Monday, March 17, 2014

Week #52: I don't think I have any more news... except work is hard still but it's still fun!

Hello all!

So guess what??? IT'S SUPER HOT HERE!!! Summer season has started and thankfully it's my last summer here. It's pretty hot here in Vigan. So let's see what I did this past week. Monday, we visited ate Karen. Actually, it was a really good week this week. We FINALLY got our best friend Arthur Acena to church. He's been investigating for 2 years! I think I told you about him before... the old man who came to the Branch FHE. Well I have a picture with him! We also had this new investigator come to church as well. It's the daughter of our recent convert. She and her husband came to church. They accepted baptism really well. They really want to know.

This past week we did a lot of finding. We have a lot of old people we are teaching. The area goal is to save the rising generation. Elder Oberg says "we're supposed to save the rising generation; but we're saving dying generation." The people we teach in the morning are 60+ years old.

We also found this dog outside our apartment. We fed our scraps to it. We named the dog Saggy. Just check the picture to see why. Dogs here are pretty gross.

So this past week... it was tough for the other elders in our apartment.. the work was at a stand-still. Also for the sisters in our branch. Just to give you an idea, the elders were working in Vigan city itself and the sisters were out in the bukid. It's kind of backwards. So I prayed about it if I should switch and I felt strongly that it should be changed. So I reported it to the BML then we talked to President Piedad. What we found out is that Vigan city was actually supposed to be for the sisters. Well that's the power of prayer! It's all done in a wise purpose that we don't understand.

So to answer your questions dad. Ilocano.. narigat pay.. Tagalog.. mahirap pa.. French.. Difficile. I tried talking to a french guy back in Laoag and I kept saying po or sige all over the place. And we talk to the family here in Tagalog or English. Broken Ilocano to the kids. Actually, auntie Jean brought Uno to church. Ace wanted to come but he's 3 years old and makulit. He should just come anyways.

Oh by the way, about DA's... Ipinagbabawal ni President Barrientos ang mga DAs after 5 pm. He wants us out proselyting after5 pm because that's when most people are home.

Our rice is not that Milagrosa stuff haha.. we buy that sinandomeng rice. If we're really poor.. TFA na lang. We're actually going to eat really really cheap this week. Torta. Money is scarce on a 5-week month. So we're all trying to survive.

Anyways, it's really hard to explain how I feel the Spirit during lessons. Just go work with the missionaries and you'll find out for yourself.

And being out for a year now, me and Elder Oberg were talking about this yesterday. For some reason, we look forward to General Conference now being missionaries haha. Before, it wasn't as important. One big thing I noticed for myself is how much I look forward to reading the scriptures. I'm reading the Old Testament now and man is it boring sometimes!!! But I've actually used the stories from there in some lessons.

Anyways, I don't think I have any more news... except work is hard still but it's still fun!

Love you all! and take care!

Elder Morales

Monday, March 10, 2014

Week #51: Transfer week and guess what... I'm still in Vigan!

Hello family,

So this is the news for this week. When President said I was going to move this transfer, I think he changed his mind because I'm still in Vigan!!! Auntie Jean was super happy when she found out I'm still here. So now I have more time to do whatever. Well missionary work obviously. I started making a family tree here. I'm just getting names. I'll start getting birth dates, death dates, marriage dates, whatever dates, children. All the stuff for family history. I love playing with my nieces and nephews here. They're marami. It's like spending time with Esa or Mak mak or fredrick or liam or auraya or ... well there's so many. Especially here. It's weird sometimes because one of my niece, Vanessa, is almost as old as me. That's probably how mom felt since ate Sally is almost mom's age.

So last week, it was pretty discouraging since Vanessa and her husband are not really allowed to come to our church since their barangay made it bawal to listen to other people. Parang wala nang free agency. Ayos lang. I found a scripture to motivate me. 2 Nephi 28:18. So all is good. We'll just keep teaching them. Later this evening, we're going to visit ate Karen. I thought I was getting transferred so we planned on visiting a whole bunch of them and have despedida but nevermind. I'll just go visit them anyways just to finally visit them!

