is still a lot less stuff on it than back home.

Yesterday was fast and testimony meeting and we had 4 investigators at church, and 11 Less Actives! It was great, but testimony meetings always scare me. A couple members said a few things that made me and Elder Abel look at eachother and shake our heads ha, and I get so nervous for our investigators. So it is really important I think to keep your testimony simple and not crazy ha. Like, be wise. 

This week felt really fast but unproductive because I was sick and just couldn't get myself moving like normal, it was rough. Me and Elder Abel are getting along great, and I learn a lot from his teaching. The language is coming, but I still having a hard time with it. But President told us to not get too stressed about it, and to of course be diligent and not get lazy, but to have faith it will come. I got to meet a lot of missionaries this week and it is really amazing how easy you can tell who has been out long and who is fairly new. Even if they are older in age, they may only be out for 6 months, and you can just tell by their countenance and how they conduct themselves. You can see the changes that they made in their lives, and it really comes from serving. They just go out of their way naturally to help other people and seriously don't think about themselves. It's truly a Christlike attribute anyone can obtain through serving and having Charity. 

I hope everyone has a great week, and just a thought I had about the Philippines, some of the areas I have been too, some of the poorer ones, are like Gotham City in Batman Begins, like the metal shacks, and alleys and stuff. That was kind of the best analogy I could think of. Any way, Happy New Year! 

-Elder Rock