Quezon City Mission

Quezon City Mission

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Letter Feb 24, 2014

This week was pretty great, the highlight by far was being able to Baptize the Galang family! That is the one with the really tall son that is 14, and they pay attention so well during lessons. To be completely honest with you, I could see the two sons as general authorities or something, or maybe their kids, they are that awesome. We went over the day or two before their interview to review with them, and just make sure they were ready, and they were, and the last question is if they feel ready to make this commitment, and the younger son (12) said "Oh yes, so ready!!!" haha it was so awesome to hear them say that! The only thing that we are trying to work on is teaching the father, who is interested too, but he works a lot, so he isn't able to make it to church. It is really sad, but he will be able to one day, I know it. Their baptism was on saturday and went great! I had the opportunity to baptize the two children, and the younger one we had to do over again, and I told him to bend his knees, and so he basically just jumped down, I didn't really push him down at all haha.

Wednesday we had a zone conference, it was really cool, the best one that I have been to. President Revillo went over his role as the mission president, sister Revillio's role as the mission president's wife, and then our role as missionaries, their promise to us, and their expectations of us. It was so awesome, and exactly what I needed to hear, and then the departing missionaries shared their testimonies, and one sister's was amazing, and so awesome. And then the Senior missionaries shared theirs and that was really cool too. So basically I was on this spiritual high and then to top off the day, we went and each bought our own box of pizza from Pizza Hut. I don't think the day could have gotten any better! 

Another really exciting part of my week was the day after the zone conference, I went on exchanges with my zone leader, because Elder Abel is the District Leader and they have to go with him once a transfer. So they go in our area to see how it is doing, and I went to the other area. I love exchanges so much because, I don't know why, but I do so much better at Tagalog. I don't know how to explain it, but I was able to understand so much more, it was awesome. I spoke really well, and learned a lot from my Zone Leader, he's a great teacher. Our lessons were really spiritual, and I said things I never really said before, because I wasn't sure how to use the words, but it worked. I have been able to understand a lot more since then, sometimes of course there are words that I don't know, but I can pick them out way easier, and know the word I don't know, whereas before it just sounded like crazy sounds. It was really great!

One thing that really really made me think was something that happened yesterday. When Elder Abel wasn't to go out me and another Elder went to one of our investigators, and they weren't home, so after visiting with a member we started walking back. As we were walking this old guy called us over and was sitting on a bench and told us to look at his wheelchair, and it was one from the church. He told us he was a member. He kind of talked funny, like slurred, and I assumed he had an accident. So we took down his information and I was super excited. Yesterday we went to the same investigator and they were gone as well, so we started walking back, and I remembered I had the address. We decided to go find it, and in this area the addresses aren't written but somehow we managed. He was really active when he lived in Pasig city, and he lived with his granddaughter, who is a member as well. It turned out he had a stroke, and he showed us pictures of him in Pasig. He is just the sweetest man. And we shared a scripture with him, and to close we end with a prayer, and he asked if he could say it, we said of course. It was the greatest prayer I have heard. He is pretty crippled, he can kind of stand up, he can't hear that well, his hands are tightened up like he might have arthritis, and in his prayer he thanked Heavenly Father for the many blessings that he has in his life. 
I just couldn't believe this man's faith, and thought it was incredible that he would say that. There are so many people with less trials than him, and they tell us it's hard, and it is hard for them, we believe them, we love them, and try to help them, but this man was found by a miracle I believe, and is just so kind, and smiles, and can tell that the missionaries that baptized him mean so much to him. I just felt I could find a lot more to be thankful for when somethings don't go my way. He seemed to have a great life, he had all these fun pictures of him in his old ward, when he was a little younger, but he had this trial come his way. It is really heartbreaking, but at the same time inspiring, it was one of my favorite visits I have ever been on, and he stood up to show us out the door and thanked us. Ah, it was so touching to have that lesson with him. 