Anyways, this these last two days were medyo pangit. We have this minor leak under our the bucket underneath overflowed. So I emptied it out last night. This morning, we walked into our kitchen and it was super flooded! So we called over the landlady and we temporarily have no kitchen sink. Good thing though is that we have 2 other sinks in our apartment. That's our adventures here in Vigan. Me and Elder Oberg were also walking around 3 of our barangays (centro ng Caoayan) and we saw all these crosses outside on tables with candles. We we're pretty weirded out... We later found out that there's procession going on. When it comes to missionary work in Vigan, all I can think about is 1 Nephi 13 and 2 Nephi 28. It's one of the hardest areas I've been in.

The work actually has been at a pause for some reason here. We have been struggling finding our investigators. So we dropped most of them. We are spending this whole week finding. Our investigators who have a baptismal date are still not going to church. One of them got a job and had work last sunday... how unfortunate. She was so close to getting baptized. As for our friend Arthur, he didn't come to church again. We bought glue for his shoe because we found out the reason why he didn't come the week before is that his shoe actually fell apart. I guess he didn't use it. It's slowly working it's way back up though. We found the daughter of our recent convert, and she and her husband already accepted the baptismal invitation. All we need to do now is commit them to a date.

Anyways, this month is gonna be a tough month. We're gonna start going cheap on food hehe. We're going to eat mostly fish so time to learn some new fish dishes. Actually, last week, I cooked sinigang and we didn't have the packet for the sabaw, at walang sampalok or any pang-asim sa apartment. So we grabbed a green mango from the tree and chopped it and used it. And... the sinigang tasted really good. Unfortunately for Elder Hunsaker, ayaw niya talaga ang fish. So he's going to buy chicken nuggets in Solid West.

Anyways, wala nang balita. At least I don't think so... anyways. Take care all of you! Love you all!

Elder Morales

Monday, March 3, 2014

Week #50: It's now getting really hot!!! The summer season has started.

Kumusta kayong lahat!

Well this is probably my last week in Vigan. It's been fun working here in Vigan but it's really expensive. It's now getting really hot!!! The summer season has started. So for today's p-day, we spent the morning at the libing ng asawa ni ate Auring. We got permission from President Barrientos to be able to attend. So we sat in the Vigan cathedral for an hour or so.

It's pretty weird, especially wearing proselyting clothes and a name tag. We also went to the burial. We got to march with them. It's an experience. Then we ate back at San Pedro. Then we went to go check out the baybay malapit sa kanila. Every monday we try to go find some sort of tourist spot so that we can enjoy our time in the Philippines.

So this past week, we actually had a branch activity. It was pretty fun. It was called "Missionary Work, Retention and Reactivation" or... branch FHE. It was a success. There were plenty of investigators there and we had less-actives there too. Our favourite investigator, Arthur Acena, came. He's 64 years old. He also played the games at the activity. Unfortunately we didn't see him at church. It's most probably because he's embarrassed of his broken shoe. I'll take a picture with him one day.

I'm not really sure what happened this week...

Oh! We also decided to look for this random former investigator. Elder Erickson told me about this one house they found and how he lived in a mansion. He was really interested but then told the missionaries to not come back because his mother (who is super old) would get mad at them because she's super catholic. We went to go check it out, to also go see if the mother is still alive so we could start teaching him... unfortunately we met the mother and she looks pretty healthy for a really old lady. And the guy is REALLY rich. There's a picture of his mansion.

The first day we tried finding his house was really hard. There's two paths to bongtolan, left and right. The first day we went through the right path and ended up in some random place in the bukid. Apparently it was still Camangaan. So the next day we found signs of life of Bongtolan on the left path. As we were walking, a family just saying "hi elders." We stopped and started to talk to them. They ended up being less-actives. Tatay angel agcaoili is 80 something years old. We taught him some other day and he's losing his mind kind of. He doesn't remember our church. He's mixing it up with catholic and mormon and calling it baptist or born again. And he's really madaldal. So we decided to cut the lesson quick or else he'd talk forever about anything. I guess he just wants someone to talk to cause he's so old.

Oh, this week we also had the chance to teach Vanessa and her husband. It's pretty awkward sometimes teaching some of the family because they're really really shy. Auntie Jean and Julius are fine. They're not shy at all. My kuyas here are actually shy. It's funny sometimes. I found out all the names of my cousins here. I asked auntie Jean to give me the names of them all.

There's actually not that much news this past week. I can't think of anything. I'll probably have some news next week since I'll know where I'll be going. Transfers are really exciting. Sometimes really scary since a lot of missionaries DON'T want to go to Cagayan. I don't know why that is. I guess it's because it's so far away. It's a real adventure when you're there. Sta. Ana was a nice part of Cagayan though. It'll be fun. It doesn't matter where I'll go.

Anyways, that's the news so far! Kapayapaan sa labas! HAHA bad translation. Love you all!

Elder Morales

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week #49: "I think we'll stop there because you must be FBI... how old are you?"

Kumusta kayon??

So yesterday, we had our interviews with President Barrientos. That's why I didn't email yesterday. And again, my interview was not long at all. About 5 to 10 minutes. Leaning more towards the 5 minute mark. He just stared at a paper and told me how the office elders put the totals wrong for the key indicators. Then on top of that, he told me I'll be transferred. There goes the surprise again. But this time he didn't tell me where or what I'll be doing.

So last week, ate's husband did pass away and it was from a motorcycle accident due to drunk driving. Well that's what I understood. Motorcycle accidents are extremely common here. We went to where the casket is last week and auntie Jean asked me to say a prayer. So I did. Odd enough, I lost my voice the day before so it was kind of embarrassing trying to pray.

We also attended the San Pedro barangay festival, just to eat. There was so much food. We helped the day before with preparing the vegetables, so we did some service. It's nice to finally see some more cousins here. I met ate Nympha and ate Lisa. Ate Lisa laughed because we finally meet... in the Philippines, instead of back home in Canada! For these next two weeks, I'm going to try to visit the family as much as possible to get them to go to church and to commit them to listen to the missionaries so that they have people to teach. I had a feeling I was going to be transferred hehe. I'll be able to come back if any of them do get baptized.

So when it comes to missionary work this past week, we had exchanges. I went to Cabugao and worked with Elder Benally. We taught this guy who we met on the street while we were looking for a referral. We sat down and he kept asking Elder Benally where he was from. Elder Benally repeated himself about 3 times and he asked again and I was about to laugh. The guy was like 1/4 drunk. But Elder Benally said he's a little crazy even when not drunk. He was asking good questions though and then he noticed how Elder Benally is good in Tagalog so he thought Elder Benally was FBI. He goes "I think we'll stop there because you must be FBI... how old are you?" Then Elder Benally tells him he's 20. So he says, "Oh okay, then you can't be FBI." What a weird old man. Then in our area of Vigan 2B.

We contacted this potential investigator and we taught him. We asked if he's looking for the truth and he said yes. We asked him if we could continue and he said no because it's bawal (forbidden). We then asked why it's bawal and he said he doesn't know... then tells us cause his pastor says it's bawal. Whatever.. so we asked him if he would pray about our message and he just flat out says no. What a waste of time haha. Didn't even try to find the truth.

One day, we had this fellowshipper and we wanted to take him to certain people but we asked him who the members are around him. He took us to this one lady and we were hoping to be there for 15-30 minutes. She ended up being super madaldal! Then we finally finished and went to the next appointment... another madaldal!! But we figured out how to help brother Arthur. He wants to come to church but the problem is he doesn't have clothes ready. Tomorrow, we plan on telling him to clean his clothes and just wear his tsinelas to church. We have someone to pick him up. That will work. He's been investigating forever but he knows everything is true.

Right now, there's some random girls who walked into the computer shop and are playing guitar and singing. It'd be nice if they were good.

Actually, in front of our apartment, they blast music from across at the shop. It's always Bon Jovi, Scorpions, random filipino songs. All those classics. Kind of like those songs that uncle Lito loves to sing. It always starts playing when we start studying. Super big distraction.

And now they those girls asked us for donations but we just told them no, we're missionaries.

Anyways, thanks dad for the hockey updates about the winter olympics. Sometimes it's playing on peoples' television.