I also wanted to leave something from the zone conference I attended, and that was from President Revillo, he talked about not criticizing our leaders. Whether mission leaders or in the branch we are serving in. The thing we really have to remember is that callings take time, they are not getting paid for it, and they are not perfect. We have to trust that they were called by God to serve in that position. When we are in a calling we don't want people to criticize us, so why would we criticize them. I think that it was awesome to hear, I wish that the less actives here could hear it, because they get offended a lot. But even more than that is we need to understand that they were called by God. And when we criticize it is usually because of something we think, our personal desires make the leader, in our eyes, not a good leader. But maybe they are not in that position for us. Maybe they feel they should do something that way, maybe they got revelation, even if it doesn't make sense to us right now. Maybe they are making mistakes, but they were called of God, and we need to believe in that. I just thought it was excellent, and thought about it a lot. I see what each calling has to do with some of the meetings I go in, and the people really sacrifice their time, and it is hard to criticize them when you see how hard they work.

I hope you have a great week this week. Don't forget to do the little things like reading scriptures and praying everyday, I promise it will help you, and if you pray for missionary opportunities, Heavenly Father will give them to you and if you keep your eyes open for them, it won't feel forced. That is a promise coming from an Apostle! 


Elder Rock

Monday, February 17, 2014

Letter Feb 17, 2014

This week was pretty slow, Elder Abel had an infection in his leg, I don't really know how to explain it, but he wasn't able (haha) to walk very well and had to stay at home. Me and the other elders went on exchanges, so we didn't get to work in my area a whole lot which was kind of a bummer. 

We did have 1 baptism this week though, for Carren. It was so awesome. On Tuesday she texted us asking if we were going to come over to her house because she read the scripture we assigned her, so me and the other elder went over there. It was awesome. We talked to her a little more about her baptism and getting ready for it. When we went back on Friday the day before, with Elder Abel this time, she shared with us her testimony and it was really special to hear that. Then at night we got a long text message from her thanking us for teaching her and helping her, and having the gospel in her life. She ended it with a hashtag #Excitedtobebaptized and me and Abel were just so pumped for her. We had her baptism the next day and it was awesome, and we went down to 7-11 after and got some ice cream. The next day we confirmed her and she asked me to do it, which was nervewracking, but it was good. She is getting embraced by the branch already and is just awesome, we are so excited for her and her two kids. 

I realized how important the ward is in missionary work, maybe I have said this before, but they need to be there to embrace the new members. The branch here does a pretty good job, Abner the 14 year old that was baptized got the priesthood and passed the sacrament for the first time yesterday, and I thought that was super special for his family, because now they have a priesthood holder in their home. 

We have a few more baptisms coming up this week, a family that I am really excited for. I'm sure it is really hard for you to keep track of all the names that I put in here, but the Galang family, the one with the really tall kid that loves basketball and is super interested, are going to be baptized this Saturday! That is really cool too, and the Dad is supportive as well, but he just needs to go to church, he has work on sundays so it's really hard. 

So I wanted to just talk about the Philippines and different stuff that I have noticed, so maybe you can get more of a feel of where I am and what it is like here. So to start, they love America. They want to be just like America, but they are pretty far off haha. An example is they drive on the right side of the road because in America we do, but they lack the rules of the road. So there are no stop lights, I have never seen one here. And only people that have really good jobs will have a car, and even then it's rare. Mostly everyone takes public transportation, which is either a jeepney, or a tricycle. So a Jeepney will take you to different cities, they only drive on the highway- But the highway is like our highway, houses and shops are along the side of it, and it is only 2 lanes wide, maybe 4 if it is a really big road. And jeepneys drive max about 40 miles an hour, and even that is pretty rare. So how do you get on a jeepney? You stand on the side of the road and look for the hand painted sign they have in their window to see what city they are going to. In a jeepney they have a driver who will sometimes collect the money if it is a short trip, or a conductor will do it, and they will lean out the window yelling at anyone on the side of the road to get in. So the jeepney is constantly slowing down almost to a stop to get people on the jeep, and they will CRAM them full. 