Okay, anyways, wala na akong balita ngayon. Kaya nga, next time na lang! Paki-sabi nyo nga sa mga friends ko na sana po mag-eemail sila sa akin haha. Ayos naman kung hindi. Siguro, tell uncle Lito na mag-email sa akin din hehe. Anyways, ay-ayatenkayon!

Elder Morales

PS Pasensiya, wala pang pictures hehe. I forgot to take of the barangay festival. 2016 na lang. Here's pictures from the week before,,,

Monday, February 17, 2014

Week #48: He told us to be friends with Satan! Lol!

Hello everyone!

So this past week was busy. We were helping our investigators get ready for their baptism. It was a big day last saturday. We combined both Vigan 1st and 2nd's baptism so there was a total of 10!!! It's been 3 transfers that me and elder Oberg haven't had baptisms. So that's the good news. We still have more coming up for next month. We are hoping for around 3. Our zone last thursday set a goal of 35 baptisms for the month of march. It's a huge goal and it's going to take a lot of work. But with righteous desires, it is totally possible.

Other than that, nothing special happened this week. We just had our zone training meeting. It's pretty cool since Elder Williams and Elder Erickson are both in my zone now. Elder Williams is now our zone leader. Elder Erickson is the district leader for Cabugao.

We have the craziest teaching pool here. We have some investigators who love to talk about God. There's one... Arthur Acena. He knows everything is true and wants to know everything in detail. Before, we made the mistake of having him share his concerns or what he learned... then he'd totally control the lesson. Then we taught him where we dove straight into the lesson. And it was a success! He finally feels he needs to come to church to compare. Then we have this other investigator, Bong Bong Ardaniel. He's really interesting. He's been listening to a whole bunch of different religions and we think he may have been listening to this really crazy stuff too. He told us to be friends with Satan... because he used to be up there in heaven with God... (Basically it's the lesson on pre-earth life, but it's sooooobrang baligtad!) Hopefully we can correct him on it. That's the next lesson. Then he went on in telling us to read some book because it was written by the archangels. So I asked him does it have references to the scriptures and he said no because it's written by the archangels. Then we tried to explain to him how only prophets are allowed to write in books. I think we may need to have a lesson on prophets again. Anyways, some of the people we teach are just interesting.

Visiting our family has been hard this week because they are super busy with the barangay festival in San Pedro. Fortunately, auntie Jean still came to church on sunday!!! Julius Agapinan wants to be baptized but he's afraid of what his parents would say. And this week, we are going to try and visit Vanessa and her husband. There's so many people I still need to visit here. I told auntie to tell me when ate Liza gets here. Also when ate Nympha gets here too. It'd be nice to actually see them finally. We'll probably be attending the wedding while we're here... that's if it's before transfers. I might actually be transferred so... who knows?
So today, we went back to the zoo for a zone activity. It's still fun going there since it's a different group. I feel bad for some missionaries cause they've been in this area for awhile and activity's are always at the zoo if you are in the Vigan zone. Afterwards, some of us went to eat at the "Ihawan sa Caoayan." Ihawan is basically a place where they grill stuff... especially seafood! Yum! Elder Hunsaker doesn't really like seafood. Oh and we eat with our hands. It's the same place where I went with the office.

Anyways, that's the news for the week! Love you all and take care!!!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Week #47: Happy Birthday Dad and Free stuff this week!

Happy Birthday Dad!
So this saturday is a big day for the Vigan District. We have 10 baptisms total here. 5 from our area. 2 from the sisters in 1C. and 3 from the sisters in 1A. We are going to have a combined baptism with branch 1 and branch 2. So it's going to be busy day. It was busier last saturday because of the interviews. Sunday also. I had to interview of them on saturday and it was super matagal. Ganoon din sa sunday. We didn't have time to eat lunch because the zone leaders came directly from Cabugao to do the interviews. I actually have to do another interview on saturday. So many baptisms now in Vigan. We barely had any last transfer.

Anyways, concerning our family here. They're good. I sent the sisters to go visis Vanessa and her husband. The new missionary extended them a baptismal date on the first visit. So mediyo magulat sila haha. But that's fine. I will be going there myself on friday to go visit them. I'll probably ask auntie to come with us there too.