Alright so when you are on a jeep, you can get off anytime by saying "Para!" or tapping the roof, or pulling a string that triggers a light to the driver, and then they stop really fast, and pull to the right side of the road, and you get out. To pay when you get on, you can give the money anytime, and you pass up money to the guy next to you, and say "bayad po" and then they pass it all the way up until it gets to the conductor or the driver, and nothing has a set price, but you figure out how much it usually costs. So a short ride is 8 pesos, and that would be from one end of our area to the other end. So it's pretty much the coolest thing, and every jeepney is painted crazy and the good ones have music so it's a good time.

Trikes will take you anywhere you go, and is 10 pesos, unless it is up a lot of hills or far they might charge you more, they are the ones that will rip you off the most if you aren't sure on the price, so you cant always ask them how much it is. But they just take you straight there, and swerve through all different kinds of cars and jeepneys. you can fit 2 people behind the driver sitting sideways and 4 people in the side car, they fill it up if they can. Driving is crazy here, they can go in the other lane if they want to pass you, motorcycles are just squeezing in between people, and they honk to let you know they are there. Some of them change their horns too, so it's not strange to hear a ambulance siren coming from a horn, so when an actual ambulance does come, no one moves out of the way. But I haven't seen an accident yet, it's insane to say the least.

They have different Fast food restaurants here, like Burger King, McDonalds, Jollibee (I had never heard of that but I guess we have them back home) and so on, but Jollibee is the biggest here. We have one in our area, and they have like 20 people working there, actually probably 30. It's crazy, all of the fast food do, and it's considered a pretty good job. At the mall in the department stores, there is like 5 people in each section just standing around waiting to help you. And at these places, the american kind (Fast food, mall, ect.) they try to speak english to you, because speaking english is considered being more classy I guess is the best way to describe it, or Sosyal is what they call it. And when we speak in Tagalog they freak out haha.

I think one of the hardest things to get used to is the houses. Some of the ones we go in are smaller than our garage, and they have so little, but almost all of the members especially recent converts or less actives have pictures of the missionaries that taught them. Some of the only books that they have are the book of mormon and maybe something else, but usually church related. The walls to most houses are cinder blocks, with concrete and the sides are smoothed on the inside sometimes, so they tape the picture of the missionaries up, as well as a picture of Christ. They just love the missionaries and can tell you all of the names of the past missionaries almost to a year back, it's crazy! 

Another thing is Tindahans. Tindahans might be the coolest thing haha, they are just little shops out of people's windows, I think stephen explained it the best, but yeah we have them too, and they sell soda out of glass bottles, but you have to give the bottle back to them, so if you want to take it on the go, they put it in a plastic bag and give you a straw. But you can buy anything, and they are only selling it about 1 or 2 pesos above what they bought it for. And there will be multiple tindahans on a street. 

The last thing I will say is the Philippines is crazy about basketball, just crazy about it. You can't walk down the street without seeing a basketball jersey of some kind, but they have jersey shops, so you can get a jersey made with whatever you want on it. So if you want boston colors with Lakers on it instead, you can, and you can get your name on the back. Or you can make up your own colors, own logo, and name, so a lot of people have their own custom ones, it's really cool. No one has tv, so I don't know how they know players, they just go on youtube I guess and look stuff up, videos and what not. One of our investigators said he learned how to play by watching some how to videos, I thought that was impressive. They will play on a dirt half court with a hoop that's not exactly 10 feet, a wooden backboard and a metal ring to be the rim. They have some nice covered outdoor courts where they play, but usually in flip flops or bare feet. And they play basketball like soccer! They just cherry pick but call it a fast break... so when someone makes it they just chuck the ball down to the other end, so it ends up looking like soccer because they have the defenders, mid field, and attackers ha.

That was pretty long and I will close with something I learned in my personal study, from 3 Nephi. The people were just humbled and then they had only about 4 years of peace, one of the most dramatic and fastest cycles of the pride cycle. The Lamanites stayed faithful because they were steadfast and diligent in keeping the ways of the lord, but the others were lifted up in pride. They sought power, and things of the world, and were lifted up in pride, which was caused by Satan. Satan does things that make us prideful because when we are prideful, we don't have faith. We don't rely completely on Heavenly Father, we think that we can do things on our own, and don't want help. But Heavenly Father is offering us free help, and to rely on Him for everything. Satan is REAL, he wants us to forget Heavenly Father, and when we slip or mess up just a little bit, but things are still okay, we then allow those things to become a normal thing, and it is little by little that we slowly stop relying on the Lord. Commandments are not restrictions, but allow us to be even happier. I know that is true, because I have seen the people that follow them are so much more happier than those that don't, even if they don't know that they are violating commandments. If we are like the Lamanites and steadfast and diligent, we won't fall into Satan's traps. 

Thank you for all of your support!! I love you all!

-Elder Rock

Monday, February 3, 2014

Letter Feb 3rd 2014

So this week was really interesting because it was transfer week, so we said goodbye to one of the elders in our branch and got a new one, he is from alaska and really cool, he's actually the first american I have lived with here in the Philippines. 

This week we focused more on finding and trying to teach new people because some of our investigators are not progressing, and the ones we really had been focusing on were baptized, so we needed some new people to teach. There were a lot of really neat little situations where we just happened to run into someone. We took a trike home, and the driver said that his mom and dad and some of his brothers were members, but he wasn't. We got his name and address and visited him. He's a really cool man, but his wife is really not interested at all, so I think that is what is/was holding him back, because we found out he had been taught before. 

Another one was where we were eating at our favorite little place and a man was leaving, and told us he was a member, but hadn't been to church in a long time, he didn't even know they had a chapel here in Binangonan now! We got his name and address and are going to go visit him. 

We also explored an area we never had been to, and realized there are a ton of people in it, and met a really nice family when we asked for directions, and when we went back, the dad wasn't there, and actually two other men were there that were drinking, so we didn't feel up to teaching, but we chatted with the mom for a little bit, and she really wants us to come back to teach her family. The interesting thing was that one of the man that was drinking said that back in 1997 he was taught, and told us over and over the name of the missionary that taught him and he was good at basketball, but would only play half court haha. He said he had a baptism date, but then the two missionaries got transferred and stopped visiting him! So we are going to go back to him. I thought that the family we met is awesome, but maybe even though we didn't teach that time, we were meant to go so we could meet that man. 

I have been really trying to grasp the language more and more, and am still working at it. I feel I have grown, but should be better by now. The thing I really realized was how little I know about EVERYTHING in the gospel. I love reading the gospel principles book, the Teachings of Josheph Fielding Smith Book at church, and just feel so overwhelmed with how little I know, and then when members ask us a tough question, that's really deep and kind of pointless to us, but they want to know. We do are best to answer it, and I think the thing is that the gospel answers so many more questions by having the book of mormon and the doctrine and covenenants, and modern revelation, but we must have faith in some things, because if we knew ALL, then we wouldn't need faith. I think that when we have a question, we should study it out, and we will get a sufficient answer for ourselves. 

This week I have been studying faith, and really have deepened my understanding for it. In True To the faith, it says that faith is a complete trust in Heavenly Father, and I was really thinking about that. A COMPLETE TRUST is trusting in everything, but in order to trust him, we have to be humble enough to trust him, and seek his help in everything. So in order to have faith we need to be humble, otherwise we think that we can do things without His help. I will leave it at that, and that I know that Heavenly Father will help us in everything, and sometimes it isn't what we want, or when we want it, but by being humble enough and having faith, we understand that what he gives us is sufficient, and by being humble, we see that he is always helping us. We may have questions, but I will quote President Uchtdorf I believe, "Please, doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith" and hold on to the things that you know are true and the witnesses that you have received. 

Mahal ko po kayo,

Elder Rock