Anyways, what interesting things happened this week... Oh last monday, we walked into some random museum. FREE!!! It's the Crisologo museum. Not really sure who that guy is but the main point is.. ITS FREE!!!

We also went to go eat some shakey's today to celebrate Elder Hunsaker's birthday... which was last week.4

We also went to go visit the Bantay bell tower. It was... weird being there. We went inside the bell tower and it's pretty odd in there. It's on some catholic church grounds. and again.. IT'S FREE.. except for a small donation of like 5 pesos. Some creepy kid kept trying to force us to donate. Then when we came back to the main gate, some lady asked us to donate... so we donated 5 pesos each. Forced donation... ano ba yan? Whatever haha. In the next few weeks, we're going to look for some more free museums.

On tuesday, I got to go to Laoag. I travelled up there with Elder Erickson. Got to catch up with some of my batch at the MTC. We were basically trained on how we should conduct district meetings and how interviews should be. They said how all our meetings should be really focused on helping the missionaries get baptisms instead of just improving skills. He compared it to a sports game where the goal is to score but to score we need game plans. Sometimes we're so magaling in the game plans that we forget to shoot. So that was the training. Then we went back to the mission home and played basketball there. I played in tsinelas. It's super hard! Then we had cake and stuff. Then slept in the mission office. So it was a good day.

So those kids in the pictures are ate Cristian's kids (Uno and Ace) and kuya Jeff's kid (Ashley). They're auntie Jean's mga apo. I have videos at their house but I don't know if it's going to fit inside the email hehe.

Anyways, that's the news for the week here in Vigan. Love you all!

Elder Morales

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week #46: New companion and the 10 Commandments

Hello hello

Here I am emailing today in Vigan. Tomorrow I'm going to Laoag. We have this special meeting for all District Leaders. It happens only once a year and I get to go! hehe. It should be fun.

Oh by the way, my new companion is Elder Oberg. He's from Utah. And it's good, he can speak Tagalog. It's nice to finally have a companion that can speak and teach so that way I don't have to teach most of the lesson.

Unfortunately, this week, we've lost another investigator. They are just so set in being Catholic. She asked us if we were there to convince her to be mormon and I told her yes. Funny thing is she asked us to teach her, so something is baligtad. We think it's her mom that's influencing her. That's the biggest problem here I realized, no one wants to change. There's one super dominant religion here and everyone is stuck to it. We even taught to auntie Jean and ate Cristian about commandments a few days ago and we talked about the 10 commandments. It's surprising how the 2nd commandment is missing. There's a million idols here and they have ginormous statues of Mary. We saw it a parade. It's really weird. Ate Cristian was arguing that isn't part of the 10 commandments, to not have idols, since we read it from the Book of Mormon. We then shared it from exodus, and then she realized. It gets people thinking when you open their eyes a bit. Me and Elder Oberg might just start sharing the 10 commandments whenever we present the first lesson, especially when we reach about prophets.

Also, we found out na parte ng area namin ay sobrang mahirap. Kasi, ang lahat sila ay ang mga tinuruan ng mga missionary. Kaya, sinabi ni brother Queypo na matigas ang ulo at puso nila. So that's a good chunk of our area. Sobrang mahirap to proselyte there. We are relying sa mga referrals. Sometimes we have to travel super far away to get to one of our investigators. It's good since she has a baptismal date. So that's the interesting stories we had about proselyting so far.

So one night, we got stuck in San Pedro Sur, so we were hunting for a tryce. Then this drunk guy stopped and came to help us but then the house we were next to had a tryce. One of the guys told him to go home and sleep. And he said, "If you you go to sleep, God will love you. If you don't go to sleep, God will not love you." It's super random. Luckily we got a ride home.

So I found out that some of my cousins don't talk to me because they're shy. It just reminded me of the first day I saw Vanessa how she ran. They're super shy here haha. I'm probably going to visit them one by one in their own homes. I'll ask auntie Jean to start sharing with the family. I think she may have a big influence on people there. Even when I do leave here, she can keep helping the missionaries.

So anyways, I'm not sure what else hehe. What are some updates from back home? Anyways, take care at ay-ayatenkan!

Elder Morales